Thursday February 7 2019, Weekly News Digest

origination costs

News Comments Today’s main news: KBRA assigns preliminary ratings to SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2019-1 Trust. LendingPoint increases mezzanine financing. UK publishes Open Banking operational guidelines. Raisin raises $114M. Today’s main analysis: International P2P lending volumes for January 2019. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Where are we in the credit cycle? Marketplace lending associations respond to FDIC small dollar lending rule request. […]

The post Thursday February 7 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

origination costs

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Other

News Summary

United States

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2019-1 Trust (Business Wire), Rated: AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to four classes of notes issued by SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2019-1 (“SCLP 2019-1”). This is a $480.7 million consumer loan ABS transaction.

Preliminary Ratings Assigned: SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2019-1

Class Preliminary Rating Class Principal
A AAA (sf) $351,800,000
B AA+ (sf) $39,400,000
C A+ (sf) $51,500,000
D BBB (sf) $38,000,000

Where Are We in the Credit Cycle? (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

This week’s big funding news was that digital savings and investing platform Acorns raised $105 million in its Series E round, bringing its total valuation to $860 million.

The US economy generated 304 k jobs in January, marking a record 100 months of job growth. Average hourly earnings rose by 3.2% and the unemployment rate rose slightly to 4%.

Marlette CEO Jeff Meiler discussed profitability and loan performance with Peter Renton (transcript and podcast here).  Marlette announced another year of profitability in 2018.

Prosper’s December Performance Update showed that Prosper is focusing on making higher grade loans with 62% of December originations rated AA-B.

Overall, lenders view the US consumer as healthy and the US economic growth as solid.

The Industry Responds to FDIC Small Dollar Lending Rule Request (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

So, back in November the FDIC issued a Request for Information on Small Dollar Lending. They received more than 60 responses from banks, industry associations, non-profit groups, fintech companies and individuals. While the FDIC did not define exactly what they meant by a small dollar loan the respondents, for the most part, took it to mean loans of less than $5,000.

There are many mainstream online lenders offering personal loans down to $1,000 and there are also many fintech companies offering loans under $1,000. Companies like Oportun, Insikt, LendUp, Elevate, Opploans and many others offer these sub-$1,000 loans using the latest technology tools to make this process more efficient.

The Marketplace Lending Association (MLA) provided a detailed 10-page response where they urged the FDIC (and other regulators) to do more to support banks and foster closer working relationships with fintech providers:

The Online Lenders Alliance is a trade group that contains many small dollar lenders who operate online. Not surprisingly they are against the 36% rate cap but they also have a lot in common with their sub-36% brethren such as promoting partnerships between banks and fintech companies.

Source: Online Lenders Alliance

The Center for Responsible Lending gave one of the most detailed responses to the RFI, a full 38 pages.

Read the full Online Lenders Alliance response here.

LendingPoint Again Upsizes Its Mezzanine Financing, Bringing It to More Than $ 67.5 Million (Business Wire), Rated: AAA

LendingPoint, the consumer lending platform, announced it closed an increase of its mezzanine financing, bringing the total of the facility to $67.5 million. A Paragon co-investor joined the facility as a lender.

Today’s announcement is the latest in a string of financing transactions LendingPoint has closed in the past 15 months. The company secured an up to $500 million Senior Credit Facility in August 2017 and an up to $600 million Senior Credit Facilityin May 2018, both arranged by Guggenheim Securities.

Eight Challenger Banks Traditional Institutions Should Worry About (The Financial Brand), Rated: AAA

1. BankMobile — Hooked Up With T-Mobile

Parent Company: Customers Bank
Websitewww.bankmobile.com
Launched: 2015
Category: Mobile bank

The creation of father-daughter team of Jay and Luvleen Sidhu (CEO and President respectively), BankMobile is an evolving banking-as-a-service platform.

2. Chime — Super Slick App

Websitewww.chimebank.com
Launched: 2013
Category: Mobile banking and money management app (in partnership with the The Bancorp Bank)
Notable Milestone: 2 million account relationships

3. Finn — Chase Bank’s Millennial Play

Parent Company: JPMorgan Chase
Websitewww.chase.com/personal/finnbank
Launched: 2017
Category: Mobile bank

Chase is offering a $100 for opening a new Finn account (as long as you make ten qualifying transactions in the first 60 days).

4. Marcus — Sucking Up Your Customers

Parent Company: Goldman Sachs
Websitewww.marcus.com
Launched: 2016
Category: Online bank
Notable Milestones: 2+ million customers and $35 billion in deposits.

Marcus’ loans range from $3,500 to $40,000 at rates of 6.99% to 25%. The average loan in 2018 was $15,000 over four years with a 12% interest rate, according to Bloomberg BusinessWeek. That leaves plenty of margin room even with its online savings rate up at 2.25% (as of January 2019).

5. N26 — Platform Maestro

Websiten26.com
Launched: 2015
Category: Mobile bank
Notable Milestones: 2.3 million users and $1 billion in deposits.

6. Revolut — The Amazon of Banking

Website:www.revolut.com:
Launched: 2015
Category: Mobile financial provider

Notable Milestones: 3 million customers — both consumers and businesses. Opening about 8,000 accounts per day. 1.2 million monthly active users. Monthly transaction volume $3 billion. Received European banking license in December 2018. More than 60,000 U.S. customers on Revolut’s waiting list.

7. SoFi Money — Join The ‘Waitlist’

Parent Company: Social Finance, Inc.
Websitewww.sofi.com
Founded: 2011 (Sofi Money Beta Launch, June 2018)
Category: No-fee Mobile banking account

8. Varo Money — Almost OCC Approved

Websitewww.varomoney.com
Founded: 2015
Category: Mobile banking/money management app in partnership with the The Bancorp Bank.
Notable Milestones: First mobile-only bank to get preliminary approval for a national bank charter.

Walsh feels Varo Money is particularly suitable for the 70% of the people they initially surveyed who are “hands-off creditworthy Millennials.”

P2P Global sells US loans and chases ‘less volatile returns’ (AltFi), Rated: A

It said its net asset value (NAV) rose by 0.78 per cent in the final month of the year, amounting to a total 5.2 per cent return in 2018, as the fund sold off a number of poorly performing loans, according to its December newsletter published today.

15 Minute Mortgages? Meet Molo – The New Fintech Aiming To Shake Up The Market (Forbes), Rated: A

Francesca Carlesi is the Co-Founder and CEO of Molo, a new, super exciting fintech start-up, aiming to reimagine how people get mortgages forever. She was originally a University professor, envisioning pursuing an academic career, before quickly joining McKinsey & Co., immediately after finishing her Ph.D. Molo is her first experience as a start-up entrepreneur after a long career in the finance and banking world. Here she discusses how she made the transition and found the journey so far.

Building a bank designed for freelancers and solopreneurs with Joust’s George Kurtyka (Tearsheet), Rated: A

57 million people in the US freelance and 30 million or so of those are micro and small businesses. Small businesses use approximately a dozen apps and pieces of software to manage their finances. From a bank account to payments to QuickBooks to factoring, microbusinesses spend 365 hours a year reconciling the data between all their financial tools.

1 IN 4 SAYS MONEY IS THE BIGGEST HURDLE TO RUNNING A BUSINESS (Valpak), Rated: A

Key Findings

  • 1 in 4 Americans considers funding to be the biggest obstacle.
  • More women say not knowing how to run a business is a challenge than men.
  • Millennials ages 25 to 34 are the most afraid of failure.
  • 1 in 3 Americans lacks a strong business idea to begin with.
Source: Valpak

Plaid And Quovo Just Scratching The Surface With Data Aggregation (Forbes), Rated: A

The fintech consolidation is starting, at least in the financial data side of the business, with Plaid recently announcing an 

Meet the start-up bank with millions of customers trying to disrupt the ‘adversarial’ American banking system (Business Insider), Rated: A

United Kingdom

Due diligence on P2P platforms (FT Adviser), Rated: AAA

In the immediate aftermath of the credit crunch, politicians enthused about the new crop of peer-to-peer providers and even created the Innovative Finance Isa.

UK financial institutions will receive more clarity on Open Banking (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

The Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE) has published its Operational Guidelines and accompanying checklist to help financial institutions (FIs) better navigate Open Banking, per a press release.

With the guidelines, the OBIE aims to clarify the regulatory requirements for a dedicated interface, as set out in the revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2), RTS, EBA Guidelines, and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Approach documents.

Source: Business Insider Intelligence

Read the full report here.

Starling launches euro account as UK prepares for Brexit (AltFi), Rated: A

The digital-only bank, which expects to top one million customers this year, said the new account is a simple was to ‘send and receive euros for free’.

Alt Credit Scorer Aire Scoops Up $ 11 Million in Growth Funding (Finovate), Rated: A

Alternative credit assessment innovator Aire has picked up $11 million in new funding. The London-based company, which demonstrated its Aire Credit API at FinovateEurope 2015, said the new capital will support the continued development of its credit insight engine, as well as support expansion in the U.S.

AccountScore uses Open Banking to offer real-time debt advice with Insolvency Panel (AltFi), Rated: A

A new service has been set up for people in debt, giving them the power to let advisors see their bank accounts in order to offer quick and accurate advice.

The service is a tie-up between fintech bank transactions firm AccountScore and The Insolvency Panel launched this month.

Why are SMEs declining external investment, and is it a barrier to scale? (Vox Markets), Rated: A

Small businesses accounted for 22 per cent of the UK’s economic growth in 2017 according to Octopus Investments High Growth Small Business Report. These SMEs, which comprise less than one per cent of UK companies, created one in five jobs in 2017 and hold a wealth of potential for our economy. When it comes to the future of the UK business landscape, it seems that the best things do come in smaller packages.

SME finance app ANNA gets £8.5m funding (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

SME business account Anna has received an investment of £8.5 million from Kinetik as it prepares to launch new tools and products.

What Winter? Crypto Lending Firm Has Issued over $ 630M in Just Six Months (NullTx), Rated: A

The cryptocurrency winter has been one of many contrasts. While some firms have gone out of business and shut down, some have thrived. Celsius Networks belongs to the latter.

Based in London, the firm launched just six months ago, but it has grown by leaps and bounds. It has lent over $630 million in loans, predominantly in cryptocurrencies.

Aave Launches Bitcoin on Its Ethereum-based Crypto Lending Marketplace ETHLend (PR Newswire), Rated: A

AAVE, a UK-based FinTech Startup, today announced a new release for its crypto lending marketplace ETHLend. The release introduces the capability for the ETHLend users to use their Bitcoin holdings as a collateral to borrow funds for spending.

Exclusive: P2P firm shuts platform (AltFi), Rated: B

The UK Bond Network, a p2p platform for corporate bonds, is closing as of today Monday 4 February 2019, according to the firm.

China

From private bank client to farmer: a Chinese model of social lending (Euromoney), Rated: AAA

Financial services group CreditEase runs an app through which its private banking clients can be connected to needy women farmers in China’s rural interior. It’s a remarkable initiative taken up by 200,000 farmers and shows what can be done with low-level credit. But how does the risk management work?

European Union

PayPal backed fintech Raisin raises $ 114m (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

German financial technology group Raisin has raised $114m in new funding from high-profile backers including Index Ventures and PayPal, in one of the largest fundraisings to date in Europe’s emerging “wealth tech” space.

ING Bridges Dutch SMBs To Funding Options (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Dutch bank ING is linking its small business (SMB) customers to alternative lending marketplace Funding Options, the firms said on Monday (Feb. 4).

The partnership means Funding Options has launched services in the Netherlands, expanding beyond the U.K. for the first time, said reports in Crowdfund Insider. Approximately 1.8 million SMBs in the Netherlands will gain access to Funding Options via ING Bank.

The Irish fintech startups disrupting their industries (Irish Times), Rated: A

Also based at NOVA is Initiative Ireland which aims to give cautious investors lower-risk access to the Irish property market. With poor interest rates, investors face the perennial problem of what to do with their money. Risk takers will always have options, cautious investors less so, and this is Initiative Ireland’s sweet spot. It is offering returns in the order of six to eight per cent to those investing in its novel peer-to-peer lending platform for developers building social and affordable housing.

Banco BNI Europa, NDGIT accelerate PSD2 and Open Banking in Europe (The Paypers), Rated: A

The European challenger bank in Portugal, Banco BNI Europa, has become a customer of NDGIT, provider of the API platform for banking and insurance in Europe.

BNI Europa implements “PSD2 Ready”, NDGIT’s smart standardized software solution following the Berlin Group RTS standard, to fulfil all PSD2 requirements. This cooperation is a milestone for the future development of Open Banking in Europe and for BNI Europa the next step in their company’s development.

International

International P2P Lending Volumes January 2019 (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

Milestones achieved this month (total volume since launch):

Source: P2P-Banking

Global regulators are struggling to define fintech credit (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

While many jurisdictions have highlighted fintech credit as a key development in the nonbank financial space over the last year, they struggle to define exactly what fintech credit is, per findings of the Financial Stability Board’s (FSB’s) Global Monitoring Report on Non-Bank Financial Intermediation 2018.

Source: Business Insider Intelligence

Why VC Is The Answer To Falling Returns (Forbes), Rated: A

In uncertain times, VC offers the advantage that its performance is completely uncorrelated with public equity markets. Last year, both the US and Europe saw record VC investment, reaching over 

Technology has opened up access to banking but can it stop the unbanked from falling through the cracks? (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Those of us who work in finance can’t imagine life without a bank account. But for the world’s 1.7 billion unbanked adults, this is a reality. In the U.S., 33.5 million households are either unbanked or underbanked and lack the ability, criteria, or financial literacy to access banking services. Without access to savings and credit, these people often live — and remain — in a cycle of poverty.

In the U.S., nearly 95 percent of adults have a mobile phone and 80 percent of those are smartphones. And since they’re not tied to traditional banking norms such as branches, ATMs, and credit cards, the unbanked are more likely to adopt digital banking via their phones.

TymeBank in South Africa uses AI to help people learn about their money and how to save. It teaches people about credit scores and rewards them for good financial behavior — TymeBank offers an amazing 10 percent interest rate on savings accounts for customers who can define specific financial goals they want to hit, and then contribute to them.

Sancus to start accepting euros and dollars to fund loans (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

SANCUS will start accepting euro-denominated loans within the next few months, to help it expand its investor base.

The alternative business finance provider is also planning to establish a new base in the Cayman Islands by the end of 2019, a move which would allow it to accept dollar-denominated investments as well.

Revolut team ups with WeWork (AltFi), Rated: B

The new partnership will provide Revolut for Business customers with 3 months free of hot-desk space at a WeWork co-working space.

Australia

Australia’s getting wiser says Wisr in new campaign targeting disillusioned big bank customers (Mumbrella), Rated: A

Peer to peer lending service provider Wisr has targeted disillusioned big bank customers in its new ad campaign.

APAC

Diversify investments in P2P lending, youths urged (The Star), Rated: AAA

Technology-driven peer-to-peer (P2P) lending is becoming a popular investment choice among young investors, but the anticipated slowdown in the economy this year also raises the risk of losing money.

To protect their investment, a P2P financing platform operator said that investors should spread their investment into as many deals as possible.

Africa

DexAge – A Versatile Crypto-Trading Solution (Blockmanity), Rated: AAA

The P2P Crypto loan services allow users to retain their assets in case they predict the concerned cryptocurrency value might appreciate in the future. DexAge enables users to stake their crypto assets as collateral and acquire a loan of the same value to expand their investment profile.

Canada

Vancouver’s First P2P OTC Digital Trading Platform Officially Launched and Supported by Huobi Cloud Technology (Digital Journal), Rated: AAA

iBank Digital Asset L.P. (“iBank Digital”, “iBankEx” or the “Company”) has officially launched Vancouver’s first peer-to-peer (P2P) OTC digital currency trading platform on iBankEx. (www.ibankex.io) This launch is supported by Huobi Cloud (“Huobi Cloud”) technology, which has officially entered the Canadian market in 2019 with 120 exchanges around the world.

iBank Products & Services:

Fiat Lending – A decentralized global lending network connecting financial institutions worldwide by offering crypto backed loan business.

Crypto Lending – iBank provides crypto loans collateralized by your crypto assets in BTC/USDT with security and confidentiality.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday February 7 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Thursday May 17 2018, Daily News Digest

aadhaar

News Comments Today’s main news: Chime surpasses 1M bank accounts. Top MPLs (SoFi, VPC, more) join Marketplace Lending Association. LendingPoint secures up to $600M credit facility. Today’s main analysis: Survey on Aadhaar, data-driven insights. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Why the credit card boom has peaked. Should banks have ‘flanker’ brands? The Baltics are stars in EU P2P lending. Top personal loans […]

aadhaar

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

India

International

Other

News Summary

United States

Chime Surpasses One Million Bank Accounts (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

Chime announced it surpassed one million accounts to date last month and has now processed more than $4.5 billion in total transaction volume, solidifying Chime’s position as the clear leader in the U.S. challenger banking segment.

Unlike traditional banks that charged consumers over $34 billion in fees in 2017, Chime is transforming the consumer banking experience. The company’s unique business model, which doesn’t rely on fees, allows Chime to relentlessly focus on its mission of helping members lead healthy financial lives.

 

CreditShop Introduces the Mercury Mastercard for Hardworking Americans (Pr Newswire) Rated: A

CreditShop LLC, a finance company focused on developing, marketing and servicing consumer-friendly credit products, today announced the introduction of the Mercury Mastercard. Mercury cards will provide cardmembers with complementary access to their FICO score, and account performance will be reported to major credit bureaus. The cards will be issued by First Bank & Trust of Brookings, South Dakota.

There are about 75 million Americans in the “middle market” with FICO scores ranging between 575 and 675, and many are charged high fees by sub-prime credit card issuers.

LendingPoint Secures up to $ 600 Million Credit Facility Arranged by Guggenheim Securities (Business Wire) Rated: AAA

LendingPoint today announced it has closed an up to $600 million, committed credit facility arranged by Guggenheim Securities, the investment banking and capital markets division of Guggenheim Partners.

With this new deal, LendingPoint has secured up to $1.1 billion of senior credit financing in less than one year. In September 2017, the company announced it had secured an up to $500 million committed credit facility, also arranged by Guggenheim Securities.

What are the Forces Behind the GreenSky IPO? (PYMNTS) Rated: A

Some 58 percent of U.S. homeowners will pay for home improvements this year, roughly the same level of interest in 2017, according to the fifth annual LightStream Home Improvement Survey. LightStream is the national online lending division of SunTrust Banks.

But spending plans tell a different story, one that works in favor of the GreenSky IPO. “The percentage of people intending to use a home improvement loan has grown 29 percent from 2017, with 54 percent more 18- to 34-year-olds planning to fund projects through home improvement financing,” the report said. “While overall, 30 percent of homeowners say they’ll pay for some portion of their 2018 project with a credit card, 16 percent fewer homeowners aged 18 to 34 plan to use them” compared to 2017.

Coinbase just rolled out 4 new crypto trading tools, and they offer a big clue to where the platform might be headed next (Business Insider) Rated: A

On Tuesday, the company announced the launch of four services, all centered on attracting financial institutions to its platform. The new tools include options like Coinbase Custody, a custodian partnership similar to the custodian offerings typically provided by banks to secure customers’ cash, and Coinbase Prime, a platform centered on research and market data geared toward institutional clients.

After collaborating previously at Exeter Finance and AmeriCredit, auto finance industry veterans Mark Floyd and Kenneth Wardle are teaming up again; this time to leverage what’s happening online when consumers search for financing.

According to a news release sent to SubPrime Auto Finance News this week, Floyd and Wardle have acquired an equity stake in Horizon Digital Financial Holdings, an online auto finance technology firm located in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. The transaction was effective May 1.

Horizon Digital is the parent company for online consumer loan marketplace participant myAutoloan.com.

Floyd will serve as chairman and chief executive officer of Horizon Digital, and Wardle will serve as chief operating officer.

Is Envestnet’s market dominance also its weakness? (Financial Planning) Rated: A

At well over $400 billon, Envestnet has more than six times the assets of its nearest competitor in its core asset management platform business. Tamarac, the firm’s rebalancing, reporting and practice management software powerhouse, has seen revenue grow approximately eight-fold since Envestnet bought the company six years ago.

The always-opportunistic Envestnet insured itself a pole position in data aggregation and analytics, one of the sexiest tech areas in the business, by acquiring the innovative Silicon Valley firm Yodlee three years ago.

After raising $ 110M, Circle raises announces new US dollar-linked cryptocurrency (Silicon Angle) Rated: A

Bitcoin and blockchain startup Circle Internet Financial, Inc. has raised $110 million in new funding as a “strategic investment” while also announcing its intent to launch a new cryptocurrency tied to the U.S. dollar.

The new round announced Tuesday, the first since 2016, was led by Bitmain, with the participation of IDG Capital, Breyer Capital, General Catalyst, Accel, Digital Currency Group, Pantera, Blockchain Capital and Tusk Ventures.

A fintech shifts gears to virtual cards (American Banker) Rated: A

The fintech startup Regalii, which originally built technology to help immigrants pay bills back home, has pivoted. Under a new name, arcus, it is now helping banks reissue credit and debit cards to customers whose cards have been lost, stolen or breached.

What is Elix / Elixir (ELIX)? | Beginner’s Guide (Coin Central) Rated: A

Elix is an Ethereum-based platform for payments, loans, and crowdfunding. The team is uniquely taking a mobile-first approach and focusing on usability to attract as large of a user base as possible from the start.

Elix also includes a platform, Boost, to facilitate decentralized crowdfunding campaigns using smart contracts.

Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Lending

With Elix, though, both the lender and the borrower are incentivized to follow the terms of the loan. When setting up a loan, the participants can opt to include a mining period once the loan is complete to gain additional rewards. If enabled, as a lender, you must hold the ELIX in your wallet for a certain amount of time in a system similar to Proof-of-Stake. When that holding period is complete, Elix hands out the rewards in the form of a new token, Token P. This token will most likely have a different name in the future.

If the borrower pays back the loan on time, the reward is split with the lender receiving 65% and the borrower receiving 35%. If the borrower has late payments, though, the lender receives 100% of the reward.

Why the Credit-Card Boom May Have Just Peaked (Wall Street Journal) Rated: AAA

Following some of their strongest years ever, credit-card issuers are grappling with an uneasy future.

Five of the largest credit-card issuers— American Express Co. AXP 0.87% Capital One Financial Corp. COF 1.15% Citigroup Inc., C -0.20% Discover Financial Services DFS 0.54% and Synchrony Financial SYF 0.90% —generated a median return of 2.1% on their assets for common shareholders in the first quarter, up from 2% a year earlier but down from 2.6% two years prior, according to analysis by Autonomous Research. The recent peak was 3.7% in the second quarter of 2011, according to an industry analysis by Autonomous at the time.

Top 5 Personal Loans With No Origination Fee (Student Loan Hero) Rated: AAA

To help, here’s our list of the top five lenders. Interest rates were current as of May 16, 2018. Some rates include a discount for setting up autopay. LightStream rates can vary by loan amount, repayment period, and the purpose of the debt.

Source Student Loan Hero

7 Alternatives to a Traditional Bank Account (Dough Roller) Rated: A

However, when you invest in P2P lending, you’re only purchasing notes, not entire loans. The notes represent $25 slivers of individual loans. That means that you can invest in 40 different loans with an investment of $1,000. That will help to minimize your risk.

The returns on P2P lending are impressive. Lending Club advertises average returns of about 4% to 6% per year, but many individuals are reporting much higher returns.

Coinbase’s first investment, Compound, earns you interest on crypto (Tech Crunch) Rated: A

Compound wants to let you borrow cryptocurrency, or lend it and earn an interest rate. Most cryptocurrency is shoved in a wallet or metaphorically hidden under a mattress, failing to generate interest the way traditionally banked assets do. But Compound wants to create liquid money markets for cryptocurrency by algorithmically setting interest rates, and letting you gamble by borrowing and then short-selling coins you think will sink. It plans to launch its first five for Ether, a stable coin, and a few others, by October.

Today, Compound is announcing some ridiculously powerful allies for that quest. It’s just become the first-ever investment by crypto exchange juggernaut Coinbase’s  new venture fund. It’s part of an $8.2 million seed round led by top-tier VC Andreessen Horowitz, crypto hedge fund Polychain Capital and Bain Capital Ventures — the startup arm of the big investment firm. [Update: Compound told us it was Coinbase Ventures’ first investment when it closed its round, though Coinbase notes that it’s done 8 rapid-fire investments over the past two months alongside this funding.]

NYU’s Sam Chandan on the Changing Real Estate Capital Markets (Commercial Property Executive) Rated: B

While there is potential for growth and it’s an exciting opportunity, real estate crowdfunding will remain a relatively small share of the overall market. In our view, on the long-term, banks, agency lenders, life insurance companies will remain the dominant sources of financing into the market.

 

Rene van Kesteren joins BlockFi as Chief Risk Officer (BlockFi) Rated: B

Former Managing Director of Equity Markets at BOA Merrill Lynch, Rene van Kesteren, joins BlockFi as Chief Risk Officer. BlockFi, based in New York City, serves crypto investors by offering USD loans collateralized by cryptoassets.

Van Kesteren will be responsible for the company’s risk models and product development in addition to general strategic influence as part of the company’s executive team.

United Kingdom

Is it wrong for banks to launch ‘flanker’ brands? (AltFi News) Rated: AAA

Samir Desai, co-founder and chief executive officer of one of the UK’s biggest fintech firms Funding Circle, once suggested Esme was little more than a ‘massive corporate fudge’.

For the uninitiated, Esme is the online lending platform launched by NatWest. It can advance loans of up to £150,000 to small businesses in less than an hour, utilising a wholly online process that is a great deal swifter and simpler than its progenitor, NatWest, can manage.

NatWest is by no means alone in having launched a separate digital banking or lending brand – often called ‘flanker’ brands by innovation specialists.

Victory Park Capital joins Marketplace Lending Association (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: B

VICTORY Park Capital (VPC) has joined US industry body the Marketplace Lending Association (MLA).

 

China

China’s tech giants have few worries from smaller rivals (Channel Asia News) Rated: A

Chinese start-ups and other established companies like Didi Chuxing, Xiaomi and Meituan Dianping may command high valuations but they are unlikely to dislodge leaders Alibaba and Tencent, says one observer from the Financial Times.

China’s pre-eminent tech duo of Alibaba and Tencent are approaching their 20th birthdays. Still reasonably youthful but old enough to have spawned an entire new generation of internet wunderkinder.

Peer-to-peer lending, for example, offers a graphic illustration of what can happen when multiple players are unleashed.

European Union

The Baltics, the Shining Stars in the EU P2P Lending landscape (The Baltic Times) Rated: AAA

Finbee (LV) offers average yields as high as 20%, while all of them offering returns between 10-20%.

An explanations of the yield/risk ratio is that they use quality originators, a magic formula for due diligence, using new technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence.

One too watch is Peerberry (LV) using outside loan originators and creating a marketplace to trade consumer loans offering a 12.49% on average.

 

International

Marketplace Lending Association Announces Nine New Members (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

The Marketplace Lending Association (MLA) today announced the addition of nine new companies to the Association. The new members join as the MLA continues to expand its presence and engage with policymakers in Washington and around the country.  The three new lending firms include Social Finance(SoFi), LendingPoint and College Ave.  The six new Associate and Investor Council Members of the MLA include Laurel Road, Education Loan Finance (ELFI), Arcadia Funds, Victory Park Capital, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and First Associates.  The MLA now has 24 active members.

TraXion.tech announces pre-sale, ICO (Inquirer) Rated: B

Ireland-based company Pluma Technologies Ltd together with its Philippine partner Gava Technologies Inc. are raising $4M worth of Ether through a pre-sale for its TraXion tokens.

TraXion.tech Chief Executive Officer Ann Cuisia said that the company’s token sale would pave the way for TraXion to become the go-to crypto-economy for payments, peer-to-peer lending, remittances, savings, insurance, investments, and philanthropy.

The TraXion token pre-sale began last May 1, 2018 and the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) will start on June 1, 2018, respectively. TraXion tokens are currently valued at 0.001 ETH.

India

Largest Independent Survey on Aadhaar, provides Data-Driven Insights (IDinsight Press Office) Rated: AAA

IDinsight, a global development analytics firm, today released its State of Aadhaar Report 2017-18 which provides data-driven insights on Aadhaar, the world’s largest biometric system. The report is based on an independent household survey covering 2947 rural households in 21 districts across three Indian states.  The survey was conducted between November 2017 and February 2018.

The key highlights of the report are:

  • Over 96% of respondents value privacy and thought it is important to know what the government will do with their Aadhaar data. At the same time, 87% of respondents approve of mandatory linking of Aadhaar to public welfare programs.
  • Aadhaar’s coverage is widespread, but the data quality has room for improvement. The report finds a higher uptake of Aadhaar than voter identification cards. In addition, the report finds no evidence of differences in enrollment by gender, caste, religion, or education levels. The report highlights that 8.8% of Aadhaar-holders reported errors on their name, age, address, or other information on their Aadhaar letter. Compared to voter identification cards, the error-rate on Aadhaar was 1.5 times higher.
  • While exclusion from food subsidy welfare-benefits due to Aadhaar-related factors is significant, it is lower than exclusion explained by factors unrelated to Aadhaar. State capacity has a bearing on the functioning of welfare distribution, with wide variation between certain states. Overall monthly exclusion from welfare benefits ranges from 9.9% to 1.1%. Of this, Aadhaar-related factors contribute 2.2% and 0.8% respectively. Despite this, the report finds that a majority of welfare beneficiaries prefer Aadhaar-based benefits delivery in both states, as they perceive biometric authentication prevents identity fraud.
Source: State of Aadhaar Report

Read the full report here.

Peer-to-peer lending expected to see huge traction in India (The Week) Rated: A

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, which helps people to borrow and lend money without the help of an official financial set up such as a bank as an intermediary, is expected to see huge traction in the country in the near future. It is estimated that the value of P2P lending to be generated in India over next five years will be around $4 billion (which will be 160 times the current lending size).

However, this is sum is small when compared to China where P2P lending book currently is around $100 billion, indicating the potential for exponential growth opportunity available for P2P in India. India currently has around 30 online P2P lending platforms with a current loan book of $ 25 million.

Indian Govt’s Flagship Startup Scheme Slows Down As DIPP Hits Brakes On Funding (Inc42 Media) Rated: B

The Indian government’s $1.47 Bn (INR10,000 Cr ) Fund-of-Funds for Start-ups (FFS) , a part of the Start-up India Action Plan aimed at helping startups gather funds, isn’t seeing much action and it isn’t because of lack of trying, The Indian Express reported.

Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), which manages FFS program, has so far committed $189.3 Mn( INR 1,285 Cr) to 27 local venture capital funds under the FFS scheme, of which $20.8 Mn (INR 141 Cr)  —only about 11% — has been disbursed to these funds till April 2018.

Asia

Standard Chartered to use Robo Web’s LnB platform (Taipei Times) Rated: A

Standard Chartered Bank Taiwan Ltd (渣打台灣銀行) yesterday entered into a partnership with peer-to-peer lending operator Robo Web Technology Co (瑞保網路科技) to expand its retail banking clientele from high-net-worth individuals to the general public.

The alliance enables borrowers to open accounts and apply for loans without visiting brick-and-mortar branches and came as competition from non-traditional players gains force.

Standard Chartered would continue to pursue affluent clients, but also aims to take advantage of the fast-growing digital banking business, which was valued at US$64 billion in 2015 and could hit US$1 trillion in 2025, Lin said.

 

How proptech is changing Hong Kong’s property industry (South China Morning Post) Rated: A

Start-ups in Asia-Pacific have received US$4.8b, or over 60pc of the world’s proptech investments, with Hong Kong and China taking US$3b of that amount.

In Hong Kong, some companies working in property have begun adopting proptech, but by and large, the industry and regulators have been slow in tapping into these advances, which analysts attribute to a few factors.

JLL said in a November report that 179 start-ups in Asia-Pacific have received US$4.8 billion, or over 60 per cent of the world’s proptech investments since 2013, with Hong Kong and mainland China taking US$3 billion of that amount.

Hong Kong is also aiming to become a global hub for innovation and technology, earmarking HK$50 billion (US$6.37 billion) this year to boost the tech sector.

 

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday January 31 2018, Daily News Digest

eloans

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

eloans

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

APAC

News Summary

United States

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

China

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

European Union

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

International

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

India

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Listed below are four suggestions for Budget 2018.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday June 14 2017, Daily News Digest

nonprime mortgages

News Comments Today’s main news: Misys, D+H team up to launch Finastra. Fundrise intros first real estate robo-advisor. UK businesses find it harder to get a loan. Singapore Life gets insurance license. Faircent offers online lenders ‘What-If’ scenario simulations. Today’s main analysis: Does anyone remember how to make a subprime mortgage? The most up-to-date numbers for Prosper, RateSetter. Today’s thought-provoking […]

nonprime mortgages

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

Asia

European Union

International

Australia

India

MENA

Canada

News Summary

United States

Launch of Finastra (D+H), Rated: AAA

Today Misys and D+H have joined forces to create a diversified global financial software provider, unmatched in terms of depth and breadth of solutions. Operating under the new company name Finastra (www.finastra.com), the combination will create the third largest financial services technology company in the world. The company has approximately 10,000 employees and over 9,000 customers across 130 countries, including 48 of the top 50 banks globally. This follows the acquisition of D+H by Vista Equity Partners, which already owns Misys, creating a merger of two highly complementary financial technology providers.

Finastra will be led by Nadeem Syed in the role of Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Syed was previously CEO of Misys and has over 27 years of experience leading global technology companies through transformation and growth. The company has U.S. $2.1 billion* in revenues and has offices in 42 countries around the world. It will be headquartered in London, UK, maintaining North American headquarters in Toronto, Canada.

Finastra offers the broadest set of retail banking, transaction banking, lending, and treasury and capital markets software capabilities available in the world. The company’s open architecture and approach enable financial institutions to harness the power of software ecosystems and will be delivered on premises, hosted or via the cloud. With the increased scale and geographic reach, Finastra will be able to serve customers better, regardless of their size or geographic location – from global banks, to community banks, credit unions, and corporations. Using the company’s secure and reliable solutions, customers will be empowered to accelerate growth, optimize cost, mitigate risk and continually evolve to deliver a superior customer experience, both now and in the future.

Having long pursued a progressive vision of innovation within both businesses, Finastra will strive to further unlock the potential of people and businesses by executing the product strategy of ‘Protect, Extend and Innovate’. This includes protecting our customers’ investments in all of our solutions; extending the value of our solutions by integrating new products and services; and innovating to create the best-in-class solutions. Finastra will work in partnership to help customers transform their business, and become more agile, innovative, and resilient to better meet their evolving needs.

Finastra will be privately held.

Retailpocalypse: Bank branches are closing in droves (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

There may be no physical institution as historically revered as a bank.

Nice try. Banks these days are hardly elegant or imposing. Most have shrunk in size thanks to rising costs of real estate, and many have disappeared entirely, according to data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Chase reduced its branch presence by 190 locations, a 3.4 percent decline, from 2012 to 2016. Wells Fargo closed 98 branches, a 1.6 percent decline in the same period. Its peers are even more aggressive. Bank of America closed 243 branches (16 percent) in that period and Citi closed 302 (28.5 percent).

Branches are consolidating locations with lower servicing volume, opening in higher growth areas and renovating existing branches and ATMs. More importantly, they’re evolving into more compact, digitally oriented spaces that incorporate new technology and help branch employees focus on improving the customer experience.

While those in the banking industry feel there will always be brick-and-mortar branches, in large part because the business of banking is grounded in trust, and in knowing the person with whom you’re working, the move to digital technologies is expected to grow exponentially.

Fundrise Revamps Service with First Ever Robo-Advisor for Real Estate (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Fundrise, one of the leading online investment platforms for real estate, has launched the “2.0” version of their platform. Fundrise has created a Robo-Advisor focused on real estate thus providing an investing tool to match individual investor needs.

The Fundrise Robo-advisor enables individual investors to create a highly diversified real estate portfolio accessing Fundrise’s growing number of eREIT’s. The service provides an estimate based on submitted variables to extrapolate potential returns. Fundrise estimates users will save up to 40% on fees versus traditional services.

Does Anyone Remember How to Make a Subprime Mortgage? (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Brokers willing to learn the lost art of making risky mortgages are in demand again.

Mr. Boyd, a 25-year-old account executive at FundLoans in a beach town outside of San Diego, is at the cusp of efforts to bring back an army of salespeople who once powered the mortgage industry and, some say, contributed to the housing crisis.

Brokers are a key part of a mortgage chain that starts with a borrower going to a broker for a loan. The broker surveys lenders for the best loan to fit the customer. The lender then funds the borrower’s loan.

While brokers before the crisis served banks and independent lenders, today they are working largely for nonbank lenders who make up a critical part of the mortgage market.

In the first quarter, nonbank lenders accounted for about half the mortgages originated in the U.S., according to industry publication Inside Mortgage Finance.

In the first quarter, nearly a decade after the start of the housing crisis, lenders originated just $6 billion in loans to borrowers with less than stellar credit scores or who are using alternative documentation to prove income, a category now known as “nonprime,” according to Inside Mortgage Finance.

In all of 2016, they originated $22 billion in loans, according to Inside Mortgage Finance. Back in 2005, at the peak for such loans, lenders made about $1 trillion of these mortgages.

Meanwhile, the volume of loans produced by mortgage brokers dropped to $37 billion in this year’s first quarter, down about 34% from the last three months of 2016. Loans from brokers peaked at around $1.1 trillion in 2003.

‘Fintech’ startup SoFi moving into traditional banking (Seattle Times), Rated: A

NEW YORK (AP) — Online lender and financial startup SoFi has taken the first step toward competing with the nation’s biggest banks on their home turf: the checking account.

The company, however, will have back-office operations in both Delaware and Salt Lake City, Utah.

In its application to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, SoFi plans to fund its new bank subsidiary with $166 million in capital.

Student Loans Are Holding Back Entrepreneurs. SoFi Is Changing That (Inc.), Rated: A

All your life, you’re told that an education will set you up to fulfill the American dream. But once you graduate, you’re faced with onerous payments that seem to hardly dent the principal. You need a steady job, stat. It’s terrifying to forgo a salary to start something new, let alone invest your assets, when you’re obligated to make monthly payments that can reach thousands of dollars.

One startup is helping its users get ahead of their debt and start the new ventures that our economy needs to thrive. SoFi (short for Social Finance) is largely known as the startup that will refinance your student loans, though it aspires to encompass its members’ entire financial lives.

Nevertheless, student loans are SoFi’s bread and butter, a reflection of the generation of Millennials saddled with insurmountable-feeling debt. That’s why, in addition to its unemployment support and career coaching, SoFi has an entrepreneurship program. The benefits include six months of loan deferment, mentorship resources such as connections to investors, and networking with other entrepreneur members.

Of course, SoFi can’t single-handedly revive American entrepreneurship, not least because the cohorts of accepted entrepreneurs are limited, and the types of businesses that SoFi favors skew toward scalable tech startups rather than conventional small businesses. But student loan relief has a definite impact on the participating SoFi members’ ability to launch companies.

Fundrise Offering Circular (Disclosure Quest), Rated: A

We are offering up to 5,000,000 shares of our Class B Common Stock to the public at $5.00 per share. This offering commenced on February 1, 2017 and as of May 30, 2017, we had settled approximately 2,884,129 shares of our Class B Common Stock of the 3,000,000 shares that we had previously qualified for sale. We are including in the offering an additional 2,000,000 shares of our Class B Common Stock to be sold pursuant to this offering circular.

Disruptor Alert: These 2 Companies Are Changing Banking (The Motley Fool), Rated: A

Square (NYSE:SQ) has disrupted the mobile payment market, and could still be in its early innings of growth. Over the past year, Square’s stock has more than doubled, thanks to its impressive and better-than-expected growth and optimistic forecast.

Over the past year alone, Square’s payment volume increased by 33% to over $13.6 billion, and the company is on the verge of becoming profitable. Plus, Square’s services and subscription revenue more than doubled year-over-year, and has tremendous long-term growth potential.

P2P lenders aren’t the only players in the unsecured lending space anymore — some of the biggest names in the industry are getting involved, which could certainly shake things up in the years to come.

One in particular I have my eye on is Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS).

Goldman first announced its intention to get into the consumer lending business in 2015, and after a couple of years of development, the company recently launched Marcus (named for Marcus Goldman, one of the bank’s founders), its new lending platform that offers personal loans of up to $30,000.

According to a report by TransUnion, nearly 16 million people took out an unsecured loan in 2016, the highest on record. With an average balance of $7,640 and average interest rate of 12%, this translates into a billion-dollar revenue stream if Goldman can build its market share to just 7%.

IMAGE SOURCE: LENDING CLUB INVESTOR PRESENTATION.

Cadre Raises $ 65 Million in Series C Financing, Led by Andreessen Horowitz (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Cadre, an online investment marketplace providing access and insight into institutional quality alternative assets, today announced a $65mm Series C financing round led by Andreessen Horowitz, with additional participation from Jim Breyer of Breyer Capital, Ford Foundation, General Catalyst, Goldman Sachs, Khosla Ventures, and Thrive Capital. Cadre’s existing investors include DST, Founders Fund, SL Green, and others.

Envestnet | Yodlee Unveils Personal Financial Wellness Solution Powered by Data Intelligence (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 the launch of its Personal Financial Wellness Solution at the Digital Banking Summit. The Envestnet | Yodlee Personal Financial Wellness Solution is a suite of applications and APIs that leverages enriched data and artificial intelligence to move beyond organizing historical financial data, helping financial institutions and fintech developers provide actionable, financial guidance to their customers across a spectrum of devices, user interfaces and platforms.

The Envestnet | Yodlee Personal Financial Wellness Solution enables financial institutions and fintech developers to provide actionable tools to help consumers identify their projected OK to Spend balance and easily Save for a Goal. By applying Envestnet | Yodlee’s advanced data intelligence to its enriched transaction data of over 15,000 data sources, financial service providers can derive actionable information from consumers’ financial data in order to measure, guide and improve consumers’ financial health.

OK to Spend

Core to the Personal Financial Wellness Solution is OK to Spend, which synergizes predictive analytics and user feedback to deliver smart financial forecasting. OK to Spend can be consumed as a financial application or a fully RESTful API framework that enables financial service providers to create forward-looking forecasts that organize and predict recurring income and financial obligations along with personalized notifications for financial events and projected balances. OK to Spend analytics is run across the consumers’ primary spending accounts (cash and credit card) regardless of which financial institution they primarily bank with, in order to provide a holistic view of their finances.

Patent-protected machine learning and data analytics enable the OK to Spend algorithms to identify sources of recurring income and accurately predicts future income, accounting for anomalies. Similarly, OK to Spend identifies recurring and forecasted financial obligations, while accounting for fluctuations determined from historic data.

Save for a Goal

The Save for a Goal application allows consumers to easily set and track savings goals. The application facilitates money movement across different accounts at a specific time frequency and allows customers to better track their goals by allowing consumers to allocate multiple goals to a single account, or spread a single goal across multiple cash and investment accounts. Save for a Goal provides visual data and notifications such as progress bars, charts, graphs and alerts, engaging customers with the option to flex and prioritize between goals.

The First In-Depth Report of the Single Family Real Estate Investor – the Iceberg Report (Newswire), Rated: A

The role of the individual and institutional single-family residential investor is highly undervalued and tremendously under-appreciated. About 10 million individuals, businesses and institutions provide secure housing and jobs for millions of average Americans. 67 million souls live in single-family rentals, a million more properties are added each year employing millions of individuals, to buy, renovate, lease and maintain as safe housing for tenants in affordable to luxury markets.  Single-family rentals have been discovered as a low-risk passive income revenue source and a growth asset in a balanced portfolio or personal retirement plan.

Using Harris Poll, single-family real estate investors were surveyed nationwide to understand why, where, what and how they invest and manage these properties to provide stable housing and realistic returns on their personal and company investments.

The report touches several other critical components that shape this market. Key among these are how the single-family real estate investor effects the economy, how investors view their properties (as added rental income or as an intentional business goal), investor decision points, and the investor as a customer,” says Steve Murray, Founder & CEO Real Trends.

To download your free copy of the Iceberg Report Executive summary, please go to

Want to Bring More Services to Your Clients? There’s A FinTech for That (CPA Practice Advisor), Rated: A

These days, there are few “typical” CPA firms left. As they seek to diversify, differentiate and grow by offering their clients value added services, firms are engaging in a much wider range of activities.

With the rise of a new generation of B2B financial technology companies, or Fintechs, the opportunities for CPA firms to offer new services have never been better.

Fintechs are infiltrating every aspect of B2B financial services, and venture investment continues to pour in. Where people used to look to QuickBooks, Oracle and SAP, now there are cloud-based accounting and ERP options like Xero and Freshbooks and NetSuite and Workday. But you probably know about those.

What you might not know is that Fintechs are moving into e-invoicing, expense reporting, data sharing and protection, compliance, tax management and fraud control. They’re executing specific parts of the banking value chain better, cheaper and faster, including lending, trade finance, and payments. Some are even considering becoming banks themselves.

Fintech solutions solve the whole thing– all types of payments and all the work that goes along with the payments. Companies can make 80 percent or more of their payments electronically, and that saves a lot of resources, especially if you’re a BPO writing hundreds of thousands of checks on behalf of your clients. You could be helping them get a lot more card rebates instead.

But what visibility really does is open up more opportunities for CPA or audit or BPO firms down the road. If you’re a BPO, visibility into payments could potentially help you work better with vendors.

The more you can help clients automate, the more nimble they are and the more nimble you are.

Goldman Sachs Bank Aggressively Going After Deposits (Lend Academy), Rated: A

So, I did a bit of research on what Goldman Sachs Bank is offering compared to others in the market. I looked at Bankrate and Nerdwallet to see who were the top offerings for savings accounts and CDs of various duration. What was interesting to me is that Goldman Sachs was at or near the top in every category.

For savings accounts there were a couple of small regional or local banks that had slightly higher rates but no major national banks were higher. If you look at 3-year CDs with a minimum investment of $500 (the Goldman Sachs minimum) I could not find an offering anywhere in the country that came close to matching Goldman’s 1.90% rate. In fact, the second highest rate available anywhere for a $500 3-year CD was 1.65% from Barclays.

Allstate, Marketplace Lending Association and others fly in (Politico), Rated: A

All sorts of interest groups are flying in this week to nab some time with lawmakers before the July 4 recess.

The Marketplace Lending Association, a trade group that represents digital financial and lending startups, is in town this week for its first-ever fly-in, meeting with lawmakers and regulators. “The goal is to bring Washington up to speed on the growth of the sector, as well as the emerging partnerships between the fintech member firms and banks,” according to the group. Its member companies include Lending Club, Prosper, Funding Circle, Avant, Marlette Funding and Affirm.

FINRA Establishes Innovation Outreach Initiative For FinTech (ETH News), Rated: A

On June 13, 2017, The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) declared the establishment of the Innovation Outreach Initiative, in order to properly assess FinTech‘s industry impact.

FINRA’s Innovation Outreach Initiative comes after the launch of its FinTech site that’s dedicated to emergent topics in the field, and literature on blockchain technology and digital investing.

The initiative will consist of program elements, such as enhancing FINRA’s processes, timely publication of regulatory technology applications, regional outreach roundtable discussions (comprised of FINRA members and nonmembers), and the creation of a FinTech Industry Committee. The committee will help to assist with ongoing discussions about how FINRA’s programs and rules will intersect with FinTech innovations.

Online Lending Policy Institute Names Board of Governors (OLPI Email), Rated: B

The Online Lending Policy Institute (OLPI), a voice for policy analysis, in-depth research, and education for the online lending industry, today announced its Board of Governors, a group of industry experts ranging from academics to lawyers to executives from twelve leading organizations. This newly elected group joins founding members of OLPI: Cross River Bank, Boston University’s Center for Finance, Law & Policy, and RocketLoans.

The Board of Governors are:

  • Frank Borchert, General Counsel, Marlette Funding/ Best Egg
  • Colin Darke, General Counsel/Chief Compliance Officer, RocketLoans
  • Dr. Michael Dooley, Chief Economist, SoFi; professor of economics UC Santa Cruz
  • Marc Franson, Managing Partner, Chapman and Cutler LLP
  • Michael Freedman, General Counsel, BorrowersFirst, Inc.
  • Gilles Gade, CEO, Cross River Bank
  • Adam Goller, Chief Credit Officer, Cross River Bank
  • Cornelius Hurley, Director, OLPI; professor Boston University
  • John Kromer, Partner, Buckley Sandler LLP
  • Robert Linderman, General Counsel, Freedom Financial Network, LLC
  • Tim Li, CEO, Kuber Inc.; professor Fintech School
  • Marshall Lux, Senior Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School
  • Marty Mitchell, Managing Director, ProBank Austin (formerly Professional Bank Services)

DiversyFund Announces New Luxury Investment With Roman James Design Build (Digital Journal), Rated: B

DiversyFund, Inc., a fast-growing full-service online real estate investment platform, announced the next ground-breaking real estate investment project that their partnership with Roman James Design Build will undertake. DiversyFund and Roman James will be building a new ultra-luxury in Hollywood Hills, one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in Los Angeles.

This investment opportunity is located at the end of Granito Drive in the prestigious Hollywood Hills community of Los Angeles, California, home to Hollywood celebrities, professional athletes and Fortune 500 CEOs.

Congressional Testimony on Fintech Innovation: “Today We Are Following Not Leading” (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

This past week the House Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection, part of the Energy and Commerce Committee, held a hearing on Fintech innovation as part of their disruptors series.

Van Valkenburg called on Congress to “rationalize the chaos of financial regulation,” pointing to the horrifying reality there exists a byzantine environment of state and federal regulators that, well simply put, doesn’t make sense.

United Kingdom

London leads European fintech investment despite Brexit (Financial News), Rated: AAA

London-based fintech companies attracted more than three times as much capital in the first quarter as Berlin – Europe’s second largest fintech investment hub – and maintained its market share despite moves by other cities in the region to gain from the UK’s departure from the EU.

New research from data provider FinTech Global found six cities that stand out in Europe’s fintech arms race, with companies based in London, Berlin, Stockholm, Paris, Barcelona and Amsterdam raising $823m in the first three months of 2017.

Overall European investment stood at $1.2bn, with London claiming a 36% share at $421m — more than treble the $140m investment in Berlin-based companies, according to the research.

Over the previous three years, London accounted for 39% of European investment, suggesting that the impact of last year’s Brexit vote has been slight.

UK businesses looking for finance are finding it harder to get a loan (Business Matters), Rated: AAA

With the UK in the early stages of Brexit and now facing a General Election, new research conducted by RateSetter Business Finance reveals how credit conditions look to be tightening again, with over 400,000 small businesses now interested in finding an alternative to the banks for a loan.

When asked, 32 per cent of SMEs that had considered raising finance said that it was now harder than six months ago.

As banks are progressively closing their branches and cutting back on front-line staff, businesses now need to go elsewhere to benefit from face-to-face contact before borrowing money. With over a third of small businesses preferring to seek advice in person, the move to online-only offerings and the closure of physical branches is a concern.

Hive ICO – the first crypto currency invoice financing platform for SMEs (Daily Fintech), Rated: A

Hive claims it will be the first crypto currency invoice financing platform for SMEs, with its ICO opening in 4 days and closing at the end of July.

From what I can gather – and I’d say you’re best to verify this yourself – Hive tokens give holders the right to participate in the network and generate a return by funding invoices. The carrot for small business owners is the speed of execution of the financing element.

And while I was lucky enough to get a master class in person, if you haven’t yet got your head around tokens and ICO, these articles are worth a read:

Asia

OBTAINING DIRECT LIFE INSURANCE LICENSE BY SINGAPORE LIFE (Credit China Fintech Holdings Limited), Rated: AAA

This announcement is made by Credit China FinTech Holdings Limited (“Company”) on a voluntary basis.

Reference is made to the announcement of the Company dated 26 April 2017 in relation to the Investment in Singapore Life (the “Announcement”). Unless otherwise defined, the capitalised terms used herein shall have the same meaning as those defined in the Announcement.

The board of directors of the Company is pleased to announce that Singapore Life has been approved as a fully licensed direct life insurer by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

Singapore Life will also soon offer life insurance solutions to customers through its online platform www.singlife.com and financial advisers.

European Union

French Fintech Under Macron’s Presidency One Month On (Forbes), Rated: A

On the other hand, as Grossman points out, ‘since Macron has publicly stated that innovation and disruption is key for France’s growth potential, his intention for closer integration with Europe has been broadly welcomed by the fintech industry.’ Macron seems to be pro-PSD and has invited those affected by Brexit to work in the technology sector in France, all are welcome under En Marche. The French president is also very supportive of SME growth and is interested in helping French Tech.

Macron’s initiatives so far are clearly in favour of the development of fintech in France and with billions promised for innovation, the president is returning to supporting this space, as he did with The Family in Paris, as Grossman points out.

International

What do the most up-to-date numbers in marketplace lending tell us? (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Prosper is currently lending significantly more than it is being repaid for the first time in roughly a year.

In March, the platform posted its first positive monthly net lending figure ($200k) since May of last year. April saw net lending growth to c. $15m.

 

RateSetter has posted back-to-back months of negative net lending in April and May (roughly £-700k and £-4m respectively). There are no other negative net lending months in the platform’s 6-7 year history.

Sovereign wealth funds ramp up private debt investment (AltFi), Rated: A

Gargantuan sovereign wealth portfolios are increasingly turning to private debt exposure with almost two-fifths of portfolios now actively investing in the asset class due to its potential for stable risk-adjusted returns and portfolio diversification benefit.

The report found that 39 per cent of sovereign wealth funds now invest in the asset class, an increase of five percentage points over the past 12 months. The majority of sovereign wealth funds with over $10bn in assets now allocate to the asset class, including two-thirds of those managing $250bn or more, and all of those managing $100-249bn.

Libyan Investment Authority is one such investor in private debt that allocates to the asset class as part of its private equity portfolio. The fund targets distressed debt and mezzanine funds in Europe, North America and MENA.

Mezzanine investments are the private debt fund type most appealing to sovereign wealth funds, with 70 per cent targeting the strategy over the next 12 month and direct lending is sought by 53 per cent.

Australia

Australia and Hong Kong seal fintech cooperation agreement (ZDNet), Rated: A

The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) has signed an agreement with the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) to provide mutual support to fintech businesses from Australia and Hong Kong seeking to operate in each other’s markets.

Under the agreement, ASIC and SFC will refer fintech businesses to each other for advice and support via ASIC’s Innovation Hub — aimed at helping fintech businesses navigate Australia’s regulatory framework without compromising investor and financial consumer trust — and its Hong Kong-based equivalent, SFC’s Fintech Contact Point.

India

Now online money lenders can simulate ‘What-if’ scenarios on Faircent (Techseen), Rated: AAA

India based Peer-to-Peer lending website, Faircent, has announced the launch of what it claims to be a first-of-its-kind Portfolio What-if Analysis (PWA) tool on its platform. According to the company the tool will allow lenders to simulate different loan scenarios and understand how multi-loan portfolios in peer-to-peer lending operate through a ‘What-if’ analysis.

Using the tool lenders can create a test portfolio and specify the amount they would like to invest, along with the duration, interest rates, and tenure. The Portfolio Simulator will then perform advanced algorithm-based calculations based on the input, generating projected portfolio returns by following a standardized method using the concept of Net Annualized Return (NAR).

Rupaiya Exchange Receives Award for Best Peer-to-Peer Lending Platform in India (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Rupaiya Exchange received the award for Best Peer-to-Peer Lending Platform in India in The Asian Banker Financial Peer-to-Peer Audit Awards Programme 2017. The awards ceremony was held in conjunction with the prestigious Asian Banker Future of Finance Summit 2017, the foremost annual meeting for decision makers in the financial services industry in the Asia Pacific region, held at the Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore.

The awards evaluation criteria were based on multiple dimensions including financial performance, risk management processes, technology, innovation and strategy.

Online Peer-To-Peer Lending (BusinessWorld), Rated: A

Facilitating simple, fast, and tech-enabled banking services, the emergence of fintech is forcing banks to rethink old business models and delivery mechanisms to adopt a more technology-driven and consumer-centric approach to retail banking.

Leading this ‘uberisation’ of financial services is the online P2P (peer-to-peer) lending sector, which is driving disruption in the institutional lending space through its simplified, tech-enabled approach. What this also means is that online P2P lending will play a significant role in driving the Indian economy.

The adoption of technology means that loan approvals and disbursals can be facilitated in as little as 24 hours from the request origination, whilst digitised operations and processes allow for minimisation of overhead costs. This translates to greater benefits for all stakeholders; while borrowers pay lower interest rates and processing fees, lenders earn higher margins and returns on their investments.

MENA

MBRF, Beehive to offer start-up finance solutions (Gulf News), Rated: AAA

Dubai SME’s financial arm and peer-to-peer lending platform Beehive had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to aid financing for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

The MoU between Beehive and the Mohammad Bin Rashid Fund (MBRF) will make it easier for SME owners in Dubai to obtain loans for development and expansion at competitive rates through the Beehive Group Finance Platform.

Under the deal, MBRF would act as a guarantor for credit of up to Dh500,000 on SME financing for a period up to 36 months.

Canada

Calgary-Based POS Lender LendingArch Expands into Quebec (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

LendingArch, a Calgary-based online and point-of-sale lending platform, announced its expansion to Quebec. LendingArch has partnered with medical clinics and home improvement contractors in Quebec to offer POS financing options, enabling LendingArch to become a fourth in-store payment method by applying online to finance products or services for up to 36 months.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday March 3 2017, Daily News Digest

LendInvest

News Comments Today’s main news:  LendUp closes $100M credit facility, surpasses $1B in originations. Canada’s Sensibill raises $17.3M, looks at global expansion. Today’s main analysis: TD Bank infographic: New data on SBOs. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Investors play waiting game for IFISAs. 3 ways mobile money changes transaction banking. Alipay vs. WeChat Pay. Crowdfunding the skyscraper. United States LendUp closes […]

LendInvest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

China

Canada

Asia

  • Bahrain wants to be the next FinTech hub. GP:” Step 1: create a regulatory sand box. Step 2: enable investments. Step 3: find a way to get local companies to have access to a large market, perhaps India ?.”

United States

LendUp Closes Another $ 100 Million Credit Facility & Surpasses $ 1 Billion In Loan Originations (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

LendUp, a socially responsible lender for the emerging middle class, today announced it has closed another $100 million credit facility with investment firm Victory Park Capital (VPC) to fund future loan growth. The facility brings LendUp’s total equity and debt financing to $325 million. The firm also announced it originated more than 3.3 million loans and surpassed $1 billion in loan originations since its inception in 2012.

LendUp’s mission is to provide anyone with a path to better financial health. The company offers technology-enabled loans and credit cards supported by embedded financial education and a focus on improving credit. LendUp has saved borrowers more than $55 million in interest and fees in 2016, up from $16 million in 2015, and its free credit education videos have been viewed more than 1.2 million times.

The Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) reports that more than 56 percent of Americans are shut out of mainstream banking because of poor credit or income volatility. Leveraging technology built in-house, LendUp offers exceptional products, service and, where available, credit reporting access to help break cycles of debt and ease income volatility.  According to LendUp research:

  • 70 percent of customers report having monthly income fluctuations, with one third reporting income fluctuations of more than $200 per month; and
  • Customers who began 2015 with deep subprime credit scores and had been with LendUp for one year were 20 percent more likely to see a 50-point VantageScore increase that year vs. peers in a control group.

New Data on SBOs (TD Bank Email), Rated: AAA

In a recent survey of 300 U.S. SBOs, TD Bank found that more than a quarter of SBOs are using the same checking account for their personal and business finances. Although it may seem easier to consolidate all finances into one account, it can actually create several problems, including inaccurate cashflow reporting, miscalculated tax write offs and lack of access to credit card processing systems.

Additional data points from the survey include:

  • Majority of SBOs (69%) handle their business finances themselves – they do not outsource to an accountant or third party service
  • Female business owners are less likely to separate their checking accounts compared to their male counterparts (68% vs. 82%)
  • 16.5% of SBOs say that getting a better handle on cash flow is a top priority this year

Mambu launches Americas operations (Finextra), Rated: A

Mambu is kicking off 2017 by opening new Miami offices and appointing a regional Managing Director to meet the growing demand for their platform in North America, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean.

The office will support Mambu’s current 32 regional clients, including Grameen America which deploys the platform in 23 cities.

Edgardo Torres has been appointed as Managing Director to lead growth, support and operations, bringing a wealth of SaaS and enterprise technology knowledge combined with regional expertise.

Lendit Announces Keynote Speakers (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

LendIt, the world’s largest lending and FinTech conference, returns to New York City on March 6 – 7, 2017 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center for a gathering of thousands of established and emerging CEO’s. For two days, some of the world’s most prominent FinTech CEO’s will focus on the hot button topics and issues exploring the future of finance, including: digital banking, investing, insurtech, blockchain, wealth management and real estate.

A partial list of keynote speakers include:

  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Richard Cordray, Director
  • U.S. Department of the TreasuryThomas Curry, Comptroller of the Currency
  • United States CongressPatrick McHenry, Congressman
  • IBM Watson GroupBrian Walter, Global Industry Leader
  • Lantern Capital and Former Apple CEOJohn Sculley, Vice Chairman
  • Grameen American (former CEO of Avon and Board Member of Apple & GE) – Andrea Jung, CEO
  • Marcus by Goldman SachsHarit Talwar, CEO,
  • American Express – Ash Gupta, President, Global Credit Risk & Information Management
  • HSBC BankJeremy K. Balkin, Head of Innovation
  • Lending ClubScott Sanborn, President & CEO
  • OnDeckNoah Breslow, CEO
  • 10x Future Technologies and Former CEO of BarclaysAnthony Jenkins, Founder & CEO

Now in its fifth year, LendIt has grown to over 5,000 attendees from 40 countries and over 350 speakers.

Small Business Lending Partnerships Pros and Cons Between Banks, Fintech Firms Focus at Bank/Alternative Lending Summit (Military Technologies), Rated: A

Bank/Alternative Lender Strategic Partnership Summit (May 10-11 at the Princeton Club in NYC) will be narrowing the event focus to cover in-depth small business lending partnerships between banks and fintech firms for their 2017 program.

Bringing together a well thought out line-up of industry experts, the Bank/Alternative Lender Strategic Partnership Summit plans to examine the process of partnership from both sides.

Kevin Phillips, Kabbage’s head of corporate development and conference chair, believes that this year will see an uptick in bank/alternative lender partnerships.

In one-and-a-half-days, a diverse panel of senior industry executives from the American Banker’s Association, Cross River Bank, The Private Bank, along with fintech companies such as Fundation, Kabbage, LendKey, OnDeck, Orchard Platform and SmartBiz will be among key experts holding candid discussions on the opportunities, challenges, and the future of the small business lending industry in an interactive setting.

A hard look will be given to topics such as key factors for identifying an ideal partner; how to know when to walk away from a potential partnership; the ways banks and fintech companies are teaming up to improve underwriting and risk management; and, the essential steps for conducting due diligence.

Crowdfunding the skyscraper (Curbed), Rated: A

Now, he’s using the crowdfunding approach to develop real estate in New York City, one of the most valuable markets in the world, where he’s been based for 20 years. Two projects are already open, and three more are under construction. All five have been financed through crowdfunding.

So Ippolito started researching. He learned which crowdfunding sites focused on equity, where investors essentially become shareholders in a property, and which focused on debt, where investors are direct lenders to a property owner or mortgage holder. He compared the minimum investments that each site required and analyzed what kinds of returns they’d likely provide. He looked at what kinds of properties each site was offering, and how many projects they had to offer investors. After a few months, he felt confident enough to start investing. He also saw another business opportunity and launched The Real-Estate Crowdfunding Review, a website that compiles all his research and features rankings, and reviews all of the roughly 150 real estate crowdfunding websites now operating.

The current top ranking platform is PeerStreet, which primarily focuses on investments in existing private real estate loans. (Prodigy Network is ranked 19th.) Ippolito’s reviewhighlights PeerStreet’s $1,000 minimum investment as far more appealing than the field’s $10,000 average. He also notes the site’s transparency, allowing users to review the performances of all its past investments.

But in January, Ippolito reported that PeerStreet had seen the first foreclosure on one of its investments.

To do a project of this size, crowdfunding was the best option. So the developer, BD Promotores, partnered with Prodigy Network to build up a pool of people to fund the project. They fitted out a showroom to lure investors and advertised in magazines and on television. More than 3,000 individuals invested, raising roughly $145 million.

When it opens, the project will feature 457 apartments, 382 hotel rooms, 117 offices, and a three-story shopping center accessible from the street. Rents from these spaces will trickle down to the investors in the form of quarterly dividends.

The relatively low entry point and the comparative stability of physical real estate has made crowdfunding a successful development strategy in Colombia for Prodigy Network. It’s been a good way for more people to benefit financially from commercial real estate, Niño says, but it’s also a viable way for a real estate developer like Niño to get more projects built.

Those famous Financial District assets have helped enable Prodigy Network’s two completed New York projects, buildings featuring furnished apartments for short- and long-term stays that Niño calls “legal Airbnbs.”

For the crowd, the minimum investment for these projects ranges from $10,000 to $50,000; the three projects are expected to cost about $150 million. Roughly 1,200 investors from seven different countries will be co-owners, and the annual rate of return is projected to be between 12 percent and 16 percent.

eOriginal Joins Marketplace Lending Association to Support Transparency, Responsible Industry Growth (IT Business Net), Rated: A

eOriginal, Inc., the digital transaction expert, today announced that it has joined the Marketplace Lending Association (MLA), the leading industry trade group.

As a member of the MLA, eOriginal will focus on empowering industry-wide discussion on how technology can effectively enhance and enable digital transaction capabilities to more securely manage and transfer loan agreements as financial assets once completed and signed. This commitment is aligned with the company’s belief that to support industry-wide adoption, processes must also support best practices to verify and authenticate with transparency for funders, investors, custodians, rating agencies and the customers.

Urjanet Closes $ 20M Series C Round to Expand in the Fintech Arena (Hypepotamus), Rated: A

Utility data startup Urjanet raised $20 million in a Series C round led by Oak HC/FT, a health IT/FinTech venture fund, this week. The company’s data solutions help multinational companies automate their accounting and utility bill processing, lowering their environmental footprint. Now, Urjanet hopes to expand its global network of providers and launch new data applications in the FinTech area.

United Kingdom

Investors play a waiting game for Innovative Finance Isas (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending was always meant to shake up the traditional banking world. But investors using the UK’s biggest platforms remain frustrated that they still cannot hold their investments within a tax-free Isa wrapper.

Investors willing to lend through one of the four largest websites — Zopa, Funding Circle, RateSetter or MarketInvoice — can expect returns of more than 5 per cent a year, according to figures compiled by Liberum, the investment bank, and data provider AltFi Data. This will vary according to how much you are lending, and for how long — but looks very attractive compared to traditional savings products.

Maturity transformation — the practice of allowing borrowing for longer time periods than money was originally lent for — has also come under fire. RateSetter, one of the three largest UK lenders, ceased doing this last January.

Investors keen to put peer-to-peer loans into their Isa can still do so despite the absence of a product from the big lenders. According to the FCA, 22 smaller lenders have been granted authorisation and have, or will, apply to the tax authorities to launch Isas. However, obtaining FCA authorisation does not make this form of investing risk-free.

One fund manager with a professional interest in the peer-to-peer lending market said it was “kind of bizarre” that smaller companies with a shorter record would be able to launch an Isa before more established companies.

According to those in the industry, one of the issues the watchdog is investigating is whether peer-to-peer lenders are effectively acting like banks but with less regulation.

In the meantime, investors can use the Innovative Finance Isa wrapper to invest in “crowd bonds”, which are asset-backed bonds. Unlike peer-to-peer loans, investors will be backing one business rather multiple consumer or small business borrowers.

LendInvest responds to the UK Digital Strategy (LendInvest), Rated: A

LendInvest welcomes the publication of the UK Digital Strategy this week, a long-awaited prospectus for government support to enhance industry by the use of digital. The announcement of the strategy on 1st March underlines the zealous approach by government to secure the UK’s credentials as the global capital for innovation in tech.

The vision set out by Digital Minister Matt Hancock and Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Karen Bradley lays the foundations for a long-term strategy for FinTech, encouraging financial services firms using technology to evolve offline industries to improve services and products for everyone.

Putting investment into the UK’s emerging sectors of expertise, like artificial intelligence and cyber-security for example, will help financial services firms to scale-up and thrive.

For us at LendInvest, we are challenging the status quo in the £1.3 trillion mortgage market; exploring how technology can improve the customer experience in acquiring property finance.

European Union

WIDE Organises Women in Fintech Conference (Chronicle), Rated: A

Women in Digital Empowerment (WIDE) has organised a Women in Fintech Conference for 24 March 2017 at the RBC Investor and Treasury Services, from 16:00 until 19:00.

The purpose of this first conference, endorsed by ALFI and sponsored by RBC Investor and Treasury Services, is to provide our participants with a clear overview of the Fintech ecosystem in Luxembourg and to raise awareness of the opportunities offered to women in the Fintech Industry.

International

The three ways mobile money is changing transaction banking (The Asset), Rated: AAA

A record US$33 billion was transacted in Kenya, home of the famous M-Pesa service, in 2016, as revealed by data from the Central Bank of Kenya. According to Reportlinker, the global mobile money market is predicted to grow at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of around 38.9% by 2025 and reach around US$405 billion in size. Data released this week from GSMA states that there is around 500 million registered mobile money accounts globally in 2016.

1 – Digitize collections

India-based mobile wallet provider Paytm wallet announced late last year that it would be partnering up with insurance firms in handling some of their digital collections.

2 – Corporate payments

With physical cash payments being a manual and time consuming process, Gojek encouraged it’s over 95,000 drivers to use CIMB’s Rekening Ponsel system that linked Gojek’s cash management system to a mobile-based e-wallet with the driver’s mobile number acting as a bank account number.

3 – Support financing services

Union Bank of the Philippines, for example, partnered with Gcash Mobile Money in creating a cash management solution for TSPI (Tulay Sa Pag Unlad) a microfinance NGO. Under that partnership both companies will provide collection and disbursement services for TSPI via mobile technology allowing borrowers to receive funding remotely.

China

Infographic: Alipay vs WeChat Pay (The Asset), Rated: AAA

Is it true that everyone talks on WeChat, but makes payments using Alipay?

WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

As of January 20, 2017, there were 188 online lending platforms that have signed the funds custody agreement with banks, which occupies 8% of all platforms in China. However, only 99 platforms have actually finished the custody process, which accounted for 4% of the total number of platforms.

P2P online lending platform China Rapid Finance has been reported to hold an IPO in the US later this year with the aim to raise at least $100 million.

On February 25rd, China Blockchain Applied Research Center was officially launched in Shanghai.

Canada

After raising $ 17-million, Toronto fintech firm eyes global expansion (The Globe and Mail), Rated: AAA

Sensibill Inc., a Toronto-based startup that offers digital receipt technology for banks, has raised $17.3-million to supercharge its global expansion and dig deeper into artificial intelligence.

It’s one of the largest series A early-stage financing rounds for a Canadian technology startup and signals the growing quality and influence of financial technology (fintech) companies in the market.

The financing is being led by fintech-focused Information Venture Partners of Toronto, which is throwing in more than $5-million, followed by Toronto-based OpenText Enterprise Apps Fund and San Francisco-based Operative Capital, among others. Toronto-based Impression Ventures, which was a key investor when Sensibill raised $2-million in 2015, is also committing more funds to this round.

The financing will also help Sensibill improve its products using artificial intelligence (AI) and so-called “deep learning” technology, which is when algorithms can make decisions about data.

The new financing will also be used to expand Sensibill’s staff from about 50 today, to more than 100 by the end of the year, Mr. Gross says. The bulk of the jobs will continue to be based in Toronto, with sales and marketing positions in other countries where Sensibill is expanding.

Asia

Bahrain wants to be the next fintech hub (ImpactAlpha), Rated: A

The small Persian Gulf country is

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday January 13 2017, Daily News Digest

consumer credit

News Comments Today’s main news: dv01 – Experian enter partnership. Today’s main analysis: Equifax: 1.5M consumers to gain more credit access. Today’s thought-provoking articles: MLA tells Congress not to be an obstacle to FinTech. Chinese P2P platforms see decrease in overall risk. United States dv01, Experian collaborate on transparency in MPL. AT: “This looks like a […]

consumer credit

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United States

dv01 and Experian collaborate to bring additional transparency to marketplace lending (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

dv01, the reporting and analytics platform that brings transparency to lending markets, and Experian, the leading global information services company, today announced a strategic collaboration that will provide dv01 clients—including leading hedge funds, banks and asset managers—access to richer borrower credit attributes as they conduct performance analysis using dv01’s suite of built-in tools.

dv01 is in the process of mapping millions of borrower attributes from Experian’s database to installment loans in client portfolios. The Experian data is anonymized. which will allow dv01 clients to begin to isolate external trends that might affect their portfolios’ future performance or explain past behavior. Additionally, dv01 is acting as a data warehouse for select data sets that Experian offers investors for modeling purposes. By standardizing, streamlining and integrating these data sets into its platform, dv01 makes it easy for investors to model performance, as well as find fast answers around origination trends.

dv01 has aggregated performance data for more than $40 billion of loans from marketplace lenders including SoFi, Lending Club, Prosper, Marlette Funding, Avant, and CommonBond.

Equifax sees 1.5M consumers gaining more credit access (SubPrime), Rated: AAA

In what the credit bureau thinks can be positive for the auto finance space, Equifax highlighted that its December 2016 Consumer Credit Impact analysis found that trended credit data used alongside a consumer’s traditional credit report could improve access to credit and/or contract terms for up to 1.5 million consumers on an annual basis.

Analysts projected auto loans are expected to see the most significant impact with an anticipated 1.1 million more auto loans either being issued or receiving more favorable terms.

Equifax expects an increasing reliance on credit data insights like trended credit data particularly as some industries — like the auto finance sector — settle into what some analysts view as more of a post-recession norm.  For these finance companies, it will be vital to leverage as many insights about consumer debt behavior as possible to more confidently assess risk for a stable portfolio performance in support of a healthy loan marketplace, according to the credit bureau.

MLA to Congress: Please Ensure Fintech Can Flourish & Government is Not an Obstacle (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The Marketplace Lending Association has called on Congress, and the incoming Trump Administration, to become a catalyst for Fintech innovation and not an obstacle.

In a letter addressed to House and Senate leaders, Nathaniel Hoopes, Executive Director of the MLA, asked Congress to move  away from an obstructionist approach and become a catalyst for financial innovation which benefits both consumers and businesses – most importantly smaller ones;

“…ensuring that America is a place where new ideas in finance can flourish and the federal government is a partner, rather than an obstacle, in promoting the innovation that will bring better products and services to all our citizens and businesses.”

The missive lists a serious (sic) of potential reforms including;

  • Reducing the burden of state and federal securities laws on retail investors who want to invest in small business loans. Creating a new category of security, a “crowdfunding debt security” or “marketplace debt security”.
  • Revisiting the current accredited investor requirements. Existing laws largely prohibit non-accredited investors from investing in a range of innovative financial products. Greater democracy in investing can help level the playing field at a time when inequality of opportunity in America remains a significant concern.
  • Recommending tax incentives to reduce the burden of student loans

Read the letter here.

LendingTree Launches $ 50,000 Small Business Grant Contest (Salem-News), Rated: A

Small business owners face a long list of challenges, and for many, the obstacle of securing financial resources needed to grow a business claims the top spot on the list.

That’s the driving force behind LendingTree’s inaugural $50,000 Small Business Grant Contest, where LendingTree will present the winning small business a $50,000 grant to help fund future growth.

Once the registration submission period closes (5:00pm EST on January 13, 2017), LendingTree’s team of small business experts will evaluate, select and notify the winning small business.

CSI Kick Start opens applications for fintech startup funding (Finextra), Rated: A

CSI Kick Start, Inc., a FinTech startup incubator founded by leading global payments innovator CSI globalVCard, today announced that its second annual application process for FinTech startup funding is now open.

Aspiring entrepreneurs seeking to radically transform key areas of B2B payments including virtual cards, FX, ACH, checks or security concerns may apply online. CSI Kick Start will be offering portfolio companies investments starting at $500,000, mentorship from an advisory board of industry experts, cross-selling opportunities and a host of additional resources.
Since CSI Kick Start first launched a year ago, all three of its funded startups have achieved significant success. Companies benefitting from CSI’s resources and mentorship include:
  • Yoke Payments is transforming the self-checkout and inventory management process and was awarded the Best POS Innovation by leading payments influencer PYMNTS.com earlier this year.
  • Delicious Nutritious Markets has installed its health-conscious markets in 75 business locations in 15 states since partnering with CSI.
  • Front Runner Films now has a full production crew and an impressive portfolio of award-winning corporate videos.
  • Spend Secure LLC makes controlling your mobile payments, travel expenses and accounts payable easy.

Marketplace Lending Association Announces 11 New Members (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

The Marketplace Lending Association (MLA) today announced the addition of eleven new companies to the Association. The new members join as the MLA works to expand its presence in Washington. The MLA was formed in 2016 by founding members Funding Circle, Lending Club, and Prosper Marketplace with the goal of promoting a transparent, efficient and customer-friendly financial system.

New Members include: Affirm, Upstart, CommonBond, Avant, PeerStreet, Marlette Funding, Sharestates, Able, and StreetShares. New Associate Members of the MLA include dv01 and LendIt.

This expansion represents a new chapter for the MLA, as it extends the group beyond consumer and small business lending to include platforms focused on student loan refinancing and real estate, as well as greater diversity of funding models, including lending platforms that hold loans on balance sheet.

United Kingdom

LendingCrowd prepares to launch IFISA (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

LENDINGCROWD has become the latest peer-to-peer lending platform preparing to offer an Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) to investors.

Stuart Lunn (pictured), chief executive of LendingCrowd, said it plans to launch the tax-free wrapper around P2P investments during the first quarter of 2017.

Once approved, the LendingCrowd IFISA will work differently to the rest of the platform, so rather than investors selecting their own loans, the product will automatically allocate, invest and diversify a minimum of £1,000 and aim for a target rate of 6.5 per cent.

Buy-siders weigh virtues of P2P repo (Risk.net), Rated: A

  • Buy-siders are looking closely at peer-to-peer repo trading platforms as an alternative to bank-facilitated repo, which has come under strain in recent years due to regulation.
  • Elixium, the first peer-to-peer repo trading platform, is live and gaining interest from buy-side firms concerned about rising costs and shrinking capacity in repo markets. BNY Mellon is working towards launching a similar platform.
  • Doubts remain, though, about the long-term role of P2P given differences in the periods over which different buy-side firms typically wish to trade.

Inside The Daily Fitness Routines Of Branson, Zuckerberg And Other Time-Starved Founders (Forbes), Rated: B

A recent Funding Circle survey found that lots of entrepreneurs continue to struggle with getting exercise while maintaining an entrepreneur’s schedule.

  • More than 25% of small business owners say they don’t have time to do regular exercise.
  • Nearly 45 percent of respondents said they felt less stressed after a workout while 60 percent said that they generally felt better about themselves after exercising.
  • Over a four-week period, only 12.97 percent completed all of their planned workouts.
  • Two-thirds missed some or all of their planned workouts.
China

Chinese P2P platforms seeing decrease in overall risk (The Asset), Rated: AAA

Chinese P2P lenders are improving in quality as fewer platforms defaulted in 2016. According to a recent report from Diyiwangdai, a Chinese P2P company, 938 P2P platforms defaulted in 2016, 218 fewer than in 2015.

The Chinese P2P market is one of the largest in the world. The total transaction through Chinese P2P platforms in 2016 was 2.8 trillion yuan, 137.6% up from 2015. Ezubao, one of China’s highest-profile P2P lending sites, was involved in a $7.6 billion Ponzi scheme in early 2016.

China gets record bln in venture capital investment in 2016 despite global woes (Daily Mail), Rated: A

Megadeals in China helped bring a record $31 billion in venture capital investment into the country in 2016 despite a sluggish global economy and a sharp drop in the number of new deals, a report showed on Friday.

Venture capital investment in China rose 19 percent to account for around a quarter of the global total of $127 billion last year, even though the number of deals declined 42 percent to just 300, according to KPMG’s quarterly report on global VC trends.

China saw its two biggest deals for the year in the first half of 2016: $1.2 billion in funding for peer-to-peer lending platform Lufax and Apple’s $1 billion investment in taxi-hailing app Didi Chuxing.

Despite cautious investor sentiment shown in a 9.4 percent drop in global investment value and a 24 percent slide in deal count in 2016, average investments in China are getting bigger and bigger.

India

Loan Frame raises Rs 15 crore in seed round (India Times), Rated: A

Small and medium enterprise-focused online lending platform Loan Frame Technologies has raised a seed round of $2.25 million (about Rs 15 crore), the latest venture-backed transaction in the country’s web-based lending space.

The investors in the round include Parag Saxena, co-founder of Vedanta Capital, William Campbell, former chairman of Visa International and Toos Daruvala, co-chief executive of MIO Partners, an internal investment arm of global consultancy McKinsey and Co.

Asia

Indonesia issues new fintech law for lending firms (banking technology), Rated: A

The financial services authority (Otoritas Jasa Keuangan or OJK) of Indonesia has issued a new law affecting all fintech P2P lending firms in the country.

The new law stipulates that such business units must be registered and have the right licence to continue to do business.

Canada

Toronto ranks fourth in leading fintech centre of future (EconoTimes), Rated: AAA

The Toronto Financial Services Alliance (TFSA) and a leading U.K. think tank Z/Yen conducted a global survey on trends and innovations in financial services that ranked Toronto as one of the leading fintech centres in the world.

The survey titled ‘Trends and Innovations in Financial Services’ has listed the current leading fintech centres worldwide where London tops, followed by San Francisco, New York, Singapore, and Toronto. While in the list of leading fintech centres of the future, Toronto stands fourth after San Francisco, New York, and London.

The factors that make Toronto a leading fintech centre include very strong government support, low cost of accommodation, great cultural diversity and plenty of available capital.

Canadian Small Business Owners Enter the New Year with Optimism (The Province), Rated: A

A significant majority of Canadian small business owners (81%) are optimistic about growth opportunities heading into the new year, citing key resolutions for 2017 as increasing profitability (29%), acquiring more customers (26%), and increasing cash flow (24%), according to a survey* conducted by Leger, The Research Intelligence Group on behalf of OnDeck Canada, a leading online lender to small businesses in Canada.

The new survey results reveal that small business owners are savvy and specific about evaluating and obtaining capital in 2017.  49% of small business owners consider the total cost of the loan over time, 48% consider the annual interest rates, and 46% consider flexible repayment options as the main determining factors when selecting a lending option for their business. The majority expect a 2:1 return on investment.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday September 20th 2016, Daily News Digest

Tuesday September 20th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments Main News: RateSetter’s results and their change in business model by amortizing origination fee over the duration of the loan; Prosper’s Monthly Report ; Eisman’s claim online lenders are clueless. Main Analysis: Prosper’s Monthly Report analysis; RateSetter’s balance sheet actions. Main though generating pieces : Use of blockchain in lending. United States Eisman, […]

Tuesday September 20th 2016, Daily News Digest

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Eisman Assails ‘Clueless’ Silicon Valley Over Online Lending, (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

While the loans these companies make are small on average and don’t portend to be the next “Big Short” — the title of the book and film that detailed Eisman’s bet against the debt central to the 2008 financial crisis — there is reason for investors to be cautious, he said.

The central problem is that these lending startups, their founders and backers in particular, don’t have a lot of experience making loans to consumers, and some of them approach loan-making as they would retail sales, Eisman said in opening remarks at a conference of investment bankers and investors in Miami Beach, Florida, on Sunday.

“When you go to Amazon and buy a book, you buy it and the transaction is over,” he said. “But when you take out a loan, that is just the beginning of the transaction — it’s like a relationship.”

The remarks were given inside a large conference hall of the beachfront Fontainebleau Hotel, where several thousand Wall Street securitization professionals are convening this week for their 22nd annual ABS East Conference. It’s the same gathering where, in one scene of the film “The Big Short,” the character based on Eisman bursts into outrage at a mortgage executive giving a talk.

“We have seen loans underperform from their expected loss estimate at the time of underwriting,” Stephanie Yeh, a director at Credit Suisse Group AG, said on a Monday morning panel discussion. “There still isn’t a lot of data.”

“Traditional Wall Street occasionally forgets that online lending has a long track record and that these platforms have been built by people with deep financial markets experience,” Nat Hoopes, executive director of the Marketplace Lending Association, a trade group, wrote in an e-mail. “Borrowers and investors are turning to these online products because they are delivering enormous value compared to the traditional alternatives.”

This month, a top U.S. banking regulator, Thomas Curry, warned the startup lenders about the potential for unintended biases in their underwriting that could lead to violations of federal law. Bond graders have also noted that these startups have varying degrees of underwriting sophistication and that regulatory and legal risks abound.

Prosper monthly report, (Prosper), Rated: AAA

Prosper: Loan Portfolio on Track for Highest Returns Since 2013, (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Prosper states that the 2016 portfolio is on track to have the highest estimated return since 2013. This is alongside the highest average FICO to date. Estimated returns on August 2016 production continues to be just over 7% on average.

Although delinquency rates for 2015 loans remain elevated in comparison to 2013 and 2014 vintages, Prosper is of the opinion that internal adjustments will “positively impact delinquency in the new 2016 vintages.”

Monthly loan averages stood at $13,541 per borrower with the weighted average borrower rate at 14.79%. Weighted average estimated return adjusted for expected losses came in at 7.19%.

Business Loan Provider Earns Highest 5-Star Rating from TopConsumerReviews.com, (Press Release Rocket), Rated: A

TopConsumerReviews.com recently awarded its best-in-class 5 star rating to OnDeck

Small business ownership is on the rise. For some, the desire to own a business is fueled by numerous success stories of entrepreneurs and inventors, while others are looking for opportunities beyond their traditional 9-to-5 workplace.

United Kingdom

P2P lending rediscovers balance sheet magic, (FT Alphaville), Rated: AAA

One of the key features of peer-to-peer (P2P) lending is an absence of centralised balance sheet risk. In the traditional, boring model of banking, a bank holds deposits and loans on its balance sheet and earns a spread by paying depositors less than it charges borrowers.

That was the dream, this is the reality: 

That snippet is from the latest annual accounts of Ratesetter, one of the UK’s top three “peer-to-peer” lenders, and shows the startup taking £2m of risk on to its own balance sheet in order to fund a borrower in “financial difficulty”.

In the broader world of business, £2m is not a huge sum of money. But this particular sum of money is important for one specific and one general reason.

First, it’s a meaningful amount of cash for Ratesetter and, according to a spokesperson, it’s the first time it’s done something like this. At the end of March this year, the accounts say, the lender had £15.4m of funds available, meaning the £2m working capital commitment accounts for about 13 per cent of its cash.

Second, it’s yet another sign that P2P lenders will take on balance sheet risk if it suits them.

On a smaller scale, another UK P2P lender, Funding Circle, also takes some balance sheet risk when writing property loans. Borrowers in that market can’t wait around to see if their request for money will be fulfilled by individual lenders on the platform, so the platform itself underwrites the loan.

But just as Laplanche had insisted “we don’t take credit risk”, so too Ratesetter’s chief executive Rhydian Lewis has argued publicly against the need for P2P lenders (more accurately called ‘online lenders’) to use their balance sheets.

An interview can be found here. 

A spokesperson for Ratesetter said Lewis’ thinking had not changed on the matter and that the money it lent in this situation was “an exceptional case”, which wouldn’t be repeated.

Revenue Up 46% at RateSetter. Pre-Tax Loss Stands at £4.9 Million, (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

RateSetter has released its accounts for 2015 – 2016.

According to their financial results, top line revenue increased 46% to £18.5 million from £12.6 million versus prior period. The increase in revenue was paired with a pre-tax loss of £4.9 million compared to a pre-tax profit of £476,000 for the year prior.

RateSetter explained that results were driven by an accounting decision to charge fees over the lifetime of the loans instead of charging upfront.

RateSetter stated that if fees had been charged upfront the peer to peer lender would have recorded a pre-tax profit.

Having turned a small profit in 2013-14 and 2014-15, proving our model, we’ve deliberately planned and delivered an increased level of investment into our business.

RateSetter shared additional information regarding their operations including;

  • Major investment in financial year 2015-16; will continue in 2016-17.
  • Loans under management increased by 70%, from £341 million on 31 March 2015, to £581 million a year later.
  • The number of active investors grew from 18,608 to 31,036 over the same period.
  • Today these figures stand at £640 million and 36,310 respectively – with a 70% increase in new active investors in the period since the EU referendum compared to the same three months last year.

Marketplace lender RateSetter ‘deliberately’ made a loss despite boosting revenues to £18.5 million, (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

63% of all RateSetter loans now have the platform’s fee repaid as part of the monthly borrower repayments, a spokesperson confirmed over email, compared to almost none three years ago.

The company says in an emailed statement that the change was encouraged by City of London investors Woodford Investment Management and Artemis, which took part in a £20 million funding round for the platform last year.

“The switch from up front to recurring fees was not a decision we took lightly. However, it greatly enhances the sustainability of our business — we strongly feel that it will prove to be a very positive development and anticipate that others in our industry will follow our lead.”

Bad debt rates have risen since RateSetter first opened its doors in 2011 but the company says the change to the fee model should stop this trend as it “aligns RateSetter’s interests with those of its investors as it provides a financial incentive to only approve loans which perform.”

RateSetter says it currently has £640 million of loans under management and 36,310 investors on its platform.

Funding Circle partners with ActionCOACH, the World’s #1 Business Coaching firm, (Funding Circle), Rated: A

ounded in 1997, ActionCOACH advise thousands of small businesses every week, on how to get more time to finding the best employees, and more money on their bottom-line.

Norway

Crowdlending startup Kameo backed by Norwegian bankers, (Swedish Startup Space), Rated: A

Kameo is one of a number of Swedish startups in the crowdfunding business. The company has chosen a slightly different direction than Swedish peers Fundedbyme and Pepins.

Kameo is a platform where individuals partner to finance loans to specific companies, also known as crowdlending.

Harung says they are primarily focused on small construction companies that use Kameo to supplement bank loans for building projects

“Initially, we wanted to use a Saas-platform, but the one we chose wasn’t approved by the Danish FSA. So, we chose to develop our own.” said Mr. Harung.

Mr. Harung had Avanza Bank financier Bjørn Braaten onboard from the start. With nearly 40 percent of the share, Mr. Braaten is currently the largest shareholder in Kameo. The company also counts Svein S. Jacobsen as chairman, who has also served on the board of Nordea Bank.

The service has already been live in Sweden for a while, but now it’s time to bang the drum and start promoting the site.

Mr. Heldaldeclined to comment on exactly how much he has invested himself, but he says it is “in the region of a few million SEK.”

 Asia

2017 opportunities in alternative lending in Asia, (Fintech Innovation), Rated: A

According to Roger Crook, CEO of Fintech startup Capital Springboard, the P2P market in Southeast Asia remains relatively more young compared to the US and Europe, albeit the industry is witnessing the same experience curve (uptake).

He estimates the overall bank lending in Singapore at S$350 billion a year with SMEs accounting for S$80 billion of the figure. “And if you look at P2P today, it’s probably around S$150 million market total. So, the penetration is very low. The local banks provide about 60% of loans to SMEs while foreign banks take up the rest,” estimated Crook.

Crook observed that the average Singaporean SME is under three years of age, with revenues of less than S$30 million. And with the Monetary Authority of Singapore defining SMEs as businesses with revenues of up to S$100 million, this puts a lot of smaller SMEs out of reach of bank loans.

Australia

Sydney Fintech startup, Othera, is one of few Australian startups doing more than just talking about Ethereum blockchain, (PR Wire), Rated: A

Othera, a Sydney startup based in the BlueChilli tech incubator, provides credit analytics and investment solutions to loan originators, institutional and private investors, and small businesses.

Having launched their proprietary credit decisioning software to the market earlier this year, they have followed up with the delivery of an innovative two-part blockchain solution that will redefine how the global financial systems manage and trade debt and other asset back securities- and retail investors can get in on the action too.

Othera currently has two prototypes in testing phase, the Othera Blockchain Lending Platform and the Digital Asset Trading Exchange (both worldwide patent pending). They are linked platforms and when used together, they enable loan originators and investors the ability to directly connect and transact debt or asset backed securities with more investment transparency, lower risk and for known fixed returns. This is a radical investment proposition for an industry that has not seen this been done before.

Author:

George Popescu