Lenders Bet On Artificial Intelligence for Credit Scoring

Lenders Bet On Artificial Intelligence for Credit Scoring

Banks have to struggle with a lot of challenges – from issuing credit to operational risks, and technological troubles to good old fashion fraud. In addition to the risks of yesteryear, modern banks face falling long-term rates, growing fintech competition, and low profitability. In this challenging environment, savvy modern banks focus more of their attention […]

Lenders Bet On Artificial Intelligence for Credit Scoring

Banks have to struggle with a lot of challenges – from issuing credit to operational risks, and technological troubles to good old fashion fraud. In addition to the risks of yesteryear, modern banks face falling long-term rates, growing fintech competition, and low profitability. In this challenging environment, savvy modern banks focus more of their attention to mitigating risks.

Chief among these challenges are low-performing loan portfolios, which are a constant thorn in the side of lenders. For example, European non-performing loans stand above €1 trillion with more than one third of banks having NPL ratios above 10% (ECB, 2017).

This minefield of factors has driven lenders to seek out new ways to increase profits and cut funding costs in order to stay competitive.

Artificial Intelligence in Fintech: Will it take over?

AI is a powerful tool for banks, thanks to its ability to harness vast quantities of data to learn more about customer patterns and behaviors”, says Steve Ellis, head of the innovation group at Wells Fargo.

As powerful as artificial intelligence (AI) is, traditional banking is still heavily reliant on statistical methods that were developed over half a century ago. Lenders determine creditworthiness based on 20+ data points, which leave otherwise worthy customers behind.

Modern machine learning (ML) makes it possible to go much deeper when analyzing data, and allows lenders to extract valuable insights from available data patterns.

According to a McKinsey report, a number of European banks have already replaced the antiquated statistical-modeling approach with machine-learning techniques. The results speak for themselves: a 10% increase in the sale of new products, 20% savings in capital expenditures, and a 20% decline in churn.

Source: thefinancialbrand.com

The data doesn’t lie: Lenders are betting on AI. Evidence of this modern trend can be seen in numerous ‘banks and fintech collaborations’ and AI-based software releases:

  • JPMorgan Chase pioneered a Contract Intelligence platform designed to “analyze legal documents and extract important data points.”
  • American MobileBank deploys AI software to lend to thin-file millennials.
  • Canadian TD Bank uses Layer 6’s AI engine for scoring and cybersecurity.
  • Deutsche Bank came out with new AI-based equities to predict their pricing and volume more accurately.
  • Wells Fargo employs its own AI team to provide more personalized services and strengthen digital offerings.
  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch implements HighRadius’ AI solution to speed up receivables reconciliation for their large business clients.

Logistic regression is no longer the de facto standard

Nine times out of 10, logistic regression is used to build scoring models and solve classification issues. Before it can take over and provide predictive results, there’s an important step of preliminary analysis and data quality control that must be taken. If the dataset contains:

  • imperfect and missing values, outliers and unstructured data;
  • numerical and categorical values (age, income vs marital status, education);
  • raw data that doesn’t fit strict parameters(data with fractions or decimals, etc.)

data analysts will spend days (if not weeks) just to preprocess the data before it can be assessed. Cutting corners and ignoring such data may lead to the loss of valuable insight and incorrect predictions.

How modern AI/ML methods build better risk models

Today, lenders have the ability to collect more data than ever about their clients. In addition to traditional socio-demographic data, this may include transactional data, records from credit bureaus, social media, Google Analytics, as well as other non-traditional sources.

Processing and interpreting this data so that it can be used to issue loans to worthy credit seekers is where modern ML/AI methods give banks the edge they need.

Machine learning techniques like gradient boosting, random forest, or neural networks can better find hidden dependencies in a dataset, which helps to gain more accurate predictions. This assists banks in determining how collected parameters in a dataset should be weighed to predict whether borrowers will consistently repay their loans on time.

This is made possible by data signals, which define significant parameters that affect the power of a scoring model. Depending on the type of business, geography, target audience, and data authenticity, significant parameters may differ. Modern ML can determine which data points contain the desired signal.

Traditional data sources like credit bureaus still remain an important part of the process and provide the data that contain the above-mentioned signal. Unfortunately, they do not cover noteworthy market segments such as millennials, self-employed entrepreneurs, small business owners, immigrants, or the unbanked.

The team at GiniMachine carried out pilot projects to build accurate scoring models with minimal data points and without access to an applicant’s credit history. Some of the most promising and predictive parameters included the applicant’s industry and occupation, the size of their company, the total years they’d been in business, the size of their family, and data from social networks like their overall activity, as well as the quantity and quality of their connections.

The team at GiniMachine has proven that it is possible to capitalize on information about borrowers that is collected from alternative sources to accurately and efficiently assess borrower’s credibility and make effective lending decisions.

Modern ML methods can build more accurate risk models because of their capacity to:

  1. use built-in ‘raw’ data pre-processing tools
  2. find hidden dependencies of arbitrary complexity
  3. harness unstructured, big data, and data from alternative sources

The financial world, and lending businesses in particular, have seen major changes throughout the last few years. Using ML and AI in concert with traditional practices is the way forward for banks that want to remain competitive in the modern world. It’s clear that making good loans to the people of the future requires a futuristic helping hand.

Author:

Dmitry Dolgorukov is a CEO and co-founder of GiniMachine & HES, a technology entrepreneur, and an investor with over 15 years of executive experience in software development and fintech. In 2018, Dmitry was ranked as one of the top 200 Fintech leaders in Europe that contribute to the industry as influencers through action.

 

How Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning Are Taking Alternative Lending Data Into the Future

alternative lending artificial intelligence machine learning

According to International Data Corporation (IDC) estimates, the digital universe is doubling in size yearly and would reach 44 ZB in 2020, up from 4.4 ZB of data generated in 2013. It is widely anticipated that big data technology and the service market will reach $41.5 billion by 2018 registering a compounded annual growth rate […]

alternative lending artificial intelligence machine learning

According to International Data Corporation (IDC) estimates, the digital universe is doubling in size yearly and would reach 44 ZB in 2020, up from 4.4 ZB of data generated in 2013. It is widely anticipated that big data technology and the service market will reach $41.5 billion by 2018 registering a compounded annual growth rate of 26.4%, or six times the growth rate of the overall information market. The capacity to draw useful feedback and to use that information to make operational and financial gains will be the biggest differentiator between companies. Data is the new oil of the 21st century and you need to be mining it to succeed.

Artificial Intelligence and Fintech

The fintech industry is no different; artificial intelligence (AI) has taken marketplace lending by storm. It has enabled players to cut costs, automate a variety of their processes (most importantly, their underwriting) and shorten the approval process.

AI-powered fintech startups are redefining customer service. Companies are using AI-powered chatbots as virtual assistants, customer care representatives, marketing executives, and sales reps. AI and machine learning facilitate the processing of massive troves of data and information about customers. The inference yielded can be used to develop products and services that are tailored to individual customers’ preferences, and, in the bigger scheme of things, it means greater customer satisfaction.

Below are some of the ways artificial intelligence is changing fintech:

  • Increasing Security – Security is one of the underlying reasons why many fintech companies are incorporating AI into their processes. Traditional security methods like anti-viruses are not capable enough to protect companies from malicious cyber attacks, and that’s why companies are looking for next level security. The answer is artificial intelligence. AI uses machine learning, which allows companies to fine-tune their system and be better equipped against hacker and cyber attacks. Also, this technology can aid organizations in identifying:
    • Fraudulent behavior
    • Suspicious transactions
    • Potential future attacks
  • Reducing processing time – AI helps in keeping data safe and secure, but it also substantially helps reduce data processing time. Processing loan applications in mere seconds on the back of AI-powered algorithms is the reason why fintech companies have raced ahead of brick-and-mortar banks and other financial institutions. Loan documentation used to be time-consuming and error-prone, but it is now being executed faster, cheaper, and error-free because of artificial intelligence.
  • More Automation – Startups are leveraging AI to reduce manpower and the associated bloated-cost structure. Fintech companies are able to provide products and services at better rates than legacy banks since they have less overhead costs. Robo-Analysts are eliminating the need for credit officers and are poised to take over the role of credit decisioning from humans in the long run.
  • Valuable Insights – Every company’s survival today depends on executives’ ability to differentiate between data and noise. It is crucial that actionable insight is drawn from terabytes of data being produced by consumers on a daily basis. AI’s ability to draw discernible patterns from cluttered data sets is a game-changer. It allows organizations to tweak their business strategy as well as help in complex decision-making. A lending company would be able to analyze two profiles, which look similar from all angles, but one is refused credit and the other is offered a loan. AI will have an overarching look at the qualitative and quantitative parameters that can number to thousands for one single application. This level of insight is just not possible for a human.

Machine Learning and Fintech

In simple terms, machine learning is an extension of artificial intelligence, and empowers computers or robots with the ability to learn, analyze, and predict using algorithms that iteratively learn from data. Machine learning therefore empowers the system to learn and adapt itself.

Though machine learning (ML) is not a new concept, with big data and data mining taking a central role in organizations, ML is the next big frontier. The result is that machine learning is being used in all types of industries ranging from financial services to transportation. Living example of machine learning include Google’s self- driving car, feeds on Facebook walls depending on the likes and dislikes of the account holder, and online offers made to customers by Amazon and Netflix.

As per a McKinsey Quarterly report dated June 2015, in Europe, more than a dozen banks have replaced older statistical-modeling approaches with machine learning techniques. And because of this adoption, around 10 percent of the institutions have experienced an increase in the sale of new products, 20 percent managed to save their capital expenditure, 20 percent were able to increase their cash collections, and 20 percent saw a decline in churn.

The lending industry has the potential to achieve massive operational and strategic efficiencies by implementing machine learning. Companies like Zestcash, Progreso Financiero, and Global Analytics are expediting the lending process using machine learning and big analytics. They make borrowing quick and easy and pass on savings to consumers in the form of lower rates.

  • Credit Score – Credit score plays an imperative role in deciding whether a borrower is eligible for a loan or not. FICO score is based on age-old parameters because of which many borrowers do not qualify for loans. Machine learning enables predictive modeling in credit scoring. Machine learning and AI involve evaluating data at a larger scale and aggregate the data through wider channels like Yelp scores, social media activity, and real-time shipping trends. This is able to give a much more accurate and granular picture of the creditworthiness of a borrower. ML in particular will allow the system to start generating further efficiencies as it starts making out patterns from its own lending history. So it will be impossible to game a lending system using ML as the algorithm is self-improving.
  • Lending Process – By expediting the loan application approval process, machine learning is streamlining the entire lending process. As per a 2015 Cleveland Federal Reserve survey, traditionally, a bank takes 3-6 days to respond to a loan request and even longer in deciding the creditworthiness and final acceptance of the loan. Machine learning helps in reducing the man-hours required in analyzing creditworthiness and a borrower’s background, thus making the underwriting and origination process much more potent and accurate.

A lender can create a ‘classifier’, a simple algorithm to approve a loan application. Using machine learning, the loan application classifier can learn from past applications, leverage current information in the application and predict future behavior of the loan applicant.

  • Picking out bad loans and helps in monitoring on-going loans – Companies can use machine learning and apply the market data to see which types of loans have a higher propensity to default. Based on that, the lender can take evasive actions for such eventualities. Also, machine learning has the ability to categorize non-traditional borrowers that have not been targeted by lending companies, thus representing growth potential for the companies.

Conclusion

It is apparent that AI and machine learning are the future of alternative lending. With growing competition in the fintech ecosystem, companies that exploit the full potential of these technologies will definitely have the upper hand in the long term.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Fintech Leaders and Pundits Predict 2018

fintech predictions 2018

2017 proved to be another action-filled year for the fintech industry. New sectors like blockchain, robo-advice, and insurtech gained prominence while stringent regulations meant the industry went into a self-enforced consolidation phase and M&A was the order of the day. Legacy banks showcased their financial muscle by gobbling up fintech startups to enhance their technology […]

fintech predictions 2018

2017 proved to be another action-filled year for the fintech industry. New sectors like blockchain, robo-advice, and insurtech gained prominence while stringent regulations meant the industry went into a self-enforced consolidation phase and M&A was the order of the day. Legacy banks showcased their financial muscle by gobbling up fintech startups to enhance their technology quotient resulting in a level playing field for both. But what does 2018 hold? Nobody knows for sure, but this is what the pundits and industry leaders are expecting.

2018 Predictions for Alternative Lending and Fintech

Renaud Laplanche (former Lending Club CEO and Upgrade co-founder) believes the barren run with regard to lending origination levels will soon be over and the end of 2018 will see it reach the lofty heights of previous years. Consumer loans are one segment where he believes demand will remain high and online lending will accelerate over the next 15 months. Along with this, he predicts the long-awaited secondary market for online loans will develop substantially.

He also believes a host of new tech will deliver a ‘Online Lending 2.0’ ecosystem.  This includes cloud computing, big data, and a blockchain protocol.

The Daily Fintech: 2017 wasn’t a great one for The Daily Fintech in terms of predictions. They got five out of 10 right, but the most noteworthy prediction they got wrong was concerning bitcoin. They predicted the bitcoin price will not go past its all-time peak of $1,242. Well, we can’t really blame them for this one as not many others got this one right.

As for 2018 predictions, most of their predictions revolve around cryptocurrency and blockchain. This is understandable considering cryptocoins are the most revolutionary thing right now. Apart from that, one prediction that caught our eye was the acquisition of Lending Club at a bargain price. Just like previous predictions, they have left #10 empty for “big surprise.”

PwC (fintech predictions by Henri Arslanian, the firm’s FinTech and RegTech lead for China and Hong Kong): A couple of noteworthy predictions are mentioned here. First, RegTech – a wave of consolidation ahead? He believes RegTech will help companies deal better with regulatory obligations. In the bigger scheme of things, it will help reduce the cost and risk associated with the sector. He also feels that lack of dominant players in this segment will lead to further consolidation.

Another prediction involves banks embracing fintech – the end of innovation teams? With senior management at banks gaining deep insight about fintech, it is widely expected that banks will ditch innovations teams and deal directly with businesses.

Inc42 believes consumer lending will be a major force in 2018. Predictions were made keeping in mind the Indian market. They believe alternative lending will experience a boom as more startups will crop up to help the underserved and unserved.

They also predict the rise of insurtech. They believe there will be a greater degree of product customization on the back of solid consumer data and analytics. Apart from this, they predict a surge in investments in emerging technologies as government and regulatory bodies also push for fintech.

The Memo asked a panel of 12 financial technology experts how they expect the industry to shape up in 2018. A few of those predictions are listed below, compiled by senior reporter Oliver Smith.

  • Daniel Kjellen (CEO and co-founder of Tink, a finance app that continually analyses customer spending) believes new regulations at the beginning of next year will open up the retail banking market, which will benefit banks as well as customers. He also believes first-mover advantage will be critical. Account aggregation and payment initiation are two innovations banks will target first after striking partnerships with fintech.

“In 2018, we will say goodbye to the service formerly known as banking.”

  • Alastair Lukies CBE (Prime Minister’s Business Ambassador for Fintech and a Partner at Motive Partners, a financial technology investment fund) thinks regulatory compliance will be the most important thing next year, and that is why he believes large financial institutions will spend big on regulatory compliance as well as on technology that will help them tackle complex regulations. This will in turn help to drive innovation in the RegTech field.

“I think RegTech, using technology to simplify the process of being compliant with regulation, will become very important over the next year.”

  • Anne Boden (CEO and founder of Starling Bank, the upstart UK challenger bank expanding into the rest of Europe beginning with Ireland) believes 2018 will be a big year for artificial intelligence (AI). Right now, banks use AI to improve their own processes and to drive efficiencies. She reckons that 2018 will see them use AI to help customers make better money-related decisions.

“The interaction method, chatbots, and voice will become secondary – building a culture and technology that is centered around helping customers will become the priority.”

  • Lachlan Heussler (managing director of Spotcap Australia and NZ) believes the need for innovation and the advent of PSD2/Open Banking will be the reason the industry witnesses an increase in collaboration across the board. He also believes the demand for top talent will intensify, with bank, fintechs, and large companies all trying to attract the right talent.

A report by McKinsey estimates the total annual external investment in AI was $8B to $12B in 2016, with machine learning attracting nearly 60% of that investment. Therefore, he trusts companies will be motivated to adopt machine learning aggressively for tracking customer behavior, for market analysis, or calculating risk.

  • Charles Clinton (CEO and co-founder of EquityMultiple, a platform built for modern investors that connects accredited individuals with pre-vetted, high-yield commercial real estate investments from top companies) gave his predictions about the real estate crowdfunding industry. He believes “many companies are using pre-JOBS Act regulations and the push to open access to non-accredited investors has been driven almost entirely by Reg A+.” He also believes the industry is entering a combination of growth and maturation phase. There will be a lot of consolidation, and only tried and tested business models will survive.

Conclusion

We will have to wait a year to see how accurate these predictions are. We have tried to provide the best possible outlook on different verticals of fintech industry through these forecasts. One thing for sure is that 2018 will be an interesting year for the fintech and alternative lending.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Fintech Leaders and Pundits Predict 2018

fintech predictions 2018

2017 proved to be another action-filled year for the fintech industry. New sectors like blockchain, robo-advice, and insurtech gained prominence while stringent regulations meant the industry went into a self-enforced consolidation phase and M&A was the order of the day. Legacy banks showcased their financial muscle by gobbling up fintech startups to enhance their technology […]

fintech predictions 2018

2017 proved to be another action-filled year for the fintech industry. New sectors like blockchain, robo-advice, and insurtech gained prominence while stringent regulations meant the industry went into a self-enforced consolidation phase and M&A was the order of the day. Legacy banks showcased their financial muscle by gobbling up fintech startups to enhance their technology quotient resulting in a level playing field for both. But what does 2018 hold? Nobody knows for sure, but this is what the pundits and industry leaders are expecting.

2018 Predictions for Alternative Lending and Fintech

Renaud Laplanche (former Lending Club CEO and Upgrade co-founder) believes the barren run with regard to lending origination levels will soon be over and the end of 2018 will see it reach the lofty heights of previous years. Consumer loans are one segment where he believes demand will remain high and online lending will accelerate over the next 15 months. Along with this, he predicts the long-awaited secondary market for online loans will develop substantially.

He also believes a host of new tech will deliver a ‘Online Lending 2.0’ ecosystem.  This includes cloud computing, big data, and a blockchain protocol.

The Daily Fintech: 2017 wasn’t a great one for The Daily Fintech in terms of predictions. They got five out of 10 right, but the most noteworthy prediction they got wrong was concerning bitcoin. They predicted the bitcoin price will not go past its all-time peak of $1,242. Well, we can’t really blame them for this one as not many others got this one right.

As for 2018 predictions, most of their predictions revolve around cryptocurrency and blockchain. This is understandable considering cryptocoins are the most revolutionary thing right now. Apart from that, one prediction that caught our eye was the acquisition of Lending Club at a bargain price. Just like previous predictions, they have left #10 empty for “big surprise.”

PwC (fintech predictions by Henri Arslanian, the firm’s FinTech and RegTech lead for China and Hong Kong): A couple of noteworthy predictions are mentioned here. First, RegTech – a wave of consolidation ahead? He believes RegTech will help companies deal better with regulatory obligations. In the bigger scheme of things, it will help reduce the cost and risk associated with the sector. He also feels that lack of dominant players in this segment will lead to further consolidation.

Another prediction involves banks embracing fintech – the end of innovation teams? With senior management at banks gaining deep insight about fintech, it is widely expected that banks will ditch innovations teams and deal directly with businesses.

Inc42 believes consumer lending will be a major force in 2018. Predictions were made keeping in mind the Indian market. They believe alternative lending will experience a boom as more startups will crop up to help the underserved and unserved.

They also predict the rise of insurtech. They believe there will be a greater degree of product customization on the back of solid consumer data and analytics. Apart from this, they predict a surge in investments in emerging technologies as government and regulatory bodies also push for fintech.

The Memo asked a panel of 12 financial technology experts how they expect the industry to shape up in 2018. A few of those predictions are listed below, compiled by senior reporter Oliver Smith.

  • Daniel Kjellen (CEO and co-founder of Tink, a finance app that continually analyses customer spending) believes new regulations at the beginning of next year will open up the retail banking market, which will benefit banks as well as customers. He also believes first-mover advantage will be critical. Account aggregation and payment initiation are two innovations banks will target first after striking partnerships with fintech.

“In 2018, we will say goodbye to the service formerly known as banking.”

  • Alastair Lukies CBE (Prime Minister’s Business Ambassador for Fintech and a Partner at Motive Partners, a financial technology investment fund) thinks regulatory compliance will be the most important thing next year, and that is why he believes large financial institutions will spend big on regulatory compliance as well as on technology that will help them tackle complex regulations. This will in turn help to drive innovation in the RegTech field.

“I think RegTech, using technology to simplify the process of being compliant with regulation, will become very important over the next year.”

  • Anne Boden (CEO and founder of Starling Bank, the upstart UK challenger bank expanding into the rest of Europe beginning with Ireland) believes 2018 will be a big year for artificial intelligence (AI). Right now, banks use AI to improve their own processes and to drive efficiencies. She reckons that 2018 will see them use AI to help customers make better money-related decisions.

“The interaction method, chatbots, and voice will become secondary – building a culture and technology that is centered around helping customers will become the priority.”

  • Lachlan Heussler (managing director of Spotcap Australia and NZ) believes the need for innovation and the advent of PSD2/Open Banking will be the reason the industry witnesses an increase in collaboration across the board. He also believes the demand for top talent will intensify, with bank, fintechs, and large companies all trying to attract the right talent.

A report by McKinsey estimates the total annual external investment in AI was $8B to $12B in 2016, with machine learning attracting nearly 60% of that investment. Therefore, he trusts companies will be motivated to adopt machine learning aggressively for tracking customer behavior, for market analysis, or calculating risk.

  • Charles Clinton (CEO and co-founder of EquityMultiple, a platform built for modern investors that connects accredited individuals with pre-vetted, high-yield commercial real estate investments from top companies) gave his predictions about the real estate crowdfunding industry. He believes “many companies are using pre-JOBS Act regulations and the push to open access to non-accredited investors has been driven almost entirely by Reg A+.” He also believes the industry is entering a combination of growth and maturation phase. There will be a lot of consolidation, and only tried and tested business models will survive.

Conclusion

We will have to wait a year to see how accurate these predictions are. We have tried to provide the best possible outlook on different verticals of fintech industry through these forecasts. One thing for sure is that 2018 will be an interesting year for the fintech and alternative lending.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Tuesday November 15 2016, Daily News Digest

Tuesday November 15 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: Prosper has new CEO. Today’s main analysis : 7 critical changes of the maturing FinTech sector. Today’s thought-provoking articles: UK’s FinTech sector is nervously waiting for the final Brexit outcome. Will EU regulate FinTech? Bank of Indonesia sets up a FinTech office. United States Prosper has new CEO GP:” This is a huge […]

Tuesday November 15 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

China

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

Prosper Marketplace Names David Kimball Chief Executive Officer (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Prosper Marketplace, a leading online marketplace for consumer credit, today announced that the company’s board of directors has named David Kimball Chief Executive Officer. Kimball succeeds Aaron Vermut and the appointment is effective December 1, 2016. Vermut has served as the CEO of Prosper Marketplace since March 2014 and will retain his seat on the company’s board of directors.

Bracing for seven critical changes as fintech matures (McKinsey&Company), Rated: AAA

For the past decade, fintech companies—technology firms that focus on financial products and services—have moved quickly, forcing incumbents to rethink their core business models and embrace digital innovations. But now, the fintech industry is itself maturing and entering a period of rapid change. Companies wondering how they will fit into this new era must first understand the forces that are pushing the changes.

While the industry will undoubtedly continue to expand as its customer base grows and investor appetite remains unsated, changes are imminent. Indeed, the very concept of what comprises fintech will shift. As the industry evolves, it will play a role well beyond financial products and services, individual companies will vie to become undisputed leaders by size and breadth, and ecosystems will develop that have a tight grip on customer loyalty.

This new fintech era is being shaped by changes in market conditions, new regulations, and shifts in consumer demands and behaviors.

Expanding scope

The scope of products and services offered by fintechs is expanding rapidly. The shift brings fintechs away from a focus on frontline activities to a broad engagement throughout the value chain.

 

Increasing diversity

The fintech industry is also becoming more diversified, with a wide variety of business models seen across geographies, segments, and technologies.

Improving collaboration

Collaborative partnerships will become increasingly important as fintechs seek scale and traditional financial institutions seek digital expertise.

Impending consolidation

As the industry continues to mature, fintechs will likely enter a period of consolidation, with larger players turning to mergers and acquisitions to satisfy their expansion goals.

Normalizing valuations

Valuations of fintechs are also normalizing as investors become more cautious and start favoring companies with proven track records.

Shifting regulations

Not surprising for a new industry, the regulatory regimes affecting fintechs are also evolving swiftly and will significantly influence how the industry develops. In many markets, regulators are playing a more proactive role in overseeing the industry, often encouraging its development, for instance by following a sandbox—or test and learn—approach that allows fintechs to experiment without impacting the entire financial system.

Emerging ecosystems

As digital offerings become more mature and interconnected, vast ecosystems will develop that span multiple industries. In many instances, fintechs will become submerged in these ecosystems, representing, like many others, a component of a much broader digital network.

StreetShares Foundation and JPMorgan Chase Partner to Give Veterans $ 10,000 in Monthly Business Awards (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

StreetShares, the lending and investing community for veterans and their supporters and creators of the Veteran Business Bond, recently announced the formation of the StreetShares Foundation. The goal of the StreetShares Foundation is to inspire, educate, and support veteran small business owners. JPMorgan Chase & Co. is partnering with the StreetShares Foundation to provide up to $10,000 each month in Veteran Small Business Awards.

The StreetShares Foundation plans to give three Veteran Small Business Awardseach month to eligible veteran and military-spouse small business owners:

  • First Place – $5,000
  • Second Place – $3,000
  • Third Place – $2,000

One unique feature of the new Veteran Small Business Award program is the focus on public participation. StreetShares Foundation encourages everyone who supports veterans and entrepreneurship to participate in voting for their favorite veteran business at StreetShares.com/Foundation. Finalists will be presented for public vote each month.

SEC Should Take Lead on Regulating Fintech, GOP Commissioner Says (Morning Consult), Rated: A

The Securities and Exchange Commission should play the leading role in regulating financial technology, said Commissioner Michael Piwowar, the lone Republican on the panel.

The statement, made at the agency’s fintech forum on Monday, could set the stage for a turf battle among agencies like the SEC, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as they grapple with how to police the emerging industry. The OCC is weighing a national charter for fintech firms and said it will release a paper on the matter by the end of the year.

Real Estate Marketplace Roofstock Raises $ 20m Series B (Biz Journals), Rated: A

Roofstock (www.roofstock.com), the leading online marketplace and transaction platform in the $2 trillion single-family rental (SFR) sector, today announced $20 million in Series B financing led by Lightspeed Venture Partners, with substantial participation from existing investors including Khosla Ventures, Bain Capital Ventures, Nyca Partners, QED Investors and SV Angel. Roofstock has raised a total of $33.25 million in equity since the company’s formation in May of 2015.

The company has developed a proprietary marketplace for investors to find, evaluate and invest in single-family rentals online with tools and transparency never before available to either retail or institutional investors. Since its public launch in March of this year, the company has expanded to serve 10 markets, engaged thousands of registered users, grown its transaction volume by 400% from Q2 to Q3, and significantly expanded its inventory and seller network.

Robo-advisers sound off to SEC about rule changes for automated advice (Investment News), Rated: A

The SEC hosted a forum of financial technology experts Monday to discuss the impact of innovations in investment advice and other financial services. SEC staff is considering whether further guidance or even new rules are needed to protect investors.

Automated-advice providers, often called robo-advisers, register with the Securities and Exchange Commission as investment advisers and are subject to the Investment Advisers Act, which requires clients’ interests to come first when providing recommendations, among other standards.

Regulators have questions about how that happens when recommendations are generated by algorithms, and in May the SEC and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. alerted investors to the risks associated with using a digital provider over a human.

iCapital Network Marks Two Year Anniversary of Platform Launch (Yahoo! Sports), Rated: B

iCapital Network today announced it has surpassed $2 billion in platform assets since the launch of its online alternative investment platform two years ago. The firm’s proprietary technology has helped to rapidly democratize private investments such as private equity and hedge funds by connecting individual investors and their advisors to asset managers through a streamlined and secure digital interface.

1031 Crowdfunding, LLC Ranked Among Top 10 Real Estate Crowdfunding Sites (PR Newswire), Rated: B

1031 Crowdfunding, LLC announced today that the Company moved up in the rankings for the 2016 Top 100+ Real Estate Crowdfunding Sites to #10 overall and maintained its position as #1 ranked Real Estate Crowdfunding site for 1031 Exchanges.

United Kingdom

THE U.K.’S FINTECH SECTOR IS WAITING NERVOUSLY FOR THE BREXIT OUTCOME (Newsweek), Rated: AAA

This week, one arm of the British government’s post-Brexit outreach strategy extends to Singapore. A mission organized by the Department for International Trade, one of two new bodies set up by Theresa May to handle the U.K.’s post-Brexit future, is heading to the Asian city-state, bringing in tow nine companies from Britain’s booming FinTech (financial technology) sector, as well as Simon Kirby, a Treasury minister.

The government is pitching it as a landmark event. But this is just the first round in a long fight.  Brexit could well mean an end to the free movement of people from Europe—something highly prized by talent-hungry technology businesses—and could threaten the “passporting” rights that allow British financial services businesses to ply their trade throughout the bloc. It has some work to do to keep the sector strong.

But now, like everybody else, FinTech businesses are waiting to find out what Brexit means for Britain. They do so with some trepidation: of 12 leading FinTech companies that Newsweek surveyed for this piece, all but one were concerned about the referendum vote’s impact on their business, and 10 rated the continuation of passporting rights as either vital or important for their future success.

Fintech Platform Revenues for Lending & Financing to Exceed $ 10bn by 2020 (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Juniper Research has found that Fintech platform revenues to support lending and financing are set to reach $10.5 billion globally by 2020, doubling the $5.2 billionexpected this year. The analyst house claimed that growth would be driven by a combination of factors including:

  • an acceleration in P2P (peer to peer) lending;
  • crowdfunding becoming a viable alternative to traditional lending mechanisms;
  • the deployment of next generation analytics platforms.

The new study, Fintech Futures: Market Disruption, Leading Innovators & Emerging Opportunities 2016-2021, argued that, in the absence of credit checking bureaus in emerging markets, applicants’ social media activity will be a deciding factor for their loan applications, with suppliers developing equivalents to credit scores so that lenders can gauge their risk exposure.

OFF3R Relaunches Alternative Asset Investment App with Majority of UK Platforms (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

OFF3R has relaunched its updated site that allows investors to access peer to peer lending, property / equity crowdfunding and managed investment platforms in a single application. The multi-channel platform was said to have received a “total overhaul” for both its desktop and mobile version.

OFF3R was initially focussed on the equity crowdfunding sector. The new marketplace will allow investors to sign up for free and subsequently discover 100’s of investment opportunities from some of the leading alternative investment platforms in the UK and Europe.

Lossmaking online wealth manager Nutmeg raises £30m (Financial Times), Rated: A

Nutmeg, the lossmaking online wealth manager, has raised £30m from international investors in a deal that underscores the belief that low-cost “robo-advisers” will reshape financial advice even though firms have had limited success so far.

The London-based company, which posted pre-tax lossesof £9m this year, has attracted £24m from Convoy, Hong Kong’s largest listed financial advisory firm, as well as £6m from its existing backers. Nutmeg said it was considering using the funds to expand into Asia.

The funding round is the largest in a UK fintech company since the country voted to leave the EU. It doubles the total investment in Nutmeg, which offers low-cost automated online advice and was launched in 2011.

Alternative investment ops gaining pace, OFF3R (IBS Intelligence), Rated: A

Equity crowdfunding platforms raised £216.25 million and P2P facilitated a combined lending of £2.6 billion over the last year, according to OFF3R research. The marketplace for alternative investments has launched an index outlining month-on-month performances of equity crowdfunding and P2P lending platforms. It analysed the likes of Seedrs, Crowdcube, Syndicate Room, Angels Den, Envestors and The House Crowd. The P2P lending platforms examined were Zopa, Landbay, RateSetter, ArchOver, Marketinvoice, Lending Works, Funding Circle and Thin Cats.

Sharia-compliant P2P lenders could enter market, banker reveals (Bridging & Commercial), Rated: A

Speaking to Bridging & Commercial, Maisam Fazal, head of commercial finance at Al Rayan Bank, admitted that there may be a gap in the market for alternative finance such as P2P lending.

“I know I have a lot of contacts working on [Sharia-compliant P2P] right now, trying to get this on the market.

Despite welcoming more firms to the Islamic finance market, Maisam suggested that rates as low as Al Rayan’s could make it off-putting for potential new entrants.

Finstar appoints CEO to oversee new fintech investment unit (Finextra), Rated: B

Private equity outfit Finstar Financial has appointed Mark Ruddock from Wonga to oversee a new corporate venture group that will look for opportunities in the fintech space.

Ruddock has been appointed as CEO of FinstarLabs, a special-purpose investment vehicle aimed at expanding the PE firm’s fintech portfolio.

European Union

EU Commission Puts Fintech Review on Agenda for 2017 (Fortune), Rated: AAA

The European Commission aims to propose recommendations for financial technology firms early next year, taking a first step towards assessing the risks and rewards presented by a sector that is shaking up traditional banking.

Announcing an internal task force meant to propose recommendations for the sector in the first half of next year, EU financial services commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis said technological innovation in finance was a development to be encouraged.

The Commission did not clarify whether fully-fledged regulation is on the cards, but some regulatory changes appear likely.

Vattenfall: Anna Borg Appointed Senior Vice President for Business Area Markets (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Anna Borg, currently Senior Vice President and head of Klarna’s commercial operations in the Nordics, has been appointed Senior Vice President of Vattenfall’s Business Area Markets. Anna Borg will be a member of Vattenfall’s Executive Group Management and report directly to President and CEO Magnus Hall. She will take up her new position 1 April, 2017.

During the past two years Anna Borg has headed Klarna’s, a leading European fin tech player, online buying and payment solutions business in the Nordics. Before that she spent 18 years at Vattenfall, holding numerous management positions, including heading the business development of the market and trading operations.

Manage your own property portfolio with Housers (The Olive Press), Rated: A

3. In what way is real estate crowdfunding and Housers different?
In regular real-estate investment, your money is invested in either one or a very few properties and you need large amounts to be able to participate in this market. Via Housers, everybody can participate in the real estate market for a minimum investment of just €50, and in up to as many properties as they like.

5. Why should people choose this way to invest?
It allows them to diversify their investment, thus reducing the risks. Because Housers manages the whole process, from purchase to lease to sale, the customer doesn’t have to worry about paperwork, tenants etc.

8. How do people make money?
Housers make money every month when dividends are paid, based on the rental income of each property; or, when the projected sales price is reached, they also share in the capital gains that the property has generated.

China

The Fintech Files: Will P2P Disrupt the Banks? (CFA Institute), Rated: A

Lu.com (陆金所) is one of the world’s largest players in the P2P market. Recently, I sat down with Gregory Gibb, CEO and chairman of Lu.com, in his office in Shanghai to discuss how the industry will evolve.

Is P2P a big enough market for financial institutions to enter?

They differ a lot by location. In the United States, the consumer market’s already been dominated by the banks. Lending Club and the like are eight or nine years into the business but still not very big.

If you go to places like India, Indonesia, or China, where . . . there’s a huge amount of consumer-borrowing need, there’s also a huge amount of retail investing need — and in the case of China, where the banks are 80%–90% non-retail because there are easier places to make money and it’s more socially rewarding to be a corporate banker than a retail banker — the market’s going to be big because the traditional players aren’t going to grab the consumer lending as fast. So the answer differs a lot in terms of scale in different countries.

Sounds like P2P can grow to be quite big in markets like China if it simply captures a slice of the pie.

The peer-to-peer market in China today is just north of USD$100 billion in loans outstanding. To say that the market will be a trillion US dollars within the next seven to 10 years is not a crazy number.

So why aren’t the banks going into P2P?

There is absolutely nothing stopping a bank from doing this. But why would a bank do P2P?

The funding cost is 1%, 2%, 3% on the deposit side and the credit card APR is 18%. Then they are making 15–16 points in gross margin. And if they went into a peer-to-peer model, they may have to give the investors 5% or 6%. So they’ve lost a couple hundred basis points of profit.

Fintech advances prompt lenders to become start up friendly (South China Morning Post), Rated: A

Finding the right partners with which to work and fostering an environment for fintech collaboration are posing challenges for lenders, as the relationship between big global banks and emerging financial technology companies shifts away from competition to more of collaboration.

Many large global banks in their current form are not easily compatible with agile and innovative financial technology start ups, due to their complex existing systems and legacy issues. Some managers responsible for working with fintech companies at financial institutions, speaking privately, bewailed their more senior colleagues’ inability to make the necessary changes to the way in which they operate.

“Most of the fintech companies are trying to sell their services to or partner with existing institutions,” said James Lloyd, fintech leader at EY. “But that does not mean that banks can forget the 5 per cent that are trying to compete with them,” he said.

It is for both this reason, and doubts about what their rivals might be doing, that banks are still concerned about fintech.

India

Here’s why India’s fintech sector could boom (Business Insider), Rated: A

The government made the surprise move in a bid to combat “black money,” or currency that is unaccounted for, and counterfeit currency. Consumers have until December 30 to exchange their R500 notes for new editions with enhanced security features, while limited numbers of new R2,000 ($39.70) notes have been issued. A replacement R1,000 note will be introduced in “due course,”

Asia

BI’s new ‘fintech office’ to ensure both innovation, security (The Jakarta Post), Rated: AAA

Bank Indonesia (BI) on Monday officially launched a financial technology (fintech) office to monitor the services offered by the young and thriving industry so as to ensure innovation continues and consumers simultaneously enjoy security.

BI governor Agus Martowardojo described the new office as an advisory hub for all fintech companies operating in Indonesia and as a facilitator to help the industry expand further and ensure greater financial inclusion in a country where half the population does not have access to banks.

As part of its office, BI plans to monitor the development of fintech companies through its regulatory sandbox, a sort of laboratory where ideas on innovation are shared between regulators and fintech players so they can be tested and evaluated with the central bank’s supervision before they go commercial.

B2B FinTech Startup MC Payment Grabs Funding (PYMNTS), Rated: B

Singapore-based B2B FinTech firm MC Payment announced a new funding round, as well as global expansion, late last week.

Reports Friday (Nov. 11) said MC Payment raised $3.5 million from an investment firm in Thailand, as well as participation from Aura Funds Management, tryb Capital and Perle Ventures. The funds have also allowed the company to enter the Thailand market, reports said.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Rocket Internet would like to see your business idea

great_2048x1152

Rocket Internet, the Berlin-based clone factory that made its name copying other people’s business ideas in new markets, is looking for Europe’s “most promising start-ups, scale-ups and tech for social impact companies” and would like to hear from you.

Continue reading: Rocket Internet would like to see your business idea

great_2048x1152

Rocket Internet, the Berlin-based clone factory that made its name copying other people’s business ideas in new markets, is looking for Europe’s “most promising start-ups, scale-ups and tech for social impact companies” and would like to hear from you.

Continue reading: Rocket Internet would like to see your business idea

Banks should hire McKinsey, says McKinsey

McKinsey & Co. has published a tome on the Death of Banks.

Well, they don’t actually say the end is nigh, but they do think the ranks of global mega-banks will shrink by at least half by the time the dust has settled:

Continue reading: Banks should hire McKinsey, says McKinsey

McKinsey & Co. has published a tome on the Death of Banks.

Well, they don’t actually say the end is nigh, but they do think the ranks of global mega-banks will shrink by at least half by the time the dust has settled:

Continue reading: Banks should hire McKinsey, says McKinsey

August 3rd 2016, Daily News Digest

August 3rd 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s news are focused on the monthly volume data published below. In the UK we see the 1st crowdfunding platforms slowdown in five years. And in China, we learn that P2P platforms, apparently, need to have a very tough to get bank relationship to continue doing business in 18 months. International July 2016 […]

August 3rd 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments

  • Today’s news are focused on the monthly volume data published below. In the UK we see the 1st crowdfunding platforms slowdown in five years. And in China, we learn that P2P platforms, apparently, need to have a very tough to get bank relationship to continue doing business in 18 months.

International

  • July 2016 volume numbers are in. We made a list of companies who stand out either for good growth or major decrease. Notice : we can not guarantee the accuracy of the volume numbers.

United States

United Kingdom

Australia

New Zealand

China

International

International P2P Lending Marketplaces – Loan Volumes July 2016, (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

P2P Banking publishes monthly volumes for p2p lenders.  Please note that the information is not guaranteed and P2P Banking has made relatively large mistakes in the past. Example: LendInvest in May 2016 was reported as a 80% decrease from April while as it was not the case.

For July 2016: Zopa leads ahead of Funding Circle and Ratesetter. Assetz Capital and Lendinvest achieved a big surge in volume. The total volume for the reported marketplaces adds up to 341 million Euro. I track the development of p2p lending volumes for many markets. Since I already have most of the data on file I can publish statistics on the monthly loan originations for selected p2p lending services.

Comments:

Negative stand out:

  • LandBay decreased 62% 
  • Folk2Folk 38% 
  • Kokos -90% 
  • ThinCats -37% 
  • Wellesley -33% 

Positive stand out:

  • Assetz Capital +460% , 13.9m EUR/month origination last month.
  • Funding Circle +1% vs same month last year.
  • LendInvest +14% vs last year’s month.
  • Mintos +523% vs last year’s month and last month volume of 6.9m EUR
  • MoneyThing +462% and last month volume of 3.6m EUR
  • Twino 7.2m EUR last month and huge growth

 

 

 

United States

National Charter May Be the Devil Marketplace Lenders Don’t Know, (Bloomberg BNA), Rated: A

For some online marketplace lenders, the devil they know might look better than the devil they don’t when it comes to proposals for federal bank regulators to issue national charters to financial technology companies.

The issue surfaced in March, when Amy Friend, senior counsel for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), said at a conference in Washington that the agency had fielded inquiries from fintech companies about obtaining a national charter tailored to their needs. Since then, the concept has come up repeatedly at industry conferences and elsewhere. At an OCC-sponsored event in Washington June 23, for example, Maryann Kennedy, deputy controller for large bank supervision, said the agency was forming a committee to examine the question.

A charter for a non-bank fintech company that provides financial services would be modeled to some degree on the charters the OCC issues to banks. A key feature of the bank charters that a marketplace lender potentially would value is “pre-emption:” A national charter would establish a single set of nationwide standards that a company would have to meet, overriding the necessity of complying with an array of state standards.

The danger in a national charter is that it would effectively represent the law of the land, with little or no room for maneuvering by the lenders.

Much of the testimony at the July 12 hearing involved a separate issue agitating marketplace lenders: whether federal regulators should continue to treat loans of $100,000 or less to small businesses — loans that make up the overwhelming majority of small-business borrowing — as business loans, or to treat them as consumer loans, which are subject to many more rules on disclosure and other factors.

The OCC has not disclosed what might be regulated by a national fintech charter, nor little else about its ongoing evaluation. The agency also has not said if it will decide to offer the charters, or when it might make that decision.

Negative interest rates creating increased anxiety, (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Sovereign bonds are supposed to be the safest investments in the world, but according to Bill Gross, one of the best-known investors in the world, sovereign bonds are now too risky:

[Begin quote]”Sovereign bond yields at record lows aren’t worth the risk and are therefore not top of my shopping list right now; it’s too risky. Low yields mean bonds are especially vulnerable because a small increase can bring a large decline in price.”[End quote]

This was supported by a release from Fitch Ratings:

[Begin quote]”This year’s dramatic fall in yields on bonds issued by investment grade sovereigns has again raised the risk that a sudden interest rate rise could impose large market losses on fixed-income investors around the world, Fitch Ratings says. A hypothetical rapid reversion of rates to 2011 levels for $37.7 trillion worth of investment-grade sovereign bonds could drive market losses of as much as $3.8 trillion, according to our analysis.”[End quote]

Most people look at the stock market, and think that everything is rosy, but there’s a lot going on that isn’t reflected in the stock market. In 2007, it was the collapse of the real estate bubble and, more importantly, the disastrous collapse of collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) backed by subprime mortgages. The disaster had already occurred before the stock market started falling.

Bloomberg columnist Lisa Abramowicz on TV on Wednesday commented on the warnings from Bill Gross and Fitch (my transcription):

[Begin quote]”There’s a high level of concern about how sustainable all of this is – when profits are declining, when you have growth slowing, when you have stimulus efforts that are not working and that are running out of steam — how long can this last? But at the same time, it’s very hard to see what could reverse it. The only thing that people possibly can point to is inflation, or if some country decides not to pay back their debt, or just forgive it, or come up with some kind of engineering that creates a technical problem.”[End quote]

According to Abramowitz’s contacts, the only thing that can stop the current plunge in bond yields is for some country to decide not to pay back their debt — essentially to declare sovereign bankruptcy. In other words, there’s a major financial crisis coming no matter what.

Medallion Financial Corp. Reports 2016 Second Quarter Results, (Business Wire), Rated: AAA

Medallion Bank anticipates entering into a new line of business developing relationships with marketplace lending platforms.

Consumer loans originated by Medallion Bank were stronger than expected. In June alone, nearly 2,500 loans were funded for over $45 million in volume
Medallion Bank’s six month’s earnings increased by 39%
Managed assets reached $1.760 billion, including $1.159 billion at Medallion Bank, both all-time highs

Man claims Marlette Funding LLC made harassing phone calls to collect alleged debt, (West Virginia Record), Rated: A

Jeffrey Warren filed a complaint on July 7 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia against Marlette Funding LLC alleging violation of the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and other counts.

The plaintiff requests a trial by jury and seeks compensation for all damages, costs of litigation, attorney’s fees and such other relief as the court shall deem just and proper. He is represented by Daniel Armstrong and Benjamin Sheridan of Klein & Sheridan LC in Hurricane.

Banks are rolling out personalized customer experiences, (Tradestreaming), Rated: A

Customer satisfaction with big banks has surpassed levels with midsize banks for the first time this year.
17 percent of large banks reported implementing contextual, personalized insights and solutions to consumers.

Considering the high cost, it isn’t surprising that big regional or national banks have the lead in this arena. 17 percent of big regional or national banks reported implementing contextual, personalized insights and solutions to consumers, compared to only six percent of community banks and 2 percent of credit unions, according to Digital Banking Report’s  The Power of Personalization in Banking. More than 50 percent of each category reported having a basic level of digital prowess with plans to increase future investments in digital.

There are some estimates of ROI on digitization of banking services. McKinsey identified several areas of digitization that drive more profitability than others. These areas include product back office automation, digitization of document management, automation of credit decisions, and big data analytics applied to sales campaigns.

What brokers lost by focusing so much on the desktop experience, ( TradeStreaming), Rated: A

Sticky products build engaged audiences.

That’s why Yahoo Finance continues to get a firehouse of traffic. For those of us who built our portfolios on the site ten or more years ago, that’s enough of a reason to go back. We’ve invested enough of our time and energy into the service that leaving it becomes difficult.

The thing is, as internet usage has shifted from desktop to mobile, so should trading volumes.

It isn’t enough for a broker to just recreate a web experience on mobile, either. Today’s users don’t want non-native apps. People want to feel that an app is trustworthy and vetted through the Apple Store. According to comScore, 87 percent of all time spent on mobile in the U.S. was spent in mobile apps.

United Kingdom

Brexit blamed for fall in crowdfunding deals, (FT), Rated: AAA

Crowdfunding platforms have experienced a slowdown in deal flow for the first time in five years, in a sign that “armchair investors” are taking a more cautious approach to alternative investments.
However, the number of investments offered online fell 17 per cent in the first half of 2016, compared with levels seen in the last half of 2015, according to research company Beauhurst. The fall follows 10 consecutive half years of growth in terms of the number of deals offered to investors.

Beauhurst’s head of research Pedro Madeira said the slowdown in crowdfunding was “particularly noteworthy”.

Beauhurst’s data also show that venture capital and private equity firms slowed investment into UK start-ups and high-growth companies in the same period.

Bruce Davis, spokesman for the UK Crowdfunding Association (UKCFA), the trade body of crowdfunding platforms, said the dip in deals offered was just “a pause”. The UKCFA said it was confident deal numbers would begin to grow again.

RateSetter to close 3-year market, (Alt Fi News), Rated: AAA

RateSetter says that demand for its 5 year product is the primary impetus behind the planned closure. The 3 year market has become less and less popular ever since the platform introduced its 5 year offering, and now accounts for less than 5 per cent of new investments. The company says that investors have voted “with their wallets” and that they clearly prefer to lend in the 5 year market. The 5 year market currently pays a rate of 5.7% per annum, with the 3 year sitting at 4.0%.

TISA launches P2P forum, (Mortgage Finance Gazette), Rated: A

The Tax Incentivised Savings Association (TISA), the trade association working with the retail financial services industry, has launched a peer-to-peer lending forum to enable those in the sector to develop policy recommendations for regulators and legislators, address operational challenges and determine best practice.

Initially the peer-to-peer forum will concentrate on four key areas:

-Building an effective dialogue with the FCA, HMRC and HM Treasury

-Developing standardised terminology, operational technology, data governance principles and best -practice

-Enhancing accessibility to the sector by improving the understanding of intermediaries, discretionary managers, consumers and related parties including PI insurers

-Identifying unintended regulatory and technical blockages – for example in relation to the inclusion of P2P within SIPPs – and proposing solutions

Fintech investor joins Fidelity’s venture push, (Financial News), Rated: A

A former fintech investor at Accel Partners, who was involved in high-profile investments in WorldRemit and Funding Circle, has joined the London-based proprietary investment arm of Fidelity International as it seeks to strengthen its European business.

GLI Finance Hires Two Senior Executives, (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

GLI Finance Limited (LSE:GLIF) has announced the hiring of two senior executives. Russell Harte has been appointed Chief Operating Officer and Steven Simpson has been selected as the Head of Group IT.

Harte is a Chartered Accountant with extensive general management experience. His recent roles have included being Finance Director of Liberty Holdings Limited, a JSE listed long-term insurer, where he played a key role in the turnaround of that business. Most recently he was CFO of Standard Bank Jersey Limited. Simpson is currently Head of IT at one of GLI’s subsidiaries Platform Black.  He has over 25 years of experience in the design, implementation and administration of secure and highly-available enterprise and web-based solutions for corporate customers across various sectors including finance and telecoms. Russell and Steven will join the senior management team. Russell will report to the Group CEO and Steven will report to Russell.

GLI has been going through a period of change as Whelan took over the Chief Executive role at the very beginning of 2016.

Australia

Disruptive partnership forms between two Australian platforms, (Alt Fi), Rated: A

ThinCats Australia has joined forces with DomaCom, a soon to list real estate equity investment platform.

The partnership will involve using ThinCats loans in order to gear properties on the DomaCom platform. This may be the first time that a peer-to-peer lending company and real estate equity investment platform have collaborated in this way.

The ThinCats partnership may also open up future investment opportunities for investors across the two platforms. Naoumidis said: “This also provides the 350 lenders on the ThinCats platform the opportunity to gain exposure to property assets and the ability to lend funds at an attractive interest rate with a lower risk profile.”

New Zealand

Profiling the typical ‘peer-to-peer’ investor, (Stuff), Rated: A

Investor Tom Enright was the first person to invest through LendMe, a peer-to-peer property lender.

He invested $542,000 by funding a fully-secured residential mortgage loan on an Auckland property, getting a 7.84 per cent return on his money.

There are four peer-to-peer businesses: LendMe  (direct secured property lending), Harmoney  (unsecured personal loans), Squirrel Money (diversified secured property lending), and Lending Crowd (focus on secured car lending). Harmoney is by far the biggest peer-to-peer lender with $275m of loans made.

Figures from Harmoney  show most peer-to-peer lenders are 50 or under, with 41 being the average age.

REASONS TO BE A PEER-TO-PEER INVESTOR

Harmoney says people invest in peer-to-peer because:

– They are looking for an investment that could offer regular repayments over time. This includes people trying to generate income to live off

– They are spreading risk by putting a percentage of their portfolios into consumer lending.

– They understand they are taking the risk of a loan defaulting, but believe the risk is manageable and the return fair.

– They enjoy the process of lending.

China

Failing Grade: Many Chinese P2P Lenders Do Not Meet Government Requirements, (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

According to ECNS, the majority of P2P platforms have not yet established a relationship with a bank as a fund depository agent. Even though 149 P2P sites had signed agreements with banks “few had materialized.” Overall only 48 P2P lenders or just 2% of these online lenders have qualified, according to  Shanghai Ying Can Investment consulting.  These 48 platforms were some of the largest platforms in the country. These same platforms are poised to benefit by the additional regulatory scrutiny as undercapitalized and poorly managed P2P lenders may leave the market.

Chinese regulators are allowing a transitional period of 18 months for P2P lenders to adopt the new requirements. It will be interesting to see what happens after that.

P2P Finance in China: Why Firms Need Better Risk Controls, (Knowledge @ Wharton, UPenn), Rated: AAA

Since 2015, many P2P platforms including Ezubao, the Dada Group, the Kuailu Group, the Zhongjin Group and others have been charged with illegal fundraising, involving tens of billions of yuan. This is not confined to China. In May, the U.S. Treasury Department released a report criticizing the peer-to-peer (P2P) lending business and recommended it be more tightly regulated.

According to the industry website WDZJ.com, China’s P2P online finance industry reached 2.036 trillion yuan (about $300 billion in transaction volumes) by the end of May 2016. It took seven years to reach its first trillion yuan and just seven months to reach the second trillion.

Take the Lending Club in the U.S., for example. It originally hoped to evaluate personal risk based on data extracted from Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms. That is in America, which has much more sophisticated credit investigation and personal data systems than in China. So you can imagine a large amount of P2P business based on personal credit in China will meet trouble in operation if there is no appropriate risk control system in place.

“There is one feature of the finance industry — the one that grows the fastest, will also collapse the fastest.”

Author:

George Popescu