Thursday June 7 2018, Daily News Digest

Lending Tree Purchase APR by Month

News Comments Today’s main news: Circle seeks a banking license. Revolut has 2M users. Ping An looks beyond insurance. TransferWise partners with first big bank. Today’s main analysis: How microfinance is navigating the fintech revolution in Africa. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Where retail credit, charge cards are used the most. The case for a VRP strategy. A different type of Know Your […]

Lending Tree Purchase APR by Month

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United States

Crypto Unicorn Circle Aims to Expand Into Regulated Banking (Bloomberg) Rated: A

Circle Internet Financial Ltd., one of the world’s most valuablecryptocurrency platforms, is looking to make a big leap into the highly regulated realm of U.S. banks and brokerages.

The venture, partly backed by Goldman Sachs Group Inc., plans to seek a federal banking license to provide more services to customers. It also intends to pursue registration as a brokerage and trading venue with the Securities and Exchange Commission, so it can help investors buy and sell tokens deemed to be securities.

LendingTree Releases Monthly Mortgage Offer Report for May (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

LendingTree today released its monthly Mortgage Offers Report which analyzes data from actual loan terms offered to borrowers on LendingTree.com by lenders on LendingTree’s network. The purpose of the report is to empower consumers by providing additional information on how their credit profile affects their loan prospects.

Source: PRNewsfoto/LendingTree
  • May’s best rate offers for borrowers with the best credit profiles had an average APR of 4.35% for conforming 30-year fixed purchase loans, up from 4.26% in April.
  • Refinance loan offers for borrowers with the best profiles were up 12 bps to 4.35%.
  • For the average borrower, purchase APRs for conforming 30-yr fixed loans offered on LendingTree’s platform were up 10 bps to 5.02%. The loan note rate of 4.91% was also up 10 bps.

CompareCards Study Reveals Which Places Use the Most Retail Credit and Charge Cards (Benzinga) Rated: AAA

CompareCards by LendingTree today released the findings of its study on the places that use the most retail credit and charge cards. The study found that some metro areas are home to heavy users of retail cards while other locations have a population who use retail cards more sparingly.

Nationally, 61.3 percent of credit card owners have at least one retail card. Of those who have at least one retail card, 30.4 percent carry a balance on a retail card, representing 11.4 percent of outstanding balances. The average balance on a retail card in the U.S. is $2,699.

Highlights from the report:

  • Residents of McAllen, Texas are by far the highest users of retail credit and charge cards. The metro earned a final score of 87.2 and ranked first in these categories:
    • The number of people who have retail cards (72%)
    • The number of retail card owners who carry a balance on their retail cards (45%)
    • And the percentage of credit card debt carried on a retail card (17%)
  • People in Charleston, S.C. have this retail card claim to fame: They carry the highest balances on their retail cards among all 100 metros, with an average balance of $4,026and a median balance of $1,746. Meanwhile, Albany, N.Y. had the lowest average balance ($2,420).
  • Honolulu has the lowest retail card usage, with a final score of 9.4. Although it didn’t rank last in any individual category, it ranked extremely low in all.
Source: Benzinga and CompareCards

AQR MAKES THE CASE FOR A VRP STRATEGY (all About Alpha) Rated: AAA

AQR Capital Management, the Greenwich, CT-based global investment firm, has posted a new discussion of thevolatility risk premium and of the advantages of strategies based thereon.

In principle the premium would disappear if markets efficiently estimated the probability of significant losses. But it remains, because investors are risk averse and tend to overestimate the probability of substantial losses.

QR models an investor who was hypothetically long the S&P 500 from 1996 to 2016, while hedging his position with a continuously rolled one-month 5% out-of-the-money put. The hedged strategy will in fact lessen portfolio volatility as measured against simply being long in the S&P without the hedge. Vol falls from 16.1% in the latter case to 14.7% in the former.

But, as noted, this risk aversion comes at a hefty cost. Average portfolio returns decline from 5.1% to just 1.8%.

Unchained Capital Raises $ 3M To Lend Fiat To HODLers (Crunchbase News) Rated: A

Austin-based crypto-finance startup Unchained Capital has raised nearly $3 million in seed funding. Unchained’s first product is a crypto asset-backed loan, which is like borrowing against one’s home—except the company lends against digital assets such as bitcoin and ethereum.

The round includes $2.4 million in new capital and $595,000 of SAFE notes converting.

Court upholds sanctions against lawyers, KC firm in payday case (Kansas City Business Journal) Rated: A

A federal appeals court upheld $150,000 in sanctions levied against Stephen Sixand Austin Moore of Stueve Siegel Hanson LLP in Kansas City, Darren Kaplan of the Darren Kaplan Law Firm PC in New York, and their respective law firms.

The plaintiff filed a class-action lawsuit that wasn’t against the online payday lending companies themselves, but against four nonlender financial institutions — Generations Federal Credit Union, BMO Harris Bank, Four Oaks Bank & Trust Co. and Bay Cities Bank — that processed the debit transactions and were paid fees.

LoanNow Reviews: Beware Personal Loan Offers With Sky-High APRs (Student Loan Hero) Rated: A

That’s where online lender LoanNow comes in. LoanNow reviews your application even if you don’t have strong credit.

Here are the ranges for APRs and repayment terms in the six states that LoanNow operates in as of June 6, 2018. Double-check the LoanNow website for the latest rates.

State Loan amount APR Repayment term
Alabama $2,500 – $5,000 29.00% – 229.00% 12 – 48 months
California $2,500 – $5,000 29.00% – 229.00% 12 – 48 months
Georgia $3,100 – $5,000 29.00% – 59.00% 12 – 48 months
Missouri $1,000 – $2,500 29.00% – 299.00% 9 – 24 months
New Mexico $2,600 – $5,000 29.00% – 229.00% 12 – 48 months
Utah $1,000 – $2,500 29.00% – 299.00% 9 – 24 months

Startup Aims to Disrupt High-Interest Payday Lending With Blockchain (Thirty K) Rated: A

Meje Tuyo thinks the payday loan industry is ripe for disruption and he wants to do it using blockchain technology. Specifically, Tuyo wants to deliver more equitable access to loans through Owo, a startup venture set to debut this fall. The company’s name means “money” in the West African language of Yoruba.

Tuyo, a native of Nigeria, is looking to, at first, address the challenges of African Americans, a population that relies more on payday loans than other groups. Another study from the Pew Charitable Trusts from 2012 found that 12 percent of African-Americans had taken out payday loans, compared with 4 percent of whites and 6 percent of Hispanics.

The company plans to launch an app called Pazimawhich will allow consumers to request loans that will be automatically repaid when they receive their paychecks.

Renovate America Named “Esoteric ABS Issuer of the Year” (PR Newswire) Rated: B

Renovate America, a leading provider of home improvement financing, has been recognized as “Esoteric ABS Issuer of the Year” in the 2018 U.S. Securitization Awards announced by GlobalCapitalmagazine. The award recognizes Renovate America’s position as a leader in the esoteric ABS market, which includes not only PACE, but also equipment leasing, containers, marketplace lending, whole business, solar, and cell tower deals, to name a handful.

Sallie Krawcheck thought she hated banking (Business Insider) Rated: A

  • Sallie Krawcheck spent years as a Wall Street exec, commonly called “the most powerful woman on Wall Street.”
  • But when she got her first investment banking job in her early 20s, she hated it, and even went back to business school to transition into her dream jobs in media.
  • It wasn’t until she asked herself what she loved about media that she could find in banking that she found a place in equity research, which launched her into a series of executive roles on Wall Street.

David Mitchell Joins White Oak Business Capital as Senior Vice President and Senior Business Development Officer (Globe Newswire) Rated: B

White Oak Business Capital, Inc. (“WOBC” or White Oak), an affiliate of White Oak Global Advisors, LLC, today announced the appointment of David Mitchell to the role of Senior Vice President and Senior Business Development Officer, responsible for expanding business in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic markets.

United Kingdom

UK fintech start-up Revolut reaches 2 million users (The Telegraph) Rated: AAA

London fintech start-up Revolut has announced that it has grown to 2m users following its launch in 2013.

Revolut said that it has now signed up 2m customers in Europe ahead of plans to launch in the US this year. Customers have also made over 100m transactions, the company said, with a monthly transaction volume of $2bn (£1.4bn).

Going tribal: A different type of ‘know your customer’ (Mortgage Finance Gazette) Rated: AAA

The fintech industry is coming of age. Global investments in the sector have grown from $20 billion in 2014 to $39 billion in 2017, according to Fintech Global. Fintechs like Transferwise, Nutmeg, Revolut, Starling Bank and Funding Circle in the UK have grown rapidly over the last five years. A large reason for this success is attributable to the way fintechs are able to develop deep relationships with their customers who rally around them in an almost tribe-like manner. Successful firms manage to convert isolated customers into communities and finally highly engaged ‘tribes’.

Fintechs that have successfully demonstrated that they can generate a sense of community within their customer base share the following six characteristics.

  1. Transparency-or at least the perception of it – is a great way to build trust and attract younger customers. Transferwise publishes its rate card in full on its website for instance.
  2. Reachability-In general, fintechs are much more in tune with what their customers want to be developed next. Revolut got this formula right from the start – this has helped them to grow to a $1.7 billion company in just 33 months.
  3. A sense of purpose-A large part of fintechs’ success in tribe-building is their ability to generate the sense of a greater purpose. Fintechs are typically focussed on achieving a specific goal which on its own, is mundane and something on the lines of – ‘help you transfer money cheaply’. However, this mundane goal is transformed into a grandiose vision when put into the intended context— ‘transfer money cheaply and beat the big banks at their game’. An origin story is the final touch required to transform this vision into a sense of purpose for the community – ‘transfer money cheaply, beat big banks and be a part of something meaningful’.

The growing popularity of bridging loans for investors (Property Week) Rated: A

This trend has only been exacerbated by Brexit as the ongoing uncertainty around Britain’s exit from the EU leaves borrowers, banks and new lenders without a clear picture of the next few years.

In light of this, bridging loans are increasingly popular as a short-term solution for investors and a way for high-net-worth individuals to see a return on capital.

Although the recent rise of bridging loans is associated with specialist lenders, particularly in the commercial space offering non-FCA regulated loans, the product originated as an option for property buyers to bridge a gap between exchanging contracts and completion of a sale where you needed to purchase a property in the interim but did not have the capital.

China

Chinese Giant Ping An Looks Beyond Insurance To A Fintech Future (Forbes) Rated: AAA

Global 2000 list — look beyond the stodgy insurance business and into the realm of high technology, whose tentacles reach into every aspect of commerce in China and eventually show up in the mobile handsets of Chinese consumers.

European Union

Klarna at Money 20/20: Banks are obsessed with themselves (Bobs Guide) Rated: A

In a presentation entitled ‘Banking on the CX factor’, Klarna CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski spoke to a packed crowd under The Big Top at Money 20/20 EU, Amsterdam, today, taking the opportunity to open fire on the banks.

The audience heard insight from Klarna on customer experience, including the fact that, according to the Happiness Index, consumers are more stressed and unhappy than ever before.

Auto1 Joins Deutsche Bank, Allianz in Fintech Car Financing Push (Bloomberg) Rated: A

Auto1 Group GmbH is partnering with Deutsche Bank AG and Allianz SE as the German startup expands into fintech to ease financing for customers buying its used cars.

The three partners together own more than 50 percent in a new company called Auto1 Fintech, that will offer refinancing loans and insurance products to car dealerships buying SoftBank Group Corp.-backed Auto1’s vehicles, co-Chief Executive Officer Hakan Koc said Wednesday in an interview.

International

TransferWise just partnered with its first big bank (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

UK-based cross-border money transfer company TransferWise has announced a partnership with France’s second-largest bank, BPCE Groupe, that will take effect at the beginning of 2019. Under the partnership, TransferWise will provide international money transfer services for BPCE Groupe’s customers, enabling them to send money in different currencies with TransferWise’s low standard fees.

Source: Business Insider

StartUp Nation Ventures Announces the Israel-Florida Innovation Alliance’s First Call for Proposals (PR Newswire) Rated: A

StartUp Nation Ventures (“SUNV”) in partnership with the Israel Innovation Authority (“IIA”) is proud to announce the initial Call for Proposals through the Israel-Florida Innovation Alliance (“Innovation Alliance”).

The Innovation Alliance was created to support Israeli innovation companies in the discovery and selection of Florida as their destination to establish U.S. headquarters—a gateway for expansion into the U.S., and Latin America markets.

The joint collaboration between SUNV and the IIA establishes a scalable platform to support Israeli companies that have proven the feasibility of their technologies and have a minimal viable product or working prototypes for the U.S and Latin America markets in the following areas:

  • Financial Technologies (FinTech), Blockchain, Cybersecurity, Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality (AR/VR) Entertainment, Cryptocurrency, Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs); and
  • Tech Innovation related to smart contracts, supply chain, asset verification, certification, identity, health and financial transactions, digital and mobile payments; capital markets & investing, banking & corporate finance, financial platforms, crowdfunding & peer-to-peer lending, and personal financial management.

How Fintech Is Disrupting the Personal Loans Market (The Market Mogul) Rated: A

Lending has experienced one of the biggest changes in the traditional banking marketplace with financial technology startups, or simply, fintechs, introducing disruptive products to consumers. Peer-to-peer lending platforms have been at the forefront in this space, but recent developments suggest more could be about to unfold over the coming years.

Startup lending companies have managed to gain a substantial chunk of the market over the last few years. According to credit analysts, this growth has been driven by personal loans. In a report published by TransUnion late last year, it was established that fintechs continue to disrupt the personal loans market at an alarming rate. In the report titled Fact versus Fiction, the TransUnion study found that fintechs have grown from a mere 1% of personal loan originations in 2010 to one-third of the entire personal loan market in 2017.

The 32% market share for fintechs in the personal loans market was more than the 29% for banks, 24% for credit unions, and 15% for traditional finance. This clearly shows that fintechs are on the path to dominate the entire lending market if the momentum can be maintained.

Here’s why robo-advisors won’t replace human financial advisors (CNBC) Rated: A

Robo-advisors give retail investors access to automated investment strategies, creating portfolios and coming up with an asset allocation that’s based on client data points, including time horizon and risk tolerance.

As convenient as it may be, this technology doesn’t make human financial advisors obsolete, said Joe Duran, founder and CEO of United Capital.

That’s because robo-advisors fail to account for the complexity of financial planning, he says.

Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance Launches Global Research (Crowdfund insider) Rated: B

Having now tracked alternative finance for five years, and from this relatively short perspective, the Centre has noted an emerging industry that has progressed quickly. Where once there were only handful of early adopters and innovators in a given country, they now see an “altfin” landscape that is growing rapidly, with an exponential number of new platforms driving competition and introducing new products.

In many regions (the EU, UK, USA) the Centre is also seeing their first cases of consolidation, but with continued diversification of products and services to customers.

Africa

MICROFINANCE PAPER WRAP-UP: “How Microfinance is Navigating the Fintech Revolution in Africa” (MicroCapital) Rated: AAA

We are also looking to provide insight for microfinance stakeholders into how MFIs can leverage Fintech solutions to remain competitive in the rapidly changing financial landscape in Africa. While it is still too early to present a definitive response to the opportunities and challenges of Fintech, we are
convinced that MFIs will need to adapt to succeed in this increasingly dynamic microfinancing environment in Africa.

Source: Triple Jump

Fintech is considered more as an enabler than as a disruptor.

  • The MFIs surveyed perceived Fintech more as an opportunity than as a threat to their business (see graph 3: 88% consider it as a (very) great opportunity, while only 35% see a moderate to high threat).
Source: Triple Jump
  • Few MFIs foresee increasing competition in the future from Fintech-based (B2C) companies. This is explained by the fact that most digital lenders enter relatively easy markets with a target audience that is tech savvy, literate and more urban and where data and technical infrastructure are already available. But to access more informal and rural client segments effectively, these Fintech players face a number of challenges, such as client acquisition, initial high write-offs and limited profitability.

Read the paper in full here.

Asia

The Trillion-Dollar Investment Trend You’ve Never Heard Of And How You Can Be A Part Of It (Indonesia Expat) Rated: AAA

You can support Indonesian micro businesses and help them grow and thrive by investing in their loans. A leading, Indonesia-based peer-to-peer lending platform lets you do just that in just a few simple steps. Mekar (PT Mekar Investama Sampoerna) connects you, the investors (also called ‘funders’ in Mekar) from all over the world, with micro businesses in many provinces in Indonesia that are in need of funding.

About 99% of the micro businesses that are seeking loans in Mekar are run by women. Loans in Mekar range from around Rp 2 million (US$ 140) to Rp 8 million. For the last couple of years 99.5% of these borrowers have repaid on time.

Source: Indonesia Expat

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday June 6 2018, Daily News Digest

Marcus future plans

News Comments Today’s main news: N26 reaches 1 million customers. Prospa postpones float. Transferwise could be working with Monzo. Ant Financial shifts away from finance. Goldman Sachs backs Marqeta. BlueVine raises $60M. Today’s main analysis: Capitalists invest in Chinese companies. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Goldman shares its vision for Marcus. 10x Banking founder discusses the future of fintech. Indonesia’s looming digital disruption. United […]

Marcus future plans

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United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

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United States

Goldman Sachs backs card issuing, processing startup Marqeta (Reuters) Rated: AAA

Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) has joined a $45 million investment round in Marqeta, a U.S. fintech company offering technology businesses can use to issue payment cards, the startup said on Tuesday.

The round, which brings Marqeta’s total funding raised to $116 million, was led by venture capital firm ICONIQ Capital, according to a statement from the companies. Marqeta is also backed by Visa Inc (V.N).

Goldman Sachs Shares Their Vision for the Future of the Marcus Platform (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

Source: Lend Academy

In the presentation Solomon did not address everything on this slide directly but much of it is self-explanatory. First, Goldman is breaking down their vision for their consumer platform into four key areas: Borrow, Spend, Save, Protect with 12 separate products listed. It is also interesting that Clarity Money is front and center on this slide. They clearly view the personal financial management app as a critical piece of the puzzle.

Let’s look at the future products in the Borrow space beyond personal loans:

  1. Credit Cards – we have already heard about their deal with Apple but there will likely be a Marcus branded credit card at some point.
  2. Mortgage – This is a huge market and one that still has plenty of room for disruption. While it won’t be easy to displace the banks or large non-bank lenders like Quicken Loans and loanDepot there is a huge market to go after.
  3. Auto – Another big market with no clear fintech leader. The banks still dominate auto lending, particularly for new cars. LendingClub has started in the auto space focused on auto refinancing and I expect that will be the area Marcus would go to first.

When disaster strikes, digital banking can become a lifeline (American Banker) Rated: A

As chief information and digital officer at Popular Inc., Burckhart’s role is mostly in the office and boardroom. But in the aftermath of the Category 4 storm, she and her team spent days in the field, figuring out how to get banking services to those who needed them.

Their efforts cannot be overstated, since the company occupies a key role in the island’s economy: Its Banco Popular claims to have 56% of the deposits in Puerto Rico and 49% of the net loans, as of year-end.

A week after Hurricane Maria, despite islandwide communication and electrical outages, Popular had 53 of 168 branches and 150 of 635 ATMs in service, as well as all digital channels.

Digital Banker of the Year: Fifth Third’s Tim Spence (American Banker) Rated: A

Last year, Spence oversaw the configuration of so-called Agile teams to work on Fifth Third’s online banking channels and mobile apps. This resulted in a revamped bill pay experience, along with the addition of online branch appointment scheduling and the ability to withdraw cash at ATMs using the bank’s mobile app. In months, it was also able to launch Zelle peer-to-peer payments and Momentum, a proprietary app that helps millennials pay off student loans faster through micro payments from rounding up purchases.

The plumber to US fintechs branches out (Financial Times) Rated: A

Apex Clearing helps to power leading fintech firms like Robinhood, Betterment and Stash, acting as the plumbing and operating in the background; as these digital platforms begin to slow their growth Apex has started to look beyond the startups for bigger clients; Bill Capuzzi, CEO of Apex Clearing, says there is more than $500bn of addressable market with larger firms who want to digitize; the effort is not easy as some traditional players still use fax machine technology; making progress slow but firms know they need to digitize and Apex is hoping to take a big share of those making the shift.

The Woz: Blockchain might be a bubble, but it’s on the right track (AltFi News) Rated: A

The ‘Woz’ also offered thoughts on digital banking and artificial intelligence.

He said that online banks ‘just aren’t as secure’ as their incumbent rivals, referencing a time that his own crypto-currency holdings, or a portion of them, were stolen from a digital bank.

Real Estate Startup FlyHomes Raises $ 17m in Series A Funding (Finsmes) Rated: A

FlyHomes, a Seattle, WA-based real estate startup, raised $17m in Series A funding.

The round was led by Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from Mark Vadon and Shasta Ventures, among others.

The company intends to use the funds to increase deployment of its Cash Offers program, accelerate hiring, invest in further product development, and drive new market expansion in Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago and Boston.

IDology Study Reveals Consumer Insights on Digital Identity Fraud (IDology) Rated: B

Key consumer behavior trends and other major findings identified in the IDology Consumer Digital Identity Studyinclude:

  • Fraud concerns are impacting consumer choices online, with 83 percent surveyed having extreme to moderate concern that their identities will be used to fraudulently open accounts.
  • Consumers view biometrics, knowledge-based authentication and one-time passcodes as the most secure methods of authentication. Overall, 90 percent of consumers are comfortable answering knowledge-based authentication questions to verify their identities but prefer demographic-based questions over credit-based questions two to one.
  • Fifty-six percent of consumers report that they are more likely to choose a financial institution if they know it offers advanced identity verification methods.
  • When opening an account online, consumers place a premium on security (88 percent) and ease (72 percent), with 31 percent reporting they have abandoned signing up because it was too difficult or took too long. This reveals that more than ever, consumers are looking to do business with companies and financial institutions that have minimal friction as part of their overall service experience, along with assurance that their transactions and identities are secure.

Despite worries, America’s small business owners bullish on economy (Bankless Times) Rated: A

According to the survey, 53 per cent and 52 per cent respectively of small business owners named (1) the cost of providing health insurance for employees and (2) the effect of changes in the new tax law as key business considerations. What’s more, 35 per cent of respondents report the new tax plan has already caused them to make changes in their business, with 10 per cent reporting that they are actively investing in new equipment or staffing.

Cross River Hires Veteran Banker To Lead SBA Loan Practice (PR Newswire) Rated: B

Cross River, a leader in the emerging Fintech industry, has hired Kevin Gallagher, an accomplished small business lending specialist, to head its Small Business Administration loan division.

Gallagher joins Cross River from Empire State CDC: The 504 Company, where he led business development efforts around various SBA loan products and community lending products. Prior to that, he served as national sales director for SBA-related programs at Customers Bank and Citibank.

United Kingdom

TransferWise’s next partnership could be with U.K. challenger bank Monzo (Tech Crunch) Rated: AAA

According to sources, the international money transfer service and European unicorn is working with the fast-growing U.K. challenger bank Monzo.

The tie-in will likely see TransferWise functionality offered within Monzo’s mobile banking app, courtesy of the TransferWise API. It will give Monzo’s 700,000 customers the ability to send money in various supported currencies at the ‘mid market’ rate in addition to TransferWise’s low and transparent fees.

A partnership with U.K. challenger bank Starling was also announced last year, but integration with the bank’s app never materialised and TechCrunch learned last week that the partnership has now dissolved entirely. That is particularly noteworthy given that Monzo and Starling are direct competitors with an interesting shared history, shall we say.

10x Banking Founder on Why FinTech Is the Future (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

Sphonic to partner with Paysafe on digital wallet services (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

DATA and risk management specialist Sphonic has been chosen to provide digital wallet services to global payments provider Paysafe Group.

Sphonic, which works with peer-to-peer lenders including Funding Circle and Zopa, supplies data networking services.

These include customer on-boarding, anti-money laundering, know your customer, fraud detection and monitoring as well as authentication.

Automated financial advisor Multiply raises £1.75 million (Finextra) Rated: A

Multiply, the UK’s first fully-automated independent financial advice service, has secured investments totaling £1.75 million, led by Octopus Ventures.

Octopus Ventures, the early stage investor, invested £1 million, and was joined by Portag3 Ventures LP and Entrepreneur First to support Multiply’s development and roll-out of their beta consumer facing product. Angel investors include Nick Hungerford, former CEO of Nutmeg, Taavet Hinrikus, CEO and co-founder of TransferWise, Peter Rading, Michael Orland and Toby Moore.

China

Ant Financial is shifting its focus from finance to tech services (CNBC) Rated: AAA

Ant Financial Services, the dominant Chinese fintech company, is shifting its main focus to technology services and away from payments and consumer finance as Beijing’s crackdown on financial risk deepens, four sources with knowledge of the matter said.

But in five years, technology services will make up 65 percent of Ant Financial’s revenue, compared with an estimated 34 percent in 2017, according to confidential company projections viewed by Reuters. That would involve helping banks and other institutions with services like online risk management and fraud prevention.

Mao is Laughing: Capitalists Pour Money into Chinese Companies (Nasdaq) Rated: AAA

Over the past week, two private Chinese technology unicorns, Xiaohongshu (“Little Red Book”) and Sensetime, announced that they had raised nearly $1 billion, adding to the ranks of large Chinese enterprises thinking about going public. Another Chinese company is scheduled to IPO in June, 3 recently selected bankers (a key step for launching an IPO) and 11 have already gone public for a total of 15 year to date, compared to 15 in all of 2017.

Year to date, the 11 Chinese companies are up 39%, compared to only 3% for last year’s vintage. HUYA, a leading live streaming platform for video games, is up 147% since its May 10, 2018 IPO, followed by another video streamer, IQIYI, up 62%. Last year’s big winner was tiny filter maker Newater, up 177%, followed by online lender Lexin Fintech, up 73%, while more than half of its 2017 comrades are under water.

China’s fintech startup Caogen Touzi secures $ 358m Series D round (Deal Street Asia) Rated: A

Hangzhou-based fintech platform Caogen Touzi has closed an RMB 2.3 billion ($357.8 million) Series D round led by Shanghai-listed Geo-Jade Petroleum, a property development and oil and gas firm, and other investors.

In a security filing, Geo-Jade Petroleum said it will invest no more than RMB 500 million ($78 million) in Caogen Touzi.

Caogen Touzi told Kr36 that the firm will focus on tapping the rural finance market in the future and use the funds for business development.

Fintech Company Pintec Raises $ 103M in Equity Funding (Finsmes) Rated: A

Pintec, a Beijing, China-baased independent technology platform enabling financial services, raised US$103m in financing.

The round was led by Mandra Capital and SINA Corp., with participation from STI Financial Group, Shunwei Capital Partners and ZHONG Capital Holding Group, among others.

The company intends to use the funds to increase investment in R&D, traffic integration, risk management and operations.

European Union

N26 passes million customer milestone (Finextra) Rated: AAA

We are very excited to announce that N26, that’s us, now has over a million customers.

To celebrate we put together a look at how customers help us transact €1 billion a month. Before continuing though, we’d like to mention that while we do look at aggregated data, we never look at individual data unless explicitly asked to do so.

ING pushes for open banking with SME financing platform and Yolt expansion (Fintech Futures) Rated: AAA

ING is launching a marketplace for SME financing in the Netherlands, which will open to other external financing providers, becoming the first Dutch bank in doing so.ING is keen to maximise the possibilities of open banking and is working with Yolt and Funding Options on bringing new features to customers across Europe.

ING is also expanding its money management capabilities offered to consumers with the launch of Yolt in France and Italy.

Fintech Company FinCompare Raises €10M in Series A Funding (Finsmes) Rated: A

FinCompare, a Berlin, Germany-based fintech company, raised €10m in Series A funding.

The round was led by ING Ventures with participation from Speedinvest and Uniaq Ventures.

The company intends to use the funds for the expansion of the team, investment in IT and further growth.

Challenger bank Banco BNI Europa selects Alterestfor effortless loan data management (Banco BNI Europa Email) Rated: B

Banco BNI Europa and Alterest, an innovative loan data and intelligence platform, publicly announced today their partnership to streamline investment analytics and risk management between the bank and its credit originating partners. Initiated in Oct, 2017, the partnership comprised of data-feeds integration with tech-enabled lending platforms, implementation of a reconciliation process between operations and nostro accounts, and configuration of an IFRS9-compliant impairment calculation model.

Euro MPLs growing, but securitization a ways off (GlobalCapital) Rated: A

The marketplace lending sector in Europe is growing, with a sharp focus on the small to medium sized enterprise segment, but it is still lagging UK and the US markets and lenders will need to ramp up scale and educate investors before a meaningful pipeline of securitization can build

A panel on focused on European marketplace lenders on day one highlighted the risks and the challenges facing the sector. Speakers hit on some well tread talking points, such as the availability of data on underlying loan portfolios and the lack of performance history.

International

FusionFabric.cloud platform changes the way software is developed, deployed and consumed in the financial world (Finastra) Rated: A

Finastra announced the availability of the three core components within its FusionFabric.cloud platformfor open innovation:

  • FusionCreator – A rapid development environment for financial applications with low-code capabilities and integrated API management tools
  • FusionOperate – A management system to deploy and operate applications in a secure cloud infrastructure
  • FusionStore – An online marketplace for banks to search, try and buy applications

FusionFabric.cloud already has over 60 Fintechs and providers signed up.

The AI and robo-advice questions you should be asking (Professional Adviser) Rated: A

Automated advice, robo-adviser, machine learning, AI-enabled expert advice, robo-advice digital journey, hybrid machine/adviser solution … in a very short space of time the advisory sector has coined a significant amount of terminology for robo-advice.

Being properly informed about these issues and asking the right questions of a provider can make an enormous difference in levels of investment.

Australia

Prospa float postponed as ASIC queries small business loan terms (Australian Financial Review) Rated: AAA

Small business lender Prospa says it has taken a conservative approach in delaying its $576 million ASX float by two days, in order to respond to renewed concerns from the corporate regulator that its standard form contracts may contain unfair clauses in breach of consumer laws.

New build financing gap boosts Southern Cross (Good Returns) Rated: AAA

Peer to peer lender Southern Cross Partners has seen an increase in investor demand as first time buyers struggle to finance new-build properties.

The lender says it experienced a 10-20% increase in investor demand last year amid a lack of available funding for the construction and sale of new homes.

Mortgage group’s “mortgage hell” billboard above CBA (Australian Broker) Rated: A

Online mortgage startup HashChing is advertising with a billboard above a Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) branch.

The home loan marketplace has launched a campaign against the big banks, which includes this billboard in the Melbourne CBD. The slogan reads, “Our brokers will go to mortgage hell, so you don’t have to”.

MENA

Israeli fintech co BlueVine Raises $ 60m (Globes) Rated: AAA

Israeli alternative business lending company BlueVine today announced that it has closed $60 million iSeries E financing round led by Menlo Ventures, and including new investors, such as SVB Capital. All major existing investors also participated. Including this financing round, the company has raised $533 million to date including $128 million in equity financing and $405 million in debt financing. This latter figure included $200 million raised from Credit Suisse two months ago.

The new financing will support BlueVine’s plan to expand its highly-successful invoice factoring and business line of credit products, and to explore new products catering to small and medium-sized businesses. BlueVine also plans to use the funding to accelerate R&D hiring.

Asia

Indonesia’s coming digital disruption (The Business Times) Rated: AAA

INDONESIA’S digital economy is set to boom, helping its overall economy expand from US$1 trillion in 2017 to US$2.7 trillion by 2027.

Over the next 10 years, we expect online retail in Indonesia to increase 14-fold from just US$4.4 billion in 2017 to US$63.2 billion, or 19 per cent of total retail sales versus 3 per cent currently.

To support this growth, as well as the rise in e-services such as ride hailing, travel bookings and food delivery, we expect an equally rapid adoption of e-money from just 2 per cent of nation-wide transactions in 2017 to 24 per cent by 2027.

We are also seeing the emergence of fintech solutions such as peer-to-peer lending targeting the 44 per cent of the population who do not have access to banking services today.

Thierry Sanders, CEO Of Mekar (Indonesia Expat) Rated: A

We’ve shifted our activities and are now mainly financing women’s businesses. Lending to women is safer in Indonesia. Statistics show that five percent of male borrowers, on average, will not pay back. With our female borrowers, it’s only 0.5 percent. Which is why we chose to focus on women. They also have a harder time getting financed. Now, 95 percent of the businesses we finance are women’s businesses.

Caribbean

ECCB advises caution regarding non-traditional financial services (St. Lucia Times) Rated: AAA

The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) is aware of the emergence of several initiatives which compete directly with traditional financial services. These include but are not limited to: peer to peer lending, digital wallets, crowd funding ventures, crypto-assets and initial coin offerings (ICOs) in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU).

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor