Tuesday May 1 2018, Daily News Digest

Pace of Mobile Payment Adoption in China

News Comments Today’s main news: Former SoFi CEO Mike Cagney raises $50M for blockchain-based Figure. RateSetter IFISA attracts ‘high tens of millions’ of GBP. Brazilian online lender Agibank files for IPO in São Paulo. Today’s main analysis: The cities with the highest rates of mortgage denials. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Hedge funds are down in Q1. MPL’s new ways look […]

Pace of Mobile Payment Adoption in China

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United Kingdom

China

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United States

SoFi’s Former CEO Harnesses the Blockchain for Home Loan Startup (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

Mike Cagney, who built SoFi into America’s biggest student loan refinancer before quitting amid allegations of sexual harassment at the fintech firm, is preparing for his second act: a startup offering home-equity loans.

Cagney has raised $50 million for San Francisco-based Figure, which plans to use the blockchain to help expedite loan approvals in minutes rather than days, according to people familiar with the matter. Two global banks have agreed to finance loans and several firms have agreed to purchase them, say the people, who requested anonymity to discuss a private matter.

CHINA-US TRADE WAR AND OTHER WORRIES (All About Alpha) Rated: AAA

The Eurekahedge April 2018 report says that hedge funds were down in the first quarter of the year (-0.13%). This is the industry’s worst performance since Q1 2016.

The steepest performance-based losses by regional mandate were those of the North American funds, they lost $1.2 billion. Meanwhile, asset inflows remained net positive but were lower (17% lower) than were the net asset inflows for the first quarter 2017.

The highest performance gains by regional mandate were those of the Asia ex-Japan funds. (+0.5%). But those hedge funds were down in March, largely on rumblings of a US/China trade war.

Total assets under management for the global hedge fund industry are now at $2.48 trillion.

Marketplace Lending’s New Ways Look a Lot Like the Old Ones (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

Last week, the Federal Trade Commission accused LendingClub, the largest of the peer-to-peer lenders, of misleading consumers with hidden fees and continuing to charge borrowers even after they had paid off their loans. Shares of the online lender fell to nearly $2.50, its all-time low.

Source Bloomberg

In the first quarter, peer-to-peer lenders sold $4.3 billion in asset-backed securities, according to industry tracker PeerIQ. That was slightly down from $4.4 billion in issuance in the last three months of 2017, which was a quarterly high for the industry. PeerIQ estimates that peer-to-peer ABS securitization will hit $18 billion this year, up from $14 billion in 2017.

Source: Bloomberg

 

LendingTree Reveals the Cities With the Highest Rates of Denied Mortgage Applications (Lending Tree) Rated: AAA

LendingTree delved into data from more than 10 million mortgage applications using the most recent available Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data set to find out the main reasons would-be borrowers were rejected.

Key findings:

  • Nearly one in 10 borrowers get denied for mortgages. On a national level, 8% of loan applications were denied.
  • Credit history and debt are the biggest barriers. The leading reasons for denial were credit history (which includes credit score) and debt-to-income ratio, which were each responsible for 26% of denied loans. These were followed by collateral at 17% and incomplete applications at 14%. All other reasons for denial were cited in less than 10% of denied mortgage applications.
  • Debt is a huge barrier to borrowers living in California. We found three California cities (Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose) had the highest share of borrowers who were denied because of their debt-to-income ratio.
  • Credit history is holding borrowers back in Louisville, Ky., Memphis, Tenn. and Philadelphia. Among failed applications in these three metros, we found the highest rates of denied borrowers due to their credit history.


Memphis among top 10 cities for highest rates of denied mortgage applications, study says (Bizjournal) Rated: A

Memphis-area mortgage applications are denied at a rate of 12 percent, the third-highest out of 50 cities in a study by LendingTree Inc., an online loan marketplace based in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Houston among top 10 cities for highest rates of denied mortgage applications (Bizjournal) Rated: A

The top reason for a mortgage denial in Houston was debt-to-income ratio, which is the share of monthly debt obligations in relation to monthly gross income. Most lenders want this number to be 43 percent or lower, per the report.

Other Texas cities ranked quite lower than Houston on the list. San Antonio was No. 18 with an 8.05 percent rate, Dallas was No. 21 with a 7.58 percent rate, and Austin was No. 27 with a 7.05 percent.

What’s next for Citi’s mobile app (Tearsheet) Rated: A

Banking apps are now among the most widely and frequently used apps, along with weather and social media, according to Citi’s second annual mobile banking study, released Thursday.

If that’s true — the study examines the behavior of some 2,000 U.S. adult consumers — that would mean people are checking their bank accounts more frequently than they use music, news and dating apps. Although, 20 percent of millennials actually use their mobile banking app while on a date, Alice Milligan, the chief digital client experience officer for Citi’s U.S. consumer bank, pointed out in a presentation of the results.

Could the USPS Be a Short-Term Lender for the Underbanked? (Nonprofit Quarterly) Rated: AAA

In this age of electronic communications, we often take the post office for granted, but it remains a powerful institution. As the US Postal Service (USPS) website indicates, 47 percent of the world’s mail volume is handled by the USPS; the website adds that if it were a private sector company, “the Postal Service would rank 37th in the 2017 Fortune500. In the 2017 Global Fortune 500 list, we ranked 99th.” The business employs over 500,000 career employees, has annual revenues of $69.6 billion, and operates 30,825 “retail offices” nationwide.

It is this last aspect—the ubiquity of post offices across the nation—that has spurred legislation (Senate Bill 2755), introduced last week by US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), that would require every post office to provide basic banking services. Interestingly, the idea of post offices offering banking services is not new. From 1911 to 1967, post offices offered savings and deposit services for Americans (although not loan products). At one time, Americans held more than $3 billion in deposits through postal banking ($30 billion in inflation-adjusted 2018 dollars). Other countries, including Japan, Germany, China, and South Korea, continue to offer banking services through their postal networks.

Daniel Maran of the Huffington Post explains that, “Under Gillibrand’s proposal, Americans could cash paychecks and deposit money in accounts free of charge at each post office location. Deposits would be capped at the larger of two amounts―$20,000, or the median balance in all American bank accounts. The postal banks would be able to distribute loans to borrowers of up to $1,000 at an interest rate slightly higher than the yield on one-month Treasury bonds, currently about 2 percent.” By contrast, a Pew Charitable Trusts report found that average payday loan of $375 typically costs a borrower $520 in interest and fees.

Financial Engines Sold To PE Firm For $ 3 Billion, Plans To Combine With Edelman (Financial Advisers) Rated: A

Financial Engines announced on Monday that it will be acquired by private equity firm Hellman & Friedman and combined with Edelman Financial Services.

According to the announcement, Hellman & Friedman will make the acquisition in an all-cash transaction that values Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Financial Engines at $3.02 billion. Financial Engines shareholders will receive $45 per share in cash upon closing.

Leading Robo-Advisors Post Negative First Quarter Returns (Financial Adviser) Rated: A

The best taxable robo-advisor performers in the first quarter for total portfolios were SoFi, which posted a loss of 0.14 percent; Schwab, which returned a negative 0.33 percent; and TIAA’s socially responsible portfolios, which posted a 0.45 percent loss.

The top-performing taxable robo-advisors for total portfolios over the two-year duration of Backend Benchmarking’s study are Schwab, offering 10.98 percent annualized two-year returns; SigFig, which returned an average of 10.71 percent annually over two years; and Betterment, which returned 10.24 percent.

MetaBank, CURO to offer flexible credit to underbanked (Bankless Times) Rated: A

MetaBank, a provider of payment, community banking and financing solutions, today announced an agreement with CURO, a facilitator of short-term credit to underbanked consumers. Together, the organizations will launch a new line of credit product the parties believe will be more flexible and transparent than others in the market, and well-suited for US-based underbanked consumers. CURO and Meta expect to unveil the new, joint brand and a timeline for the pilot launch later this year.

Through the credit option expected to be launched by CURO and Meta, underbanked consumers would be able to access credit with a flexible timeline for repayment. These consumers would also be able to control their cost of borrowing through transparent fees that would apply only when credit is drawn. Estimates indicate 67 million adults are considered un- or underbanked. Many of these adults typically have poor credit ratings and, as such, have difficulty securing credit or loans — this product is expected to provide a responsible credit option for many of those consumers.

LendingTree, Inc. to Present at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey Internet & Digital Media Conference (Benzinga) Rated: B

LendingTree, Inc. (NASDAQ:TREE), operator of LendingTree.com, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, today announced that it will participate in the SunTrust Robinson Humphrey Internet & Digital Media Conference at The Palace Hotel in San Francisco, California.

Trent Ziegler, Vice President of Investor Relations and Treasurer at LendingTree, is scheduled to present on Tuesday, May 8, at 9:10am PT and will participate in one-on-one meetings throughout the course of the day. The presentation will be webcast live and archived at 

8 Side Hustles You Can Start Today (NAV) Rated: B

If you’re looking for a way to grow income over time, and don’t mind the risk and reward nature of investment, peer to peer (P2P) can be a great way to earn some passive income on the side.  Operating much like a bank loan — but without the bank – P2P lending connects people with money (even if it’s only a few hundred dollars) with people who need it.

United Kingdom

 

RateSetter IFISA has attracted ‘high tens of millions’ of pounds (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

RATESETTER has revealed that its Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) has already attracted “high tens of millions” of pounds from investors, in less than three months since launch.

RateSetter opened its IFISA to existing customers on 8 February and to new customers on 1 March. The platform previously reported that it had seen over 5,000 IFISA accounts opened in the first month.

TransferWise founder Taavet Hinrikus invests in fintech chatbot Cleo (Tech Crunch) Rated: A

Cleo, the London-based fintech that offers an AI-powered chatbot as a replacement for your banking apps, continues to put together an impressive list of backers. The startup’s early investors already include Entrepreneur First, Moonfruit founder Wendy Tan White, Skype founder Niklas Zennström, Wonga founder Errol Damelin, and LocalGlobe, the seed VC firm founded by father and son duo Robin and Saul Klein, amongst others. Now TechCrunch can reveal that TransferWise founder Taavet Hinrikus has become a Cleo  investor and advisor.

Family Building Society And LendInvest Reduce Buy To Let Investment Rates (Residential Landlord) Rated: B

Family Building Society and LendInvest have each reduced rates on a number of buy to let mortgage deals.

Family Building Society slashed interest rates across its entire buy to let product range, whilst LendInvest has reduced rates on several of its buy to let deals.

CrowdProperty names Mike Bristow as chief executive (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: B

CROWDPROPERTY co-founder Mike Bristow has been appointed as chief executive of the peer-to-peer property lender, taking over the reins from fellow co-founder Simon Zutshi.

Bristow, who was also a non-executive director at CrowdProperty, had been acting as interim chief executive for around two months before taking on the role on a permanent basis, effective from 1 May.

Zutshi has now been appointed as chairman of CrowdProperty.

China

Lessons From A Mobile Payments Revolution (American Banker) Rated: AAA

According to the research firm eMarketer, 76% of Chinese smartphone users made a mobile point-of-sale purchase in 2017, compared with 25% of American users. In total, 61.8% of all such transactions globally are Chinese.

Source: American Banker

In the first 10 months of last year, China processed a whopping $12.8 trillion in mobile payments, according to the state-run news agency, Xinhua — 38% higher than for all of 2016.

Though it’s not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison, the U.S. market in 2017 had just $49.3 billion in mobile point-of-sale transactions, according to Shelleen Shum, eMarketer’s forecasting director.

Start with an oligopoly

More than 90% of Chinese mobile payments run through Alipay and WeChat Pay, rival platforms backed by China’s two largest internet conglomerates — Alibaba, essentially the Amazon of China, and Tencent Holdings, owner of WeChat, the nation’s must-have messaging and social-media app with more than 1 billion users.

Peering into the murky world of China’s online P2P sector (Asia Times) Rated: A

During an 18-month period, Ezubo swindled up to 900,000 investors out of 50 billion yuan (US$7.7 billion).

In one of the country’s highest-profile court cases, the founders of what was once China’s largest peer-to-peer lending platform, Ding Ning and his younger brother Ding Dian, were jailed for life last September.

Another 24 executives were sentenced to prison terms, ranging from three to 15 years, after disbelieving depositors mounted unprecedented protests in fintech’s biggest scandal.

“[Just] 500 P2P companies, out of the total 4,856, are likely to maintain their operations this year,” it added.

Fincera Reports 2017 Year-end Financial Results (Digital Journal) Rated: A

Fincera Inc. (”Fincera” or the ”Company”) (OTCQB: YUANF), a leading provider of web-based financing and ecommerce services for small and medium-sized businesses and individuals in China, today reported financial results for the year ended December 31, 2017.

Full-year 2017 Financial Highlights

  • Income for the year ended December 31, 2017, increased 16.9% to RMB1.0 billion (US$156.7 million) from RMB875.9 million in the prior year.
  • Net loss improved to RMB8.4 million (US$1.3 million), from net loss of RMB12.3 million in the prior year.
  • Net cash provided by operating activities increased 148.4% to RMB2.1 billion (US$326.6 million) for the year ended December 31, 2017, from RMB859.2 million in the prior year. This increase resulted in a 63.6% improvement in the Company’s overall cash position to RMB1.3 billion (US$191.5 million) at the end of 2017, compared to RMB764.8 million at the end of 2016.

Operational Highlights

Loan transaction volume across all loan types for 2017 totaled approximately RMB26.8 billion (US$4.1 billion), compared to approximately RMB24.4 billion in 2016.

Source: Digital Journal
International

Can FinTech Walk The FinTalk? (PYMNTS) Rated: AAA

BLOCKCHAIN

In January, the International Data Corporation (IDC) reported worldwide spending on blockchain solutions would increase to $2.1 billion in 2018 from $945 million in 2017 and will grow more than 80 percent year over year to reach $9.7 billion by 2021. Most of that spend will be concentrated in the U.S., with supporting use cases mostly related to financial services and cross-border settlement, for a grand total of $242 million in 2018.

To put that into context, the IDC projected worldwide growth and spending on mobility solutions at 15 percent a year from a 2018 base of $1.6 trillion; on security-related hardware, software and services at 10 percent a year from a 2018 base of $91.4 billion growing to $120.7 billion in 2021 and on the Internet of Things at 14 percent a year from $772.5 billion in 2018 growing to $1.1 trillion in 2021.

MARKETPLACE LENDING

LendingClub was hit with a lawsuit by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) last week over claims of “deceptive” practices.

Following that news, LendingClub’s stock price took a nosedive. Yesterday, it was trading at an all-time low of $2.70.

Launched in October of 2016, Marcus is Goldman’s $2 billion annual hedge on threats to its core commercial banking and trading businesses. Goldman Sachs reported on its Q1 earnings call that Marcus, since it launched, has originated $3 billion of new loans and taken in $9 billion of new retail deposits.

DIGITAL BANKS

If the blockchain is all about replacing the global financial system and marketplace lending is all about replacing traditional lenders, digital banks in the developed world are about upending the traditional banking ecosystem.

Crypto lending may be risky, but these firms say they’ve solved the riddle (American Banker) Rated: A

A new crypto lender, Nexo, will launch Monday in a market where existing participants have already withstood trial by fire.

Such lenders extend credit to those who want to own digital currency, such as bitcoin and ether, and hold onto it long-term while investing it in real estate and elsewhere. But crypto lenders have been severely tested of late as digital currency prices dropped about 70% between December and February.

Source: American Banker, Coindesk

Nexo

The team behind Switzerland-based Nexo runs a consumer lending operation called Credissimo that has made more than a million loans to consumers of up to $2,000 in Europe.

Salt Lending

Denver-based Salt Lending, which started crypto lending earlier this year, has made just under $40 million in loans and has had no losses, according to co-founder Blake Cohen.

Unchained Capital

Unchained Capital, which publicly launched in November, is originating “single-digit million dollars of loans per month,” according to CEO Joe Kelly. The typical loan size is $120,000; the average interest rate is 12%.

RCN Partners with IdentityMind Global to Provide KYC and AML Compliance for Its Protocol (PRWeb) Rated: B

IdentityMind Global today announced that Ripio Credit Network (RCN), a global peer-to-peer credit network based on co-signed smart contracts that connect lenders and borrowers located anywhere in the world, has partnered with IdentityMind to provide KYC and AML compliance support.

Australia

Research shows savings at online lenders (Broker News) Rated: A

The company’s research shows the average customer of one of the big four banks can save more than $2,500 a year by switching to an online deal. This has increased from a year ago, when the potential annual savings were $2,250.

Despite these savings and the fact most other services have migrated online, only 27% of consumers said they would take out a home loan with an online lender.

India

Fintech Startup MyLoanCare Raises Series A Funding (Inc42) Rated: AAA

Gurugram-based B2C online loans marketplace MyLoanCare has secured $977.7K (INR 6.5 Cr) equity Series A funding from Ncubate Capital Partners, a private investment arm of SAR Group family office.

The startup plans to use the funding for branding, technology augmentation and growth. MyLoancare also plans to enter new segments of the market including cards, savings and investments.

 

 

Asia

INDONESIAN fintech startup EmasDigi enables the investing in as well as buying and selling of gold through mobile applications with easy processes that require little time.

The idea began with EmasDigi chief executive officer and founder Claudia Kolonas selling vouchers which gave people easier access to the gold trading market.

EmasDigi is affiliated with PT PG Berjangka, which is registered and supervised by the Trade Ministry’s Futures Exchange Supervisory Board (Bappebti). This affirms EmasDigi’s commitment to consumer protection and ensures compliance with legal provisions in Indonesia.

Fintech microfinance, the next opportunity (Prothom Alo) Rated: A

Bangladesh is widely known as the origin of microfinance. The pioneer two NGOs, Grameen Bank and BRAC, have taken this poverty reduction tool to different places in the world, especially in Asia and Africa. This has been acclaimed by the United Nations and other international organisations. Certainly the objectives of microfinance have undoubtedly already been achieved.

Microfinance was inaugurated in the 1980s for a specific, target group of people (given their poverty level). It doesn’t have the generalised character required to reach all people.

Latin America

Brazilian online lender Agibank files for IPO (Reuters) Rated: AAA

Brazilian online lender Banco Agibank SA on Monday filed for regulatory clearance to launch an initial public offering (IPO), according to a securities filing.

Agibank follows Banco Inter SA’s (BIDI11.SA) strategy of raising capital to fund its expansion and IT investments. On Monday, Inter made its debut in São Paulo stock exchange, in the first IPO by a Brazilian retail bank in nearly a decade. In late afternoon, Inter’s units were stable at 74 reais.

The bank and its owner, Marciano Testa, will sell an undisclosed amount of preferred shares in the IPO.

Canada

Fintech Select Earns a Net Profit of $ 435k and Reduces Liability by $ 7.6m for the Year Ending Dec 31 2017 (Globe Newswire) Rated: AAA

Fintech Select Ltd. (“Fintech Select” or the “Company”) (TSX-V:FTEC) is pleased to announce that its financial statements for the year ending December 31 2017 have resulted in a net profit of $435k. 2017 Financial Statements and Management Discussion & Analysis (“MD&A”) will be filed on SEDAR shortly.

2017 Highlights

  • Reduced the Company’s liability by $7.6M including our unfavourable high-interest loan
  • Made a net profit of $435k for the year due to the reduced liability
  • Reduced interest rate of 24% per annum plus management fee to 12% on April 1, 2017, and further to 6% plus management fee on May 16 2017.
  • Raised $3.4M through two private placements in April and June of the year, and had access to un-restricted cash of $915k by December 31 2017
  • Increased its customer care service revenue
  • Established an advisory board with high skill sets in business and Cryptocurrency space
  • Filed a patent-pending for Cryptocurrency POS platform.
  • Developed and launched the Company’s first phase of the Cryptocurrency POS solution, which simplifies buying cryptocurrecny to the mass of consumers
  • Acquired software for P2P Micro Lending and initiated the project to work on required changes and enhancements to meet the regulatory required standards

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday April 4 2018, Daily News Digest

Wednesday April 4 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: OnDeck files first ABS in two years. Funding Circle opens second Denver office. LendingClub settles with Massachusetts regulator. OFF3R founder to launch personal investment assistant. China Rapid Finance reports unaudited Q4, full year results. Today’s main analysis: Strengthen your fraud prevention strategy. (A MUST-READ REPORT FROM LexisNexis) Today’s thought-provoking articles: True lender litigation is […]

Wednesday April 4 2018, Daily News Digest

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United States

OnDeck makes ABS return (Global Capital), Rated: AAA

The lender filed documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission for the upcoming deal on Tuesday. Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse and SunTrust are leading the deal, according to the deal documents.

OnDeck spent the last two years holding a greater percentage of its loans.

Funding Circle Expands U.S. Operations with New Office in Denver (PR NEwswire), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle today announced it is expanding its U.S. operations with a second office in Denver, Colorado. With the move Funding Circle will look to hire around 290 new employees in the Denver area over the next two years to support the company’s growth.

LendingClub settles with Mass. banking regulator for $ 2M (American Banker), Rated: AAA

LendingClub has settled with the Massachusetts banking regulator to the tune of $2 million over claims that the company made unlicensed loans in the state.

The state division of banks said that the San Francisco-based LendingClub made over 46,000 loans to Massachusetts consumers without a license since 2011, when it surrendered its small loan company license as a condition of a consent order. The division also said that it found additional unlicensed lending activity at Springstone Financial, a wholly owned subsidiary of LendingClub that has its main office in Westborough, Mass.

“True Lender” Litigation on the Rise: Recent Litigation and Enforcement Actions (JDSupra), Rated: AAA

Over the last two years the financial industry has seen an uptick in litigation and enforcement actions aimed at banks and their non-bank lending partners. These actions have primarily challenged the validity of the bank partnership model that is used by many non-bank lenders to generate consumer and small dollar business loans.

Bank and Non-Bank Lender Partnerships

Although the structure of a bank and their non-bank lending partners can take many forms, the typical relationship involves the non-bank lender identifying loan opportunities for the bank, which then originates the loan and either immediately assigns the loan to their non-bank partner or another third-party. By partnering with banks, non-bank lenders avoid certain regulatory and licensing requirements in states where their bank partners operate.  In return, banks are able to utilize their relationships with their non-bank lending partners to generate leads for additional loans.

Colorado’s Uniform Consumer Credit Code Administrator Takes Action

In January 2017, the Colorado’s Uniform Consumer Credit Code (“UCCC”) Administrator, Julie Meade, filed two substantially similar complaints in Colorado state court against Marlette Funding, LLC, and Avant of Colorado, LLC. The complaints alleged violations of the UCCC based on the theory that Marlette and Avant were the “true lender,” not their bank partners, in a series of loans made to Colorado consumers, which loans contained interest rates that exceeded Colorado’s usury laws.

Broad Reaching Implications

The CashCallMadden, and other related actions threaten the traditional bank partnership model that the financial industry relies on to originate, buy, sell, and transfer loans.

Legislative Fix Coming?

There is currently at least one bill pending in the House and Senate that, if passed, would address both the “true lender” issue and the consequences of the Madden decision.

Why It’s No Surprise That Online Lender GreenSky Would Weigh An IPO (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Now, the company is challenging a near-sacred belief in Silicon Valley these days that staying private for longer is better. GreenSky has filed confidentially for an IPO, according to 

Strengthen Your Fraud Prevention Strategy (LexisNexis), Rated: AAA

Key Findings

  • The cost of fraud is sizeable for retail, eCommerce, financial services and lending organizations. Every $1 of fraud costs organizations in these industries between $2.48 and $2.82 – that means that fraud costs them more than roughly 2 ½ times the actual loss itself. Fraud cost as a percent of revenues ranges between 1.58% and 2.39%.
  • The eCommerce, financial services and credit (rather than mortgage) lending sectors are getting hit somewhat harder.
  • The digital space, either as a transaction channel or type of good being sold, is a high risk for even more negative fraud impact. Regardless of industry segment, the percent of average monthly fraud attempts is higher for these types of organizations. For those using the online channel, this is the result of more fraudster focus on the anonymous purchasing environment, particularly leveraging the nocard-present opportunities compared to EMV chip barriers at physical points of sale.
  • Yet, digital channel / digital goods selling organizations are not fully leveraging the value of risk mitigation solutions. Identity verification remains a challenge and common type of fraud; there is only moderate use of advanced identity verification solutions among these  organizations.
  • These issues will only increase as more firms adopt the mobile channel. Larger merchants / firms tend to be the pioneers of the mobile channel.
  • Findings show that retailers, eCommerce merchants and financial services and lending firms which layer solutions by identity and fraud transaction solutions
Source: LexisNexis

Read the full report here.

U.S. Insurtech Oscar Secures $ 165 Million Through Latest Investment Round Led By Brian Singerman & Founders Fund (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Oscar Health, a U.S.-based insurtech, announced last week it has raised $165 million through its latest investment round led by Brian Singerman and Founders Fund. Founded in 2013, the company stated it is focused on utilizing technology, design, and data to humanize healthcare.

5 Major Ways Banks Are Getting Disrupted (The Motley Fool), Rated: A

The peer to peer lending term is kind of a loose term nowadays. Like Michael said, a lot of the bigger banks have started to copy this business model, so it’s not exactly peers loaning to peers anymore. But, at its heart, Prosper was actually the first mover on this. A lot of people think it was Lending Club but Prosper actually got there a little bit earlier. But, Lending Club was definitely the big one that got the banking industry on its toes in terms of peer to peer lending.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs is one of the newest ones. Goldman is getting into consumer banking a little bit. On the business side, you have companies like Funding Circle, which is a really interesting concept, because business lending is a big pain in the neck, especially in certain industries.

The Lending Game: Streamlining Customer Experience (Lendit), Rated: A

Lending, much like dating, has been brought online in the past decade with the aim of streamlining the process and dramatically reducing the time spent for both parties. But as the backend systems involved become more complicated to include more data and decisioning points, how do lenders continue to create a simplified customer experience that will bring good customers back for that “second date”?

New Fintech IPO on the Horizon with GreenSky (Lend Academy), Rated: A

So who is GreenSky exactly and what do they do? We wrote about the company earlier this year when we learned of their $200 million funding round from PIMCO which made them the most valuable company in the online lending space. The company has a unique model where they partner with merchants and contractors to offer financing at the point of sale. They view themselves as more of a tech company since they do not actually lend any money. This capital light business model has likely led to much of the success they have seen. Instead of lending their own money GreenSky has relationships with about 15 banks. On the tech side, the process is paperless and all done through a mobile device.

What Borrowers Do When Payday Loans Go Away (Lend EDU), Rated: A

For South Dakota consumers, payday loans used to be available at storefronts, but since late 2016, this access and annual interest rates have been cut.

 

Although South Dakota limited payday lending, it didn’t outlaw it. And some borrowers are hitting online lending agencies found through Google searches under “payday loans”—a familiar option for South Dakota consumers, according to KELO. This alternative carries risks such as a lack of oversight and inconsistent regulation; however, this is a national issue with these lenders.

It may be too early to write off robo start-ups (Investment News), Rated: A

News that robo-adviser Wealthfront’s valuation dropped was read by many in the financial advice industry as the writing on the wall for direct-to-consumer digital advice startups.

Scott Smith, the director of advice relationships at research firm Cerulli Associates, said the stories surrounding Wealthfront are proof that the market is favoring a hybrid advice approach. While the number of people who want a purely digital advice platform could grow over time, the majority of assets are still held by people over the age of 40 who want human assistance with their financial decisions.

As for Betterment, the company says it isn’t experiencing any headwinds at all.

Why banks have trouble selling real-time payments (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Real-time payments have landed in the U.S., but banks are still figuring out how to sell them to corporate clients. BNY Mellon, U.S. Bank, Citi, JPMorgan, PNC and SunTrust are the only banks using the Clearing House’s new real-time payments system.

One challenge is simply the legacy infrastructure on which most financial services companies today are built. Companies that provide ERP systems like SAP or Oracle have built their systems in a batch processing world and need to also become real-time.

In the age of PayPal, Venmo and Square Cash, it’s easy to forget that most transactions that take place day-to-day aren’t happening in real time. They feel like they are, but they really just move money from one PayPal user’s balance to another. Moving that balance from PayPal’s banking partner to the customer’s own bank account is still a multiday process.

U.S. banks are not that far away from ubiquitous real-time payments, according to Ward, who said he thinks 90 percent of banks will have implemented real-time payments by the middle of 2019. PNC hasn’t met too many challenges itself trying to sell RTP, Ward said, but clients are still figuring out the best way to take advantage of it and whether they prioritize the needs of customers or suppliers.

MetaBank Announces Partnership with Health Credit Services to Originate Personal Healthcare Loans (Markets Insider), Rated: B

MetaBank; a wholly-owned subsidiary of Meta Financial Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: CASH) (“Meta”) today announced a new, three-year agreement with Health Credit Services (“HCS”), a technology driven, patient financing company. MetaBank will approve and originate loans for elective procedures for HCS provider offices throughout the country. HCS will work with its provider partners to market the loans, as well as provide servicing for them. Over the course of this relationship, MetaBank expects to originate at least several hundred million dollars in personal loans.

 

Amber Baldet Leaving JPMorgan Blockchain Team to Start New Venture (CoinDesk), Rated: B

Amber Baldet, who oversaw development of JPMorgan’s permissioned blockchain platform, Quorum, is leaving the financial institution, according to an internal memo sent Monday by the bank’s head of blockchain initiatives, Umar Farooq.

United Kingdom

The robo-adviser of robo-advisers (Fn London), Rated: AAA

The story of robo-advisers is an old one, or so thinks Lex Deak, serial entrepreneur and creator of a new breed of online wealth management tool. Deak, who was the brains behind the launch of peer-to-peer lending aggregator Off3r, is rolling out a new online service that he claims will bring web-based investment to the masses and “battle the bias and bullshit that has dogged the investment sector for decades”. The new service, called Personal Investment Assistant — or Your Pia — uses artificial intelligence to help investors sift through a range of robo-advisers, wealth management platforms and IFA networks.

Big names on the board
Todd Ruppert, the former president and chief executive of T Rowe Price — who is no stranger to backing fintech start-ups — is taking a seat on the Pia board. He will be joined by Daniel Sauva, head of creative and buzz at money transfer service TransferWise, and Nigel Webber, who was global chief investment officer at HSBC Private Banking. Gayle Schumacher, a Coutts executive, is taking a seat, too.

 

A new Innovative Finance Isa (IF Isa) has launched offering a whopping 7.28% annual interest rate. The easyMoney ‘Balanced’ IF Isa allows you to invest in peer-to-peer lending – where your money is lent to individuals or small businesses – within an Isa wrapper, so your returns are tax-free.

The target rate of 7.28% is a guide to what return you can expect from investing in multiple property-backed loans, all of which have a maximum 75% loan to value.

The firm offers two different IF Isas: its ‘Conservative’ IF Isa, has a 4.05% targeted annual return with a minimum investment of £1,000. It is “aimed at investors who are looking for something more than the paltry rates offered by cash ISAs”, says Mr Candole.

 

China

China Rapid Finance Reports Unaudited Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2017 Results (Benzinga), Rated: AAA

China Rapid Finance Limited (“China Rapid Finance” or the “Company”) (NYSE:XRF), operator of one of China’s largest consumer lending marketplaces, today reported its unaudited financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2017.

Fourth Quarter 2017 Highlights:

  • Positive operating cash flow of $15.8 million
  • Total gross billings up 186% year-over-year
  • Facilitated 6.2 million loans with total loan volume of $1.03 billion
  • Added 627 thousand new borrowers, up 17% from the end of Q3 2017
  • Added approximately 10 thousand new investors to reach over 23 thousand investors
  • GAAP net loss of $3.9 million
  • Non-GAAP adjusted profit before income tax expense of $1.1 million

Full Year 2017 Highlights:

  • Year-end cash balance of $94.9 million, up from $74 million immediately after the IPO
  • Total gross billings up 102%
  • Added 2.9 million new borrowers, up 202% from the end of 2016
  • Facilitated over 23 million loans with total loan volume of $3.3 billion

Chinese P2P lenders get confidence boost with protection plan (Enterprise Innovation), Rated: AAA

China’s marketplace lending is bracing for regulation around “record filing” systems that kicks into effect this month (April 2018). However, said new regulations may not be addressing altogether the problem of runaway credit that is growing on the back of cash loans and microlending market.

Source: Enterprise Innovation

Technological Innovation and Anti-Fraud Technology in a Maturing Fintech Sector (Lendit), Rated: A

The current most prominent methods of financial fraud are organized fraud, regional fraud, and targeted-occupation fraud. Various criminal and fraudulent organizations, including organizations developing illegal software, hacking databases for sale, and batch registration, have been working together to increase profits. However, their golden times are over now.

An insider once commented, “Certain P2P platforms only have a user retention rate of 20% following promotional events due to malicious users while the remaining 80% became inactive. Platforms spend a lot of money on marketing which has directly led to continually rising costs in customer acquisition.”

  1. Hexindai’s risk control technology has laid a solid foundation for anti-fraud progress
  2. Introducing new technologies to enhance anti-fraud capabilities

 

International

HSBC partners with FinTech and asset managers for cloud-based data platform (Global Custodian), Rated: A

HSBC Securities Services has partnered with FinTech firm FINBOURNE, asset manager Fidelity International and hedge fund Altana Wealth to design a new cloud-based investment management platform.

The four organisations will collaborate to design a shared, cloud-based data utility that aims to reduce operating cost and improve the quality of information for in-house and client use.

The platform, named LUSID, is aimed at replacing existing in-house software and hardware, and achieve advanced standards of data handling for institutional clients.

 

Australia

SME lender gives insight on changing landscape (Broker News), Rated: AAA

Small business lender OnDeck Group is hosting an event centred on SMEs and the changing lending landscape in Australia.

Taking place on 17 April, CEO Noah Breslow, will host a select group of brokers, aggregators and finance partners, with special guest Stephen Koukoulas, Managing Director of Market Economics, and Economic Advisor to illion (formerly Dun & Bradstreet).

OnDeck has now loaned over $8 billion to 80,000 small businesses across the United States, Canada and Australia, making it one of the largest online SME lenders globally.

India

Cryptocurrency-backed Lending Startup BlockFi Eyeing Indian Market, CEO Reveals in Interview (Crypto-News), Rated: AAA

Borrowing against cryptocurrencies is becoming a big new trend in the industry. A number of startups have sprung in crypto-backed lending space, which include SALT, CoinLoan, Ethlend, Unchained Capital and most recently Nuo Bank. Now a new startup with similar offering is eyeing the Indian market from New York. The startup, called BlockFi, offers cryptocurrency backed loans to individuals and companies both in 35 states of USA as of now. However, it’s planning to expand internationally very soon, and in that expansion it sees India as a major opportunity. This was revealed by none other than company’s CEO Zac Prince in a recent interview to Bitcoin Magazine.

SME loans marketplace Namaste Credit raises $ 3.8 million (Fortune), Rated: AAA

Namaste Credit, a digital marketplace and technology platform for SME loans, has raised $3.8 million in a Series A investment round from Nexus Venture Partners.

The company intends to use the corpus raised to grow its geographic footprint, enhance its technology and data analytics platform, and further scale its business.  The company also plans to significantly increase its channel partner program across India and further expand its technology licensing partnerships with lenders globally.

 

 

Namaste Credit raises $ 3.8 million from Nexus Venture Partners (LiveMint), Rated: A

Owned by Delhi-based Opendoors Fintech Pvt Ltd, Namaste Credit is a digital platform which serves as a marketplace for borrowers and lenders. It focuses exclusively on small and medium enterprise (SME) customers.

“SME credit is seriously constrained due to lack of reach and relevant data to assess credit-worthiness of borrowers. Namaste Credit’s technology, combined with its channel partners and lender network, is already making a significant impact on facilitating credit to SMEs in a win-win manner for all,” said Anup Gupta, managing director at Nexus Venture Partners, in a statement.

Asia

3 Fintech Companies Answers Jokowi`s Challenge on Student Loans (Tempo.Co), Rated: A

Last month, state-owned banks was not up for President Joko Widodo’s (Jokowi) challenge to provide students with the option of student loans. However, companies of Fintech (technology-based financial services providers) responded positively to the president’s challenge.

Danacita and Koinworks are Fintech peer-to-peer lending companies that focus on funding the education sector. Meanwhile, Danadidik is an academic funds provider that is on crowdfunding as its main financial backing.

The three platforms also provide a long-term loan for university students with a tenor from four to six years. Each of these companies applies varying methods of repayments from 9 percent- 20 percent low installments up to profit sharing a student’s wage once they have found jobs.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday November 7 2017, Daily News Digest

fintech credit

News Comments Today’s main news: Review of OnDeck Q3 earnings. Wealthfront to be first robo to offer a mutual fund. ArchOver goes over 50M GBP lending milestone. Hexindai rises 27% on first day. NOT coming soon: Ant Financial IPO. EU to create Europe-wide crowdfunding framework. Ripio closes $37M ICO. Today’s main analysis: Marketplace lenders balance growth, quality. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Will […]

fintech credit

News Comments

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United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

Asia

Canada

News Summary

United States

OnDeck Q3 2017 Earnings Results Review (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

With their latest financial results released today, the firm reiterated their plans to achieve GAAP profitability in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Originations in the quarter grew to $531 million, up 14% from the prior quarter. They also reported that operating expenses were at the lowest level in more than two years.

Revenue increased to $83.7 million, up 8% over the prior year period. Not surprisingly, loans sold or designated for sale continued to fall and represented just 1.3% of term loan originations. Other Revenue increased $0.7 million from the previous quarter to $3.4 million which reflected increased revenue from OnDeck-as-a-Service. Compared to the third quarter of 2016, the company improved bottom line performance by $12 million.

Source: Lend Academy

Online lender OnDeck posts surprise third-quarter loss (Reuters), Rated: A

Online lender OnDeck Capital Inc(ONDK.N) reported an unexpected third-quarter loss on Monday after the effects of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma offset higher interest income and lower expenses, and its shares fell nearly 4 percent.

Chief Executive Officer Noah Breslow said on a call with analysts that the company had increased its loss reserves by $3.5 million after the hurricanes hit some of its small-business clients in August and September.

Wealthfront set to be the first robo to offer its own mutual fund (FinancialPlanning), Rated: AAA

Now Wealthfront wants to return the favor, filing with the SEC on Wednesday for a mutual fund offering of its own. If approved, it would make Wealthfront the first major independent robo to offer its own fund.

Dubbed the Wealthfront Risk Parity Fund, the derivatives fund will invest in global developed and emerging market equities, global developed and emerging markets fixed income, real estate investment trusts and commodities, according to the filing.

The fund will carry a 51-basis point expense ratio. It will be made available to Wealthfront investors with no contribution limitations and to institutional investors with a $5 million investment minimum.

Marketplace lenders balance growth and quality (Banking Exchange), Rated: AAA

Fintech lenders now account for nearly a third of the personal unsecured loan market, from nearly 0% in 2010. The new players appear poised to not only continue building share there, but to begin gaining share in other credit types.

Rapid growth in personal loans

Wirth says TransUnion records indicate that there are over 100 fintech consumer lenders in the U.S. now—way beyond the usual companies mentioned in this area—and that new firms with new models continue to enter the market.

Source: TransUnion LLC. All rights reserved

TransUnion studied over 40 million personal loans originated by banks, credit unions, traditional finance companies, and fintech consumer lenders from 2014 to 2016. Among the findings of the research was that in spite of the perception that fintech personal loan borrowers skew towards the young end of the demographic spectrum, this is not the case. In fact, among the four categories of lenders, consumers 18-29 accounted for the smallest portion of borrowers from fintech lenders.

Source: TransUnion LLC. All rights reserved

Reviewing quality and return

A surprise for some in the TransUnion research is the fintechs’ choice of credit strata. Many see fintech consumer lenders chiefly as subprime creditors, but it turns out that six out of ten fintech personal loans are made to prime or near-prime borrowers. The latest figures indicate that 10% of fintech personal loan originations are subprime borrowers, while among all lenders the total is 14%.

Source: TransUnion LLC. All rights reserved

Using the risk-return methodology outlined above, TransUnion computes that the first-year effective portfolio risk-returns rank as follows: traditional finance companies, 11.5%; fintech lenders, 8.7%; banks, 6.7%; and credit unions, 6.3%.

Fintech will change more in the next 5 years than it has in the last 30 (CNBC), Rated: AAA

Today, Schulman said the person-to-person payment business is valued between $35 billion and $40 billion. In five years, its projected value is estimated to reach $335 billion.

Similarly, “online digital payments today are about $3 trillion,” the CEO said. “By 2020, three years from now, it’s supposed to be over $8 trillion. And we’re a leader in that market right now with 218 million people using the platform, so we just got to keep delivering on what customers want, merchants want and to stay that market leaders.”

PayPal CEO: Fintech will change more in the next 5 years than it has in the last 30 from CNBC.

Affirm Launches New Way to Pay For Holiday Travel (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Affirm, Inc., the company started by serial entrepreneur Max Levchin to provide fair and honest financial products, today introduced Travel with Affirm in time for the end-of-year holiday season. Travel with Affirm lets consumers book their travel plans, including airfare, hotel rooms, luxury suites, and more while splitting their purchases into manageable monthly payments. Charter partners in Travel with Affirm include Expedia, offering flight-and-hotel packages; CheapAir, offering low prices on airfare and more; and Suiteness, for those that want to treat themselves to an exclusive, luxury hotel suite.

According to a recent study conducted by Affirm, Inc. of 1,000 U.S. adults about holiday shopping habits, 61% of respondents said that holiday spending is a source of family strife. Over a third (34%) said they are worried about how they are going to cover their holiday spending costs this year.

Therefore, it’s not surprising that, according to another recent study conducted by Affirm of over 1,600 people, two of the top three reasons consumers use deferred interest products is for vacation and travel expenses along with holiday shopping. 67 percent of respondents also believe that some credit products are designed to purposefully cheat consumers.

“We know how tough traveling during the holiday season can be,” said Kyle Killion, co-founder and chief of product at Suiteness. “So, partnering with Affirm to offer as low as 0% APR on hotel suites with the ability to easily pay over time allows our customers to enjoy the holidays while knowing exactly what the final cost for their suite will be.”

In 2016 alone, U.S. consumers paid over $94 billion in fees. That doesn’t even include the $70.4 billion in interest fees credit card issuers made.

The simplest way to book travel
Using Travel with Affirm is quick and easy. All it takes is five pieces of personal information for a real-time credit decision. And then it’s up to the consumer to select the monthly payment plan—3, 6, or 12 months—that fits their budget.

Any U.S. resident 18 years or older (19 years old in Alabama or a ward of the state in Nebraska) is eligible to use Affirm.

And, paying Affirm bills is equally straightforward. After making their purchase, the consumer receives timely e-mail and SMS reminders on when their next payment is due. Alternatively, they can set up Autopay for recurring automatic payments.

“Credit cards are broken,” said Levchin. “If all Americans used Affirm instead of traditional revolving lines of credit, we could save people $90 billion a year in fees alone.”

CommonLoan Marketplace Milestone: Over $ 680 Million in Loans Processed (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Commercial real estate lending platform CommLoan announced on Monday it has successfully processed more than $680 million in loans since its launch in 2014.

Impact Housing REIT Makes Top 14 Non-Accredited Real Estate Crowdfunding Sites (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Impact Housing REIT, LLC (ImpactHousing.com), today is pleased to announce that it has made The Real Estate Crowdfunding Review’s 2017-2018 Top 14 Nonaccredited Real Estate Crowdfunding Sites, receiving Industry Honors for Most Experienced Sponsors, and Most Socially Conscious, the only award given in the category.

Real Estate Issuers Need Online, Alternative Investing Processes to Thrive (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Blaine McLaughlin, chief operating officer of VIA Folio, says it’s time for real estate issuers to move away from the traditional capital raising process and use online brokerage technology. McLaughlin, who recently spoke at the IPA Vision 2017 Conference, said investors have embraced technology in every other aspect of their lives, so real estate issuers must now meet them on their own terms.

The additional benefits of using an online, alternative investing process include:

  • Meeting advisors and investors on their own turf. More advisors are using alternative investments to diversify client portfolios and differentiate their business.
  • Reaching accredited and non-accredited investors. Issuers that choose to raise capital under the JOBS Act have more flexibility when marketing to investors.
  • Offering different ways to invest. Advisors consider many factors, including security type, before making investment decisions. Issuers that use Folio’s online brokerage technology can choose to offer publicly registered or private securities, including Reg A+, Reg D, S-11 and small-cap Reg A+ IPOs.
  • Lowering investment minimums. For real estate securities issuers, high investment minimums are a necessary evil to keep expenses down. An online brokerage process – where subscription, closing, price reporting, statements and other services are done online – reduces administrative expenses, in turn enabling lower investment minimums.

CFX Markets Raises $ 2.17M Seed/Series A Funding (FINSMES), Rated: A

CFX Markets, a Chicago, IL-based secondary market trading platform for alternative assets, closed a $2.17M Seed/Series A funding round.

The round was led by West Loop Ventures, with participation from M25 Group, Origami Capital Partners, Harvard Business School Angels of Chicago, SixThirty Ventures, and angel investors David Schwartz of Waterton Capital and David Krell, founder of ISE.

Why banks are sub-branding new customer offerings (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Marcus by Goldman Sachs, for example, touts itself as the startup inside Goldman Sachs that built an entirely digital personal loan product for consumers — a new set of customers for the 148-year-old company. Two weeks ago JPMorgan Chase introduced Finn, an app for people who would rather skip the branches for completely mobile checking and savings accounts with personal finance tools. Last week, Wells Fargo announced a similar offering called Greenhouse, a standalone mobile banking app with digital-only accounts and personal finance features.

For large legacy institutions, it’s hard to make changes and scale them both across the company and the consumer base. For banks, it’s much easier to create and brand an entirely new experience, which is partly why they’re launching things like Marcus, Finn and Greenhouse. Doing so also ends up being a sort of innovation showcase for their peers and prospective employees.

“A sub-brand allows us a sandbox to rapidly innovate and learn from consumer preferences and behaviors, while maintaining the core Chase brand which our customers know and love,” she said.

Goldman Sachs plans rebranding of online consumer bank (American Banker), Rated: A

Last year Goldman Sachs found a warmer, fuzzier way to connect with the U.S. public, and now it’s doubling down on that approach.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs is the brand name for the Wall Street bank’s one-year-old digital consumer-lending business. The name is a reference to Marcus Goldman, who founded the company in 1869.

Digital investments give small banks deeper borrower pool (American Banker), Rated: A

With fewer customers showing up in branches for coffee and local gossip, some community banks are digitally transforming themselves to bring Main Street to people’s homes.

In July, SourceMedia Research surveyed 304 chief information officers from banks, credit unions and other financial institutions with assets ranging from less than $100 million to more than $10 billion, and nearly 70% said they planned to spend more on technology in 2017.

“Community banks don’t just compete against banks in their immediate community. We now compete with every bank, whether it be bricks-and-mortar or internet-based, credit unions, payment processors, credit card companies, investment houses, fintechs, peer-to-peer payments, you name it,” said Ryan James, Surety’s CEO.

Crawford noted customers have increased expectations when it comes to lending, in large part due to experiences with online lenders that tend to offer quick decisions and digital-first experiences.

Source: American Banker

Big banks target Venmo (CB Insights Email), Rated: A

Venmo, now owned by PayPal and acquired for a reported $26.2M, is certainly one of the best tech M&A transactions ever.

PayPal recently extended the “pay with Venmo” capability to 2 million online retailers with a focus on enabling e-commerce via mobile.

ReliaMax Selected to Service and Insure MetaBank’s Additional $ 73 Million Private Student Loan Portfolio (BusinessWire), Rated: A

ReliaMax, the leading private student lending platform for banks, credit unions and alternative lenders, announced today that the company is now servicing and insuring an additional $73 million in private student loans for MetaBank, the bank subsidiary of Meta Financial Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:CASH). In December 2016, ReliaMax was selected to service and insure MetaBank’s initial $151 million private student loan portfolio acquisition.

AI-driven finance app Douugh partners Choice Financial for checking account (Finextra), Rated: A

San Francisco-based fintech startup Douugh has teamed up with community bank Choice Financial to launch an app-based checking account and debit card that will lean heavily on AI to help users better manage their money.

Choice has also made an investment in Douugh, which has raised $2.5 million to date and is the brainchild of Andy Taylor, who previously founded Australia’s largest P2P lending platform, SocietyOne.

FinTech is the New Imperative that Lending Companies Need to Embrace (CIOReview), Rated: A

In today’s fast-paced life, where customers are short of patience and starved of time, an old-school retail lending organization doesn’t really make a compelling survival case. In the last couple of years, however, retail lending has witnessed a sudden surge in interest. Well, the reasons are a no-brainer; it is the optimization of financial technology that has worked as a catalyst and led to welcome changes in the landscape. Technology has enabled banks to get rid of sluggish loan management process, curbing the costs and delay predicament that has impeded the growth of many retail lending processes.

eMoney Advisor Announces Expanded Business Development Organization (Business Insider), Rated: B

eMoney Advisor (eMoney) announced today the hiring of Jeffrey Schwantz as SVP, Head of Enterprise Sales and Shannon Porro as VP, Strategic Partnerships. These two new roles report to eMoney’s Head of Business Development, Stephen Langlois, who joined the company in May.  The additions reflect eMoney’s commitment to expanding its presence with larger financial institutions and to better support its customers’ needs as the company evolves its planning-led wealth management platform to enable enhanced growth, profitability and risk management of its diverse customer base. Approximately 60 percent of eMoney’s nearly 50,000 users are affiliated with individual advisors while the remaining 40 percent are affiliated with firms, larger financial institutions and enterprises.

CFTC Commissioner Quintenz Names Margo Bailey Special Counsel (MondoVisione), Rated: B

Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Commissioner Brian Quintenz announced today that Margo Bailey will serve as his Special Counsel.

Prior to joining Commissioner Quintenz’s office, Bailey worked as Counsel at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) where she reviewed the derivatives activities of national banks and supported the OCC’s Fintech initiative.

United Kingdom

ArchOver surpasses £50 million lending milestone (Finextra), Rated: AAA

ArchOver, the peer-to-peer (P2P) business lending platform, has facilitated over £50 million of lending with no losses or late payments.

The ArchOver platform produces average yields of 7.3% per annum, and comes with multiple security measures built in to protect investors.

PropTech Lending: High Tech vs. Old-School Underwriting (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Interestingly, it seems property lenders are disproportionately wary of the pitfalls in automating credit underwriting – more so than their colleagues in SME and consumer lending verticals, it seems. And rightly so.

Within SME and consumer loans, many sophisticated tech lenders principally rely on automated systems to perform their credit assessments. Many use a statistical approach; intelligent systems first gather borrower data, then smart algorithms interpret those to assess credit integrity and price the loans. Where the underlying loans are large in number and small in size, there is safety in numbers: the statistical approach is supported by the granularity and homogeneity of the underlying asset class. More often than not, the alternative approach – to manually underwrite each loan – is somewhere between too costly and impossible.

  • Limited digital availability of data is, and will remain, a key handicap for property lenders looking to scale with enhanced tech.
  • Portfolio risk tolerance is substantially lower for property lenders thanwithin consumer or SME lending. Consequently, a property lender’s attitude to resolving the tension between tech (to reach scale) and manual underwriting (to keep loan books robust) will remain different.
  • Even if all relevant data was digitally available, and even if property loan amounts were smaller, real estate assets cannot be classified in the way consumers can. A statistical approach to credit underwriting will miss important nuances and hence remains risky.

Could the rate rise boost returns for peer-to-peer lender Zopa? (AltFi), Rated: A

The Monetary Policy Committee has raised interest rates for the first time in ten years, from 0.25 per cent to 0.5 per cent.

More so than any other peer-to-peer lender, Zopa has been wrestling with the base rate, which was cut to its all-time low of 0.25 per cent in August 2016.

It opted for the latter course, several times dropping its interest rates, and so too its target returns for investors. In fact, Zopa has doubled down on that strategy in recent months, pledging in August to cut back on its riskiest loans, with losses growing beyond expectation.

Small businesses turn to alternative finance to fund growth (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

A poll of 1,000 small business owners by payments company Worldpay found 52 per cent are concerned that traditional routes to finance, including bank loans, might not be available at the same levels in the coming year.

Nearly a third (30 per cent) have already encountered difficulties securing funding through these traditional channels.

Meanwhile, 40 per cent of younger business owners claimed the growth of alternative finance options has made them less reliant on banks for funding.

Robo-advice responsibility (Lexology), Rated: B

The FCA identified two particular regulatory reasons why it considers that robo-advice presents a big opportunity:

  • since the FCA has a competition objective, they see that robo-advice can drive innovation, delivering economy and efficiency and reaching underserved consumers;
  • the final report of the Financial Advice Market Review which was published in 2016 and concluded that steps needed to be taken to make the provision of advice and guidance to the mass market more cost-effective as well as addressing consumers’ lack of confidence when making financial decisions.
China

Hexindai prices $ 50 million best-efforts IPO at $ 10 midpoint; up 27% on first day (NASDAQ), Rated: AAA

Hexindai, a Chinese marketplace for peer-to-peer lending, raised $50 million by offering 5 million ADSs at $10. The company had planned to offer 2.7 million to 8.9 million ADSs at a range of $9 to $11 in a min-max, best-efforts IPO. On Friday, Hexindai began trading on the Nasdaq under the symbol HX. The stock ended its first day at $12.66 (+27%) but traded down to $11.23 (-11%) on Monday.

Jack Ma says no Ant Financial IPO anytime soon (Tech in Asia), Rated: AAA

Speaking in front of media on Saturday, the billionaire Alibaba founder said that there’s no timeline for when Ant Financial will list, and they will only consider the IPO route – ie: the possibility of going ahead with it – two years later, reports Yicai.

“Regarding Ant Financial going public, we don’t have a time yet and we don’t know whether it will be in China, Hong Kong, or in the USA,” said Ma. “We will not really think about it in the next 12 or 18 months because there’s huge potential in inclusive financing and other tech-related opportunities. We will probably think about it two years later, but not now.”

Online Lender Fincera Announces 2 For 1 Stock Split (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Fincera (OTCQB:YUANF) , a China based peer to peer online lender targeting small and medium-sized businesses and individuals in China, has announced that its Board of Directors has approved a 2 for 1 stock split of the Fincera’s outstanding shares of common stock in the form of a 100% stock dividend payable on or about November 8 , 2017 to shareholders of record on November 1 , 2017. Stockholders will receive one additional share for each share held on that date .

Chinese police to step up crackdown on financial crime (Reuters), Rated: A

Chinese police will intensity a crackdown on financial crime to safeguard national security and fend off financial risks, the public security ministry said in an online statement on Tuesday.

The ministry said it will focus on crimes involving illegal fundraising, the online finance industry, securities and futures markets, and financial institutions.

Is Technology About to Decimate White-Collar Work? (Technology Review), Rated: B

Lee pointed to several of the investments made by his company, Sinovation Ventures, as clear signs of how routine office work is already being transformed by AI. For example, Lee has backed Smart Finance Group, a company that uses machine learning to determine a person’s eligibility for a payday loan. Sinovation has also invested in companies that automate customer service, training, and other routine office services.

Lee identified four distinct but nonsequential waves of AI. The first wave is being fueled by the availability of large quantities of labeled data. This has given big Internet companies, both in China and in the U.S., an advantage in building their businesses and cementing AI expertise.

The second wave—which is more relevant to the kind of workplace disruption Lee sees coming—is based on the availability of company data, especially in industries such as law and accounting.

A third wave relies on companies generating data through new products or apps, or by paying for it to be created.

European Union

The European Commission Hopes to Scale Crowdfunding by Creating a European-Wide Framework (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The European Commission has published an Inception Impact Assessment that pitches a legislative proposal for an EU framework for crowdfunding including peer to peer lending. The initiative is accepting feedback from interested parties until November 27, 2017. The expectation is the Commission will create a framework that is supportive of the policy for a Capital Market Union the heart of the mission of the EC. Thjs new framework is expected by Q1 of 2018.

Overall, the main policy objectives are as follows:

  • Enable platforms to scale cross-border: creating the required conditions such as licensing regimes that can be used across the EU without requiring further authorization in each EU country.
  • Provide platforms with a proportionate and effective risk management framework: cross-border activity requires a high level of trust.
International

Ripio Closes $ 37 Million ICO for Ethereum Lending Network (Coindesk), Rated: AAA

Blockchain startup Ripio has raised $37 million in an initial coin offering (ICO).

The RCN whitepaper indicates that 42.5 percent of the tokens would be dedicated to a pre-sale maximum, with 8.5 percent set aside for a public sale minimum. The remaining 49 percent were reserved for operational needs, such as incentives, marketing and expenses.

Millenials get finance advice from bots! (iAfrica.com), Rated: A

Forrester surveyed online adults in 20 markets to determine their need for and perception of financial services. The resulting report, “Millennials Want Financial Advice, With or Without Humans”, shows that Millennials:

  • Want financial advice: Results from the study showed that in Europe, 32% of online adults between the ages of 18 and 37 say they “rely on financial advice from professionals,” compared with 29% of older generations.
  • Are not afraid to share personal information in order to get the advice: At least two thirds of US Millennials were willing to share personal data in order to get improved service from their financial institution.
  • Are not confident in the current advice they are receiving: Only 38% of US Millennials are confident that a bank or credit union will offer them valuable financial advice, compared with 46% of their older counterparts. Moreover, just over two-thirds of US Millennials say, they don’t know who to approach in order to get reliable financial advice, compared with less than a third of older generations.

While 26% of US adults say they prefer to use mobile devices to access financial services and advice, almost half (46%) of Millennials say they would rather use their mobile phone for this.

China and Australia sign agreement on fintech cooperation (OpenGovAsia), Rated: B

The China Securities Regulatory Commission (‘CSRC’) and Australian Securities and Investments Commission (‘ASIC’) have entered into an agreement yesterday to promote innovation in financial services in their respective markets.

China is Australia’s largest two-way trading partner in goods and services (valued at AU$155.2 billion in 2016, up 3.7% on the previous year). China is also Australia’s largest export market (AU$93 billion in 2016) and Australia’s largest source of imports (AU$62.1 billion in 2016).

India

Top 10 Trends to Look Out in Fin-Tech Industry for Year 2018 (BW Disrupt), Rated: AAA

  1. ATMs will start disappearing
  2. Credit decisions will go beyond looking at CIBIL scores for individuals and SMEs – Credit providers will start leveraging other forms of digitized data to evaluate ability and willingness to pay of the borrower.
  3. Chat and payments platforms will start integrating
  4. Payments and lending platforms will start integrating – Payment platforms will see thin margins in their payments business and will start building or partnering with lending platforms. For lending platforms, a payment platform is a cheaper customer acquisition avenue and also a source for credit assessment data.
  5. Fraud Prevention solutions will start emerging
  6. Wealth platforms will go direct to consumer
  7. New themes will emerge in Insurtech
  8. Large institutions will consolidate credit: While I don’t predict the death of P2P lending entirely, as interest rates keep reducing and costs of capital for larger institutions keep reducing, it is difficult to see P2P lenders getting any scale. The only advantage that P2P lenders have is information asymmetry but with newer methods to collect data on the borrower, I see that advantage diminishing gradually.
  9. Regtech solutions becoming mature
  10. Greater localization of bots – Over 30 startups are working on bots for the fintech sector in India.

Why India’s Improved World Bank Ranking Will Boost Its Startups (Forbes), Rated: A

Following India’s meteoric rise to crack the top 100 in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report, the country’s startup community is confident of attracting more foreign investments across sectors and emerging as a highly preferred investment destination in the region.

This year, India has improved its performance in six of those areas — specifically, there’s been a marked improvement in getting an electricity connection to start a new business, resolving insolvency, obtaining bank credit and tax reforms.

Rajat Gandhi, founder of P2P lending platform Faircent, said: “The ranking is a shot in the arm for the government, which has eased the way for fintechs to do business. It has become simpler for startups like mine to approach regulators for business. Moreover, this will boost the confidence of investors and allow more capital to come our way.” Prateek Mehta, cofounder of investment platform Upwardly.in agreed: “We are moving towards an entrepreneur-rich economy, so raising funds and scaling operations should be easier. With reforms like GST, the burden of compliance is greatly reduced, especially in cross-state businesses, which can simplify the operations of a startup. Compliance can be made even easier in the first three years of a startup.”

Wilful defaulters cannot bid for their companies: SBI chief (India Times), Rated: A

State Bank of India (SBI) chairman Rajnish Kumar on Monday said that promoters of defaulting companies are within their rights to bid for their businesses which are on the block following insolvency proceedings. However, wilful defaulters or those borrowers who have diverted funds will not find any place in the bidding process, he said.

Asia

Singapore’s Central Bank Chief Has a Warning for Fintech Investors (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

While technological innovations such as blockchain and the area of big data analytics can result in powerful applications, people should be wary of some peer-to-peer lending platforms and the rapidly rising values of cryptocurrencies, Menon said in an interview with Bloomberg News late last month.

One potential area of concern for Menon is some examples of P2P lending, in which platforms connect investors with borrowers, and make money from charging both parties a fee.

Still, high-profile cases of malfeasance such as Ezubo — dubbed China’s biggest Ponzi scheme — have brought to light instances of how they can be used to defraud investors. In China, almost 4,000 P2P platforms have closed or run into difficulties since 2011, according to Yingcan Group, which tracks the data.

Another area of concern is in the use of big data, where increasing use of mobile phones, social media and the internet has given companies unprecedented access to customer data.

The MAS has set aside about $165 million for a five-year plan to nurture fintech and is spearheading Project Ubin, a blockchain-based project to facilitate cross-border payments. Last week, the regulator unveiled a so-called transformation map for financial services that aims to create 4,000 new jobs annually in the industry — a quarter of that in fintech alone.

Read a transcript of Ravi Menon’s comments on fintech

Kinerjapay Preparing to Launch Peer to Peer Lending Service (PR Newswire), Rated: A

KinerjaPay Corp., (OTCQB: KPAY), a digital payment and ecommerce platform (“KinerjaPay” or the “Company”), announced today that it is preparing to launch a peer-to-peer lending application to provide Indonesia’s largely underserved consumer sector with access to credit.

Indonesia’s Financial Services Authority estimates the country’s demand for consumer and small business financing at approximately US$125 billion. Domestic financial institutions are able to address an estimated US$50 billion, leaving a financing gap of about US$75 billion which is not being served by financial institutions.

KinerjaPay’s P2P application will offer loans in the range of $100 to $10,000 to individuals, and $5,000 to $500,000 to businesses over fixed periods of 12 to 60 months. The interest rate charged for borrowed funds falls between 8% and 18%, depending on the loan grade or creditworthiness of the borrowing entity. The Company will receive a fee of 1% of the amount of borrower payments received within 15 days of the due date of the loan.

Securities Commission Malaysia: Equity Crowdfunding, P2P Lending & DLT Gaining Traction as it Embraces Digital Innovation (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

According to SC, the equity crowdfunding and peer to peer financing platforms have funded 450 campaigns, raising a total of RM 50 million  (USD $11.8 million) to meet the financing needs of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

For equity crowdfunding in particular, more than 70% of the issuers have women or youth as founders, with 40% of the investors under the age of 35.

Canada

Report aims to enhance fintech innovation and competition (Investment Executive), Rated: A

Canadian investors should receive clear, upfront fee disclosure, and securities regulators should be working with robo-advisors to help facilitate the development of cheap alternatives to traditional advice, according to a draft report from the Competition Bureau.

On Monday, the federal agency released the draft report on its market study concerning technology‑led innovation in the Canadian financial services (fintech) sector in a variety of market segments, including payments, crowdfunding, and investment advice.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor