Thursday November 21 2019, Weekly News Digest

LexinFintech Vintage Curve

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi helps Pro.com make home improvement loans. BlueVine raises $102.5M. OCC, FDIC propose Madden fixes. Zopa gets banking license. Twino CEO stands down, platform hits 1B euro in loans issued. Today’s main analysis: LexinFintech lending business analysis (A MUST-READ). Today’s thought-provoking articles: Fed rate inversion. 10 cities that cost money […]

The post Thursday November 21 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

LexinFintech Vintage Curve

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

Other

News Summary

United States

Pro.Com Partners with SoFi to Make Home Improvements Even Easier (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Pro.com, the premier digital platform focused exclusively on building custom homes and major remodels from start to finish, announced a new partnership Tuesday with online personal finance company SoFi, aimed at revolutionizing how homeowners finance and complete their remodels, renovations and upgrades.

BlueVine raises $ 102.5M more for banking services that target small businesses (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

The startup, which offers financing and other banking services to SMBs, today is announcing that it has raised $102.5 million, a Series F round of equity funding that is coming from a mix of financial and notable strategic investors.

Led by ION Crossover Partners, the round also includes existing investors Lightspeed Venture Partners, Menlo Ventures, 83North, SVB Capital, Nationwide (a major financial services player in the UK), Citi Ventures, Microsoft’s venture fund M12, and private investors; as well as new investors MUFG Innovation Partners Co., Ltd, O.G. Tech (the VC connected to Israeli billionaire and property magnate Eyal Ofer), Vintage Investment Partners, ION Group, Maor Investments and additional private investors.

FT Partners Advises BlueVine on its $ 102,500,000 Series F Financing (FT Partners), Rated: B

FT Partners served as exclusive financial advisor to BlueVine and its board of directors on its $102.5 million Series F financing

The OCC and FDIC Both Propose a Madden Fix (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

There is finally some real light at the end of the tunnel. In the last two days we have heard from both the OCC and the FDIC on the Madden issue, something they called unfathomable in a joint amicus brief in Colorado a couple of months ago. They have each given notice of their proposal that would clarify the “valid when made” doctrine once and for all.

At the core of the issue is the ambiguity created by the Madden decision. A loan can be valid when it is made but if it is sold or transferred can suddenly become invalid in the Second Circuit states of NY, CT and VT. This has led to reduced consumer lending to these states and also concern that, given no regulatory clarity, this could expand to other states.

Here are links to the OCC and FDIC proposals. There will be a 60-day comment period where interested parties can weigh in.

Big Tech Race to Own Digital Wallet; GS Robo-advisor on Launchpad (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Refinance demand increased by 13% from the previous week and was 188% higher than a year ago, when rates were 114 basis points higher.

First-time inversion driven by the long-end…

Source: PeerIQ, Blackstone, St. Louis Federal Reserve

In regulatory news, lawmakers are taking aim at payday loan rates. Congress members plan to introduce federal legislation that would cap interest rates at 36%.

The next move for Facebook would be to offer lending products most likely indirectly (e.g., via POS partnerships or via co-brand products such as Amazon Chase Visa, etc.).

Insurance startup Vouch tacks on growth funding to serve startups (Pitchbook), Rated: A

Just two months ago, the ink was barely dry on a more than $24 million Series A that Sam Hodges raised for his startup Vouch Insurance. Now he is back with an even larger funding, led by Y Combinator‘s Continuity Fund, as the company seeks to join a crop of startups that cater to the needs of other startups.

Fireblocks Is Now Securing The Biggest Crypto Lending Company In The US (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Fireblocks (www.fireblocks.com), an enterprise platform for securing digital assets in transit, announced today, Celsius Network, the largest provider of interest income and digital asset loans in over 150 jurisdictions worldwide is enlisting Fireblocks to help protect over $400 million assets and 53,000 active wallets, securing both retail and institutional divisions.

5 Ways to Invest in Real Estate Online (The Motley Fool), Rated: A

The primary difference between using a crowdfunding site versus flying solo on your investment journey is that your investment is managed by a team of real estate professionals. Of course, that is also the biggest risk as you are completely dependent on the project developer to deliver what they promised.

If you are not an accredited investor but want to be involved in real estate crowdfunding, companies such as Fundrise, stREITwise, and RealtyMogul are a great place to start.

ArborCrowd Investors Receive Strong Returns on the Sale of Quarry Station Apartments (BusinessWire), Rated: A

ArborCrowd (the “Company”), the first crowdfunding platform launched by a real estate institution, announced today that its Quarry Station Apartments investment (“Quarry Station”) has been realized in under two years, providing investors with returns quicker and higher than initial projections. The property’s $49.35 million sale price generated an internal rate of return (IRR) of 20.31%, surpassing the original return target of 16% to 19%.

How Crowdfunding Has Changed the Game for Real Estate Investing (The Motley Fool), Rated: A

Through real estate crowdfunding, the developer can utilize an online platform that enables a large group of people to invest small dollar amounts in the project. If the development company chooses to follow the crowdfunding option, here’s how that could work:

  • First, the developer identifies an online platform that is suited to the company or mixed-use development. Each platform is different and most real estate crowdfunding sites receive significantly more project applications than they select.
  • If the investment passes all the legal, physical, and financial due diligence requirements the platform requires, that platform will then allow the developer to solicit funds using their site.
  • An investor can then use that platform to contribute financially to the development.
  • The funds are then tied up until the investor delivers on the project.

The 10 worst US cities for commutes that cost you time and money (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Online loan marketplace Lending Tree published a report on the most expensive commutes in the 100 largest cities in the US in October.

Consider a resident in New York, which Lending Tree ranked as the city with the fifth most expensive commute. Using Lending Tree’s findings via 2017 Census Bureau data, the median annual earnings for a full-time employee in New York is $51,573; their hourly wage is $26. Now, consider the mean time of commuting one way, 41.8 minutes. If you make $26 per hour at your job, and you spend 83.6 minutes daily on your round-trip commute, then your time wasted commuting is worth $37 of time you would have been working.

Five cities in California – Oakland, San Jose, Irvine, San Francisco, and Fremont – took top 10 spots in the ranking, with four of those cities being in the increasingly expensive San Francisco Bay Area.

Read the full report here.

Fintech: The Fourth Platform – Part One (Forbes), Rated: A

While the first generation of fintech companies created billions of dollars of value, because of new enablers like Plaid, Cross River Bank, Finix and Wisetack, we’re now moving past that phase to one where fintech moves from being a business model unto itself, to being the fourth layer in the stack or the “fourth platform,” wherein financial functions like payments, lending and insurance join connectivity, intelligence and ubiquity as layers of the stack upon which new companies can be built.

Source: Forbes

Balboa Survey: Small Business Owners Anticipate Robust Black Friday (Monitor Daily), Rated: A

Online lender Balboa Capital released the results of its 2019 Black Friday Survey, which was conducted to examine how small business owners are preparing for this historically busy shopping day, and to find out what their Black Friday sales expectations are.

The survey reveals that 70% of small business owners are preparing for Black Friday early, and 83% anticipate meeting or exceeding their Black Friday sales goals. Balboa Capital’s survey was sent to a sample of small business owners in a wide variety of industries during the first week of November 2019.

American Financial Exchange, LLC (AFX) Announces AMERIBOR on the Blockchain (Mondovisione), Rated: A

American Financial Exchange (AFX), an electronic exchange for direct lending and borrowing for American banks and financial institutions, announced today the launch of its AMERIBOR on the blockchain. AFX now mints two ERC-721 non-fungible tokens for each AMERIBOR transaction on the AFX platform (for each counterparty to the transaction).  The pair of tokens is automatically minted when the transaction is repaid by the borrowing counterparty to the lending counterparty. Each token contains encrypted transaction data and encrypted counterparty data. The counterparty data is normalized prior to encryption to further preserve counterparty anonymity.

5 Best Alternatives to Traditional Savings Accounts (Nerdwallet), Rated: B

The pros. Peer-to-peer lending tends to be a win-win: Investors get a higher rate of return on their money than a lot of banking products offer, and borrowers get an interest rate on their loan that’s usually less than bank-offered loans and credit cards.

The cons. Peer-to-peer lending won’t give you quick access to your cash if you need liquidity.

Alchemy Partners with Plaid to Enhance Loan Decisioning and Fraud Detection Capabilities (PRWeb), Rated: B

Alchemy, one of the SaaS fintech lending infrastructure companies, has partnered with Plaid to support businesses in account and asset verification for improved lending decisioning.

United Kingdom

UK peer-to-peer lender Zopa gets banking license as it looks to compete with industry giants (Stock Daily Dish), Rated: AAA

British peer-to-peer lender Zopa has obtained a U.K. banking license, clearing a key hurdle in its bid to launch a digital bank and compete with industry giants.

Business Loans Marketplace Funding Xchange Raises $ 10.4 Million via Round Led By Downing Ventures, Gresham House Ventures (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Funding Xchange (FXE), a company that helps people and organizations find suitable business loans and funding options from its marketplace of more than 45 established lenders, has raised £8 million (appr. $10.4 million) through an investment round.

London-based mobile credit card company Tymit secures £4m in funding (AltFi), Rated: A

Tymit, the London-based mobile-enabled credit card company, has secured £4m in a funding round, which it will use to develop its customer service offering.

Arbuthnot Commercial ABL supports EA-RS Fire Engineering’s acquisition of Circum with £2m facility (Business-Money), Rated: A

Arbuthnot Commercial ABL, the specialist asset based lending arm of Arbuthnot Latham, has completed a £2m asset based lending (ABL) transaction in support of the strategic acquisition of Circum Ltd, a fire protection services specialist, by EA-RS Fire Engineering Ltd. (“EA-RS”). The facility comprises a flexible confidential invoice discounting line and a term loan.

Crowd2Fund’s first EIS-approved funding round goes live (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

CROWD2FUND has launched its first funding round since being granted Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) approval from HMRC.

The platform has already raised 19 per cent of its target from current shareholders and has now opened the £1.2m fundraise to private investors.

Buzzy finance startup Starling Bank has lost another senior employee amid an exodus of executives (Business Insider), Rated: A

Starling’s head of banking compliance Rachel Coote has quit to join startup Paybase. Coote is the sixth senior employee to leave the buzzy finance company in 2019.The company’s chief financial officer Tony Ellingham has confirmed he will also depart within the next year.

Trading giant Robinhood makes its UK debut in Revolut challenge (City A.M.), Rated: A

US fintech Robinhood, a commission-free trading startup valued at $7.6bn (£5.9bn), has today arrived in the UK.

Users will be able to invest in more than 3,500 US-denominated stocks, including Apple, Amazon and Tesla. They will also be able to access foreign stocks that are available to trade in dollars through depository receipts, such as Barclays and Burberry.

OakNorth Bank completes GBP3.54m loan to fund aparthotel development in London (Property Funds World), Rated: B

The finance will be used to fund the acquisition of a mixed-use property at 68‐86 Clapham Road in Oval, and in its place, develop an aparthotel with between 120-175 units, subject to receiving planning permission. The site is located within walking distance of several Zone 1 underground stations – Oval, Stockwell and Vauxhall – as well as the South Western railway line, providing services to Clapham, Waterloo, Guildford, etc.

Crypto Lending Platform Nexo Joins FIO, As Usability Remains Top Priority (Chipin), Rated: B

Nexo, the dominant player in the crypto lending space, is joining the Foundation for Wallet Interoperability (FIO), the industry consortia bringing together leading companies in the blockchain ecosystem to solve the biggest problem faced by the industry — usability.

China

LexinFintech: A Rare Quality (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

LexinFintech (LX) reported a solid set of Q3 results with loan origination growing 170% y/y that resulted in a beat on both revenue and EPS. More importantly, loan origination guidance was increased to RMB115-125b vs. the prior forecast of RMB115b.

Source: Seeking Alpha

Overall, asset quality remains stable at the end of Q3 with delinquency rate declining 9bps to 1.4% and the 6-month charge-off rate maintained at just above 2%.

Source: LexinFintech

Institutional funding has reached 75% of the total loan balance. In terms of origination, institutional accounts for 94% of the total loans originated, meaning that LX’s own P2P platform Juzi Licai is becoming less relevant going forward.

Source: LexinFintech
European Union

Twino CEO stands down, as Latvian lender swings into black (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Twino founder Armands Broks is to standing down as CEO and will now focus on new business opportunities and bringing talent on board.

The management change comes as Twino, which offers European investors investment opportunities in unsecured European consumer loans, reports pre-tax profits of €13m  (£11m) for 2018, compared to a €7.2m (£6.2m) loss the year previous.

Twino has also disclosed that it has also issued loans to the value of €1bn (£860m), since it was set up 10 years ago, half of the value of which have been issued in the past three years.

The Best Crowdlending Platforms (The African Exponent), Rated: A

Smart Lenders AM Launches New Investment Fund Specialized in Marketplace Lending (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Smart Lenders AM announces the upcoming launch of a new fund dedicated to financing loans to European SMEs issued through marketplace lending platforms (crowdlending).

Real Estate Crowdfunding Platform EstateGuru Partners with Ober-Haus on Market Research (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Real estate crowdfunding platform EstateGuru and OberHaus, real estate agency operating across the Baltic region, have joined together to produce shared real estate market research and analysis with a specialized focus on the needs of the crowdfunding platform.

International

Profits and Losses of P2P Lending Marketplaces 2017 and 2018 (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

Source: P2P-Banking
Australia

What does a competitive mortgage rate look like in November 2019? (finder), Rated: A

The lowest fixed rate in Finder’s database right now is 2.68%, a single basis point lower than the lowest variable. This is unusual (the lowest three year fixed rate this time last year was 3.74%).

Another online lender I spoke to was fine with apartments in the same suburb but didn’t offer pre-approval. This meant I would have to start a full application with them even before I had found a place to buy. For some borrowers, this can be a significant turn-off.

Asia

Ant Financial eyeing S’pore digital bank licence (The Straits Times), Rated: AAA

Billionaire Jack Ma’s Ant Financial Services Group said it may apply for a virtual banking licence in Singapore, a move that would add a heavyweight contender to the race.

OneConnect leads Southeast Asia’s sustainable financing with two smart lending platforms (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

OneConnect Financial Technology Co. Ltd. (OneConnect), today announced it is leading Southeast Asia’s sustainable financing with the launch of two smart lending platforms – SeekCap, the Philippines’ first lending platform that helps the underserved micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) manage cashflow and grow their business, as well as a multi-finance platform that will empower millions of unbanked and underbanked Indonesians with easy access to loans to finance their purchase of vehicles essential for their daily transportation so as to improve mobility and their lives.

MSMEs form the backbone of any economy. In the Philippines, more than 99% of all businesses are MSMEs and they contribute to almost 63% of total employment. Yet, at present, only 9% of loans and financing from the country’s major banks go to MSMEs.

Latin America

Brazilian Digital Bank Neon Raises $ 95 Million (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Brazilian Digital bank Neon has reportedly raised $95.27 million in a funding round led by Banco Votorantim and the General Atlantic fund. This is according to a write up in Estado.

Neon claims a customer base of 2 million users. The additional funding will help the digital bank grow with expectations to triple that number by 2020.

How Brazil is leading Latin America’s fintech revolution (Business Insider), Rated: A

There were 380 fintechs operating in the country in May 2019, per Finnovista, and around two-thirds (64%) of Brazilian consumers are defined as fintech adopters by EY — a rate that’s level with the global average and higher than the majority of G7 countries’.

  • Smartphone and internet penetration: Three-quarters of Brazilians used smartphones in 2017, which is expected to tick up to 86% by 2025 — and both figures are the highest across the region.
  • High fees charged by incumbentsBrazil’s four largest banks control almost 80% of the country’s deposits, with similar concentrations in credit and assets.
  • A large underserved population: Around 45 million people in the country don’t have access to or have not used a bank account in the past six months.

Why Mexico’s Fintech Sector Will Be One to Watch in 2020 (Next Billion), Rated: A

The economy in Mexico remains largely informal and cash dependent. An estimated 44% of the adult population in Mexico owns no financial products. This largely unbanked population, coupled with the new fintech legislation, has created immense opportunities for Mexico’s fintech sector to grow. In fact, roughly 100 new Mexican fintechs were established in 2018 alone, representing 52% growth for the industry. Mexico has become a regional leader with more than 273 fintech ventures operating in the country. When combined with Brazil’s 380 fintech ventures, the two countries make up 56% of the region’s total fintech activity.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday November 21 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Wednesday March 21 2018, Daily News Digest

fintechs

News Comments Today’s main news: Mike Cagney’s Figure is out of stealth. CommonBond raises $50M. Airbnb features RealtyShares as multifamily financing solution. Monzo hits 500K current accounts. LexinFintech falls short on Q4 earnings. N26 raises $160M. Today’s main analysis: Mortgage Rate Competition Index widens. Today’s thought-provoking articles: The death of cash could be overstated. The most popular cities for millennial homebuyers. The […]

fintechs

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

Other

News Summary

United States

Ex-SoFi CEO Mike Cagney’s new startup, Figure, is out of stealth (Fast Company), Rated: AAA

SoFi cofounder Mike Cagney, who resigned as CEO last year, has been quietly working on a new project involving home improvement financing and home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) for the last several months. Now, that project is out of stealth, with a live website: Figure.com.

According to Cagney’s LinkedIn profile, the startup plans to leverage blockchain-based technology and AI “to unlock new access points for consumer credit products that can transform the financial lives of our customers.”

The death of cash might be overstated (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

The decline of cash in the US might be exaggerated, according to Cardtronics and PYMNTS’ Global Cash Index (GCI).

Cash still sees healthy usage in the US: The share of cash in 2016 accounted for 12.6% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), and the study forecasts that it will account for 11.2% of the US GDP by 2021.

Here are three factors that might contribute to the endurance of cash in the US:

Source Business Insider

Cash persists for low-value transactions. Nearly two-thirds of US consumers said they prefer to rely on cash for purchases of $10 or less. That could be partly because it’s expensive for merchants to accept card payments, which leads to card transaction minimums that encourage cash usage for these purchases. This could help keep cash alive in consumers’ day-to-day lives.

Des Moines, Pittsburgh and Buffalo Among Most Popular Cities for Millennial Homebuyers (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

LendingTree has released the findings of its study on the most popular cities for millennial homebuyers.

Young homebuyers are at the forefront of an increasing number of buyers returning to the housing market. The largest single-age population in the U.S. is 27-year-olds at almost 4.8 million, suggesting that millennials’ influence on the housing market has years to run before it peaks.

Millennial homebuyers make up one-third of mortgage requests. 32.5 percent of all mortgage requests through LendingTree between Feb. 1, 2017 and Feb. 1, 2018 came from consumers 35 years and younger. The average loan amount requested from this age group is $166,863.

Where millennials aren’t vying for homeownership. At the other end of the scale, Sarasota, Fla.Fort Myers Fla. and Honolulu had lowest shares of millennial buyers at 17.9 percent, 19.8 percent and 21.8 percent respectively.

Source: Lending Tree

CommonBond Secures $ 50M Series D Equity Round, Led by Fifth Third Bancorp (MarketWatch), Rated: AAA

CommonBond, a leading financial technology company that empowers students and graduates to pay for higher education, today announced a $50M Series D financing round.

Fifth Third Capital Holdings, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fifth Third BancorpFITB, -0.69% led the round, with First Republic Bank FRC, -0.49% and Columbia Seligman Investments also participating, in addition to existing investors including Neuberger Berman, August Capital, and Nyca Partners. Individual investors in CommonBond include Vikram Pandit, former CEO of Citigroup, and Tom Glocer, former CEO of Thomson Reuters. This latest round brings CommonBond’s total funding raised to over $130M. CommonBond will use this new funding to accelerate its growth and invest further in technology.

Airbnb Features RealtyShares as First Multifamily Financing Solution (Business Wire), Rated: AAA

RealtyShares, a leading online marketplace for commercial real estate investing, today announced it is featured by Airbnb as a financing resource in its Multifamily Properties Toolkit, a website that gives owners, operators and developers of multifamily buildings resources to support long-term tenants who wish to share their space with travelers. RealtyShares provides experienced multifamily building owners and operators financing to buy, refinance, and renovate their buildings.

Landlords can now manage Airbnb activity in their buildings and share in the additional rental income with the Airbnb Friendly Buildings Program. As a result, multifamily property owners have become increasingly interested in helping their tenants improve and share their space on Airbnb.

OnDeck Appoints Kenneth Brause As New Chief Financial Officer (Crowfund Insider), Rated: A

Online lending platform for small businesses OnDeck (NYSE: ONDK) announced it has appointed Kenneth Brause as its new Chief Financial Officer, effective March 26th, as part of a mutually agreed upon transition process. The lender reported that current Chief Financial Officer, Howard Katzenberg. Katzenberg will serve as an advisor to OnDeck until April 13th, working closely with Brause to facilitate a smooth transition.

According to OnDeck, Brause brings more than 30 years of experience in the financial services industry to the lender’s team.

 

 

Average Cost of College Statistics for 2018 (Lend EDU), Rated: AAA

No matter whether you attend a public or private school, or whether you attend a 2-year or 4-year college, you can expect to pay more than those who attended before you.

By checking out the graph to the right (which does​ not account for inflation) you can see that in the past 20 years, tuition at all types of colleges has more than doubled, and in some cases has more than tripled.

Source: Lend EDU

Though the graph does not account for inflation, the rate of tuition increase has greatly outpaced the inflation rate – by at least 3 times for most school types.

The following is the average cost-of-attendance for the 2017-18 school year by school type including tuition & fees, room & board, books & supplies, transportation, and any other expenses.

  • Private 4-Year Not-for-Profit: $50,900   
  • Public 4-Year Out-of-State: $40,940  
  • Public 4-Year In-State: $25,290  
  • Public 2-Year In-District:​ $17,580   
  • Private For-Profit: $16,000 (tuition only)
Source: Lend EDU
Source: Lend EDU

 

Mortgage Rate Competition Index Widens (Lending Tree) Rated: AAA

  • Homebuyers could have seen median savings of $27,980 by comparison shopping for the best mortgage rates last week, up 4.5% from the prior week.
  • This week’s Mortgage Rate Competition Index was 0.60 for purchase mortgages, up 0.15 from a year ago, and up 0.02 from last week. The Index measures the median spread between the highest and lowest APR available on the LendingTree platform.

Purchase loans

  • Across all purchase loan applications on LendingTree for the week ending March 18, 2018, the index was 0.60, up 0.02 from the previous week.
  • How big of a deal is it to nab a mortgage rate that’s 0.60% lower than the competition? Over 30 years, that could translate to $27,980 in savings on a $300,000 loan
Source: Lending Tree

Mortgage fintech company completes capital raise (National Mortage News), Rated: B

Home Captain, a fintech company that looks to increase mortgage-lead conversion rates, completed a Series A financing round led by Spring Mountain Capital.

Spring Mountain joined Second Century Ventures, the strategic investment arm of the National Association of Realtors, as an institutional investor in Home Captain, which pairs prequalified homebuyers with real estate agents.

Ken Rees, CEO of Elevate, to Speak at LendIt Fintech Conference (Business Wire), Rated: A

Elevate Credit, Inc. (“Elevate”), a leading tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, announced today that their Chief Executive Officer, Ken Rees, will address the audience at LendIt Fintech 2018 along with CNBC’s Ari Levy.

Rees will be joined by Levy, senior technology reporter at CNBC, who will lead the discussion through a variety of themes, including:

  • How banks and fintech companies can partner to take advantage of the opportunity in non-prime lending
  • What it takes to build winning products for non-prime consumers
  • Predictions for the biggest areas of innovation in non-prime lending in 2018 and beyond

Covr Financial Technologies announces Michael Kalen as Chief Executive Officer (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Michael Kalen has joined Covr Financial Technologies, a digital, multi-carrier life insurance platform for financial institutions, as its chief executive officer, Covr Board Chairman Brian Finn announced.

U.S. Online Merchants Believe Instant Financing Will Drive Increased Sales (PNY), Rated: A

Online merchants in the U.S. are increasingly recognizing the importance of offering instant financing to shoppers, according to a new online e-commerce survey. Nearly two-thirds of retailers polled (64 percent) believe providing online financing options through their store is important to driving new and increased sales. Forty-six percent indicate it would decrease cart abandonment still one of the most critical challenges for online retailers today.

The survey was released here by Klarna, a leading global payments provider, at Shoptalk in Las Vegas.

Franklin Resources to Acquihire Random Forest Capital (Street Insider), Rated: B

Franklin Resources, Inc. (NYSE: BEN), which operates as Franklin Templeton Investments, today announced the acquisition of Random Forest Capital, LLC (“Random Forest”), an investment firm with expertise in data science and non-bank marketplace lending. Following the acquisition, the Random Forest team will join the Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group investment team. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

New Florida law will loosen small-dollar lending rules (American Banker), Rated: B

Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill Monday that will loosen the state’s rules for small-dollar consumer lending.

The law, which sailed through both houses of the Florida Legislature, authorizes 60- to 90-day loans of up to $1,000, while continuing to allow 30-day payday loans.

United Kingdom

Monzo Milestone: Challenger Bank Hits Half A Million Current Accounts (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On Monday, UK-based challenger bank Monzo announced it has achieved half a million current accounts. The company launched its current accounts in October last year and since then, thousands of users have upgraded their accounts or signed up to start using Monzo’s banking products.

Monzo also reported that it will close the prepaid Beta on April 4th, so if users have not upgraded, their card will stop working and they won’t be able to use your Monzo app to make or receive payments.

Welendus goes live with interest-free loan offer (Peer2Peer Finance), Rated: A

PEER-TO-PEER payday lender Welendus has launched its first product, offering borrowers an interest-free loan if the debt is repaid in one day.

Individuals can borrow up to £500 using the new facility, which is aimed at those faced with unexpected or emergency bills, Welendus said. The borrower does not have to pay any interest if they pay the loan back within 24 hours.

There are no early repayment fees and borrowers can get a decision within five minutes.

Investors will receive returns ranging between five and 15 per cent to fund the loans.

Fintech referral platform bags series A fundraise (AltFiNews), Rated: A

Funding Xchange, one of a handful of platforms designated by HM Treasury to refer businesses declined credit by the banks to other sources of funding, has closed a £1.5m series A round.

The round was led by Calibrate Management Ltd and Kimera. The money will be used to continue the development of Funding Xchange’s automated decisioning technology, as well as for the incorporation of live transactional data sources.

Inflation finally falls but still beats savings returns (Peer2Peer Finance), Rated: A

INFLATION hit a seven-month low last month but there is little sign of respite for interest-starved savers as ISA season approaches, figures show.

Official for National Statistics (ONS) data shows consumer price inflation (CPI) grew by 2.7 per cent in February, finally falling from its five-year high of three per cent but still above the Bank of England’s two per cent target.

 

“But still, with inflation sitting at 2.7 per cent, savers’ cash is being eroded in real terms. In comparison to last year, savers would have found it difficult to get one per cent on an easy access ISA.”

Senior RBS fintech investment banker re-emerges at startup (Financial News), Rated: B

A former Royal Bank of Scotland investment banker, who led its coverage of fintech deals, has quit his private equity job after just five months to join a peer-to-peer lending startup staffed by former Goldman Sachs and HSBC analysts.

Rory McHugh, a former managing director at RBS, has joined Lendable, a UK-focused personal loans platform. Set up in 2014, the firm offers loans of up to £20,000 and raised £300m to lend to new customers in November.

Be a venture capitalist with an Innovative Finance Isa (The Times), Rated: A

Compared with cash Isas, Ifisas are as much a high-risk option as any loan that is not protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). This means that lenders cannot seek money from P2P borrowers that are unwilling or unable to pay money owed, whereas the scheme protects savings and investments offered by FSCS-authorised banks and other companies.

Source: The Times

There are more than 30 providers jostling for space and support from subscribers, with typical rates of return of between 3 and 7 per cent, as well as some offering up to 16 per cent. The interest rates on offer comfortably outstrip the 2 to 3 per cent attached to cash Isas. See our table, below, for a range of Ifisas presently available to new customers.

FCA calls for global effort to speed up fintech growth (NAI500), Rated: B

The Financial Conduct Authority has called for the creation of a global alliance of regulators that would encourage growth in fintech by allowing companies to test new products without going through a full approval process.

Speaking at the Innovate Finance Global Summit in London, Mr Woolard said expanding such a programme internationally would be “an immense undertaking”, but said “we’re up for the challenge”, having already seen “lots of interest” from other regulators.

China

Hot Chinese IPO LexinFintech Falls Short On Q4 Earnings, Revenue (Investors Business Daily), Rated: AAA

LexinFintech (LX) reported weaker-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings and revenue as the Chinese online lender issued its first quarterly report since its December IPO.

LexinFintech earned 4 cents per U.S. share diluted on revenue of $244.95 million. Analysts had expected EPS of 13 cents on revenue of $279.7 million, according to Yahoo Finance.

Shares tumbled 12.4% to close at 15.98 on the stock market today after rallying 5.3% on Monday to 18.25.

Loan originations rose 115% vs. a year, customer balances swelled 95% and registered users 99%. Acquisition costs per customer fell 22%.

Dow Jones Leads Morning Rally, But This FANG Stock Falls Further (Investors Business Daily), Rated: A

IPO Leader LexinFintech (LX) fell over 8% after the Chinese online lender reported weaker-than-expected Q4 earnings and sales results. The new issue has been volatile after a short-lived breakout above an 18.39 IPO-base entry on March 9. Just days later, the stock would trigger the 7%-8% sell signal before rebounding.

Golden Bull Limited Announces Pricing of Initial Public Offering (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Golden Bull Limited (“Golden Bull” or the “Company”) (NASDAQ: DNJR), an online finance marketplace that connects individual lenders with individual and small business borrowers, today announced the pricing of its initial public offering of 1,550,000 ordinary shares at a public offering price of $4.00 per share, for total gross proceeds of approximately $6.2 million before underwriting discounts and commissions and offering expenses. In addition, Golden Bull has granted the underwriters a 45-day option to purchase up to an additional 232,500 common shares at the public offering price, less underwriting discount and commissions.

 

European Union

The challenger bank N26 raises $ 160M ahead of U.S. launch (American Banker), Rated: AAA

The mobile-first bank N26 in Berlin has raised $160 million in preparation for its launch of a challenger bank in the United States.

All told, N26 has raised $215 million. Previous investors have included Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures, Earlybird Venture Capital and Li Ka-Shing’s Horizons Ventures.

Part of the $160 million will be used on product development for the existing offering in Europe, according to U.S. CEO Nicolas Kopp. The rest — and he would not say how much this is — will be used for international expansion, most immediately into the U.K. and U.S. markets.

Swedish banks risk losing tens of billions of euros to fintech startups – here are the ones leading the charge (Business Insider), Rated: A

On Monday, the startup Enkla launched, causing a stir in the market. Their interest rate of 0,95 percent is well below the banks’ average interest rates and according to their CEO, Alexander Widegren, Enkla received about 2 billion euros (SEK 20 billion) in applications their first day, Di Digital reported.

Enklas goal is set to lend out 10 billion euros within 18 months.

The four largest Swedish banks, SEB, Nordea, Handelsbanken and Swedbank – which have a combined 75 percent share of the country’s mortgage market – all had a rough day on the stock market on Monday, which may have been caused in part by the emerging threat.

Australia

Australian SMEs favor alternate lending to fund business (Enterprise Innovation), Rated: AAA

Australian small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) are turning to non-banks to secure funding for their business. The latest issue of the Scottish Pacific SME Growth Index revealed that, between 2014 and 2018, the proportion of SMEs intending to use banks for funding has dropped from 38% to 24%. It also found that non-bank funding is now the first option for 22% of SMEs, up from 11% in 2014.

Moreover the report noted that 47.6% of SMEs, who have not used any non-banking lending options in the last 12 months, would be interested in using these options in the future.

There is an estimate 2.1 million SME businesses in Australia employing more than 7.3 million people or about 68% of Australia’s overall workforce.

Source: Enterprise Innovation

FinTechs To Surpass Banks As Aussie SMBs’ Top Finance Choice (PYMNTS), Rated: A

The “Scottish Pacific SME Growth Index,” released twice a year, found the portion of small businesses that said they would use banks for funding declined from 38 percent in 2014 to 24 percent in 2018.

Nearly half (47.6 percent) of SMBs that said they never used a non-bank to access financing said they would be interested in doing so in the future.

Asia

PT INVESTREE Radhika Jaya (Investree), a pioneer peer-to-peer lending (P2P) marketplace in Indonesia, is eyeing to close its Series B funding by the first half quarter of this year.

The company received an undisclosed amount of funding from Kejora Ventures in June 2016.

Investree has facilitated 600 billion rupiah (US$45 million) in loans to 330 SMEs, with 16,000 registered lenders, 5,000 active lenders between 21 to 40 years of age and has a return rate of 16.6% with no defaults.

In terms of business growth, Investree has seen 14% to 15% growth in revenue since 2016.

 

Latin America

Alipay breaks ground in Mexico (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Alipay, the world’s leading digital payments platform, operated by Ant Financial Services Group, today announced that it is further expanding its footprint in the Americas through a partnership with Openpay in Mexico.

Now, Alipay’s more than 600 million active users in China will be able to use Alipay to make purchases from Openpay’s affiliated businesses in Mexico. Alipay is China’s leading payment provider and the primary means of online and mobile payment for Chinese consumers.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The Latin American Alternative Lending Landscape

Latin American alternative lending

The alternative lending juggernaut shows no sign of slowing down and is enjoying remarkable growth all around the world. The Latin American & Caribbean (LAC) industry is also enjoying the wave; the 2017 Americas Alternative Finance Industry Report highlighted the region as a hot spot of lending growth with volumes jumping by over 200% in […]

Latin American alternative lending

The alternative lending juggernaut shows no sign of slowing down and is enjoying remarkable growth all around the world. The Latin American & Caribbean (LAC) industry is also enjoying the wave; the 2017 Americas Alternative Finance Industry Report highlighted the region as a hot spot of lending growth with volumes jumping by over 200% in the completed year 2016. The industry grew from $110 million to an estimated $342 million with business lending accounting for 57% of the total pie.

Source: 2017 Americas Altenative Finance Industry Report

Brazil: A Gold Mine for Alternative Lenders

The so-called Big 5 economies of the region are Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, and Venezuela. In total, there are 25 countries across Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. The South American market (i.e. basically ex-Mexico) in general, and specifically Brazil, has always been hampered by a lack of banking services, which has opened the floodgate for fintech startups to tap this $6.5 trillion economy. Brazil is an extreme case in point on how lucrative the market can be. 160 million adults are using some kind of banking service, but only 55 million are borrowers, as per Brazil’s central bank. Add to that almost 20 million unbanked people, and you can see the size of the opportunity for a lending startup. Moreover, 85 percent of Brazilians now live in cities; but, 40 percent are excluded from the traditional banking system as per São Paulo-based Itaú Unibanco, the largest private bank in South America.

Yet, the Brazilian population is heavily smartphone-dependent, and fintech lenders have leveraged this to offer differentiated banking and credit services. This gap seems to have been identified by leading US VCs as well. Nubank, a digital finance company that launched a no-fees credit card in Brazil, became the first investment in South America for Sequoia, DST Global, Founders Fund, and QED. It has now raised a cumulative equity and debt funding of over $377 million.

Source:

An underlying reason behind the unprecedented adoption of alternative lending has been the severe banking crisis that hindered the region for more than a decade. With the economy gaining momentum, there is huge latent credit demand, both from individuals as well as SMEs. For instance, Brazilian consumers pay an average of 190 percent a year for unsecured overdraft, credit cards, and consumer loans from banks. The Brazilian government is firmly behind these fintech startups as they look to democratize lending, and more importantly, lower borrowing costs for their voters.

ance/homebox/brazils-fintech-is-a-carnival-of-innovation-in-latin-america/

Leading Players in Brazil Fintech Lending

  • Creditas – Creditas was founded in 2012 by Sergio Furio and has a headquarters in São Paulo, Brazil. It has raised over $77 million in various rounds of funding. Formerly BankFacil, Creditas is a digital lending platform focused on secured lending. The firm funds its customer loans both through investors and financial institutions. Core products include a version of home equity and auto loans in which borrowers offer their residences or vehicles as collateral.
  • Geru – Launched in 2013, Geru is headquartered in São Paulo. A simple, fast, fair, and cost-effective online loan platform, Geru was inspired by the international model of marketplace lending and provides registration and credit rating services for people who wish to obtain a loan. It offers loans up to $10,000 with an interest rate ranging from 1.88%-5.02% per month, and terms ranging from 12 to 36 months.
  • GuiaBolso – Brazil’s leading personal finance platform, GuiaBolso has millions of users who have downloaded its finance app and consumer credit marketplace. It has raised over $60 million in funding.

Apart from the above, there are many Brazilian fintech lending startups like Simplic, Biva, and Noverde that are charting their own path in the Brazilian lending market.

Non-Brazilian Alternative Lenders

  • Credivalores-Crediservicios – Launched in 2003, Credivalores-Crediservicios is headquartered in Bogotá, Colombia. It has raised $34 million from various rounds of funding. It is a non-banking financial company that provides consumer loans for individuals and small companies. The firm also focuses on payroll-deduction loans and consumer lending collected through public utility bills as well as discounting checks and insurance policy financing to low and middle-income individuals.
  • Sempli – Sempli was started in 2016 by Esteban Velasco and Felipe Llano. Its headquarters is in Colombia. An online lending platform for small and medium enterprises in Colombia, the firm has raised $3.6 million from various rounds of funding. It offers loans ranging from $10k-$100k for working capital and/or business expansion.
  • Afluenta – Started in 2010 by Alejandro Cosentino, Afluenta is headquartered in Buenos Aires, Distrito Federal, Argentina. It has raised over $13 million in various rounds of funding. Afluenta is the first and only marketplace lending company for consumer and SME loans operating in more than one country in Latin America. Afluenta successfully launched its services in Argentina where their lender base achieved net USD yields of +20% in the last three years. It currently operates in Argentina, Mexico, and Peru with plans to expand to Colombia & Brazil. It has lent over $460 million and has granted 11,403 loans so far.

Future Outlook

Even though the region has been engulfed by a recession for the last decade, the World Bank still expected the Latin American economy to grow by 1.8 percent in 2017 and 2.1 percent in 2018. The UK and US have matured as markets with leaders in almost every emerging niche. South America provides an untouched hunting ground for fintech lending expansion. The light-touch regulatory rule and implicit government banking to expand credit services should see the region emerging as a hot bed for alternative lending innovation.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir

Alternative Lending in Mexico

alternative finance Mexico

Albeit a bit late, Latin America has finally joined the global fintech revolution and Mexico is right at the forefront. Mexico has the largest fintech ecosystem in Latin America ahead of Brazil (230 startups) as per a recent report published by IDB and Finnovista in the second quarter of 2017. Alternative lending saw 41 startups and […]

alternative finance Mexico

Albeit a bit late, Latin America has finally joined the global fintech revolution and Mexico is right at the forefront. Mexico has the largest fintech ecosystem in Latin America ahead of Brazil (230 startups) as per a recent report published by IDB and Finnovista in the second quarter of 2017. Alternative lending saw 41 startups and accounted for 17% of the total.

Source:

Mexico was the largest player in the Latin American market with a volume of $114 million in 2016. The marketplace/ p2p lending model saw a 6x growth with over $40 million in 2016 lending.

Source:

Alternative Lending Regulation in Mexico

The fintech lending industry enjoyed little to no regulatory oversight in Mexico, but path-breaking growth made it necessary to have safeguards for the burgeoning market. Hence, in the beginning of December 2017, the Senate passed a bill called “The Law to Regulate Financial Technology”, and in the beginning of 2018, it will be presented in the lower House. If passed, the bill will help enhance financial stability and bring a clear and concise legal framework to alternative lending. It will also help improve credit access to millions of Mexicans.

Opportunity for Alternative Lenders

The majority of people in Mexico use Socaps (savings and loan cooperative societies) since they live in rural areas where there are no banks. As per Condusef data, only 800 municipalities out of 2,492 have bank branches. More alarmingly, Mexico had just 1.5 bank branches per 10,000 adults compared to 4.7 in Brazil in 2016, according to the National Report on Financial Inclusion. Furthermore, only 39% above the age of 15 have bank accounts as per data from the World Bank. These numbers clearly suggest Mexicans are underserved when it comes to banking activities, which presents a huge window of opportunity to the fintech lending sector.

Leading Fintech Lenders

  • Kueski – Kueski was founded in 2012 by Adalberto Flores and Leonardo de la Cerda. Its headquarters is in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. Kueski is the online lender for the middle class of Mexico and Latin America. The company uses big data and advanced analytics to approve and deliver loans in a matter of minutes. The company has become the fastest growing platform of its kind in the region and has raised almost $39 million. It offers loan ranging from $1,000-$2,000 and term ranges from 1-30 days.
  • Konfio – Launched in 2013 by David Arana and Francisco Padilla, Konfio is headquartered in Mexico City. It has raised $18 million from the Accion Frontier Inclusion Fund managed by Quona Capital, QED Investors, Kaszek Ventures, and Jaguar Ventures to strengthen the platform’s operations, grow its user base, and adopt corporate practices. Konfio is an online Mexican lending platform that helps financially underserved micro-enterprises in Latin America to obtain convenient and affordable loans through a proprietary algorithm. It offers loans ranging from MXN $10,000 to $350,000 for terms ranging from 4-36 months.
  • MiMoni – MiMoni was founded in 2008 and is headquartered in Mexico City. It has raised over $15 million in various rounds of funding. MiMoni analyzes submitted loan requests and approves them enabling its users to get access to benefits provided by the platform. Members are able to ask for loans whenever they need and after when they have settled their previous loans. It allows its users to make biweekly payments based on the amounts they have received as loans. It offers three loan amounts–$4000, $5,000 and $6,000–at an annual fixed rate of 401%.
  • Kubo.Financiero was founded in 2012 by Allan Seidman, Tomas Hernandez, and Vicente Fenoll. Since its inception, it has raised over $11 million in various rounds of funding. Kubo.financiero is a Mexican P2P lending platform regulated by local authorities including The Bank of México, CNBV (equivalent to the SEC in the US) and CONDUSEF. After five years, it is now one of Mexico’s leading P2P lending platforms with over 10,000 loans providing for a total of MXP$254m (USD$14m) and around 1,000 investors funding 60%-80% of the total loan value over the last 18 months. It issues loans ranging from ~US$200 to $25,000 with payments being made weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly over 16-36 months. All borrowers have a minimum score of 620 with the Buro de Crédito (equivalent to FICO).
  • Yotepresto – Started in 2014 by Luis Chavez, Yotepresto has raised $1.2 million in various rounds of funding. It is the fastest growing Mexican-based marketplace lending platform connecting individual and institutional investors to near-prime borrowers applying for a personal loan. It has more than 130,000 registered users and has originated $75 million in loans so far. It offers loans ranging from MXN $10,000-$300,000 with terms ranging from 6-36 months with rates starting from as low as 5.9%.

Apart from these leading players, there are a few more alternative lending platforms, such as Aspiria, El Buen Socio, Credilikeme, Doopla, Finv, and Cohete. These lenders are trying to break into the untouched Mexican market.

Conclusion

With new legislation set to roll out, and leading international players like Startupbootcamp FinTech using Mexico as the launching pad to establish their foothold in the Latin American market, it is easy to conclude that Mexico is set to be the fintech hub of the LATAM region. Considering many social and economic factors support the fintech-lending ecosystem, there is no doubt VCs and investors likewise will be lining up to fund and support altermatove lending startups in the region.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Wednesday December 6 2017, Daily News Digest

purchase apr

News Comments Today’s main news: Kabbage lends $4B to over 130K small businesses. RateSetter loses 23M GBP in ad investment. RateSetter to launch IFISA in February. Klarna, WorldPay partner on invoice and credit-based payments in Europe. Two new crypto-asset backed fiat loan platforms. Toss to expand into southeast Asia. Today’s main analysis: LendingTree’s monthly mortgage offer report. Today’s thought-provoking articles: […]

purchase apr

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

Asia

Mexico

News Summary

United States

Kabbage Delivers $ 4 Billion to More Than 130,000 Small Businesses (Kabbage Email), Rated: AAA

Kabbage, Inc., a global financial services, technology and data platform serving small businesses, has extended over $4 billion to more than 130,000 small businesses, serving the largest customer base than any online small business lender. These landmarks represent an approximate 30-percent increase in total funding and total customers served since the company’s last milestone announcement in April 2017. With over 1.5 million live data connections with its customers, Kabbage’s high growth is attributed to its fully-automated lending technology as it continues to be a trusted lending partner to tens of thousands of small businesses across all industries in all 50 U.S. states.

Robert Sharpe also joined the company as its chief operating officer. Sharpe has more than 20 years of executive leadership in North America, Europe and Asia. He has successfully held various C-level positions, including president, chief executive officer and chief operating officer with multiple global consumer goods companies, each serving tens of thousands of customers and generating billions of dollars in revenue. With an additional ten years of commercial banking and corporate finance experience, Sharpe will be responsible for Kabbage’s continued growth and operational oversight as the company expands internationally and scales its services to serve more and larger small businesses.

During 2017, Kabbage reached major milestones, including:

LendingTree Releases Monthly Mortgage Offer Report for November (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
  • November’s best offers for borrowers with the best profiles had an average APR of 3.75% for conforming 30-year fixed purchase loans, unchanged from October. Refinance loan offers were down 1 bps to 3.69%. Mortgage rates vary dependent upon parameters including credit score, loan-to-value, income and property type.
  • For the average borrower, purchase APRs for conforming 30-yr fixed loans offered on LendingTree’s platform were down 1 bps to 4.30%, the lowest since November 2016. In contrast, the loan note rate of 4.18% was unchanged from October when it reached the highest since July. We prefer to use the APR as lenders often make changes to other fees in response to changing interest rates.
  • Consumers with the highest credit scores (760+) saw offered APRs of 4.16% in November, vs 4.43% for consumers with scores of 680-719. The APR spread of 27 bps between these score ranges was 5 bps wider than in October and the widest since July 2016. The spread represents nearly $13,400 in additional costs for borrowers with lower credit scores over 30-years for the average purchase loan amount of $233,127. The additional costs are due to higher interest rates, larger fees or a combination of the two.
  • Refinance APRs for conforming 30-yr fixed loans were down 2 bps to 4.24%. The credit score bracket spread widened to 19 from 16 bps, amounting to $9,500 in extra costs over the life of the loan for lower credit score borrowers given an average refinance loan of $235,973.
  • Average proposed purchase down payments have been rising for 8 months and reached $62,409.
Source: PRNewsfoto/LendingTree

Learning About Machine Learning (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

Certainly, the mountains of data are becoming larger by the day. Seven years ago, the total amount of information produced on a global scale passed one zettabyte. The scale shakes out thusly: If a single cup of coffee holds a gigabyte, then the Great Wall of China stores a zettabyte. In just three years, the tally will be 44 zettabytes, or 44 Great Walls of China, as estimated by global market intelligence firm IDC.

Along with the impressive growth in data created, stored and used on a global scale, so too is AI poised to grow in leaps and bounds. It will create nearly $37 billion in annual revenues for companies of all stripes, sizes and sectors, according to market intelligence firm Tractica.

Within that figure, machine learning is a sector that will see $15.3 billion in revenue in 2019, as noted by BCC Research and cited by business process outsourcing company TeleTech, with an average annual growth rate of 19.7 percent. The savings for U.S. companies could be as high as $60 billion in 2020, Forbes noted. In addition, AI is expected to add $8.3 trillion in economic activity for the U.S. by 2035, according to projections by business management consultancy Accenture.

Consider a financial institution processing credit card information. The transaction data is passed to the machine learning system as soon as it is entered at the terminal or point of sale, and the system then analyzes the transaction against the system on which it has been trained. The historical data offers a way to glean what “normal” behavior of a transaction looks like.

To combat a payments fraud adversary that is evermore fluid with bad actors’ tactics and operates in a card-not-present (CNP) world, the machine deployed by a financial institution must be able to “explain” what it is doing, Feedzai said. The “learning” should result in explaining the reasoning so the logic behind the decisions is transparent and meets compliance needs.

Banks Build Line of Defense for Doomsday Cyberattack (WSJ), Rated: AAA

U.S. banks have quietly launched a doomsday project they hope will prevent a run on the financial system should one of them suffer a debilitating cyberattack.

The effort, which went live earlier this year and is dubbed Sheltered Harbor, currently includes banks and credit unions that have roughly 400 million U.S. accounts.

While most people worry about their money being stolen in a hack, banks fear something more sinister: an attacker destroying, or even simply locking, data.

Such moves could cripple a bank, leaving it unable to operate for hours, days, or perhaps much longer.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

LendingClub Introduces New Certificate Investment Vehicle (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

On Friday of last week, LendingClub announced that it closed a new kind of transaction. It was a whole loan transaction structured as a tradable pass through security called a CLUB Certificate.

This was an initiative that was investor led. Basically, they had a potential investor who did not want to invest in whole loans. They are not for everyone, given they are an illiquid investment that has a duration of several years. What this investor wanted was a security that acted like a whole loan but one that had liquidity.

While LendingClub would not share details of this deal we did learn that these were both three and five year loans of one particular loan grade. They customized this deal to meet the investors exact requirements.

LendingClub claimed that this was a first of its kind deal in marketplace lending but in my research I discovered this piece on Asset-Backed Alert from April 2016 that talked about a similar structure that Prosper was working on last year.

How Technology is Streamlining the US Lending Sector (NewsGram), Rated: A

However, when the lending process is digitized the amount of paperwork is reduced dramatically. This is because account activity, credit history, income history as well as tax compliance can be fed into the system with the click of a button. This has made the collection and verification of information quite easy. Besides streamlining the application process, the amount of time it takes to get a loan has also reduced.

In addition, some lenders have developed some innovative mobile solutions that enable customers to submit an application from anywhere. The most outstanding feature about mobile loans is that there is a constant interaction between the lender and the borrowers. This goes a long way in improving service delivery.

Courtesy of technology advancements, now it’s possible to view the status of your loan application as well as your account status with a lender. This helps borrowers to stay updated during the entire online installment loans process. In addition, you can get instant communication about any requests that a lender may have that is critical to the borrowing process.

Time to address banks’ skepticism about data sharing (American Banker), Rated: A

When bankers complain about the security risks of sharing data with fintechs, they get an eye roll. Such complaints tend to be regarded as a cover for an ulterior motive: unwillingness to give customer details to competitors.

But when Chair Sheila Bair, a former chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., recently warned of the security risks of sharing customer data with third parties, it made some people stop and think.

Big banks hope early bet on Alexa will pay off (American Banker), Rated: A

After a number of months of testing and refining an alternative way to bank, Ally Bank launched Ally Skill. “It was ready for prime time,” said Diane Morais, president of consumer and commercial banking at Ally Bank. Since mid-November, a customer can ask Alexa — in their own words — what their balance is, what the price of something costs in hours worked, and notably, to move money.

Since Capital One announced its skill in March of 2016, U.S Bank, American Express and several credit unions announced Alexa skills in addition to Ally. Others have been testing Alexa, including bank innovator USAA. Even smaller banks are readying to launch skills. FIS, one of the biggest bank vendors that has been testing Alexa since 2016, said about a dozen of its thousands of bank customers are on track to roll out a bank skill for Alexa by Christmas. Most recently, Amazon announced Alexa for business, and Capital One is one of its launch partners.

Mortgage providers and wealth managers are also exploring ways to offer their services over such conversational devices.

A brand-new cybersecurity watchdog just shut down a $ 15 million cryptocurrency scam (Business Insider), Rated: A

US regulators appear to be paying more attention to the opaque world of initial coin offerings.

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced Monday it halted a fraudulent ICO “falsely promising” over 1,000% returns. The regulator said this was the first case filed by its brand-new cybersecurity unit, aptly named Cyber Unit.

Trump pick plans radical shake-up of consumer protection agency (Financial Times), Rated: A

US banks and other financial companies are preparing for a lightening of their compliance burden in areas from payday lending to mortgages as President Donald Trump tightens his grip on a powerful regulator set up to protect consumers.

“Virtually the entire range of regulations previously adopted by the CFPB could be subject to review,” says Quyen Truong, a former senior figure at the agency who is now a partner at law firm Stroock & Stroock & Lavan. “There’s no particular set of rules that would be considered sacrosanct.”

In an early sign of his intent, Mr Mulvaney instituted a 30-day freeze on new initiatives within hours of assuming office.

Reforms that Mr Cordray had yet to introduce that would extend the CFPB’s reach into new areas, including mooted restrictions on small business lending, are now unlikely to see the light of day.

Payday Lending And The New CFPB (PYMNTS), Rated: A

As we noted when we first covered the final draft of the payday lending rule, Congress retains the power to keep the rule from ever making it into the books, so to speak, through the power of the Congressional Review Act. The CRA not only would prevent the payday lending rule from going into effect, but it would also prevent any similar rule changes from being considered for the next five years.

After some dormancy on the issue, the House of Representatives passed a CRA resolution Friday that would effectively kill the payday lending rule in its cradle.

The move comes as a bi-partisan effort – somewhat surprising, given the general tenor of Congress at present, particularly when it comes to consumer protection issues – with three Republican and three Democrat co-sponsors.

Mulvaney has won the first round in court, as a U.S district judge rejected English’s request for a temporary restraining order to prevent Mulvaney from taking over. But English has said she intends to fight on and will seek a preliminary injunction against Mulvaney and the administration.

Congress has only 60 legislative days from the publication of the rule in the federal register to invoke the CRA, and the rule passed on Nov. 17.

Madden ruling was a step backward. Congress should fix it (American Banker), Rated: A

I have been, far more often than not, on the same side of policy issues as the leading consumer and civil rights groups. But I disagree here: Madden is not just legally wrong; it is also bad public policy, because it moves us further away from creating a more effective and inclusive financial system. Bipartisan, bicameral proposals have already been introduced in Congress to fix Madden. Congress should pass them.

U.S. News magazine cites LendingPoint in ‘Best Personal Loans’ list (LendingPoint), Rated: B

We’ve been named to the “The Best Personal Loans of 2017” list by the prestigious U.S. News and World Report.

U.S. News named LendingPoint best for “Fair to Good Credit With Merit-Based Qualifications.”

LendingTree Selects Gordian Knot Analytics Group’s Comprehensive Segmentation Subscription Service (Guru Focus), Rated: B

LendingTree (NASDAQ: TREE), the online loan marketplace, announced today that it has entered into a multi-year subscription for segmentation analysis and database scoring with Gordian Knot Analytics Group, utilizing their unique segmentation methodologies and proprietary machine learning toolset. Gordian Knot offers proprietary marketing analytics machine learning tools that help LendingTree more effectively target and engage with the right consumers to drive the business forward and maximize value for current and future customers.

FinTech Leader OppLoans Named 6th Best Place to Work Nationally (Daily Telescope), Rated: B

Socially responsible online lender OppLoans received top rankings in Glassdoor’s 2018 Best Places to Work award. The start-up was named the sixth-best place to work nationally for small- to medium-sized businesses.

The review-based rankings serve as a capstone to a stunning year of growth for OppLoans. Accolades include rising over 200 positions to reach number 219 on the Inc. 500 list, earning an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, being named the third-fastest growing technology company in Chicago by Built In Chicago and launching OppU, a free, standards-aligned online curriculum that teaches personal finance skills.

PeerStreet’s Brew Johnson Named 2017 HousingWire Vanguard Award Winner (BusinessWire), Rated: B

PeerStreet, a marketplace for investing in real estate backed loans, is honored to announce that its Co-Founder and CEO, Brew Johnson, has been named to HousingWire’s 2017 list of Vanguard Award winners. HousingWire’s 2017 Vanguard Award recognizes top leaders from all areas of the mortgage industry, including those in lending, real estate and investing.

Why Do I Have an Affirm Payment Due After I Returned a Phone? (Republic Wireless), Rated: B

If Affirm was used to finance a purchase from the Republic Online Store, all carted items, including shipping, must be financed through Affirm. Shipping charges are not refunded by Republic Wireless. This means that you will still be responsible to Affirm for any shipping costs you financed and interest that has accrued.

United Kingdom

Peer-to-peer lender Ratesetter loses £23m after ad investment flops (The Times), Rated: AAA

Ratesetter slumped to a £23 million loss for the year after a disastrous investment in an advertising business.

The loss was due in large part to a £14 million write-off on Adpod Limited, which the lender ended up owning after using its own capital to prevent a huge default on its peer-to-peer loan book from hitting investors.

The loss is sharply higher than the previous year’s figure of £5.3 million.

RateSetter to launch IFIsa in February (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending platform RateSetter expects to launch its Isa in February 2018.

Once the Isa launches, customers will have until 5th April 2018 to invest the 2016/17 Isa allowance of £20,000.

Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland to close branches (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Two of the UK’s largest banks, 

Source: Business Insider

Orca accepted into regulatory sandbox scheme (p2P Finance News), Rated: A

PEER-TO-PEER investment platform Orca is one of 18 firms that have been accepted into the third phase of the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) regulatory sandbox scheme.

The FCA received 61 submissions for the third phase of the scheme, of which 18 met the eligibility criteria and were accepted to move towards testing.

One of the successful applicants is Orca, which is developing an intelligent peer-to-peer investment platform which lets users diversify across multiple P2P platforms, lending sub-sectors and borrowers.

Personal Finance App Squirrel Now Processes £1 Million A Month (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Squirrel, a personal finance app designed to help users have more control over their money, announced this week that it now processes £1 million a month. The company reported that it processed its 10 million last week.

Squrriel is currently seeking £400,000 through its equity crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube. Funds from the initiative will be used to continue the expansion of Squirrels platform.

How an MBA entrepreneur made his multiple-account bank card add up (Financial Times), Rated: A

Israeli Shachar Bialick spent the first decade of his working life founding and backing start-ups before he dropped everything to move overseas and take an MBA.

He started Curve, a fintech company, to simplify personal finances with a single bank card for multiple accounts from different providers.

“We have too many cards, too many accounts, and too many products and services we use to manage our money,” he adds. “Curve is my biggest, most ambitious business so far. We are aiming to create an entirely new category in the banking system.”

Curve has raised $12m in venture capital funding and added corporate partnerships to extend the services it offers, such as an expense filing system provided by Xero, the online accountancy service.

Aire partners with retailer N Brown as more retailers become lenders for shopping middle class (Aire Email), Rated: A

Aire, which provides a more accurate way for lenders to understand and score new applicants, today announces a first-of-its-kind partnership with online retailer N Brown, as research data reveals the ‘new norm’ of UK shoppers choosing to spread the cost for their retail purchases over time.

The new agreement will see Aire provide its augmented credit assessment technology to support N Brown, which operates online stores such as JD Williams, in analysing the full picture of online customers and the true benefits and risks that come with them. Aire combines technologies of Artificial Intelligence with data science and deep knowledge of credit, which will enable N Brown to reach a wider group of customers without increasing its risk. After recent announcements about new partnerships in the p2p lending and car finance spaces, Aire’s expansion into the retail sector means that it is adding another new market to its portfolio in under six months.

Key insight:

–          New partnership between Aire and online retailer N Brown for customers who choose to open a new credit account

–          Aire adds retail finance to its growing portfolio

–          New research finds that UK adults pay off on average of £40 per month for retail purchases

–          9% of UK adults increased their monthly commitments in the last two years

Research shows in-store crowds are biggest stress factor for christmas shoppers (DIY Week), Rated: A

The new research by Swedish payments provider Klarna delves into the views of more than 2,000 consumers, and reveals that Brits today are so stressed out in the extended run up to Christmas that they’re overwhelmed when the day itself arrives.

In-store crowds were the number one stress for a quarter of respondents, whilst finding the perfect gift was the biggest source of stress for 20% of those surveyed.

These pressures could have a big impact on the bottom line of merchants if they’re not addressed; more than a third of consumers have previously walked out of a shop in frustration as a result. This is not just a bricks and mortar issue – 1 in 10 respondents have abandoned their online basket in frustration when the process is too complex, suggesting there’s still work to be done to smooth the purchase process online.

FinTech Marketplace Wealth Migrate Continues Expansion with New UK Office (GlobeNewswire), Rated: B

Wealth Migrate, (KPMG Global Fintech Top 50), a global online real estate marketplace, today announced the opening of a new office in the U.K. and the appointment of a new country CEO, as the firm continues to build on its global presence as part of a strategy to meet growing demand from investors.

To better serve its community of investors in this region, Wealth Migrate has opened a new office in London.

Adding to the news of this expansion, Wealth Migrate additionally announced the opening of their U.A.E. office and the appointment of a new U.S. based CEO this week.

To head up the new office, Wealth Migrate has appointed Ken Williams as its CEO of Wealth Migrate, U.K.

China

Runaway borrowers the new face of China’s personal credit boom (SCMP), Rated: AAA

China’s online lending boom has sent a steady stream of new clients to Guangzhou lawyer Luo Aiping in recent months: the parents and siblings of young men trapped or ruined by usurious debts.

Zeng Hong, from Hunan province, is a typical client. She went to Luo for help because she had been harassed by calls from debt collectors for months after her 27-year-old brother ran away, leaving behind a two-year-old son and more than 300,000 yuan (US$45,400) in debts.

Zeng wanted to help repay her younger brother’s loans, but 300,000 yuan is a big sum for a poor family and her husband strongly opposed her plan. She approached Luo to ask whether the debts and interest her brother had incurred were legal.

China Launches Massive Debt Crackdown (ValueWalk), Rated: AAA

You see, in an effort to fuel economic growth over the past few years, China has taken on a lot of debt. Since 2008, China’s debt as a percentage of economic output has increased from around 160 percent to around 280 percent at the end of 2016. (By comparison, the total debt in the U.S. as a percent of economic output is upwards of 300 percent.)

Source: ValueWalk

Why it matters: China is BIG and getting bigger

With a GDP of US$11.2 trillion, China is already the world’s second-largest economy (it will soon be the largest), and it has the second-largest stock market. The country will also soon have the world’s biggest middle class, totalling over 550 million people by 2022. To put this in perspective: That’s 1.7 times the entire population of the U.S.

Consumer loans (such as peer-to-peer (P2P) lending and payday loans) have grown rapidly recently. For example, consumer loans jumped 300 percent compared to last year.

SoftBank’s Son Eases Lufax Peer Pressure (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Lufax, the online wealth manager that’s among the world’s biggest startups, has hired five banks to work on a Hong Kong initial public offering of as much as $5 billion, according to IFR.

Lufax is the world’s 10th-largest unicorn, or startup worth at least $1 billion.

Source: Bloomberg

Lufax had a loan balance as of Sept. 28 of more than 158 billion yuan ($24 billion), more than three times the 43 billion yuan held by China’s second-biggest P2P lender, New York-listed Yirendai Ltd., according to wdzj.com, a Chinese website that tracks online financiers.

DAILY BRIEFING (TechNode), Rated: B

What happened: The Ping An-backed online wealth management firm Lufax has hired five banks to work on an up to $5 billion Hong Kong IPO.

Why it’s important: A major player in China’s P2P lending market, Lufax will join a number of fintech companies that go public in recent months. It was eyeing an IPO as early as last year but later delayed the process due to market challenges and regulatory uncertainties, the CEO told Bloomberg last year. —Rita Liao

China’s Lufax picks banks for up to $5 bln Hong Kong IPO – Reuters

CreditEase Received Top Rankings in Global FinTech Investment by CB Insights and FT Partners (PR Newswire), Rated: A

CreditEase, a world-class financial technology conglomerate based in Beijing, China, specializing in inclusive finance and wealth management, announced today that its venture fund, CreditEase FinTech Investment Fund (“CEFIF”) has recently been ranked No. 7 by CB Insights as “Top 10 Most Active VC Investors in Global FinTech Companies” and No. 1 by FT Partners as “Most Active FinTech Investors (Corporate VC)”.

Source: CB Insights FinTech Report_Q3 (PRNewsfoto/CreditEase)

How This Chinese Fintech Company Is Innovating by Leasing Cows (Fortune), Rated: A

Particularly, Ning Tang, CEO of fintech firm CreditEase, is lending consumers cows in a bid to reach those living in rural areas who might have limited access to credit and financing.

The rural population accounts for 48% of China’s total, with agriculture accounting for about 8.6% of the the nation’s Gross Domestic Production in 2015, according to the World Bank. Income in rural China has also been on the rise, with urban income narrowing to 2.7 times that of rural income from 3.3 times in 2009. And though migration toward the city has been on the rise and the nation’s dependence on farming and livestock is on the slide, rural populations and agriculture are still a significant part of the country’s economy.

IN CHINA, THE CHARACTERS FROM THE SHOW APPEAR IN THE COMMERCIALS, TOO (AdAge), Rated: A

iQiyi, which is backed by Chinese internet giant Baidu, adopted the tactic first and developed it into a commercial product when it broadcast the 1930s tomb-raiding adventure tale “The Mystic Nine” last year. The first batch of advertisers ranged from iQianjin, a peer-to-peer lending app, to PepsiCo, which showed characters chowing down on Lay’s and gulping Pepsi.

The other major services, Alibaba Group’s Youku Tudou and Tencent Holdings‘ video platform, have embraced the tactic too. At iQiyi, the cost for embedding one such commercial in an episode ranges from $150,000 to $530,000, depending on projected viewership, Yuan says.

European Union

Worldpay Partners with Klarna to Launch Invoice and Credit Based Payments in 6 Key European Markets (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Worldpay, a global leader in payments, has announced that it will partner with Klarna, a leader in invoice and credit based payments, to further enhance its product portfolio. From today, Worldpay customers trading in AustriaFinlandGermanythe NetherlandsNorwaySweden and the United Kingdom, and wishing to accept payments on invoice or instalments, will be able to use Klarna’s invoice and credit based payments from Worldpay. This will help eCommerce businesses to improve conversion rates by up to 20% and provide a fast and smooth checkout process.

These new payment options will allow consumers to decide when to pay for the items once they have received their goods. Instead of a request for credit or debit card details at the point of checkout, consumers are prompted for their email address and postcode, ensuring a quicker checkout process and leading to lower cart abandonment. The solution allows consumers to manage the terms of their payment, be it 14-day payment by invoice, by fixed or flexible instalments, spreading the cost over several months.

The move into credit and invoicing payments follows demand from customers wanting to expand the breadth of payment methods offered. Worldpay is one of the first payments companies to deploy this new payment integration, providing superior market coverage as well as faster time to market since there is no need for a new plug-in when  legacy technology is updated.

Fintech deposit marketplace hits 100,000 customers (AltFi), Rated: A

Savings specialist Raisin continues to gain momentum. The savings account marketplace now has itself 100,000 customers. The company is also integrated with more than 40 banks, from across 18 European countries, including a number of challenger banks and even an online lender (Younited Credit). SolarisBank is its newest partner.

ConsenSys Ventures has made its first four investments (TechCrunch), Rated: B

But the companies the fund is backing come from some relatively seasoned entrepreneurs. BlockFi, the firm’s lending for liquidity startup, was founded by Zac Prince — a serial startup founder whose previous idea was the lending platform for the underbanked, Cognical.

Up to 5% Cashback On Long-Term Investments Offered by Mintos (P2P-Banking), Rated: B

Lativan p2p lending marketplace Mintos just launched a cashback campaign running for the remainder of December. Investors investing in new loans with a term of at least 24 months on the primary market will receive a cashback of 2% to 5% depending on term length. The cashback will be credited within 6 days says Mintos.

Important: To be eligable an investor needs to enroll once for the campaign by clicking on the promotion banner inside the Mintos dashboard.

International

Salt and Coinloan Promise Crypto-Asset Backed Fiat Loans (Bitcoin.com), Rated: AAA

Typically, when we think of taking a loan, we think of going to a bank, filling out a ton of paperwork and then getting denied the loan unless a guarantor or cosigner signs as well. However, blockchain banking startups like Salt and Coinloan aim to change this by creating a peer to peer lending platform on the blockchain. These platforms allow users to leverage their bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as collateral for fiat loans.

Salt hails from the land of the free, a.k.a Denver, Colorado, USA.

On the other hand, Coinloan has Baltic roots and is headquartered in Estonia.

Salt will be starting straight out of Denver, Colorado and is set to launch their blockchain backed lending platform, BTC collateralized loans and loan fund by the end of 2017. In 2018, they will be launching ethereum collateralized loans in Q1, credit cards in Q2 and altcoin collateralized loans in Q3.

By contrast, Coinloan is still currently running their ICO. By 2018, they hope to obtain payment licences in Q2, develop mobile applications for IOS and android by Q3 and enter the Asian market in 2019.

Lendoit & RSK creates a decentralized BTC lending future together (Live Bitcoin News), Rated: A

In about 2 weeks, Lendoit will launch its official token Pre-sale, but it can’t wait to reveal the secret that will change the future of decentralized BTC lending, which the company has entered together with the largest and most promising blockchain-based project, The RSK Project.

Right from Argentina is Rootstock or popularly called RSK. This company is well-known for its open-source smart contract stage which has a 2-dimensional peg to Bitcoin. Amazingly, RSK uses merge-mining to reward bitcoin miners and give them the chance to be part of the smart contract ecosystem.

The Goal? To ensure that the highest level of functionality and value is added to the entire bitcoin ecosystem through the use of smart contracts, increased scalability, and near-instant payments.

Lendoit removes all intermediaries in the lending process, creates a trusted and secure platform for participants through the smart contract, and gives users a decentralized, anonymous platform where upscaling, lending, and borrowing are done hassle-free.

Source: Live Bitcoin News

PNC Live On New Real-Time Payments Network Using Finastra (Payment Week), Rated: A

PNC, a top-10 US bank by assets, is live on RTP, The Clearing House’s new US real-time payments system, using Finastra’s payment services hub, Fusion Payments.

“The ability to make an immediate payment at any time, on any day of the week, with a real-time confirmation of the payment significantly transforms the way businesses and consumers make payments in the United States. Emerging technologies such as RTP are creating opportunities for banks and clients to re-imagine our business models.”

Trulioo Recognized As a Global Leader in Digital Identity Verification (PRWeb), Rated: B

Trulioo, the global identity verification provider, is delighted to be recognized as the global identity verification leader in a recent comprehensive report published by Let’s Talk Payments (LTP).

India

Why America could miss out big time on India’s fintech revolution (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Morgan Stanley expects India’s digital payments penetration to increase from 5 percent today to 20 percent, and the e-commerce market to reach $200 billion, with 475 million e-commerce shoppers, adding up to a GDP upwards of $6 trillion — all by 2027.

India now has 800 million mobile phone users with 430 million having internet connectivity. According to Morgan Stanley, the number of internet users is expected to grow to 915 million by 2027.

Source: TechCrunch

In 2016, China’s digital payments were already 50 times America’s. Alibaba and Tencent understand ecosystems better than anyone else in the world, including American companies.

Asia

After success at home, Toss sets sights overseas (Korea JoongAng Daily), Rated: AAA

After emerging as one of the top fintech start-ups in Korea, Viva Republica, the company behind Korea’s top peer-to-peer transfer app Toss, is zeroing in on Southeast Asia as its next target market.

“While more than 70 percent of the population is using smartphones, their financial services are equivalent to that of Korea in the 1980’s. Our goal is to bring our story and product to Southeast Asian countries such as the Philippines and Vietnam and to improve the level of financial services in the market.”

As of November this year, the accumulated transactions through Toss reached 10 trillion won ($9.2 billion). In November alone, the platform handled more than one trillion won, a feat that comes just two and half a years since it launched in February 2015. The company said its annual sales will come to 20 billion won by the end of this year and reach the break-even point sometime next year.

M’sian regulators likely to enforce licensing for cryptocurrency exchanges (The Star), Rated: B

Malaysian regulators are looking to clamp down on initial coin offerings or ICOs by expanding the definition of “securities” in existing laws, according to industry sources.

The regulator is also likely to require some form of licensing for cryptocurrency exchanges to operate on Malaysian shores.

Mexico

Mexican Senate passes fintech law (Reuters), Rated: A

Mexico’s Senate on Tuesday approved a bill that would regulate its fast-growing financial technology sector, including crowdfunding and cryptocurrency firms, paving the way for a vote by the lower house.

The bill, which seeks to promote financial stability and defend against money laundering and financing of extremists, is expected to pass in a final lower house vote by Dec. 15, said three sources familiar with the measure.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday September 19 2017, Daily News Digest

Multifamily REITs

News Comments Today’s main news: Equifax cans two executives. Credit Karma to launch free ID monitoring tool. Funding Circle’s new lending options now in effect. Wealthsimple expands into the UK. HighRadius raises $50M. ID Finance launches Mexico operations. Today’s main analysis: Multifamily REITs reduce leverage, development pipelines. Today’s thought-provoking articles: The next crisis will start in Silicon Valley. RateSetter’s Rhydian Lewis […]

Multifamily REITs

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

Asia

Africa

Latin America

News Summary

United States

Equifax hack claims two executives (American Banker), Rated: AAA

The Equifax data breach has claimed its first two executives. The company late Friday announced the immediate retirement of David Webb, its chief information officer, and Susan Mauldin, its head security officer. They will be replaced, respectively, by Mark Rohrwasser, who joined Equifax last year as head of the company’s International IT operations, and Russ Ayres, most recently vice president of IT.

Credit Karma to launch free ID monitoring following Equifax hack (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Credit Karma Inc is launching a new free service that will alert customers if their identity data has been compromised in hacks, the San Francisco-based fintech company said on Friday in the wake of massive breach at credit monitoring agency Equifax Inc(EFX.N).

The new ID monitoring service is being tested and will be available in October, the company said on Friday.

CreditKarma saw a 50 percent spike in sign-ups to its platform in the weekend after the hack, it said.

Multifamily REITs Reduce Leverage and Development Pipelines as Fundamentals Downshift and Supply Peaks (Morningstar), Rated: AAA

Key takeaways:

  • Stronger credit profiles and balance sheets provide the multifamily REITs rated by Morningstar Credit Ratings, with flexibility to withstand substantial market disruptions.
  • New apartment supply is pressuring multifamily fundamentals, and REITs on average are lowering their exposure to new construction.
  • Morningstar expects net operating income among multifamily REITs to moderate after years of solid gains.
  • Since 2016, Net Operating Income (NOI) growth has slowed amid additional supply.
  • Multifamily REITs rated by Morningstar reduced their leverage and their exposure to new construction, positioning themselves for the impending completions and an environment where borrowing rates are expected to rise.
  • Rental growth among multifamily properties should be subdued for the next two years. While fundamentals remain sound, surplus inventory of new units likely will keep rent increases in check.
Source; Morningstar
Source: Morningstar

Read the full report here.

The Next Crisis Will Start in Silicon Valley (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

It has been 10 years since the last financial crisis, and some have already started to predict that the next one is near. But when it comes, it will likely have its roots in Silicon Valley, not Wall Street.

Since 2007, a tremendous wave of innovation has swept across the financial sector, affecting almost every aspect of finance. New robo-adviser startups like Betterment and Wealthfront have begun dispensing financial advice based on algorithmic calculations, with little to no human input. Crowdfunding firms like Kickstarter and Lending Club have created new ways for companies and individuals to raise money from dispersed networks of individuals. New virtual currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum have radically changed our understanding of how money can and should work.

But revolutions often end in destruction. And the fintech revolution has created an environment ripe for instability and disruption. It does so in three ways.

First, fintech companies are more vulnerable to rapid, adverse shocks than typical Wall Street banks.

Second, fintech companies are more difficult to monitor than conventional financial firms.

Third, fintech has not developed the set of unwritten norms and expectations that guide more traditional financial institutions.

Enova Announces $ 25 Million Share Repurchase Program (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Enova International (NYSE: ENVA), a financial technology company offering consumer and small business loans and financing, today announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a share repurchase plan for up to $25 million of its common stock through December 31, 2019.

Prime Meridian Ranks High on the Prestigious INC5000 List as one of Fastest Growing Companies in America (PRWeb), Rated: A

Inc. magazine ranked Prime Meridian Capital Management 554 on its 2017 annual Inc. 5000, which ranks the fastest growing private US companies in all industries. Amongst asset managers in the finance industry, Prime Meridian ranks near the very top of the list. The list represents a unique look at the most successful companies within the American economy’s most dynamic segment— its independent small and midsized businesses. Companies such as Microsoft, Dell, Domino’s Pizza, Pandora, Timberland, LinkedIn, Yelp, Zillow, and many other well-known names gained their first national exposure as honorees of the Inc. 5000.

The 2017 Inc. 5000, unveiled online at Inc.com is the most competitive crop in the list’s history. The average company on the list achieved a mind-boggling three-year average growth of 481%. The Inc. 5000’s aggregate revenue is $206 billion, and the companies on the list collectively generated 619,500 jobs over the past three years.

60-Second Market Review and Insights (Credit Chronometer), Rated: A

Regulatory uncertainty will continue to be a significant challenge going forward. Practices will be shaped by the standards imposed on fintech and other non-bank entities, which in turn, depends in part on the outcome of the tussle between the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), which has begun offering a special purpose national charter, and state regulators who believe they are best suited to protect consumers.  The industry may soon also be impacted by legislation introduced recently in the Senate and the House that would overrule the 2nd Circuit’s Midland v. Madden decision denying purchasers of high-interest loans the benefit of preemption of state usury laws afforded their sellers under federal law.  Despite the ongoing debates, there appears to be momentum for more uniform and streamlined laws in the future that will provide greater certainty and, consequently, cost advantages for marketplace lenders.

dv01 Launches Cashflows for Securitizations (Business Insider), Rated: A

dv01, the data management, reporting, and analytics platform that offers institutional investors transparency and insight into lending markets, today announced the launch of a cashflow engine for securitizations, with full waterfall and collateral model support. dv01’s cashflow engine is available for a library of 30 consumer unsecured, student, and small business deals, covering over $10 billion of securitizations from originators including Avant, Lending Club, Marlette, Prosper, SoFi, and Upstart.

dv01’s cashflow engine is powered by deal waterfall models that operate on loan level data sourced directly from originators. All projections are performed at the loan level and tied out to trustee reports, ensuring accuracy across the entire waterfall, down to the residual.

Within the cashflow engine, investors have access to full deal structure models to generate tranche and residual cashflow projections. This includes a wide array of functionality, including cohort-level control over assumptions; price, yield, and spread re-computation directly from the results screen; and price-yield matrix calculations. The output computations include a projected paydown chart and cumulative prepay/loss plots, all of which show both historic actuals and projected values.

The cashflow engine is integrated directly into dv01’s Securitizations solution, which offers investors 24/7 access to a reporting and analytics portal populated with loan level securitization data. When analyzing a securitization, users have access to deal-specific detail, collateral, and performance pages, as well as the ability to download updated loan tapes to track the evolution of a pool over time. Additionally, users can use dv01’s Pool Explorer to construct curves using historical platform data.

Fintechs get another alternative to IPOs (Business Insider), Rated: A

US-based VC firm Social Capital — whose portfolio includes fintechs Wealthfront, CommonBond, Jetty, and Cover — has 

Source: Business Insider

Small Business Crowdlending Fund Offers Startups Loan Opportunities (WYSO), Rated: A

Mom and pop business owners often struggle to find enough capital to get their ideas off the ground and succeed, research shows. Kiva Dayton’s recently launched crowdlending platform aims to help solve this problem.

Now, the Downtown Dayton Partnership is offering to commit the first 20 percent of each Kiva loan to help potential business owners build buzz and raise more funds through the platform.

According to a study by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, inadequate capital is the major obstacle facing small businesses when it comes to growth, expansion and wealth creation.

All Kiva loans are zero percent interest and they’re small, with no loans over $10,000.

Younger Americans More Likely to Invest in Bitcoin (Coindesk), Rated: B

New survey data from online student loan marketplace LendEDU suggests that younger consumers in the United States are more interested in investing in bitcoin.

Of those between the ages of 18 and 24, 35.9% said they plan on investing in bitcoin, versus 43.5% who said no and 20.5% who weren’t sure. For the 25-34 age group, the “yes” figure grew to 40.4%, with 31.7% of respondents in that demographic saying no.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle New Lending Options Go Into Effect (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Less than a month after Funding Circle announced the new versions of its existing Autobid and Autosell lending tools, the online lender revealed the new changes have officially gone into effect.

As previously reported, as part of these changes, Funding Circle will be eliminating the option to manually choose which businesses an investor may lend to and which loan parts to sell will be withdrawn. This is a significant shift in operation of the peer to peer lending platform as it begins to operate more like a fund.

Wealthsimple Brings Simple, Accessible Investment Advice to the UK (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Wealthsimple, a digital wealth manager, continues to make smart investing accessible and low-cost to more people with today’s announcement of the company’s expansion to the United Kingdom. UK residents can now open an account and have access to diversified investment portfolios in less than five minutes on wealthsimple.com or by downloading the iOS or Android app.

At launch, clients are able to open ISAs (Individual Savings Account), JISAs (for children) and personal accounts with a 0.7% management fee.

The London-based team is led by Fintech entrepreneur Toby Triebel, the former CEO and co-founder of the global online lending platform Spotcap. Triebel joined the Wealthsimple team in September 2016, leading the company through regulatory approval and initial beta testing, which saw over five thousand people sign up for early access to Wealthsimple through an online waitlist.

In May, Wealthsimple raised an additional C$50 million from Power Financial group of companies, a strategic partner, bringing Power’s total investment to C$100 million thus far in support of Wealthsimple’s global ambitions.

Rhydian Lewis on ‘dinosaur’ banks and making RateSetter the ‘crowdsourced Libor’ (SpearsWMS.com), Rated: AAA

Since he and co-founder Peter Behrens set up the online exchange from a flat in 2010, it has handled the loans of £2 billion.

‘I’ve come to realise the importance of emotional intelligence to give other forms of intelligence the chance to come out right.’

It makes so much more sense for lending to be funded by investment as opposed to by an instrument called the deposit’ – not least because of the strictures imposed by regulators.

So far, 50,000 people have lent money through RateSetter, with £1.3 billion of loans repaid. Turnover this year should be £30 million; the headcount is 260. ‘Our ambition is that in due course the rates exchanged on RateSetter will be seen as benchmark rates,’ he says. And one day he would like peer-to-peer lending be ‘a crowd-sourced Libor’.

Clever Lending partners with LendInvest (Mortgage Strategy), Rated: A

Clever Lending has been made a strategic partner of bridging specialist LendInvest.

The firm will be able to distribute LendInvest’s specialist bridging and development finance products.

Brokers can now deal directly with Clever Lending to gain access to LendInvest’s range.

Pollen Street completes merger with MW Eaglewood (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

POLLEN Street Capital has completed its acquisition of a controlling stake in MW Eaglewood, creating one of Europe’s biggest alternative finance-focused investment managers.

The deal, first announced in May, sees Honeycomb Investment Trust manager Pollen Street become the majority shareholder of the combined group, which has assets of around £2bn.

Downing-backed report tackles ‘misconceptions’ over debt-based securities (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

A REPORT has been published that aims to tackle advisers’ confusion and misunderstanding of debt-based securities (DBS), following their acceptance into the Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) in 2016.

The CPD-accredited report, published by Intelligent Partnership, identifies some of the opportunities in the market and the role DBS can play in a diversified portfolio.

The term is used to describe a variety of different models for deploying capital, usually involving a borrower, lender and interest rate over an agreed period. DBS are increasingly arranged through crowdfunding platforms.

The report explains the investment types available, how to evaluate risks in varying market conditions, tax wrapper options, fees and returns, the difference between DBS and peer-to-peer lending, and due diligence issues.

‘Vital advisers understand debt-based securities’ – report (Professional Adviser), Rated: B

Alternative debt-based securities (DBS) will become more popular thanks to regulatory pressure and greater demand for diversification, therefore it is vital advisers understand the products, research provider Intelligent Partnership has said.

Time is running out to save this iconic Welsh pub from closure (Wales Online), Rated: A

A Welsh community has just weeks to raise enough money to save an iconic pub after the current owners set a deadline for when they intend to pull their last pints.

Despite raising £130,400 of an initial target of £300,000 so far – including £50,000 in the first few weeks of the campaign – time is now running out after a deadline was set of Saturday, October 28.

In a fresh attempt to raise more money, a Peer to Peer (P2P) lending scheme is being proposed whereby people can loan £5,000 to the scheme which, the group say, would generate a 4% gross interest return per annum.

China

Too Little, Too Late? China Can’t Seem to Get a Grip on Fintech Regulation (WSJ), Rated: AAA

In recent weeks, Chinese central bank officials, banking and securities regulators have tightened oversight of a range of investing and technology platforms used by individuals to trade virtual currencies, invest in online loans and rapidly shift cash in and out of mutual funds.

A surge of Chinese investment—possibly more than $600 billion in the past two years—has gone into these so-called retail products, according to data from online platforms, financial information aggregators and cryptocurrency research houses.

In August, regulators placed limits on the growth of mutual funds made wildly popular via China’s mobile-payment platforms.

More than 700 online-loan platforms, known as peer-to-peer lenders, closed in the last year ahead of new caps on their operations that take effect this month that dimmed their prospects for profitability.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

HK needs crowdfunding-friendly regulatory regime (EJ Insight), Rated: A

However, despite the fact that Hong Kong is one of the major global financial hubs, so far we still don’t have clear guidelines or any specific regulatory regime for crowdfunding, thereby hindering the development of our tech industry.

As far as equity crowdfunding and P2P lending are concerned, since they involve financial returns and yields, they are usually subject to legal regulation. Yet, in order to ride the global crowdfunding wave, major financial markets such as the US, Britain, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Australia have all eased restrictions on crowdfunding in recent years.

At present, Hong Kong doesn’t have a single and comprehensive piece of legislation that deals specifically with crowdfunding. Instead, it is regulated separately by different existing laws such as the Securities and Futures Ordinance, the Money Lenders Ordinance as well as the Companies Ordinance.

Nevertheless, according to the same study, Hong Kong is lagging far behind other major financial centers when it comes to crowdfunding volume. In 2015, we raised a mere US$9.3 million (HK$72 million) through crowdfunding compared to US$28.4 billion, US$4.33 billion, US$360 million and US$240 million in the US, Britain, Japan and Australia, respectively.

As such, I suggest that the new regulatory framework for crowdfunding be more flexible. For example, the administration can consider exempting crowdfunding initiatives that involve less than HK$20 million from certain requirements that currently apply to public companies such as the need to submit a prospectus to the Securities and Futures Commission for scrutiny before launching any investment offering for sale to the public.

China hit by financial scam ‘epidemic’ (BBC), Rated: A

Li Wenxing was starting a new life. In May, the young university graduate left his home in rural China on the offer of work with a software company in the city of Tianjin.

But the job was a scam and Mr Li was swept into the web of a gang running a pyramid scheme.

Two months later he was dead.

The tragedy, which is being investigated, sparked national outrage and has illuminated the growing problem of financial fraud and its devastating impact on communities in China.

Pyramid schemes

Pyramid schemes are flourishing in parts of the country where education levels are low.

Peer-to-peer lending and virtual currencies have fuelled the spread of other investing scams, luring victims with little financial knowledge.

Government crackdown

As part of the crackdown, more than 100 arrests were made in southern China last month, targeting individuals over their suspected links to a 360m yuan (£42.3m) pyramid scheme.

Authorities had at least one major bust last year – breaking up a 50bn yuan online finance scam which was suspected of defrauding 900,000 investors.

European Union

Peer-to-peer lending: Information externalities, social networks, and loan substitution (VOXEU.org), Rated: AAA

The evaporation of trust in the banking system following the financial crisis fostered the growth of digital platforms offering peer-to-peer investment opportunities in the US, Europe, and China. In Europe, as the debate about the capital market union progresses (European Commission 2017), policymakers see the possibilities for the digital investment and lending industry to help foster a unified capital market, which has been missing for so long.

Data show instead that over the years, default rates in the platforms have decreased steadily and are much lower than those in the traditional banking system. Lending rates have gone down (though still remaining attractive for investors), and trade volumes have steadily increased.

Brexit Raises Doubts Over Britain’s Fintech Future (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Britain’s impending exit from the European Union has put a “question mark” over the country’s attractiveness to financial technology firms, according to the head of France’s biggest peer-to-peer lender.

The French firm, Younited Credit, has just raised an additional 40 million euros ($48 million) to finance its expansion into another seven European countries, only to postpone its decision on entering the U.K. until the economic consequences of Brexit become clearer.

Maiden PE ICO Light on the Blockchain (Invezz), Rated: A

A new private equity ICO resembles a typical PE fund structure more than it does any blockchain innovation. Ethereum-based FundCoin (FND), which was developed by Dutch fund of hedge fund manager Finles Capital, is scheduled to make its debut as the industry’s maiden private equity token ICO on Sept. 30.

FundCoin, which is targeting EUR 100 million in its ICO, describes itself as bridging the gap between the blockchain and private equity, but there’s one problem. FundCoin doesn’t appear to have attached itself to any blockchain innovation.

Citing a lack of clarity on the designation of digital tokens as securities, U.S., Singaporean and EU investors are excluded from the FundCoin crowdsale, as per the white paper. Finles Capital says the ban will be revisited as regulation takes shape.

Monthly origination summary for August 2017 (Bondora), Rated: B

Loans issued in August 2017 came in at €2,926,457. The figure is well above the running average for the year. August was the third strongest month for originations in 2017 outpaced by only January and March.

As usual Estonia was the leader on loans issued amounts. However, the total share of the country was slightly lower than many previous months. The country represented less than 60% of the total share reaching 59.91%. Meanwhile, Spain came in at 17.57% and Finland represented nearly a quarter of the total with 22.51%.

Source: Bondora

 

International

Alpha Payments Cloud rebrands as Alpha Fintech (Finextra), Rated: B

Alpha Payments Cloud is unveiling its comprehensive rebranding and new corporate identity as Alpha Fintech.

The rebrand aims to crystalize Alpha’s positioning as fintech‘s first end-to-end middleware, connecting the merchant buyer and vendor supplier across the entire payments, risk and commerce spectrum through a single API and UI.

India

HighRadius Raises $ 50 mn (YourStory), Rated: AAA

Hyderabad-based HighRadius, a player in cloud-based integrated receivables software space, announced that it had raised $50 million in growth funding from Susquehanna Growth Equity. Founded in 2006, this is the first external funding round that HighRadius has raised in its journey and the company aims to leverage it to grow its global footprint and also expand the team.

Fastforward to 2017, HighRadius works with hundreds of Global 2000 companies, including brands like Adidas, Starbucks, Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson and Warner Bros. Their integrated receivables platform optimizes cash flow through automation of receivables and payments processes across 6 categories- credit, collections, cash application, deductions, electronic billing and payment processing.

HighRadius currently employs over 500 people across US, India, and Europe. Narahari explained that USA is currently their largest market, with about 90 percent of their business concentrated there and a small percentage in Europe.

Asia

China’s JD.com announces $ 500M e-commerce and fintech joint ventures in Thailand (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Following on from Alibaba’s $1 billion deal with Lazada and a $1.1 billion round in Tokopedia led by Alibaba, rival Chinese e-commerce firm JD.com has announced a $500 million investment that will create e-commerce and fintech businesses in Thailand.

Southeast Asia, a region of 600 million consumers, is forecast to see its internet economy grow to $200 billion by 2025 thanks to rising internet access. That potential has attracted investment dollars from Chinese giants lie Tencent and Alibaba, and now JD.com is upping its own efforts.

Africa

Fintech defines new trends in financial services offerings for farmers (AFGRI), Rated: A

For agriculture, the rise of Fintech means easier access to funds, new competitors in financial services and a global reach. Selling cattle or produce? Fintech and digital markets can now connect farmers directly to buyers on a mobile platform, doing away with the middleman. Important to note is that Fintech not only minimises the dependency on traditional banks as the middlemen, but increases the use of peer-to-peer lending, growing and strengthening the sharing economy model. Good examples are M-Pesa and FarmDrive in Kenya, where FarmDrive connects smallholder farmers to loans and financial management tools through their mobile phones.

In Mozambique, the Institute of Cereals of Mozambique (ICM), which is responsible for regulating and promoting agricultural production and commercialisation under the remit of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, recently joined forces with FinComEco to link agriculture to the latest financial technology.

Latin America

ID Finance grows footprint in Latin America with launch of Mexico operations (ID Finance Email), Rated: AAA

19th September 2017 – 

Mexico readies bill to regulate fast-growing fintech industry (Reuters), Rated: A

Mexico would regulate its fast-growing financial technology sector, including firms that use crypto-currencies like bitcoin, to protect consumers and spur competition, under a proposed bill seen by Reuters.

The proposed legislation, which Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said this month would be unveiled in the Senate before Sept. 20, seeks to ensure financial stability and defend against money laundering and financing of extremists.

Financial services firms envisage massive potential growth in Latin America’s No. 2 economy by reaching the more than 50 percent of Mexico’s roughly 120 million citizens without bank accounts.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Election AV: the “Trump trade” that made a lot of money in 2016 (so far)

You could have doubled your money in 2016 by betting on a Trump victory in a very specific way.

Continue reading: Election AV: the “Trump trade” that made a lot of money in 2016 (so far)

You could have doubled your money in 2016 by betting on a Trump victory in a very specific way.

Continue reading: Election AV: the “Trump trade” that made a lot of money in 2016 (so far)