Thursday January 31 2019, Weekly News Digest

fintech vc 2018

News Comments Today’s main news: Kabbage expands into India. GreenSky launches loan product for elective health care. Lending Works hits 150M GBP in loans in five years. Ant Financial’s money market fund shrinks to two-year low. Ant Financial raised close to combined raise of all U.S., Europe fintechs last year. Varo Money raises annual percentage yield on savings accounts to […]

The post Thursday January 31 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

fintech vc 2018

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United States

United Kingdom

International

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News Summary

United States

GreenSky launches new loan product for elective health care (American Banker), Rated: AAA

The Atlanta fintech on Tuesday announced the launch of a revolving credit line of up to $25,000. GreenSky previously offered only installment loans; the new product is designed to be a better fit for elective medical providers that rely heavily on repeat business.

Is SoFi Money the Bank Account of the Future? (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

There are three main benefits that SoFi touts with the SoFi Money account:

  1. Pay zero account fees.
  2. Earn more interest.
  3. Free ATMs everywhere.

SoFi will pay (as of this writing) 2.25% on balances held in a SoFi Money account. Note about the small print: you will only earn this 2.25% for the first three months and then the interest rate drops to a (still respectable) 1.25% unless you do one of two things. Either setup a salary direct deposit of $3,000 or more a month or do $500 in debit card transactions each month. I am in the process of moving my salary deposit to my SoFi Money account.

The cash balance in SoFi Money Accounts is swept to one or more program banks where it earns a variable rate of interest and is eligible for FDIC insurance. FDIC Insurance is not provided until the funds arrive at partner bank. There are currently six banks available to accept these deposits, making customers eligible for up to $1,500,000 of FDIC insurance (six banks, $250,000 per bank).

Mixed Credit Card Issuers’ Earnings (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Credit card master trust data shows that delinquencies have picked up from their lows but remain significantly below their peaks. Issuers (with the exception of Capital One), have increased loan loss reserves at a rate higher than loan growth as credit renormalization continues.

30 and 90-day delinquency rates from credit card master trust data

Source: Bloomberg, Bank Credit Card Trust Data, PeerIQ

How online platforms shook small-business lending in America (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

In the years after the financial crisis, small businesses that needed credit were stuck. New capital rules discouraged big banks from touching any borrower perceived as risky. The bond and loan markets, where larger businesses flocked for inexpensive debt capital, have little use for sums under $100,000 — which is what most small enterprises need.

A handful of non-bank lenders, payment and e-commerce companies have leapt into the gap. In an environment of easy money and economic expansion, small business lending operations at OnDeck, Kabbage, PayPal, Square and others have grown fast.

LendingTree Analysis Reveals How Personal Loan Purposes Vary by States and Credit Scores (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Key takeaways

  • Managing existing debt is far and away the most popular reason for a personal loan, representing 61 percent of all loan requests in 2018. Thirty-nine percent of borrowers plan to use their loans to consolidate debt, and 22 percent plan to use it to refinance credit cards.
  • Consumers seeking personal loans to manage debt also requested the highest origination amounts: $14,107average amount for credit card refinance, and $12,670 for debt consolidation.
  • Almost 15 percent of loans reasons are categorized as “other” — the third most popular choice. Home renovation and improvement loans are the next-most popular loan purpose, accounting for 7.7 percent of loan requests with an average loan amount of $12,384.
  • New Englanders are the most likely to use their loans to manage existing debt, taking the top five spots. The residents of MississippiLouisiana, and Arkansas are the least likely.
  • Washington, D.C. is home to the highest rates of a few offbeat loan purposes, with more residents requesting loans here for a move (7.4 percent) or business (2.6 percent). It’s also tied with New York and Louisiana as the place where wedding loans are most requested, with 1.5 percent of loans in these states intended to cover the costs of tying the knot.
  • West Virginia is the top state for borrowers requesting loans for their home, specifically home improvements (8.6 percent of loans requested in this state) or home buying (4.9 percent).
  • In Wyoming, residents request personal loans for medical expenses more than anywhere else (6.5 percent). In fact, most of the states where people are more likely to request a loan for medical costs are low-density states with more rural areas.
Source: LendingTree

See the full report here.

Cities Where Homeowners Stay Put the Longest (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

  • Cities with shorter housing tenure have greater price appreciation. The top 10 cities had an average tenure of 7.46 years and an average three-year home price appreciation of 12%. The bottom 10, with an average tenure of 6.63 years, have average price appreciation 30%. This suggests that higher housing turnover drives prices upwards, while faster price appreciation could be enticing home owners to sell.
  • The northeast dominates the list of cities with the longest tenure. The top three cities, Pittsburgh, New York and Buffalo are all in the northeast. An additional three northeastern cities are in the top 10 for a total of six.
  • Hot and sunny places have the shortest tenures. The three cities with the shortest tenures — Las Vegas, Phoenix and Austin — are all in warm-weather areas. This reflects high migration rates to those cities, something we looked at in a prior study on where Americans are moving. Denver is the only city in the bottom 10 that experiences a significant winter season.

A George Soros-backed fintech has raised millions to analyze consumer loan trends just as recession worries pick up steam (Business Insider), Rated: A

dv01, a New York-based startup, has raised $15 million in a series B round led by Pivot Investment Partners, a venture capital firm started by a a trio of bankers who worked together at Deutsche Bank AG. One of those ex-bankers, Dinkar Jetley, will join dv01’s board.

Kabbage hires chief revenue officer from LegalZoom (Biz Journals), Rated: A

Atlanta-based Kabbage Inc. has hired the chief marketing officer at LegalZoom as its new chief revenue officer.

Laura Goldberg‘s appointment is effective immediately, according to a Kabbage spokeswoman. She succeeds Victoria Treyger, who vacated the CRO position at Kabbage in August 2018 to accept a position with Felicis Ventures.

Varo Raises Annual Percentage Yield on Savings Account to Industry-Leading 2.80% (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

In a move to make high-yield savings available to more Americans, no-fee mobile banking company Varo Money, Inc., announced today that it raised the Annual Percentage Yield (“APY”) on its FDIC-insured Varo Savings Account to 2.80% for customers whose Savings Account balance is $50,000 or less, and who have qualifying direct deposits and debit card purchases from their Varo Bank Account.1 An APY of 2.12%1 will apply if these conditions are not met.

Elevate’s RISE Brand Announces Scholarship to Promote Financial Literacy (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Elevate Credit, Inc. (“Elevate”), a tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, today announced that its largest consumer product, RISE, will offer college scholarships in an effort to promote financial literacy.

The RISE scholarship will offer five $5,000 awards each year to students who demonstrate a desire to improve their financial knowledge and educate others on personal finance. To be eligible for the scholarship, students must complete an online financial literacy course that was developed in partnership with digital education expert EVERFI.

Credit card player Petal picks up $ 30m funding (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

New York-based credit card firm Petal is back in the money with $30 million in Series B funding.

This is Petal’s second investment from Valar, which was also the lead investor in its Series A funding round. Back in October 2018, Petal got $34 million in financing.

Fintech targets banks keen for out-of-market CRE loans (American Banker), Rated: A

As more banks take the often risky step of expanding outside their traditional markets, especially through digital means, some fintechs sense an opportunity to offer them data they need to find new customers and assess risk.

LendingClub, OnDeck Capital and Lending Tree are each online lending platforms that have bet on this trend. CrediFi, a finance data provider, aims to do the same with a focus on one of the largest asset classes around: commercial real estate.

LoanSnap Raises $ 4.7M in Funding (Finsmes), Rated: A

LoanSnap, a San Francisco, CA-based creator of smart loan technology, raised an additional $4.7M in funding.

The round, which brought total financing to $17M, was led by Thomvest Ventures and existing investors.

Oxygen gets $ 2.3m funding for digital banking life (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

San Francisco-based digital banking service Oxygen has raised $2.3 million in funding to breathe life into its gig economy plans.

In this round it got funding from Digital Horizon Capital; Cynthia Chen, investor, advisor, executive and board member for several US-based fintechs and now co-founder and chief risk officer at Figure; ZMT Capital (China); Locus Ventures; Endure Capital; PioneerFund; Magic City; Light Bridge; Strawberry Creek; Base Ventures; The House Fund and Sam Yam, co-founder of Patreon.

Better Mortgage Secures $ 70 Million in Series C Funding from American Express Ventures and the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Better Mortgage, one of the leading digital mortgage lenders in the U.S., today announced its closing of $70 million in Series C financing from American Express Ventures and the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP), in addition to existing investors Kleiner Perkins, Goldman Sachs, and Pine Brook. The new capital will support continued growth and investment in Better’s technology platform.

CFPB Announces $ 3.2 Million Settlement with Online Payday Lender (JD Supra), Rated: A

On January 25, 2019, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced that it had entered into a consent order with an online lender that extends unsecured payday and installment loans, as well as lines of credit, resolving allegations that the lender had engaged in unfair acts or practices in violation of the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA), 12 U.S.C. §§ 5531, 5536.

Popular ‘robo-advisor’ Betterment picks Philly for its first office outside New York; to hire 20 by end of 2019 (Philly.com), Rated: A

Betterment, a digital wealth manager popular among millennials, has picked Philadelphia for the first office outside its New York home base.

The company, which manages $15 billion in assets, plans to open a Philadelphia office as soon as February, according to founder Jon Stein. Betterment is looking for office space in Center City, with the intent of adding 20 employees in its computer and engineering departments by the end of 2019.

Numerated and PayNet Partner to Improve Digital Lending (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Numerated announces that it will integrate PayNet’s MasterScore v2 within its real-time lending and growth platform. PayNet, a leading commercial lending data and analytics firm, will integrate its proprietary database within Numerated’s customizable rules- and segment-based credit decisioning engine to offer banks additional business scoring criteria for managing risk when lending to businesses in real-time.

Planet Home Lending Opens Several Branches; Sees Growth in Business Channels (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Planet Home Lending, LLC opened 26 active distributed retail branches and brought on 165 mortgage loan originators in 2018. Planet Home Lending also enjoyed additional growth in 2018 in its other channels.

Senior Counsel, Litigation (Employment Focus) (Built in Chicago), Rated: B

Guaranteed Rate is building a winning team to reinvent the mortgage experience through innovation, technology and a relentless focus on providing industry-leading mortgage products and superlative customer service.  The Senior Counsel will embrace and support these efforts by working to pursue claims and resolve disputes as appropriate through negotiation, arbitration or litigation, with a particular focus on employment claims and matters.

United Kingdom

Lending Works hits £150m of loans in five years (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Lending Works, the peer-to-peer lender, has surpassed £150m in loans to households and firms.

Nick Harding, Lending Works Co-Founder and CEO, says the firm is aiming to reaching £300m loans by the end of 2019 thanks in part to its “greatest ISA season yet ”.

LendInvest provides GBP7.35 million bridging loan in under seven days (Property Funds World), Rated: A

UK property finance specialist LendInvest has facilitated a GBP7.35 million bridging finance loan for a developer in just seven days.

Brexit blamed for slowdown in consumer lending (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

UNSECURED consumer lending has slowed to its lowest level since 2014, as Brits scale back their spending amid Brexit uncertainty.

The latest Bank of England Money and Credit statistics also found that the total number of mortgage approvals fell from 126,794 to 124,829 in December 2018, indicating an overall lag in the lending market.

Meanwhile, mortgage approvals for house purchase were around 63,800 in December – just slightly less than the 2018 average of 65,200.

Ultimate Finance lends record £1.4bn to small firms (AltFi), Rated: A

Small business financer Ultimate Finance said it lent a record £1.4bn to small firms across the UK last year.

The Bristol-based business said its overall lending jumped 35 per cent in the year to December 2018, boosted by writing more loans across its operations.

It said its bridging loans more than doubled to £31m over the period, asset finance jumped 37 per cent to £46m, while invoice finance also increased by almost a quarter to £117m.

Primary Factors to Have At Hand When Borrowing Money Online (EconoTimes), Rated: A

Online borrowing should be all about convenience, and Loanski loans have made this aspect their rising pillar for excellence. The only requirement for one to apply for a loan through the platform is they must be United Kingdom residents and have an active bank account. These minimum requirements essentially mean that anyone who uses their bank accounts frequently can have the pleasures of having an instant loan when they need it the most.

China

Ant Financial’s money market fund shrinks to 2-year low (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

The world’s largest money-market mutual fund, Ant Financial’s Tianhong Yu’E Bao, was at its smallest for two years by the end of last year as Chinese regulators pressured it to downsize over concerns about systemic risk.

The shrinkage is a sign that Ant, the financial services business of Alibaba Group, is shifting away from marketing its own financial products to serving as a platform for other groups to access its huge customer base.

Cryptocurrency and pyramid schemes add to US$ 44.5 billion surge in illegal fundraising in China (SCMP), Rated: A

Chinese police investigated more than 10,000 cases of illegal fundraising last year, a 22 per cent rise in the caseload, according to China’s top prosecutors.

The total amount involved also rose, more than doubling to about 300 billion yuan (US$44.5 billion), the Supreme People’s Procuratorate said on Wednesday.

Apart from traditional hotbeds such as product marketing, real estate investment, and education, there has been a big rise in fundraising schemes in online lending, wealth management, private equity, cryptocurrency, and elderly care services.

European Union

Europe’s fintech companies are preparing for a no-deal Brexit (CNBC), Rated: AAA

Europe’s fintech companies are getting serious about the possibility of a no-deal Brexit.

As uncertainty looms over the U.K.’s split from the EU, the industry gathered this week at the Paris Fintech Forum. Payments providers, cryptocurrency exchanges and digital banks all said they were taking steps to prepare for the worst-case scenario.

N26 is a Berlin-based digital bank that was recently named one of Europe’s largest fintech start-ups.

Synsam Group and Klarna Launch Innovative Contact Lens Subscription in the Nordics (Webwire), Rated: A

Synsam Group has over 50 years of experience in improving people’s eye health and is today Sweden’s largest optician chain with over 190 stores in Sweden, and 500 stores throughout the Nordic region. One of the company’s most popular services is Synsam Lifestyle Contact Lens Subscription, which includes home deliveries and annual contact lens examinations. To create a better and smoother customer experience, Synsam Group and Klarna have developed a new concept that allows customers to subscribe to contact lenses by using their mobile phones instore, while they can manage all the administration around the subscription online.

International

China’s Ant Financial raised almost as much money as all US and European fintech firms combined (Quartz), Rated: AAA

When it comes to financial technology companies, Ant Financial is in it own league. The affiliate of e-commerce giant Alibaba raised $14 billion in venture capital last year, not far from the $15.9 billion for all fintech investments in the EU and US in the same period. A key question is whether the growth of the world’s most valuable fintech firm is an anomaly or a sign of things to come from China.

Ant Financial accounted for 35% of global venture capital investment in fintech firms last year, according to CB Insights.

Source: Quartz

Cross River and Railsbank Announce Partnership (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Cross River Bank (“Cross River”), a leading innovator and provider of banking services for financial technology companies, and Railsbank Technology Limited (“Railsbank”), a leading UK-based open banking and RegTech technology services platform, today announced that they have entered into a partnership arrangement that will provide Railsbank the opportunity to offer a variety of API-powered, banking and payment processing services across the U.S.

Fintech companies raised a record $ 39.6 billion in 2018 (Reuters), Rated: A

In the last three months of the year, five companies joined the coveted ranks of fintech “unicorns”, or companies valued at more than $1 billion. These include credit card provider Brex, digital bank Monzo and data aggregator Plaid.

Australia

Canada’s Eguana will set up local manufacturing to join South Australia Home Battery Scheme (Energy-Storage.news), Rated: AAA

The South Australia Home Battery Scheme, launched by the state government, offers a maximum of AU$6,000 assistance per household for the purchase of battery energy storage. Home storage systems are typically, but not always, paired with solar PV, and homeowners can get back between AU$500 and AU$600 per kilowatt hour of battery storage capacity purchased.

Announced in September and then launched a month later, the scheme will assist up to 40,000 households financially, with the state government putting in AU$100 million and peer-to-peer lending group RateSetter later committing the same amount of funding in the form of low-interest loans.

ING latest lender to hike variable home loan rates (Mozo), Rated: A

Online lender ING has become the latest bank to lift its variable home loan rates following an announcement earlier today.

The lender will raise rates across all of its variable rate home loan products by 15 basis points, effective as of February 7, 2019.

India

Small Business Lender Kabbage Expanding to India (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Kabbage has opened an office in Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore) and plans to have 125 employees by year end. For comparison, the company has about 350 employees in their Atlanta headquarters.

To our knowledge Kabbage is the first US-based lender to enter the Indian market.

RBI directs P2P lenders to file quarterly reports on key metrics (TechCircle), Rated: AAA

Lending has been our star performer: MobiKwik founder (India Times), Rated: A

As of the end of the last financial year, we have a register user base of more than 107 Mn users and a network of over 3 Mn merchants. We are aiming at 400% growth this fiscal. We are aiming at 400% growth this fiscal. We are adding over 3 Mn new users every month, one of the highest in the industry. We will have close to 200 million users by the end of 2019.

A) Lending is growing by leaps and bounds ever since we started out. The opportunity is huge with less than 10% of Indians having access to credit.

Blockchain-based Loan Marketplace Streamsource Raises $ 1 Mn Seed Funding from Accel India (IndianWeb2), Rated: A

Gurgaon-based StreamSource Technologies, a decentralized marketplace for loans, has raised $1 million in seed funding from Accel India, making it Accel’s first local investment in the blockchain sector.

Indian banks unveil blockchain-linked funding for SMEs (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

A group of 11 Indian banks have teamed together to unveil the nation’s first blockchain-linked funding for SMEs.

According to the Economic Times, the participants include ICICI, Axis, HDFC, Kotak Mahindra, Yes Bank, Standard Chartered, RBL, South Indian Bank, IndusInd Bank, State Bank of India and Bank of Baroda.

How are interest rates set on P2P platforms? (India Times), Rated: A

“Borrowers on our platform are given a score out of 100, which determines their risk profile. A score of 52 to 60 points is high risk while a borrower with more than 60 points will get a lower interest rate,” says Bhavin Patel, Founder & CEO, LenDenClub.

IndiaMoneyMart App Brings P2P Investment and Wealth Creation for Masses (Business Standard), Rated: A

lending or lending is a mode of direct financing that enables individuals to borrow and lend on mutual terms. Platforms like IndiaMoneyMart (IMM) eliminate the traditional financial institutions and enable businesses to flourish through a people to people contact.

P2P industry expectations from Budget 2019 (India Times), Rated: A

“While a great boost to the P2P industry would be via the regulator easing lending caps, we look forward to a critical role from the finance ministry for better financial inclusion by extending SOPs to retail investors,” says Dhiren Makhija, CEO, Cashkumar.

Here’s how you can invest in peer-to-peer lending (CNBCTV18), Rated: A

According to i2ifunding.com, a category A borrower may face the least risk while a category F borrower faces the highest risk.

Following interest rates are paid by borrowers across categories:

  • A category borrowers – 12.00 percent to 14.99 percent
  • B category borrowers – 15.00 percent to 17.49 percent
  • C category borrowers – 17.50 percent to 19.99 percent
  • D category borrowers – 20.00 percent to 22.49 percent
  • E category borrowers – 22.50 percent to 24.99 percent
  • F category borrowers – 25.00 percent to 36.00 percent

CreditVidya receives $ 3m funding to develop credit score tech (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

CreditVidya, an Indian alternative credit score firm, has raised $3 million in a funding round led by Bharat Innovation Fund.

Ryan Khoury, Navroz D. Udwadia and Rick Gerson (founding members of Falcon Edge Capital) also participated in the round.

Abhinav Kumar, of Trivago fame, joins Paisadukan as a marketing advisor (India Times), Rated: B

Digital marketing strategist Abhinav Kumar who shot to fame because of his appearance on television commercials of travel search engine Trivago has joined peer to peer lending platform Paisadukan as a digital marketing and branding advisor and also will be on the company’s advisory board.

Asia

P2P lending third most complained about business sector (The Jakarta Post), Rated: AAA

The country’s growing peer-to-peer (P2P) lending sector has become one of the most complained about business sectors partly because of high interest rates and aggressive debt collection practices, according to a report.

The report by the Indonesian Consumers Foundation (YLKI) shows online lending platforms are the third most complained about business sector while property and banking rank second and first respectively.

NTU and Chinese online lender WeBank launch research centre (Straits Times), Rated: A

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and China’s first digital-only bank have opened a research centre that aims to help customers manage their finances in real-time wherever they are.

NTU research scientists and engineers from WeBank will also study how to provide personalised wealth management advice to customers, among other projects, in the five-year partnership.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday January 31 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Friday June 1 2018, Daily News Digest

Greensky financials

News Comments Today’s main news: One student saved $20K on a SoFi student loan. PayPal, Google deepen partnership. Zopa to hire a social media strategist. Ant Financial is a top 10 global bank. Today’s main analysis: Improved MPL pools are no guarantee of ABS performance. Today’s thought-provoking articles: A deeper look at GreenSky. Quants and fundamentalists. Ways to impress a lead investor. Helping […]

Greensky financials

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

India

Other

News Summary

United States

‘I’m saving over $ 20,000’: Why you should consider refinancing your student loans through SoFi (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

Student debt is growing in the US and looming as a major ongoing issue. With a total of $1.48 trillion in student loan debt in the US, spread among 44 million borrowers, Americans now have more student loan debt than credit card debt, according to Student Loan Hero.

Interest rates, meanwhile, are punishing, even more so depending on the type of loan you get, and the level of education you’re paying for. According to data from the Department of Education, rates range from around 3.5% to as high as 8.5% — with most types of loans floating in the 5-7% range. That’s extraordinarily high when you consider that many auto loan rates and even mortgages are lower.

GreenSky: Clear Skies Ahead (Seeking Alpha) Rated: AAA

The company offered 38.0 million shares to the public that priced at the upper end of the range at $23. The over allotment grant added another 5.7 million shares to the total offering. Selling shareholders offered all of the shares with gross proceeds of $1 billion.

GreenSky ended the day virtually unchanged at $23.26 at a time when most IPOs trade in more volatile ranges. The stock only had a range of $22.05 to $23.36 suggesting minimal initial interest by traders.

At the current price of $26.70, GreenSky has a market value of over $5.1 billion on 190 million shares outstanding (including the 5.7 million over-allotment option) with sales on pace to likely top $400 million this year.

The numbers though suggest anything but a boring company. Transaction volume jumped 47% to $1.0 billion during the March quarter and active merchants grew equally impressive at 52%. The fintech is even profitable.

Source: GreenSky Prospectus

PayPal and Google are deepening their partnership (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

PayPal and Google are extending their payments relationship across Google’s entire ecosystem, according to Finextra and TechCrunch. The two firms have worked together for awhile, as customers are able to integrate their PayPal accounts directly into Google Pay, Google’s mobile wallet.

But now, they’re taking the partnership a step further, allowing customers to enter their PayPal credentials once and then have them available for various types of payments, including bill pay and peer-to-peer (P2P) payments, across Google offerings such as Gmail, Google Play, Google Store, and YouTube. The partnership is expected to roll out in full later this year.

Improved MPL pools no guarantee of ABS performance, says Fitch (Asset Securitization Report) Rated: AAA

Marketplace lenders such as LendingClub and Prosper have made strides in improving underwriting standards in the past year.

In a report issued Thursday, Fitch said investors should still be wary of assuming new-issue MPL securitizations are a step up in quality over previous ABS deals, even though firms such as LendingClub and Prosper have taken steps to tighten lending standards as well as pool greater concentrations of borrowers with higher credit scores into their recent ABS deals.

LendingClub (NYSE:LC), for instance, boosted the weighted average FICO of its most recent prime/near-prime consumer-loan securitizations in December to 703, compared with 692 in its first asset-backed transaction of 2017.

Source: Asset Securitization Report

LendingClub’s most recent self-sponsored transaction, Consumer Loan Underlying Bond (CLUB) Credit Trust 2018-NP1, had its base-case loss range tightened to 13.25%-15.25% by Kroll Bond Rating Agency, compared with 14%-16% in its CLUB 2017-P2 transaction. (In December, LendingClub pooled a collection of subprime loans with credit scores below 660, with a base-case loss range of 19.65%-21.65%.)

QUANTS AND FUNDAMENTALISTS UNITE! (All About Alpha) Rated: AAA

But the Bloomberg Professional Services Blog has run a piece recently on “quantamental” investing, indicating that a merger of the two approaches is underway. Darwinian pressures aren’t kind to presuppositions or to the purity of paradigms. And it is survival of the fittest that is at work here, because fitness requires on the one hand that the quants use good (human) judgment to monitor and adjust the investment process to the prevailing market conditions, while it also requires that any workable fundamental approach employ “promising aspects of technology … to reduce bias and random noise.”

“Alternative data” means what it sounds like it means: every sort of datum that one would not traditionally have expected to come up in a discussion of trades, investments, or portfolio allocations.

These sources can include (Bloomberg’s list), “social media posts, credit card accounts, online browsing activity, foot traffic and weather patterns.” Any and all of these can include clues to ongoing and future trends. The use of any such source, or any cross-referencing of sources that can produce patterns, may be novel this week, customary next week, and a bare minimum for survival in the trading jungle the week after that.

Millennials are leading an investment revolution — here’s what makes their generation different (Business Insider) Rated:AAA

Nuveen’s “Third Annual Responsible Investing Survey” of over 1,000 affluent investors found there was increased interest in working for, buying from, and investing in socially responsible companies. This is even more true among the millennials surveyed.

Some 92% of millennials agreed with the statement “I care more about having a positive impact on society than doing well financially” compared to 52% of nonmillennials.

Source: Business Insider

We interviewed a handful of millennials, asking them what makes their generation different. They answered: access to information, aligning themselves with brands on social media, and growing up in more comfortable economic circumstances than their parents and grandparents.

Source: Business Insider

New Report on the Impact of Online Lenders on Small Businesses (Lend Academy) Rated: A

Most of us are aware of the importance of small businesses in the US economy. Small businesses employ over half of private-sector workers in the US, so access to capital for small businesses is critical to their success. Fortunately, online lenders such as the ones mentioned in the report have focused on serving the needs of businesses and activity has picked up over the last few years. Both awareness of these alternative options and the amount lent on these platforms is increasing. Originations at five leading online small business lenders increased by 50% in three years, from $2.6 billion in 2015 to $3.9 billion in 2017.

Nearly $10 billion of funding was provided to 180,000 small businesses from 2015 to 2017 according to data which included leading platforms OnDeckKabbage and Lendio. This activity has generated $37.7 billion in gross output, created 358,911 jobs and $12.6 billion in wages.

Why Foreign Investors Love U.S. Commercial Real Estate, And Why More Will Follow (Forbes) Rated: A

Despite fears of trade wars and increased protectionism, foreign investment in the United States remains robust. In fact, the U.S. continues to be the single largest recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the world: more than 

Better Get Your AI Game On (Prime Meridian Capital Management) Rated: A

The AI and algo game is nothing new really. A couple decades ago many called it neural networks and neural computing, and that has evolved into today’s version of AI. But what is different today and so disruptive are three elements that were not there in the early days of machine learning: computing power and cloud-based systems, a growing and global population of computer and data scientists and data. Lots of lots of data.

Those three are increasingly working together in the alternative investments markets space, enabling firms to make much more accurate, and potentially, more profitable investments. The AI topic, discussed at Lendit Fintech USA 2018 conference in San Francisco in April, revealed just how integrated it is already and where it is going in the coming months and years. Listen to the full recording HERE.

Former Amex chief backs immigrant credit score provider (Financial Times) Rated: A

The former American Express chief Ken Chenault is backing a start-up company that provides credit scores for immigrants who struggle to rent apartments and access other basic services upon their arrival in the US.

Workers on overseas postings, international students and other newcomers have long struggled to secure credit cards and other loans because American institutions hold no records on them.

Nova Credit, which is among a new breed of Silicon Valley companies seeking to shake up the financial system, aims to address the problem. It has secured funding from General Catalyst, the venture capital group that has stood behind companies including Snap, Stripe and Warby Parker.

OnDeck, Kabbage, Lendio Continue to Drive Up Their Share of Small Business Lending (Bank Innovation) Rated: A

For online lenders, small business lending continues to grow into big business. Online lenders continue to grow their originations of small business loans, according to a new study released today by Washington D.C.-based economic research firm NDP.

Emerge With An Alternative (Scotsman Guide) Rated: A

Alternative financing in the form of crowdfunding may be a trending topic, but it’s hardly new. Mozart used the idea in the 1780s to finance the composition of one of his early piano concertos, offering prospective backers copies of his manuscript in exchange for their financial support.

Why choose alternative financing? Because a lot of great deals may never get done without it. Many banks and other traditional lenders won’t finance transactions valued under $50 million because there’s simply not enough profit in it for them. And, because of the late stage of the current real estate cycle, many other lenders are feeling skittish or are simply tapped out. That leaves a big gap in the financing market — and a big opportunity for nontraditional sources of capital.

Layered Insight Snags Top CISOs As Advisors (PR Newswire) Rated: B

Layered Insight announced today that Tim McKnight, EVP & Chief Information Security Officer at Thomson Reuters, and Richard Seiersen, SVP & Chief Information Security Officer at Lending Club, have joined Layered Insight’s Advisory Board.

Renew Financial Elevates Financial Services Veteran Kirk Inglis to CEO (PR Newswire) Rated: B

Renew Financial, the inventor of Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing and a leading provider of financing for home improvements, today announced that Kirk Inglis, currently Renew Financial’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO), will succeed Cisco DeVries as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the company. Mr. Inglis brings more than 20 years of experience in financial services and technology with a deep expertise in consumer lending. His career includes senior finance and operating roles with Calypso Technology, Prosper Marketplace and Providian Financial Corporation. Mr. DeVries will become the company’s Chief Innovation Officer to focus on key growth opportunities and to help innovate new financing tools for clean energy. DeVries will continue to serve on Renew Financial’s board of directors.

United Kingdom

Zopa to hire first social media executive to broaden customer focus (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

ZOPA is hiring its first-ever social media executive in an effort to broaden its customer base.

The peer-to-peer lending platform is currently advertising for a person who can “translate the brand and social media strategy into tangible plans which encompass day to day content, product content and campaign content”.

The role will involve working with the wider marketing and product team, as well as analysing and optimising performance by channel.

LendInvest Debuts First Official BTL Legal Panel Six Months After Product Launch (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

LendInvest announced on Thursday it has named firms JMW Solicitors LLP and Lightfoots Solicitors as its first official panel of solicitors for its Buy-to-Let product. According to the online lender, JMW Solicitors is one of the North West’s leading full-service law firms, with significant experience in handling a range of real estate finance cases for both institutional and private lenders. Lightfoots are experts in complex property finance cases and have over 30 years experience providing legal services to mortgage lenders. Both firms are experienced in dealing with introducer-led business, offering dual representation and coverage across England and Wales.

Allianz leads £40m funding round in Moneyfarm (Fintech Futures) Rated: A

Digital wealth manager Moneyfarm has got £40 million in a Series B funding round – meaning it has secured close to £60 million in capital so far.

Moneyfarm calls this the “largest funding round by a European digital wealth manager to date” and the company, which launched a personal pension (SIPP) in March this year, will use the capital to launch solutions and expand its investment strategy.

The round was led by Allianz Asset Management, the investment arm of global insurer Allianz, which first invested in Moneyfarm in September 2016.

SME funding platform partners with Hiscox (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: B

SWOOP, a new small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) funding platform, has partnered with Hiscox on the insurer’s business accelerator portal.

Swoop, which is a re-brand of BizFly, connects businesses in need of finance with over 400 lenders including peer-to-peer platforms such as Funding Circle and Growth Street.

Ashley Finance appoints bridging regional sales director (Bridging & Commercial) Rated: B

Ashley Finance has appointed Sam Cousins (pictured above) as a bridging regional sales director.

Sam began his career in finance in the P2P sector focusing on bridging and business loans.

He also spent two years at P2P lending platform Lendy, where he worked on bridging cases and building up a network.

China

Ant Financial is Now a Top 10 “Bank” Globally (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

Source: Lend Academy

It had been rumored for some time now. Ant Financial, the Chinese financial behemoth, was raising a very large funding round that would value the company at $150 billion. It has been reported extensively today that this funding round has in fact closed. Ant Financial has raised $10 billion at a $150 billion valuation.

For a brief primer on Ant Financial there is a decent summary on their English language websitebut for a deeper understanding I recommend you read Chris Skinner’s new book, Digital Human (the Kindle version is available now). This has a 30,000 word case study that not only shares the history of Ant Financial but also why they are one of the world’s most forward thinking companies. And if you think they are just a Chinese story, think again. Ant Financial embodies the future of financial services and they will, in my opinion, shape the future of financial services more than any other fintech company on the planet.

Dianrong to land on distributed ledger Corda (Tech Node) Rated: A

Dianrong (点融), a leading Chinese online P2P lending service provider today announced cooperation with R3, a global platform specializing in distributed data technology. The Chinese fintech company’s supply chain finance solutions will land on Corda, R3’s open-source distributed ledger.

Dianrong hopes the cooperation will enable the company’s end-to-end service through a comprehensive supply chain and increase efficiency by ensuring transparency. The company’s initiative is to allow micro and small businesses to access credit and financial services.

Australia

Neo lender increases loan limits (Australian Broker) Rated: AAA

As of this week, Wisr will increase its personal loan limit from $35,000 up to $50,000, with a comparative interest rate up to 5% p.a. lower than the four major banks.

Loans will be available for any worthwhile purpose over three or five years, with a comparison rate of 9.36% p.a. for borrowers with a strong credit rating. The neo-lender also offers no early repayment or exit fees.

Analysis of new mortgage lending shows the slump in Auckland home sales has affected all types of buyers (Interest) Rated: A

The report analyses the number of mortgages taken out in the 12 month periods to the end of March from 2014 to March 2018, and breaks them into borrower types – first home buyers, investors, people moving house, those staying put but refinancing and those buying a second home.

According to Real Estate Institute of New Zealand figures, Auckland property sales peaked in their current cycle in the 12 months to March 2016, when 30,631 homes were sold.

That number has steadily declined and in the 12 months to March this year had slumped to 21,628, a decline of 29.4%.

India

Ways to Impress a Leading Investor for Your First Venture Capital Fund (Entrepreneur) Rated: AAA

Today’s investors are undoubtedly looking at technology-driven startups with a difference. The best illustration here is Flipkart which managed to introduce the right technology-driven models at a time when people had to wait endlessly to buy products of their choice. With Walmart now having acquired majority stakes in Flipkart, more technology-driven models could potentially come to the fore.

Mobikwik plans to turn around biz with UPI and loans: But is it too late? (EnTrackr) Rated: A

The digital wallet company finally integrated its platform with government-owned unified payment interface (UPI) last week. A week later, numbers related to UPI have popped up that has reached a 5 million mark via @ikwik handles, a VPA (Virtual payment address) handle for UPI, according to an ET report.

The platform is also planning to partner with NBFCs to disburse loans to small businesses in the range of Rs 20,000 up to Rs 5 lakh.

Asia

Helping SMEs build their business with P2P financing (Tech Wire) Rated: AAA

In Malaysia, regional P2P digital financing platform Funding Societies has announced an alliance with United Overseas Bank (UOB), to provide P2P lending to small businesses.

Using the Funding Societies platform, small businesses banking with UOB Malaysia can raise up to MYR500,000 (US$125,720) in capital directly from investors.

Funding Societies is the first P2P financing service introduced in Malaysia. Based in Singapore, the company also has a presence in Indonesia, where it’s known as Modalku.

Africa

Meet Piggybank.ng, The Nigerian FinTech Startup That Just Raised $ 1.1million (Forbes) Rated: AAA

A two-year old Nigerian fintech start-up this week announced that it has raised a $1.1M Seed Fundraise, to grow its online savings platform, 

SA’s Crossfin, Investec to back early-stage fintech startups (Disrupt Africa) Rated: A

South African investment fund Crossfin has concluded a deal with banking and asset management group Investec that will see the two companies identify early-stage fintech startups in which to invest through Crossfin’s angel funding arm Blue Garnet Investments.

The Crossfin fund, which has a particular focus on fintech startups, was formed in June of last year after South Africa-based private equity and venture capital firm Capital Eye and the Multiply Group signed a strategic investment partnership.

Capital Eye manages a portfolio of investments spread primarily across Sub-Saharan Africa, including South African fintech company wiGroup, which Investec has also invested in.

MENA

Fundbox Wins The Prestigious Israeli Atlas Award For Best Fintech Startup (The Virginian Pilot) Rated: A

Today, Fundbox, the small business growth company, announced that the company has won the coveted Israeli Atlas Award for Best Fintech Start-Up. For a third year in a row, the 2018 Israeli Atlas Award event was held in cooperation with the Ayn Rand Center, The Marker and such leading partners as, BDI, IVC, Bank Hapoalim and Israel Aerospace Industries. The prize is awarded to those Israeli startups that have created a technology, idea or product of exceptional value in Israel over the past year.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday February 2 2018, Daily News Digest

Groundfloor repayment timelines

News Comments Today’s main news: Alibaba acquires 33% stake in Ant Financial. MPL issuance grew by 100% year-over-year in Q4 2017. RateSetter prepares investors for IFISA launch. Bitbond launches alt investment fund with 1741 Fund Management. Today’s main analysis: An empirical analysis of Groundfloor’s loan vintages. International P2P lending volumes for January 2018. Today’s thought-provoking articles: The effect of […]

Groundfloor repayment timelines

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

Asia

Africa

News Summary

United States

PeerIQ 4Q17 securitization tracker shows growth of marketplace lending industry (Bankless Times), Rated: AAA

Ten marketplace lending securitizations priced this quarter totaled $4.4 billion, a record for quarterly issuance, head of research Ashish Dole said. That is 100 per cent growth in issuance over the same quarter in 2016. Cumulative issuance is now $28.2 billion from 106 deals.

THE EFFECT OF ORIGINATION GROWTH ON QUALITY: AN EMPIRICAL ANALYSIS OF LOAN VINTAGES (Groundfloor), Rated: AAA

As we addressed those limitations by qualifying our offering with the SEC and raising our first round of venture capital funding in 2015, new critics emerged to say that while we might be able to lend in a local market at a small scale, we could never lend nationwide in very large numbers without compromising loan quality. In 2016, we set out to build a lending operations team (including risk management, underwriting, and asset management) with the professional expertise, policies, tools and processes to do just that. Our aim was to improve loan quality and volume simultaneously, well beyond our home market.

How have we done?

Vintages

Vintage A is composed of 88 relatively small, mostly local Atlanta-area loans originated during Groundfloor’s formative years, a period of 30 months (2.5 years).

Vintage B, by contrast, is composed of 222 loans that were originated following our addition and application of greater lending expertise. This vintage is more than 2.5X larger, and was originated over the course of 24 months (two years, a 20% shorter period of time).

Source: Groundfloor

Performance Measure #2: Timeliness of Repayment

For each vintage, we analyzed when loans repaid in relation to their maturity dates. Here is a comparison of the timeliness of repayment for Vintage A and Vintage B, with percentages provided to break down the share of repaid loans.

Source: Groundfloor

Here is a snapshot of the situation as of December 31, 2017:

Source: Groundfloor

Juniper Square raises $ 6M for its real estate investment platform (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Juniper Square, which today announced it has raised a $6 million Series A round led by Felicis Ventures, is tackling the real estate investment side by helping investment managers raise and manage outside capital for their projects.

Today’s funding round brings the company’s total funding to date to $8 million; the company plans to use the new influx of capital to accelerate its product development and grow its team to better service its user base.

Overstock Introduces Robo-Advising Investment Platform tZERO Advisors (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Overstock.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:OSTK) has introduced a digitally-driven investment platform (aka robo-advising), presented by tZERO Advisors. The service is accessible to investors through the online retailer’s FinanceHub. For a monthly fee of $9.95, investors can either select from a group of pre-established Adaptive Dynamic Portfolios matched to their investment profiles, or create a customized blend of these portfolios.

States mull loosening of laws in response to CFPB payday rule (American Banker), Rated: A

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s payday loan rule was supposed to reduce the number of Americans who get mired in debt they can’t afford.

But in an ironic twist, the 4-month-old rule is being used in state legislatures to justify the creation of a new category of loans that would be even costlier for many borrowers.

One such bill in Florida has zipped through three legislative committees in recent weeks. The Indiana House of Representatives voted to pass a similar measure Wednesday.

Bradley Strock, PayPal CIO, Joins Elevate’s Board of Directors (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Elevate Credit, Inc. (“Elevate”), a leading tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, today announced that Bradley Strock has joined its Board of Directors, effective immediately.

Mr. Strock joined PayPal in 2011 and since 2014 has been its Chief Information Officer.

Chase is using memes and GIFs to bring millennials to QuickPay (Tearsheet), Rated: A

JPMorgan is focusing its Zelle efforts on millennials, despite the platform outwardly claiming it’s not targeting that age group.

Chase will soon roll out an animated GIF campaign on social media as the second part of its Quick Pay with Zelle campaign.

With Chase QuickPay with Zelle, they can set recurring payments so you never wait for rent again. The best part? It’s already in your Chase Mobile app.  href="https://t.co/tQyDUm75Hf">pic.twitter.com/tQyDUm75Hf

In 2017 Chase saw a nearly 50 percent increase in p-to-p transactions — which includes all transactions before and after it joined the Zelle network — and a 15 percent increase in enrollments.

On Monday Zelle reported it transacted $75 billion across its member banks in 2017. Venmo processed $30 billion in the same period.

Subcommittee hearing looks at challenges, opportunities with fintech (Financial Regulation News), Rated: A

The House Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit convened this week to discuss opportunities and challenges in the financial technology, or fintech, market.

“From online lending and payment companies to blockchain and cryptocurrencies, advances in financial technology are changing the way financial markets work and how consumers access credit,” Subcommittee Chairman Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) said.

“Fintech lenders present an opportunity to expand credit access and quality. Although such lenders should be subject to appropriate regulation, the regulation must work with the fundamental economic reality of the market,” said Brian Knight, director of the program on financial regulation and senior research fellow at Mercatus Center, George Mason University. “Ensuring that regulations do not burden fintech lenders more heavily than their bank competitors are burdened and that the validity of their loans is not in doubt are important steps toward helping realize the promises of innovation.”

EquityBuild Launches New Website Showcasing Their New Revolutionary Hybrid Capital Fund (PR Web), Rated: A

EquityBuild announces the launch of their completely new website and newest investment product EquityBuild Fund.This site is dedicated to the company’s new revolutionary hybrid capital fund only available on their platform.

How to boost your monthly income: The easy way (Augusta Free Press), Rated: A

Safe investments are a real thing, and there cannot be a more secure way of investing in interest rates at a lending club. However, the alternative for which you must search is a peer-to-peer lending platform, where investors finance loans and then get interest rates as high as 10% on a yearly basis.  For instance, you could start with an initial deposit of $2,500, as the starting investment rate is 25%.

Cryptocurrency passive income is a thing – And you should try it

  • Decred – Decred is a self-funded crypto platform, where investors have a share of the platform’s currency even at the very beginning.
  • AKR – is a mining platform which offers each investor, even at the beginning of their journey a “delegated proof of work”. It works literally all around the clock and you virtually have to put NO EFFORTS.
  • NEO – another passive crypto income for those searching to round a bit their monthly income. The network works on “Gas” – this is the name of this small cryptocurrency.

Square shares climb after the payments company launches bitcoin trading for most users (CNBC), Rated: B

Nearly all users of Square‘s Cash payments app can now buy and sell bitcoin on the platform, CEO Jack Dorsey announced Wednesday.

The service will not be available for customers in New York state, Georgia, Wyoming and Hawaii, according to Square’s website.

LendingPoint Names Antonio Martino as New Chief Financial Officer (BusinessWire), Rated: B

LendingPoint, the online balance sheet lender and provider of the LoanHero point of sale financing platform, today announced that Antonio Martino has joined the company as its Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

Martino is a financial industry leader with more than 25 years of experience spanning 10 countries. Most recently he was Director, Citi Corporate Treasury, where he had global oversight roles within the asset liability management and balance sheet management processes for Citibank, N.A. Previously, Martino served as CFO of Citibank in Turkey and across Central Europe, with roles in Istanbul and Budapest, Hungary. In addition, Martino was Finance Director of Citibank Poland’s consumer banking division in Poland and Vice President of Finance within Citibank credit card business in Canada. Martino started his career in public accounting with Ernst & Young.

United Kingdom

RateSetter starts preparing investors for IFISA launch (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER has begun emailing existing investors to get them ready for the launch of its Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) this month.

The peer-to-peer lender sent messages to its customers on Thursday revealing that the IFISA would be made available to investors in the order they opened accounts.

Innovative Isas finally take off (MoneyWeek), Rated: A

The new innovative finance individual savings accounts (IF Isas) raised just £17m in the 2016-2017 tax year, their first year of operation, but the figure for 2017-2018 looks set to be a lot higher, says HM Revenue & Customs. IF Isas enable savers to use their annual Isa allowance to invest through peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms, which match investors looking for income with borrowers who need a loan.

In all, more than 30 platforms now offer the product, and providers report high demand – so much so that the market’s potential size in 2017/2018 may be limited only by the platforms’ ability to source enough borrowers who want to take out loans from investors wanting to lend.

Folk2Folk launches local lending movement (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: A

The local lending movement has been created by the peer-to-peer lending platform to build and sustain socially and financially successful rural communities.

Folk2Folk intends to incorporate this ethos into its behaviour and activity.

The movement involves the participation and support of the platform’s lenders and borrowers, legal and accountancy partners, local authorities, MPs, chambers of commerce, local enterprise partnerships, surveyors, land agents, local cooperatives, leisure and tourism platforms, interest groups, community associations, charities, business groups and banks.

Novae GC joins payday lender Wonga after company takeover (The Lawyer), Rated: A

Payday loan company Wonga has hired a new general counsel following the departure of Bill Flynn after nearly three years.

Goji celebrates first year of investment bond (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: B

Goji has reported a strong first year for its diversified lending bond, which has yielded a net return of 6% to investors.

The Business Funding Show closes the funding knowledge gap (KCW Today), Rated: B

The only funding exhibition in the UK and EU is returning to London for its third year. The Business Funding Show will be held on 22nd February 2018 at East Wintergarden and will connect entrepreneurs to top funders and service providers through conference talks,  an exhibitor showcase, and one-to-one investment clinics.

BFS aims to bring awareness to entrepreneurs about alternative funding options, from crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending to business angels and venture capital. The event saw a 33% increase in attendance in 2017, a figure the organisers aim to surpass this year.

China

Alibaba nabs 33% stake in Alipay operator A (IT Brief), Rated: AAA

With Alipay and Alipay Wallet under its umbrella, the company also runs 4 other major businesses: Yu’e Bao, Zhao Cai Bao, Ant Credit, and MYbank, a cloud based online lender the company was in the middle of establishing at the time of the name change.

Now, Alibaba Group Holdings has announced it will strengthen its strategic relationship with Ant Financial by acquiring a 33% equity stake in the company. The parties have agreed to certain amendments to their 2014 transaction agreements to facilitate the transaction.

Under the terms of the amended agreements, Alibaba will acquire newly-issued equity from Ant Financial in exchange for certain intellectual property rights owned by Alibaba exclusively related to Ant Financial.

Alibaba-backed online lender MYbank owes cost-savings to home-made tech (The Star), Rated: A

MYbank, a Chinese online lender that is an offshoot of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, has built its business on doing things cheaply.

The bank says it can deliver loans to borrowers across China at lightning speeds for up to 1,000 times less than it would cost brick-and-mortar banks to do so.

MYbank employs about 300 people, half of whom are technicians.

As a result, the cost of approving a small business loan can be as little as 2 yuan (RM1.24), compared to at least 2,000 yuan (RM1,239) at a traditional bank, according to data provided by the bank. MYbank has built its technological infrastructure with Chinese-made technology, avoiding more expensive products from companies like IBM Corp, Oracle Corp and Dell EMC, which form the network backbone for much of China’s finance sector, Huang said.

MYbank is one of a handful of Chinese lenders – along with Tencent Holdings Ltd’s WeBank – that are founded completely with private investment. Since mid-2015, MYbank has served more than 7 million small business owners, Huang said. The bank is seeking to expand its network to include China’s 70 million to 100 million small businesses under-served by traditional financial institutions.

The bank’s net interest margin – around 3% to 5% – is higher than those for China’s major banks, which target large state companies, Huang said.

 

European Union

Bitbond Launches Alternative Investment Fund in Partnership with 1741 Fund Management (Finovate), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer small business financing platform Bitbond has entered into a partnership with 1741 Fund Management to launch an alternative investment fund.

European Alternative Finance Market Expanded by 41% in 2016, P2P Consumer Lending Leads (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The European online alternative finance market grew by 41 per cent to 7.7 billion euros in 2016, according to the 3rd annual European Alternative Finance Industry Benchmarking Report by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance. The report entitled “Expanding Horizons” indicates that online alternative finance showed growth in new areas across Europe.

For country-specific numbers, click here.

Among other findings of the report:

• Institutionalization grew considerably from 2015 to 2016, with 45 per cent of peer-to-peer consumer lending and 29 per cent of peer-to-peer business lending funded by institutions such as banks, pension funds and asset management firms.

• Online alternative finance for business continued to grow, providing 1.14 billion euros to more than 14,000 businesses throughout Europe. Debt models including peer-to-peer business lending accounted for 67 per cent of business finance, while equity models accounted for 27 per cent.

• Estonia ranked first for alternative finance volume per capita for the second year in a row, at 63 euros, followed by Monaco (51 euros) and Georgia (28 euros).

• Countries in which platforms believe that existing regulations are adequate are more likely to show higher levels of alternative finance per capita and a larger share of business funding.

• While overall perceptions of regulatory adequacy are divided, the greatest discontent concerns laws governing equity-based crowdfunding

• Two types of risk are of greatest concern to European alternative finance platforms: a potential collapse of a well-known platform due to malpractice, and fraud involving one or more high-profile transactions.

Bob Diamond to join board of Corrado Passera acquisition vehicle (Financial Times), Rated: A

Bob Diamond plans to join the board of a €600m acquisition vehicle chaired by Corrado Passera, which listed on Thursday, bringing together two of Europe’s best known ex-bankers to buy an Italian lender to small businesses.

After the cash shell’s initial public offering on Thursday, Mr Passera told reporters in Milan that it had shortlisted five small Italian lenders and would complete the acquisition of one of them for up to €60m — allowing it to become a bank.

The plan is to turn the small bank into an online lender to small businesses and a merchant bank, which will buy non-performing loans from other banks and parcel them up before selling them on to institutional investors.

 

Italy’s SPAXS shortlists five banks in acquisition hunt (Reuters), Rated: A

Saddled with one quarter of Europe’s nearly $1 trillion debt pile, which has rattled investor confidence in them, Italian banks have become more selective in their lending and compete to lend to low-risk firms, squeezing profit margins, while many small businesses find it hard to access funds.

Shares in SPAXS, which will use up to 10 percent of the amount raised in the IPO for the acquisition, were 4.04 percent higher at 1038 GMT on their market debut on the alternative investment segment of the Milan bourse.

Google and Facebook set off a second wave of fintech talent (Financial Times), Rated: A

One cloud on the horizon, however, is Brexit. The UK’s departure from the EU could make it harder for Irish fintechs to scale up quickly through expansion into the neighbouring British market, which many of them use as an early testing ground.

A good example of this is Plynk, a payment and messaging app aimed at young people, which was co-founded by Charles Dowd and Clive Foley in 2015, a year after Mr Dowd left Facebook. Based in the Camden Street area, Plynk last year raised €25m from investors led by Swiss Privée.

Another start-up that aims to build a global presence from its Irish base is TransferMate, which has handled more than $10bn of cross-border payments for businesses since it set up in 2010. Last year it raised €30m from Allied Irish Banks, with plans to offer the fintech’s software to all the bank’s clients.

By the end of this year, TransferMate expects to derive as much as half its revenue coming from clients in the US, where it has been approved by all 50 states. A third of its revenue is expected to come from European clients and a fifth from the rest of the world.

The most successful product of Ireland’s fintech scene is actually based in San Francisco. Stripe, which provides payment services to businesses, was founded by Irish brothers Patrick and John Collison, who have become paper billionaires thanks to its rapid growth.

Stripe has its European headquarters in Ireland, where it employs about 10 per cent of its 1,000 global staff. Iain McDougall, the company’s head of UK and Ireland, says the country’s fintech growth is being driven by “a second wave of talent in Ireland, spawned by the massive investment of Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon in Silicon Docks”. A former Google employee himself, Mr McDougall says: “We’re starting to see some of that talent come through, not just college graduates with a couple of years experience . . . there’s now significant depth to it.”

International

International P2P Lending Volumes January 2018 (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

This month I added Linked Finance.

Zopa crossed the milestone of 3 billion GBP originated since launch.

Source: P2P-Banking

Moven To Buy US Bank, Create Joint Venture In Japan With SBI (PYMNTS), Rated: A

According to a report in the American Banker, SBI will receive one seat on Moven’s six-member board and the companies will create a joint venture in Japan.

Of the funding the company will receive from SBI Group, some will go toward the joint venture to sell customized Moven software for Asian banks.

Salesforce boosts nCino global expansion plans (American Banker), Rated: A

NCino, a vendor of cloud-based banking technology, announced a new round of funding led by Salesforce Ventures to help fund its global expansion strategy.

The funding round led by Salesforce Ventures, the corporate investment group of Salesforce, also featured participation from another existing nCino shareholder. The amount of investment was not disclosed.

Several countries investigating Japanese virtual coin heist (e27), Rated: B

Takao Asayama, who is a member of the Singapore-based NEM Foundation that is behind the cryptocurrency, told reporters in Tokyo that it is working with exchanges to block the hackers from cashing out the stolen cryptocurrency. He did not name the countries involved in investigations.

India

Jaitley extends avenue for SME financing, bad loans in the sector now on radar (Economic Times), Rated: AAA

As bank credit to micro, small and medium enterprises shrink, the government has decided to get innovative by getting Non-Bank Finance Companies (NBFCs) and the burgeoning fintech industry to play a larger role in financing. However, NPAs in the MSME sector would also now undergo greater scrutiny.

“Non-Bank Finance Companies (NBFCs) stepped up financing of MSMEs after demonetization. NBFCs can be a very powerful vehicle for delivering loans under MUDRA. Refinancing policy and eligibility criteria set by MUDRA will be reviewed for better refinancing of NBFCs,” said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley while presenting the Union Budget for 2018-19.

If we look at the NBFC segment first, it specialises in catering to sector specific financial needs covering retail; consumer and vehicle loans; micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and micro finance among others.

Source: Economic Times

Tech play
Jaitly also laid out a roadmap to use data generated by the Goods and Services Tax (GST) to enhance credit availability to the SME sector.

“It is proposed to onboard public sector banks and corporates on Trade Electronic Receivable Discounting System (TReDS) platform and link this with GSTN. Online loan sanctioning facility for MSMEs will be revamped for prompt decision making by the banks. Government will soon announce measures for effectively addressing non-performing assets and stressed accounts of MSMEs. This will enable larger financing of MSMEs and also considerably ease cash flow challenges faced by them,” said Jaitley.

Source: Economic Times

At end-March 2017, there were 11,522 NBFCs registered with the Reserve Bank, a number that is only bound to increase with fintech sectors like P2P being clubbed in the segment. The Economic Survey has revealed that the amount of credit or loans disbursed by banks amounted to Rs 26,041 billion as on November 2017, but 82.6% of this was cornered by large enterprises.

For millions of SMEs in the country, banks only lent out 17.4 % of the total credit.

Indian Budget 2018: A Push for Blockchin and Cyber Tech (Bank Info Security), Rated: A

In a move to push adoption and development of new technologies, such as machine learning, artificial intelligence and the internet of things, the finance minister announced allocation of Rs 3,073 crore for the Department of Science and Technology.

Meanwhile, the finance minister’ pledge to encourage use of blockchain, the distributed ledger technology that supports cryptocurrencies, in payment systems has earned him accolades from some security practitioners.

“Blockchain can be effectively used to process banking transactions. I see blockchain-enabled wallets and blockchain-enabled cards as next big thing in the payment systems,” Jyoti says. “Blockchain can provide an extra layer of cybersecurity to the payment systems, which could have led to this decision.”

Why Blockchain?

Blockchain has been popular among the banking industry in India. In fact, banks in India have formed a “bank chain,” an association of more than 20 banks where they discuss some typical use cases of blockchain.

Sapan Gupta, national practice head – banking and finance, at the law firm Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas, notes: “Capitalizing on the blockchain technology could open new ways of securing peer-to-peer lending transactions, boosting trade finance, fintech and information repository sectors. Segregating the use of blockchain from crypto-currencies reflects the government’s intention to use the technology in a gradual and safe manner.”

What do Ola, ShopClues, Practo, and Paytm feel about the budget? (Yourstory), Rated: A

Rajat Gandhi, Founder & CEO, Faircent.com 

“The finance minister’s budget speech reflects the government’s intent to increase the credit access for the MSME sector and women entrepreneurs under MUDRA scheme. P2P lending is using technology and new-age data, and diligently working towards taking organised credit to the non and under-banked segments of the Indian economy. This is an opportunity for the government to directly invest or co-fund through registered P2P Lending Platforms and ensure credit access for MSMEs, New-To-Credit as well as female entrepreneurs. P2P lending is an asset class ensuring flow of investments from those with surplus to those in need. Hence it’s important that the lenders are supported through tax incentives. We look forward to working with the government towards the common goal of financial inclusion.

 

Bipin Preet Singh, Co-founder, MobiKwik 

“A reformist budget for startups and digital India. The government’s impetus on digitising the rural hinterlands, focus on smart cities, and commitment to blockchain technology will encourage the promotion of digital payments across the country, thereby making India truly digital. Further, disallowing cash payments beyond Rs 10,000 by trusts and institutions will boost digital payments. I commend the government’s decision to reduce corporate tax to 25 percent and improve the ease of doing business by providing a unique ID for every company on lines of Aadhaar. These initiatives will benefit startups and MSMEs immensely and lay a strong foundation for a progressive India. However, the government should consider regulating cryptocurrencies than curbing their use entirely.”

Budget 2018: 10% Long Term Capital Gain tax to benefit P2P lending players (moneycontrol), Rated: B

Imposing 10% long-term capital gain tax on equity investments may create some level playing field for the P2P lending industry. So far, the favourable tax treatment on long-term gains on equity investments made them a preferred choice for the investors. Now, those who are ready to take higher risk for earning better returns may also think of investing in P2P lending projects which have a better risk profile as compared to equity-oriented investments.

Asia

Ulema council, OJK to issue fatwa on sharia-based fintech lenders (The Jakarta Post), Rated: AAA

The Indonesia Ulema Council’s (MUI) sharia division and the Financial Services Authority (OJK) are preparing a fatwa to serve as a legal basis for the operation of sharia-based financial technology (fintech) lending institutions.

“Many non-Muslims are also interested in sharia-based fintech financing. So it has a very large potential market,” Adiwarman said as reported by kontan.co.id.

Since a trial run in November 2017, Investree has disbursed Rp 2.7 billion (US$189,000) in sharia-based financing.

Africa

Five ways to finance your dream (Standard Digital), Rated: AAA

It found that in 2015, Kenya and South Africa raised $16.7 million (Sh1.7 billion) and $15 million (Sh1.5 billion), respectively, in financing from various online channels. However, unlike in South Africa, most of the money raised using these alternative financing platforms in Kenya came from foreigners.

Overall, a total of $62.2 million (Sh6.4 billion) was raised across Africa, with more than 75 per cent of this money going towards funding start-ups and SMEs.

  1. Equity-based crowdfunding
  2. Peer-to-peer business lending
  3. Debt-based securities
  4. Donation-based crowdfunding
  5. Reward-based crowdfunding

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday December 27 2017, Daily News Digest

blockchain artificial intelligence

News Comments Today’s main news: Impact investment performance. The UK home lending market had a watershed year. Opus, Statista predict digital payments to rise in 2018. Crowd Genie opens up blockchain-based lending to Singapore. Fast Invest offers crypto-enabled loan investments across Europe. Today’s main analysis: Where financial institutions will spend money on fintech in 2018. Today’s thought-provoking articles: The […]

blockchain artificial intelligence

News Comments

United States

  • Where money will be spent on fintech in 2018. AT: “American Banker predicts where banks and other financial institutions will put their investments in 2018. A good read with some solid predictive analysis, and good reporting. Top of the list: Blockchain & AI. Big surprise: Bank will get more aggressive with student lending and mortgages.”
  • Performance of impact investing. AT: “Regardless of what you call it, impact investing allows investors to grow portfolios while performing a social good, but how do these investments do over time? Not bad.”
  • The future of financing. AT: “Hint: It’s all about digital currency, or is it?”
  • Why people make bad financial decisions.

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

Asia

United States

Where fintech dollars will go in 2018 (American Banker), Rated: AAA

A study released in December found that 82% of U.S. commercial banks plan to increase fintech investment over the next three years; 86% of bank senior managers surveyed said they intend to boost fintech funding imminently. The research was commissioned by the global fintech provider Fraedom.

Here are the fintech markets likely to get some love in the coming year:

Blockchain

Up till now, many blockchain pilots have been about gaining back-office efficiencies, such as in clearing securities, Canaday noted. She said she expects the use of blockchain to shift to ways to make money.

Artificial intelligence

“There was a study done about last quarter’s conference calls where the count of the number of times companies said ‘artificial intelligence’ in their calls was 800, up 25% quarter over quarter,” Steinberg said. “When you’re competing with 800 companies, it’s probably a difficult experience.”

B-to-B payments

While many fintechs focus on serving consumers, “toward the end of this year we started to see more of a shift in investment toward the B-to-B side,” said Grewal. “There’s big money being thrown into the B-to-B space. We’re seeing a lot of new company formation around the B-to-B payment space in a way we haven’t seen before. That’s one trend we’ll see a lot more of next year.”

Banks could “unlock” $11 billion in new revenue streams from small and midsize businesses by 2020, according to an Accenture report.

Consumer apps

Better experiences from fintech apps like Digit and Acorns are turning financial services firms into “ingredients” rather than “destinations,” according to Schwark Satyavolu, general partner at Trinity Ventures.

Grewal also sees a lot of interest in the cross-border commerce space — consumers from China wanting to make purchases in the U.S. and the U.K. and vice versa.

Banktech

Now that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has been defanged, so to speak, banks can get back into student lending and mortgages without fear of reprisal, he said.

THE PERFORMANCE OF IMPACT INVESTMENTS (All About Alpha), Rated: AAA

The Global Impact Investing Network has offered its own take on a much discussed question: do “impact investing” and its variants under various names – sustainable investing, socially conscious investing, ESG investing, etc. – work? And, if so, how well? It looks at this question in a very granular way, focusing especially on II through private equity and private debt. Given this focus it engages in a meta-study, or literature review.

The GIIN begins with the observation that private equity is the most commonly employed vehicle for impact investing. It is used by more than 75% of the impact investors.

How did they do? That 2015 study made the following points:

  • Since inception the 71 funds have generated aggregate net returns of 5.8% on average, with 4.6% showing up as the median.
  • The fund level internal rate of return can vary a good deal. The top 5% of funds get 22.1% or higher and the bottom 5% lose 15.4% or more.
  • That range itself is “similar to what is seen in conventional investing and illustrates that fund manager selection is key to strong performance.”

The Future of Financing (Avertising Specialty Institute), Rated: A

According to government statistics, 28.8 million small businesses currently operate in the U.S., employing 57 million people. A study by U.S. Bank notes the major reason these businesses fail is due to cash flow problems. Eighty-two percent of those businesses, in fact, are tanking because of lack of cash.

“You have this compression happening across every stage along the way,” Graham says. “For example, 24-hour turn with orders, better systems allowing a distributor to invoice faster, and easier ways to accept payment up front. It’s enabling everything to move faster. The need for financing is not as great as it used to be as a result of the options available now to be able to turn everything faster.”

There’s also big growth in the online lending space, Graham says, allowing for a lot of flexibility and options to get bank-like financing for business needs. But she thinks the next huge financing shift will surround something completely different.

“I think a lot of the real changes are going to happen around digital currency,” she says.

Lending Requirements

“Document requirements won’t change,” Seagraves says. “To get a loan today, you need to have some vehicle to communicate your plan, and that vehicle should include a set of business projections, like an Excel spreadsheet that talks about your financial requirements for the short term and how long it’ll take to become cash flow-positive. Then the lender is going to want to know your financial position as an individual and if any of your assets can be leveraged to secure a loan. These are all very traditional requirements, and I don’t see them changing any time soon.”

Why do people make bad money decisions (IOL.co.za), Rated: B

Eight out of ten American adults feel anxious about the state of affairs of their personal finance.

In addition to this, neural activity associated with “stressful information processing” was 20% higher among people who made their own money decisions compared to someone who received financial advice.

United Kingdom

Watershed year for equity release in the UK home lending market (Propertywire), Rated: AAA

The membership of the Equity Release Council in the UK has increased annually by 23%, rising to 219 from 178 at the same time last year, boosted by new entrants to the market, the latest official figures show.

Lending in the third quarter of 2017 surpassed £800 million for the first time in any single quarter, with the sector also on course to reach a record-breaking £3 billion in lending for the first time in a single year.

China

THE EASIEST WAY TO LOSE YOUR LIFE SAVINGS IN CHINA (SCMP), Rated: AAA

By any measure, 62-year-old Shan Juzhen was an easy mark. After the shortest of conversations with other investors, Shan put more than US$15,000 – or nearly a year of her pension – into a lending club she had never heard of.

She felt it unnecessary to check the qualifications of the lending club, which serves as an alternative for borrowers who cannot get a loan from a big bank. She also did not ask questions about how her money would be lent. The only thing Shan wanted to know was would the platform give her a high return on her investment.

A report published in December by Chaoyang Court in Beijing found that the number of Chinese senior citizens involved with lending-related disputes surged to more than 4,400 in 2016, a nearly sevenfold increase from a year earlier. And among all lending-related disputes the court handled last year, about 45 per cent involved elderly Chinese.

P2P online lending has now reached US$908 billion in transactions, according to Internet Loan House, a website that tracks the industry.

European Union

Joint Discussion Paper on automation in financial advice (EIPOA), Rated: AAA

Given this assessment, the ESAs are of the view that, even though automation in financial advice is not presently observed equally across all financial sectors and/or EU Member States, the phenomenon has the potential to continue to grow. The ESAs will assess the feedback to this Discussion Paper in order to better understand the phenomenon and to decide which, if any,
regulatory and/or supervisory action is required.

In considering the topic of automation in financial advice, the ESAs have observed the following across the banking, securities and insurance and pensions sectors :

  • In the banking sector:

i. Automation specifically in relation to financial advice does not seem to be very widespread. However, human contact is supported more and more by the use of various automated tools. These include comparison websites that can compare products offered by various financial institutions, and websites providing information on specific products and helping consumers to select between products by using simulators and calculators.

ii. New business models that are based in providing advice through automated advisory tools have nonetheless emerged (e.g. automated tools where the consumer fills in all relevant information and receives an advice on which mortgage to get as a result).

  • In the securities sector:

i. Automation in relation to financial advice is a more mature phenomenon, although the provision of advice that is completely automated appears to feature only in a few EU Member States. In this business model, automated tools are used as a type of financial adviser, often referred to as a ‘robo-adviser’: the automated tool asks prospective investors for information about their specific circumstances and, based on the answers provided, an algorithm is used to recommend transactions in financial instruments that match the customer’s profile.

ii. Different automated tools may be used to support different parts of the advice process, for example the collection of information, risk profiling, portfolio analysis, and order processing or trading.

iii. Some advice services are entirely automated, whereas other services foresee human interaction between the consumer and the advice provider at some stage.

iv. In a greater number of European jurisdictions, other automated tools exist that offer various online functionality to consumers. Such offerings include (but are not limited to): the possibility to open and manage online trading accounts that allow the consumer to trade financial instruments on an execution-only basis; automated portfolio management services; and automated tools that compare the prices of transacting in different financial instruments.

Read the full report here.

Fast Invest – Crypto-enabled Loan Investments Across Europe (ChipIn), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms have disrupted American financing. That is old news. What is more interesting is the impact of such platforms in Europe where big banks have long dominated the entire loan-initiation process as well as the investment chain.

European P2P initiatives grew 92% in 2015 to 5.4 billion euros. P2P consumer lending is, so far, the biggest and fastest growing market segment, although far from the only one.

Brexit will mean that British banks will lose what is called “passport rights” that enable them to have access to European markets. And P2P lenders are already jumping into the void this is creating, as well as allowing new kinds of services and income investment opportunities.

Introducing Fast Invest

Fast Invest’s mission is to create a cross-European platform where investors can earn returns for investing in loans. At present, the platform offers an 8-15% return based on past performance for short-term investments of as low as 1 euro, US dollar, pound or Polish zloty after ten months.

Today, before the crowdfunding, the company has 8,500 plus daily customers across Europe, 21 certified lenders, 36 client origin countries and over 50 employees on staff.

Investors will be able to choose between investing in cryptocurrency or a crypto-proved loan investment. This will significantly increase yield over regular bank returns which are about 1.25% API at present. These investments include traditional and alternative investments including issued loans, real estate, private equity and other structured finance products.

Investors can invest as little as 1 euro and get that back within one day with the Fast Invest buyback guarantee.

FIT tokens allow investors to participate in a growing P2P market opportunities across Europe and the US.

Cork investors most likely in Ireland to back local firms (Independent.ie), Rated: B

Cork-based loan investors are the most likely to back local firms, according to data from peer-to-peer lending platform Linked Finance.

The numbers are based on business loans made over the Linked Finance platform, which matches investors to their choice of borrowers using the so called peer-to-peer lending model that cuts out banks.

Analysis of the investors using the platform found that just over one in three (34pc) of lenders have incomes in excess of €100,000, 39pc own their homes outright and 40pc are homeowners with a mortgage.

International

Fintech Outlook 2018: Digital Payments to Rise (Investing News), Rated: AAA

2017 was a significant year of growth for digital payments, according to an Opus Consulting report, together with the emergence of alternative payments. Peer-to-peer, wallets and mobile payments reached “high adoption levels” in the mainstream, reaching $3.6 trillion in terms of transactions during 2016-2017. According to the report, that amounted to a 20 percent year-on-year growth–a number that will only continue increasing from here.

In terms of global mobile payment revenue, the report states the number is estimated to reach $930 billion in 2018, representing a 19 percent growth from 2017 with China leading the way in the mobile payments market. Global payments revenue as a whole is poised to reach $2.3 trillion, with 43 percent of that representing banking revenues.

Similarly, data from Statista indicates that transaction values are expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 41.9 percent over the next five years to 1.32 trillion, while the number of users in the mobile point of service payments will reach 977 million by 2022.

Fintech outlook 2018: Companies to watch

Glance Technologies, whose flagship product is its mobile app, Glance Pay, decided in 2017 that it would create its own cryptocurrency built on the ethereum platform to use smart contracts to provide rewards, which Green says will be purchases in conjunction with its mobile payment app.

Biometrics as the Catalyst: FinTech Pulls Away From Banks (Let’s Talk Payments), Rated: A

The development of biometrics on mobile devices is set to have an outsized impact on mobile wallets and international money transfer. Advances such as fingerprint login, retinal scan, and facial recognition offer a rare opportunity for remittance companies to both combat fraud and improve the user experience.

Mobile wallet transactions alone are expected to reach nearly $1.4 trillionin 2017, growing 32% compared to 2016, and the number of mobile phone users will top 5 billion.

Biometrics improves the user experience by reducing form fields, eliminating the need to upload a picture of a physical ID, and fully automating the know-your-customer (KYC)/anti-fraud process. Moreover, for the first time, digitally funded transfers will offer better KYC and fraud checks than banks or brick-and-mortar competitors.

With hacked or compromised credentials, attackers can wreak havoc by posing as legitimate users and moving or stealing unauthorized funds. Not only is there a risk of theft, but fraudsters also exploit peer-to-peer (P2P) money transfer services for money laundering and terrorism financing. Considering the fact that P2P payments are expected to be used by nearly129 million adults in the US by 2021, the threat isn’t going away anytime soon.

The number of people living outside of the country in which they were born has surpassed 244 million, representing a 41% increase between 2000 and 2015. Many of these people come from places where the identity infrastructure is weak and disconnected from developed systems in the US and Europe.

About 93% of consumers would rather use biometrics than passwords.

India

The McKinsey Paper on India (All About Alpha), Rated: AAA

Earlier this year, McKinsey & Co. published a paper on impact investing in India. The data base for that study consisted of 48 PE and VC transactions, of which 31 targeted the “financial inclusion” sector: that is, enterprises designed to bring banking and bank-like services to the unbanked.

In this case they varied from a loss of 46% to a gain of 153% with a median gross IRR of 10% and a weighted average of 11%.

 

2017: The year of the customer (livemint), Rated: AAA

Investments in the fintech space in India also witnessed frenzied activity this year, with total value of investments jumping by 388% from $383 million in 2016 to $1,868 million in the first three quarters of 2017, according to industry database CB Insights.

With over 1 billion mobile phones, 325 million broadband connections and 306 million new bank accounts, India became a case study in digital financial inclusion, driven by the Jan Dhan Yojana, Aadhaar and mobile (JAM), as reported by the communications ministry.

More than 225 alternative lending companies were founded in India in 2017 and the segment was the second most funded in India’s fintech space, as per data from an industry database Tracxn.

According to the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), eKYC verifications have jumped almost 77% to 84 million in FY18 over FY17, speeding up the on-boarding process and reducing costs significantly.

In 2017, almost 46 strategic partnerships and deals took place between lenders, payments companies and fintech innovators. Some of these were the tie-ups between Paytm and ICICI Bank for short-term interest-free credit lines; Amazon India and Bank of Baroda for unsecured micro loans; Mobikwik and Bajaj FinServ for offering all features and benefits of Bajaj Finserv EMI cards over a digital payments wallet; Fisdom and Lakshmi Vilas Bank for a robo-advisory platform; and between Senseforth and HDFC Bank for chatbots.

Reviewing the 2017 fintech ecosystem and what its startups are looking forward to in 2018 (Plunge Daily), Rated: A

RBI’s recognition of P2P lendingstartups as a new category of non-banking financial companies (NBFCs), was celebrated all-round by the sector.

One of the most celebrated advantages of the fintech boom is that of ‘financial inclusion’ and the potential to service the underserved. However, the sector is hoping that the guidelines placed will initiate control and check on the unorganised side of money lending and the digital push will bring about competitive rates and transparency.

Another announcement the RBI made in October was the introduction of guidelines for digital wallet companies. There were mandates on higher capital requirements for license holders of prepaid payment instruments or digital wallets, KYC or know-your-customer norms and the initiation of interoperability of various digital wallets.

Rohit Lohia, CO-Founder and COO of Cointribe believes 2018 will see scaling up of players in the lending space especially in small business lending.

Experts’ views on what changed in the banking and fintech sector in 2017 (livemint), Rated: A

Upasana Taku, co-founder, MobiKwik

The government’s decision to bear the merchant discount rate (MDR) on digital payments of up to Rs2,000 will bring greater level of acceptability for digital payment systems. Digital payments will become a way of life both for consumers and merchants and bring a cultural shift in digital payments.

Renu Satti, MD and CEO, Paytm Payments Bank

India is currently at the center of the banking world, and is set to emerge as a benchmark in digital and financial inclusion.

Living the sharing economy in the cryptocurrency way (YourStory), Rated: A

The global economic meltdown of 2008 was the catalyst to get people to shift gears, and supplement their income by sharing assets that they owned. Added to this, the increasing internet penetration and the evolving economic system helped companies such as Airbnb and Uber popularise the concept of shared economy, and successfully pave the path for other industries.

However, while these platforms helped millions of people find alternative sources of income, they suffered elementary setbacks. To begin with, the companies have significant amount of transactional overhead, be it monetary or operational. Second, international boundaries restrict cross-border economic sharing. Thus, the peer-to-peer markets are unable to foster collaborative ownership which is crucial to enable true sharing of resources.

Blockchain — the key to global sharing

The peer-to-peer network in the sharing economy, allows individuals to organise themselves without the involvement of any third party. As the intermediaries are based on the algorithms, the technology builds trust, making it a versatile technology that can be match specific user requirements.

According to a PwC report, the peer-to-peer-lending global market is pegged to touch $335 billion by 2025. As the sharing economy continues to grow, the idea of private ownership is being replaced by the revival of collaborative and shared consumption and adoption of blockchain can guarantee safe and secure transactions.

Asia

Exclusive Interview with Crowd Genie CEO Akshay Mehra (ChipIn), Rated: AAA

Crowd Genie is a peer-to-peer lending platform based in Singapore. It connects small to medium businesses seeking loans with capital via a blockchain-based cryptocurrency system.

Lenders can expect to make at least 14% return with all funds held in escrow. This peer to peer lending activities will be tokenized using smart contracts to enable lending without borders more efficient, cheaper and safer. Ultimately, the team has a vision to build an Asset Trading Exchange on Blockchain that will democratize trading and allow investment in infrastructure, stocks, cryptocurrency, and bonds across Asia, which would be prohibitively expensive, and potentially unfeasible due to issues of transparency and trust without Blockchain.

Hi, Akshay. Thanks for joining us today. Can you tell us more about yourself and Crowd Genie?

Crowdfunding is popular in the West, but the idea is relatively new in Singapore and other Asia countries. Observing how lenders getting low returns from the banks because of the overhead costs and how established SMEs unable to receive full funding desired and become under-banked, I would like to match this two parties together to solve the problem and that’s what Crowd Genie has been doing.

Why did you decide to use blockchain in building Crowd Genie?

Although our existing P2P digital loan business is incredibly innovative in the Singapore financial sector, it would have been impossible to scale to enable lending without borders and offer Asia-wide asset trading before blockchain technology was introduced.

To build and scale an asset exchange with pre-blockchain technologies would be prohibitively expensive, and potentially unfeasible due to issues of transparency and trust.

In the whitepaper, you talk about creating “Asian Passport” rights or identities. Tell us how you came up with the idea and how you think you will implement this regionally. Is this based on the idea of European passport banking rights?

To build an end-to-end Asset Exchange, a Digital Passport is essential for us to identify who are the lenders and borrowers, are they associated with negative news, illegal activities or politically exposed. We will continue with our existing due diligence process where we ask for proof of identity and bank statement and check it against a world-wide recognized database. Thereafter we set up a digital passport and store in on blockchain.

Please explain the notion of “fractionalized assets,” and how it is redefining how P2P lending is occurring.

P2P lending is an illiquid investment. Imagine that you have invested in a 12 months tenure loan, but would like to get some money back before it matures, say 2 months later. You can do so by selling it on Crowd Genie Asset Exchange by indicating the fraction of your assets that you would like to sell.

 

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday May 11 2017, Daily News Digest

ondeck loan origination

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi to apply for ILC. FC exposes 6K US SSNs. Alipay launches in US. CFA finance exams to gauge knowledge of AI, big data, robo-advice. LendInvest shutting out retail investors. PayU invests 110M Euro in Kreditech. Today’s main analysis: OnDeck’s recovery plan is paying off. Today’s thought-provoking articles: 92% of finance pros not confident advising on […]

ondeck loan origination

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

News Summary

United States

SoFi plans to apply for a bank charter in the next month (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

With an eye on providing banking services later this year, online lending startup SoFi is planning to apply for an industrial bank charter in the next month, according to CEO Mike Cagney. If approved, it would become the first company to receive a new industrial loan company (ILC) charter in a decade.

Industrial bank charters, or ILCs, provide a way for companies that aren’t banks to provide banking-like services to customers. And while ILCs have been around for more than 100 years, they’ve fallen out of vogue in the last decade due to increased regulation against them.

According to Cagney, that’s because companies like John Deere and Harley-Davidson used ILCs as a way to take advantage of FDIC-insured deposits to fund the financing arms of their businesses.

By combining a banking option with its lending products, Cagney said SoFi could offer discounted rates to members who set up auto-pay between their accounts. And with a SoFi-issued credit card, he said the company could potentially use its reward program as a way to help users pay down student loans.

As a result, the company is working on other ways that it could begin offering a SoFi-branded banking product later this year. Even if the company is not able to get approval for an industrial bank charter, it would still be able to offer checking, deposit and credit card services through a regional banking partner.

Funding Circle Error Exposes 6,000 SSNs Of American Clients (Forbes), Rated: AAA

An upcoming London-based business loans provider, Funding Circle, left a database containing 6,000 social security numbers of American clients exposed to anyone on the internet, it emerged Wednesday.

The company, which has helped companies bypass banks to borrow more than $3.5 billion from its peer-to-peer investor network since its founding in 2010, also admitted a misconfigured Amazon Web Services database exposed more than 13 million marketing email addresses for individuals, businesses and government organizations in the U.S., as well as more than 45,000 notes summarizing conversations with customers and partners.

According to the firm that uncovered the unsecured database, Kromtech Security, credit scores and business loan histories of clients were also available to anyone who knew the eight IP addresses of Funding Circle’s American branch.

Additionally, private data sets Funding Circle had purchased from third parties and credit agencies including Dun & Bradstreet, Experian and Powerlytics were left open.

OnDeck’s recovery plan is paying off (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

US online lender OnDeck had a tough

Alipay Launches in US (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Alipay, part of internet conglomerate Alibaba (NYSE:BABA), has launched its payments platform in the US thus challenging other established players in the space such as Apple Pay. Alipay is partnering with First Data (NYSE:FDC) on the US expansion.

Alipay is currently used by more than 450 million people globally and 200 financial institution partners. . Well established in Asia, Alipay is now crossing the Atlantic following the recent announcement by competitor WeChat Pay, owned by Tencent, that is expanding into the US as well.

OnDeck Capital’s Chairman survives challenge from activist shareholder (American Banker), Rated: A

Fending off a challenge from dissatisfied hedge fund investors, OnDeck Capital Chairman and CEO Noah Breslow was re-elected to the company’s board Tuesday by an 84% to 16% margin.

SoFi looks to deepen buyer base with S&P stamp on latest ABS (Global Capital), Rated: A

A $530m consumer loan offering from online lender SoFi is expected to garner interest from a bigger group of investors, with S&P Global Ratings tapped to rate an offering from the issuer’s consumer loan shelf for the first time.

More Than a Quarter of Upstart’s Loans Are Now Fully Automated (Bank Innovation), Rated: A

Upstart — a five-year-old online lender — bets you can (and you must).

In fact, more than 25% of Upstart’s current loans are fully automated, Bank Innovation has learned.

The lender utilizes AI and machine learning algorithms to analyze consumer data points, including education history, employment history, social media, and even web behavior (during the online application process), in order to make underwriting decisions. The company has originated almost $700 million to date, from about 60,000 loans.

How Credit Karma CEO Kenneth Lin Built A Billion-Dollar Brand (Fast Company), Rated: A

Lin founded the company in 2007, with the goal of creating a customer-friendly alternative to trickster credit score services. He has since raised $386 million, vaulting Credit Karma into the ranks of Silicon Valley’s startup unicorns, and figured out how to turn a profit while helping nearly 70 million Americans discover financial services products that meet their needs.

Create a Credit Karma account, and you can monitor your credit score for free. Based on your credit history, the company then generates targeted offers for financial services including credit cards, student loans, and auto loans. If you opt in to one of those offers, Credit Karma gets paid by a referral fee by the bank or lender—a new credit card customer, for example, could be worth as much as $700. In 2015, the company made around $350 million.

Now Lin is embarking on mortgage refinancing recommendations, Credit Karma’s second major launch in less than six months (a free tax service launched in January, in time for April 15 filing).

The company is operating the service in 26 states, with plans to expand nationwide in the coming months. By Lin’s reckoning, 20% of U.S. mortgage debt is represented on the Credit Karma platform, and roughly one-third of homeowners would benefit from refinancing—a major opportunity.

The bank of the future: A (digital) financial mall (American Banker), Rated: A

Assume for a moment that most of the services legacy financial companies provide today could get competed away as innovators extend reach and scale across the landscape of financial products. If so, big financial institutions will look to re-establish a foothold. Their only sure competitive advantage seems to be the regulatory compliance (i.e. anti-money-laundering and know-your-customer capabilities) that the government has forced them to develop.

Bain & Co. estimates “governance, risk and compliance (GRC) costs account for 15% to 20% of the total ‘run the bank’ cost base of most major banks.” That, combined with the long and difficult process to establish and validate credibility with regulators, makes the challenge to potential competitors even more imposing.

That’s right, instead of making money from lending out deposits, or investment banking or capital markets … people will pay banks to simply hold their money and validate their identities and sources of funds.

Application programming interfaces will put a twist on this tried-and-true model. Banks will look to compete. When they do, as always, winning will come down to pricing and service. To do so, they’ll set up “financial malls.”

Conversely, in the financial mall ecosystem, fintech partners (providers with requisite core competency and scale) will open up shop and link with the banks via robust APIs. How this relationship manifests will vary as established players ponder the decision to build, buy or partner. Regardless, front-facing service providers — the fintechs — will operate in the most efficient manner and will lead the charge.

Earnest Operations LLC (SEC), Rated: A

For purposes of our procedures and at your instruction:
·
with respect to our comparison of Characteristics 9. and 13., for any first payment date or original maturity date falling on the 29th, 30th or 31st day of the month (as set forth on or derived from the Servicing System), we were instructed to assume the first payment date or original maturity date, as applicable, as the 1st day of the succeeding month;
·
with respect to our comparison of Characteristic 11., differences of $1.00 or less are deemed to be “in agreement;” and
·
with respect to our comparison of Characteristic 19., for those Sample Loans with a “borrower income” amount, derived from the Transactions Summary, (i) less than $80,000 (as determined above), differences of 10.0% or less of the “borrower income” indicated on the Statistical Loan File are deemed to be “in agreement” or (ii) greater than or equal to $80,000 (as determine above), differences of 20.0% or less of the “borrower income” indicated on the Statistical Loan File are deemed to be “in agreement.”  Further, for those Sample Loans with a “borrower income” amount, derived from Income Verification Documentation, differences of 2.5% or less of the “borrower income” indicated on the Statistical Loan File are deemed to be “in agreement.”

From the company’s filed EX-99.1 Charter, which can be read at Edgar.

Kathryn Petralia – Kabbage (Cheddar), Rated: A

Kathryn joins Cheddar to speak about Kabbage and how they’re assisting small businesses.

Watch the interview here.

Ripple vs Stellar (The Merkle), Rated: A

Stellar uses a consensus mechanism known as Stellar Consensus Protocol. This particular feature is outlined in the project whitepaper, for those who want to know more technical aspects about the mechanism.

Furthermore, Stellar’s native currency is known as Lumens – which we discussed here – whereas Ripple uses XRP. Stellar is mainly designed to target individuals and focuses strongly on technology, rather than making a name for themselves among financial institutions.

Ripple is a project designed to target financial institutions and provide a distributed ledger-based solution to facilitate cross-border payments.

It is also worth noting Ripple has a deflationary currency model. The number of XRP tokens in circulation will gradually decrease as it is used more often to facilitate cross-border currency transactions. Additionally, Ripple has formed several partnerships with banks and other financial institutions all over the world.

Online lending startup EarlySalary raises $ 4 mn from IDG, Dewan Housing (VC Circle), Rated: A

Social Worth Technologies Pvt. Ltd, which runs online lending platform EarlySalary, has raised $4 million (Rs 26 crore) in its Series A funding from IDG Ventures India and mortgage lender Dewan Housing Finance Corp.

The startup, which offers salary advances and loans to young working professionals, will use the capital to build products and increase its lending book, it said in a statement.

It will also use the money to expand team, specifically in skill sets of machine learning, as well as to grow customer base and provide 200,000 loans in this financial year.

Fintech company launches monopolisation lawsuit (Global Competition Review), Rated: B

TrueEX sued its rival and interest rate swap trading provider MarkitSERV on Monday, accusing it of using its monopoly in the trade processing services industry to crush the financial technology company by refusing to provide a critical service.

United Kingdom

CFA finance exams to grill hopefuls on AI, big data and robo-advice (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

The CFA Institute, the organisation that hands out the coveted designation of “Chartered Financial Analyst” to people who make it through three rounds of exams, more than 300 hours of study and four years of work experience, is to revamp its tests to include questions on artificial intelligence, big data and robo-advice.

The new curriculum will appear in exam papers from 2019, as the global association of investment professionals tries to reshape its course to meet demand from employers for practical fintech skills.

But big data analysis, machine learning, robo-advice and blockchain have shaken up the investment industry in recent years, as investors compete against low-cost passive fund trackers to deliver market-beating returns after fees.

Exam entrants will need to know how to back-test investment algorithms, work out the limits of big data analysis and appreciate the impact of wider trends on the industry, such as how blockchain technology affects trading and how robo-advisers may shape the way financial advice is given.

92% of financial professionals not confident advising on P2P products (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer (P2P) finance is in the ascendancy, yet many brokers still appear to be in the dark about the range of products on offer from this new wave of lenders.

Last month, members of the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association exceeded £8bn of cumulative lending following a strong first quarter of 2017.

However, a recent poll conducted by Bridging & Commercial found that 92% of financial professional respondents do not feel confident advising their clients on P2P products at the time of writing.

“I don’t know why it is, but in all my years, I’ve only had one approach from a P2P lender,” explained Stephen Burns of specialist finance brokerage Adapt.

This sentiment was echoed by Liam Brooke, co-founder of P2P platform Lendy, which has recently invested heavily in boosting marketing and communications efforts to improve the understanding of the sector.

“It is the P2P companies themselves that need to take responsibility for improving the public’s understanding of their products.

“This can be achieved in a number of ways, including building more one-to-one relationships with brokers and reaching them through different media.”

LendInvest shifts focus to sophisticated investors, nears £1bn in lending (AltFi), Rated: AAA

LendInvest, the UK’s largest property-focused online lender, is refocusing and restructuring its investment platform. The firm is shutting out retail investors with the introduction of a qualification test, which investors will have to pass in order to lend through the platform.

The average balance for individual investors on the LendInvest platform is roughly £30k.

LendInvest is right on the cusp of crossing the £1 billion mark in cumulative loan originations – a feat that has been accomplished by just four UK-based marketplace/online lenders to date.

Peer-to-peer savings warning: easy access accounts at risk (The Telegraph), Rated: A

Investors in “peer-to-peer” loans are in danger of sleepwalking into accounts that are sold as “easy access” but have no guarantee money will be returned quickly.

A report from 4thWay, an analyst of the sector, warned “easy access” accounts offered by providers could not guarantee the quick return of cash.

Landbay, a property specialist, calls this its “tracker fund”, Assetz Capital has a “quick access” account while Ratesetter offers a “rolling market” option as part of its “everyday account”.

It added in some cases, perversely, it was less risky for investors to tie their money up for longer in a fixed-term deal offering higher interest rates.

The average interest rate offered by early access accounts is 3.2pc, compared to an average of 4.9pc on other types of accounts, according to 4thWay.

Commenting on the firm’s “rolling market” account, a spokesman for Ratesetter, one of the largest peer-to-peer providers, said: “When we launched our account in 2016 40pc of our investors had cited access to their money as a key priority when making investment decisions, and since then, it has become one of our most popular products.”

He added that of the 15,000 requests for customers to withdraw their money Ratesetter has received so far, 99.6pc completed within one working day.

Innovate Finance Publishes Industry Fintech Sandbox Consultation Report (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Innovate Finance has published a report today on industry sandboxes in the Fintech startup community.

According to the authorKey findings of the report include:

  • Addressing Cost and Inefficiency in Validating Innovative Solutions: Responses indicated that there is significant friction, both in terms of resources required and length of process, for startups and institutions in developing multiple Proof’s of Concept or “POCs” bilaterally.
  • Addressing Cost and Inefficiency in Developing Collaborations: Industry feedback has been that an Industry Sandbox could be helpful in bringing participants together in the resolution of shared challenges.
  • Supporting Efficiency in Compliance and Regulatory Engagement: The process revealed that within the startup community, understanding of the need for authorisation and compliance requirements in local and foreign markets could benefit from being accelerated.

 

Fintech: The second wave of challenger banks (Euromoney), Rated: A

In the third quarter of this year, if all goes to plan, ClearBank will go into business as the first new UK clearing bank to open its doors to customers for 250 years.

What distinguishes ClearBank from the mass of fintech newcomers and challenger banks is that its customers won’t be small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that the big banks refuse to lend to at other than punitive rates; they won’t be looking for working capital finance advanced against invoices to be paid by bigger corporations, neither will they be retail investors looking for a better return on their cash than zero-rate bank savings accounts, or wealthier individuals looking for a low-fee allocation to a mainstream asset class.

LendInvest makes largest development loan (PropertyWeek.com), Rated: A

LendInvest has completed its largest-ever development finance package, worth £21m.

41% of SMEs expected to vote Conservative (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: B

Some 41% of small businesses surveyed said they would vote Conservative in the general election, followed by Labour with 13%, Liberal Democrats on 9% and UKIP on 3%.

The survey found that 40% of small businesses believed that tax was the most important policy area, followed by Brexit (26%).

Funding Circle’s research also found that most small businesses are optimistic about their future turnover prospects despite the current uncertainty, with nearly 70% saying they expected it to increase within the next 12 months.

China

P2P Industry News (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

SAC Recommended Fintech as one of the research direction of next year
On May 8th, Securities Association of China (SAC) issued the notice about next year’s research project application, and announced the research theme “Opportunities and Challenges of stable development of Securities Industry”. Fintech is among one of the 8 topics specified by the Notice.

Sharing economy is sweeping China! Public charge pal company Raised 300M RMB within 10 Days.
JUMEI invested 300M RMB in charge pal sharing
On May 4th, JUMEI announced an investment of 300m RMB in a Mobile power leasing company——Shenzhen Street Electrical technology co., LTD(Anker Box). After the financing, JUMEI will hold 60% shares of Anker Box. The money will be used for the upgrade of production lines of charge pal sharing and cabinet etc., as well as the R&D of new series of product. It was also revealed that Leo Chen, the CEO of JUMEI, would become the chairman of Anker Box after this round of strategic investment, and JUMEI would continue to increase its investment amount.

Attitudes on Charge Pal: “National Husband” vs “Headstrong CEO” 
Charge Pal sharing becomes the second popular sharing product after Bicycle-sharing. Sicong Wang, the son of Wanda Group’s chairman Wang Jianlin(China’s Richest man), and Leo Chen, the CEO of JUMEI, holding different views on it.
Sicong Wang takes a negative attitude on the future of charge pal sharing, while Leo Chen think small probability is the feature of venture investment, the sharing project of Street Electricity could be a public welfare even it failed. He also showed his appreciation for Sicong Wang but warned him that personal preference should not be the factor of decision making.

European Union

PayU Invests EUR 110M Into Kreditech (Let’s Talk Payments), Rated: AAA

Kreditech, the leading technology group for digital consumer credit using machine-learning based underwriting, has closed EUR 110 million in investment from global online payment service provider PayU.

The landmark investment is the largest ever equity investment in a German FinTech company and builds on a successful 12-month pilot program in Poland.

The announcement follows a successful pilot program managed by Kreditech and PayU, offering Polish consumers improved access to credit in a real-time online process. The pilot program issued more than EUR 10 million in credit.

Through this major growth financing, PayU has acquired a significant minority stake in Kreditech, joining existing prominent FinTech investors including JC Flowers, Varde, Blumberg Capital, HPE, Peter Thiel, Rakuten and the World Bank’s IFC.

Alexandra Strömberg |Female Leader of the Future (Life at Klarna), Rated: A

This week we saw one of our own, Alexandra Strömberg, recognized as one of Sweden’s top 75 future female leaders (28th actually!).

Can you give me a little timeline on your life at Klarna?

I started at Klarna 4 years ago building up a new function and team named Customer Relations. Today we have an average customer satisfaction of 88% – that is better than best practice!

In recent years I’ve also been part of other Klarna projects. For instance I’m part of the Klarna Executive X network.

It’s been 4 years since you joined Klarna, a lot has changed. Where do you see yourself and Klarna in a further 4 years?

In 4 years I think Klarna will be a global player that not only fosters more and more talents, but also makes life a little bit easier for consumers and merchants by offering an even better and more innovative service. We will continue to disrupt and change. If I am at Klarna in 4 years, it’s because I still bring value to the company and that Klarna does the same for me I enjoy going to work knowing that I am part of this journey.

International

7 Things to Consider Before Launching a Fintech Startup (Entrepreneur), Rated: AAA

1. Regulations

However, fintech has ushered in new ways of viewing and handling money and has become a gray area for regulation. This is something that has been drawing the attention of lawmakers, especially in fintech companies’ charter applications to be “special purpose national banks.” This isn’t as straightforward as it seems since some fintech services such as peer-to-peer lending operate using new models.

In addition, these regulations may vary per market depending on the state, country or region in which you seek to operate. In Europe, there’s the impending implementation of the Revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2).

2. Competition from institutions

While banks have acknowledged the disruption fintech has created, this doesn’t mean that they will just accept defeat and step aside for the new guys. It isn’t exactly banks as institutions that are under threat as much as it’s the way we do banking.

3. Customer trust

Data breaches and cyberattacks are still rampant. With the nature of the information fintech companies handle, they are becoming an optimal target for cybercriminals.

4. The need for a strong team

This might seem obvious, but fintech isn’t exactly an area where there are turnkey tools and free scripts one can use to come up with an app or service. This isn’t like some other tech ventures where barriers to entry are relatively low. Financial, technological and business expertise are all required to develop fintech.

5. Unique and valuable service

The fintech industry is starting to get crowded now that many pioneers have done enough for new ventures to follow. Still, a key entrepreneurial question to ask is if your venture will be able to offer something unique and high value.

6. Technology choices

As a startup, you may have to bet on technologies that would power the service. On the plus side, technologies such as machine learning and analytics engines are now being offered as a service by cloud platform providers like Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform, which lowers the barrier for development. However, these technologies have yet to fully mature. You should be prepared for growing pains and hiccups when using them.

7. Funding

Global venture capital investment was $17.4 billion in 2016. However, this excitement only means that competition for funding is also increasing. VCs are getting more selective, seeking out companies with truly game changing offerings, thus making your value proposition all the more important.

WorldFirst launches international payment platform (AltFi), Rated: A

The fintech firm yesterday announced the launch of its World Account – an international payments platform for small businesses and online sellers. The firm says that the new account delivers “international banking functionality”, stripping administrative burden and cost out of operating cross-border.

The opportunity for WorldFirst could be significant. Its own research shows that over 1.5 million UK SMEs are trading £76bn globally every month (see infographic below).

Australia/New Zealand

Financial “robo advice” to be cleared for first time in New Zealand (Voxy), Rated: AAA

The way will be cleared for robo advice to be given on financial investments and services in NZ for the first time, when the reforms of the Financial Advisers Act (2008) are complete. MBIE’s consultation on a draft bill paving the way for robo advice closed on 31 March.

‘Under the current timeline, the law won’t be changed until at least 2019. While MBIE and NZ’s Financial Markets Authority will be scratching their heads for ways to expedite the reforms, the FinTech industry is fast moving and there is a real risk that New Zealand firms looking to operate in the robo-advice area will be left behind by their overseas competitors if the reforms don’t happen sooner,’ he says.

Mr Ward-Marshall says that once robo advice is fully implemented in law and regulation in NZ, it is likely existing financial advisers will team up with clever technology companies to provide it.

India

MobiKwik Reaches for Unicorn Status, Set to Raise Funding from BlackRock (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

MobiKwik is set to raise funds from investors including BlackRock Inc. which will value the innovative Indian Fintech company at about $1 billion, according to Bloomberg.

The company with over 55 million users has been in talks these last months to raise funding that would give the startup this $1 billion valuation, and has forged new ties with banks and offering new financial services on its growing platform, Currently MobiKwik  investors include Sequoia Capital, Taiwan’s MediaTek, Japan’s GMO Venture Partners and hedge fund Tree Line Asia.

Country’s First Loan Marketplace for Used Automobiles Launched by Droom (Legman News), Rated: A

Droom—an online marketplace for used vehicles has launched India’s only loan marketplace for used vehicles, named as Droom Credit. The company has partnered with many non-banking financial companies and finance firms. It has also tied up with various lenders such as HDFC Bank, Kotak Prime, Faircent, and Tata Capital.

The creditworthiness of the applicants will be analyzed by Droom Technology Pvt. Ltd. through its credit risk engine. The loan approval procedure will be processed within 30 seconds based on the credit score validation, Aadhar details, PAN verification, and other credit evaluation platforms.

Aggarwal also revealed about its revenue generation models, which will be bifurcated in multiple ways.

First
The applicant will have to select the take rates that will be dependent on the lenders, borrower profile, and commission structures.

Second
The company will charge Rs 999 from borrowers that include Rs 299 as Cibil score checking fees and rest of the amount will be charged if the borrower makes his or her move toward next step with his loan approval.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor