Tuesday March 13 2018, Daily News Digest

Lending Club Average

News Comments Today’s main news: RateSetter enrolls 5K IFISA accounts in first month. OnDeck makes CFO transition. Augmentum set to IPO. TD Auto Finance, AutoGravity partner. Ranger Direct arbitration proceedings come to a halt. Investly secures 500K GBP through Seedrs. Today’s main analysis: A visualization of America’s personal loans. Today’s thought-provoking articles: UBS banned from sponsoring Hong Kong IPOs. China’s credit […]

Lending Club Average

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

News Summary

United States

OnDeck Announces Chief Financial Officer Transition (PRNewswire), Rated: AAA

OnDeck today announced that the Company will appoint Kenneth (Ken) A. Brause as its Chief Financial Officer effective March 26, 2018, as part of a mutually agreed upon transition process between the Company and current Chief Financial Officer, Howard Katzenberg. Katzenberg will serve as an advisor to OnDeck until April 13, 2018, working closely with Brause to facilitate a smooth transition.

America’s personal loans visualized: income, principal, and credit scores (mediathinknum), Rated: AAA

Consider this: The average personal loan given out by loan giant Lending Club is for $15,000 given to a person with a sub-700 credit score and an income of $6,000 per month.

According to Experian, 73% of Americans die with an average debt balance of $61,554. This – on average – includes mortgage, credit card, auto, personal, and student loans. The average personal loan Americans take to the grave is $14,793.

That data is below and the results are fascinating and even daunting, especially for the apparent 73% of Americans who have a monthly payment to make. Read it and weep. Or make some payments.

Lending Club offers personal loans of up to $40,000. But that doesn’t mean everyone is asking for that much. Not does it mean that Lending Club is offering that much.

Interest rates are largely determined by credit score, but the average rate given out ranges from 12-14% with a peak high point in the 2013-2014 timeframe.

TD Auto Finance Partners with AutoGravity to Provide Enhanced Digital Car Buying and Financing Option (Business Wire), Rated: AAA

TD Auto Finance (TDAF), a subsidiary of TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank, today announced a partnership with AutoGravity, a fintech provider modernizing the way consumers buy and finance automobiles. Through this partnership, indirect financing offers through TDAF will be made available to qualified auto buyers using AutoGravity’s digital platform to search for and finance their next vehicle from the convenience of their desktop or mobile device.

Santander Consumer USA And AutoGravity Work To Transform The Car-Buying And Financing Journey (PRNewswire), Rated: A

Santander Consumer USA Holdings Inc. (NYSE: SC) today announced it has reached an agreement with automotive technology leader AutoGravity to streamline and simplify the car-buying process for consumers. Through this agreement, Santander Consumer USA’s indirect finance offers will be available to AutoGravity customers nationwide through the AutoGravity mobile app.

BBVA Compass Express Personal Loan goes digital, opens to consumers in multiple states (BBVA Compass), Rated: A

BBVA Compass, the U.S. subsidiary of the global financial services group BBVA, now offers near instantaneous decisioning and potential same day funding for both customers and non-customers with the footprint wide1 opening of the fully digital BBVA Compass Express Personal Loan.

With the Express Personal Loan, customers and prospects can consolidate debt or fund large purchases with a low-interest personal loan that provides near instantaneous decisioning. Applicants with a BBVA Compass checking account can get same day funding upon loan approval. The loan, which represents months of effort across the entirety of the bank, underscores BBVA Compass’ drive to digital transformation and achieving excellence in customer experience.

The CIO Of The First Global Fintech Company On The Future Of Finance (Forbes), Rated: A

I recently caught up with the company’s chief information officer Bradley Strock, who has been in his role for three and a half years. We discussed PayPal’s transformation into a more customer-centric company, giving customers more choices of funding vehicles. We also covered how PayPal has successfully navigated the shift to mobile finance, resulting in a 50 percent increase in mobile payment volume in 2017.

In January of this year, Strock joined the ranks of board-level CIOs, as he commenced a directorship with $700 million revenue Elevate Credit, Inc., which provides online credit solutions to non-prime consumers, typically defined as those with credit scores of less than 700.

Peter High: Could you provide an overview of your role as CIO of PayPal?

Brad Strock: Most people are probably familiar with PayPal. We operate in over 200 markets around the globe. We are on a mission to democratize money and have had a great deal of success over the last couple of years. 2017 has been a great year in particular.

U.S. Fintech FinFit Announces $ 35 Million Senior Credit Facility With Ares Management (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

FinFit, a U.S.-based fintech that provides more than 80,000 American companies with a financial wellness benefit platform, announced on Monday the closing of a $35 million senior credit facility with Ares Management. The company stated it has the ability to increase the senior credit facility to $70 million and this capital raise follows a $16 million investment from Bison Capital Partners. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods was the exclusive financial advisor for the senior credit facility.

Colin Walsh of Varo (Lend Academy), Rated A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • How Colin’s background helped prepare him for his banking startup.
  • The differences he saw between what consumers wanted and what incumbent banks were delivering.
  • Why you need to offer a range of core products to move the needle on financial health.
  • How their banking partnership today enables Varo to offer banking products.
  • What banks are not doing well and how Varo is addressing this.
  • The profile of their typical customer.
  • How they are finding these customers.
  • How they are specifically helping their customers get a better handle on their finances.
  • Why Varo applied for a full national bank charter.
  • Details of the personal loan product they are offering today.
  • The traction that Varo has been getting.
  • Who Colin views as the main competition for Varo.
  • His vision for the future of Varo.

‘Women are not a target market’: Confessions of a former finance marketer (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Retail banks are missing out on $15 billion in global revenue thanks to a gender gap in access to checking and savings accounts.

A BNY Mellon report published last week in collaboration with the UN, cites flaws in design and marketing that make financial products less accessible to women than they are to men.

The report identifies gender gaps on other products; financial institutions are missing out on another $7 billion in credit card revenue, $14 billion in personal loans and $4 billion in housing, the report says.

Cloud Lending Solutions Recognized as Top 10 Best Performing Salesforce Solution Provider (Business Wire), Rated: B

Cloud Lending Solutions was recognized as a “Top 10 Best Performing Salesforce Solution Provider” of 2017 by Insight Success Magazine.

 

Eastern Bank-created fintech Numerated lands two new bank clients (American Banker), Rated: B

Numerated Growth Technologies, the online lending software startup that started life as an incubator within Eastern Bank, announced Monday it has two new clients, Franklin Synergy and MidFirst Bank.

These two additions bring the number of bank clients Numerated Software has landed to seven.

 

 

Fundbox Announces New Credit And Payments Solution To Bring $ 4.5 Trillion SMB2B Transactions Into 21st Century (Fundbox email), Rated: A

Today Fundbox announced the launch of Fundbox Pay, a new payment and credit solution servicing the $4.5 trillion small business-to-business (SMB2B) transactional market in the U.S. By addressing SMB’s lack of credit access and by facilitating credit payments between buyers and sellers, Fundbox Pay provides the 21st-century infrastructure to unlock the trapped value in the SMB2B economy.

Caliber Home Loans Launches Mobile Platform (PRNewswire), Rated: A

Caliber Home Loans, Inc. (“Caliber”) today announced the launch of a new mobile platform. Featuring three mobile phone apps customized for three user groups – borrowers, the Caliber sales force and their business associates – all users receive real-time information and the ability to respond from virtually anywhere. Caliber processes data from all three apps on the back end, which enables efficient and effective communication across the loan process.

 

 

Home Invest: When Did Investing in Rental Property Online Become Cool? (Digital Journal), Rated: B

When Home Invest entered the picture, that’s when. Home Invest allows you to run your next renovation from your laptop only, never having to walk your rental investment property.

United Kingdom

Zopa investor set to enter £94m fintech fund onto London Stock Exchange (Peer2Peer Finance), Rated: AAA

A NEW investment trust dedicated to backing fintech start-ups is set to list on the London Stock Exchange on Tuesday.

Augmentum Fintech has raised £94m through an initial public offering (IPO) alongside a Seedrs crowdfunding round that raised £695,000.

The company’s investment objective is to generate capital growth over the long term through investment in a focused portfolio of fast-growing and/or high potential private financial services technology businesses based predominantly in the UK and wider Europe.

RateSetter sees over 5,000 IFISA accounts opened in first month (Peer2Peer Finance), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER has revealed that over 5,000 Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) accounts were opened in the first month since the product’s launch.

Ranger Direct Arbitration Proceedings Halted After Bankruptcy Filings (Interactive Investor), Rated: AAA

Ranger Direct Lending Fund PLC said on Monday Princeton Alternative Income Fund LP and Princeton Alternative Funding LLC filed voluntary petitions of bankruptcy last Friday, after arbitration proceedings following a provisional take over of a loan portfolio.

The company said that it was “disappointed” the bankruptcy filing has stopped the first phase of the arbitration, but believes Princeton’s portfolio will be investigated and the investments the fund has made will be compensated.

Starling and TrueLayer integrate for open banking (Finextra), Rated: A

Upstart challengers continue to lead the way in the UK’s open banking space, as API specialist TrueLayer integrates with Starling to enable businesses to access customer account data.

The Starling tie-up means that the bank’s customers can now share their data to use products created by these developers – including income verification tools, lending products and collated financial dashboards. The partners stress that account information will only be accessible when a customer chooses to use a new product and actively agrees to share their information through an explicit consent.

HSBC hopes to launch ‘open banking’ app within months (Financial Times), Rated: B

HSBC will launch a new app that centralises information about customers’ accounts — even those held with rival lenders — as early as next month, becoming the first major UK bank to take advantage of new regulations designed to boost competition and make it easier to switch providers.

The bank has set a target of the first week of May to release the “Connected Money” app, but Stuart Haire, HSBC’s UK head of retail banking and wealth management, told the Financial Times that he was hoping to make it widely available by mid-April.

 

 

 

 

Direct lending fund beats dividend target, launches new fundraise (AltFiNews), Rated: A

The RM Secured Direct Lending fund is looking to raise new capital through the issuance of new C shares and Zero Preference shares, according to regulatory filings.

Launched back in December 2016 raising £50.6m, the fund has raised another £30m through a C share issue in October 2017 but its managers have said on several occasions that the strategy can be scaled up significantly.  The fund has clocked up a 4.2 per cent dividend pay out last year beating its 4 per cent target.

How open APIs are paving the way for PFMs to succeed in Europe (Tearsheet), Rated: A

On Thursday, U.K. personal finance app Emma — which just launched in beta in December — announced a data-sharing agreement with challenger bank Starling Bank. It’s the second such agreement this year after a similar one with challenger bank Monzo in January.

The company’s two key revenue streams are based off interactions with customer data: referral fees from product recommendations and revenue from future financial products it could launch, including premium features within the app, he added.

 

Savers highlight interest and ROI as top priorities (Bridging & Commercial), Rated: A

The Next Gen: Investors and Savers report by P2P lending platform ArchOver has revealed that two-thirds of UK adults (67%) would call themselves ‘savers’ rather than ‘investors’.

The survey of 2,000 UK adults found that the average saver puts aside £191 a month.

Just under two-thirds of savers (66%) maintained a ‘rainy day fund’, while financing a new car or a holiday (29%) or paying for retirement (27%) were the other main reasons for saving.

The majority of savers (83%) used traditional savings accounts to build their nest eggs, followed by Isas (43%) and pension funds (33%).

China

UBS Hit With IPO Ban In Hong Kong (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

Swiss banking giant UBS is reportedly banned in Hong Kong from sponsoring initial public offerings (IPOs), reports in Financial Times said Friday (March 9).

The publication cited UBS’s annual report, which revealed the 18-month ban from the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission. The regulator also fined UBS $119 million following an investigation into its sponsorship of IPOs for companies listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

According to reports, the ban comes two years after UBS warned it was also facing a suspension of corporate advisory services in Hong Kong. The bank also faced an investigation in Belgium in 2016 for money laundering allegations.

China’s Credit Crunch (The Diplomat), Rated: AAA

China Rapid Finance is one of thousands of private online micro-lending companies in China which, in recent years, have filled a critical gap in the country’s economy by extending credit to members of the lower and lower-middle classes, who traditionally have not had access to borrowing under the state-owned banking system.

Proponents of the payday and peer-to-peer loans offered by these companies assert that they offer borrowers upward financial mobility and the opportunity to achieve the trappings of a middle-class lifestyle. But the rapid proliferation of lending companies in an unregulated market has also led to widespread over-borrowing and a spate of predatory debt collection practices. More and more borrowers began to default on loans, and financial analysts and government regulators both worried that a growing debt bubble at the basement rungs of the Chinese economy might threaten the general stability of the country’s financial system.

 

European Union

Estonian P2P lender Investly Secures £500,000 Through Seedrs Campaign (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Estonian peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform Investly has successfully secured its initial £500,000 funding target through Seedrs. The equity crowdfunding round has so far attracted more than 375 investors.

Sweden’s VIA SMS to offer loans against crypto holdings (Finextra), Rated: A

CryptoLoan is a smart lending product offering Bitcoin-secured online loans that will allow Bitcoin investors to enjoy the value of crypto assets without selling them. The new product initially will be available for Swedish residents only, but the company is planning to open registration for other European countries shortly.

In the first phase of product development, CryptoLoan will offer online loans with Bitcoin collateral only to Swedish residents, but company development plans include expanding to other European markets shortly as well as enriching the list of accepted collateral with adding other cryptocurrencies. Customers from other European countries are welcome to sign up for news and get an exclusive opportunity to be the first to try the product as soon as it is available in the particular country.

BNP Paribas Fortis partners with Swedish fintech Tink for digital banking (AltFiNews), Rated B

Belgian bank BNP Paribas Fortis has announced it will be integrating tech from Swedish firm Tink to power its mobile banking applications.

International

Scoring with big data (The Edge Markets), Rated: AAA

The use of non-traditional data to churn out credit scores is now expanding beyond the underbanked and unbanked to reach even well-banked individuals who already have a credit score. This pool of data, which is used to discover patterns of users’ repayment behaviour based on their mobile phone and social media usage, is playing an increasingly important role in Asia alongside traditional credit scores.

Based on studies that have drawn a correlation between mobile phone usage and repayment rates, algorithms have been created to predict an individual’s potential for defaults. LenddoEFL is one of the pioneers in this field. It started its operations in the Philippines in 2011 before expanding to other countries with large underbanked populations such as Mexico and Colombia.

Mark Mackenzie, managing director for Asia-Pacific at LenddoEFL, says the company will be announcing a partnership in Malaysia in mid-2018, although he is reluctant to disclose more details.

As pointed out by impact investment firm Omidyar Network in its 2016 Big data, small credit report, it is estimated that individual consumer data production will reach 35 billion terabytes by 2020 — some 44 times the data produced in 2009. It also highlighted a few reports that had observed more than 30 companies globally that are already creating credit scorecards using non-traditional data.

Source: The Edge Markets

New Business Models and Emerging Technologies are Enabling Fintech Companies to Improve Financial Inclusion (The Financial), Rated: A

The report, Financial Inclusion in the Digital Age, was launched today during Money20/20 Asia in Singapore.

Over two billion unbanked adults in the world, representing 38 percent of all adults globally, do not have access to basic financial services and another 57 percent have basic accounts, but do not have access to diversified investments, low-cost payments systems, core household and business insurance, or credit. Financial Inclusion in the Digital Age explores some of the central frictions that prevent greater financial inclusion and financial well-being, and associated technological innovations that are fostering creative new approaches to mitigating these frictions for individuals and small businesses globally.

This serial entrepreneur wants to disrupt peer-to-peer lending, using blockchain (The Next Web), Rated: B

Most recently, he founded Celsius, the consumer credit blockchain-based startup.

The Celsius opportunity

Celsius gives its members the opportunity to use the coins they currently hold as collateral. With the Celsius Wallet, users can secure loans in dollars whenever they want by offering up their cryptocurrency as collateral. In the future, consumers will also be able to lend their crypto to others and earn interest in the process.

 

Australia

Fintech vs Banking: Which sector controls the future of money? (Small Caps), Rated: AAA

 

ApplePay is forecast to facilitate US$200 billion in payments by 2021 and already handles US$50 billion annually. Meanwhile, Amazon is preparing to cut the ribbon on its first chequing account feature by partnering with JP Morgan, a leading US bank.

According to the Australian Financial Review, 84% of millennials would consider banking with a tech giant like Google or Apple. This indicates that the average consumer puts more trust in their search engine provider than their internationally-recognised regulated Tier 1 banking institution, which only reaffirms the scale of the problem banks are now facing.

 

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday March 5 2018, Daily News Digest

marketplace lending

News Comments Today’s main news: Kabbage says ‘no’ to lending for assault guns. Collateral enters administration. Orix invests $60M in Wecash. SMBs accept face-to-face payments via mobile devices. Today’s main analysis: The friction between new finance and old regulations (a must-read report). Today’s thought-provoking articles: 3 lessons from LendingClub’s earnings. The business schools that produce the highest salaries. Beware fintechs […]

marketplace lending

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Africa

News Summary

United States

Online lender Kabbage to restrict weapons lending (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Kabbage Inc, a U.S. online lender for small businesses, said it will cut ties with clients that make or sell assault-style rifles or that sell weapons or ammunition to people under 21 years old, one of the strongest steps by any financial firm after last month’s high school massacre in Florida.

3 Revelations From LendingClub’s Earnings Report (The Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

1. Lawsuit settlements

One piece of good news is that the company recently dealt with its largest liabilities from the 2016 scandal, settling both federal and state class action shareholder lawsuits. The bad news: LendingClub has to pay plaintiffs a total of $125 million, with $47.75 million covered by insurance, leaving LendingClub on the hook for the remaining $77.25 million. That amounts to roughly 12% of the company’s liquid assets and about 5% of the current market capitalization.

2. A challenging environment

In addition to these company-specific problems, the macroeconomic environment has become more challenging, though that is no fault of LendingClub. Increased awareness of personal loans delivered via the internet has spurred a large increase in applications, and LendingClub saw a 43% increase in applications in 2017 — much higher than the company’s 3.7% growth in originations.

3. Cost cuts in 2018

LendingClub believes it has stabilized both its credit model and its investor base in 2017 while introducing new investor products, and it will pivot in 2018 to focusing on controlling costs. Part of that will entail outsourcing its loan servicing to industry-standard third parties while reallocating internal engineers to the things that differentiate the company, like data-driven underwriting and product innovation.

For the full year 2018, the company forecasts 18% to 22% revenue growth while targeting cost growth of only 14% to 16%.

 

The top 20 business schools where graduates earn the most money, ranked from lowest to highest salary (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

With that in mind, online lender SoFi looked at the average salary graduates of American business schools earn and ranked the top 20.

SoFi’s approach is unique. It reviewed the self-reported income on over 60,000 student-loan refinancing forms from January 2014 to December 2017.

The average salary for graduates of all business schools SoFi reviewed was $109,992.

  • 20. University of Texas at Austin — $139,776
  • 3. Stanford University — $186,534
  • 2. Columbia University — $189,295
  • 1. University of Pennsylvania — $224,034

There is Friction Between New Finance & Old Regulation (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The Milken Institute is out with a comprehensive report this week that drills down into existing legislative action by Congress that addresses the emerging Fintech industry. This is the first report of its kind and provides a solid perspective on what Congress has accomplished to date while recognizing the fact elected officials can do far more.

“Subjecting nonbank lenders to 50 different state usury laws is inconsistent with today’s increasingly interconnected and digital global economy.”

The research provides multiple policy recommendations. In brief, they are as follows:

  • Provide certainty on “true lender” and “valid when made” issues to maintain a vibrant, competitive marketplace for credit.
  • Harmonize inconsistent state-by-state regulations related to mobile banking to drive financial inclusion and access.
  • Update tax reporting guidelines regarding cryptocurrency transactions to protect against tax evasion and to promote a more transparent, responsible marketplace.
  • Enable the reporting of alternative data that can expand access to credit.
  • Develop common reporting standards among U.S. financial regulators to foster a more transparent marketplace.
  • Require the IRS to automate certain data collection and reporting processes that can help enhance the speed and efficacy of the underwriting process.

This report is a must read policy paper for Capitol Hill staffers and US Fintech industry participants.

Read the full report here.

Equity and Credit Market Volatility, Continuing Bank-FinTech Partnerships (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

US equity markets had a bad week as the S&P500 closed 3.3% lower at 2,659. CDX IG spreads widened marginally by 0.6 bps to 55 bps and CDX HY spreads widened by 8.7 bps to 337 bps. We have seen significantly higher volatility this year, driven mainly by rising interest rates and inflation expectations. No new MPL deals have priced since the rise in volatility, although we expect the first $1 Bn MPL ABS transaction to announce soon.

We share a few anecdotes from our informal conversations which we share in generic fashion to protect the innocent:

  • A large issuer: “Our bonds are oversubscribed 2 to 3x. And when we share that with our investors they want more.”
  • A large ABS investor: “We need help monitoring losses in the personal loan ABS space. Is this an indutry issue?”
  • A large investment bank (Warehouse): “We ar doubling our exposure to warehouse lending. We have the mandate to grow the book.”
  • A large investment bank (Syndicate Desk): “MPL has gone mainstream now.”
  • A lender: “The 5% risk retention requirement is hurting our ability to issue loans to consumer and grow our business responsibly.”
  • An issuer: “We are a small emerging originator and we have 7 term sheets – from large banks and small – in the last few weeks. Competition in warehouse lending is growing.”

Also heard at the conference was that Citibank is planning a Marcus-like online lender to enter the consumer unsecured loans space, although the timeline was unclear. Our view is that the GS Marcus – and specifically the ROE and NIM opportunity – is inspiring competitive response from other banks including Citi.

Marketplace lenders develop new wrinkles to attract more funding (American Banker), Rated: A

Last year, marketplace lenders learned that maintaining diverse sources of funding is just as important as managing the credit risk in their loans.

LendingClub, Marlette Funding and others developed their own securitization platforms, rather than relying on whole-loan sales to large investors. They also invited some of these investors to contribute seasoned loans to collateral pools for these in-house deals.

Marketplace lending’s death has been over exaggerated (PaymentsSource), Rated: A

It’s clear that equity investors no longer see the value of marketplace lenders, such as companies that provide credit at the point of sale or online lending.

Source: PaymentSource

A typical lender leverages equity into debt at a fixed ratio. If they want to grow their portfolio they have to raise equity and lever it into more debt. An off-balance sheet marketplace eliminates the equity-debt leverage ratio allowing a lender to double and triple their portfolio as quickly as they can grow their marketplace.

The SEC Goes Hot with ICO Subpoenas but are Regulators “on Shaky Legal Ground?” (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The fact the Securities and Exchange Commission has been issuing subpoenas to initial coin offering (ICOs) issuers has been rumored for quite some time. Recently, multiple publications, including Crowdfund Insider, revealed this fact. The SEC has been warning of this sort of activity for many months and, while not surprising to most, it is an unpleasant moment for an issuer when that subpoena shows up.

Mulvaney says the CFPB will depend heavily on state Attorneys General for enforcement of consumer protection laws (Lexology), Rated: B

For example, the acting director noted that the agency will devote greater resources to consumer education, instead of relying heavily on enforcement actions to ensure consumers make the correct choices, reaffirming previous remarks in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece (previously covered by InfoBytes here).

Mulvaney stated that he does not anticipate devoting any further resources to mandatory arbitration clauses, citing Congress overturning its arbitration rule through the Congressional Review Act as evidence the Bureau does not have the authority to do so.

3rd Circuit holds payday lender’s arbitration clause unenforceable (Lexology), Rated: B

On February 27, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit held that an arbitration clause is unenforceable if the corresponding forum selection provision designates a forum that does not actually exist.

The benefits of fintech for the credit invisible (microbilt), Rated: A

 

Rethinking The Reputation Of The Merchant Cash Advance (PYMNTS), Rated: A

The rise of alternative lending and familiarity of growing names like OnDeck is beginning to shift public perception of the merchant cash advance, however.

There are scenarios, too, in which a merchant cash advance may actually be the best financial option for a business in need of working capital.

“We see a lot of clients who already have a long-term equipment loan, or an SBA loan, or a loan from a traditional bank or a factoring line, and they’re looking to unlock short-term liquidity from their business,” he said. “When you take out an SBA loan or equipment loan, you have to have some type of collateral to pledge, and that money can dry up quickly. We come in un-collateralized.”

One driver behind the shifting reputation of merchant cash advances is the industry’s participation in technology adoption and innovation.

At Best Egg, talk is a best practice (American Banker), Rated: B

So, every quarter, he and the company’s management team host an all-hands meeting and outline to the company’s 100-plus employees what the most important goal for the next 90 days will be.

So the word went out to employees that for the time being, efforts to grow the business would have to take a back seat to making certain that the existing business was profitable. According to Meiler, it was employees’ focus on the task that helped Best Egg rack up $11 million in GAAP profits last year, even as competitors were still posting operating losses in the tens of millions of dollars. And, he adds, the company still grew its business by 60% anyhow.

Best Fintechs to Work For (American Banker), Rated: A

Office exercise happens beyond a standing desk at many of the companies. NvoicePay not only provides stretching areas and lockers to employees, it offers monthly classes with a certified trainer and kinesiologist. Marlette Funding’s Best Egg unit offers employees self-defense classes on site, along with yoga.

And if you like the beach, check out nCino, where employees regularly go for early morning paddleboat sessions at nearby Wrightsville Beach in Wilmington, N.C., and SmartbizLoans, which hosts “Disco Yoga” at San Francisco’s Baker Beach.

Addressing an employee’s well-being and comfort comes in different forms, whether it is Cross River Bank’s policy of providing 100% of the premium for various insurance benefits covering employees and their families, Nav’s unlimited paid time off option for employees, or Ensenta’s tradition of celebrating workforce diversity with multiple holidays, including Kwanzaa, Diwali, and the Day of the Dead.

To keep burnout in check, PeerStreet mixes play with hard work (American Banker), Rated: A

To that end, they’ve established a company that regularly celebrates its successes and milestones with parties, and encourages employees to get together and have fun in nonwork environments. A prime example of the latter is the PeerStreet Olympics, an annual event in which the company is divided for a day into teams of friendly athletic competition, some of which takes place on the beach near its Southern California offices.

United Kingdom

Peer-to-peer lender Collateral enters administration (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Collateral (UK), a small P2P company offering pawnbroker-style and property-backed loans with 15 per cent returns, went into administration on Wednesday after it emerged that it was not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority.

BondMason offers to step in on Collateral loans (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

PEER-TO-PEER investor BondMason has offered to step in and manage the loanbook of the troubled Collateral platform.

BondMason, which invests in loans across more than 30 P2P platforms on behalf of investors, revealed it has invested 2.48 per cent of its portfolio through Collateral, which has fallen into administration.

P2P platforms reassure investors after Collateral closure (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

PEER-TO-PEER lending firms have been reassuring their investors about the safety of their platforms in the aftermath of Collateral going into administration.

Business lenders Ablrate and MoneyThing have both sent messages to their customers detailing their stability, performance and regulatory requirements that mean they have to hold client money separately and have a ‘living will’ that puts a plan in place should a business fail.

Growth in the number of Zombie businesses in the South East says report (Daily Echo), Rated: A

The proportion of south east companies which are only paying the interest on their debts – one of the signs of a so-called ‘zombie’ business – has risen to four per cent in December from one per cent in April 2017, according to indicative research by R3, the insolvency and restructuring trade body.

This represents around 12,000 businesses in the region.

Beware Fintech Firms Bearing Bitcoin (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Rather than try and undercut banks, or chase millennial savers’ pennies at a loss, fintech firms are now leaping at the chance to make serious cash through a technology that most banks won’t even touch. What’s more, Bitcoin has the power to take over people’s lives. One trader says it’s worse than gambling; Korea calls victims “zombies.”

Here’s a roll call of recent converts: Mobile-payments firm Square Inc. has rolled out Bitcoin trading; social-payments app Circle splashed $400 million on Poloniex, only about 15 months after it had stopped offering bitcoin trading; and money-transfer company Revolut has started offering crypto trading facilities.

Trading platform Coinbase booked more than $1 billion in revenue last year, according to Recode, which, if true, is more than peer-to-peer marketplace Lending Club and more than Square. On top of the money to be made from trading fees and asset-price gains, Bitcoin could also act as a lure, helping startups cross-sell their other products to a bigger audience.

 

London Fintech Humaniq Launches New Version of Mobile App (Crowfund Insider), Rated: A

On Friday, London-based FinTech firm Humaniq revealed it is marking the milestone of its mobile app reaching its first 50,000 downloads by unveiling a new, improved version.

Some of the new features include:

  • New referral program: The new 2.0 referral program will build on this by displaying community progress with referrals and thereby make the referral process more transparent and intuitive for all users.
  • Transaction options extension: Transactions can now be made through the messaging chat system.
  • New registration process: Allows users to start interacting with a Humaniq assistant bot, which becomes smarter and is learning to execute more useful commands, even without the registration.

Peer-to-peer lender Linked Finance helps firms to add 2,400 jobs (The Times), Rated: A

The country’s largest peer-to-peer lending platform said that it had supported the creation of more than 2,400 jobs since it began its Irish operations almost five years ago.

Linked Finance, which connects local businesses in need of loans with an online lending community of individuals, institutions and other investors, said firms that had borrowed money through its platform had raised staffing levels by 24 per cent on average.

City Moves for 5 March 2018 – who’s switching jobs at ArchOver? (City A.M.), Rated: B

ArchOver, the peer-to-peer (P2P) business lending platform, has announced Bill Johnston will join its board of directors as a non-executive director (NED). In his role, Bill will support ArchOver in formularising its training and development programme, to ensure it has the right talent in place as it continues to scale.

China

Orix invests $ 60m in Chinese fintech startup (Asian Review), Rated: AAA

Japanese financial services group Orix bought a 6.4 billion yen ($59.8 million) stake in Wecash, a Chinese startup that uses big data and artificial intelligence to rate consumer credit.

Wecash can calculate a consumer’s creditworthiness in 10 seconds or less using phone records and other personal information, and has partnered with dozens of financial institutions so far. It also suggests potential lenders to consumers looking to take out a loan.

Only about 30% of the Chinese population is believed to borrow money from banks.

Hong Kong gives fintech measures the thumbs up (Asia Asset Management), Rated: B

Hong Kong will allocate HK$500 million (US$64.1 million) to financial services, including fintech, over the next five years, Mr. Chan said in the budget speech.

European Union

We talked to Nordic fintech queen Lena Apler – and her message to legacy banks is reboot or die (Business Insider), Rated: A

Big banks are particularly exposed when it comes to ETF funds. The fast-growing $5 trillion-dollar industry is being challenged by a crop of robo advisors, such as Apler’s portfolio company Sigmastocks, an algorithm-powered tool that tailors portfolios for customers, or BetterWealth, a roboadvisor app.

Although the region’s leading banks, such as Danske, Nordea and Swedbank are doing some good things and building new digital banking products and roboadvisory capabilities, Apler says, it won’t be enough.

Apler’s online bank Collector, which received its full banking license in 2015, has expanded to comprise cards, saving accounts and quick loans to both consumers and businesses. Collector doesn’t face the same issues as legacy banks in a digital world, Apler explains.

International

SMBs Turn To Mobile Devices To Accept Payments In Face-To-Face Environments (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

The retail point-of-sale (POS) terminal market is no stagnant business. While it is currently a $15 billion industry, Global Market Insights is expecting it to reach $45 billion by the year 2024.

Only 13 percent of small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are considering adding new payment types to face-to-face and remote environments, according to The PYMNTS SMB Technology Adoption Index.

Here are five ways SMBs are accepting payments from their customers.

  1. About a quarter – or 26 percent – of SMBs use hardware and software integrated POS to accept payments in a face-to-face environment.
  2. Almost two in 10 – or 19 percent of SMBs – use check scanning to accept payments in a face-to-face environment.
  3. And just about the same amount – 18 percent – of SMBs use NFC-enabled terminals to accept payments in a face-to-face environment.
  4. Fourteen percent of SMBs use mobile phones to accept payments in a face-to-face environment.
  5. Just under one in 10 – or 8 percent – of SMBs use mobile tablets. 

AltFin Shines As Investor Interest In B2B FinTech Continues (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Total venture capital across the global FinTech market between 2010 and 2017 hit a combined $97.7 billion, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 47 percent.

Accenture highlighted Kabbage, the U.S. alternative small business lending firm, that secured $900 million in 2017, while other alternative finance players, like LendingPoint and SoFi, landed significant investment rounds.

This week, alternative lender C2FO showed that the alternative finance funding gears are still turning, landing $100 million from Allianz X and Mubadala Investment Company. Existing backers Temasek, Union Square Ventures and Mithril Capital also participated, an announcement said.

This week’s blockchain investment comes from Square Peg Capital, which provided $5.5 million in Series A funding to AgriDigital, an Australian company hoping to use the funds to expand into North America.

Reports in The Australian Financial Review this week said the company uses blockchain to facilitate supply chain finance to the agriculture business, offering supply chain management features also powered by distributed ledger technology.

Why More MBA Students Are Gunning For Careers In Fintech (Business Because), Rated: A

According to CB Insights, $4.7 trillion of revenue generated by financial services firms is at risk of being displaced by fintech startups.

Prominent business school alumni have founded successful fintech startups, such as Giles Andrews, who setup peer-to-peer lender Zopa after getting an MBA at INSEAD. Jeff Lynn and Carlos Silva developed crowdfunding platform Seedrs during their MBA at Oxford’s Saïd Business School. According to PwC’s Global Fintech Report 2017, funding of fintech startups has increased at an annual growth rate of 41% over the past four years, with $40 billion in cumulative investment made.

Niels Turfboer is UK managing director at Spotcap, the Berlin-based online lender.

Lending and profit on the blockchain – Bitstrades targets new markets (The Merkle), Rated: B

Bitstrades is clearly aiming to position itself as a complete platform that both links users together and also leverages economies of scale to make both lending and investing possible. The Bitstrades ICO raised millions in funding and now the BSS token is available for trading.

TigerWit Raises $ 5M in Funding (Finsmes), Rated: B

TigerWit, a global fintech company, secured $5m in funding.

Australia/New Zealand

Financial planners not needed in credit space (TheAdviser), Rated: A

Bringing financial planners into the credit space would be unnecessary, according to a Commonwealth Bank executive, as there are more than enough brokers to service the mortgage needs of Australians.

The CBA executive said: “With 16,000 brokers out in the marketplace, we’re certainly not in a position where we need more people to serve Australians well in meeting their mortgage needs. For me, it’s certainly not a quantity issue.

The PC has also alleged that brokers working for lender-owned aggregators could feel compelled to provide customers with home loan products offered by the bank with an ownership share of the business.

Commissioner Stephen King referenced CBA’s ownership of Aussie Home Loans and cited figures published in the PC’s report, which said that 37 per cent of loans written by Aussie brokers were for CBA products.

We launch a new calculator that figures out the true “cost of credit” of a loan contract (Interest.co.nz), Rated: B

This one will be very helpful for readers who know just three things: how much they are borrowing, the amount of their repayments, and the number of those repayments.

It will be very useful indeed for anyone contemplating taking out a personal loan, a car loan, or even a payday loan.

With just these three items, you can work out the effective cost of credit of the debt obligation, expressed as a % per annum.

India

FY 19 – Beginning of a New Era for P2P Lending in FinTech Sector (India Info Online), Rated: AAA

India is poised to be a USD 4-trillion economy by 2022, of which USD 1-trillion would be digital economy.

Digital economy was a focal point for this budget ’18 as government’s support with regard to lending MSME’s allocated 3794 crore in the form of capital support and interest subsidy by 2022 which will help develop the MSME sector. Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) contribute about a third of India’s manufacturing output and provide employment to over 10 crore people. Despite this, the share of institutional lending in the total borrowings of MSMEs is less than 10%.

The prudential guidelines include maximum leverage ratio that can be maintained (2 times), minimum net owned funds (Rs2 crore), cap on aggregate exposure of lender to all borrowers (Rs.10 lakh), borrowers across all P2P (Rs10 lakh), exposure of single lender to borrower (Rs50,000) and maturity of loans (not exceed 36 months).

Signzy is helping banks solve customer authentication, onboarding problems with blockchain-based solution (YourStory), Rated: B

Signzy developed blockchain and AI-based solutions to digitally identify, verify, and authenticate customers. Its onboarding solution, Real KYC, has now been deployed by more than 45 large clients, including leading banks, NBFCs, mutual funds, P2P lending platforms, payment wallets, and so on.

Africa

Nigerian banks are using Facebook Messenger to onboard small businesses (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Mastercard is working with Facebook Messenger to bring a digital payments and banking experience to small businesses in Nigeria, in an effort to incentivize Nigerian merchants to close the mobile payments adoption gap and bring them onto the formal financial grid.

The payments giant, which has said it’s in the business of killing cash, is bringing this initiative to a country where 98 percent of the $301 billion in consumer-to-business payments is transacted using cash.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday March 1 2018, Daily News Digest

JPMorgan

News Comments Today’s main news: RateSetter opens IFISA to new investors today. Amazon customers would bank with e-tailer. Zopa’s VC firm raises 500K GBP in 24 hours. Collateral goes off line. Auxmoney hits profitability. Credy raises $1.4M. Today’s main analysis: Is JPMorgan’s tech investment paying off? Today’s thought-provoking articles: Presenters at LendIt Fintech USA 2018. Klarna’s end-of-year report. Asia’s fintech investment drops. […]

JPMorgan

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Asia

Canada

News Summary

United States

Many Amazon customers would welcome banking services (RetailDive), Rated: AAA

  • More than half of 1,000 U.S. Amazon customers recently surveyed said they would be willing to use an Amazon-created virtual currency for purchases, according to a survey conducted by student loan marketplace LendEDU.
  • Among other findings, the survey (which questioned consumers, including some Amazon Prime members, that made purchases on Amazon within the previous 30 days) found that 44.5% said they would also keep their primary bank account with Amazon if the e-commerce giant offered such a service.
  • Furthermore, about half of respondents said they would seek personal loans from Amazon if they were available, and roughly 45% said they would use an auto loan offering from the company. Another 30% claimed they would be ready to take out an Amazon-created mortgage.

Broad Mix of Thought Leaders to Present at LendIt Fintech USA 2018 (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Lending

  • Jay Farner, CEO, Quicken Loans
  • Max Levchin, Co-Founder & CEO, Affirm
  • Anthony Noto, CEO, SoFi
  • Renaud Laplanche, CEO, Upgrade

Digital Banking

  • Yolande Piazza, CEO, Citi FinTech
  • Suresh Ramamurthi, Chairman & CTO, CBW Bank
  • Luvleen Sidhu President, Co-Founder & Chief Strategy Officer, BankMobile
  • Jeremy K. Balkin, Head of Innovation, HSBC Bank USA
  • Nicolas Kopp, U.S. CEO, N26 Inc.

Blockchain for Financial Services

For 2018 we looked at one of the biggest new trends in financial services, blockchain and decided to create an event within our event. We are debuting our new blockchain event Blockfin by LendIt.

  • Tim Draper Founder & Managing Director DFJ
  • Richard Craib, CEO, Numerai
  • Tom Ding, Co-founder & CEO, String Labs/Dfinity
  • Vincent Wang, Chief Innovation Officer, China Wanxiang Group
  • Kathleen Breitman, Co-Founder, Tezos
  • Catherine Wood, CEO/CIO, ARK INVEST

Will JPMorgan’s splashy tech investment pay off? (American Banker), Rated: AAA

“Retail distribution is like a muscle,” Chief Financial Officer Marianne Lake said in discussing the company’s recently announced plan to open 400 branches in up to 20 new markets. “You have to exercise it or it goes to waste.”

Nonetheless, the New York megabank raised eyebrows when it said it would invest an additional $1.4 billion in technology in 2018 — the driving factor in projections for noninterest expenses to rise 6% in the year ahead.

Fintech Platform Current Announces Strategic Investment from Fifth Third (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Current, the fintech platform that allows teens to connect their money with the people, brands and experiences they value, announced on Tuesday that Fifth Third Capital, a direct equity investment subsidiary of Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ: FITB), has joined the recently announced Series A funding, led by QED Investors.

Leasing App Honcker Plans Expansion With $ 23M Funding From IAC (Auto Finance News), Rated: A

Vehicle leasing startup Honcker secured $23 million in series A funding this week and is using the capital injection to expand nationwide and bring some added features to its app, founder and Chief Executive Nathan Hecht told Auto Finance News today.

InterActive Corp. (IAC) — the media investor behind Investopedia, Tinder, Vimeo, and many others — is making its foray into the vehicle marketplace with this funding round to take a minority stake in the company. Honcker partners with dealers and plugs into their existing lender network to provide an online leasing marketplace.

How Are Fintech And Proptech Changing The Real Estate Industry In 2018? (Forbes), Rated: A

2. Ability To Reach New Investors Online

The ability to raise capital online and reach new accredited investors through online portals is still in its infancy.

5. Data Analysis To Drive Investment Decisions

Really use data analysis to drive your investment decisions, don’t just look at the headlines. Utilize big data and predictive analytics to dig into what is responsible for the migration of renters, and what those renters are seeking in their new apartment.

7. Reduced Friction In Buying, Owning And Selling

We are constantly pushing to incorporate or develop technologies to improve our business and customer experience by reducing cost, friction and time, as well as improve transparency and security. Some of these we develop ourselves, like application of machine learning and AI to develop a national neighborhood rating system. Others we adopt, like animated 3D visualization software. –

LA tech startup InvestFar’s innovative platform spearheads globalization of real estate investing (Digital Journal), Rated: A

Rising LA startup InvestFar; recently launched its signature mobile app to help aspiring investors with informed investment decisions. Titled as “InvestFar”, the app is the first platform to boast all the tools and resources needed for successful investments in long-distance or local markets nationwide.

Built in LA, this real estate tech startup is on a path to innovating how real estate and investors in this industry scale and manage their investments beyond local markets, especially in markets like Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York – where we often see inflated housing prices and shrunken inventory given increasing foreign investment.

Small construction companies lukewarm on tech investment (ConstructionDive), Rated: A

  • A recent customer survey from small business funding siteKabbage revealed that fewer than 35% of small construction companies planned to make investments at some level this year in technologies that could help their businesses and further bring them into the digital age.
  • More than 65% of contractors who responded to the study did not have a plan to invest in tools like big data solutions or mobile technologies, and the same percentage was either neutral, against or not likely to spend more than 20% on social media advertising.
  • Kabbage also found that even with well-publicized cyber attacks and other computer-related crimes, not even 40% of small construction firms planned to invest in cybersecurity.

ACA International Responds to Misleading ACLU Report on Debt Collection Industry (ACA International), Rated: B

Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) released a misguided and heavily misleading report accusing private debt collectors of using the criminal justice system to “punish” and “terrorize” consumers. This is absolutely false and undermines the commitment and integrity of the professional debt collection industry.

Legitimate debt collectors work with consumers to help recover outstanding debt on behalf of businesses, nonprofit organizations and governmental entities.

Tiny Kansas bank bets big on fintech (American Banker), Rated: B

Nbkc bank in Overland Park, Kan., is comfortable sitting at the same table as many of the banking industry’s biggest innovators.

The $632 million-asset bank, a unit of Ameri-National Corp., recently participated in a $16 million investment in Greenlight Financial Technology, which offers debit cards for kids that parents can control from their phones. Other investors included the Amazon Alexa Fund, SunTrust Bank and Ally Financial.

United Kingdom

RateSetter to open IFISA to new investors on Thursday (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER is opening up its Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) to new investors on Thursday, meaning that two out of the ‘big three’ lenders will be offering the tax wrapper outside of their existing customer base.

Industry onlookers argue that the IFISA will only begin to move into the mainstream once the largest P2P platforms offer the product to new investors.

VC firm behind Zopa raises £500,000 for fintech fund in just 24 hours (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

A FINTECH venture capital firm that has a stake in Zopa has surpassed a £500,000 fundraising target for a new investment company in the first 24 hours.

Augmentum Capital, which has a 7.4 per cent holding in peer-to-peer lender Zopa worth £18.5m, is looking to raise £100m through an initial public offering (IPO) alongside a crowdfunding listing on Seedrs.

What’s Up at Collateral? (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

A question concerned investors have been speculating on for over 36 hours now, since the website of UK p2p lending platform Collateral went down around 7pm two days ago and is showing a maintenance message. Investors criticize that there was no pre-announcement of this maintenance and worse that Collateral seemed to have ceased all communications to investors and did not react to any phone or email messages.

With no communications from the platform whatsoever investors wondered what to do. Some investors reported the incident to ActionFraud squad of the police while another contacted the FCA to voice his concern and seek advice.

1) How should a p2p lending platform communicate in a crisis?

In my view not communicating at all is the worst choice.

2) What can concerned investors actually do to react, if the platform is seemingly unreachable/unresponding over a longer period of time?

Collateral investors in limbo after lender shuts down site (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

Meanwhile, it emerged that the three limited companies listed on the Financial Services Register that have traded under the name of Collateral have not had regulatory permission to operate as a consumer credit business for at least 11 months and have all now been dissolved.

Cash4Assets, which traded under the name Collateral, had cancelled its interim permissions with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). A permission end date is given of 23 March 2015.

Regal Pawnbroker, which also listed Collateral as one of its trading names, saw its interim permissions lapse on 31 March 2016.

And Goldmann and Sons saw its interim authorisation lapse on 31 March 2016.

Assetz Capital introduces manual lending Isa (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: A

The P2P lender recently announced it had registered 2,000 investors for its Innovative Finance Isa(IFIsa) since it launched in December last year.

So far, Isa users have invested £14m, with one third coming from transfers from other Isa providers.

Funding for finance start-ups hits all-time high in threat to big banks (The Telegraph), Rated: A

Major fundraisings in the UK last year included digital insurance distributor BGL Group getting $900m, while payments venture TransferWise got $280m. Elsewhere Monzo raised £93m in two separate rounds, while Revolut got $66m.

Britain’s two biggest lenders, Lloyds and RBS, announced £5.5bn worth of investment programmes between them last week, with online banking a primary focus of their spending plans.

Banks scramble to be open as clients shrug (Royal News 24), Rated: A

Open banking, as this particular revolution is known, was introduced on the second weekend of January, forcing Britain’s biggest banks to provide third parties with access to the accounts of any customers who authorise it.

A Citigroup analysis published last week finds three reasons why disintermediation of the established order is likely to be delayed. One is slow consumer adoption. A second is the fragmentation of the market for new “open banking” services in early stages of the regime. The final one is the ability of established payment providers to adapt to the new rules.

European Union

Klarna year-end report January – December 2017 (Cision), Rated: AAA

July – December 2017
● Compared to last year, total sales volume grew by 43%
● Total operating revenues increased 32% to SEK 2,474m (1,868)
● Operating income for the period was SEK 203m (35)
● Net income for the period amounted to SEK 117m (17)

January – December 2017
● Year over year growth in total sales volumes was 42%
● Total operating revenues increased 27% to SEK 4,526m (3,561)
● Operating income amounted to SEK 524m (168)
● Net income for the year amounted to SEK 346m (113)
● 26,000 new merchants, Group total now 89,000
● 19 million new consumers used Klarna this year

Highlights from the year
● Bank license was obtained in June
● BillPay GmbH was acquired in September
● Additional tier 1 capital was raised in May and a senior unsecured bond was issued in September

German fintech lender auxmoney hit profitability in 2017 (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Its origination volumes rose by 75 per cent during the course of the year, with over 40,000 loans and €316 million funded. Auxmoney has now disbursed more than 100,000 loans in its history, with a cumulative funding total of around €700m.

BNI Europa eyeing up further P2P lending deals (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

BANCO BNI Europa is eyeing up further deals in the alternative finance space to diversify its portfolio and widen its product offering for clients.

The Portuguese online bank has announced several funding deals over the past year, including peer-to-peer lenders Funding Circle in Germany and Raize in Portugal, and UK P2P invoice finance platform MarketInvoice.

JSC VIA SMS Group interim twelve month report for year 2017 (GlobeNewswire), Rated: B

The Group has closed the reporting period with a net turnover of EUR 20 141 087 that shows 21,5% increase in comparison with the same period in 2016. The largest net turnover was reached in Spain where the net turnover has increased by 63%; the second largest turnover was reached in Sweden – by 55%, the third – in Poland where net turnover increased by 17% in comparison with data reported to December 31, 2016.  Company’s EBITDA in 2017 has reached EUR 2 779 456 and has ensured the net profit of EUR 835 542.

International

Cerberus Capital Management to Acquire Bluestone Group’s Australasian Operations (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Cerberus Capital Management, L.P. today announced that one of its affiliates has entered into an agreement with Bluestone Group, the international financial services business based in the U.K., to acquire its Australasian mortgage lending and portfolio servicing operations (“Bluestone Holdings Australia”).

India

Credy raises US$ 1.4 million in seed round (Tech in Asia), Rated: AAA

The online lender secured the funding from Y Combinator, Khosla Ventures, and Vy Capital, in addition to several Silicon Valley-based angel investors. It will use the capital to expand its loan book, build partnerships with institutional lenders, enhance its underwriting technology, and hire new team members.

Asia

ASIA SEES MASSIVE DROP IN FINTECH INVESTMENT AS CHINA LOSES MOMENTUM (CFO Innovation), Rated: AAA

Total fintech funding in Asia was US$3.85 billion in 2017—a massive drop-off from the more than US$10 billion invested in 2016 while the amount in Q4 2017 declined to US$748 million across 38 deals after a solid US$1 billion+ in Q3, said KPMG.

Decreased fintech investment in China accounted for much of the decrease in investment in Asia, KPMG explained. According to the firm, China saw just US$45.8 million in investment in Q4’17, while total investment in 2017 was US$1.33 billion.

The top five fintech deals in the region in Q4 are as follows:

  • WeLab (lending firm in Hong Kong): US$220 million, Series B
  • GoSwiff (payments/transactions firm in Singapore): US$100 million, M&A
  • BiWang Group (Institutional/B2B firm in Shenzhen, China): US$100 million, M&A
  • PolicyBazaar (Insurtech firm in Gurugram, India): US$77 million, Series E
  • Onlyou (Institutional/B2B firm in Shenzhen, China): US$45 million, late-stage VC
Canada

Katipult Named Among Industry Giants as Finalist for “Most Promising Partnership” Award (Cision), Rated: A

Katipult Technology Corp. (TSXV:FUND) is honoured to announce that it has been nominated, alongside Polymath Inc., for the Most Promising Partnership Award at the second annual Lendit Fintech Industry awards in April. The Katipult-Polymath partnership will be competing against some of the world’s finance and fintech giants including partnerships involving Goldman Sachs, Macquarie Group, Swedbank, and Lending Club.

National Bank CEO praises federal cybersecurity plan (Financial Post), Rated: A

The chief executive of National Bank of Canada said Wednesday that the federal government’s latest budget included “a big step forward” on cybersecurity.

The federal budget tabled on Tuesday proposed various cybersecurity-related commitments, including $155.2 million over five years so that the Communications Security Establishment could create a new “Canadian Centre for Cyber Security.”

Crypto KABN launches Blockchain-Enabled Biometric ID Validation (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

Crypto KABN Holdings Inc. (‘Crypto KABN’ or the ‘Company’) an innovator in financial services, technologies and products for the blockchain industry, is pleased to announce that it is launching a revolutionary Blockchain-enabled biometric validation platform, called ID KABN, as the first component of its suite of financial and technology services, at the FFCON18: Velocity Conference in Toronto on March 5, 2018.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday February 28 2018, Daily News Digest

marketplace lending investment

News Comments Today’s main news: Virgin Money to launch a challenger bank. Equifax partners with Entersekt on digital ID authentication. 1st loan originator in UK joins Mintos. Citi drops $75M into Pagaya. IOU Financial extends Midcap credit facility. Today’s main analysis: Global fintech VC investment sets new record. Global marketplace lending investment in 2017. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Goldman Sachs’ plan […]

marketplace lending investment

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Other

News Summary

United States

 

Goldman Sachs, Adviser to the Elite, Wants to Be Your Local Bank (WSJ), Rated: AAA

In a glass-walled tower in Utah’s capital, hundreds of Goldman employees are building what amounts to one of the world’s most ambitious consumer-finance startups.

Their address, 111 Main St., stands as a symbol of the changes afoot inside the firm, better known as an elite adviser to big companies and billionaires. Struggling to make money in the postcrisis world, Goldman is pushing into businesses it once dismissed as pedestrian and gimmicky, assembling a suite of banking products for the middle class it hopes will power growth.

Goldman 18 months ago began making online loans of a few thousand dollars under the brand Marcus, named after founder Marcus Goldman. Individuals once needed $10 million to get the attention of Goldman’s elite private bankers. Today, customers can open a Marcus savings account with as little as $1.

 

Where’s the best place to open a small business? (The Sacramento Bee), Rated: A

LendingTree said Sacramento ascended to the top of the list in a study that included data from more 80,000 queries submitted by new small business owners seeking loan offers through LendingTree’s small business loan marketplace to determine where businesses tend to do the best.

Sacramento was one of three California cities on the 10-best list, joining Fresno at ninth and Los Angeles at 10th. Following Sacramento on the list were Grand Rapids, Mich; Portland, Ore.; Knoxville, Tenn.; Denver; Seattle; Tulsa, Okla; Albuquerque, N.M.; Fresno; Los Angeles; and Oklahoma City, respectively. Los Angeles and Oklahoma City tied for 10th.

Cincinnati topped the list of the 10 worst cities to start a new small business. No California cities were on the 10-worst list.

Fiserv Consumer Survey Finds Digital Experiences Factor in Life’s Most Important Financial Decisions (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

For instance, four of the top five loan payment methods are now electronic, and 21 percent of millennial investors use a robo-advisor service to make investments.

Affluent Consumers and Financial Advice
Human interactions remain an important part of financial advice, especially for the 34 percent of consumers with at least $100,000 in household investable assets. Fifty-eight percent of these affluent consumers work with a financial advisor. Among those without an advisor, only 11 percent report high interest (8-10 on a scale of 0-10) in using one. At the same time, 32 percent of affluent consumers who invest their own money grade their knowledge and expertise as a “C” or lower, suggesting an opportunity to bridge the gap with a hybrid of human and digital advice.

Among all consumers who invest on their own, only 8 percent use a robo-advisor service. However, use of such a service is much more likely among millennials (21 percent) and urban consumers (18 percent).

Rates, Fees and Service Prevail
Topping the list of selection factors among those with at least one loan are interest rates (83 percent) and low fees/service charges (83 percent), followed by customer service (75 percent), company reputation (70 percent), and knowledge of staff (65 percent). Sixty-five percent of consumers say prior experience with a lender is important.

Many consumers expressed willingness to try new ways of interacting with their lender, if there’s a benefit. For instance, if it makes the loan process faster, more than half of consumers would be willing to use a mobile device to e-sign loan documents (56 percent), take and upload photos of loan documents (54 percent), and verify their identity with a photo (51 percent). Forty-two percent of consumers indicate they would be willing to provide access to their financial information by providing their credentials to other online banking applications, up from 32 percent in 2016.

Digital channels, especially mobile, are now leading ways of communicating with a lender, although context matters based on the interaction. A lender’s mobile app is the preferred way to check when a next loan payment is due (21 percent), check the balance term (20 percent) and request a payoff (17 percent), among consumers who have conducted each of these activities in the past six months. For account questions, consumers significantly favor speaking live with a representative via phone (21 percent) over using an automated voice response system (12 percent), e-chat (11 percent) or the mobile app (11 percent).

As online lending grows up, banks work to strengthen partnerships (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Marketplace lending as an industry is hitting its stride. Some platforms are becoming profitable, some are diversifying, new players are entering the market with new business models and the competition is heating up. But that means banks need to start strengthening ties with their online lending partners.

As more consumer-facing fintech companies are learning, that’s best done by building products that make people’s lives easier.

 

 

Fintech Startups Need Industry Partners to Thrive, Report Says (Bloomberg), Rated: B

More than 75 percent of fintech executives surveyed in a new report said their primary business objective is to collaborate with traditional firms, such as banks and insurance companies. Only 18 percent said the main goal was to compete with the established players.

According to the World FinTech Report 2018 from consulting firm Capgemini and corporate networking website LinkedIn Corp., most of the startups are likely to fail if they don’t build partnerships, despite raising more than $110 billion since 2009. The survey, published Tuesday, was based on the responses of 110 global financial technology firms.

Varo Money is bringing bank fees and financial health into its marketing (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Varo Money has been targeting customers of big banks whose fees they’re tired of having to understand and pay. Despite its appeal to potential customers to switch to Varo, its ads don’t call out specific companies, as some of its peers do.

Coming to your banking app soon: Predictive analytics (Bankrate), Rated: A

Bank of America will let mobile banking customers use its new digital assistant, Erica, in March. Besides helping consumers complete routine tasks like transferring funds, Erica will offer financial advice tailored for each user.

If you have a low balance and you’ve spent a lot of money, Erica might warn that you are in danger of overdrawing your checking account. Or she could share opportunities to save additional money.

Wells Fargo has made providing customers with advanced digital tools a top priority. In February, its 17 million mobile users with consumer deposit accounts found themselves with a new predictive banking feature.

Wells Fargo confirmed that these new mobile capabilities are powered by Personetics, a company providing banking solutions that anticipate what consumers might need in the future. Personetics also powers Royal Bank of Canada’s free automated savings tool, NOMI Find & Save, which gives mobile banking customers customized tips and alerts.

Companies like Saylent are trying to help banks make sense of their data resources by identifying the customers they should focus on. Saylent gives customers tools to target people that are shopping for a car loan or a mortgage. The platform will be used by institutions like BankFirst Financial Services, a community-based institution headquartered in Mississippi.

B of A is latest big bank to announce aggressive branch expansion (American Banker), Rated: A

Bank of America plans to open more than 500 branches over the next four years as part of a large-scale investment in retail banking.

The $2.28 trillion-asset company said in a press release Monday that it will hire more than 5,400 employees as part of the expansion. The Charlotte, N.C., company did not specify where the new branches will be located, nor did it say how much the proposed brick-and-mortar expansion plan would cost.

Don’t write off branch banking yet, says KeyBank Colorado exec (Denver Business Journal), Rated: B

Customers “want to talk to people. They want to be guided,” says Michael Walters.

Fintechs’ charter hopes may lie with new FDIC board (American Banker), Rated: A

Among federal bank regulators, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has been the most active on fintech chartering options. But another agency, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., may provide crucial guidance for fintechs in the shorter term.

The FDIC still has pending an application by Square for an industrial loan company, a limited-purpose bank typically chartered in Utah that receives deposit insurance.

Can Crowdfunding Mortgage Down Payments Make Homes Affordable? (SavingAdvice), Rated: A

A lot what’s being called crowdfunding is actually more like matching funds or subsidies for down payments. The growth of these options seems to be a sign of the times — so few people can afford to buy homes nowadays that the industry has gotten creative.

Unison Financial (formerly known as Rex Home Buyer) offers down payment subsidies in exchange for equity stakes in the home. The program requires that the home buyer put up a down payment of at least 10%.

HomeFundMe provides incentives for individuals to seek out grants that are actually matching funds on down payments. Although the match ratio is impressive, two-to-one, the total grant limited to $2,500 — do the math and you see that the buyer would need to come up with another $5,000 at that maximum amount.

With most residential mortgage lenders requiring minimum down payments of at least 5%, that limits the buyer to homes worth no more than $150,000. That’s well below the average home price in the U.S. — and even beneath affordable housing program prices in many cities.

HOW INVESTING IN CROWDFUNDED REAL ESTATE IMPACTS YOUR TAXES (The College Investor), Rated: A

There are two types of investors in a crowdfunded real estate investment: Accredited and non accredited.

An accredited investor has more opportunities to invest than a non accredited investor but they also bear more risks. SEC Rule 501 of Regulation D defines accredited investor.

These investors have an annual income of least $200,000 for the previous two years and a net worth of more than $1 million.

Non accredited investors buying shares of a fund have the simplest tax impacts.

They receive a 1099-INT from the crowdfunding real estate company they are investing with and are taxed at their ordinary income tax rate.

If the investor is invested in multiple funds, their investments can be aggregated into one 1099-INT rather than receiving an individual 1099-INT for each fund.

For investors who are investing in equity investments, things get more complicated. These investors will receive a K1 tax form. A K1 is for income through business partnerships.

PeerStreet Named a Finalist in Top Real Estate Platform Category in the Second Annual LendIt Fintech Industry Awards Competition (BusinessWire), Rated: B

LendIt Fintech recently announced that they have selected PeerStreet as a finalist in the Top Real Estate Platform category for the LendIt Fintech Industry Awards.

PawnGuru pulls in $ 2.5 mln Series A (PE Hub), Rated: A

PawnGuru, an online marketplace connecting pawn shops and consumers, today announces the close of a $2.5 million Series A. With this funding, PawnGuru intends to expand its network of shops within the US, as well as to international markets, giving consumers worldwide the power to buy directly from local pawn shops online.

 

5 Financial Mistakes That Push Striving Startups Into Bankruptcy (Newsmax), Rated: A

  1. Think Big/Start Big Syndrome – You are permitted to think big but start small to have adequate fund to invest in other areas of the business. When you don’t properly handle these areas, your business might join the 90% businesses that never survived after 5 years.
  2. Lack of Financial Mentorship
  3. Inability to Utilize Viable Loan Options – Bank loans, equipment loans, invoices financing, car title loans, peer-to-peer lending networks and more, are avenues small business owners can obtain loans. It’s however pertinent to get information and evaluate the cost implications of taking a loan to finance your business.
  4. Under-utilization of Digital Technology – In terms of advertising, marketing, automation, time management, human resource functions, cloud computing, data management, blockchain technology etc. digital technology has infused speed and efficiency which has resulted in reduced cost to carryout daily business operations.
  5. Poor Recording of Cash Flow

Understanding the International Student Lending Ecosystem in the U.S. (Lend Academy), Rated: A

There are almost 1.2 million international students currently studying in the United States. They hail from countries all over the world with almost a third – more than 360,000 – coming from China and just over 205,000 coming from India. South Korea and Saudi Arabia follow behind dropping down to just over 70,000 and 55,000, respectively. With education costs often approaching six figures and beyond, an international student loan ecosystem has emerged both in the U.S. and abroad to serve the educational funding needs of this demographic.

Navigate your student-loan maze with this Philly-made calculator (Technical.ly), Rated: B

From his home office in Fishtown, Temple University grad Mason Gallik, 23, is hoping his college debt calculator can help others from making bad choices.

“It’s about being realistic about your decisions,” said Gallik, the founder of LoanMajor. “Sometimes it’s smart to look at college from a financial side and not just an emotional one.”

Currently, the company’s source of income is through affiliate links with loan marketplace Credible. For every visitor that LoanMajor leads to Credible, they get a fee. Another source of revenue Gallik hopes to set up is through affiliate links to credit card companies and banks.

United Kingdom

U.K.’s Virgin Money to Launch Digital Challenger Bank (Bank Innovation), Rated: AAA

U.K.-based lender Virgin Money said it will offer current accounts and savings products.

In its earnings call today, Virgin Money said it will begin testing these products later in the year and has already spent £38.3 million ($53.3 million) over the past year developing this digital bank.

Amigo Loans hires JP Morgan and RBC to prepare 500 million pound London IPO (Reuters), Rate: AAA

British subprime lender Amigo Loans is preparing for a stock market float in London that could value the consumer credit firm at more than $700 million.

1PM Joins Online Business Loan Marketplace For Retail Investors Mintos (London South East), Rated: AAA

1pm PLC said Tuesday that it has entered into a cooperation agreement with AS Mintos Marketplace to be a loan originator on its online loan marketplace.

The AIM-listed financial services provider to UK businesses said that it is the first loan originator from the UK to join the Mintos marketplace, which already has about 30 other loan originators globally.

British banks ordered to help people pay off credit card debts (Reuters), Rated: A

Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority ordered banks on Tuesday to take steps to help people with persistent credit card debt to keep up with repayments.

The FCA’s new rules will, however, will still allow banks to ultimately suspend a credit card if a customer fails to make any progress in repaying debts.

European Union

MIFID II aids RoboAdvice (AltFi), Rated: A

Unfortunately, in the current marketplace many opaque structures lead to charges that even a Finance degree can’t help unravel.  But technology is here to help and most of the new Robo-Advisors have simple and transparent fee structures enabling savers to compare different product offerings quickly and easily.

Whilst many in Financial Services have been critical of the growing ‘regulatory burden’ the changes MiFiD II will bring should be net positive for end users and ultimately society. Although legacy providers are likely to see revenues and margins shrink.

International

Equifax is partnering with a digital ID verification company (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

US credit bureau Equifax has formed a partnershipwith South Africa-based Entersekt, a company specializing in customer authentication and device security.

Fintech Pagaya Receives $ 75 Million in Debt Financing from Citi (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Pagaya Investments, a Fintech company in the asset management space, has received $75 million in debt financing from Citi. Simultaneously, Pagaya announced the creation of the “Opportunity Fund” to meet growing institutional interest in consumer credit as an asset class.

Global Venture Capital Investment in Fintech Industry Set Record in 2017, Accenture Analysis Finds (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Fintech financing rose 18 percent in 2017, to US$27.4 billion, with the value of deals in the U.S. jumping 31 percent, to $11.3 billion. Deal values almost quadrupled in the U.K., to US$3.4 billion, and soared nearly fivefold in India, to US$2.4 billion. The number of fintech deals also rose sharply, from just over 1,800 in 2016 to nearly 2,700 in 2017, underscoring continued appetite from investors scouring the globe for innovation in insurance, banking and capital markets startups.

“Much of the growth, particularly in the U.S. and UK, has been driven by big new investment flows from China, Russia, the Middle East and other emerging economies,” said Julian Skan, senior managing director in Accenture’s Financial Services practice.

“Much of the growth, particularly in the U.S. and UK, has been driven by big new investment flows from China, Russia, the Middle East and other emerging economies,” said Julian Skan, senior managing director in Accenture’s Financial Services practice.

India, US, UK drove global growth

Kabbage Inc, a U.S. online lender for small businesses, alone raised US$900 million in three separate rounds in 2017. Online lender Social Finance Inc, also known as SoFi, raised US$500 million in February, and LendingPoint raised US$500 million from a credit transaction in September. As startups grow and their businesses mature, funding rounds have increased in size, while some companies have opted to use credit facilities to speed up their expansion.

In the U.K., digital insurance distributor BGL Group raised US$900 million, pushing overall fintech investments in the country to an all-time high of US$3.4 billion. Payments venture TransferWise had the second-largest fundraising in the U.K., raising US$280 million.

India’s digital payments startup Paytm received US$1.4 billion in venture capital, helping drive fintech fundraising activity in the country to nearly five times the 2016 levels. The number of fintech deals in India increased 65 percent over 2016.

More deals in China, fewer megadeals

Mega fintech deals that had catapulted China to the top destination in the world for venture capital money in 2016 fell in 2017, as investors pulled back after pouring billions of dollars into giant-sized transactions. Fintech funding in the country declined 72 percent in 2017, to US$2.8 billion, from a record US$10 billion in 2016, when several companies – including Ant Financial and wealth management platform Lufax – had multi-billion-dollar financing rounds. The average deal size in China in 2017 was US$19 million, down from US$186 million in 2016, though the country still had large transactions, such as the US$440 million that real estate broker Homelink raised in April and the US$290 million that online finance firm Tuandai raised in June.

P2P and marketplace lending equity investments recover in 2017 to set new record (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Deals in the sector slowed down in 2016 with a year on year decrease of 12.8 per cent, possibly as a result of Lending Club’s annus horribilis. Total amount invested fell from $8.6bn in 2015 to $7.5bn the next year.

However, investment rebounded in 2017 to reach $8.9bn, a year on year increase of 18.6 per cent. The top ten P2P and marketplace Lending deals in 2017 raised half of the total funding for the year, raising a combined total of $4.4bn. The largest deal in 2017 was the previously mentioned $1.2bn Series B round to Lufax, led by COFCO with co-investment from China Minsheng Bank and Guotai Junan Securities.


Creditcoin Turns Digital Wallets into an Investment Market (Coinspeaker), Rated: A

In response to this, two reputed fintech innovators, Gluwa and Aella Credita have joined forces to launch Creditcoin, an inter-blockchain P2P lending market that operates across distributed ledgers ensuring permanent record of transactions that cannot be alter or tampered with.

Allianz Investment Arm Co-Leads Funding Round in Fintech C2FO (Bloomberg), Rated: B

Financial technology startup C2FO raised $100 million in funding in a new round led by the investing arm of global insurance and asset management giant Allianz SE as well as Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Co.

MSTS Taps World Fuel VP As Head Of Business Development For APAC (Payment Week), Rated: B

Australia

Fintech business lenders to self-regulate (Financial Review), Rated: AAA

A lack of transparency around fintech borrowing costs for small businesses has prompted the industry committing to adopt a code of conduct and standardised interest rate and fee disclosures.

The fintech sector hopes moves to self-regulate will help start-ups win trust and avoid concerns that helped prompt the royal commission into the banks.

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, FinTech Australia and the Bank Doctor, an SME advocate, will drive start-ups to improve disclosures that will allow small business customers to compare total costs, understand obligations and penalties if payments are missed, and ensure disputes are dealt with quickly and fairly.

India

Extending access to credit: Are alternate finance platforms creating tangible impact? (ET Rise), Rated: A

In its ‘Consultation Paper on Peer to Peer Lending’, the RBI highlighted how these web-based platforms are providing easier access of credit to small entrepreneurs by bringing prospective borrowers and lenders together. With more individuals lending to one another, interest rates for borrowers are going down, even as the increased availability of affordable credit stimulates greater financial activity and drives business growth. As a result, consumer segments such as MSMEs – until now either com ..
Borrowers from tier-2 and tier-3 cities comprised 20% and 17% of the total number of loans disbursed. New-to-credit borrowers comprised 35% of fulfilled borrowers on the platform, while those with poor credit ratings accounted for 10% of the overall number. Most strikingly, an analysis of credit bureau reports revealed how only 2.5% of the borrowers from tier-3 cities who received funds from the platform got any loans from other banks or financial institutions after the Faircent loan, underlining the major credit gap that the online platform is plugging within the economy.
Asia

Equity crowdfunding in Japan poised to grow fivefold this year (Asian Review), Rated: AAA

Crowdfunding campaigns that offer stock in exchange for capital are set to swell this year in Japan as the prospect of high returns draws investors to a relatively new channel for fledgling companies.

Indonesia’s P2P firm UangTeman likely to raise up to m Series B (Deal Street Asia), Rated: A

Indonesian peer-to-peer lending platform UangTeman said it is set to raise a Series B financing round by mid-2018, claiming it would be one of the largest such rounds for a fintech firm in Southeast Asia.

Canada

IOU Financial Extends Credit Facility with Midcap Financial (Cision), Rated: AAA

IOU FINANCIAL INC. (“IOU” or “the Company”) (TSXV: IOU), online lender to small businesses (IOUFinancial.com), announced today that it has modified and extended its secured credit facility (the “Credit Facility”) with MidCap Financial, (“Midcap”) until December 31, 2020. The amount of the Credit Facility is USD $20 million, with a term portion equal to USD $15 million and a revolver amount of USD $5 million.

IOU and Midcap have further agreed to allocate USD $1 million from the Credit Facility amount of USD $20 million, to support Canadian loan originations. This will be formalized in a separate amendment to this facility.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday February 27 2018, Daily News Digest

LendingClub

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi’s new CEO wants to get the company ready to go public. Revolut’s transaction volumes increased 700%. China to crackdown on non-bank lending. Blender raises $16M. Today’s main analysis: Stay away from LendingClub’s notes and shares. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Legacy banks, digital startups see opportunity to go beyond storing money. LendingBlock aims to mainstream […]

LendingClub

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

Other

News Summary

United States

Anthony Noto’s Mission as SoFi CEO: Get the Startup Ready to Go Public (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Anthony Noto, the new chief executive officer of Social Finance Inc., is looking to steer the company out of crisis and get it in shape for a potential initial public offering.

The vision for SoFi outlined by Noto didn’t stray far from the one set by his predecessor Mike Cagney, who was ousted after accusations of sexual misconduct inside the company. Noto wants to create a broad online financial-service company, adding checking and savings accounts and wealth management to the main business of refinancing student loans.

SoFi’s new CEO says bank charter remains an option (American Banker), Rated: A

In an interview during his first day on the job, Anthony Noto did not promise any big course changes, though he did leave open the possibility that SoFi will revive its quest to get a banking license.

LendingClub’s Underwriting: Stay Away From The Notes And The Shares (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

I bought my first batch of $25 notes on April 22, 2016. Now, it is important to note that LendingClub is very clear in its advertising that “99% of portfolios with 100+ Notes have seen positive returns.” So I suppose I added a level of risk by not having a portfolio worth at least $2500. But even still, returns can be .1% annualized and count as ‘positive’, but that is not an acceptable return by anyone’s standards given the risks involved in lending to strangers.

My Portfolio

To date, I have received $436 in payments, $96 of which is interest. I have lost $100 on notes that have charged-off, meaning that there is zero expectation of future payment and LendingClub collectors have stopped attempting to reach the borrower. I also have a note that is late, and based on how things have gone so far, I fully expect that to charge-off too and will lose the $11.50 still owed. In short, I have already lost almost 20% of my initial investment, crossing my fingers that none of the 14 notes I still have that are current don’t enter a late status with more than a year to go before the oldest reaches full term. My results have been dismal.

Source: Seeking Alpha

LendingClub’s ratings are A-G, with A being the safest. As you can see, the vast majority of my portfolio sits in A-C, with one E and one G note (LendingClub did away with F and G notes last year).

Source: Seeking Alpha

Legacy Banks and Digital Startups See a Big Opportunity to Move Beyond Simply Storing Money (AdWeek), Rated: AAA

Change can be hard for the financial industry, which is dominated by decades of processes and internal systems. But with a slew of upstarts making their way into the trillion-dollar industry, the old guard is finding innovative ways to beat these challenger brands at their own game.

“A lot of these companies have what we call ‘technical debt’—very expensive mainframe systems that are very difficult to change, run [and are] expensive and obviously that limits their ability to innovate,” said Oliwia Berdak, principal analyst at Forrester Research. “The biggest challenge is often culture … In banks the attitude has always been to perfect [products] before it’s unleashed on customers and [technology] is a big change where you’re working with a certain degree of uncertainty and risk.”

According to data collected by Accenture, 90 percent of banking executives said that their companies needed to “innovate at an increasingly rapid pace just to remain competitive,” but only 47.8 percent say that they are actually “investing comprehensively” in digital.

Another challenge: For all the talk about slick mobile banking apps and services, consumers—gasp—still like going to physical banks to manage financial decisions. Eighty-seven percent of customers enjoy going to a physical bank and prefer to interact with a human while there, per Accenture.

Source: AdWeek

Retail Banks Are Missing Opportunities to Give Digital Financial Advice (Wealth Management), Rated: A

Most customers who received face-to-face financial advice from their retail bank felt their needs were completely met (58 percent), but satisfaction drops when advice is delivered by other means, according to J.D. Power’s 2018 U.S. Retail Banking Sales Practices & Advice Study. Only 45 percent of customers who received digital advice through their bank’s website or mobile app felt their needs were met and only 33 percent felt their needs were met via email.
The majority of customers surveyed for the study (58 percent) said they want to receive advice through their bank’s website and mobile app, but only 12 percent said they received advice in that manner.

Why neobanks need to find a niche offering (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Customers still aren’t excited about digital-only banks. Less than 10 percent of Americans looking to open a checking account would consider doing so at a digital bank, according to a new report by Cornerstone Advisors.

For example, San Francisco-based neobank Chime’s customers are mostly middle-income millennials, with a median age of 29 and incomes between $45,000 to $65,000. Chime says it caters to a gap in the market for younger customers who felt larger institutions weren’t meeting their needs.

Neobanks should focus on a “clear, differentiated value proposition” for the customer, but too many of them are just adding a little technology to a customer experience that’s not terribly different from what the big banks offer, said Satya Patel, a partner at Homebrew, a seed-stage venture capital firm based in San Francisco and an investor in Chime.

How Capital One is rethinking its approach to products (Tearsheet), Rated: A

For the past year, Capital One has been rethinking how it can get out of the too-common approach of “innovating” by layering new technology on top of an old product — it’s realized it needs to entirely reconsider the customer’s interaction with it.

Are banks too blasé about mobile security? (American Banker), Rated: B

About a third of companies have knowingly sacrificed security for expediency or business performance, according to a newly published study, and researchers said that bankers’ responses were consistent with the group as a whole, which included health care and other sectors.

Bringing Credit Invisibles Into Focus with Alternative Financial Data (LendIt), Rated: A

Ten percent of the U.S. adult population do not have a credit score or history with any of the big three credit bureaus.

That’s 1 in 10, or roughly 26 million people who are considered “credit invisible.”

But the financial underserved market spends $173 billion in fees and interest to use $1.94 trillion in financial services, according to the 2017 Center for Financial services Innovation study.

There are four basic categories of people who fall under the credit invisibles umbrella:

  • Millennials: People between 18– 34 and have not yet borrowed money or gotten a credit card.
  • Low-Income: People who don’t make enough money to gain access to credit.
  • Recent immigrants: People who recently moved to the U.S. but haven’t established credit.
  • Mass-affluent: People who earn more than $100,000 per year and pay with cash instead of credit.

Mobile Payments In US To Reach $ 3 Trillion Within Two Years (Payment Week), Rated: A

in 2015, mobile payments in the US represented $550 billion. That’s good by most any standard, but the growth expected is staggering. By 2020, that number is projected to hit $2.8 trillion. That represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 39.1 percent, which is far beyond most any but the most unlikely investments.

China represents $5.5 trillion in mobile payments use as of right now, a combination of various societal factors like a comparative eschewing of the personal computer in favor of the mobile device, as well as a near-ubiquity of locations that accept the system.

BREAKFORM | RE Closes a Small Lot Subdivision Development in Record Time Via Crowdfunding (PRWeb), Rated: A

BREAKFORM | RE closed its latest small lot subdivision development project in the prime West Hollywood adjacent neighborhood in record time using Equity Multiple, one of the leading real estate crowdfunding platforms. The offering was 145% subscribed in 72 hours.

Credible Appoints Chris Bishko as Chief Financial Officer (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Credible, the consumer finance marketplace that helps consumers save money and make smarter financial decisions, today announced that it has appointed Chris Bishko as chief financial officer. Mr. Bishko will report to Credible’s founder and CEO Stephen Dash.

New York Lawmakers Open to Revisiting the BitLicense (CoinDesk), Rated: B

A bill to reform the regulation could be introduced “very soon,” State Senator David Carlucci told CoinDesk.

But what is likely to remain is the animosity toward the BitLicense, as evidenced by the small but dedicated protest gathering outside just before the roundtable began, not to mention the grievances aired by the two dozen or so attendees.

United Kingdom

Transaction volumes increase 700pc at fintech firm Revolut (Independent.ie), Rated: AAA

Fintech start-up Revolut has seen its monthly transaction volume increase by over 700pc in the last 12 months to $1.5bn (€1.2bn).

Lendingblock Aims to Popularize Crypto Lending in a Secure and Transparent Way (cryptovest), Rated: AAA

Lendingblock aims to become the first to build a marketplace where cryptocurrency lenders meet borrowers, and can exchange their assets across blockchains. The platform aims to bring securities lending to the crypto economy. The current estimates of the market paint a picture of enormous potential for development: in 2017, $2 trillion of assets on loan in traditional securities lending brought approximately $4 billion in revenue. Replicating this in crypto could generate up to $300 million within 3 years as the project notes in its white paper.

 

Britain’s big banks play catch up with fintech with new apps (Reuters), Rated: A

British retail banks are poised to introduce money management apps to compete with those already launched by financial technology start-ups, betting their trusted brands, broad client base and deep pockets will help them make up lost ground.

NatWest sets up network of fintech accelerator hubs (Finextra), Rated: B

The UK’s NatWest is launching four specialist fintech accelerators based in its Bristol, Edinburgh, London and Manchester sites.

China

Screws to tighten further on non-bank lending (The Standard), Rated: AAA

China will tighten its crackdown on illegal fundraising to fend off financial risks, according to an inter-agency meeting.

European Union

European Fintech Alliance raises bank API fears (Finextra), Rated: A

The European Fintech Alliance has fired another broadside in its tussle with the financial services establishment over PSD2, raising fears that banks will develop substandard APIs as a way to fend off competition.

Specifically, the alliance of 74 fintechs, challenger banks and fintech associations is unhappy that the Regulatory Technical Standards on strong customer authentication and common and secure communication under PSD2 allow banks the possibility to be exempted by their National Competent Authority from having to accommodate licensed Third Party Payment Services Providers (TPPs) to access accounts via the so called fallback option in case of malfunction of the API.

International

Marketplace lenders worldwide raised nearly bn last year (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

THE GLOBAL marketplace lending sector saw nearly $9bn (£6.45bn) invested across 233 deals last year, marking a new funding record for the industry.

Consultancy firm Fintech Global, who compiled the data, found that equity investment in the sector rebounded to $8.9bn last year after a slowdown in 2016. The total was boosted by the top 10 deals, which raised a combined $4.4bn.

The second half of the year was strongest for funding, with the largest deal of the year closing in the fourth quarter when Shanghai-based peer-to-peer lender Lufax raised $1.2bn.

Online lender ID Finance bolsters security with beahvioural biometrics (Finextra), Rated: A

ID Finance, the emerging markets fintech company, is incorporating behavioural biometrics into its AI-based fraud scoring engine to eliminate fraud, boost loan approvals and reduce the incidence of non-performing loans.

The behavioural biometrics system studies the unique typing and behavioural patterns users display during the loan application process to capture a range of patterns. These include mouse movements, to how fingers interact with a keyboard. The biometrics record patterns such typing speed, typos, flight time between keys, keystroke depressions, as well as the patterns from actual input.

Celsius: Get Dollars When You Need Them or Get Paid to HODL (cryptovest), Rated: A

The global financial system is wobbling. Banks and other traditional financial institutions have so far managed to survive the crisis resulting entirely from their errors, greed, and arrogance. Now, many believe, they won’t live through the crypto revolution unless they embrace it.

Meet the Celsius Wallet – a combination of a digital wallet and a peer-to-peer lending platform where members can earn passive interest on their crypto holdings and use them as collateral to get loans in fiat currencies.

Australia

‘Essential’ brokers advising Xinja on mortgage strategy (TheAdviser), Rated: A

The chief executive of banking disruptor Xinja has revealed that mortgage brokers have been involved in the group’s home loan plans and will be “essential” to its strategy.

The crowdfunded online lender recently received an Australian credit license (ACL) from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and plans to utilise the broker channel to facilitate its digital home loan approval process.

Mortgage franchise sees decline in loan settlement (AustralianBroker), Rated: A

Mortgage franchise Yellow Brick Road posted a 2% decline to $7.74bn in loan settlement volume in the first half of FY18 over the previous period as it reduced its number of branches.

Overall, the company delivered 85% growth in profitability, with net profit before tax increasing to $0.53m in the first half of FY18 over the same period of FY17. It cited higher revenue – up by 5% – and lower costs – down by 4% – as drivers of its result.

The company also expects the addition of a small business lending product through its partner Prospa to provide additional revenue opportunities for its network and support growth in commercial lending.

India

P2P platforms as NBFCs gaining popularity in small cities, but there’s a catch (Financial Express), Rated: AAA

P Kanwal is from Punjab’s Bhatinda. He has a furniture business which mainly deals in cash, because of which it was difficult for him to get a secured loan from the formal banking system. For him, a Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform came as a rescue, which got him an unsecured loan for his kid’s education and expanding his business.

This not just the story of Mr Kanwal, but many more small entrepreneurs who are operating their businesses in Tier-1, Tier-2 cities and far-flung areas, some not even on Google map, who are getting financial support through P2P lending.

The pattern that emerges currently from the P2P lending is that borrowers from tier-2 and tier-3 cities comprised 20% and 17% of the total number of loans disbursed through the platform. The new-to-credit borrowers comprise 35% of fulfilled borrowers, while those with poor credit ratings accounted for 10% of the overall number.

MENA

Peer-to-Peer Lending Startup Blender Raises Million in Debt Financing and Equity (CTech), Rated: AAA

Israel-based peer-to-peer lending startup Blender P2P Israel Ltd. has raised $16 million in equity and debt financing, the company announced Monday.

Latin America

Airfox Launches Mobile App in Brazil, Giving Unbanked Access to Financial Services (PRWeb), Rated: A

Airfox, a mobile financial services company, today launched its free Android app in Brazil, giving millions of people unprecedented access to much-needed financing solutions.

More than 44 percent of Brazil’s population is unbanked, another 30-44 percent lack sufficient access to mainstream financial services, and those with credit cards face interest rates upwards of 200 percent (sources: World Bank, Bloomberg).

Canada

Big banks strive to give better digital financial advice (BNN), Rated: AAA

CTV’s Chief Financial Commentator Pattie Lovett-Reid discusses the Canadian banks’ quest to deliver quality online financial advice in an effort to catch up with the digital age.

Africa

PayJoy Partners With Vodacom & CBA to Bring Smartphone Financing to Tanzania (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

PayJoy, a San Francisco fintech startup, announced this week it has teamed up with Vodacom and CBA to bring smartphone financing to the country of Tanzania.

PayJoy Teams Up With Allied Mobile to Bring More Smartphones to Africans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

PayJoy, a San Francisco fintech startup, announced on Friday it has teamed up with mobile distributor Allied Mobile to bring affordable smartphone payment plans to markets across the continent of Africa. According to the duo, Allied Mobile will use PayJoy Checkout, an instant paperless finance system for customers without access to formal credit, and the patented PayJoy Lock which enables “pay-as-you-go” access to the phone. 

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday February 21 2018, Daily News Digest

LendingClub originations by funding source

News Comments Today’s main news: Lending Club losses extend to Q4 2017. LendingClub to settle lawsuit for $125M. Groundfloor launches online public offering. Even Financial gets backing from American Express. LendInvest launches buy-to-let calculator online. Today’s main analysis: Lend Academy reviews LendingClub’s Q4 2017 results. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Equity sharing and home ownership. How millennials move emerging markets. Why Australia needs […]

LendingClub originations by funding source

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Other

News Summary

United States

Lending Club extends losses for fourth straight year (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Lending Club lost money for a fourth year in a row last year, as it wrote a big cheque to settle class-action lawsuits connected to its governance glitches of 2016.

The San Francisco-based company, the biggest listed online lender in America, said on Tuesday that net losses for the fourth quarter almost tripled from a year earlier, to $92m, as it agreed a $125m settlement to resolve civil suits stemming from the loan-mis-selling scandal that blew up almost two years ago. About $48m of the sum would be covered by insurance, the company said, with the remainder to be paid from liquid assets of about $650m.

The loss for the full year came to $154m, wider than the previous year’s $146m.

LendingClub agrees to settle shareholder litigation for 5M (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Under the agreement, which was announced Tuesday, the San Francisco-based online lender expects to pay $77.25 million. An additional $47.75 million is expected to be covered by LendingClub’s insurance, bringing the total payout to $125 million. The deal is subject to court approval.

LendingClub Corp (LC) Shares Sink on Q4 Earnings Miss (InvestorPlace), Rated: A

Lending Club also underwhelmed in its revenue as the company raked in $156.5 million during its fourth quarter, below Wall Street’s consensus estimate of $157.6 million, according to FactSet. The figure did increase 20% compared to the year-ago quarter.

On an adjusted basis, the company posted earnings of a penny per share, compared to a loss of 2 cents in the year-ago quarter.

The company also experienced a 23% annual growth in originations, which reached over $2.4 billion.

LendingClub Q4 2017 Earnings Results Review (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

LendingClub delivered another record quarter of $156.5 million in revenue up slightly from their previous quarter. Originations were slightly down from the third quarter at $2.436 billion. They reported a GAAP net loss of $92.1 million in the fourth quarter which was affected by the class action litigation settlement expense.

Source: Lend Academy
Source: Lend Academy

LendingClub provided the below guidance for Q1 2018 and reaffirmed their guidance for 2018:

First Quarter 2018

  • Total Net Revenue in the range of $145 million to $155 million
  • Net Income (Loss) in the range of $(25) million to $(20) million
  • Adjusted EBITDA in the range of $5 million to $10 million
  • Reconciling Items between net loss and non-GAAP adjusted EBITDA consisting of stock-based compensation of approximately $19 million, and depreciation and amortization and other net adjustments of approximately $11 million

Full Year 2018

  • Total Net Revenue in the range of $680 million to $705 million
  • Net Income (Loss) in the range of $(53) million to $(38) million
  • Adjusted EBITDA in the range of $75 million to $90 million
  • Reconciling Items between net loss and non-GAAP adjusted EBITDA consisting of stock-based compensation of approximately $77 million, and depreciation and amortization and other net adjustments of approximately $51 million

Stocks making the biggest moves after hours (CNBC), Rated: B

LendingClub stock plunged 10 percent after the bell. The peer-to-peer lending company reported earnings and revenues that missed Wall Street estimates.

Groundfloor Launches Online Public Offering Amidst Increased Stock Market Volatility (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Groundfloor, the first issuer qualified by the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission to offer real estate based payment dependent notes that are available to non-accredited investors, today announced that it has raised a total of $4.3 million from 687 participating investors in a combination of two recent financings, a private online bridge note closed late last year and an initial closing of its online public offering of equity. In each case, the company kicked off the invitation-only raises to customers and friends of the company with a $1M target, surpassing that in under 48 hours. Due to increased growth opportunities and strong demand, the company has today expanded the equity raise to the public.

Groundfloor is offering a total of up to 530,000 shares of Common Stock at $10 per share in its online public offering. Investor benefits include: no investor fees for life2; access to regular shareholder-only loan offerings; and invitations to attend annual Groundfloor shareholder events.

Recently increased expectations that the Fed may raise interest rates in the future has investors rebalancing their portfolios, with a shift out of equity into debt, as bond yields are expected to increase. Twelve-month bond yields have recently inched up to 1.97 percent.

By comparison, Groundfloor investors have earned an average of 13.6 percent per year over the past three years, which represents over 6x the yield of a current one year Treasury note, and over 1,000 percent more than they would have made if their money had been in a CD or savings account over this period.1 Groundfloor’s retail investors create their own portfolios of real estate debt investments in the fix and flip residential housing market, and the loans on which the investments are based are secured by a first lien position against the underlying real asset.

Real Estate Equity Crowdfunding: A New Investment Opportunity for the Investors (EIN News), Rated: A

Talking in context of real estate, there are 3 ways to invest in a crowdfunded real-estate property:

• Equity crowdfunding
• Syndicated debt crowdfunding
• Platform-issued (‘pre-filled’) debt crowdfunding

Following are the pros and cons of going for equity crowdfunding in real estate:

Pros

• High yield potential
• Lower barrier to entry: Even if you have a very less amount of money, you can still invest even in large commercial real estate projects through equity crowdfunding and enjoy the benefits of the real estate i.e., strong returns and lower volatility.
• No self-employment taxes
• Higher returns

Cons

• The risks. An investor should know how to evaluate the risk factors like local economy volatility and chances of higher than expected construction costs. Due diligence is what is required.
• Liquidity constraint: These investments need to be held up for a period of five years or so, and hence one should go for this option if this much bandwidth is available, lack of liquidity is not there, and an investor is comfortable with the invested amount to be tied up for several years.
• It’s still an early option: It is still an early option to be considered as the performance track record and validation is still not complete and individual investors are still trying to figure it out.
• Lack of control: Since it is a passive investment, the investors are not involved in the day to day activities and therefore have limited ability and control over the operations required.

RealyInvest App Empowers Beginners to Invest in Commercial Real Estate (PR Newswire), Rated: A

In a rising tide of fintech apps, RealyInvest is emerging as a new way for beginning investors to access the high-priced world of premier commercial real estate right from their smartphones.

RealyInvestors can purchase fractional shares of REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts) for as little as $5. Investors can also own shares of commercial real estate NNN Assets, such as a building long-term leased to Starbucks, for as little as $20.

All investments, rental income and dividend earnings can be managed right on your smartphone. Fees range from $1 to $3 per month, depending on investment options.

Silicon Valley Explores a New Investment: Your Home (WSJ), Rated: AAA

A handful of companies, including those backed by marquee Silicon Valley names such as Andreessen Horowitz and Mark Zuckerberg’s philanthropic organization, are experimenting with a product that essentially lets them take an ownership position in a house along with the homeowner. The agreements, called shared-equity contracts, provide a new way for investors to get exposure to rising home prices across the U.S.

Shared-equity products are aimed at new buyers who need help with a down payment, or current homeowners looking for an alternative to a cash-out mortgage refinancing or a home-equity loan. The first use has caught the attention of mortgage-finance giant Freddie Mac ,which recently agreed to buy loans on properties where one firm,Unison Agreement Corp. , contributes to the down payment.

Landed Inc. offers these down-payment contracts to teachers and other educators. Last year, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative , a philanthropy co-founded by Facebook Inc.’s chief executive, gave Landed $5 million to start a new fund.

The length of the contracts can vary from a few years to 30. Homeowners can repay early, including if they sell their house before the term ends. How much they end up owing depends on how the value of their home changes. Because the funds are equity, not a borrowing, they don’t require monthly payments.

Even Financial inks $ 3 mln (PE Hub Network), Rated: AAA

Even Financial, the technology platform powering financial services online, has secured a strategic investment round totaling $3 million. The round includes an investment from American Express Ventures, the strategic investment unit of American Express, as well as Plug & Play and Arab Angels.

With this investment, Even Financial will expand its team and advance its proprietary technology, which allows financial institutions and other partners to scale customer acquisition and remain competitive in the growing online financial services industry.

Fundrise Reports 2017 Performance. Total Return for the Year Stands at 11.44% (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

In brief, this is what Fundrise reported;

“In 2017, Fundrise investments earned an 11.44%* total return on investment, including over $16 million in dividends paid out to investors. Delivering attractive, consistent cash flow is a core part of our mission to offer you a better way to invest.”

Online SMB lending platform Yalber closes $ 20M senior credit facility (Bankless Times), Rated: A

SMB lending platform Yalber closed a $20 million senior credit facility this week, the company announced today.

Blinker Joins With Ally To Enhance The Auto Industry’s Only Peer-To-Peer E-Commerce Platform (PR Newswire), Rated: A

South by Southwest Interactive Innovation Award winner and 2018 LendIt Fintech Industry Award finalist Blinker, the only peer-to-peer e-commerce platform that provides an end-to-end solution for anyone buying, selling or financing cars, announced two major milestones for its business today:

  • Blinker is now available in the largest car markets in the US – Beginning today, Blinker is expanding its proprietary e-commerce and loan origination platform from Texas and Colorado to California and Florida, allowing millions of customers to buy, sell and finance vehicles easier, quicker and safer with other people. Thirty percent of vehicle sales across the US every year are between people, yet private-party marketplaces including Craigslist, Letgo, Autotrader, Cars.com and Facebook Marketplace don’t have services such as integrated financing or lien payoff support. Leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning, Blinker customers get guidance and tools to complete the entire purchase process themselves, from instant vehicle valuation to real-time auto loan approval to e-signing documents to secure funds transfer, all for free within Blinker’s mobile app.
  • Blinker joins with Ally to offer best-in-class auto protection products – Blinker will now give customers the option to add Ally’s vehicle protection coverage, including Ally Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP) and Ally Premier Protection vehicle service contracts, for their vehicle purchases in the app. GAP covers the difference between the cash value of a vehicle and what Blinker customers still owe on their loan if the vehicle is totaled or stolen. Ally vehicle service contracts cover the repair cost for over 7,400 mechanical, electrical, safety or digital components, as well as some related expenses like trip interruption, rental car coverage, towing and 24/7 roadside assistance.

Zelle users are finding out the hard way there’s no fraud protection (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Scammers have taken to Zelle, the Venmo alternative backed by U.S. banks, to defraud consumers who believe the service includes the same protections they’ve come to expect from PayPal. A number of customers report having lost hundreds, or even thousands of dollars, over Zelle, when they used it for transactions with people they didn’t know – like tickets bought off a Craigslist posting, for example.

Cyberattacks took $ 56B from U.S. economy in ’16 (American Banker), Rated: A

Malicious cyber activity cost the U.S. economy between $57 billion and $109 billion in 2016, the White House said Friday.

The estimate comes in a Council of Economic Advisers report on the impact of cyberattacks on U.S. government and industry. The report details the range of threats that U.S. entities face from actors including corporations and countries such as Russia, China, Iran and North Korea.

The council’s estimate represents between 0.31% and 0.58% of the 2016 U.S. gross domestic product. For comparison, the report cites a Center for Strategic and International Studies report that estimated the cost of malicious cyber activities against U.S. entities at $107 billion in 2013, 0.64% of GDP that year.

BlockFi Raises 1.55M in Seed Funding (Finsmes), Rated: A

BlockFi, a New York-based fintech company whose first product is a loan for cryptoasset owners, raised $1.55m in seed funding.

Backers included ConsenSys Ventures, Kenetic Capital, PJC, SoFi, Purple Arch Ventures and Lumenary.

The 2018 World’s Most Innovative Companies (Fast Company), Rated: A

03 Square

For extending the benefits of banking

19 Social Capital

For putting values into its ventures

26 Kakao Bank

For marrying social messaging with banking

31 Paytm

For pioneering the cashless economy

42 Stripe

For writing the new startup manual

47 CommonBond

For offering payback

‘Pinterest will get even bigger for us’ says fintech lender Elevate Credit (The Drum), Rated: A

Speaking to The Drum in the final instalment of a four-part video series with Falcon.io exploring social media strategies, she admitted that while it can be a challenge, using data to understand her audience’s wants and needs has helped her shape content which is likely to resonate.

Fox says she has been finding success on the unlikeliest of social media platforms – Pinterest.

“All our content is more lifestyle focused than finance focused,” she explained.

OpenClose Bolsters Software Integration and Support Teams (Send2Press), Rated: B

OpenClose, an industry-leading multi-channel loan origination system (LOS) and mortgage fintech provider, announced that it has added staff to its integration and customer support departments. The new hires will help enhance OpenClose’s existing software products, facilitate digital mortgage processes, produce fintech-level innovation and provide excellence in customer support. The company also recently added three senior software engineers to its development team.

3 Loans for Students You Should Avoid Like the Plague (Student Loan Hero), Rated: B

1. Payday loans

You usually have only a couple of weeks to repay the loan, and the typical APR is almost 400.00%, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. If you can’t pay it back and have to take out a new payday loan to pay off the first, you could end up stuck in a vicious cycle of predatory debt.

What you should try instead: payday alternative loan (PAL).

2. Auto title loans

The reality is these short-term loans also have three-digit APRs, and you typically have between 15 and 30 days to repay the loan.

What you should try instead: A short-term campus loan.

$20 / $2,000 = 1%
1% x 365 days = 3.65
3.65 / 60 = 6.08% APR

3. Cash advances

This type of loan isn’t as costly as a payday loan or an auto title loan, but it’s not ideal for two reasons:

  1. Credit cards charge a fee, typically 5% of the advance amount. So, if you withdraw $500, you’ll have to pay $25 upfront.
  2. There’s no grace period with cash advances, so interest starts accruing immediately.

What you should try instead: A 0% APR promotion. Some credit cards offer a 0% APR promotion on new purchases for a period.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle to launch two new mobile apps this year (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

The business lender, which currently only has an iPhone app for investors to access, monitor and manage their accounts, is now advertising for a global mobile apps product manager and for an Android developer.

Both positions are based in the UK.

“We have an ambitious roadmap for this year and want to launch two new apps (Android and iOS) for our investors,” the job advert on the Funding Circle website said.

LendInvest Announces Launch of Buy-to-Let Online Calculator for Intermediaries (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On Tuesday, LendInvest announced the launch of its new buy-to-let (BTL) online calculator for intermediaries.

 

P2P business lending up 51% (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: A

The value of P2P business lending grew by 51% during 2017, according to new research from the British Business Bank (BBB).

The report also found that the value of SME asset finance deals was up 12%.

Although net bank lending volumes remained positive (£700m in 2017), it was weaker than in both 2016 (£3bn) and 2015 (£2bn).

The BBB found that there had been a significant increase in both the value and number of SME equity deals, up 79% and 12% respectively.

Online lenders and banks may operate as ‘joint ventures’ (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

ONLINE lending platforms may partner with banks to fund and market credit products in the future, even sharing the approval process and compliance, in one scenario outlined by global banking regulators.

A number of peer-to-peer lenders have already partnered with banks on a smaller scale. For example, Metro Bank has lent through Zopa’s platform and Santander has referred borrowers to Funding Circle. However, these tie-ups have not gone as far as the report’s scenario suggests in terms of becoming a joint venture.

Crowdfund sites ‘are not explaining the dangers’ (The Times), Rated: A

Square Pie, which started life as a stall in London’s Old Spitalfields Market, expanded with the help of a “pie bond” that promised 8% annual interest over four years. The bond was offered through one of Britain’s biggest crowdfunding platforms, Crowdcube.

A total of 324 investors signed up, lending more than £650,000 to fund Square Pie restaurants and its efforts to improve supermarket sales. Square Pie has gone into administration — the first failure of a business that issued a mini bond on a crowdfunding site.…

Crypto lending platform nears launch (AltFi), Rated: A

Lendingblock is one such business. The soon-to-launch platform is, in its founder Steve Swain’s words, “an open exchange for cryptocurrency loans”.

Lendingblock is in the middle of a three-stage Initial Coin Offering that will conclude in March. The first phase has already been completed, raising the equivalent of $500,000. The offering has a hard cap of $10m.

Number of farming building conversions falls 20 percent in a year (FarmingUK), Rated: B

The number of conversions of farm buildings into new homes dropped 20% in the last year, denting hopes that these conversions could help solve the rural housing crisis.

According to Lendy, one of Europe’s largest peer-to-peer lending platforms, only 1,511 agricultural-to-residential conversion applications were approved in 2016/17.

China

The New Year to Bring a New Flood of IPOs (CapitalWatch), Rated: A

Golden Bull Ltd., an online peer-to-peer lending platform in China, plans to offer up to $9 million in shares on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “DNJR.” The Shanghai-based company, which was founded in 2015, provides borrowers access to short-term loans.
European Union

Finnest Expands Online Financing to Larger Corporations, Adds Institutional Investors (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Finnest is an interesting online lender operating in the DACH countries. The peer to peer platform was launched to provide SME funding supported by individual investors but the company is now expanding by providing loans of €10 million and higher. Institutional investors such as insurance companies, funds, family offices and banks will now be able to invest in large SMEs on “FinnestPro.”

Why it’s OK that the majority of consumers don’t know about Open Banking – for now (AltFi), Rated: A

The new EU legislation on payment services – PSD2 – and the introduction of Open Banking in the UK seem to have passed the vast majority of people in the country by, according to an AltFi News article last month.

This referred to a report by Which saying that 92 per cent of consumers hadn’t even heard of Open Banking.

International

How Millennials are Moving Emerging Markets (Morningstar), Rated: AAA

Millennials in advanced economies have come under pressure in recent years, thanks to stagnating wages, rising house prices and escalating student debt. But an altogether different trend is taking place in many emerging markets where millennials are seeing their prospects rapidly improve. This in turn is creating an investment opportunity, as millennials in these countries are becoming hugely influential on the prospects for emerging market equities.

Millennials will account for half of the global workforce by 2020, meaning they will be one of the most influential groups in shaping the economy and society, including consumption habits, policy and how companies may want to market and brand themselves. They are disrupting traditional industries and companies are having to adapt. This presents investment opportunities, but it also presents new investment risks.

Latest ICO Updates on VLR Token – Valorem Foundation ICO is LIVE! (TechBullion), Rated: A

Based on ERC-20, the multilayered cryptocurrency platform will host a marketplace that allows developmental phases. The first phase focuses on micro loans (small loans), rent payments, student loans and peer-to-peer payment processing.

As trust grows on the platform, phase 2 will be implemented to cater to sales distribution, global small business investing and global commercial and residential real estate crowdfunding while the third stage will serve charity and insurance. The final phase will be dedicated to maintenance and future developments that may include additional currency adoption, feature adding etc.

Valorem (VLR) is the token offered. The exchange rate stands at 1 ETH= 1000 VLR. There is a total supply of 200 million tokens of which 150 million are available during the ICO and 50 million will be kept in reserve. Valorem will not be mined.

Wealth managers must go digital (Raconteur), Rated: B

People born between roughly 1982 and 2002 are set to receive the biggest inheritance boom of any post-war generation. The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) estimated the figure will be around $4 trillion in the UK, Canada and United States.

An Interview with Kirill Suslov – The CEO at Finom and TabTrader Founder (NewsBTC), Rated: B

NewsBTC: Now it seems that you have no experience with banking services yet. How do you plan to cover this area?

Now I can say we understand confidently how banking works and how it should work in the crypto industry. By 2020, we’re going to have a licensed bank and transform it into a crypto one with a network of crypto terminals.

A bit sooner, in 2018, we plan to release crypto e-wallets with linked debit cards. Miners will be able to use recently mined coins right away, transferring them to their wallets immediately. We’re also designing a platform for peer-to-peer lending.

Australia

Peer To Peer Lending Increasingly Popular In Australia (compare dinkum), Rated: AAA

Australian investors and borrowers are increasingly adopting peer to peer lending platforms according to the results of survey undertaken by ASIC. The results of the survey suggest that as much as $300 million of personal and business loans were underwritten by peer to peer lenders over the course of the last fiscal year. That represents a doubling in the amount that was lent on such platforms during the 2015/2016 financial year.

Why Australia needs a better system for credit scores (The Converstion), Rated: AAA

Australia’s credit rating system is failing both borrowers and lenders. Many borrowers are unaware of their own credit scores and our research shows they have trouble applying for suitable loans. Lenders are also struggling with too little information, causing them to extend loans to those they shouldn’t and restrict loans to worthy borrowers.

Upcoming changes to Australia’s credit reporting system could remedy these issues.

Under the new credit reporting regime, both lenders and borrowers will have access to more data, such as monthly payment histories on loans and credit cards.

More innovation ahead in mortgage lending

For higher-risk borrowers, novel techniques to assess credit risk (such as analysis of social media accounts) may be the answer to distinguish good borrowers from bad.

But prior experience from an over-reliance on credit scores in the United States shows that careful assessment of borrowers remains vital.

India

Refer to these fintech startups for range of medical loans (Business Standard), Rated: A

Among all the personal the medical loan is the most crucial one which is often required on an urgent basis by the applicants.

Recently a host of Financial technology(Fintech) and Non-financing related start-ups have been launched in providing a variety of medical to the clients.

Canada

They couldn’t get loans from their banks so turned to a legitimate-looking lender online (The Star), Rated: AAA

Unable to qualify for a loan from her bank, Johnston searched online for private lenders and found a website for what appeared to be a legitimate company calling itself North Clear Credit.

Everything about it — the variety of loans offered, the glowing testimonials, the company description — seemed professional. In fact, a customer who later reported North Clear Credit to police says an officer told her the website looked legitimate.

For Johnston and Mood, the terms were appealing. The money could be paid back monthly over five years at an interest rate substantially lower than what they would be charged elsewhere.

Johnston completed an online application and was approved for a $20,000 loan.

Within a few days, Johnston and Mood had lost $3,500, and two North Clear Credit “representatives” with whom Johnston had been corresponding had disappeared.

Blackchain Announces Private Placement (Stockhouse), Rated: A

Blackchain Solutions Inc. (the “Company” or “Blackchain”) (CSE: BIS), announces a private placement of up to 3,400,000 units at a price of $0.18 per unit, for gross proceeds of $612,000.  Each unit consists of one common share and one share purchase warrant.  Each warrant is exercisable at a price of $0.22 per share for a term of two years.

Proceeds generated from this financing will be used to initiate and support the filing of multiple patents and trademarks related to the Blackchain Crypto Credit Rating API and P2P Lending Platform.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday February 6 2018, Daily News Digest

paypal active customers

News Comments Today’s main news: Zopa reveals where the 3B GBP loanbook gets you. Revolut now operates in the Nordics. MatchMove, Rubique partner on loan payouts, disbursements. Behalf nabs $150M in debt capital. Today’s main analysis: PayPal has another solid quarter of growth. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Why SoFi wants to be a neobank. LendingClub wants to get customers off the […]

paypal active customers

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Other

News Summary

United States

What is a neobank, and why does SoFi want to be one? (Bankrate), Rated: AAA

The company, Social Finance (often shortened to SoFi), is set to launch its SoFi Money business in the next few months. With this new product line, the company adds its name to the growing list of so-called “neobanks,” alongside firms like Chime, Simple and Varo Money. If you’re interested, there’s a waiting list for SoFi Money.

However, up until now neobanks have tended to stick to narrowly focused product lines, offering only checking or savings accounts. They have also needed to partner with specialty banks to ensure deposits are covered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC).

Should you become a customer, your debit card would say SoFi Money and you’d use the SoFi app to check your balance and call customer service when you have a problem, but your money would be on deposit at WSFS Financial.

LendingClub: Getting Borrowers Off The Credit Hamster Wheel (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

Allocca first observed the problem in the late 1990s, when he began to sense a disconnect between the bank’s stated vision and mission to help customers succeed financially — and the actual help and services that were being offered, from credit cards to overdraft fees.

An October 2017 study by PYMNTS and Unifund dubbed these consumers “financial invisibles,” having no (or little) access to further credit when they need it. These consumers live paycheck to paycheck, and the ends just aren’t meeting up. They feel like they could never set aside $300 a month to square away their credit card debt.

Allocca said they can — and they do — and if they get into the habit of setting aside those $300-a-month payments once the debt has been erased, the savings start to build up.

According to the Financial Invisibles Report, even 40 percent of the population that claims not to worry about money still lives paycheck to paycheck, and that’s true across demographics.

LendingClub (LC) Set to Announce Earnings on Monday (Week Herald), Rated: B

LendingClub (NYSE:LC) will be posting its quarterly earnings results after the market closes on Monday, February 12th.

PayPal sees another solid quarter of growth (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

PayPal, which Wednesday, had another quarter of strong growth across metrics.

  • Total payment volume: The firm’s total payment volume (TPV) increased to $131 billion in the quarter, up 29% from the $99 billion it posted in Q4 2016, and a 15% sequential increase. That volume 
    Source: Business Insider

    NYC-Based Behalf Secures $ 150 Million in Debt Capital (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

    Behalf, a provider of working capital solutions for small and medium-sized businesses, announced today that it has secured $150 million in debt financing led by a private investment fund managed by Soros Fund Management LLC. Viola Credit also participated in the Debt Financing. An equity investment in Behalf was also made by Viola Credit and a private investment fund managed by Soros Fund Management LLC.

    Credit card issuers block bitcoin purchases (Bankrate), Rated: A

    Nearly all of the nation’s largest financial institutions have blocked consumers from being able to buy the volatile cryptocurrency with a credit cardJPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup recently banned credit purchases of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, following Capital One and Discover.

    LendEDU, a student loan marketplace, surveyed nearly 700 bitcoin investors in December and asked how they paid for their investment.

    A third used a debit card, and another 19 percent set up an ACH transfer, which is what you’d expect—people tend to fund for their investment portfolio with cash.

    Another 18 percent, though, said they used a credit card. More than a fifth of those respondents said they carried credit card balance as a result of their purchase. Even more troubling, seven out of ten of those who went into debt believed the profit they’d earn from their bitcoin investment would compensate for interest payments.

    Hard Lessons From the Federal Student-Loan Program’s Coming $ 36 Billion Shortfall (WSJ), Rated: AAA

    U.S. officials have long maintained the federal government would make a profit on its $1.4 trillion student loan portfolio or at least break even, but two recent reports suggest just the opposite will be the case. Government lending to college and graduate students could soon become an immense drain on federal coffers, worsening an already deteriorating U.S. budget picture.

    The Education Department’s inspector general, an agency watchdog, in a reportreleased last week said the profitability of the U.S. federal student lending program is being squeezed because millions of Americans who borrowed heavily in recent years—including many graduate students—are flocking into a program to have substantial portions of their debts forgiven. Students who borrowed in the fiscal year ended Sep. 30, 2015, and enrolled in such “income-driven repayment” plans, for example, are expected to pay back $11.5 billion less than they took to pay tuition and other schooling costs.

    The prospect of taxpayer losses on student loans increases the chances that Congress will make major changes to the program, such as eliminating debt-forgiveness options or placing new dollar limits on how much individuals can borrow.

    REWIREMENT IS NOT AN ALTERNATIVE TO RETIREMENT, BUT A PHASE OF GLOBAL EXPLORATION THAT CAN HAPPEN AT ANY AGE (Ron Suber), Rated: AAA

    ON DAY 231-237,

    While hiking through a forest in Patagonia, wading over volcanic ash for miles, kayaking around fjords amongst glaciers and jumping off cliffs into roaring rapids I found the space to contemplate more on three of the most common topics of conversation.

    FEAR

    Few know that fear drove me to withdraw from the Prosper deal just days before we were going to invest with Sequoia in January of 2013.

    The fear of failure, fear of change, fear of losing, fear of the unknown; all drove me to say no to the Prosper opportunity that I wanted and had worked so hard on with my business partners.

    Overcoming that fear changed the trajectory of my life and helped shape my own investment philosophy (and the strategy of using an Investment Thesis).

    APPEARANCE

    Things aren’t always as they seem in nature, business, people and life. Keep staring, stay curious but remain open.

    ADAPTING

    Adapting is the ability to adjust and modify one’s self to new conditions and new circumstances, and it’s a proficiency we should nurture as our surroundings change ever more rapidly.

    Matt Hollender of NetCredit (Lend Academy), Rated: A

    In this podcast you will learn:

    • The history of Enova and how they have evolved over time.
    • What was appealing to Matt about taking the helm at NetCredit.
    • Where NetCredit fits in the overall picture at Enova.
    • Who the near prime consumer is they are targeting.
    • The range of loan terms that NetCredit offers.
    • While they don’t have a cutoff by FICO score for who they will serve.
    • How their underwriting process works.
    • The channels they use to find these customers.
    • How they are improving the financial lives of their customers.
    • How their unique bank partnership works and how it allows them to expand their reach.
    • The balance they strike between automation and human intervention in credit decisions.
    • How NetCredit differentiates themselves from their competitors.
    • How they are funding these loans.
    • The scale they are at today.
    • How their MyRightFit tool works during the loan application process.
    • The percentage of their customers that come to them on mobile.
    • What the future holds for NetCredit.

    How Millennial Shoppers Make Purchase Decisions Today (Free Biz Mag), Rated: A

    Millennials have become the most in-demand consumer group among online retailers. Experts estimate they already spend over $1 trillion annually. Savvy eCommerce executives are studying Millennials to understand how to better speak to (and sell to) this growing and highly influential audience. This article discusses:

    1. Actionable tips for improving relationships with Millennial customers
    2. Mistakes many companies make when speaking to Millennials
    3. Factors that make Millennials loyal to certain brands

    Pace of Small Business Investment Remains Strong (PayNet), Rated: A

    Small business investment continued to register gains at the end of 2017 as delinquencies and defaults remained at low levels according to the latest small business credit trends from PayNet, the leading provider of small business credit data and analysis. However, some warning signs in financial health are starting to emerge.

    The December 2017 Thomson Reuters/PayNet Small Business Lending Index (SBLI) decreased 1% to 136.5 from 138.5 (revised) in November 2017. Compared to December 2016, the SBLI increased 2%.

    Construction increased +7%, Transportation +13%, and Administrative and Waste Services +5% on a three-month rolling basis compared to three months ago.

    Weaknesses are primarily in the services sector with declines in Information Services (-8%), Professional Services (-3%), and Health Care (-2%) on a three-month rolling basis compared to three months ago.

    New Product Alleviates Mortgage Lending Compliance Risk and Worry (PR Newswire), Rated: A

    Financial institution executives in charge of mortgage lending compliance training now have a solution to stay ahead of employee training, certification and licensing requirements with the launch of Compliance Keeper 2.0 by OnCourse Learning Financial Services.

    The new product alleviates mortgage lending compliance issues regularly plaguing compliance officers, such as tracking loan officers’ completed pre-licensing and continuing education courses, compliance report generation, and assessing company risk and liability.

    Mortgage lending compliance made easy
    Compliance Keeper 2.0 empowers financial services compliance departments to administer, schedule, communicate, report and customize employee training programs to ensure compliance and success.

    Additional benefits of the new product are:

    • Mitigation of risk, and time and money savings on audit preparation.
    • Ability to meet state and national regulatory compliance requirements on time.
    • Automatic notifications that alert managers and employees to training and compliance deadlines.
    • Review of all company license information in one dashboard.
    • Actionable insight into employee certification needs.
    • Continuity of training across departments and/or branches.

    Fluz Fluz Blockchain Cashback Platform Aims to Enter and Reshape US Consumer Market (Insider Monkey), Rated: A

    However, one of the most important areas that blockchain technology can and will disrupt in the near future is financial services. Put simply, the technology represents a shared database that contains entries that are incorruptible and immovable and have to be confirmed in order to be added and each entry is logically linked to the previous one. This makes it perfectly suitable for international money transfers, so it’s unsurprising that 90% of major North American and European banks are exploring the use of this technology, according to an Accenture survey.

    According to a PwC report, 77% of financial institutions expect to adopt blockchain technology as soon as 2020.

    Fluz Fluz currently has over 40,000 active users in Colombia, where it launched in January 2017 built by the serial Ecommerce entrepreneurs Maurice Harary and Stefan Krautwald. The company sells instantly usable gift cards from over 200 merchants. Whenever a purchase is made using this card, network participants earn cashable rewards called Fluz, which are stored in mobile wallets. Fluz points can be exchanged for other cryptocurrencies or fiat money.

    Verifundr Moved to Next Phase Reports APT Systems (GlobeNewswire), Rated: A

    APT SYSTEMS, INC. (OTC Pink: APTY), a fully reporting public company in the Fintech sector, is pleased to announce that it has formally engaged the services of Difitek, Inc. to build the Verifundr escrow and payment platform. We look to Difitek to provide us with a modern framework, architecture and bank grade security features.

     

    The Worst Law Schools If You Ever Want To Pay Off Your Student Loans (Above the Law), Rated: B

    Worst Law School Salary-To-Debt Ratio
    School Avg Salary Avg Debt Salary-To-Debt Ratio
    Florida Coastal $84,664 $158,427 0.5x
    Charlotte School of Law $84,285 $154,802 0.5x
    Saint Thomas $96,356 $175,075 0.5x
    Barry University $86,908 $156,228 0.6x
    Appalachian School of Law $84,366  $143,724  0.6x
    Thomas Jefferson School of Law $101,173 $169,951  0.6x
    Roger Williams School of Law $94,557 $157,494  0.6x
    Elon University $87,680 $145,610  0.6x
    Texas A&M $90,665 $149,042  0.6x
    Arizona Summit f/k/a Phoenix School of Law $96,115  $155,697  0.6x
    United Kingdom

    Zopa reveals where a £3bn loanbook gets you (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

    ZOPA investors have funded enough car purchases to fill a traffic queue stretching from London to New Delhi, the platform claims.

    The peer-to-peer lender, which reached £3bn of loans last week, has been disclosing where the funds have ended up.

    Its loanbook has helped get 147,000 cars on the road, the platform revealed in a blog post on its website on Friday.

    Zorin Finance reaches £300m of lending (AltFi), Rated: A

    Zorin Finance, the alternative property lending specialist, has passed £300m of loans funded.

    Five UK FinTechs Leading The Charge In FinTech Fortnight (Forbes), Rated: A

    Today marks the start of FinTech Fortnight, a two-week celebration of the UK’s rapidly-growing FinTech sector.

    Revolut is a mobile-only digital banking app which launched its first UK current accounts in 2017.

    Founded in 2007, FreeAgent provides cloud-based accounting software, specifically for freelancers, micro businesses and accountancy practices.

    Bud is a London start-up that is trying to introduce “tailor-made banking”, by bundling a person’s various financial services, from a credit card with one bank, to a current account with another, into one platform.

    Funding Circle connects investors who wish to lend money directly to small and medium-sized enterprises via its peer-to-peer, alternative financing platform. Since its launch in 2010, investors on the platform have lent more than £3.2bn to UK firms, which has helped more than 33,000 companies access financing.

    Digital-only bank Monzo, began life as a start-up offering a pre-paid debit card.

    Current account customers slapped with an average of £152 in fees last year – here’s how to check what you paid (This is Money), Rated: A

    Plum has launched a Fee Fighter tool you can use to check how much you have handed over in fees yourself.

    Current account customers handed over an average of £152 each in banking fees last year, effectively putting an end to the myth of free banking.

    Given there are around 65 million active current accounts in the UK, this means the banks could have made nearly £10 billion in fees, according to the figures from savings app Plum.

    The research, which looked at 11,217 current accounts, showed that only 7 per cent (770 users) paid no bank fees at all.

    Over half (57 per cent) of the £152 average annual cost to current account customers came from using an overdraft and 56 per cent of account holders, or 6,276 people, used their overdraft, dipping in to the red at least once in the year.

    The next largest slice of the £152 average fee (at 27 per cent) was made up of monthly account charges or unspecified fees – which can include the cost of payments made or bounced by the bank that take you beyond your limit that are are commonly known as paid and unpaid item or transaction fees.

    These payments typically cost between £5 and £10 each.

    Source: This is Money

    R5-SHCH Connect goes live with eight Chinese banks (Finextra), Rated: A

    Theresa May today announced the launch of R5-SHCH Connect, a new service which links banks in China with London’s foreign exchange (FX) market.

    Using R5-SHCH Connect domestic banks in China now have access to the London FX market, recognised as the leading centre for global FX trading. The new service is a partnership between London’s R5 and the Shanghai Clearing House, announced by UK Chancellor Philip Hammond in December as part of the 9th UK China Economic Dialogue.

    European Union

    Red-hot fintech startup Revolut is taking on the Nordics (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

    Stockholm’s hot fintech scene is about to get hotter as Revolut – one of recent years’ biggest fintech sensations – arrives in the Swedish capital to launch its Nordic expansion.

    Since 2015, the startup has acquired some 1,3 million users around the world, making it one of the world’s fastest-growing fintech startups.

    The company, which recently added all the Scandinavian currencies among its basket of 130 global currencies, is now officially live in all the Nordic countries.

    Dutch fintech firm Ohpen raises €25 million to expand into new markets (Tech.eu), Rated: A

    SaaS-based core banking software Ohpen has raised €25 million in a Series C round led by private equity firm Amerborgh.

    Amsterdam’s Ohpen develops software tools used in the financial sector to digitalise services and for moving customers to the cloud. The new funds will be invested in growth and expanding into new markets.

    Finance chiefs warn on Big Tech’s shift to banking (Financial Times), Rated: A

    Europe’s introduction this year of “open banking” regulation, which forces lenders to provide access to accounts of customers who authorise it, has left senior bankers worrying that tech groups will cherry-pick the best parts of their business.

    Francisco González, executive chairman of Spanish bank BBVA, has warned that groups such as Facebook and Amazon in the US, and Alibaba and Tencent in China will “replace many banks”. He called on a global body such as the G20 to take action, saying “authorities [need] to bring order to this massive change” that could “pose risks to financial stability”.

    France regulator AMF clarifies its expectations for crowdfunding (LeapRate), Rated: B

    The crowdfunding regulatory framework, which was established in 2014 and updated in 2016, set up different statuses for intermediaries in relation to the marketed products:

    • crowdfunding investment advisors for investments in equity, bonds and “minibons” (interest-bearing notes). They are supervised by the AMF;
    • crowdlending intermediaries for donations or loans – with or without interest. These professionals fall under the jurisdiction of the ACPR.

     

    International

    16 Fintech Startups Deliver $ 12 Billion Financing to Consumers and SMEs in 32 countries (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

    The conference gathered more than 2,500 delegates from more than 50 countries from the five continents at the old French stock exchange in Paris, France. Alternative finance was one of the many topics addressed – the event spans Fintech and Insurtech and topics ranging from cryptocurrencies and blockchain to Artificial Intelligence and to Regtech.

    • They’re young: The 16 firms are on average 5.5 years old (with the oldest being 12 years old, the youngest not even 2),
    • Very international: They serve on average 4 different countries and together, with much overlap, cover 32 countries on the five continents.
    • Getting big: They have helped finance nearly €9.5 billion ($12 billion) worth of loans, bonds, and private equity for consumers and SMEs.
    • Well-funded: They raised on average $30 million in private equity for themselves

    Panelists Davis Barons, CEO of Creamfinance, Poland; Boris Batin, CEO of ID Finance, Spain; and Mark Ruddock, CEO of 4finance, Latvia, may be the best-kept secrets of global alternative finance. Founded respectively in 2012, 2012, and 2008, these companies have originated loan volumes measured in the €100s of million, and even, in the case of 4Finance, in billions of euros.

    Revolutionize Your Finance Industry Business With FinTech Mobile Apps (Finextra), Rated: A

    With the increased use of mobiles and digital revolution, every business has been disrupted, and financial services are no exception to this. There has been a drastic change in the way people are now accessing financial products and services. Customers are now looking out for FinServes that offer mobile apps and wearable technology to uninsured millennials. Insurance companies associating with FinTechs is on a rise and FinServes are increasingly leveraging new technologies to enhance customer experience. All insurance related process platforms ranging from claims, underwriting, distribution, and brokerage are being automated in innovative ways.

    According to a survey, FinTech is expected to be customer-focus by nearly 75% respondents out the 432 respondents surveyed. About 84% respondents expect that in the next five years, FinTech mobile applications will show the largest growth in usage.

    • Accept the changing market scenario 
    • Invest in technology: You need to implement innovative technology by investing in ventures to sideline your competitors in the FinServe industry.
    • Work in partnership: You need to collaborate with partners beyond the FinServe industry who have experience and can come up with new ways to generate value.
    • Analyse your success goals: So, plan your goals for the future by cautiously investing in digital technologies that are easy to implement and considering the opportunities available for improving business models.

    Challenges faced by InsurTech

    • IT security concerns: The security challenges of the IT industry make it a challenge for customers to enter the FinTech environment with complete reliability.
    • Frictions in customer journey: With the introduction of FinTech, customer expectations have reached a whole new level. However, they still experience a lot of friction throughout their journey as their very high expectations are still not met.
    • New and different business models: As the traditional insurance industry remained unchanged for over a century, the change in business models is not easily acceptable. Failure to meet user’s rapidly changing needs with time creates a challenge for FinTech adoption.
    Australia

    Why property buyers need to know about tax deductions (Domain), Rated: AAA

    According to a recent survey by online lender State Custodians, 61 per cent of respondents don’t know that mortgage interest payments on an investment property are tax deductible.

    A property is said to be negatively geared when expenses exceed rental income, and this net loss can be applied against other income, including salary or business income, to reduce your tax bill.

    Only 23 per cent of people under 35 know interest repayments are tax deductible compared with 44 percent of people aged 35 and over.

    The Australian Tax Office explains what expenses are deductible, but crunching the numbers based on a hypothetical property purchase can help put it into perspective.

    Source: Domain.com.au
    India

    Startup CXOs welcome boost to digital infra, ask for redressal of angel tax (money control), Rated: A

    Even as the government failed to address the issues of angel tax and crowdfunding of startups in Budget 2018, India’s young ventures have welcomed the move to encourage financial-tech sector and healthcare.

    Bhavin Patel, Founder & CEO, LenDenClub: 

    “The government’s step of introducing LTCG tax of 10 percent on capital gains over Rs. 1 lakh could push investors to go to other fixed income avenues like P2P Lending. The policy will encourage investors to consider P2P lending as an alternate platform to invest and earn profitable returns. The reduction in the Corporate tax to 25 percent also appears as some relief to MSMEs like us.

    The efforts towards creating the right environment for Fintech companies to grow in India will bring in promising growth prospects for P2P lending platforms.”

    Satyam Kumar- CEO and CO-Founder, Loantap: 

    “We are happy that Finance Minister has acknowledged voice from Fintech Industry seeking soft touch approach to regulation and making a strong case for Fintech participation in supporting SME/ MSME growth. Fintech as a segment has been signalled out in this budget with a very clear objective of credit push to the last mile. We see it as strong government backing for the way fintech industry is shaping in India.”

    Asia

    MatchMove and Rubique to Disrupt Loan Payouts and Disbursements (Payments Journal), Rated: AAA

    MatchMove India today announced its partnership with Rubique, India’s leading marketplace for financial services, to transform the current way of paying and disbursing funds to multiple recipients. Rubique’s platform provides a wide range of loan products and end-to-end loan fulfilments to individuals and Small and Medium Enterprises (or SMEs) through its wide network of retailers and distributors.

    The globally proven MatchMove Bank Wallet Operating System enables Rubique to pay commissions, incentives and cashbacks to its retailers and distributors securely with just one click.

    India’s lending market is expected to be valued at US$3 trillion by 2026 and this presents a huge opportunity for Rubique.

    To date, Rubique has processed approximately 100,000 applications, disbursed US$345 million worth of loans and signed up about 65,000 cards across 80 financial institutions. Rubique’s business has seen a fourfold increase year-on-year and it plans to increase its footprint from 27 to 100 cities next year.​

    Cayman

    FINTECH POISED TO TRANSFORM FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY (Cayman27), Rated: AAA

    Traditional financial services accounts for around 55% of Cayman’s economy, but emerging technologies – blockchain being one example – are poised to change the industry forever.

    Fintech, a mash-up of finance and technology, is a word we are likely to hear more often in years to come. In the not-so-distant past, Fintech referred to the back-end computer technology used by banks or trading firms. Over the last decade Fintech has evolved to describe a broad variety of technological interventions into personal and commercial finance, and it’s garnering a lot of investment.

    Authors:

    George Popescu
    Allen Taylor

The Personal Data App Consumers Can Earn Money With

Opiria personal data mobile app

Consumers have a reason to be concerned as news of personal data mining, bundling, and selling seems to be accelerating. As a result, the data brokerage industry has grown. Opiria’s white paper indicates the industry has a market value of $250B USD. That’s a quarter of a trillion dollars made off other people’s rightfully-owned data, […]

Opiria personal data mobile app

Consumers have a reason to be concerned as news of personal data mining, bundling, and selling seems to be accelerating. As a result, the data brokerage industry has grown. Opiria’s white paper indicates the industry has a market value of $250B USD. That’s a quarter of a trillion dollars made off other people’s rightfully-owned data, but precious little of it went to the people whose data is in question.

Opiria have an idea that attempts to make both sides of the consumer experience more successful and rewarding. How often have consumers chosen not to do something online because they were concerned about the security of their data? If Opiria’s platform is successful, those concerns could be a thing of the past.

The Opiria Solution

Opiria is an online consumer and usability research platform enabling companies to optimize products and services by understanding what consumers think, experience, see, and feel. Through mobile surveys and mobile diaries distributed directly to consumers’ smartphones, companies can get a better understanding of their target audiences without violating their personal data rights.

Christian Lange, the company’s CEO and founder, sheds light on the Opiria vision. He says the Opiria system is a decentralized marketplace built on the Ethereum blockchain for the secure trading of personal data. Consumers sell their data to companies for compensation, which is measured with the PData (for personal data) token.

Lange started his first company in 2005. Focused on measuring human behavior, that company developed software that was used by automotive companies worldwide offering detailed analysis to measure driver behavior with modifications to the automobile’s navigation system. The solution was limited, however, as companies only received data from one driver at a time.The need for big data was evident. This led Lange to the development of a new idea– something easy to use and makes it easy to collect data with technology available worldwide.

To fill that need, Opiria came up with a smartphone app for companies to get feedback from consumers worldwide, 24/7. They began designing the app in September 2015 and had the first version ready to launch by the close of 2016.

How Opiria Works

Opiria is a market research platform for which companies pay an annual licensing fee. The software allows them to interact with consumers through the Opiria app. The system centers on consumer feedback and opinions, part of it is based on surveys.

Still, those who don’t have the time for surveys, or who are not inclined to take them, still have data to sell. “We generate data through our web browsing and our online shopping,” Lange said. “We give information on our wearables, our smart devices, and pretty much anything that has anything to do with being human in the Internet world.”

Through the Opiria app, the company can sell that data knowing that consumer personal data is completely protected. Consumers share what they want to share and with whom they want to share it. Those who care to receive surveys will only receive those which fit their profiles. Being that the app is built on a blockchain, the data will be securely stored to release to further inquirers going forward.

One featured tool of the app is the Mobile Data Survey, which allows feedback over a longer period of time than the moment of usage. When consumers use a product or service, they can provide feedback in the moment. Then they can document it through videos, photos, and comments. This allows companies to get real-time data within seconds where most market research tools are email- and browser-based, and can take as long as a week to provide a company with the data.

For consumers, not only is the app free, but they can also turn their involvement into profit. The PData tokens can be saved and traded for cash.

Opiria’s Progress to Date

A profitable privately held company, Lange says the company needed no external funding to get off the ground. An ICO was launched on January 8 to raise capital. They set the hard cap at $19M USD.

The market has yet to be fully realized, but Opiria has almost 50 companies and 4,000 to 5,000 consumers signed up. Mercedes Benz, BMW, Audi, Intel, and Proctor and Gamble are among the major players paying for the service. Lange tells us that other customers come from every realm of the bitcoin industry including restaurants, hotels, fitness studios, and retail companies.

Opiria is also planning to use 60% of the funds generated from the ICO to grow the number of consumers to 1 million by the end of the year. “If we have a million customers, companies will flock to us,” Lange said.

One attractive aspect that might help them toward the goal of 1 million consumer participants is that personal information is not shared, only consumer data.

Opiria’s Competition and Future Outlook

While Lange says the company has a lot of competition, Survey Monkey possibly being its biggest competitor, he isnt concerned about it. “What gives us the advantage is that we do it all by app; it’s a faster way to do research and a direct line to the consumer,” he said. “A company can send out a survey and it can be delivered to consumers within seconds.”

The next thing they plan to release is software to capture, in an unobtrusive manner, where someone is looking and the emotions they have when they browse the Internet. Marlene Gagesch, the company’s co-founder and chief technical officer, is overseeing this work in Engostott, Germany.

Opiria is also working with Quicken Loans, a collaboration that hopes to equip Quicken with a mobile app that will do a longitudinal study of how people are tracking interest rates, among other things.

Lange goes on to list some other ways Opiria can be beneficial to online lenders. Understanding what kind of lending products people are interested in, for instance. “We can survey potential customers to understand how much interest they are willing to pay, the duration of loans, how you would like your contract laid out, and more,” he said. “You could perform A/B tests to see how people react emotionally to different offers made.”

Lange lays out the process in order to show how Opiria can “perfectly adapt [an] offering to meet potential customer expectations; deploy, get feedback, improve product, repeat.” This process takes weeks or months with classical market research, but with Opiria, it’s done a matter of minutes. “That gives companies a huge competitive advantage,” he said.

Why Opiria, and Can It Do Any Good?

If personal data is already out there for companies to buy—and it’s evident that they are buying it—then who’s to say this is going to work? Lange had an answer for that as well. It seems we’re getting better at guarding our information, and we’ve even gotten to a point where companies find themselves looking for data that just doesn’t exist. That has created this new market for personal data.

Opiria is one of those ideas off the beaten path enough to catch hold. A problem exists–consumer data needs protection–and consumers have to hope that something comes along that pays them for giving up some personal data security. If anyone knows that, it’s Opiria.

Author:

Written with Paul Keenan.

Allen Taylor

Thursday January 25 2018, Daily News Digest

blockchain equity rounds

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi to roll out checking accounts. Zopa re-opens to new customers. Roostify integrates with LendingTree. China regulator says credit market should adopt blockchain. ETHLend hits 1M GBP in P2P crypto loans. Borrowell launches free Equifax credit report monitoring. Brazilian payments company sets post-Snap IPO record. Today’s main analysis: Blockchain equity funding vs. ICOs. Today’s thought-provoking articles: […]

blockchain equity rounds

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

Egypt

Canada

South America

News Summary

United States

SoFi will roll out checking accounts this spring (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

SoFi is rolling out checking accounts without a banking license, demonstrating the new reality that a company doesn’t have to be a bank in order to bank customers.

By partnering with the Wilmington, Delaware-based WSFS Financial, SoFi will roll out a fee-free checking account and debit card this spring in a bundle it’s calling SoFi Money, designed to address the pain points customers have with day-to-day banking products, like high fees and clunky digital interfaces, executives said at a media gathering in New York Tuesday morning. SoFi Money will include peer-to-peer transfers between SoFi customers, mobile check deposit and high yield interest rates on deposits (0.75 to 0.85 percent). It will be available first to current SoFi members before the broader rollout.

Five challenges facing SoFi’s new CEO (American Banker), Rated: A

Reforming SoFi’s culture.

Determining when to go public. SoFi has a number of key shareholders who might like to access wealth that is tied up in the company’s shares. That list includes the Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, which led a $1 billion equity financing round in 2015, and the venture capital firm Silver Lake Partners, which led last year’s $500 million round. That round reportedly valued the privately held company at more than $4 billion.

Deciding how to grow. But while student loan refinancing proved to be an excellent way to find new customers during a period of low interest rates, that opportunity is now shrinking, as rising interest rates reduce the spread between what borrowers pay the federal government and what SoFi can offer.

Yes or no on a bank charter? 

Proving that he has the right background. Noto does not appear to have any experience in consumer financial services, which could be viewed as a weakness.

Roostify Announces Integration With LendingTree (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Roostify, a provider of automated mortgage transaction technology, today announced that it has integrated its online mortgage platform with LendingTree (NASDAQ: TREE), the online loan marketplace. The new integration makes it easier than ever for consumers to locate and apply with the right lender.

Lenders can utilize the new integration to create a seamless path for consumers to search, select, apply for, and close a loan online. Consumers selecting an offer on LendingTree from a lender using Roostify will be able to authenticate into the lender’s Roostify-powered online experience, with all information securely pre-populated. The consumer can move from shopping around to getting their loan in just a few clicks, streamlining the experience and improving lead quality for lenders.

The integration will enter general availability in Q1 2018 for all joint clients of Roostify and LendingTree.

2018’s Best Online Checking Accounts (WalletHub), Rated: AAA

More than 6 in 10 people don’t realize that online-only banks offer better rates and lower fees than their counterparts with branch access, according to WalletHub’s 2018 Banking Survey. But it’s true. What online-only accounts lack in terms of face-to-face interaction, they make up for with superior terms. For example, the average online checking account costs 47% less than its branch-based counterpart, according to WalletHub’s latest Banking Landscape Report. And the average online savings account pays 457% more interest than the branch alternative.

Best Online Checking Accounts – Editors’ Picks

Best For… Online Checking Account Best Feature
Overall Aspiration Summit Account APY up to 1.00%
Highest APY Consumers Credit Union Free Rewards Checking APY up to 4.59%
Debit-Card Rewards Bank5 Connect High-Interest Checking Account 1 point per $2 spent
No Monthly Fee BofI X Checking


Capital One 360 Checking Account

No ATM fees


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RealtyMogul Boosts REIT Cred with Hire of Industry Veteran Aaron Halfacre as President (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

RealtyMogul, a leading real estate crowdfunding platform offering Reg D (accredited) and Reg A+ (both accreds and non-accreds) investment opportunities in commercial and residential property, has hired a new President to help lead the firm. Aaron Halfacre, a 20 year real estate executive, has joined RealtyMogul bringing in institutional expertise including in the hot REIT sector.

Aaron Halfacre Becomes RealtyMogul’s First President (Bisnow), Rated: A

A former Campus Crest president and chief investment officer, Halfacre took a year and a half break after the publicly traded student housing REIT was acquired by Harrison Street Real Estate Capital in a $1.9B deal.

As president of RealtyMogul, Halfacre will be responsible for creating a strategy, growing assets and augmenting business growth. He will serve as a voting member of the firm’s investment committee, which has invested in more than $1.4B of real estate since 2013, the company reports.

Juvo Receives Investment from Samsung to Boost Smartphone Usage Among Underbanked (Finovate), Rated: A

Mobile identity company Juvo has received an investment from Samsung NEXT, an off-shoot of Samsung that launched in 2013 to create new software and foster a startup culture at Samsung. The amount of the investment was undisclosed and adds to the San Francisco-based company’s $54 million in equity funding.

The bigger story here is that the investment is a strategic one. Samsung will bring Juvo access to billions of underbanked prepaid users across the globe. This will help Juvo enable MNOs to increase smartphone adoption among prepaid mobile subscribers.

The challenger bank Chime says it has 750,000 millennial customers (American Banker), Rated: A

Chime, a mobile-only neobank for millennials, said Tuesday that it has opened 750,000 accounts to date and is signing up users at a brisk pace this month.

The growth is extraordinary. While there are many other mobile-only challenger banks in the U.S. — including Qapital, Digit and, more recently, Varo and Douugh — few have racked up large numbers yet. Chime touts a low-fee checking and savings account with a debit card and an app that provides automated savings and real-time notifications; there are no monthly or overdraft fees nor minimum-balance requirements. The Bancorp Bank holds the federally-insured accounts.

The reason why most people get rejected for a personal loan (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

LendEDU, a marketplace for loans and financial products, just released data showing that 76% of people who apply for a personal loan are declined. One of the main reasons for rejection? A low credit score. The average American has a credit score of 687. Meanwhile, the average FICO credit score of an approved applicant was 741.

Of those who do get approved, LendEDU predicts that just 35% went on to accept the personal loan.

Currently, 16 million consumers have an unsecured personal loan. According to a TransUnion, personal lending balances grew a steady 10.8% in the second quarter of 2017, totaling $108 billion.

Back in 2010, fintech only made up 3% of personal loan lenders. In 2015, Transunion says that number jumped to 30%.

Why fintech is still a way off disrupting lending (Financial News), Rated: A

But of the many things that banks do, lending to small and medium sized companies (‘SME’ lending) is one of the more complex areas to emulate. It is also politically charged. As such, there is some evidence that the disruption attempted in the area of lending is itself being disrupted by the practicalities of a complex area of finance.

Citi’s mobile app is lagging behind its peers (Tearsheet), Rated: A

The fourth-largest bank by assets grew its total active mobile users 21 percent year over year to nine million, the bank reported last week in its fourth-quarter earnings.

By contrast, Chase reported 30.1 million users, Bank of America 24.2 million and Wells Fargo 21.2 million.

Citi’s growth rate for 2017 was stronger though, at 21 percent year over year, than its peers’. Chase reported 13 percent growth, Bank of America 12 percent and Wells Fargo 8 percent.

Mulvaney outlines new CFPB governing philosophy (The National Law Review), Rated: A

In a memorandum to CFPB staff and a Wall Street Journal article, Mr. Mulvaney described his governing philosophy for the CFPB’s exercise of its authority.

  • While observing that there will be times when “dramatic action” is needed to protect consumers and that, at such times, he expected the CFPB “to be vigorous in [its] enforcement of the law,” Mr. Mulvaney stated that “bringing the full weight of the federal government down on the necks of the people we serve should be something that we do only reluctantly, and only when all other attempts at resolution have failed.”
  • In using its enforcement authority, the CFPB will focus on “quantifiable and unavoidable harm to the consumer” and when such harm does not exist, the CFPB “won’t go looking for excuses to bring lawsuits.”  In addition, there will be “more formal rule making and less regulation by enforcement”  because “the people we regulate should have the right to know what the rules are before being charged with breaking them.”
  • CFPB priorities should be guided by data such as 2016 complaint data which showed that “almost a third of the complaints” received by the CFPB related to debt collection and “[o]nly 0.9% related to prepaid cards and 2% to payday lending.”
  • In light of the Dodd-Frank Act requirement for the CFPB to “consider the potential costs and benefits to consumers and covered persons,” CFPB decisions should be driven by quantitative analysis.  Although qualitative analysis can play a role, it should not be to the exclusion of measurable “costs and benefits.”

Read the memo for yourself here.

What you thought you knew about millennials is wrong (American Banker), Rated: A

Sixty-three percent say they are saving money. This is very close to the rate of Gen Xers (64%) and baby boomers (75%).

Fifty-four percent of millennials say they are on a budget, the same level as Gen X and only slightly below the rate of boomers (57%).

They are diligent about savings and budgeting: 67% of millennials who have a savings goal stick to it. And 73% of millennials on a budget adhere to it regularly.

And 59% say they feel financially secure, compared with 54% of Gen Xers and 63% of baby boomers.

Making it in GR: Lessons in crowdfunding (Rapid Growth), Rated: A

Last month’s “Making it in Grand Rapids” article focused on the ever-expanding alternative financing options for entrepreneurs, such as: impact investment funds, peer-to-peer lending solutions and crowdfunding platforms. Grand Rapids entrepreneur Don Rhoads is Owner/Inventor of At Last Industries (At Last), which created the BedBud Alarm. He is also Head of Development at Cut Through Creative. Rhoads shares his progression from having an idea through the development and launch of his Kickstarter campaign—and the insights he learned along the way.

RG: A recent Small Business Credit Survey reported that “70 percent of startup applicants are in need of funding to support [their growth]” and that “52 percent of startups [have] applied for financing.” Did you pursue any avenues before deciding on crowdfunding?

DR: Yes. I actually applied for and presented at a 5×5 Night. Unfortunately, I didn’t win that one, but as much as I was disheartened, I was still [determined to] fulfill the product. Also, through traditional bank loans, I applied through my current bank. It was a little bit difficult. In a startup, it is difficult to put a value on a business. [Banks] want capital behind it because most startups fail anyway, so they want some substance behind you so they can get their money back. I was told I would need to be a little bit further down the line to get additional funding.

Technology and the Future of Financial Advice (Janus Henderson), Rated: A

Technology arrives in waves and is embraced over an adoption curve. These waves are growing stronger – in large part because technology is becoming ever more powerful. Over time, we have seen these waves play out in financial planning, too.

It is worth looking at two of the challenges faced by the industry now. The first is demographics. Clients have grown older and wealthier, but they are not being replaced within the market for traditional advice services. This is creating an advice gap for firms who need to replenish their client bases.

The second big issue is that consumer engagement is challenging. Long-term thinking hurts. As Daniel Kahneman articulated in Thinking, Fast and Slow, human beings do not easily think about the future in an analytical way and there remains room for improvement in financial literacy among the public. Add to that the low levels of customer trust for the industry and many consumers are not switched on to the benefits of financial advice.

Source: National Financial Literacy Test Results.
United Kingdom

P2P platform Zopa re-opens to new customers (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Zopa, the UK’s first peer-to-peer lender, has reopened its platform to new customers after having to close to new money last year amid high demand for its new Innovative finance Isa (Ifisa) product and a long-running imbalance between lenders and borrowers.

Fintechs impatient as British banks seek extra time to open up (NASDAQ), Rated: A

Financial technology firms were supposed to start breaking into mainstream banking this month when new rules forced Britain’s nine big banks to loosen their grip on the industry.

But many fintech companies are still waiting with frustration on the sidelines after the banks delayed making the changes.

Financial technology firms were supposed to start breaking into mainstream banking this month when new rules forced Britain’s nine big banks to loosen their grip on the industry.

But six of the nine banks have asked Britain’s regulator for an extension to the January 13 deadline for putting in place the ‘open banking’ regulation, which overlaps with a new European Union directive known as PSD2.

UK fintech takes the lead in the Forbes 30 under 30 (AltFi), Rated: A

The gender balance has been particularly notable in the finance sector this year, as Forbes named Starling Bank’s Chief Platform Officer, Megan Caywood, and Lendable co-founder Victoria van Lennep alongside her business partner Martin Kissinger, as ones to watch.

In the technology category, Monzo co-founder Jonas Huckestein and the co-founders of digital receipts startup Flux all found themselves highlighted by Forbes.

China

China’s Banking Regulator Pushes Blockchain Adoption for Credit Market (CoinDesk), Rated: AAA

Blockchain technology should be adopted as part of a plan to boost development of China’s secondary loan market, according to a paper by the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC).

Published on Jan. 19, the paper, drafted by a special committee, covers a variety of topics around developing and regulating financial technologies. In a section on the future development of China’s credit market, it suggests the country should double down its adoption of blockchain technology.

Download and read the report yourself here (in Chinese).

Ant Financial and the Greening of Fintech (The Diplomat), Rated: A

Ant Financial, an affiliate of Alibaba, is one clear example of a company using fintech to encourage a greener world.

Ant Forest is the world’s first largescale, bottom-up pilot in greening citizens’ consumption behavior through the use digital technology and social media. It is an app that Ant users can voluntarily engage with to reduce their carbon footprint and encourage their social networks to do the same. Users that perform carbon-reducing activities, such as paying bills online or walking to work, relative to a predetermined benchmark, are rewarded “green energy” points. As users accumulate enough points virtually, a real tree is planted. To date, Ant Forest has planted saxauls, willows, and Scots pine trees in Inner Mongolia and Gansu.

Ponzi scheme sparks protests (The Standard), Rated: B

Chinese authorities are struggling to quell protests after the collapse of an investment scheme that took about 30 billion yuan (HK$36.7 billion) from millions of depositors.

Hundreds of people marched on Monday in Nanjing, where Qianbao started in 2012, shouting for officials to act. But a video shows police grabbing investors as others yelled about being beaten up.

European Union

Ten User’s Pain Points Digital Banking and FinTech Should Care Of (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Studies have shown that users tend to quickly switch products and services. This also concerns banks as the competition and the number of Open Banking services increase due to the implementation of the European Directive PSD2.

1. Onboarding

Onboarding becomes particularly important in digital era. It can be a productive introduction to a new service or a challenging obstacle that deters customers. The banks of the future should provide a full digital onboarding.

2. Authentication

Log in difficulties or problems shouldn’t create obstacles for the customer. After all, no one would go to a restaurant with a locked door.

5. Transactions

Users should be able to fully control their banking. It is crucial for them to find a certain transaction and download a payment slip. View transaction history is among the TOP 3 customer scenarios. This function should be simple and understandable. Users want to filter their transactions to find specific items, view detailed information, report a violation, check payment status, export and save them, etc.

6. Payments

We are pleased to see that bank payment interfaces are becoming simpler each year. Digital technologies allow us to move complex banking procedures to the background. Challenger Banks ar a good example here.

The purpose of payment limits is to ensure the user’s security. The user should have online access to a flexible configuration of any financial transaction.

8. Notifications

There shouldn’t be too many notifications, only relevant ones.

Conclusion

Being in the users’ shoes and finding pain points in products and services will be a crucial competitive advantage. Companies recognising this issue will take a leading position in the future financial market.

International

ETHLend hits £1m crypto-P2P loans milestone (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

CRYPTO-BACKED peer-to-peer lending platform ETHLend has funded $2m (£1.4m) of loans in just over a month since launching.

The platform, which lets investors back business and personal loans worldwide n the Ethereum (ETH) digital currency, only went live in December but says it has already facilitated 438 loans.

Its biggest loan so far was for 83ETH, equivalent to £58,681.

Blockchain Startups Absorbed 5X More Capital Via ICOs Than Equity Financings In 2017 (CB Insights), Rated: AAA

In Q1’17, 19 ICOs closed for about $21M. Three quarters later, in Q4’17, over 500 ICOs closed for almost $3B. According to CB Insights, 2017 saw over 5x more capital deployed in ICOs than in equity financings to blockchain startups. Q4’17 alone saw that number jump to 7x.

In total, ICOs raised over $5B across nearly 800 deals in 2017. To put those numbers into context, equity investors deployed $1B in 215 deals to the sector.

GDS Link Acquires Fraudscreen, the UK’s Leading Provider of Analytics to Predict Payment Intent (GDS Link Email), Rated: A

GDS Link, a global provider of risk management solutions and consulting for multiple verticals within the financial services industry including marketplace lending, retail finance, alternative financial services, credit card, auto, and business lending and leasing, today announced that it has finalized the acquisition of 

Finastra sees accelerating FusionFabric.cloud adoption (Finastra Email), Rated: A

At its regional flagship thought leadership event, Finastra Universe Paris,Finastra today welcomed new companies to the FusionFabric.cloud open architecture. Among the early adopter Fintechs, consultants, banks and academics using the platform to develop and deploy innovative apps are Efficiency MC, Conpend and BankBI. In addition, Thomson Reuters joins Finastra’s innovation ecosystem as a data provider.

Thomson Reuters is currently embedding its instrument reference data into FusionFabric.cloud.

Paris-based system integrator, Efficiency MC, is using the platform to develop an interest rate derivatives pricing model app.

European Fintech, Conpend, is using FusionFabric.cloud to develop apps for corporate banking.

Cloud focused Fintech, BankBI, has a Performance Management and Analytics application for FusionFabric.cloud to complement the Finastra retail banking solutions, including C-suite dashboards.

Australia

The everyday Aussie is increasingly choosing a peer to peer personal loan – here’s why (mozo), Rated: AAA

ASIC’s second marketplace lending survey revealed that $300 million worth of personal and business loans were written by peer to peer lenders during the last financial year – almost double the amount commissioned during the 2015/2016 financial year.

The snowballing popularity of these types of loans is measured by the fact that, as of June 2017, the industry had 7,768 investors and a further 18,746 borrowers – numbers that had doubled over the preceding 12 months and are only set to grow in the new year.
Comparatively, at the lowest peer to peer rate in the Mozo database of 6.99% (on offer from Harmoney), the average Aussie borrower would pay just $5,634 in interest on the same loan – saving more than $4,000 in the process.

Stuart Stoyan is FinTech Australia’s new chair (Business Insider), Rated: B

Stuart Stoyan, the founder and CEO of Melbourne-based fintech MoneyPlace, which in 2015 became Australia’s second fully licensed marketplace lending platform, has become FinTech Australia’s new chair.

India

RBI Directions On Peer To Peer Lending Platforms: Frequenly Asked Questions (Mondaq), Rated: AAA

2.2  Electronic platforms connecting banks and NBFCs to borrowers

The RBI has clarified that electronic platforms that assist only banks, non-banking financial  companies (“NBFCs”) and other regulated All India Financial Institutions (“AIFls”) to identify  borrowers will not be considered peer to peer lending platforms  (“P2P Lending  Platforms”).   However, in cases where,  apart from banks, NBFCs and AIFls, or other retail lenders use the  electronic platform for lending, the platform will have to register separately as a non-banking  financial platform –  peer to peer lending platform (an “NBFC-P2P”).

2.3  Leverage ratio and investible funds for an NBFC-P2P

The RBI has clarified that for an NBFC-P2P, customers’ funds lent or borrowed by using the platform  is not reckoned as an outside liability of the NBFC-P2P, for the purpose of determining the  leverage ratio of the NBFC-P2P.

(a)  Do the P2P Lending Platforms have to fulfil the 50-50 test issued by the RBI to fall  within the purview of the P2P Directions?

The RBI, with its clarification that an existing NBFC cannot operate as an NBFC-P2P, has clarified  that the 50-50 test set out by the RBI to qualify as a non-banking financial company is not  applicable to an NBFC-P2P.

VC Firm 3one4 Capital Announces Second Fund With An Initial Corpus Of $ 39 Mn (Inc42), Rated: A

With closed commitments for $39 Mn, the 3one4 Capital team will look to enhance its deep involvement model across its investment domains. The fund will invest early stage startups with ticket sizes of $250K to $2 Mn.

Asia

Tryb Group raises $ 30M to develop fintech platforms for Southeast Asia (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Tryb Group, a Singapore-based organization focused on fintech services in Southeast Asia, has landed a $30 million investmentfrom Makara Capital.

For a Western comparison, Tryb aspires to be like LendingClub with a focus on digitizing the predominantly analog systems of financial services and banking in Southeast Asia, a region of over 600 million consumers.

“There’s strong demand to start buying ASEAN credit, with Japanese, Chinese, American and other investors looking to buy up $50-100 million worth. But they don’t know where to start since it’s all on paper,” he said.

Currently, the Tryb business doesn’t make direct revenue. It holds stakes in a number of businesses — including MC Payment which is in the process of going public in Singapore — but Gnirck said it has two acquisitions that he expects to finalize in the coming months.

Genie ICO Adds Cryptocurrency Heavyweight David Drake and Other Experts to Its Advisory Board (CoinTelegraph), Rated: B

Joining the Crowd Genie advisory board is David Drake, Founder and Chairman of LDJ Capital, who is also a global pioneer in the cryptocurrency industry and has written for more than 100 publications on innovative investing. Also joining the board is serial entrepreneur Petter Sehlin, who is a Founding Partner of global angel fund True Global Ventures and founder of the Polarchain blockchain. The founders of one of the world’s most comprehensive online cryptocurrency databases and information resources, AllCoinWiki, Anders Larsson and Joakim Holmer have also joined the board.

MENA

Egypt’s fintech startups are growing in number, value, and specialization (wamda), Rated: AAA

Financial inclusion is critical in reducing poverty and achieving shared economic growth, as mentioned The Global Findex Database 2014: Measuring Financial Inclusion around the World’: When people can participate in the financial system, they are better able to start and expand businesses, invest in their children’s education, and absorb financial shocks.

According to figures shared with Wamda by the World Bank Global Findex database, only 14 percent of adults in Egypt have an account as of 2014, and eight percent use an account to make digital financial payments. The Findex said that about 86 percent of adults in the country do not have an account and are therefore considered unbanked.

The model of Fawry, has demonstrated the validity of such business models, and has driven several concepts to launch.” Fawry, which was launched in 2008, provides payment solutions through ATM machines, mobile wallets, and retail points.

Egypt-based fintech startup Moneyfellows raised $600,000 from a group of investors led by Dubai Angel Investors and 500 Startups. This web and mobile-based platform founded in December 2014, allows users to create, manage, and track money circles (group money lending) online with members of their social networks. The startup makes money by charging users a small fee when they withdraw their payout from their money circle. So far, the startup has around 2,600 paying users and about 240 active circles.

Vapulus, which launched in December 2017, partners so far with 400 retail and F&B merchants in the country, and aims to reach 16,000 within one year of operation. The startup is a mobile app and mobile POS service for both individuals and sellers.

Canada

Borrowell launches free Equifax credit report monitoring, a Canadian first (GlobeNewswire), Rated: AAA

Borrowell today announced that it is providing Canadians with free access to their Equifax credit reports. For the first time, Canadians will be able to monitor important information in their Equifax credit report on a monthly basis, including credit utilization, inquiries and credit account history, for free online.

To date, Borrowell has provided credit information to nearly half a million Canadians.

Canada Venture Capital 2017 (CB Insights), Rated: A

Annual funding to Canada hits high in 2017

  • Total annual funding reached $2.7B, distributed across 333 deals in full-year 2017.
  • Total funding increased 7%, while deal activity decreased by 12%.
Source: CB Insights
South America

NYSE’s Biggest IPO Since Snap Is $ 2.3 Billion for Brazil Fintech (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

PagSeguro Digital LTD, a payments company owned by Brazilian media group Universo Online SA, raised about $2.27 billion in an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange, according to Bloomberg data.

The company, which has a similar model to Jack Dorsey’s Square, sold shares at $21.50 each, above the top of the price range of $17.50 to $20.50 in the offering prospectus, with demand higher than underwriters expected. The equity offering is the largest on the New York Stock Exchange since Snap Inc in March 2017. Investors warmed to the stock, which rose as much as 36 percent to $29.25 in early trading.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday November 23 2016, Daily News Digest

CEO optimism

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi, Lending Club gear up for a busy quarter. RateSetter drops unsecured business loans. Zopa’s targeted returns rise to 4% and 4.5%. Monzo to phase out prepaid cards. Funding Societies surpasses SGD 100M in SME crowdfunding in SE Asia. Today’s main analysis: CEO optimism grows worldwide. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Which car brands borrowers stretch […]

CEO optimism

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Asia

News Summary

United States

SoFi, Lending Club gear up for busy quarter (GlobalCapital), Rated: AAA

Up to four transactions from marketplace lenders SoFi and Lending Club are slated to hit the market this quarter, including prime and non-prime consumer and student loan refinancing offerings.

SoFi is preparing to bring at least one consumer loan offering and possibly one more refinanced student loan offering over the next two months. The planned offerings could be in the range of previous transactions, said a source familiar with the company’s plans.

Twitter slides after news that online lending startup SoFi may poach its operations chief (Business Insider), Rated: A

Shares of Twitter dipped on Monday after it was reported that Twitter’s chief operating officer, Anthony Noto, may leave the company for an offer to become the CEO of Social Finance, or SoFi, an online lending company.

Twitter’s stock was down 1.16% on Monday at $23.39 per share.

LendingTree Reveals Which Used Car Brands Borrowers are Stretching the Most to Buy (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

A recent LendingTree survey found that 27 percent of Americans plan to purchase a car in 2018. To discover if consumers are more likely to stretch their available incomes to own certain brands, LendingTree looked at people who found auto loans on the LendingTree.com platform in 2017 to buy used vehicles.

Contrary to popular assumptions, the results revealed that people aren’t going broke to buy used luxury cars. In fact, buyers of the most expensive cars seem to handily afford them.

On the other hand, LendingTree found Buick owners have the hardest time affording their car payments — not because they’re indulging in particularly expensive vehicles but because their income tends to be on the lower side, meaning they use a larger share of take home pay to cover their monthly payments.

Car Makes Borrowers Stretch the Most to Buy Used

Rank

Make

Estimated Monthly Payment as a Percent of Estimated Monthly Income

Average Estimated Monthly Payment

Average Estimated Vehicle Price

1

BUICK

10.9%

$418

$18,597

2

CHRYSLER

10.9%

$440

$18,497

3

NISSAN

10.6%

$405

$18,231

4

DODGE

10.6%

$454

$22,290

5

CHEVROLET

10.2%

$437

$20,930

6

KIA

9.7%

$368

$17,357

7

HONDA

9.4%

$389

$18,053

8

HYUNDAI

9.3%

$356

$17,216

9

MITSUBISHI

9.0%

$370

$17,205

10

CADILLAC

8.8%

$480

$25,294

11

FIAT

8.8%

$341

$16,543

12

FORD

8.6%

$424

$21,648

13

GMC

8.3%

$466

$25,077

14

JEEP

8.1%

$414

$21,885

15

VOLKSWAGEN

8.0%

$363

$16,909

16

MAZDA

7.8%

$355

$18,326

17

TOYOTA

7.7%

$385

$19,788

18

JAGUAR

7.6%

$503

$27,734

19

INFINITI

7.6%

$454

$24,728

20

BMW

7.4%

$476

$25,038

21

MERCEDES-BENZ

7.3%

$519

$28,792

22

SUBARU

7.2%

$361

$19,219

23

ACURA

7.0%

$409

$22,623

24

AUDI

6.8%

$482

$26,725

25

LEXUS

6.7%

$459

$25,393

26

LINCOLN

6.6%

$396

$22,205

27

LAND ROVER

6.2%

$569

$31,704

28

VOLVO

6.1%

$400

$20,877

29

MINI

5.7%

$355

$17,728

30

PORSCHE

5.0%

$635

$42,173

31

TESLA

4.6%

$818

$54,234

Fintech lender Fundbox shows how open banking can be done (American Banker), Rated: AAA

The online small-business lender Fundbox says it is integrating its automated lending service with several software programs commonly used by its borrowers — and it’s a move that could hold a lesson for banks.

What’s striking about what Fundbox is doing, and the reason bankers could learn from it, is it is capitalizing on the concept of open banking — allowing a piece of a lender’s products and services to be accessed through a third party — in a way that few U.S. banks have.

Capital One comes the closest — its application programming interfaces let third parties offer services like prequalifying customers for Capital One credit cards and sharing its reward information.

Square is like ‘Amazon or Google in their early days’ (Business Insider), Rated: A

When Wall Street compares one of Jack Dorsey’s two public companies to Amazon and Google, you’d expect them to be talking about the one in the tech sector — Twitter. But on Friday, Nomura analyst Dan Dolev said that Square, Dorsey’s payments company, is the one that resembles today’s tech giants in their early days.

Dolev thinks that these new initiatives will massively increase the number of payments Square processes by a long-term compound annual growth rate of 20%. Dolev also says that this growth will provide a 40% to 45% boost to earnings margins.

CashCall to pay $ 10 mln, CFPB request for $ 287 mln denied (Reuters), Rated: A

In a decision on Friday, U.S. District Judge John Walter ordered California-based CashCall to pay $10.3 million instead, ruling that the CFPB did not justify the larger amount.

defi SOLUTIONS Lands $ 55 Million (Finovate), Rated: A

Loan origination solutions company defi SOLUTIONS just closed on $55 million in funding. The Series C round comes from Bain Capital Ventures, offering social proof along with a stamp of approval for defi’s suite of loan services. This is the Texas-based company’s first round of financing.

The primary capital portion of the investment will be used to accelerate product development, expand resources and facilities, and grow the number of employees by nearly 50% this year.

A Bird’s Eye View of What We Achieved (YieldStreet), Rated: A

Source: YieldStreet

Ohad Samet of TrueAccord (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Ohad Samet is the CEO and Co-founder of TrueAccord. They are a new kind of debt collection company that uses a data driven approach and digital first communications.

US Banks Suffer 20 Percent Jump in Credit-Card Losses (Newsmax), Rated: A

U.S. banks have reportedly recently suffered a 20 percent jump in credit card losses.

The soaring bad debts has fueled fear about the financial health of middle America, the Financial Times explained.

Recently disclosed results showed Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo took a combined $12.5 billion hit from soured card loans last year, about $2 billion more than a year ago. The FT reported.

Reuters recently warned that U.S. banks, already under pressure from slower loan growth and low interest rates, could be facing yet another challenge as a rising number of Americans fall behind on their credit card payments.

U.S. consumer credit outstanding rose in November by the most in 16 years as credit-card balances surged, recent Federal Reserve data showed, by $11.2 billion, to $1.023 trillion.

Credit Card Startup Petal’s Latest Funding Round Signals NYC Fintech Upturn (Crunchbase), Rated: A

Last week, alternative credit card issuer Petal closed its $13 million Series A led by Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures. It was announced just four months after Petal’s $3.6 million seed round.

The news marks a significant month for Manhattan’s sometimes-struggling fintech scene, with MoneyLionhaving raised a whopping $42 million during its Series B in early January. And while these numbers are a drop in the bucket compared to the U.S. fintech industry surpassing $5 billion in Q3 ’17, the momentum is already being felt, and it comes as a welcome change for the city.

Do You Need a Personal Financial Advisor or Will a Robo-Advisor Do? (Nerdwallet), Rated: A

At the top end, some personal financial advisorscharge an annual fee plus investing expenses as a percentage of your assets under management, typically about 1% to 1.5%. As a result, these advisors often require that new clients have an account minimum of $250,000 in assets.

By comparison, robo-advisors — which use algorithms to build and manage a client’s investment portfolios and require little human interaction — charge fees from 0.45% to 0.70% of the amount managed. And many will take on new clients with $0 to open an account.

The downside of robo-advisors: Investment choices are more limited — often a small selection of low-cost index funds or exchange-traded funds — than the asset choices that full-service brokers and advisors may provide. And while many offer financial advice via email, chat or phone consultations, those hybrid services are likely to come at an additional cost.

What to Know About Peer-to-Peer Lending Apps Like Yahoo’s ‘Tanda’ (Lifehacker), Rated: A

The Tanda app, launched by the company Friday and available on Android and shortly on iOS, does exactly what its name implies. It lets you join groups of people to work toward savings goals together, in tandem: Each user pays an agreed-upon amount into a pot, choosing when they receive the money. Those who need it soonest pay a fee, and those who wait the longest receive a two-percent bonus. Yahoo Finance takes eight percent of the first payout and seven percent of the second payout, according to Android Police.

Yahoo Finance isn’t the first to think to monetize a more formal version of this sytem—the site eMoneyPool has been available to the public since 2013, servicing over $3 million, and the apps KyePot and Cashare serve a similar purpose. On Tanda, users receive a trust score, with higher scores allowing users access to larger money pools, up to $2,000.

Lending Tree: Dayton home market isn’t so competitive (Dayton Daily News), Rated: B

In a national ranking, Dayton ranks relatively low for factors Lending Tree deems indicative of a competitive housing market. Prospective buyers in this area have relatively low average down payments, among other factors Lending Tree placed in the ranking.

On the list of 100 cities with the “most competitive home buyers,” Dayton ranks overall at 96, below Augusta, Ga. and above El Paso, Texas. Youngstown Ohio is last on the list at No. 100. San Francisco, Calif. is first.

FormFree Celebrates Its Tenth Year of Operations (Send2Press), Rated: B

In 2016, Fannie Mae named FormFree its first designated vendor for automated asset verification as part of the Day 1 Certainty initiative. Since then, FormFree has signed more than 800 lender clients, including 70 percent of the nation’s top 40 mortgage originators, and accepted over 1.25 million orders for the company’s flagship AccountChek® Asset Report. The company also increased its total number of technology integrations and reseller partnerships to over 100, making AccountChek available for more than 90% of mortgage transactions nationwide.

recent announcement from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) makes even more loans eligible for automated asset verification through AccountChek. On December 29, the VA published Circular 26-17-43 confirming that the VA permits the use of automated asset verification services like AccountChek.

United Kingdom

RateSetter to Focus Solely on Asset Backed Lending for Commercial Loans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Peer to peer lender RateSetter said its commercial lending vertical will focus solely on secured lending in its commercial finance vertical. Following a review of its commercial finance operations, RateSetter said it would move to “simplify” its commercial finance by funding only property backed or asset backed loans.

RateSetter said it will continue to maintain a diversified approach to lending into consumer, business and motor finance markets, however, the commercial finance offer will no longer include unsecured business finance.

RateSetter exits unsecured business loans market (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

Business borrowers will now only be able to access property-backed development and investment loans or asset-backed hire purchase deals.

All existing unsecured business applications will be processed and will continue to repay in line with their schedule, the platform said.

The targeted annual return for its basic Zopa Core product has increased from 3.7% to 4% while the higher risk Zopa Plus product now has a targeted return of 4.6%, up from 4.5%.

Monzo to phase out popular prepaid cards by April (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Challenger bank Monzo has announced it will close its popular prepaid Mastercard in early April, although its half a million customers can still enjoy valuable travel perks if they upgrade to Monzo’s current account.

Until this month, Monzo cards also offered fee-free cash withdrawals from foreign ATMs. However, this has now been capped at £200 of overseas withdrawals within a rolling 30-day period, and customers pay a 3 per cent fee if they exceed this limit.

The UK is leading the way in crowdfunding and P2P lending as the rest of Europe plays catch-up (City A.M.), Rated: A

While the UK remained the largest alternative finance market in Europe by far, at €5.6bn (£4.9bn), the rest of Europe began to play catch-up as it grew its own market by 101 per cent, the data from the university’s Centre for Alternative Finance showed.

Excluding the UK, Estonia ranked first for alternative finance volume per capita for the second year in a row, at €63, followed by Monaco and Georgia.

Start-up revolution shows signs of fatigue after years of growth (Financial Times), Rated: A

Britain’s start-up revolution is stalling, with the number of businesses created last year falling for the first time in almost a decade.

There were 5.5 per cent fewer start-ups in 2017 compared with 2016, according to research by DueDil, a financial analysis company. It found that 647,923 new businesses were started last year — down from 685,928 in 2016, bringing to an end what had been annual increases since 2008.

Investly Plans to Raise 2M GBP on Seedrs (P2P-Banking), Rated: A

Investly is currently pitching on Seedrs to raise between 500K and 2M GBP in a crowdfunding for equity campaign. To become a shareholder, the required minium investment amount is 13 GBP.

What are the three main advantages when investing in the invoices?

Liquidity – Investly is quite different compared to most platforms because the investment period is only 30 to 40 days on average.

Return – Historically investors have earned 11-12% annually on invoices.

What ROI have investors made on average on the platform in the past?

The net return on Estonian invoices has been 11.2% annually and in the UK it’s been 12.6% annually.

Loans to help poorest families avoid poverty premium (Third Force News), Rated: A

A £600 loan repaid over six months would typically cost an extra £330 to repay to a door step lender and over £500 to repay via a payday lender. Repaying via a social lender could easily halve this cost.

Hollywood actor and social activist Michael Sheen has supported the launch of a new £1 million fund set up by the Carnegie UK Trust and features in a new short film called Speaking out for Fair Credit.

“The need for ethical alternative providers is clear, whether they be on our local high streets or available online. But it’s not just about creating more providers – we need to do more to enable them to compete with the high cost providers and to provide vital financial support to communities across the UK, putting people before profit.”

It is estimated that around 150,000 people in Scotland borrow £250m from high cost lenders like pay day loan firms, door step lenders and rent-to-own shops annually.

European Union

European online alternative finance is growing (Cambridge Network), Rated: AAA

Excluding the United Kingdom, which remained by far the largest alternative finance market in Europe at 5.6 billion euros, online alternative finance grew 101 per cent in Europe to 2.06 billion euros from 1.02 billion euros a year earlier. The UK’s market share in Europe declined to 73 per cent in 2016 from 81 per cent a year earlier as other markets grew faster.

France (444 million euros), Germany (322 million euros) and the Netherlands (194 million euros) are the three largest European alternative finance markets outside the UK, followed by Finland (142 million euros), Spain (131 million euros), Italy (127 million euros) and Georgia (103 million euros).

Peer-to-peer consumer lending is the largest alternative finance segment in Europe for the third year in a row, at 34 per cent, followed by peer-to-peer business lending (17 per cent), invoice trading (12 per cent), equity-based crowdfunding (11 per cent) and reward-based crowdfunding (nine per cent).

International

CEO optimism booms despite increasing anxiety over threats to growth – New content available (The News Market), Rated: AAA

Fifty seven percent of business leaders say they believe global economic growth will improve in the next 12 months.

Optimism in global growth has more than doubled in the US (59%) after a period of uncertainty surrounding the election (2017: 24%). Brazil also saw a large increase in the share of CEOs who are optimistic global growth will improve (+38% to 80%). And even among the less optimistic countries such as Japan (2018: 38% vs. 2017: 11%) and the UK (2018: 36% vs. 2017: 17%), optimism in global growth has more than doubled since last year.

Fintechs Haven’t Reduced the Trade Finance Gap – So far (American Express), Rated: A

According to a September 2017 report from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the trade finance gap remained relatively steady at $1.5 trillion in 2016 compared to a record high $1.6 trillion gap the year prior.1 MSMEs remain hardest hit by gaps in trade finance: the ADB report attributed 74 percent of rejected trade finance requests to MSMEs and midcap firms in 2016, compared to just 57 percent in 2015.2

ADB says this is despite fintech investment in trade finance that exceeded $13 billion in 2016 – more than half of the estimated $24 billion in total 2016 fintech investment cited in a separate report from the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).3 Some experts – including Steven Beck, Head of Trade Finance at ADB – say fintech efforts may need to be redirected before their impact on import-export trade finance can be fully realized.4

Longfin (LFIN) Launches Commercial Ziddu Smart Contracts on Ethereum Blockchain (StreetInsider), Rated: B

Longfin Corp. has announced that its Ziddu Smart Contracts are commercially available on the Ethereum blockchain.

Ziddu Smart Contracts are currently available for Trade Finance and FX markets, and Longfin is preparing to launch Smart Contracts for bullion financing within the second quarter of 2018.

Asia

Funding Societies Surpasses SGD 100 Million in SME Crowdfunding (Core Sector Communique), Rated: AAA

Funding Societies, the leading peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform in Southeast Asia, welcomed the start of the year by crossing the SGD 100 million mark in total crowdfunded SME loans across Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia. In line with the platform’s goal of responsible growth, Funding Societies expanded its crowdfunding book by 400% in 2017 while maintaining a default rate of 1.5%.

Increasing the Access of SMEs to Credit in Vietnam (International Policy Digest), Rated: A

According to statistics by the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI), SMEs contributed approximately 48% of Vietnam’s GDP in 2012. Moreover, based on research by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, since SMEs are usually labour intensive they employed 77% of Vietnam’s labour force.

The Ministry of Planning and Investment in their survey in 2012 of SMEs ability to access financing indicated that approximately 30% of SMEs in Vietnam could not get any financing from financial institutions and another 30% that could get financing faced numerous difficulties in accessing funds.

The 2015 survey found that the percentage of firms having bank loans in 2015 for micro-sized firms was 40%, small firms 62%, medium firms 74% and 81% for large firms. Access to bank services in 2015 also took into consideration how common it was for these enterprises to give bribes to the bank staff: Micro (64%), small (56%), medium (49%) and large firms (39%). The percentage of firms that experienced how interest rates and other lending conditions applied to private businesses are always more difficult than those for SOEs: micro (74%), small (71%), medium (65%) and large (48%).

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor