Why the Fintech Bubble Hasn’t Burst

fintech bubble

Alarmists are busy drawing parallels to fintech and the dot-com bust of 2000. But here’s why fintech has immeasurably more sticking power than the investment craze over Internet-based companies. Quick to talk. Slow to act. It’s a symptom of most innovations that come to the financial services industry, and there’s good reason for that. Financial […]

fintech bubble

Alarmists are busy drawing parallels to fintech and the dot-com bust of 2000. But here’s why fintech has immeasurably more sticking power than the investment craze over Internet-based companies.

Quick to talk. Slow to act. It’s a symptom of most innovations that come to the financial services industry, and there’s good reason for that. Financial services, a sector that’s ripe for change, has long favored tradition. Banks have gone unchallenged for over a century in the marketplace.

But with the generational shift from Gen X to nearly 85 million Millennials, a new digital imperative is emerging. The widespread use of mobile has all but erased the need to visit a physical bank branch. The cost of computing has decreased drastically, representative in that two iPhone 6s contain more memory than the International Space Station. And sentiments toward centralized power in banking is met with distrust at a higher degree than ever before. Fintechs are edging in on low-margin business product offerings like payments with faster solutions and an eye toward the future user.

Fintech’s spotlight moment

It goes without saying that fintech is having its moment. Research firm The McKinsey Global Institute has tracked upwards of 2,000 fintech startups in this space, and estimates as many as 12,000 exist. The 2018 World Economic Forum at Davos discussed fintech at length in a panel of experts titled: “The Future of Fintech.”

There is no shadow of doubt among innovators that the change fintech provides is enduring. But with nervous investors watching Bitcoin’s volatility, it’s important to make the distinction of what makes fintech different from the dot-com boom.

Dot-com businesses operated in the market like a sugar high. Basic cash flow principles flew out the window as many companies skimped on proving their ideas actually had market potential. Speculative valuations led many investors to follow the buzz instead of looking at a balance sheet or profitability. And while it is true that the internet has immense power to displace brick-and-mortar businesses, the momentum was shortsighted. This caused a good number of dot-com businesses to run out of cash shy of the goal, rightfully spooking investors.

Fintech moves into “adulthood”

The difference in the fintech movement is two fold:

  1. A growing distrust of traditional financial establishments, thanks to the housing market crisis of 2008;
  2. Fintech’s unique symbiotic relationship with incumbent banks.

While the dot-com wave was tech’s early failure, fintech’s approach is more timely and measured. The market sector has matured with fintech services that deliver better technology and services to the customer alongside banks as a trusted repository of funds.

Building customer loyalty

Fintech’s current challenge is to draw customers. Banks have always focused on the customer relationship and have enjoyed an assumed level of trust that has gone unchecked for centuries.

But with the turnover from Generation X to Millennials, many of the younger generation are less likely to go with a traditional bank than before. A growing mistrust of centralized banks is one driver that’s widening the scope of traditional financial service providers. Wells Fargo’s recent payout in the amount of $185 million for opening fake accounts under customer names is just one example. According to a 2016 Gallup poll, America’s confidence in banks hasn’t shown signs of improvement since the 2007 recession, lingering around 30 percent.

Unlike traditional banks, fintechs have an approach that creates sticking power through lean operational principles. While banks have clunky legacy technology to deal with, fintechs can afford to serve customers at a lower cost due to better technology. Fintech’s focus on niche market segments means there are huge opportunities to outfit far-flung populations with digital solutions as is the case with the underbanked.

Clearing the regulatory bar

Playing nice with regulators will put fintechs into a winning stride. This is again where the dot-com bust missed the mark.

Forging ahead into the future without a game plan instead of forecasting the requirements for legitimate businesses has its price. Fintech outfits in the U.S. are expectant that the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency will pass down a special charter that will allow them to do business under slightly different terms as banks, but with a measure of prudent oversight. Things like compliance, security of customer data, and anti-money laundering efforts will boost companies on the fringe of the disruption onto center stage. As with most things, and especially fintech, there are no shortcuts.

Disrupting the banking industry is no small feat, but for those who make it out the other side, there are big rewards. The untapped opportunity made possible through technology is vast, but entrants strategic in their approach and operational standards will outlast the others. As with most disruptions, fintech is expected to persist, despite naysayers, although it may not transfuse the market with change as rapidly as some expect. There’s a reason they call it the “slow march” toward progress, but it doesn’t negate the fact that change is coming.

Author:

Written by Lauren Ruef, a research analyst at Nvoicepay.

Securing Digital Payments on a Mobile Phone

MagicCube

Digital payments have crossed the Rubicon and are now not only an acceptable form of payment but soon expected to become the dominant form. But the problem is small businesses are still hampered in leveraging digital payments for the convenience of their customer base. The below graph indicates the share of small business owners in […]

MagicCube

Digital payments have crossed the Rubicon and are now not only an acceptable form of payment but soon expected to become the dominant form. But the problem is small businesses are still hampered in leveraging digital payments for the convenience of their customer base. The below graph indicates the share of small business owners in the United States who accept digital and mobile payment methods as of October 2017.

Source: Statista

Similarly, IoT is no longer the future. Autonomous cars and voice-controlled assistants like Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home are already in our lives. All of these technology developments represent a new challenge in how to manage and secure our digital payment and IoT devices and infrastructure.

The MagicCube Business Model

The MagicCube solution helps in securing digital transactions on different devices, with the same level of security as device hardware solutions without the complexity and cost associated with hardware deployments.

While working with VISA, founder and Chief Executive Officer Sam Shawki witnessed that companies had to use Apple Pay to access chips while securing credit cards. This required an extensive hardware set up. This led him to embark on a project to create virtual chips.

MagicCube’s patented technology provides an embedded software solution in the existing hardware set up. Now, Visa users will not have to go to Apple to get tokenized cards. Rather, they can use the hardware of MagicCube on their regular devices via cloud by just entering a pin. Now the phone can be used to access payments and there is no need for a separate external device. A lot of companies used to give these devices to merchants for free to capture payments and lending business. But now, with MagicCube, the onboarding process does not require expensive hardware. This allows for faster and cheaper penetration of the market, and merchants don’t have to interact with bulky hardware for managing transactions. Now, consumers will not require credit cards to make payments and merchants will not need any hardware device for accepting payments.

The company charges a setup fee depending on the geography, specific requirements, and volume of the client. There is a fee for active merchants on a monthly basis and a software license fee for every user.

MagicCube Products

    • Mobile Payments: According to research reports, digital payments will overtake cash transactions by 2023. All stakeholders in the payments ecosystem need to conform to the latest technologies as well as ensure that these payments are as secure as those executed through chip-based credit cards. The company’s MC Token Shield will offer a device-independent, hardware-grade security for mobile payments without the complications of hardware. It will also render the excessive middlemen fees associated with current digital payments redundant. The company has achieved PC-DSS Level 1 SP Certification and needs just a single API for integration with any App.
    • Connected Cars: Device security in connected cars is extremely important. According to research, by 2020, one in five vehicles on the road will have some form of wireless network connection. The company’s MC Vehicle Shield offers hardware-grade security to autonomous vehicles for their most critical parts. It will not only reduce the hardware bill for the car manufacturers, but any updates in security standards can be handled like a normal software update instead of having to recall the vehicles.
    • Pin on Glass: Only 45% of US Small Businesses accept credit cards. The point-of-sale hardware costs and the complexity attached with operating them has made it too expensive for millions of small merchants. Pin on Glass technology allows for a regular smartphone to safely accept payment card PINs, thus transforming the humble phone into a POS terminal. The tech has the power to change the entire payments paradigm. MagicCube’s MC Screen Shield works on delivering hardware-grade security and cloud monitoring services for such “PIN on Glass” payments.

Who Are MagicCube?

Founded in 2014, the Silicon Valley- and Brisbane, Australia-based MagicCube is the creator of the world’s only Software Trusted Execution Environment (sTEE) platform, a technology that enables large-scale deployment and management of IoT and mobile-secure solutions for consumers. The company has raised over $10.5 million in funding from Bold Capital, Epic Ventures, Silicon Valley Bank, and others. The company’s seed round saw participation by payments giant Visa.

Before launching the startup, Shawki was the head of Visa’s Global Remote Payments business unit. He was the driving force behind the company’s global push in mobile and remote payments. He also served as the chief innovation officer of VimpelCom, the sixth largest telecom player in the world with over 214 million customers in 18 countries.

Nancy Zayed is the cofounder and chief technical officer. She was head of engineering and operations at InnoPath, a founding member of OMA (Open Mobile Alliance), head of platform development at Cisco Systems, and also spent 10 years at Apple in various leadership roles.

Partnerships and Competitors

The company has entered into a partnership with Visa-funded Yellowpepper to secure token-based payments and is launching the solution in the Latin American market. The company has also partnered with ID Tech, a POS solutions provider for launching a product that will securely allow any mobile device to be converted into a POS terminal.

The young startup is competing with heavyweights like Qualcomm and Infineon, who provide security chips powering and securing payments today. But the CEO is confident that their software will soon make any hardware solutions obsolete. The company is also looking to partner with other players for launching new products and is in the process of attaining critical industrial certifications which will make the sales process much easier. The company seems to be in the pole position to change how digital payments and IoT devices will be secured in the future.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Tuesday May 29 2018, Daily News Digest

alternative loans

News Comments Today’s main news: How SoFi, Robinhood trick investors into saving money. The highest paying green IFISAs. Ant Financial’s $10B fundraising is oversubscribed. HashChing gets $700K loan. Today’s main analysis: Alternative loan borrowers may be traditional prospects. Today’s thought-provoking articles: The challenges online lenders would face in a recession. Crowdfunding in Switzerland is at a record high. Only 4% […]

alternative loans

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United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

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News Summary

United States

Designers at SoFi, Robinhood explain how they trick users into saving (and making) money (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

  • Personal finance apps have gained traction with customers — especially millennials — thanks to the ease with which they let users sock money away, save towards big goals, and make big purchases more possible.
  • From the loan refinancing company SoFi to the stock trading platform Robinhood, many of these companies are now worth billions of dollars thanks to enthusiastic investors.
  • At the heart of their success: A good product which combines smart design with financial psychology to convince users to meet the goals they set for themselves.
  • Here’s how the best companies in fintech design their apps to convince users to save and make money.

Alternative loan borrowers may be traditional prospects (Banking Exchange) Rated: AAA

The latest example of this comes from a new study by TransUnion that indicates that some borrowers who use “alternative loans” may actually be good candidates for traditional consumer credit products.

Alternative loans typically don’t appear in traditional credit bureau files. These services include short-term debt, such as “payday loans”; point-of-sale finance offered by retailers or third-party lenders; virtual “rent-to-own” finance; and auto-title loans.

Release coincides with OCC announcement

Elizabeth Pagel, vice-president, market strategy, consumer lending at TransUnion, notes that while many consumers in the FactorTrust database of alternative loan users skew subprime, nearly 40% are not subprime credits, and 12% are actually prime or above.

One example given by TransUnion demonstrating the general pattern concerns near-prime borrowers (those with VantageScore 3.0 credit scores of 601-660):

• About 14% of those borrowers with only one short-term loan went 90 days or more past due on a traditional account 12 months later.

• The delinquency level fell to less than 12% when a consumer possessed two alternative loans.

• The delinquency level fell to about 9% when a consumer had eight or more alternative loans over the course of seven years.

Source: Banking Exchange
Source: Banking Exchange

The Unique Challenges Online Lenders Would Face In A Recession (Forbes) Rated: AAA

Technology has reshaped the lending industry over the last decade. Companies like Lending Club, Prosper and SoFi built billion dollar business (even if valuations have come down from their respective peaks) by better connecting lenders to borrowers and streamlining what was previously a slow and bloated consumer lending process. Dozens more companies have launched in their wake and are contributing to this wave of change. In fact, TransUnion data shows that fintech lenders now account for over a third of personal loan origination by volume. That Goldman Sachs launched their own online lending business, Marcus, shows that much of this change is here to stay.

But these businesses have all come of age during an unprecedented period of economic expansion and low default rates. Low defaults have helped performance, while low yields in other asset classes have driven up investor demand for higher yielding personal loans.

If the market needed a warning sign, look no further than auto loans. Delinquencies in the subprime auto market have 

PeerStreet Review 2018 – Real Estate Crowdfunding Platform (Dough Roller) Rated: A

Some real estate investors come to the platform looking for financing, while others come looking for above average returns on their money.

The difference is that while other P2P platforms provide personal loans to individuals, PeerStreet supplies financing for real estate transactions. The purpose of the platform is to make these sophisticated investments in commercial real estate available to ordinary investors.

The loans are generally short-term, between six months and 24 months. They also have conservative loan-to-value (LTV) ratios, of not more than 75% of the value of the underlying property.

Types of loan investments include:

  • Single-family residential buy-to-rent properties
  • Single-family refinances
  • Single-family Value Add (This is a property that is purchased then renovated for sale, sometimes referred to as a fix-and-flip loan.)
  • Bridge loans

Kabbage Sees More Mobile Lending, Women and Minority Owned Businesses Seeking Funds (Small Business Trends) Rated: A

Online lending platform Kabbage says it sees more mobile lending, more women and minority owned businesses seeking loans and more businesses from rural and lower to middle income communities too.

Today 140,000 small businesses use Kabbage. Today, Kabbage has delivered over $4.5 billion in funding, moving the loan process from long lines at a physical bank to a  shorter wait on mobile or the web.

Expect More Bank Mergers After Dodd-Frank Rollback (Barrons) Rated: A

But the legislation known as the Crapo bill (named after Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo), which President Donald Trump signed into law on Thursday, could provide another boost to bank investors by unleashing mergers, dividend increases, and buybacks among regional and local banks.

By raising the threshold for stricter supervision under Dodd-Frank from $50 million in assets to $250 million, the new law effectively removes a disincentive for mergers and acquisitions.

Banks had been wary of doing deals that would put them over the $50 billion level, which required more capital and more stringent supervision. CIT Group’s (CIT) deal for OneWest was a rare case where an acquisition broke that barrier since Dodd-Frank was enacted in 2010.

Vermont Passes First-of-Its-Kind Law to Regulate Data Brokers (Gizmodo) Rated: A

Earlier this week, Vermont became the first state in the nation to enact a law that will regulate data brokers that buy and sell personal information in an attempt to add a new layer of accountability to the massive, data-trading companies that often operate without much oversight.

As TechCrunch noted, under the guidelines of the bill—which passed into law Tuesday without the signature of Republican Governor Phil Scott—data brokers will have to pay a $100 annual fee to register with the state, and will have to comply with new rules meant to protect Vermonters from suffering at the hands of another data breach like the one that befell Equifax last year and exposed the data of 145 million (and counting) Americans.

United Kingdom

The highest paying green IFISAs of 2018/19 (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

Earlier this year, Assetz Capital closed its Green Energy Account due to a lack of deal flow, while Trillion Fund closed in 2015 after the government scaled back its green energy subsidies.

So in alphabetical order, here are the highest-paying P2P green IFISAs available right now…

Abundance

  • Target returns for IFISA: 3-15 per cent

Downing Crowd

  • Target returns for IFISA: 3-7.6 per cent

Goji and Prestige-Prime Group

  • Target returns for ISA: 6.5-8.3 per cent

Triodos Crowdfunding

  • Target returns for IFISA: 5-7 per cent

Ethical bank Triodos launched its own P2P platform earlier this year, named Triodos Crowdfunding. Within the first few months of the year it had already funded seven projects, four of which were IFISA eligible.

Could savers be given access to multiple IFISAs each tax year? (Peer2Peer Finace) Rated: A

The Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) – an independent adviser to the government on simplifying the tax system – has said ISA rules should be made more simple for investors to administer.

It suggests changing the rule where only one type of ISA can be opened at a time and instead letting savers hold multiple products, such as more than one Innovative Finance ISA from different peer-to-peer lenders or a variety of cash ISAs, as long as they remain within the annual allowance.

Rage against robo-advice machines (FT Adviser) Rated: A

Despite the FCA offering this assistance now the regulator has found several causes for concern in the robo-advice that is being given to clients.

The watchdog revealed some robo-advice firms were failing to properly disclose prices and services, and crucially, the regulator flagged risks clients were not receiving suitable advice.

As a result, the FCA has required many of the robo-advisers which took part in the study to make “significant changes” to their businesses.

Christian Faes of LendInvest (Lend Academy) Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • How the financial crisis formed the backdrop for the founding of LendInvest.
  • How their first foray into raising capital online transformed their business.
  • The kinds of loans that LendInvest offers today.
  • The typical borrower who uses LendInvest today.
  • How they have applied technology to the borrowing process.
  • How they attract these kinds of borrowers.
  • The four different channels for investors.
  • Details of their London Stock Exchange listed bond.
  • What is being done in the UK to address the housing shortage there.
  • How Brexit has affected their business over the past two years.
  • Who has provided equity capital for LendInvest.
  • Christian’s thoughts on international expansion for LendInvest.
  • How he feels about a potential LendInvest IPO.

Crowdfunding faces withholding tax clampdown (The Times) Rated: A

Revenue has tightened the rules on peer-to-peer lending by requiring businesses that raise money through crowdfunding to deduct a 20% withholding tax on the interest they pay.

The move will make it harder for individuals to avoid tax when they use crowdfunding to lend spare cash to small businesses rather than earning paltry returns by leaving it on deposit.

Can this lending buy-to-let startup help agents sell more homes? (The Negotiator) Rated: A

A buy-to-let finance start-up founded by the entrepreneur behind crowd-funding mortgage firm Landbay says it wants to help agents sell properties faster and in greater volumes.

Officially launched this week after being set-up in November last year, Dot offers agents and developers a one-click buy-to-let purchase button for their ‘properties for sale’ listings (see mock-up above) which, the company’s claims suggest, could offer an antidote to the current sluggish sales market.

After clicking the button, investors will be offered the opportunity to buy the property on the spot if they put down a 30% cash deposit via Dot.

FCA urged to extend cap on payday loan fees to other forms of credit (The Guardian) Rated: B

The City watchdog is facing mounting pressure to extend its cap on payday lending fees and interest to a broader range of high-cost financial products before a major review of lending practices this week.

Likely to result in a series of new rules for banks and finance companies, the review comes as hard-pressed Britons increase their personal borrowing to levels unseen since the financial crisis.

China

China: WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

Ant Financial’s $10-billion fund-raising faced oversubscription

The ongoing $10-billion fund-raising of Ant Financial Services has attracted the attention of multiple investors.

According to informed sources, investors expected to participate in this round of financing include private equity group Carlyle, General Atlantic, Silver Lake, Sequoia Capital China, Warburg Pincus, sovereign wealth fund Temasek, institutional funds Canada Pension Plan Investment Committee (CPPIB) and BlackRock; while many other investors were rejected.

According to a person involved in the funding, this round of financing will value Ant Financial at more than US$150 billion. 

Traditional banks can be the ‘trusted face’ of fintech and online finance firms (South China Morning Post) Rated: A

While banks see fintech as their biggest threat, they can use their trusted position among customers and regulators to collaborate in the shift to digital banking, software firm Temenos says

In a recent survey of 400 banking executives, Temenos said more than 53 per cent of respondents cited e-financial services like PayPal, Alipay, WeChat Pay and Apple Pay as their biggest non-traditional competition in the next two years.

European Union

Crowdfunding in Switzerland at Record High: CHF 375 Million (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

The Swiss crowdfunding market has reached a record high volume of CHF 374.5 million in 2017, almost three times more than in the previous year. This has been revealed by the latest Crowdfunding Monitoring report issued by the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts. The financing of SMEs and investments in real estate are key drivers of the strong growth. The authors of the report are expecting a further marked increase to about CHF 1 billion this year. Compared to the more advanced markets in the United Kingdom and the United StatesSwitzerland is two to three years behind, but catching up rapidly.

Hungary ready to join the global blockchain market (Budapest Business Journal) Rated: B

Europe is starting to take blockchain-based solutions seriously, and Hungarian players seem ready to be part of the game. The largest international blockchain summit in the CEE region, Blockchaineum 2.0, gathered major stakeholders in Budapest to discuss the hottest issues on the global agenda.

Peer-to-peer lending is considered another blockchain target area. Ray Youssef, CEO of Paxful gave the example of Nigeria, the biggest economy in Africa, where high inflation and foreign currency restrictions push many people towards finding shelter in cryptocurrencies.

International

Mobile ventures to take on payments (Daily Sabah) Rated: A

Square, one of the most popular payment solutions Visa invested on, allows street vendors the opportunity to accept credit cards. It brings the convenience of payment for consumers, who can shop safely anywhere in the world.

Klarna is another venture that has received Visa investments. It is one of Europe’s leading payment providers, aiming to make the payment process simple, smooth and secure for customers and trading partners. Klarna offers payment solutions for over 60 million users in Europe and North America.

Cryptocurrency Cap Waiting to be Unlocked by Lenders (The Merkle) Rated: A

Today, cryptocurrency has an estimated market cap of $300 to $800 billion USD. Asset-backed tokens have been expected to reach $5 trillion USD by 2025.

Now, Depository Network (DEPO) has made it even easier for digital asset owners to cash in on their holdings while offering peace of mind to lenders.

DEPO is developing the world’s first decentralized, multi-platform collateral network. The depository will be a secure place for borrowers to deposit their coins or tokens as a collateral for loans while offering lenders full control over the details of the loan agreement.

Australia

Mortgage marketplace receives $ 700k loan (Australian Broker) Rated: AAA

An online home loan marketplace has received a $700,000 loan from Jobs for NSW, which is set to help the business create 46 jobs over the next five years.

HashChing reports it now has over $900million settled through their platform from more than 1,950 loans. It also says it has 586 mortgage brokers on the platform and is growing at 700% year-on-year.

India

Only 4% Indians get easy personal loans from banks and NBFCs (Sify Finance) Rated: AAA

27 public sector banks, 93 commercial banks, over 10,000 non banking financial and Gold companies and several micro-finance institutions, but ask any entrepreneur the ease of getting a loan. A mixed response is most likely, with majority opting for diplomatic correctness over factual accuracy.

Getting a loan is certainly a monumental feat in this era of digitisation. And this is the exact demand that peer-to-peer companies such as LenDen, i2i Funding, Faircent, Lendbox are keen to fulfill.

i2i Funding is India’s second largest p2p lending platform, with a size of 50,000 customers. The company aspires to cross Rs 2 crores in monthly disbursal by October 2018.

How do Investors Invest in Startups – From a Venture Capitalist’s Point of View (Entrepreneur India) Rated: A

In this regard, to decode what goes on in the minds of leading venture capitalists, Entrepreneur India interacted with Bhaskar Majumdar who is Managing Partner at Mumbai-based Unicorn India Ventures. At this point in time, Unicorn India has dedicated equity funds worth INR 100 crores under deployment, while another INR 600 crores worth debt fund has been launched.

He also states that with aspects such as credit scoring, data collection, and even lending to MSMEs having now received the digital touch, Fintech is exciting considering the fact that startups in the sector could effectively collaborate with banks to bring more people into the formal banking system.

Xiaomi Launches Mi Credit, A Lending Marketplace Exclusively for MIUI Users (BW Disrupt) Rated: B

Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi has introduced Mi Credit which aims to deliver instant loans exclusively to MIUI users.

Mi Credit provides a hassle-free approach to avail loans instantly.

MIUI users can apply for a loan anytime and from anywhere. The company is offering loans starting from Rs 1,000 up to Rs 1 Lakh.

According to a report published by ET, the loan will be extended at 3% interest per month and focuses on salaried professionals.

Africa

Kenya moves to regulate fintech-fuelled lending craze (Reuters) Rated: AAA

Kenya built a reputation as a pioneer of financial inclusion through its early adoption of a mobile money system that enables people to transfer cash and make payments on cellphones without a bank account.

Now, a proliferation of lenders are using the same technology to extend credit to the banked and unbanked alike, saddling borrowers with high interest rates and leaving regulators scrambling to keep up.

This week, the finance ministry published a draft bill on financial regulation which covers digital lenders for the first time. A key aim is to ensure that providers treat retail customers fairly, it said.

Eurasia

Russia Has Significant Opportunity to Advance Financial Tech Services – Analyst (Sputnik International) Rated: AAA

Bob Contri: I think that in financial services, which is where I work, digital is very important. I would say for our clients globally it’s probably the most important topic right now. I think it’s very important from a client perspective so how do they provide financial services to their clients in a very efficient way. And I think it’s also very important how they manage their business so how can they use their technologies to create more efficiency in the middle and back office. So it’s probably the biggest topic right now in our practice globally with working with our clients.

Sputnik: Do you think there’s big potential for new approaches in banking such as peer-to-peer lending, crowdfunding?

Bob Contri: Sure, I think that the face of financial services is changing pretty dramatically. I think that obviously automated money transfers and cross-border payments will change dramatically. I think peer-to-peer lending has a big opportunity to grow significantly. So I think the whole face of financial services is changing pretty dramatically. That’s not to say that the market leaders of today won’t be the market leaders of the future.

MENA

RentSher — a firm with a hire purpose (Gulf News) Rated: AAA

Founders Vaibhav and Purvashi Doshi and Harsh Dhand originally conceived of RentSher as a peer-to-peer lending platform, the Airbnb of stuff.

But after they launched the firm in Bengaluru in 2015 (Dubai followed in 2016), they noticed a problem.

“We figured out that peer-to-peer alone is not scalable enough,” said Vaibhav, the firm’s CEO, in an interview at his and Purvashi’s Dubai villa.
That forced a rethink, and a move towards a business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) model, a centralised one-stop rental platform for companies already offering rental services to connect with a pool of customers through an easy-to-use interface.

Reaping the fruits of hard work (Khaleej Times) Rated: B

It was while discussing a common problem that Marie-Christine Luijckx and three friends came up with a successful business model. Luijckx and her friends were doing long working hours in their corporate jobs with very few healthy food choices resulting in loss of productivity at the workplace. They thus decided to establish Fruitful Day, a business that delivers curated selections of fresh fruit to workplaces and homes across the UAE in 2015.

Luijckx says all partners believe passionately in the business and they funded it with their personal savings. “Our only external funding to date has been through Beehive, which is a debt crowdfunding platform,” she says.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Digital Banking 2018

Digital Banking 2018

Date: June 6-8, 2018 Location: The Neal Kocurek Memorial Austin Convention Center 500 E Cesar Chavez Street, Austin, TX 78701 Digital Banking is the leading and largest digital banking event in the industry, covering innovation in financial services for consumer and commercial customers around mobile, digital, AI, payments, RegTech, data, blockchain, API, channel and technology strategies. […]

Digital Banking 2018

Date: June 6-8, 2018

Location: The Neal Kocurek Memorial Austin Convention Center
500 E Cesar Chavez Street, Austin, TX 78701

Digital Banking is the leading and largest digital banking event in the industry, covering innovation in financial services for consumer and commercial customers around mobile, digital, AI, payments, RegTech, data, blockchain, API, channel and technology strategies.

Featured Speakers include:

  • Lisa Adams, Product Marketing Manager, Avoka
  • Duangporn Aphiraksatyakul. VP of Enterprise Risk Analytics, Bank of America
  • Dan Armstrong, Chief Digital Officer, BankMobile
  • Amir Ben-Efraim, Co-Founder and CEO, Menlo Security
  • Lisa Cook, Product Manager for the Digital Banking channel, FirstBank
  • Keith Costello, CFA, President and CEO, First GREEN Bank
  • Parker Crockford, Commercial Director US, Onfido
  • Jennifer Daugherty, Senior Vice President and Director, Omnichannel Strategy, Fifth Third Bank
  • And many more

Register here.

Thursday May 3 2018, Daily News Digest

10 best states for small business lending

News Comments Today’s main news: Microloans for SMBs are becoming big business. RateSetter offers IFISA transfers. Funding Circle opens IFISA to transfers. Funding Circle SME Income Fund issues more shares. BNP Paribas Asset Management launches SME lending fund. Today’s main analysis: Lendio’s top 10 best states for small business lending. Today’s thought-provoking articles: The missing benefit in employee financial […]

10 best states for small business lending

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United States

United Kingdom

International

European Union

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United States

Microloans a glimmer of hope for small businesses in need (USA Today) Rated: AAA

The microloan market has evolved in the last five years, says Antara Dutta, a social entrepreneur and mentor with the Delaware chapter of SCORE, a volunteer network of small business advisers. Many nonprofit organizations, foundations and peer-to-peer lending networks have also entered the microloan market.

One such company is Funding Circle, a San Francisco-based lending platform that connects investors with small business owners.  “Banks have really pulled back from doing small business loans over the past decade,” says Sarina Siddhanti, Funding Circle’s U.S. Head of Commercial. “We fill that gap.”

While Funding Circle awards business loans up to $500,000, they also offer microloans to entrepreneurs who need less.

Lendio Announces Annual List of Top 10 Best States for Small Business Lending (Lendio) Rated: AAA

In honor of National Small Business Week, Lendio, the nation’s leading marketplace for small business loans, today announced its third annual list of top 10 states for small business lending, based on lending data from the Lendio platform, which matches businesses with more than 75 lenders.

Source Lendio; sba.gov

CommonBond’s Latest Study Reveals the Missing Benefit in Employee Financial Wellness (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

On Tuesday, CommonBond, an online lending platform servicing the student loan market, released the results of one of the most comprehensive employee financial wellness benefits studies to date. According to the lender, the research revealed the extent to which student debt affects employees’ financial wellness, as well as how companies are meeting, or not meeting,  the financial wellness needs of their employees.

Key findings of the study included:
  • Student debt cuts across all age groups, including parents who are taking out loans for their children: Nearly 75% of all workers have taken out loans to fund their own education, while 21 percent of workers expect to take out a loan for a child or other family member’s education in the next five years. 
  • Human resources executives prioritize benefits for employees without student debt: For employees with student debt, student loan repayment is the most-requested financial wellness benefit; however, human resources teams rank student loan repayment as their third priority. 
  • Employees do not think their benefits are as innovative as human resources executives believe: 71% of human resources executives see their benefits offering as innovative, compared with 50 percent of employees. 
  • Student loan benefits attract talent, retain employees, and improve work performance: 78% of employees with current or future student loan debt want their employer to offer this benefit, and 65% of employees over age 55 in these categories want the same.

RealtyMogul Brings Fintech Solutions To Commercial Real Estate Investment (Benzinga) Rated: A

What does your company do? What unique problem does it solve?

RealtyMogul is a unique commercial real estate private markets investing platform that provides discerning investors exclusive access to thoroughly vetted opportunities, rigorous underwriting, and high-touch customer service through licensed investment professionals. We strive to build wealth through sound principles and data insights, serving real people who want a smart alternative investing strategy.

Fannie and Freddie approve thousands of loans with no formal appraisals (The Washington Post) Rated: A

For homeowners and buyers, it’s been a windfall: relief from having to pay for a traditional mortgage appraisal that usually costs between $400 and $600. The savings nationwide to consumers in just the past year alone may total tens of millions of dollars.

Last year, the two largest sources of American mortgage financing — federally backed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — began accepting home-purchase loans that carried no formal property appraisal.

Ryan Lundquist, an appraiser in Sacramento, noted that computer programs “cannot smell 20 cats living at the property.”

Pat Turner, a Richmond appraiser, says that, worse yet, the “savings” from Fannie and Freddie may not always flow to buyers. He cited a recent case in his area where a major online lender allegedly charged a buyer $600 on a loan with an appraisal-fee waiver.

 

After ceding a key competitive advantage to fintech companies in recent years, several mass market and regional banks are testing alternative data for use in marketing, pre-screening, and underwriting consumer loan products like credit cards and personal loans, and exploring emerging use cases in fraud prevention and other areas.

While most lender decisions still use traditional sources, such as credit file data managed by the consumer reporting agencies, the potential for alternative data to transform lending is clear. Rent and utility payments, employment information, and behavioral data paint a clearer picture of a consumer’s creditworthiness and could allow lenders to reach underserved populations. In fact, alternative data has allowed Lending Club, a marketplace lender, to extend lower-priced credit to borrowers that would otherwise be classified as subprime, according to the Federal Reserve.

Inside Bank of America’s big plans for small businesses (TearSheet) Rated: A

What about branch transformation on the small business side? How is B of A marrying its physical and digital strategies?
We know in certain pockets of towns and cities you’ll have more business owners coming in and out than in others; in those centers with high traffic of business owners we add more capabilities so we’re there for them and have more people who understand small business.

What’s an example of technology you’re investing in?
Three weeks ago we launched our relationship rewards program, which is our version of the Preferred Rewards, where when you bring more to us — more deposits or lending — you get more benefits. It’s a very straightforward way to bank with us that encompasses lending, merchants and operating accounts. That’s a technology investment in itself because we have to on the back-end tie everything together and understand the full picture of the relationship; it comes from updating our products and solutions in the backend to streamlining the underwriting and fulfillment processes.

 

 

First RealFund Raises $ 500,000 of Preferred Equity for Brooklyn Property Renovation (Citizen Tribune) Rated: B

First RealFund (“FRF”) has raised $500,000 of preferred equity financing for the renovation of a 4-story brownstone in Brooklyn’s Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood.

Morgan Stanley kicks new tech strategy into gear (American Banker) Rated: B

Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman has asked Rob Rooney, the investment bank’s technology chief and leader of its international unit, to return to New York to focus solely on the tech part of his job.

“We have enormous, staggering amounts of data for risk management, [anti-money-laundering], regulatory and other purposes,” Rooney said. “The use cases here are enormous. The job in our technology organization is to make sure we build a strategy we can leverage across the firm, otherwise it’s not efficient.”

The bank is increasing its investments in innovation and cybersecurity, he said.

United Kingdom

RateSetter opens IFISA to transfers (Peer2Peer Finace) Rated: AAA

RATESETTER has opened its Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) to transfers from other providers.

RateSetter will accept full and partial transfers and there is no limit on the number of existing ISAs that can be transferred.

RateSetter introduces bonus scheme (Bridging & Commercial) Rated: B

Investors will receive a £50 bonus if they recommend the platform to a family member or friend who then invests £1,000.

The referred person can also receive a £100 bonus if they keep the £1,000 invested in RateSetter for a year.

Funding Circle opens IFISA to transfers (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

FUNDING Circle has opened its Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) to transfers, meaning that all of the ‘big three’ peer-to-peer lenders now offer this capability.

“Since last November more than £90m has been lent directly to businesses through the Funding Circle ISA, and we’re pleased to see so many of you taking advantage of the opportunity to earn attractive, stable returns tax-free,” the company said on a blog post on its website.

 

6%-yielding Funding Circle fund issues more shares (Citywire) Rated: AAA

The 6% yielding lender to small businesses, plans to sell up to 24.9 million shares it holds in treasury having bought them back when they briefly traded at a discount two years ago.

The shares are being offered to ‘qualified’ experienced investors at  102.2p, which is 2.2% less than the share price at Monday’s close and a 2%-3% premium to their net asset value.

Starling Bank partners with Samsung for mobile payments (AltFiNews) Rated: A

Announced today, digital bank Starling has partnered with Samsung to offer mobile payments method Samsung Pay to all Starling customers, creating the bank’s fourth partnership for making purchases via a mobile phone.

Starling users will now be able to make contactless payments at the point of sale using nothing but their Samsung phone, using iris, fingerprint or PIN recognition to prove their identity.

Nucleus targets start-ups with new type of loan (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

The alternative business finance provider announced the launch of Start-up Finance on Wednesday, which is tailored to help start-ups get their business off the ground.

Young companies can borrow between £25,000 and £20m, with a secured interest-only loan, over a period of up to five years.

High-cost lending provides “a socially valuable function”, says regulator boss Bailey (City A.M.) Rated: A

The boss of the UK’s top financial regulator believes access to controversial high-cost loans is an “important feature” for many Britons to fund everyday living.

Andrew Bailey, the chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority, today indicated a clampdown on the sector would not be forthcoming.

How to become an IFISA millionaire in 25 years (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: B

Figures from P2P analyst 4th Way suggest if a lender invests £10,000 each year across several platforms and aims for nine per cent interest after bad debts, they could be a millionaire within two-and-a-half decades.

Rip-off debts soar as rent-to-own, catalogue credit and doorstep lending surge after payday loan crackdown (The Telegraph) Rated: B

Debts from catalogue credit, doorstep lending and rent-to-own have all more than doubled in recent years even as regulators cracked down on payday loans.

Lenders now face a crackdown as the City watchdog wants to make sure high-cost loans are only used by borrowers who can afford the debt and are helped by it.

 

China

Niwodai Seeks Partners for Fintech-driven Expansion into Southeast Asia (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

Niwodai, one of the largest Chinese P2P lending companies, is said to be seeking a path into Southeast Asia, according to sources. The company is in frequent contact with potential partners, looking to map out a proper route to advancing their business, of which financial technology is the most powerful tool. Considering the challenges that most Chinese fintech companies have faced, proper cooperation with a local partner should be a win-win situation.

European Union

BNP Paribas Asset Management launches SME lending fund (AltFiNews) Rated: AAA

BNP Paribas Asset Management has launched a new SME lending fund for institutional investors.

The BNP Paribas Novo 2018 business loan fund follows on from its Novo 1 fund, launched in 2013. The new fund has the backing of the FF and the CDC and aims to provide new sources of financing to help French medium-sized companies expand.

BNP Paribas Novo 2018 could invest €264m over the next three years, the firm said in a statement.

German Varengold Bank Provides Credit Line to Estateguru (P2P Banking) Rated: B

Estonian property p2p lending marketplace Estateguru announced that it has secured its first institutional investor.

In March 2018, Estateguru signed the firm’s first institutional credit line to be invested in loans originated in the Baltic market with Germany based Varengold Bank AG.

International

New FIS Study Finds Larger U.S. and U.K. Banks Are Vulnerable to Losing Critical Small-Midsized Business Customers (Fintech Finance) Rated: AAA

The study found that more than 80% of surveyed SMB customers in the U.S., and 70% of SMB customers in the U.K., are satisfied with their primary banking providers. However:

  • In the U.S., SMBs report higher satisfaction with services from community banks over larger banks.
  • In the U.K., nearly one in four SMBs – most of which use larger banking providers – are planning to switch banking providers in the next 12 months
  • Common reasons cited by SMBs in both countries for switching banks are uncompetitive fees, dissatisfaction with services/products provided, outdated bank processes, or being declined for a business loan/line of credit.
  • SMBs in both countries report difficulty in obtaining reliable and accurate information from their banks, especially larger institutions, without visiting a physical bank branch.

Growing Adoption of Digital Tools

  • About 60% of SMBs in both countries have increased the number of transactions done digitally over the past year.
  • More than 40% of financial transactions were completed digitally by SMBs in both countries.
  • Acceptance of online, mobile app and person-to-person payments increased 38% over the last year for U.S. SMBs.

 

Banks are treating customers like product developers (TearSheet) Rated: A

Banks’ race to meet the customers “where they are” has taken on a new twist: customers are now product developers — not just end users.

Digital-only challenger banks like Monzo are emphasizing customer involvement to build a human connection with customers — a move others like Tandem, Revolut and Chime are also emulating. Chime, for instance, recently launched a chat feature within its mobile app that lets customers provide real-time feedback, a tool that’s used by around 50,000 users every month, according head of product Zachary Smith.

Three-year-old Monzo, which has 650,000 customers, has been active on various fronts in seeking feedback from customers on products while they’re in development — both through in-person “Testing Tuesdays” at Monzo offices and an exchange of views and polls on its online forums.

Rad Card Great HODL Survey Reveals Average Crypto User 25-34, Male (Bitcoin Exchange Guide) Rated: A

The team at Rad Card, found online at RadLending.com, just completed something called “The Great HODL Survey”.

  • The average cryptocurrency user is a male between the ages of 25 and 34
  • That person holds a bachelor’s degree
  • The average cryptocurrency users “hodls” between $1,000 and $10,000 worth of tokens, but has never used cryptocurrency for payment of goods and services
  • Crypto investors, overall, “prefer not to use their assets in real life as much as business owners”, according to the study, as well as freelancers or service providers that accept cryptocurrencies in exchange for their work, products, or services

Core features of the RAD platform include a P2P lending platform, crypto-secured lending, and a digital credit score. The company will offer its services to miners, small crypto businesses, post-ICO companies, exchanges and traders, and traditional fiat investors, all of whom can benefit from crypto-backed loans.

Fintech and the Sharing Economy (TLE) Rated: B

One of the phenomena this has supported is a surge in partnerships forged online, to provide peer to peer services.

The prediction is that the sharing economy will be worth over $335 billion by 2025. Fintech is pivotal in this, as it’s responsible for developing the accessible and efficient systems to carry out these digital “barter and buy” opportunities.

Peer to peer lending using Fintech also requires less cost to facilitate and therefore provides greater equality of opportunity.

ZPER Embeds Trustonic in New Mobile Wallet for Optimized Security (Blockchain News) Rated: B

Decentralized peer-to-peer (P2P) Lending Platform ZPER is using features from digital security semiconductor group Trustonic in its new mobile cryptocurrency wallet, claiming that it will be the most secure available.

The wallet will also be able to store and exchange multiple cryptocurrencies, thus enabling P2P cross-border value exchanges.

 

Australia/New Zealand

Online lender continues huge loan growth (Australian Broker) Rated: AAA

Neo-lender Wisr Limited saw a 42% growth in its origination of personal loans in the latest financial quarter.

This was the company’s largest quarter in loan originations since Wisr, formerly known as DirectMoney, began in 2014.

Loan originations have continued to grow over the financial year, growing by 20% in the first quarter and by 79% in the second quarter.

The FMA Makes A Guidance Note For Peer – To – Peer Lending Services & Crowdfunding Services (Mondaq) Rated: A

The Financial Markets Authority (FMA), New Zealand’s regulator for financial services, has released a guidance note to licensed peer-to-peer (P2P) lending services, licensed crowdfunding services for fair dealing in advertising and communicating offers of financial products or services.

Who is this guidance for?

  • The FMA addressed the guidance note to P2P lending services and crowdfunding services, but it is useful for anyone who is promoting or advising others about these services (i.e marketing teams, investment bankers, lawyers).
  • The fair dealing expectations stretch beyond New Zealand’s borders, so they apply to people overseas. Anyone who acts in relation to, or makes an offer of financial products or services in New Zealand should take note.
  • The guidance note is applicable to any media channel that businesses use to communicate and advertise their financial products and services (be it snail-mail or social media).

 

 

Bank names new group executive (Mortgage Business) Rated: B

Online lender ME has appointed Craig Ralston as group executive of customer banking, effective as of 1 May. He will be responsible for ME’s product and service delivery, with a focus on improving the design, simplicity and fairness of the bank’s offerings.

Mr Ralston joined ME in February 2015 as head of strategy to enhance the bank’s strategic and business planning cycle.

India

Fintech Startup OpenTap Raises ₹3 Crore from HNIs (IndianWeb2) Rated: AAA

Chennai-based OpenTap, a fintech startup focusing on the alternate lending segment, has raised about ₹3 crore funding from HNIs (high networth individuals). The capital raised will be used by the startup to strengthen its technology infrastructure and widen the reach of its financial services network across the country. The startup had earlier raised undisclosed amount in seed funding, in May 2015.

India Dealbook: MyLoanCare raise funding (Deal Steet Asia) Rated: B

Fintech startup MyLoanCare raises $975k in Series A round Online loans marketplace MyLoanCare, operated by My Finance Care Advisors Pvt. Ltd, has raised Rs 6.5 crore ($975,000) from Ncubate Capital Partners, the venture capital arm of Gurugram-based SAR Group.

Asia

Startup bags funds from Singapore ex-minister to get ultra-wealthy into crowdlending (Tech in Asia) Rated: AAA

Singapore-based Helicap is a new fintech platform that aims to bring a fund management angle in the peer-to-peer (P2P) lending space. To make this happen, it has raised US$1.5 million in seed funding.

The round was led by Teo Ser Luck, the former Minister of State for Manpower who last year decided to trade politics for the startup sector. Fintech company Nufin Data, where Teo serves as chairman, also invested.

Latin America

Neon Raises $ 22M in Series A Funding (Finsmes) Rated: AAA

Neon, a São Paulo, Brazil-based fully-digital Brazilian bank, raised $22m in Series A funding.

Propel Venture Partners, Monashees, Quona Capital, Omidyar Network, Tera, and Yellow Ventures participated in the funding round. As part of the investment agreement, Neon Pagamentos SA transferred its controlling interest to a holding company in the United Kingdom. In addition, as part of the new round, Jay Reinemann of Propel Venture Partners, and Marcelo Lima of Monashees, are joining Neon’s board of directors.

The company intends to use the funds for product expansion, investment in technology and innovation on customer experience.

Canada

On Wednesday, Lending Loop, a peer-to-peer online lending platform for small-business loans, announced a pilot project in partnership with Ontario that will provide $3-million of loans over the next two years. The government will boost Lending Loop’s loans by 10 per cent, which will help fund more than $30-million of loans to businesses across Ontario. The government will receive a full re-payment of the loan plus interest at the end of the loan terms.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday May 1 2018, Daily News Digest

Pace of Mobile Payment Adoption in China

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

Pace of Mobile Payment Adoption in China

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

Other

News Summary

United States

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source Bloomberg

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

Source: Bloomberg

 

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

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

Key findings:

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

United Kingdom

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Zutshi has now been appointed as chairman of CrowdProperty.

China

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

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

Source: American Banker

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

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

Start with an oligopoly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Full-year 2017 Financial Highlights

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

Operational Highlights

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

Source: Digital Journal
International

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

BLOCKCHAIN

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

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

MARKETPLACE LENDING

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

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

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

DIGITAL BANKS

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

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

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

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

Source: American Banker, Coindesk

Nexo

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

Salt Lending

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

Unchained Capital

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

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

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

Australia

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

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

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

India

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

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

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

 

 

Asia

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

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

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

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

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

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

Latin America

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

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

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

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

Canada

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

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

2017 Highlights

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

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Digital Identity Verification for Alternative Lenders

Digital Identity Verification for Alternative Lenders

Trust is the root of all business transactions. For any financial institution to lend money or offer a banking service, being able to identify the counterparty is a must. And though anonymity is a blessing in a lot of situations, business cannot be conducted under the cloak of secrecy. Financial services are a particular focus […]

Digital Identity Verification for Alternative Lenders

Trust is the root of all business transactions. For any financial institution to lend money or offer a banking service, being able to identify the counterparty is a must. And though anonymity is a blessing in a lot of situations, business cannot be conducted under the cloak of secrecy.

Financial services are a particular focus area for the highest standards in identification, especially due to the strong regulatory push on money laundering, terrorism financing, and KYC (Know Your Customer). Also, according to the World Bank, around 1.1 billion people worldwide cannot prove their identity. They form a major chunk of the 2.5 billion people who don’t have access to financial services. This highlights that identity is a fundamental part of financial inclusion.

Mitek Systems, a global leader in mobile capture and identity verification software solutions, is in the forefront of this growing niche industry. We had an exclusive chat with the company CTO, Stephen Ritter. He gave his views on the opportunity and developments in the ID verification space and how it will be an underlying pillar for the growth of fintech lending and blockchain-led services.

Mitek’s Business Model and Technology

Mitek started as a software company and has evolved to become the leader in mobile banking and mobile deposit solutions. It enables bank customers to take picture of checks for depositing, rendering the physical deposit process redundant. It has entered the digital ID verification market and has developed artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning-powered proprietary algorithms. It will verify the ID by having the user take a picture of  a government-issued ID and compare it with a selfie. This allows the software to cross verify the selfie face with the picture on the government-issued ID.

Mitek’s solutions specializes in accurately identifying the personal document, and can even recognize and evaluate IDs of multiple countries. It can also extract relevant information from the document. Its advanced forensic algorithms can detect signs of forgery or fake documents. Further, it can distinguish good and bad documents and provide a risk score to determine if the document can be trusted. Its algorithms can also determine if the human face is real or a spoof.

The company’s core competency is computer vision, a specific niche within machine learning. The company has been developing software in the field for the last 15 years and considers itself among the pioneers in the space. With the intense speed of development in the field, the company is actively working with partners for integrating third-party sophisticated technology into their own solutions.

The main solutions provided by Mitek include:

  • Mobile Fill – A solution which allows personal information to be pre-filled in the forms of the applicants, taking help of the Mobile ID capture solution provided by Mitek.
  • Mobile Verify – A combination of Mitek’s computer vision technology and auto capture experience, Mobile Verify validates the authenticity of identity documents thereby simplifying the KYC compliance processes.
  • Mobile Deposit – Mobile deposit is a solution that helps in saving time by allowing the person to deposit checks to the participating banks by uploading the image using the device’s camera.

Mitek’s Competition, and Its Impact on Lending

Mitek has an operating history of over two decades. With more than 6,100 banks and financial institutions as customers, the company has a wide moat compared to startups entering the field. Its direct competitors are few and usually early-stage companies. The more traditional players in the space would be the ones that follow the data bureau approach and are beginning to integrate mobile verify solutions for verification of IDs into their platforms.

Lending will receive a boost across the board as lenders, both traditional and alternative, will be able to onboard customers faster and more securely. Alternative lenders, in particular, should see higher approval rates for prospective borrowers with increased confidence they are not being defrauded. Mitek is currently processing over several million ID documents a month. Both MoneyGram and Kabbage use Mitek’s MobileVerify technology. The company is seeing major traction in the fintech lending industry as players are nimble and the first target for most fraudsters.

Financial Inclusion, Privacy, and Real Life Applications

Ritter believes governments need to step up their efforts in ensuring everyone has access to an identity proof. Financial inclusion is positioned prominently in the United Nation’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals agenda, and the need for a digital identity goes far beyond the ability to participate in the formal economy. Its impact is multifold and helps to increase overall trade and access to healthcare and government services. Mitek is also focused on data privacy laws, with GDPR the hot topic in Europe. It has taken GDPR as its baseline for information security and is operating with GDPR recommended data security not only in Europe but across the globe.

Kabbage Case Study
Kabbage facilitates easy funding options to small and medium enterprises through its automated technology-backed data platform. With Mitek’s digital identity verification solutions integrated into the Kabbage platform, users are able to automatically populate the loan application form with pre-filled data in less than a second allowing customers to access funding quickly. Mitek’s solution applies advanced algorithms that automatically assess the authenticity of the driver’s license, providing assurance about the identity of the ID’s holder and reducing the likelihood of fraud during the loan application process.

Anonymous Payments Processor Case Study
Customers were facing a lengthy identity verification process, which forced them to leave the platform before completing the transaction. Driven by the need to comply with Anti Money Laundering (AML) and KYC regulations, a leading global payment processor selected Mitek’s Mobile Verify to provide the customers with more efficient ways to reduce the verification process from days to just minutes. Mitek was able to eliminate 92% of the temporary restrictions that the company previously had to place on customer accounts whenever they would reach a certain dollar threshold. By eliminating these temporary restrictions, the company has improved customer experience as well as increased profitability.

Mitek’s Collaboration with Nocks
Mitek’s digital verification identity has enabled blockchain payments platform Nocks to improve their customers’ onboarding by 98%. A cryptocurrency payments platform, Nocks also has to execute AML and KYC compliances. Nocks has now been able to verify the identity of applicants in real-time, dramatically improving new customer conversion rates due Mitek’s Mobile Verify interface.

MoneyGram Case Study
MoneyGram, the money transfer giant, is also using Mobile Verify to validate its customers’ ID. To complete the identity verification step in the money transfer process, MoneyGram customers simply take a picture of their passport or other identity document using their mobile device camera. Mobile Verify then uses advanced machine learning technology to instantly validate the authenticity of the ID.

Mitek is Experimenting With the Blockchain

Mitek is also developing technology to leverage blockchain infrastructure. The public ledger approach in general is interesting as it could allow for generating self-sovereign IDs which are owned and managed by the users themselves. When businesses need their information, people can control their data and allow only limited or conditional access. Moreover, even banking customers are exploring blockchain-based solutions, and Mitek is experimenting to integrate its ID verification systems on a distributed ledger.

Mitek’s Technology Leadership

Mitek was founded in 1985 and is listed on NASDAQ with a market cap of an estimated $250 million. Mitek’s innovative solutions are embedded into the apps of more than 6,100 organizations and used by more than 80 million consumers.

Stephen Ritter is the Chief Technology officer (CTO) of San Diego-based Mitek Systems. He helps in the technological development of the key processes of the company, along with overseeing Mitek Labs. He has more than 22 years of experience bringing new commercial software solutions to market. Ritter worked as tech lead with Emotient (acquired by Apple) before he joined Mitek.

With the increase in regulatory complexities and fraudulent practices, it is critical for businesses to make sure that they are on the right side of the law and yet are simultaneously making their customers’ life easier. Mitek helps them balance this fine line with its suite of sophisticated identification technologies.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Wednesday March 14 2018, Daily News Digest

equity factor returns

News Comments Today’s main news: H&R Block, LendingTree partner on credit score access. KBRA assigns preliminary ratings to LendingClub’s CLUB Credit Trust 2018-NP1. Ant Financial consumer lending hits $95B. Non-Standard Finance buys guarantor loans business. EU rolls out new crowdfunding rules. Today’s main analysis: LendingTree’s mortgage savings tracker, mortgage rate competition index. Does strong economic growth equate to high factor […]

equity factor returns

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

H&R Block, LendingTree partner to empower clients to improve their financial well-being (Nasdaq), Rated: AAA

As part of continued efforts to help clients better understand their financial situation, H&R Block (NYSE:HRB) is partnering with LendingTree (NASDAQ:TREE) to provide clients convenient access to their credit score, LendingTree Academy and more. H&R Block clients can now seamlessly enter LendingTree via their MyBlockaccount, which is a private, secure, online portal clients can use year-round to access and add tax documents and personal information.

LendingTree Introduces New Mortgage Savings Tracker and Mortgage Rate Competition Index (PRNewswire), Rated AAA

LendingTree today announced the release of its Mortgage Savings Tracker and Mortgage Rate Competition Index. The LendingTree Mortgage Rate Competition Index is a new measure of the dispersion in mortgage pricing and will be released weekly. Built on top of the Mortgage Rate Competition Index, the Mortgage Savings Tracker will bring a new transparency to mortgage shopping by highlighting the significant savings that are available to potential borrowers for both purchase mortgages and refinancing.

Source: PRNewsfoto/LendingTree

 

Source: PRNewsfoto/LendingTree

Findings from the inaugural report:

  • Across all purchase loan requests on LendingTree (we looked at refinance loan requests separately) in 2017, we found an average Mortgage Rate Competition Index of 0.46 — this was the average spread between the lowest and highest APR offered by lenders.
  • It may not sound like much, but over 30 years translates to $21,000 in additional costs on a $300,000 loan.
  • The index was wider in the refinance market, averaging 0.55. Potential borrowers there could have saved an average of $26,000 had they shopped around to find the lowest rate.
  • Ringing in the new year, the index widened to 0.59 for potential purchase borrowers, translating to a potential savings of just over $27,000.
  • For potential refinance borrowers, again, the index was even higher at 0.63. That could result in a savings of almost $30,000. The savings increased because lenders are reacting differently to the overall uptick in rates.
  • The most recent data for the week ending 3/11/2018 showed potential savings of $26,780 for purchase and $27,616for refinancing.

See LendingTree white paper on the Mortgage Rate Competition Index here.

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to Consumer Loan Underlying Bond (CLUB) Credit Trust 2018-NP1 (Business Wire), Rated AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to three classes of notes issued by Consumer Loan Underlying Bond (CLUB) Credit Trust 2018-NP1 (“CLUB 2018-NP1”). This is a $301.727 million consumer loan ABS transaction that is expected to close March 21, 2018.

Source Business Wire

LendingClub trims CE on next near-prime consumer loan ABS (Asset Securitization Report) Rated: AAA

As in the past, LendingClub itself contributed only a small portion (7.55%) of the collateral for the Consumer Loan Underlying Bond (CLUB) Credit Trust 2018-NP1 transaction from loans it held on balance sheet, but this time only three unaffiliated parties were invited to contribute the remainder of the collateral.

source American Banker

CLUB 2018-NP1 will issue three classes of notes totaling $301.727 million. Credit enhancement for the senior $180.7 million tranche of Class A notes is 49.5%, down 30 basis points from the senior tranche of the previous transaction, which carried the same A-rating. However, enhancement for the BBB-rated Class B tranche has risen by 5 basis points to 37.4% and enhancement for the BB-rated Class C tranche has risen by 35 basis points to 15.35%, per Kroll.

DOES STRONG ECONOMIC GROWTH EQUATE TO HIGH FACTOR RETURNS? (All About Alpha), Rated: AAA

In this research report we initially focus on the Value, Size and Momentum factors from Fama-French, which are constructed as dollar-neutral long-short portfolios based on the top and bottom 10% of the US stock market. The data includes companies with small market capitalisations, excludes transaction costs and is available since 1926. We expand the factor set by the Low Volatility, Quality, Growth and Dividend Yield factors based on our own data, which is available since 2000. These are created via long-short beta-neutral portfolios and only include stocks with a market capitalisation of larger than $1 billion. Portfolios are rebalanced monthly and each transaction occurs costs of 10 basis points.

EQUITY FACTORS & REAL GDP GROWTH: 1947 – 2017

The chart below shows the returns of the S&P 500 and three factors (long-short) since 1947 sorted by positive and negative quarters of real GDP growth.

It’s worth highlighting that there were only 7 quarters of negative real GDP growth since 2000, so the results have to be taken with caution.

DIVERSIFICATION FOR AN EQUITY-CENTRIC PORTFOLIO

New Media Announces Strategic Alliance with Kabbage (BusinessWire), Rated: B

New Media Investment Group Inc. (“New Media” or the “Company”, NYSE: NEWM), one of the largest publishers of locally based print and online media in the United States as measured by number of publications, announced today that it has entered into an agreement with Kabbage, a pioneering financial services, technology and data platform serving small businesses. This alliance is intended to bring awareness of simple access to working capital through Kabbage’s fully automated online lending platform to more than five million small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) that do business in New Media’s markets.

AI as new tool in banks’ crime-fighting bag? (American Banker), Rated: A

But a funny thing has happened on the way to what should be an AI-led revolution — banks have been worrying what their regulators would say if they filed fewer suspicious activity reports, especially if their rivals continue to submit far more.

source: American Banker

“All the banks are worried that if they use machine learning, the number of SAR filings will go way down and the regulators will say, what happened?” Saleh said. “How come your SAR filings fell by 50%? Maybe there’s money laundering you’re not catching.”

Should Banks Become the New ‘Payday’ Lenders? (LendEDU), Rated: A

In early March, the Florida state legislature approved revamping regulations for payday loans, voting to allow payday lenders to make larger loans for a longer period of time.

The bill aims to allow alternative lenders to make installment-type loans up to $1,000, with a 60- to 90-day repayment period. The current law caps loans at $500 for a period of seven to 31 days.

The Pew Charitable Trusts’ proposal suggested that small banks could instead provide loans with payments capped at 5 percent of a borrower’s paycheck.

According to The Pew Charitable Trusts’ research, the average payday loan customer borrows $375 over five months and pays $520 in fees, while banks and credit unions could profitably offer the same amount over the same period for less than $100.

Bank regulators vow more flexibility in vetting fintech partnerships (American Banker), Rated: B

Senior leaders at the Federal Reserve, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, who all spoke at a banking conference in Orlando, Fla., said they have been working with examiners to be more understanding of the budding partnerships forming between banks and fintech firms — and how to examine those relationships going forward.

Clinc wants to solve financial institutions’ AI problems (Business Insider), Rated A

Clinc, a US-based provider of conversational AI technology for financial institutions (FIs),announced the launch of a new self-service platform, Spotlight, that enables FIs to train and deploy sophisticated conversational AI software in-house, independently of vendors.

source: Business Insider

Spotlight is available in over 80 languages, and can be integrated into any digital channel, including contact centers, mobile apps, and Alexa, Google, and Facebook Messenger, allowing FIs to create a consistent user experience. Spotlight is already being used by USAA and Isbank, one of Turkey’s largest banks.

MoneyLion Plus Takes An Innovative Approach to Encourage New Investors to Save (Lend Academy), Rated: A

As a nation we are chronically bad at saving and while the savings rate went up for a time after the financial crisis it is back down near 2005 levels now which was the all time low.

MoneyLion is trying to do something about this.

I interviewed CEO Dee Choubey on the Lend Academy Podcast just over a year ago but they have made some great strides since then. I caught up with him again recently to get an update. Today, over 2.2 million people have downloaded the MoneyLion app and 1.3 million people have connected their bank account.

Behavioral biometrics company BioCatch closes $ 30M round (Bankless Times), Rated: A

Behavioral biometrics provider BioCatch today announced it has closed a $30 million financing round led by Maverick Ventures with additional participation from American Express Ventures, NexStar Partners, Kreos Capital, CreditEase, OurCrowd, JANVEST Capital and other existing investors.

What Makes Warren Buffett Such an Influential Leader? (Industry Leaders), Rated: A

A data scientist at Orchard Platform, Michael Toth, who has also worked with BlackRock as portfolio analyst has evaluated Buffett’s shareholder letters annually at Berkshire Hathaway for personal growth as a sole investor. Using statistical computing, Toth quantified and highlighted Buffett’s positivity penchant for many years according to CBNC.
And results from the analysis revealed that Buffett has the ability to balance both realism and optimism. The dataset also taught Toth about the reasons why Buffett is a legendary investor and as well as an influential leader.
Only five of the forty shareholder letters analyzed showed a negative score of sentiment, and most interestingly, they all correspond perfectly to five periods of downturn in the economy.

What’s next for neobank Chime (Bankrate), Rated: B

Since its 2014 launch, the San Francisco-based startup has emerged as one of the leaders in the so-called neobank space. Earlier this year, it announced it has 750,000 accounts opened to date, and is now adding new accounts at a rate of 100,000 a month.

How Fintech Advances Are Creating New Opportunities for Micro-Businesses (NewsTimes), Rated: B

Those solutions benefit business owners, ranging from freelancers, to founders of startups, to leaders of burgeoning small businesses and other enterprises.

Lending is one of the most critical areas where fintech has filled a gap for small businesses. As smaller businesses often don’t need a considerable amount of money when they seek loans, they’ve struggled to get any financial assistance. That’s because banks and other lending institutions often don’t see any profit in providing loans of less than $100,000.

United Kingdom

 

Former RateSetter-backed lender ‘transforms’ new owner’s guarantor loans business (Peer2Peer Finance), Rated: AAA

Non-Standard Finance bought the guarantor loan provider last August for £53.5m, which included a minority stake owned by RateSetter.

The London-listed firm said on Tuesday that the acquisition has “transformed” its guarantor loans business, helping that division’s loan book to grow by 35 per cent. It said the acquisition contributed to the group’s overall operating profit rising 497 per cent to £2.7m in its latest annual results.

Tandem Bank to buy Pariti in UK fintech tie-up (Financial Times), Rated: A

Digital bank Tandem has agreed to buy fellow British fintech group Pariti, as it looks to head off rising competition from established lenders taking advantage of new legislation that gives them greater access to customer data.

New rules that came into force in January allow companies such as Tandem and Pariti to access customer data from other lenders if the individuals give consent.

AltFi London Summit Preps for Event this Month as UK Alternative Finance Continues to Grow (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The 5th Annual London Summit is scheduled to take place on March 26th during a time of significant change in the UK. Brexit jitters along with dramatic regulatory changes such as Open Banking and PSD2 has created a varied and dynamic environment. Yet alternative finance continues to grow with AltFi estimating that UK loan origination volumes increased by 41.9% to £14.1 billion in 2017. During 2018, this number is predicted to jump by £7 billion.

Speakers already confirmed include Samir Desai, CEO and co-founder of Funding Circle, Ricky Knox, CEO and co-founder of Tandem and Anne Boden, CEO and founder of Starling Bank.

 

Eight luxurious Holywood homes get £3m in funding from peer-to-peer lending firm (Belfast Telegraph), Rated: B

Eight luxury homes being built in the hills of Holywood have received £3m in peer-to-peer (P2P) funding.

Cobain Group, which is behind The Twisel Brae development, received the funding from lender Assetz Capital.

The eight detached properties, styled by designer Kris Turnbull, will range from 2,200 to 4,000 sq ft in size, and cost between £575,000 and £800,000.

China

Ant Financial Consumer Lending Reaches $ 95 Billion (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

From the start of 2017 until this month, Ant’s consumer lending has doubled via its Huabei and Jiebei units even as the government reduces quotas for new asset-backed securities that can underpin such loans, one of the people said, asking not to be named as the matter is private. The loans can incur annual interest rates as high as 15 percent, although they are normally less than that, another person said.

Controlled by Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma, Ant has become a financial giant that was said to be valued at $60 billion and currently has more outstanding consumer loans than China’s second-biggest bank.

China’s Financial Disintermediation And M2 (Trade Captain), Rated: A

The past few weeks have been deluged with important events in Asia, but we don’t want the data to be washed away in the flood. In particular, note that China’s liquidity conditions continue to tighten, pointing to a further slowdown in nominal GDP growth over the next two years. Granted, M2 growth bounced back in February, and should edge higher in coming months, due to favourable base effects. But it remains historically low. Moreover, growth in our broader gauge of liquidity likely will continue to slow.

WeChat: the real Beast from the East (The Finanser), Rated: A

 

Mobile payments is another area where Tencent is thriving. WeChat Pay, a mobile payment system integrated into the app, holds 40% of China’s whopping US$12.77 trillion mobile payment market. Kickstarted by China’s virtual red packets exchange that supplanted the tradition of giving monetary gifts during Chinese New Year, WeChat Pay has seen impressive growth since its launch in 2013. Its monthly offline commercial transactions jumped 280% year over year in 2017 while social payment transactions grew 23%. Along with Alibaba’s Alipay, the service is making cash and plastic obsolete in China.

European Union

New rules put forward to help crowdfunding platforms grow across EU (Bridging & Commercial), Rated: AAA

These proposals – which are part of the European Commission’s fintech action plan – will enable crowdfunding platforms to offer their services EU-wide and improve access to this form of finance for start-ups and SMEs.

At present, it is difficult for many crowdfunding platforms to expand into other EU countries, but once these proposals have been adopted by the European Parliament and the Council, the proposed regulation will allow platforms to apply for an EU label based on a single set of rules.

Future Finance Closes €40 million Investment Round (PR Newswire), Rated: A

  • Future Finance completed €40 million Series C round with existing investors.
  • Investors remain excited about Future Finance’s ability to disrupt the UK student lending market.
  • Equity injected will be used to fund loans and hire top talent in LondonDublin and Chicago.

Start-up to stardom, Bondora turns 10 years old (Bondora) Rated: B

In the height of the global financial crisis, Bondora was officially founded on 11.03.2008. While it may have seemed counter-intuitive to most to create a new financial platform at this time, there was a clear need to serve customers who had been failed by the banks and disrupt the wider financial ecosystem.

International

Higher yields driving marketplace lending uptake among institutions, finds study (AltFiNews), Rated: AAA

According to a new study, marketplace lending is here to stay. That’s among the major findings of the Greenwich Marketplace Lending research study, conducted August to October 2017. It is based on the fact that 52 per cent of institutions currently investing in the asset class believe that marketplace lending will be a significant part of the financial system in the next 10 years.

Greenwich Associates interviewed 74 investors from pension planners to asset managers to compile its results. These investors control more than $3.5 trillion in assets between them. When the research was conducted, 21 of the firms were investors in marketplace loans, while 53 were not.

Of those investing in the asset class, 67 per cent cited higher yield as their primary reason for investing. Diversification and low correlation (48 per cent), access to consumer or small business credit (43 per cent) and low volatility (33 per cent) were also cited as important drivers.

Australia

 

Why Smart Aussies Are Dumping Banks for Online Loans (Mozo), Rated: B

Everything is online these days – including some of the best value home loans around. In fact, Mozo has taken a look at our database, and found that 1 in 2 home loans with a rate under 4% are offered by online lenders.

And when we crunched the numbers, we found that by switching from the average big four bank variable rate to the best deal around from an online lender, a typical borrower with a $300,000 home loan could save as much as $2,596** every year!

Square Peg In $ 200m Round Hole (Channel News), Rated: A

Paul Bassat’s venture capital outfit Square Peg Capital is said to be looking to raise more than $200 million as it seeks to add more investments to its portfolio interests in graphic design group Canva and online lender Prospa. Melbourne-based Square Peg, which was backed in its early days by billionaire James Packer, invests across Australia, Israel and South-East Asia.

India

Faircent.com bolsters its leadership ranks with two key appointments (India Times), Rated: AAA

P2P lending major, Faircent.com on Wednesday said it is strengthening its leadership team with industry veterans Vikas Prasad and Mayank Bishnoi coming on board. Prasad has joined the company as Head – Planning, Processes & Control, while Bishnoi has taken over as Head – Customer Experience.

“As the largest player in the rapidly-growing P2P lending industry, Faircent.com is currently at a critical juncture of its growth journey. More and more Indians from across multiple geographies are associating with our platform, both as lenders and as borrowers,” said Rajat Gandhi, Founder & CEO – Faicent.com in a statement.

Regulations for fintech companies in India: A dire need (Qrius) Rated: A

FinTech small business lending is currently developing with promising potential to complement and emerge as a healthy alternative to brick and mortar banking. The number of small businesses turning to FinTechs or non-traditional lenders has exploded over the past couple of years with many economies reporting a sharp increase in the number of small businesses turning to marketplace lenders in 2017. Marketplace lending accounts for 0.08% of the $96 trillion global corporate and household outstanding debt. Growing at an average 123% a year since 2010, Morgan Stanley forecasts that it will reach $290 billion by 2020.

FinTech lenders are forced to pay a commission to introducers or brokers which goes up to 4% of the loan amount which is normally passed on to clients.

Asia

Grab to offer loans, insurance with new fintech platform Grab Financial (The Straits Times), Rated: AAA

Grab will now offer loans and insurance with its new fintech platform – Grab Financial – the ride-hailing company announced on Tuesday (March 13).

This new platform will encompass all of Grab’s fintech offerings, including payment services, rewards and loyalty services, and financial services, among others.

To provide loans to consumers, micro-entrepreneurs and small businessess across South-east Asia, Grab has embarked on a joint venture (JV) agreement with Credit Saison Co, one of Japan’s largest consumer financing companies.

Initial offerings include accident, hospitalisation and other critical insurance coverage to Grab’s 2.6 million drivers, accessible through the Grab driver app.

FintruX advisor Yash Mody explains the platform’s future plans (Finder), Rated: A

Basically, FintruX is building a truly global peer-to-peer lending platform, and it’s secure, it’s fast, it’s easy. Lenders and borrowers don’t have to worry because the platform does all the work for them. They basically set their criteria and then they don’t have to think about it. They don’t have to auction and they don’t, you know, it’s not a cumbersome process. So that’s why we think it’s a new way of doing business.

And obviously, there’s a lot of regulation in this area. So how scalable is it? Are you going to run into lots of different regulatory issues with, issues lending loans between countries?

Yeah, so we’ve taken great care to make sure that we’re within regulation. We have four lawyers on board and advisers and all that, and we’re very cognisant of what’s required. As a first stage, we’re not going to be doing cross-border lending. So let’s say, for example, we’re going to launch in Singapore and Canada, so it would be a loan that’s in Canada from a lender and a borrower in Canada.

Indonesia eyes fintech regulation to avoid ‘loan shark-like’ practices (Reuters), Rated: A

Indonesia’s financial regulator said it was considering setting a cap on interest rates and the size of loans offered by fintech firms, in a move aimed at minimizing the risk of defaults.

The emergence of these peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms, offering loans ranging from as little as a few hundred dollars to several thousands, has so far been welcomed by Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s biggest economy where tens of millions of people have little or no access to bank credit.

More than 300,000 people have borrowed from these firms, with total loan distribution reaching 3 trillion rupiah ($218 million) as of January, versus 247 billion in December 2016, according to data from the Financial Services Authority (OJK).

Venture financing investments in the software segment receiving highest attention in Japanese enterprise market (Global Data) Rated : A

In 2017, venture financing (VF) investments in the software segment constituted 46% of the total deal value in the Japanese enterprise market, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company. On the other hand, 38% of the total number of VF deals in the country was in the software segment.

source Global Data

VF investments in the IT service segment constitute 38% of the total deal value in 2017. The IT service segment investments are primarily focused on consumer facing enterprises, such as online lending, social networking, online media publishing, e-commerce, and online dating, among others. As Japanese technological advancements are on the forefront of global market, VF companies are investing in Japanese technology enterprises in order to expand their operations and achieve business growth.

New Business Models, Emerging Tech Enabling FinTech Companies to Improve Financial Inclusion (PRNewswire), Rated: A

FinTech companies are making significant progress in promoting financial inclusion through innovative business models, products and increased use of emerging technologies such as digital identity, Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning, says a new report co-authored by CreditEase, IFC, a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group, and Stanford Graduate School of Business. 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 a full range of services that include diversified savings and investments, low-cost payments systems, insurance, or credit.

Peer to Peer lending increasingly popular in Vietnam (VietNamNet), Rated: A

In 2012, P2P outstanding loans worldwide totalled $1.2 billion, while the figure rose to $64 billion in 2015 and is expected to reach $1 trillion by 2025.

A big advantage of the P2P model is the high information security level based on BigData technology which encrypts, stores and controls customers’ information.

Analysts said with the advantages of the model, plus current conditions in Vietnam, P2P could replace black credit, or lending at very high interest rates, which is illegal in Vietnam.

According to the World Bank, 79 percent of the population in Vietnam cannot access official financial services.

Vietnamese P2P lending startup Tima seeks to close Series B round by June (Deal Street Asia), Rated: B

Tima claims to be the first P2P lending startup in Vietnam. Launched in 2015, the platform has seen cumulative money from its lender partners reach over $900 million. In 2016, Tima closed a seven-digit US dollar Series A funding from an undisclosed Singapore fund to accelerate its growth in the local market.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday March 12 2018, Daily News Digest

Funding Circle

News Comments Today’s main news: Zopa competes with tech giants, not banks, for talent. Funding Circle to use 4 big banks to prepare for IPO. Japan tours Europe to pitch Open Banking. Lending Loop expands into corporate lending. Today’s main analysis: Preqin on the PE outlook. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Banking Amazon’s moment. How a commission-free robo-advisor plans to generate […]

Funding Circle

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

Other

News Summary

United States

Banking’s Amazon Moment (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Co-branded partnerships are not new, and banks have long partnered with retail institutions to launch co-branded credit cards. In a co-branded partnership, the financial partner deals with deposit or credit management, account servicing, and regulatory compliance, while the retail partner deals with marketing and customer acquisition. We have recently seen Barclays launch a credit card with Uber and Goldman Sachs potentially partner with Apple to finance device purchases. What is novel about this partnership is that it extends the same business model to checking accounts.

Benefits of Partnership

In the current regulatory environment, Amazon needs a partner as there is no clear regulatory swim lane for Amazon to compete head-on with the banks today. The Bank Holding Company Act demarcates commerce and banking. Partnering with JPM makes sense as it avoids Amazon having to comply with onerous banking regulations, but also makes it possible to offer products like checking accounts to its customers.

These strategic partnerships are also incredibly valuable to banks. As we pointed out in a prior newsletter, banks that do not establish a digital banking presence do not have a seat at the table. For banks, this is a battle for long-term customer relevance. Banking products are increasingly commoditized, and new generation customers want to bank with technology firms. They like the customer experience, the self-service nature, control, and value. These customers shudder at the idea of walking into a bank branch.

The customer segment that Amazon is targeting – younger generation, unbanked – generate notoriously low checking account and debit card fee-income for banks. Amazon has no legacy bank branch network, low customer acquisition cost and can make the economics work where most banks cannot. Banks also get access to a new customer acquisition channel, like Alexa where Amazon controls access and can leverage the customer data that their partner has gathered to offer better products to existing and new customers.

Significance of this Partnership

The primary motivation in the short-term is economics. Amazon pays about $250 MM in interchange fees – about 2% per transaction. Customers with an Amazon checking account can pay directly out of their checking accounts and avoid the network transaction fees. If Amazon captures even 25% of this opportunity, and adds $50 Mn to its bottom line, it would be accretive to its market capitalization by ~$10 Bn.

Amazon’s banking footprint today consists of its Visa Signature Rewards credit card issued by Chase, and Amazon Lending, a small business lender that has made ~$3 Bn in loans. It is conceivable that once Amazon’s customers sign up for a checking account, Amazon could sell them a variety of financial products like insurance and investment advice. Bain estimates that Amazon could establish a retail financial relationship with 70 Mn US customers, similar to that of Wells-Fargo.

Who might follow Amazon?

Source: PeerIQ

Amazon hiring head of newly-formed mortgage lending division (Housing Wire), Rated: A

While limited in scope, Amazon’s plans are to start with offering checking programs first, then maybe move into the debt product space after.

Well, after reporting that, we’ve received information that Amazon is currently looking to hire someone to lead their newly-formed mortgage lending division.

Due to non-disclosure agreements, we probably shouldn’t reveal their identities. After all, with Amazon planning a move into mortgage lending, it’s best we work with them and not against them. Am I right?

We can say that if you look at the top 10 HMDA lenders and pick out the nonbanks, that’s where Amazon is recruiting their talent.

How a commission-free robo-adviser plans to generate revenue (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Digital investment startup M1 Finance is making a big bet that no fees are the future.

The Chicago-based company, which launched its platform two years ago, decided to drop its assets under management fees to zero in December.

Investment companies can make as much as 70 percent of revenue from services that don’t involve charging customers commission, like lending and transaction fees for third parties, according to its CEO, Brian Barnes.

Source: Tearsheet

Instead of subscriptions, Barnes added that revenue from other services is more than enough to sustain a profitable business: lending to banks based on the securities it holds, interest from loans to customers who borrow from M1 using their portfolio as collateral, and transaction fees paid to the company from exchanges. While it’s free to use the platform and execute trades, M1 charges customers other miscellaneous fees for services like paper statements, transferring an account to another brokerage, and wire transfers.

THE TIPPING POINT FOR ALTERNATIVE DATA (All About Alpha), Rated: AAA

The term “alternative data” as Deloitte uses it refers to any set or sets of data that may be useful for investors but that is outside their traditional/conventional frame of reference.  In this age of “big data” that frame is going to have to expand, and the use of (say) communications metadata or satellite imagery, which might still be innovative this week, might be quite common next week, and a bare necessity for survival the week after that.

The traditional model for data analytics by IM firms (however ‘alternative’ they may be in their assets or strategies) involves as the paper puts it “structured data sets acquired from various information providers” that are then “aggregated and loaded into proprietary quantitative models.”

But the sometimes unstructured data sets on which investment managers will hereafter be expected to draw are large, heterogeneous, and would have to be processed at an extremely fast rate to be of any use. This requires machine learning and cognitive computing for the analytics.

In 2016, big data analytics (BDA) solution vendors received $3.2 billion from securities and investment services (S&IS) firms. About 15% of that (close to half a billion) originated from technologies that at least potentially support the generation of alpha.

How banks are promoting Zelle (Tearsheet), Rated: A

How banks promote Zelle is about more than television ad campaigns.

This year Chase and Wells Fargo have launched 15- and 30-second commercials advertising Zelle, the peer-to-peer payments offering built right into banks’ mobile apps. Zelle itself has even launched a couple of spots, one featuring Hamilton star Daveed Diggs.

Smaller banks that can’t afford national commercials, however, will need to promote Zelle in their existing products, their mobile banking apps, and perhaps take a page from fintech startups’ marketing playbook and design their apps in such a way that the product does the selling for them. That’s according to a new report by Javelin Strategy on Zelle’s rollout; that it emphasizes within its own mobile banking experience that a product called Zelle exists and communicates the benefits of using it and the reasons its better than competitors like Venmo or Square Cash.

Only 25 percent convey that Zelle is free or that it only requires an email or cell phone number, and only 38 percent convey that users can send it to anyone with a U.S. bank account, even if they bank at a different institution than the sender.

However, within those mobile apps, banks are positioning Zelle a little more prominently. Bank of America, Wells Fargo and USAA are all examples of different banks that have chosen to show customers they can send money with Zelle. Bank of America more clearly shows users they also have the options to split or request money. Chase has chosen to rebrand its existing peer-to-peer payment service, Chase Quick Pay, by adding the Zelle name at the end of it and offering customers the option to “QuickPay with Zelle.” SunTrust has changed platforms entirely from PopMoney to Zelle.

LESS ACTIVE ROLE IN FINANCIAL LIVES LEAVES WOMEN MAKING LESS, SACRIFICING MORE (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

A recent study of college-educated Americans found that more than half (54%) of adults don’t think they will ever make enough money to reach their financial goals. Findings released today by national online lender Laurel Road reveal the factors fueling this pessimism, which is significantly higher in women than in men. Millennial women (64%) are significantly more stressed than their male peers (47%) about their finances, and they report starting salaries that fall more than $10,000 lower than millennial men’s, on average ($29,403 vs. $39,839).

Fiscally confident millennial male grads (94%) were significantly more likely than their female counterparts (79%) to prioritize their future earning potential over personal passions when picking a major. Of those without a degree in finance, 88% of male millennials report taking personal or business finance courses while in college, compared to only 54% of female millennials. Meanwhile, nearly one-fourth (24%) of women completed an unpaid internship, compared to just 12% of men.

Millennial women (35%) are more than three times as likely as their male peers (11%) to not have completely understood their financing options when applying to college. These stark differences have a clear trickle-down effect post-graduation. More than half of women (57%) have had to decrease nonessential spending to save money since graduation, compared to just 35% of their male peers.

76% of college-educated adults aren’t completely confident they thoroughly understood their financing options to pay for college. Accordingly, more than half (55%) of Americans with student loans report that it took them longer than expected to pay them off – and for millennials, that number rises to 66%.

However, readjusting interest rates through options like refinancing can ease the burden. But it seems Americans might not be fully aware of this option, as only about one-third (34%) of college-educated adults who have taken out student loans have refinanced their student loans. Despite having less student loan debt, millennial men (62%) are taking advantage of refinancing benefits to a far greater degree than women (39%).

Additional findings include:

Advice adverse: Just more than half (57%) of college graduates have asked for financial advice, and only 16% do so on a monthly basis.

Overlooking the basics: Surprisingly, many college-educated Americans still haven’t taken some of the most basic steps to ensuring a healthy, long-term financial plan, including:

  • 83% have not taken a personal finance course or seminar outside of college classes
  • 62% have not negotiated a higher salary at a job
  • 37% have not begun investing in a retirement account

Persisting pessimism: Nearly 2 in 3 (66%) grads are not fully confident they know the steps required to finance a home. While millennial men (42%) are more likely than their female peers (29%) to feel completely confident they know the steps required to finance a home, it seems a solid financial foundation early on is key to building a comfortable future later on down the road.

Are HNW Investors Ready for Real Estate Crowdfunding Platforms? (National Real Estate Investor), Rated: A

Cecilio is founder and CEO of San Diego-based DiversyFund Inc., which bills itself as a “vertically-integrated real estate crowdfunding platform.” Rather than acting as a middleman, DiversyFund manages all of its real estate projects from start to finish.

Accredited investors put money directly into development of commercial and residential real estate projects in Southern California, such as a multifamily development in San Diego’s Hillcrest neighborhood. Investors can place as little as $5,000 in one of DiversyFund’s deals. Today, DiversyFund claims over 30,000 investors and more than $100 million in assets under management.

For now, an accredited investor must either make at least $200,000 a month or have a net worth of at least $1 million. But DiversyFund plans to open up its online platform this spring to non-accredited investors who can put as little as $500 into a project, Cecilio says.

NY Wealth Manager to Issue Loans Against Bitcoin (CoinDesk), Rated: A

With all the ICOs that have taken place (not to mention the meteoric rise in the value of crypto assets late last year), there are a lot of entrepreneurs who fit this description, but few products that allow them to turn long-term HODLing into actionable capital.

That’s the idea behind a new subsidiary being started by Dominion Capital, a family office based in New York City. While the company has long invested in a variety of assets, Dominion’s known for helping to finance projects by backing loans.

For the entrepreneurs who are willing to bet on the strength of their holdings, there’s a strategic opportunity at play. Essentially, the service would allow individuals and projects to borrow against either their own crypto assets (or those invested by supporters) rather than converting them directly to cash.

Restaurants Outpace Other Industries Investing In Mobile Technologies in 2018 (Modern Restaurant Management), Rated: B

The new findings show an overwhelming focus on mobile technologies, with 63 percent planning to invest; a well-advised investment given nearly 85 percent of all mobile users searching for a restaurant go on to make a purchase. The total average across all industries is 51 percent. In fact, restuarants and bars are among the most bullish to invest in mobile, trumped only by accounting services (70 percent) and marketing agencies (67 percent).

What’s more, nearly in one in four (23 percent) plan to invest in real-time analytics or big data solutions, to help analyze and identify growth opportunities.  This is an emerging opportunity for all small businesses as insights, typically available only to large corporations, are becoming increasingly more available.

U.S. Treasury Official Previews Report on FinTech Regulation (The National Law Review), Rated: B

Craig Phillips, Counselor to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury), recently delivered remarks at a conference held by the Institute of International Bankers in which he previewed the upcoming Treasury report about possible reforms to the laws and regulations that apply to non-bank financial institutions and FinTech companies.

Mr. Phillips reportedly signaled that the report will include a review of the regulations governing mortgage originators and servicers, marketplace lenders, payment processors and other FinTech companies, and will also cover the “regulatory asymmetries” between such institutions and more regulated institutions.

Pennsylvania judge partially dismisses action against investors of an online lending scheme (Lexology), Rated: B

On January 26, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania partially dismissed an action brought by the Pennsylvania Attorney General against out-of-state investors of an online payday lender and the lender for violating Pennsylvania’s Corrupt Organizations Act (COA). The Attorney General alleged that an online payday lender and the investors “designed, implemented, and profited from a consumer lending scheme to circumvent the usury laws of states.” The alleged conduct, which the court referred to generally as “rent-a-bank” and “rent-a-tribe” schemes, involved the online lender partnering with an out-of-state bank and later with tribal nation to act as the nominal lenders of the loans.

Alabama Senate OKs bill to cap payday lending interest rates (Tuscaloosa News), Rated: B

Payday lending customers would have longer to repay their loan under a bill approved Thursday by the Alabama Senate, which marks the latest attempt to cap the interest rates charged with the short term loans.

The bill by Republican Sen. Arthur Orr of Decatur would give borrowers 30 days to repay a loan instead of as little as 10 days. Orr said the change would give people a better opportunity to pay off the loan. Senators approved the bill on a 20-4 vote.

Square’s Cash app now supports direct deposits for your paycheck (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Case in point, the app just rolled out support for ACH direct deposits, meaning users can now get their paycheck or other deposits put directly into their Cash app balance.

Like other features in the peer-to-peer payments app setting up direct deposits is almost too simple. After accepting a disclosure you’re given an account number and routing number, which is all an employer needs to start making direct deposits. Users get a notification when deposits hit their account, and all funds get added to their normal Cash app balance – meaning it can be sent to a friend, spent using a debit card, used to buy bitcoin or withdrawn to another account.

This feature combined with the Cash app’s debit card now means that the app can essentially provide all the basic functions of a bank account, assuming you don’t need to deposit checks or do complex things like wire transfers.

United Kingdom

Zopa is competing with tech giants not banks for talent, says CEO (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

ZOPA is competing with Google and Facebook for talent, not the likes of HSBC, the peer-to-peer lenders’ chief executive Jaidev Janardana (pictured) has said.

Funding Circle Picks Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley for IPO (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle Ltd., the biggest online loan provider in Britain, named Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley and Numis Corp. Plc to help manage its initial public offering, according to a person familiar with the deal, in a milestone for U.K. fintech.

The offering in London, planned for the second or third quarter, will probably value the eight-year-old company at between 1.5 billion pounds ($2.1 billion) and 2 billion pounds, according to the person, who asked not to be identified as the information is private. That would make it the biggest IPO by a British financial-technology startup.

Funding Circle has arranged more than 4 billion pounds in loans for small and medium-sized companies in the U.K., the U.S., Germany and the Netherlands.

 

Source: Funding Circle and Bloomberg

 

Funding Circle co-founder joins crypto-lending platform as advisor (AltFi), Rated: A

Andrew Mullinger’s LinkedIn profile reads: “currently semi-retired until I get bored”. The Funding Circle co-founder stepped back from the firm in May 2016. He has now joined a very different kind of online lender.

Lendingblock, an open exchange for cryptocurrency loans, today announced that Mullinger has joined the company as an advisor.

Augmentum Fintech raises £94m in IPO (Fine Extra), Rated A

Fintech venture firm Augmentum has raised £94 million in an initial public offering ahead of a listing on the London Stock Exchange.

Set up by venture group Augmentum Capital, Augmentum Fintech is raising the money for a new fund investing in early-stage financial technology companies in the UK and wider Europe.

The new company is acquiring Augmentum’s existing investments in a portfolio of five fintech firms, including Seedrs, Zopa, Interactive Investor, BullionVault and SRL Global.

In a rare meeting of the public and private markets, crowdfunding platform Seedrs was itself used to raise more than £500,000 towards the IPO. The management team and family members have provided £2 million in capital.

BBVA and Visa-backed banking platform solarisBank scores €56.6m in Series B raise (AltFiNews), Rated: B

solarisBank, the first banking platform to be fully regulated by the FCA with a banking license, has successfully completed a Series B investment round, gaining another €56.6m in funding. Current investors Arvato Financial Solutions and SBI Group renewed their stakes, with BBVA, Visa, Lakestar and ABN AMRO’s Digital Impact Fund (DIF) joining them.

 

China

Review: The flimsy finances behind China’s miracle (Nasdaq), Rated: AAA

Since the financial crisis of 2008, China’s economic growth has depended less on exports than on rising levels of domestic investment. Capital spending is mostly directed at construction, which directly accounts for some 20 percent of China’s gross domestic product and indirectly for much more. The long construction boom has produced dozens of ghost cities – McMahon counts 50 in all – filled with empty apartment blocks. Mighty skyscrapers have sprouted up in unlikely provincial backwaters.

Increasing property supply has been accompanied by rising prices. Sky-high valuations have priced many Chinese workers out of the market, creating a nation of “mortgage slaves” and “ant tribes” – graduates forced to live in cheap properties in urban peripheries. In some super-hot markets like the southern city of Shenzhen, the price of land has exceeded the value of the properties built on it, giving rise to the expression “flour more expensive than bread.”

If China’s economy is fuelled by construction, it’s no secret what keeps the cranes swinging and the bulldozers revving. The country has been on a credit binge ever since Beijing announced the “Great Stimulus” late in 2008.

Last China P2P Company Delists Domestically, foreseeing New Tide of Listings Abroad (PRNewswire), Rated: A

China-based Jiayin Fintech, parent company to Niwodai, one of chinese largest P2P lending companies, applied delisting from National Equities Exchange and Quotations (NEEQ) in China on 7 March.

Jiayin Fintech’s main business is offering micro-finance services solution, among which, the part accounting for the largest income is tying qualified individual borrowing needs with the investing demands through Niwodai platform. So this delisting may indicate some trends of P2P industry, according to media in China.

Chinese peer-to-peer lender Golden Bull decreases proposed US IPO deal size to million (Nasdaq), Rated: A

The Shanghai, China-based company now plans to raise $7 million by offering 1.6 million shares at a price range of $4.00 to $4.50. The company had previously filed to offer 2 million shares at the same range. At the midpoint of the revised range, Golden Bull will raise -23% less in proceeds than previously anticipated.

 

International

PREQIN ON THE PE OUTLOOK (All About Alpha), Rated: AAA

Preqin has issued a report on the near term outlook for private equity based on a recent (November 2017) survey of more than 350 PE firms around the globe.

Although this isn’t new, the worries about high valuations for portfolio companies have been a factor for years now; such worries are getting more intense over time. In November 2016, 36% of respondents said pricing for portfolio companies had gotten higher over the preceding year. In November 2017, 58% said the same thing.

A majority (56%) of fund managers plan to make more exits in 2018 than they did in 2017, though only 8% said that will be “significantly” more.

Australia

Fintech Australia begins hunt for new CEO as Danielle Szetho steps down (IT Brief), Rated: A

Fintech Australia’s Danielle Szetho is stepping down from her position as CEO after nearly two years in the role.

The organisation has already begun the search for its new lead executive while appointing Sarah Worboys as interim CEO.

 

Asia

Open Banking Provides Perfect Environment for FinTech Integration in Japan (PRNewswire), Rated: AAA

With a rapidly changing, quality business environment, the Government of Japan has launched a series of events across Europe to inform and promote active discussions around the future opportunities in Japan’s lucrative and intelligent market.

On February 19, a Japan You Didnt Know roundtable event kicked off in London at the office of global management consulting firm, A.T. Kearney. Discussions at the event focused on the impact of the new wave of finance, technology, consumerization and personalization sweeping Japan, and how the country is adapting its policy and regulatory framework to welcome foreign investors to deliver predictable conditions for accelerated growth.

Japan boasts the world’s third largest economy and has seen eight straight quarters of stable macroeconomic growth. Driven by a transformation of the market by means of bedrock deregulation and international trade deals, Japan is designing an efficient and productive environment that welcomes foreign business for the coming opportunities in financial services.

Canada

 

P2P PLATFORM LENDING LOOP NOW OFFERING CORPORATE LENDING (Beta Kit), Rated: AAA

Toronto-based Lending Loop, which provides a peer-to-peer lending platform for small business loans, is now allowing corporations to invest in small business loans through its online platform.

The launch of corporate lending is expected to expand small business’ ability to access fast financing, while enabling more lenders to earn attractive returns. To date, Lending Loop says it has facilitated over $17.5 million in loans to businesses across Canada.

Som Seif’s Purpose Financial to acquire fintech lender Thinking Capital (BNN), Rated: A

Canadian ETF pioneer Som Seif’s Purpose Financial announced Friday it is acquiring Montreal-based Thinking Capital, an online lender to small businesses, for an undisclosed amount of cash and securities.

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