Thursday April 4 2019, Weekly News Digest

soft spending

News Comments Today’s main news: Affirm raises $300M. LendingClub charged with privacy violation. Funding Circle issues 187M GBP securitization. Zopa legacy portfolio drags. Fellow Finance facilitates 18.2M euros in March loans. Today’s main analysis: March 2019 debt report from LendingTree (A MUST-READ). Today’s thought-provoking articles: Interview with SoFi CEO Anthony Noto. The slowing U.S. economy. […]

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United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

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News Summary

United States

Max Levchin’s Affirm raises $ 300 million (Axios), Rated: AAA

Affirm, the consumer credit startup led by PayPal co-founder Max Levchin, has raised around $300 million in Series F funding at a $2.9 billion post-money valuation, Axios has learned from multiple sources.

PayPal co-founder’s fintech company scores $ 300 million, plans massive hiring in S.F. (Biz Journals), Rated: A

Flush with a monstrous funding round, this San Francisco-based fintech company plans to ramp up its hiring from 580 employees to 850 by the end of the year – and the bulk will be in the Bay Area.

FTC Privacy and Data Security Report for 2018 (JDSupra), Rated: AAA

  • LendingClub, a peer-to-peer lending company, was charged with failing to deliver adequate privacy notices to consumers required by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act’s Privacy Rule and Regulation P. The FTC’s complaint alleged that “LendingClub violated these rules by failing to provide its customers with clear and conspicuous notice before collecting consumers’ financial data and by failing to deliver the notice in a way that ensured that consumers received it.” Customers were instead forced to follow a series of links before being able to review the privacy policy, a method the FTC deemed to be improper.

Anthony Noto of SoFi (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

The CEO of SoFi talks priorities, innovation, company culture, competition and what it will take to build a world class financial services firm

Read the full transcript of the interview here. Interview by Peter Renton.

US Economy Slowing (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

US 4th quarter GDP growth slowed to 2.2%, as what is shaping up to be the largest expansion in US economic history starts to lose steam. Consumer spending also slowed in January, rising by just 0.1% MoM. The Fed’s preferred inflation gauge, PCE, rose by just 1.4% YoY, justifying the Fed’s decision to keep rates on hold. Overall signs point to a slowing economy in the late stages of an expansion.

Source: Bloomberg, PeerIQ

LendingTree Debt Report – March 2019 (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

After a brief respite in mid-2018, the debt-to-income ratio for consumer debt rose once more, reaching 25.41% by the end of 2018. That falls just shy of the all-time high of 25.49% set one year earlier.

Household wealth saw a $5 trillion decline last quarter

Losing $5 trillion of wealth may sound disastrous, but that’s what happened to American households last quarter. According to the Federal Reserve, total net worth of U.S. households fell from $108 trillion to $104.3 trillion in the last quarter of 2018. The loss was the biggest quarterly drop since the depths of the great recession of 2008.

PayPal Makes Its First-Ever Investment in a Blockchain Startup (CoinDesk), Rated: A

Announced today, PayPal has joined the extension of a Series A funding round in Cambridge Blockchain, a startup that helps financial institutions and other companies manage sensitive data using shared ledgers.

Neither PayPal nor Cambridge Blockchain disclosed the investment amount, but recent filings with the SEC indicate that Cambridge Blockchain has raised a total of $3.5 million in new equity from several investors over the past nine months. That follows the $7 million close of its Series A in May of 2018, and brings the total capital raised to $10.5 million.

Zillow is now a mortgage lender, launches Zillow Home Loans (HousingWire), Rated: A

Zillow announced Tuesday that it is launching its own mortgage lending operation, which it is calling Zillow Home Loans.

A payday lender in disguise? New York investigates the Earnin app (American Banker), Rated: A

As early wage access programs such as Even, PayActiv, FlexWage, ZayZoon and DailyPay gain traction, some other apps are copying their style while using a more traditional payday-loan model — sparking attention from law enforcement agencies in the process.

That’s what happened to Earnin, which is often referred to and bills itself as an early wage access provider, which give employees access to their paychecks before they are deposited. The New York Department of Financial Services launched an investigation of the firm over concerns it may be skirting state lending laws by, among other things, requiring tips from users in lieu of disclosing fees.

Crypto Lending Platform BlockFi’s Interest Account Customers Receive Their First Interest Payments (Bitcoin Exchange Guide), Rated: A

Leading crypto lending platform BlockFi recently announced that their Interest Account customers received their first interest payment for their Bitcoin [BTC] and Ethereum [ETH] deposits.

Since their public launch on March 5, BIA has grown by over 400% and counting. Approximately 75% of BIA clients have a balance of less than 5 BTC or 150 ETH. Their median account balance is $7,000 USD.

Crypto lenders push no-tax perk of leveraging bitcoin for cash (American Banker), Rated: A

Former Wall Street trader Edgar Fernandez used some of his bitcoin as collateral to borrow nearly $100,000, a move that let him keep his cryptocurrency and avert a tax bill on the newly acquired cash.

Genesis Capital, a cryptocurrencies lender in Jersey City, New Jersey, an affiliate of Genesis Trading, says it handed out more than $1.1 billion in cash loans and borrowed virtual cryptocurrencies in 2018. That total volume doubled in the last quarter of 2018 from the volume of the previous two quarters. Other lenders have also said they are doing more transactions, including Nexo, a cryptocurrencies lender that says it has loaned $330 million since launching last April.

Atomic Capital Goes On The Attack With New Crypto Loan Offer In The Market (Bitcoin Exchange Guide), Rated: A

The asset tokenization company, Atomic Capital, is making a very aggressive loan offer in the crypto lending field. Back on Wednesday, the firm will be giving USD loans for 85% of the value of the Bitcoin (BTC) or Ethereum (ETH) used as collateral. In this way, the firm will be offering the most generous loan-to-value (LTV) in the space.

Just to put it into comparison, BlockFi offers a maximum LTV of 50%. Celsius Network, meanwhile, is giving customers 25%, 33% or 50% LTV.

Atomic will be charging interest rates of 11% and 13%. This is much more than the 4.5% or 8.95% that other competitors offer.

New $ 4.8m funding for SME bank Novo (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

Novo has raised $4.8 million in venture seed financing to make banking accessible for small businesses by launching no-fee FDIC-insured digital banking.

Blend seeks to deepen bank ties with account opening product (American Banker), Rated: A

Blend is aiming to expand its customer base of banks and credit unions with a digital account opening product that it says takes some customers as little as two minutes to complete.

The account comes in addition to the mortgage products the digital loan origination fintech already offers and can stand on its own or be integrated as a package, the company said Tuesday.

Will Millennials Bring Non-banks into Their Finances? (deBanked), Rated: A

According to an Accenture surveyfrom five years ago, 34% of millennials said they would bank with Apple if such a product were available.

Best low cost franchises to get into (BM Magazine), Rated: A

Business Services Franchise

Success Member Inc.: It is the leading online loan marketplace that connects consumers with banks, credit partners and multiple lenders both nationally and internationally. They offer training with an expert to this industry of 33 years, along with a lifetime one-on-one dedicated support.

Minimum Cash Required:$25,000

  • Training and Support: Yes
  • Financing: Yes
  • SBA Approved: Yes
  • Home-Based: Yes

Goldman Sachs’ Marcus Loses Product Head (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Marcus, the consumer bank operated by Goldman Sachs, has seen its head of product Michael Cerda quit his job.

Tradeweb Raises $ 1.1 Billion in Year’s No. 2 IPO in U.S. (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Tradeweb Markets Inc. raised $1.1 billion in the second-largest U.S. initial public offering this year, after again increasing the number of shares it was selling and then pricing them above the marketed range.

Tradeweb’s IPO is also the biggest for a financial services company in the U.S. since online lender GreenSky Inc. raised $874 million in May.

Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Brendan Ross, Direct Lending Investments, and Others (deBanked), Rated: A

A class action lawsuit has been filed in California against Direct Lending Investments, LLC (DLI), Brendan Ross, Bryce Mason, Frank Turner, Rodney Omanoff, and Quarterspot Inc. alleging breach of contract, breaches of fiduciary duty, aiding and abetting breaches of fiduciary duty, and fraudulent inducement.

Read the full complaint here.

AI-Powered Asset Manager Pagaya Goes
After Real Estate (Institutional Investor), Rated: A

Pagaya, which manages money using algorithms created with artificial intelligence, has raised $25 million in a series-C financing round led by Oak HC/FT, a health care and financial technology venture firm.

The fund raise will support the company’s move into real estate, corporate credit, mortgages, and other asset classes.

White Oak Commercial Finance Adds Origination Talent in Texas (AP News), Rated: B

White Oak Commercial Finance (“White Oak”), an affiliate of White Oak Global Advisors, today announced the appointment of Andrew Bae to Director of ABL Originations, concentrating on Texas and the Southwestern U.S. region. Mr. Bae brings nearly 20 years of experience in commercial finance, most recently leading the establishment of the Dallas office for ExWorks Capital, a senior secured debt fund.

Charles Schwab Now Offers Investment Advice Digitally via Subscription (Subscription Insider), Rated: A

Clients pay a one-time fee of $300 and then $90 a quarter.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle back in securitisation market with £187m deal (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

FUNDING Circle has entered the securitisation market for the third time, with a £187m portfolio of UK loans originated by the peer-to-peer business lender.

Alternative asset manager Pollen Street Capital is the equity sponsor of the deal, having backed Funding Circle’s last securitisation eleven months ago.

While Funding Circle operates in the UK, the US, Germany and the Netherlands, the loans included in the securitisation are just from the UK.

Zopa legacy portfolio drags on P2PGI performance (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

P2P GLOBAL Investments (P2PGI) has blamed its poorly-performing legacy Zopa portfolio for its latest net asset value (NAV) dip.

The alternative finance-focused investment trust generated a NAV of just 0.31 per cent in February 2019, down from 0.45 per cent in January, and 0.75 per cent in December. This brings the trust’s annualised NAV to 3.7 per cent.

Will more challenger banks evolve as banking as a service providers? (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Starling Bank recently raised £75 million to fund a European expansion. As part of that announcement, the UK-based challenger said it had signed on three new clients to its banking as a service.

According to Starling, it has 20 institutional clients on its BaaS platform, which it launched in August 2018. Payment volume through the service is doubling month over month.

Monzo, following Revolut and N26, mulls new £11 per month premium offering (AltFi), Rated: A

Digital challenger bank Monzo crowned a bumper year in 2018 by coming first for customer service in an independent survey, stealing the title from regular winner First Direct. But will its growing legion of coral card-carriers ever pay for its expanding array of services?

The bank, which is now testing a new paid-for premium offering, thinks they might just do so. ‘Monzo Plus’ – as it is being called – even allows users paying a monthly fee to have Monzo cards in colours other than its famous ‘hot coral’ colour.

How to join the rush for a last‑minute Isa (The Times), Rated: A

There are now just over 48 hours left to make the most of the annual tax breaks on offer in an individual savings account (Isa). This year’s £20,000 allowance expires at midnight on April 5 and you can’t carry it over so it’s a case of use it or lose it.

Monevo Review – An Excellent Place to Begin Your Loan Search (DoughRoller), Rated: A

Through Monevo, you’ll be matched with loans of up to $100,000 with interest rates ranging from 3.99% to 35.99% APR; finding this many competitive options could take you hours to do individually. With Monevo, you can do it in about 60 seconds.

FCA warns that P2P Isas are ‘high risk’ (Money Observer), Rated: A

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has warned that mini-bonds and peer-to-peer loans held within the Isa wrapper are “high risk”.

Payday lending isn’t over yet – and now its victims are being shortchanged yet again (Independent), Rated: A

The administrators of WageDay Advance, which went under in February, have started contacting thousands of former customers owed compensation through being mis-sold loans by the company to urge them to join a growing list of creditors.

Compared with Wonga, WageDay was more of a piranha fish than a shark – but the problems it has created aren’t all that different.

Five ways to add IFISA diversity (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THIS WEEK is the busiest of the year for ISA providers and ISA savers alike. As the end of the tax year approaches, investors and savers are rushing to make the most of their annual ISA allowance, while ISA managers scramble to convince them that theirs is the right product.

I trust bricks and mortar and want to invest but what’s the best way to create an income from property? (This is Money), Rated: A

People are still making money from property and always will, sometimes lowering their exposure by jointly investing with friends and family, or looking at peer-to-peer lending. Investing locally can give first time investors more confidence as they know their own postcodes, and can keep an eye on what’s going on.

Finastra welcomes Sharon Doherty as Chief People Officer (Techapeek), Rated: B

Finastra today announced the appointment of Sharon Doherty, as Chief People Officer. Doherty joins from Vodafone, where she held the position of Global Organization and People Development Director. In her new role at Finastra she will have global responsibility for making Finastra the most loved and inclusive employer in the Fintech industry.

China

Regulators to pilot P2P lender registration program in back half of 2019 (technode), Rated: AAA

China is expected to start piloting a registration program for online peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms in the second half of this year. Regulators plan to start requiring P2P lenders in pilot cities, located in more developed regions, to register with the monitoring system. Regional and national players will have to meet certain requirements on registered capital, risk reserves, and lender risk compensation in order to be registered in the system. Regulators aim to roll out the national registration system by 2020.

European Union

Fellow Finance’s platform facilitated 18,2 million euros of loans in March (GlobeNewswire), Rated: AAA

In March Fellow Finance investors funded business and peer-to-peer loans worth around 18,2 million euros. Cumulative loan volume grew over 415 million euros and the total number of investors grew to 12 031. You can always check the real-time peer-to-peer lending statistics on our website: www.fellowfinance.com/for-investor/statistics.

Finleap acquires German challenger bank Penta (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

European fintech ecosystem Finleap has acquired Berlin-based digital sector banking solution Penta, reports Jane Connolly.

CoinLoan Enables Borrowers to Obtain Fiat Currency Using Cryptoassets as Collateral (Cardrates), Rated: A

In a Nutshell: In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, peer-to-peer (P2P) lending arose as an alternative to credit offered by traditional banks. At the same time, blockchain-based cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin also emerged. Now, CoinLoan is bringing the two together through its P2P lending platform that lets borrowers use cryptoassets as collateral for obtaining fiat (or traditional) currency. Lenders provide capital with a guarantee from CoinLoan that they will be repaid in full. Borrowers gain access to funds without needing to dispose of their cryptoassets or prove their creditworthiness.

International

Women in Fintech Demolish Glass Ceiling (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Valerie Kay, Chief Capital Officer at LendingClub, is responsible for overseeing LendingClub’s Investor Group. She addresses the need for diversity, inclusion, mutual respect and collaboration. She emphasizes the vital importance of diversity to drive better workplaces, happier customers and more profits.

Andrea Gellert, Chief Revenue Officer and Chief Marketing Officer of online small business lender OnDeck, says she sees good progress being made by Fintechs in finding female candidates at all levels including C-Suite and board positions. She points out, “There are more female founders than there used to be. We are moving at a much more accelerated pace than previous industries did in terms of female management.”

Onfido scores $ 50 million investment (Finextra), Rated: A

Onfido, the global identity verification provider, today announced it has raised $50M in funding, bringing the total investment in the company to over $100M.

Australia

Australian neobanks target scale of UK rivals without growing pains (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Sydney-based digital bank Volt promises to offer a faster more personalised service than the country’s big four incumbents – National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group and Westpac.

Melbourne-based small business bank Judo launched last June lends between A$250,000 to A$5,000,000, and is process of applying for a banking license from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority.

Brokers urged to seize opportunities in SME space (TheAdviser), Rated: A

According to research from small business lender OnDeck Australia, which involved a survey of 331 business with an annual turnover of less than $5 million, 25 per cent of SMEs plan to seek additional finance over the next 12 months.

India

P2P lending (Invest in India), Rated: AAA

India currently has about 30 online P2P lending platforms. Some of these are Faircent, i2ifunding, Lendbox etc. In 2018, as many as 11 P2P players received the RBI licence to operate as an NBFC – P2P company. RBI in its master directions has defined NBFC – P2P as a non – banking institution which carries on the business of a peer – to – peer lending platform. The estimated P2P lending to be generated in India over the next 5 years is pegged at around $ 4 bn. Whereas in China, the P2P lending book currently is around $ 100 bn.

Southeast Asia

SINGAPORE-based  leading SME lending platform Validus Capital (Validus) and Lighthouse Canton, an independent asset management and family office advisory services firm, jointly announce the reopening of the LCV Trade Finance Fund (the Fund) with additional capacity of US$14.8 million (S$20 million; RM60 million).

Canada

OnDeck merges Canadian ops with Evolocity (Finextra), Rated: AAA

OnDeck (NYSE: ONDK), the leader in online lending to small business, today announced it has completed the transaction combining its Canadian operations with Evolocity Financial Group (Evolocity), a Montréal-based online small business lender. The combined companies are majority owned by OnDeck.

South Africa

For South Africa’s first challenger bank, conversational AI isn’t just a nice-to-have (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

South Africa’s TymeBank has launched Max, an AI-powered conversational assistant designed to help consumers learn about personal finance.

For South Africa’s first challenger bank, conversational AI is an important piece of its product roadmap.

Latin America

Why Fintech Startups Are Rapidly Becoming Unicorns in Latin America (Next Billion), Rated: AAA

Fintech was the #1 sector of venture capital investments in Latin America last year, and experts are estimating that the LatAm fintech market will exceed $150 billion by 2021.

In the past few years, over 300 fintech startups have been born in Mexico alone, coming in just second to Brazil, which boasts nearly 400 startups in its own fintech sector.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday April 4 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Thursday March 28 2019, Weekly News Digest

structured debt

News Comments Today’s main news: Klarna launches open banking platform. SoFi re-engineers home loans. Apple’s new credit card. OakNorth secures guarantee of $133M. Qupital raises $15M to bumrush China. Today’s main analysis: Arbuthnot Banking Group audited final results for 2018. Today’s thought-provoking articles: U.S. yield curve, new fintech products. Cities with most overleveraged mortgage debtors. Household debt. Expanding access to credit […]

The post Thursday March 28 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

structured debt

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United States

SoFi Refreshes Home Loans, Making Home Buying Painless and Paperless (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Today, SoFi announced the refresh of its mortgage offering as SoFi Home Loans, complete with a reengineered process that helps people buy or refinance a home with an online application, no hidden fees, or prepayment penalties.

SoFi Home Loans offer competitive rates including affordable down payments, with as little as 10% down on loans up to $3MM, with no hidden fees or prepayment penalties. SoFi allows applicants to choose between four different loan terms and fixed or adjustable rates. Those interested in refinancing can choose between traditional mortgage refinancing, cash-out refinancing, and student loan cash-out refinancing. If SoFi Home Loans isn’t able to handle a loan request, SoFi provides an easy option to digitally transfer member information to its affiliate partner who may be able to help.

Apple’s new credit card keeps advisors guessing (Financial Planning), Rated: AAA

The Apple credit card is the latest offering by a Silicon Valley tech giant looking for a ready-made avenue into the financial services’ sector. While the new card mostly benefits loyal users of Apple products, it’s also an unwelcome reminder of an ever present question on the minds of wealth managers: Will the FAANG companies like Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Alphabet continue their land grab of services historically provided by the financial services industry — and at what cost to traditional RIAs?

Ominously, a majority of investors considering switching financial services providers said they would consider banking with a tech company like Facebook, Google or Amazon if they could, according to a recent survey by Novantis.

US Yield Curve Inverts; New Products from FinTechs (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

For the first time in 3,000 days, and with much anticipation, the 3-month and 10-year treasury curve inverted. The median time to a recession after this curve inverts is between 1 to 1.5 years. However, unprecedented interventions such as QE (and higher central bank holdings globally) make it difficult to draw hard and fast conclusions. Market participants are pricing in a 41% probability of an interest rate cut in the September meeting.

Source: PeerIQ; Bianco Research

New Products from FinTechs

FinTech innovation continues with new products from PeerStreet and Figure. PeerStreet has launched a 30-year loan to enable private investors to buy rental properties. Residential for Rent loans are targeted towards rental home operators. The rental market in the US has grown exponentially post-crisis people struggle to buy homes. The number of rental homes has grown from 36 Mn in 2006 to 43 Mn in 2017.

Source: FactTank, PeerIQ

2019’s Cities with the Most Overleveraged Mortgage Debtors (WalletHub), Rated: AAA

Buying a home represents an important milestone for most consumers. But for those who dive in to the deep end of real estate without a financial safety net, the decision could lead to buyer’s remorse in the long run. Mortgage rates are slowly falling after reaching their latest peak in November 2018, and are close to the lowest they’ve been in the past 3 decades. This makes 2019 a tempting time to buy a home. Some industry experts believe 2019 is friendlier toward buyers than sellers because of the lower rates.

Source: WalletHub

Household Debt – Mixed Signals (DBRS), Rated: AAA

The most recent Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit issued by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (the Fed) and Equifax Inc. (Equifax) showed that household debt rose for the 18th consecutive period during Q4 2018 to $13.5 trillion, $869 billion higher than the peak reached in 2008. This represented the third-smallest increase (0.24%) over the 18 consecutive periods of growth, partly because of decreasing mortgage loan debt during Q4 2018 to $9.2 trillion from $9.4 trillion at the end of Q3 2018 and flat levels of auto loan debt at $1.3 trillion for both Q3 and Q4 2018.

Expanding Access to Credit in the Land of New “Halves” (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Credit is one of the largest, most powerful, lucrative and important industries in the world. It also is one of the best tools for wealth creation – home ownership, small business ownership and growth, and, leveraged investing.  This is readily accessible for prime consumers with more options now than ever before. But for the other half of the country that is non-prime, options are still limited and in many cases non-existent.

Early pioneers of securitizations like SoFi, the scaling of marketplace lending like Lending ClubProsper and Best Egg, and new distribution models like Greensky and Affirm have contributed towards increasing comfort of these “new asset classes” that were mostly locked up in bank’s balance sheets.

There are a lot of new “halves” in today’s world.

Amount Delivers Seamless Digital and Mobile Lending Platform to TD Bank (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Amount, a technology provider for financial institutions, today announced a strategic partnership with TD Bank. TD Bank, a top ten U.S. bank, is leveraging Amount’s platform to power the bank’s TD Fit Loan, which launched in August 2018. This initial offering allows consumers to consolidate higher-interest debt, while helping TD meet growing consumer demand for a seamless digital and mobile lending experience. Through this partnership, TD and Amount will roll out additional offerings, as well as standalone tools addressing fraud, verifications and decisioning.

5 Freebies With Your Student Loans (NerdWallet), Rated: A

1. Career coaching

Who offers it: SoFi.

SoFi members have received over 15,000 coaching sessions to date.

4. Referral bonuses

Who offers it: Multiple refinance lenders.

  • Education Loan Finance offers $400 for each successful referral, as well as $100 for the loan applicant.
  • Laurel Road lets you split its $400 bonus however you and your referral see fit.
  • Splash Financial provides $250 apiece for both parties.

5. Charitable work

Who offers it: CommonBond.

If you prefer freebies that help others, CommonBond has a one-for-one social impact mission. For each loan the lender issues, it donates an amount based on a formula that funds a child’s education in a developing country through the nonprofit Pencils of Promise. Those donations have totaled over $1 million to date.

CNote Launches Wisdom Fund to Close Lending Gap for Women (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Women are the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the U.S. Yet less than 5 percent of small business lending—only $1 in $23—goes to women. CNote aims to fix this disparity with the Wisdom Fund, a new impact investment opportunity launching today.

Investors in the Wisdom Fund will earn an estimated 4 percent annual return, over a 60-month term, on a loan portfolio that’s diversified across established CDFIs. Email wisdomfund@mycnote.com to learn how you can help fund more women-owned businesses today.

Women seeking loans should contact a participating CDFI. Partners in the Wisdom Fund’s first phase include:

  • Carolina Small Business Development Fund, which provides small business loans and financial training to startups, existing businesses and community organizations in North Carolina.
  • LiftFund, a Texas-based organization that empowers underserved entrepreneurs with capital and support services in 13 states.
  • TruFund, a national nonprofit organization that provides affordable capital to small businesses and nonprofits in AlabamaLouisiana and New York.

Study Finds 70% of Americans Would Share More Personal Data for Fairer Credit Decisions (PR Newswire), Rated: A

More than half (54%) of loan applicants don’t even have a clear understanding of why they receive the interest rate they do from a lender, while a majority (70%) say it is difficult finding lenders who will look at them as something other than their credit score.

  • 7 in 10 American adults (71%) wish there was another way to prove themselves to credit lenders outside of the standard credit score.
    • Hispanics (82%) and African Americans (81%) are more likely than Whites (67%) to want lenders to look at additional factors in lending decisions.
  • 77% believe more data is better when evaluating potential borrowers’ credit.
  • 71% would be willing to share more personal data with a lender if it resulted in a fairer credit decision. The motivation is even higher among middle-class earners. 79% of people making $50,000 to $75,000 would share more personal data to prove their creditworthiness, compared to 66% of people making over $100,000.
  • 84% think their bank should use modern technology to assess their creditworthiness.
    • Specifically, about half of loan applicants (53%) would like their ideal lender to use machine learning to make fairer credit decisions.
    • More than 2 in 5 (42%) would like their ideal lender to use machine learning to make the credit for homeownership more accessible to everyone.
    • Surprisingly, older generations want newer technology even more. Baby boomers and seniors (83% and 87%, respectively) wanted their banks to use new technologies to score them, compared to 79% for Millennials and Gen Zers.

Survey: Alternative Data Sharing (Urjanet), Rated: B

Urjanet surveyed more than 300 U.S.-based adults to assess consumer sentiment around alternative data sharing in the lending process. Key findings include:

  • A majority of consumers have multiple alternative sources of payment history
  • Alternative data sharing represents a huge opportunity for lenders to drive financial inclusion
  • Most consumers (59%) are willing to share utility and telecom data to boost chances of approval

SigFig launches platform to help retail banks sell financial products (Investment News), Rated: A

SigFig, the financial technology firm that developed digital advice platforms for several large financial institutions, wants to help banks automate more than investment management.

Technology to Play Crucial Role in Preparing ABS Professionals for Next Economic Cycle (ABL Advisor), Rated: A

An overwhelming majority (90 percent) of asset-backed securities (ABS) professionals feel that adopting new technologies will be important to preparing their businesses for the next economic cycle, according to Capital One’s sixth annual survey at SFIG Vegas 2019.

The survey also revealed that ABS professionals believe the biggest risks to their businesses are uncertainty around regulatory risk and increased credit risk, both at 29 percent. However, despite regulatory risk being a top concern, the industry’s apprehension has nearly cut in half over the last two years. In 2018, 48 percent noted regulations were the biggest risk to their businesses while 58 percent thought so in 2017. Additional top-of-mind concerns for 2019 include increases in interest rates (18 percent) and increased competition (17 percent).

TrustToken’s Stablecoin Now Available On Cred’s Crypto Earning Platform (BlockTribune), Rated: A

Asset tokenization platform TrustToken has announced a strategic partnership with crypto lending platform Cred.

Founded by former PayPal financial technology veterans, Cred is a decentralized global lending and borrowing platform that allows stablecoin issuers, exchanges and wallets to provide valuable earn and lending services worldwide.

Fintech in Brief: Update on Legal Challenges to OCC Fintech Charter (JDSupra), Rated: A

On March 19, 2019, the New York State Department of Financial Services (“NYDFS”) filed a brief in opposition to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s (“OCC”) motion to dismiss the NYDFS’ lawsuit challenging the OCC’s statutory authority to grant special purpose national bank charters to Fintechs (the “Fintech Charter”). The brief in opposition signals that the NYDFS will continue its opposition to the Fintech Charter under the leadership of Acting Superintendent Linda Lacewell, who replaced outgoing Superintendent Mari Vullo in February. In opposing the OCC’s motion to dismiss, the NYDFS argued that it has standing to challenge the Fintech Charter, the matter is ripe for judicial review, and its claims are not time-barred. The NYDFS also argued that the OCC’s interpretation of the “business of banking” is not entitled to Chevron deference and “should be invalidated in its entirety.”

Mortech Partners with Roostify for Enhanced Online Mortgage Experience (Business Wire), Rated: A

Today, Mortech, a Zillow Group business providing mortgage technology solutions for mortgage lenders and secondary market teams, announced a new partnership between Mortech’s product and pricing engine (PPE) and Roostify, a digital lending platform that gives customers more control of their home buying process while allowing loan officers to utilize the latest technology to more easily process loans. The strategic partnership will integrate two proven mortgage technology solutions to improve the digital mortgage experience for many industry-leading lenders.

Finastra brings community banking services outside the branch with the launch of Fusion Digital Front Office (Finastra), Rated: A

Finastra has launched Fusion Digital Front Office, an innovative tablet-based banking platform that enables community banks and credit unions to take services directly to the consumer, outside of the branch. The solution provides a simple gateway to manage account origination, sales and service, and transaction processing from any remote location.

Huobi’s US Arm Launches Institutional Group for OTC Crypto Trading (CoinDesk), Rated: A

“We’re entering the market now with a real institutional offering, we’re definitely going to be offering some new products and services,” such as token lending and over-the-counter (OTC) trading, in the coming months, he added.

Elevate Named as a Finalist for LendIt Fintech 2019’s Financial Inclusion Award (AP News), Rated: B

Elevate Credit, Inc. (“Elevate”), a leading tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, has been named as one of six finalists in the “Excellence in Financial Inclusion” category for the LendIt Fintech Industry Awards 2019. This award is given to the company that has made the biggest impact in expanding access to financial services in new and innovative ways.

J.D. Power ranks Regions among top alternative lenders for personal loans (Biz Journals), Rated: B

Birmingham’s largest bank has ranked among the top alternative lenders in the U.S. for providing personal loan satisfaction through digital applications.

United Kingdom

ARBUTHNOT BANKING GROUP (“Arbuthnot”, “the Group” or “ABG”) Audited Final Results for the year to 31 December 2018 (Morningstar), Rated: AAA

FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

·      Profit Before Tax £6.8m (2017: £2.5m)

·      Underlying profit before tax £7.4m (2017: £3.2m)

·      Operating income increased by 24% to £67.9m (2017: £54.6m)

·      Negative earnings per share 134.5p (2017: positive 43.9p)*

·      Continuing earnings per share 38.0p (2017: 14.0p)

·      Underlying earnings per share 40.3p (2017: 17.6p)

·      Final dividend per share 20p (2017: 19p), an increase of 5%

·      Total full year dividend per share 35p (2017: 33p)

·      Bonus share issue to create new class of non-voting shares

·      Net assets £196m (2017: £236m)

·      Net assets per share 1283p (2017: 1547p)

·      Underlying return on deployed equity 5.6% (2017: 4.2%)

Consolidated statement of financial position

 

At 31 December

2018

2017

Note

£000

£000

ASSETS

Cash and balances at central banks

17

405,325

313,101

Loans and advances to banks

18

54,173

70,679

Debt securities at amortised cost / held-to-maturity

19

342,691

227,019

Assets classified as held for sale

20

8,002

2,915

Derivative financial instruments

21

1,846

2,551

Loans and advances to customers

22

1,224,656

1,049,269

Other assets

24

12,716

20,624

Financial investments

25

35,351

2,347

Deferred tax asset

26

1,490

1,527

Interests in associates

27

– 

83,804

Intangible assets

28

16,538

15,995

Property, plant and equipment

30

5,304

3,962

Investment property

31

67,081

59,439

Total assets

2,175,173

1,853,232

EQUITY AND LIABILITIES

Equity attributable to owners of the parent

Share capital

37

153

153

Retained earnings

38

209,083

237,171

Other reserves

38

(13,280)

(949)

Total equity

195,956

236,375

LIABILITIES

Deposits from banks

32

232,675

195,097

Derivative financial instruments

21

188

931

Deposits from customers

33

1,714,286

1,390,781

Current tax liability

236

705

Other liabilities

34

18,549

16,239

Debt securities in issue

35

13,283

13,104

Total liabilities

1,979,217

1,616,857

Total equity and liabilities

2,175,173

1,853,232

Read the full report here.

Tech Nation Lists 10 Fintech Pioneers In Future Fifty 2019 Cohort (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Revolut, Monzo, Starling Bank, Currencycloud, Aire, Blockchain, MarketInvoice, Quantexa, Nested and Salary Finance were revealed to be among the 24 most dynamic and fast-growing late-stage technology companies to be chosen to join Future Fifty’s 2019 cohort.

Tech Nation and Dealroom data has also revealed that the U.K. has attracted a whopping $7.9 billion in funding in 2018 and closed the gap for exits of venture-backed companies with the U.S. As well as this U.K. sales, IPOs and mergers were worth $40 billion – ahead of every other European country – which points to the success of the tech sector as a whole in the country.

OAKNORTH ANNOUNCES BRITISH BUSINESS BANK ENABLE GUARANTEE OF £133M (Business Leader), Rated: AAA

OakNorth has today announced its participation in the ENABLE Guarantee programme, securing a guarantee of £133m from the British Business Bank, the UK government’s economic development bank. OakNorth will use the guarantee to strengthen further its lending support to fast-growth businesses and established property developers and investors.

The ENABLE Guarantee programme is designed to encourage banks to increase their lending to smaller businesses by reducing the amount of capital required to be held against such lending. Under an ENABLE Guarantee, the UK Government takes on a portion of the lender’s risk on a portfolio of loans to smaller businesses, in return for a fee.

Inside OakNorth’s plan to take its lending technology global (Tearsheet), Rated: A

As a challenger bank, OakNorth charts a different course. While Revolut, Monzo, and N26 focus on putting their digital current accounts in the hands of millions, OakNorth doesn’t even offer a current account. While other challengers are racing to acquire banking licenses all over the world, OakNorth is happy with just a UK license.

OakNorth is also posting profits while other challengers aren’t.  The bank announced a £33.9m profit for 2018, up 220 percent from 2017.

OakNorth provides debt financing to entrepreneurs in growing businesses, lending £0.5M to £40M to profitable, scale-up, British businesses. To fund its underwriting, OakNorth offers digital savings accounts. It currently has 40,000 customers with digital savings accounts and has lend £3 billion in under four years.

Successful UK Payday Lender Western Circle Limited Begins Offering Personal Loans Online (Finger Lakes Times), Rated: A

Western Circle Limited has made a name for itself by offering responsible payday loans online. Their decision to branch out into the personal loans market through the new brand PersonalLoansNow.co.uk was well received by their customers.

Five last-minute IFISA ideas (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE END of the tax year is fast approaching, so if you haven’t yet taken full advantage of your £20,000 ISA allowance to make tax-free returns, now is the time. The peer-to-peer lending industry is expecting to see an uptick in inflows into Innovative Finance ISAs (IFISA) this year now that there is a much wider choice of products available and the potential for higher returns than cash with lower volatility than the stock market.

FINTECH LAUNCHES AI LOAN COMPARISON SERVICE (Business Cloud), Rated: A

Loan marketplace Monevo has launched a new platform to give consumers comparisons of pre-approved loans.

Based in Macclesfield, the business is a licensed credit broker for personal and business loans and is Europe’s largest personal loan marketplace.

An Alternative Approach (IFA Magazine), Rated: A

When it comes to asset allocation, advisers constantly face the challenge of finding real diversification in client portfolios. Sue Whitbread met with Matthew Ardron and Benedict Yung of Basset & Gold Group, to talk about their approach of offering fixed rate bonds that invest in alternative lending.

Half of Brits running out of cash before payday – pushing them to rogue lenders (Mirror), Rated: A

Exclusive research for Mirror Money shows by the end of this month, those turning to payday loans will have shelled out more than £214million – that works out at £28 per second

P2P to have strong presence at Innovate Finance Global Summit (P2P Finance News), Rated: B

FOUNDERS of the ‘big three’ peer-to-peer lenders are among the confirmed speakers at Innovate Finance Global Summit (IFGS), which takes place next month at London’s Guildhall.

Giles Andrews of Zopa, Samir Desai of Funding Circle and Rhydian Lewis of RateSetter are all participating in various sessions at the fintech industry trade body’s flagship conference on 29-30 April 2019, which marks the start of UK Fintech Week.

Other confirmed speakers from the P2P world include Zopa chief executive Jaidev Janardana, ArchOver’s Angus Dent, Ali Celiker from British Pearl and Roxana Mohammadian-Molina from Blend Network.

China/Hong Kong

Hong Kong SME financing platform raises $ 15m for China push (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Hong Kong-based online SME trade financing platform Qupital is targeting the mainland after closing a $15 million Series A funding round led by CreditEase FinTech Investment Fund.

Consumers hunger for loans, lenders popping up everywhere (Shine), Rated: AAA

Qin Shuifeng, 30, who lives in the suburban district of Jiading, went to a branch of the Postal Savings Bank of China in 2016 to seek a loan for home improvements.

The lender granted her and her husband a credit line of 1 million yuan (US$148,600), of which they drew 600,000 yuan, with an interest rate 10 percent higher than the benchmark rate.

Competition 

The central government has issued a series of policies favorable to consumer lending since the second half of 2018.

Still, risks remain. To realize sustainable development, players need to build strong operational and risk control capabilities, either by themselves or in partnership with financial technologies firms.

European Union

Klarna Launches Open Banking Platform (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Today, Klarna, one of Europe’s leading payment providers and the global market leader in payment initiation services, announces the launch of its own Open Banking Platform. This platform will enable access to more than 4,300 European banks through a single Access to Account (XS2A) API in line with Payment Services Directive (PSD2). Klarna’s XS2A API is the most established and proven solution that has been developed at scale across markets for almost 15 years through the Klarna Group company Sofort.

This platform provides a fully proven and mature infrastructure, superior market coverage and connectivity, with access to 99% of online banking consumers currently across 14 European markets. By opening up its own advanced technology and capabilities, Klarna is simplifying and democratising access to APIs securely. Both established and newer banks and fintechs as well as other licensed businesses, will be able to build smart and personalised offerings that meet the evolving needs of consumers across Europe. Klarna has been one of the leading proponents of the PSD2 legislation and believes high-quality APIs will drive innovation and competition but most importantly will empower consumers across Europe with increased choice, control and clarity on their finances, and ability to access better products.

International

Has Alternative Lending Seen Its VC Peak? (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

U.S. FinTech funding reached its highest level in five years in 2018, according to CB Insights data published last month, hitting $11.89 billion. Yet at a time when analysts say VCs are focusing more on late-stage investment, alternative lenders are having a tougher time securing funding, particularly market newcomers in a crowded market.

But there is evidence that investors’ appetite for alternative lending startups is on the wane, even as overall FinTech funding continues to climb — and as the success of the alternative lending market grows, too.

eToro buys blockchain company Firmo (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

Just weeks after launching in the US, trading and investment platform eToro announced plans to purchase Copenhagen-based blockchain firm Firmo, reports Julie Muhn  at Finovate

Founded in 2017, Firmo offers a programming language called FirmoLang that runs on a sidechain. Exchanges can leverage FirmoLang to create financial instruments such as P2P lending platforms or cryptocurrency derivatives with tokens. And Firmo is versatile, allowing the tokens to be run on any blockchain.

Battlestar Capital Earns 30% Returns For Holding Crypto (ChainBits), Rated: B

Battlestar Capital, which is a blockchain staking-as-a-service company, revealed that customers could potentially earn up to 30 percent on a yearly basis when it comes to their idle crypto holdings. Here is everything about the startup’s claims in a nutshell.

In an interview, the company said that it has teamed up with crypto lending startup called Celsius Network in an attempt to launch a large-scale service capable of offering potentially high returns.

Australia

APRA Proposes Stricter Credit Risk Management Standards (Regulation Asia), Rated: AAA

The revised prudential standard enhances board oversight of credit risk and requires more intensive credit checks on borrowers. APRA also highlights the risks of P2P originated loans.

India

New modes of lending, fund raising on cards (The Asian), Rated: AAA

In a bid to change the market dynamics of the banking and financial sectors, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will soon come up with alternative models of lending and capital raising for the sectors.

Asia

Bukalapak partners three P2P lenders to provide loans for offline businesses (Tech in Asia), Rated: AAA

Bukalapak is teaming up with Indonesian P2P lending startups Amartha, Modalku, and PohonDana to provide loan facilities in a program called Modal Mitra. The loans are available to offline vendors who are part of the company’s Mitra Bukalapak program.

The financing offered through Modal Mitra ranges between US$70 and US$700 and can be paid back in up to six months, with weekly installments starting from US$6. It can only be used for purchases in the Mitra Bukalapak app.

Eurasia

Russian fintech launches digital bank 131 (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Bank 131, a new digital bank focused on Russian companies and entrepreneurs that work for global internet companies and/or buy from global ecommerce companies with a Russia presence, announced today they have received their banking license from authorities – the first and only new bank to do so in four years.

Canada

Shadow banking has grown, but risks to financial systems are modest (Advisor’s Edge), Rated: AAA

Canada’s shadow banking sector has grown substantially in recent years, but the overall financial system has grown even faster, keeping risks in check, suggests a new report from the Bank of Canada.

In the report, the central bank details the results of its monitoring of so-called “non-bank financial intermediation” (NBFI), also known as shadow banking. Among other things, the report finds the Canadian NBFI sector has grown by 1.7 times since 2006, driven by strong growth in investment funds, securities financing transactions and private lending.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday March 28 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Wednesday November 29 2017, Daily News Digest

Qudian

News Comments Today’s main news: Fiduciary rule delayed–again.SoFi prepares sixth student loan refinance ABS.LendingTree secures $250M amended, restated credit facility.Indonesian tech investments hit $3B YTD. Today’s main analysis: Qudian bounces back. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Will Mulvaney back consumers or payday lenders?American consumers say financial crisis had no impact on their lives.Online education startup promises to […]

Qudian

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

DOL Officially Delays Start of Fiduciary Rule (The National Law Journal), Rated: AAA

The Labor Department on Monday announced the official 18-month extension for the start of key provisions of the fiduciary rule.

President Donald Trump directed the Department to prepare an updated analysis of the “likely impact” of the fiduciary rule on access to retirement information and financial advice.

The extension will be published in the Federal Register on Wednesday.

SoFi readies sixth student loan refi ABS (GlobalCapital), Rated: AAA

SoFi is has entered the post-Thanksgiving pipeline with its sixth student loan refinancing transaction this year, in line with its plans to issue 12 securitizations in 2017.

The California-based online lender filed documents with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday. Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley are banks on the deal, according to the deal documents.

SoFi Tackles Consumer Debts in New Ad Push (Lend Academy), Rated: A

While relaxing over the Thanksgiving weekend you might have noticed a new trend occurring in television while watching the games: six second ads.

SoFi is focusing their message on the consumers lifestyle, presenting an understanding as to why someone needed to increase their credit card debt.

They also placed a Black Friday circular with several national newspapers which you can see in the photo below. The ad is a clever take on the typical sales fliers we all see around this time of year. But instead of an ad featuring low prices we see an ad touting much higher prices. The message is that if you are buying gifts on credit cards this holiday season and carrying a balance you will be paying a lot more than the advertised price. It is a message focused on smart spending, giving a better look at the true costs of products when financed.

Would Trump’s CFPB Pick Mulvaney Back Consumers Or Payday Lenders? (International Business Times), Rated: AAA

Demonstrators gathered outside the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in Washington D.C.  Wednesday to protest President Trump’s decision to appoint White House budget director Mick Mulvaney to director of the agency.

As a Congressman, Mulvaney accepted $55,500 in contributions from payday lenders during his four successful runs for Congress, including $26,600 during the 2016 election cycle,  according to the National Institute on Money in State Politics. Before he was tapped to lead President Donald Trump’s Office of Budget Management, Mulvaney took $115,200 from the securities and investment industry, and another $96,564 from the insurance industry in the 2016 cycle, both more than any other industry, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. This record, along with comments Mulvaney made indicating he would shutter the agency if given the opportunity, has led critics to question whether Mulvaney’s priority will be consumers — or the companies the agency is responsible for regulating.

Payday lenders appear to want Mulvaney to lead the CFPB.

Note to Mick Mulvaney: Donuts do not a CFPB director make (The Washington Post), Rated: A

President Trump’s hostile takeover of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, by contrast, relies on the rather less cherished legal principle of habeas cuppedia, Latin for “you shall have the pastries.”

Under the statute that created the CFPB, the watchdog agency set up after the 2008 crash to police lending abuses, it should now be rightfully run by Leandra English, the deputy director who succeeds the just-resigned director, Richard Cordray, until the Senate confirms a permanent replacement. Trump found another statute that he says lets him appoint Mulvaney. English filed suit to defend her legitimacy, Mulvaney submitted doughnuts, and a Trump-appointed federal judge, to nobody’s surprise, ruled in Trump’s favor.

Ten Years Post-Financial Crisis and Americans Say It Had No Impact, According to Hartford Funds Survey (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

New data released today by Hartford Funds revealed that a decade after the Great Recession, Americans are unclear how the economic event impacted their life and financial behavior.

The majority (40 percent) of respondents said that the financial crisis had no impact on their life, yet large numbers reported that they avoid the market (42 percent) and have altered their spending and savings habits (46 percent). Others (26 percent) shifted their retirement timeline and plan to work longer then they’d hoped, and 25 percent had to change jobs or take on additional jobs.

The majority (40 percent) of respondents said that the financial crisis had no impact on their life, yet large numbers reported that they avoid the market (42 percent) and have altered their spending and savings habits (46 percent). Others (26 percent) shifted their retirement timeline and plan to work longer then they’d hoped, and 25 percent had to change jobs or take on additional jobs.

STRATEGIC ADVANCES IN THE USA FUEL MONEVO’S GROWTH (BQLive), Rated: A

The company’s growth is set to continue with ongoing success in the US, Monevo’s newest territory.

Personal loan originations in the US reached new heights by the end of 2016. Total balances reached $102bn for the first time, $14bn higher than the end of 2015. The number of consumers with personal loans at the end of 2016 was 15.82 million.

Fifteen US lenders, including Lending Club, Sofi, and Prosper have joined Monevo’s roster of over 150 personal loan lenders across the world.

GETTING STUDENT FINANCIAL AID MAY BECOME WAY EASIER WITH NEW FAFSA APP (Newsweek), Rated: A

Just like Uncle Sam, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos wants you…to be able to apply for financial aid on your phone.

DeVos said Tuesday that the government plans to launch an app for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, which some 20 million people fill out every year in hopes of getting grants, loans and other money for college or career training. It’s all part of a plan to make the FAFSA much simpler to submit.

HouseCanary Announces $ 31 Million Series B Funding, Comprised of PSP Growth and Existing Investors (HouseCanary), Rated: A

HouseCanary, the data analytics and valuation platform for real estate professionals, today announced it has closed a $31 million series B funding round, bringing the company’s total funding to $64 million to date. Investors in the round include PSP Growth, the venture and growth equity arm of PSP Capital, a private investment firm founded by entrepreneur and former Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, as well as Alpha Edison and other existing investors.

Investors can now value over 100 million properties with a median error of 2.5% or less. Lenders and appraisers use HouseCanary technology to reduce the time it takes to complete an appraisal from more than 25 days to less than a week.

Your Sneak Peak of the LendIt Fintech USA Agenda (LendIt), Rated: A

Fintech

How secure is your data? Recent hacks and breaches have re-stressed the importance of the data security and customer information. This track will help young startups and big box financial institutions verify customers, understand data security and utilize tools to improve efficiency. The future of technology is in robotics, machine learning and biometrics, not grasping these changes will make your business extinct.

BlockFin Summit

Bitcoin. Blockchain. Cryptocurrencies. ICO’s. Everyone’s talking about them, but how will these new age concepts change the future of money?

Digital Banking

Banks are looking to fintech partners to transform their business for the digital revolution. This track will explore the crucial role of mobile banking, smart ATM innovations, chatbots’ role, and the digital transformation at all levels—from branch to infrastructure to data storage.

Lending

Learn how to scale your growth like Lending Club, increase access to credit like LendingPoint, and utilize mobile-only technologies like MoneyLion.

Source: LendIt

The secret to reeling in cybersecurity talent at three big banks (American Banker), Rated: B

There will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs by 2021, up from 1 million last year, according to the research firm Cybersecurity Ventures. Meanwhile, Frost & Sullivan estimates 1.8 million cybersecurity jobs will go unfilled by 2022, a rise of around 20% since 2015.

The military is skilled at producing what Gary McAlum, the chief security officer at USAA, calls “Jedi Knights.”

Wells Fargo is making a big push to hire veterans, said Rich Baich, its chief information security officer. He has held several positions in the Navy, the North American Air Defense Command, the National Reconnaissance Office and the FBI.

As of August more than 8,500 veterans worked at the San Francisco bank, and at any given time it has 200 team members on active duty.

United Kingdom

LendingTree Enters into a $ 250 Million Amended and Restated Credit Facility (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

LendingTree (NASDAQ: TREE), a leading online loan marketplace, announced today it has entered into an amended and restated $250 million five-year senior secured revolving credit facility that will replace LendingTree’s previous $125 million credit agreement.  The amended and restated revolving credit facility provides increased borrowing capacity and improved pricing, along with greater strategic and operational flexibility. The facility can be used to finance working capital needs, permitted acquisitions, capital expenditures, and general corporate purposes.

The amended and restated revolving credit facility will be governed by a maximum net leverage covenant of 4.50x, with step downs to 4.00x over time. Additionally, the amended credit facility contains an accordion feature under which the borrowing capacity can be increased by $100 million or a greater amount, subject to certain conditions.

Why a blockchain startup called Govcoin wants to ‘disrupt’ the UK’s welfare state (MENAfn), Rated: A

The UK chancellor’s recent Budget reminded us that systemic problems continue to plague the government’s delayed roll-out of universal credit – a single monthly welfare payment that will replace six separate benefits.

Govcoin, intent on ‘disrupting’ welfare state provision, has been working with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) since early 2016 to develop a solution for welfare payments.

‘Claimants can – voluntarily – download an app, which enables them to create virtual jam jars and apportion money to them. Whether that’s ‘rent’, ‘gas and electric’ – it’s entirely up to them,’ said Kay in an last autumn.

Govcoin will financially empower benefit claimants. But its distribution model involves benefits being paid – not in pounds and pence – but in the form of a cryptocurrency similar to . Govcoin promises to allow claimants to pay for goods and services – such as utilities – linked to the system.

Peer-to-peer Bitcoin lending fund launches (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

Called Bond, the fund lets accredited investors buy securities known as “Bond Units” in an asset portfolio that holds a mixture of property bonds, real estate and cryptocurrency assets.

Each Bond Unit, which digitally represents an equity share of Bond’s asset portfolio, will be issued on the Bitshares Blockchain and traded via the Bitshares decentralised exchange.

The portfolio has 30 per cent exposure to P2P Bitcoin lending; 30 per cent to property bonds and real estate; and 30 per cent to digital currency learning website the Billion Hero Campaign. The remaining 10 per cent is invested in alternative cryptocurrencies.

China

Banker Bulls Still Like Qudian, Despite China’s Crackdown (Barron’s), Rated: AAA

After losing more than 40% of its market value last week — as Chinese regulators tightened rules for online consumer lending — Qudian is seeing a 16% bounce today in its American depositary receipts (ticker: QD), to a recent $14.

Source: Barron’s

China’s fintech is still in its infant phase (TechNode), Rated: A

One of the Chinese fintech players that made their way to the US public market is Rong360 Inc’s Jianpu, an online platform for discovery and recommendation of financial products. The founder and CEO Ye Daqing recently joined its investor James Mi, founding partner of Lightspeed China Partners, on stage at TechCrunch Shanghai to discuss why the fintech is booming in China and what opportunities lie ahead.

There are many fintech companies that are quite controversial because some of them have damaged the reputation of the market. But two of the [fintech] companies you invested in have both filed for an IPO recently. James, what’s your view [on the market]? What makes you such a good investor, landing two IPOs?

Mi: Lightspeed mostly invests in early-stage companies. We usually look at their development in 3-5 years down the road.

We were actually very prudent about P2P. When we finished looking at all the companies we ended up choosing PPDAI because it was offering a real online solution. No offline sales. And this type of business contributes to the society.

Why are so many Chinese [fintech] companies going IPO in the US recently?

Ye: China will see ten to twenty years of significant growth in fintech and micro-finance. The level of digitalization of finance in China is much lower than that of e-commerce, which took more than ten years to reach 14%. Digital finance is currently at less than 5% penetration. In four to five years, or even longer, fintech will surpass retail. For example, lending, car mortgage, credit cards, and insurance.

Let’s look at another buzzword, that is artificial intelligence (AI). Every single industry nowadays is talking about AI. What will happen when AI meets fintech? 

Ye: The financial industry is actually a data industry, wholly relying on data to make risk control decisions and take care of customer service and marketing. Take our platform for example—it has nearly 70 million registered users, more than 2,500 partnered financial organizations, with 170,000 types of products, and each product is facing a changeable set of challenges and varying user behavior.

European Union

Nutmeg and Revolut investor launches new European fund (AltFi), Rated: A

A leading investor in Series A-stage technology companies, Balderton Capital has closed a total of $375m in its latest fund with a new generation of European tech in its sights.

Flender’s lenders throw €400,000 towards €2m funding round (SiliconRepublic), Rated: A

Dublin fintech Flender is hurtling with fierce velocity towards a funding round worth more than €2m, with involvement from some of its customers, who have already pledged €400,000.

“Initially, we offered €100,000 to them but this quickly overfunded and we increased this to €400,000.”

International

An online education startup thinks it can save bankers from losing their jobs to machines (Quartz), Rated: AAA

The attack on banking jobs has been relentless. British banks are set to close almost 800 branches this year, after shutting nearly 600 in 2016. The CEO of Deutsche Bank, Germany’s largest bank, warned that the company could afford to lose half of its staff to automation. Swiss bank Nordea announced at the end of last month that it was cutting a tenth of its staff, and its CEO said the banking industry could cope with half its current number of personnel. Consultancy Greenwich Associates estimates that 15% of the finance industry’s jobs are at risk of being lost to AI-driven alternatives.

In addition to teaching, Nguyen Trieu is leading by example with the launch of an AI-enabled mobile savings app, which is in the early planning stages.

But there’s a big difference in fintech scenes across the world.

The mindset and the way people use technology and fintech is very different. If you’re in Hong Kong, you have WeChat on your phone and you use it on a daily basis. Here, you don’t use fintech on a daily basis. Some people might use Revolut but they still have a traditional bank account. Here, fintech is seen as innovations on top of existing financial services whereas in Hong Kong, fintech is finance.

So the course is for everyone, everywhere?

And not just for people in finance. When we did the beta test only 40% of the users were from the finance industry—the rest were from tech, or were entrepreneurs or consultants.

So automation, AI, machine learning, and the like are all coming for your job if you don’t retrain?

Banks are thinking today about cutting thousands of jobs and increasing their technology budgets. To me, it is is absurd for a CEO of a bank to think this way.

So, what finance jobs most at risk right now?

In general, anything that can be automated will be automated. But right now, compliance is at risk. Over the past few years there’s been a lot of investment in compliance and KYC [know your customer], because regulators wanted the investment and it was a way for banks to demonstrate they were doing their part after the financial crisis. Now, that has totally changed. It’s starting to cost a lot and regulators have said we want you to show that you are being efficient, not just hiring a lot of people.

Exclusive Interview with Bloom Co-Founder Jesse Leimgruber (ChipIn), Rated: A

Bloom is a global decentralized credit scoring system available to anyone – even the unbanked and underbanked. Bloom’s flexible ecosystem will allow users to have access to credit services which work globally and are extremely secure and transparent thanks to the blockchain’s inherent features.

First off, why did you decide to use the blockchain in building Bloom? 

People shouldn’t be forced to rebuild credit from scratch when they move to a new country. Billions of people around the globe are still considered “credit unscorable,” forcing them into taking out dangerous, informal loans.

To make matters even worse, many governments generate credit scores based on religion, political affiliation, and voting status, instead of data. Even in the United States, 45 Million Americans (including many financially savvy millennials) still do not have a credit score.

What do you think is the biggest problem Bloom will solve and why is the problem important to solve?

3 Billion people cannot access credit, largely due to artificial restrictions from governments.
Tell us more about how BloomID works behind the scenes. The most interesting part about is the vouching process; how does this work and how does Bloom ensure that vouches are not manipulated or faked in any way?
BloomID is the Bloom protocol’s method of both establishing a reliable identity as well as forming the basis of creditworthiness for users who are newly entering the Bloom network. BloomID allows organizations who store information about individual identities to attest to the identity of a Bloom user and mark that information on the blockchain for future re-use. A user’s friends, family, and peers can help an individual bootstrap creditworthiness by vouching for their ability to act responsibly with credit. This is like a reference, similar to co-signing.

Is Bloom already working with notable businesses or firms? Are there any future partnerships in process? If yes, can you explain briefly about it?

We’ve been in touch with 100’s of lenders and partners. We’ve announced quite a few. Peer to peer lending, traditional fiat businesses, crypto lenders… we’re working with people on the whole spectrum.

For example: Self Lender is a credit building lender we are working with, Everex, Lendoit, and ETHLend are crypto lenders. We’re working with partners for anti-fraud such as TypingID.

Download the Bloom white paper here.

Exclusive Interview with ETHLend CEO Stani Kulechov (ChipIn), Rated: A

ETHLend is a Decentralized Lending Innovation using the Ethereum platform as its base.

First off, why did you decide to use the blockchain in building ETHLend?

Finance is where blockchain technology was conceived, and it is in finance that blockchain technology is arguably most transformative. It intrinsically offers greater visibility, scalability, and efficiency – and potentially at a lower cost.

By providing a means of authorizing fully trackable and verifiable transactions, it also offers the potential for truly open-source many-to-many lending. Presented in these terms, it may well seem like a threat to peer-to-peer firms. If blockchain removes the need for marketplaces, why should borrowers and lenders pay fees to these platforms? ETHLend promotes less fees, transparency, and integrity amongst borrowing and lending.

What do you think is the biggest problem ETHLend will solve and why is the problem important to solve?

In today’s world, you are at the mercy of banking institutions for borrowing and lending. We all know the bank pays out minimal interest on investment accounts and charges maximum interest on borrowing. We have partnered up with Bloom who provides credit scoring capabilities so both borrower and lender build a reputation amongst the ETHLend community which is usable elsewhere on the blockchain.

Why do you think the shift from traditional lending to P2P lending is happening right now?

Market research tells us that there are countries at the moment which are paying from 0.5 to 5 percent. For example, here in Finland, it is quite common to have a secured mortgage loan with an interest of 0.4 to 0.8 percent on bank’s marginal. On the contrary, In Brazil, the interest rate tops to 32 percent and Russians pay on average of 11 percent and in India 10 percent (take note that today’s numbers may differ).

The differences in interest rate mean that with a higher interest rate, people and businesses have less access to finance.

Source: ChipIn

Alternative investment LPs want more transparency and co-investment opportunities (HedgeWeek), Rated: A

More than 140 LPs responded to the survey, of whom approximately 52 per cent were based in North America, 31 per cent in Europe and 15 per cent in Asia Pacific. Nearly one quarter (22 per cent) were public pension plans, 15 per cent were consultants and 13 per cent were either endowments or family offices.

Intralinks is a leading financial services company with over USD31 trillion of transactions executed on its platform and over four million users. It has the largest community of GPs and LPs and is used by over 1,000 private equity, real estate and hedge funds on a daily basis. Over USD1 of every USD2 raised globally for private equity was facilitated using Intralinks for a total of USD317 billion in 2016 and 13 out of the 20 largest funds were raised on its platform.

More than one third of investors confirmed that their current allocation was more than 30 per cent, with nearly two thirds confirming that they planned to increase their allocation to alternatives over the next 12 months by 1 to 10 per cent.

Gold, Silver Storage & Lending For Hard Assets in the World’s Safest Jurisdiction (Palisade-Research), Rated: A

Gregor discusses Silver Bullion SG a company he started in Singapore where individuals can securely store their gold and silver. They just hold your precious metals and validate their authenticity. They do this without counterparty risk as your assets are marked, segregated and you hold the title. The company holds over 230 million in hard assets.

Using peer to peer lending you can withdraw up to half of your holdings in loans at low-interest rates.

GoCardless Tops Juniper Leaderboard for Fintech: A Sector Worth More Than 0 Billion in 2018 (BusinessWire), Rated: B

A new study from Juniper Research ranks GoCardless as the current clear leader in the fintech market. GoCardless enables simple payment processing and integration with many popular services, and Juniper believes that its potential for efficient, borderless commerce is disruptive and far-reaching.

Juniper’s Fintech Leaderboard Ranking

1. GoCardless

2. Onfido

3. Square

4. Lemonade

5. Kabbage

India

CROWDFUNDING SET TO GROW (Daily Pioneer), Rated: AAA

Crowdfunding activity in India is driven increasingly by mobile applications and payments. This trend is likely to witness exponential growth.

Rs 300 crore, the Indian crowdfunding industry is at a nascent stage compared to the global standards with the total amount of money raised via crowdfunding in 2016 at USD 738.9 million.

Asia

Investment in Indonesian tech start-ups reaches $ 3bn year-to-date (Oxford Business Group), Rated: AAA

Indonesia’s tech start-ups have been catching the eye of investors, having raised close to $3bn in funding in the year to September 13, a substantial increase on the $631m received in 2016.

Chinese firms are prominent among the foreign investors in Indonesia’s start-up boom, according to research firm CB Insights: Alibaba committed $1.1bn to online marketplace Tokopedia in August, and in May JD.com and Tencent Holdings invested $1.2bn in ride hailing motorbike service Go-Jek, which utilises mobile payment services.

Alternative financing posts 1462% growth

Last year Indonesia posted one of the highest growth rates in the Asia-Pacific region in alternative finance activity. The segment’s total market size expanded by 1462% to $35.4m, according to a report by the University of Cambridge, Monash University and Tsinghua University published at the end of September.

The study found that peer-to-peer (P2P) business lending had come to dominate Indonesia’s alternative finance market, accounting for just over 60% of the 2016 total, with P2P consumer lending representing 18% of the figure, or $6.5m.

Fostering collaboration and growing market opportunities

Indonesian tech start-ups attracted the second-highest amount of investment in South-east Asia between 2012 and September 13, at $4.6bn, behind Singaporean companies, which raised $7.3bn over the same period.

Fintech Challenge seeks to bolster financial inclusion in Vietnam (Nhan Dan), Rated: A

A programme entitled ‘Fintech Challenge Vietnam’ has been launched by the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), with the aim of fostering innovation in financial services that promote greater financial inclusion in Vietnam.

Fintech Challenge Vietnam has been organised by the SBV with the support of the Mekong Business Initiative and sponsorship by the Vietnam Bankers Association and the Vietnam Fintech Club.

VN Central Bank launches first-ever fintech challenge (VietnamNet), Rated: B

The focus of the Fintech Challenge is on fintech solutions that can improve the offer of financial services to the underserved and unbanked.

The challenge is an opportunity for Fintech companies from both inside and outside Việt Nam who are interested in collaborating with commercial banks to pilot and scale solutions that improve financial services in the following categories: electronic payments, e-KYC (Know Your Customer)/e-Identification, open APIs, blockchain and peer-to-peer lending to apply.

The deadline for application is January 18, 2018, at fintech.mekongbiz.org.

OJK to issue new fintech regulation in March (The Jakarta Post), Rated: B

The Financial Services Authority (OJK) aims to issue a regulation on financial technology (fintech) businesses by March next year amid robust development of the industry, OJK deputy commissioner Nurhaida said Tuesday.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor