Tuesday May 15 2018, Daily News Digest

McKinsey Asia Personal Financial Services Survey Customers and Digital only Banks

News Comments Today’s main news: Prosper loan originations up 27% year-over-year, over $2B co-sponsored securitizations closed. Funding Circle launches new borrower referral incentive. Renren investors seek to block asset sales. PayMate acquires Z2P Technologies. Today’s main analysis: Singapore’s biggest bank vs. China’s tech giants. Today’s thought-provoking articles: 80% of startup money goes to three states. The Sharestates story: $1B […]

McKinsey Asia Personal Financial Services Survey Customers and Digital only Banks

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United Kingdom

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News Summary

United States

Prosper Loan Originations up 27% Year-over-Year; Over $ 2 Billion of Co-Sponsored Securitizations Closed (Business Wire) Rated: AAA

Prosper today reported financial results for the first quarter of 2018. Loan originations increased 27% year-over-year to $744 million, driven by strong demand for the company’s personal loan product and stable funding.

Financial highlights include:

  • Total Net Revenue, which includes the non-cash impact related to warrants to purchase preferred stock, was flat year-over-year at $30.5 million in Q1 2018 compared to $30.8 million in Q1 2017.
  • Core Revenue(1), which excludes the non-cash impact related to warrants to purchase preferred stock, increased $11.6 million or 34% year-over-year to $45.7 million in Q1 2018 compared to $34.2 million in Q1 2017.
  • Net Loss decreased by $12.6 million to ($11.4) million in Q1 2018 compared to a Net Loss of ($24.0) million in Q1 2017.
  • Adjusted EBITDA(1) increased $13.6 million to $4.5 million in Q1 2018 compared to ($9.0) million in Q1 2017, the fourth consecutive quarter of positive Adjusted EBITDA(1) generated by Prosper.
Key Operating and Financial Metrics (Unaudited)
(in thousands)
Three Months Ended March 31,
2018 2017
Loan Originations $ 744,127 $ 585,590
Transaction Fees, Net 31,354 26,869
Servicing Fees, Net 7,184 6,154
Total Net Revenue 30,450 30,845
Core Revenue (1) 45,729 34,152
Net Loss (11,401 ) (24,021 )
Adjusted EBITDA(1) 4,520 (9,039 )

80% of start-up money goes to three states — here’s what one visionary is doing to help spread the wealth (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

Baird: And the microfinance industry is — $30 billion a year around the world is lent in $500 chunks to small businesses, near a 100% repayment rate.

Microfinance is a tool. All investing is a tool. Every microfinance bank, every bank is neither good nor bad, they’re amoral. It’s just what are people trying to do with it. I’ve seen microfinance banks that act in extractive ways and their primary goal is extract as much profit out of poor communities as possible. I’ve seen payday lenders do the same thing. I’ve also seen microfinance banks that are very good and say, “Our core goal is building wealth for the community and we’ve structured our business in a way that works for us.”

One percent of start-up investment goes to African-Americans. Two percent of start-up investment goes to women. There are a lot of people who are overlooked.  So roughly 80% of start-up investment goes to three states: New York, Massachusetts, California. If you’re in Ohio or Florida or Nairobi or Mumbai, it’s really hard to get your idea into the system.

The Story of Sharestates: From Startup to $ 1 Billion in 3 Years (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

Now, just over a year later, they have announced they recently crossed the $1 billion mark in originations. The company did so in just over 3 years, having officially launched in February 2015, just before LendIt USA that year. They are the second company in the real estate crowdfunding space to do so and are on our list as one of the ten options available for accredited investors in the marketplace lending space.

Originations in the lending space is only one metric. Any lending company’s survival depends on the quality of the loans they are making. According to the Sharestates’ website, investors have earned an average 10.54 percent annualized return. They also report 0% loss of principal for their investors. As of last year when we checked in the company was profitable which sets them up for continued success going forward. We’ve seen very few companies in the marketplace lending space broadly achieve this goal.

BuildDirect Partners With Affirm (Globe Newswire) Rated: A

BuildDirect, the first technology platform for the home improvement industry, today announced its partnership with Affirm Inc., a financial technology company that provides transparent payment alternatives to traditional credit. Now, U.S.-based BuildDirect customers have easy access to flexible and transparent financing options to pay for home improvement and renovation materials over time. At the point of sale, shoppers will see exactly how much they’ll pay in fixed monthly installments over the term they choose.

Banks struggle to combat the cyber crime bad guys (Financial Times) Rated: A

Digital banking has been a big positive for the financial services industry, though it has opened companies to greater cyber risk; cyber criminals now have a lot more entry points when it comes to getting access to funds illicitly; banks have increased their spending on defense but it isn’t enough as they also need to construct better, more secure systems; the CEO of Standard Chartered writes in the FT that banks can better utilize the data they collect, design tech better and work more closely with governments to catch bad actors.

Blockchains Could Be the Answer to Fairer Lending Systems (Nasdaq) Rated: A

The advancement of blockchain technology, this is poised to change. Through the technology, anyone anywhere in the world can raise financing from peers without having to rely on the traditional credit scores and the often heavily bureaucratic conventional mortgage processes.

Blockchain solutions such as Homelend  are making it possible for borrowers to directly reach lenders without depending on any intermediary and with no paperwork. The whole process is safeguarded by smart contracts to ensure that all parties in the deal adhere to their part of the bargain. According to Aneeza Haleem , a senior account manager at Cognizant Technology Solutions, blockchain-powered peer-to-peer mortgage financing significantly reduces the costs involved in the mortgage process.

Will Wells Fargo hurt Zelle by improving on it? (Payments Source) Rated: A

The irony of the explosive growth of mobile P2P is this: As consumers get more comfortable with paying one another through mobile devices, they’re thinking of P2P less as a service that one should find within a bank’s app.

This is a problem for Early Warning’s Zelle, the bank-run P2P network whose main selling point is its integration with banks. It’s a sharp contrast to rivals such as Venmo, which styled itself on a social media app; and Facebook and Apple, which took their own messaging platforms and blended P2P payments into the interface.

Capital One buys digital identity start-up Confyrm (Fintech Futures) Rated: A

Capital One has acquired San Francisco-based digital identity start-up Confyrm as it seeks to capture the market for consumer identity services.

Financial details were not disclosed, but as part of the deal Andrew Nash, founder and CEO of Confyrm, has become managing vice-president of Capital One’s consumer identity services. No word on what happens to the rest of the staff.

Confyrm was founded five years ago and offers help against online fraud.

Where Bank of America uses AI, and where its worries lie (American Banker) Rated: A

Bank of America spends $3 billion developing and buying technology every year, and about three times that on keeping its existing IT infrastructure going, says David Reilly, global banking and markets technology chief information officer.

As you might expect, some of that goes to artificial intelligence technology. The bank does not disclose how much.

An old-school fraud analytics program might see a customer using a card in a place they have never used a card before and block the transaction.

AI can do better.

The one area where banks and fintechs want more regulation (American Banker) Rated: A

Banks, fintech firms and data aggregators are asking regulators to provide more clarity on how to handle consumer data and who is responsible for leaks when it is shared between firms — a request that’s seemingly a reversal from the deregulatory approach the industry often takes.

The potential liability stemming from consumer data has become a critical concern for the financial industry as more data aggregators and fintech firms rapidly enter the space, seeking access to customers’ bank account information in order to offer loans and other products.

Could US Post Offices Become Banks? Here’s How The Plan Would Work (10 News) Rated: A

Now, there are a couple different ways Congress could build banking into the U.S. Postal Service. The first approach would just cover the basics.

That means offering low-dollar checking accounts and debit cards to low-income earners. That would at least offer basic financial services to all Americans, regardless of wealth. And it probably wouldn’t be too tough politically because the big banks typically aren’t interested in these customers.

But Gillibrand’s proposal would go further, allowing the postal service to also make loans of up to $1,000 with a super low interest rate around 2 percent, even to the poorest Americans. Because many of those loans would be at risk of not being paid back, some experts say the interest rate will have to be higher, maybe 25 percent. But that would still be a lot lower than rates from payday lenders, which often have people pay back three or four times what they borrowed.

Citizens Financial To Launch Online Consumer Bank (PYMNTS) Rated: A

Citizens Financial Group announced on Monday (May 14) plans to launch Citizens Access, a nationwide direct-to-consumer online bank.

In a press release, Citizens Financial said the digital platform will offer FDIC-insured deposits products aimed at serving people who want to save and want the flexibility of an online banking service. The company said it will provide digital deposit services at attractive rates and lower costs to help consumers save more for the future. The platform will be launched in the third quarter and will be available throughout the U.S.

 

Now Is the Time to Refinance Student Loans (Pharmacy Times) Rated: B

Refinancing your student loans from pharmacy school can potentially save you a significant amount of money while providing the convenience of making one payment a month. Keep in mind refinancing may not be for everyone. Individuals with a poor credit history, low salary from a pharmacy residency or fellowship, or those who want to keep the provisions in federal loans may want to closely consider their options before jumping right into refinancing their loans.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle launches new borrower referral incentive (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

FUNDING Circle is offering £1,500 in Amazon vouchers to anyone who refers a business that takes out a loan of £25,000 or more with the peer-to-peer lending platform.

The UK’s third-largest lender to small businesses said the borrowers may need the cash to grow, refurbish, buy stock or equipment, hire more staff or simply boost their cash flow.

HMRC updates crypto investors on tax confusion (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

However, a HMRC representative has told Peer2Peer Finance News that the tax office will deal with cryptocurrency related tax bills “on a case-by-case basis”.

The 2017-18 tax year saw huge volatility across the cryptocurrency sector, with Bitcoin reaching a high of £13,840 in mid-December before ending the tax year at approximately £4,750 per coin. This has led to confusion among retail investors regarding their tax liability, particularly if they sold out of the market at a high, then reinvested the profits only to see any gains wiped out.

Frederic Nze of Oakam (Lend Academy) Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • What was the catalyst that led to the founding of Oakam.
  • The loan products that Oakam offers.
  • The difference between small dollar loans in the US and the UK.
  • How Oakam is able to find their customers.
  • What percentage of their customers apply for a loan on a smartphone.
  • Why they still have physical stores where people can apply for loans in person.
  • How they have refined their underwriting models over the years.
  • How they are dealing with increased fraud via their online channels.
  • The interest rates they charge.
  • How their customers are able to reduce these rates for future loans.

Technology not size is key to banking success (Financial Times) Rated: A

Antony Jenkins, former CEO of Barclays and now head of 10x Future Technologies, writes in the FT that technology is key to the battle with banks; having technology that is more nimble and focused on the customer will help to better position challengers; UK challengers banks have found it hard to compete against the big names, even with recent consolidation; understanding what the customer needs most and allowing them to access services anytime and anywhere is what firms should focus on.

Fintech most popular sector for HNW investors (Investment International) Rated: B

Capitama’s current registered investors have a total annual investment capacity of £7.6bn. Of this total capacity, investors have expressed an annual investment capacity of £5bn into private equity opportunities, with £2.3bn total annual investment in Debt and Income opportunities. The interest of the registered investors in Philanthropic and Social Impact opportunities currently stands at £300m per year. This is an additional theme on Capitama given the rise in interest in these organisations from wealthy individuals and organisations.

69% of Capitama investors are interested in fintech investment opportunities and 67% want to see software and technology deals. Of the nine different investment types available on Capitama, Growth funding is the most popular, with 83% of Capitama registered Investors interested in this area, followed by Early stage investments (72%), Buy-outs (63%), and Real Estate (47%).

 

 

China

Renren Investors Seek to Block Asset Sales to Chief, SoftBank (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

A group of Renren Inc. investors are trying to block the private sale of company-owned assets to a consortium that includes its own top executive and major shareholder SoftBank Group Corp.

Renren announced the complex deal in April, which it said was necessary to address concerns that the SEC might deem it an investment company — forcing its delisting if it failed to obtain relevant licenses.

The letter accused management of trying to transfer the assets at values equal to or lower than their book value, neglecting their duty to smaller shareholders and misrepresenting certain financial statements. For example, it says the shares in SoFi — one of America’s biggest student loan refinancers — are being sold at a valuation of $269 million when they could be worth double that amount.

US online lending model is unproven, Eisman of The Big Short fame says in Hong Kong (South China Morning Post) Rated: AAA

Steven Eisman, famous for successfully shorting the US subprime market before the onset of the 2008 financial crisis, has said the online lending business model used in the United States is unsustainable, and that losses from Canadian mortgages could widen.

The one pocket of financial market anomaly in the US was online lending, where, he said, the underwriting of peer-to-peer credit was unproven, as selling a loan to investors such as hedge funds and other financial institutions was an unsustainable business model.

“The problem [with P2P lending] is that selling a loan [online] is not the same as selling a book. You buy a book on Amazon and that’s the end of the transaction. When you make a loan, that’s the beginning of a relationship. The question is how you manage that relationship,” said Eisman.

Soft Chinese Tech IPOs Test Next Wave of Listings (Wall Street Journal) Rated: A

More than a dozen technology companies from China are rushing to go public abroad, in an enticing opportunity for investors but one that has generated poor returns recently.

Shares of most Asian tech companies that have listed in New York and Hong Kong since the start of 2017 have notched lackluster performances, with the bulk trading below their initial public offering prices after strong early gains.

European Union

Bondora Go & Grow – Bondora Rolling Out New Product (P2P Banking) Rated: AAA

Go & Grow is designed for the passive investors as hands off p2p lending. One of the main advantages is that Bondora says it is tax optimised.

The Bondora Go & Grow product features a target interest rate of 6.75% which will accrue daily. It runs completly on autoinvest. The investor just needs to join it and pay money into the Go & Grow account (or transfer it from the normal Bondora account). The Go & Grow account promises daily liquidity. There is a 1 EUR withdrawal fee making small withdrawals expensive but for portfolios of 1000 EUR or more and usual investment horizons this fee is negligible.

Three Year Old Fintech Mintos is Profitable (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Latvian Fintech Mintos is reporting a profit in its brief three year old history. According to the company, the global online marketplace for loans has seen their revenue increase more than four-fold in 2017 to € 2.1 million generating a net profit for the year of € 197,000. Mintos says it has experienced significant growth, making it the “peer-to-peer lending market leader for continental Europe” with a 38% market share.

In aggregate, Mintos has topped € 660 million in investments by investors and the company expects the amount of loans funded to reach EUR 1 billion before the end of this year. As of May 2018, Mintos claims more than 58,000 investors using the platform and this number is expected to surpass 100,000 at some point in 2017. Currently, investors may expect an average 12.1% rate of return.

International

The 30 most valuable VC-backed companies in the world (Pitch Book) Rated: AAA

Ridehailing giants Uber and Didi Chuxing, based in San Francisco and Beijing, respectively, lead the list of most valuable private companies around the globe. And moving down the rankings, the pattern set at the top continues. A total of five of the companies are in the ridehailing industry, and 26 of the 30 are based in either the US or China.

 

Source: Pitch Book

What is Libra Credit: Digital Assets as the Future for International Credit (Coin Central) Rated: AAA

Libra Credit is offering a decentralized lending Ethereum-based ecosystem that helps users get open access to credit anywhere and anytime.

As long as a user has digital assets, they will be able to borrow money from Libra Credit by using those digital assets as collateral. Additionally, these users will be able to build an international credit history – a concept that Libra Credit and its partners plan to push to be recognized globally.

Source: Coin Central

Libra Credit plans to charge a fixed 8% annual interest rate charged by Libra Credit, which is party enabled by its partnerships with traditional finance institutions. The rate is competitive with that of other peer-to-peer lending platforms such as Lending Club and Salt, but isn’t tied to the availability of a peer match.

Source: Coin Central

How Misbehaving Australian Banks Are Causing Global Pain (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

Australia’s four biggest banks — Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac Banking Corp.National Australia Bank Ltd. and Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. — have been plagued by a string of scandals. The accusations run the gamut from giving misleading financial advice to trying to manipulate a benchmark interest rate. Simmering public resentment — stoked by a sense banks were gouging fees to fuel record profits and executive pay — boiled over last year when Commonwealth Bank was sued for systemically breaching anti-money laundering rules.

The government has announced tough new penalties for corporate wrongdoing and beefed up the regulator’s powers; analysts have trimmed earnings forecasts and speculate future legislation could force the biggest banks to sell off advice businesses.  All this comes at a time when bank profits are under pressure from a slowing housing market, rising costs and increased competition. Most of the banks are trying to simplify their operations and sell non-core operations.

Citi Inks $ 100 Million Trade Finance Deal With Asian Development Bank (PYMNTS) Rated: A

Global financial institution Citi is expanding its existing partnership with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to share risk in trade finance transactions, reports in The Financial said Friday (May 11).

The ADB’s Trade Finance Program reached a deal worth $100 million with Citi that sees the financial institutions (FIs) sharing risk on trade finance transactions in an effort to bolster support for trade and access to finance across Asia.

 

Australia/New Zealand

FINNIES 2018: Here are all the finalists for Australia’s fintech industry awards (Business Insider) Rated: A

89 companies and individuals were chosen for Australia’s only industry-backed fintech awards, from a record field of more than 200 entries.

Excellence in Business Lending
● Finstro
● Prospa
● Spotcap Australia
● The Invoice Market – tim
● Trade Ledger

Excellence in Consumer Lending
● HashChing
● MoneyMe
● MoneyPlace
● RateSetter Australia
● SocietyOne

Robot financial adviser granted FMA exemption (Radio New Zealand News) Rated: A

The country has its first robot financial adviser after KiwiWealth was given an exemption by the Financial Markets Authority from the current law which requires humans to give financial and investment advice.

But Mr Bishop said it would still have human advisors offer detailed advice and have control of the robot.

India

PayMate Acquires Digital Lending Platform Z2P Technologies to Benefit SMEs (BW Disrupt) Rated: AAA

PayMate, an early pioneer in India’s payments industry and a leading player in electronic Business-to-Business (B2B) payments space, announced today the acquisition of Z2P (Zaitech Technology Pvt. Ltd.), a digital lending platform which provides hassle-free and real-time credit using social and banking data along with proprietary analytics and AI.

The acquisition is expected to be completed by May 2018 and it follows the announcement in February of this year by PayMate of its B2B partnership agreement with Visa.

As a result of the acquisition, PayMate acquires an innovative and proven lending solution in Z2P, which when combined with PayMate’s proprietary B2B payments platform will revolutionize the way businesses manage their payment operations, cashflow, and access to growth capital. PayMate plans to partner with banks and NBFCs to improve the flow of credit to SMEs.

Canada

Last week, Power Financial CEO Jeff Orr told reporters he plans to invest more money in fintech startups as the company looks to find technologies that can be incorporated into its business model and avoid disruptions that have hurt other sectors.

Widely known on the Street for its empire of financial advisers and investment products, Power Financial has spent $320-million in the fintech sector – with more than half the funds being allocated toward online robo-adviser Wealthsimple.

Asia

Singapore’s Biggest Bank Takes on China Giants in Fintech Battle (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

 

Almost 55% of customers say they would consider branchless digital-only bank

Source Bloomberg

Gupta credits his early recognition of the threat to his early days in Citigroup’s transaction banking division, unusual for a bank CEO, who tend to hail from the retail or investment banking arms of their institutions. That background taught him both the nuts and bolts of banking and the importance of technology, Gupta said. He also dabbled briefly but unsuccessfully in the startup world, when he quit Citigroup in 2001 to found an Internet portal in India, around the time the dotcom bubble was bursting.

Latin America

Morgan Stanley Goes After Brazilian FinTech Market (PYMNTS) Rated: AAA

Bloomberg, citing four people with direct knowledge of the matter, reported that Morgan Stanley purchased $14 million in local subordinated bonds from online consumer lender Geru Tecnologia e Servicos. The Geru bonds, which the company issued in December of 2017, have a four-year maturity and pay about 11.2 percent each year, noted the report.

The company is also reportedly in talks with international investors about raising $50 million via an equity round that QMS Capital is handling. QMS has a 10 percent stake in Geru. General Atlantic could also be an investor in the round of fundraising, noted the report.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday November 27 2017, Daily News Digest

fintech TransUnion

News Comments Today’s main news: Ant Financial bans high-interest consumer loan products. Lending Club boosts MPL credit metrics in 3rd self-sponsored ABS. Funding Circle to launch Isa next week. Zopa reforms how returns are displayed. Robo-advisors in China must be licensed. CreditEase to pioneer fund of funds for direct real estate purchases. New Zealand publishes first P2P/crowdfunding statistical returns. Today’s main […]

fintech TransUnion

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

Africa

News Summary

United States

Lending Club boosts MPL credit metrics in 3rd self-sponsored ABS (Asset Securitization Report), Rated: AAA

LendingClub’s third self-sponsored securitization of online marketplace loans is benefiting from the company’s recent tightening of credit standards.

The loans backing the $330 million Consumer Loan Underlying Bond (CLUB) Credit Trust 2017-P2 involve borrowers with higher FICO scores that have allowed LendingClub to reduce its credit enhancement levels on the deal.

CLUB Credit Trust 2017-P2 has a collateral pool of 22,062 prime, consumer loans with a cumulative net balance of $368 million, or an average balance of $16,681.

TransUnion Study On FinTech Market; PayPal Enters Robo Advice Market (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York reports that household debt totaled $12.95 Tn last quarter – the 13th straight quarterly increase. As a share of GDP however, household debt stands at 66% below a peak of 87% in early 2009.

PayPal continues to expand the range of its consumer offerings. PayPal started with payments initially, moved to personal and small business loans, and is now delivering asset management solutions. The partnership will offer Acorns a unique channel for customer acquisition and allow Acorns to compete with Betterment and Wealthfront. Paypal led a $30 Mn investment round in Acorns Grow in April 2016.

FinTechs are Growing and Taking Market Share

FinTech’s market share has grown from virtually zero in 2012 to 30% in 2016. The outstanding balances on personal loans have doubled to over $100 Bn in 2017 from late 2013, with 128 lenders making more than 10,000 personal loans annually. FinTechs compete with banks to originate loans to prime consumers, and FinTech’s originate 30% of their loans to non-prime consumers where there is less competition from banks.

Source: TransUnion

FinTechs Have The Most Robust, Risk-Based Pricing

Source: TransUnion

Brian Dally of Groundfloor (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • Where the idea for Groundfloor come from.
  • Why Brian decided to start in the real estate asset class.
  • How many states they are operating in today for both borrowers and investors.
  • How they go about sourcing real estate deals.
  • Why they decided to focus on non-accredited investors.
  • How their securities offering is structured.
  • The minimum investment allowed per deal.
  • How returns have been for investors.
  • Which side of the marketplace is constraining growth today.
  • How they differentiate themselves from their competition.
  • The performance of their loan book to date.
  • Their business model and how they make money.
  • Details of their first institutional investor and why this is good for retail investors.
  • Their goal for an institutional/retail investor mix.
  • What the future holds for Groundfloor.

Online lenders pull out the popcorn, as the Trump administration fights to control the CFPB (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Republican lawmakers have long sought to reduce the CFPB’s oversight. Now dueling appointments put its immediate future in question. Last night, President Trump named his budget director, Mick Mulvaney, as acting director of the agency hours after its current leader, Obama-appointed Richard Cordray, announced he would leave the job.

To counter the administration’s plans, on his way out the door, Cordray named his chief of staff, Leandra English, as the agency’s deputy director.

Under the law, the appointment should make English the agency’s acting director, though the White House says that Mulvaney plans to show up at the CFSB Monday morning anyway. The White House further says Mulvaney will keep his current job as head of the Office of Management and Budget.

If the Trump administration follows through on its threats, Mulvaney will lead both agencies until a permanent head of CFPB is chosen and confirmed by the Senate.

Nobody Knows Who the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s New Boss Is (New York Magazine), Rated: A

On his way out, he appointed his chief of staff, Leandra English, to take over the CFPB, citing the Dodd-Frank Act, which states that the agency’s deputy director will take over the agency if the director leaves. Trump responded by naming Mulvaney as expected, pointing to the Federal Vacancies Reform Act as justification for his move.

The eventual director must be confirmed by the Senate; Trump’s pick is expected within weeks.

3 trends powering the rise of financial robo-advice (VentureBeat), Rated: A

1. Availability of data

We generate more than 2.5 billion GB of data every day.

In one notable example, JP Morgan and Intuit earlier this year announced their companies will make data available via the Open Financial Exchange API. Their goal is to make it easier and more secure for consumers to use their data across various financial apps and websites.

2. Increased power and storage

  • Google Tensor Processing Unit.
  • Nvidia Volta.
  • Huawei Kirin.

3. Advancements in AI

In particular, deep learning and boosting models enable significant leaps forward in the application of machine learning. These include design concepts such as Google’s Capsule Network, which offers an alternative to traditional neural nets, and replicative and transfer learning, which enable pattern discoveries and accuracies impossible by human counterparts.

The results of studies using these ideas are impressive. In one example, University of Mannheim researchers showed how ontologies help some machine learning models validate data 50 times faster. And Google’s AutoAI demonstrated it can create better machine learning code than the researchers who made it.

Student debt relief trumps other benefits (Employee Benefit Adviser), Rated: A

Student loan repayment programs are climbing the pantheon of employee benefits, suggests a recent survey of full-time workers with student loan debt.

Pollfish found that 23% would gladly give up healthcare benefits for a student loan repayment benefit. In addition, 46% would relinquish paid time off and 33% would do the same for retirement benefits in exchange for a repayment benefit. Also, 53% said they’d consider a salary cut in exchange for a student loan repayment benefit.

Of 1,000 college graduates polled by SoFi, an online personal finance company, 90% were more willing to accept a job offer at a new company if their employer offered a student loan contribution benefit. In the Pollfish survey, 84% gave the same response.

The Most Well-Funded Fintech Startup In Each State (CB Insights), Rated: A

State Company Total Equity Funding ($M)
Arizona CampusLogic $ 17.5
Arkansas LumoXchange $ 0.2
California SoFi $ 2,040.5
Colorado IP Commerce $ 54.7
Connecticut PayVeris $ 14.2
DC Fundrise $ 52.6
Delaware College Avenue Student Loans $ 50.0
Florida YellowPepper $ 34.0
Georgia Kabbage $ 490.0
Idaho VisitPay $ 18.4
Illinois Avant $ 655.0
Indiana Allied Payment Network $ 2.6
Iowa Dwolla $ 39.1
Kansas C2FO $ 99.7
Kentucky Inked Brands $ 4.0
Louisiana Zlien $ 7.2
Maryland Regent Education $ 39.7
Massachusetts Toast $ 138.0
Michigan Clinc $ 7.5
Minnesota Bright Health $ 240.0
Missouri Clearent $ 27.5
Nebraska D3 Technology $ 35.6
Nevada Filament $ 31.8
New Jersey Billtrust $ 104.5
New York Oscar Insurance Corporation $ 727.5
North Carolina AvidXchange $ 558.2
Ohio Aver $ 23.2
Oklahoma CreditPoint Software $ 1.1
Oregon NVoicePay $ 21.5
Pennsylvania InstaMed Communications $ 101.9
Rhode Island Upserve $ 191.5
South Carolina Ceterus $ 10.2
South Dakota ReliaMax $ 3.9
Tennessee Digital Reasoning Systems $ 75.6
Texas BigCommerce $ 164.5
Utah MX $ 54.1
Virginia StreetShares $ 18.9
Washington Avalara $ 253.0
Wisconsin Dynamis Software Corporation $ 4.3
Source: CB Insights

Bridge loan helps borrowers as they pursue graduate degrees (SFGate), Rated: B

The sellers wanted to accept the offer but were concerned about the VA financing with an online lender who was unresponsive to the listing agent’s calls. The Realtor advised the couple that if they could find a local lender who could preapprove them with conventional financing, their offer would be accepted.

Wyatt held a video conference with the couple to clarify the structure of the file and learned that both clients were pursuing their graduate degrees and took time off work to attend classes. In addition, the co-borrower had recently received an employment offer for a salaried position.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle Isa to launch next week (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer platform Funding Circle has announced that it will start rolling out its Isa account to all current investors from next Thursday (30th November).

UK peer-to-peer lenders plan to raise millions from ISAs (Financial Times), Rated: A

Britain’s largest peer-to-peer lenders plan to raise hundreds of millions of pounds from savers in the coming weeks even as many of them say they will reduce higher risk lending in case there is a downturn.

“We expect a lot of demand,” Samir Desai, chief executive of Funding Circle, told the Financial Times. “We have done lots of surveys and a huge proportion of the base told us they would like to put all of the money they invest with us through the ISA.”

Zopa addresses default concerns by reforming how returns are displayed (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

ZOPA is working on improving the way long-term returns are displayed so investors do not become overly concerned with monthly defaults in their portfolio.

The peer-to-peer lender said it is working on a prototype that would show investors their current portfolio performance, a range of what their returns will be and what their target rate is.

The display, currently in testing, includes a graph showing portfolio growth, and the net cash earnings after losses, a range of what the returns will be that narrows closer to maturity and what the target rate is in comparison to what was advertised.

Welendus launches new £150,000 crowdfunding campaign (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

PEER-TO-PEER payday loan platform Welendus has launched a new crowdfunding round on Seedrs this morning to raise an additional £150,000.

The lender, which raised £100,000 from investors during a Seedrs fundraise in March, has already reached 92 per cent of its target by attracting funding from the existing crowdfunding backers.

NatWest joins the robo-advisers (This is Money), Rated: A

High-street bank NatWest has launched a fully regulated robo-advice proposition charging £10 for customers seeking to invest sums as low as £500.

Unlike some rival robo-advisers that offer guidance based on responses to just a few questions, or simplified advice that doesn’t factor in your complete financial position, NatWest said its process will offer full-fat advice akin to the traditional face-to-face process but online.

57% of SMEs support European Free Trade Agreement (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: A

More than half of small business owners (57%) are supportive of joining the European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA), a new survey has revealed.
Research by peer-to-peer platform Funding Circle has found that the key reasons cited by businesses for wanting to join the EFTA included the ease of exporting and importing (59%), a larger customer base (46%) and lower tariffs (42%).

 

Was the Budget boom or bust for personal finance? (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

PEER-TO-PEER lenders are split about the outcome of the Budget for people’s finances.

RateSetter said there was “a notable absence of measures to help people put away more for the future” in Wednesday’s fiscal event, but Lending Works called it “a boost for personal finance”.

Rethinking bricks and mortar: alternatives for property investors (Your Money), Rated: B

A mismatch of supply and demand has made UK property more unaffordable than ever for would be buyers. Property investors pursuing the buy-to-let route are also facing challenges due to a recent crackdown in tax legislation. Against this backdrop, peer to peer (P2P) and equity crowdfunding have grown in popularity as alternative ways to access the property market.

Key considerations before picking an investment route

 

  • Investment risk
  • Debt or equity
  • Liquidity
  • Who’s the provider

RateSetter Appoints Richard Steele Regional Manager of Midlands (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

UK-based peer-to-peer lending platform RateSetter announced on Friday it has appointed Richard Steele as its regional manager for the Midlands. According to the online lender, Steele has more than 15 years of business lending experience and prior to joining RateSetter, he held the relationship manager position at Barclays and business development manager at BCRS Business Loans.

China

WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On November 17th, top financial regulators in mainland China (including PBOC, CBRC, CSRC, CIRC and SAFE) released a new set of rules covering the country’s asset management market. It is the first time that the regulators designated one of the articles to Robo-advisors.

According to the article, financial institutions that conduct Robo-advisory services or AI-driven investment programs should be granted license from financial regulator before carrying out any operations.

Here Comes Tencent Credit

Two years ago, Ant Financial, the financial affiliate of Alibaba, launched its own credit scoring system Sesame Credit. This week, Tencent, Alibaba’s main rival in China, finally followed suit by launching a similar and competitive product, Tencent Credit. The credit score ranges between 300 and 850.

Sesame Credit Ceases Cooperation with Cash Loan Platforms

On November 21st, a cash loan platform told the media that they had received a notification from Sesame Credit, the credit scoring services of Ant Financial. According to the notification, Sesame Credit will cease to cooperate with cash loans from December 12th of 2017 due to some of its illegal behavior regarding interest rate setting and debt collection.

Chinese fintech firm CreditEase to pioneer funds of funds as alternative to direct real estate purchases (SCMP), Rated: AAA

CreditEase, one of China’s largest financial technology companies, has set its sights on funds of funds focusing on real estate projects as founder and chief executive Tang Ning anticipates a new property investment scenario.

At present, high-net-worth individuals in China seeking returns from property investment often directly buy and own residential or commercial units, betting on the appreciation of assets.

CreditEase, which specialises in lending to small businesses and consumers as well as wealth management for affluent investors, plans to set up a clutch of funds of funds that will allocate capital to leading global real estate funds managed by big names such as Blackstone and KKR.

China Online Lender Qudian’s Latest Plunge Knocks CEO From Billionaire Ranks (Forbes), Rated: A

Qudian lost 24.3% on Friday to end at $12.22, the worst close since it listed at $24 on Oct. 18.  Friday’s decline left Luo’s fortune at $776 million.

Luo, 34, ranked No. 255 on the 2017 Forbes China Rich List published on Nov. 16 with an estimated fortune of $1.48 billion.

Shares in Qudian, which is 11% owned by Alibaba Group affiliate Ant Financial, and other Chinese online lenders have been falling on reports that regulators plan to tighten restrictions on microlenders. On Friday, Qudian said it would cap charges and costs to customers linked to Alipay at an annual interest rate of 24% (see announcement and details here).  Qudian also said it is working to extend credit through its own app where it can charge up to an annual rate of 36%.

Alibaba Affiliate Bans High-interest Consumers Loan Products (ValueWalk), Rated: AAA

Ant Financial, the financial arm of Alibaba, has barred consumer loanswith an annual interest rate above 24% on its Alipay platform.

Ant Financial stated that it has increased monitoring of the financial service providers on Alipay and its credit platform, Sesame Credit, and found some inappropriate collection methods and interest rates above legal limits, according to Reuters. Further, Alibaba’s Ant Financial stated that it would withdraw cooperation with some cash loan providers. Sesame Credit is a proprietary credit scoring system, which gives Alipay e-wallet users a credit score.

China Fintech Firm Is Said to Mull Fate of $ 500 Million IPO (Bloomberg), Rated: A

LexinFintech Holdings Ltd., owner of Chinese online lending platform Fenqile, plans to meet advisers this weekend to discuss the fate of its proposed U.S. initial public offering, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The company aims to decide whether to imminently start its IPO roadshow or wait for a later date when market sentiment may be better, according to the people.

Yirendai Awarded ISO 27001 Certification (Business Insider), Rated: A

Yirendai Ltd. (NYSE: YRD) (“Yirendai” or the “Company”) announced today that it has been awarded certification to the international standard for Information Security Management (ISO 27001) from British Standards Institution.

The ISO 27001 certification is an internationally recognized best practice framework for an information security management system (“ISMS”) and specifies the requirements for establishing, implementing, maintaining and improving information security management within an organization. It also takes into account risk assessment and risk treatment with regards to security of information.

Tencent to set up fintech lab in Xiongan (ECNS.cn), Rated: B

Tencent Holdings Ltd, Asia’s most valuable firm, is planning to set up a financial technology lab and digitize public medical services in the Xiongan New Area, as part of a broader push to gain a foothold in China’s latest economic zone.

European Union

One Idea to Make Europe Bigger in Tech Is to Pay Employees More (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Europe isn’t producing the kind of large, globally-influential technology companies like those coming out of the U.S. and China. A perennial question is why?

One reason might be that European startups don’t give employees as much of a chance to strike it rich, according to a new study by the European venture capital firm Index Ventures. While startup employees in the U.S. are often rewarded with stock options — allowing them to cash out handsomely if a company is sold or goes public — young firms in Europe don’t offer the same scale of incentives.

In an analysis of 73 companies, Index found that European employees own on average about 10 percent of the startup where they work, compared to 20 percent for U.S. workers. European companies often skew stock options to executives rather than rank-and-file employees.

A tech VC explains why Revolut is such a hot ticket as the fintech app hits 1 million users (Business Insider), Rated: A

Revolut announced the milestone on Friday, saying that customers have now completed 42 million transactions on its app worth a combined $6 billion (£4.5 billion). The company began as a foreign exchange app linked to a pre-paid card but has since branched out into broader financial services, such as current accounts, insurance, and investments.

Revolut, which is applying for a full European banking license, said that 42% of its customers are aged 25-35, “a clear indication that traditional banks are no longer meeting the needs of younger, tech-savvy generations.”

Flender closes in on £2m funding round (Independent), Rated: A

Dublin-based peer-to-peer lending business Flender is close to raising more than €2m in its latest funding round.

Some €400,000 of the money has been raised from its own platform – the first peer-to-peer equity investment on an Irish platform. Terms are close to being agreed for the remaining balance of a £2m (€2.25m) round.

CS Invests in Swiss Fintech (finews), Rated: B

Credit Suisse has bought a majority stake in Tradeplus24, a Zurich-based fintech firm specialized in small- and mid-sized business loans. The Swiss bank bought into a series A1 financing through its subsidiary, SVC, the bank said in a statement.

International

2 investment trusts for income investors seeking reliable high yields (The Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

With interest rates still near historic lows, it can be hard to find mainstream investments that will pay out a significant yield.

But for investors who don’t want to go through the trouble of setting up their own account with a peer-to-peer lending platform, P2P Global Investments (LSE: P2P) offers an alternative route to gain access to the sector. It’s an investment trust that offers investors a ready-made and diversified portfolio of peer-to-peer loans, saving time from building a portfolio from scratch and enabling investors to earn income straight away. At its current share price, it has a trailing 12-month dividend yield of 6%.

ETHLend – A Fully Decentralized & Democratized P2P Lending Platform On The Ethereum Blockchain (Chipin), Rated: A

The main feature of ETHLend is the financing options available in ETH, which allows users to borrow or lend ETH using ETHLend’s digital tokens in an efficient manner or by using ENS domains as a collateral.

The ETHLend platform can be also used as a tool for both B2B and B2C transactions.

An interesting aspect of ETHLend is that both borrowers and lenders will receive 0.1 credit tokens (equal to 1 ETH) each for every loan that is repaid successfully.

These credit tokens can then be used as collateral for loans on the platform or sold for profit.

Here are the details of the upcoming LEND token sale:

Token name: LEND

Token base: Ethereum (ERC-20)

Token supply: 1,000,000,000

Token sale duration: 25th November, 2017 – 27th December, 2017

Token sale target: 37,600 ETH (hard cap)

Token exchange rate: 1 ETH = 25,000-27,500 LEND (depending on period of sale)

Celsius – The P2P Decentralized Credit Protocol Built On Smart Contract Technology (Chipin), Rated: A

The modern credit system is a mess, particularly for millennials and the Generation X youths.

Celsius is a P2P and blockchain-powered global credit network designed to improve the efficiency of modern credit and financing systems.

There are 4 types of loans in the Celsius platform:

    • The platform will enable millennials to establish a digital credit score and be issued a credit line; the credit can then be accessed by a sponsored credit card from Celsius.
    • Celsius will also allow the platform’s users to expand their credit limit against their own cryptocurrency asset holdings they have at Celsius. The extended credit can be easily accessed through several options.
    • Members can also choose to lend any cryptocurrencies they own and earn up to 5x the normal interest rates they get from banks. Finally, members can borrow cryptocurrencies in a secure and transparent manner
    • To safeguard the platform’s ecosystem, both lenders and borrowers on Celsius are verified and carefully selected to prevent fraud.

Here are the details of the upcoming DEG token sale:

Token name: DEG

Token base: Ethereum (ERC-20)

Token supply: 1,000,000,000

Token sale duration: 25th of January, 2018 – TBA (pre-sale is currently LIVE)

Token sale target: $100,000,000 (hard cap)

Token exchange rate: $0.20 = 1 DEG

Australia/New Zealand

Why SocietyOne needs more than its billionaire backers (Financial Review), Rated: AAA

The other is it’s in the midst of what is expected to be its last funding round before listing the business, raising up to $20 million in equity based on a valuation of up to $200 million, which is based on a multiple of one times its loan book.

The raising, managed by Venture Advisory and due to close late this month, is part of a long-term, highly anticipated plan to target a sharemarket listing in 2018.

SocietyOne is expected to need a book worth $500 million or so before it starts breaking even.

Chief executive Jason Yetton has said previously the company is eyeing a 2 per cent to 3 per cent share of the $105 billion consumer finance market in the long term, of which credit card debt comprises $42 billion.

Fortress backs $ 120m capital raising by MoneyMe (Financial Review), Rated: AAA

Global credit investor Fortress Investment Group will invest $100 million in debt capital to support MoneyMe’s consumer lending growth as the fintech considers an initial public offering in early 2019.

Fortress’s investment is part of a $120 million asset-backed securitisation deal, which also includes a $20 million bond, issued by Evans & Partners, which was oversubscribed.

MoneyMe, which has made $150 million in personal loans to 70,000 customers in the past four years, is both cash flow positive and profitable, very rare for an Australian fintech.

Of its $150 million in lending, $80 million has been advanced in the past 12 months.

New Zealand’s Financial Markets Authority Publishes First Peer-To-Peer/Crowdfunding Statistical Returns (MondoVisione), Rated: AAA

The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) today published its first statistical reporton peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding in New Zealand.

The data shows $259.9 million is currently loaned to individuals and $29.5 million loaned to businesses through peer-to-peer lending in the year ending 30 June 2017.

A total of $74.2 million was raised from investors through crowdfunding, including wholesale investors, in the same period.

Tic:Toc to undercut broker distribution in white label play (TheAdviser), Rated: A

Mortgage brokers are facing a double threat from online lender Tic:Toc, which is seeing a surge in demand from consumers and interest from banks and non-bank lenders looking for cheaper distribution.

The fintech started lending four months ago and has received approximately $330 million of applications in that time, with conversions hovering around 17 per cent this month.

Financial regulator shines light on P2P lending, crowdfunding (Stuff), Rated: A

Kiwis have nearly 17,000 loans through “peer-to-peer” lending platforms, but more than one in 12 borrowers were behind on repayments, according to the Financial Markets Authority.

There were 16,977 loans outstanding with P2P lenders at the end of June, it said, of which 1469 were in arrears. The average size of loans being taken out was $8771.

During the year, 833 loans with a total value of $8.5 million were written off.

Why banks and fin-techs need each other (NZ Herald), Rated: B

Chris Russell, HSBC New Zealand chief executive, said history was littered with banks who had spent large sums of money on developing new technology, only to find it had gone in another direction while it was working on it.

Globally Russell said HSBC was setting up innovation labs to work with financial technology firms and it was China and India where it saw the biggest sources of development.

In New Zealand it is also partnering with a local fin-tech, although Russell won’t name who yet.

India

The quick and safe way to build a credit score (livemint), Rated: A

If you are new in the workforce, you can start by getting a low-limit credit card from the bank where you have a salary account, said Sumit Bali, senior executive vice president and head-personal assets, Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd.

Alternative credit scoring

While the RBI-regulated credit bureaus are currently not allowed to use alternative data for credit scoring; in other developed markets parameters like utility bill payments, insurance premium payments have been used for credit scoring (read more on it here.

However, financial institutions including top public and private sector banks and NBFCs in India, have started using alternative data in multiple verifications and validations across the credit value chain, Agarwal said.

Asia

Considering an ICO… then read this (The Star), Rated: AAA

The ICO euphoria is likely being fuelled by the fact that despite all the negative news surrounding ICOs and cryptocurrencies, the price of bitcoin has generally kept soaring, despite the many mini crashes it tends to suffer.

For sober markets like Malaysia and Singapore, the regulators’ stance is clear. They are not outlawing ICOs but making a simple statement: if fund-raising is your main objective, then please take note of existing securities laws, which have been built and refined over a very long time.

Malaysia should not become a hotbed for dodgy ICOs.

Asian regulators should focus on light touch for ICOs (Asian Review), Rated: A

China banned initial coin offerings in September as “a form of unapproved illegal public financing behavior.” South Korea followed suit a few weeks later. Regulators in Hong Kong, Singapore, the U.S. and other countries have also expressed concerns. What is it that has them so worried?

Africa

A Digital Transactions Takeover right under our nose – Cassava Fintech (Newsday), Rated: AAA

Cassava Fintech is a specialized Pan-African Fintech company that delivers innovative digital transaction solutions across the mobile ecosystem. Sounds fancy right? Not quite. Simply put Econet’s vision has expanded beyond Telecoms and our Zimbabwean borders. Econet’s premise sits within an inclusive connected future that leaves no African behind.

Fintech SMEs to drive 72% of bank innovation (The Star), Rated: A

Financial technology startups, commonly known as fintechs, will be responsible for 72 per cent of financial innovations in the next three years, a new industry report shows.

Financial technology startups, commonly known as fintechs, will be responsible for 72 per cent of financial innovations in the next three years, a new industry report shows.

81 per cent of financial institutions said they are currently partnering with start-ups or intend to in the next 12 months.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor