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

China

European Union

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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

Thursday January 11 2018, Daily News Digest

consumer loan mpl abs

News Comments Today’s main news: Vanguard’s robo-advisor passes $100B AUM. YieldStreet raises $113M. RateSetter, Funding Circle join FSB funding platform. Funding Circle looks at Autumn for flotation. ETHLend launches secondary blockchain partnership. Modalku hits $7.4M in total crowdfunding. Today’s main analysis: KBRA 2017 consumer loan marketplace lending year in review and 2018 outlook. Today’s thought-provoking articles: LendingTree survey: Survey takers […]

consumer loan mpl abs

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

APAC

Canada

 

News Summary

United States

Vanguard’s Digital Advice Platform Is First to Pass $ 100B in AUM (Investopedia), Rated: AAA

Vanguard reached another milestone that should keep competing robo-advisors on their toes: it is the first firm to have a digital advice platform to surpass the $100 billion mark in terms of assets under management. And that comes with Vanguard having launched the service in 2015, just three years ago.

According to Stokes, 90% of the platform’s $101 billion in assets under management as of the end of 2017 are from existing clients. Vanguard’s assets under management beat those of Charles Schwab, which has $25 billion in assets under management for its Intelligent Portfolios, Institutional Intelligent Portfolios and Intelligent Advisory services, as well as Betterment’s $10 billion in assets, noted FinancialPlanning.

KBRA Releases 2017 Consumer Loan Marketplace Lending Year in Review and 2018 Outlook (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) released its 2017 Consumer Loan Marketplace Lending Year in Review and 2018 Outlook. The accompanying research report highlights the fact that 2017 was a notable year in the consumer loan marketplace lending (MPL) space in many respects. Total ABS issuance topped $7.8 billion in 2017, up from $4.6 billion in 2016, a year-over-year increase of 71%. SoFi led the way in 2017 in terms of number of ABS deals and total securitization volume, having completed six securitizations for $3.2 billion in total notes. Prosper completed three securitizations totaling $1.5 billion under their PMIT program followed by four deals from LendingClub’s prime and near prime shelves totaling $1.2 billion and three from Marlette’s MFT shelf totaling $919 million. Avant completed two securitizations totaling $480 million while Upstart issued its inaugural securitization in June 2017 followed by a subsequent deal in November. Investor demand strengthened with orders exceeded total deal size and a larger number of investors participated in the deals.

KBRA’s 2017 year in review and 2018 outlook provides:

  • KBRA’s outlook for 2018
  • Information behind the growth in the consumer MPL market
  • Detailed loan origination and ABS issuance volume by platform
  • Securitization performance and rating trends
  • Comparison of collateral characteristics, lending license arrangements platform servicing strategies and funding sources
  • Synopsis of legal and regulatory developments affecting the sector
  • Summary of significant equity raised by fintech companies

Read the full report here.

LendingTree Survey Reveals Optimistic Outlook for Personal Finances in 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

LendingTree recently conducted an online survey among 1,025 Americans to gauge financial expectations, concerns and overall sentiment regarding personal finances for 2018. According to the results, two out of three Americans have an optimistic outlook for the year ahead, with millennials being even more optimistic.

According to the survey, almost half of Americans (45%) feel that 2017 was at least somewhat better than 2016 in terms of personal finances. Approximately one third (34%) earned more in 2017 than they did in 2016, 24 percent put more into savings in 2017 compared to 2016, and 21 percent improved their score over the past 12 months. However, only 16 percent reduced their total credit card debt, making debt reduction a priority in the year ahead.

Additional positive expectations for 2018 include:

  • 46% expect income to increase
  • 28% expect to pay off credit card debt
  • 35% plan to make and/or stick to a budget in 2018
  • 35% also expect to improve their credit score
  • 18% expect to save for a down payment on a house
  • 27% plan to build an emergency fund
  • 26% expect to save for a savings/purchase goal

To view the rest of the survey results, visit 

Spike in delinquency rate mars outlook for personal loans (American Banker), Rated: A

U.S. consumers are falling further behind on loans commonly used to consolidate debt, the latest sign that monthly payment burdens have become unsustainable for more households.

In the third quarter of 2017, 1.9% of all bank-issued personal loans were at least 30 days delinquent, according to data released Tuesday by the American Bankers Association. That was a notable jump from the second quarter, when the delinquency rate was 1.52%.

YieldStreet Raises $ 113 Million Financing Round to Disrupt Alternative Investing (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

YieldStreet, the alternative investment platform working to change the way wealth is created, today announced that it has closed a $113 million financing round. The round includes $12.8 million of Series A equity financing co-led by Greycroft and Raine Ventures, as well as a revolving credit facility of $100 million from a New York based family office (the “Family Office”). Additional equity investors include Saturn Ventures, Expansion Venture Capital, the Family Office and FJ Labs.

The equity capital will help enable YieldStreet to accelerate the transformation of wealth creation by investing in further product innovation and growing its loyal community of investors. The raise comes as YieldStreet reached a tipping point in 2017, almost tripling prior year originations and surpassing $250 million raised by retail investors at the end of the year.

Alan Patricof, co-founder of Greycroft and one of the pioneers of modern private equity as the founder of Apax Partners, will join the YieldStreet advisory board. Ian Sigalow of Greycroft, Gordon Rubenstein of Raine Ventures and a representative from the Family Office will join YieldStreet’s board.

It’s Time to Talk About Alternative Assets (ThinkAdvisor), Rated: A

While many high-net-worth investors get advice from friends, family and sources on the internet, the majority — 72% — rely on financial professionals such as their advisors for investment information, according to research by Millennium Trust. In fact, financial professionals are over three times more relied on and trusted than the next trusted investment source: 51% of HNW investors trust financial professionals more than competing sources, including family, which is the most trusted source for only 13% of investors.

When advisors discuss potential investments with clients, they often focus on traditional options like stocks, bonds and mutual funds. As our research shows, however, many HNW investors are interested in alternative investments, such as hedge funds, private equity, real estate, commodities, marketplace lending and crowdfunding.

For example, 63% are moderately or extremely interested in investing in real estate and 46% report the same level of interest in private equity. But when it comes to discussing those investments with their broker or advisor, the numbers are significantly lower: Just 25% have discussed residential rental properties, 20% commercial rental properties, 23% real estate investment trusts, and 27% real estate limited partnerships, whereas 38% have discussed private equity.

Ryan Feit, CEO of SeedInvest, Updates on 2017 Progress & Crowdcube Partnership (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

SeedInvest is one of the most selective investment crowdfunding platforms in the US.

Today, SeedInvest is a full stack platform allowing companies the ability to sell securities under each of these exemptions.

How were your numbers for 2017? Can you share some top line detail?

Ryan Feit: We had another record year at SeedInvest.  We invested around $50 million into startups during 2017 (more than in our prior four years combined).  By our calculations we did at least twice as much investment volume as the next largest US-based equity crowdfunding platform that is open to all investors.

During 2017, what were some of the highlights for SeedInvest?

Ryan Feit: Here are a few additional highlights for 2017:

  • HelloMD completed the largest Regulation CF Side-by-Side round fundraise in history, raising $3 million.
  • Knightscope completed the largest pure Equity Crowdfunding round in history, raising $20 million.
  • We launched Auto Invest to help investors easily diversify in up to 25 startups and so far, 470 investors have made 3,300 auto investments into startups.
  • We launched LIVE Fundraising at events around the world and through our partnerships with LAUNCH Festival/Scale and
  • TechCrunch Disrupt, $10 million was raised from 5,800 people on SeedInvest.
  • SeedInvest had 14,000 startups apply to raise capital (vs. 1,500 in 2015).
  • SeedInvest had 2.5 million site visitors (vs. 400k in 2015).
  • SeedInvest processed 20,000 investments (vs. just 275 in 2015!).

Petal Card Raises $ 13M Led by Thiel’s VC Firm (Bank Innovation), Rated: A

Petal, the card designed to serve the credit invisible, has raised $13 million in funding that it will use to double its employees as the young startup tries to meet the demand of its growing user-base.

The Series A funding round was led by Peter Thiel’s VC firm, Valar Ventures.

U.S. News & World Report Names LendingPoint One of 2017’s Best Personal Loan Companies (BusinessWire), Rated: A

LendingPoint, the company working to revolutionize access to consumer credit, was named one of nation’s six best personal loan companies by U.S. News & World Report.

The media company evaluated personal loan companies in five key areas, reviewing data on eligibility, loan terms, fees, repayment methods and additional features. LendingPoint was cited as 2017’s top lender for people with fair to good credit, who have merit-based qualifications beyond FICO scores that make them worthy loan candidates.

Alkami raises $ 70 million for mobile banking software (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Plano-based Alkami has developed a white label service that credit unions and banks use across digital platforms.

And Alkami’s 4.5 million users have generated enough revenue for the company to justify a $70 million Series D round, led by General Atlantic, with participation from MissionOG. Existing investors include S3 Ventures and Argonaut Private Equity.

Chase Partners with AutoFi to Deliver Digital Car-Buying for Dealerships across the Country (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Chase announced today a partnership with AutoFi, a financial technology company that helps customers select and finance vehicles through their automotive dealers’ website and reduce the time it takes to complete the sale. Chase is the first national bank on the AutoFi platform.

The AutoFi digital retailing platform connects dealers with buyers and lenders. Chase will deliver financing terms online through the AutoFi platform, often within seconds.

Nearly half of consumers want to purchase and finance vehicles online, Chase’s research has found.

CECL compliance dragging small banks toward automation (American Banker), Rated: A

Like many small-to-midsize banks, Bank Independent in Sheffield, Ala., calculated its monthly allowance for loan and lease losses the hard way: setting aside a week every month to complete a largely manual, Excel-based model.

Download Your Guide to LendItFintech USA (LendIt), Rated: B

Discover who attends, why you should attend, andmore.

Ascentium Capital Exceeds $ 1 Billion in Funded Volume During Fiscal Year 2017 (Ascentium Capital), Rated: B

Ascentium Capital LLC, the nation’s largest private-independent finance company, announced it surpassed $1 billion in annual funded volume for the first time in the organization’s history.

 

Real estate investing startup Cadre partners with Goldman Sachs (Reuters), Rated: A

New York-based real estate investment company Cadre has partnered with Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) to allow the bank’s private wealth management clients to invest through the startup’s platform.

Goldman Sachs clients have committed to investing $250 million in properties through Cadre’s platform so far, the companies said on Wednesday.

Better Saves Homeowners $ 2.7 Million in Mortgage Refinancing Costs in 2017 (Better Email), Rated: A

PeerStreet: A Group Of Surfers Out To Revolutionize Real Estate Investing (Benzinga), Rated: A

PeerStreet is an investment platform that enables accredited investors to easily invest in high-yield, short term, real estate backed loans. PeerStreet sources its loans from non-bank lenders across the nation. They underwrite both the lenders and the loans using advanced algorithms, big-data analytics, manual processes and on-the-ground due diligence to filter and select high quality loans.

Who are your investors, if any?

Our investors include: Andreessen Horowitz, Felicis Ventures, Rembrandt Venture Partners, Montage Ventures, ThomVest, The Kaiser Family Foundation, Colchis Capital, Toba Capital, Le Frak, and many notable individual investors including Dr. Michael Burry, Adam Nash, Ron Suber, D. A. Wallach, etc.

Is there anything else Benzinga should know about your company?

PeerStreet is entrenched in the financial technology and lending industries at large. PeerStreet has been named by American Banker as one of the “Best Places to Work in Financial Technology” in 2018 and one of the “10 Best Startups in Los Angeles” in 2017 by Zippia. PeerStreet is a member of the Marketplace Lending Association and has partnerships with over 150 private residential real estate lenders in over 30 states.

Q&A With Chief Investment Officer Chris Fraley (RealtyMogul), Rated: A

Q: How do you intend to translate your experience from Rockwood Capital to your role at RealtyMogul?

In 2018, I see RealtyMogul expanding the size of its investment transactions, something I have direct experience in managing and find very exciting. I believe RealtyMogul is entering its third phase of growth as a business, evidenced by its recent acquisition of Serendipity Apartments this past September. Due to the ability to invest larger amounts of equity, we were able to maintain a majority, controlling interest in a $24M apartment community. While providing opportunities in preferred equity, mezzanine debt and smaller, passive limited partner interests will still be a critical aspect of our business, I’m hopeful that our real estate team’s substantial institutional background will help us acquire and successfully manage properties with larger transaction values.

Q: Do you think RealtyMogul will impact the traditional institutional investing model?

Absolutely. The institutional world is already starting to sign on to the concept of direct investing because the typical closed end fund model is broken, inefficient and fraught with possibility of misalignment of interests.

Surprisingly, most institutional investors do not want to invest in value add real estate investments in the bottom of a cycle until there is clear evidence of a market recovery. This was evident in the last downturn by the paucity of institutional allocations to value add strategies in the 2008-2012 timeframe. When the market starts to recover, institutional investors should start to make allocations. This may take a year or two. They lock up allocations with 3-4 year investment periods, oftentimes at the peak of cycle. Now is a perfect example of this disconnect.

Direct investment platforms allow investors to move in and out of market more efficiently and avoid an extra layer of fees to the investor. I believe this is the future of our industry and RealtyMogul is poised to lead.

RealtyMogul Hires New Chief People Officer (RealtyMogul), Rated: B

RealtyMogul, a unique commercial real estate private markets investing platform, today announced the addition of Soley Van Lokeren as Chief People Officer.

Stressing About When And How To Pay Your Debts? Pefin’s AI Assistant Is Here To Help (Benzinga), Rated: A

Pefin is the world’s first Artificial Intelligence (AI) financial advisor. The platform provides intelligent, unbiased and personalized financial planning and advice. Pefin’s mission is to look after the financial best interests of users in a way that embraces the unique individuality of their lives.

The platform offers:

  • 1. Long-term Financial Planning services, including a complete Financial Plan
  • 2. Financial Advice, including savings and debt management strategies
  • 3. Investment Advice and Portfolio Management Services
  • 4. Real-time monitoring, updates, and curated financial literacy content for each user

Tech advances force advisers to adjust — or else (ROI-NJ), Rated: A

There’s a machine-versus-human calculus that’s going on in the world of money management.

It may not yet be that more financial advice is provided by machines than humans, but to say the industry is on that path isn’t hyperbole. Investors themselves — particularly those of a younger demographic — have shown they are willing to trust a robot for advice.

John Babcock, president of Peapack-Gladstone Bank’s private wealth management division, sides with the humans, but understands automation is quickly changing the face of his business.

ProShares and VanEck are withdrawing their requests for bitcoin ETFs (Business Insider), Rated: A

Two financial services giants — ProShares and VanEck — are withdrawing requests to the Securities and Exchange Commission to list bitcoin ETFs.

 

US Banks Rely on Fintech Firms to Overcome Legacy Systems (Payments Journal), Rated: A

Legacy systems are preventing nearly two thirds (64%) of US commercial banks from developing Fintech applications, research commissioned by Fintech provider Fraedom has revealed.

Interestingly, 82% of the respondents that highlighted this concern were shareholders. Over half of those polled also noted a lack of expertise within banks as an important concern (56%), just ahead of limited resources (53%).

Commercial banks outsourcing services to a Fintech provider is clearly a trend on the rise, with only 22% of US banks revealing that they do not outsource any payment services compared to 30% of their UK counterparts.

How a Fintech Startup Aims to Take the Fear Out of Investing (Wharton), Rated: A

Riskalyze CEO Aaron Klein talks to former Wharton visiting professor Vinay Nair about his startup’s business model and path to growth.

Nair: Can you give us a sense of what your Risk Number model is and why advisors are attracted to it?

Klein: We built the technology on top of the academic framework that won the Nobel Prize for economics in 2002 — Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky’s work on prospect theory. We had a team of academics do a deep dive into the methodology and they said, ‘On the one hand, there are a lot of novel things in what you’ve done. On the other hand, a lot of what you’ve done is taken stuff that we’ve been working on in the labs for 15 years to 20 years and figured out a way to make it commercially viable and understandable by the average human.’

Listen to the podcast here.

Can taking out a loan be a good experience? (WGN Radio), Rated: A

Kabbage has enough experience with small businesses to say providing loans to small businesses can make for a good experience. John Parise is the Head of Customer and Partner Marketing and has been following company journeys for years now. His way of making loans a positive experience is by offering flexibility.

Listen to the podcast.

Fintech Startup Apruve Partners With MSTS For Credit Card Alternative (Benzinga), Rated: B

B2B fintech companies MSTS and Apruve announced Wednesday a payment process obviating the need to leverage capital and resources to provide credit and payment terms.

The new service enables automated instant credit approval, buyer onboarding, billing, customer service and collections services while allowing business clients to eschew the high transaction fees of credit cards.

4 of the 5 Biggest IPOs in 2017 Bombed. Here’s Who Won (Madison), Rated: B

The number of companies going public in 2017 surged 52% over the year ago period, hitting 160 deals, with the proceeds from the IPOs reaching $35.6 billion, double the amount in 2016, according to an analysis by Renaissance Capital.

5. Qudian (down 47.8%)

United Kingdom

RateSetter and Funding Circle added to FSB Funding Platform (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER, Funding Circle and Assetz Capital are some of the peer-to-peer lenders that have been included on the Federation of Small Businesses’ (FSB) new business funding platform.

The FSB Funding Platform, developed by Finpoint, matches potential borrowers with more than 100 lenders through the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

FSB launches AI-led business finance aggregator (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE FEDERATION of Small Businesses (FSB) has launched a new business finance aggregator that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to match potential borrowers with more than 100 lenders.

The trade body unveiled the FSB Funding Platform on Wednesday, after it was trialled on FSB members in three UK regions.

The new platform has been developed for the FSB by Finpoint and is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Funding Circle eyes autumn flotation, report claims (The Digital Banking Club), Rated: AAA

UK peer-to-peer lender Funding Circle is set to hire investment advisers as part of preparations to float on the London Stock Exchange.

UK Businesses Enter 2018 Vulnerable to Economic Shocks (CL News), Rated: A

These are unpredictable times for the UK economy. The great financial crisis remains fresh in the memory of business owners and its effects are still being seen in the form of relatively low wages growth and lagging productivity. Meanwhile, the ongoing talks on Britain’s future relationship with the European Union are a reminder that the future too is uncertain. Against this backdrop, a significant number of Britain’s SMEs are acutely vulnerable to any downturn in trade, according to a survey by the business lender, Nucleus Commercial Finance.

Small business owners were more or less evenly split on the question of whether the UK should remain in Europe, but as the survey indicates, the possibility that current trade talks will lead to a poor outcome is now a major concern,  trumping both the possibility of another major financial crash or the threat of digital attack by hackers.

And almost half of the businesses taking part in the survey said they are financially exposed to any event that impacts on trade, with 47% admitting they wouldn’t last a month on the basis of their current cash reserves. 30% said they wouldn’t last two weeks.

After 2017’s European Brexodus companies want to know the UK is open for business (Verdict), Rated: A

The first Morgan McKinley London employment monitor of the new year has revealed a 37 percent decrease in jobs available year-on-year while there are 30 percent fewer people seeking jobs in the capital.

Month-on-month there was a 52 percent decrease in jobs available, while the number of people seeking jobs in London fell by 40 percent.

China

WeChat shows messaging is the future of financial services ‘platforms’ (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

WeChat could be the next big broker-dealer among high-net-worth Chinese investors.

Its parent company, Tencent, now has a license that allows it to sell mutual funds on WeChat and give the popular messaging app’s 980 million users more options to help boost funds sold on the platform. It also gives Tencent more sway in deciding which financial products third-party companies can sell on its different platforms.

WeChat is showing that messaging channels, at least in China, are where people like making financial transactions.

European Union

Berlin-based FinTech startup Penta accuses TransferWise to have stolen its debit card branding (EU Startups), Rated: A

The London-based FinTech giant TransferWise just announced its borderless current account, which enables users to spend money in a choice of up to 28 foreign currrencies with a debit card. Tranferwise’s choice of a neon green colour for its first debit card was met with anger by Berlin-based SME challenger bank Penta, which turned to Twitter to express its anger at the striking resemblance to its own neon green card.

Looking at the two card designs, you’ll notice that it’s really just about the colour, and chances are high, that TransferWise picked the similar colour “by accident”.

International

Crypto P2P lender ETHLend launches secondary blockchain partnership (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

CRYPTO-BACKED peer-to-peer lending platform ETHLend has partnered with a technology provider to help record and store transactions more securely.

ETHLend, founded by Finland-based Stani Kulechov, is a P2P lending platform funding business and personal loans in the Ethereum digital currency.

Central banks are experimenting with blockchain technology — here’s why (Business Insider), Rated: A

So, blockchain can be quite resilient, it can also be a way to create greater transparency into central banking, more credibility because of the rules a blockchain-based system enforces.

Blockchain based BABB Kicks Off Initial Coin Offering to Create the “World Bank for the Micro Economy” (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

BABB, a banking platform based on Blockchain based in London, is launching its initial coin offering (ICO) on January 15th with a pre-sale. The general token sale of BAX will commence immediately following the pre-sale seeking to raise a hard cap of USD $20 million. Once their app is live, BAX will be used to pay for services, fees and licensing costs; so if an individual or business wants to use a BABB account, they will use BAX to pay for it. BAX tokens can also be used for other services.

The money raised by the ICO will be used for BABB to deliver: a smartphone app with bank account capability and international money transfer functionality; a European banking license in the appropriate jurisdiction for their go-to market strategy; and a partnership with a leading retail or central bank in an emerging market, to open corridors for international transactions.

Finova’s FNVA to Become the First Equity-linked Token (BTCManager), Rated: A

Finova Financial is growing as a trusted online lender enabling people to access affordable loans quickly. The platform is recognized as part of the “Fintech 100 list of the world’s leading financial technology innovators for 2016.”

Finova’s FNVA tokens are unique because these tokens are linked with a share of equity in Finova Financial itself. Also, it utilizes the ERC-20 Ethereum token standard that will be traded on cryptocurrency exchanges that are SEC approved and has the backing of assets of a US corporation. Therefore, the token sale is like a hybrid between an ICO and IPO.

These tokens will soon be available through FrontFundr investment platform.

The token price structure of the sale is displayed below, where the price will increase over time. A total of $18.5 million worth of tokens will be sold, on a sliding scale between $0.75 and $1.56 as the supply of FNVA increases.

 

Source: BTCManager
Australia/New Zealand

Auswide Bank sells stake in MoneyPlace, only two years after investing in online lender (The Courier Mail), Rated: AAA

BUNDABERG-based bank Auswide is offloading its 62 per cent stake in online lender MoneyPlace only two years after making an investment to “take a position” in the hi-tech sector.

Mom and pop investors fleeing property rental business (Scoop), Rated: A

Increasing numbers of mom and pop landlords are contemplating giving up on property investment and exploring alternative investments due to reasons such as the increasing pressure they feel from what can be a capital-intensive investment, changes to the legal environment (such as the Healthy Homes Guarantee Act 2017) and fears of how methamphetamine contamination could ruin their retirement planning.

CEO of New Zealand’s largest peer-to-peer mortgage lender Southern Cross Partners, Luke Jackson, says a string of inquiries about alternative investment options that don’t stray too far from property have been received by his team in recent weeks.

India

Existing NBFC cannot operate as peer-to-peer lender (IIFL), Rated: AAA

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) notified that existing non-banking financial companies cannot operate as peer-to-peer lenders. Further, new applicants for peer-to-peer lending license will need to provide the list of promoters and the source of funds for the minimum capital requirement of Rs20mn, the regulator said.

RBI further clarified that electronic platforms that assist only banks, non-banking financial companies and other regulated financial institutions to identify borrowers for lending will not be classified as peer-to-peer lending platforms. Only electronic platforms that also cater to retail lenders can register separately as such platforms, the central bank said.

The future of online financial advice and mutual funds (hubbis), Rated: A

Kunal Bajaj points out India is a large country without sufficient financial advisors to serve the population’s needs. With most people simply finding a financial advisor close to their home or place of employment, financial advice in India is primarily limited by geography which is not an ideal situation. As an added problem, many people find that their advisor has persuaded them into choosing a product which did not meet their needs. “Clearfunds eliminates this issue by delivering a bespoke solution for each customer which uses our internet platform.” Bajaj explains.

Traditional financial advisors try to channel every client into one of 21 possible portfolios (0-100 Debt-Equity or 100-0 Equity-Debt, in five-percent steps) or outcomes, often through first impressions or physical factors. With an online financial advisor, this is not possible, and therefore more work is put into finding out more about the person themselves and their individual requirements by asking periodic psychometric questions about the stability of their employment and income stream.

Bajaj has seen Clearfunds go from strength to strength in the 12 months since the platform has been online. “We have customers across 400 cities and around $10 million in assets under management.” He says. “Betterment and WealthFront took over a year to gather their first $10 million in the USA but now they both have billions in assets. Nutmeg has been in business for 7 years and has around 40,000 accounts and a billion dollars of assets under management.”

APAC

Indonesia P2P Startup Modalku Milestone: Hits $ 74 Million in Total Crowdfunded MSME Loans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Modalku, an Indonesia-based peer-to-peer lending fintech startup, successfully surpassed $74 million (Rp 1 trillion) in total crowdfunded MSME loans.

Canada

Mike Novogratz is planning a crypto version of Goldman Sachs (Business Insider), Rated: A

In a statement out Tuesday, Novogratz said he is looking to raise $200 million for Galaxy Digital LP, a “best-in-class, full service, institutional quality merchant banking business” for the crypto market. Novogratz also plans to list the company on TSX Venture Exchange, a Canada-based exchange for small cap companies.

The new bank will be born out of Canadian-based First Coin Capital, which Novogratz plans to buy and then merge with Bradmer Pharmaceuticals. Its main businesses will include trading, advisory services, asset management, and private equity-like investing.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Australia Peer to Peer Market

Australia alternative finance

The word “digital disruption” holds true meaning when we look at the online alternative lending sector. Marketplace lending is an amazing example of the evolution and transformation of the incumbent lending sector. Though alternative lending has been around for a decade, Australia has taken a while to embrace this revolution. Even though it is at […]

Australia alternative finance

The word “digital disruption” holds true meaning when we look at the online alternative lending sector. Marketplace lending is an amazing example of the evolution and transformation of the incumbent lending sector. Though alternative lending has been around for a decade, Australia has taken a while to embrace this revolution. Even though it is at a nascent stage in the land down under, with the recent entry of American players and big-ticket VC investments, it is a matter of time before it turns into a multi-billion-dollar industry.

Australia is now ranked as the second largest online alternative finance market in the Asia-Pacific region, behind only China. According to the first comprehensive study conducted in the Asia Pacific in 2015, the Australian online alternative lending market increased by 320% with a market value of nearly USD$350 million. From 2015 to 2016, the market size grew 53.6% and is now at USD$609.6 million. The chart below represents the growth the market saw between 2013 and 2015. Lack of funding options for SMEs, missing flexibility in personal loan products, and a highly regulated banking sector are some of the reasons why Australia has emerged as one of the most lucrative untapped lending markets.

Regulatory Framework: P2P lending

It has been mandated by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission that all P2P lending companies operating in Australia need to hold an Australian Financial Service License (AFSL) and Australian Credit License (ACL) to be able to engage and carry on financial services legally. In addition, P2P online platforms must operate as managed investment schemes, and that scheme needs to be registered if the investment is offered to retail customers.

Major players in P2P Lending Market

SocietyOne

SocietyOne was launched in 2012, by Matt Symons and Greg Symons. It has raised $55.24 million in various funding rounds from eight investors (Australian Capital Equity, Beyond Bank, Consolidated Press Holdings, Global Founders Capital, Justin Reizes, News Corp Australia, Reinventure Group, Seven West Media). Through its platform, SocietyOne enables savvy investors to diversify their investments based on their varying individual investment goals and degree of risk. Qualified borrowers can have access to unsecured loans ranging from $5000 to $35000, to be repaid over a loan term of 2, 3 or 5 years.

Since its launch, it has evolved rapidly and has a firm foothold in the consumer finance industry, and today the platform is among the largest provider of personal loans. Its philosophy to connect borrowers and investors through its Clearmatch technology (where a soft online credit check that does not affect the credit score is made to evaluate whether the borrower is eligible for the loan or not) platform is making a real difference in offering better deals than traditional banks. In 2015, it surpassed $50 million in total funded loans. As the chart below shows between January, 2016 and June, 2017 loan origination has increased by a staggering 345%.

Alongside such an impressive growth, it has became a popular choice among the investors as it offers a steady return of 9% and has a very low default rate of about 1.8% across the whole loan portfolio.

Marketlend

Marketlend was founded in 2014 by Leo Tyndall, a former executive at UniCredit, where he was handling securitization and capital market operations. Tyndall started the company with his life savings and in June, 2016 it raised USD $1 million from Jonathan Barlow and Mateusz Szeszkowski.

It is the first platform in Australia that facilitates combination of prompt lending with insurance and margin protection. The P2P structure of Marketlend comprises of three key strengths: providing an innovative solution for financing against unpaid invoices, improving insurance cover against risk and loss protection and ensuring securitization of loans to meet the needs of investors especially the institutional investors. It offers rate of returns upto 10.40% for investors.

Safety First

Marketlend gives top most priority to the security of its borrowers and investors. It accepts losses of at least 1% of the loan through its reserve fund and has even partnered with an insurance company to provide insurance cover under certain circumstances. Since its inception in 2014, it has funded $24 million of loans with zero default.

Bigstone

As per the study conducted by East & Partners on behalf of Western Union Business Services, it was observed that around 83% of the small and medium sized businesses are struggling to have access to credit. To exploit this opportunity, Boyd Pederson, a former managing director at Boston Consulting Group founded Bigstone in 2016. In August 2016, Bigstone raised USD $3 million from four investors (Cicada Innovations, CVC Capital Partners, Narith Phadungchai, and Paniti Junhasavasdikul). Low APR (8%-24%) makes the platform an attractive proposition in the highly competitive alternative lending market.

Bigstone provides loans ranging from $10,000-$250,000 to SME businesses with a maximum loan term of two years. The whole loan approval process is simple, easy and quick and loan is approved or rejected in minutes. On the other end of the spectrum, it enables the investors to spread risk by investing in diversified small loans offered to borrowers in real time.

DirectMoney

Online lending platform DirectMoney is Australia’s first P2P Company to be listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX). It was launched in 2006 by Guy Baldwin and David Doust and at the time was considered a path breaker since it offered varied rates of interest to the borrowers depending upon their credit ratings whereas others provided a single rate of interest to all the borrowers. It raised an undisclosed amount as seed capital from Trevor Folsom, the co-founder of Investible.

DirectMoney connects the borrowers and investors through its pioneer platform and enables the investors to invest in secured and unsecured personal loans. Investors invest by buying the units in the DirectMoney Personal Loan Income Fund and after making deductions for loan losses and management fees, the interest charged from borrowers is the return paid to the investors.

Borrowers can apply for loans ranging from $5,000 to $35,000 to be repaid over 3 to 5 year with varied rates of interest applicable depending upon the credit worthiness of the borrower.

MoneyPlace

MoneyPlace is another innovative marketplace lender that develops a connection between creditworthy borrowers who are seeking to access personal loans with wholesale investor clients. This platform was launched in 2014 by Stuart Stoyan and has its headquarter at Melbourne, Australia. Investment in MoneyPlace is open only to wholesale and institutional investors who fund unsecured personal loans. Auswide Bank agreed to invest AUD $60 million over a stretch of five years and took a 20 percent equity stake in the start-up and in the beginning of this year Auswide increased its stake to 51 percent with the option of increasing it to 75%.

Risk-Based Pricing

Depending on the risk profile of the loans, investors can earn a rate of return varying from 7.7% to 15%. It offers four different investment options based on varying risk profiles namely; conservative, balanced, high yield or customized portfolio.

With a motive to minimize the risk factor involved in the loans, the loans are divided into fractions. The investors can buy the fractions of different loans and thereby spread their risk over a diversified portfolio of loans.

Conclusion

According to the research by Morgan Stanley, value of loans made by online lending platforms in Australia is expected to reach $22 billion in next five years. P2P lending to consumers is expected to reach $10.4 billion whereas P2P lending to small businesses is expected to reach $11.4 billion during the same period. These numbers clearly represents the opportunity for P2P lenders to establish a meaningful presence in the Australian market. Established fintech lenders like RateSetter (UK), OnDeck (US) are expanding operations in in Australia. This goes to show the importance of the Australian market and the potential it represents.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir and Allen Taylor

Allen Taylor

Thursday February 16 2017, Daily News Digest

Lending Club investors

News Comments Today’s main news:  Lending Club Q4 results: the banks are back. NatWest and  Royal Bank of Scotland set to launch digital lending platform. Auswide Banks takes control of MoneyPlace. Indonesia allows on-balance-sheet lending for FinTech startups. Today’s main analysis: Lending Club Grows Auto Refinance. Lend Academy proud to have banks back at LC. Today’s thought-provoking articles: BondMason responds to […]

Lending Club investors

News Comments

United States

  • LC Q4 earnings review — the banks are back. GP:” Lending Club’s banks being back on the platform are a great sign of trust and comfort. I think everybody can now claim the Lending Club crisis was over. So now that the crisis was over, it wasn’t that bad, wasn’t it? If this is the types of crisis our industry will face I would be comfortable saying that it is safe to invest in our industry.” AT: “Lending Club has made a nice comeback. 2017 looks very promising, as Lend Academy points out.”
  • How the CFP Board is court next generation of planners. AT: “Since Millennials are the largest living generation and have very different attitudes about saving and investing than previous generations, it only makes sense to encourage more of them to enter into the financial planning field.”
  • How investors can cash in on soaring student debt. AT: “Not a whole lot new here, this article is geared toward investors not familiar with student loan investing.”
  • Why lending startups like Float want to ditch FICO. GP:” The only reason not to look at FICO in my eyes is cost. Otherwise why not use an indicator that is correlated? Perhaps once can use more then FICO but ignoring it completely all the time seems unwise.” AT: “As the article points out, not all alternative lenders are ditching FICO, but those that are do so for practical reasons.”
  • Lending Club grows auto refinance gradually. GP: “We continue to look for ways for Lending Club to resume growth. Auto Lending was their best bet until the crisis hit. I hope this turns into a valid channel and it allows them to diversify beyond credit card debt refinancing. As we learned with the capital sources it’s not healthy to be concentrated in one market segment.”

United Kingdom

European Union

Australia

Asia

News Summary

United States

Lending Club Q4 Earnings Results Review – The Banks Are Back (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Lending Club has released their Q4 2016 and 2016 year-end results. The company originated $1.987 billion in loans, up 1% from Q3 2016 of $1.972 billion. The most significant news of the earnings release was that bank participation totaled 31% of the platform in Q4 2016, up 18% from the previous quarter which shows that the banks are back. In the Q & A section of the earnings call, CEO Scott Sanborn stated, “We’ve got back on a bank by bank level all of the people we were hoping to have back.” This also happened quicker than Scott had expected. Also worth noting is that the company achieved this goal without investor incentives in Q4 unlike in Q2 and Q3 2016 where loans were offered to investors at a discount.

What you’ll also notice looking at the chart below is that the Other Institutional category dropped 5% sequentially, from 18% to 13%. This category of investor includes investment banks, hedge funds and fund managers who typically seek higher yields. Lending Club has tightened credit and adjusted pricing which has had an effect on these investors.

Now the question is whether they can spur some growth in 2017 on the borrower side of the equation. The company also provided guidance for the first time in several quarters which should give investors some idea of what to expect going into 2017.

How the CFP Board is courting the next generation of planners (On Wall Street), Rated: AAA

Amid growing worries that there are not enough new advisers to replace those who are retiring, the CFP Board’s Center for Financial Planning is rolling out a host of new initiatives aimed at expanding and diversifying the workforce.

In the coming weeks, the center will launch an internship program aiming to place workforce re-entrants at planning firms, and a social media campaign geared for students highlighting the diversity of the profession.

The center is also looking expand and solidify financial planning as an academic discipline.

How Investors Can Cash In On Soaring Student Debt (Forbes), Rated: A

In Q4 2016, total outstanding student loans topped $1.4 trillion—that’s more than auto loans or credit card debt. The student loan debt market is now only second to the mortgage market in terms of size.

While the consumer price index climbed 44% since 2000, tuition has soared 151%. Students now graduate with an average of $33,000 in student loan debt.

SoFi and CommonBond, the two-main P2P platforms that service students, have issued $8.5 billion in loans. Around $6 billion of that has been securitized by the likes of Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.

It’s worth noting that the total potential refinance market for P2P student loans is really about $480 billion. The headline $1.4 trillion is reduced because around 40% of loans are too small, and 42% have rates that are too low to be refinanced using P2P.

Students who refinance with SoFi save an average of $288 per month and $22,359 in total. Variable rates range from 2.35%–6.28% and fixed rates from 3.37%–6.74%.

CommonBond offers variable rates from 2.35%–6.27% and fixed rates from 3.37%–7.74%. Borrowers enjoy average savings of $15,114 when they refinance loans through the platform.

In comparison, the interest rate on Federal Direct Loans for undergraduates is currently at 3.76%. Borrowers also pay an additional 1.069% on each disbursement they receive. While this rate is below those offered by P2P lenders, the majority of student loans were made when interest rates were higher, with many students paying up to 8.25%.

Why Lending Startups Like Float Want To Ditch The FICO Score (Fast Company), Rated: A

Last year Social Finance, or SoFi, started using its own proprietary underwriting score in place of FICO when evaluating applications for its student loan, personal loan, and mortgage products.

And now they’re joined by Float, a Los Angeles-based lending startup, whose founders also say they have no plans to use FICO. The platform is launching today, and a look at its business model reveals why it thinks it can survive without it. Float is an app designed for lending small amounts of cash to customers in a pinch. If you’re facing the possibility of an overdraft, for example, a Float credit line, ranging from $50 to $1,000, can help you stay in the black. As with a classic American Express charge card, repayment is due in full the following month. Float also levies a flat 5% transfer fee.

Instead of pulling a FICO score, Float looks at two years’ worth of transaction history in an applicant’s bank account.

It’s also cheaper: Pulling credit reports adds enormous expense to the underwriting process.

Float has also noticed that customers who arrive via Instagram are better borrowers than those who arrive via Facebook.

Lending Club Grows Auto Refinance Gradually (Auto Finance News), Rated: A

Lending Club continues to grow its newly-launched auto refinance product and is investing $5 to $10 million in its expansion, Chief Financial Officer Tom Casey said during the company’s fourth quarter earnings call yesterday.

Early customer feedback has been positive, and refinancing is saving consumers an average of 2.5% off of their rate, or $1,200 in savings over the life of the loan, Sanborn added.

United Kingdom

NatWest unveils online lending platform for SMEs (Finextra), Rated: AAA

UK bank NatWest has launched a digital platform that lets small and medium sized businesses quickly apply for and obtain unsecured loans of up to £150,000.

The platform, dubbed Esme Loans, has been developed by the bank at is innovation unit with fintech firm Ezbob as a direct response to the emergence of specialist direct and P2P lending platforms, says NatWest.

LendInvest completes its first official auction finance loan in five days (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: AAA

It is the first loan that has been completed since the online mortgage lender launched its auction finance proposition in December last year after a significant proportion of the deals that brokers brought to LendInvest were for purchases agreed at auction.

LendInvest’s loan is based on 75% gross LTV and lasts for nine months with an interest rate of 0.94% per month.

Five Steps To Manage Business Borrowing (Minute Hack), Rated: B

Our advice at Hudson Weir is:

  1. Releasing equity – Selling a stake in your business is an effective, yet often overlooked, method of raising cash.
  2. Alternative methods of finance – Asset-based lending or invoice factoring can be helpful ways to release funds and gain a cash injection. Peer-to-peer lending has also gained momentum and popularity and gives business owners a way of raising funds on their own terms. Platforms like Funding Circle also allow SMEs access to loans and funding from a marketplace of investors – and the process is quick and simple.
  3. Talking to your suppliers – Even if the price your supplier charges looks competitive, never be afraid to ask if they can do better.
  4. Looking into your lease – Do not be afraid to negotiate with your landlord as they’re unlikely to want a vacant property – they may accept a reduced offer on the rent.
  5. Keeping on top of your payments – As obvious as it sounds, this is the difference between successfully financing your business in order to see it grow and becoming entrenched in a level of borrowing you can no longer afford to honour. Once you have found ways to keep your outgoings to a minimum during lean times, you must make sure that your monthly repayments are a priority.
European Union

RBS offers fast lending (Herald Scotland), Rated: AAA

ROYAL Bank of Scotland is set to launch a digital platform that it said would allow small and medium sized businesses to quickly obtain unsecured loans of up to £150,000.

Market response to RBS direct lending launch (BondMason), Rated: AAA

by Stephen Findlay, BondMason CEO

It is encouraging to see that banks are rolling out direct lending services to their customers, whether it be via an in-house offering or through a collaboration with an established P2P platform. This is especially good news for borrowers, particularly SMEs as it enables them to access much-needed investment more easily.

We’ve seen the direct lending market grow in leaps and bounds since its inception, as volatile stock markets and declining returns on ‘go-to’ investment products has led to an influx of investors looking for the middle ground between high risk and low returns.

Banks are responding to this investor demand and evolving their traditional models so they can take advantage of the direct lending space. We see this as the continuation of a trend towards the blurring of boundaries across the direct lending landscape – encompassing both traditional financial companies and more recent start-ups.

At BondMason, we don’t view this as negative competition to the P2P platforms already in this space, or vice versa. Rather, we think these different offerings will complement the industry and encourage improved standards and better self-regulation as more participants enter the market – a ‘flight to quality’ which we certainly welcome.

The move by the banks also supports the growth of what is becoming a mainstream asset class, demonstrating that P2P lending is now recognised and being embraced by the traditional banking and finance sector.

As this move by the banks comes some 10 years after the commencement of P2P lending, it is a great example of how innovation in established industries, such as banking, is often best done by smaller, new entrants. This further supports the requirement of the regulator to ensure, through its programmes such as the Innovation Hub and Regulatory sandbox, that SMEs and innovative companies are supported and fostered, and that barriers to entry are kept low for new, emerging business models.

Interview with Frédéric Dujeux, Co-Founder of Mozzeno (P2P-Banking), Rated: A

mozzeno is a Belgian fintech founded in December 2015. We have just launched the first digital platform to enable private individuals to participate indirectly in the funding of loans to other private individuals. Loans are granted by mozzeno, acting as a regulated lender. mozzeno then finances or refinances these loans thanks to the issuance of Notes (financial instruments).

The company has been initially founded and funded by my partner, Xavier Laoureux, and me.

Some fintech business angels and W.IN.G (a Belgian seed fund) have taken part to a seed round in Q2 2016. A further funding round should take place in the course of 2017.

Well, actually p2p lending as such is forbidden by law in Belgium. On one hand, the European prospectus law has been adapted locally very strictly, preventing individuals to raise funds publicly, even through an intermediary platform. This means that a borrower candidate cannot invite other people publicly to lend him money. On the other hand, one needs to be a regulated lender to grant loans and to get access to the Central Individual Credit Register. There is a new regulation as from November 2015, this regulated lender status now being supervised by FSMA.

Our regulatory model is then two-sided. We were the first Belgian regulated lender approved by the FSMA as per the new regulation, and this allows us to grant loans for Belgian residents. We also published a base prospectus, also approved by the regulator, allowing us to issue Notes on a continuous basis. These Notes are the financial instruments subscribed by the investors, similar to bonds, and mimicking the repayment behaviour of the underlying loan.

Crowdlending, a trend among large companies (Impulsando Pymes Digital), Rated: A

The profile of companies that rely on crowdlending to obtain financing has been changing considerably since this alternative financing method landed in Spain in 2013. The companies financed by Arboribus are solvent companies that could be financed with other banking entities, on average have about 20 years of life and most have experienced sales growth in recent years. We are talking about the segment of audited companies that resort to crowdlending to finance and that has grown 160% in 2016.

Not only is the profile of companies looking for financing alternatives changing, but there is also a growth in the volume of companies financed and their volume of loans requested. This is indicated by data provided by Arboribus, a crowdlending platform pioneering companies in Spain, which has financed 90 companies with more than 130 loans in 2016, reaching a total of 5.8 million euros funded in a year, 65% More than in 2015.

However, the most relevant data linked to these figures is the increase in audited companies with invoices in excess of 10 million euros, a figure that reaches 15 percentage points of the total portfolio of the platform, including some invoicing more than 20 Million and have a team of more than 200 workers.

Australia

Auswide Bank Takes Over Controlling Majority of P2P Lending Service MoneyPlace in Australia (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

Auswide Bank Ltd (ASX:ABA) is increasing its equity stake in peer-to-peer lender MoneyPlace Holdings Pty Ltd (MoneyPlace). Auswide Bank will have a controlling interest of at least 51% in MoneyPlace with the prospect of increasing that interest up to 75% dependent on the final take up of other MoneyPlace shareholders in a capital raising initiative being undertaken by MoneyPlace.

Business lender narrows in on brokers (TheAdviser), Rated: A

The appointment of Michael Burke as national sales manager this week coincides with OnDeck announcing a partnership with the Commercial Asset Finance Brokers Association of Australia (CAFBA).

Mr Burke joins OnDeck with over 20 years of sales and leadership experience in the banking and financial services industry. Most recently, he held the position of general manager – consumer and commercial finance at Flexigroup.

Asia

Indonesia authority to allow on-balance-sheet lending for fintech startups (e27), Rated: AAA

Senior officials at the Indonesian financial services authority (OJK) announced on Tuesday that the agency is preparing a regulation that would allow local fintech companies to lend money directly to their customers, a practice known as on-balance-sheet model.

Fintech companies offering on-balance-sheet model are required by regulation to convert into the P2P lending scheme.

M360 Advisors Registers Fund with South Korea Financial-Industry Regulator (Benzinga), Rated: AAA

A commercial real estate debt fund managed by Money360-affiliate, M360 Advisors, successfully registered with the South Korea Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), Money360 announced today.

FSS registration allows South Korean hedge funds, corporations, pension funds, insurance companies and other institutional investors to participate in the fund. Since becoming registered, the fund has received more than $65 million to date from one of South Korea’s oldest and largest financial institutions, and M360 anticipates receiving more than $250 million in aggregate throughout the first half of 2017.

“FSS registration opens M360 Advisors to an entirely new country of institutional investors, which will allow us to substantially increase our assets under management,” said Evan Gentry, M360 Advisors CEO. “This gives us a considerable competitive advantage that has been heightened significantly with an anticipated $250 million investment in our fund from one of South Korea’s most reputable financial institutions.”

M360 Advisors currently works with foreign investors from South Korea, China, Singapore, South Africa, Europe, Canada, the Netherlands and Kuwait, with further expansion underway.

South Korea is the latest in the company’s strategic business plan to bolster its global reach, with an intensified push into South Africa and China planned in the near future.

The fund provides investors with a short-duration, high-yield fixed-income alternative to traditional fixed-income investments. The fund invests in bridge loans collateralized by U.S. commercial real estate property secured with a first-priority lien at conservative loan-to-value ratios.

Gentry said the level of scrutiny going into the application process for FSS registration is high, and Money360 is one of the only marketplace lending platforms with an affiliated private debt fund to be sanctioned by the FSS.

“The registration of the fund with the FSS speaks to its institutional caliber,” Gentry added.

“The fund was designed for universal appeal to various types of investors throughout the world with significant consideration given to international tax efficiency,” added Money360 COO and M360 Advisors President Dan Vetter.

Vetter cited the extended period of low interest rates throughout the world caused by unprecedented central bank intervention as an impetus for launching the fund.

“Equity markets are overvalued and traditional fixed income investments offer minimal yield, making this type of private debt fund attractive relative to more traditional asset classes,” he added.

P2P LENDING: PEAKS TO PITFALLS (BFM), Rated: A

P2P lending has emerged as a new source of financing and may soon emerge as its own asset class. We speak to Kristine Ng, CEO of Fundaztic, about the pitfalls of the P2P system and how Securities Commission-approved lenders could help you enhance your short-term returns.

 

Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, Monash Business School & Tsinghua University Partner On Asia Pacific Alt Finance Study (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance at University of Cambridge Judge Business School, Australian Centre for Financial Studies at Monash University and Tsinghua University Graduate School at Shenzhen have teamed up to launch the 2016-2017 Asia-Pacific Region Alternative Finance Industry Survey.  The consortium has gained the support of more than 20 major industry organizations across the region. The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF) says this is the largest regional study to date focused on crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending & other forms of alternative finance.

This benchmarking survey, opening today (February 15, 2017) aims to capture the key trends including the development, size, transaction volume and growth of alternative finance. The study will also gauge the impact of changing regulations on innovative finance in markets across Asia in 2016 – building on last year’s inaugural study.

The research will be made publicly available in Q2 of this year.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor