Friday March 2 2018, Daily News Digest

Seed

News Comments Today’s main news: How Funding Circle wants to fix the financial system. VPC Specialty Lending, Ranger Direct see dividends move up. Klarna triples net profit, mainly in Nordic countries. Today’s main analysis: International P2P lending volumes. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Can Seed solve banks’ digital onboarding issues? How banking institutions can decentralize (The best read of the day). Institutional […]

Seed

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United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Asia

News Summary

United States

This neobank believes it can solve banks’ digital onboarding problem (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Since 2014 the neobank Seed has been reimagining one of the sleepier areas of banking: deposit accounts for small businesses.

Rather than walk into a branch — Seed, of course, has none — yoga instructors, food truck owners and other would-be customers can apply for accounts in less than five minutes on the startup’s web or mobile app. If approved, they receive a business debit card in the mail.

Now Seed, led by veterans of the fintech Simple, is selling banks software to help them solve one of their most pressing problems: finding a way to open accounts online as branch transactions continue to decline.

Source: American Banker

Lendio Franchise Announced in Clemson Region (Lendio), Rated: A

Lendio, the marketplace for small business loans, today announced the opening of a new Lendio franchise in the Clemson, South Carolina Region. Through the Lendio franchise program, Andy Ronemus will help local businesses in the community apply for loans, review their options and secure funding, easing the financial hurdles for small business owners.

In A Time of Need, A Woman Rises To Disrupt Fintech In Puerto Rico (Forbes), Rated: A

One notable leader in this endeavor is 

Fintech Startup Magilla Wants to Be the Match.com of Loans (Big Law Business), Rated: A

Since its launch in January 2016, Sacramento-based startup Magilla Loans says it’s originated more than $5 billion in loans and is changing the way lenders connect with borrowers. The platform can shrink into a few days what can often be a weeks- or months-long process of loan applications, data submissions and waiting just to get a loan term sheet.

Crowdlending helped Shorewood business woman’s dreams come true (tmj4), Rated: A

One Shorewood businesswoman did this all on a website called Kiva.

Shelia Long’s business is a workspace that helps ladies who work from home come together to get inspired.

“It was so great as the loans were coming in you can see like Switzerland, Boston, Carlsbad, Texas,” said Shelia Long.

One-hundred-thirty-seven people in total used PayPal to help her get to a goal of raising $8,000 at zero-percent interest.

Validus Specialty Launches Package Policy for Fintech Companies (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Validus Specialty Underwriting Services, Inc. (Validus Specialty) announced on Thursday a comprehensive package policy specifically designed for private U.S. fintech companies. According to the company, the solution is designed to address Fintech’s complex risk management needs, which are traditionally underserved by incompatible and inadequate policy forms.

What’s next for marketplace ABS? Revolvers, ETFs & IOs (Asset Securitization Report), Rated: A

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

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

INSTITUTIONAL INVESTORS WARY OF PASSIVITY (All About Alpha), Rated: AAA

Geopolitical events are the most worrisome prospect on the minds of the decision makers at institutions looking ahead to 2018. The percentage of respondents who believe such events will have a negative impact this year is at 74%. The second most worrisome? Asset bubbles (65%).

More than three fifths (63%) of those surveyed said that the growth of passive investing has increased systemic valuation risk: 59% believe that flows into passive strategies artificially suppress volatility.

In 2015, Natixis found that 64% of institutions said they were upping their investments with active managers. In 2016, that number rose to 67%. In the latest survey it rose again, to 68%.

Be cautious when seeking income (Money Week), Rated: A

But Square Pie had sold bonds on the Crowdcube platform, offering lenders 8% a year. It illustrates why so many people are suspicious of mini-bonds (debt issued by small, retail-orientated firms). Anyone thinking of lending to just the one relatively new business has to be aware of the risks – and then ask: is 8% enough?

A more diversified option

The latest offering in this category comes from a platform called Goji, which aggregates a variety of direct-lending and peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms. It has just brought out a Renewables Lending Bond, which pays out anything from 5.5% for a three-year term (with regular income) to 7.6% over five years, where the interest is rolled up at repayment. The underlying assets are provided by a direct lender called Prestige Group, which lends to clean-energy projects.

The book of loans – around 39 – has an average duration of four years, with a typical loan-to-value ratio of between 70% and 80%.

2018 LightStream Home Improvement Survey (PR Newswire), Rated: A

More than half (58 percent) of homeowners are planning to spend money on home improvement projects in 2018, according to the fifth annual LightStream Home Improvement Survey. LightStream is the national online lending division of SunTrust Banks, Inc. (NYSE: STI). Budgets for renovations are on the rise: among homeowners planning renovations, 45 percent will spend $5,000 or more — an all-time survey high. Those planning to spend $35,000 or more doubled from 2017.

The survey shows robust enthusiasm for renovation, as well as a thoughtful desire to balance a home’s needs and the homeowners’ budget, so they have the financial confidence to move forward. Specifically, the survey revealed the following trends:

    • Home “Sweat” Home
      The majority of homeowners plan to invest sweat equity, as 65 percent say they’ll do at least some of the work themselves. The 18-34 group is particularly fond of do-it-yourself projects, with 70 percent planning to work on at least a portion of their renovation.
    • Staying — and Aging — in Place
      Only seven percent of homeowners are renovating to prepare their homes to be sold, the lowest percentage since 2015. Instead, 14 percent of homeowners across all age groups — not just baby boomers — are citing “aging in place” as a reason for making a home improvement. Even respondents aged 18 to 34 (11 percent) and 35 to 44 (10 percent) say they’re renovating “to prepare my home so I can stay in it as I get older.”
    • Tax Reform Boosting Budgets
      With recent passage of tax reform, homeowners have already begun calculating how the changes might affect what they spend on home improvements. One in four homeowners who have set a budget for renovation projects stated that tax reform has had an impact, with 18 percent increasing their budget and seven percent decreasing it.
    • Paying for Projects
      The majority of homeowners (62 percent) plan to pay for projects, at least in part, by using savings. Additional payment strategies were further revealed. Intent to fund through home equity lines of credit (HELOC) jumped from 10 to 13 percent. “U.S. economic growth and limited housing inventory have contributed to healthy home equity gains,” said Ellen Koebler, SunTrust head of consumer solutions. “HELOCs can offer a financial solution for many homeowners, as accrued value may be available to tap for renovations.”

At the same time, the percentage of people intending to use a home improvement loan has grown 29 percent from 2017 with 54 percent more 18- to 34-year-olds planning to fund projects through home improvement financing.

Crowdfunding your way to homeownership (Mic), Rated: A

According to recent research from the National Association of Realtors®, 24% of buyers under age 36 saved for their down payment for more than two years.

NAR research also found that 25% of homebuyers ages 36 and younger used a gift from relatives or friends for some or all of their down payment.

Platforms have popped up that simplify this process: HomeFundMe, which launched last year, and Feather the Nest.

An estimated 1,500 “nesters” have used Feather the Nest to crowdfund a down payment since 2014, according to company president Beth Butler, with an average goal of $10,000 to $15,000.

JPMC’s FinLab Launches $ 3M Contest For FinTech Startups (PYMNTS), Rated: B

To help identify FinTech products that may improve the financial health of underserved populations in the U.S., the Financial Solutions Lab (FinLab) launched its fourth annual $3 million challenge. The lab focuses on products that meet the financial needs of overlooked populations, JPMorgan Chase said in an announcement.

Accounts in Transit (O’Dwyer PR), Rated: B

Kwittken signs up Laurel Road, online lender of student loans, personal loans and mortgages. Aaron Kwittken’s firm will be responsible for raising awareness of the company’s products through content marketing, brand activations, thought leadership and traditional media relations. Laurel Road, which is part of Darien Rowayton Bank, recently surpassed $3 billion in student loan originations.

United Kingdom

Keeping the little guys in the loop: How Funding Circle hopes to fix the financial system (City A.M.), Rated: AAA

“When we think about the people we hire, it’s all about energy,” says Funding Circle co-founder James Meekings. “We want staff to share their excitement about what they do with others in the office – even if they’re talking about tax.”

“Even though we now have 800 employees, we still feel like a small business. We still push for opportunity and for people to be creative.”

VPC and Ranger funds see dividends tick up, but remain below target (AltFi), Rated: AAA

The £219m Ranger Direct Lending and £337m VPC Specialty Lending investment trusts have announced their latest quarterly dividends with both portfolios showing an uptick since their last pay-outs.

Leeds offers business loans through peer-to-peer platform (Room151), Rated: A

Leeds City Council is to use a peer-to-peer lending platform to lend money to local businesses.

The authority has decided to use the rebuildingsociety.com platform — based in the city — to provide money for small and medium sized businesses with an LS postcode.

Isas 2018: Innovative Finance Isas hit stumbling blocks (Financial Times), Rated: A

Innovative finance Isas (IF Isas) offer the promise of a good return, sheltered from tax, to investors willing to take on the higher risks of the peer to peer (P2P) finance market.

The market has taken longer than expected to ignite, however, as providers struggle to match growing demand with limited supply. Many new investors will find the door shut, at least for now.

Growing consumer indebtedness in the UK combined with the prospect of rising interest rates could push up default rates on loans, sharpening the dangers for those invested in the highest-risk P2P products.

How does the Isa allowance actually work? (Which?), Rated: B

For the tax year 2017-18, the maximum amount you can pay into one – or a combination – of Isas held in your name, is £20,000.

Once the new tax year for 2018-19 begins on 6 April, your allowance resets – once again to £20,000.

There are five main types of Isas. The current annual limits are as follows:

  • Help to Buy Isa: Money can only be used to buy your first home, and savings receive a government bonus of 25%. You can save £1,200 in the first month, then £200 per month thereafter. Therefore, in the first year you will have a limit of £3,400. In the following years the limit will be £2,400.
  • Lifetime Isa: Expressly for first-time buyers or to be used in retirement once the account holder has reached the age of 60. There’s a 25% government bonus on savings up until the account holder is 50 years old. You can pay in up to £4,000 per year.
  • Cash Isa: A traditional savings account – money you pay in grows with the provider’s interest rate. You can pay in up to £20,000.
  • Stocks & shares Isa: Money you deposit is invested in stocks & shares by the provider. Returns can be higher, but so is the risk that you may end up with less money than you paid in. There will also usually be fees involved for managing your investments. You can pay in up to £20,000.
  • Innovative finance Isa: Money paid in is invested in Peer-to-Peer (P2P) lending platforms, and you receive the interest when this loan is repaid. There is also some risk involved. You can pay in up to £20,000.
European Union

Klarna’s profits driven by growth in Nordics and Germany (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

The Swedish group posted a 27 per cent increase in revenues to SKr4.53bn ($546m) while net profit more than tripled to SKr346m. Klarna processed about €18bn in online transactions last year, an increase of 42 per cent.

Klarna reports double-digit sales growth (Finextra), Rated: A

As a result, 89,000 retailers globally now use Klarna products, this represents a 20% growth compared to the previous year. Available in 14 countries, retailers are increasingly adopting Klarna solutions which makes the payment processes as smooth as possible for consumers. As a result of the surge in retailer adoption, Klarna now handles 10% of all online payments in Northern Europe.

International

How Banking Institutions Can be Decentralized (CoinTelegraph), Rated: AAA

Decentralized banking is a term that has been construed in the wake of the cryptocurrency boom.

Cryptobanks are decentralized platforms that provide the usual services that centralized banks provide, primarily lending services and credit scoring, but essentially cuts out all of the middlemen that a centralized bank uses. The people needed in a bank to approve loans and structure financial data are replaced in a crypto banking ecosystem by smart contracts and p2p, peer-to-peer, services.

What kind of technologies do crypto banks use?

P2P, Blockchain, cryptocurrencies, Machine Learning, Big Data and smart contracts are used in crypto banking.

All transactions are recorded on the Blockchain.

Machine Learning Big Data.These technologies help to automate the lending process and cut through bureaucracy. AI can work 24/7 and match lenders with borrowers.

Do crypto banks have their own native currency?

Yes. Native cryptocurrencies help make the bank global.

Datarius, the first social p2p crypto bank, for instance, uses their own native token DTRC for all transactions. This helps create a standard for a global payment system within the p2p lending process.

What is social lending?

Thanks to Big Data and AI, crypto banks can see beyond a borrower’s credit score to identify their level of trust. Listings can include Trust Limit, Trust Management and User Ratings which helps AI decide if the participant is justified in borrowing from a specific lender.

Crowdlending: Anatomy of a successful strategy (EurekAlert!), Rated: A

The entrepreneur’s strategy for achieving this can be summarized in three stages. The first consisted of bypassing the banking monopoly on his platform using “cash vouchers,” a tool dating from 1937 that had long been forgotten. They allow personal loans to be made without a bank as intermediary. Secondly, by collaborating with future competitors, the public authorities and the sector’s regulators(2), the entrepreneur contributed to the development of a long-term crowdlending regulation in France. This collaboration relies on the creation of a meta-organization(3) called “Financement Participatif France” (FPF), which worked to define the status of “Intermédiaire en Financement Participatif” (IFP, equivalent to “crowdlending financing intermediary” in English), which regulates this new market.

Asia

Smartag International Signs Agreement to Provide Fintech Solutions to Rural Indonesia (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Smartag International, Inc. entered into a joint venture agreement with PT. Supratama Makmur Sejahtera (“PTSMS”), an Indonesian Fintech company to form a Joint Venture Indonesian PMA company in which Smartag will own 51% equity and PTSMS will own 49%. This follows an earlier MOU signed on October 12, 2017 between PTSMS and PT Rijan Dinamis Selaras (“RDS”) representing Pondok Pesantren Riyadhul Jannah Pacer Mojokerjo, founder of Consultative Assembly of Indonesian Boarding Schools which has a network of 28,000 boarding schools to undertake a Fintech project (the “Indonesian Project”).

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday June 16 2017, Daily News Digest

Indonesia fintech

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi wants to steal banks’ most coveted customers. Biggest online lenders don’t always check key borrower data. Fed issues FOMC statement. RateSetter puts aside George Banco partnership. Alibaba’s first fintech investment in Hong Kong. Investree enters Vietnam. Today’s main analysis: How fintech startups are transforming banking in Indonesia (A MUST-READ). Today’s thought-provoking articles: Real estate […]

Indonesia fintech

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United States

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China

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Australia

India

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Africa

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United States

SoFi Wants to Steal Your Most Coveted Customers (The Financial Brand), Rated: AAA

Don’t look now, but the ‘in your face’ fintech firm, SoFi, is moving from offering just student and personal loans to providing wealth management and opening checking accounts. And their target market is one of the most coveted by banking … the educated, affluent, digital-first Millennial.

In an interview with Mike Cagney, “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer said, “If Bank of America or Citi had the Internet when they were forming, this (the SoFi model) is what they would have started.” Cagney responded saying, “Absolutely. I think what’s going to happen is the banks are going to move toward our model over time. And we certainly don’t have the hubris to expect that we’re going to change all of banking, but we are going to drag them into a different kind of service model. One that’s a lot more aligned to the customer.”

The company is also developing financial planning services, which it expects to launch this summer. These include joint financial planning for couples and first-time home buying.

“If you look at SoFi, we run over 65 percent contribution margin across our three lending businesses. We’re the most profitable fintech company in the marketplace. And there’s huge opportunity to expand from that, and it comes down to cost of acquisition. If you build really strong brand, really strong evangelism, really strong what I call ‘cross-buy,’ you can drop that cost of acquisition significantly and that drives margins,” Cagney said.

When fintech meets CRA: SoFi bank bid draws activists’ ire (American Banker), Rated: A

In its early days, Social Finance made loans only to borrowers who had attended name-brand universities. Graduates of elite colleges were paying relatively high interest rates on federal student loans even though they represented a low risk, and the Silicon Valley startup saw in that mispricing a chance to make money.

SoFi CEO Mike Cagney noted in a 2013 interview that traditional banks were aware of this opportunity but were unwilling to pursue it.

Real Estate Lending: The Investment Bankers are Coming (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Back in 2012, I borrowed money to purchase a house I planned to fix-and-flip. I contributed 20% of the purchase price as a down payment. For the privilege of borrowing the other 80%, I paid a local “hard money lender” a 3.5% origination fee plus interest only payments at a 13% APR.

I started doing some more research into the market that was originating a majority of these types of fix-and-flip loans, which is called “hard money lending”. There were a few things that became quickly apparent to me.

  1. The market was highly-fragmented. There wasn’t a single lender that controlled any significant amount of the national market.
  2. The use of technology was virtually non-existent. The ability to apply online for a hard money loan didn’t exist. The lender I borrowed from didn’t even have a website.
  3. Capital formation was very analog. This put them in a perpetual cycle of originating new loans to keep their funds working while also raising additional capital to meet the demands of their borrower base.
  4. Hard Money Lenders, generally speaking, had a very negative reputation among the borrower community. This was in part due to the high interest rates. However, upon further digging, the real cause of dissatisfaction among borrowers was the lack of service and transparency.

Much like the early days of peer-to-peer lending, the new online real estate originators won business by providing a better borrower experience. Online applications with instant feedback on pricing and terms provided better transparency to borrowers. Quick funding decisions that are augmented by large data sets, rather than relying 100% on appraisals, allows these new lenders to provide more certainty around closing. Online dashboards where borrowers can order construction draws and make interest payments make the loan servicing experience easier for the borrower. Regardless of the financial innovation that is to follow, these technology platforms have improved the level of service provided to borrowers.

That said, the five largest online originators still only write between 5-8% of the total loan volume in the fix-and-flip market. We are still in the very early days of what is likely to be a massive consolidation of a previously fragmented market.

Biggest Online Lenders Don’t Always Check Key Borrower Data (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Prosper Marketplace Inc. doesn’t verify key information like income and employment for around a quarter of the loans it makes, according to documents tied to bonds that Prosper sold last month. LendingClub Corp. said it only verified income about a third of the time for one of the most popular loans it made in 2016, according to company data seen by Bloomberg. If either lender finds mistakes in a borrower’s application, such as overstated income, they may still go ahead with the loan, according to disclosures linked to bond sales from the companies, including documents for securities that LendingClub is offering now.

Online loans usually don’t have collateral, so when they go bad, investors can lose out. Traditional consumer finance companies and banks tend to check incomes and employment on closer to 100 percent of new customers before making these kinds of loans, according to industry executives. Online lending competitor Social Finance Inc. checks income on 100 percent of its borrowers, according to a report from Kroll Bond Rating Agency.

Investors in LendingClub loans earn average annual returns of around 4.3 percent, about three percentage points higher than the yield for two-year U.S. Treasuries. Those kinds of returns helped nonbank startups arrange more than $36 billion of loans in 2015, mainly for consumers, according to a report from KPMG.

LendingClub verified income on 35.6 percent of one of its most popular types of loans in 2016, according to company data obtained by Bloomberg. That figure has bounced around over time: it was 16 percent in 2008, and 47 percent in 2013.

LendingClub has had to write off a growing percentage of its loans — 8.5 percent, annualized, in the first three months, compared with 5 percent the same quarter a year ago.

Federal Reserve issues FOMC statement (Federal Reserve), Rated: AAA

Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in May indicates that the labor market has continued to strengthen and that economic activity has been rising moderately so far this year. Job gains have moderated but have been solid, on average, since the beginning of the year, and the unemployment rate has declined. Household spending has picked up in recent months, and business fixed investment has continued to expand. On a 12-month basis, inflation has declined recently and, like the measure excluding food and energy prices, is running somewhat below 2 percent. Market-based measures of inflation compensation remain low; survey-based measures of longer-term inflation expectations are little changed, on balance.

In view of realized and expected labor market conditions and inflation, the Committee decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 1 to 1-1/4 percent.

SEC: RIAs Are Worse Than BDs at Cybersecurity (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: A

The SEC says many financial advice firms are falling short when it comes to cybersecurity, with investment advice firms being less prepared than broker-dealers, Reuters writes.

As part of its second stage of cybersecurity exams initiated in 2014, the SEC analyzed 75 firms and found that 26% of the companies don’t conduct risk assessments on a continuous basis and 57% of the firms fail to carry out vulnerability and penetration tests with simulated attacks on critical systems, according to the newswire.

The SEC has concluded that investment advice firms have had more issues with cybersecurity than broker-dealers, according to the newswire. On the other hand, the SEC learned that almost all investment advisors practiced regular system maintenance as part of their cybersecurity process, namely by consistently installing security patches, Reuters writes.

Only 4% of the companies examined were missing essential patches or updates, according to the newswire.

Marlette Funding Depositor Trust (SEC), Rated: A

On June 2, 2017, representatives of the Company provided us with a computer-generated unsecured consumer loan data file containing data, as represented to us by the Company, as of May 24, 2017, with respect to 29,806 unsecured consumer loans (the “Statistical Loan File”).  At your instruction, we randomly selected 125 unsecured consumer loans (the “Initial Sample Loans”) from the Initial Statistical Loan File using the following criteria provided to us by the Company:
(i)
3 unsecured consumer loans with a seller identified as “Seller #1” on the Initial Statistical Loan File;
(ii)
21 unsecured consumer loans with a seller identified as “Seller #2” on the Initial Statistical Loan File;
(iii)
1 unsecured consumer loan with a seller identified “Seller #3” on the Initial Statistical Loan File;
(iv)
23 unsecured consumer loans with a seller identified as “Seller #4” on the Initial Statistical Loan File;
(v)
15 unsecured consumer loans with a seller identified as “Seller #5” on the Initial Statistical Loan File;
(vi)
62 unsecured consumer loans with a seller identified as “Seller #6” on the Initial Statistical Loan File;
In addition, on June 13, 2017, representatives of the Company provided us with a computer-generated unsecured consumer loan data file containing data, as represented to us by the Company, as of May 24, 2017, with respect to an additional 4,203 unsecured consumer loans (the “Subsequent Statistical Loan File”).  At your instruction, we randomly selected 8 unsecured consumer loans from the Subsequent Statistical Loan File with an origination date (as set forth on the Subsequent Statistical Loan File) on or before March 31, 2015 (the “Subsequent Sample Loans”).  The Initial Sample Loans and the Subsequent Sample Loans are collectively and hereinafter referred to as the “Sample Loans”

Fintech Ingo Money raising $ 12M in venture capital, plans to add up to 100 jobs (Biz Journals), Rated: A

Ingo provides risk-management services to financial institutions, such as banks and payment networks. Investors include Baltimore-based Camden Partners, Philadelphia-based MissionOG, and Bethesda, Md-based CNF Investments.

Notice of Class Action Settlement (Google AdWords Email), Rated: A

In Re Google AdWords Litigation, No. 5:08-cv-03369-EJD
U.S. District Court Northern District of California
A $22,500,000 class action settlement has been preliminarily approved by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, in the case In Re Google AdWords Litigation, No. 5:08-cv-03369-EJD.  Your rights may be affected and you may be entitled to a portion of this settlement if you are an eligible Class Member.
Who Is Included in the Settlement?
You may be a Class Member if during the period of July 11, 2004 and March 31, 2008, you: 1) were a U.S. resident; 2) had a Google AdWords Account; and, 3) were charged for clicks on advertisements appearing on parked domains or error pages.
What Is This Case About?
This case alleges that Google failed to disclose to its AdWords customers that it placed ads on websites known as parked domains and error pages.  The lawsuit alleges this conduct violates California laws against unfair competition and false advertising.  Google denies these claims.
How Do I Ask for Payment?
To receive payment, you must submit a claim form no later than June 21, 2017 and have spent at least $1.00 on AdWords served on parked domains or error pages between July 11, 2004 and March 31, 2008.  You may complete the claim form online at June 21, 2017. If you do not want to stay in the Class, you must submit a request for exclusion by June 21, 2017. If you exclude yourself, you cannot get a payment from this settlement, but you will keep any rights to sue Google for the same claims in a different lawsuit. The detailed notice explains how to exclude yourself, object, and request to appear.
The Court’s Fairness Hearing.
The Court will hold a Final Fairness Hearing on July 27, 2017 at 9:00 am PST at the following location: U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Courthouse, Courtroom 4 – 5th Floor, 280 South 1st Street, San Jose, CA 95113.  At this hearing, the Court will consider whether: 1) the settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate; 2) to approve the service awards to the class representatives; and 3) to approve the award of attorneys’ fees and expenses to the attorneys for the class.
Where Can I get More Information?

SEC heightens exam focus on robo advisers (Financial-Planning), Rated: A

Under newly confirmed Chairman Jay Clayton, the SEC is setting its sights on expanded protections for retail investors, planning a series of RIA sweep exams exploring areas like robo advisers and money market funds.

Slated to launch this year is an exam sweep looking at how firms are deploying robo advisers, or using automated services to augment the provision of investment advice.

Levine said that the sweep will likely run along the lines of the guidance on digital advice platforms that the SEC issued in February, when it affirmed that robo advisory services still have a fiduciary duty, and warned of potential issues around disclosure and client communications.

Also this year, the SEC is planning to launch a sweep looking at how firms that traffic in money market funds are incorporating the rules the SEC adopted to shore up that sector following the destabilizing run in 2008.

As part of a broader focus on retail investors saving for retirement, the commission is also planning to launch a sweep exam looking at how firms are adhering to the schedules laid out in the disclosures of target-date funds, and another probing the controls advisers have in place on fixed-income cross trading relating to retirement accounts.

Initiative invests $ 5M to help more educators access Landed (Landed Blog), Rated: A

Today, we’re excited to announce that the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), has invested $5,000,000 to create a Landed down payment support fund that will make it easier for educators in the Redwood City, Ravenswood City, and Sequoia Union High School districts in California — districts which face some of the highest housing costs in the country — to buy homes.

  • Eligibility: Any district or public school employee within the boundaries of Sequoia Union High School District, Redwood City School District and Ravenswood City School District.
  • Support: Up to half of a down payment (max $120,000), for the purchase of a primary residence.
  • Terms: Participants share up to 25% of the appreciation (or loss) in the price of the home upon sale, or after 30 years, whichever is sooner. There are no monthly payments.
  • Other: Participants can choose to end their relationship with Landed at any time. Financial coaching support will also be made available to participants.

Fletcher Jones Auto Group Partners With AutoGravity To Bring Financing Of Real Time Inventory To The Smartphone (PR Newswire), Rated: A

AutoGravity, a FinTech pioneer on a mission to transform car shopping and financing, has announced the launch of real-time inventory on the Fletcher Jones Drive (FJ Drive) smartphone app powered by AutoGravity. Car shoppers now have access to the largest selection of Mercedes-Benz inventory in the nation, a seamless auto financing application and Mercedes-Benz Financial Services offer presentment – all in the palm of their hand through the AutoGravity powered FJ Drive app for iOS and Android.

AutoGravity joined forces with the Fletcher Jones Auto Group to launch FJ Drive, the nation’s first and only mobile app that allows customers to secure financing for any new Mercedes-Benz right on their smartphone. Real time inventory extends the partnership by empowering users to shop for specific vehicles sitting on the dealership lot. Guests can choose any Mercedes-Benz model and browse all available cars for their store of choice. Easy to use filters, including model year, body type and color, make finding cars simple and intuitive. Guests apply for financing and review their lease or loan offer in the app before picking up their car at the Fletcher Jones showroom.

Venture fund seeks fintech ‘workhorses’ (American Banker), Rated: A

Since its beginnings in 2015, Centana has invested in four companies, including the insurance technology company One and digital identity management firm Jumio. The New York-based limited partnership says it is hunting for other investment candidates and that it expects to put $5 million to $30 million into as many as 15 investments.

Centana is hoping to differentiate itself from other venture capital firms by pursuing “workhorses” — essentially, companies that will help incumbent companies improve on existing business models, Cukier said.

FinTech Marketplace Wealth Migrate Announces Luxury Condo Give-a-way (Benzinga), Rated: A

Wealth Migrate, an online real estate investment marketplace, announces the global opening of its #LikeAMillionaire luxury condo give-a-way. The competition, which is open to all new users who sign up on the WealthMigrate.com platform, is another example of how Wealth Migrate is putting quality real estate within reach of middle class investors throughout the globe, who typically do not have access to these types of deals.

The Zero-2-One Tower, standing 42 stories tall, is set to be the tallest building in Cape Town upon completion in 2020.

FinTech and InsurTech company IATAI Enterprises and payment solutions enabler BPP create Handy U (Crossroads Today), Rated: A

The FinTech and InsurTech company IATAI Enterprises (IATAI), which specializes in making mobile transactions, communications and other interactions quicker and easier across platforms, has joined forces with the payment solutions enabler BPP to develop Handy U, a universal and customizable payment, rewards and insurance solution for consumers, businesses and merchants.

Handy U is a reloadable Visa virtual/digital account that enables IATAI’s travel and insurance clients to instantly make and receive payments, access benefits and redeem rewards generated by their loyalty programs. Handy U is hosted on IATAI’s digital wallet, onepocket, which lets users combine several payment methods in a single transaction, both online and in-store.

First Foundation to acquire Community 1st Bank for about $ 50 mln (Reuters), Rated: B

* First Foundation – deal is valued at approximately $50.4 million in aggregate

* First Foundation – at closing, transaction is expected to be about 2.5% dilutive to co’s tangible book value per share with an estimated tangible book value earn-back period of 3.6 years

“Investing in Real Estate through Equity Crowdfunding Websites” Now On Demand (Benzinga), Rated: B

This Financial Poise webinar series explores the purchase of ownership shares in private companies via crowdfunding websites.

Episodes in the series address

  • the modes of angel investing in a company during its early stages,
  • the opportunities and perils of crowdfunding real estate investments,
  • the money-raising entity’s perspective and
  • a close look at crowdfunding options under federal and state law.

The 3rd episode of the “Equity Crowfunding” series is available now on demand! “Investing in Real Estate through Equity Crowdfunding Websites” (Register Here) features Moderator Chris Cahill of Lowis & Gellen. Chris is joined by Jordan Fishfeld of CFX Markets, Marty Coyne of Connected Investors Inc. and Lynda Davey of Avalon Net Worth.

Boston’s FinMason Announces New Fintech Accelerator Program (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

FinMason, a Boston-based fintech and investment analytics firm, announced on Thursday the launch of its new fintech accelerating program, FinSpring, which is described as an initiative that will provide free access to FinRiver, a set of flexible and lightning-fast investment analytics APIs.

United Kingdom

RateSetter Update: Decides to Not Go Ahead With George Banco Partnership (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Last month, RateSetter announced it was entering a partnership with George Banco and acquiring an equity stake in the personal loan provider company. Unfortunately, RateSetter revealed earlier this month that it has decided to pull out of the partnership after all.

“We have subsequently decided not to go ahead with this new arrangement with George Banco. After further examination of the infrastructure required to do this, we concluded there were better uses of our development resources which may be deployed more effectively to source other borrowers. Therefore, we will not facilitate lending directly to George Banco’s customers, and accordingly we have updated our Principles of Lending document which sets out our lending criteria. The existing wholesale loans to George Banco will continue to be repaid in accordance with the schedule of the existing loan contracts. The total of these existing loans currently stands at £31.5 million.”

To see the updated Principles of Lending document, click here.

BTL index: Nothing to choose between Tory and Labour-voting regions (Letting Agent Today), Rated: AAA

The top ten buy-to-let postcodes in England and Wales are evenly split between locations that voted for the Conservatives or Labour.

Luton has been identified as the best buy-to-let investment location across England and Wales, with an average yield of 4.54% and rental price growth of 7.37%.

According to LendInvest, which analyses data from Zoopla and the Land Registry to compile its Buy-to-Let Index, Stevenage is the best performing buy-to-let postcode out of areas that voted Conservative last week.

The Hertfordshire town has recorded capital gains of 11.64% and rental price growth of 7.5% over the last quarter.

Luton is the top performing Labour-voting postcode.

Top 10 buy-to-let postcodes

Yield Capital gains Rental price growth Transaction volume growth
Luton 4.54% 12.83% 7.37% -10.40%
Stevenage 4.05% 11.64% 7.47% -9.40%
Rochester 4.55% 12.34% 5.45% -9.40%
Colchester 4.29% 14.14% 4.14% -11.16%
Dartford 4.37% 13.61% 3.92% -10.94%
Peterborough 4.71% 9.04% 6.98% -10.67%
Southend-on-Sea 4.30% 12.37% 3.89% -10.26%
Manchester 6.11% 7.58% 7.53% -12.41%
Canterbury 4.36% 9.34% 6.62% -11.49%
Romford 4.81% 14.42% 1.28% -11.67%

MoneyThing posts record month ahead of 2017 IFISA launch (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

MONEYTHING is on track to boost its loan origination ahead of an Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) launch later this year, after delivering its highest new loan monthly level to date in May.

The peer-to-peer lending platform launched £7.7m of new loan opportunities last month, which marks its strongest result since it launched in February 2015, and £3.7m more than its previous record.

It now aims to roll out the tax-free wrapper by the end of the year, although the launch will not be imminent, a company representative told Peer2Peer Finance News.

Irish fintech firm Assure Hedge receives UK regulatory boost (Irish Times), Rated: A

Assure Hedge, a provider of foreign exchange technology to protect businesses from currency fluctuations, has received a boost from the UK Financial Conduct Authority under a programme aimed at drawing financial technology (fintech) under its regulatory oversight.

China

Meet Alibaba’s first fintech investment in Hong Kong (The Asset), Rated: AAA

Aiming to fix cash flow issues for companies operating in Hong Kong, Andy Chan along with his partner Winston Wong, set out on a mission to craft Hong Kong’s first invoice trading platform, Qupital.

Since its inception less than a year ago, the company has started to gain attention from companies including Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.

In terms of generating revenue, Chan shares that when an invoice is purchased, Qupital would take between 25-75 basis points of the total invoice value. Moreover, the company would take 20% of net gains made by funders.

With fresh capital from high-profile backers, Chan has his sights on deepening his business in Hong Kong with an eye on expansion to other markets in 2018 such as Thailand and Vietnam.

Baidu, With a Move Into Fintech, Gets Wary Credit-Ratings Look (WSJ), Rated: A

Baidu Inc. is among China’s tech giants looking to get a leg up in the competitive financial-services market. Credit-rating companies aren’t so sure it’s a good idea.

Fitch recently placed Baidu on negative watch, citing “significantly higher” business risks as it moves into making unsecured consumer loans and selling uninsured investments known as wealth-management products, which Fitch said are “part of the shadow banking system in China.”

Moody’s decided last month to place Baidu’s bond ratings on review for a downgrade, citing concerns over the firm’s short history in the financial-services business.

Baidu’s financial services, which also include its mobile payment platform, now account for about 12% of its assets, or 25 billion yuan ($3.7 billion)—representing rapid growth for a firm that formed its financial-services group only about a year ago. That has significantly changed Baidu’s credit profile, said Moody’s vice president and senior credit officer Lina Choi.

International

Transforming banking with fintech (HSBC), Rated: A

HSBC has its own tech teams designing new platforms and products, and they are absolutely brilliant. But we need to be humble and recognise that we don’t have all the answers. We invest in and work with fintech start-ups where we think they can help.

Our partnership with Tradeshift is making it easier for business customers to manage their accounts and their relationships with suppliers online, saving time and cutting down paperwork.

Retail customers in the UK can now download an HSBC SmartSave app, developed in partnership with a start-up called Pariti. It helps them save money without even having to think about it.

We have invested in a start-up which is developing technology that can sift through large amounts of financial transactions to pinpoint suspicious patterns. This will help us tackle financial crime more effectively, and, ultimately, keep our customers safer.

Australia

ZipMoney eyes profitability, partners with NAB (AltFi), Rated: A

ASX-listed fintech zipMoney has put the finishing touches on its A$260 million debt warehouse with big four bank NAB and could become one of the few all-Australian fintechs to make a profit.

The money raised will go to the “immediate refinance of $70 million of existing receivables”, ZipMoney told the ASX, resulting in lower interest rates across the board. It will also allow the company to increase volumes and hire more staff.

ZipMoney provides a ‘buy now, pay later’ service, offering shoppers loans between $1000 and $10,000 for up to eight months.

ASIC permanently bans Perth financial adviser (Professional Planner), Rated: B

An ASIC investigation found that between January 2011 and November 2012 Mr Hutchison dishonestly:

  1. banked cheques he received from his clients for advice fees directly into his personal bank account, when he knew he was obliged to remit or report them to RI Advice. Mr Hutchison then deducted additional fees from his clients’ investment platform or financial product for payment to RI Advice; and
  2. banked cheques he received from his clients for advice fees directly into his personal bank account and failed to record the receipt of the cheques on RI Advice’s payment system.

Mr Hutchison misled or deceived his clients by failing to disclose to them that they had been double charged advice fees and failed to comply with the proper process for remitting and reporting the fees. He also misled or deceived RI Advice by failing to disclose that he had deposited the advice fees into his own account and did not comply with RI Advice’s relevant fees policies and procedures.

India

SMC Capital, REPL launch Rs 1,000-crore real estate fund (India Times), Rated: A

SMC Capital and EPC developer REPL group have come together to launch a Rs 1,000-crore real estate fund, SMC IM Capital. The fund has already got commitments from global investors based in the US and Middle East and will look at a first close by end of this month.

The fund will invest between Rs 50 crore and Rs 80 crore in the middle segment affordable housing projects in tier I and II cities.

In India, real estate is the second largest employer after agriculture, and is slated to grow at 30% over the next decade. The real estate sector comprises four sub sectors — housing, retail, hospitality, and commercial.
Asia

Indonesian P2P lending site Investree to enter Vietnam, launches sharia-based service (e27), Rated: AAA

Indonesian peer-to-peer (P2P) lending startup Investree announced on Thursday that it is set to begin expansion to Vietnam in 2018, DailySocial reported.

The Jakarta-based startup said it is currently undergoing the process of setting up a joint venture with an undisclosed local financial institution.

Investree also announced that it is going to launch a sharia-based lending service in July; the startup is currently on the process of applying for certification from the National Sharia Board (DSN).

Gunadi cited strong demand from both borrowers and lenders to set up a lending practice based on the Islamic law, and by far three small businesses from Jakarta and Surabaya have agreed to join in the pilot project.

How FinTech Startups Are Transforming The Way Banks Function In Indonesia (inc42), Rated: AAA

India, November 2016. PM Modi launched a demonetisation drive to eradicate black money, fostering a new wave of digitisation in India. Consequently, there was a tremendous rise in the adoption of e-wallets, launch of new fintech startups, and the average Indian became familiar with a new financial entity, bitcoin.

From local grocery shops to petrol pumps to movie theatres, digital wallets have captured each and every day-to-day business which requires payments. Not only this, digital wallets have even seen a massive adoption for payment chores like booking air tickets or buying movie tickets or paying bills (DTH, Water, Electricity).

Be it digital payments, online lending, or remote banking, Indonesia has seen a surge of startups that have developed products to solve the current needs of the population.

At the same time, the country remains a challenging market for fintech industry to grow with only 40% of adults in the country having access to banks. 49 Mn SMEs unit are still not bankable, because of low credit score and little or no financial history.

It is estimated that only 40% of Indonesia’s 250 Mn populationcurrently have access to services provided by banks.

Secondly, Indonesia is a country of SMBs. These enterprises account for 99% of the total amount of enterprises that are operating in Indonesia and they create a total of 107.6 Mn jobs in Southeast Asia’s largest emerging economy, as per a Deloitte report. Moreover, Indonesia’s micro, small, and medium-sized companies contribute 60.6 % to Indonesia’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Thirdly, due to Indonesia’s peculiar geography, its traditional banking system suffers. The number of bank branches, which is estimated at 10 banks (branches)  per 1,000 square kilometersis far too low to serve Indonesia’s vast geography.

The major areas that startups are capturing and disrupting are payments, insurance, stock markets, investments, PoS, comparison, and online lending. Major startups in the payments sector include Mandiri, T-Cash, PayPro, IPayMu, Xenditi among others.

Digital payments have become so big in the archipelago that the total transaction value in the “Digital Payments” segment amounts to $18 Mn in 2017. Additionally, the total transaction value is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2017-2021) of 18.4 %, resulting in the total amount of $36 Mn in 2021. Popular fintech categories in Indonesia are lending platforms, capturing 17% and marketplaces for financial products that have occupied 13%.

Deposits, Lending, And Capital Raising

The online lending space is dominated by players included Modalku, Taralite, and Investree. The online lending segment has a huge market demand in the country, owing to the fact that a major population of the country has a low credit score and SMEs can benefit from these alternative services.

Taralite: Launched in 2016, the startup sanctions financial loans with relatively low interest, starting from 1%, for education, marriage, childbirth, house renovation, vehicle purchase, property & housing. It also provides loans without collateral. It recently secured $6.3 Mn from Japanese financial services provider, SBI Group.

MODALKU: Founded in 2016, it is an online lending platform, that provides loans up to IDR. 2 Bn, with relatively affordable interest. Its focus areas are SMEs looking for working capital, with minimum one year of operations.

Market Provisioning

Cekaja.com: Launched in 2013, the platform allows users to compare various financial products at one place.

Investment & Risk Management

JOJONOMIC: JOJONOMIC digitises the entire employee reimbursement process for an employee.

RajaPremi:  Founded in 2014, RajaPremi is an online insurance marketplace.

Bareksa: Founded in 2016, it is an online and integrated marketplace for mutual funds.

Digital Payments

Kudo: Launched in 2014, the startup has a website and a mobile application that enables anyone to be an online entrepreneur without having to personally stock the items.

DOKU:  A 2007 founded startup, Doku is the biggest player in the Indonesian payments scene. Functioning as an online and offline payment gateway for businesses and individuals, DOKU is an e-wallet equipped with links to credit card and electronic money.

t-cash: Founded in 2011, it is an electronic money service provided by Telkomsel (a telecom giant). Users are required to install the T-Wallet app on their mobiles and equip their mobiles with the t-cash stickers.

Ayopop: Launched in 2016, Ayopop is an app that specialises in bill payments.

POS (Point-Of-Sales Startups)

Pawoon: Launched in 2013, Pawoon is a cloud-based Point of Sales (POS) application for SMEs.

DealPOS: DealPOS is a cloud-based point-of-sale ( POS ), inventory and accounting software for business which was also launched in 2013.

A Year Ago… (LinkedIn), Rated: A

A year ago, I found myself on stage in Hong Kong, China speaking on “How Fintech Companies Can Differentiate Themselves and Build Special Competitive Advantage“.

Wondering in the halls of an incredible conference in Shanghai a few days later at LendIt Conference China, I was consumed with anxiety. Every platform I saw in China easily had 30 million plus active users. Whether it was credit, payment, insurance or investments, the conference in China was filled with eager entrepreneurs, seasoned executives and hunger investors.

Out of necessity, with a series of coincidences and a ton of luck I founded a company called MaxDecisions, Inc. with an old colleague and friend Henry Wang. We didn’t think too much of it and we didn’t really know where we will end up with it.

In the same month, I founded another company called Kuber Financial, LLC. and later Kuber Inc. with two other co-founders. Both of them left in the middle of the project, one early on and one late later year.

Fluid App came to me because I wanted to build something that’s truly different from all other platforms. A fun, mobile only, credit building product that could truly change lives of millions of young Americans. A FinTech, AdTech mesh up, that a lot of people are now starting to understand and appreciate my vision for this product.

With our 10th employee coming onboard at www.maxdecision.com next week, we’ve officially broke our first million dollars in sales.

Shenzhen – Singapore – Hong Kong Financial Technology Alliance was formally established (01Caijing), Rated: B

June 14, Shenzhen Internet Finance Association, THE FINLAB PTE LTD and the Hong Kong Internet Professional Association in the World Youth Entrepreneurship Forum officially signed a tripartite cooperation memorandum, at the same time announced at the forum, Shenzhen – Singapore – Hong Kong Financial Technology Alliance was formally established.

Africa

Payment Startups Lead Way In Africa’s Booming FinTech Scene (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Payments and remittances startups account for the majority of Africa’s over 300 fintech startups, though blockchain companies are the more likely to secure funding.

Payments and remittances is the most populated of nine sub-sectors addressed in the report, with 125 startups across the continent focused on making the process of sending and receiving money easier. Lending and financing – with 65 startups – is the next most popular category; indeed, over 60 per cent of all Africa’s fintech startups are focused on these two crucial spaces.

African blockchain startups are the most successful in percentage terms, with almost 40 per cent of the blockchain-focused startups on the continent securing funding.

The continent’s fintech startups have secured over US$92.5 million in investment since 2015, the report finds, while the data shows fintech startups are spread across the African continent. Southern Africa and West Africa are fintech leaders – with 34.2 per cent and 34 per cent respectively based in those regions respectively. South Africa has the most fintech startups (94), followed by Nigeria (74) and Kenya (56).

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday April 24 2017, Daily News Digest

credit card delinquency rates

News Comments Today’s main news: Credit Card ABS vs installment loans ABS comparison. Assetz Capital hits 240M GBP in four years. Octopus Choice close to 50M GBP in first year. Lendix expands to Italy. Today’s main analysis: 90+ wealthtech companies. Today’s thought-provoking articles: 88% of global banks sweat losing revenue to fintechs. 17 fintechs that may become unicorns. China SME […]

credit card delinquency rates

News Comments

United States

  • Credit Card ABS vs installment loans ABS comparison. GP:” People often try to use credit cards data, which there is plenty of, and goes back very far, to predict installment loans behavior. However, Americans have a priority in defaults which is proportional to the pain point if the product stops working. We believe unsecured personal loans are very low on the totem pole of default priorities. PeerIQ here analyzed the difference quantitatively and concluded very interestingly: ‘Peak delinquencies in credit card ABS are ~8% in a stress scenario. By contrast, three-year unsecured personal loans (such as loans in the seminal CHAI shelf) are typically associated with a ~12% cumulative loss estimate (under a benign base case).’ “
  • 90+ companies transforming investment, wealth management. GP:” We saw Wealthfron enter lending last week. Perhaps we should look at a few other companies for partnerships.” AT: “WealthTech as a sub-niche seems to have come out of nowhere. Yet, many of these companies are important to the overall fintech ecosystem, and I see WealthTech growing by leaps and bounds worldwide in the foreseeable future.”
  • Why having a trust strategy is key to fintech’s future. AT: “Building trust is the single most important thing for any financial services company.”
  • Allianz invests in Lemonade. GP:”Insuretech is coming? Is Lemonade the Lending Club of insurance?”
  • NASDAQ announces venture investment program for fintechs. AT: “This is interesting. I like reading the NASDAQ analyses on the industry on NASDAQ’s blog. I’d be interested in seeing how their investments perform, and how they choose which companies to invest in.”
  • North American Financial Institutions go social. GP:” Our readers are already aware of this trend I believe. Nothing really new.”
  • Fintech puts payday lending in old wine in new bottles. GP:” It is very hard to point exactly when innovation happens. Before 1990 there was no online payday lending, because there was no internet. Today it exists. Something did change. Everything we build is built on top of online lending. Perhaps lending was invented when the first money was invented and searching who invented something, for the glory, is not very useful in this case. We are losing time with the history of lending or with the exact meaning of certain words. I would rather look who is making the money, Elevate Credit or brick and mortar stores? Who’s revenue is growing?”
  • Fintech lures MBAs away from banking and consulting. GP:”Fintechs even lures executives and CEOs of Wall Street banks, no wonder MBAs are also following. “AT: “We’re also starting to see banks and traditional financial institutions poach talent from the fintech companies.”
  • Biz2Credit to expand to Puerto Rico. GP:” Puerto Rico doesn’t often make the lending news. I wonder if it is underserved.”
  • Inside Online gives off good vibes with digital branded magazine. AT: “I applaud Elevate Credit starting an online brand magazine. This is one of the most underrated and most effective online marketing strategies to implement, and I’m glad to see at least two companies in this space pursuing this channel.”
  • Elevate appoints Tony Leopold as GM.
  • BMO Harris Bank launches fintech partnership program with 1871.

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Australia

China

India

Asia

  • Indonesia’s fintech landscape. GP:” The Indonesian market is particularly closed to international ownership, investment, etc. However, they are the 4th most populous country in the world and their financial sector is far from being mature. Which leaves a lot of opportunity if people are willing to approach the Indonesian market properly, perhaps in partnership with local entrepreneurs and by structuring firms through local law firms .”
  • ASIC signs agreement with Indonesia.

Africa

News Summary

United States

Credit Trend Through Delinquency Rates (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Banks earnings season continued this week following strong Q1 results from JP Morgan and Citi last week. Morgan Stanley beat expectations on each line of business increasing year-over-year profits by 82%. The investment bank also generated 122% YOY revenue growth in the fixed income currency and commodities business. Bank of America exceeded expectations and benefitted from the greater net interest income due to a rise in long-term rates.

For the first time since 2015, GS surprised analysts by missing expectations on top and bottom line performance. Fixed income revenues were flat year-over-year trailing double-digit business unit gains across peers including JPM, C, MS, and BAC.

Bloomberg reports that, Navient, the largest servicer of student loans, reached an agreement to purchase JPMorgan’s approximately $6.9 Bn FFELP education loan portfolio.

In the ABS space, Yirendai reported its progress in funding consumer loan products via ABS. Another Chinese online lender, China Rapid Finance, announced that it plans to list on the NYSE, making it the second Chinese online lender to go public in the US.

We are often asked by investors whether credit card receivables are a proxy for installment loan performance. This week, we dig into credit performance of credit card securitizations representing over $100 Bn+ in consumer credit ABS deals. We include the following issuers in our analysis: American Express, Bank of America, Discover, Capital One, JP Morgan Chase, and Citi.

We compare delinquency and loss levels of credit card ABS to installment loans and conclude that credit card ABS performance is a poor proxy for installment loans, and that installment loan delinquencies are arguably a leading indicator of credit risk.

Credit Card ABS – A Strong History of Credit Performance

The credit card ABS market has historically been the benchmark sector in consumer ABS due to its liquidity, transparency, and strong performance including through the Great Recession.

The Credit Card ABS market is not an originate to distribute risk-transfer market, but rather a critical channel for funding and liquidity. Issuer incentives are strongly aligned with investors due to their dependence on debt capital markets for funding.  Credit Card ABS provides over 50% of funding for card issuers (followed by deposits). New Credit Card ABS issuance is expected to grow in the wake of higher rates and funding costs from deposits.

Post-2008, new ABS issuance contracted significantly, including in the credit card markets. Consumers entered a de-leveraging phase reducing demand for loans. Large banks, in response to the new capital and liquidity regime, shifted to borrowers with higher credit scores and focused on existing relationships. Wider spreads and higher capital charges also reduced available sources of funding for consumer credit.

Post-crisis, non-bank lenders emerged to fill the lending gap by offering installment loan products to expand access to credit. Since installment loans sometime re-finance higher rate credit card debt, some investors have drawn analogies between credit card performance to installment loan debt.

Credit Card ABS Delinquencies are Near Multi-Decade Lows

In our March 2016 newsletter, we discussed credit card master trust performance, noting that delinquencies from 2011 through 2015 followed a downward trend for major credit card issuers.

We continue our analysis below, observing delinquencies continuing the downward trend in 2016, reaching historic lows in early 2016.

While the Composite index shows this trend, there is variability among the individual trusts. Discover and Capital One, with a mass-market tilt in customer base, experienced larger rises in delinquencies, compared to Amex and Chase which have a mass affluent footprint.

Source: Federal Reserve

Installment Loans Lead Credit Card Losses

There are limitations in comparing delinquency rates on credit card ABS to installment loans. For instance, unlike MPL ABS deals which consist of static pools, credit card trusts are revolving securitizations that re-invest principal and interest over time. Also, we do not have access to the credit score distributions for credit card issuers to compare risk on an apples-to-apples basis.

Nevertheless, when comparing credit card ABS performance to the PeerIQ loan performance monitor we can draw some conclusions:

Delinquencies on credit cards reached multi-decade all-time lows in early 2016.

Credit card delinquencies are in early stages of reverting to historical levels, whereas the Loan Performance Monitor indicates that the unsecured personal installment loans have started a pattern of higher losses in successive vintages starting in 2015.

Through-the-cycle losses on credit card products are lower than losses on installment lending products.

Peak delinquencies in credit card ABS are ~8% in a stress scenario. By contrast, three-year unsecured personal loans (such as loans in the seminal CHAI shelf) are typically associated with a ~12% cumulative loss estimate (under a benign base case).

Note: We should expect higher losses on installment loans as non-banks offer access to credit to borrower segments outside of a traditional bank’s higher credit score underwriting box.

Historical credit card performance data is a poor proxy for measuring installment loan performance.

We can also offer the following tentative hypotheses which we look forward to testing with our TransUnion partnership:

Installment loans are lower in the consumer payment priority stack.

Installment loan losses lead performance in other asset classes such as credit card.

Credit card account management strategies (e.g., re-pricing of delinquent loans, credit line decrease tactics, etc.) are powerful levers for managing risk as compared to installment loans where issuers can only set terms at time of approval.

Deeper borrower relationship engagement (as measured by breadth of product penetration) reduces borrower’s credit risk all things being equal.

90+ Companies Transforming Investment And Wealth Management (CB Insights), Rated: AAA

Wealth tech investments reached a record of 74 deals in 2016.

We identified over 90 companies in the wealth tech space and organized them into 7 main categories based on the services and software they offer, then sub-categorized them by the client group they serve, whether business-to-consumer (B2C), business-to-business (B2B) or both.

Wealthfront has raised approximately $129.5M from investors, including Social Capital, Spark Capital, Greylock Partners, and Index Ventures.

This includes AdvisorEngine which raised a $20M Series A investment from WisdomTree Investments.

Stash, for example, is a goal-based digital investment platform that lets investors contribute as little as $5. Another company, Acorns, rounds up credit and debit card purchases to the nearest dollar then automatically collects and invests that spare change.

This category is exclusively B2B focused and includes Plaid Technologies, a software intermediary that securely connects financial application users with their respective bank accounts.

Click here to see a full list of WealthTech startups.

Why Having A Trust Strategy Is Key To The Future Of FinTech (Forbes), Rated: A

FinTech continues to see massive investment across the board and according to the annual FinTech Report, global cumulative investment will exceed $150 billion in 2017 alone. At least 80% of financial institutions PwC recently surveyed believe that they are at risk to innovators whether that be mobile banks like Monzo and N26 or more hardcore technological innovations like Lemonade and Algodynamix who want to change FinTech from the inside out with AI and other technologies like Blockchain. Trust is central to all of these emerging propositions whether it is from an emotional perspective because of previous traditional banking issues or a technological one like Blockchain.

Tom Blomfield, CEO, Monzo wants the youth market to come through word of mouth; “We’re focused on people who live their lives on their smartphones. Generally (but certainly not exclusively), these people tend to be younger and more willing to try out new products and services. For these customers, ‘trust’ is earned by making a product or service that demonstrably works well. It’s less about expensive advertising campaigns or branches on the high street… For us, it’s centred around transparency and community. We have a very active community forum.”

Ajay Bhalla, President, Global Enterprise and Security, Mastercard wants to increase trust by removing friction from the tedium of security.

Allianz Invests in Lemonade (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Lemonade, the insurance company powered by artificial intelligence and behavioral economics, today announced a strategic investment by Allianz, the world’s largest insurance company.

Nasdaq Announces Venture Investment Program For Fintech Companies (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

U.S. stock exchange group Nasdaq (Nasdaq: NDAQ), announced on Wednesday the launch of its venture investment program, Nasdaq Ventures, which is dedicated to discovering, investing in and partnering with unique fintech companies worldwide. According to the group, this program’s main objective is to identify and collaborate on new technologies and groundbreaking services and solutions which align with its clients’ needs an d the company’s long-term objectives in the global capital markets.

Innovation spotlight: North American FIs going social (Banking Tech), Rated: B

As banking continues to go digital, online innovators and niche players in North America are getting personal by adding social activities to their customer services.

SoFi, short for Social Financial, combines better rates on student loan refinancing with parties for its members (aka borrowers), around the country. It even offers career and financial counselling.

CommonBond offers an online student loan evaluation tool to help prospects determine the best ways to manage their debt. It estimates that members save an average of $14,581 as they repay their student loans, and even more for people like doctors and dentists with advanced degrees and higher debts.

Fintech Puts Payday Lending Old Wine in New Bottles (Naked Capitalism), Rated: A

And before you conclude that I am being a reflexive skeptic, Georgetown law professor Adam Levitin weighed in via e-mail:

First, Fintech is a meaningless term. The consumer-facing stuff is mainly (1) gussied up payday lenders (see, e.g., Think Financial and their tribal lending alliances), (2) money transmitters, and (3) BitCoin Bros. The money transmitters are probably harmless enough, but the first group are just trying to escape state usury laws and rollover restrictions, while the third group are grab bag of fools and con artists who think they are much more clever than they actually are. People on the Hill go ga-ga for Fintech without having any real knowledge of what they are and assuming that a digital platform represents a material (and better) transformation of a product.

The Lyric Financial website is remarkably content-free, particularly for specific product features and details of terms and conditions. Apart from the cloying trendiness which it is far too early in the morning to stomach, it’s very hard to find out what the deal really is.

You’re subjected to mandatory binding arbitration, which for a sophisticated product aimed at financially unsophisticated customers is a very bad sign.

It gets worse. In the bowels of their T’s and C’s I found this:

Governing Law

These Terms & Conditions, as well as any claims arising from or related thereto, whether in tort, contract or otherwise, are governed by, and are to be interpreted and enforced in accordance with, the laws of the State of Tennessee, without regard to New York’s conflicts of laws principles.

Which sounds suspect  – my take is that they are under Tennessee’s statutes (don’t know if that signifies anything noteworthy, either good or bad) but they don’t want to be liable under an aspect of NY law (which I’m guessing is much better settled and consumer-friendly than TN’s).

Fintech lures MBAs away from banking and consulting (Financial Times), Rated: A

Many fintech founders went to business school. Insead’s MBA alumni include Giles Andrews, British founder of peer-to-peer lending platform Zopa, and Taavet Hinrikus, the Estonian-born chief executive of online foreign exchange marketplace TransferWise. Jeff Lynn and Carlos Silva jointly developed the business plan for equity crowdfunding business Seedrs as part of their MBA course at Oxford’s Saïd Business School.

Now, as fintech founders grow their businesses, they are heading back to business schools to find well-qualified staff. About a fifth of hires from the international MBA class at Madrid’s IE Business School last year were made by financial services companies. Fintechs made 5 per cent of those hires, up from none last year.

Eight of Nutmeg’s 78 staff are MBA graduates, including two product managers, its chief marketing officer, chief architect and head engineer.

MBA graduates are unlikely to join fintech companies in the expectation of high salaries. Many,particularly those who have worked in private equity, understand start-ups operate differently, Nutmeg’s Mr Hungerford says.

Biz2Credit to Expand Online Access for Small Business Financing in Puerto Rico (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Biz2Credit announce on Thursday it has formed a partnership with Puerto Rico’s Oriental Bank to help develop a digital lending platform for the bank’s commercial clients. According to the Biz2Credit, Oriental Bank will be considered the first bank in Puerto Rico to engage commercial clients through a digital platform that supports applications for business credit cards, as well as lines of credit, term loans, real estate loans, equipment purchase, and SBA loans.

Inside Online gives off Good Vibes with “digital branded magazine” (Prolific North), Rated: A

Inside Online has launched an online magazine as part of a digital marketing campaign for an online lending company.

Good Vibes aims to build a greater owned audience for Elevate Credit brand, Sunny.

Good Vibes will include in-house editorial, an external newsroom and illustrated graphics.

Elevate Appoints Tony Leopold as General Manager, Rise (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Elevate Credit, Inc. (“Elevate”), a leading provider of innovative online credit solutions for nonprime consumers, today announced the appointment of Tony Leopold as the General Manager of its Rise product, effective immediately.

BMO Harris Bank Launches FinTech Partnership Program with 1871 (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

BMO Harris Bank today announced a partnership with 1871 – a leading technology and entrepreneurship ecosystem which is currently home to nearly 500 high-growth digital startups in the Merchandise Mart – that will provide a select group of FinTech startups the opportunity to participate in a three-month mentorship program.

United Kingdom

Assetz Capital hits £240m of lending in four years (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

ASSETZ Capital hit its fourth anniversary with £240m lent to date and a plan to double that figure over the next 12 months.

The peer-to-peer lending platform, which channels funds to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and small property developers, confirmed on Friday that it has returned over £20m of interest to investors since inception, yielding rates ranging between 3.75 and 18 per cent to investors.

Thanks to a recent surge in borrower demand, it also launched a temporary rate hike offer on its 30-day account last week to 4.75 per cent for a 90-day window.

Octopus Choice close to £50m loan target ahead of first anniversary (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

OCTOPUS Choice is set to have raised £50m within its first year of operation.

The lender offers average returns of 4.2 per cent based on conservative loans-to-value of up to 70 per cent and currently has 20 loans open for investment.

It pre-funds the loans, which a spokesman said has been given the green light by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – despite several other P2P lenders having to stop the practice in order to gain approval from the City watchdog.

The platform’s loan book shows it has funded loans of as little as £95,000 to more than £5m, secured on properties valued between £175,000 and £8m.

What Brexit Means for London’s First FinTech Unicorn TransferWise (Coin Telegraph), Rated: A

According to a report published by GP Bullhound, TransferWise is one of Europe’s fastest growing unicorns. Also, according to the same report, the UK has the largest number of fastest growing unicorns, which are fast-growth, profitable businesses at 18 with a cumulative value of $39.6 bln.

Despite the clouds of Brexit looming, British tech deals hit a high in 2016 according to GP Bullhound. Whether the growth in the tech sector can be maintained post-Brexit is an interesting question.

Moneysupermarket pioneer sets up new financial advice business eVestor (The Telegraph), Rated: A

Duncan Cameron’s jointly-owned eVestor service aims to cut the cost of full-service financial advice by 80pc. He says it will deliver sophisticated advice to investors “whether they have £1 or £1m”.

He says eVestor will use complex digital “decision trees” to replicate the role of human advisers at a fraction of the cost and “provide more consistent outcomes”.

My Moneything Investment Experience after 13 Months (P2P-Banking), Rated: A

Last year I started investing on British p2p lending marketplace Moneything. Read my past article about opening a Moneything account. Moneything mostly offers property backed loans, with a few different asset-backed deals in between. I used Transferwise and Currencyfair to deposit money from my Euro account. Recently I also used the Revolut App to transfer money from another UK p2p lending marketplace to Moneything.

I am invested in 31 loans right now, mostly at 12% interest rate with small amounts also at 10.5%, 11% and 13% invested. I have had no defaults and there are no fees for investors.

Why choose a robo-adviser? (IG.com), Rated: B

Anyone can use robo-advice to manage their finances, whether that involves a £500 initial investment in a Stocks and Shares ISA, or a £100,000 Self Invested Personal Pension (SIPP).

Just last year, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) warned that 16 million UK consumers could be trapped in a ‘financial advice gap’ where they need professional investment advice but simply can’t afford it.

There is a £310 billion shortfall in the UK’s pension savings, according to Aviva’s calculations, while Zurich Insurance recently found that 41% of women and 30% of men aged 25 to 39 have nothing saved in their pension fund.

According to a MetLife survey, 45% of retirement savers are so concerned about their dwindling returns that they feel forced to take on more risk – a decision which could have disastrous consequences in the absence of professional financial guidance.

Fintech Startup Prime Trust Appoints Former Hambrecht Partner Whitney White As New CTO & COO (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Nevada-based Fintech startup Prime Trust announced on Friday it has appointed former Hambrecht Partner and CTO, Whitney White as its new COO and CTO. 

European Union

Lendix Now Offering Loans to Italian SMEs (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

European marketplace lending platform Lendix has opened its platform to Italian SMEs. As of today, Italian businesses may borrow from €30,000 to €2 million directly financed by international investors. Lendix called the operation “a new step towards a true European credit market.”

International

88% of Global Banks Sweat over Losing Revenue to FinTech Firms (Cryptocoins News), Rated: AAA

The report, Global Fintech Report 2017 [PDF], found that 88 percent of global banks are increasingly concerned that they will lose revenue to fintech businesses. The areas major banks feel they will lose out on include payments, fund transfers and personal finance sectors. In response, 82 percent claim that they intend to increase partnerships with financial technology services over the next three to five years.

The survey found that difference in management and culture in addition to regulatory uncertainty and legacy technology limitations, are identified as being significant challenges for financial technology companies and banks. Not only that, but banks are restricted to a system of checks and balances that can hinder the innovation process while fintechs are able to adapt easily due to a lack of bureaucracy.

The technology is moving from hype to reality and as it does so funding in the sector increased 79 percent year-over-year in 2016 to $450 million.

17 fintech businesses that could one day be worth over billion (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

GP Bullhound, a boutique investment bank focused on tech, on Thursday published an in-depth report looking at the global fintech industry.

The report found 39 fintech companies around the world already valued at $1 billion or over, and found that global venture capital investment into the sector has risen almost fivefold in the past three years to reach $13.6 billion in 2016.

GP Bullhound identified promising businesses in the alternative lending space, data analytics, digital banking, insurance, and asset management. Here are the 17 businesses that made the cut and, in GP Bullhound’s view, could be the next fintech unicorns:

  • LendInvest — Online mortgage platform
  • Prodigy Finance — Peer-to-peer university loans for overseas students
  • ID Finance — Online lending in Russia
  • Ebury — Financing for small businesses trading overseas
  • iZettle — Mobile phone linked card readers
  • WorldRemit — International money transfer on your smartphone
  • Cardlytics — Analytics of card spending
  • Kreditech — Digital credit scoring and lending
  • Taulia — Supply chain finance
  • PolicyBazaar — Indian insurance marketplace
  • Collective Health — Tools for employers to manage company health insurance
  • Atom — Digital-only challenger bank
  • OakNorth — Digital challenger bank pitched at entrepreneurs
  • N26 — App-only bank that is hugely popular across Europe
  • Betterment — Online investment advisor
  • Wealthfront — Online investment manager targeting millennials
  • Nutmeg — Online investment managet

SME Lending Activity: China Spikes, US Banks Reboot (PYMNTS.com), Rated: AAA

Small business lending activity across the globe is in flux. China saw a whopping 17 percent increase in small business lending in Q1, while U.S. banks are rebooting their efforts to capture SMEs from their alternative rivals. The U.K. and Canada, meanwhile, see their small businesses struggling to find financing.

$3.2 trillion worth of outstanding SME loans in China means lending activity to small businesses in the community has inched up in Q1 2017. New data from the People’s Bank of China released the statistic, which signals a 17 percent increase from a year ago, reports said.

Three out of five London SMEs have been turned away from lenders, according to data released by SME finance LDF. Its research revealed that more than half of London’s SMEs say the jargon associated with financing has turned them off from accessing a loan, and 57.6 percent said they have been turned down from a loan outright.

Fewer than 15 percent of Canada’s small businesses are run by entrepreneurs aged 25 to 39, said CIBC Capital Markets in a new report.

Three minutes could be all it takes for a small business to get financed from NatWest. The bank said last week that it has rolled out a new platform for its SME customers that have been pre-assessed for financing.

A dip of 1.1 in the PayNet Small Business Lending Index may appear to be bad news — signaling a slight decline in Canadian small business lending in February compared to January. But according to PayNet data, medium-sized business lending increased nearly two points in the index, marking the highest level since January 2016 and reflecting separate data from CIBC Capital Markets that signals strong growth among Canada’s SME community.

Australia

The fake offset accounts that could make your savings vanish (The Sydney Morning Herald), Rated: A

You recently answered a question regarding the safety of a home loan with an online lender (the debt would be on-sold to another provider and the loan would continue). My question relates to the security of money in an associated offset account. How secure would the money in the offset account be? If the lender goes bust would they be able to take all of our savings in the offset account and then on-sell the full value of the loan?

There was a time when a compelling reason not to go with a cheaper online lender was that, not being authorised deposit-taking institutions, they could not offer offset accounts. Some have since begun splitting out certain repayments in a quasi offset – on occasion, simply like a displayed redraw facility.

But there is a downside: offset accounts set up in this way are not subject to the Financial Claims Scheme or the scheme protecting deposits of up to $250,000 in the event the provider goes bust … only truly separate deposit accounts of locally incorporated authorised deposit-taking institutions (ADIs) are, whether they are offset or not.

Note APRA regulates ADIs (mainly banks, building societies and credit unions); online and other non-bank lenders are subject to the Consumer Credit Code and can be ruled on by the Credit and Investments Ombudsman.

Gerard Brody, chief executive of Consumer Action, says: “Non-bank lenders that offer these products should be warning customers clearly that if they go under, the money in the account won’t be protected by the government guarantee.”

China

WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On April 11, Xiaomi Corp., China’s leading mobile phone maker, launched the mobile application Xiaomi Lending in Android market, signaling a strong ambition to expand in the country’s booming Internet Finance sector.

On March 20, Dianrong.com announced to enter into a strategic partnership with Quark Finance, with an aim to launch a new online microcredit platform.

On April 12, Chinese online peer-to-peer lending service Renrendai.com announced that its P2P business would be operated as an independent platform.

National Internet Finance Association of China has announced the first major report to its members regarding the legal and regulatory status of consumer finance. The document, which is echoing to the P2P Finance Association established by the organization in March, is the first to officially classify consumer finance in the eyes of the Chinese government.

On April 8, the first Committee of Internet Finance Law was established in Beijing. The committee held symposiums about the technology innovation and legal protection in Fintech industry, which attracted several representatives of governmental organizations and university professors.

India

P2P lending can play a pivotal role in financial inclusion (India Times), Rated: AAA

However, what is noteworthy is that P2P as a product does have the ability to make a real difference in the financial inclusion space.

According to “Accenture’s Digital Disruption: The Growth Multiplier” report, digital tech could power $2 trillion of global economic output by 2020. The survey states that the US is leading the race with digital revenue making up a third (33%) of output. In terms of industry sector, Financial Services is the largest contributor in terms of their digital contribution to national and global GDP. In fact the same is true for every country across the world.

P2P lending and borrowing ticks all the boxes in terms of being simple, rates that appeal to both borrowers and lenders and is available to individuals often neglected by banks. As a result, it is finding traction regardless of social strata, age or education.

Our lenders are young with 51% belonging to the age bracket of 30-39 years. About 36 % of the lenders are over 40 and 13 % are below the age of 30.

It is well known in India that it is very difficult to get a loan from a bank if you are an SME. When we talk of financial inclusion, it should not be merely limited to an individual, but also ensuring access to finance for companies of all sizes. P2P has done a great job in lending to SMEs and this is largely possible because of wide range of data sets used to arrive at a lending decision.

Financial institutions feeling fintech heat, says PwC study (India Times), Rated: AAA

Financial institutions are increasingly at risk of losing business to fintech innovators, with 67 per cent already feeling the heat, says a PwC study.

According to PwC’s Global FinTech Report, 67 per cent believe their business is at risk from financial technology (fintech) firms and as many as 95 per cent of incumbents seek to explore fintech partnerships to boost innovations.

In India, 67 per cent financial institutions acknowledge that non-traditional fintech poses a threat to their businesses, lower than the global average of 80 per cent, indicating that the market in India is not yet as matured as it is globally.

Can e-KYC Service Providers Like Finahub Ride The Aadhaar Wave? (Bloomberg Quint), Rated: A

Finahub Technology Solutions, a Kerala-based software technology solutions company, is riding a building wave in financial services–the increasing use of Aadhaar-enabled e-KYC (know your customer) by banks and non-banking financial services (NBFC).

The bank or the financial institution is a KYC User Agency, and must first register with the UIDAI. The intermediary, called a KYC Service Agency, transfers the confidential Aadhaar information in an encoded form from the user to the UIDAI, and then back to the bank’s server.

The software solutions provider, in this case Finahub, provides software that connects all the points in the chain.

The software solutions provider, in this case Finahub, provides software that connects all the points in the chain.

The company also offers an Aadhaar e-sign facility as an add-on service. If this option is chosen, once the e-KYC process is complete, the bank’s representative asks the customer to scan his fingerprint a second time.

Asia

Understanding Indonesia’s Burgeoning Fintech Landscape (Global Indonesian Voices), Rated: A

From 2008 until 2013, the investment value in fintech had increased threefold.

As reported by Tech In Asia, in Indonesia fintech is the business sector with the second largest investment in 2016, after e-commerce. According to Bank Indonesia, there are around 142 local fintech companies in Indonesia. They are categorized into four types: Market Provisioning, which includes CekAja and Cermati; Deposit, Lending, and Capital Raising, which includes UangTeman and Investree; Investment and Risk Management, which includes Bareksa and Stockbit; and Payment, Clearing, and Settlement, which includes Midtrans and Doku. This last category is the one with the most players, comprising around 80 companies.

There are at least 11 fintech startups that received funding from investors during 2016.

ASIC signs fintech agreement with Indonesia (InvestorDaily), Rated: A

The agreement, signed on Friday, provides a framework for the two regulators to share information on market trends and regulatory issues that develop from innovation within their respective markets.

The regulator said increased co-operation between the two regulators will support them to promote innovative practice, and described the agreement as “positive confirmation” of the relationship between ASIC and the OJK.

Africa

How Africa’s FinTech Industry Is Impacting Its Growth And Development (The Marketing Mogul), Rated: AAA

The emergence of Africa’s FinTech industry, through its software and platforms, has made financial products and services more accessible to consumers in developing countries with low standards of living. It has also made these products and services more affordable by reducing the cost of doing business for financial institutions and other intermediaries.

Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria has experienced 27% growth in mobile money usage between the years of 2011 and 2016. The country’s FinTech industry currently comprises of over 50 companies with investments exceeding $200m in the last two years. Nigeria, according to Irrational Innovations, has developed effective payment and lending platforms, with 37% of FinTech start-ups focused on offering payment and remittances services (such as Paga and Remitta) while 32% offer lending and financing services (like Renmoney and Onefi). The remaining 31% are divided amongst insurance, banking, trading, data, bitcoin and business solutions.

Kenya has also exhibited very promising potential and growth in the mobile money lending operations. In March 2015, financial times reported that $150m worth of loans had been issued to borrowers, following the collaboration between Kenya Commercial Bank and M-Pesa (a mobile money platform). The vast majority of these borrowers are low income earners previously regarded as un-bankable due to their lack of credit history and access to financial services (financial exclusion).

Ghana has also been on the rise in regards to Africa’s FinTech space. As of 2009, about 70% of Ghana’s population were un-banked, and the country had a GDP growth rate of 4%. But between 2011 and 2015, largely due to the utilisation of mobile money, the country recorded a 41% increase in the population’s access to formal financial services, as well as a compounded GDP growth rate of 7.7% between the same periods.

The use of mobile money in Sub-Saharan Africa has increased over the years, with approximately 70% of adults in Kenya, for example, utilising mobile phones for money transactions. African small- to medium-sized businesses (SMEs) account for over 45% and 33% of the continent’s employment and GDP rates respectively.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

August 3rd 2016, Daily News Digest

August 3rd 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s news are focused on the monthly volume data published below. In the UK we see the 1st crowdfunding platforms slowdown in five years. And in China, we learn that P2P platforms, apparently, need to have a very tough to get bank relationship to continue doing business in 18 months. International July 2016 […]

August 3rd 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments

  • Today’s news are focused on the monthly volume data published below. In the UK we see the 1st crowdfunding platforms slowdown in five years. And in China, we learn that P2P platforms, apparently, need to have a very tough to get bank relationship to continue doing business in 18 months.

International

  • July 2016 volume numbers are in. We made a list of companies who stand out either for good growth or major decrease. Notice : we can not guarantee the accuracy of the volume numbers.

United States

United Kingdom

Australia

New Zealand

China

International

International P2P Lending Marketplaces – Loan Volumes July 2016, (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

P2P Banking publishes monthly volumes for p2p lenders.  Please note that the information is not guaranteed and P2P Banking has made relatively large mistakes in the past. Example: LendInvest in May 2016 was reported as a 80% decrease from April while as it was not the case.

For July 2016: Zopa leads ahead of Funding Circle and Ratesetter. Assetz Capital and Lendinvest achieved a big surge in volume. The total volume for the reported marketplaces adds up to 341 million Euro. I track the development of p2p lending volumes for many markets. Since I already have most of the data on file I can publish statistics on the monthly loan originations for selected p2p lending services.

Comments:

Negative stand out:

  • LandBay decreased 62% 
  • Folk2Folk 38% 
  • Kokos -90% 
  • ThinCats -37% 
  • Wellesley -33% 

Positive stand out:

  • Assetz Capital +460% , 13.9m EUR/month origination last month.
  • Funding Circle +1% vs same month last year.
  • LendInvest +14% vs last year’s month.
  • Mintos +523% vs last year’s month and last month volume of 6.9m EUR
  • MoneyThing +462% and last month volume of 3.6m EUR
  • Twino 7.2m EUR last month and huge growth

 

 

 

United States

National Charter May Be the Devil Marketplace Lenders Don’t Know, (Bloomberg BNA), Rated: A

For some online marketplace lenders, the devil they know might look better than the devil they don’t when it comes to proposals for federal bank regulators to issue national charters to financial technology companies.

The issue surfaced in March, when Amy Friend, senior counsel for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), said at a conference in Washington that the agency had fielded inquiries from fintech companies about obtaining a national charter tailored to their needs. Since then, the concept has come up repeatedly at industry conferences and elsewhere. At an OCC-sponsored event in Washington June 23, for example, Maryann Kennedy, deputy controller for large bank supervision, said the agency was forming a committee to examine the question.

A charter for a non-bank fintech company that provides financial services would be modeled to some degree on the charters the OCC issues to banks. A key feature of the bank charters that a marketplace lender potentially would value is “pre-emption:” A national charter would establish a single set of nationwide standards that a company would have to meet, overriding the necessity of complying with an array of state standards.

The danger in a national charter is that it would effectively represent the law of the land, with little or no room for maneuvering by the lenders.

Much of the testimony at the July 12 hearing involved a separate issue agitating marketplace lenders: whether federal regulators should continue to treat loans of $100,000 or less to small businesses — loans that make up the overwhelming majority of small-business borrowing — as business loans, or to treat them as consumer loans, which are subject to many more rules on disclosure and other factors.

The OCC has not disclosed what might be regulated by a national fintech charter, nor little else about its ongoing evaluation. The agency also has not said if it will decide to offer the charters, or when it might make that decision.

Negative interest rates creating increased anxiety, (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Sovereign bonds are supposed to be the safest investments in the world, but according to Bill Gross, one of the best-known investors in the world, sovereign bonds are now too risky:

[Begin quote]”Sovereign bond yields at record lows aren’t worth the risk and are therefore not top of my shopping list right now; it’s too risky. Low yields mean bonds are especially vulnerable because a small increase can bring a large decline in price.”[End quote]

This was supported by a release from Fitch Ratings:

[Begin quote]”This year’s dramatic fall in yields on bonds issued by investment grade sovereigns has again raised the risk that a sudden interest rate rise could impose large market losses on fixed-income investors around the world, Fitch Ratings says. A hypothetical rapid reversion of rates to 2011 levels for $37.7 trillion worth of investment-grade sovereign bonds could drive market losses of as much as $3.8 trillion, according to our analysis.”[End quote]

Most people look at the stock market, and think that everything is rosy, but there’s a lot going on that isn’t reflected in the stock market. In 2007, it was the collapse of the real estate bubble and, more importantly, the disastrous collapse of collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) backed by subprime mortgages. The disaster had already occurred before the stock market started falling.

Bloomberg columnist Lisa Abramowicz on TV on Wednesday commented on the warnings from Bill Gross and Fitch (my transcription):

[Begin quote]”There’s a high level of concern about how sustainable all of this is – when profits are declining, when you have growth slowing, when you have stimulus efforts that are not working and that are running out of steam — how long can this last? But at the same time, it’s very hard to see what could reverse it. The only thing that people possibly can point to is inflation, or if some country decides not to pay back their debt, or just forgive it, or come up with some kind of engineering that creates a technical problem.”[End quote]

According to Abramowitz’s contacts, the only thing that can stop the current plunge in bond yields is for some country to decide not to pay back their debt — essentially to declare sovereign bankruptcy. In other words, there’s a major financial crisis coming no matter what.

Medallion Financial Corp. Reports 2016 Second Quarter Results, (Business Wire), Rated: AAA

Medallion Bank anticipates entering into a new line of business developing relationships with marketplace lending platforms.

Consumer loans originated by Medallion Bank were stronger than expected. In June alone, nearly 2,500 loans were funded for over $45 million in volume
Medallion Bank’s six month’s earnings increased by 39%
Managed assets reached $1.760 billion, including $1.159 billion at Medallion Bank, both all-time highs

Man claims Marlette Funding LLC made harassing phone calls to collect alleged debt, (West Virginia Record), Rated: A

Jeffrey Warren filed a complaint on July 7 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia against Marlette Funding LLC alleging violation of the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and other counts.

The plaintiff requests a trial by jury and seeks compensation for all damages, costs of litigation, attorney’s fees and such other relief as the court shall deem just and proper. He is represented by Daniel Armstrong and Benjamin Sheridan of Klein & Sheridan LC in Hurricane.

Banks are rolling out personalized customer experiences, (Tradestreaming), Rated: A

Customer satisfaction with big banks has surpassed levels with midsize banks for the first time this year.
17 percent of large banks reported implementing contextual, personalized insights and solutions to consumers.

Considering the high cost, it isn’t surprising that big regional or national banks have the lead in this arena. 17 percent of big regional or national banks reported implementing contextual, personalized insights and solutions to consumers, compared to only six percent of community banks and 2 percent of credit unions, according to Digital Banking Report’s  The Power of Personalization in Banking. More than 50 percent of each category reported having a basic level of digital prowess with plans to increase future investments in digital.

There are some estimates of ROI on digitization of banking services. McKinsey identified several areas of digitization that drive more profitability than others. These areas include product back office automation, digitization of document management, automation of credit decisions, and big data analytics applied to sales campaigns.

What brokers lost by focusing so much on the desktop experience, ( TradeStreaming), Rated: A

Sticky products build engaged audiences.

That’s why Yahoo Finance continues to get a firehouse of traffic. For those of us who built our portfolios on the site ten or more years ago, that’s enough of a reason to go back. We’ve invested enough of our time and energy into the service that leaving it becomes difficult.

The thing is, as internet usage has shifted from desktop to mobile, so should trading volumes.

It isn’t enough for a broker to just recreate a web experience on mobile, either. Today’s users don’t want non-native apps. People want to feel that an app is trustworthy and vetted through the Apple Store. According to comScore, 87 percent of all time spent on mobile in the U.S. was spent in mobile apps.

United Kingdom

Brexit blamed for fall in crowdfunding deals, (FT), Rated: AAA

Crowdfunding platforms have experienced a slowdown in deal flow for the first time in five years, in a sign that “armchair investors” are taking a more cautious approach to alternative investments.
However, the number of investments offered online fell 17 per cent in the first half of 2016, compared with levels seen in the last half of 2015, according to research company Beauhurst. The fall follows 10 consecutive half years of growth in terms of the number of deals offered to investors.

Beauhurst’s head of research Pedro Madeira said the slowdown in crowdfunding was “particularly noteworthy”.

Beauhurst’s data also show that venture capital and private equity firms slowed investment into UK start-ups and high-growth companies in the same period.

Bruce Davis, spokesman for the UK Crowdfunding Association (UKCFA), the trade body of crowdfunding platforms, said the dip in deals offered was just “a pause”. The UKCFA said it was confident deal numbers would begin to grow again.

RateSetter to close 3-year market, (Alt Fi News), Rated: AAA

RateSetter says that demand for its 5 year product is the primary impetus behind the planned closure. The 3 year market has become less and less popular ever since the platform introduced its 5 year offering, and now accounts for less than 5 per cent of new investments. The company says that investors have voted “with their wallets” and that they clearly prefer to lend in the 5 year market. The 5 year market currently pays a rate of 5.7% per annum, with the 3 year sitting at 4.0%.

TISA launches P2P forum, (Mortgage Finance Gazette), Rated: A

The Tax Incentivised Savings Association (TISA), the trade association working with the retail financial services industry, has launched a peer-to-peer lending forum to enable those in the sector to develop policy recommendations for regulators and legislators, address operational challenges and determine best practice.

Initially the peer-to-peer forum will concentrate on four key areas:

-Building an effective dialogue with the FCA, HMRC and HM Treasury

-Developing standardised terminology, operational technology, data governance principles and best -practice

-Enhancing accessibility to the sector by improving the understanding of intermediaries, discretionary managers, consumers and related parties including PI insurers

-Identifying unintended regulatory and technical blockages – for example in relation to the inclusion of P2P within SIPPs – and proposing solutions

Fintech investor joins Fidelity’s venture push, (Financial News), Rated: A

A former fintech investor at Accel Partners, who was involved in high-profile investments in WorldRemit and Funding Circle, has joined the London-based proprietary investment arm of Fidelity International as it seeks to strengthen its European business.

GLI Finance Hires Two Senior Executives, (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

GLI Finance Limited (LSE:GLIF) has announced the hiring of two senior executives. Russell Harte has been appointed Chief Operating Officer and Steven Simpson has been selected as the Head of Group IT.

Harte is a Chartered Accountant with extensive general management experience. His recent roles have included being Finance Director of Liberty Holdings Limited, a JSE listed long-term insurer, where he played a key role in the turnaround of that business. Most recently he was CFO of Standard Bank Jersey Limited. Simpson is currently Head of IT at one of GLI’s subsidiaries Platform Black.  He has over 25 years of experience in the design, implementation and administration of secure and highly-available enterprise and web-based solutions for corporate customers across various sectors including finance and telecoms. Russell and Steven will join the senior management team. Russell will report to the Group CEO and Steven will report to Russell.

GLI has been going through a period of change as Whelan took over the Chief Executive role at the very beginning of 2016.

Australia

Disruptive partnership forms between two Australian platforms, (Alt Fi), Rated: A

ThinCats Australia has joined forces with DomaCom, a soon to list real estate equity investment platform.

The partnership will involve using ThinCats loans in order to gear properties on the DomaCom platform. This may be the first time that a peer-to-peer lending company and real estate equity investment platform have collaborated in this way.

The ThinCats partnership may also open up future investment opportunities for investors across the two platforms. Naoumidis said: “This also provides the 350 lenders on the ThinCats platform the opportunity to gain exposure to property assets and the ability to lend funds at an attractive interest rate with a lower risk profile.”

New Zealand

Profiling the typical ‘peer-to-peer’ investor, (Stuff), Rated: A

Investor Tom Enright was the first person to invest through LendMe, a peer-to-peer property lender.

He invested $542,000 by funding a fully-secured residential mortgage loan on an Auckland property, getting a 7.84 per cent return on his money.

There are four peer-to-peer businesses: LendMe  (direct secured property lending), Harmoney  (unsecured personal loans), Squirrel Money (diversified secured property lending), and Lending Crowd (focus on secured car lending). Harmoney is by far the biggest peer-to-peer lender with $275m of loans made.

Figures from Harmoney  show most peer-to-peer lenders are 50 or under, with 41 being the average age.

REASONS TO BE A PEER-TO-PEER INVESTOR

Harmoney says people invest in peer-to-peer because:

– They are looking for an investment that could offer regular repayments over time. This includes people trying to generate income to live off

– They are spreading risk by putting a percentage of their portfolios into consumer lending.

– They understand they are taking the risk of a loan defaulting, but believe the risk is manageable and the return fair.

– They enjoy the process of lending.

China

Failing Grade: Many Chinese P2P Lenders Do Not Meet Government Requirements, (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

According to ECNS, the majority of P2P platforms have not yet established a relationship with a bank as a fund depository agent. Even though 149 P2P sites had signed agreements with banks “few had materialized.” Overall only 48 P2P lenders or just 2% of these online lenders have qualified, according to  Shanghai Ying Can Investment consulting.  These 48 platforms were some of the largest platforms in the country. These same platforms are poised to benefit by the additional regulatory scrutiny as undercapitalized and poorly managed P2P lenders may leave the market.

Chinese regulators are allowing a transitional period of 18 months for P2P lenders to adopt the new requirements. It will be interesting to see what happens after that.

P2P Finance in China: Why Firms Need Better Risk Controls, (Knowledge @ Wharton, UPenn), Rated: AAA

Since 2015, many P2P platforms including Ezubao, the Dada Group, the Kuailu Group, the Zhongjin Group and others have been charged with illegal fundraising, involving tens of billions of yuan. This is not confined to China. In May, the U.S. Treasury Department released a report criticizing the peer-to-peer (P2P) lending business and recommended it be more tightly regulated.

According to the industry website WDZJ.com, China’s P2P online finance industry reached 2.036 trillion yuan (about $300 billion in transaction volumes) by the end of May 2016. It took seven years to reach its first trillion yuan and just seven months to reach the second trillion.

Take the Lending Club in the U.S., for example. It originally hoped to evaluate personal risk based on data extracted from Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms. That is in America, which has much more sophisticated credit investigation and personal data systems than in China. So you can imagine a large amount of P2P business based on personal credit in China will meet trouble in operation if there is no appropriate risk control system in place.

“There is one feature of the finance industry — the one that grows the fastest, will also collapse the fastest.”

Author:

George Popescu