Tuesday August 8 2017, Daily News Digest

LendingClub

News Comments Today’s main news: OnDeck posts quarterly adjusted profit. OnDeck expands partnership with JPMorgan Chase. More than half Wellesley borrowers are in default or behind on payments. Tencent tests credit scoring. Westpac Banking invests in zipMoney. SoftBank says Q1 profit jumped 50.1% after adding Vision Fund. Fintech investments tripled in Singapore. Today’s main analysis: LendingClub Q2 earnings. Today’s thought-provoking articles: […]

LendingClub

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United States

Online lender OnDeck posts surprise quarterly adjusted profit (NASDAQ), Rated: AAA

Online lender OnDeck Capital <ONDK.N> posted a surprise quarterly adjusted profit on Monday, driven by lower costs and higher interest income.

Excluding items, OnDeck earned 2 cents per share in the second quarter ended June 30, compared with the average analyst estimate of loss of 1 cent, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net loss attributable to common shareholders narrowed to $1.49 million, or 2 cents per share, in the quarter, from a loss of $17.9 million, or 25 cents per share, a year earlier.

Originations fell 21.3 percent to $464.4 million.

Operating expenses fell about 6.3 percent to $44.6 million.

OnDeck Will Focus on Better Borrowers, Expanded Partnerships to Grow Originations (Bank Innovation), Rated: AAA

The online lender will continue this focus on higher quality borrowers going into the remainder of 2017, and will also be expanding several of its loan features, including prepaid benefits for term loans and a “more tailored” underwriting experience for businesses, said Breslow.

OnDeck Capital up more than 6% after earnings beat (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

  • Adjusted EBITDA of $3.3M vs. a negative $12.4M a year earlier.
  • Full-year guidance is reiterated: Revenue of $342M-$352M, and adjusted EBITDA of $5M-$15M. Q3 revenue is seen at $82M-$86M, with adjusted EBITDA of $1M-$5M.

OnDeck announces expanded partnership with JPMorgan Chase (MarketWatch), Rated: AAA

OnDeck Capital, Inc. ONDK, +18.48% on Monday announced it had expanded a collaboration with JPMorgan Chase, JPM, -0.02% which is providing technology that runs the online lending platform.

Chase extends relationship with OnDeck (Finextra), Rated: A

JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM) and OnDeck (NYSE: ONDK) today announced a contract extension to continue their collaboration on the bank’s digital small business lending product, Chase Business Quick Capital, for up to four years.

Why On Deck Capital Stock Jumped More Than 20% on Monday (The Motley Fool), Rated: A

Shares of On Deck Capital (NYSE:ONDK) were up more than 21% as of 3:15 p.m. EDT, after the company announced a smaller net loss during the second quarter and a promising expansion in its partnership with JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM). Shares of LendingClub(NYSE:LC), its primary rival in the world of online lending, rose 7%, as investors see On Deck’s recent performance as a good omen for the industry as a whole.

A focus on higher-quality borrowers seems to have relaxed investors’ worries about the company’s loan quality, a perennial concern given that the average On Deck loan carries an APR in excess of 40% per year.

Lending Club Q2 2017 Earnings – Back to Growth (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Lending Club’s second quarter earnings marked an important milestone for the company – a return to growth. Originations have been hovering around $1.9 billion since Q2 of last year. This quarter Lending Club announced originations of $2.15 billion for the quarter, up 10% from the prior quarter of $1.96 billion. While this is still down from their previous highs, it shows that the company is back on a growth trajectory.

Source: Lend Academy

Last quarter the company announced banks were funding 40% of loans, but that reached higher in the second quarter to 44%.

Source: Lend Academy

Borrowers

  • Achieved 10% sequential growth to over $2.1 billion in originations, driven by strong borrower demand
  • Successfully launched multiple conversion initiatives, including pricing optimization and a redesigned website
  • Improved sales and marketing efficiency by over 7% sequentially
  • Credit continues to perform in line with expectations as observed in both vintage and portfolio trendsInvestors
  • Successfully executed the first self-sponsored securitization thereby opening a new funding source, expanding the investor base with 20 new investors, and generating a new repeatable revenue stream
  • Record number of managed accounts and institutional investors participating on the platform in the quarter
  • Successfully launched new iOS mobile application for retail investors

LendingClub Shares Soar 13% on Smaller Loss (Fortune), Rated: A

Online lending platform operator LendingClub reported a smaller loss on Monday, helped by higher net interest income and a drop in expenses.

Shares of the company (LC, +12.86%) were up 13.2% at $5.90 in after-hours trading.

LendingClub shares rise 8 percent on positive outlook, higher revenue (Reuters), Rated: A

Online lender LendingClub Corp (LC.N) raised its earnings outlook on Monday after reporting the second-highest quarterly revenue in its history and a drop in costs, sending shares up nearly 8 percent.

LendingClub now expects full-year total net revenue to be in the range of $585 million to $600 million, compared with its earlier forecast of $575 million to $595 million.

Shares of the company, which connects consumers looking for loans with individual or institutional investors such as banks through its website, were up 7.8 percent at $5.46 in after-hours trading.

Online lenders upbeat about turnaround progress, but worries linger (Today Online), Rated: A

LendingClub Corp <LC.N> and OnDeck Capital Inc <ONDK.N> surprised investors on Monday with strong growth forecasts that sent the online lenders’ stocks soaring, but analysts said the sector’s health was still a concern.

OnDeck shares closed 18.5 percent higher at $5, and LendingClub ended up 4.8 percent $5.46. The stocks rose in after-hours trading but remain far below their initial public offering prices of $20 and $15, respectively.

Executives of both companies were upbeat about the progress in their turnaround plans after they reported second-quarter results.

Earnest Corp is looking to sell itself for $200 million, Bloomberg News reported on Friday, far less than the $300 million it has raised from investors.

Online Lenders Clear a Low Bar—Higher Ones Lie Ahead (WSJ), Rated: AAA

The online lending industry regained its footing in the second quarter, more than a year after it was knocked off-balance by severe disruptions in the loan marketplace. But investors’ sky-high hopes for the sector may have been lowered permanently.

Investors also were relieved that On Deck reiterated it would turn profitable later this year. Shares rose a sharp 18.5% Monday, but they fetch only about a fourth of their December 2014 IPO price, a sign of just how much the hype around these lenders has deflated.

Crucially, On Deck has moved on from funding loans through an online marketplace, the aspect of its business model that was truly disruptive. It now funds the vast majority through its own balance sheet, making On Deck more like an ordinary bank.

Both companies have to worry about rising competition. Innovative payment companies like Square and PayPal are extending more microloans to their merchant customers. Meanwhile, giants of finance like Goldman Sachs are extending more unsecured personal loans, which is LendingClub’s sweet spot.

Fintech Firm Fiserv Raises Offer for Monitise to $ 98 Million (The New York Times), Rated: A

U.S. financial technology provider Fiserv made an improved offer for Monitise worth about 75 million pounds ($98 million) on Monday, hoping to secure backing from the British financial services technology group’s investors.

Fiserv’s earlier offer, which valued the group at about 70 million pounds, drew criticism from Monitise’s investors led by Cavendish Asset Management, for being too low, given that the British group was worth over 1 billion pounds three year ago.

Fiserv’s final offer of 3.1 pence in cash per share represents a premium of 34.8 percent over Monitise’s closing price on June 12, the last before the initial offer was made.

Banco Santander, Monitise’s top shareholder with a 4.67 percent stake, had submitted a letter of intent to back the deal, as had Visa Inc, a large customer and investor with a 2.41 percent stake.

LendingRobot Series Second Quarter Report (LendingRobot), Rated: A

LendingRobot Series finished the second quarter with a healthy YTD aggregated return of 2.7%. Each Series’ return and portfolio health is in line with projections. Since April 1st, LendingRobot Series has added over 2,800 loans to its portfolio, more than doubling the number of loans held in each series.

Source: LendingRobot

 

Legislative Update 161 (Experian Email), Rated: A

Highlights this issue:

  • On July 10, the CFPB published a final rule prohibiting the use of mandatory predispute arbitration clauses that prevent class action lawsuits in consumer contracts for a wide array of financial products. The final rule was published in the Federal Register on July 19, and will become effective 60 days after that date, or September 18. All consumer contracts with arbitration clauses will need to comply with the rule within 180 days of the effective date, which will be March 19, 2018.
  • The House of Representatives is working to pass 12 appropriations bills by September 30 to fund federal agencies for the Fiscal Year 2018. The House Appropriations Committee passed the spending bill for financial regulatory agencies on July 13. The measure included several provisions important to Experian and our clients.
  • On July 19, Representatives Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) and Gregory Meeks (DNY) introduced the Protecting Consumers Access to Credit Act. The bill would codify the legal precedent under federal banking laws that preempts a loan’s interest as valid when made.
  • Legislators in California continue to debate legislation that would enact a broadband privacy law in the state, similar to the rule issued by the FCC and then overturned by Congress. A.B. 375 would prohibit an internet service provider from using, disclosing, selling or permitting access to customer personal information.

Read the full update here.

4 Reasons Online Lenders Are Innovating With Purchasing Cards (Entrepreneur), Rated: A

In recent years, Kabbage and others have stepped up to introduce a purchasing card product to their borrowers, and with their early success, many lenders are now following suit for the following four reasons:

  1. Staying on top of the customer’s mind
  2. Speaking the language of large corporate partner targets
  3. Underwriting use of funds
  4. Revenue sharing

New Financial Technology Upgrades Bank’s Credit Review Process (PayNet Email), Rated: A

Enables Banks To Review All Credits and Focus on the Highest Risks

The real challenge is convincing bank management that they do not have to apply the same credit review process to the entire portfolio.  Adopting different processes based upon exposure size and measured risk (APD for example) should be the goal of every bank.  In other words, focus credit review efforts to those accounts that represent the greatest risk to the bank – and that is what you are hoping to do with your credit review process.

Conducting credit reviews are a “waste of time” in most cases because nothing has changed. What form that documentation takes is where PayNet can be most helpful to the prospect.

PayNet is introducing PayNet Credit Review Express, a risk management tool which streamlines the credit review process making credit review easier and less costly.

Credit Review Express assesses the credit risk of each C&I borrower each month. Banks can assign their definition of risk from delinquency to probability of default to assign high, medium or low risk to each borrower. Currently, PayNet sees less than 2% of C&I borrowers as high risk credits. Other features include automated action steps (such as Watch, Restructure, Work-out) and a customized dashboard to monitor and track activity.

FDIC defends right to charter new banks against OCC criticism (American Banker), Rated: A

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. defended its authority to approve prospective new banks in response to suggestions by acting Comptroller of the Currency Keith Noreika that his agency should be able to approve applications on its own.

Rumour mill churns in US online lending sector (AltFi), Rated: A

Whispers abound of a major financing round, an acquisition and an IPO within the US online lending space.

Perhaps chief among the rumours was the suggestion that SoFi may at last be on the brink of an IPO that was first mooted by CEO Mike Cagney in 2014.

Meanwhile, SoftBank continued to build on its portfolio-for-the-future with a $250m equity investment in small business lending fintech Kabbage.

Cities where student loan borrowers struggle with debt the most (Credible), Rated: A

So it’s important for borrowers, especially recent grads, to think about the best places to live — the cities in which they’re not only likely to find a well-paying job, but also where rents and other living expenses aren’t so exorbitant so as to add to their pile of debt.

5 cities where student loans borrowers struggle the most with debt:

  • 1. San Jose, California
  • 2. Fort Worth, Texas
  • 3. Boston, Massachusetts
  • 4. Los Angeles, California
  • 5. Denver, Colorado

5 cities where student loans borrowers struggle the least with debt:

  • 1. Dallas, TX
  • 2. Jacksonville, FL
  • 3. Houston, TX
  • 4. Columbus, OH
  • 5. Austin, TX

The key indicator for affordability was how much of a borrower’s monthly income would go towards their student loan payments and monthly housing costs.

Source: Credible

 

Marketplace Lending Explained (WealthManagement.com), Rated: A

Marketplace lending has grown by nearly 150 percent on a compound annual basis for the last half-decade. Strong growth and real longevity mean that most advisors have to consider the role that marketplace lending plays in their clients’ portfolios.

Source: WealthManagement.com

Refinancing high-rate credit card debt or other hard-money-type loans among high-quality borrowers via a marketplace lender is sensible and provides good value to all parties.

As part of a fixed income allocation, what are the risks in marketplace loans? There is the credit risk of the borrower first and foremost—here the asset can be seen as clearly pro-cyclical; in other words, as the economy improves, the asset strengthens. Correspondingly, as the economy weakens, the credit of the borrower will weaken. Additionally, there has recently been some weakness in consumer credit, primarily in auto loans and credit card defaults, though these have been largely limited to the subprime aspects of these loan categories.

United Kingdom

The Growing Alternative Finance Industry (Business Zone), Rated: AAA

The latest equity crowdfunding statistics released by OFF3R last month revealed that the first half of 2017 was the strongest 6 months for equity crowdfunding to date.

Six of the leading equity crowdfunding platforms that form the OFF3R Index raised nearly £130M in 2017 for UK private companies. This is £2M above the previous half yearly record that was reached back in the second half of 2015. March 2017, where Over £40 million was raised, buoyed the latest data and the period as a whole was characterised by some very large fundraises from Q1 2017.

The data also revealed that peer to peer lendinglevels continue to rise in the UK. The peer to peer lending statistics showed that over £1.8 billion was lent in the first half of 2017 by the nine platforms that make up the OFF3R Index. This is an increase of over £350 million from the previous half year period at the end of 2016.

The data also revealed that Assetz Capital had a record breaking month in June 2017. The total amount lent of over £30 million by the platform was higher than any previous period since the OFF3R Index began.

Toxic loans blight property peer-to-peer lender Wellesley – with more than half its borrowers behind on payments or in default (This is Money), Rated: AAA

More than half of the customers of an internet loan firm run by an aristocratic financier are behind on their payments or in default, the Mail can reveal.

Wellesley, a peer-to-peer lender which allows property developers to borrow cash from savers, is grappling with losses on its loan book.

Online lender Tandem acquires Harrods Bank in bid to expand services (Belfast Telegraph), Rated: A

Start-up lender Tandem has snapped up Harrods Bank in a deal that will bring it closer to launching a savings account.

The undisclosed deal will hand the online-only lender £80 million of additional capital and enable it to regain its banking licence , if it wins regulatory backing.

The institutional investor selling down its stake in VPC Speciality Lending (AltFi), Rated: A

Old Mutual, a sigificant shareholder in the £351m VPC Speciality Lending fund, has further reduced its holding in the closed ended portfolio following previous reductions in exposure earlier in the year.

Its holding in the fund fell below 6 per cent back in March 2017, now it has sold more shares with its stake now less than 4.99 per cent, according to regulatory filings.

VC firm behind Zopa among judges at PitchIt funding competition (P2P Finance News), Rated: B

A VENTURE capital (VC) firm that backed Zopa in its early days has been named among judges for the second annual PitchIt Europe competition.

Rob Moffat, partner at Balderton Capital, an early Zopa backer, will be one of the VC judges alongside Seedcamp’s Reshma Sohoni, Blenheim Chalcot’s Dan Cobley and managing director of CommerzVentures Patrick Meisberger.

China

Tencent credit check takes mobile payments battle to Alibaba (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Tencent is developing a credit scoring system as it ramps up its battle with rival Alibaba for a share of China’s $5.5tn mobile payments market.

Ant Financial, Alibaba’s payments affiliate, launched its Sesame Credit two years ago, parlaying its data on consumers into a measure of their trustworthiness, providing comfort for small businesses and consumers alike.

Credit scoring is popular in China, especially among younger subscribers who lack a credit history but might be eligible for a high rating that would let them rent hotel rooms, bikes or phone chargers without leaving a deposit. The services are particularly valuable given the lack of access to credit cards in the country.

Tencent is testing a credit scoring service among a small group of its subscribers, upping the stakes as the two tech titans engage in an aggressive promotion this week encouraging Chinese to forgo cash in favour of payments made with a swipe of the phone.

Top 100 List of Chinese Internet firms in 2017: Tencent surpassed Alibaba to become NO.1, and Letv was Out of the List. (Xing Ping She), Rated: AAA

Recently, Internet Society of China (ISA) and the information center of Industry and Information Technology Ministry Jointly issued the list of “China’s Top 100 Internet Companies in 2017”. For this time, Tencent overtook Alibaba to become the No.1. Tencent, Alibaba and Baidu were still the top three for five consecutive years, while Letv was out of the list.

The top 10 of the list were:

  • No.1 Tencent
  • No.2 Alibaba
  • No.3 Baidu
  • No.4 Jingdong
  • No.5 NetEase
  • No.6 Sina
  • No.7 Sohu
  • No.8 Meituan
  • No.9 Ctrip
  • No.10 360

The list of “China’s top 100 Internet Companies” has been published every year since 2013 and has been published five times so far.The evaluation index combines seven core indicators of enterprise scale, profitability, innovation, growth, influence and social responsibility.

Central bank to regulate rapidly growing fintech (China Daily), Rated: AAA

In a report released last weekend, the People’s Bank of China said some financial products offered through internet channels by fintech companies are “systemically important” and hence will be included in its macro-prudential assessment or MPA.

The aim is to prevent cyclical risks and cross-market risk transmission, it said.

Analysts said this is the first time that the PBOC said it will include fintech businesses in its MPA.

With $ 3.58 bn in newly increased loan balance, Weli Dai becomes the largest microcredit platform in China (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

On 7th August, a Webank staff said in WeChat Moments that the loan balance of Weli Dai reached a milestone of over 100 billion RMB (equivalent to $14.91 bn). In a speech at the LendIt on July 16, Fang Zhengyu, the director of retail credit section in Webank, revealed that the loan balance of Weli Dai was $1.13 bn. And it has increased by $3.58 bn within just 22 days. What an amazing growth!

Weli Dai is focused on providing a cash loans product, with the loans amount from ¥500 to ¥300,000, and is operated in pure online pattern. With its white list invitation system, Weli Dai identifies the target customers effectively. The loan period is flexible from one day to twenty months, which makes users borrow and repay money at any time. Many factors contributed to the performance of Webank today, the most important is that Webank developed its business in the huge customer base of QQ and WeChat. Besides, Webank has built partnerships with nearly 40 banks for jointly making loans.

Hong Kong startup close to US$ 500mil valuation (The Star), Rated: A

TNG FinTech Group Inc, a Hong Kong-based digital wallet operator founded in 2013, is poised to close a funding round and is targeting a valuation of about US$500mil, according to a person familiar with the matter.

It has attracted almost US$60mil in the series A round from investors including a Beijing-based private equity fund, said the person, who asked not to be named discussing private deliberations.

TNG, which offers global money transfers, foreign-exchange transactions and bill payments, expects to be profitable this year and is targeting a listing in either New York or Hong Kong by 2019, the person said.

Jeffrey Chen of ZhongAn Insurance (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Our next guest on the Lend Academy Podcast is Jin (Jeffrey) Chen, the CEO of ZhongAn Insurance. I sat down with him when I was in Shanghai recently for Lang Di Fintech (LendIt’s Chinese event) and we conducted this interview with the assistance of his translator.

People’s Bank of China Has Fintech on Its Mind (Fox Business), Rated: A

The People’s Bank of China said in a report that it is considering expanding its risk-assessment system beyond banks to include major online financial businesses. Last month, it reached agreement with 45 nonbank financial firms– including payment systems affiliated with internet giants Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd.–on joining a new payment-clearing platform called Wanglian, according to listed-company documents.

This effectively gives the PBOC a clearer view of payments, enhancing regulation, said Tencent, which owns the TenPay payment system.

European Union

Fellow Finance Adds Invoice Financing (P2P-Banking), Rated: A

Finnish p2p lending service Fellow Finance has opened a new invoice finance service for companies, which allows businesses to convert their trade receivables into cash immediately. In the new invoice finance service, a company gets funding against its invoice receivables directly from investors.

In adjacent Estonia p2p lending marketplace Investly, which specializes on invoice financing for Estonian and UK SMEs, is growing. The last figures we reported for them show 78% month on month and 319% y-o-y growth.

Balderton Capital on European Fintech (Stitcher), Rated: A

Rob Moffat is a Partner at Balderton Capital, a London-based venture capital firm that has invested in fintech businesses including GoCardless, Revolut, Crowdcube, Nutmeg, Seedcamp, ComplyAdvantage, Wonga, Zopa and more. Prior to joining Balderton, Rob worked at Bain & Company and Google. Rob holds degrees from Cambridge and INSEAD.

Listen to the podcast here.

International

Senate To Mull Financial Choice Act, UK Officials Look For Tighter Controls (PYMNTS), Rated: A

As has been noted in the financial and trade press, the Financial Choice Act, which was passed last month by the U.S. House of Representatives, now awaits a vote in the U.S. Senate.

In other regulatory news, one executive in Britain is calling for tighter financial regulations in the United Kingdom. Douglas Flint, departing chairman of Britain’s largest bank, HSBC, said in a statement that, amid issues such as Brexit and a revamp of the European financial order, a lack of homogeneity in regulation means there should be cooperation between overseers to find — and stop — “bad actors.” Flint advocated that “greater cooperation between the public and private sectors, together with a refresh of bank secrecy laws and regulation designed for a different age, would significantly increase the effectiveness of our joint efforts.”

Visa And The QR Code Evolution/Revolution (PYMNTS), Rated: A

As it turns out, putting that spec on the shelf helped to inform the development of the EMVCo QR code standard, which was released yesterday into a payments ecosystem that looks at them as anything but uninteresting.

China is a prime example as, over the course of the last five years, the QR code-based mobile payment has almost entirely displaced cash in the country — and leapfrogged credit and debit cards — to become Chinese consumers’ preferred alternative for payment. There are $5.5 trillion worth of mobile payments made in China per year, the vast, vast majority of which are handled via QR code.

But perhaps most striking is India and its government’s November 2016 decision to move toward a cashless society. That led the country to the accompanying adoption of a QR code-focused payments scheme based on Visa’s mVisa standard.

Getting To Scale

Visa is currently developing mVisa as a worldwide solution. The key to scale, Shrauger told Webster, is making it useful and accessible for their two client groups — merchants and their customers.

Australia

Westpac Banking Invests $ 40 Million into zipMoney (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

zipMoney (ASX:ZML) has announced a $40 million strategic investment from Westpac Banking (ASX:WBC). The investment was paired with an agreement for the two companies to explore the integration of Zip’s products and services into Westpac’s network across Australia. The investment will be by subscription of ordinary equity of 49,382,716 shares at a price of $0.81 per share. This represents a 14.1% premium over the close of $0.71 on August 4th.

India

How technology is helping investors achieve their financial aspirations (Financial Express), Rated: A

Most Indians save first and think of spending later. However, when it comes time for them to plan their expenses, they end up relying on mental estimates of their financial position. As a result, most people are never confident of 1) how much to save and 2) whether they can reach their financial aspirations with their current investment plan. This is especially true for young professionals who want to save for a secure future but also want a more fulfilling life experience. What is required is financial advice that delivers the answers to these questions in a clear and quantified way.

A solution to these issues has come from the field of artificial intelligence. Cognitive technologies is a branch of artificial intelligence that deals with the application of computers towards tasks traditionally performed by people. The aim of this process is to design a software solution that has comprehensive and detailed instructions, that enables it to do the same work that a person can. The benefits of this approach are that the same work can be done at a much faster pace, at a higher accuracy and at a lower cost.

Asia

Japan’s SoftBank says Q1 profit jumps 50.1% after inclusion of Vision Fund (CNBC), Rated: AAA

Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp on Monday reported a 50.1 percent rise in first-quarter operating profit, after the company included Vision Fund, the world’s largest private equity fund, as a new reportable segment and booked a valuation gain.

The internet and telecoms giant said profit for the quarter through June increased to 479.2 billion yen ($4.33 billion).

Fintech investments tripled in Singapore (The Star), Rated: AAA

GLOBAL investment in financial technology (fintech) firms more than doubled in the second quarter of the year, compared with the first quarter, to US$8.4bil (S$11.4bil) across 293 deals, KPMG said in a recent report.

Investment in fintech in Singapore more than tripled to US$61.5mil (S$83.3mil), although there were only four deals, compared with seven the quarter before.

Indonesian P2P Lending Platform UangTeman Secures Million During Series A Funding Round Led By K2 Venture Capital (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On Monday, Indonesia-based peer-to-peer lending platform UangTeman announced it successfully secured $12 million during its Series A funding round, which was led by K2 Venture Capital, with participation from STI Financial Group and Draper Associates.

Middle East

UAE Authorities Plan SMB Crowdfunding Framework (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

United Arab Emirates (UAE) regulators are setting out to establish a framework to guide the small business (SMB) crowdfunding market, news reports on Sunday (Aug. 6) said.

Equity crowdfunding is expected to provide $93 billion to small- and medium-sized enterprises by 2020, reports added. In the UAE, SMBs stand to gain significantly from that trend, as these businesses make up an estimated 85 percent of all UAE companies. In Dubai, that number is even higher, at nearly 95 percent of all businesses, reports added.

Meanwhile, research from the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development found that as many as 70 percent of small business loan applications in the UAE are rejected by traditional banks, despite efforts from the national government and the Central Bank of the UAE to promote SMB financing.

Latin America

Mexican fund invests in peer-to-peer lending network (Latin Lawyer), Rated: A

Greenberg Traurig SC in Mexico City has helped Mexican venture capital fund Ignia invest in peer-to-peer lending network Afluenta.

Africa

Why African fintech startups are becoming even more attractive for investors (Quartz), Rated: AAA

Take Flutterwave, a payments company which builds infrastructure to ease processing payments across Africa, it’s just raised $10 million in its Series A round. Significantly, the round was led by leading Silicon Valley venture capital funds Greycroft and Green Visor Capital, with participation from Y Combinator and Glynn Capital.

Fintech startups are the “most attractive,” for tech investors looking towards Africa, according to a recent report by Disrupt Africa. Nearly 20% of fintech startups tracked raised money in the last two years and in 2016, there was a 84% increase in the number of fintech startups secured investment compared to the previous year. In total, since 2015, fintech startups in Africa had raised $93 million in investment as of June 2017. Flutterwave’s raise takes that total past the $100 million mark.

In more advanced economies, fintech startups are focused on disrupting the traditional banking industry by changing how people access financial services. But in most parts of sub Saharan Africa, that’s not the case. In fact, fintech startups are typically creating products and services to plug many of the gaps which currently exist.

Indeed, as of 2014, only 34% of adults in sub Saharan Africa had bank accounts. Given the sheer size of the market which remains under-served, fintech startups are presented with a huge opportunity. And for investors, all that represents a major upside.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

 

Monday June 19 2017, Daily News Digest

Lending Club default rates

News Comments Today’s main news: Finastra inks agreement with IBM. One number Elevate Credit shareholders are worried about. Zopa makes IFISA available to existing customers. Yirendai ready to include wealth management. Klarna wins Europe’s biggest fintech banking license. Today’s main analysis: Online lenders do a good job of identifying fraud. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Bloomberg report is critical of online […]

Lending Club default rates

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

Africa

News Summary

United States

One Number Elevate Credit Shareholders Are Worried About (The Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

Elevate Credit, Inc. (NYSE:ELVT) the newly public subprime fintech lender, delivered its first quarterly earnings report as a public company on May 8, and the results were impressive. Loan originations grew almost 40%, while revenue grew by a smaller 20%, due to the lowering of interest rates on Elevate’s high-rate loan products. Elevate’s IPO was unusual — most tech IPOs sport high growth rates but negative earnings. In the first quarter, Elevate actually delivered a net profit of $1.7 million. Adjusted EBITDA margin expanded to 16%, above the 10% margin posted in 2016 and the 4% in 2015.

The big blemish on the quarter was a high net charge-off rate  as a percentage of revenues. Net charge-offs measure the amount of principal and interest more than 60 days past due, minus recoveries from prior periods. That number shot up to 59% in the quarter, above the company’s target range of 45-55%,  and up 600 basis points year over year. While the company was still profitable, the $1.7 million in net earnings was down from $6 million in the year-ago quarter.

Management explained that the rise in loan loss provisions was partially related to a new credit score the company tested on lots of new customers at the end of 2016. As is the case with many financial companies, when new customers increase, there is often an initial uptick in defaults or loss ratios.

Bloomberg Report is Critical of Online Lenders (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

A report from Bloomberg this week takes certain online lending platforms to task regarding the fact that some online lenders are not verifying income status.  The report also says that even if there are errors in loan applications the loan may still be approved. More specifically, apparently Prosper does not verify income and employment in about a quarter of the loans. Lending Club is said to verify income in about one third of the loans.

Risk is always part of the investment equation and Orchard Platform perhaps provides the best perspective into affiliated risk of investing in loans originated online.

Online Lenders are doing a good job of identifying the frauds (even without hard income verification) (Croudify), Rated: AAA

Recently there was an article in Bloomberg (Article Link) that talked about how online lenders are not always verifying the basic borrower information like Income.

We at Croudify have been analyzing the loan data for more than 2 years and wanted to shed some light on the article and show that while the headline is true the devil is in the details and actually the platforms have been doing a very good job in identifying the fraud.

Once we had concluded that the non-verified loans are not growing as percent of population the logical next step was to check if these loans are performing worse than before. Is there a possibility that the loans without income verification have deteriorated over time and hence the red flag.

This points to a very important finding that the preliminary indicators that Lending Club is using in identifying the fraudulent behavior is not only working it is working great and is providing a performance lift to loans.

Pricey ‘fintech’ lenders put the squeeze on cash-strapped small businesses (L.A. Times), Rated: A

So Newman, 61, turned instead to an online lending company called OnDeck. After submitting a handful of bank statements, he was quickly approved for a $65,000 loan, which allowed Newman to cover his wine shipments and keep his business running.

“These loans are predatory by nature,” he told me. Think payday loans for small businesses, he said, with interest rates well over 30%.

And there’s something to that. Loans with a higher degree of risk would naturally come with higher interest rates. The question is whether such loans are being marketed honestly and fairly, and whether customers are able to make informed decisions about financial obligations.

Fairness in lending means clear and straightforward disclosure of terms and conditions. On that score, OnDeck seems to come up short.

For example, the company’s website boasts that term loans of up to $500,000 can be obtained with annual interest rates as low as 5.99%. Newman said that when he contacted OnDeck, he was hoping to get a loan at such a rate. But it didn’t work out that way.

What he got was a 12-month, $65,000 loan, plus nearly $17,500 in interest and an origination fee of $1,625. That translated to an annual percentage rate of 55%.

In fact, OnDeck told me its average annual interest rate for term loans, excluding fees, is 38%. If that’s the case, I asked why the rate most prominently displayed on their website is 5.99%.

China Merchants Bank is considered the largest industry player currently, but still its assets under management in its private banking division are worth just 1.66 trillion yuan.

Assessing the future of the financial advice industry (InvestmentNews), Rated: A

First: There will be fewer advisers, possibly many fewer. The trend line points down, and there’s nothing in the three- to five-year outlook to change that.

The future leaders of this profession see advisers serving far more clients with a greater assist from technology, as well as more reliance on outsourcing.

But those requiring expert financial advice will undoubtedly seek a more complete look at all areas where money touches their lives — and how those areas intersect. Who will need it most? A large population that isn’t necessarily today’s prime prospect pool, at least for advisers paid based on a percentage of assets: the HENRYs (high-earner, not rich yet). As investment advisers move beyond mere investments, and the field becomes a profession, compensation surely will evolve to ensure those who most need advice can get it and those giving advice can still run a profitable business.

In financial advice this will take the form of a planning quarterback who strategizes the entire financial game plan and keeps clients on track largely through automated accountability programs.

If you find this hard to believe, just wait until Google or Amazon moves full throttle into the asset management business.

Offer B2B Fintech Solutions To Help Clients Grow Their Sales (Forbes), Rated: A

In April, 2017, Pew Charitable Trusts published the results of a national survey of payday loan borrowers. The top three responses to what is most important to these borrowers in choosing where to get a payday loan were:

  • 76% – How quickly they can get the money
  • 74% – The fee charged
  • 73% – The certainty that they would be approved for the loan

The survey reveals other important consumer attitudes about payday loans. Most respondents believe that there should be more regulation of lenders, and lower interest charges. They would also prefer almost any other borrowing option or loan type to the payday solution.

Chuck Wait Tire, located in the small rural community of Mowrystown, Ohio, had never cleared more than $100,000 in monthly revenue, until they implemented Acima. The next month, they not only beat the $100,000 threshold, they killed it with a 33% monthly increase in sales from $90,000 to $120,000.

Podcast 105: Robert Morgan of the American Bankers Association (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • The core purpose of the ABA.
  • What is in the ABA Fintech Playbook and why they published it.
  • How the bank of  the future will be different to today.
  • How the ABA select their Endorsed Solutions providers.
  • The attitude of banks today regarding partnering with fintech platforms.
  • How large banks differ to small banks when it comes to partnering.
  • The needs of banks today when it comes to new technologies.
  • The official stance of the ABA on the OCC Fintech Charter.
  • The ABA’s view on the data sharing initiatives taking hold in Europe.
  • How banks, data aggregators and fintech companies are working together on data sharing.
  • How open banking could work in a similar way to Facebook logins.
  • Some of the other new technologies that are on Rob’s radar.
  • How banks of the future will be similar to banks of today.

ArborCrowd Now Offering $ 69.7 Million Commercial Real Estate Deal to Investors in Miami (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Online commercial real estate company ArborCrowd announced on Thursday it is now offering a new $69.7 million commercial real estate deal to investors. The Lago Paradiso property is described as a multifamily complex located in Miami, Florida. 

According to ArborCrowd, investors now have the opportunity to own a piece of a $4 million stake in Lago Paradiso. The property now has a targeted 13 percent to 17 percent Internal Rate of Return (IRR) and a projected hold period of four to seven years.

United Kingdom

Zopa Announcement: IFISA Is Now Available to Existing Customers (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Zopa announced on Thursday its IFISA is now available for all existing Zopa customers. Along with the IFISA, the online lender unveiled its latest peer-to-peer investment product, Zopa Core.

Zopa then explained that the Zopa Core product has a target return of 3.9% and by December will replace its products, Access and Classic, without Safeguard coverage. IFISA and Zopa Core features include:

Funding Circle SME Income fund holds steady on dividend (AltFi), Rated: AAA

The £406m Funding Circle SME Income fund has paid out its fifth dividend, the fourth consecutive quarter at the same 1.625p level, holding pay-outs in line with targets.

OFF3R Wants to Become “Money Supermarket” (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

At last count OFF3R hosts offers from 36 different UK platforms. Today in a report on P2PFinanceNews, OFF3R is revealing it is raising £5 million to become the “Money Supermarket” for investments. Essentially OFF3R wants to integrate today’s alternative investments with yesterday’s more traditional types.

Fiserv to buy UK mobile payments pioneer Monitise for 70 million pounds (Reuters), Rated: A

U.S. financial technology provider Fiserv said on Tuesday it had agreed to buy British financial services technology firm Monitise Plc for about 70 million pounds ($88.72 million).

AIM-listed Monetise, worth about 2 billion pounds at its peak in early 2014, blazed a trail by linking banks and mobile operators to build a business capable of handling billions of dollars in mobile payments, purchases and money transfers.

The SME’s guide to P2P (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

“The key thing is making sure that you’re looking for the right type of finance,” explains Paul Marston, managing director of commercial finance at peer-to-peer lending platform RateSetter.

A survey by the British Business Bank for 2015/16 found that 100,00 small businesses were rejected for loans by mainstream lenders – equating to £4bn of potential finance.

“If you’re an SME and go to the bank for an unsecured loan, there’s a cap of around £50,000, whereas Funding Circle will offer up to £350,000.

Funding Circle explains that it offers four key benefits for SME borrowers: speed, flexibility, efficiency and transparency.

As P2P platforms are purely online, busy business owners can apply for finance outside of working hours. “More than 50 per cent of loan applications are made outside of working hours, when a bank branch would be closed,” says Funding Circle.

While criteria varies from platform to platform, P2P loans are often more suitable for businesses that are slightly more established. For example, RateSetter offers loans to businesses that have been trading for at least three years and has at least two years of either audited accounts or formally prepared management accounts. And Funding Circle only lends to businesses that have been trading for more than two years, have a turnover of more than £50,000 and are a UK limited company.

However, there are still options for start-ups. Crowd2Fund has recently launched a ‘venture debt’ product which enables early-stage companies that are not cash-flow positive to access debt finance. Crowd2Fund argues that this can be simpler than raising equity and enables founders to keep control of their company.

Funding Xchange claims that a business using its platform can expect an average saving of £2,000 by comparing pricing from multiple providers – representing 10 per cent of the value of the average loan.

LendInvest hires second Northern BDM (Financial Reporter), Rated: B

LendInvest has appointed its second BDM for Northern England to satisfy growing demand in the region.

Sophie Mitchell-Charman joins the team from Mint where she worked as a Bridging BDM. Based in York, she will travel extensively throughout northern England, with a particular focus on deals in the North East.

China

P2P platform Yirendai ready to move up a financial league or two, including into wealth management (SCMP), Rated: AAA

Yirendai, China’s largest peer-to-peer lending platform, is looking to raise its profile even higher, with an expanded product offering, the company’s chief executive Fang Yihan has told the South China Morning Post, shrugging off any worries about a regulation-induced slowdown in the industry.

New rules governing the industry will come into force in August, and according to available drafts, these will impose a limit of 200 000 yuan (US$29,400) on lending to individual borrowers, require the lenders to carry out stricter background checks on all clients, and establish strong contractual relations with custodian banks.

Double digit returns for investors were commonplace last year, but will become harder to find.

But with its scale, larger players such as Yirendai that will be the most likely to gain a competitive advantage from the tighter rules.

China’s retail wealth management market was worth 120 trillion yuan last year, according to a report by Boston Consulting Group, which expects growth of 12 per cent annually for the next five years.

China Merchants Bank is considered the largest industry player currently, but still its assets under management in its private banking division are worth just 1.66 trillion yuan.

Yirendai is also experimenting with allowing partners to sell services other lending services via its platforms.

Yirendai Recognized as Best P2P Lending Platform in China at the Future of Finance Summit (IT Business Net), Rated: A

Yirendai Ltd. (NYSE: YRD) (“Yirendai” or the “Company”), a leading online consumer finance marketplace in China, today announced that it was awarded the Best P2P Lending Platform in China Award at The Future of Finance Summit (the “Summit”) held in Singapore on June 8-9, 2017. Yirendai is the first FinTech company in China to receive this prestigious reward.

China’s P2P Lending business volume of May reached to $ 53billion, keeping another new record. (Xing Ping She Email), Rated: A

According to a latest monthly report issued by P2P001.com, the total volume of P2P lending in China hit a new record to $53billion on May, with the month-on-month growth of 11.32%.

On May, the average annual interest rate for P2P loans was 8.34%, which has been slowly rising for three months in a row. However, the financial “deleveraging” and tighter monetary policy are still undergoing, it is unlikely that P2P lending rates will continue to rise.

By the end of May, the accumulated P2P loan balance in China has reached to $213billion, with the month-on-month growth of 6.72%. Among them, the loans outstanding on P2P loans of more than $29,850 reached to $152 billion, accounting for 71.46% of the total; the loans outstanding on P2P loans of more than $149,253 reached to $101billion, accounting for 47.43%.

In addition, there are 672 P2P lending institutions assigned depository agreement with banks up to the late May, involving 59 banks and 28 provincial and municipal lending platforms, and 286 of them have been already launched online.

China Banking Regulatory Commission issued a standard campus loan requirements (01Caijing), Rated: A

Recently, the China Banking Regulatory Commission, the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security issued the Notice on Further Strengthening the Management of Campus Credit.

It is pointed out that commercial banks and policy banks should provide customized products for college students, training, consumption and entrepreneurship under the premise of risk control while strengthening the rectification of campus loan problems. And the standardization of financial services, together set the credit line and interest rates.

Beijing and Shenzhen drive Chinese fintech (Deal Street Asia), Rated: A

Ning Tang, CEO and founder of Chinese fintech major Creditease, believes that the current landscape will require players in the finance sector to evolve their approach amid a highly disruptive technology landscape with substantial opportunity.

What’re the assets under management and the role of the Singapore office?

Every year we help clients deploy over $100 billion of capital and the idea of coming to Singapore in 2014 was that this city was one of the bases for our internationalisation strategy.

You’ve got different entrepreneurial hubs in China – Hangzhou, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Beijing – which is the fintech capital of China? 

I’d like to say Beijing because that’s Creditease’s base. But in terms of technology innovation, not just in financial services, I think Beijing and Shenzhen are the leading cities, while some say Hangzhou as well.

Why do so many Chinese firms want to list in New York when Chinese entrepreneurs have access to very liquid stock markets in cities like Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong? 

In our experience, the US capital markets are more advanced in terms of welcoming innovative business models and companies at the growth stage despite being a pre-profit stock.

Recently, Beijing has been implementing capital controls and kerbing capital outflows from China. How has this affected Creditease’s business?  

We’re largely unaffected by these controls, as many of our wealth management clients have assets outside of China, and we help them manage those. However, with our Creditease Fintech Investment Fund,  we had some of our partners who were able to invest overseas.

There’s been a lot of movement in the Bitcoin and Ethereum markets. What’s the view of Creditease on digital currencies as an asset class and its use in marketplace lending? 

We remain interested but it’s too early at this stage. The regulatory framework and security issues around such models…I think we’d like to see more things get worked out before this asset class becomes appealing to our investor base. We help our investors do asset allocation and any asset class going into the portfolio should be a major asset class. Otherwise, it’s quite speculative and not helpful to our investors

Looking at the future of fintech in China, you have Beijing where the regulators are based. With all these centres like Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, what is the future of all these different ecosystems? 

Quite interestingly, you’re talking about cities. I’m thinking about nations.

So different cities and nations have to assess the unique attributes they work and work on refining and enhancing those. I’m quite hopeful that Beijing will continue to be the fintech hub and with Creditease, we’ve got a presence in various places like Israel, Singapore, New York and Hong Kong, so we can access this innovation everywhere!

China: WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

As the plan summaries, from 2011 to 2015, over 96 regulations and guidelines for the financial sector have been issued. In the next five years, another 110 regulatory updates or new regulations or guidelines will be released.

Alibaba Group Holding Limited hosted an Investor Day on June 8-9 at Alibaba Xixi Headquarters. Speakers included Jack Ma (Executive Chairman), Daniel Zhang (CEO) and other members of the senior management team.

To safeguard the interests and property rights of college students and maintain financial stability for P2P online lending market, China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC), Ministry of Education and Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security have jointly issued a paper to regulate the student loans market. The paper encourages commercial banks and policy banks to develop student loans business and provide standardized financial services to college students.

Ant Financial’s virtual credit card service Ant Check Later (also known as “Huabei” in Mandarin) is eyeing to link up to 4 million online and offline merchants to help them grow businesses and attract consumers who have little access to physical credit cards.

At present, third party payment service license has become an essential equipment for any Chinese company who wants to expand into financial services. On June 7, GOME Finance announced to acquire a payment service company Easy Bonus Card. GOME Finance paid up to CNY 720 million, mainly for the license, which could make the company complement the payment capabilities and accelerate the process of technological innovation.

European Union

Sweden’s Klarna wins Europe’s biggest fintech banking licence (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Klarna has become the largest European fintech company to get a banking licence, with the Swedish group saying it wants to become the Ryanair of the sector, attacking lenders across the continent.

Valued at more than $2bn, Klarna has already captured much of the market for online payments in the Nordics and Germany, and on Monday received a banking licence from the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority 20 months after filing for one.

The Swedish group – which had revenues of SKr3.6bn last year and was valued at $2.25bn in a fundraising in 2015 – is looking at offering customers across Europe services such as bank cards and salary accounts as well as eyeing the US for future expansion.

Crowdfunding Platform BrickVest Makes First Exit At 31% Return (Bisnow), Rated: A

BrickVest, the real estate investment crowdfunding platform, has announced that some of its investors have exited an investment for the first time, at a sizzling return.

BrickVest, the real estate investment crowdfunding platform, has announced that some of its investors have exited an investment for the first time, at a sizzling return.

The BrickVest fund invested in a portfolio of 23 retail assets in a joint venture alongside Corestate Capital.

Russian Fintech And Their Fight Against Geopolitics (Forbes), Rated: A

According to EY’s Fintech Adoption Index report last year, although Russian online adoption is lower in comparison to major financial centers like London, New York or Hong Kong, the market in this area is growing at a rapid rate. Online payments and money transfers are booming Russia, as are Moscow and St Petersburg are becoming hubs for this form of technology.

David Waroquier, Partner at Mangrove Capital Partners also highlighted that access to funding in Russia is more limited. ‘This means Russian fintech companies must have a tighter control on costs and be very efficient operationally.’

As said before, one of the trends that has exploded in Russia is mobile payments, as the EY report states that 57.6% of Russians used this service in comparison to the 17.6% globally. There are currently 56 million online mobile users over 16 in the country and according to Gfk, 53% of online users in Russia made at least one mobile payment in the last 6 months, as Dunaev said.

European Crowdfunding Network Launches Survey on Cross-border Crowdfunding & Online Lending (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The European Crowdfunding Network (ECN) has launched a survey dedicated to addressing the challenges of cross border transactions in the investment space. More specifically, the ECN is seeking input on cross border crowdfunding and online lending, including peer to peer / marketplace lending.

The ECN explains:

We will focus solely on crowdfunding models that entail a financial return, notably:

  • Investment-based crowdfunding (where companies issue equity or debt instruments to crowd-investors through a platform) and
  • Lending-based crowdfunding (where companies or individuals seek to obtain funds from the public through platforms in the form of a loan agreement)

The survey is available here. 

International

Newly Formed Finastra Signs Agreement with IBM on Banking Technology, Fintech (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Finastra, created by the merging of Misys and D+H, and IBM (NYSE: IBM) have reached an agreement to explore how Finastra can transform their banking operations with IBM Cloud and Cognitive technologies. The two companies plan to bring IBM technology into the Finastra open architecture to enrich the digital retail banking experience and bring new innovations to market.

WorldRemit adds Android Pay as secure option for migrant remittances (Reuters), Rated: A

Cross-border money transfer service WorldRemit is enabling its immigrant customer base to send money home using Android Pay, making it the first international remittance firm to run on the Google payments system, the company said on Tuesday.

Connecting with Android Pay will enable WorldRemit customers in developed markets like Europe or North America to make instant international money transfers to reach the 112 million accounts available via WorldRemit’s network of payment channels.

London-based WorldRemit says it handles about three-quarters of mobile phone-based international money transfers, a small but fast-growing segment of the global $575 billion worldwide remittance market. Recipients using WorldRemit can up pick cash or deposit money in banks or mobile money accounts or top up mobile accounts.

Traydstream launches fintech solution for paperless trade (Global Trade Review), Rated: B

New fintech player, Traydstream, has launched a solution to digitalise trade documents and automate regulatory compliance screening using artificial intelligence.

In short, Traydstream’s new solution digitalises the whole trade transaction – from invoice to Swift – and is targeted at banks as well as corporates.

Australia

Big banks and fintech start-ups face up to Jack Ma’s mobile payments juggernaut Ant Financial (abc.net.au), Rated: A

While Ant Financial says it wants to work with our banks, not against them, some are warning disruption from a global digital giant is inevitable, even if it doesn’t come from China.

Former Challenger exec Paul Rogan makes robo-advice play (Australian Financial Review), Rated: A

Paul Rogan, the former chief executive of distribution, marketing and research who stepped out of the role in February after 12 years at Australia’s largest annuities providers, is now readying to launch Retirement Essentials, an online platform that educates and assists those who are already in retirement on how to manage their money.

Mr Rogan has invested an undisclosed sum in SuperEd, the the robo-adviser co-founded in 2012 by Vanguard Australia founder Jeremy Duffield and Westpac executive and technology entrepreneur Hugh Morrow.

India

Wadhawans opens UK unit, buys stake in Zopa (India Times), Rated: AAA

Wadhawan Global Capital (WGC), which owns 38% of DHFL and is the controlling lever for the group’s financial businesses, has set up a London unit that opened its account through undisclosed -but sizeable-investments in 12-year-old Zopa.

What the future holds for the P2P lending market in India and the world (My Big Plunge), Rated: A

While the overall internet-based alternative finance industry registered transactions worth more than $57 million between 2013 and 2015, online peer-to-peer or marketplace lending saw loans with a cumulative value of over $2 million disbursed during the same period. The total loan value in the corresponding two years has grown by around $2 million, with an estimated $4.5 million worth of loans disbursed through online peer-to-peer lending platforms by the end of 2016.

But even as industry projections predict the market for peer-to-peer loans to be worth $4-5 billion by the end of 2023, this promising segment is still a long way off from achieving its true potential as a highly viable alternative investment class.

The launch of India’s Digital Stack that includes Aadhar, eKYC and digital payments is paving the way for the country’s shift towards a cashless economy.

The year 2017 is expected to be the year of financial technology, with alternative lending and investment products like peer-to-peer lending set to be driving forces for the latest iteration of the fintech revolution in India.

Faircent.com, for example, has consistently delivered net returns upwards of 18% per annum to its majority of lenders.

Asia

InvestaCrowd Updates on Real Estate Crowdfunding in Asia (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

About a year ago, Crowdfund Insider connected with Julian Kwan, CEO and co-founder of Investacrowd, a real estate crowdfunding platform that was established in Singapore. Kwan was born in Australia but has spent the last 17 years in Asia – most recently Singapore. Having founded multiple companies, Kwan is a longtime real estate investor, developer, and manager.  InvestaCrowd was envisioned as a vehicle to provide access to real estate investments in select markets like New York City, Sydney or London.  As with many real estate platforms, by using technology much of the process may be completed online.

A report by Cushman & Wakefield from earlier this year highlighted this fact. In a publication, Cushman & Wakefield explained;

“Compared to other countries, China ranked No. 1 among foreign investors in commercial real estate within the U.S. in 2016. China inbound investment deal volumes have grown rapidly, reaching $19.2 billion USD in 2016, a record high. Sixty-two percent of the investments, which equated to $11.9 billion USD, were deals over $1 billion USD. The five largest Chinese investment transactions were among the top ten largest transactions in the U.S. in 2016.”

Kwan told us InvestaCrowd was in the process of obtaining a capital markets license from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) – now a requirement.

But current investors are turning into repeat investors. InvestaCrowd does not focus on Southeast Asian real estate which brings better quality deals but adds a different challenge to the mix. While he likes the Singapore market it is in a bit of a pause. On the other side, he is very cautious on deals in countries like Vietnam, Indonesia or China – a country where he spent many years in the real estate sector.

Kwan said they are looking to set up a line of credit too, so as to be able to pre-fund deals.

Meet Anna Haotanto, The Fintech Queen of Singapore (IB Times), Rated: A

Singapore is one of the leading hotspots for financial tech thanks to flexible regulation plus national initiatives to fund startups and integrate blockchain innovation into the local economy. American venture capitalists at the Ethereal Summit in New York praised Singapore as a ripe market, teeming with collaboration between entrepreneurs, regulators, banks and investors. The small island nation wants more than a high-tech economy: Singapore aims to become a global fintech hub.

Haotanto is a self-made millionaire determined to make fintech more accessible for Asian women. Her online media startup, the New Savvy, targets women investors by providing 30,000 Asian subscribers with finance and career guidance. This is no ordinary women’s publication. Forbes reported her team partners with the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the Singapore Exchange (SGX) and Far East Organization to produce pragmatic content.

So her company organized the Future Is Female conference in April, along with SGX, attended by 250 women.

Africa

P2P Cash Launches Money Transfer Service to Nigeria With No Transfer Fees (Press Release Rocket), Rated: A

P2P Cash, a Georgia-based digital financial services company, has opened a new money transfer service from the US states of Georgia and South Carolina to Nigeria. P2P Cash now offers cross-border money transfers at competitive exchange rates without any transfer fees. Nigerians and Nigerian-Americans in Georgia and South Carolina can find this new service at . Customers may also download the mobile app from the Google Play or Apple Stores.

P2P Cash’s aggressive no-fee pricing position is possible because of its proprietary Smart Token technology and global disbursement network.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor