Thursday May 30 2019, Weekly News Digest

financial hub

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi has raised $500M. Morningstar accelerates acquisition of DBRS. PayPal hits $10B in small business loans milestone. Lendy goes into administration. Klarna launches installment loan app for all retailers. New York overtakes London as financial hub of the world. Today’s main analysis: LendingClub’s advance shareholder meeting presentation (A MUST-READ). Today’s […]

The post Thursday May 30 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

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News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Other

News Summary

United States

Online lender SoFi has quietly raised $ 500 million in funding, led by Qatar (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Online lending startup Social Finance, better known as SoFi, took another tack this morning, quietly announcing in a press release that it has closed half a billion dollars in a single funding round led by Qatar Investment Authority, a Doha, Qatar-based private equity and sovereign wealth fund.

SoFi Raises $ 500M, Valuation Remains $ 4.3B (PYMNTS), Rated: A

The company said it will use the capital to invest in growth and add some muscle to its $2.3 billion balance sheet. The company’s valuation will stay about the same as with the last funding round two years ago, which was led by Silver Lake.

SoFi Is Close to a Deal Putting Its Name on L.A. Football Stadium (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Social Finance Inc., a financial technology startup, is close to signing a deal that would put its name on a new NFL stadium under construction in Inglewood, California, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The deal for the stadium, which would be home to the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers, hasn’t been signed so figures could change. But currently the agreement would have SoFi pay $20 million a year for 20 years, these people added.

Morningstar to Accelerate Credit Ratings Business with DBRS Acquisition (Morningstar), Rated: AAA

Morningstar, Inc. today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire DBRS, the world’s fourth-largest credit ratings agency, for a purchase price of $669 million. The combination of DBRS with Morningstar Credit Ratings’ U.S. business will expand global asset class coverage and provide an enhanced platform for providing investors with leading fixed-income analysis and research.

PayPal’s Latest Milestone: $ 10 Billion In Small Business Loans (Forbes), Rated: AAA

The small business lending market is booming and it’s not the traditional banks that are benefiting. Fintechs are leading the way. Case in point: PayPal.  It hit a milestone, announcing it has provided more than $10 billion in loans to more than 225,000 small businesses around the globe.

The $10 billion mark comes a little more than five years after PayPal made its first loan. Today it has issued more than 650,000 loans through financing programs in the U.S., UK, Australia, Germany, and Mexico.

PayPal Crosses $ 10 Billion In Small Business Loans (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Now they are hitting some impressive quarterly milestones, originating $1 billion per quarter, so their next $10 billion is surely to happen even quicker.

deBanked recently highlighted the leading small business originators which showed that PayPal is solidly the leader when it comes to originations in the US. OnDeck which is second to PayPal reported originations of $636 million in Q1 2019. According to data provided by Funding Circle on their website, which includes their lending globally, they have originated $9.5 billion in loans.

Source: deBanked.com

LendingClub Posts Presentation in Advance of Shareholder Meeting (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Borrowers can save over $ 2,000 by shopping for lenders who offer low mortgage fees (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

Key findings

  • Mortgage fees in the first quarter had a median of $2,059 for purchase loans and $1,807 for refinancing.
  • The more offers a borrower receives, the greater the potential for savings. For people receiving five offers, the median spread between the highest and lowest fees offered was $2,045.
  • 7% of new purchase borrowers and 8% of refinance borrowers were offered $0 in fees.
  • 15% of new purchase borrowers and 19% of refinance borrowers paid less than $500 in fees.
  • 28% of purchase borrowers paid less than $1,000 in mortgage fees, with 35% of refinance borrowers also paying less than $1,000 in fees.
  • At the high end, 13% of purchase borrowers were hit with fees over $5,000, 3% over $10,000 and 0.21% over $20,000.
  • For refinance loans, 12% were offered upfront fees over $5,000, 1% over $10,000 and 0.02% over $20,000.

Home Loan Provider Earns Top 5-Star Rating from TopConsumerReviews.com (PRWeb), Rated: A

TopConsumerReviews.com recently gave their highest rating to LendingTree, an industry leader among providers of Home Loans, for another consecutive year.

Where Are We in the Credit Cycle? (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

First, a quick summary of headlines. The Fed agreed to keep interest rates on hold for longer according to the minutes of the April meeting. The decision is expected to help inflation pick up towards the Fed’s 2% target. The Fed’s latest ‘dot plot’, shown below, indicates Fed governors on the margin expect lower rates in the 2019 to 2021 timeframe suggesting lower growth expectations.

Source: PeerIQ, US Federal Reserve, Bloomberg

“…what we see is right now the fundamentals of the economy in the U.S. on a global basis and the fundamentals of consumers and unemployment being low as you mentioned, means that credit is in good shape and we just don’t see that changing a lot.”

Brian Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America

Kroll also released a report on the Evolution of the Consumer Loan Marketplace Sector to lay out how the sector has matured over time. The report comes on the heels of a Fitch report that said that declining credit enhancements in MPL deals is unwarranted.

Prevent attrition and win new relationships with loan options (Bankless Times), Rated: AAA

Small business clients are increasingly looking to alternative lenders for financing. There are numerous draws for SMB clients: a fast and easy application process, quick funding, and a higher chance of being approved for a loan.

According to the Federal Reserve’s Small Business Credit Survey, the main reason clients applied for funding from an online lender was the speed of decision / funding (63 percent) followed by a better chance of being funded (61 percent).

The number of small business owners who turn to alternative lenders for funding has increased steadily since 2016.

Source: Bankless Times

RedWeek Teams Up with Affirm to Help Travelers Vacation Now and Pay Later (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

RedWeek.com, the largest online community for timeshare rentals and resales, announced a new partnership with Affirm that will give travelers the flexibility to pay for their vacation rentals in simple, monthly installments.

Travelers can check eligibility for a loan online before booking their next trip and, after entering five simple pieces of information, receive a real-time decision without impacting their credit scores.

3 Alternative Lending Options to Help Build Your Business Credit (Nav.com), Rated: A

1. Online Business Loans

Once upon a time, if you wanted to borrow money for your business you had to make a trip down to your local bank branch or credit union to see if you could qualify for funding. However, a new generation of business lenders has since emerged to offer business owners an alternative way to secure capital.

2. Invoice Financing

Is your business structured in a way so that it gets paid after delivering services or goods to customers? If so, invoice financing is an alternative lending option that might work for you.

3. Microloans

Microloans are issued through non-profit organizations aptly named microlenders. Although the maximum loan size is generally $50,000, the average microloan issued to a small business or startup is a much smaller $6,000.

CoreLogic Teletrack launches a new platform for lenders and credit issuers (Automotive News), Rated: A

CoreLogic today launched the new CoreLogic Teletrack platform, offering lenders and credit issuers superior access and greater insight into alternative credit data through one of the industry’s largest alternative credit databases. The new platform and solution combine upgraded services, data, products and an analytics engine to help users discover new market segments, make smarter risk decisions and grow their business throughout the credit lifecycle.

What Intuit knows about you (AXIOS), Rated: A

Intuit said Tuesday it had agreed to buy analytics company Origami Logic, effectively doubling down on the use of customer data to enhance its marketing.

The company can cross-sell its own products as well as products and services from third parties — like a Capital One Platinum Credit Card or a loan from Lending Club — based on what it knows about you.

Kabbage And Azlo Collaborate To Make Small Business Lending Easier (eSellerCafe), Rated: A

US online banking platform Azlo and online small business lender announced the launch of Mission Street Capital, a new program that provides small businesses banking with Azlo access to loans through Kabbage up to $250,000.

BitX Funding Strikes Equipment Finance Alliance (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Small business lending marketplace BitX Funding has struck an alliance with transportation equipment finance company Pelagic Capital, the companies said in a press release Tuesday (May 28).

On the Dark Web, your social security number is only worth (CB Insights Email), Rated: A

5 Home Loan Apps To Test-Drive (Spokes-Recorder), Rated: B

Not many know this discount bulk retail giant also provides a loan marketplace to shop for the best mortgage rate. While open to all, Costco members can access discounts on lending services. Loan options include home equity, fixed and adjustable rate, FHA, VA, USDA, and jumbo. Note, this lender’s services are strictly digital so you will not be able to meet up with someone face-to-face.

Top 5 ways to start Investing With Little Money!! (EconoTimes), Rated: B

Though P2P lendings are not low investment choices; with Fast invest, it is possible. You can start investing here with just 1 pound to accelerate cash flow. The website allows investors to deposit amounts and based on that suggests loans. After you choose the loan pack as an investor, the site assigns borrowers. Once the borrower takes the loan from you, the site starts increasing your invested amount with the applied interest rate of up to 14% till the payback period. It also comes with buyback guarantee if the borrower fails to return your loan in the payback period.

Real estate crowdfunding sites provide you the opportunity to invest in third-party properties. Fundrise is the best crowdfunding platform to go for that lets you start investing with only $500. With a year’s saving, you can start investing in this crowdfunding site and gain 8.7 to 12.4% annual returns based on your deposited amount.

BFS Capital Appoints Fred Kauber as Chief Technology Officer and Chief Product Officer (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

BFS Capital today announced the appointment of Fred Kauber as Chief Technology Officer and Chief Product Officer. As a member of the management team reporting to CEO Mark Ruddock, Kauber will be responsible for leading a customer-focused product and technology organization whose mission is to help BFS re-imagine financial services for small businesses.

United Kingdom

Peer-to-peer lending provider Lendy enters administration (Credit Strategy), Rated: AAA

Damian Webb, Phillip Sykes and Mark Wilson of RSM Restructuring Advisory have been appointed as joint administrators of three companies within the Lendy Group: Lendy Limited, Saving Stream Security Holdings Limited and Lendy Provision Reserve Limited.

Does Lendy Collapse Hint the Failure of P2P Loans Industry? (LearnBonds), Rated: A

Before administration, over £90 million of loans defaulted out of £160 million of outstanding loans. The collapse of Lendy means investors had lost millions of pounds.

BondMason Reportedly Is Shutting Down P2P Business (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

BondMason, an online savings and investments platform that sources investments from across the peer-to-peer (P2P) market for its clients, has reportedly announced it is officially shutting down its P2P lending business.

Combating The Payday Loan With On-Demand Wages (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Peter Briffett, CEO of U.K. FinTech Wagestream, told PYMNTS in a recent interview that the cash flow constraints of having to wait for a single day to receive wages every month can be dangerous to the financial wellness of professionals. A single, expensive incident can force these professionals into debt via bank overdrafts or credit cards — or worse, Briffett said, into the payday loan cycle.

The company recently announced a $51 million funding round for its solution — led by Balderton Capital and Northzone, which provided equity, and Shawbrook, which provided debt.

Microfinance Trends and Size of the Market (Cryptopolitan), Rated: A

And that is where microfinance is moving – to an era where individuals and businesses can get financial services from other individuals and business entities. Technology is providing tools for matching borrowers and lenders. And even more important – the tools for creating contracts that execute accordingly.

European Union

Klarna Launches a Direct-to-Consumer App With Installment Payments Built in (Digital Transactions), Rated: AAA

Announced Tuesday, the Klarna app presents the retailer’s site with a footer containing a Pay with Klarna button. When selecting that option, the shopper can pay for purchases in four equal installments with no interest or fees. The app is open to any merchant, not just those already affiliated with Klarna, the company says. These could include retailers without an alternative-payment option or that use a competitor’s program.

10 more big retail tech plays in 2019 (Retail Innovation Hub), Rated: A

PayTech venture Klarna is launching its first UK “all-immersive store” in London’s Covent Garden, with a private VIP party on 4th June.

Becoming a mortgage lender (IPE), Rated: A

Stabelo’s model is to pool capital from institutional investors in exchange for fixed-income securities and uses the money raised to lend mortgages directly to homebuyers. The firm offers mortgages in conjunction with Avanza Bank, which is the biggest online lender in Sweden, and owns just under 20% of Stabelo.

International

London toppled by New York as world’s financial hub (Tech HQ), Rated: AAA

A survey by consultancy and advisory firm Duff & Phelps, involving 180 executives in asset management, private equity, hedge funds, banking and brokerage, found that confidence in the UK capital has plummetted in the last year.

Just 36 percent ranked London as the foremost global financial hub— a year-on-year drop of 17 percent. With New York rising 10 percent, ranked by more than half (52 percent) as the world’s new financial powerhouse, the two cities have “switched places”.

Source: Duff & Phelps

Crypto Lending Platform Cred to Migrate Tokens to Binance Mainnet in New Partnership (CoinTelegraph), Rated: A

Major crypto exchange Binance has partnered with decentralized crypto lending platform Cred to bring its services to the Binance ecosystem, according to a press release publishedon May 29.

As part of the agreement, Cred will migrate some of its ERC-20 LBA tokens to Binance’s mainnet, Binance Chain, and become the official lending and borrowing platform for the decentralized financial ecosystem.

Crypto Lending Startup BlockFi Launches Gemini Dollar Accounts (CoinTelegraph), Rated: A

Cryptocurrency asset management company BlockFi announced that its interest-bearing accounts now support the gemini dollar (GUSD) in a post published on May 29.

Per the announcement, GUSD deposits will see a yearly yield of 6.2%, paid in the stablecoinin question. BlockFi notes that it also offers GUSD as a U.S. dollar funding option and as collateral from institutional cryptocurrency borrowers.

Top 5 emerging fintech hubs (World Finance), Rated: A

São Paulo
Brazil has more fintech start-ups than any other Latin American country, and most of them are consolidated in the country’s financial centre, São Paulo.

Lithuania
One country poised to see an explosion of opportunities after Brexit is Lithuania. In February of this year, the country saw around 100 British financial companies apply for a licence in the country.

Estonia
Estonia has one of the highest rates of start-ups per capita in Europe. According to Startup Genome, 29 percent of all jobs created by these start-ups are within the country’s fintech industry.

Frankfurt
Home to the European Central Bank and more than 200 banks – most of which are foreign – Frankfurt plays an important role in the EU’s financial system.

Bengaluru
Bengaluru (previously Bangalore) is anticipated to become one of the next big tech hubs. One of Asia’s fastest growing start-up ecosystems, the city is home to 438 fintech start-ups and has been dubbed the ‘Silicon Valley of India’.

Nexo Releases Crypto Lending Update Clarifying Misconceptions and Future Outlook (Bitcoin Exchange Guide), Rated: B

Nexo claims their key business model “is unchanged” but that the company is:

“actively exploring new avenues to maximize token utility and investor value.” The company also claims their ultimate goal is to become “a multi-billion dollar financial institution.”

These are the world’s 100 most influential people in gender policy this year (CNBC), Rated: B

Apolitical, a peer-to-peer lending platform for governments, unveiled its list of the world’s 100 most influential individuals on gender equality on Wednesday. It recognized politicians, activists and academics, among others, who were shaping gender policy in 2019.

Australia/New Zealand

Advice beyond mortgages: “the opportunity is huge” (NZ Adviser Online), Rated: AAA

According to Adrienne Church, General Manager at small business lender Prospa, venturing into an unfamiliar type of lending may be worrying – but it is also necessary as the lending market expands, and the property market remains as unpredictable as it inevitably always is.

Asia

TaniGroup Secures US$ 10 Million in Series A Funding to Re-Imagine Agriculture in Indonesia (Global Banking and Finance), Rated: AAA

Agritech startup TaniGroup, which operates agriculture e-commerce TaniHub and peer-to-peer lending provider TaniFund, today announced it raised a US$10 million Series A round of financing led by Openspace Ventures with participation from Intudo Ventures, Golden Gate Ventures, and The DFS Lab.

Peer-To-Peer Lending In Indonesia: A Regulatory Update (Mondaq), Rated: A

In February of this year, the Indonesian Financial Services Authority (Otoritas Jasa Keuangan  or “OJK”) issued an updated checklist for peer-to-peer lending (“P2P lending”) platform providers (“Checklist”) registering with the OJK or applying to the body for a business license or change of ownership. The new Checklist introduces several changes to the previous checklist issued in October 2018. We highlight the key material changes and new requirements introduced by the Checklist.

MENA

Qatar Investment Authority invests more than $ 500M in SoFi (Mobile Payments Today), Rated: AAA

Qatar Investment Authority has led an investment of more than $500 million in SoFi, a mobile-first personal finance firm. The investment values the company at $4.3 billion on a pre-money basis, according to a release from the fund.

East Africa

Kenya Is Also Setting The Standard For Mobile Lending (Forbes), Rated: AAA

We all know that Kenya revolutionized mobile payments for the developing world and brands like M-Pesa continue to lead the market, but what about mobile lending? According to Creditinfo Kenya, 93 percent of all mobile loans originate from regulated financial institutions, and there are around five million borrowers and each has an average of 5.89 loans.

Canada

This Alternative Lending Company Offers Investors a Huge Margin of Safety (The Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

Home Capital is a specialty finance company that primarily deals in mortgages. The company typically deals with borrowers who don’t meet normal bank requirements. It offers traditional mortgages and consumer lending as well as securitizing insured mortgages and offering home equity lines of credit.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday May 30 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Wednesday April 25 2018, Daily News Digest

banking the nonbanks

News Comments Today’s main news: Wells Fargo still the largest bank to lend to nonbanks. Digit adds credit card payments to app. UK finance chief calls for regulatory crackdown on tech giants. Humaniq implements smart biometrics identification. Today’s main analysis: World Bank releases Global Findex Database. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Credit history, debt ratio are biggest constraints for would-be homeowners. Lending […]

banking the nonbanks

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

International

Other

News Summary

United States

Wells Fargo Leaves a Potential Subprime Smudge on Its Way to Squeaky Clean (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

Sloan provided some evidence for that argument last week when the bank paid a $1 billion fine to regulators to close an investigation into abusive practices in its auto lending and mortgage unit.

But a look at one of its lending businesses suggests that exposure to questionable practices isn’t so much an oversight as a business decision. Wells Fargo, according to reports over the past few years, is by far the largest lender among the big banks to payday loan companies and others that make high-interest loans to subprime borrowers, including some that regulators have accused of predatory practices.

Source: Bloomberg

Banks don’t have to report how much they lend to subprime lenders, which falls broadly into the category of nonbank lenders. Wells Fargo, at the end of last year, had by far lent the most to nonbank lenders, with $81 billion in outstanding loans. Citigroup was the bank with next largest exposure, with just $30 billion outstanding.

Source: Bloomberg

Credit History and Debt Ratio are Biggest Constraints for Would-Be Homeowners (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

LendingTree today released the findings of its study on the cities with the highest rates of denied mortgage applications and why mortgage shoppers in those areas have been denied.

Since the financial crisis, mortgage lending standards have tightened as underwriting has become more stringent. There are numerous reasons why a lender could deny a loan, from poor credit score to prior bankruptcies, but other reasons can include a lender’s inability to verify a borrower’s employer.

Source: Lending Tree

LendingTree delved into data from more than 10 million mortgage applications using the most recent available Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data set to find out the main reasons would-be borrowers were rejected, and to see if location has any correlation for rejection.

Fintech firm Digit adds credit card debt payment to savings app (American Banker) Rated: AAA

Digit, maker of one of the first apps to help people save by automatically sweeping modest amounts of money from checking into savings, is turning its attention to credit card debt.

The app can now be set to automatically make an extra payment every month on a user’s credit card, the fintech announced Tuesday.

At the end of January, the Federal Reserve reported that U.S. consumers had $1.03 trillion in credit card debt.

Breaking Away From The Bi-Weekly Payroll Tradition (PYMNTS) Rated: A

Today, this payroll schedule means an estimated 70 percent of employees in the U.S. live paycheck-to-paycheck – and many struggle to make necessary purchases or payments in the days leading up to payday. It’s also linked to the rise in the payday loan industry, which has more U.S. storefronts today than McDonald’s, according to data from Pew. Lenders make a collective $7 billion in fees, according to analysts, and they stem from more than $46 billion worth of payday loans issued each year.

According to Steve Barha, CEO of Instant Financial, the rise of the payday loan industry and overdrafts certainly comes with its controversies, but it’s no mistake that the industry exists in the first place.

Unison Reports 1000% Growth Year over Year in Home Ownership Origination Volume (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Unison, a unique financing platform for home ownership investments, is reporting strong year-over-year growth. According to the company, following a solid 2017, the origination volume for the first quarter of 2018 has grown and increased 1000 percent over the comparable period last year. This is due in part to an expansion of the management team and the availability of their service in ten new states.

Unison says these new hires will help extend their company into more states. In April alone, Unison HomeOwner and HomeBuyer programs will be available in 10 additional states including Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Colorado, North Carolina, Missouri and Delaware, bringing its total footprint to 22 states plus Washington D.C. Unison expects to broaden its reach over the course of 2018 to over 70 percent of U.S. single family residential housing units.

Mulvaney response to CFPB data security gaps baffles cyber experts (American Banker) Rated: A

Acting Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Mick Mulvaney has repeatedly pointed to data security as a defect in the agency’s supervisory program, but security experts are scratching their heads over the bureau’s response to such problems.

Mulvaney has said hundreds of CFPB-related data breaches justified his announcement in December that the agency would halt collecting personally identifiable information from companies it supervises.

Elevate vs. LendUp Payday Loans: Everything You Need to Know (Student Loan Hero) Rated: A

Pros of a LendUp payday loan
Getting cash fast is the main reason you’d choose a company such as LendUp. But they have some other benefits, as well.

  • If you pay your installment loan on time, you could boost your credit score.
  • The lender has an incentive program called the LendUp Ladder. You’re awarded points as you take out LendUp loans and repay them on time. As you accumulate points, the lender will reward you by allowing you to borrow at progressively lower rates.

For the sake of a side-by-side comparison, we’ll focus on Rise. Here are some pros of a Rise loan.

  • You can apply for a seven-day payment extension if you can’t pay on time.
  • The company will provide you with free access to your TransUnion credit score.
  • If you borrow from the company more than once, your interests rates could decrease.
  • Rates are lower than those offered by payday loans.
Source: Student Loan Hero

Chase customers can now use their voices to unlock their accounts (Tearsheet) Rated: A

Chase card members’ voices will soon be their passwords when they call for help.

The bank is debuting a voice-authentication feature for credit card customers dialing the call center this spring to reduce the customer burden of having to remember multiple passwords and answer cumbersome security questions. The initial launch would only be for credit card customers, but the bank plans to expand the feature to all customers by the end of the year, a spokeswoman said.

 

Hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen’s venture capital group is on a fintech tear (CNBC) Rated: B

On Tuesday, Point72 Ventures will announce it led a $3 million investment in a startup called Extend, which has built mobile technology business owners can use to share their corporate credit cards with employees and freelancers without handing over the actual cards.

Earlier this month, the venture capital arm was a co-lead in a $29.4 million round for a New Jersey startup, DriveWealth, that has developed a mobile site for investing in exchange traded funds and stocks, and it led an $18.5 million investment in Silicon Valley-based DeepScale, which is developing autonomous driving technology.

United Kingdom

UK finance chiefs call for regulatory crackdown on tech giants Financial Times) Rated: AAA

Two of the financial technology executives involved in the FT debate — Funding Circle chief executive Samir Desai and Rhydian Lewis, his opposite number at RateSetter — agreed that GDPR was a welcome protection for consumers.

UK Fintech Humaniq Implements Smart bioID System to Further Strengthen Outgoing Transaction Security (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

UK-based fintech Humaniq announced on Tuesday it has implemented additional bioID settings that will act as an extra safeguard be integrated into Humaniq app, which the company reports has already had more than 100,000 downloads in the Google Play store.

Humaniq also revealed that the total transaction volume has reached 400,000 HMQ in more than 250,000 transactions per month. The company noted with the introduction of an additional layer of biometric authentication, this means over 10,000 transactions will be totally secured from fraud, benefitting over 100,000 users of Humaniq App.

Regtech start-up ClauseMatch lands £3.6m funding (Fintech Futures) Rated: A

ClauseMatch, a UK-based start-up in the regtech space, has raised £3.6 million ($5 million) in its Series A funding round.

ClauseMatch, specialises in smart document management. It is a graduate of Barclays’ accelerator programme, Techstars, and has Barclays and Intesa Sanpaolo on its customer list.

Could a credit card cap protect chronically broke Brits? (Guardian) Rated: B

A credit card cap is needed to protect “chronically broke” Britons struggling to make repayments on high interest loans, ministers have been told.

Labour’s Stella Creasy warned that credit card firms were pushing millions into debt in the same way payday lenders did before action was taken to prevent anyone having to pay back more than double what they borrowed.

The Walthamstow MP made the comments as she moved an amendment to the Financial Guidance and Claims Bill which would require the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to take tougher action on credit card firms.

Ministers must extend cap on payday loans to other high credit that’s targeting poor, vulnerable Brits, MPs say (The Sun) Rated: B

MINISTERS should “learn the lessons” of the payday loan cap and extend it to cover other forms of high-cost credit such as credit cards and doorstep lending, MPs have demanded.

In a boost for The Sun’s campaign to stop millions of families falling prey to doorstep and legal high street loan sharks, MPs called on the Government to take tough action to stop the nation “drowning in debt” and protect “chronically broke” Brits.

China

Hong Kong Approves Dual-Class Shares, Paving Way for Tech Titans (Yahoo Finance) Rated: AAA

Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. approved the biggest change to its initial public offering rules in two decades, putting it in a position to battle New York for some of the world’s hottest companies.

Technology firms that have shares with different voting rights will now be allowed to go public in Hong Kong, overturning rules that barred the likes of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. from considering the former British colony. Businesses will be able to apply under the new regime starting April 30, HKEX said Tuesday.

 

European Union

Swedbank invests €3m in banking tech vendor Meniga (Fintech Future) Rated: AAA

Meniga, a white-label digital banking solutions provider, has received a €3 million equity investment from its customer, Swedbank.

The two firms partnered in 2017 to improve Swedbank’s digital customer experience through a personal finance activity feed and data aggregation platform. The new solution is intended to “give customers better control over their daily finances and a more personal, engaging experience than today”, according to Meniga.

The bank’s view of Open Banking (The Finanser), Rated: A

Another conversation about Open Banking, and an interesting point was raised by one bank. They said that they had been mapping financial moments – getting married, buying a house, having a baby, crashing your car, etc – and had started to reimagine the whole customer experience in those moments using APIs.

For example, I bring up my banking app 3-4 times a day. The bank probably thinks it’s love them as I bring up their app so often. Well I don’t love them at all. I’m just going into the app so regularly because, as a small business, I want to see if my customers have paid yet.

International

World Bank Releases the Latest Global Findex Database (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

The Global Findex Database and accompanying report give a clear indication of how fintech is impacting access to financial services globally.

Source: World Bank

Globally, about 1.7 billion adults remain unbanked—without an account at a financial institution or through a mobile money provider. Because account ownership is nearly universal in high-income economies, virtually all these unbanked adults live in the developing world. Indeed, nearly half live in just seven developing economies: Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, and Pakistan.

Fifty-six percent of all unbanked adults are women. Women are overrepresented among the unbanked in economies where only a small share of adults are unbanked, such as China and India, as well as in those where half or more are, such as Bangladesh and Colombia.

Read the full report here.

US fintech funding boomed at the start of 2018 — but early-stage funding is drying up in Europe (Business Insider) Rated: A

VC-backed fintech companies raised $5.4 billion across 323 deals globally in the first quarter, according to CB Insight’s latest fintech report, released on Monday.

The figures were supported by a big uptick in deal-making activity in the US. US fintechs raised $2.1 billion across 147 deals. Notable investments include a $165 million funding round for insurance startup Oscar in March and a $110 million capital injection for San Francisco’s Collective Health in February.

Source: CB Insights

While deal activity spiked in the US and Asia, it fell to a 5-quarter low in Europe with just 63 first quarter deals.

The slump was largely down to a decline in early-stage funding deals and came despite several $100 million-plus funding rounds for European challenger banks N26 and Atom. European fintechs raised $933 million in the first quarter.

 

Will Beijing Manage to Survive the US-Chinese Trade War? (Sputnik International) Rated: A

Beijing has kicked off a number of measures aimed at bolstering its economic growth, Chinese researcher Liu Dan told Sputnik. According to Liu, the country’s internal difficulties have not been triggered by the US tariff war unleashed by the Trump administration on China.

One should not overestimate the impact of Sino-American trade frictions on China’s economy, says Liu Dan, a researcher at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies (RDCY) of Renmin University of China.

Australia

Lending continues to rise Down Under for RateSetter Australia (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

PEER-TO-PEER lending platform RateSetter continues to pass lending milestones in Australia as its loanbook reached A$250m (£136.5m).

The firm, which is the only Australian P2P lender open to retail investors, also announced that it now has more than 10,000 registered users on its site.

RateSetter has doubled its investor base in the country within a year, which it says is due to customer dissatisfaction with Australian banks.

P2P lender’s growth due to consumer ‘rebellion’ (Australian Broker) Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lender RateSetter has attributed its recent rapid growth to consumers actively rebelling against the big banks.

The amount invested by these investors has increased by 14% over the last 12 months, with average investment now sitting at close to $40,000.

Asia

House hunting? Soon you can crowdsource your downpayment via blockchain and smart contracts (E27) Rated: AAA

For millennials, this presents a major barrier to homeownership. While 70% of Chinese millennials have already managed to purchase their first real estate, only 35% of their Malaysian peers have followed suit according to HSBC data. For 64% of millennials around the world a combination of low income and soaring property prices make the prospects of owning a house rather gloomy. A lot of them also do not qualify for traditional loans and do not have the family support for making that downpayment.

Add to this new concept the technology of blockchain, and you have a method by which borrowers can access an alternative down payment funding source, and an immutable record of each borrower-lender agreement is permanently recorded. This serves four purposes:

  1. Blockchain eliminates the traditional borrowing method, with its middlemen and fees. The repayment details are worked out between the borrower and the individual lender.
  2. Blockchain democratises borrowing, because credit scores, history, etc., are not factors in obtaining the loans. If a borrower can show basic ability to repay, an individual lender will be willing to put up the money at an interest rate that is mutually agreed upon.
  3. The borrower-lender arrangement is codified and recorded in a blockchain that is secure and permanent. Both borrower and lender have the security of knowing that their agreement cannot be changed except by mutual agreement.
  4. Re-payments are also recorded in the blockchain environment, so there is never a question about the amount or the ultimate meeting of a borrowing obligation to any individual lender.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday April 12 2018, Daily News Digest

Thursday April 12 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: Upgrade to issues ABS–but when? FCA warns Funding Circle clone. Funding Circle Netherlands approved for Guarantee SME Credit Scheme Participant. Today’s main analysis: The metro areas with the most fraud alerts. Today’s thought-provoking articles: The regulation of marketplace lending (A MUST-READ REPORT). LendIt, PitchIt award winners. Is China Rapid Finance close to profit? GDPR consent […]

Thursday April 12 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Other

News Summary

United States

Ex-LendingClub chief’s new venture set to issue ABS (GlobalCapital), Rated: AAA

Upgrade is said to have a private warehouse facility in place and is looking to debut a securitization in the coming months, according to two people familiar with the matter.

According to an April 2017 press release, Jefferies is advising the company on its capital markets strategy and is….

LendingTree Ranks Metros with the Most Fraud Alerts (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

With millions of Americans affected by data breaches every year, such as recent revelations at Uber and Equifax, LendingTree decided to look at anonymized data from a sample of the over 7 million My LendingTree users to see where people are most likely to have asked a credit bureau to place a fraud alert on their credit report.


Key findings of the study:

  • The average rate of fraud alert requests among all cities reviewed is 6.4 percent.
  • Las Vegas and Houston tie for the highest rate of fraud alerts, at 13.6 percent.
  • Miami and New York are close behind, tied at 12.9 percent.
  • Rochester, N.Y. has the lowest rate of people requesting fraud alerts at 2 percent. Nearby Buffalo, N.Y. has 2.6 percent.

The Regulation of Marketplace Lending: A Summary of the Principal Issues (Chapman and Cutler) Rated: AAA

So-called “true lender” litigation remains one of the most significant risks facing the marketplace lending industry. These are cases involving a claim by a borrower or regulator that the “true lender” of a loan funded by a Funding Bank for a marketplace lender is the marketplace lender rather than the
Funding Bank. Often such litigation involves asking the court to look past the form of the loan transactions to their substance in order to ascertain which party, the Funding Bank or the marketplace lender, holds the predominant economic interest in the loans. The aim of true lender claims is to subject
the marketplace lender to federal and state regulation as a non-bank lender, enabling the claimant to pursue actions based on failure to comply with state lender licensing or usury laws.

Read the full report here.

LendIt Fintech Names PitchIt Competition Winners And Second Annual LendIt Industry Award Winners (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

Out of eight PitchIt finalists, the judge’s winner was CreditStacks, a company that offers U.S. based premium credit cards to prime, new-to-credit customers. The audience winner was Narmi, a fintech company the helps credit unions and banks deliver a unified experience with modern and secure online banking, mobile banking and websites.

Below are the second annual LendIt Industry Award winners, per category:

Fintech Innovator of the Year

Affirm

Executive of the Year

Anthony Hsieh, Founder & CEO, loanDepot

Fintech Woman of the Year

Kathryn Petralia, Co-founder & COO, Kabbage

Blockchain Innovator of the Year

ConsenSys

Most Innovative Token Economy

AxiomZen

Top Consumer Lending Platform

Yirendai

Top Small Business Lending Platform

Kabbage

Top Real Estate Lending Platform

LendInvest

Emerging Lending Platform

LendingUSA

Excellence in Financial Inclusion

Oportun

Most Promising Partnership

LendingClub + Opportunity Fund

Most Successful Cross-Border Partnership

Kasisto + DBS Bank

Most Innovative Bank

Cross River

International Innovator of the Year

IrisGuard

Top Enterprise Technology Company

ThreatMetrix

Top Emerging Technology Company

MoneyLion

Top Professional Services Company

Millennium Trust

Most Innovative Mobile Technology

Juvo

Top Fintech Equity Investor

Edison Partners

Best Journalist Coverage

Tony Zerucha, Managing Editor, Bankless Times

Top Investment Bank in Fintech

FT Partners

To modernize consumer lending, it had to strip systems to the core (American Banker) Rated: A

Replacing core systems can be an expensive and risky proposition for banks, but KeyCorp has decided the time is now to replace an antiquated legacy system.

The $138 billion-asset bank announced at the Oracle Industry Connect conference in New York this week that it plans to ditch its existing lending platform in an effort to digitize and modernize the lending process.

Appeal could jeopardize CFPB win in landmark tribal sovereignty case (Reuters) Rated: A

Online lender CashCall filed a notice of appeal Tuesday in a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau enforcement action that set precedent on whether consumer lenders can evade state interest rate caps by affiliating with Native American tribes and invoking tribal sovereignty. In 2016, U.S. District Judge John Walter of Los Angeles granted partial summary judgment to the CFPB, holding that CashCall was the true lender, rather than a company owned by a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, so state laws govern CashCall loans. The company’s notice to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, filed by its lawyers at Latham & Watkins and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, indicated that CashCall will challenge the landmark summary judgment decision on tribal sovereignty, as well as other rulings by Judge Walter.

Judge Walter, however, concluded that the bureau hadn’t shown it was entitled to any restitution and that CashCall had not knowingly flouted consumer protection laws. He awarded the bureau only $10.3 million in penalties.

Optimizing Mortgage Loan Lifecycles With Fintech (the M Report) Rated: A

Integrated properly into both the trading and operational side of the mortgage lifecycle, fintech can not only increase margins but also allow for lenders to originate more loans in less time and in a more efficient and secure manner. Additionally, by using fintech throughout the mortgage lifecycle, each phase of management is enhanced and therefore produces optimized outcomes leading to better investment returns, while still providing the borrower with a great customer experience.

A “High Level” Tech-Enabled Residential Mortgage Lifecycle*

Source The M Report

*This chart is provided as a “high level” example of what types of fintech can optimize the lifecycle. It is not to be considered a complete integration or feature roadmap.

 

Big Banks Using Non-Bank Middlemen to Lend to Subprime Borrowers (Low Cards) Rated: A

If a borrower has a low credit score and needs a loan for a $12,000 vehicle, this would not be of interest to a large bank such as Wells Fargo. But it would be an option for a non-bank lender like Exeter Finance. Exeter would screen the applicant and approve the loan at their discretion. Then, Wells Fargo would extend a loan to Exeter. The bank is still profiting from a sub-prime loan, but they are giving the money to another lender.

This does not eliminate risk on Wells Fargo’s end. However, it does push the burden onto the non-bank lender, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Two’s company (Breakingviews) Rated: A

Silicon Valley is giving two of its most noted fintech outcasts a second chance. Former Social Finance boss Mike Cagney and erstwhile LendingClub Chief Executive Renaud Laplanche are each back with new loan ventures after losing their jobs to scandals.

Between them, both men created what are now the two largest fintech lenders, having originated or facilitated some $63 billion between them in the past few years.

Blockchain makes online lenders taste own medicine (Nasdaq) Rated: A

Blockchain is giving online lenders a taste of their own medicine. The likes of Prosper, Social Finance and On Deck Capital found cryptocurrency technology trying to steal the limelight at their annual get-together in San Francisco this week. It’s a case of the disruptors being disrupted.

United Kingdom

FCA issues warning about Funding Circle clone (Peer2Peer Finance News) Rated: AAA

THE CITY watchdog has issued a warning to consumers about a clone of peer-to-peer lender Funding Circle.

The clone, Funding Circle Loans, had set up a website purporting to be the P2P platform.

Its website, , has since been suspended.

Prestige Funds partners for Innovative Finance ISA bond (The Armchair Trader) Rated: A

Prestige Funds, a specialist direct lending manager, is partnering with UK-based Goji to launch a Renewables Lending Bond which is eligible for inclusion in an Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA). IFISAs are a new, tax-free way for investors to access investment opportunities that are not available on stock exchanges.

The Goji Renewables Lending Bond will include a yield target of between 5.5% and 6.5% over three and five year terms. Interest payments on the bond will be supported by UK government subsidies, such as Feed-in-Tariffs.

The need for speed for loan approvals and payments (Credit Strategy) Rated: A

Arguably, consumer lending has come full circle.

But today’s consumer lenders are having to contend with raised customer expectations. “Empowered borrowers,” says consultancy firm PwC, expect not only a simple, but also a fast loan process.

Consumer lending research published by PwC found that other than economic factors (interest rates and closing costs) or “having an existing relationship,” the speed of the process was the most important factor for borrowers in choosing a lender.

 

Higher salaries giving fintech sector edge over traditional banking (Finextra) Rated: B

The threat from Brexit has also called into question how Britain has – and will – deal with the country’s departure from the European Union in terms of its strong worldwide financial standing. With this in mind, Joblift has analysed and compared the UK’s Fintech and traditional banking sectors over the last 12 months. The analysis shows that traditional banking has felt the effect of the competition from Fintech and the upcoming Brexit with vacancies decreasing by 3% monthly, while Fintech seems to be flourishing, with a huge growth of 9% monthly, in the face of these challenges.

China

China Rapid Finance: Is It Close To Making A Profit? (Seeking Alpha) Rated: AAA

China Rapid Finance (XRF) went public on NYSE on April 28, 2017, as the beginning of the IPO wave for China P2P companies in 2017. The company focuses their business on meeting the credit demand for EMMAs (Emerging Middle-class Mobile Active consumer) in China.

  • China Rapid Finance (XRF) has experienced a business shift from lifestyle loans (larger in size) to consumption loans (smaller size), which will lead to bigger impact from regulatory hammer;
  • Q4 earnings results didn’t satisfy investors and stock price dropped 15% in two days after the ER release;
  • Despite of the short term concerns, operating efficiency has significantly improved in 2017, which makes the profitability outlook of the firm very positive.
Source: Seeking Alpha
European Union

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Approves Funding Circle Netherlands As Guarantee SME Credit Scheme Participant (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate (EZ) has reportedly approved Funding Circle Netherlands as a Guarantee SME Credit (BKMB) scheme participant.

According to AltFi, for participating firms, which are typically major banks, the BKMB provides guarantee of up to 75% of the loan amounts that fit within its criteria. 

GDPR and financial advice: Consent for data processing (Professional Adviser) Rated: AAA

A firm could be in trouble with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) if an individual makes a complaint about being marketed to by a firm and there is no consent in place, since this constitutes a breach of the GDPR.

Article 6 – lawfulness of processing

Processing shall be lawful only if and to the extent that at least one of the following applies:

a. the data subject has given consent to the processing of his or her personal data for one or more specific purposes;

b. processing is necessary for the performance of a contract to which the data subject is party or in order to take steps at the request of the data subject prior to entering into a contract;

d. processing is necessary in order to protect the vital interests of the data subject or of another natural person;

f. processing is necessary for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by the controller or by a third party, except where such interests are overridden by the interests or fundamental rights and freedoms of the data subject which require protection of personal data, in particular where the data subject is a child.

International

Mega-deals continue to shape Asian market

After rounding off 2017 at a remarkable high bolstered by megadeals, Asia continued to see large deals in Q1 2018.

Global Q1 2018 key highlights

  • Global VC investment rose from US$46 billion in Q4’17 to US$49.3 billion in Q1 2018, a solid increase buoyed by five US$1 billion+ megadeals.
  • The number of global VC deals declined for the fourth straight quarter, falling from 3,286 in Q4 2017 to 2,661 in Q1 2018. The number of VC deals has dropped by half since reaching a peak of 5,480 deals in Q1’15.
  • The Americas set a new record for VC investment in Q1 2018, with US$29.4 billion raised across 1,782 deals. Asia raised US$14.6 billion across 317 deals, and Europe raised US$5.2 billion across 548 deals.
  • Corporate participation in global VC deals set a new record for the second straight quarter, rising from 18.5% in Q4 2017 to 21% in Q1 2018.
  • New and old unicorns – companies valued at over US$1 billion – attracted a significant amount of funding with US$14 billion across 32 deals. Two unicorns went public late in Q1 2018: cloud-based security provider Zscaler and cloudstorage provider Dropbox, with both companies seeing positive results to date. With Spotify set for a direct listing in April and UK-based online loan provider Funding Circle planning to go public later this year, the IPO market may be opening up.

How global fintech trends will impact your banking (Bank Rate) Rated: A

In the last few years, the U.S. has seen the launch of a whole crop of neobanks, consumer-friendly startups that are trying to change the way we manage our money. A bunch of neobanks have appeared in Europe, too (they are called challenger banks across the pond), and it seems like they are all eyeing the U.S. market.

Last year, French firm Revolut, which includes a crypto wallet and free international transfers among its features, announced its plans to expand into the U.S. Germany’s N26 recently raised $160 million from venture capital investors to fuel a U.S. expansion. Meanwhile, British startup Cleo, which is more of an AI-powered budgeting tool than a challenger bank, recently began offering its product in the U.S.

What’s Happening with P2P Lending Blockchain Startups in 2018 (Equities) Rated: A

That is why startups like Alchemy, SALT, Eth-Lend and Celsius can be game-changers not only in peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, but for the future of the American economy as well. Based on blockchain technology, these startups are committed to creating a safe, global, and accessible source of P2P lending.

The debt is then pooled into Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDO’s) which are then organized by risk and made available to purchase on the platform. This not only provides an easy and secure source of P2P funding, but creates a sustainable ecosystem and investment opportunity for anyone on the network.

Africa

The future of financial advice is tech and touch (Moneyweb) Rated: A

There is a lot of conversation around investing digitally, right now. Supporters of the idea suggest that investors should cut out their brokers or financial advisors and take their money online by investing through digital platforms. The argument goes that while an advisor might give your investments a bit of an edge in terms of growth, the fees they charge tend to negate the value that they add.

Since both financial advisors and technology have such an important role to play in supporting individuals in making the right financial decisions, and in the convenience of access to information about their spread of financial products, I recommend a “touch-and-tech” model of engagement.

MENA

Dipping Into Digital (Global Finance) Rated: AAA

The MENA fintech sector is booming, with more than $100 million raised by start-ups in the last decade. Dubai-based digital research network Wamda’s State of Fintech report released last March predicted the total for just that year would reach $50 million, an increase of 270% over 2016.

Although online payments, remittances, crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending attracted the largest tickets, fast-growing fintech subsectors include cryptocurrencies, artificial intelligence and digital wallets.

In 2017 some of the major deals included a $20 million capital injection in Saudi Arabia’s online payment solution PayTabs; a $10 million round by three investors, including UK firm Gocompare, for Emirati price-comparison platform Souqalmal; $13 million for Emirati Cloud HR and insurance platform Bayzat; $5 million for Emirati peer-to-peer lending company Beehive; and $3.5 million for Emirati comparison website Yallacompare.

Lebanon was one of the first MENA countries to invest massively in the digital economy. Back in 2013, the central bank, Banque du Liban, issued a circular guaranteeing up to $400 million worth of investments in innovative technologies, later raising that amount to $600 million. Today, the country is home to 15 funding institutions, as well as a myriad of accelerators and start-up support programs.

New Realities, New Technologies (Global Finance) Rated: B

Surprisingly, the UAE accounts for 70% of the investments in areas such as digital banking services, cryptocurrencies, ecommerce and fintech start-up deals. For a nascent market, the growth rate is explosive, with dozens of new start-ups launching every year. So far, online payments, remittances, crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending have attracted the largest investments. Late last year, Bahrain introduced the world’s first shariah-compliant fintech consortium.

Authors:
George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday April 6, 2018 Daily News Digest

Friday April 6, 2018 Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi to roll out deposit accounts, debit cards next month. PeerStreet raises $29.5M. Welendus loanbook hits 100K GBP in 3 months. Weidai plans $400M IPO. Instamojo to expand into SME lending. Today’s main analysis: Banks slow fintech investment, revert to their own digital infrastructure plans. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Credit bureaus aren’t going anywhere yet. Blockchain […]

Friday April 6, 2018 Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

Other

News Summary

United States

SoFi Plans to Start Rolling Out Deposit Accounts Next Month (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Social Finance Inc. said it will start offering deposit accounts and debit cards to some customers next month, the first major new product under Chief Executive Officer Anthony Noto.

The San Francisco-based company is looking to branch into various financial services as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. ratchets up pressure on SoFi’s profitable center of personal loans. The startup unveiled a banking-like product, called SoFi Money, in January and began accepting applications to a waiting list.

Majority of Millennial Women Have Money to Invest, But Fear Holds Them Back (Markets Insider), Rated: A

The biggest driver of the investment gap between men and women isn’t knowledge or other financial obligations, but fear, according to a new study by SoFi and professional networking site Levo League (Levo).

However, while millennial women are extremely active in managing their financial status, and over 50%+ have the means to invest each month, the study found the majority of millennial women do not to invest due to fear (56%). Furthermore, the study results indicated the top two reasons why millennial women do not invest is because they don’t know where to start (25%+) and because they are paying down their debt (25%+).

Credit bureaus aren’t going anywhere. For now (American Banker), Rated: AAA

The breach of personal data on more than 143 million customers Equifax revealed in September was followed in mid-March by the news that an executive insider-traded stock before the public was notified about the breach. This week, Equifax acknowledged it had sent erroneous breach notification letters to an undisclosed number of people.

 

 

LendingTree Personal Loan Offers Report – March 2018 (Lending Tree), Rated: AAA

Lenders offered personal loan borrowers less money than they did last month, while offered APRs were mixed. Rate and loan amount offers varied widely among consumers, depending on factors including, but not limited to, credit score, income, and current debt obligations.

Excellent credit (760+ score): Offered APRs to consumers with a credit score of 760+ averaged 7.42% in March.

  • The average best APR offered to all borrowers with credit scores of 760 or above was 7.42%, a decrease of 2 basis points from the prior month, and down 22 basis points from the same period one year ago.
  • At $22,644, the average loan amounts offered with the best APRs to all borrowers with a score of 760 and above was down 4.61% ($1,045) from February, but up over 17.60% ($3,986) from the same period one year ago.
  • The top 10% of offers, presented to borrowers with the best profiles within this group, had offered APRs of 4.87% on average, and loan amounts of $35,669. A borrower with this APR and loan amount would save $3,021 by consolidating debt with a 10% APR over a three-year term.

Good credit (680 – 719 score): Offered APRs to consumers with a credit score between 680 and 719 averaged 15.89% in March.

  • The average best APR for all borrowers with credit scores of 680 – 719 was 15.89%, up 20 basis points from last month and 139 basis points from a year earlier.
  • At $15,993, borrowers with scores of 680 – 719 saw the amounts offered with the best APRs decrease by 175 basis points ($279) in the last month, but increased by 242 basis points ($386) from March 2017.
  • The top 10% of offers, presented to borrowers with the best profiles within the 680 – 719 credit score range, had an average best APR of 7.00%, offered with an average loan amount of $23,822. A borrower with this APR and loan amount would save $3,250 by consolidating debt from a 15% APR over a three-year term.

The most common reasons for seeking a personal loan are credit card refinancing and debt consolidation. These two categories comprise 63% of all loan inquiries.

Source: Lending Tree
Source: Lending Tree

LendingTree Mortgage Offers Report – March 2018 (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

  • March’s best offers for borrowers with the best profiles had an average APR of 4.25% for conforming 30-year fixed purchase loans, up from 4.22% in February. Refinance loan offers were up 11 bps to 4.24%. Mortgage rates vary dependent upon parameters including credit score, loan-to-value, income and property type.
  • For the average borrower, purchase APRs for conforming 30-yr fixed loans offered on LendingTree’s platform were up 5 bps to 4.85%. The loan note rate hit the highest since March 2016 at 4.75% and was also up 5 bps from February. We prefer to emphasize the APR as lenders often make changes to other fees in response to changing interest rates.
  • Consumers with the highest credit scores (760+) saw offered APRs of 4.72% in March, vs 4.99% for consumers with scores of 680-719. The APR spread of 27 bps between these score ranges was unchanged from February and still near the widest since this data series began in April 2016. The spread represents over $14,000 in additional costs for borrowers with lower credit scores over 30 years for the average purchase loan amount of $238,593. The additional costs are due to higher interest rates, larger fees or a combination of the two.
  • Refinance APRs for conforming 30-yr fixed loans were up 6 bps to 4.83%. The credit score bracket spread remained at 24 bps, amounting to nearly $13,000 in extra costs over the life of the loan for lower credit score borrowers given an average refinance loan of $239,668.
  • Average proposed purchase down payments were little changed at $62,758.
Source: Lending Tree

PeerStreet Raises $ 29.5 Million to Further Transform Real Estate Investing (Business Wire), Rated: AAA

PeerStreet today announced the close of a Series B funding round of $29.5 million to continue driving the company’s mission of democratizing access to real estate debt.

The Series B round was led by World Innovation Lab. Existing investors Andreessen Horowitz, Thomvest, Colchis Capital, Felicis Ventures, and others participated along with new investors Solon Mack and Navitas Capital. The raise will accelerate PeerStreet’s growth. Specifically, PeerStreet will be broadening the type of real estate loans it cultivates from its network of lenders and hiring more world-class talent.

RealtyMogul Closes $ 2.75 Million Equity Investment in Plano Multifamily Portfolio (Business Wire), Rated: A

RealtyMogul announced that it has completed an investment in a $11.9 million multifamily apartment portfolio in Plano, Texas, consisting of 156 units.

The property was acquired through a partnership with Comunidad Realty Partners, a dynamic real estate investment firm specializing in multifamily apartment communities in densely-populated Hispanic neighborhoods. Comunidad reports to have owned and managed over $600 million in multifamily assets overall, comprised of approximately 8,200 units. RealtyMogul has invested with Comunidad Realty Partners on five previous transactions.

Stripe launches a new billing tool to tap demand from online businesses (Tech Crunch), Rated: A

Stripe  has made its name by providing developers with a simpler way to start charging customers and handling transactions, but today they hope to take another step by launching a billing product for online businesses. That’ll allow them to handle subscription recurring revenue, as well as invoicing, within the Stripe platform and get everything all in the same place. The goal was to replace a previously hand-built setup, whether using analog methods for invoicing or painstakingly putting together a set of subscription tools, and make that experience as seamless as charging for products on Stripe.

While this is a tool that’s a natural fit for something like Stripe, it’s certainly one that’s created a substantial business opportunity. Last month, Zuora — an enterprise subscription services company — filed to go public amid a fresh wave of enterprise IPOs that included Dropbox and Zscaler (and also, to a certain extent, Salesforce’s big acquisition of Mulesoft). Zuora’s subscription services revenue continues to grow, showing that Stripe will certainly have competition here, but also that there’s a large market opportunity.

Enhancing the Business Value of Loan Pricing Systems (Loan Pricing Pro), Rated: AAA

Today, FinTech companies, marketplace lenders, traditional banking institutions and many other types of innovative new lending platforms are using loan pricing systems to sharpen their focus on balancing shareholder returns with customer pricing sensitivities and market demands.

The lending landscape is changing, but the need to achieve an adequate rate of return while delivering fair and accurate pricing, remains a constant.

Source: LoanPricingPro

Read the white paper in full here.

Five Ways for FinTech Lenders to Achieve ROI on a Loan Pricing System Investment (ProBank), Rated: A

There are a variety of strategies to consider ensuring attaining a reasonable return on your investment in a loan pricing system. We’ll cover each of these in the form of short case studies that we’ve taken from one or more of our existing clients’ actual experiences.

  1. Enhanced Loan Yield Quantitative analysis can be easily used to measure the effectiveness of the loan pricing system implementation on a pre-test / post-test basis. The technique used relies on the same Funds Transfer Pricing (FTP) methodology which a robust loan pricing system uses to calculate loan profitability. To illustrate this, we’ll use a recent client implementation of LoanPricingPRO at a $1 billion lender.
    Source: Probank Report
  2. Increased Collection of Loan Fees In today’s highly competitive environment with historically low rates and generally weak loan demand, loan fees are often sacrificed, or at least underutilized as a tool for increasing profitability. As a general rule, the shorter the loan term, the more powerful the impact of loan fees on loan profitability and ROE.
  3. Decline in Lost Opportunities-Lenders using LoanPricingPRO® usually have a higher batting average when measuring the number of new loan clients against the total number of requests received or applications taken.
  4. Active Portfolio Management-When implementing a loan pricing system with an interface to the organization’s core data systems, significant new reporting capabilities are attained. Lenders are able to receive reports on and track trends in loan officers’ portfolios.
  5. Improved Discipline, Accuracy & Pricing Consistency-As has been shown, it is possible for senior management teams and lenders working
    together and aided by an accurate and appropriately calibrated loan pricing system, to significantly improve the return performance and growth rate of the lending client base.

Read the full report here.

 

A Third of Americans Would Forfeit Their Voting Rights For a 10% Pay Raise, Says Study (Time), Rated: A

More than a third of Americans would give up their right to vote for a 10% annual pay raise, according to a new survey.

The peculiar findings come from a survey conducted by LendEDU, an online student loan marketplace, that polled 1,238 working Americans. In exchange for the hypothetical pay bump, about 35% of these employees said they would sacrifice their voting rights for life. In addition, just over 9% of respondents said they would give up their children’s (or future children’s) right to vote for life for the make-believe raise.

But those aren’t the only big sacrifices the respondents would make for a 10% annual salary increase. More than 12% said they would break up with their partners, and nearly 19% said they would give up their health insurance for the next five years. Forty percent would forfeit their dental care for five years for a raise, and nearly 18% would say goodbye to their Social Security benefits.

Source: Lend EDU

DepositAccounts.com Releases 2018 Top 200 Healthiest Banks and Credit Unions in America (Benzinga), Rated: A

DepositAccounts.com, a subsidiary of LendingTree, today released its list of the 2018 Top 200 Healthiest Banks and Credit Unions in America.

Source: Deposit accounts

If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them — How Banks, Fintech And Tech Players Can Win Together (Forbes) Rated: A

As tech giants like Amazon, Facebook and WeChat set out on their quest to be all things to all people, eroding the boundaries between industries, banks that want to maintain and grow their market share need to rethink the rules of competition.

While a growing number of banks have acquired fintechs to avoid fading into the background (

12 Best Bank of America Personal Loan Alternatives (Student Loan Hero), Rated: A

Bank of America offers various loans — but not personal loans

Bank of America’s loans, however, are limited to two specific types:

Some online lenders with competitive interest rates on personal loans include:

LendingClub and Prosper, for example, are both in the peer-to-peer lending space. LendingClub has fixed personal loan rates ranging from 5.99% – 35.89%. You’ll need to check your rate with Prosper directly since it varies depending on your credit and borrower profile.

Marlette Funding Welcomes a New Advisor with a Focus on Innovation (LendEDU), Rated: B

Marlette Funding, LLC, recently appointed Marshall Lux as an advisor to its board of directors and company. Marlette Funding is the parent company of Best Egg, which is a lending platform that offers unsecured personal loans.

Jeffrey Meiler, chief executive officer of Marlette Funding, said Lux’s considerable experience in financial services and his expertise in the consumer market make him a good fit for the company.

FinTech Veteran Ethan Schwarzbach Joins inFactor To Head inFactorIQ Platform (PR Newswire), Rated: B

inFactor Corp, an integrated financial technology company providing liquidity solutions across the spectrum of non-bank lending, has announced today that Ethan Schwarzbach has joined the company to head up the company’s new inFactorIQ platform.

Mr. Schwarzbach joins inFactor from Orchard Platform where he most recently served as a Manager on the Business Development team. Orchard Platform is the leading provider of data, technology, and software to the online lending industry.

SOLO FUNDS ALLOWS YOU TO SEAMLESSLY BORROW FROM YOUR PEERS (Black Enterprise), Rated: B

According to a recent statement, SoLo’s founders uniquely understood the plight that American workers were facing every day because they too were once in their shoes. It is not uncommon to seek a small loan from friends and family, but the founders were not seeing a quick and easy lending solution to help facilitate the process.

Traditional banks don’t lend small dollars, and payday lenders charge excessively high interest rates that for many in emergency situations are almost impossible to pay back. There was simply no affordable way to get a small dollar loan. The team thought that the limited resources for small-dollar loans only plagued the minority communities like the ones they were raised in, but that was wrong; they discovered a more mainstream problem. According to the statement, 78% of American workers live paycheck to paycheck and 47% of the country can’t cover a $400 emergency expense without borrowing from someone else or selling a personal asset.

Liquid FSI Adds Key Board Member (deBank), Rated: B

Liquid FSI, a direct lender and creator of the Convert2Pay platform, which provides on-demand payment for medical invoices, added Barry Blecherman to its Board of Advisors.

While a few recent graduates of the NYU Tandon School of Engineering were helping the Liquid FSI team with some algorithms for their technology platform, they mentioned Blecherman, a professor of Finance and Risk Engineering at the Tandon School.

United Kingdom

Welendus loanbook hits £100,000 in just three months (Peer2Peer Finance News), Rated: AAA

WELENDUS investors have funded £100,000 of short-term loans in just three months of its beta stage, the platform has announced.

Nadeem Siam (pictured), founder of the platform, says a full launch of the product is planned soon but Welendus has already built up more than 4,000 users.

Klarna: 53% of retailers say “always on” sales are damaging profits (Tamebay), Rated: A

Research by payments provider Klarna shows that discounting is no longer confined to the traditional winter and summer sales. The new rules of retail mean discounting has become a fluid and unpredictable phenomenon with over half (57%) of consumers expecting regular sales.

The research of 500 British retailers highlighted the negative impact this can have on the bottom line of merchants. Over half of retailers surveyed (53%) say the “always on” nature of sales is having a negative impact on profits – 11% said discounting cost them over £25,000 throughout 2017. This isn’t felt just by smaller retailers, but merchants of all sizes – in fact, it’s those with 100-239 employees that feel the burden most with 66% saying constant discounts are impacting profits.

Investing Show: What you need to know about crowdfunding, peer to peer, and Innovative Finance Isas (This is Money), Rated: A

Stewart Cazier, of alternative lending platform Thincats, details what investors need to know about peer to peer, crowdfunding and Innovative Finance Isas on the Investing Show.

He explains to Simon Lambert, of This is Money, and Richard Hunter, of Interactive Investor, how alternative lending works, what investors need to consider, how to diversify and why it’s important not to consider it risk-free or put all your eggs in one basket.

Five questions for: Samantha Bamert, CEO of AskIf (Money Week), Rated: A

Ask Inclusive Finance (AskIf) is a commercial enterprise with an ambitious social mission – to close the sizeable funding gap for loans to financeable small companies unable to secure funding from banks. Smaller estimates suggest this funding gap could be upwards of £2.2bn per year.

Other research estimates much larger numbers. AskIf is a platform lender bringing together funders, a network of lending partners and the borrowers themselves. By providing support and funding to small companies, we’ll enable job creation, economic value and opportunity in many communities across the UK.

JP Jenkins – Continued New Initiatives (PR Newswire), Rated: B

JP Jenkins reports that its co-owner, Peterhouse Corporate Finance, has closed its 200th capital raise in the past three years, with a total funding of circa £200m for smaller growth companies.

Significant new capital has recently been provided by Malcolm Burne, a substantial shareholder and Executive Director, to expand the JPJ franchise further. The Company has also entered into partnership & collaborative agreements with US Capital Partners, private placements, Equidate a US private companies Stock Market, and Primary Markets an International Unlisted Exchange.

China

Chinese Online Lender Weidai Plans $ 400 Million IPO (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Chinese peer-to-peer lender Weidai Hangzhou Financial Information Service Co. is planning an initial public offering that could raise about $400 million, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

There hasn’t been a major listing of a Chinese financial technology company in the U.S. or Hong Kong since LexinFintech Holdings Ltd., which raised $124 million in a downsized U.S. IPO in December, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Qudian Inc., which completed a $1 billion IPO in October, has since fallen 52 percent from its offer price.

European Union

Insurance and the Open Banking wave: seven use cases (Holland Fintech), Rated: A

Source: Holland Fintech

INNOPAY has defined a first set of use cases for insurance companies. The use cases have been mapped on the most important value levers for insurance to capture relevancy and see where exactly the use cases drive value. The mapping is presented in figure 1 and a first description of the cases is given below.

  1. New (cyber)insurance product for a new client segment: insure TPPs in PSD2 landscape: data sharing through third parties implies new (cyber) risks and thus accountability in case of data breaches.
  2. Better deal engines: PSD2 provides third parties access to payment account information data (AIS). This data can be mined and relevant insights on customer behaviour can be extracted. This behaviour can then be for example spending on insurance to see if a better offer can be made to the customer or looking for patterns which can imply a better risk profile and thus better pricing on insurance products for the customer.
  3. Improve personalised advice: next to mining, the data can be used to improve personalized advice. Although TPPs are by law only allowed to present the account information of customers, insurance companies can use that information to give advice about their financial situation.
  4. Optimise claims management: together with other data sources, account information that is shared by customers’ banks can be used to create new data sets that could be used to improve reconciliation and reimburse the right amount to customers and gain better insights on possible fraud (by looking at for example customer spending patterns).
  5. Up to date customer records: although there is no Open Banking standard yet and all banks are developing their own view and strategy on opening up data beyond PSD2 compliance, there are already good examples insurance companies can build upon.
  6. Expanding service proposition to providing accounts: with the possibility to execute a transaction (PIS) on behalf of the customer or to check available funds (CAF) the functional scope of PSD2 is limited.
  7. Digital identity verification: banks can help in identifying a person during a digital onboarding or digital identity verification process. This functionality is for example already operated by the banks in The Netherlands under the iDIN scheme.

Swiss Crowdlender Banks on Blockchain (Finews), Rated: B

A Swiss crowd-lending platform is using the blockchain technology to improve the way it brokers loans to companies. It will also introduce tokens as a currency of valuation.

Swisspeers, a Winterthur-based platform specialized in loans to small- and medium-sized companies is registering transactions on the Ethereum blockchain. The company is going to use the so-called Smart Contract developed specifically for its purposes, Swisspeers said on Thursday.

International

Not just dumb pipes: Fintech investment slows as banks try to gain back control (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Banks’ investment in fintech companies is slowing down as they refocus on improving core banking infrastructure, according to a report by CB Insights.

The Banks in Fintech report, released this week, found that banks have been foregoing big investments and partnerships over the past five quarters with a preference for building products in house — particularly in lending, payments and personal financial management. In both the U.S. and Europe banks spent more of their architecture investment dollars on capital markets software companies than blockchain startups.

Source: CBInsights

KPMG’s Pulse of Fintech report for the fourth quarter of 2017 noted that while deal activity among venture capital and private equity firms remained steady compared to 2016, the earliest stage of VC financing could see fewer deals and a volume decline in particular segments like online lending in the coming year. It’s a sign of the industry’s maturity; banks are showing their efforts to “fight fintech with fintech,” Lindsay Davis, an intelligence analyst at CB Insights, said in a presentation.

Source: Tearsheet

Blockchain Integration Is Leading to a Revolution in Global Trade (The Market Mogul), Rated: AAA

In every step of the trade financing process, blockchain technology seems to offer an efficiency boost in commodity transactions and the global supply chains. From contract generation level, which includes time-consuming reviews of the operation by the Letter of Credit issuing bank, to the settlement level, which often proves problematic due to payment platform incompatibility, fintech offers smart solutions.

Although credit fintech is on the rise, blockchain was mostly used for peer-to-peer lending and that the trade financing gap persists, according to the Asian Development Bank. 70% of financial institutions which responded to the survey claimed that the technology would allow for greater exposure to SME risk, mostly because of significant cost reduction in compliance and due diligence.

Mambu unleashes digital marketplace (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) banking engine provider Mambu has launched its digital marketplace to offer cloud-enabled apps, products and tools for banking and lending.

Mambu Marketplace offers a choice of global and localised solutions which can be integrated with the SaaS engine. Its offerings are based on an API-driven architecture.

Will fintech realize its potential for financial inclusion? (LinkedIn), Rated: A

But it’s increasingly clear that many of the financially underserved are also technologically underserved. The GSMA’s Mobile Economy 2018 reports that nearly 40% of the world’s 5 billion mobile subscribers have no internet access; most of the offline, live in the low- and middle-income countries that could benefit the most from digital financial services. Many mobile subscribers live outside of 3G or 4G signal range, which slows service or limits what they can do with their devices. Many unconnected users must contend with poor network performance, high connectivity and handset costs, poor digital literacy, or a lack of locally relevant content.

Digital lending innovations: Small businesses face a $5 trillion financing gap. Inefficiencies in customer acquisition and analysis prevent lenders from making reliable lending decisions and entrepreneurs from getting the financing that they need. But new technologies and data sources can help small businesses: Mexico’s Konfio analyzes thousands of data points – including biographic information, financial history, electronic invoicing, and social media usage – to make lending decisions quickly and inexpensively.

India

Instamojo plans to expand into SME lending, logistics: CEO Sampad Swain (Livemint), Rated: AAA

Online payment solution provider Instamojo Technologies Pvt. Ltd plans to expand into business loans, logistics and advertising services for small merchants, as more small and medium enterprises (SMEs) turn to digital means to sell and market their product, a top company executive told Mint.

Bengaluru-based Instamojo, which focuses primarily on SMEs, currently has 400,000 SMEs using its payment service, and it is also targeting to onboard at least 1 million SME customers by the end of FY19, the company’s chief executive Sampad Swain said in an interview.

Peer to Peer (P2P) Lending – a Niche in the Financial Ecosystem (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Investment avenues are available either in the form of instruments per se (e.g. equity stocks, bonds, etc.) or as vehicles for participating in the instruments e.g. Mutual Funds, Portfolio Management Services, Alternate Investment Funds, etc. Some of the vehicles are available in small ticket sizes, e.g. Mutual Funds, whereas some require a sizable ticket e.g. PMS (Rs 25 lakh) or AIF (Rs 1 crore). There is a differentiated investment avenue, which is neither a tradable instrument nor a structured vehicle, but a facilitator for retail investors. This is called Peer to Peer (P2P) Lending where there is an online intermediary, which brings the lender and borrower together to facilitate direct lending by the lender to the borrower on mutually agreed terms. This is an online marketplace where the digital platforms like e.g. IndiaMoneyMart would conduct due diligence and credit assessment of the borrower and connect the two individuals.

Asia

Outsmarting the traditional experts with the aid of AI (Asia Asset Management), Rated: A

FinEX Asia offers Asian investors access to US consumer credit assets

Asian institutional investors often find it difficult to gain exposure to US consumer credit assets because of the diverse array of such products and a lack of investment channels.
Canada

Canadian Fintech PayBright Announces  E-Commerce Financing Solution is Now Available on IBM Websphere (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Canadian fintech lender PayBright announced on Thursday its e-commerce financing solution is now available for merchants operating the IBM Websphere Commerce platform.

According to PayBright, the e-commerce solution integrates with merchant’s e-commerce platforms and provides Canadian customers with an additional payment option at checkout. Upon selecting PayBright as a payment method, customers can finalize their purchases in a matter of seconds. Merchants then receive their funds directly from PayBright the next business day with no credit risk. Customers then pay for their purchases in affordable monthly installments over time, with interest rates as low as 0%. 

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday January 5 2018, Daily News Digest

small business lending

News Comments Today’s main news: Wealthfront gets backing from Tiger Global. Funding Circle partners with Kansas bank. Elevate customers see rise in credit scores. NextCapital raises $30M for digital advice platform. London tops tech funding. HMT Treasury says P2P lending not deposit-taking. Yields lower in Euro zone as MiFID II begins. Today’s main analysis: FT Partners’ CEO monthly alt lending market […]

small business lending

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

An investing startup that grew by $ 100 million in a single day just got some big name backing (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Wealthfront, a robo-adviser with more than $9 billion under its management, announced Thursday that Tiger Global, the New York investment firm, would lead a $75 million fundraising round.

Wealthfront plans to use the new capital to enhance its Path platform, which allows users to view all of their financial accounts.

“Path’s appeal to young people propelled our growth such that people under 45 now represent 85% of our clients,” Wealthfront cofounder Andy Rachleff said in a statement.

FT Partners’ CEO Monthly Alternative Lending Market Analysis  (FT Partners), Rated: AAA

As FT Partners wraps up 2017 and looks forward to 2018, we are extremely proud of our accomplishments. Celebrating over 16 years in business, we executed a record number of deals, significantly expanded our team, continued our global expansion and won a number of industry awards during the past twelve months. We are confident that 2018 will be another successful year for the Firm and we are incredibly thankful to our clients and friends across the industry.

In case you missed it, we recently published our latest in-depth, 200+ page industry report: “

Source: FT Partners

Read the full report here.

Business-Loan Growth Fell Off a Cliff in 2017 and No One Can Figure Out Why (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Business-loan growth fell to its lowest levels since the aftermath of the financial crisis in the final weeks of 2017, a puzzling development that could weigh on bank earnings later this month.

Bank loans to companies grew 1.1% from a year earlier as of Dec. 20, up slightly from a 0.8% rate the prior week, according to Federal Reserve data. That Dec. 13 level was the lowest since spring 2011, when banks were just starting to lend to companies again after the financial crisis.

The readings likely cement 2017 as the worst year for this type of lending in recent history. The average weekly rate of business-loan growth was 2.7% for 2017 through Dec. 20, compared with 9.3% in 2016 and double-digit growth in the two years before that.

Looking at 2018: A Discussion with Ron Suber (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

“[People] from the banking industry from the tech industry. We have grown up,” said Suber. “We had some people that were great from the early days but were not good for long term growth. There has bee a major turnover in the leadership at many of these companies. My call is that companies are focusing on cash flow, profitability and EBITDA for the first time. Earnings on GAAP basis … I think that is great for the industry. You are seeing companies generate cash. [In the past] Prosper did $400 million in month and it lost money. Now it is doing, say $200 million a month and it is making money. They are being run to be profitable businesses. That is the takeaway from 2017.”

Suber says that today, Prosper makes money every quarter. They have $100 million on the balance sheet and it gets higher every month.

“We are seeing lots of money coming in from Asia to buy loans now. More than ever,” added Suber.

LendingClub, a reporting company, has had a tough two years as its stock has tanked while Wall Street looked elsewhere for growth.

ELEVATE ANNOUNCES BOOST IN CUSTOMER FINANCIAL HEALTH (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

More than 140,000 customers of Elevate’s RISE product have seen an improvement in their credit scores. Additionally, more than 35,000 RISE customers are now eligible to receive at least a 50 percent reduction in their APR and more than 13,000 customers are eligible to receive RISE’s lowest rate.

More than 160 million Americans are either non-prime or “credit invisibles,” without any credit score. These customers account for almost two-thirds of the U.S. population, yet are significantly underserved by the traditional financial industry.

RISE loans are originally priced to risk. Customers are eligible to receive 50 percent off of their rate on subsequent loans after 24 months of payments, eventually achieving a further reduction to 36 percent. Today, more than 35,000 customers have received or are eligible to receive a 50 percent rate reduction and more than 13,000 customers are eligible for an APR of 36 percent.

About the Data

Elevate worked with a major credit bureau to which it reports, gathering anonymized data on RISE customers. Elevate reviewed credit scores of customers from the customer acquisition point up to two quarters after loan completion.

The number of customers who have reached the necessary number of payments to receive a rate reduction was calculated by tabulating the number of accounts at the number of payments necessary.

  • 24 months of payments are required to receive 50 percent off of the customer’s original APR
  • 36 months of payments are required to reach 36 percent

NextCapital Raises $ 30M for its Digital Financial Advice Platform (ChicagoINNO), Rated: AAA

NextCapital officially announced Thursday that it has raised $30 million in new funding to grow its enterprise digital advice platform.

The Series C round brings the company’s total funding to more than $52 million. The round was led by Oak HC/FT, and included additional investments by Manulife Financial, Transamerica Ventures, Vermont Seed Capital Fund and Route 66 Ventures.

FSOC Annual Report on Financial Stability Highlights Marketplace Lending (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Last month the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) released their annual report. This 165-page report highlights potential risks to our financial system by looking at new developments and providing recommendations to improve financial stability.

Section 4.14 of this year’s report deals with new financial products and there is an entire section on marketplace lending. Here is their conclusion about our space:

Although marketplace lending has the potential to reduce costs and expand access to credit, the extent to which these benefits have been realized thus far is unclear. Furthermore, the marketplace lending model has not been tested through a full credit cycle. There are risks that misalignment of incentives could exist on these platforms.

Can blockchain technology revive peer-to-peer lending? (American Banker), Rated: A

The original premise of online peer-to-peer lending platforms was simple and democratic: A single mom from Kalamazoo, Mich., could post her story explaining why she needed $5,000 to pay off her credit card, and a retired electrician in Illinois could read it, decide to fund her loan and receive interest far exceeding what he could get on his savings account.

LendingClub and others that proffered this people-helping-people model quickly found they needed to make changes.

 

Unbanked vs. Underbanked: Who they are and how they differ (MicroBilt), Rated: A

Slightly more than two-thirds of households in America frequently make use of traditional banking services, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. But that leaves 33 percent of people in the U.S. who don’t, a significant percentage by any measure.

Unbanked

As the title implies, unbanked Americans are those who don’t make use of any banking services whatsoever. This includes debit cards and checking accounts, as well as savings accounts. In 2015 – the most recent year for which data is available – the unbanked represented 7 percent of U.S. households, translating to approximately 23 million individuals, including children, the FDIC reported. The percentage of unbanked households in the U.S. is down slightly from 2013, when it was 7.7 percent.

Families have a plethora of rationales for why they opt to go without banking services, but it’s usually due to what they do not have in terms of savings. Nearly 57 percent of unbanked households cite this as their prime reason, according to the FDIC report.

Underbanked

Around 20 percent of Americans are underbanked, according to the FDIC, which means they have either a checking or savings account, though rarely both. Households are also usually given the underbanked distinction if they’ve used alternative financing options during the previous year, such as money orders or rent-to-own services. Around 67 million Americans are underbanked, or the equivalent of 24.5 million households, based on 2015 figures from the most up to date FDIC survey.

As far as demographics are concerned, millennials are among the most likely to be underbanked, with 31 percent of them under the age of 24, according to federal figures.

‘We don’t need to stay in the student market’: How BankMobile wants to grow its offering and replicate its model (Tearsheet), Rated: A

BankMobile, the digital-only bank that offers checking accounts to students, wants to start offering them credit.

The three-year-old Customers Bank subsidiary launched a personal loan product for its customers at the end of December, but that was just the first of a suite of credit products the bank plans to roll out this year as part of its “customer-for-life” strategy, according to Luvleen Sidhu, president and chief strategy officer.

BankMobile has 1.8 million customers to date and has opened about 300,000 new accounts each year in the student demographic through its university partnerships.

Why are you expanding into credit now?
We’re just looking at our demographic. Many in our current customer base are living paycheck to paycheck — that’s why personal loans make sense.

How do you plan to expand your products after the personal loan?
We have a lot of products to introduce on the credit side: credit cards in the second quarter, student refinancing in the second quarter, auto loans and home equity by the second half of next year.

You’re partnering with Upstart on credit products. What are the advantages of that approach?
In the longterm you could say it’s more expensive to partner but those costs outweigh the fact that we get to market much faster.

How has competition changed since BankMobile launched?
It’s accelerated. Challenger banks and Neobanks like Moven, GoBank, Simple and Varo continue to flourish and grow. Digital banks like Ally, USAA and Captial One 360 have really done a push in 2017 attracting millennials, tweaking their product, tone, messaging, branding to make sure they start penetrating that segment. Traditional banks are finally realizing the branch based customer acquisition model is not sufficient.

Banks compete for tech talent by helping on student loans (American Banker), Rated: A

Banks spend not only a lot of time thinking about how to attract millennial customers, but also how to get millennials to work for them.

Though banks might be hard-pressed to offer similar wages — average starting salaries at Uber, Pinterest, and Airbnb are all over $220,000, according to Paysa — they can offer something most tech companies don’t: a student loan repayment benefit plan.

Inside Citizens Bank’s branch redesign strategy (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Banking giants like Citi and Capital One with much more money and resources at hand have been making branches look more like lounges, coffee shops or museums as they figure out what to do with them with less foot traffic, but in 2018, smaller institutions could start to make a move on their plans.

The Providence, Rhode Island bank is transforming its branches into digitally-connected community centers, Johnson said.

Citizens currently has 1,200 branches, and the bank is in the second year of a 10-year plan to reduce its branch footprint as lease expiries take effect. It’s replacing paper pamphlets with digital tools, like a digital retirement checkup platform customers can use while meeting with bankers. The bank can also project digital content onto the walls of a meeting room — a nod to the digital-first habits of some younger customers. Citizens is on an ambitious track to reduce its retail footprint by as much as 50 percent — a “do more with less” approach that over the long term that will save occupancy costs, CEO Bruce Van Saun said in an earnings call last year.

How banks use behavioral economics to win over customers (American Banker), Rated: A

When a major international bank was looking to improve the response rates for its credit card mailers in 2017, rather than changing the graphics or upgrading the paper stock, it turned to a firm that could offer guidance on how consumers make decisions.

It was trying to tap into the insights of behavioral economics, a discipline that uses psychological observations about human behavior to analyze and predict how people will act.

A Fight Over the Credit Score Lenders Use for Your Mortgage (WWJ), Rated: A

Banks and rival lenders are butting heads over the credit scores used to decide millions of mortgage requests by U.S. home buyers.

Now, a federal agency is weighing whether to step into the fight, which revolves around a longtime requirement for lenders who sell mortgages to Fannie Mae FNMA -3.17% and Freddie Mac FMCC -3.31%to gauge most borrowers using FICO scores. The Federal Housing Finance Agency’s ultimate decision could have wide-reaching ramifications for the mortgage market and home buyers across the U.S.

Many nonbank lenders, which in some recent quarters have accounted for more than half of the mortgage dollars issued in the U.S., want the ability to use a credit score provided by a company owned by credit-reporting firms Equifax Inc., EFX +0.00% Experian EXPGY 0.23% PLC and TransUnion . TRU 0.80% These lenders argue the alternative score would open the mortgage market to a greater number of people and lead to more mortgage approvals, helping to boost home sales and the economy.

That is where VantageScore Solutions LLC, the scoring firm that Experian, Equifax and TransUnion launched in 2006, says it can step in.

The company says it can assign a credit score to about 30 million more consumers than FICO. Roughly 7.6 million of those consumers would potentially be eligible for a Fannie or Freddie mortgage, VantageScore says.

Envestnet Finalizes Acquisition of FolioDynamix for $ 195 Million (Finovate), Rated: A

Wealth management intelligence solutions company Envestnet has finalized its acquisition of Actua Corp’s FolioDynamix, a wealth tech solutions company, this week.

PropertyMetrics helps real estate investors create more accurate proformas (Realty Biz), Rated: A

With that in mind, a company called PropertyMetrics has built a web based platform that’s designed to help investors come up with a proforma that includes evaluation and analysis. With PropertyMetric’s software it’s possible to analyze any property in minutes, from any device. This means investors can quickly generate a quick cash flow proforma, perform a cash flow analysis and generate PDF reports from anywhere, in a matter of minutes.

10 favorite stocks for 2018 from top-ranked stock newsletter writers (MarketWatch), Rated: A

Michael Brush, Brush Up on Stocks

I also recently suggested Lending Club Corp. LC, +0.98% in part because of the huge buying by Chinese technology and internet expert Tianqiao Chen, who founded the online gaming company Shanda Interactive Entertainment years ago while he was in his 20s.

He owns around 20% of Lending Club, an online peer-to-peer lending platform. LendingClub recently tightened its lending standards, which hurt loan growth, so the company missed earnings estimates and guided down. But it still expects 15%-20% annual revenue growth over the next few years. This seems plausible given how many people with OK credit would like to refinance their credit card debt with loans. Lending Club estimates $300 billion to $350 billion in credit card debt could potentially be refinanced in this way.

An Online Lending Task Force is Coming to New York (deBanked), Rated: A

An online lending task force DFS study will be coming soon to New York, according to legislative records.

Chippewa Cree Tribe Settles BEH Gaming Ltd Lawsuit (PRWeb), Rated: B

Plain Green, LLC, the online resource for the short-term financial needs of underbanked and subprime consumers, today announces a successful settlement with BEH Gaming Ltd related to loans to the Chippewa Cree Tribe and Chippewa Cree Tribe Development Corporation. Plain Green’s settlement and payment of the debt to BEH releases the Chippewa Cree Tribe and Chippewa Cree Tribe Development Corporation from all liability. The settlement amount is under seal of court order.

The agreement settles a lawsuit filed by Florida-based BEH Gaming Ltd in 2014 (Case # DV-14-142 in the 12th Judicial District Court in Hill County, Montana) to repay loans to expand Northern Winz Hotel and Casino.

Portland ad agency lands $ 126M LendingTree account (Biz Journals), Rated: B

Advertising agency R2C inked a deal late last month to become the new media partner for LendingTree Inc.

LendingTree is an online loan marketplace for financial needs like auto loans, small business loans and credit cards headquartered in Charlotte, N.C. AdWeek reports that the company had a media budget of $126.5 million in 2016, and spent nearly $61 million during the first half of 2017, though R2C won’t manage LendingTree’s entire media budget.

Growing your business? These 3 financing mistakes can cost you big (News-Journal), Rated: B

1. Not understanding the true cost of your loan

When shopping for a business loan, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by fast-talking salespeople, endless strings of acronyms and confusing terms. If it’s unclear how much you’ll really pay for financing, that’s a good sign you should walk away, Hodges cautions.

2. Getting trapped in daily or weekly repayment cycles

Term loans are often the better option, Hodges says. They allow businesses to borrow a set amount of money for a specific purpose, like hiring new staff or stocking up on inventory. The funds are then paid back over a set amount of time, with consistent monthly payments and no surprise fees.

3. Not knowing what you deserve

After seeing countless small businesses get stuck with credit products they couldn’t afford or understand, a coalition of small business advocates, lenders and online credit marketplaces came together to launch the Small Business Borrowers’ Bill of Rights. As the first-ever gold standard for responsible business lending, the Bill of Rights outlines the rights and safeguards that small businesses should expect from finance providers.

3 Behaviors To Keep Credit in Good Standing (MicroBilt), Rated: B

Source: MicroBilt
United Kingdom

London was top destination for tech funding in 2017 (Reuters), Rated: AAA

London was the top city in Europe for technology investment last year, with more funding going into companies in the British capital than into firms based in Paris, Berlin and the next seven cities combined, data showed on Friday.

Tech firms in London attracted 2.45 billion pounds ($3.3 billion) in venture capital funding in 2017, about 80 percent of the 2.99 billion pounds invested in Britain as a whole, according to data compiled by funding database PitchBook for London & Partners.

Fintech, or financial technology, was the most popular segment for investors, attracting a record 1.34 billion pounds in venture capital, the data showed, led by major rounds for TransferWise, Funding Circle and Monzo.

London’s tech scene pulls in record £2.5bn in 2017 venture capital bonanza (City A.M.), Rated: AAA

London’s tech venture capital investment reached another all-time high in 2017 as firms raked in four times more cash than Paris, the nearest European rival.

Softbank’s $502m (£392m) investment in game development platform Improbable was the biggest single investment during the year, but it was London’s burgeoning fintech firms which led the way with a record haul of investments.

European cityLondon Total funding raised (£)

2.45bn

European cityParis Total funding raised (£)

564.97m

European cityBerlin Total funding raised (£)

456m

European cityStockholm Total funding raised (£)

360.27m

European cityMadrid Total funding raised (£)

65.38m

European cityAmsterdam Total funding raised (£)

212.18m

European cityDublin Total funding raised (£)

117.45m

European cityHelsinki Total funding raised (£)

56.98m

European cityCopenhagen Total funding raised (£)

40.23m

European cityLisbon Total funding raised (£)

2.43m

Treasury clarifies whether P2P lending constitutes deposit-taking (AltFi), Rated: AAA

HMT Treasury has passed an order confirming that straight-forward peer-to-peer lending does not constitute deposit-taking.

The order relates to the now-infamous “Dear CEO” letter, sent in March 2017, in which the FCA effectively ordered P2P platforms to cease and desist with all wholesale lending activities. The rationale was that a business borrowing money in order to lend that money on constitutes a form of deposit-taking. This was deemed illegal, per article 5, paragraph 1 of the regulated activities order.

How angel investors support UK start-ups (Growth Business), Rated: A

Investing in start-ups is becoming increasingly popular and accessible in the UK. The attractiveness of that market has come from two main factors: the success of a number UK start-ups built over the past two decades (ASOS, Just Eat, Zoopla, Funding Circle) which are showing the way for many more to come and the supportive policies implemented by the various governments over the same period to encourage investment in ventures.

These schemes have proven to be extremely popular with private investors who every year invest over £1.5 billion into high growth ventures under SEIS and EIS.

So how do you get started with investing in start-ups if you are new to this market?

Your first option is to invest through online equity crowdfunding platforms (ECF) such as Seedrs, Crowdcube and Syndicate Room, which showcase dozens of investment opportunities from start-ups looking to raise equity funding from the public. The advantage of ECF websites is that they are convenient and accessible to anyone with investment tickets starting at £10.

If you consider yourself to be a more sophisticated type of investor looking to build a portfolio of investments with tickets of more than £5,000 per company, then you should probably think about joining an angel syndicate.

A third option to get started is to invest through a start-up fund.

High numbers using expensive credit to buy basic household appliances (Ekklesia), Rated: A

Research found almost 60 per cent of people on a low income turn to more expensive forms of credit to purchase home appliances because they do not have the means to pay up front or access to affordable credit. Seventeen per cent say they used a credit card to make the purchase, 10 per cent used an overdraft and 10 per cent used a store card. More worryingly, significant numbers said that they used high cost credit to buy home appliances, with 13 per cent relying on hire-purchase and eight per cent saying that they used a payday loan.

Blockchain-based banking startup Babb names Paul Johnson as CIO (Finextra), Rated: B

Blockchain-based banking startup BABB (Bank Account Based Blockchain) has appointed banking technology veteran, Paul Johnson who previously lead one of the UK’s leading challenger banks, Aldermore, as CIO to spearhead the development of the world’s first decentralised bank.

European Union

Euro zone yields edge lower as MiFID II kicks in (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Germany’s 10-year government bond yield fell 2 basis points to 0.44 percent DE10YT=TWEB, off two-month highs hit on Tuesday after weekend comments from the European Central Bank’s Benoit Coeure that there was a “reasonable chance” ECB stimulus will not be extended this year.

Most core euro zone bond yields were down 1-4 bps on the day, with the gap between Italian and German 10-year bonds yields tightened to 160 basis points as Italian yields dropped as much as 6 bps to 2.03 percent. IT10YT=TWEB

Ireland meanwhile kicked off its annual funding drive by raising 4 billion euros with a syndicated 10-year bond, covering around a quarter of its issuance target just three days into the year.

P2P platform bosses offer cautious support for pan-EU licences (AltFi), Rated: A

“Opt-in passports” are the way forward, says Lendix co-founder Patrick de Nonneville.

The EU Commission is laying the groundwork for a licence that will allow European crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending platforms to operate across the bloc.

“We think it’s a great development that will be useful for us,” said Patrick de Nonneville, chief operating officer at French marketplace lender Lendix.

Raffael Johnen, CEO and co-founder of leading German marketplace lender auxmoney, offered his thoughts.

“Getting closer to a single digital market will further boost the creation of true European fintech champions.”

International

Online lender Funding Circle inks partnership with Kansas bank (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle, an online lender that operates in four countries, is partnering for the first time with a U.S. bank.

On Thursday, the 7-year-old company announced a deal with Intrust Bank in Wichita, Kan., under which it will sell $20 million worth of its small-business loans to the $5 billion-asset institution.

This Cryptocurrency Inventor Has Suddenly Become One of the World’s Richest Men (Money), Rated: A

Cryptocurrency has a new king. His name is Chris Larsen, and he’s the co-founder and former CEO of Ripple, which created the digital token known as XRP. He’s now one of the world’s richest billionaires, thanks to XRP’s incredible hot streak.

XRP, a cryptocurrency intended for international transactions, has had a meteoric rise this winter. Its value went from $0.25 a coin in mid-December to $3.16 as of Wednesday, according to Coinmarketcap. It’s currently the second biggest cryptocurrency behind Bitcoin.

Forbes reports that, as a result, Larsen almost instantly became worth $37.3 billion (based on XRP’s Monday exchange rate).

India

BCCL invests in fintech company FinREQ in an ads-for-equity deal (Medianama), Rated: AAA

Bennett, Coleman & Co Limited (BCCL), the publisher of the Times Of India and the parent of Times Internet, has acquired an undisclosed stake in online loan company FinREQ.

As such, it looks like the investment in FinREQ is an ads-for-equity deal.

FinREQ was founded in 2011 and has tie-ups tie-ups with nationalized, co-operative, foreign, private banks, NBFCs and Housing Finance Companies. The company provides a variety of loans ranging from overdrafts, import & export finance, supply chain financing, loans against property (LAP), loans against share, lease rental discounts and others.

Online lending platform EarlySalary raises $ 15.7 mn in Series B round (VC Circle), Rated: A

Pune-based Social Worth Technologies Pvt. Ltd, which runs online lending platform EarlySalary, has raised Rs 100 crore ($15.7 million) in a Series B funding round led by Eight Roads Ventures India, a company statement said.

Invest smart with these asset class investment options (ANI), Rated: B

Fixed Depositsinvestment in goldReal Estate and many other traditional options are losing grounds when trying to woo the new age investors.

A research from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies indicated that nearly three-quarters of millennials are saving for retirement and that we started doing so at an earlier age than previous generations.

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending in India currently gives a net return of 18-22 percent to lenders.

Asia

Commencement of Online Lending Service for Small Businesses That Leverages Accounting Big Data and AI Technology (Orix), Rated: A

ORIX Corporation (“ORIX”) and Yayoi Co., Ltd. (“Yayoi”) announced today that the ALTOA Online Lending Service, which leverages accounting big data and AI technology, will commence its operation through the jointly established entity, ALTOA, Inc. (“ALTOA”).

The ALTOA Online Lending Service is an online lending service that provides small amount, short-term loans for small businesses through a new credit model that leverages the credit know-how of ORIX, the accounting big data of Yayoi, and the AI technology of d.a.t. Inc., who is a partner in this venture.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Lending Times Survey Results

digital lending services

Lending-Times recently conducted a survey of our readers to find out more about the types of lending services they offer and how they relate to their customers. The following are the results of the survey. What type of lending services do you provide? (select all that apply) The majority of readers (55.88%) are in the […]

digital lending services

Lending-Times recently conducted a survey of our readers to find out more about the types of lending services they offer and how they relate to their customers. The following are the results of the survey.

What type of lending services do you provide? (select all that apply)

The majority of readers (55.88%) are in the consumer loan business followed by 36.76% involved in business lending. 17.65% are in mortgage lending while 16.18% are in student lending 10.29% are involved in auto lending. Another 25% identify as alternative lenders, a broad category of lending that includes many types of non-bank loans. Because readers could choose more than one category for this question, the survey results do not add up to 100%.

What is your role within the organization?

The largest percentage of survey takers (25%) fall into the digital sales, marketing, and acquisition category. 11.76% fall into risk, fraud, and compliance occupations, and another 10.29% consider themselves a part of product and technology. The majority, 52.94%, chose “other.”

How do you verify the identity of your borrowers?

When it comes to identifying borrower identities, 37.31% said they do so through data bureau checks. Digital identity verification checks are used by 32.84% of those who took our survey, and 23.88% said they verify borrower identities with a manual review of identity documents. Only 5.97% said “other.”

How do you collect supporting documents for underwriting (for example, utility bills for proof of address, W2s for proof of income, etc.)?

Regarding underwriting practices, 69.74% of survey takers said they collect documents through electronic capture and upload, 25% by email, and 5.26% have borrowers deliver to a physical location. No respondents said they receive documents by fax.

Do you think your current process for onboarding new applicants could be improved?

A simple yes or no response on this question revealed that 93.24% of survey takers believe their new applicant onboarding processes can be improved while only 6.58% responded in the negative.

What stage of the digital transformation journey is your organization at today?

Almost half, 42.11%, of survey respondents said they are a fully digital organization, and the same percentage said they are on track to becoming a fully digital lender. Those just starting out represent 19.74% of our readership who said they are working on a full-digital strategy and evaluating vendors. None of the respondents said they have no plans to become a fully digital lender.

What do you think are the main barriers to offering fully digital lending services? (select all that apply)?

The majority of survey takers (53.42%) said the biggest barrier to offering fully digital lending service is mitigating risk while avoid loan application abondonment. Another 52.05% said meeting compliance without compromising the user experience is the main barrier. Almost one-third of survey takeres (27.40%) said they lack the skills, resources, and budget to offer fully digital lending services. Respondents who said they do not see the value of shifting their loan origination practices to digital channels registered at 9.59%, and those unsure of where to begin came in at 5.48%.

Rank on a scale from 1-5, the value of each benefit in the digital lending process (1 being very valuable, 5 being not valuable).

Our readers seem to value regulatory compliance more than any other digital lending benefit. Risk mitigation followed closely behind followed by improvements in operational efficiency. Cycle time and user experience pulled up the rear.

Do you feel your lending user experience is a competitive differentiator?

84% of survey takers said the user experience on their lending platforms are a key competitive differentiator while 16% said it wasn’t.

If you already offer digital loans, which of the following options do you provide?

Among survey takers, the digital lending options provided the most include desktop/laptop (52.11%), mobile-optimized website (50.70%), and native app (15.49%). Over one-third (39.44%) said they offer all three options.

Authors:

Allen Taylor

The Return of Non-Prime Mortgage Loans

Altisource

Altisource was launched in 1999 and has its headquarters in Luxembourg. In 2009, it was listed under the ticker (NASDAQ: ASPS) it was a spinoff from Ocwen Financial Corp (NASDAQ: OCN); a mortgage loan servicing and asset management company and today its equity market cap stands at just under $500 million. Chart below shows ASPS […]

Altisource

Altisource was launched in 1999 and has its headquarters in Luxembourg. In 2009, it was listed under the ticker (NASDAQ: ASPS) it was a spinoff from Ocwen Financial Corp (NASDAQ: OCN); a mortgage loan servicing and asset management company and today its equity market cap stands at just under $500 million.

Chart below shows ASPS performance for the last two years:

Source: Yahoo! Finance

The company has over 10,000 employees on its payroll and since its inception has acquired Investability, RentRange LLC, CastleLine, and Equator. It offers plethora of products ranging from real estate and mortgage portfolio management, asset recovery, and customer relationship management to securitization, loan origination, insurance etc. It is a one-stop shop and serves over 250 lenders.

Justin Vedder, vice president, national sales for origination solutions, has a strong background in operations, strategic sales and sales management. Prior to this, he held high profile positions in various organizations like CastleLine Holdings, The Prieston Group to name a few. Vedder shared his thoughts with Lending-Times on Altisource and the current tailwinds in the non-prime mortgage ecosystem.

Return of High-Risk Mortgage

Non-prime mortgage securities were once a popular choice among lenders. It offered attractive returns but it all changed when housing market came crashing down in 2008. But in the last year or so, the high-risk mortgage has made a return and the sector is slated to originate about $100 billion this year, though the number is minuscule if compared to $2.2 trillion mortgage market. With an increase in lending volume as well as interest rates, higher yields are expected in the coming future and favorable regulatory environment is another reason why investors are again cautiously optimistic about the future prospects of the industry.

Post-2008, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) came hard on faulty loans and companies who falsified the loan documents. Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act piled on additional mortgage industry regulations to protect consumers. Regulation Z of the Federal Truth in Lending Act provides the backbone of mortgage industry regulations, covering topics such as mortgage disclosures, servicing and appraisal requirements.

Prior to 2008, person earning $30,000 a year with a “D” credit rating, not sustainable income and with no down payment could buy a home, the underwriting process was that easy but it all changed after the 2008 financial crisis. Now, the borrower should atleast have a “B” credit rating, regular sustainable income with proofs, two year job history and 20% down payment and numerous amount of paperwork including tax returns, pay stubs, banks statements, W-2 and much more. With the advent of fintech companies, underwriting has become much more automated and companies are using various technologies like AI to make sure borrowers are genuine. And because of these changes, delinquency rate for 90 days or more including loans foreclosure was 2.2 percent in February 2017. All these changes have made the whole lending ecosystem much more secure than before.

Post-2008, approval rates have gone down significantly as lenders are much more circumspect. Therefore customers with low fico score, self-employed, and retired find it difficult to get loans even though they might have lots of savings and investments. Self employed has always find it tough when it comes to mortgages because they write off far more than the W-2 employees, hence they find it difficult to show the required proof of income through tax returns. Hence, high percentage of self-income individuals, even though they have required prerequisite to qualify for mortgages, struggle to get loans. Because the underwriting and loan processing is more comprehensive than before, the non-prime mortgage sector has the opportunity to tap into the self-employed category.

Requirements and Risk level

Disclosures required from applicants are much more wide-ranging and LTV is now decided by a multi-factor approach to ensure the ability to pay. Recently CFPB introduced “Quality Mortgage” Rule; lenders will use this rule as underwriting standards. Some of its key features are:

  • A borrower may not have a debt-to-income ratio of greater than 43 percent,
  • Fees and points may not exceed 3 percent of the loan amount,
  • Lenders must verify a borrower’s income
  • No mortgages greater than thirty years and no interest only or negative amortization loans.

In 2014, CFPB issued stricter rules for lenders to decide whether the borrower is qualified or not for the mortgages. The “ability to repay” rule, requires the lender to consider more than just the initial interest rate in determining whether the prospective borrower can pay off the loan or not. This rule will make it difficult for the borrowers to qualify for the ARM (Adjustable-rate Mortgage), since lenders will be using higher rates than initial rate available on the loan.

All these additional requirements, along with careful evaluation of collateral, validation of project, income and bank statements, has been the reason why risk level on sub-prime mortgages has gone down considerably and why it is once again becoming popular.

Altisource Products

  • Trelix – Post-2008 era has been tough for the mortgage industry in terms of regulations, and it has become hard to keep track of all regulatory changes and whether every loan is as per regulatory standards or not. Also lack of trained staff has resulted in a high manufacturing cost per loan. Altisource’s Trelix offers “end-to-end licensed underwriting and loan processing services”. This gives a competitive edge to its clients as it manages risk while lowering the cost. Trelix offers host of customized services- processing, underwriting, quality control, loan due diligence etc.
  • CastleLine Insurance Services – This robust risk management and insurance solution is specifically designed for the mortgage banking industry. It helps the clients to safeguard against the losses arising from loan manufacturing defects, underwriting errors, misrepresentations, and borrower, seller, and employee fraud. This is a game-changer as it helps in increasing mortgage quality and reduces funding costs.

Company Numbers

Over the years, Altisource has carved its niche in a highly competitive mortgage industry and has a strong network of on-boarded lenders. Though company as whole has been flourishing but its underwriting business has been on the rise and so far has done over $15 million in volume and its other key business CastleLine insurance business has insured over $15 billion worth of loans.
Industry outlook

The industry will continue to grow but it is expected to evolve over a period of time in terms of process automation. The practice of individually reviewing each loan application is cumbersome and error-prone; therefore by leveraging other credit enhancers like insurance and third party guarantee, the industry can accelerate the process and will also provide a much-needed safety net to the mortgage providers.

Future Plans

The company wants to create an enabling environment so that the mortgage providers can go deep and tap into the non-prime lenders market. Right now the trading environment in the secondary market is non-formal as a lot of work is done using nonpublic information or via emails and the company is on track to change the whole landscape of the sub-prime mortgage industry with the help of its next-generation product line and expertise.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Monday July 31 2017, Daily News Digest

credit card issuers

News Comments Today’s main news: RateSetter tops 2B GBP in lending. P2P Global Investments holds steady. P2P Finance Association reports new lending growth. One of China’s largest P2P lenders quits. BNI Europa invests 15M Euro in Creditshelf. Marqeta, Visa partner on global payments. Prospa secures $20M debt facility. Today’s main analysis: Bank and credit card issuer charge-off trends. Today’s thought-provoking articles: […]

credit card issuers

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

Middle East

Africa

News Summary

United States

Earnings Season Continues—Bank and Card Issuer Charge-Off Trends (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

As PeerIQ observed last quarter, we continue to see a “tale of two cities”–a divergence in charge-off rates of card issuers and large money center banks.

Discover reported a 55% increase in loan loss reserves citing re-normalization of credit performance, an increased supply of consumer credit, and an increase in consumer leverage. We also see observe increases in loan loss reserves from Synchrony Financial (30%), American Express (26%), and Capital One (13%).

Source: PeerIQ, Bloomberg

Outlook for Consumer Lending 

The backdrop for consumer lending businesses is strong. Although delinquencies have picked up, originators remain compensated for taking on credit risk. The ROE for Discover and American Express are both over 20% as compared to C, JPM, WFC, and BAC where ROE remains stubbornly low in the 6 to 11% range. Also, consumer loan demand continues to grow (total loan requests on Lending Tree increased 48% year-over-year to 5.4 Mn).

The biggest challenge to the above state-of-play is the latest scale entrant to the retail banking business–Goldman Sachs. GS’s new lending business, Marcus, is on pace to originate $2 Bn in loans this year–the fastest growth rate of any lender that PeerIQ tracks.

Inside seven plans for a faster U.S. payments system (American Banker), Rated: AAA

A task force convened by the Federal Reserve has released its evaluations of 16 proposals to build a faster U.S. payment system. The plans were judged by the task force’s consulting firm, McKinsey & Co., based on how well they satisfied 36 criteria related to speed, security and other attributes.

EastWest ties up with PLDT unit (Inquirer.net), Rated: A

Gotianun-led EastWest Banking Corp. has teamed up with FINTQ, the technology arm of PLDT and Smart’s Voyager Innovations, to offer consumer loans through digital lending platform Lendr.

With this partnership, consumer-focused lender EastWest will make available personal loans and auto loans through Lendr by the fourth quarter of this year. Eventually, the offering will also include EastWest home loans, small and medium enterprise (SME) loans and credit cards.

Providing well-rounded financial advice and servicing through automated technologies (CGI.com), Rated: A

While robo-advice may account for only a fraction of the total assets under management today, it is a technology that is here to stay—but not in the way that has dominated news stories. Rather than supplanting the financial advisor with technology, firms need to leverage new multi-channel automation to empower their advisors to focus on value-added, relationship-building activities. In this paper, we look at how wealth management players can focus on getting to the right combination of human advisors and automated investment advisory solutions in a hybrid model that seamlessly integrates the two.

Read the paper here.

Overstock’s TØ Has Already Built a Platform for Trading Regulated ICOs (Coindesk), Rated: A

US retail giant Overstock.com has been waiting for the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to tell the world exactly when a crypto token is a security.

Then, earlier this week, tØ got the news it had been waiting for when the SEC finally published the results of a landmark report in which it clearly laid out its rationale for why some tokens are still securities.

Long a detractor of a practice called “naked short selling” – where traders methodically bid down the price of stock by selling shares they haven’t first procured, Byrne set about using blockchain to cut out everyone who stood in the way of buyers and sellers.

BLOCKCHAIN AND INITIAL COIN OFFERINGS: SEC PROVIDES FIRST U.S. SECURITIES LAW GUIDANCE (Pepper Hamilton LLP), Rated: A

For those who hoped that the SEC would allow cryptocurrency and ICO markets to evolve unregulated, their hopes were dashed by the report and the bulletin. The SEC did not outlaw ICOs by any stretch of the imagination, but it did indicate that, depending on the facts and circumstances, an ICO may indeed involve an offering of securities. In that case, organizations that proceed without registering with the SEC or that structure the offering in such a manner so as to qualify for an exemption from registration will violate federal securities laws. The remedies for such a violation include rescission of the offering, cease-and-desist orders, fines and penalties, bans from participating in the securities industry, bans on serving as an officer or director of a public company, and, in the most egregious cases, referral to the local U.S. Attorney for possible criminal prosecution. So, whether an offering involves a “security” is a very important initial determination.

Inside the development of Erica, Bank of America’s AI-powered bot (Tearsheet), Rated: A

However, when Bank of America got a sense of the vision for its AI-enabled “digital assistant,” called erica, it didn’t take the bank long to gather the resources necessary to make her real.However, when Bank of America got a sense of the vision for its AI-enabled “digital assistant,” called erica, it didn’t take the bank long to gather the resources necessary to make her real.

The bot is now in the beta testing phase.

Fintech Apps and Banking Mobile App Development for Startups (Upwork), Rated: A

Paypal is the world leader in processing payment apps today. The app for Android and iOS devices provides the same functionality as the online Paypal.com service.

A good choice for small businesses Due.com lets users benefit from a convenient digital wallet, invoicing service and fast operations handled at low transaction rates.

iZettle also efficiently serves small businesses. What this fintech app does perfectly is that it allows small business owners accept cash and credit card payments from a smartphone or tablet. With additional cash drawers and receipt printers from iZettle one can also provide customers with printed or online receipts.

Another interesting example of a successful fintech app is Mobikwik. Now with the base of 50 million users Mobikwik offers a user-friendly digital wallet, which has become a real substitute of a physical purse for its users worldwide.

In regards to the ways of making personal loans an easier experience for users, LendUp offers just one of them. It’s a web application (also available for mobile) that lets users from selected US states apply for a short-term loan 24/7.

Citi Mobile is one of the leading mobile apps for iOS and Android mobile devices introduced by Citibank. According to Business Insider, the app has significantly grown in popularity mainly due to addition of FICO scorefeature.

Rating the Robo-Advisors (Barrons), Rated: A

By tech start-up standards, robo-advisors are already approaching middle age. Betterment, the pioneering robo-advisor and still the largest of the independent firms, turned seven in May. It now has $9.1 billion in assets under management.

Lawmaker Queries Alt-Lenders With Concerns Over ‘Trapped’ Small Biz Borrowers (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II (D-Mo.) has reportedly sent letters to five alternative SMB lending companies with questions regarding borrower protections, anti-discrimination efforts, transparency and other factors.

Cleaver is reportedly seeking details of the companies’ business models and products offered to small businesses, how those products are originated, information on fees and rates and whether these businesses offer borrowers a repayment plan based on future credit card receivables, reports said.

The lawmaker is also seeking information on how these lenders handle transparency and whether they make disclosures to SMBs the same way they do to consumers as required under the Truth in Lending Act. He is also asking about whether these firms pull a consumer credit report for small business lending.

The SEC’s ICO crackdown will help in the long-run. (The Financial Revolutionist Email), Rated: A

But unless your plan was to make a quick billion in ICOs in time to ring in 2018 with Payments deal activity is en fuego.

Also in payments land, 

What is “working capital”? And how can it help my small business? (OnDeck), Rated: A

For many business owners, it makes sense to borrow funds to create a liquid cash cushion to operate their business to the best of their ability. Before you decide to borrow, you need to understand what your working capital needs are and to make sure numbers make sense for you and your business.

3 Reasons Why the Finance Industry Needs VR (UploadVR), Rated: A

The finance industry is one of the most data-driven trades, and by visualizing and analyzing data in VR, early adopters can get a leg up on the competition. Not only can VR improve the way data is viewed, but it can also improve the level of communication through the use of a shared virtual office (SVO). This is immensely important because, in the high stakes world of finance, a mistake or lapse in communication could cost millions of dollars.

The Biggest Trends in Home Mortgage Loans We’ve Seen This Year (Huffington Post), Rated: B

Typical of hot real estate markets, there’s a cycle. Home prices rise, people catch on and want in, and then they decide to sell. Soon, even more people jump in the market and serious sellers make their sale, causing inventory to thin. Buyers get wise to the overheated marketplace and decide to wait until the prices come down. The sellers who are eager to make a buck overprice their houses and when they don’t sell, they become income properties. As a result, the rental markets fill up with income properties, and the inventory continues to thin out.

We are at historic lows for mortgage rates, and they are not going to spike that drastically in the next year that it would preclude you from getting a solid thirty-year fixed rate loan.  The important thing is that you do NOT overpay for a home.

GE Alum Brings Discipline to High-Growth Financial Firm (CFO), Rated: B

After 16 years at General Electric, Chris Capozzi was still a young man. That was because he’d joined the company upon graduating from Boston College, where he earned a degree in finance and management information systems.

Eventually, one of the alumni introduced Capozzi to Stone Point Capital, which had just become a major investor in Freedom Financial Network, a privately held financial services firm. Everything clicked with the company’s co-founders and co-CEOs, Bradford Stroh and Andrew Housser, so Capozzi moved across the country to start work as Freedom’s CFO at the beginning of this year.

What kinds of opportunities are you focused on?

Secondly, we’re in the process of developing a securitization platform to complement our existing sources of capital and further expand our investor base, which will enable the growth on the marketplace lending side. Initially the plan is to securitize unsecured consumer loans, very similar to what other marketplace lenders, like SoFi and Avant, have done.

United Kingdom

Peer-to-peer lender RateSetter passes £2 billion lending milestone (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lender RateSetter announced on Monday that it has passed £2 billion in loans over its platform, with more than £1 billion of the total made since the beginning of 2016.

About £1.3 billion of the total lent has gone to individuals, with £700 million going to businesses. The company now has 423,000 customers, the majority of whom are borrowers, more than any other UK peer-to-peer lender.

P2P fund holds steady on dividend (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Onerous banking regulations will continue to hamper growth in regulatory capital‐intensive lending asset classes, according to the investment managers of the £821m P2P Global Investments trust.

The fund is moving away from a pure P2P play, instead transitioning more into direct lending and other Alternative Credit niches. Its manager MW Eaglewood is also merging with Pollen Street Capital, which while still on-going, is expected to close later this year subject to regulatory approval. Pollen Street is also the manager of £359m Honeycomb investment trust which invests in direct lending assets.

Source: AltFi Data

P2PFA reports growth in new lending as LendInvest departs (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

CUMULATIVE lending among the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2PFA) members in the second quarter of 2017 fell slightly to £8.39bn, due to LendInvest’s departure from the trade body.

However, new lending among the members has still grown significantly year on year, the P2PFA said on Friday.

The number of investors in P2PFA member-platforms has now hit 185,652, the trade body said, while the number of current borrowers has risen to 435,267.

UK P2PFA: Peer to Peer Lending Rises in Q2 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Q3 2016

Q4 2016

Q1 2017

Q2 2017

Folk2Folk

£139,344,302

£161,408,804

Funding Circle

£1,524,427,000

£1,830,397,245

£2,158,457,107

£2,455,740,443

Landbay

£42,948,000

£43,142,119

£43,975,419

£46,515,723

LendInvest

£776,112,000

£855,354,293

£971,875,952

Lending Works

£33,636,000

£39,368,050

£48,864,686

£58,441,220

MarketInvoice

£754,325,000

£837,793,900

£918,450,994

£1,018,021,696

RateSetter

£1,442,743,000

£1,604,406,564

£1,815,320,079

£1,995,142,453

ThinCats

£196,907,000

£211,446,000

£226,981,000

£242,540,000

Zopa

£1,731,685,000

£1,926,038,724

£2,172,561,894

£2,409,257,844

Total

£6,502,783,000

£7,347,946,895

£8,495,831,433

£8,387,068,183

The LendInvest bond promises to pay investors 5.25% with two payments a year until 2022 (This is Money), Rated: A

Alternative property lender and investment platform LendInvest has launched a five-year bond paying 5.25 per cent a year for investors with a minimum of £2,000.

In an era of one per cent savings rates and where yields ranging beyond 5 per cent are hard to come by in the equity markets, this deal is sure to whet the appetite of many investors – particularly as it comes with twice-yearly payouts.

LendInvest’s Christian Faes On Why Property Investing Is Still Going Strong (Forbes), Rated: A

According to Christian Faes, CEO and co-founder of LendInvest, the retail bond serves a number of purposes – it allows the business to diversify its funding and expand its capacity to lend to property professionals, but also creates a new entry point into property for investors.

He explains:

[The retail bond] is launching at a critical time when demand in the UK’s residential property market continues to outstrip supply. There’s a serious lack of capital available to professional property investors who buy, build, refurbish and renovate homes for UK streets. Our model allows us – and by extension our investors – to support these people and small businesses.

Faes says that it is difficult to pin down what a typical LendInvest investor looks like; the investor base ranges from those looking to build a portfolio of property loans on the firm’s online investment platform all the way up to pension funds, infrastructure funds and banks.

Fintech company DueCourse goes into administration (Manchester Evening News), Rated: A

Manchester fintech company DueCourse has called in administrators.

This comes less than a year after the cloud-based invoice financing service for SMEs was boosted by a £6.25m investment, the largest seen outside of London for a fintech firm.

Bosses said the money will be used to expand and grow its software with plans to raise a further £10-15m to grow its services worldwide.

Abundance Tops £50 Million in P2P Invesment into Renewable Energy Projects (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Abundance Investment, a UK based peer to peer lending platform in the renewable energy sector, has just topped £50 million in investment, according to a company report. Management said the “huge” popularity of its IFISA and three highly popular renewable projects from tidal, geothermal and energy efficiency technologies helped to fuel the recent growth. Abundance says three projects have attracted more than £10 million of new investment in less than 2 months.

  • Atlantis tidal energy debenture has sold out raising £4.3 million,
  • Green Deal bond will close in 4 days’ time and has raised £3.95 million to date
  • United Downs Geothermal project has raised 60% of its £3.8 million target (£2.7m) in less than a week.

New products and milestones for ethical P2P platforms (AltFi), Rated: A

Investors looking for ethical options now have more choices when it comes to peer-to-peer lending.

Lending platform Downing Crowd has launched two regular access crowd bonds, with one for a renewable energy generation and storage company.

Cash management and peer-to-peer lending could boost your balance sheet (Director), Rated: A

With inflation on the rise but interest rates at an all-time low in the UK – and some high-street banks even raising the prospect of charging commercial customers to keep deposits – companies’ savings may actually be losing value in real terms.

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em

Over the past few years a new way to potentially beat the banks has emerged – one that plays them at their own game. Called property-backed peer-to-peer lending, it gives companies the opportunity to be the lending bank themselves.

One of the fastest-growing products of this type is Choice, offered by Octopus Investments, an experienced investment company that manages more than £6bn of assets.

Working with a growing roster of challenger banks, Octopus can offer a savings product that currently provides an interest rate of more than one per cent.

This week in MoneyWeek: banks are back (MoneyWeek), Rated: A

Banks have been out of favour for the last ten years after they almost brought the global financial system to its knees.

So why would anybody invest in them? Oddly, one reason is “the failure by politicians to enforce a key promise” – that no bank would ever become “too big to fail” again. “In every developed country”, says Jonathan, the big banks have just got bigger. The “never again” promises have been replaced with “complex rules to strengthen bank capital, thus reducing the chances of collapse”. Another reason is that “banking has changed for the better” – governance has improved and customer satisfaction has shot up.

Why Banks Can’t Help But Help Fintechs (Fintech Weekly), Rated: B

It remains to be seen if any bank can ever do what the music industry is in the process of doing – taking back “their” industry by becoming the pre-eminent innovators. Such a thought might be laughable right now. But a word of caution on laughing too soon – if they do realise how to leverage their enormous power, accept that legacy systems must be overhauled and replaced wth the truly innovate, and execute such a strategy well, would you bet against them retaining and entrenching their dominance?

For now and the foreseeable future, most banks prefer to sit back and avoid risk. Really the risk lies in doing nothing and inviting a slow death by a thousand cuts. OK, yes, you can talk about record bank investment in fintech, cooperation between banks and fintechs – again, this is only helping fintechs move in on bank stomping ground.

China

One of China’s biggest P2P lenders quits ahead of clampdown (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

China’s pending regulatory crackdown on the $120bn peer-to-peer lending industry has claimed its first scalp before it has even begun, with one of the biggest players saying it will wind up its business in an industry full of bad loans and no profits.

P2P lending, in which borrowers are matched with investors via online platforms, has mushroomed in the past five years, with China boasting more than 2,100 such platforms, but so too have scandals. Last year was marked by multibillion-dollar scams in China and a governance scandal that rocked New York-listed LendingClub.

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Beijing this month said it would delay regulations that will bar online lenders from guaranteeing principal or interest on loans they facilitate, cap the size of loans at Rmb1m for individuals and Rmb5m for companies, and force lenders to use custodian banks — a requirement only a fraction of the industry has met so far.

Three more Chinese banks join Swift’s global payments innovation (Banking Technology), Rated: A

Three local Chinese commercial banks have joined Swift’s global payments innovation initiative (gpi), bringing the number of Chinese banks involved to 16, the most in the world, according to Xinhua.

The new trio are Yinzhou Bank and Bank of Ningbo in eastern China’s Zhejiang province; and the Bank of Jiangsu, in the eastern Jiangsu province (and just south of Zhejiang).

Embrace the cardless era, CUP launched the electronic account cloud flash, or its Jedi fight back (TMT Post), Rated: A

A few days ago, UnionPay cloud flash together with Apple Pay launched promotional activities; early June, CUP also joined nearly 10 million businesses to create “62 CUP cloud flash to the whole people Sheng Hui.” Looks, CUP is imitating Alipay, WeChat to pay the subsidy routine.

Can you imagine using your Jingdong or US group (the new US big) account, you can pay through the UnionPay POS machine? Do not scan, do not have to swipe, do not open the APP, just need to close the POS machine and verify the fingerprint can be completed to pay.

The point is that you do not need to use the bank card account directly, but through the Jingdong or US group to pay the account, you can use the phone in the UnionPay POS machine to complete the payment.

European Union

BNI Europa invests EUR15 million in Creditshelf (Finextra), Rated: AAA

In Banco BNI Europa (“BNI Europa”), Creditshelf has succeeded in acquiring another strategic partner to help it provide financing to small and medium-sized undertakings (SMEs).

The online marketplace that specialises in SME financing, and the Bank, which operates throughout Europe, have agreed that Banco BNI Europa will invest up to 15 million Euro in the credit platform over the coming months.

Your Banker Is Always In: Sweden Rolls Out the Robots (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Aida is the perfect employee: always courteous, always learning and, as she says, “always at work, 24/7, 365 days a year.”

Aida, of course, is not a person but a virtual customer-service representative that SEB AB, one of Sweden’s biggest banks, is rolling out. The goal is to give the actual humans more time to engage in more complex tasks.

Besides Aida at SEB, there’s Nova, which is a chatbot Nordea Bank AB is introducing at its life and pensions unit in Norway. Swedbank AB is adding to the skills of its virtual assistant, Nina. All three are designed to sound like women, based on research suggesting customers feel more comfortable with female voices.

International

Marqeta & Visa Ink Global Partnership to Power Payments & Loans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Visa (NYSE: V) and Marqeta, a payment card issuing platform that can provide consumers with immediate loans, has announced a global partnership to propel innovations in commercial and consumer payments in lending. Visa has also made a strategic investment in Marqeta and led a $25 million funding round that included the participation of previous Marqeta investors including Commerce Ventures, 83 North, Granite Ventures, IA Capital, and CommerzVentures GmbH, as well as new investor CreditEase in China, one of the world’s largest alternative lender.

15 ‘RegTech’ Investors Every Fintech Startup Needs to Know (Entrepreneur), Rated: A

  1. Octopus Ventures
  2. SeventySix Capital
  3. Summer Capital
  4. Carrick Capital Partners
  5. EQT Ventures
  6. Insight Venture Partners
  7. JMI Equity
  8. Aquiline Capital Partners LLC
  9. Sageview Capital
  10. Accel Partners
  11. Warburg Pincus
  12. HarbourVest
  13. Digital Currency Group
  14. TTV Capital
  15. Balderton Capital
Australia

Online lender secures $ 20m debt facility (Australian Broker), Rated: AAA

Digital online lender Prospa has secured a $20m debt facility from the Australian arm of a US-based commercial finance provider, Partners for Growth (PFG).

Fintechs target millennials with online financial services (The Australian), Rated: A

Millennials are likely to fall into three categories:

• Inheritors: With wealthy parents, they are major consumers while they wait to inherit.

• Strivers: Coming from a more modest background, they are studying, saving and working hard with ambitions for promotion. They will borrow to support their lifestyle, not unlike inheritors.

• Given-ups: They are more likely earning a low salary but continue to consume as much as the other two categories. Buying a house is not on the agenda, so they do not see the point in saving.

And 71 per cent of millennials, according to Viacom’s Millennial Disruption Index, would rather go to the dentist than to the bank.

India

i2ifunding looks to break even by second half of FY20 (DNA India), Rated: AAA

i2ifunding.com, a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform, today said it aims to break even by the second half of 2019-20, given its robust growth in the last two years and promising outlook in the next two years.

It has a vision to scale up this disbursement up to Rs 200 crore over the next two years, i2ifunding.com said in a statement.

Fin-tech startup Finomena shuts down after failing to raise funding (The Indian Wire), Rated: A

Finomena, a startup which provided small ticket loans to students and young professionals, has shut down after failing to raise pre-Series A funding round.

The company is now no longer accepting new users on its website.

FinMomenta to introduce new products; targets SMEs (Deccan Herald), Rated: A

After working in a bank for many years, Brahma Mahesh and his friend decided to do something in the burgeoning FinTech space. They zeroed in on lending, as only 5-6% of the population is covered by banks and NBFCs. Mahesh, along with four other co-founders, started FinMomenta last year, and launched its first product ‘Tachyloans’, a peer-to-peer lending platform in May this year.

FreeCharge’s acquisition is proof that the Axis of Indian banking is changing (Quartz), Rated: A

In the next five years, almost 50% of the world’s financial services are planning to acquire fintech startups, according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. Collaborations, too, are expected to increase, with eight out of 10 companies waiting to partner with these new players, the report added.

Some 67% of senior Indian financial sector executives believe their business is at risk following the rise of fintech firms, and 95% of them were willing to explore partnership with them, a separate report by PwC released this April revealed.

On July 27, Axis Bank, the country’s third-largest private sector lender, acquired FreeCharge, a payments application and mobile-wallet company, for Rs385 crore ($60 million). This is the first such deal in the sector, potentially setting off more such transactions in the future, believe experts.

These serial entrepreneurs are offering bank products through an Ola-Uber model (YourStory), Rated: A

Five-month-old fintech startup Cashcow, which provides banking services and products to a customer at his doorstep, has expanded its operations to seven cities including Delhi, Kolkata, Pune, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Chennai. 

Joining fintech company Rubique as a chief product officer in 2016 introduced him to Manish Aggarwal, his future co-founder, who was leaving the startup at that point.

According to the founders, Cashcow is a platform providing banking services and products to a customer at his doorstep.

Can Regulatory Sandbox Nurture India’s FinTech Innovation? (CXO Today), Rated: A

The Indian financial services sector is undergoing major changes today. With more than 600 startups in the space of lending, payments, insurance and trading space, Fintech startups are not only spearheading innovation, but are also prompting traditional banks and financial institutions to explore new technologies and investing heavily in digital service delivery channels.

However, fintech startups unlike others face additional challenges of operating in a heavily regulated industry and have stiff competition as their key competitors are well established banking players. To overcome this challenge, experts believe, adopting a “Regulatory Sandbox” based approach where the regulator works closely with emerging Fintech firms make better sense.

Asia

Finca launches Pakistan’s first ever digital wallet (Daily Pakistan), Rated: AAA

FINCA Microfinance Bank, one of the fastest growing microfinance banks in Pakistan, has announced a movement to make digital commerce and payments free in the country.

SimSim, a mobile payment platform, was introduced in partnership with Finja – an internationally funded FinTech startup – at a launch event Thursday night at Mohatta Palace, Karachi. The event was attended by major industry stakeholders, government officials, artists, tech enthusiasts and media figures.

SimSim will give people access to frictionless payment options directed towards a diverse pool of merchants.

Middle East

Bahrain’s FinTech Sector Loses Ground to Dubai (Cryptocoins News), Rated: AAA

Africa

FINTECH Association of Nigeria debuts to support development of the financial technology industry (PR Share), Rated: AAA

Over 25 FinTech companies attended the recent inaugural meeting of FTAN – FinTech Association of Nigeria – which principal objective is to serves as a platform for the development of the financial technology industry in Nigeria and to be a forum for the exchange of ideas and dissemination of information by and between various stakeholders in the industry. 

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday July 26 2017, Daily News Digest

Lending Club loans

News Comments Today’s main news: Seedinvest cancels Sharestates’ Series A Offering. LendInvest bond issue. How Samoyed Financial is outsmarting Tencent, Alipay. Faircent launches auto-invest. MoneyMatch to replace 5-6 scheme in Philippines. Today’s main analysis: The state of business lending. Fintech lending: Financial inclusion, risk pricing, and alternative information. Today’s thought-provoking articles: How Goldman Sachs is disrupting consumer lending. How FCA consultations will […]

Lending Club loans

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

Middle East

Canada

Philippines

News Summary

United States

Seedinvest cancels Sharestates Series A Equities (Anonymous Email), Rated: AAA

Seedinvest gave the investors this explanation, according to our anonymous source:

The closing was held up and we subsequently discovered new material information. Sharestates’ offering (i.e. the ability to make new investments) came to a close during Q1 of this year. As we were working through closing operations, we requested a final set of offering documents from Sharestates’ counsel. This request in and of itself took months to be satisfied. While reviewing the red-line version of these updated documents, our counsel discovered that Sharestates had begun distributing quarterly management bonuses using cash they were generating through normal course of operations. As a result, we do not recommend proceeding with an investment. We are also withdrawing our fund’s commitment. 

How Goldman Sachs Is Disrupting This Trillion Industry (The Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

It’s been just over nine months since Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS)launched Marcus, its newly created consumer lending venture, and the platform has been rather successful so far. In fact, the company recently announced that it has surpassed $1 billion in loans already, and it could have much more room to grow.

It’s been just over nine months since Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS)launched Marcus, its newly created consumer lending venture, and the platform has been rather successful so far. In fact, the company recently announced that it has surpassed $1 billion in loans already, and it could have much more room to grow.

In addition, there’s no legacy credit card business to worry about, unlike most banks that also make personal loans.

According to Talwar, Marcus customers enjoy rates that are 300 to 500 basis points lower than credit card interest rates, and Marcus’ loans come with no origination, prepayment, or late fees — a rarity in consumer lending.

The State of Business Lending in 2017, According to Small Business Owners (Fundera), Rated: AAA

The biggest factor that’s presently clouding small business lending is the post-financial crisis surge of alternative small business lenders. Fundera’s VP of Strategy, Brayden McCarthy (along with Karen Mills, former head of the Small Business Administration) identifies in his working paper on small business lending that tighter restrictions on lending were imposed on banks after the 2008 financial crisis. Because of these tighter restrictions, banks had their hands tied when it came to providing loans to small businesses—providing a space within the small business lending market.

Main Takeaways

  • Small businesses are mainly applying for offensive financing rather than defensive financing.
  • Small businesses are still overwhelmingly going to brick-and-mortar banks to apply for financing.
  • A disconnect exists between small businesses owners and educational resources made specifically for them.

When you look at the business owners we surveyed, they are, by-and-large, successful. 56% of the businesses surveyed had a revenue of greater than $100,000 a year, and 60% of those surveyed ran businesses that had been in business for five years or more.

Furthermore, 80.6% of the small business owners reported having a personal credit score of 650 or above, one of the most important parts of the business loan application, and 68% reported having a business credit score of 80 or above.

One of the more shocking results was that a mere 5.94% of the respondents sought business financing in order to refinance a loan.

Meanwhile, only 10.89% of respondents said they applied for small business financing with an online lender. 

That being said, our respondents demonstrated a preference for the experience of applying online. 57.23% applied for a business credit card online directly while another 16% applied online through an affiliate like Creditcards.com, Nerdwallet, or The Points Guy.

Our poll found that 89.73% of those polled checked their personal credit at least once a year. Meanwhile, within the same sample of small business owners, 58.19% don’t check their business credit score at all.

Even more, when we asked respondents if they would be interested in a free business credit check, 34.23% said that they were “not at all interested.”

FINTECH LENDING: FINANCIAL INCLUSION, RISK PRICING, AND ALTERNATIVE INFORMATION (Philadelphia Fed), Rated: AAA

In this paper, we explore the advantages/disadvantages of loans made by a large fintech lender and similar loans that were originated through traditional banking channels. Specifically, we use account-level data from the Lending Club and Y-14M bank stress test data. We find that Lending Club’s consumer lending activities have penetrated areas that could benefit from additional credit supply, such as areas that lose bank branches and those in highly concentrated banking markets. We also find a high correlation with interest rate spreads, Lending Club rating grades, and loan performance. However, the rating grades have a decreasing correlation with FICO scores and debt-to income ratios, indicating that alternative data is being used and performing well so far. Lending Club borrowers are, on average, more risky than traditional borrowers given the same FICO scores. The use of alternative information sources has allowed some borrowers who would be classified as subprime by traditional criteria to be slotted into “better” loan grades and therefore get lower priced credit. Also, for the same risk of default, consumers pay smaller spreads on loans from the Lending Club than from traditional lending channels.

Download the white paper here.

LendingTree Announces Top Customer-Rated Lenders by Loan Product for Q2 2017 (PR Newswire), Rated: A

LendingTree today released its quarterly list of the top customer-rated lenders on its network based on actual customer reviews for the second quarter of 2017. The list features the top lenders in multiple loan product categories, including Mortgages, Personal Loans, Business Loans and Auto Loans, all of which are included in LendingTree’s online loan marketplace.

Lender rankings are based on a weighted average of overall rating and the total volume of customer reviews for mortgage, personal, business and auto loans. Lenders were rated on offered rates, fees and closing costs, responsiveness, customer service and overall customer experience.

Mortgage Category

#1 Winner: Busey Bank

Personal Loans Category

#1 Winner: Avant

Business Loans Category

#1 Winner: RapidAdvance

Auto Loans Category

#1 Winner: RefiJet

Mobile banking startup Varo Money has applied for a bank charter (TechCrunch), Rated: A

But Varo Money, which provides a mobile-first banking product to consumers, is up to that challenge. In an effort to offer similar — but better — checking, savings and lending products to consumers, the company has applied for a national bank charter with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

To get the company off the ground, Walsh raised $27 million from Warburg Pincus and spent the last two years creating a mobile-first competitor to existing checking accounts.

Meet the World’s First Robo-Lawyer for Real Estate Investing (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Bootstrap Legal, a legaltech and fintech startup, today launched software that automates the drafting of complex legal paperwork for those raising capital for real estate projects of $2 Millionand under. For the first time, real estate investors can draft their own legal offering documents using artificial intelligence. The new online service was launched in recognition of the changing marketplace of real estate investing. More and more smaller investors are able to access investment opportunities online. For platforms and issuers originating these offers, a streamlined and low cost service to provide necessary legal documents is vital.

This first-of-its-kind legaltech product both undercuts the legal fees associated with real estate capital raises and expedites the process. Real estate investors typically have limited time to raise capital for their project, and Bootstrap Legal’s new software allows users to control the legal process, so that they can have extra time to raise capital. Users who require additional assistance are connected to a real estate securities attorney to get questions answered.

These Bay Area FinTech Companies Are Revolutionizing The Lending Space (Benzinga), Rated: A

BeSmartee: BeSmartee is an artificial intelligence-powered lending and mortgage platform that originates documents, credit checks, and other financial information in just minutes.

Capsilon: Capsilon builds technology solutions for the mortgage industry’s most imperative challenges.

Credit Sesame: Credit Sesame is a fintech company that operates in the fields of education, credit, and personal finance.

Home Captain: Home Captain is a lending company that pairs clients with a pre-screened realtor in their area with the help of a real estate concierge throughout the way.

SuperMoney: SuperMoney compares financial products and services to give people the information they need to make better financial decisions.

CoinList Attempting to Standardize & Self-Regulate ICOs (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

CoinList, founded as a partnership between Angel List and Protocol Labs, is quietly trying to standardize initial coin offerings (ICOs) by self-imposing similar restrictions as the SEC imposes on companies that conduct certain private offerings under Regulation D.

CoinList, which was founded in part by AngelList, appears ready to launch token offerings on its site that are similar to the offerings available on AngelList’s site; that is, offerings regulated by the SEC under Regulation D. In order to invest in the offerings on CoinList, investors have to be “accredited” which is the same requirement that investors on Angel List have to meet as imposed by Rule 506(c) of Regulation D. However, since the SEC hasn’t come out with any guidance on ICOs and token sales yet, the requirement that investors be accredited on CoinList is one that is self-imposed by CoinList.

Why This Co-Founder Keeps His Calendars Public to His Employees (Entrepreneur), Rated: A

From client meetings to doctor appointments to family time, most things Sam Hodges does is public knowledge to his employees. All they have to do is check out his online calendar, which is set to “public” for employees. So why is this co-founder and managing director OK with letting others in on even his private life? Because at Funding Circle, Hodges says he fosters a culture of openness and transparency — in every respect.

“The first really crucial trait is around vision. As a leader your job is to understand the market, understand the business’ capabilities and then come back to the organization with a view on what you need to do in order to become successful.

“A second really vital skill is communication — being able to communicate in the right way with many different types of stakeholders.

“A third really important skill is problem-solving. In a leadership position, oftentimes what you face day to day are the things that are not going well and the opportunities that exist — so comfort with ambiguity, the ability to put structure around problems and the ability to be calm in the face of things blowing up.”

The Emotional Robo-Counselor For Your 401(k) (NASDAQ), Rated: A

So he co-founded Dream Forward, a 401(k) supplier that offers, as its website says, “Emotional Advisor A.I. technology.”

Easterbrook: The super high level of what we do is we’re selling 401(k) plans, fix all the obvious problems, lower the cost, make it easier to use, cause less headaches, no conflicts of interest, and then add conversational AI that employees can talk to about whatever they don’t understand, whatever the issues are.

Easterbrook: It looks like an online chat. It’s a chatbot. It’s designed to basically have 24/7 chat available to employees on whatever they don’t understand, whatever their issues are, whatever concerns they have. It talks to them in plain English in a way that we call it almost an emotional advisor instead of a robo-advisor.

AI 100: The Artificial Intelligence Startups Redefining Industries (CB Insights), Rated: A

Google can take on Amazon’s cloud dominance: PayPal co-founder (Fox Business), Rated: A

Tech companies are increasingly becoming more mobile and cloud based. According to Affirm and PayPal co-founder Max Levchin, Google’s (GOOGL) best bet to rival Amazon (AMZN) is through the cloud services business.

In his opinion, Google should diversify and focus on its cloud storage services as a means of competing and catching up to Amazon’s AmazonDrive.

A quick guide to what’s at stake in the SoFi charter controversy (American Banker), Rated: A

Social Finance’s application for an industrial loan charter has not only drawn opposition from a coalition of incumbent banks and community activists. It also serves as a microcosm of several perennial debates in financial services policy.

From complaints about an unlevel playing field to warnings about systemic risk, from giving back to the community to fostering innovation, here’s a rundown of the issues.

Why I Am Joining Affirm (LinkedIn), Rated: B

I’m excited to share that I recently joined Affirm as Head of Product to help build honest financial products that improve lives.

Affirm presents a new and unique opportunity for me at the intersection of technology, user experience, and financial services. If we’re successful, Affirm has the potential to be the most innovative and globally loved financial institution in the world.

4 Fintech Companies That Might Replace Your Bank One Day (Benzinga), Rated: B

Based in San Francisco, SoFi has changed the lending and wealth management space of fintech.

Wealthfront has introduced to the automated financial advisor to the world. Based in Redwood City, the company has deployed high tech software to follow market trends and create analysis for good investments. The automated financial investor manages risk, lowers taxes, and minimizes fees. Wealthfront’s trademark product, PassivePlus, combines high-level research experts with high-level technology to create a speedy and precise automated financial advisor.

Nerdwallet is the hub for free information on credit cards, banking, investing, mortgages, loans, credit scores, and more.

LendingClub Corp LC, based in San Francisco, allows people to invest and borrow money. The company offers personal loans, small business loans, auto refinancing, and now loans for medical treatments. Investors make monthly payments in order for investors to make a monthly return. Scott Sanborn is the CEO of the company, which has lent $26 billion and has over 1.5 billion customers.

United Kingdom

LendInvest Bond Issue (SyndicateRoom), Rated: AAA

Property investment platform LendInvest is launching a five year retail bond, offering investors a fixed rate of 5.25 per cent. The Bond is due to reach maturity in August 2022.

The bonds will bear interest at a fixed annual rate of 5.25 per cent, payable semi-annually on 10th February and 10th August. The minimum initial subscription is £2,000, each Bond has a face value of £100. Once launched, investors will be able to sell their bonds on the open market at any time during market hours. The offer period is now open and is expected to close at 12 noon (London time) on 4 August 2017.

Upcoming FCA consultations will shape future of UK P2P lending (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending will continue to go from strength to strength, with low interest rates still squeezing bank margins, a trend towards fintech and a requirement for rapid decision making. P2P lending is establishing its position in the market even with an uncertain economic and political climate. As a result, myriad of opportunities and challenges must be considered across the sector.

The regulator has also expressed concern that P2P firms’ wind-down plans may not be adequate and is planning to strengthen the rules around this. Firms should therefore expect to see an increase in capital requirements.

Another cause of concern, which requires further exploration, is around potential conflicts of interest. There’s a risk that large investors will have greater access to preferential deals, over small investors, which creates problems for effective competition within the sector. Given the regulator’s mandate to promote competition more generally across financial services, it will be interesting to see how this gets applied to the new rules.

Is new retail bond from LendInvest a buy? (AltFi), Rated: A

That looks a smart move because it’s now planning to return to the retail market but this time via bond – Funding Circle, by contrast, chose to use an investment trust to raise money from the stock market, with a target annual yield of around 6.5%.

Compared with the rates on offer from rival P2P platforms such as Zopa and Ratesetter, the yield of 5.25% is not bad and unlike its nearest rivals the investor also get secured assets to work against. That’s important when comparing the Lendinvest yield of 5.25% against the Funding Circle SME Loan income fund yield of around 6.5%. The latter is not secured and is mostly invested in risky SME loans.

Also, Lendinvest has a sensible average LTV ratio at 63% which should give private investors some comfort although I would observe that if house prices fell more than 15% across the board, the bond might be in danger of breaching its covenant. I don’t think that is likely but it is always possible.

The damaged reputation of asset-backed securities is on the road to recovery (City A.M.), Rated: A

It’s been a decade since the collapse of two hedge funds managed by Bear Stearns. The funds were backed by subprime mortgages, and they failed when hoards of borrowers defaulted on their loans. This sparked a chain reaction which culminated in the global financial crisis of 2008.

“ABS could therefore represent the future of crowdfunding more generally, but real estate crowdfunding in particular. This long-suffering acronym could very well make a comeback to help revolutionise the market for real estate investment as we know it.”

Growth Street bolsters team with new sales and relationship management hires (LendIt), Rated: B

SME lender Growth Street has brought on board a new Director of Sales, Head of Relationship Management and Business Development Manager as the firm’s expansion continues.

The new appointments bring a wealth of sector experience to Growth Street. Chan Purewal, formerly of Boost Capital and Bibby Financial Services, has joined the business as Director of Sales.

Nicola Weedall, previously of GE Capital and latterly Head of Risk and Compliance at invoice financing specialist DueCourse, has joined Growth Street as Head of Relationship Management. Her role will be split between London and Manchester.

Meanwhile, Nick Owers, formerly Head of Banking Relationships at iwoca, becomes a Business Development Manager. Nick has also worked for Lombard and Royal Bank of Scotland in the past.

VC investment into UK FinTech ‘fell by 40% in Q2 2017’ (Tech City News), Rated: A

According to CB Insights’ ‘The Global FinTech Report: Q2’17′, venture capital-backed deals in UK FinTech fell by 40% during the second quarter of this year.

The report says funding plummeted by 52% after a temporary surge in the first quarter of the year following Atom Bank’s and Funding Circle’s $100m deals.

How to boost your retirement income with Peer-to-Peer? (Radio Times), Rated: B

Over the past ten years, peer-to-peer lending has taken the UK by storm and has become a viable option for many people looking for a potential retirement income. To date, more than £10 billion has been invested through UK peer-to-peer lenders, returning on average 7.17% total gross interest. (source: AltFi Data)

With the right peer-to-peer loans that are backed by tangible assets like property, such as ones offered by Assetz Capital, the risk of loss can be reduced as those assets may be sufficient to recover lent funds should the loan default.

Creditors set to miss out in Morgan Tucker administration (The Business Desk), Rated: B

Morgan Tucker, the Nottinghamshire-based consulting engineering firm, went into administration at the end of May owing over £3m to creditors, according to papers seen by TheBusinessDesk.com.

The business’s expansion into the Middle East caused significant losses, it emerged in June.

Among some of the firm’s biggest creditors were Funding Circle which was owed £218,513 and Vendor Loans which was owed £112,000. The firm also owed HMRC £286,513.

China

This Chinese Credit Card Company Plans On Outsmarting Tencent And Alipay With A More Secure Product (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Startup firms like Samoyed Financial, a Chinese online credit card issuer, are on the cutting edge of consumer lending.

Samoyed Financial offers prime consumers credit cards online at below-market interest rates. While so many consumers require loans to make larger purchases, online lending firms in China (particularly peer to peer lending firms) have in the past struggled to control risk.

Credit card use in China has risen from five million in 2002 to 300 million at present.

Because China lacks a complete credit risk credit rating system like FICO, firms have been forced to rely on their own credit risk assessments in the burgeoning consumer lending market. Lin’s firm uses data taken from the consumers’ phone records and online behavior, with consumers’ authorization. The data is then used to build a credit risk model.

Samoyed Financial also incorporates artificial intelligence in the form of the Alpha S robot to review information and determine whether an applicant looks suspicious.

China declares war on get-rich schemes, citing risk of social unrest (SCMP), Rated: A

Chinese police will strike hard against shady financial schemes because of the risk of social unrest from such fundraising ploys, according to the Public Security Ministry.

Guo said at a nationwide meeting with local police authorities on Sunday that law enforcers must use “big data” technology to uncover and stop such crimes as early as possible.

Chinese Fintechs Use Big Data To Give Credit Scores To The ‘Unscorable’ (Forbes), Rated: A

Last November 11, China’s so-called Singles’ Day, sales across Alibaba platforms reached new heights: RMB 120 billion, or $17.9 billion.

Offline borrowing, however, is still largely absent. Hua Bei is basically a virtual credit card, but 60% of the users have never owned a physical credit card. Traditional banks are not lending money to individuals because they lack a reliable credit score. In fact, most Chinese people, by Western standards, are simply “unscorable”–only 25% of the population have a credit history.

With spending increasing, credit card use per capita actually declined from 0.34 in 2014 to 0.29 at the end of 2015, according to People’s Bank of China. In that same year, however, mobile payment users grew 65%. For the whole year, $5.5 trillion third-party mobile payments were completed in China.

Chinese P2P Neo Online Helps Children Realize Football Dream with International Champions Cup (Markets Insider), Rated: B

Neo Online, a leading Chinese peer-to-peer lending platform under Neo Capital Management Group Co., Ltd. (“Neo Group”), joined with the 2017 International Champions Cup China to hold a public interest meeting under the theme “Big big kids in a big big world”.

In January 2017Neo Online launched the public welfare program “Kids Are Awesome”, which supports adolescent development and growth in such areas as culture, sports, arts, and health.

European Union

P2P lending platforms poised to join Nutmeg and Seedrs on Fidor marketplace (AltFi), Rated: AAA

One of the most interesting and recent of these partnerships is between challenger bank Fidor and host of other players such as digital wealth manager Nutmeg.  Fidor’s UK commercial customers can now access a whole suite of investment opportunities through the digital marketplace, including access to alternative investment opportunities via a number of the most respected fintech companies in the UK.

Fidor Bank is a digital bank with over 100,000 users across Germany and UK.

Interview with Loit Linnupõld, CEO of Crowdestate (P2P-Banking), Rated: A

What are the three main advantages for investors?

Pre-vetted real estate investment opportunities – Our experienced real estate and finance team evaluates thoroughly each aspect of every project and picks the best investment opportunities to be published for crowdfunding.
Low minimum investment amount – the minimum investment on our platform is just 100 euros, meaning basically anyone can afford to invest into real estate with Crowdestate.
Everyone can invest – Crowdestate is open to all investors all around the world, provided that they have a way to make an international bank transfer to their virtual investment account previously created on our platform.

There are many different types of investment opportunities on Crowdestate. Debt, equity, secured, unsecured… Why did you decide to use so many different types for the offers?

What ROI can investors expect?

The historical money-weighted average internal rate of return on our exited investment currently at 29.59%. However, as the fast-increasing money supply is driving the expected returns down, the investors’ annual returns are probably going to remain between 10-20%.

Stock loan falls short for buy side as liquidity source (Securities Lending Times), Rated: A

In a joint survey by InvestOps and SimCorp, 14 percent of 100 respondents highlighted securities lending as their most popular source of liquidity.

The survey did not detail respondents’ reasons for neglecting securities lending as a liquidity source or expand on whether heads of operations simply considered the practice as a back-up option.

International

ID Finance’s chatbot cuts client services workload by a third (ID Finance Email), Rated: AAA

ID Finance, the digital finance, credit scoring and emerging markets company has developed and introduced a self-learning chatbot for MoneyMan, its online lending platform serving customers in Spain, Georgia, Russia, Poland, Kazakhstan and most recently Brazil.  Since launch at the beginning of July, over a third of customer requests are already being processed automatically.

The chatbot interacts with new customers at the loan application stage and with registered users when they log in to their personal account. The chatbot helps to locate the information required to determine loan eligibility, and provides recommendations of relevant products tailored to the individual’s requirements and financial prudence. General advice on personal budget planning and financial literacy is also offered.

The chatbot works within the NLP (Natural Language Processing) and NLU (Natural Language Understanding) AI frameworks. Information is processed based on statistical matches covering a wide range of frequently asked questions. And the NLU platform enables analysis of messaging flow so the meaning of the information can be sought out in context.

Additional capabilities include finding non-trivial links in dialogue with users and providing relevant answers to questions unrelated to credit and finance. Thanks to the machine learning technology, the number of questions the chatbot is able to answer increases by 20 per cent daily. The average response time is around ten seconds and if a question cannot be answered the message is automatically forwarded to an available client support operator.

Australia

Former big bank CIO joins fintech board (Broker News), Rated: B

Online loan marketplace and fintech HashChing has welcomed two new financial services heavyweights to its advisory board.

Paul Rickard, managing director of CommSec and former executive at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, and Marty Switzer, chief operating officer of the Switzer Financial Group both joined the board in June earlier this year.

India

Faircent.com launches fully-automated ‘Auto Invest’ feature (DNA India), Rated: AAA

In a pioneering development for the country?s fintech sector, Faircent.com, India?s largest peer-to-peer lending platform has launched a new Auto Invest feature for registered lenders.

It eliminates the need for lenders to browse through several borrower profiles by automating the entire process.

As per its latest Data and Analytics report, 90 percent of the lenders on the platform are earning 18 percent to 26 percent gross returns.

Softbank to pick up 20% stake in Paytm’s parent company One97 Communications (Money Control), Rated: A

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) on Tuesday approved Softbank’s acquisition of 20 percent stake in Paytm’s parent company One97 Communications.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) on Tuesday approved Softbank’s acquisition of 20 percent stake in Paytm’s parent company One97 Communications.

The target launch is August 15, 2017.

Why India’s Hike messaging app adding payment services matters (Kapron Asia), Rated: A

Hike messenger, a popular phone messaging service app in India, has recently decided to introduce payment services on its platform.

The payment service includes both peer to peer payments that do not require bank accounts and use in-app wallets, and bank to bank payments using the UPI platform introduced by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).

Hike has been able to beat Whatsapp to providing in-app payment services.

Asia

‘Flexible’ Regulations Give Indonesia’s Peer-to-Peer Lending Startups Room To Grow (Forbes), Rated: AAA

It’s been seven months since the Indonesian government issued regulations for the peer-to-peer (P2P) lending industry, and the mood in the sector is optimistic.

Suleiman said the market is dominated by local companies that engaged with regulators as the guidelines were being created and were primed to grow once the legal structure was in place.

Indonesia’s Financial Services Authority (OJK)stipulated that startups must have $200,000 in capital before they can be approved for an operating licenses as lenders, and capped loan values at $150,000. For now, that amount suits most P2P lenders just fine, Suleiman said.

Suleiman said that most SMEs fail to secure traditional bank funding because they don’t have enough collateral, which he said is especially problematic in creative industries.

One company meeting the demand for SME financing is Investree, a P2P marketplace startup that launched in 2016.

Ant gold service together Malaysia’s second largest bank to build local version of Alipay (Tech.Sina.com.cn), Rated: A

The ant gold service today announced an agreement with Touch’n Go (TNG), a subsidiary of CIMB, to form a joint venture to provide electronic wallet solutions for local users.

At present, millions of Malaysians use the Touch’n Go card for electronic payments every day in retail stores, car parks and public transport systems. In the future, new e-wallet will help TNG’s new and old customers to get more services on their mobile phones, including electricity providers.

Indonesian FinTech Launches App For Individual SME Investors (PYMNTS), Rated: B

Reports Friday (July 21) said Mitrausahua Indonesia Group, which operates a peer-to-peer lending platform, has launched a mobile app for individual investors of small businesses.

The app joins Mitrausahua’s flagship offering Modalku. For small businesses, interest rates range from 12 to 26 percent. For investors, Modalku promises returns higher than those of commercial bank deposit and fixed investment products.

The app offers a feature, Automatic Funding, which automates the process by which investors can find SME borrowers suitable to lenders’ preferences. Investors can start investing at $75 but must have $750 deposited into their accounts.

Middle East

Middle East women seed crowdfunding campaigns attract more backers (Khaleej Times), Rated: AAA

A total of 97 campaigns were successfully funded in the region in 2015 and 2016, 24 of which were female-led and 73 male-led. And while the number of campaigns funded in the region is still relatively low vis-a-vis more established territories, however, seed crowdfunding is still relatively new to the region. Average pledge amounts to female-led campaigns are 29 per cent higher than male-led campaigns, compared with a difference of only 5 per cent globally, said PwC and The Crowdfunding Centre report – Women Unbound: Unleashing female entrepreneurial potential.

Seed crowdfunding generated a total financing of $ 3.25 million (with $527,300 going to female led campaigns) in the Middle East for 2015 and 2016, with female-led campaigns in the Middle East generating an estimated 5,320 backers, compared with 4,240 for those that were male-led, it added.

Canada

Despite recent gains, Canada lags in fintech adoption (The Globe and Mail), Rated: A

Although the percentage of Canadians using new financial technology has doubled over the past 18 months, Canada lags much of the rest of the world in adopting services offered by online providers.

In Canada, only 18 per cent of digitally active Canadians have used two or more fintech services in the past six months, compared with 33 per cent globally, according to Ernst & Young LLP’s FinTech Adoption index. And while the Canadian rate has almost doubled from 8 per cent in 2015, Canada remains in the bottom of world rankings along with Japan and Belgium.

China has the highest adoption rate at 69 per cent, while India and Britain are close behind with 52 per cent and 42 per cent, respectively.

Philippines

New lending platform to replace ‘5-6’ scheme (The Standard), Rated: AAA

MoneyMatch, an online peer-to-peer lending platform developed by local company FinTech Global Inc., aims to provide Filipinos an alternative to “5-6” scheme, or moneylenders charging exorbitant interest rates on loans.

Bautista said a borrower could apply for loan from P10,000 to P2 million which could be used to start to a small business, get a housing loan, or a new car, and pay for their loan at terms that they could afford.

The interest rate for the loans will range from 15 percent to 36 percent depending on creditworthiness of the borrower.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Do Delinquency Trends and Data Say We Should Worry?

comparing borrower-level delinquency rates

We have asked if auto lending is headed down the same path as mortgage lending in a previous analysis. That spurred a talk with Jason Laky, senior vice president and business leader for consumer lending and auto finance at TransUnion, about delinquency trends. “We expect a modest increase in delinquency for auto and unsecured loans,” Laky […]

comparing borrower-level delinquency rates

We have asked if auto lending is headed down the same path as mortgage lending in a previous analysis. That spurred a talk with Jason Laky, senior vice president and business leader for consumer lending and auto finance at TransUnion, about delinquency trends.

“We expect a modest increase in delinquency for auto and unsecured loans,” Laky said, “We expect mortgage to continue to decrease in delinquency because it is still working off the recession bubble.”

Laky also said a couple of drivers are related to this: the emergence of FinTech, and the reintroduction of the unsecured personal loan for the prime consumer. In recession, a lot of consumers chose not to take personal loans, and it was concentrated in sub-prime and non-prime.

2013-15 saw a fast growth of FinTechs and reintroduced the unsecured products to prime borrowers, particularly younger millennials with online savvy. This created a new channel and level of interest, spurring a large growth in the volume of loans. There was a shift from sub-prime to prime and overall delinquencies therefore came down from 2009.

Prime consumers take larger loans than sub-prime, so this shifts the overall average indebtedness and the personal loan debt continues to grow for borrowers who have these loans. “There’s no view in the APR of loans like these since it is not reported, and fees are included in the loan balance. So you can’t back into it using loan parameters like an auto loan,” Laky said.

When asked why the trend has turned around, Laky said there are very small basis points increases in delinquencies. Because of the maturity of the industry, it was driven in Q2 from pull-back from investors. FinTech lenders focused on profitability, so older ones mature, and they are showing up. It’s pretty modest and is almost within expectation and margin of error.

The default rates look back to Q4 2009, the tail end of the recession, and it was at 4.98 percent coming out of the recession. So there is quite a lot of space still, in Laky’s view. “The longer we get into the credit cycle, the more important it is to look at consumer overall indebtedness,” he said, “Early on in the cycle, lenders are not participating as fully so you can make great individual products. The longer you get in the cycle, the more likely consumers are getting mortgages, auto loans, personal loans, etc. It’s important to keep an eye on the indebtedness of the consumer. We don’t do full consumer indebtedness, but for each category, the average debt per borrower has been increasing since before 2012. It adds up, and it is worth keeping an eye on as a lender.”

When asked if we can predict the next credit cycle using indebtedness, Lasky said, “It’s hard to predict the credit cycle, and particularly challenging now because the economy is doing well. If you look at macro factors, GDP is growing okay, 2-3 percent for the next year. Employment is doing well with 100,000 to 200,ooo new jobs. Wages have seen two percent growth. For the consumer, things are okay. It’s hard to see a credit cycle taking a major turn where consumers’ economic health is good. What we may see is a category by category reassessment of lenders about which segments they want to play in in a rising interest rate environment.”

When TransUnion built their model, a 50 bps increase was projected. If the interest rate increases more, that’s a sign the economy is doing better than expected. So an interest rate increase is not a bad thing, but it slightly affects funding costs for every lender in unique ways. When a rate increase affects the cost of funds, then pricing models need to be examined so competitive segments can be prioritized. Some lenders may drop some products as a result.

There has been renewed interest by bank and credit unions in unsecured personal loans because FinTechs have been successful. Banks have a huge advantage because funding can be from deposits. With the entrance of banks and a possible increase in the interest rate, FinTechs and traditional finance companies will have to think hard about what to participate in and how to get compensated for the risk.

According to Jason Laky, FinTechs have been really good at embracing data and analytics to think about how and where to lend. That will pay off in terms of having staying power as the credit cycle matures. Should we worry based on delinquency trends and data? It depends on how well we analyze what’s happening, he said.

Graphs in this article can also be viewed on TransUnion’s website.

Author:

Nicki Jacoby.