Revolutionizing the UK Digital Mortgage Market

uk digital mortgage marketplace

There are multiple fintech lenders and marketplaces in the UK dealing in mortgages and other financial products. What sets Nuvo apart is it’s claim to be the first artificial intelligence (AI)-powered digital broker. Launched by Nick Sherratt (heads oversees operations and finance) and Richard Hayes (CEO) 18 months ago, Nuvo fills the gap between traditional […]

uk digital mortgage marketplace

There are multiple fintech lenders and marketplaces in the UK dealing in mortgages and other financial products. What sets Nuvo apart is it’s claim to be the first artificial intelligence (AI)-powered digital broker.

Launched by Nick Sherratt (heads oversees operations and finance) and Richard Hayes (CEO) 18 months ago, Nuvo fills the gap between traditional brokers and established price comparison websites. They had been running their own mortgage brokerage in Macclesfield, Cheshire for a decade, also selling life insurance and income protection. Their experience as a traditional broker helped them understand what was missing in the market. As a result, they’ve made it easier for customers to access the best mortgage offers in less than a minute, once they’ve gained some basic information from the user.

Now Nuvo Works

The focus was on user accessibility and speed of providing quotes. But the platform’s USP is its AI-powered chatbot technology, which helps users chat in real time and suggests the best mortgage products suited to their finances. The platform was established with 1 million GBP in a seed round, and it recently raised 1 million GBP in a second round of funding.

Historically, if a customer wanted advice on mortgages, he would rush toward a broker or any other independent financial advisor and, in turn, the advisor charged a fees for their advice. However, recent research conducted by Nuvo revealed that nearly 40% of Britons rely on their own research once they get a list of prices from comparison websites. But the problem is most comparison sites don’t give the full picture and can’t answer queries accurately. This passive information overload did not really solve the user problem. Thus, Nuvo was born of the need to marry the traditional mortgage broker experience with the convenient of free comparison websites.

Nuvo has digitalized large parts of the mortgage application process through incorporating real-time sourcing. With an emphasis on transparency, customers can put their queries online with the help of a laptop or other mobile device and get an instant response. Instead of collecting data from the customer through a lengthy form, Nuvo provides a platform that allows the customer to provide details to a chatbot. Customers can also opt to chat with a qualified human financial advisor via the website or by booking a telephonic interview. It means the process is a two-way process, so the customer can ask specific questions at any point if there is something they do not understand.

What Artificial Intelligence Brings to the Table

Artificial intelligence and machine learning add substantial value by bridging the data, information, and context gap so that the virtual assistant and its human counterparts can deliver a seamless customer experience. If the platform lacks data, or the customer provides insufficient data, then it implements sentiment analysis to ascertain intent. Sentiment analysis identifies the customer attitude, emotions, and opinions. If the platform feels like customers are unhappy and/or confused, they can quickly add it to their processing and allow the virtual assistant to interact without sacrificing user experience. There is no need on the part of the customer to wait for a response if the virtual assistant is unable to answer a complex question. Nuvo removes the uncertainty and interjects with a human being.

The first version of the product launched was a Facebook chatbot with some basic functionality that helped people find the best deals on mortgages. Soon, Nuvo will launch the new version integrated on their site with a state-of-the-art user interface, better communication technology, and a next-gen interaction process. Nuvo utilizes its access to endpoints for a better user experience. It also ensures that APIs match the products the platform is offering to users.

The platform launched after the review by UK’s regulator, The Competition and Market Authority (CMA), which recommended that customers use a variety of sites for comparing the best deals. But there are no other companies giving real insight into the market and products.

The UK Mortgage Market Has Not Caught Up With Technology

Most digital brokers are startups and not evolved from traditional brokers. Products and prices are changing constantly. Nuvo allows customer to find the most suitable offer by updating information on a daily basis. Customers can see and compare all the options to make sure they are getting the best deal, eliminating the need for a traditional broker. Also, the founders’ traditional brokers’ practice became a competitive advantage for Nuvo as it enables the company to combine domain expertise and knowledge in their aim to better serve customers.

The UK is one of the largest marketplaces for mortgage deals. Habito and Trussle are other startups aiming for a slice of UK’s lucrative mortgage market. But Nuvo is in for the long haul and believes it can achieve a market share of 5%-10% of the online mortgage market in the next five years.

According to Nuvo founders, they have 10,000 more deals on their platform than Habito at this moment. There is an in-house team of financial experts that assist the customer in solving complicated financial decisions at zero cost. Nuvo does not charge fees to customers like traditional brokers. Instead, they get a commission from the insurer or the mortgage provider.

Founder Richard Hayes said, “Millennials are now willing to transact digitally, so we have an opportunity to resonate with anyone who is willing to engage digitally.”

So far, the mortgage sector has not been able to innovate to meet the demands of customers, but Nuvo, with its AI-powered chatbot, is attempting to simplify the on-boarding process. They are also focused on first-time buyers to build trust and confidence in the mortgage ecosystem.

A major tailwind for digital brokers is the slow but steady death of brick-and-mortar mortgage advisors. In 1985, there were over 120k independent financial advisors in the mortgage space, but now it’s under 20k. Correspondingly, there has been a massive increase in people seeking mortgages. This suggests that the market is consolidating and scale will be an important element in winning the sweepstakes.

How Nuvo is Capturing the Future Digital Mortgage Market

“2018 will see a full mortgage journey on our platform,” Hayes said. Nuvo is incorporating new features to speed up the application process and using APIs to enhance the customer experience at large. “We all know that buying a house is a costly and long process.” Thus, the platform assimilates all the information about property such as value, construction details, and more, from different sources to help the customer get the best mortgage deal and insights about the property itself.

The platform is focused on its journey to help borrowers find the best mortgage and other financial products. It is looking to raise further funding to grow aggressively in this massive market space with its proprietary AI technology.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Thursday June 22 2017, Daily News Digest

German real estate crowdfunding

News Comments Today’s main news: PayPal, Venmo rolling out instant bank transfers. Sindeo goes out of business. SoFi’s new filing. Wealthsimple expands into UK. PayPal advances 400M GBP to UK businesses. Today’s main analysis: A look at Lending Club’s competition. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Many P2P lenders attract investors by raising interest rates. German RECF booms. International expansion of alternative lending. United […]

German real estate crowdfunding

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

  • Alternative lenders spread their wings internationally. AT: “International expansion could become the big story of 2017 and 2018.”
  • Amazon and the future of fintech, part 2. AT: “Interesting theory. I suppose technology can facilitate more diverse business assets for true technology companies like Amazon, Apple, Klarna, et.al. But I don’t see how this is a lot different than traditional holding companies that expand businesses into multiple sectors other than the fact that the companies themselves are predicted to be the holding companies. Isn’t this what Google’s rebranding into Alphabet was all about? Perhaps Amazon could do the same. That would actually make sense.”
  • Global mobility.

Australia

Canada

News Summary

United States

Instant bank transfers are coming to PayPal and Venmo (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

PayPal announced this morning a plan to speed up money transfers between its service, Venmo and users’ bank accounts for those with supported MasterCard and Visa debit cards. This new “instant transfers” service will be available at a rate of $0.25 per transaction, and will deliver funds in a matter of minutes, instead of the day or so it typically takes when using PayPal or Venmo.

The company says the feature will be available to the vast majority of cardholders, save for a handful of very small institutions.

In most cases, the funds transferred between PayPal or Venmo and the end user’s bank account (via the supported debit card) will arrive in a matter of minutes. However, some banks may take up to 30 minutes, PayPal notes.

The instant transfer service is now launching into beta with select PayPal users, as a result of these deals, as well.

Lending Club: Take A Look At The Competition (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

CreditKarma is a personal finance website. They provide a list of online personal loan options, given some basic information. I put in $10,000 as my desired loan amount and selected a credit score of 700-749. I got the following list of offers:

That’s eleven online, unsecured personal loan providers. The list does not include some others, like SoFi and Lightstream. Try it yourself here.

Lending Club vs. Marcus

Lending Club is an originate-to-distribute lender, while Marcus is a balance-sheet lender. Lending Club gives much of the profit of a loan to its investors, along with default risk and prepayment risk. Marcus keeps the risks and the profit. If we assume that Marcus’s loans look like Lending Club’s, with interest rates averaging 14% and defaults averaging 6%, then the income from each loan looks approximately like this:

LC: 5% origination fee + 1% servicing fee = 6% of loan principal

GS: 14% interest – 6% default – 1% cost of funds = 7% of loan principal

More importantly, it is a lot more painful for Lending Club to cut back on loan originations, for example in a downturn, and it doesn’t necessarily control the pace of lending. If Lending Club stops originating loans, the lion’s share of its income dries up immediately.

Sindeo closes shop (Sindeo), Rated: AAA

But, startups are hard and simplifying the highly regulated, complex business of mortgages is even harder. I believed we had overcome the biggest hurdles, but unfortunately, we didn’t. Today, we made the difficult decision to wind down Sindeo.

While Sindeo as a startup has failed, our people did not. As a matter of fact, we did what everyone said couldn’t be done.

  • We built a place where people could shop and apply for a mortgage from a robust marketplace of over 1000 loan programs, with one single application and one credit check.
  • We secured partnerships with some of the top real estate and consumer finance brands.
  • We helped our clients save millions of dollars on their home loans.
  • We built a people-centric brand, putting the needs of Sindeo’s clients first.

Sindeo’s Net Promoter Score (NPS) this year is 81, compared to an average of negative three from the top banks.

I am devastated for our employees, their families, our partners and our investors who believed in us, and worked so hard to build Sindeo. We have very talented people who need jobs today. Hire them.

Nick Stamos
CEO, Sindeo

SoFi Lending Corp. (Filer) (SEC), Rated: AAA

We (“us” or “PwC”) have performed the procedures enumerated below, which were agreed to by Social Finance, Inc., Deutsche Bank Securities, Citigroup Global Markets Inc., Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC, Goldman, Sachs & Co., J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, and SoFi Securities, LLC, who are collectively referred to herein as the “Specified Parties”, solely to assist you in performing certain procedures relating to the accuracy of certain attributes of the private consumer loans with respect to the SoFi 2017-4 securitization transaction (the “Transaction”). Social Finance, Inc. (“SoFi” or “Company”) is responsible for the accuracy of certain attributes of the private consumer loans with respect to the Transaction (the “Responsible Party”). The sufficiency of these procedures is solely the responsibility of the Specified Parties. Consequently, we make no representation regarding the sufficiency of the procedures described below either for the purpose for which this report has been requested or for any other purpose.

Where Major US Banks Have Invested in Fintech (CB Insights), Rated: A

Key takeaways

  • Since 2012, the top ten US banks by assets under management have participated in 72 rounds totaling $3.6B to 56 fintech companies.
  • Ranked by the number of unique portfolio companies, the cohort’s three most active investors are Citi, Goldman Sachs, and JP Morgan Chase — in that order. Citi (including Citi Ventures) participated in 29 rounds to 24 companies, Goldman Sachs in 30 rounds to 22 companies, and JP Morgan Chase in 14 rounds to 13 companies.
  • Goldman Sachs is focusing on payments, investing in six companies in the space.
  • All ten banks have blockchain investments.
  • Although the second largest bank by assets, Bank of America takes the sixth spot on this list, with only six fintech companies in its portfolio.
  • Kensho saw lots of overlapping interest, with six of the cohort investing in its $50M Series B, which valued the company at $500M.

Robos get the press, but adviser tech is getting the money (Financial-Planning), Rated: A

Take the $140 million in funding that Silicon Valley-based Addepar recently raised from sources including SpaceX backer Valor Equity Partners.

Addepar CEO Eric Poirier says the eight-year old performance reporting platform has seen the number of assets its clients hold grow from $300 billion last year to $700 billion.

That’s not to say that there isn’t money for robo advice platforms — blending impact investing and robo advice garnered OpenInvest $3.25 million in seed funding from high-profile VC firm Andreessen Horowitz in May.

LendingPoint founders share recipe for success (Bankless Times), Rated: A

During the financial crisis both said they worked with large balance sheets which helped them understand how to position themselves in the marketplace. That experience also taught them that marketplace lenders cannot simply be technology companies, they also need to apply the lessons learned working in different environments, geographies and at different points in the cycle.

What they saw was a space where near prime consumers, those with credit scores between 600 and 700, were in need of better credit products, with many resorting to payday lenders and their ilk.

When lenders place too much emphasis on arbitrary measure such as FICO scores, they miss so much underneath. In one case the employee of a partner company saw her credit score quickly drop after she paid off a loan early. Even though she had fewer debt obligations, by traditional underwriting methods she was deemed a higher risk.

Alternative data sources can play a role in telling those unique stories while protecting everyone from fraud, Mr. Tavares said. Something as simple as how long a phone number has been active can help validate an applicant’s identity.

LendingPoint also believes it is crucial for marketplace lenders to originate and hold assets on their balance sheets, Mr. Burnside said.

LendingPoint offers personal loans up to $20,000 that can be paid back in twice-monthly installments over 24 to 48 months.

American Express invests in insurance startup Next Insurance (Reuters), Rated: A

American Express Co has invested in Next Insurance, a Palo Alto-based technology startup that sells customized insurance for small businesses online, as Silicon Valley companies look to shake up the insurance sector.

Next Insurance will use the new cash injection, which brings the investment round to $35 million, to expand the products it offers and target new business sectors, the company said.

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency Issues Third-Party Relationship Frequently Asked Questions (Lexology), Rated: A

Focusing on bank-fintech relationships, which likely were a key driver for the FAQs, the OCC notes that when “a fintech company performs services or delivers products on behalf of a bank or banks, the relationship meets the definition of a third-party relationship” that should be subject to the bank’s third-party risk management process. Akin to any other third-party service provider, a fintech company arrangement may or may not be considered a critical activity in this regard.  In an important acknowledgement of the diligence challenges banks face from time to time in conducting diligence of third parties, the FAQs also specifically address situations where a bank does not receive sufficient information from a third-party service provider that supports a critical activity. In that situation, the OCC expects a bank board and management to:

  • develop appropriate alternative ways to analyze these critical third-party service providers;
  • establish risk-mitigating controls;
  • prepare to address delivery interruptions;
  • make risk-based decisions that despite the lacking information, these critical third-party service providers remain the best service providers available;
  • retain appropriate documentation of all efforts to obtain information and related decisions; and
  • ensure that contracts meet bank needs.

The FAQs also specifically address marketplace lending arrangements with nonbank entities and relationships to facilitate mobile payments. In the marketplace lending context, the FAQs assert that a bank board and its management should understand the relationships among the entities involved and the risks specific to marketplace lending relationships, including reputational, credit, concentration, compliance, market, liquidity and operational risks. Management must also ensure it has proper personnel, processes and systems to monitor and control these risks, including, for example, adequate loan underwriting guidelines and appropriate board-adopted policies that include concentration limits. The FAQs direct banks to work with mobile payment providers “to establish processes for authenticating enrollment of customers’ account information that the customers provide to the mobile payment providers” as mobile payment environments become more ubiquitous and as customer expectations dictate that transaction accounts as well as credit, debit or prepaid cards issued by banks are able to be used in mobile wallets.

How The Blockchain Can Create A True Peer-To-Peer Sharing Economy (NASDAQ), Rated: A

One of the blockchain’s most prominent features is that it can bestow trust in a network without the need for a central authority.

The sharing economy refers to a new socio-economic phenomenon in which individuals share products or services with other individuals on a peer-to-peer basis for a fee. However, even though the sharing economy is built on a peer-to-peer model, there are intermediaries who charge a fee for facilitating the transactions.

Enter Blockchain Technology

In a true peer-to-peer sharing economy, there should never be an intermediary who dictates the terms and conditions of a transaction or takes a cut of the payment.

Say you want to rent a car for a short trip from one side of town to the other. To do so, you could use a mobile app to identify vehicles that are available in your vicinity. Then, after verifying the digital identities of both yourself and the vehicle owner, you agree to terms and conditions, such as the fee and duration of the rental, and buy a micro-insurance policy  covering the ride, via an immutable smart contract. Once the terms and conditions are agreed upon and the smart contract is created and verified, you can open the car using your smartphone and the payment is directly deducted from your digital wallet and transferred to the vehicle owner upon completing your trip.

While the above example is purely theoretical at this stage, there are two startups aiming to leverage blockchain technology to create a fairer peer-to-peer economy in the rideshare sector. Austin, Texas-based Arcade City and Israel-based La ‘Zooz both aim to take the “Uber out of Uber” by offering ride sharing without a company acting as a fee-charging intermediary. Instead, drivers and riders deal directly with one another and payments are automatically conducted in cryptocurrency once the ride is completed.

FT 300: full 2017 list of top US registered investment advisers (Financial Times), Rated: A

The FT invited qualifying RIA companies — more than 2,000 — to complete a lengthy application that gave us more information about them. We added this to our own research into their practices, including data from regulatory filings. Some 725 RIA companies applied and 300 made the final list.

The formula the FT uses to grade advisers is based on six broad factors and calculates a numeric score for each adviser. Areas of consideration include adviser AUM, asset growth, the company’s age, industry certifications of key employees, SEC compliance record and online accessibility. The reasons these were chosen are as follows:

• AUM signals experience managing money and client trust.

• AUM growth rate can be a proxy for performance, as well as for asset retention and the ability to generate new business. We assessed companies on one- and two-year growth rates.

• Companies’ years in existence indicates reliability and experience of managing assets through different market environments.

• Compliance record provides evidence of past client disputes; a string of complaints can signal potential problems.

• Industry certifications (CFA, CFP, etc) shows the company’s staff has technical and industry knowledge, and signals a professional commitment to investment skills.

• Online accessibility demonstrates a desire to provide easy access and transparent contact information.

 

An AboveLoans.com Review: A Simple Way to Borrow (Saving Advice), Rated: B

Compared to other online lender-matching agencies, AboveLoans doesn’t really stand out among other online lenders. The only part that may seem a bit different is the simplicity aspect. Because AboveLoans only gives out smaller amounts ($35K and less) getting a loan can be a pretty swift process but there is more to getting a loan than how quick it happens.

Loans can range from $500 to $35K and you’ll have anywhere from six to 72 months for repayment.

Applying from anywhere sounds great but how secure is AboveLoans.com? AboveLoans isn’t a lender. It is a lender matching site. The entire process is secure but if you’d prefer a group of lenders not have your information you may want to consider using another site. Once you’ve accepted the lender’s terms, etc. funds will be deposited directly into your bank account.

You can apply for each of the following loans through AboveLoans:

  • Debt Consolidation Loans
  • Emergency Loans
  • Auto Repair Loans
  • Auto Purchase Loans
  • Moving Loans
  • Home Improvement Loans
  • Medical Loans
  • Business  Loans
  • Vacation Loans
  • Tax Loans
  • Rent/Mortgage Loans
  • Wedding Loans
  • Major Purchase Loans
  • General Personal Loans
United Kingdom

WEALTHSIMPLE TAKES SERVICE TO ANOTHER FINTECH HUB WITH UK EXPANSION (Betakit.com), Rated: AAA

Wealthsimple is officially expanding its service to the UK with an invitation-only beta.

The UK expansion comes just four months after Wealthsimple announced its US expansion. The company had been working on its US expansion over the past year.

“Ultimately, our ambition is to be a global financial services company. The UK has a lot of similarities to Canada — similar language and culture, the financial services industry is in a similar place — so it felt like the next logical step,” says Mike Katchen, CEO of Wealthsimple.

Toby Triebel, who previously co-founded online lending platform Spotcap, will lead Wealthsimple’s UK business.

PayPal hits £400m mark in advances to UK businesses (AltFi), Rated: AAA

PayPal Working Capital, PayPal’s small business lending arm in the UK, has hit £400m in cumulative cash advances made to British businesses. Over 22,000 business owners have now taken out an advance from PayPal Working Capital since it launched in 2014. The £400m milestone comes after a 116 per cent increase in total cash advances made by the firm over the past year.

PayPal’s small business lending activities are considerably further advanced in the US, where it topped $2bn in cash advances in the summer of 2016.

The high-yielding trusts more popular than ever (interactive investor), Rated: A

Trust purchases by advisers and wealth managers hit an all-time high over the 12 months to the end of March at £777 million. That’s up 11% on calendar year 2015, when £698 million was piled into closed-ended vehicles.

In addition, Q1 2017 was the second-highest quarterly period for purchases of trusts at £246 million. That’s a year-on-year increase of 85% and 25% more than the previous quarter.

Specialist debt was the most popular sector with advisers and wealth managers in first-quarter 2017. It’s the first time it’s topped the list, accounting for 14% of all investment trust purchases during the period.

He continues that, with the likes of peer-to-peer lending relatively new innovations, another potential risk is that trusts investing in it, which tend to be even newer concepts, are unproven over different economic and investment environments.

The sector average payout is above 6%, with some of the highest-yielding, including Carador Income (CIFU), Ranger Direct Lending (RDL) and Fair Oaks Income, paying over 10%.

SafeCharge reveals research urging fintech innovation for marketplace payments (SafeCharge), Rated: A

According to a study from the Ecommerce Foundation, almost 40% of the world’s online retail market will be controlled by marketplaces by 2020.

This difference creates complex challenges:

  • Regulation – The impending Payment Services Directive 2 regulation requires certain marketplaces which retain funds between a seller and a buyer to hold a payment institution license.
  • Seller Onboarding – Manual processes and Know Your Customer regulatory requirements create friction, which discourages sellers from registering with marketplaces.
  • Payment Checkout – A critical component for any business. Localisation, buyer experience, payment method offering, all must be optimised for conversion.
  • Split Payments – Marketplaces need to split transactions between multiple parties, both for marketplace commission and where a single checkout experience involves multiple sellers.
  • Seller Settlement – Marketplaces are in competition for sellers. Sellers demand frequent settlement of funds, often daily, in their local currency, and using a local payment method.
  • Unique Fraud – Marketplaces face new forms of fraud unique to the sector such as ‘collusion fraud’ where fake buyers and sellers facilitate the sale of non-existent goods with stolen payment cards.

The pros and cons of P2P lending (Bridging & Commercial), Rated: B

Peer-to-peer platforms have revolutionised lending, allowing retail investors to benefit from what was once the preserve of financial institutions and high-net-worth investors.

Pros

1.    Potential returns are excellent, and much higher than can be achieved with dividend yields.
2.    Returns are fixed, and don’t fluctuate like returns from equity investments or the stock market.
3.    Lenders are not charged fees, so the amount stated is the net amount investors receive.
4.    Platforms no longer have to deduct tax at source, so investors will be paid gross and account for their own tax.
5.    Investment terms are typically under 12 months.
6.    Legal charge holders will be paid out as a priority before any owners/equity shareholders.
7.    It is FCA regulated, so platforms must be transparent and are legally obliged to be upfront about risks. Platforms must have contingency plans in place, such as a significant financial buffer.
8.    The launch of the Innovative Finance Isa means peer-to-peer loans can be held within an Isa, so returns are tax free.

Cons

1.    While regulated by the FCA, peer-to-peer lending is not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, so losses are not underwritten by the government.
2.    Peer-to-peer loans are likely to be tied-in until the borrower has repaid, unless the platform can find a buyer.
3.    Loan periods are short, but investors may have to wait for the loan to complete before they start earning interest. One alternative is for investors to lend money to the finance company and get a fixed return for a fixed period. The rate will be less, but interest will be continuous, so investors can end up with approximately the same return, without having to select individual loans to invest in.
4.    If the borrower does not repay on time, investors need to wait until they have repaid – although they should continue to earn interest in the meantime.
5.    If the borrower defaults, the property will have to be repossessed. If that’s the case, there could be delays of at least several months. The property may not achieve a sale price that allows lenders to be repaid all their capital and/or the interest owed.
6.    While investors will receive a fixed rate of interest that may be higher than average dividends, they will not benefit from capital growth.

China

Many P2P Lending platforms attract investors by increasing interest rate  (Xing Ping She Email), Rated: AAA

Recently, in the background of surging market capital interest rates, the yield of money fund and bank financial products both rose markedly. P2P lending institutions no longer have the advantages in interest rates. In order to attract investors, there comes a new wave of raising interest rates in P2P lending industry.

On June 21st, Tuandai launched a notice of welfare activity, raising the interest rate of product “Futoubao 36”by 0.5%-1.4%.

Recently, Yirendai issued several promotion activities of raising rates, such as rebating 4% for inviting a new user.

On June 17th, JiMu Box announced from that day to June 23rd, if a customer successfully invited new user to invest in the platform, the inviter would receive a coupon of 6% growth in interest rates, in addition to the regular cash coupon and interest rate hikes.

Besides, Ma Tianshuai, the founder & CEO of JieYue United, said they also operated a welfare feedback activity of raising interest rates during the company’s 4th anniversary on June 18th.

Cash and carry (Breaking Views), Rated: A

A Hong Kong Monetary Authority study shows the former British colony is oddly cash-intense. The average person held nearly $6,000 in 2014 – second only to Switzerland.

The first licenses for mobile-wallet apps were granted to Apple, Android Pay, Tencent and others in 2016. Alibaba’s Alipay launched its localised app in May, more than a decade after starting on the mainland. Twenty years after Hong Kong’s reunification with the mainland, in consumer-facing fintech at least, the city looks a decade behind.

European Union

German Real Estate Crowdfunding Market Booms (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The road ahead for the German real estate crowdfunding market has been cleared. The threat of being excluded from the scope of application of the crowdfunding regulation, the Kleinanlegerschutzgesetzt (KASG), was taken off the table last month. The crowdfunding market can move ahead on its exponential growth path.

Michel Harms tracks the overall crowdinvesting industry through his crowdfunding barometer and his aggregation site crowdinvest.de which lists all crowdinvesting projects available in Germany. According to his reports, real estate accounts for 80% of the crowdinvesting market. In 2016, the market doubled in size to reach €40 million. In the first five months of 2017 alone, 51 real estate projects raised €52 million. One can reasonably expect the market to triple in size by the end of 2017.

Michel Harms tracks the overall crowdinvesting industry through his crowdfunding barometer and his aggregation site crowdinvest.de which lists all crowdinvesting projects available in Germany. According to his reports, real estate accounts for 80% of the crowdinvesting market. In 2016, the market doubled in size to reach €40 million. In the first five months of 2017 alone, 51 real estate projects raised €52 million. One can reasonably expect the market to triple in size by the end of 2017.

Exporo was incorporated in 2013 by Simon Brunke, CEO, Björn Maronde, Julian Oertzen and Tim Bütecke.

Zinsland was founded in 2014 by Carl-Friedrich von Stechow, CEO, Dr. Stefan Wiskemann and Moritz Eversmann.

Bergfürst was started much earlier than its competitors, in 2011, as an equity crowdfunding platform launched by Dr. Guido Sandler, CEO, and Dennis Bemmann.

Next to the three leaders, around ten new entrants try to carve a market for themselves:

  • Zinsbaustein, launched in 2016, is the number 4 with 8 projects financed to the tune of €9 million.

Others have only financed a few projects so far:

  • iFunded started in 2015 and open for business in 2016, iFunded intends to attract German and international investors who want to invest in Berlin. Its average size of projects is €800K.
  • Home Rocket, started in 2015, Home Rocket operates from Austria but addresses both the German and Austrian investors and developers.
  • immofunding started in 2015, also operates from Austria.
  • Renditefokus started in 2015.
  • ReaCapital started in 2017.

LendIt Partners with Startupbootcamp FinTech For Its PitchIt Europe 2017 Competition (PR Newswire), Rated: A

LendIt, Europe’s largest global show in lending and fintech, today announced its Pitchit @ LendIt contest partnership with Startupbootcamp FinTech for PitchIt @ LendIt Europe 2017, a leading platform for fintech startups who can earn mentorship, endorsement and exposure to leading institutions, investors & press. Online applications also officially opened to qualifying fintech startups.

This year’s competition is slated to see hundreds of applicants all vying for a prestigious spot in the finals, and a chance to present on the keynote stage in front of over 1,000 members and high ranking executives from the global fintech industry at LendIt Europe (9-10 October, Intercontinental O2 Hotel, London.)

This year’s exclusive PitchIt Contest Partner will be Startupbootcamp FinTech, the leading global FinTech accelerator focused on innovation for the financial services industry. The finalists will present to a panel of influential VC judges and mentors, including those from Balderton Capital, Commerz Ventures, Thiel Capital, Index Ventures and Target Global VCs,and other high profile investors in the fintech capital of the world, London.

To apply to PitchIt @ LendIt Europe competition, firms must meet the following criteria:

  • Must be a fintech company
  • Two or more full-time co-founders/employees
  • 2-10 full-time employees
  • Less than 3 years in business (companies founded before 2014 not eligible)
  • Raised less than 4 million GBP since launch date
  • Must have a professional business website
  • Everyone registering on behalf of a specific company must have an email with that company’s domain
  • Past PitchIt Europe finalists are ineligible
International

Alternative Lenders Spread Their Wings Internationally (deBanked), Rated: AAA

As alternative lending gains global traction, a growing number of U.S-based alternative lenders are exploring international growth, with large companies like OnDeck, Kabbage and SoFi leading the way.

To be sure, international expansion requires extensive time, money and regulatory know-how, and some U.S. alternative lenders may never reach the critical scale to be able to compete effectively. Nonetheless, as globalization proliferates, industry observers expect that additional forward-thinking companies will push beyond the limits of their current geographical borders.

Affirm—which works with more than 900 retailers and recently announced that it had processed its 1 millionth consumer installment loan—has focused on domestic growth so far, but the company is now considering a number of options for international expansion, Metcalf says.

Europe, for instance, has seen substantial growth over the past few years, with the U.K. leading the way in alternative finance. It has four times higher volumes in aggregate than the rest of Continental Europe, according to a 2016 report from KPMG and TWINO, one of the largest marketplace lending platforms in Europe. (P2P consumer lending is the largest component of alternative online lending in Europe, capturing 72 percent of the total in the first through third quarters of 2016, according to the report.)

After the U.K., France, Germany and the Netherlands are the top three countries for online alternative finance by market volume in Europe, according to a September 2016 report by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance.

Asian markets, meanwhile, show significant promise for alternative finance players to make their mark due to the sizeable population of digitally savvy consumers who are still largely underbanked. China is by far the largest market for alternative lending in Asia. It’s also the world’s largest online alternative finance market by transaction volume, registering $101.7 billion in 2015, according to the March 2016 Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance report.

Although there are many possible international markets to explore, U.S. lenders have to tread carefully before planting roots elsewhere, observers say. Some smaller U.S. lenders may find domestic expansion easier and more cost-effective because of the time, regulatory and financial commitment that goes along with exploring international markets.

What’s more, foreign banks looking for alternative lending partners typically prefer to work with larger, more established players.

Within the past several years, OnDeck has begun offering small business loans to customers in Canada and Australia. Frequently Canada is a first step for U.S. companies that want to expand internationally because of the shared language and similarities between the economies, Young explains.

After the Canadian operation was successfully underway, the opportunity arose for the online lender to expand to Australia—which shares several similarities with the Canadian market.

U.S.-based alternative lenders also need to be careful to create products that fit the culture and needs of a particular market.

Take Kabbage, for example. The small business lender expanded into the U.K. in 2013, two years after its U.S. debut. But the company found that having its own small business lending business in the U.K. was too challenging for regulatory and capital reasons. It no longer offers new loans from this platform.

Instead, the funding company decided that a better global strategy was to license its technology to financial institutions in international markets a less capital-intensive, yet economically sound way of doing business.

Kabbage—which recently announced the establishment of its European headquarters in Ireland—has licensing arrangements with Santander in the U.K., Kikka Capital in Australia, Scotiabank in Canada and Mexico and ING in Spain.

For its part, SoFi has announced plans to expand to Australia and Canada this year. The company’s chief executive has also talked about European and Asian expansion in the future.

LendingClub, meanwhile, last November announced a significant partnership with National Bank of Canada and its U.S. subsidiary Credigy.

Amazon And The Future Of FinTech: Part II (Seeking Alpha), Rated: A

The model of the new information age is connectivity and this connectivity comes from building platforms that transcend industries.

But, let’s get back to the FinTech issue. In my previous post, I argued that Amazon, as well as Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and PayPal (NASDAQ:PYPL), has entered into the “payments” space and that this is their inroad into the banking field. And the payments space is definitely a “platform market.”

Now, we learn that a major European player in the payments space has actually received its banking license. Klarna is one of Europe’s largest financial technology groups, valued in 2015 at $2.25 billion.

And, now they have a banking license. But don’t expect mortgages from them right away. Expect “payment cards and accounts.”

In other words, they are building a platform that will transform banking, one that works through many different companies and industries. Is that what Mr. Bezos and Amazon are working on?

Global mobility: supporting your business (Relocate Magazine), Rated: A

Transferwise has become one of the world’s biggest fintech companies, valued at $1 billion with 700 employees.

Nilan offered a number of benchmarks for his company’s success since it was established in 2011 – its expansion from two to 200 markets, its ever-growing list of international HQs, its boom from 60 employees to 700 – but the one that’s made headlines most recently is the announcement that customers are now sending $1 billion per month using the service.

The threat of Brexit looms, however, and Transferwise is concerned about the impact it will have on the company’s ability to access talent.

Australia

Need a loan? Then ask a peer (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Interestingly, a finder.com.au survey revealed that the majority of Australians think that a good credit score should come with perks. That is, 67% of people believe that a good financial history should mean better interest rates on products like loans.

Here are four things you need to know about P2P loans: 

When reviewing your options, keep a close eye on the fees involved to ensure that you’re not paying more than you can afford.

As P2P lending isn’t backed by a large corporation, do your due diligence by researching the reputation of the platform you’re thinking of signing up with. A quick way to do this is to check for a credit license.

P2P platforms typically offer lower loan amounts, so you may only be able to borrow up to $50,000 for a personal loan. This could be restrictive, depending on your loan purpose and the amount you need to borrow.

Once you’ve wrapped your head around the ins and outs of P2P lending, decide whether this is the right type of finance for you.

Canada

Alternative investing requires more transparency: survey (Benefits Canada), Rated: B

The survey, which polled 200 institutional investors and asset managers, found respondents cited transparency as the leading investment consideration, for both alternative investments (62 per cent) and traditional investments (62 per cent).

According to the survey, risk management is the most important driver for transparency in both traditional and alternative investments. Nearly three-quarters (73 per cent) of respondents said portfolio risk management was the most important element, while about half said regulatory requirements (53 per cent) and competitive considerations (43 per cent) were the most important elements.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday May 3 2017, Daily News Digest

funding circle

 News Comments Today’s main news: China Rapid Finance goes public at $350M valuation, down from C round valuation of $1bil. VPC Specialty Lending Investments annual results continues to disappoint Morty launches fully-automated mortgage marketplace. Barclay’s opens Europe’s largest fintech site in London. Airwallex wins $17M funding. India to see fintech regulations soon. Today’s main analysis: National survey shows instant […]

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United States

Elevate Announces Expanded Elastic Funding Capacity (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Elevate Credit, Inc. (“Elevate”) announced today that Elastic SPV, which purchases loan participations in the Elastic line of credit product originated by Republic Bank & Trust Company (“Republic Bank”), increased its debt facility with Victory Park Capital from $150 million to $250 million. This is the first step in a two-step process to further increase and diversify the funding capacity for the Elastic line of credit product.

During the second quarter of 2017, an additional SPV will be created as another funding source for the Elastic line of credit product. This additional SPV for Elastic would provide additional funding, diversified funding sources and further lower the cost of funds.

SoFi’s first PR campaign answers the question, ‘How do I ask for a raise?’ (PRWeek), Rated: AAA

Starting May 15, SoFi staffers will participate in an online series that will offer users tips on communicating their value in the workplace and tell inspirational stories. The company will hold workshops in eight U.S. cities including New York, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, and Washington, DC, on negotiating pay raises, non-monetary benefits, and other topics. Career expert Nicole Lapin will appear at the New York event.

The average SoFi student loan customer is about 33 years old and has a student loan balance of about $75,000, more than twice the national average. A SoFi survey also found 50% of young, college-educated professionals had not negotiated their own salaries, and 54% said they don’t know their “market value.”

PayPal launches a small biz toolset, ‘Business in a Box,’ with WooCommerce & Xero (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

PayPal today launched a new service, called Business in Box, aimed at bringing more U.S. small business owners to its payments platform. The service, which was developed in partnership with WooCommerce and Xero, offers merchants a suite of tools for running their online businesses, including an online storefront, accounting tools, the ability to apply for working capital from PayPal and, of course, support for taking payments either online or offline, via PayPal.

Business in a Box is largely aimed at first-time business owners who already know what they want to sell and have a roadmap in mind, as well as at established offline businesses that want to make the move online.

Often, these business owners would otherwise turn to an e-commerce platform, like Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce or WooCommerce, to establish their online presence and take advantage of other add-ons that can help them with other aspects of their business, like running promotions, marketing, order management, shipping, social media and more.

The company also noted today that PayPal Working Capital has now helped more than 115,000 businesses worldwide access more than $3 billion in loans and cash advances since the service launched in 2013.

National Survey Shows Instant Financing Will Drive Business to Online Retailers (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

American consumers appear to be warming up to instant financing options when purchasing goods and services online. According to a new national survey, three quarters (75 percent) of consumers indicate they would be likely to select an online retailer that offered instant financing compared to another that did not; 28 percent would be very likely to change merchants in order to use instant financing.

Instant financing is an easy-to-use, revolving line of credit that consumers apply for within a merchant’s online checkout. It allows consumers to spread purchases over time with low APR financing offers, and provides an alternative to credit and debit cards when paying for an online purchase.

The online study was fielded between April 10 and 13, 2017 by Researchscape International on behalf of Klarna North America (www.klarna.com). The survey of 2,024 consumers, ages 18 and older, was designed to better understand the behaviors and attitudes of consumers towards instant financing. Consumers were quota-sampled using 32 different cells (gender by age by region) to closely match the overall national population.

In terms of how instant financing might impact their spending while shopping online, 39 percent of consumers indicated they would spend more money on a purchase if they had the option of instant financing compared to 42 percent who would not and 19 percent who did not know if they would spend more money.

Smartphone owners, 88 percent of consumers who responded, were asked about the ease and willingness to enter certain types of personal information when applying for instant financing. Among the information seen to be “too much trouble” to enter were Social Security number and bank account numbers (51 percent each), and credit card numbers (40 percent). On the other hand, just over a tenth of consumers found it to be too much trouble to enter an email address (11 percent), birthday (12 percent) or spouse’s name (12 percent).

Other key findings of the survey include:

  • Nearly half of respondents (47 percent) would like to be presented with an instant financing option while shopping online
  • Just over a quarter of consumers surveyed (28 percent) have used instant financing while 68 percent have not and 4 percent were not sure if they had

Beyond probing consumers’ thoughts regarding availability, the survey also asked about the convenience and ease-of-use factors of instant financing. For instance, a majority of consumers (52 percent) expect to wait three or more minutes to be approved for instant financing. Twenty-eight percent would expect to wait two minutes and just 20 percent would expect to wait under a minute. Klarna’s approval process typically provides an approval in under a minute with only simple, top-of-mind information required.

This infographic illustrates the impact of instant financing on consumers’ purchasing decisions as revealed in a survey conducted by Klarna in April 2017. (PRNewsfoto/Klarna)

Morty launches fully-automated mortgage marketplace (PRNewswire), Rated: A

Focused on empowering homeowners to make smarter decisions about their mortgages, today Morty (www.himorty.com) launches its fully-automated mortgage marketplace, where homebuyers can shop, compare — and close — any loan option from among its network of lenders. Morty is initially rolling out with 10 major lenders across 10 markets in the United States, with plans to expand nationally by the end of 2017.

Leveraging the founding team’s diverse experience and learning first-hand from homebuyers during its initial pilot, Morty was able to identify pain points from start to finish and prove the benefits of a marketplace model. In the over one thousand real-life loan scenarios it has run for homebuyers, Morty has observed rate and fee variances across lenders that can add up to tens of thousands of dollars in fees and monthly payments.

Morty is creating an entirely new model: access to any lender or mortgage product within a single, unified mortgage process from first click to closing day.

Here’s how it works:

  • Homebuyers create a simple financial profile by linking their income, assets, employment, and property information and describing their homeownership goals.
  • Morty’s pricing engine algorithmically matches the homebuyer’s profile with each lender’s eligibility and pricing guidelines to show accurate, customized quotes, inclusive of all lender fees and closing costs.
  • Borrowers see their loan options in full transparency and compare across lenders and products.
  • Never once leaving the Morty platform, the homebuyer chooses a loan and Morty automates the process all the way to the closing table.

In addition to its launch, Morty also announces that it has raised $3 million in funding led by Thrive Capital with participation from SV Angel, FJ Labs, Corigin Ventures, MetaProp, Techstars and several angel investors.

RealtyeVest Is the One-Stop Platform for Real Estate Investing and Project Financing (PR Newswire), Rated: A

RealtyeVest, Formerly IHT Realty Group, officially unveiled their new brand and optimized website. Destined to become one of the largest real estate crowdfunding platforms in the US, the new RealtyeVest website () provides a simple, secure and transparent platform for accredited investors, real estate developers and owner-operators.

“Our decision to rebrand from IHT Realty Group to RealtyeVest was a result of listening to feedback from our strategic partners and observing best practices in the industry,” said Daniel Summers, CEO. “We believe our new name better represents the essence of our business, and we are excited about the innovative technology that powers our new online marketplace. We spared no expense in the new build, providing a win-win to our investors and Sponsors.”

RealtyeVest is an online marketplace that connects investors and Sponsors (real estate owner-operators) to crowdfund exclusive real estate investments. Their platform allows its members to browse, research and make informed investment decisions on these exclusive properties.

Lending IPOs Find Cautious Investors Amid Consumer Credit Fears (Bloomberg), Rated: A

China Rapid Finance Ltd. on Friday became just the second consumer lender this year to list in the U.S., following Elevate Credit Inc. earlier in April. Although they do business on opposite sides of the world, the duo has much in common: Both face investor questions about the reliability of their borrowers, both begin trading amid a particularly iffy time in the credit cycle and — perhaps consequently — both slashed their IPO price days before going public.

When LendingClub Corp. went public in 2014, some hailed the event as the dawn of a new era for finance. Shares have since fallen 60 percent from the IPO price.

“China Rapid Finance is coming to the market during a turbulent time in the China peer-to-peer industry as regulators roll out more controls to clean up what has so far been chaotic growth in the past few years,” MCM Partners analyst Ryan Roberts wrote in a note on the stock’s first initiation, a buy rating. “The company reduced the pricing range by about 40 percent, which we suspect reflected tepid demand from backers,” the note said.

Both recent IPOs are now trading up from their reduced offering prices by nearly 25 percent. MCM says the IPO valued China Rapid Finance at 4.7 times its book ratio. William Blair on Monday said that Elevate Credit is trading at 7.5 times its 2018 estimated earnings per share.

This Startup Wants to Be the Amazon of Real Estate (Inc), Rated: A

Even so, the 29-year-old Williams is a force, as is his company. Since launching, Cadre has generated nearly $1 billion worth of deals, raising close to $70 million in funding from high-profile investors such as Peter Thiel, Goldman Sachs, and Jack Ma.

So Williams set up a website where he could analyze these homes using a tax parcel ID–which tracks the value of a property over time–and measured this against what they were selling for. Using the data, and bolstered by the cash of wealthy Harvard alums including the Kushners, he started buying dozens of properties and flipping them for three times their original price. “By the time I graduated, I was at a crossroads: Do I scale this business nationally, or do I do tech banking at Goldman Sachs?” he recalls thinking.

Williams decided to do both. He pulled 18-hour days as an investment banker–and then would quietly work on his startup from the comfort of a supply-closet-size room by night. Real estate, he figured, was a valuable asset that ought to be made available to more (and more average) investors.

Cadre is an e-commerce site for investing in real estate. It connects customers–primarily wealthy individuals, referred to as “qualified purchasers”–to property deals across the U.S. (Cadre requires a minimum investment of a few hundred thousand dollars; that’s somewhat less than what a traditional fund requires, but likely more than what you’d pay to buy into a real estate investment trust, or REIT, which trades like common stock.) Williams declined to comment on what exactly the company charges its investors–it asks for an upfront fee and a recurring subscription rate–though notes that it’s in the range of a “couple hundred basis points.” A fund, by contrast, will typically take 2 percent of the investment, and then 20 percent of profits over time.

Although Cadre faces competition mainly from the traditional brokers, a growing number of startups have emerged in the real estate leasing space, such as 42Floors, a San Francisco website that lists commercial real estate and office rentals, and Rofo, an online marketplace for property listings and potential tenants that can facilitate lease deals without broker intervention.

NCAP Notice to Clients regarding Public Record Standards (Experian Email), Rated: A

In 2015, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion announced the National Consumer Assistance Plan (NCAP), a set of initiatives designed to improve the accuracy of credit report information, as well as to provide consumers with a better experience interacting with the nationwide Credit Reporting Agencies (CRAs).

In June 2016, the CRAs announced enhanced public record data standards for the collection and timely updating of public record data reported on consumer credit reports.  The enhanced standards require: (i) minimum consumer identifying information (name, address, social security number and/or date of birth) (“PII”) and (ii) minimum collection frequency for public records (at least every 90 days).  These enhanced standards will apply to new and existing public record data on the CRAs’ respective consumer credit reporting databases. As previously announced, these enhanced standards are effective July 1, 2017.

Based on information provided by our public record vendor about the data available from courts and recorders’ offices, we expect bankruptcy public record data will continue to meet the enhanced collection and reporting standards. However, civil judgments and approximately half of tax lien data are not expected to meet the enhanced standards.

During the week of July 10, 2017, the CRAs will remove from their databases previously collected public record data that does not meet the enhanced PII standards. This includes the removal of all judgment public records and the portion of tax liens not meeting the enhanced standard. Public record data will also be monitored for adherence to the enhanced PII and collection frequency standards after July 1, 2017.

Despite the anticipated loss of significant volume of public record data from credit files, impact analysis conducted by the CRAs, as well as leading scoring model companies using CRA data, show a modest risk scoring impact and minimal loss in predictive performance as a result of these changes.

Please contact any member of your Account teams with questions you may have or forward questions to:

Robo Advice: Better Than No Advice? (Forbes), Rated: A

The proliferation of Robo-Advisors bringing low priced financial services out into the market has received significant buzz over the past few years.

When it comes to managing your money, minimal human intervention can be good or bad. The good comes when the algorithms and mathematical rules produce an asset allocation that is sensible for the purpose for which it is intended. The good also comes when the “human advisor” interjects personal preferences and judgments that are in the clients’ best interest.

Now, let’s analyze the downside, which can be a very deep and chasm. How we consider money, how we use money, how we value money, and what we believe about money is very human, indeed, and cannot be solved by mathematical equations.

For those who are looking for an asset allocation and a low-cost entry into investing, Robo advice can be a great place to start.

Helping Clients Determine Risks in Alternative Investments (Wealth Management), Rated: A

Alternative investments constitute a growing $7 trillion industry and more than 10,000 hedge funds have money in alternative platforms. Yet, most retail investors are just learning about these lucrative asset classes.

To illustrate the difference for clients who may not be familiar with alternative investments, ask them to imagine this scenario. A successful real estate flipper has bought and sold 25 properties in five years. After finding a great deal on a house in foreclosure, he applies for a bank loan to purchase it. The bank declines, spooked by four open mortgages he holds on current projects.

He’s never defaulted, but the bank still judges him as overleveraged because his loan-to-value ratio is 50 percent. It doesn’t fit into the bank’s rigid evaluation box, which has become even more stringent after the 2008 financial crisis. The perceived risk is much higher than the actual risk.

Then, he approaches an alternative lender who sees he’s willing to put his own money into a property in a desirable neighborhood and to offer a personal guarantee. The decision comes down to actual risk. Can this property fall in value by 50 percent in nine months? Will the borrower flip it in nine months for a handsome profit? By understanding the data and the flipper’s borrowing track record, the lender concludes that he will flip the house and fronts the capital.

FLEETCOR to Acquire “Cambridge Global Payments,” a B2B International Payments Provider (BusinessWire), Rated: A

FLEETCOR Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: FLT), a global provider of fuel cards and workforce payment products to businesses, announced today that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Cambridge Global Payments (“Cambridge”), a B2B international payments provider.

Lantern Credit Appoints Ricardo Gomez-Acebo to Board of Managers (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Lantern Credit, a financial technology company working to solve systematic inefficiencies in the consumer credit industry, adds Ricardo Gomez-Acebo to its Board of Managers. He joins Chairman John Mack, Vice Chairman John Sculley, James Held, Seth Johnson, Kevin Knight and Chad Swensen on the Lantern Board.

Gomez-Acebo has more than 30 years of experience in the Spanish and International Retail Banking sector, holding various executive roles at Spanish banks Banesto and Banco Santander including General Manager of Europe for Banesto. Gomez-Acebo led business development with strategic financial partners at Banco Santander and most recently is heading risk management for the bank.

Incumbent financial services’ millennial strategy (The New Yorker via CB Insights Email), Rated: B

Attorney Jonathan Frutkin Featured Speaker at Washington D.C Crowdfunding Conference (Benzinga), Rated: B

Radix Law’s principal attorney, Jonathan Frutkin, will be a featured speaker at the “Fourth Annual Conference and Workshop for Crowdfunding USA” scheduled for May 4 to 5 at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. Frutkin is the author of the book Equity Crowdfunding: Transforming Customers into Loyal Owners.

United Kingdom

RateSetter upgraded transparency to “top-tier” level, says 4th Way (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER’S upgraded data disclosure on its loan book and expected losses has brought its transparency to a top-tier level, according to peer-to-peer lending research firm 4th Way.

Based on the amended methodology, expected cumulative losses now stand at £18.06m, which paired with the current £22.44m provision fund buffer result in a 124 per cent coverage ratio – six per cent higher than last reported.

RateSetter’s data table now provides a clear estimate of the losses expected over the lifetime of its loan book, spelling out the losses that have already materialised and future expected losses for each year of origination, as well as a detailed breakdown of different types of arrears, provision fund adequacy levels, and investors’ expected returns.

Sharing the voice of British small businesses (Funding Circle), Rated: AAA

What we discovered is that small businesses are going for growth, unfazed by the uncertainty caused by last year’s referendum result and the snap election. Nearly 70% of UK small businesses expect their turnover to increase within the next 12 months – half of whom expect a steady increase of between 6 and 20%, and only 6% expect turnover to decrease.

Small businesses, who already account for 60% of private sector employment, will continue to drive much needed job creation this year. More than half of the businesses we spoke to are planning to hire at least one new full-time member of staff over the next year. With more than 5 million small businesses across the country – this could mean the creation of millions of new jobs in the next 12 months!

When asked what their one policy priority is in the run up to the election, tax was by far the most important issue. With business rates mentioned specifically nearly 300 times, 40% said that they want the new Government to focus on this area after the election. The second most important policy area, according to a quarter of businesses, was of course Brexit.

To date investors have lent £2.2 billion to more than 23,000 UK small businesses.

 

UK SMEs set to back Tory leadership (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

A vast majority of the 2,300 firms interviewed by the country’s third largest small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) lender are poised to throw their weight behind Theresa May’s party as the best positioned to deliver Brexit, despite half of them opposing the separation from the 28-nation bloc in the referendum last year.

The research also confirmed that UK SMEs have quickly shrugged off Brexit-induced economic worries, as seven in 10 firms expect to deliver stronger profits in the next 12 months and only six per cent forecast a drop in turnover over the same period.

Flender is granted its P2P credit license (AltFi), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer friends and family lender, Flender announced it has now received its full authorisation from the FCA and has also launched operations in Ireland.

The platform says it has funded loans of over €900,000 since its soft-launch, without any marketing or advertising. It has seen demand from companies in a wide range of industry sectors including construction, F&B, energy companies, retailers and more. It reports that it has attracted over 750 registered users, 138 campaigns submitted with 11 currently live on the platform.

RateSetter Partners with George Banco, Acquires Two Motor Finance Businesses (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

RateSetter previously provided financing to George Banco. RateSetter will now lend directly to George Banco’s growing customer base with George Banco generating the leads.der George Banco. RateSetter has also acquired an equity stake in the George Banco company.

Additionally, RateSetter has acquired specialist motor finance providers Vehicle Stocking Limited and Vehicle Credit Limited out of their parent company’s administration. RateSetter will rebrand both businesses and invest in them to build on its current motor finance capabilities. RateSetter previously provided wholesale finance to these businesses.

UK P2P Lender Growth Street Celebrates Marketplace Rate Drop, Signals Increased Momentum (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Growth Street’s marketplace rate dropped on Monday from 6.5% AER to 6.4% AER, rewarding borrowers with a 10bps drop in their costs of funds. The UK P2P lender attributes the drop to the momentum it has built on its platform, welcoming over 700 investors to date since the launch of its investment offering in November.

FUNDING CIRCLE REVIEW (Orca Money), Rated: A

Loans are split into a minimum of £20 chunks or loan parts allowing investors to achieve a high level of diversification when investing relatively low amounts. Funding Circle suggests lending to a minimum of 100 businesses to achieve a 1% exposure to any one business. When investing a minimum of £2,000, Funding Circle’s auto-bid function will achieve this level of diversification automatically.

Borrowers across Funding Circle are all small to medium sized businesses (SMEs), borrowing between £5,000- £1million for loan terms of 6 months to 5 years.

Funding Circle is the only peer-to-peer lending platform of scale which operates across multiple geographies. The P2P platform has expanded from the UK to the USA, Germany and Spain. 74% of Funding Circle’s group (Funding Circle Holding Limited) revenue in the period ending the 31st December 2015 came from its UK business (Funding Circle UK Limited).

VPC Specialty Lending Investments Annual Results Continues to Disappoint (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

VPC Specialty Lending Investments PLC (LSE:VSL.L) released 2016 annual results last week and according to Chairman Andrew Adcock, results continue to disappoint. Shares in the fund that invests in various online lending assets continue to trade at a significant discount to the net asset value per share. As of December 31, 2016, VPC had deployed 87% of its NAV (with its cash holding of 13% temporarily elevated due to the recent sale of the Funding Circle U.K. portfolio). During 2016, VPC generated an NAV return of 0.85% for the Ordinary Shares and distributed dividends of 6.00 pence per Ordinary Share relating to the income earned during the year.

Going round in circles (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: B

The recent news that peer-to-peer lending platform Funding Circle plans to stop all property development lending by mid-2018 came as something of a surprise.

Risk is always a factor in construction, but it is how that risk is managed that is important. Funding Circle’s withdrawal could allow other lenders to enter this space, and increased competition will be no bad thing in giving developers greater choice.

While we appreciate that there are always certain areas of the market that give cause for concern, many of our clients have a clear appetite for further growth. While demand is strong, and developers continue to be starved of funds by traditional lenders, the market for alternative finance – and peer-to-peer lending particularly – will come to the fore.

China

Former Unicorn China Rapid Finance Goes Public at a $ 350M Valuation (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

The IPO price was set at $6.00 and the company raised $60 million which was adjusted down from their anticipated raise of $105 million. Back in 2015, it was reported that the company had a pre-money valuation of $1 billion after closing a $35 million Series C. The company is now valued at $350 million.

At time of writing shares were trading around $7.10 per share.

The fact that China Rapid Finance and Yirendai before them chose to go public in the US is significant. In a recent Lend Academy podcast with Yirendai CEO Yihan Fang, she stated that they felt the US was more educated on marketplace lending. This coupled with the fact that Ning Tang (Founder of parent company CreditEase) and other management members had experience in the US and were more comfortable with the US capital markets led to their decision to list in the US.

Another company that could seek a US IPO is Ppdai.com who last year said it could go public in the first half of 2017.

P2P Industry News (Xing Ping She Email), Rated: A

Financial Company of XIAOMI Raised A Round of 100 Million RMB

Today, FuMi Tech, MI’s related eco-chain company, announced it has finished A round of financing and raised 100 million RMB. This round of financing led by Buddhism Capital, with MoBai Capital and the previous investor ShunWei Capital participated. The fund will be continuously used to improve users’ experience.

WeBull, one of the products of FuMi Tech, providing trading services of US and HK stocks, and supporting real-time quotes of global stock, foreign exchange, funds and derivatives markets of over 20 countries. In fact, FuMi Tech has previously raised a joint investment of 50 million RMB from MI and ShunWei Capital.

China’s State-owned Commercial Bank Breaking the Ice between P2P platforms

Recently, China Construction Bank(Guangdong Branch) has launched its P2P funding depository product “Dragon depository”, and currently the bank has reached agreements with several P2P lending platforms.

According to an insider of CCB, the two critical measurements for their P2P cooperators are: bad debts and overall strength of the platform.The participation of CCB will promote the compliance process and bring a sustainable development of P2P lending industry.

NDRC(National Development and Reform Commission): Promote the Construction of Asia Credit System

The first Asia Credit Rating Agencies CEO Fair & Systemic Risk International Seminar was held in Beijing recently. Hongwan Chen, the deputy director of the financial department of National Development and Reform Commission, said that the regional cooperation across Asia is important for it could accelerate the Construction of Credit System in the area. He also advise to build credit record for local companies incorporated overseas and foreign investors, and set up a “blacklist” about those seriously illegal enterprises.

China Rapid Finance a consumer lending force in China (Bankless Times), Rated: A

Dr. Wang completed his Ph.D in statistics at the University of Chicago in 1995 before moving on to Sears Credit where as head of analytics he developed models employing credit bureau data while also overseeing the creation of a credit data warehouse. He returned to China, where in 2001 he founded  China Rapid Finance which began by developing credit scoring and decisioning models that helped companies issue more than 100 million credit cards.

In 2010 they made the move into marketplace lending, where they teamed up with more than 100 Chinese internet companies to analyze and score data that allowed them to preselect customers.

Seven years later China Rapid Finance has become China’s leading online consumer credit marketplace after facilitating 15 million loans to two million borrowers, beginning with small amounts for short durations and growing into longer-term loans for larger amounts.

EMMAs total 500 million and have been underserved by traditional credit providers, who focus on the 300 million super prime people who work for government or large institutions, Dr. Wang explained. He estimates China’s consumer credit coverage at roughly one-fourth that of the United States. While roughly 60 per cent of Americans have credit coverage, that rate is 16 per cent in China.

EMMAs are prime and near-prime consumers who are educated and have stable employment in the services and with startups and SMEs, but they have little credit history and cannot obtain bank credit.  They also largely stayed away from the notorious shadow banks, a large (no one knows precisely how large) opaque industry which helped fuel both real estate and small consumer loans.

International

International P2P Lending Volumes April 2017 (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle leads ahead of Zopa and Lendinvest. The total volume for the reported marketplaces adds up to 445 million Euro.

Milestones reached this month are:

  • Younited Credit crossed 500 million Euro loan volume since launch

European Union

Barclays Opens Europe’s Largest FinTech Site in London (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

Barclays has today opened its flagship open innovation site, Rise London, in Shoreditch. It is Europe’s largest co-working space dedicated to financial technologies (FinTech).

Rise, created by Barclays, brings together from across the world a carefully curated community of FinTech startups, along with our corporate clients and other experts, to work on Barclays’ customer and business opportunities and together help to create the future of financial services.

Rise London will house more than 40 FinTech companies, along with Banking and Technology teams from Barclays, and will serve as a gathering place for leaders in the FinTech and venture capital communities. Rise London will play host to more than 200 hours of learning, workshops, hackathons and networking on a monthly basis.

Australia

Melbourne fintech Airwallex just won $ 17 million funding from Mastercard, Sequoia and Tencent (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Australian cross-border payment startup Airwallex has secured US$13 million ($17.4 million) in a funding round to continue its expansion overseas.

For Sequoia — the 45-year-old firm famous for investing in famous tech brands such as Apple, Google and AirBnB – the deal represents its Chinese arm’s first investment in an Australian startup.

Airwallex founder and chief executive Jack Zhang told Business Insider that the company, which already can make payments to 100 countries, will use the cash injection to expand its physical presence in locations such as London, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Taiwan.

FinTech Australia Reflects on First Year (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

FinTech Australia, the advocacy group promoting all things fintech related in Australia, celebrated its one year anniversary by sharing its “Year of Review.”

India

India to see regulations for fintech space soon: KPMG report  (Outlook), Rated: AAA

The government is expected to come out with regulations for fintech (financial technology) space as the industry is likely to witness increased payments and lending activities, a study said today.

Over the next quarter, insurtech may come into its own in India, according to the report.

Citing Paytm attracting Asia’s largest funding round of USD 200 million in March quarter, it said AI and blockchain may be big bets for investors apart from payments, open data and data analytics.

Over the quarter, investment into Asia’s fintech space hit USD 492 million across 33 deals, as per the report.

SoftBank Said in Talks to Invest $ 1.4 Billion in India’s Paytm (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

SoftBank Group Corp. is in talks to invest about $1.4 billion in India’s One97 Communications Ltd. in a deal that would value the owner of the country’s largest digital-payments provider at about $7 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.

The deal is not yet finalized and the terms may yet change, said the people, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. One97 Communications, whose Paytm unit has seen business surge as India took most of its paper bills from circulation, has also had discussions with two other investors, one of the people said. The company was last valued at $4.2 billion, according to research firm CB Insights.

3 Alternative Lending Trends That Have Made Fintech Startups Popular (Inc42), Rated: A

Traditional banks have left quite a few gaping holes when it comes to unsecured loans, especially for salaried people who are not employed in companies that they classify as A/A+ category.

Quick Personal Loans

Customers, it appears, are warming up to online alternative lending portals, and it is predominantly due to the speed with which the loan application is processed, verified and approved. Tedious documentation, in addition to ambiguous rules and non-transparency in the whole process that a customer faces with banks, has made entrepreneurs reinvent lending for salaried employees. The ease and convenience of digital (and painless) transactions are considered priceless. There are lenders such as Qbera, which disburses personal loans up to INR 5 Lakhs in 24 hours.

Alternative Fixed Income Products Become More Popular

2016 saw RBI releasing a set of directives regarding P2P loans in India. The paper recommends NBFCs status for P2P lenders, which is almost consistent with what the P2P sector has been demanding. This liberal approach helps to protect the interest of all stakeholders without choking innovative ideas. P2P lenders are hoping for these recommendations to become regulations after the budget announcement, which will give the arena a facelift.

Short-Term Payday Loans

You don’t get instant cash from banks and online payday loan providers often save the day. As they are offered for shorter tenures compared to online personal loans, it gets repaid more quickly, which is a definite plus. You can even opt for monthly, fortnightly, weekly or daily loans.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor