Friday July 14 2017, Daily News Digest

Visa revenues

News Comments Today’s main news: DBRS assigns provisional ratings to SoFi Professional Loan Program 2017-D. IEG Holdings cites slim margins, weak underwriting as reasons for LendingClub offer. Bank execs say UK sets the standard for fintech regulation. Rocket Internet sells stake in Lendico. Today’s main analysis: Visa’s international expansion. Today’s thought-provoking articles: DBRS Student Loan ABS report (a […]

Visa revenues

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Israel

India

Latin America

Canada

News Summary

United States

DBRS Assigns Provisional Ratings to SoFi Professional Loan Program 2017-D (DBRS), Rated: AAA

DBRS, Inc. (DBRS) has today assigned provisional ratings to the following classes of notes issued by SoFi Professional Loan Program 2017-D (SoFi 2017-D):

— $245,000,000 Class A-1FX Notes at AAA (sf)
— $266,000,000 Class A-2FX Notes at AAA (sf)
— $40,000,000 Class B-FX Notes at AA (sf)

DBRS Student Loan ABS report (DBRS), Rated: AAA

In this commentary, DBRS provides the following:
— A review of Q1 2017 student loan ABS performance and H1 2017 student loan ABS issuance.
— An outlook for future student loan ABS issuance and the trends expected in H2 2017.
— Analysis and highlights of student loan collateral performance.

Download the full report here.

IEG Holdings Highlights the Urgency of LendingClub Correcting its Flawed, Slim Margin “Broker” Business Model and Weak Underwriting Standards (Sys-Con), Rated: AAA

IEG Holdings yesterday announced the commencement of a tender offer to exchange four shares of IEG Holdings’ common stock for each share of LendingClub common stock, up to an aggregate of 40,345,603 shares of LendingClub common stock, representing approximately 9.99% of LendingClub’s outstanding shares as of April 28, 2017, validly tendered and not properly withdrawn in the offer.

IEG Holdings Corporation (OTCQB: IEGH) (“IEG Holdings”) cautions shareholders of LendingClub Corporation (“LendingClub”) against dismissing IEG Holdings’ tender offer. IEG Holdings believes that the LendingClub board of directors should be held accountable by its shareholders for continuing to pursue a flawed, slim margin “broker” business model. IEG Holdings urges LendingClub to enter into negotiations with IEG Holdings, rather than simply dismissing the tender offer.

FLAWED, SLIM MARGIN, LOSS-MAKING BUSINESS MODEL

Despite brokering more than $26 billion of loans since inception, LendingClub still reported a loss of $29.8 million for Q1 2017 and loss of $146.0 million for the 2016 full year. Transitioning to a balance sheet lender likely would significantly increase gross margins, without a significant change in customer acquisition costs.

WEAK UNDERWRITING STANDARDS

A recent media report by Bloomberg indicates that:

  • LendingClub only verified income about a third of the time for one of the most popular loans it made in 2016, and
  • If LendingClub finds errors in a loan application, it may still approve the loan.

LACK OF COMPANY-OWNED STATE LENDING LICENSES

LendingClub doesn’t hold individual state lending licenses and instead utilizes the services of a Utah-based bank. This raises regulatory risks around issues such as the potential breaking of individual state interest rate caps and compliance.

POOR STOCK MARKET PERFORMANCE AND ZERO DIVIDENDS TO SHAREHOLDERS

LendingClub’s share price has decreased 79% since its initial public offering in December 2014, dropping from $25.74 in December 2014 to $5.39 yesterday, after reaching a low of $3.51 in May 2016. In addition, LendingClub has never paid, and has no reported intention to pay, a dividend to shareholders.

IEG Holdings’ Reasons for the Offer

IEG Holdings believes that changing LendingClub’s business model to a balance sheet lender model would enable the company to generate significantly higher gross margins, provide significantly higher long duration cash flow from customers, build increased customer goodwill with customers and enable increased customer refinancing. The longer duration cash flow would provide more flexibility in reducing lending volumes during periods when underwriting risk levels are rising, as the company would be less dependent on brokering new loan deals every day to provide revenue.

  • IEG Holdings intends to encourage LendingClub to undertake substantial costs cuts by terminating excess employees, achieving substantial cuts in advertising/marketing costs and other significant cost cutting measures;
  • IEG Holdings intends to encourage LendingClub to transform its broker business model with low gross margins and high volumes to focus on high gross margin unsecured loans to near prime clients with strong underwriting, company owned individual state licenses and retention of loans on its balance sheet to secure long duration cash flow from longer term loans; and
  • The acquisition of LendingClub shares would be substantially net asset per share accretive for IEG Holdings stockholders and substantially increase shareholder equity.

New partnership turns PayPal into Apple App Store payment option (Banking Tech), Rated: A

This week the company announced a partnership with Apple to allow shoppers pay for their purchases at the App Store using PayPal. The feature will be available for users of a variety of Apple devices including iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Apple Watch, and iPod.In addition to the App Store, PayPal will be a payment option for a variety of Apple services including Apple Music, iTunes, and iBooks.

Finicity and JP Morgan Chase pair for data share (Banking Tech), Rated: A

Data aggregation provider Finicity has signed an agreement with JP Morgan Chase to let the bank’s customers choose data to share with apps.

The companies will use a direct API to allow Chase customers to share information with the apps and services that Finicity supports. According to the firms, this tokenised access will eliminate the need for customers to share their Chase credentials with third-party apps.

Paypal Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:PYPL): Beginning of Market Dominance (Library for Smart Investors), Rated: A

Paypal Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:PYPL) is getting investors attention after the stock touched fresh highs amid a new partnership with Apple.

The stock is up over 43% since the start of the year.

In the first quarter, PayPal saw a jump of 10.3% in monthly active users on year-over-year basis. The total number of transactions also increased by 22.5% in the period.

In the first quarter, Venmo processed $6.8 billion in total payments, a 100% growth on year-over-year basis. Venmo is slated to grow more as the company expands to small businesses.

WEALTHTECH — THE DIGITIZATION OF WEALTH MANAGEMENT (FT Partners), Rated: A

WealthTech companies are targeting inefficiencies that span the entire wealth management value chain, from client prospecting to investing to portfolio management and reporting. Benefits include more efficient workflows, improved client experiences and greater transparency. Regardless of their value proposition, WealthTech companies are seeking to improve overall wealth management and investing.

This report highlights a number of key trends within the broader WealthTech industry such as…

  • Growing number of advisors joining the independent channel
  • Incumbent financial institutions are entering the robo-advice space
  • Increased demand for alternative investments
  • Financial planning trending towards goal-based approaches
  • Higher levels of active risk management
  • Commoditization of portfolio management software is leading to expanded offerings
  • RIA custodians evolving into more holistic roles

Download the full report here.

Wells Fargo trims auto loans as market cools, risk overhaul kicks in (Reuters), Rated: A

Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N) is scaling back and remolding its auto lending business in response to growing stress in the market, as well as a bank-wide push for more centralized risk controls.

Wells, which was the No. 2 U.S. provider of auto loans less than a year ago, has already cut quarterly originations by nearly 30 percent over the nine months leading into March 31, according to a May 11 company presentation. It has also begun consolidating the collections operation in a move that people familiar with the business say could eliminate hundreds of jobs, after a new head of auto finance took the reins in April.

5 Fintech Startups Under the Radar (Bank Innovation), Rated: A

Spotme

This New York City-based startup facilitates micro-loans between borrowers and lenders, allowing users to set up pretty much all the parameters of a loan themselves: users can control the amount, the interest rate, the payback period, and the way they are reimbursed for the loan themselves.

Ledger

Ledger might be able to help out there: this San Francisco-based startup allows users to “open tabs with friends,” boiling down a transaction to just 3 clicks. By connecting with a user’s financial accounts (protected by “military-grade” cybersecurity, according to the company), users are able to aggregate all of their transactions in one place, as well as receive notification about when transactions are due.

Wallio

More and more companies are striving to solve the main problem when it comes to personal finance management services: how do you make a user actually take the financial advice that is being offered?

Wallio starts off the week by giving a user an allocated amount of money they can spend for that week, on whatever the user wants (expenses and savings are already factored into this amount). If a user underspends, great: Wallio will allow that user to put that money towards a goal. If a user overspends, Wallio will simply allocate less money for the user to spend next week.

Samwise

This robo-investing startup allows users to turn their existing brokerage account into an autonomous investing account using machine learning algorithms.

OnePebble

Invest, and make a difference in the world at the same time: that’s the dream of OnePebble, an online investment broker/dealer that puts each investment toward companies “doing good in the world.”

3 Investing Trends to Keep on Your Radar (Morningstar), Rated: A

Trend: Passive products continue to gain assets.

This is the trend shaping the investment management industry today. Asset flows to passive products, both traditional index mutual funds and exchange-traded funds, began in earnest following disappointing active-fund performance during the financial crisis.

Trend: New ways to hire–and pay for–financial advice. 

Robo-advisors provide automated advice for a low annual fee as low as 0.25% or even less. Meanwhile, mutual fund companies and brokerage firms may provide advice for customers who have amassed sufficient assets at the firm. For example, Vanguard Personal Advisor Service charges 0.30% and is available to investors with at least $50,000 in assets at the firm. (The service combines human financial advisors with robo-advisor technology.)

What to watch out for: The profusion of different business models means that the business of selecting an advisor is more complicated than ever. Robo-advisor fees might look like a screaming buy relative to the fees that a full-service human advisor charges, but the robo won’t be able to give you advice on nonportfolio matters like whether to pay off your mortgage or purchase long-term care insurance.

Trend: An increased emphasis on behavioral factors that can affect investor outcomes.

What’s to like: Many robo-advisors have also embedded behaviorial research into their services.

What to watch out for: Behavioral finance is trendy right now, and with any trend comes the opportunity for gimmickry. Beware of advisors who are using behavioral finance as their main hook to snag clients; high-quality advisors have been employing behavioral finance into their practices for years.

US Tax Professionals Tackles the Tax implications of Crowdfunding (Digital Journal), Rated: A

It’s important to understand that all the income a person receives, regardless of the source, is considered taxable income in the eyes of the IRS. That includes crowdfunding dollars.

Even if the campaign only raised the projected $15,000 and no gifts were offered, the money would still be considered taxable income and need to be reported as such on a tax return.

Generally, crowdfunding revenues are included in income as long as they are not:

  • Loans that must be repaid;
  • Capital contributed to an entity in exchange for an equity interest in the entity; or
  • Gifts made out of detached generosity and without any “quid pro quo.” However, a voluntary transfer without a “quid pro quo” isn’t necessarily a gift for federal income tax purposes.

Morgan Stanley digital chief: AI to help advisers, not ‘cyborg bots’ (Financial-Planning), Rated: A

Advisers tasked with processing a “mountain of information” will get a reprieve through artificial intelligence, according to Morgan Stanley Wealth Management’s chief digital officer.

“What we want to do is, with one click of a button, they can take action on that research report to all their clients within minutes, not hours, not phone calls,” Hassan said. “That’s the promise of what we’re trying to build.”

Rival firms have shown they’re headed down a similar path. Like Morgan’s planned offering, the UBS-SigFig service will save advisers’ time through automated messaging to clients on important dates, according to Richard Steinmeier, the head of the UBS Wealth Advice Center.

Congress Should Use Congressional Review Act to Strike Down Ill-Advised Arbitration Rule (Daily Signal), Rated: B

Cutting through the hyperbole that the arbitration rule protects consumers from “unfairness” that would deny them “their day in court,” this rule is in fact highly anti-consumer and harmful to innovation.

This regulation could have particularly harmful effects on FinTech innovations, such as peer-to-peer lending.”

How much money do Arizonans spend playing the lottery? Less than most Americans (AZ Central), Rated: B

Arizonans on average shelled out $100.85 per capita on lottery tickets in 2015, according to the study by LendEDU, based on preliminary data for state government finances collected by the Census Bureau. For Americans overall, the per-capita figure was $206.69.

United Kingdom

UK setting the bar for fintech regulation, bank execs say (SNL.com), Rated: AAA

U.K. authorities have created a world-leading regulatory environment for the burgeoning fintech industry that is being emulated elsewhere, according to bankers.

The Financial Conduct Authority’s “sandbox,” a program launched in 2015 to let companies test innovative ideas under close regulatory supervision, has been particularly helpful, she said.

Meanwhile, initiatives such as FCA-organized hackathons — or “TechSprints” as it prefers to call them — have been particularly appreciated by the industry, according to Sophie Guibaud, vice president of European expansion at Fidor Bank AG, a German online lender that was bought by Groupe BPCE in 2016. These events invite market participants to come up with technological solutions to certain problems, such as financial issues faced by people with mental health problems.

The U.K. is home to more fintech companies valued at more than $1 billion than the rest of Europe put together, according to an April 2017 report by technology investment bank GP Bullhound. Three U.K.-based companies, Funding Circle, Paysafe and Transferwise, have crossed that threshold, and GP Bullhound said that it does not expect London to relinquish its lead, due to its prominence in international financial services.

Comparison site GoCompare invests in mortgage robo-adviser (AltFi), Rated: A

Financial comparison site GoCompare is hoping to transform the UK’s mortgage application process by investing in MortgageGym, a digital mortgage robo-adviser.

Users can complete a free application within 15 minutes on MortgageGym and receive matches within 60 seconds, as well as robo advice and access to live advisers. The website will use automated algorithms to match applicants with the best mortgage providers.

The House Crowd hits £50m via mix of P2P and crowdfunding (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE HOUSE CROWD has hit the £50m funding target it set out to achieve in October last year.

The Manchester-based property platform started targeting institutional money at the end of last year to achieve its first £50m of funds channelled to property and buy-to-let borrowers, through both its peer-to-peer side and its crowdfunding arm.

The firm raised over £15m in the six months to early 2017, while a loan it closed last month added another £600,000.

Fintech CurrencyCloud tapped up investors months before Google raise (Business Insider), Rated: A

CurrencyCloud, which provides a platform to process international payments, raised £9.5 million from its existing investors in December 2016. The company had £10.5 million in the bank at the end of the month, accounts show, suggesting the platform had around £1 million left at the time of the fundraising.

The volume of payments jumped by 110% to 1.5 million but net revenue from currency transactions increased by just 10% to £3.2 million. Meanwhile, administrative expenses rose by 54% to £13.9 million as CurrencyCloud invested in “recruiting staff, developing our technology infrastructure and operations services, and moving to new office premises.”

P2P fund share issues boost investment trust sector (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

FUNDRAISINGS by Honeycomb and the Funding Circle SME Income Fund (FCIF) helped push share issues to record levels in the investment trust sector for the first half of 2017.

Secondary issuances raised £3.3bn in the first six months of the year, trade body the Association of Investment Companies has revealed, up from £1.8bn at the same time in 2016.

FCIF raised £142m in conversion shares in April, the largest total in the specialist debt sector, while the Honeycomb investment trust raised £105m through a ordinary share issue.

Alternative Credit funds drive record cash raise (AltFi), Rated: A

Assets in investment trusts have hit an all time high thanks in part to a huge swathe of secondary issuance in closed-ended funds’ shares.

In the first half of 2017, the most poplar area of the investment trust market was Infrastructure – in terms secondary issuance – raising £1.2bn. This was followed by Alternative Credit at  £514m. Funding Circle SME Income raised the largest total in the sector securing £142m via its C share issue, followed by Honeycomb Investment Trust (£105m).

China

The number of Online Financial platforms in China Exceed 19,000, ranking the first place of the world. (Xing Ping She), Rated: AAA

According to data from National Institution of Internet Financial Risk Analysis &Technology,there are more than 19,000 online financial platforms across China, including over 6000 online lending platforms, nearly 3500 online assets managers, and 800 crowdfunding platforms. The total cumulative volume of internet loans, crowdfunding and internet payment have reached to 70 trillion RMB (US$ 10.33 trillion). Zhou Hongren, director of the National Committee of Internet Finance Professional Technology, claimed that, “No matter in terms of quantity or scale, China has already become the largest international finance marketplace around the world.”

European Union

Rocket Internet Sells Stake in Lendico Startup (Handelsblatt), Rated: AAA

Incubator firm Rocket Internet has sold its majority stake in peer-to-peer lender Lendico to Arrowgrass, Handelsblatt has learned, as the British hedge fund acquired complete ownership of the Berlin startup.

The partners to the transaction agreed to keep the purchase price confidential. Rocket Internet, which specializes in helping online startups get off the ground, most recently valued its 50-percent-plus stake in Lendico at €140 million ($159 million).

Funding Circle Germany Takes a Fresh Start (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Germany is a huge SME and VSME (very small business) credit market. But it is not as mature a market for online marketplace lending as the UK, the US, or even the Netherlands. This partly explains why Funding Circle Germany’s early loan book underperformed. Now the platform is starting afresh to match its market’s reality.

With offices and business in Germany, the Netherlands and Spain, Zencap had originated €35 million in loans to 500 SMEs at the time of its acquisition. Its operations were very small in comparison with the more than $1.5 billion originated by Funding Circle in the US and the UK at the time (meanwhile Funding Circle passed the $3 billion mark).

The second reason for starting afresh, was a need to revisit the credit model. Since January, the new German team has been busy recalibrating and restarting the German operations.

Loan origination resumed at previous level in the first half of 2017 and is expected to grow again in the second half of this year.

Spanish Fintech Industry Comes into its Own (Finance Magnates), Rated: A

The Spanish fintech ecosystem has been a steadily growing force over the past few years, swelling from just fifty financial technology startups in 2013 to well over three hundred in 2017. This rapid surge is only going to continue with this number estimated to hit four hundred companies by 2018.

In terms of the value of the operations, this sector passed rose from just €35 million in 2014 to €206 million in 2016, justifying a 600 percent growth in just two years.

According to the Spanish Association for Fintech and Insurtech (Asociación Española de Fintech e Insurtech – Aefi), companies operating in this space in Spain are going to create a total of 10,000 jobs in 2017 alone.

While the value offintech operations in Spain is increasing, two areas that constitute the most focus are the crowdfactoring or invoice factoring crowdfunding platforms – these saw a total of €120 milion euros in 2016, that concentrate most of the operations domestically, followed by crowdfunding with €43.5 million and crowdlending or p2p lending with €42 million.

International

Visa Expands Its Footprint in Europe (Market Realist), Rated: AAA

In May 2017, Visa announced that in order to give consumers more control and make transactions transparent, the company will create digital card management experiences for its partners. Visa’s partners include financial institutions. Since the new offerings will lead to more transparency, Visa expects to see volume growth in fiscal 3Q17. Market analysts expect Visa to report revenues of $4.36 billion in fiscal 3Q17—a decline of 2.7%.

 

What Can Visa Expect from Russia, China, Japan, and India?

In fiscal 2Q17, there was growth in Visa’s cross-border business due to Russia’s developed economy. Visa implemented ~1,600 point-of-sale terminals. As a result, payment volumes are expected to grow in fiscal 3Q17.

Management thinks that obtaining a domestic license in China is a time-consuming process. Visa is expected to witness lower revenues and payment volumes from China due to discontinued dual branded cards.

Management has a positive outlook on Japan’s economy due to digitization. Japan’s government has become more inclined to use digital and electronic payments.

In fiscal 3Q17, India could be a major contributor to payment volume growth.

Visa has delivered a return on equity of 16.2% on trailing 12-months basis. Other consumer financial peers (XLF) have delivered the following return on equity on a trailing 12-month basis:

  • American Express (AXP) – 25.1%
  • MasterCard (MA) – 75%Discover Financial Services (DFS) – 21.10%

Visa Expects to Benefit from Its European Business

Visa’s (V) acquisition of Visa Europe allowed the company to enhance its global reach. The main agenda behind the acquisition was to bring innovation to the European market. Visa had been working closely with its partners and clients. The company also plans to create new services and products.

Israel

THE SURPRISING COUNTRY LEADING THE FINTECH REVOLUTION (Ozy.com), Rated: AAA

The country that gave the world smart drip irrigation and the Epilady has also been an early and enthusiastic adopter of financial technology, as in mobile banking apps, digital wallets, online lending and other services that manage moola. In fact, a survey of selected industrialized countries shows that:

As for the specifics, 50 percent of Israeli adults use mobile banking apps at least once a month. In the U.S., it was 38 percent; the U.K., 37 percent; in France, 35 percent; and in Germany, a surprisingly anemic 28 percent.

The five largest banks in Israel control more than 90 percent of the market, and as Sandra Octaviani, research lead for fintech at the University of Utah’s Center for Innovation in Banking and Financial Services, notes, traditional banks tend to serve low-risk, highly profitable clients, which creates an opportunity for nimbler fintech firms to swoop in and serve the underserved.

India

RBI wary of first loan default guarantee cover (India Times), Rated: AAA

The Reserve Bank of India is learnt to be wary of peerto-peer lending platforms offering any FLDG, or first loan default guarantee, cover to institutional lenders for any lending they do through these technology startups, said sources familiar with the discussions.

While various lending entities are keen on exploring this space as a cheap source of customers, they often look for a security cover against loans going bad. Experts say such guarantees or covers might go against the intentions of the central bank.

SME Lending Based on Payment History is the Next Big Wave in Fintech (BW Disrupt), Rated: A

ftCash aims to empower micro-merchants and entrepreneurs with the power of electronic payments and loans with zero upfront cost and no monthly rentals. Merchants are able to offer their customers multiple payment methods including credit cards, debit cards, net banking, mobile wallets, PayPal and more.

Nonethless, credit lending is the next big wave of Indian fintech. Lodha explains, “SME Lending based on payment history will be next big wave in fintech. On an active basis, it allows a lender to decide the paying ability of a merchant/business and the recollection of these loans can be done from the payment platform itself. The combination of the payments data along with GST data provides deeper insights into a business. We at ftcash are heavily invested in this idea and believe there is a great potential for scale here.”

Latin America

Venture fund for Latino entrepreneurs, fintech in Mexico  (ImpactAlpha), Rated: AAA

Financial technology, or fintech, startups offering digital payment, remittances and lending services, could capture 30% of Mexico’s banking market within 10 years, according to Finnovista, a fintech accelerator. Six in 10 Mexicans are unbanked. Financial exclusion is a problem but “also an opportunity,” Francisco Meré, the director of Bankaool, one of the first online-only banks in Mexico, told the Financial Times[paywall]. “The cost of engaging a customer through technology is a fraction of using a branch.” Clip has grown to become one of Mexico’s largest digital payment providers (Accion sold its stake in February). Kubo Financieroprovides peer-to-peer lending; Albo, mobile-based banking; and Kueski, a digital micro-lender — all have secured venture backing. More than 150 fintech, or financial technology, firms now operate in Mexico, giving Mexico 35% of fintech companies serving the under- and un-banked in Latin America.

AFLUENTA INCORPORATES THE MEXICAN INVESTMENT FUND IGNIA TO ITS PRESTIGIOUS LIST OF SHAREHOLDERS (AltFi), Rated: A

Afluenta (www.afluenta.com), a leading online credit platform for the people of Latin America, announced the addition of Mexican venture capital fund IGNIA to its group of shareholders. IGNIA is a venture capital fund specializing in investments in entrepreneurial companies with great potential for growth, whose services meet the needs of the emerging middle class.

In Mexico, where local credit to the private sector is below 35% of GDP, compared to 68% in Brazil, Afluenta aims to revolutionize the market with its human approach to credit and investment.

Afluenta connects borrowers with investors who can be individuals or companies, eliminating intermediaries such as traditional financial institutions. Its technology allows investors to receive competitive returns on their contributions in a simple, fast and efficient way, while applicants obtain loans faster, without bureaucracy and at a lower interest rate than in a bank.

Canada

Katipult CEO finalist for the prestigious EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2017 (Digital Journal), Rated: A

Brock Murray, CEO of Katipult, a SaaS company that enables firms to design, setup, and manage an investment crowdfunding, Peer to Peer lending, or investor management platform, has been named a finalist in Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year in the Emerging Technology category in Prairies.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday July 14 2017, Daily News Digest

Visa revenues

News Comments Today’s main news: DBRS assigns provisional ratings to SoFi Professional Loan Program 2017-D. IEG Holdings cites slim margins, weak underwriting as reasons for LendingClub offer. Bank execs say UK sets the standard for fintech regulation. Rocket Internet sells stake in Lendico. Today’s main analysis: Visa’s international expansion. Today’s thought-provoking articles: DBRS Student Loan ABS report (a […]

Visa revenues

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Israel

India

Latin America

Canada

News Summary

United States

DBRS Assigns Provisional Ratings to SoFi Professional Loan Program 2017-D (DBRS), Rated: AAA

DBRS, Inc. (DBRS) has today assigned provisional ratings to the following classes of notes issued by SoFi Professional Loan Program 2017-D (SoFi 2017-D):

— $245,000,000 Class A-1FX Notes at AAA (sf)
— $266,000,000 Class A-2FX Notes at AAA (sf)
— $40,000,000 Class B-FX Notes at AA (sf)

DBRS Student Loan ABS report (DBRS), Rated: AAA

In this commentary, DBRS provides the following:
— A review of Q1 2017 student loan ABS performance and H1 2017 student loan ABS issuance.
— An outlook for future student loan ABS issuance and the trends expected in H2 2017.
— Analysis and highlights of student loan collateral performance.

Download the full report here.

IEG Holdings Highlights the Urgency of LendingClub Correcting its Flawed, Slim Margin “Broker” Business Model and Weak Underwriting Standards (Sys-Con), Rated: AAA

IEG Holdings yesterday announced the commencement of a tender offer to exchange four shares of IEG Holdings’ common stock for each share of LendingClub common stock, up to an aggregate of 40,345,603 shares of LendingClub common stock, representing approximately 9.99% of LendingClub’s outstanding shares as of April 28, 2017, validly tendered and not properly withdrawn in the offer.

IEG Holdings Corporation (OTCQB: IEGH) (“IEG Holdings”) cautions shareholders of LendingClub Corporation (“LendingClub”) against dismissing IEG Holdings’ tender offer. IEG Holdings believes that the LendingClub board of directors should be held accountable by its shareholders for continuing to pursue a flawed, slim margin “broker” business model. IEG Holdings urges LendingClub to enter into negotiations with IEG Holdings, rather than simply dismissing the tender offer.

FLAWED, SLIM MARGIN, LOSS-MAKING BUSINESS MODEL

Despite brokering more than $26 billion of loans since inception, LendingClub still reported a loss of $29.8 million for Q1 2017 and loss of $146.0 million for the 2016 full year. Transitioning to a balance sheet lender likely would significantly increase gross margins, without a significant change in customer acquisition costs.

WEAK UNDERWRITING STANDARDS

A recent media report by Bloomberg indicates that:

  • LendingClub only verified income about a third of the time for one of the most popular loans it made in 2016, and
  • If LendingClub finds errors in a loan application, it may still approve the loan.

LACK OF COMPANY-OWNED STATE LENDING LICENSES

LendingClub doesn’t hold individual state lending licenses and instead utilizes the services of a Utah-based bank. This raises regulatory risks around issues such as the potential breaking of individual state interest rate caps and compliance.

POOR STOCK MARKET PERFORMANCE AND ZERO DIVIDENDS TO SHAREHOLDERS

LendingClub’s share price has decreased 79% since its initial public offering in December 2014, dropping from $25.74 in December 2014 to $5.39 yesterday, after reaching a low of $3.51 in May 2016. In addition, LendingClub has never paid, and has no reported intention to pay, a dividend to shareholders.

IEG Holdings’ Reasons for the Offer

IEG Holdings believes that changing LendingClub’s business model to a balance sheet lender model would enable the company to generate significantly higher gross margins, provide significantly higher long duration cash flow from customers, build increased customer goodwill with customers and enable increased customer refinancing. The longer duration cash flow would provide more flexibility in reducing lending volumes during periods when underwriting risk levels are rising, as the company would be less dependent on brokering new loan deals every day to provide revenue.

  • IEG Holdings intends to encourage LendingClub to undertake substantial costs cuts by terminating excess employees, achieving substantial cuts in advertising/marketing costs and other significant cost cutting measures;
  • IEG Holdings intends to encourage LendingClub to transform its broker business model with low gross margins and high volumes to focus on high gross margin unsecured loans to near prime clients with strong underwriting, company owned individual state licenses and retention of loans on its balance sheet to secure long duration cash flow from longer term loans; and
  • The acquisition of LendingClub shares would be substantially net asset per share accretive for IEG Holdings stockholders and substantially increase shareholder equity.

New partnership turns PayPal into Apple App Store payment option (Banking Tech), Rated: A

This week the company announced a partnership with Apple to allow shoppers pay for their purchases at the App Store using PayPal. The feature will be available for users of a variety of Apple devices including iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Apple Watch, and iPod.In addition to the App Store, PayPal will be a payment option for a variety of Apple services including Apple Music, iTunes, and iBooks.

Finicity and JP Morgan Chase pair for data share (Banking Tech), Rated: A

Data aggregation provider Finicity has signed an agreement with JP Morgan Chase to let the bank’s customers choose data to share with apps.

The companies will use a direct API to allow Chase customers to share information with the apps and services that Finicity supports. According to the firms, this tokenised access will eliminate the need for customers to share their Chase credentials with third-party apps.

Paypal Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:PYPL): Beginning of Market Dominance (Library for Smart Investors), Rated: A

Paypal Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:PYPL) is getting investors attention after the stock touched fresh highs amid a new partnership with Apple.

The stock is up over 43% since the start of the year.

In the first quarter, PayPal saw a jump of 10.3% in monthly active users on year-over-year basis. The total number of transactions also increased by 22.5% in the period.

In the first quarter, Venmo processed $6.8 billion in total payments, a 100% growth on year-over-year basis. Venmo is slated to grow more as the company expands to small businesses.

WEALTHTECH — THE DIGITIZATION OF WEALTH MANAGEMENT (FT Partners), Rated: A

WealthTech companies are targeting inefficiencies that span the entire wealth management value chain, from client prospecting to investing to portfolio management and reporting. Benefits include more efficient workflows, improved client experiences and greater transparency. Regardless of their value proposition, WealthTech companies are seeking to improve overall wealth management and investing.

This report highlights a number of key trends within the broader WealthTech industry such as…

  • Growing number of advisors joining the independent channel
  • Incumbent financial institutions are entering the robo-advice space
  • Increased demand for alternative investments
  • Financial planning trending towards goal-based approaches
  • Higher levels of active risk management
  • Commoditization of portfolio management software is leading to expanded offerings
  • RIA custodians evolving into more holistic roles

Download the full report here.

Wells Fargo trims auto loans as market cools, risk overhaul kicks in (Reuters), Rated: A

Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N) is scaling back and remolding its auto lending business in response to growing stress in the market, as well as a bank-wide push for more centralized risk controls.

Wells, which was the No. 2 U.S. provider of auto loans less than a year ago, has already cut quarterly originations by nearly 30 percent over the nine months leading into March 31, according to a May 11 company presentation. It has also begun consolidating the collections operation in a move that people familiar with the business say could eliminate hundreds of jobs, after a new head of auto finance took the reins in April.

5 Fintech Startups Under the Radar (Bank Innovation), Rated: A

Spotme

This New York City-based startup facilitates micro-loans between borrowers and lenders, allowing users to set up pretty much all the parameters of a loan themselves: users can control the amount, the interest rate, the payback period, and the way they are reimbursed for the loan themselves.

Ledger

Ledger might be able to help out there: this San Francisco-based startup allows users to “open tabs with friends,” boiling down a transaction to just 3 clicks. By connecting with a user’s financial accounts (protected by “military-grade” cybersecurity, according to the company), users are able to aggregate all of their transactions in one place, as well as receive notification about when transactions are due.

Wallio

More and more companies are striving to solve the main problem when it comes to personal finance management services: how do you make a user actually take the financial advice that is being offered?

Wallio starts off the week by giving a user an allocated amount of money they can spend for that week, on whatever the user wants (expenses and savings are already factored into this amount). If a user underspends, great: Wallio will allow that user to put that money towards a goal. If a user overspends, Wallio will simply allocate less money for the user to spend next week.

Samwise

This robo-investing startup allows users to turn their existing brokerage account into an autonomous investing account using machine learning algorithms.

OnePebble

Invest, and make a difference in the world at the same time: that’s the dream of OnePebble, an online investment broker/dealer that puts each investment toward companies “doing good in the world.”

3 Investing Trends to Keep on Your Radar (Morningstar), Rated: A

Trend: Passive products continue to gain assets.

This is the trend shaping the investment management industry today. Asset flows to passive products, both traditional index mutual funds and exchange-traded funds, began in earnest following disappointing active-fund performance during the financial crisis.

Trend: New ways to hire–and pay for–financial advice. 

Robo-advisors provide automated advice for a low annual fee as low as 0.25% or even less. Meanwhile, mutual fund companies and brokerage firms may provide advice for customers who have amassed sufficient assets at the firm. For example, Vanguard Personal Advisor Service charges 0.30% and is available to investors with at least $50,000 in assets at the firm. (The service combines human financial advisors with robo-advisor technology.)

What to watch out for: The profusion of different business models means that the business of selecting an advisor is more complicated than ever. Robo-advisor fees might look like a screaming buy relative to the fees that a full-service human advisor charges, but the robo won’t be able to give you advice on nonportfolio matters like whether to pay off your mortgage or purchase long-term care insurance.

Trend: An increased emphasis on behavioral factors that can affect investor outcomes.

What’s to like: Many robo-advisors have also embedded behaviorial research into their services.

What to watch out for: Behavioral finance is trendy right now, and with any trend comes the opportunity for gimmickry. Beware of advisors who are using behavioral finance as their main hook to snag clients; high-quality advisors have been employing behavioral finance into their practices for years.

US Tax Professionals Tackles the Tax implications of Crowdfunding (Digital Journal), Rated: A

It’s important to understand that all the income a person receives, regardless of the source, is considered taxable income in the eyes of the IRS. That includes crowdfunding dollars.

Even if the campaign only raised the projected $15,000 and no gifts were offered, the money would still be considered taxable income and need to be reported as such on a tax return.

Generally, crowdfunding revenues are included in income as long as they are not:

  • Loans that must be repaid;
  • Capital contributed to an entity in exchange for an equity interest in the entity; or
  • Gifts made out of detached generosity and without any “quid pro quo.” However, a voluntary transfer without a “quid pro quo” isn’t necessarily a gift for federal income tax purposes.

Morgan Stanley digital chief: AI to help advisers, not ‘cyborg bots’ (Financial-Planning), Rated: A

Advisers tasked with processing a “mountain of information” will get a reprieve through artificial intelligence, according to Morgan Stanley Wealth Management’s chief digital officer.

“What we want to do is, with one click of a button, they can take action on that research report to all their clients within minutes, not hours, not phone calls,” Hassan said. “That’s the promise of what we’re trying to build.”

Rival firms have shown they’re headed down a similar path. Like Morgan’s planned offering, the UBS-SigFig service will save advisers’ time through automated messaging to clients on important dates, according to Richard Steinmeier, the head of the UBS Wealth Advice Center.

Congress Should Use Congressional Review Act to Strike Down Ill-Advised Arbitration Rule (Daily Signal), Rated: B

Cutting through the hyperbole that the arbitration rule protects consumers from “unfairness” that would deny them “their day in court,” this rule is in fact highly anti-consumer and harmful to innovation.

This regulation could have particularly harmful effects on FinTech innovations, such as peer-to-peer lending.”

How much money do Arizonans spend playing the lottery? Less than most Americans (AZ Central), Rated: B

Arizonans on average shelled out $100.85 per capita on lottery tickets in 2015, according to the study by LendEDU, based on preliminary data for state government finances collected by the Census Bureau. For Americans overall, the per-capita figure was $206.69.

United Kingdom

UK setting the bar for fintech regulation, bank execs say (SNL.com), Rated: AAA

U.K. authorities have created a world-leading regulatory environment for the burgeoning fintech industry that is being emulated elsewhere, according to bankers.

The Financial Conduct Authority’s “sandbox,” a program launched in 2015 to let companies test innovative ideas under close regulatory supervision, has been particularly helpful, she said.

Meanwhile, initiatives such as FCA-organized hackathons — or “TechSprints” as it prefers to call them — have been particularly appreciated by the industry, according to Sophie Guibaud, vice president of European expansion at Fidor Bank AG, a German online lender that was bought by Groupe BPCE in 2016. These events invite market participants to come up with technological solutions to certain problems, such as financial issues faced by people with mental health problems.

The U.K. is home to more fintech companies valued at more than $1 billion than the rest of Europe put together, according to an April 2017 report by technology investment bank GP Bullhound. Three U.K.-based companies, Funding Circle, Paysafe and Transferwise, have crossed that threshold, and GP Bullhound said that it does not expect London to relinquish its lead, due to its prominence in international financial services.

Comparison site GoCompare invests in mortgage robo-adviser (AltFi), Rated: A

Financial comparison site GoCompare is hoping to transform the UK’s mortgage application process by investing in MortgageGym, a digital mortgage robo-adviser.

Users can complete a free application within 15 minutes on MortgageGym and receive matches within 60 seconds, as well as robo advice and access to live advisers. The website will use automated algorithms to match applicants with the best mortgage providers.

The House Crowd hits £50m via mix of P2P and crowdfunding (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE HOUSE CROWD has hit the £50m funding target it set out to achieve in October last year.

The Manchester-based property platform started targeting institutional money at the end of last year to achieve its first £50m of funds channelled to property and buy-to-let borrowers, through both its peer-to-peer side and its crowdfunding arm.

The firm raised over £15m in the six months to early 2017, while a loan it closed last month added another £600,000.

Fintech CurrencyCloud tapped up investors months before Google raise (Business Insider), Rated: A

CurrencyCloud, which provides a platform to process international payments, raised £9.5 million from its existing investors in December 2016. The company had £10.5 million in the bank at the end of the month, accounts show, suggesting the platform had around £1 million left at the time of the fundraising.

The volume of payments jumped by 110% to 1.5 million but net revenue from currency transactions increased by just 10% to £3.2 million. Meanwhile, administrative expenses rose by 54% to £13.9 million as CurrencyCloud invested in “recruiting staff, developing our technology infrastructure and operations services, and moving to new office premises.”

P2P fund share issues boost investment trust sector (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

FUNDRAISINGS by Honeycomb and the Funding Circle SME Income Fund (FCIF) helped push share issues to record levels in the investment trust sector for the first half of 2017.

Secondary issuances raised £3.3bn in the first six months of the year, trade body the Association of Investment Companies has revealed, up from £1.8bn at the same time in 2016.

FCIF raised £142m in conversion shares in April, the largest total in the specialist debt sector, while the Honeycomb investment trust raised £105m through a ordinary share issue.

Alternative Credit funds drive record cash raise (AltFi), Rated: A

Assets in investment trusts have hit an all time high thanks in part to a huge swathe of secondary issuance in closed-ended funds’ shares.

In the first half of 2017, the most poplar area of the investment trust market was Infrastructure – in terms secondary issuance – raising £1.2bn. This was followed by Alternative Credit at  £514m. Funding Circle SME Income raised the largest total in the sector securing £142m via its C share issue, followed by Honeycomb Investment Trust (£105m).

China

The number of Online Financial platforms in China Exceed 19,000, ranking the first place of the world. (Xing Ping She), Rated: AAA

According to data from National Institution of Internet Financial Risk Analysis &Technology,there are more than 19,000 online financial platforms across China, including over 6000 online lending platforms, nearly 3500 online assets managers, and 800 crowdfunding platforms. The total cumulative volume of internet loans, crowdfunding and internet payment have reached to 70 trillion RMB (US$ 10.33 trillion). Zhou Hongren, director of the National Committee of Internet Finance Professional Technology, claimed that, “No matter in terms of quantity or scale, China has already become the largest international finance marketplace around the world.”

European Union

Rocket Internet Sells Stake in Lendico Startup (Handelsblatt), Rated: AAA

Incubator firm Rocket Internet has sold its majority stake in peer-to-peer lender Lendico to Arrowgrass, Handelsblatt has learned, as the British hedge fund acquired complete ownership of the Berlin startup.

The partners to the transaction agreed to keep the purchase price confidential. Rocket Internet, which specializes in helping online startups get off the ground, most recently valued its 50-percent-plus stake in Lendico at €140 million ($159 million).

Funding Circle Germany Takes a Fresh Start (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Germany is a huge SME and VSME (very small business) credit market. But it is not as mature a market for online marketplace lending as the UK, the US, or even the Netherlands. This partly explains why Funding Circle Germany’s early loan book underperformed. Now the platform is starting afresh to match its market’s reality.

With offices and business in Germany, the Netherlands and Spain, Zencap had originated €35 million in loans to 500 SMEs at the time of its acquisition. Its operations were very small in comparison with the more than $1.5 billion originated by Funding Circle in the US and the UK at the time (meanwhile Funding Circle passed the $3 billion mark).

The second reason for starting afresh, was a need to revisit the credit model. Since January, the new German team has been busy recalibrating and restarting the German operations.

Loan origination resumed at previous level in the first half of 2017 and is expected to grow again in the second half of this year.

Spanish Fintech Industry Comes into its Own (Finance Magnates), Rated: A

The Spanish fintech ecosystem has been a steadily growing force over the past few years, swelling from just fifty financial technology startups in 2013 to well over three hundred in 2017. This rapid surge is only going to continue with this number estimated to hit four hundred companies by 2018.

In terms of the value of the operations, this sector passed rose from just €35 million in 2014 to €206 million in 2016, justifying a 600 percent growth in just two years.

According to the Spanish Association for Fintech and Insurtech (Asociación Española de Fintech e Insurtech – Aefi), companies operating in this space in Spain are going to create a total of 10,000 jobs in 2017 alone.

While the value offintech operations in Spain is increasing, two areas that constitute the most focus are the crowdfactoring or invoice factoring crowdfunding platforms – these saw a total of €120 milion euros in 2016, that concentrate most of the operations domestically, followed by crowdfunding with €43.5 million and crowdlending or p2p lending with €42 million.

International

Visa Expands Its Footprint in Europe (Market Realist), Rated: AAA

In May 2017, Visa announced that in order to give consumers more control and make transactions transparent, the company will create digital card management experiences for its partners. Visa’s partners include financial institutions. Since the new offerings will lead to more transparency, Visa expects to see volume growth in fiscal 3Q17. Market analysts expect Visa to report revenues of $4.36 billion in fiscal 3Q17—a decline of 2.7%.

 

What Can Visa Expect from Russia, China, Japan, and India?

In fiscal 2Q17, there was growth in Visa’s cross-border business due to Russia’s developed economy. Visa implemented ~1,600 point-of-sale terminals. As a result, payment volumes are expected to grow in fiscal 3Q17.

Management thinks that obtaining a domestic license in China is a time-consuming process. Visa is expected to witness lower revenues and payment volumes from China due to discontinued dual branded cards.

Management has a positive outlook on Japan’s economy due to digitization. Japan’s government has become more inclined to use digital and electronic payments.

In fiscal 3Q17, India could be a major contributor to payment volume growth.

Visa has delivered a return on equity of 16.2% on trailing 12-months basis. Other consumer financial peers (XLF) have delivered the following return on equity on a trailing 12-month basis:

  • American Express (AXP) – 25.1%
  • MasterCard (MA) – 75%Discover Financial Services (DFS) – 21.10%

Visa Expects to Benefit from Its European Business

Visa’s (V) acquisition of Visa Europe allowed the company to enhance its global reach. The main agenda behind the acquisition was to bring innovation to the European market. Visa had been working closely with its partners and clients. The company also plans to create new services and products.

Israel

THE SURPRISING COUNTRY LEADING THE FINTECH REVOLUTION (Ozy.com), Rated: AAA

The country that gave the world smart drip irrigation and the Epilady has also been an early and enthusiastic adopter of financial technology, as in mobile banking apps, digital wallets, online lending and other services that manage moola. In fact, a survey of selected industrialized countries shows that:

As for the specifics, 50 percent of Israeli adults use mobile banking apps at least once a month. In the U.S., it was 38 percent; the U.K., 37 percent; in France, 35 percent; and in Germany, a surprisingly anemic 28 percent.

The five largest banks in Israel control more than 90 percent of the market, and as Sandra Octaviani, research lead for fintech at the University of Utah’s Center for Innovation in Banking and Financial Services, notes, traditional banks tend to serve low-risk, highly profitable clients, which creates an opportunity for nimbler fintech firms to swoop in and serve the underserved.

India

RBI wary of first loan default guarantee cover (India Times), Rated: AAA

The Reserve Bank of India is learnt to be wary of peerto-peer lending platforms offering any FLDG, or first loan default guarantee, cover to institutional lenders for any lending they do through these technology startups, said sources familiar with the discussions.

While various lending entities are keen on exploring this space as a cheap source of customers, they often look for a security cover against loans going bad. Experts say such guarantees or covers might go against the intentions of the central bank.

SME Lending Based on Payment History is the Next Big Wave in Fintech (BW Disrupt), Rated: A

ftCash aims to empower micro-merchants and entrepreneurs with the power of electronic payments and loans with zero upfront cost and no monthly rentals. Merchants are able to offer their customers multiple payment methods including credit cards, debit cards, net banking, mobile wallets, PayPal and more.

Nonethless, credit lending is the next big wave of Indian fintech. Lodha explains, “SME Lending based on payment history will be next big wave in fintech. On an active basis, it allows a lender to decide the paying ability of a merchant/business and the recollection of these loans can be done from the payment platform itself. The combination of the payments data along with GST data provides deeper insights into a business. We at ftcash are heavily invested in this idea and believe there is a great potential for scale here.”

Latin America

Venture fund for Latino entrepreneurs, fintech in Mexico  (ImpactAlpha), Rated: AAA

Financial technology, or fintech, startups offering digital payment, remittances and lending services, could capture 30% of Mexico’s banking market within 10 years, according to Finnovista, a fintech accelerator. Six in 10 Mexicans are unbanked. Financial exclusion is a problem but “also an opportunity,” Francisco Meré, the director of Bankaool, one of the first online-only banks in Mexico, told the Financial Times[paywall]. “The cost of engaging a customer through technology is a fraction of using a branch.” Clip has grown to become one of Mexico’s largest digital payment providers (Accion sold its stake in February). Kubo Financieroprovides peer-to-peer lending; Albo, mobile-based banking; and Kueski, a digital micro-lender — all have secured venture backing. More than 150 fintech, or financial technology, firms now operate in Mexico, giving Mexico 35% of fintech companies serving the under- and un-banked in Latin America.

AFLUENTA INCORPORATES THE MEXICAN INVESTMENT FUND IGNIA TO ITS PRESTIGIOUS LIST OF SHAREHOLDERS (AltFi), Rated: A

Afluenta (www.afluenta.com), a leading online credit platform for the people of Latin America, announced the addition of Mexican venture capital fund IGNIA to its group of shareholders. IGNIA is a venture capital fund specializing in investments in entrepreneurial companies with great potential for growth, whose services meet the needs of the emerging middle class.

In Mexico, where local credit to the private sector is below 35% of GDP, compared to 68% in Brazil, Afluenta aims to revolutionize the market with its human approach to credit and investment.

Afluenta connects borrowers with investors who can be individuals or companies, eliminating intermediaries such as traditional financial institutions. Its technology allows investors to receive competitive returns on their contributions in a simple, fast and efficient way, while applicants obtain loans faster, without bureaucracy and at a lower interest rate than in a bank.

Canada

Katipult CEO finalist for the prestigious EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2017 (Digital Journal), Rated: A

Brock Murray, CEO of Katipult, a SaaS company that enables firms to design, setup, and manage an investment crowdfunding, Peer to Peer lending, or investor management platform, has been named a finalist in Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year in the Emerging Technology category in Prairies.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday July 6 2017, Daily News Digest

most active angel investors

News Comments Today’s main news: CAN Capital begins funding small businesses after funding from Varadero Capital. What happened to BizFi?. Zhong An applies for Hong Kong IPO. P2P lending hits 1T won in South Korea. Funding Societies named to Fintech 250. Today’s main analysis: Key trends in modern finance. Angel investors total nearly one third of active fintech investors. […]

most active angel investors

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Asia

Africa

News Summary

United States

CAN Capital is Back in Business as it Receives Funding from Varadero Capital (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

CAN Capital, an online lender in the SME lending space, is back in business following a recapitalization by Varadero Capital, an alternative asset manager in New York City and currently manages about $1.3 billion. The specific deal terms were not disclosed.

CAN Capital announced it will immediately begin funding existing small business customers that are eligible for a renewal and will start funding new customers by working with select sales partners.

CAN Capital said it will start with two products available in all 50 states, term loans and merchant cash advances with funding amounts from $2,500 to $150,000.

This tiny Florida bank says APIs could make it a national player (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Surety Bank in DeLand, Fla., is making what many would consider a risky move. It’s ditching its legacy core vendor for a cloud-based startup core provider with just a handful of clients.

The bank has signed with Nymbus, a startup in Miami, to replace its core system early next year. James said he was attracted to the open platform that relies on application programming interfaces to connect with a variety of providers.

By embracing APIs, Surety will not be beholden to any one vendor and can partner with fintechs and other third-party providers in a quick and efficient manner.

FTC shuts down Blue Global for sharing consumers’ loan-application data (VentureBeat), Rated: A

The Federal Trade Commission said it halted the operations of Blue Global Media after the company earned millions of dollars by falsely promising to match them with low-rate loans.

The FTC’s complaint alleged that, starting in 2009, Blue Global set up sites such as cashmojo.com, clickloans.net, and 100dayloans.com, which promised to connect consumers with more than 100 “trusted lending partners” and find the one offering them the best loan terms.

The complaint alleged that complete applications were sold, without consumer consent, “to any potential buyer without conditions and with little regard to how it would be used.”

In a settlement, Blue Global faced a judgment of $104 million. Both Blue Global and Kay filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, listing the FTC as a creditor.

Just One Third of OnDeck Borrowers Need Human Intervention (Bank Innovation), Rated: A

At the initial stages of a loan application, “100% of our applicants get algorithmic decisions,” Katzenberg explained. The algorithm then “spits out” one of the three decisions: the applicant is either declined; approved and can move on to the booking stage; or pending and needs further investigation. “In this case, the algorithm picks up on something, or the loan value is larger than our average, or maybe it’s a random test of the model,” he said.

Currently, about one third of OnDeck’s loans experience a manual intervention.

NASB Financial, Inc. Announces North American Savings Bank Named Top VA Mortgage Lender (Cision), Rated: A

NASB Financial, Inc. (OTCQX: NASB) announced today that its subsidiary institution, North American Savings Bank, F.S.B. (“NASB”), was recently named a Top VA Lender by LendingTree, a leading online loan marketplace.  Criteria for the award included loan volume, quality, and customer service.  LendingTree noted that “NASB customers benefit from fast and easy processing, low rates, and excellent customer service.  The company is also well known for their professionalism, and their ability to get the job done, even in unusual or stressful circumstances.”

What Happened to Bizfi? (deBanked), Rated: A

This past week, Bizfi gave their remaining employees a 90-day warning notice, according to sources familiar with the matter. Some of those riding out their potentially last 90 days are anxiously awaiting the outcome of nonpublic negotiations to salvage parts of the company’s legacy, if it can be done at all.

Everything You Would Want to know About Crowdvouching (Live Bitcoin News), Rated: A

The decision to lend money is made on the basis of a form outlining the borrower’s financial history. Users share the risks, and depending on whether the individual returns the money or not, they can lose or earn from $1 to $10.

The default rate also decreases with an increase in accountability. As noted by Eugene Lobachev, Suretly’s founder, the default rate on Suretly is 2-3 percent lower than the market average.

Suretly primarily targets short term loans of up to one month, and has been designed to cater all borrowers, including the ones with poor credit rating.

LendingClub Appoints Ken Denman to its Board of Directors (Cision), Rated: A

LendingClub (NYSE: LC), America’s largest online marketplace connecting borrowers and investors, today announces Kenneth Denman as the newest member of its Board of Directors. Effective June 28, 2017, Denman joins as a Class One director and will serve on the Audit and Compensation Committees.

Denman, a venture partner at Sway Ventures, has served as a CEO for over fifteen years leading corporate transformations for the likes of Emotient, Inc. (acquired by Apple in January 2016), Openwave Systems, Inc. (now Unwired Planet), and iPass, Inc. He has held executive roles at MediaOne Group, Inc., US WEST Communications Group and the Battelle Memorial Institute Laboratory.

Will Everything Eventually Be On the Blockchain? (YouTube), Rated: A

Dan Larimer of EOS thinks so.

Summer Fintech Reading Ideas (Lend Academy), Rated: B

  1. Blockchain Revolution by Don and Alex Tapscott
  2. Augmented: Life in the Smart Lane by Brett King
  3. The FINTECH Book: The Financial Technology Handbook for Investors, Entrepreneurs and Visionaries by Susanne Chishti and Janos Barberis
  4. Platform Revolution by Geoffrey G. Parker, Marshall W. Van Alstyne and Sangeet Paul Choudary
  5. The Unbanking of America: How the New Middle Class Survives by Lisa Servon – Lisa Servon is a University of Pennsylvania professor who has spent time working behind the counter at a check cashing store and a payday lender. She provides profiles of the kinds of people who use these services and why they choose to access credit outside the traditional banking system. She also shares some of the work that innovative companies are doing to address the unique challenges of the underbanked.
United Kingdom

Two thirds of Brits have no idea what their credit score is, according to research (The Sun), Rated: AAA

A poll of 2,000 adults in the UK found that more than four in 10 have never tried to find out their credit score, and it’s been longer than a year since checking for nearly 20 per cent.

The survey revealed that the most common use for credit cards was to buy expensive one-off items, although an incredible four in 10 use it to buy anything, as if it was just a debit card of containing free money.

One in 20 have had their applications for a mortgage rejected – and even been denied a mobile phone contract, due to their poor credit history.

More than half of the country doesn’t know exactly how much they owe on credit cards and loans, although estimates suggest that, on average, each Brit has £1,780 worth of credit card debt.

RateSetter to launch hire purchase loans (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER has announced plans to start offering Hire-Purchase (HP) products for commercial and individual borrowers later this month.

While details on the interest rates and underwriting criteria are yet to be released, the company has confirmed that the HP loans will pay into its Provision Fund, just like every other loan on its platform.

The loans will be financed from RateSetter’s existing investment markets, so all new and existing lenders can take advantage of the hire purchase agreements.

The funding gap: why tech SMEs need alternative finance (Business Matters), Rated: AAA

UK tech start-ups are receiving a lot of attention in the press. They’re something we’re rightly proud of – the UK is a centre of innovation. Tech investment in the UK was £6.8bn last year, which is more than double that found in any other country in Europe. France, in second place, only secured £2.4bn.

But there are a lot of tech companies in the mid-market who find it much harder to get access to the finance they need. Once a business graduates from sexy start-up full of promise and astronomical growth models into a steady going concern, it often becomes more difficult to attract the interest of investors.

In short, many mid-market tech companies are ignored by VC because they’re not edgy enough and declined by the banks because they’re not secure enough. But these mid-sized companies are the backbone of the UK’s tech scene, the crop of successful brands which made it out of the initial scrum and built a steady income and a route to profitability. Real success for the UK tech sector means helping these companies keep going on that route – so how do they find the money to grow?

By going down the peer-to-peer lending route, mid-market companies can get access to funding much faster, with a far greater level of flexibility and a much lower minimum threshold for borrowing.

MORTGAGEGYM APPOINTS FORMER DEUTSCHE BANK COO (Business Cloud), Rated: A

Mortgage robo-adviser MortgageGym.com has appointed a former COO of Deutsche Bank as an adviser after he invested in the company.

Henry Ritchotte, who was also a member of the management board of Deutsche Bank AG, has joined with immediate effect after putting in £500,000.

Vantiv Offers $ 10 Billion Towards Acquisition of London Fintech Firm Worldpay (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Worldpay Group, a British payment processing firm, announced on Wednesday that Vantiv has offered $10 billion towards the fintech company’s acquisition.

UK remains European leader for tech investment in year since Brexit (PCR), Rated: A

In total, some £2.4 billion worth of venture capital funding has been pushed into Britain’s technology companies since the vote, according to research from London & Partners, a branch of the London Mayor’s office. This was more than double the investment made in Germany and three times the amount poured into France. London in particular is securely established as the tech-centre of Europe, with 554 deals totalling £1.8 billion being made in the last 12 months. In comparison, Berlin has tied up £775 million worth of deals and Paris has secured £557 million in venture investment.

The research found that the first half of 2017 had seen a record £1.1bn of venture capital funding into London start-ups. For the UK as a whole it was £1.4bn, the third biggest on record.

Online lending platform works for Galway SMEs (Galway Advertiser), Rated: A

Thirty-nine Galway businesses have raised funds through Linked Finance’s online lending platform.

Linked Finance, a peer-to-peer lending company, says it has raised €1m for Galway-based businesses, including Revive Active, Walsh’s Bakery and Schoolbooks.ie, aimed at facilitating growth.

At Auto Trader, Coe steps up as Glithero steps down (Aim Group), Rated: B

Sean Glithero, chief financial officer (CFO) of Auto Trader Group PLC, will step down from his position later this year, and a successor has already been lined up.

Auto Trader nominated chief operating officer Nathan Coe as the successor of Glithero. 

The pros and cons of crowdfunding (City A.M.), Rated: B

For investors

Crowdfunding platform Seedrs has produced an annual return between 14.4 per cent and 49.1 per cent, once tax relief is taken into account.

  • Unlinked to markets  The other thing to bear in mind is these types of investments aren’t listed on a stock exchange, meaning they are not correlated to the markets. This can be good from a diversification point of view, because crowdfunding investments are not exposed to the same market wobbles.
  • Different platforms, different risks

For businesses

  • Range of requirements
  • Life after the fundraise – “Without a proper structure in place, and a platform that provides support post-fundraising, the complexity and administrative burden of managing a crowd of investors can be a very real drain on time, money and resource for companies.”
China

Lessons from China’s Peer-to-Peer Lending Boom (Federal Reserve Bank of SF), Rated: AAA

In this episode of our series on financial technology, we sat down with Ning Tang, founder and CEO of CreditEase.

Nicholas Borst: Ning, thank you so much for joining us today. China appears to be at the forefront of the global fintech revolution. What are the main factors why fintech is developing so quickly in China?

Ning Tang: I think several key drivers. One is that compared with the US market, which is more mature, China is still developing. I mean China’s financial system, our credit system. So, the demand is bigger in China, like from small business owners, from micro-entrepreneurs, from consumers, and rural people. So, that’s one.

Secondly, China has adopted technologies such as mobile internet much earlier than the US.

Also, the regulators have played a very important and positive role in promoting market development in a healthy, stable way.

Nicholas Borst: Ning, could you tell us a little bit about how the alternative lending sector in China has developed?

Ning Tang: I think in China, traditionally, banks looked at collateral, a physical good as collateral. Many small entrepreneurs, small businesses don’t have such physical goods. They have intangible value in their data, electronic data. For instance, we have a partnership with eBay, helping Chinese merchants who actually sell goods to US consumers, this segment access financing. They have no physical goods, assets, as collateral, but their data is very valuable. So, we work with eBay and their merchants. Whenever they have a financing need, yet they can provide their data to us, and our credit evaluation engine can real-time assess a credit quality, and match that need with investor money. This is very cool. Many such needs are time-sensitive. It cannot wait for several weeks to allow the borrower to go to a branch office and submit tons of documentation, wait for several weeks. No, that’s not possible.

Nicholas Borst: Are a lot of fintech companies in China sharing information?

Ning Tang: Yes. After we took the first step, some tried first by just using our data first. Then they realized that this is indeed a great system. More and more joined, and now we have over 500 industry players. All kinds of players, like banks, insurance companies, also P2P marketplace lenders, alternative lenders, and all exchange data in this system. At the same time, I expect that the Chinese regulators will step up their effort to create this more comprehensive national credit bureau system, and grant credit bureau licenses to credit bureaus in coming years.

Sean Creehan: Could you talk a little bit about the role of regulators, and the evolution of alternative lending in China?

Ning Tang: A key driver is that the regulators have played a very positive, conducive role in making that happen. They understand that there are a lot of unfulfilled needs in China’s financial system. They also understand that technology and business model innovations can help China do a better catch-up job, potentially doing some leap frog to make financial services more accessible, more cost efficient, more friendly.

For example, in marketplace lending, the regulators made it very clear early on, it’s actually a peer-to-peer like relationship. It’s not like a banking relationship where people make deposits.

About one year ago, we started to have more official regulations on marketplace lending, on payment, and also other sectors of fintech. But more for marketplace lending and payment. These two more mature sectors. I expect that other sectors, like crowdfunding, robo-advisor, insurance tech, and so on, will go through a similar path in coming years. Meaning like the industry will work very well with the regulators creating a healthy and robust industry landscape.

Listen to the full podcast.

Online insurer Zhong An applies for US$ 1.5bn Hong Kong IPO  (SCMP), Rated: AAA

Zhong An Online Property and Casualty Insurance, China’s first online-only insurer, which counts Alibaba and Tencent among its investors, is seeking to raise US$1.5 billion by listing in Hong Kong.

If the deal goes through, Zhong An will be the first financial technology company to be listed in Hong Kong.

European Union

Robo.Cash & Latvian Alternative Financial Services Association to Jointly Develop P2P Tech (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

ROBO.CASH and Latvian Alternative Financial Services Association have announced their intent to develop peer-to-peer technologies in Latvia.

The group, founded by Sergey Sedov, specializes in PDL-loans (Pay day) and Installment-loans. The company reports that more than 1.2 million loans have been issued since inception.

International

Key Trends in the World of Modern Finance (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Key Trend #1: Mobile payment remains in play

Key Trend #2:  Prioritizing Cyber Security

The recently published survey by American Express revealed that 37% of consumers who tried mobile wallets have stopped using them over security concerns, while 73% of retailers reported persistent or increasing levels of fraudulent online sales.

Key Trend #3:  Partnerships

Apple Pay:  Gaining momentum

Apple Pay is now supported by 1,938 banks and credit unions across the US, although most of them are regional in scope. In Europe, UK is leading the way with 24 banks (including Danske Bank), while Japan (133) and China (73) show the greatest integration in Asia-Pacific.

Alipay:  Going global 

Alipay users will now have an access to four million retailers across the US. First Data is the largest provider of payment solutions worldwide, processing 45% of all US credit and debit card transactions with 80% market share in gas and groceries.

Key Trend #6:  Move towards balance sheet lending model

Consumer lending remained a dominant, accounting for 61% market share, although it appears to be slowing down.

Angel investors make up nearly a third of the total number of active FinTech investors since 2014 (Fintech Global), Rated: AAA

There were 1,666 active angel investors in FinTech since the start of 2014. This translated to 32.3% of the total number of unique investors in the sector during that period. The remaining 67.7% comprised of VCs, investment banks and other financial institutions. The group of angel investors backed 1,010 deals, 16.6% of all deals in the FinTech sector since 2014. 521 of the total number of angel backed deals contained more than one individual investor, while 16.3% of all deals had four or more angels participating as co-investors, showing that most angels prefer to share the investment risk.

 

Abu Dhabi Shakes on FinTech Investment Pact with China (Cryptocoins News), Rated: B

The UAE’s second largest financial free zone has entered a partnership with a Chinese counterpart to enable fintech development and investment opportunities in both countries.

The two authorities will collaborate over investment opportunities together and a notable objective includes the strengthening of FinTech ecosystems in both markets in an era of digitization.

Asia

P2P lending hits record 1 tln won (Yonhap News), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending in South Korea surpassed 1 trillion won (US$870 million) last month, marking a rapid growth as yield-hungry investors funneled more money in the alternative lending scheme, industry data showed Thursday.

According to data compiled by the Korea P2P Financial Association, lending between peers was tallied at 1.16 trillion won at the end of last month.

The average interest rate of such loans stood at 14.68 percent.

Funding Societies Named to the 2017 Fintech 250 (Funding Societies Email), Rated: AAA

CB Insights named Funding Societies to the prestigious Fintech 250, a select group of emerging private companies working on groundbreaking financial technology. CB Insights CEO and co-founder, Anand Sanwal, revealed the Fintech 250 companies during The Future of Fintech, a gathering of the world’s largest financial institutions, best fintech startups, and most active venture investors.

“We are humbled to be named amongst the Fintech 250 globally and be the only digital lender on the list from Southeast Asia.” said Funding Societies co-founder Kelvin Teo. “Funding Societies currently serves Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, where it is known as Modalku, or My Capital in Bahasa. While each country is vastly different and requires us to rethink from scratch, it is a region we’re passionate in. We believe technology advancement in financial services can truly benefit societies here.”

Fintech startup Omise raises $ 25M in ICO that bucks ‘money grabbing’ trend (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Omise, a fintech startup based in Thailand, has closed $25 million in new financing via a token sale, more commonly know as ICO, that closed today. In doing so, it become the most established tech company to date to take this financing route.

The company, which has raised over $20 million to date from traditional VC investors, held the token sale to raise capital to develop a decentralized payment platform — Omise Go — that it hopes will disrupt the current banking system. The idea is to enable any Omise Go user to share funds through the network without the need for a bank account and without incurring fees or incurring cross-border costs. Beyond peer-to-peer payments, the company plans to sign up retail partners to extend its utility into purchases, and open the system up to other payment players, too.

Omise’s core business is enabling online payments, much like Stripe, in Thailand, Japan and Indonesia, but it became interested in the blockchain a few years ago, CEO Jun Hasegawa told TechCrunch in an interview.

The company has sold an initial 65.1 percent of the total float of OMG via this ICO, with a further five percent of the tokens will automatically be given to anyone who owns Ethereum in what is known as an ‘airdrop.’

Omise capped its token sale at $25 million, eschewing the ‘gold rush’ mentality which has seen other companies raise tens of millions of U.S. dollars more as ICOs have gained a reputation for giving backers huge financial gains quickly.

Africa

Crowdfunding the delivery of 17M mass housing units in Nigeria (Business Day Online), Rated: AAA

Over time, investors responded to this new opportunity, and more than five decades after their creation the U.S. stock exchange REITs industry has grown to a $1 trillion equity market capitalization (Nigeria $224M as at 2014 according to the NSE) and nearly $2 trillion in real estate assets.REITs in the U.S. and increasingly around the world now regularly provide investors with the opportunity for meaningful dividends, portfolio diversification, valuable liquidity, enviable transparency and competitive performance.

REIT was established in Nigeria following the enactment of the Investment and Securities Act (ISA) of 2007.

However, in a 2015 comparative (academic) study, Olarenle and others found when they compared REIT dividend payouts in Nigeria to global rates, that Nigeria REIT (N-REIT) underperforms, usingMalaysia REIT (M-REIT) asa benchmark both in terms of average return 4.8% and risk adjusted return -6.77% per annum against the Malaysia REIT 7.5% and 2.47% respectively. They recommended increased capitalization, market transparency and external management as options for N-REITs performance enhancement, all of which can perhaps be correlated to the maturity of the Nigerian REIT market.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor