Thursday August 15 2019, Weekly News Digest

Germany yield curve

News Comments Today’s main news: Prosper reports Q2 results. Figure to raise $1B. Funding Circle shares rise. RateSetter to stress test provision fund. LendInvest raises 200M GBP. Two more Chinese P2P firms shut down. N26 eyes IPO. Today’s main analysis: Gen Z’s credit market activity. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Radius Bank’s rebranding to banking as a […]

The post Thursday August 15 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

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United States

Prosper Reports Second Quarter 2019 Financial Results (Business Wire), Rated: AAA

Prosper, a peer-to-peer lending platform connecting borrowers and investors, today reported financial results for the second quarter of 2019. Personal loan originations increased 27% compared to the first quarter of 2019, and the company has now generated positive adjusted EBITDA in eight out of the last nine quarters.

Financial summary:

  • Total Net Revenue, which includes the non-cash impact related to warrants to purchase preferred stock, increased to $42.9 million in Q2 2019 compared to $31.7 million in Q2 2018.
  • Core Revenue(1), which excludes the non-cash impact related to warrants to purchase preferred stock, decreased to $50.7 million in Q2 2019 compared to $52.3 million in Q2 2018.
  • Net Loss decreased to ($0.6) million in Q2 2019 compared to a Net Loss of ($12.6) million in Q2 2018.
  • Adjusted EBITDA(1) decreased to $5.3 million in Q2 2019 compared to $8.8 million in Q2 2018.

Key Operating and Financial Metrics (Unaudited) (in thousands)

SoFi Co-Founder’s New Startup Aims to Raise Funds at $ 1 Billion (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Mike Cagney, the former embattled chief executive officer of Social Finance Inc., is raising more than $100 million for his new startup Figure Technologies Inc. at a $1 billion valuation just less than two years after its founding, according to people familiar with the matter.

San Francisco-based Figure uses blockchain technology to provide home equity loans online in just a few days, with approval happening in minutes. The company made its first loan in 2018, and is on pace to provide more than $80 million in loans this month alone, according to one of these people, who asked not to be named because the details are private.

As Gen Z Comes of Age, Credit Market Activity Shows Significant Growth (TransUnion), Rated: AAA

Gen Z, those individuals born in 1995 or after, increasingly took part in the consumer credit market during the first half of 2019. The newly released Q2 2019 Industry Insights Report from TransUnion (NYSE: TRU) found that growth is coming from the entire Gen Z demographic who are 18 years or older – not just those who became credit eligible for the first time.

Approximately 14 million Gen Z consumers (44% of this group) were carrying a balance as of Q2 2019, up from 11 million in Q2 2018, according to the report. The number of Gen Z consumers who were credit eligible (18 years or older) increased by 4.5 million in the last year, rising to 31.5 million in Q2 2019. Over the next three years, it is anticipated that another 13 million Gen Z consumers will become credit eligible.

Gen Z Consumers Carrying a Balance Rising at High Rates

Credit Product Q2 2019 Q2 2018 YOY Growth %
Auto 4,376,000 3,072,000 42%
Credit Card 7,746,000 5,483,000 41%
Mortgage 319,000 150,000 112%
Personal Loan 746,000 534,000 45%

Credit cards are the most popular product among Gen Z consumers, with 55% carrying a balance—though they still only constitute 5% of the U.S. population carrying card debt. Mortgages had the largest year-over-year growth rate spike with Gen Z consumers (112%), but from a low base. Mortgages are still the credit product Gen Z consumers are least likely to have, with only 0.5% of mortgages held by members of this generation.

The Percentage of Gen Z Consumers Carrying a Credit Balance is Growing (Data as of Q2 2019)

Credit Product Gen Z
(carrying a balance)
All Generations
(carrying a balance)
Gen Z
Percentage
Auto 4,376,000 86,064,000 5.1%
Credit Card 7,746,000 148,141,000 5.2%
Mortgage 319,000 68,368,000 0.5%
Personal Loan 746,000 19,556,000 3.8%

Q2 2019 Credit Card Trends

 Credit Card Lending Metric Q2 2019 Q2 2018 Q2 2017 Q2 2016
 Number of Credit Cards 437.1 million 420.0 million 409.8 million 391.0 million
Borrower-Level Delinquency Rate (90+ DPD) 1.71% 1.53% 1.46% 1.29%
Average Debt Per Borrower $5,645 $5,543 $5,422 $5,247
Prior Quarter Originations* 15.3 million 14.5 million 15.0 million 15.3 million
Average New Account Credit Lines* $5,773 $5,649 $5,817 $5,466

See TransUnions infographic here.

Atlanta-Based LendingPoint #17 on Inc. 500 List of Fastest Growing Private Companies in the USA (The Daily Times), Rated: A

Inc. Magazine today ranked commerce platform LendingPoint No. 17 on its 37th annual Inc. 5000, the most prestigious ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. LendingPoint joins companies such as Microsoft, Dell, Pandora, Timberland, LinkedIn, Yelp, Zillow, and many other well-known names who gained their first national exposure as honorees on the Inc. 5000. LendingPoint has hit successive funding records year-over-year and is on pace to reach $100 million per month in loan originations by the end of 2019.

Fintech Firm OppLoans Named to Inc. 500 for Fourth Consecutive Year (Globe Newswire), Rated: A

OppLoans has been named to Inc. magazine’s prestigious 2019 Inc. 500 list for the fourth year in a row. Only four companies on this year’s list, including OppLoans, have placed on the Inc. 500 at least four or more times. With a three-year annual revenue growth of 1,435%, OppLoans placed #321 on the annual ranking of the fastest-growing companies in the U.S., 19 spots higher than the firm placed in 2018. OppLoans has achieved rankings of #340 (2018), #219 (2017) and #445 (2016).

FINICITY TO POWER DIGITAL SOLUTIONS FOR EMPLOYER STUDENT LOAN CONTRIBUTIONS (Finicity), Rated: A

Finicity, a provider of real-time financial data access and insights, announced today the rollout of its Student Loan Account Verification product, which will simplify employer benefit repayment programs, where employers are looking to contribute to or help repay employee’s student loans.

Fannie, Freddie to Consider Alternatives to FICO Scores (WSJ), Rated: A

One firm’s dominance over the credit scores used to vet many U.S. mortgages is getting a shake-up.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two mortgage-finance firms that back nearly half of U.S. mortgages, will have to consider credit-score alternatives to Fair Isaac Corp.’s FICO score when determining a mortgage applicant’s creditworthiness, under a new rule issued on Tuesday by the mortgage-finance giants’ federal overseer.

Zoca Loans Review: Installment Loans for Bad Credit Borrowers (Moneycheck), Rated: A

By going through a simple online application process, you have the chance to obtain between $300 and $1,000 – all of which can be funded the very same day.

HSBC launched a digital lending platform for online personal loans (Business Insider), Rated: A

HSBC USA partnered with Amount, a tech provider for financial institutions, to launch a digital lending platform that streamlines online personal loan applications. Consumers can evaluate loan options, submit applications online, and receive a credit decision within minutes.

HSBC will initially lend up to $30,000 with terms ranging from two to five years and it says funds will be available as quickly as the next day. The bank will charge fixed monthly payments starting 50 days after customers receive the loan. Amount’s platform — which has cumulatively originated $6 billion in loans to 800,000 customers — has been customized to HSBC’s preferences, including its proprietary risk models.

Source: Business Insider Intelligence

Virtual Bank Aims to be Primary Account Engine Behind Fintech Brands (The Financial Brand), Rated: AAA

It’s Time For Regulators To Expand Opportunities For Smaller Investors (Forbes), Rated: A

In the past decade we’ve seen a new financial movement take shape: a focus on giving more investors a seat at the table. More and more people and organizations are realizing that investors of all income levels and backgrounds could (and should) have the opportunity to access more asset classes. In this technology-enabled age of access, data and transparency in investing, there is an opportunity to update our laws to ensure that smaller investors are not excluded from the opportunity to create wealth — opportunities that have emerged under the financial ethos of fintech: crowdfunding, peer-to-peer, financial literacy and inclusion.

Former Coinbase CTO Balaji Srinivasan Joins DeFi Blockchain Project Findora (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

Balaji Srinivasan, the former CTO of Coinbase, has just joined decentralized finance blockchain project Findora.

Tricolor Launches New, Affordable Auto Insurance for Low Income, Credit Invisible Consumers (Globe Newswire), Rated: B

Tricolor, the used vehicle retailer focusing on the sale and financing of vehicles to the Hispanic consumer, today unveiled a groundbreaking new affordable auto insurance option for low-income and credit invisible customers through its affiliate company Tricolor Insurance. After testing the product earlier this year, Tricolor will begin rolling out the new insurance offering throughout all of its markets in Texas and California.

Artivest Achieves Critical Platform Momentum, Announces Executive Leadership Appointment (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

To date in 2019, Artivest, a multi-billion-dollar alternative investment platform, has achieved exponential organic growth across nearly every aspect of the business, greater than any previous full calendar year in the company’s history. The firm has attracted more new investors, allocations, investment managers, and—most importantly, in regard to how the wealth management industry gauges the success of digital platforms—has surpassed $1 billion in new investments transacted online by high-net-worth investors into private funds, at low minimums.

Netflix alum Steve Swasey to lead communications at Healthline Media (MMM-Online), Rated: B

Healthline Media has hired Steve Swasey as VP of communications, a newly created role at the health-focused publishing company.

In the first half of 2016, he worked at online lending marketplace Lending Club as SVP of corporate communications.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle Shares Rise on Positive Report (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Last week, online lender Funding Circle (LSE:FCH) released its 6-month report and the shares have responded positively to the numbers. Six-month Revenue was reported at £81.4 million versus H1 2018 at £63.0 million – up 29%. Loans under management rose 37% to £3.54 billion and originations jumped 14% to £1.19 billion.

Funding Circle went public in 2018 priced at 440 pence per share. Funding Circle raised a gross amount of £300 million garnering a market cap of around £1.5 billion.

RateSetter to introduce stress testing to provision fund (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER is planning to introduce stress testing to its provision fund over the next financial year.

The ‘big three’ peer-to-peer lender’s provision fund is a buffer that protects investors against losses should any of its loans default. Borrowers pay cash into the provision fund in accordance with RateSetter’s assessment of their creditworthiness.

LendInvest Secures £200 Million Investment from the National Australia Bank to Expand Reach in Buy-to-Let Market (The Fintech Times), Rated: AAA

LendInvest has now raised over £1.8 billion of debt and equity from investors, making LendInvest one of the largest non-bank mortgage lenders in the country.

This new funding expands LendInvest’s capacity to lend in the UK Buy-to-Let market. LendInvest launched its first Buy-to-Let mortgage product in late 2017 after agreeing a substantial funding line with Citigroup. LendInvest has already lent more than £370 million in Buy-to-Let loans and is taking market share in the bank dominated market. In June this year, LendInvest also become the UK’s first Fintech business to securitise its own portfolio of assets worth £259 million, which received a AAA rating from Moody’s and Fitch.

SME online fashion retailers face barriers to innovation, Klarna (Retail Tech Innovation Hub), Rated: A

Small online fashion retailers in the UK are open to embracing innovative technologies, but various challenges are preventing widespread adoption, according to research by Klarna.

In terms of challenges, 53% said the cost of introducing flexible payment options was the biggest barrier to adoption.

Source: Klarna

SME online retailers look to overcome barriers to realise innovation ambitions (Retail Times), Rated: A

The research  conducted across 100 UK SME decision makers at online retailers in 2019 — shows the UK’s SMEs understand the need to embrace flexibility and innovation. Over the next 12 months they plan to prioritise investing in flexible payment options (49%) and e-commerce capabilities (48%) to meet consumer demand for a frictionless shopping experience.

Tandem Bank leverages Open Banking to offer competitive mortgages (Finextra), Rated: A

Ex-RateSetter business finance head launches new P2P platform (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

RATESETTER alumni Brian Cartwright has launched new alternative property lender Nexa Finance, with a focus on the East Midlands.

Cartwright (pictured), managing director at Nexa, previously worked as head of business finance at ‘big three’ peer-to-peer lender RateSetter.

His new venture, which bills itself as a regionally-focused business lender, aims to connect East Midlands-based small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) property developers and house builders with funders.

Personal Finance Society publishes P2P guide following uptick in queries (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

MEMBERS of the Personal Finance Society (PFS) have been showing an increased interest in peer-to-peer lending, leading the PFS to produce its own ‘good practice’ guide to P2P.

The financial planning trade body has partnered with Octopus Investments to create the guide, which tells advisers that recommending P2P products could help them to increase their own assets under management, adding that “for suitable clients, it could prove a useful vehicle for excess cash holdings which may currently fall outside of the adviser’s view.”

Atom Bank, iwoca, Modulr Finance, & Currencycloud, All Benefit from BCR Grant (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The BCR has awarded £10 million each to the following platforms:

I Never Got Paid From Winning Wonga Fantasy League in 2010 (TechRound), Rated: A

I worked for Wonga.com in 2010, back when you couldn’t even go to the bathroom without hearing their jingle on the radio. Like most offices today, everyone put in £10 to play in the office fantasy league and with Van Persie and Rooney in their prime, this was my year.

After doing some calculations, my £160 owed to me in 2010 would now be worth £2,752. (based on £24 per month for 9 years)

Without the price cap, you have 4 of those years at £30 per month. Making the total figure £3,040.

But again, I am being kind. This does not include default charges of £25 per month for every missed payment.

China

Shanghai-based Zendai closes two P2P units worth US$ 1.4 billion as Beijing intensifies crackdown (SCMP), Rated: AAA

Zendai Group, a closely held private investment company in Shanghai, abruptly shut down two peer-to-peer lending units valued at 10 billion yuan (US$1.4 billion), as Chinese financial regulators ratchet up measures to clean an industry fraught with frauds and defaults.

Another Peer-to-Peer Lending Platform Stumbles (Caixin Global), Rated: A

Laocaibao, a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform ultimately owned by private conglomerate Zendai Group, is the latest casualty of the troubles that have engulfed the scandal-hit industry over the past three years.

Laocaibao has stopped providing loans and Zendai’s investment and consulting arm, which directed clients to the platform, has fired employees, according to statements from the companies and investigations by Caixin.

Peer to Peer Lender Fincera Targeted by Local Chinese Government in Demand to Cease Lending Operations (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Fincera Inc. (OTCQB: YUANF), a China-based peer to peer lending platform providing access to capital for SMEs, has become the target of a local government attempt to shut down P2P lenders.

According to a note from Fincera, the Hebei provincial government, where Fincera is based, has requested that Fincera “cease P2P business operations.”

Fincera Announces Intention to Sell Kaiyuan Finance Center (Benzinga), Rated: A

To protect the interests of all its stakeholders-investors, borrowers, brokers, and employees, Fincera has announced its intent to sell the Kaiyuan Finance Center, which has an estimated valued of over RMB4.0 billion.

Fincera is the largest Hebei-based company operating in the peer-to-peer lending industry, comprising over 90% of the province’s market with approximately RMB9.0 billion in unpaid principal balance.

Fincera Inc. (“Fincera” or the “Company”) (OTCQB:YUANF), a provider of internet-based financing and ecommerce services for small and medium-sized businesses (“SMBs”) and individuals in China, today announced that businesses operating within the P2P (peer-to-peer) lending industry in Hebei province, including the Company, have received requests by the Hebei provincial government to cease P2P business operations. The Company vehemently disagrees with the request and is taking steps to protect its many stakeholders, including initiating the process of moving its business registration to Beijing where local regulators are supportive of the P2P industry.

Senmiao Technology Announces Unaudited Financial Results for First Quarter of Fiscal Year 2020 (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Senmiao Technology Limited  (AIHS) (“Senmiao”), a provider of automobile transaction and related services and an operator of an online lending marketplace connecting Chinese investors with individual and small-to-medium-sized enterprise borrowers in China, today announced its unaudited financial results for the quarter ended June 30, 2019.

First Quarter of Fiscal 2020 Highlights

  • Total revenues increased by 3,975% year-over-year to $5,094,440 from $125,026
  • Gross profit increased by 758% year-over-year to $1,072,128 from $125,026
  • Loss per share decreased by 50% year-over -year to $0.02 from $0.04
European Union

German mobile bank N26 eyes eventual IPO, CEO tells newspaper (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Berlin-based digital bank N26 is planning an eventual stock exchange listing, its chief executive has told a German newspaper.

Google exec joins N26 as chief banking officer (Finextra), Rated: B

N26 today announced the appointment of Thomas Grosse as Chief Banking Officer. The newly introduced role is yet another step towards realizing N26’s ambition to become the first truly global and fully digital retail bank. As Chief Banking Officer, Thomas will oversee the set-up of regulated N26 banks and bank partnerships within the N26 Group, thus ensuring the highest standards in product, processes and customer experience across all markets.

Thomas will begin his new role at N26 this October, reporting directly to N26’s co-founder and CFO, Maximilian Tayenthal.

European Fintechs Escape Troubles Afflicting Established Banks (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Its latest fundraising gave Klarna, which facilitates online installment payments, a $5.5 billion valuation. European fintech companies raised $3.3 billion in venture capital in the first half of 2019, up from $1.9 billion in the same period last year, according to data compiled by CB Insights. In contrast, an index of European Union banks has dropped 39% the past 18 months.

FlixMobility and Klarna raise a lot of money (Tech.eu), Rated: A

Tech.eu Podcast hosted by Natalie Novick and Andrii Degeler is a show in which we discuss some of the most interesting stories from the European technology scene and interview leading entrepreneurs and investors from across the region.

EstateGuru Seeks to Carve Out €5 Billion of European Real Estate Financing Market (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

EstateGuru, a crowdfunding platform based in Estonia, is out with a release predicting it will claim €3-5 billion of the European real estate financing by 2025

EstateGuru adds that approximately 70% of SMEs lack access to credit and this is a major constraint to their growth. The company claims that 12% of all loans are set to be financed by alternative providers, including crowdfunding platforms, by 2025 as it appears to be interested in expanding into other financing verticals.

Barclays releases £100,000 for unsecured SME lending through app and online banking (Finextra), Rated: A

New research released by Barclays has revealed that over half of the UK’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have woken up at night with a new business idea (57 per cent), while the most popular time for an idea to be dreamt up is between 2-3 am (28 per cent).

Analysis revealed that almost half (48 per cent) of SMEs said that they are more creative at night, with over two fifths saying they are more productive outside of 9 – 5 working hours and keep a note pad and pen by their bed so they can jot down ideas. Half attributed this to having extra time to think away from daytime pressures.

In a High Street banking first, Barclays has launched £100,000 unsecured lending for SMEs on its award winning app and online banking platform, with thousands of SMEs set to benefit from access to faster finance.

German Fintech Finleap Announces New Business Unit “Finleap Connect” (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

FinLeap, the fintech start-up platform behind Germany’s SolarisBank, announced on Wednesday the launch of its new business unit, FinLeap Connect. According to FinLeap, the fintech platforms finreach solutions and infinitec solutions will become part of this business unit.

International

Global Yields Crash, GSKY for sale, LC earnings (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Today, more than $15 Tn in sovereign debt trades at a negative yield. In Germany, for instance, bond investors have moved from charging 75 bps last year to a willingness to pay for the privilege of providing < 0% money for 10 years.

Source: PeerIQ

GreenSky shares sank ~37% after a strong earnings report was paired with news that the marketplace was exploring a potential sale or merger.

Alternative Data: The Great Equalizer To Lending Inequalities? (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Alternative data has come into the spotlight in financial services, and it presages a significant shift in credit availability for unbanked and underbanked consumers. There are about 

Celsius Network Announces Increased Accessibility To Crypto-Backed Loans with Updated Terms for Borrowers (Business Wire), Rated: A

Celsius Network (work/), the industry-leading cryptocurrency platform, announces updated terms for borrowers aiming to provide millions of users with increased accessibility to low-interest crypto-backed loans. In addition, Celsius has reduced its minimum requirement for loan requests to $1,500. Recently Celsius announced it will expand its lending operations throughout Europe.

The latest updates to Celsius Networks lending service include:

  • Lowered minimum requirement for loan requests from $3,000 to $1,500
  • Up to 30% discount for CEL token holders paying loan interest in CEL with yearly rates as low as 3.47%
  • Borrowers can request a loan in USD or supported stablecoins
  • Loans are issued the same day
  • Members can apply through the Celsius mobile app or on the Celsius Network website

ONTOLOGY BLOCKCHAIN HIGH FIVES WITH DEFI (ICO Examiner), Rated: B

Ontology (ONT), a project offering linking and bridging solutions for multiple blockchains, has announced five new partnerships with companies operating in various geographical locations within the decentralised finance (DeFi) arena.

The latest handful of businesses to be attracted to Ontology’s framework of compatibility are Hong Kong registered Babel Finance, USA-focused crypto loan specialists SALT Lending, cryptocurrency services provider LendChain, Hong Kong-based Fountain Financial, and Chinese trading platform HOX.

Australia

CBA FY19 results a mixed bag, digital metrics positive and Klarna will be a hit (Verdict), Rated: AAA

CBA FY19 underlying net profit for the year to end June falls by 5% to A$8.49bn ($5.75bn). The bank’s overall results do not quite match analyst forecasts.  But there is a strong argument that in all the circumstances the results represent a resilient full fiscal.

Release of the CBA FY19 earnings also serve to highlight the bank’s success in upping its digital strategy.

Operating income is 2% lower on margin pressure.

Net interest income is down by 1.2% on lower retail mortgages margins and higher funding costs.

Business lending increases by 4% while retail mortgage growth is also strong delivering 4% volume growth for the year.

India

Faircent raises fresh funding from investors led by Das Capital & Gunosy Capital (India Times), Rated: AAA

Faircent.com, a P2P lending company, has recently raised capital in a funding round. The latest funding, led by Singapore-based Das Capital and Gunosy Capital, also saw participation by existing investors Starharbor Asia Pte Ltd, and M&S Partners Pte Ltd (Sin Growth Partner Pte Ltd).

Keep retail indulgence in check (livemint), Rated: A

Overspending is a big problem for many. “They buy things they don’t need with money they don’t have to impress people they don’t like. Not passing a judgement here, but money does buy some kind of happiness for many,” said Rachit Chawla, chief executive officer, Finway, a registered non-banking financial company (NBFC). 

Payday loans, digital lending platforms, and P2P lending have evolved, so has the penetration of credit card, personal loans, and the like. At a behavioural level, de-linking debt with shame has also made it easy for people to borrow.

Asia

Hexindai-backed Musketeer Completes Registration for Its P2P Platform in Indonesia (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

Hexindai Inc. (HX) (“Hexindai” or the “Company”), a fast-growing consumer lending marketplace in China, today announced that its invested Indonesian online lending platform, Musketeer Group Inc. (“Musketeer”), has completed registration for its peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform with the Indonesian Financial Services Authority (OJK).

Musketeer’s P2P platform, PT Technology Indonesia Sentosa, is among the early batch of lending companies in Indonesia that have registered with OJK.

Philippines to Relaunch OF Bank to Create Digital-only Bank (Regulation Asia), Rated: A

The Overseas Filipino Bank was launched in January to cater to overseas Filipino workers, who will more easily be able to access digital-only services.

Latin America

Fintech Debt Investors Follow Equity Dollars Into Latin America (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Venture capital investments in LatAm startups quadrupled to a record $2 billion in 2018 from $500 million in 2016, according to an annual review by the 

Financial report for the second quarter and six months period 2019 (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

  • VEF made a follow-on investment in FinanZero, a Brazilian online consumer loan marketplace, who closed a Series B investment round of SEK 100 mln (USD 10.5 mln).

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday August 15 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Wednesday August 15 2018, Daily News Digest

financial assistance

News Comments Today’s main news: Square expands Bitcoin service to all 50 states. Funding Circle says higher rates will help them. Zopa says UK investors likely to hate Marmite. Preview of China Rapid Finance Q2 earnings. Funding Societies hits SGD200M in SME crowdfunding. Today’s main analysis: How non-prime families cover college tuition. Today’s thought-provoking articles: How Goldman Sachs created […]

financial assistance

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

Other

News Summary

United States

Square Expands Cash App Bitcoin Service to All 50 US States (CoinDesk) Rated: AAA

The company – which was co-founded by Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey – announced the service expansion through a Tweet on Monday, months after the firm initially rolled out the bitcoin service to investors in the country.

As reported by CoinDesk, Square officially launched the bitcoin purchasing option on its Cash App in January following a testing phase started last year. However, the service was not offered in the states of New York, Georgia, Hawaii and Wyoming due to their more restrictive regulations regarding bitcoin transactions.

How Non-prime families cover college tuition (Center for the New Middle Class) Rated: AAA

Students from non-prime households are more likely to attend public, community, or junior colleges compared to students from prime households.

  • Consequently, they are more likely to live at home.
  • The majority of these students come from single-parent or homes with a stepparent.
  • Compared to prime parents, non-prime parents are significantly more likely to say that financial aid affected their choice of schools.
  • Non-prime parents are slightly more sensitive to schools welcoming students from diverse economic backgrounds.
  • Students from non-prime families are extremely reliant on financial aid as nine out of ten will use some form of financial assistance to cover college expenses in the Fall 2018, compared to three-quarters of prime students.
  • Access to financial aid is critical for these students because most of them come from single-income households with fluctuating incomes where their parent’s financial situation is precarious and burdened with high levels of debt.

Almost twice as many nonprime students, 42%, attend public/community/jr colleges compared to prime students, 23%.

Source: The Center for the New Middle Class
Source: The Center for the New Middle Class
Source: The Center for the New Middle Class

Read the full report here.

How Goldman Sachs Created Marcus To Be a Dominant Force in Consumer Banking (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

First, there was the launch of GS Bank in April 2016. Six months later Goldman Sachs introducedthe world to their Marcus brand. They began as an online lending platform offering unsecured consumer loans up to $30,000 with interest rates ranging from 5.99% to 22.99% (they now offer loans up to $40,000 and rates range from 6.99% to 24.99% as of August 2018). Their big differentiator was offering no fees. There was no origination fee for the borrower, no prepayment fees and no late fees.

They gained traction very quickly. They crossed $1 billion in total originations within eight month of launch. At the end of their first year they were at $1.7 billion. At that time they brought their deposit business under the Marcus brand, it was formerly branded under GS Bank. Now when you go to the Marcus website you are presented with two options: personal loans and savings accounts (which includes certificates of deposits).

We learned in Goldman Sachs Q2 earnings call in July that Marcus had originated more than $4 billon in total loans since launch and they had 1.5 million customers. Their deposit base is now $23 billion.

Lenmo, the Venmo for Lenders, Set to Launch for IOS (Bank Innovation) Rated: A

Whether it’s a consumer lender like Goldman Sachs’s Marcus or a point-of-sale lender like Affirm or even SMB lenders like BlueVine, there is a lot of perceived opportunity in the lending market.  Add a P2P dimension to that, and you have Lenmo.

The new app is launching in the next few weeks in Apple’s app store, Bank Innovation has learned. Lenmo, founded less than a year ago, is a peer-to-peer app in which the lender can select a borrower as well as set their own interest rate, “which will be higher than most alternative options,” Margaret Cipparone, a Lenmo spokesperson, told Bank Innovation. These individual lenders will facilitate small, unsecured loans ranging from as low as $50 to as high as $5,000, she said.

For borrowers, they can choose the various lenders available on the app and select the one they find most suitable. The goal behind this type of P2P lending service is to cater to the vast underserved market.

Transforming The Small-Business Lending Customer Experience: Kabbage CEO Rob Frohwein (Forbes) Rated: A

In the intervening years since Frohwein and his friends, Marc Gorlin and Kathryn Petralia, started Kabbage “with an idea and a misspelling of cabbage” (a slang term for money), it’s gone on to fund more than 150,000 small businesses, representing a wide variety of industries, with over $5 billion of working capital. And in that time, the goal has evolved, says Frohwein, to “never allowing you to go below zero.” What he means by this is “to keep entrepreneurs away from that pit-of-the-stomach feeling, which I know as a former small business owner myself: Deciding whether to pay vendors first, or make payroll, or invest in marketing, and knowing you need to do all three but it’s going to kill you because your cash flow just isn’t working out. It’s here that Kabbage can step up and help.”

Micah Solomon, Forbes:  I’m interested in how you went about pushing back against the traditional customer experience norms in lending.

Rob Frohwein, Co-Founder and CEO, Kabbage, Inc.: Everyone knows that banks have been underserving small business customers, but our transformational moment came from asking “why?”. It turns out that a large part of the reason is the costly, manual processes that make underwriting small business loans time-intensive and unprofitable. Kabbage’s technology quickly analyzes the live business data of a small business and fully automates the underwriting process, so businesses get an answer and access to capital in minutes, not weeks or months.

And for Kabbage? What’s next for you.  

Another internal saying here is “Let the bakers bake.” A baker didn’t start their business to deal with back-office financing all day long. They want to serve their customers and perfect their craft. We’re in the business of giving small businesses back more time in their day and to remove unneeded friction.

Startup’s mission: Help cash-strapped students finish college (American Banker) Rated: A

Harvard MBAs who want to refinance their student debt have numerous options, including the online lenders SoFi and CommonBond. Ivy Leaguers who need a loan to get through college also have choices, including Discover and Wells Fargo.

But low- or moderate-income students who do not have relatives with sound credit who can co-sign have few options for obtaining the financial help they need to complete college. Many of them are women, who hold nearly two-thirds of outstanding student debt in the U.S. — almost $900 billion as of mid-2018.

Fintech Crowd Dives Into Subprime Credit-Card Lending (The Wall Street Journal) Rated: A

Facing rising loan losses, especially among the riskiest borrowers, banks are reining in their growth in this sector. Subprime credit-card balances at seven large U.S. banks rose 3% in the first half of the year from a year prior, down from a 13% increase in the year-earlier period, according to Autonomous Research. Capital One Financial Corp.’ssubprime balances accounted for 32% of its domestic credit-card balances in the first half of 2018 compared with 36% in the same period a year earlier

Capital One has around $32 billion in subprime credit-card balances on its books.

The new entrants say their use of machine learning and artificial intelligence for underwriting helps them manage the risk. They also mostly extend small credit lines, often ranging between $500 and $2,000, limiting the scale of potential losses.

Around 60 million U.S. adults have credit scores lower than 650, according to Fair IsaacCorp. , roughly the threshold where banks focused on prime borrowers stop lending. Some 53 million U.S. adults don’t have credit scores at all because they have little or no borrowing history.

Q2 Holdings To Acquire Cloud Lending For Lending And Leasing Platform (Seeking Alpha) Rated: B

Q2 Holdings (QTWO) has announced it has agreed to acquire Cloud Lending for $105 million plus contingent earn-outs.

Cloud Lending has developed cloud-based software for the financial lending and leasing industry.

QTWO is acquiring Cloud Lending for its next generation web-based system and complementary capabilities and geographic customer base.

The San Mateo, California-based Cloud Lending was founded in 2012 to develop and operate a cloud-based peer to peer lending and leasing platform.

Roostify Announces Roostify Adapt Functionality to Extend Branding and Customization Options for Enterprise Lenders (Business Wire) Rated: B

Roostify today announced the release of Roostify Adapt. An easily configurable feature for lenders with complex workflows, Roostify Adapt allows for real-world process management while maintaining the power of primary and secondary (“parent/child”) accounts within the Roostify digital lending environment.

United Kingdom

Higher rates will help us, says Funding Circle after divi cut (Citywire) Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending lending investment trust Funding Circle(FCIF) is expecting rising interest rates to help boost its yield after hedging costs forced a dividend cut.

After launching in 2015, the peer-to-peer fund had offered a 6.5p annual payout but in June it was forced to cut its target dividend range to between 5p and 6p for the next 12 months.

That equates to a forward yield of between 4.9% and 5.8% based on the current 102.8p share price.

ZOPA: UK investors more likely to hate Marmite (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

INVESTORS in the UK are more likely to hate Marmite than average, according to new research.

A survey commissioned by peer-to-peer consumer lender Zopa showed that 50 per cent of UK investors dislike Marmite, compared to the national average of 33 per cent.

The research, which polled 2,000 people with an investment of at least £2,000, found a number of other quirky traits.

This included a preference for blue cars, which are owned by 20 per cent of investors, and a love of listening to Radio 2.

Here Are The U.K. Companies That Will Be Unicorns In 2019 (Forbes) Rated: AAA

There are 

Wonga investors raise £10 million to save company (Isreal National News) Rated: A

Payday loan giant Wonga.com has received a £10 million cash injection from its investors to avoid going into administration. The controversial company was once hailed as the fastest growing company in Europe and had plans for a £1 billion flotation. However, the firm has faced difficulties after a surge in compensation claims and a regulatory clamp-down on the high-cost loans industry.

The company had a variety of backers including Israeli investors – but emergency fundraising in the last few weeks caused their original investors of Accel Partners and Balderton Capital to offer a bailout solution.

P2P Lender Welendus Returns to Seedrs to Raise £850,000 (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Short-term peer-to-peer lending platform Welendus has returned to equity crowdfunding platform Seedrs to raise £850,000 in funding. The lender’s latest initiative comes less than one year after it secured £208,898 through the funding portal.  

Welendus also reported that for investors its enables them to invest in short-term loans, offering higher returns with the short-term investment flexibility and the benefit of a Provision Fund.

Exploring the effect of the FCA crackdown on P2P and crowdfunding (AltFi News) Rated: A

The growth of P2P lending and its positive effect on the UK economy cannot be disputed. Initially starting out as a curiosity during the depths of the financial crisis in 2008, P2P lending has grown from £300 million in funds being lent in 2011 to a huge £4.6 billion in 2016.

China

Preview: China Rapid Finance Q2 Earnings (Benzinga) Rated: AAA

On Wednesday, China Rapid Finance XRF 4.86% will release its latest earnings report. Decipher the announcement with Benzinga’s help.

Earnings and Revenue

Wall Street analysts see China Rapid Finance reporting a loss of 13 cents per share on revenue of $30.88 million.

China Rapid Finance EPS in the same period a year ago came in at a loss of 29 cents. Revenue was $15.16 million. Revenue would be up 103.67 percent on a year-over-year basis.

Victims of P2P Lending Crisis in China Speak Out About Misfortunes (The Epoch Times) Rated: AAA

Yindou had a loan balance of 4.4 billion yuan (about $640 million) as of the end of June, according to Yicai, a major Chinese business newspaper. After Yindo suspended its operations in July, the company’s investors were left without the ability to withdraw their investments.

Since the platform closed, Yindou investors have turned to the bank in hopes of collecting their investments back.

Recently, victims of another financial product apparently gone wrong have taken to the streets. This year, a total of 170 private funds, 70 percent of which are private-equity or venture-capital funds, have failed or closed without explanation. This has led to many protests, most notably in Beijing on Aug. 7, where local police turned away protestors before they could make their case to China’s bank regulator, the Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC).

Meanwhile, China’s M2 money supply, or the total savings of companies and residents, increased more than a hundredfold from 1990 to 2017, according to He, at a rate faster than the growth of GDP. While a steady money supply, or credit, can fuel an economy’s growth, such excessive credit, in relation to the GDP, can fuel bubbles and cause inflation.

Regulatory Reorganization Crucial to Health of Financial System (Caixin Global) Rated: A

The merging of the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) and the China Insurance Regulatory Commission into the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) naturally has attracted a lot of attention outside of China as it involves major changes across two important areas of finance.

Yet perhaps the most important thing is how this will change the relationship between regulators and the central bank, the People’s Bank of China.

Fifteen years ago, responsibility for supervising and regulating banking institutions was taken from the central bank and given to the then-newly formed CBRC. This development had far-reaching consequences, and led to the rebuilding of the previously inefficient financial regulatory model into a comprehensive and professional banking system that is in line with international standards. State-owned banks were also commercialized around this time.

Protests Mark China’s Ruptured P2P Lending Landscape (PYMNTS) Rated: A

China’s peer-to-peer (P2P) lending crisis has caused widespread anger from citizens who are demanding that the government bail out hundreds of collapsed P2P companies. Last week, it was reported that China ordered a lockdown of Beijing’s financial district to prevent individuals from protesting a crisis in the P2P lending marketplace.

The size of China’s P2P industry is bigger than in the rest of the world combined, with outstanding loans of 1.49 trillion yuan ($217.96 billion USD). The industry was nearly unregulated and at its peak in 2015, when there were about 3,500 P2P businesses in the country. However, a combination of regulatory failures, fraud and the declining debt is being blamed for the shuttering of 243 online lending platforms since June.

China’s multi-front economic war dulls direction (Asia Times) Rated: A

Chinese stocks were at the bottom of the Emerging Asia pack into August, down 20% in local-index terms, as the so-called “trade war” with Washington added another 25% mutual tariff blow on tens of billions of dollars’ worth of goods.

The International Monetary Fund urged a negotiated settlement as it predicted only “limited direct impact” on the Chinese economy, shaving growth by half a percentage point under a medium-case scenario, while holding to this year’s 6.6% forecast. However, the IMF also warned that credit expansion was unsustainable and that tighter global financing conditions posed “downside risk,” as the renminbi continued its 10% slide since April.

However, the US-China exchange-rate and trade regimes now closely overlap as an overhang on “A” share consideration, despite China’s 30% slice on the benchmark MSCI Index, with a clean resolution of cross-cutting issues unlikely to offer recovery prospects in the coming months.

European Union

Lower Interest Rates on Mintos – How do Investors React? (P2P Banking) Rated: AAA

Compared to the beginning of July the interest rates for newly issued EUR loans on Mintos are much lower now. While investor enjoyed interest rates of up to 13-14% for loans issued in the first half of the year, typical rates are 8-11% now, with a 12-13% for more exotic loans mixed in.

To find out how investors reacted to the situation P2P-Kredite.com conducted a survey among German speaking Mintos investors. Here are the preliminary results (48 respondents):

  • 35% say they withdraw univested cash and invest it on other p2p lending platforms
  • 21% say they continue to invest on Mintos primary market
  • 17% say they just wait, the interest rates will rise again
  • 15% say they withdraw unimvested cash and invest it in other asset classes (e.g stock)
  • 12% say they buy on the Mintos secondary market now, instead of using the primary market
International

Banks and Retailers Are Tracking How You Type, Swipe and Tap (The New York Times) Rated: AAA

The way you press, scroll and type on a phone screen or keyboard can be as unique as your fingerprints or facial features. To fight fraud, a growing number of banks and merchants are tracking visitors’ physical movements as they use websites and apps.

Some use the technology only to weed out automated attacks and suspicious transactions, but others are going significantly further, amassing tens of millions of profiles that can identify customers by how they touch, hold and tap their devices.

The data collection is invisible to those being watched. Using sensors in your phone or code on websites, companies can gather thousands of data points, known as “behavioral biometrics,” to help prove whether a digital user is actually the person she claims to be.

When clients log in to their Royal Bank of Scotland accounts, software begins recording more than 2,000 different interactive gestures. On phones, it measures the angle at which people hold their devices, the fingers they use to swipe and tap, the pressure they apply and how quickly they scroll. On a computer, the software records the rhythm of their keystrokes and the way they wiggle their mouse.

Asia

Funding Societies Hits SGD200 Million in SME Crowdfunding (Funding Societies) Rated: AAA

Funding Societies surpassed the SGD 200 million mark in total crowdfunded SME loans. This achievement came just 6 months after crossing SGD 100 million in January this year. In the same period, its investor base has also increased from about 40,000 to 75,000, indicating strong demand from investors to support local SMEs while diversifying their investment portfolio.

Chinese P2P Lender Hexindai Announces Equity Stake Acquisition in Indonesian Online Lending Platform Musketeer (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Chinese peer-to-peer lending platform Hexindai (NASDAQ:HX) announced on Tuesday it has entered into definitive agreements to acquire a 20% equity stake in Musketeer Group Inc., an Indonesian online lending platform that offers consumption installment loans, for approximately $1.6 million, and simultaneously completed the acquisition. 

MENA

The Impact Of The Middle East’s Fintech Boom On Economic Inequality In The Region (Entrepreneur) Rated: AAA

The past decade has shown that fintech can be a powerful force for equality. Blockchain, data analytics, and mobile phone technology are evolving at breakneck speed and have shown potential to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor. Safaricom’s mobile-money platform, M-Pesa, reaches an estimated 96% of households in Kenya, and is credited with lifting at least 200,000 Kenyan households out of poverty. The Indian mobile wallet, PayTM, has nearly 200 million users, including women and rural families that can now participate in the digital economy. Will the Middle East produce companies of the same caliber and social impact? There is certainly an opportunity, thanks to three factors.

The first factor is necessity. The Middle East is in dire need of ideas to bridge the massive gulf between the rich and the poor. The region leads the world in economic inequality, where the top 10% of the population enjoy about 60-66% of the region’s income. 86% of the adult population is underbanked, which means they don’t have access to services at formal financial institutions. This provides a tremendous market opportunity.

Square And MetLife Watch Out: Two Fintech Startups Target T Markets (Forbes) Rated: A

Lending Express, a Tel Aviv-based platform founded in 2016 that connects small businesses with lenders, is hoping to expand the market for small business loans. As CEO Eden Amirav explained in an August 13 interview, Lending Express — which has raised $2.7 million in seed capital — has grown from under 10 people in October 2016 to 25 — mostly in Tel Aviv with a business development office in San Francisco.

Lending Express did not disclose its revenues but it seems to be growing. As Amirav said, “We currently work with more than 30 leading lenders and FinTech partners, and have facilitated $65 million in SMB loans funded through our platform. Since we began operations in the US in the last quarter of 2017, and thereafter almost every quarter, we have doubled the number of loans we facilitated the previous quarter and 46% of all loans we’ve helped close happened in the second quarter of 2018.”

Lending Express sees tremendous potential for SMB lending outside of traditional banks. Amirav estimates that a mere 1% of the $1 trillion in total SMB loans — or $10 billion — is offered by alternative lenders like Lending Club and On Deck.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor