Thursday May 3 2018, Daily News Digest

10 best states for small business lending

News Comments Today’s main news: Microloans for SMBs are becoming big business. RateSetter offers IFISA transfers. Funding Circle opens IFISA to transfers. Funding Circle SME Income Fund issues more shares. BNP Paribas Asset Management launches SME lending fund. Today’s main analysis: Lendio’s top 10 best states for small business lending. Today’s thought-provoking articles: The missing benefit in employee financial […]

10 best states for small business lending

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United States

Microloans a glimmer of hope for small businesses in need (USA Today) Rated: AAA

The microloan market has evolved in the last five years, says Antara Dutta, a social entrepreneur and mentor with the Delaware chapter of SCORE, a volunteer network of small business advisers. Many nonprofit organizations, foundations and peer-to-peer lending networks have also entered the microloan market.

One such company is Funding Circle, a San Francisco-based lending platform that connects investors with small business owners.  “Banks have really pulled back from doing small business loans over the past decade,” says Sarina Siddhanti, Funding Circle’s U.S. Head of Commercial. “We fill that gap.”

While Funding Circle awards business loans up to $500,000, they also offer microloans to entrepreneurs who need less.

Lendio Announces Annual List of Top 10 Best States for Small Business Lending (Lendio) Rated: AAA

In honor of National Small Business Week, Lendio, the nation’s leading marketplace for small business loans, today announced its third annual list of top 10 states for small business lending, based on lending data from the Lendio platform, which matches businesses with more than 75 lenders.

Source Lendio; sba.gov

CommonBond’s Latest Study Reveals the Missing Benefit in Employee Financial Wellness (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

On Tuesday, CommonBond, an online lending platform servicing the student loan market, released the results of one of the most comprehensive employee financial wellness benefits studies to date. According to the lender, the research revealed the extent to which student debt affects employees’ financial wellness, as well as how companies are meeting, or not meeting,  the financial wellness needs of their employees.

Key findings of the study included:
  • Student debt cuts across all age groups, including parents who are taking out loans for their children: Nearly 75% of all workers have taken out loans to fund their own education, while 21 percent of workers expect to take out a loan for a child or other family member’s education in the next five years. 
  • Human resources executives prioritize benefits for employees without student debt: For employees with student debt, student loan repayment is the most-requested financial wellness benefit; however, human resources teams rank student loan repayment as their third priority. 
  • Employees do not think their benefits are as innovative as human resources executives believe: 71% of human resources executives see their benefits offering as innovative, compared with 50 percent of employees. 
  • Student loan benefits attract talent, retain employees, and improve work performance: 78% of employees with current or future student loan debt want their employer to offer this benefit, and 65% of employees over age 55 in these categories want the same.

RealtyMogul Brings Fintech Solutions To Commercial Real Estate Investment (Benzinga) Rated: A

What does your company do? What unique problem does it solve?

RealtyMogul is a unique commercial real estate private markets investing platform that provides discerning investors exclusive access to thoroughly vetted opportunities, rigorous underwriting, and high-touch customer service through licensed investment professionals. We strive to build wealth through sound principles and data insights, serving real people who want a smart alternative investing strategy.

Fannie and Freddie approve thousands of loans with no formal appraisals (The Washington Post) Rated: A

For homeowners and buyers, it’s been a windfall: relief from having to pay for a traditional mortgage appraisal that usually costs between $400 and $600. The savings nationwide to consumers in just the past year alone may total tens of millions of dollars.

Last year, the two largest sources of American mortgage financing — federally backed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — began accepting home-purchase loans that carried no formal property appraisal.

Ryan Lundquist, an appraiser in Sacramento, noted that computer programs “cannot smell 20 cats living at the property.”

Pat Turner, a Richmond appraiser, says that, worse yet, the “savings” from Fannie and Freddie may not always flow to buyers. He cited a recent case in his area where a major online lender allegedly charged a buyer $600 on a loan with an appraisal-fee waiver.

 

After ceding a key competitive advantage to fintech companies in recent years, several mass market and regional banks are testing alternative data for use in marketing, pre-screening, and underwriting consumer loan products like credit cards and personal loans, and exploring emerging use cases in fraud prevention and other areas.

While most lender decisions still use traditional sources, such as credit file data managed by the consumer reporting agencies, the potential for alternative data to transform lending is clear. Rent and utility payments, employment information, and behavioral data paint a clearer picture of a consumer’s creditworthiness and could allow lenders to reach underserved populations. In fact, alternative data has allowed Lending Club, a marketplace lender, to extend lower-priced credit to borrowers that would otherwise be classified as subprime, according to the Federal Reserve.

Inside Bank of America’s big plans for small businesses (TearSheet) Rated: A

What about branch transformation on the small business side? How is B of A marrying its physical and digital strategies?
We know in certain pockets of towns and cities you’ll have more business owners coming in and out than in others; in those centers with high traffic of business owners we add more capabilities so we’re there for them and have more people who understand small business.

What’s an example of technology you’re investing in?
Three weeks ago we launched our relationship rewards program, which is our version of the Preferred Rewards, where when you bring more to us — more deposits or lending — you get more benefits. It’s a very straightforward way to bank with us that encompasses lending, merchants and operating accounts. That’s a technology investment in itself because we have to on the back-end tie everything together and understand the full picture of the relationship; it comes from updating our products and solutions in the backend to streamlining the underwriting and fulfillment processes.

 

 

First RealFund Raises $ 500,000 of Preferred Equity for Brooklyn Property Renovation (Citizen Tribune) Rated: B

First RealFund (“FRF”) has raised $500,000 of preferred equity financing for the renovation of a 4-story brownstone in Brooklyn’s Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood.

Morgan Stanley kicks new tech strategy into gear (American Banker) Rated: B

Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman has asked Rob Rooney, the investment bank’s technology chief and leader of its international unit, to return to New York to focus solely on the tech part of his job.

“We have enormous, staggering amounts of data for risk management, [anti-money-laundering], regulatory and other purposes,” Rooney said. “The use cases here are enormous. The job in our technology organization is to make sure we build a strategy we can leverage across the firm, otherwise it’s not efficient.”

The bank is increasing its investments in innovation and cybersecurity, he said.

United Kingdom

RateSetter opens IFISA to transfers (Peer2Peer Finace) Rated: AAA

RATESETTER has opened its Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) to transfers from other providers.

RateSetter will accept full and partial transfers and there is no limit on the number of existing ISAs that can be transferred.

RateSetter introduces bonus scheme (Bridging & Commercial) Rated: B

Investors will receive a £50 bonus if they recommend the platform to a family member or friend who then invests £1,000.

The referred person can also receive a £100 bonus if they keep the £1,000 invested in RateSetter for a year.

Funding Circle opens IFISA to transfers (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

FUNDING Circle has opened its Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) to transfers, meaning that all of the ‘big three’ peer-to-peer lenders now offer this capability.

“Since last November more than £90m has been lent directly to businesses through the Funding Circle ISA, and we’re pleased to see so many of you taking advantage of the opportunity to earn attractive, stable returns tax-free,” the company said on a blog post on its website.

 

6%-yielding Funding Circle fund issues more shares (Citywire) Rated: AAA

The 6% yielding lender to small businesses, plans to sell up to 24.9 million shares it holds in treasury having bought them back when they briefly traded at a discount two years ago.

The shares are being offered to ‘qualified’ experienced investors at  102.2p, which is 2.2% less than the share price at Monday’s close and a 2%-3% premium to their net asset value.

Starling Bank partners with Samsung for mobile payments (AltFiNews) Rated: A

Announced today, digital bank Starling has partnered with Samsung to offer mobile payments method Samsung Pay to all Starling customers, creating the bank’s fourth partnership for making purchases via a mobile phone.

Starling users will now be able to make contactless payments at the point of sale using nothing but their Samsung phone, using iris, fingerprint or PIN recognition to prove their identity.

Nucleus targets start-ups with new type of loan (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

The alternative business finance provider announced the launch of Start-up Finance on Wednesday, which is tailored to help start-ups get their business off the ground.

Young companies can borrow between £25,000 and £20m, with a secured interest-only loan, over a period of up to five years.

High-cost lending provides “a socially valuable function”, says regulator boss Bailey (City A.M.) Rated: A

The boss of the UK’s top financial regulator believes access to controversial high-cost loans is an “important feature” for many Britons to fund everyday living.

Andrew Bailey, the chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority, today indicated a clampdown on the sector would not be forthcoming.

How to become an IFISA millionaire in 25 years (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: B

Figures from P2P analyst 4th Way suggest if a lender invests £10,000 each year across several platforms and aims for nine per cent interest after bad debts, they could be a millionaire within two-and-a-half decades.

Rip-off debts soar as rent-to-own, catalogue credit and doorstep lending surge after payday loan crackdown (The Telegraph) Rated: B

Debts from catalogue credit, doorstep lending and rent-to-own have all more than doubled in recent years even as regulators cracked down on payday loans.

Lenders now face a crackdown as the City watchdog wants to make sure high-cost loans are only used by borrowers who can afford the debt and are helped by it.

 

China

Niwodai Seeks Partners for Fintech-driven Expansion into Southeast Asia (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

Niwodai, one of the largest Chinese P2P lending companies, is said to be seeking a path into Southeast Asia, according to sources. The company is in frequent contact with potential partners, looking to map out a proper route to advancing their business, of which financial technology is the most powerful tool. Considering the challenges that most Chinese fintech companies have faced, proper cooperation with a local partner should be a win-win situation.

European Union

BNP Paribas Asset Management launches SME lending fund (AltFiNews) Rated: AAA

BNP Paribas Asset Management has launched a new SME lending fund for institutional investors.

The BNP Paribas Novo 2018 business loan fund follows on from its Novo 1 fund, launched in 2013. The new fund has the backing of the FF and the CDC and aims to provide new sources of financing to help French medium-sized companies expand.

BNP Paribas Novo 2018 could invest €264m over the next three years, the firm said in a statement.

German Varengold Bank Provides Credit Line to Estateguru (P2P Banking) Rated: B

Estonian property p2p lending marketplace Estateguru announced that it has secured its first institutional investor.

In March 2018, Estateguru signed the firm’s first institutional credit line to be invested in loans originated in the Baltic market with Germany based Varengold Bank AG.

International

New FIS Study Finds Larger U.S. and U.K. Banks Are Vulnerable to Losing Critical Small-Midsized Business Customers (Fintech Finance) Rated: AAA

The study found that more than 80% of surveyed SMB customers in the U.S., and 70% of SMB customers in the U.K., are satisfied with their primary banking providers. However:

  • In the U.S., SMBs report higher satisfaction with services from community banks over larger banks.
  • In the U.K., nearly one in four SMBs – most of which use larger banking providers – are planning to switch banking providers in the next 12 months
  • Common reasons cited by SMBs in both countries for switching banks are uncompetitive fees, dissatisfaction with services/products provided, outdated bank processes, or being declined for a business loan/line of credit.
  • SMBs in both countries report difficulty in obtaining reliable and accurate information from their banks, especially larger institutions, without visiting a physical bank branch.

Growing Adoption of Digital Tools

  • About 60% of SMBs in both countries have increased the number of transactions done digitally over the past year.
  • More than 40% of financial transactions were completed digitally by SMBs in both countries.
  • Acceptance of online, mobile app and person-to-person payments increased 38% over the last year for U.S. SMBs.

 

Banks are treating customers like product developers (TearSheet) Rated: A

Banks’ race to meet the customers “where they are” has taken on a new twist: customers are now product developers — not just end users.

Digital-only challenger banks like Monzo are emphasizing customer involvement to build a human connection with customers — a move others like Tandem, Revolut and Chime are also emulating. Chime, for instance, recently launched a chat feature within its mobile app that lets customers provide real-time feedback, a tool that’s used by around 50,000 users every month, according head of product Zachary Smith.

Three-year-old Monzo, which has 650,000 customers, has been active on various fronts in seeking feedback from customers on products while they’re in development — both through in-person “Testing Tuesdays” at Monzo offices and an exchange of views and polls on its online forums.

Rad Card Great HODL Survey Reveals Average Crypto User 25-34, Male (Bitcoin Exchange Guide) Rated: A

The team at Rad Card, found online at RadLending.com, just completed something called “The Great HODL Survey”.

  • The average cryptocurrency user is a male between the ages of 25 and 34
  • That person holds a bachelor’s degree
  • The average cryptocurrency users “hodls” between $1,000 and $10,000 worth of tokens, but has never used cryptocurrency for payment of goods and services
  • Crypto investors, overall, “prefer not to use their assets in real life as much as business owners”, according to the study, as well as freelancers or service providers that accept cryptocurrencies in exchange for their work, products, or services

Core features of the RAD platform include a P2P lending platform, crypto-secured lending, and a digital credit score. The company will offer its services to miners, small crypto businesses, post-ICO companies, exchanges and traders, and traditional fiat investors, all of whom can benefit from crypto-backed loans.

Fintech and the Sharing Economy (TLE) Rated: B

One of the phenomena this has supported is a surge in partnerships forged online, to provide peer to peer services.

The prediction is that the sharing economy will be worth over $335 billion by 2025. Fintech is pivotal in this, as it’s responsible for developing the accessible and efficient systems to carry out these digital “barter and buy” opportunities.

Peer to peer lending using Fintech also requires less cost to facilitate and therefore provides greater equality of opportunity.

ZPER Embeds Trustonic in New Mobile Wallet for Optimized Security (Blockchain News) Rated: B

Decentralized peer-to-peer (P2P) Lending Platform ZPER is using features from digital security semiconductor group Trustonic in its new mobile cryptocurrency wallet, claiming that it will be the most secure available.

The wallet will also be able to store and exchange multiple cryptocurrencies, thus enabling P2P cross-border value exchanges.

 

Australia/New Zealand

Online lender continues huge loan growth (Australian Broker) Rated: AAA

Neo-lender Wisr Limited saw a 42% growth in its origination of personal loans in the latest financial quarter.

This was the company’s largest quarter in loan originations since Wisr, formerly known as DirectMoney, began in 2014.

Loan originations have continued to grow over the financial year, growing by 20% in the first quarter and by 79% in the second quarter.

The FMA Makes A Guidance Note For Peer – To – Peer Lending Services & Crowdfunding Services (Mondaq) Rated: A

The Financial Markets Authority (FMA), New Zealand’s regulator for financial services, has released a guidance note to licensed peer-to-peer (P2P) lending services, licensed crowdfunding services for fair dealing in advertising and communicating offers of financial products or services.

Who is this guidance for?

  • The FMA addressed the guidance note to P2P lending services and crowdfunding services, but it is useful for anyone who is promoting or advising others about these services (i.e marketing teams, investment bankers, lawyers).
  • The fair dealing expectations stretch beyond New Zealand’s borders, so they apply to people overseas. Anyone who acts in relation to, or makes an offer of financial products or services in New Zealand should take note.
  • The guidance note is applicable to any media channel that businesses use to communicate and advertise their financial products and services (be it snail-mail or social media).

 

 

Bank names new group executive (Mortgage Business) Rated: B

Online lender ME has appointed Craig Ralston as group executive of customer banking, effective as of 1 May. He will be responsible for ME’s product and service delivery, with a focus on improving the design, simplicity and fairness of the bank’s offerings.

Mr Ralston joined ME in February 2015 as head of strategy to enhance the bank’s strategic and business planning cycle.

India

Fintech Startup OpenTap Raises ₹3 Crore from HNIs (IndianWeb2) Rated: AAA

Chennai-based OpenTap, a fintech startup focusing on the alternate lending segment, has raised about ₹3 crore funding from HNIs (high networth individuals). The capital raised will be used by the startup to strengthen its technology infrastructure and widen the reach of its financial services network across the country. The startup had earlier raised undisclosed amount in seed funding, in May 2015.

India Dealbook: MyLoanCare raise funding (Deal Steet Asia) Rated: B

Fintech startup MyLoanCare raises $975k in Series A round Online loans marketplace MyLoanCare, operated by My Finance Care Advisors Pvt. Ltd, has raised Rs 6.5 crore ($975,000) from Ncubate Capital Partners, the venture capital arm of Gurugram-based SAR Group.

Asia

Startup bags funds from Singapore ex-minister to get ultra-wealthy into crowdlending (Tech in Asia) Rated: AAA

Singapore-based Helicap is a new fintech platform that aims to bring a fund management angle in the peer-to-peer (P2P) lending space. To make this happen, it has raised US$1.5 million in seed funding.

The round was led by Teo Ser Luck, the former Minister of State for Manpower who last year decided to trade politics for the startup sector. Fintech company Nufin Data, where Teo serves as chairman, also invested.

Latin America

Neon Raises $ 22M in Series A Funding (Finsmes) Rated: AAA

Neon, a São Paulo, Brazil-based fully-digital Brazilian bank, raised $22m in Series A funding.

Propel Venture Partners, Monashees, Quona Capital, Omidyar Network, Tera, and Yellow Ventures participated in the funding round. As part of the investment agreement, Neon Pagamentos SA transferred its controlling interest to a holding company in the United Kingdom. In addition, as part of the new round, Jay Reinemann of Propel Venture Partners, and Marcelo Lima of Monashees, are joining Neon’s board of directors.

The company intends to use the funds for product expansion, investment in technology and innovation on customer experience.

Canada

On Wednesday, Lending Loop, a peer-to-peer online lending platform for small-business loans, announced a pilot project in partnership with Ontario that will provide $3-million of loans over the next two years. The government will boost Lending Loop’s loans by 10 per cent, which will help fund more than $30-million of loans to businesses across Ontario. The government will receive a full re-payment of the loan plus interest at the end of the loan terms.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday May 1 2018, Daily News Digest

Pace of Mobile Payment Adoption in China

News Comments Today’s main news: Former SoFi CEO Mike Cagney raises $50M for blockchain-based Figure. RateSetter IFISA attracts ‘high tens of millions’ of GBP. Brazilian online lender Agibank files for IPO in São Paulo. Today’s main analysis: The cities with the highest rates of mortgage denials. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Hedge funds are down in Q1. MPL’s new ways look […]

Pace of Mobile Payment Adoption in China

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United States

United Kingdom

China

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United States

SoFi’s Former CEO Harnesses the Blockchain for Home Loan Startup (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

Mike Cagney, who built SoFi into America’s biggest student loan refinancer before quitting amid allegations of sexual harassment at the fintech firm, is preparing for his second act: a startup offering home-equity loans.

Cagney has raised $50 million for San Francisco-based Figure, which plans to use the blockchain to help expedite loan approvals in minutes rather than days, according to people familiar with the matter. Two global banks have agreed to finance loans and several firms have agreed to purchase them, say the people, who requested anonymity to discuss a private matter.

CHINA-US TRADE WAR AND OTHER WORRIES (All About Alpha) Rated: AAA

The Eurekahedge April 2018 report says that hedge funds were down in the first quarter of the year (-0.13%). This is the industry’s worst performance since Q1 2016.

The steepest performance-based losses by regional mandate were those of the North American funds, they lost $1.2 billion. Meanwhile, asset inflows remained net positive but were lower (17% lower) than were the net asset inflows for the first quarter 2017.

The highest performance gains by regional mandate were those of the Asia ex-Japan funds. (+0.5%). But those hedge funds were down in March, largely on rumblings of a US/China trade war.

Total assets under management for the global hedge fund industry are now at $2.48 trillion.

Marketplace Lending’s New Ways Look a Lot Like the Old Ones (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

Last week, the Federal Trade Commission accused LendingClub, the largest of the peer-to-peer lenders, of misleading consumers with hidden fees and continuing to charge borrowers even after they had paid off their loans. Shares of the online lender fell to nearly $2.50, its all-time low.

Source Bloomberg

In the first quarter, peer-to-peer lenders sold $4.3 billion in asset-backed securities, according to industry tracker PeerIQ. That was slightly down from $4.4 billion in issuance in the last three months of 2017, which was a quarterly high for the industry. PeerIQ estimates that peer-to-peer ABS securitization will hit $18 billion this year, up from $14 billion in 2017.

Source: Bloomberg

 

LendingTree Reveals the Cities With the Highest Rates of Denied Mortgage Applications (Lending Tree) Rated: AAA

LendingTree delved into data from more than 10 million mortgage applications using the most recent available Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data set to find out the main reasons would-be borrowers were rejected.

Key findings:

  • Nearly one in 10 borrowers get denied for mortgages. On a national level, 8% of loan applications were denied.
  • Credit history and debt are the biggest barriers. The leading reasons for denial were credit history (which includes credit score) and debt-to-income ratio, which were each responsible for 26% of denied loans. These were followed by collateral at 17% and incomplete applications at 14%. All other reasons for denial were cited in less than 10% of denied mortgage applications.
  • Debt is a huge barrier to borrowers living in California. We found three California cities (Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose) had the highest share of borrowers who were denied because of their debt-to-income ratio.
  • Credit history is holding borrowers back in Louisville, Ky., Memphis, Tenn. and Philadelphia. Among failed applications in these three metros, we found the highest rates of denied borrowers due to their credit history.


Memphis among top 10 cities for highest rates of denied mortgage applications, study says (Bizjournal) Rated: A

Memphis-area mortgage applications are denied at a rate of 12 percent, the third-highest out of 50 cities in a study by LendingTree Inc., an online loan marketplace based in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Houston among top 10 cities for highest rates of denied mortgage applications (Bizjournal) Rated: A

The top reason for a mortgage denial in Houston was debt-to-income ratio, which is the share of monthly debt obligations in relation to monthly gross income. Most lenders want this number to be 43 percent or lower, per the report.

Other Texas cities ranked quite lower than Houston on the list. San Antonio was No. 18 with an 8.05 percent rate, Dallas was No. 21 with a 7.58 percent rate, and Austin was No. 27 with a 7.05 percent.

What’s next for Citi’s mobile app (Tearsheet) Rated: A

Banking apps are now among the most widely and frequently used apps, along with weather and social media, according to Citi’s second annual mobile banking study, released Thursday.

If that’s true — the study examines the behavior of some 2,000 U.S. adult consumers — that would mean people are checking their bank accounts more frequently than they use music, news and dating apps. Although, 20 percent of millennials actually use their mobile banking app while on a date, Alice Milligan, the chief digital client experience officer for Citi’s U.S. consumer bank, pointed out in a presentation of the results.

Could the USPS Be a Short-Term Lender for the Underbanked? (Nonprofit Quarterly) Rated: AAA

In this age of electronic communications, we often take the post office for granted, but it remains a powerful institution. As the US Postal Service (USPS) website indicates, 47 percent of the world’s mail volume is handled by the USPS; the website adds that if it were a private sector company, “the Postal Service would rank 37th in the 2017 Fortune500. In the 2017 Global Fortune 500 list, we ranked 99th.” The business employs over 500,000 career employees, has annual revenues of $69.6 billion, and operates 30,825 “retail offices” nationwide.

It is this last aspect—the ubiquity of post offices across the nation—that has spurred legislation (Senate Bill 2755), introduced last week by US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), that would require every post office to provide basic banking services. Interestingly, the idea of post offices offering banking services is not new. From 1911 to 1967, post offices offered savings and deposit services for Americans (although not loan products). At one time, Americans held more than $3 billion in deposits through postal banking ($30 billion in inflation-adjusted 2018 dollars). Other countries, including Japan, Germany, China, and South Korea, continue to offer banking services through their postal networks.

Daniel Maran of the Huffington Post explains that, “Under Gillibrand’s proposal, Americans could cash paychecks and deposit money in accounts free of charge at each post office location. Deposits would be capped at the larger of two amounts―$20,000, or the median balance in all American bank accounts. The postal banks would be able to distribute loans to borrowers of up to $1,000 at an interest rate slightly higher than the yield on one-month Treasury bonds, currently about 2 percent.” By contrast, a Pew Charitable Trusts report found that average payday loan of $375 typically costs a borrower $520 in interest and fees.

Financial Engines Sold To PE Firm For $ 3 Billion, Plans To Combine With Edelman (Financial Advisers) Rated: A

Financial Engines announced on Monday that it will be acquired by private equity firm Hellman & Friedman and combined with Edelman Financial Services.

According to the announcement, Hellman & Friedman will make the acquisition in an all-cash transaction that values Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Financial Engines at $3.02 billion. Financial Engines shareholders will receive $45 per share in cash upon closing.

Leading Robo-Advisors Post Negative First Quarter Returns (Financial Adviser) Rated: A

The best taxable robo-advisor performers in the first quarter for total portfolios were SoFi, which posted a loss of 0.14 percent; Schwab, which returned a negative 0.33 percent; and TIAA’s socially responsible portfolios, which posted a 0.45 percent loss.

The top-performing taxable robo-advisors for total portfolios over the two-year duration of Backend Benchmarking’s study are Schwab, offering 10.98 percent annualized two-year returns; SigFig, which returned an average of 10.71 percent annually over two years; and Betterment, which returned 10.24 percent.

MetaBank, CURO to offer flexible credit to underbanked (Bankless Times) Rated: A

MetaBank, a provider of payment, community banking and financing solutions, today announced an agreement with CURO, a facilitator of short-term credit to underbanked consumers. Together, the organizations will launch a new line of credit product the parties believe will be more flexible and transparent than others in the market, and well-suited for US-based underbanked consumers. CURO and Meta expect to unveil the new, joint brand and a timeline for the pilot launch later this year.

Through the credit option expected to be launched by CURO and Meta, underbanked consumers would be able to access credit with a flexible timeline for repayment. These consumers would also be able to control their cost of borrowing through transparent fees that would apply only when credit is drawn. Estimates indicate 67 million adults are considered un- or underbanked. Many of these adults typically have poor credit ratings and, as such, have difficulty securing credit or loans — this product is expected to provide a responsible credit option for many of those consumers.

LendingTree, Inc. to Present at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey Internet & Digital Media Conference (Benzinga) Rated: B

LendingTree, Inc. (NASDAQ:TREE), operator of LendingTree.com, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, today announced that it will participate in the SunTrust Robinson Humphrey Internet & Digital Media Conference at The Palace Hotel in San Francisco, California.

Trent Ziegler, Vice President of Investor Relations and Treasurer at LendingTree, is scheduled to present on Tuesday, May 8, at 9:10am PT and will participate in one-on-one meetings throughout the course of the day. The presentation will be webcast live and archived at 

8 Side Hustles You Can Start Today (NAV) Rated: B

If you’re looking for a way to grow income over time, and don’t mind the risk and reward nature of investment, peer to peer (P2P) can be a great way to earn some passive income on the side.  Operating much like a bank loan — but without the bank – P2P lending connects people with money (even if it’s only a few hundred dollars) with people who need it.

United Kingdom

 

RateSetter IFISA has attracted ‘high tens of millions’ of pounds (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

RATESETTER has revealed that its Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) has already attracted “high tens of millions” of pounds from investors, in less than three months since launch.

RateSetter opened its IFISA to existing customers on 8 February and to new customers on 1 March. The platform previously reported that it had seen over 5,000 IFISA accounts opened in the first month.

TransferWise founder Taavet Hinrikus invests in fintech chatbot Cleo (Tech Crunch) Rated: A

Cleo, the London-based fintech that offers an AI-powered chatbot as a replacement for your banking apps, continues to put together an impressive list of backers. The startup’s early investors already include Entrepreneur First, Moonfruit founder Wendy Tan White, Skype founder Niklas Zennström, Wonga founder Errol Damelin, and LocalGlobe, the seed VC firm founded by father and son duo Robin and Saul Klein, amongst others. Now TechCrunch can reveal that TransferWise founder Taavet Hinrikus has become a Cleo  investor and advisor.

Family Building Society And LendInvest Reduce Buy To Let Investment Rates (Residential Landlord) Rated: B

Family Building Society and LendInvest have each reduced rates on a number of buy to let mortgage deals.

Family Building Society slashed interest rates across its entire buy to let product range, whilst LendInvest has reduced rates on several of its buy to let deals.

CrowdProperty names Mike Bristow as chief executive (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: B

CROWDPROPERTY co-founder Mike Bristow has been appointed as chief executive of the peer-to-peer property lender, taking over the reins from fellow co-founder Simon Zutshi.

Bristow, who was also a non-executive director at CrowdProperty, had been acting as interim chief executive for around two months before taking on the role on a permanent basis, effective from 1 May.

Zutshi has now been appointed as chairman of CrowdProperty.

China

Lessons From A Mobile Payments Revolution (American Banker) Rated: AAA

According to the research firm eMarketer, 76% of Chinese smartphone users made a mobile point-of-sale purchase in 2017, compared with 25% of American users. In total, 61.8% of all such transactions globally are Chinese.

Source: American Banker

In the first 10 months of last year, China processed a whopping $12.8 trillion in mobile payments, according to the state-run news agency, Xinhua — 38% higher than for all of 2016.

Though it’s not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison, the U.S. market in 2017 had just $49.3 billion in mobile point-of-sale transactions, according to Shelleen Shum, eMarketer’s forecasting director.

Start with an oligopoly

More than 90% of Chinese mobile payments run through Alipay and WeChat Pay, rival platforms backed by China’s two largest internet conglomerates — Alibaba, essentially the Amazon of China, and Tencent Holdings, owner of WeChat, the nation’s must-have messaging and social-media app with more than 1 billion users.

Peering into the murky world of China’s online P2P sector (Asia Times) Rated: A

During an 18-month period, Ezubo swindled up to 900,000 investors out of 50 billion yuan (US$7.7 billion).

In one of the country’s highest-profile court cases, the founders of what was once China’s largest peer-to-peer lending platform, Ding Ning and his younger brother Ding Dian, were jailed for life last September.

Another 24 executives were sentenced to prison terms, ranging from three to 15 years, after disbelieving depositors mounted unprecedented protests in fintech’s biggest scandal.

“[Just] 500 P2P companies, out of the total 4,856, are likely to maintain their operations this year,” it added.

Fincera Reports 2017 Year-end Financial Results (Digital Journal) Rated: A

Fincera Inc. (”Fincera” or the ”Company”) (OTCQB: YUANF), a leading provider of web-based financing and ecommerce services for small and medium-sized businesses and individuals in China, today reported financial results for the year ended December 31, 2017.

Full-year 2017 Financial Highlights

  • Income for the year ended December 31, 2017, increased 16.9% to RMB1.0 billion (US$156.7 million) from RMB875.9 million in the prior year.
  • Net loss improved to RMB8.4 million (US$1.3 million), from net loss of RMB12.3 million in the prior year.
  • Net cash provided by operating activities increased 148.4% to RMB2.1 billion (US$326.6 million) for the year ended December 31, 2017, from RMB859.2 million in the prior year. This increase resulted in a 63.6% improvement in the Company’s overall cash position to RMB1.3 billion (US$191.5 million) at the end of 2017, compared to RMB764.8 million at the end of 2016.

Operational Highlights

Loan transaction volume across all loan types for 2017 totaled approximately RMB26.8 billion (US$4.1 billion), compared to approximately RMB24.4 billion in 2016.

Source: Digital Journal
International

Can FinTech Walk The FinTalk? (PYMNTS) Rated: AAA

BLOCKCHAIN

In January, the International Data Corporation (IDC) reported worldwide spending on blockchain solutions would increase to $2.1 billion in 2018 from $945 million in 2017 and will grow more than 80 percent year over year to reach $9.7 billion by 2021. Most of that spend will be concentrated in the U.S., with supporting use cases mostly related to financial services and cross-border settlement, for a grand total of $242 million in 2018.

To put that into context, the IDC projected worldwide growth and spending on mobility solutions at 15 percent a year from a 2018 base of $1.6 trillion; on security-related hardware, software and services at 10 percent a year from a 2018 base of $91.4 billion growing to $120.7 billion in 2021 and on the Internet of Things at 14 percent a year from $772.5 billion in 2018 growing to $1.1 trillion in 2021.

MARKETPLACE LENDING

LendingClub was hit with a lawsuit by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) last week over claims of “deceptive” practices.

Following that news, LendingClub’s stock price took a nosedive. Yesterday, it was trading at an all-time low of $2.70.

Launched in October of 2016, Marcus is Goldman’s $2 billion annual hedge on threats to its core commercial banking and trading businesses. Goldman Sachs reported on its Q1 earnings call that Marcus, since it launched, has originated $3 billion of new loans and taken in $9 billion of new retail deposits.

DIGITAL BANKS

If the blockchain is all about replacing the global financial system and marketplace lending is all about replacing traditional lenders, digital banks in the developed world are about upending the traditional banking ecosystem.

Crypto lending may be risky, but these firms say they’ve solved the riddle (American Banker) Rated: A

A new crypto lender, Nexo, will launch Monday in a market where existing participants have already withstood trial by fire.

Such lenders extend credit to those who want to own digital currency, such as bitcoin and ether, and hold onto it long-term while investing it in real estate and elsewhere. But crypto lenders have been severely tested of late as digital currency prices dropped about 70% between December and February.

Source: American Banker, Coindesk

Nexo

The team behind Switzerland-based Nexo runs a consumer lending operation called Credissimo that has made more than a million loans to consumers of up to $2,000 in Europe.

Salt Lending

Denver-based Salt Lending, which started crypto lending earlier this year, has made just under $40 million in loans and has had no losses, according to co-founder Blake Cohen.

Unchained Capital

Unchained Capital, which publicly launched in November, is originating “single-digit million dollars of loans per month,” according to CEO Joe Kelly. The typical loan size is $120,000; the average interest rate is 12%.

RCN Partners with IdentityMind Global to Provide KYC and AML Compliance for Its Protocol (PRWeb) Rated: B

IdentityMind Global today announced that Ripio Credit Network (RCN), a global peer-to-peer credit network based on co-signed smart contracts that connect lenders and borrowers located anywhere in the world, has partnered with IdentityMind to provide KYC and AML compliance support.

Australia

Research shows savings at online lenders (Broker News) Rated: A

The company’s research shows the average customer of one of the big four banks can save more than $2,500 a year by switching to an online deal. This has increased from a year ago, when the potential annual savings were $2,250.

Despite these savings and the fact most other services have migrated online, only 27% of consumers said they would take out a home loan with an online lender.

India

Fintech Startup MyLoanCare Raises Series A Funding (Inc42) Rated: AAA

Gurugram-based B2C online loans marketplace MyLoanCare has secured $977.7K (INR 6.5 Cr) equity Series A funding from Ncubate Capital Partners, a private investment arm of SAR Group family office.

The startup plans to use the funding for branding, technology augmentation and growth. MyLoancare also plans to enter new segments of the market including cards, savings and investments.

 

 

Asia

INDONESIAN fintech startup EmasDigi enables the investing in as well as buying and selling of gold through mobile applications with easy processes that require little time.

The idea began with EmasDigi chief executive officer and founder Claudia Kolonas selling vouchers which gave people easier access to the gold trading market.

EmasDigi is affiliated with PT PG Berjangka, which is registered and supervised by the Trade Ministry’s Futures Exchange Supervisory Board (Bappebti). This affirms EmasDigi’s commitment to consumer protection and ensures compliance with legal provisions in Indonesia.

Fintech microfinance, the next opportunity (Prothom Alo) Rated: A

Bangladesh is widely known as the origin of microfinance. The pioneer two NGOs, Grameen Bank and BRAC, have taken this poverty reduction tool to different places in the world, especially in Asia and Africa. This has been acclaimed by the United Nations and other international organisations. Certainly the objectives of microfinance have undoubtedly already been achieved.

Microfinance was inaugurated in the 1980s for a specific, target group of people (given their poverty level). It doesn’t have the generalised character required to reach all people.

Latin America

Brazilian online lender Agibank files for IPO (Reuters) Rated: AAA

Brazilian online lender Banco Agibank SA on Monday filed for regulatory clearance to launch an initial public offering (IPO), according to a securities filing.

Agibank follows Banco Inter SA’s (BIDI11.SA) strategy of raising capital to fund its expansion and IT investments. On Monday, Inter made its debut in São Paulo stock exchange, in the first IPO by a Brazilian retail bank in nearly a decade. In late afternoon, Inter’s units were stable at 74 reais.

The bank and its owner, Marciano Testa, will sell an undisclosed amount of preferred shares in the IPO.

Canada

Fintech Select Earns a Net Profit of $ 435k and Reduces Liability by $ 7.6m for the Year Ending Dec 31 2017 (Globe Newswire) Rated: AAA

Fintech Select Ltd. (“Fintech Select” or the “Company”) (TSX-V:FTEC) is pleased to announce that its financial statements for the year ending December 31 2017 have resulted in a net profit of $435k. 2017 Financial Statements and Management Discussion & Analysis (“MD&A”) will be filed on SEDAR shortly.

2017 Highlights

  • Reduced the Company’s liability by $7.6M including our unfavourable high-interest loan
  • Made a net profit of $435k for the year due to the reduced liability
  • Reduced interest rate of 24% per annum plus management fee to 12% on April 1, 2017, and further to 6% plus management fee on May 16 2017.
  • Raised $3.4M through two private placements in April and June of the year, and had access to un-restricted cash of $915k by December 31 2017
  • Increased its customer care service revenue
  • Established an advisory board with high skill sets in business and Cryptocurrency space
  • Filed a patent-pending for Cryptocurrency POS platform.
  • Developed and launched the Company’s first phase of the Cryptocurrency POS solution, which simplifies buying cryptocurrecny to the mass of consumers
  • Acquired software for P2P Micro Lending and initiated the project to work on required changes and enhancements to meet the regulatory required standards

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor