Wednesday August 1, 2018 Daily News Digest

Global Banking Executives Biggest Challenges

News Comments Today’s main news: OCC approves fintech charter. Microsoft, Nationwide invest in BlueVine. UK overtakes US in fintech investment. P2PFA members take in over 300M GBP from IFISAs. Today’s main analysis: Trump Administration hugs fintech. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Online lenders, payment companies can act more like banks. How Revolut reduced fraud by 30%. Chinese P2P lending under severe challenges. Fintechs […]

Global Banking Executives Biggest Challenges

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United States

United Kingdom

International

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News Summary

United States

After years of debate, OCC to offer fintech charter (American Banker) Rated: AAA

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced Tuesday that it would move ahead to consider special-purpose charter applications from fintech firms, ending the guessing game over whether the agency was serious about giving fintechs a federal option.

The decision, unveiled just hours after the Treasury Department released a report endorsing a national fintech charter, means fintech firms that opt for the charter could soon be regulated more like banks on a national scale.

Fintech Gets a Hug From the Trump Administration (Barron’s) Rated: AAA

The Treasury Department released a report today with more than 80 recommendations that are aimed at tailoring regulations for nonbank financial institutions and encouraging the development of financial technology.

Source: U.S. Treasury Department
Source: U.S. Treasury Department

Read the full report here.

Securitizations swell as marketplace lending matures (GlobalCapital) Rated: A

A report out of the Department of the Treasury on Tuesday notes that the growth of marketplace lending has fueled ABS deals in the sector.

Marketplace lenders have originated some $100bn in loans since 2014, with unsecured consumer debt accounting for 50% of total volume.

The strong pace of originations has fueled consumer securitization issuance, with the number of marketplace loan ABS deals ballooning every year since 2013.

Online Lenders and Payment Companies Get a Way to Act More Like Banks (The New York Times) Rated: AAA

Online lenders and other so-called fintech firms — including the payment processor Square, the online lender Lending Club and the cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase — have pressed for regulatory routes that would let them cut through the thicket of state and federal laws that govern financial businesses.

Heeding those requests, the Treasury Department released a 222-page report laying out the Trump administration’s view on how nonbank financial companies should be regulated. Hours later, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, a national bank regulator, announced a new kind of charter that would potentially free such companies from the state-by-state approvals they currently need to offer loans and other financial products.

Source: Treasury.gov

Read the complete report here.

CSBS Responds to Treasury, OCC Fintech Announcements (CSBS) Rated: A

We appreciate the Treasury’s recognition of the vital role performed by state regulators in overseeing nonbank financial service providers. And we are pleased that Treasury noted the substantial progress states have made towards harmonizing the multistate experience for industry.

At the same time, we disagree with certain Treasury recommendations. We do not support creation of new federal rules or unauthorized federal charters that would seek to compromise the ability of state officials to apply and enforce state laws. And so, we disagree with Treasury’s recommended changes to the valid-when-made doctrine and the true-lender doctrine, and the creation of an OCC special purpose bank charter for fintech companies.

An OCC fintech charter is a regulatory train wreck in the making.

Microsoft’s M12 joins $ 12 million funding extension for fintech startup BlueVine (Venture Beat) Rated: AAA

Fintech startup BlueVine has added $12 million to its recently announced series E round of funding, bringing Microsoft’s venture capital (VC) unit M12 onboard alongside the VC arm of finance giant Nationwide.

The additional funding brings BlueVine’s total series E round to $72 million, after the company announced an initial $60 million cash injection just two months ago.

BlueVine has now raised around $590 million in funding since its inception, though it’s worth noting that around three-quarters of that came in the past year via debt financing.

Small-Biz Talks: StreetShares on Small Business Lending (Value Penguin) Rated: A

On average, veterans are getting, through us, about 2% to 3%lower interest rates than nonveterans. That’s an internal discount that we give. Comparing us to an OnDeck or a Kabbage, we are probably half the average APR of OnDeck and probably a quarter of Kabbage. They may disagree with that, but that’s our numbers.

Online Lending Needs More Regulation: New York Regulator (BNA) Rated: A

Notably, a group of lenders that is currently not subject to licensing – those making loans between 7 and 16 percent – would have to become Licensed Lenders. As a result, those lenders would have to complete the licensing process, pay the associated fees, and would then be subject to supervision and examinations by the NYDFS.

Additionally, any nonbank that lends to a New York borrower, either directly or through a partnership, would have to comply with New York’s usury limit. This rule is already in effect for servicers that acquire loans originated by banks, due to the Second Circuit’s decision in Madden v. Midland Funding. However, the NYDFS recommendation would potentially expand that rule to loans originated by lending companies organized by Native American tribes, among other situations.

Gusto raises $ 140 million to go after small business payroll and benefits with more gusto (TechCrunch) Rated: A

Gusto, which sells payroll, benefits and human resources management and monitoring services to small businesses, has raised $140 million in its latest round of funding.

The company said it will use the money to add new services to increase payment flexibility for employees. The company launched a new service called Flexible Pay, which gives employees a way to get paid no matter when a company’s pay schedule dictates. It seems sort of like a payday loan, where a percentage of the salary is taken by Gusto  for providing money upfront.

Elevate Credit, Inc. (ELVT) CEO Kenneth Rees on Q2 2018 Results – Earnings Call Transcript (Seeking Alpha) Rated: A

Before I catch on the specific highlights for Q2, I’d like to restate, as I usually do, our commitment to use technology and advanced analytics to be the most responsible lender in our space and to make a positive impact in the lives of our customers. As Slide 3 shows, we’ve now extended more than $5.9 billion in credit to more than 2 million nonprime consumers. We’ve come to call the 170 million consumers in the U.S. and U.K. who are credit constrained, the new middle class. And we’re proud to announce on this call that Elevate products have now saved our customers more than $4 billion over what they would’ve paid for legacy products like payday loans.

Elevate Credit (ELVT) Issues FY18 Earnings Guidance (Press Oracle) Rated: A

Elevate Credit (NYSE:ELVT) updated its FY18 earnings guidance on Monday. The company provided EPS guidance of $0.55-0.90 for the period, compared to the Thomson Reuters consensus EPS estimate of $0.72. The company issued revenue guidance of $790-810 million, compared to the consensus revenue estimate of $803.81 million.

Several brokerages have recently weighed in on ELVT. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Elevate Credit from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $11.00 price objective on the stock in a report on Tuesday, July 24th.

Nobody Says ‘Zelle Me’: Banks Struggle to Catch Up to Venmo (Wall Street Journal) Rated: A

A year in, Zelle’s reviews are mixed. Usage is up, but most banks haven’t signed on, meaning many consumers can’t use it without downloading a separate app. It also fell short of its goal to have 33 banks on the network by its first anniversary, and behind the scenes, it runs on plumbing that’s more than 40 years old.

Zelle’s rocky debut shows the challenges of trying to make alterations to an industry often slow to change and still weighed down by old infrastructure.

Go Midwest, young fintechs (American Banker) Rated: A

For startups, they are not the obvious places to settle down. While fintech is flush with venture capital, three states — California, Massachusetts and New York — gobble up 75% of all VC funds. Yet if there is a good time to go against the odds, it might be now. These days, it has become fashionable for venture capitalists to say they are scouting for opportunities beyond the coasts.

Most visibly, Revolution’s Rise of the Rest seed fund, co-founded by AOL co-founder Steve Case, continues to make a splash by investing in all kinds of startups across America to promote growth and increase investment capital. As Case blogged, “People know that the future of America is tied to more than just three cities, and there is an eagerness, now more than ever, to address the investment gap.”

Bill to enhance poor credit scores will backfire, critics say (American Banker) Rated: A

Legislation to enhance credit scores by allowing consumers to include data about their monthly bills has broad bipartisan support, but some consumer advocates and others question whether the legislation may backfire on those it is meant to help.

The measure, which passed the House earlier this month and is authored by Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., is intended to allow consumers to benefit from positive information about lease, telecommunications and utility payments in their credit reports. An identical version has been introduced by Sens. Tim Scott, R-S.C., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., in the upper chamber.

A CEO used to think student loans were predatory, but he’s changed his mind (Business Insider) Rated: A

Last week, LendingTree acquired Student Loan Hero for $60 million. In an interview with Business Insider, Josuweit reflected on how his view of the student-loan industry had changed since launching his business.

Today, Student Loan Hero offers users financial-comparison tools and personalized advice for paying off student loans, rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach.

Josuweit said he had also softened his stance on student loans in general. Where he once saw them as predatory, he now considers them a valuable tool when used wisely.

Kroger stops accepting Visa credit cards at some stores (Cincinnati Business Courier) Rated: A

Kroger Co. has quit accepting Visa credit cards at some of its stores in a battle against rising fees charged by the credit card giant.

Blockchain’s Spring Labs Appoints Peter Tapling Chief Commercial Officer (Block Tribune) Rated: B

Blockchain’s Spring Labs names Peter Tapling, an identity and payments expert, as chief commercial officer and head of industry relations. He will be responsible for overseeing Spring Lab’s network development, industry awareness, partnerships and commercialization. He will report directly to CEO and Founder of Spring Labs, Adam Jiwan, and will be based in Spring Labs’ Chicago office.
United Kingdom

UK overtakes US on Fintech investment for first half of 2018 (Business Matters) Rated: AAA

The UK has overtaken the US in terms of fintech investment for the first half of the year, and taken the top spot in Europe to attract $16.1bn (£12.3bn) out of the EUs $26bn total.

Four of Europe’s top 10 fintech deals happened in the UK, which included a $250m raise by Revolut, $100m by eToro, $60m by Flender and $54m by Moneyfarm. Data provided by KPMG’s pulse of fintech report has allayed fears that Brexit would hurt the UK’s startup scene, as venture capital firms have cemented the UK’s position as a funding hot spot.

Fintech investment across the world reached record levels over the last six months, taking in $57.9bn across 875 deals. This was an increase of 34.2 per cent compared to the whole of 2017, which recorded just $38.1bn overall.

P2PFA member platforms secure over £300m from IFIsa investments (Bridging & Commercial) Rated: AAA

Members of the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2PFA) have seen 28,000 Innovate Finance Isas (IFIsas) opened, with more than £300m of funds already under management, according to the latest figures.

The six P2PFA member platforms which offer an IFIsa are: 

• Crowdstacker
• Folk2Folk
• Funding Circle
• Landbay
• Lending Works
• Zopa

UK neobank Revolut has reduced fraud by 30% – here’s how (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

UK-based neobank Revolut launched disposable virtual cards in March , and has now reported that they resulted in a 30% reduction in card fraud cases.

Disposable virtual cards provide users with card details that get destroyed right after making an online purchase, and new details are made seconds after the previous ones are scrapped. This way, a merchant can’t charge the customer again, as they don’t have the person’s actual card information.

This fraud reduction announcement comes at the right time for Revolut. Earlier in July, we reported that the neobank had discovered potential money laundering activity on its digital payments system a few months back. It informed the National Crime Agency (NCA) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), suggesting that the severity of the issue was high, as conventionally companies just inform the NCA.

Source: Business Insider

FCA regulation sees an increase in consumer confidence for loans (Financial News) Rated: A

It’s an industry that has often come under intense scrutiny, but the high cost short term loans sector has seen a significant increase in consumer confidence. This comes as a result of the FCA facilitating dramatic changes and the enforcement of new regulations. In fact, a recent review by the FCA has stated that the noticeable improvements in the payday loan industry means that it will now not be reviewing this sector again until 2020. We take a look at the reasons why the FCA has successfully increased consumer confidence in the high-cost short term loan industry.

UK Regulators Taking Very Close Look At P2P Lending (PYMNTS) Rated: A

According to the U.K. Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2PFA), a self-regulating P2P industry group that includes most of the biggest names in U.K. marketplace lending, the country’s P2P lending industry had hit £9 billion in loan originations from the group’s members as of Q1 2018.

The figures also reflected having provided finance for approximately 50,000 businesses and 221,000 individuals overall, with a total investor count of about 150,000. According to the The Times of London, those figures are even higher – though they agree on the 150,000 investor count, they think about £10 billion in total loans have been underwritten.

Will New P2P Rules Hit SME Funding? (Forbes) Rated: A

The Financial Conduct Authority, the UK’s chief financial watchdog, has just spent months investigating the sector, where it has already intervened with new rules once to safeguard investors. Now the FCA says the sector has further problems that must be addressed, including poor standards of disclosure, opaque pricing structures, over-optimistic marketing claims and poor record-keeping. It is consulting on a series of potential reforms and has also warned individual businesses in the industry could be investigated for compliance failures.

Much of the regulator’s ire is reserved for the peer-to-peer lending sector, where online platforms facilitate loans from investors to consumers or small businesses. While defaults have been relatively rare – though the regulator points out most platforms have not been tested through a complete economic cycle – the FCA is worried that investors are sometimes being given false expectations about the returns they should expect.

QuickISA Launches Free Search Engine to Discover Profitable Savings and P2P Finance Schemes (Perfect Investor) Rated: A

Past economic turbulence, the recession, and the uncertainty over Brexit and its impact on future investments, has made it imperative for every investor to keep an eye on their investments.  Individual Saving Accounts (ISAs) are a great way to earn tax-free interest on your investment. But which ISA is the most profitable? This question can now be easily answered with the new online service offered by QuickISA.

Legal & General invests £3m in lendtech Smartr365 (FinTech Futures) Rated: A

Legal & General’s (LG) fintech business has made a £3 million investment in Smartr365, a Software-as-a-Service firm which supplies systems to the UK mortgage intermediary market.

Conor Murphy, director, Smartr365, says the new funding will be used for product development – such as its LendrConnect, a mortgage API service that allows brokers to submit mortgages.

China

The Chinese P2P Lending Sector Facing Severe Challenges Right Now (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

Back then new platforms were launching pretty much every day as p2p lending became the hot new investment. The number of platforms grew to well over 3,000, a number that everyone agreed was not sustainable. But new platforms kept on launching, attracting both investors and borrowers with relative ease.

We all knew the party was going to end at some point and it looks like 2018 will be the year of reckoning. According to industry data provider, Wangdaizhijia (loosely translated as Online Lending House), platforms are failing at a rate of around five a day with 114 platforms shutting down between July 1 and July 24.

Xiaomi’s risky play with P2P lenders: another reason to be bearish (Kr-ASIA) Rated: A

But in the lead up to the company’s IPO earlier this month – which continues to be a rocky one – its founder LEI Jun went all in to deliver his bigger vision: Xiaomi isn’t a gadget maker, it’s an internet company. One that gathers data from a network of smartphones and other internet-enabled devices, and sells additional “online services” – things like utility apps and content, created by partners. In other words, a platform business built around the Xiaomi brand and gadgets ecosystem.

Well, large parts of China’s P2P sector were crumbling after a government crackdown. For some, it came too late – they had trusted sites with their savings in hopes of getting the promised returns.

Xiaomi had an explanation: It doesn’t have anything to do with those lenders. It only let them use its platform for advertising purposes.

European Union

Big Red Cloud becomes the latest SME to raise funds through Flender (Silicon Republic) Rated: AAA

Irish accountancy firm Big Red Cloud raises thousands in partnership with alternative-lending firm Flender.

Alternative-lending platform Flender has added another successful SME funding partnership to the pile, with Irish accountancy software company Big Red Cloud raising €31,500 in just 24 hours.

SMEs benefit from different lending models

O’Dwyer said it was encouraging to see the normalisation of alternative-lending models such as Flender as a credit option for SMEs and a novel opportunity for investors.

DGAP-News: Varengold Bank AG: Preliminary figures for first half of 2018 (Markets Insider) Rated: A

In the first half of 2018, the total assets increased significantly from EUR 445.2 million to nearly EUR 665.5 million. Customer deposits continue to be the dominant amount on the liabilities side with EUR 599.3 million and therefore 90%.

The company’s interest result increased due to the expanded lending volume from TEUR 2,047 in the first half of 2017 to TEUR 3,429 in the first half of 2018. The commission result remained almost constant at TEUR 8,108 in the first half of 2018 (30th June 2017: TEUR 5,818).

International

Fintech vendors keep reinventing themselves, and banks struggle to keep up (American Banker) Rated: AAA

There were 70 mergers and acquisitions among fintechs in the U.S., Canada and South America in the first quarter, and those deals were worth a combined $3.4 billion, according to a fintech investment report issued by KPMG on Tuesday.

The number of deals fell to 60 in the second quarter, but the total value rose to $5.8 billion. M&A activity in this field is expected to remain “very healthy [in] 2018 on the whole,” the report said.

The investment flow is also breeding new companies looking for bank clients. American fintechs, the report noted, attracted $14.2 billion in overall funding in the first half of 2018.

What that means for all banks is when it comes to tech, there’s plenty to ponder: more options for their front- and back-office operations; more retail and commercial service improvements to consider; more new vendors that will be seeking their business; and more fintech investment opportunities to pursue.

Source: American Banker

UK fintech scores the global top spot for investment in the first half of 2018 (City A.M.) Rated: A

China came in second place with $15.1bn, followed by the US with $14.2bn.

Four of Europe’s top 10 fintech deals happened in the UK, which included a $250m raise by Revolut, $100m by eToro, $60m by Flender and $54m by Moneyfarm. Data provided by KPMG’s pulse of fintech report has allayed fears that Brexit would hurt the UK’s startup scene, as venture capital firms have cemented the UK’s position as a funding hot spot.

Fintech investment across the world reached record levels over the last six months, taking in $57.9bn across 875 deals. This was an increase of 34.2 per cent compared to the whole of 2017, which recorded just $38.1bn overall.

Interval Funds: A New Approach To Alternative Investing (Seeking Alpha) Rated: A

The way I view it is that interval funds are a great blend of the traditional closed-end fund that Tortoise is used to managing, along with the traditional mutual fund that we also have managed in the past and still do. Compared to other registered fund structures, they’re obviously less liquid than a mutual fund and a traditional closed-end fund, but they’re great for more long-term investors that aren’t looking to need liquidity quite as often. From our fund’s perspective, you can subscribe daily. You only have the option to redeem at certain periods, and that’s typically between 5 and 25 percent on a quarterly basis. From a liquidity standpoint, obviously, this is nice for folks that aren’t qualified purchasers that aren’t getting exposure to traditional private funds in the limited partnership structure.

Crypto Lending Platform Launched By CoinLoan (Block Tribune) Rated: A

Estonia-based startup CoinLoan has officially launched its crypto-to-fiat lending platform that allow users to HODL crypto and borrow fiat money.

For borrowers, the platform allows them to create an application for receiving a loan in the amount that does not exceed 70 percent of the current market value of the crypto collateral. This limitation has been created for preserving the crypto assets of the borrower and reducing risk related to the high volatility of the crypto asset market.

The platform currently supports bitcoin, ethereum, Litecoin, Dash, ZCash, and Ripple. Users can borrow a loan in the following fiat currencies: USD, EUR, GBP, CNY, JPY, RUB, CHF, PLN and CZK.

A blockchain solution for global peer-to-peer lending (Global Banking and Finance Review) Rated: A

A blockchain solution for global peer-to-peer lending is on the horizon, adding an exciting layer to an already booming sector which is expected to reach the $1 trillion mark by 2025.

The problem is, some aren’t excited by blockchain’s arrival. Experiencing Déjà vu? It’s easy to be transported back to the 1990s when the Internet was dismissed as just a “wasteland of unfiltered data”.

FintruX Network welcomes Bob Rinaldi to its Board of Directors (Leap Rate) Rated: B

FintruX Network, the global P2P lending ecosystem, has just announced a new addition to its Board of Directors, Bob Rinaldi, a serial entrepreneur and business director. FintruX Network is an online ecosystem that facilitates the lending and borrowing of finances to small businesses in a peer-to-peer marketplace powered by blockchain and no-code development.

Australia/New Zealand

Fintech startup Tic:Toc raises $ 11.5 million to take hassle out of home loan approvals (Smart Company) Rated: AAA

Aussie fintech startup Tic:Toc has raised $11.5 million in Series B funding in its bid to improve the customer service around home-loan approvals.

The funding round was led by Genworth Mortgage Insurance Australia and La Trobe Financial, and also included some existing shareholders.

Heartland Bank unveils restructure plans (Interest) Rated: A

Heartland Bank says it’s planning a corporate restructure that will remove business growth constraints stemming from Reserve Bank regulation, and see it list on the Australian sharemarket.

The proposal is for a restructure of the Heartland Bank Ltd group of companies via a court approved scheme of arrangement under Part 15 of the Companies Act. The purpose of the restructure is to more clearly define the separation between Heartland Bank Ltd’s New Zealand and Australian businesses, and to enable it to access the most efficient forms of equity and debt funding, according to an NZX filing.

India

How RBI Is Solving P2P Lending Issues And India’s Credit Woes (Inc42) Rated: AAA

Over the past couple of years, non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) in India have undergone major transformations to keep up with the growing demand in the country’s credit market.

Subsequent to the ease in regulations, a number of new NBFCs were established to supply credit to consumers. However, access to financial services was only restricted to a small segment of consumers/ borrowers with existing credit histories and profiles.

On the other hand, the unbanked sections of the population, or those with limited exposure to institutional credit were not affected much with these developments, finding themselves in more or less the same situation as before.

Latin America

Uruguay: Peer To Peer Lending In Uruguay (Mondaq) Rated: AAA

As the peer to peer lending market is quite embryonic, processional expertise is recommended to make sure the transactions are compliant and in keeping with existing and developing regulations.

Any new lending schemes in this field must be registered with the Central Bank of Uruguay, and payments must be legitimate and in line with existing regulations for the Prevention of Money Laundering.

Asia

Indonesian P2P lender Investree raises Series B round led by SBI Holdings (Deal Street Asia) Rated: AAA

Indonesian P2P firm Investree has announced the closing of a Series B investment in a round led by SBI Holdings and joined by Mandiri Capital Indonesia, Persada Capital, Endeavor Catalyst, 9F Fintech Holdings Group and previous backer Kejora Ventures.

The financial details of the round were not disclosed.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday May 11 2018, Daily News Digest

Volume of homes flipped with loans

News Comments Today’s main news: Robinhood raises $363M. Americans on pace to amass $4T in consumer debt by end of year. Zopa to boost regulatory clout. Reserve Bank of India regulations create P2P lending road blocks. How China struggles to create a credit scoring system. Today’s main analysis: LendingClub earnings overreaction. LendingTree Personal Loan Offers Report for April 2018. Today’s […]

Volume of homes flipped with loans

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

International

Other

News Summary

United States

Robinhood Aims to Rival Coinbase in Crypto With $ 363 Million Funding Round (Fortune) Rated: AAA

Robinhood, the free stock trading app, has raised $363 million in a new investment round valuing the company at $5.6 billion.

The Series D round, announced Thursday, makes Robinhood the second most valuable private fintech startup in the U.S. after Stripe, the online payments company.

Inside SoFi’s (expensive) customer acquisition push (Tear Sheet) Rated: AAA

SoFi, which recently confirmed it had 500,000 members, is on a customer acquisition push.

The company, which initially offered student loan refinancing for high-earning top-tier graduates and has since expanded its offerings, differentiates with VIP-style “member” benefits.

It’s a customer-for-life strategy other digital banking upstarts are pursuing. Luvleen Sidhu, CEO of BankMobile, recently told Tearsheet that a “customer for life” strategy is underpinned by the reality that “every customer is a potential customer,” with product offerings tailored for different life stages. SoFi has been known to pay a high price to gain customers; last year, it reportedly acquired customers at $756 apiece. The non-financial member services are valued at $795 per customer, according to the company.

Hey Future SoFi Money Member (SoFo Money Email), Rated: A

Higher interest (1.09% for May—21x the national checking account average of 0.05%!)

  • Reimbursed ATM fees worldwide (up to 6 per month)
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No overdraft fees or account fees whatsoever!
  • Easy-to-use mobile app
  • SoFi Money Visa Debit Card
  • Mobile check deposit
  • Free checks
  • Top notch customer support
  • Send money to friends and family with easy P2P at no cost
  • Bill pay
  • Direct deposit
  • PLUS access to SoFi membership including complimentary career coaching and member events when you set up direct deposit

Did we mention that if you sign up for an account and set up direct deposit you’ll get $200?

LendingClub: Earnings Overreaction (Seeking Alpha) Rated: AAA

Such a strong reaction to LendingClub hasn’t happened in years. The company is still down 20% year to date, and more than 40% in the last twelve months. LendingClub has struggled to find its footing ever since the ouster of its CEO, Renaud Laplanche, after controversy over the parking of LendingClub notes in a related third-party firm. More recently, in the wake of Wells Fargo’s (WFC) fake-account scandal, the FTC has also charged LendingClub with charging improper fees to borrowers, sending the stock to new all-time lows of $2.57.

Source: Seeking Alpha

But with this earnings quarter – the first time in a long time that LendingClub has rallied to earnings news (in Q4, LendingClub dropped 9% after missing revenue estimates; the quarter before that, it tanked 17% for doing the same). What’s interesting is that even in this quarter, LendingClub continued a three-quarter streak of missing analysts’ revenue expectations.

How Wall Street, Silicon Valley institutionalized home flipping (Curbed) Rated: AAA

As the housing market has gone from recovering to roaring over the last five years, home flipping has also increased.

Source: Curbed

According to data provided by ATTOM Data Solutions, a real estate data provider, some 138,410 flippers invested $56 billion in home flipping in 2017, 34.8 percent of which was financed as opposed to executed in all cash. Prior to the housing bust, the same type of easy credit that infected the traditional mortgage market was also present in home flipping. At the peak of the housing bubble in 2005, more than $100 billion worth of homes were flipped by 287,929 investors, and 66 percent of those home flips were financed with loans.

Source: Curbed

Turn the Post Office Into a Bank? First Check Japan (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

Koizumi won his fight, his party crushing all opposition in a landslide, and his plan was set in motion, though the process has taken more than a decade. The company’s initial public offering in 2015 was the world’s biggest in that year. The government still owns most of Japan Post Holdings Co., and periodically sells off shares, with the goal of eventually reducing its stake to only a third from more than half now. But privatization hasn’t shrunk Japan’s postal bank itself, which remains one of the largest and most important in the world:

Source: Bloomberg

The problem was that Japan’s postal bank didn’t just take deposits — it also lent money, including to so-called zombie companies, or inefficient enterprises that survive due to below-market-rate loans.

Bond Fund Inflows, Dollar Rally and Buyback Surge (INTL FCStone Email), Rated: AAA

Source: INTL FCStone

U.S. equity ETFs have lost $35 billion since the Nasdaq index peaked in mid-March. This is the longest stretch of ETF outflows I can remember since the end of the great financial crisis. Inflows into bond funds accelerated to $16 billion over the same time. Jumping from stock to bond funds at the first sign of volatility was a logical reaction when bond yields were falling to record lows amidst the deflationary fears of the beginning of 2016.

It makes a lot less sense when corporate earnings are soaring, when deficit-related treasury issuance is exploding, and when the New York Fed underlying inflation gauge is clocking above 3%. Last but not least, the equity selloff was in large part driven by a bond market rout that pushed 10-year yields above the economically meaningless but psychologically symbolic 3% level.

Read the full report here.

The Real Estate Lending Merger That Shook Mt. Olympus (Digital Journal) Rated: A

Zeus CrowdFunding, Zeus Hard Money and Zeus Mortgage Bank—made the switch to monotheism. The three successful businesses are now united under a single brand: ZeusLending.com.

Zeus Founder and Chief Acceleration Officer Steven Kaufman claims to have consolidated all three financing businesses into a single organization to better serve the community of real estate buyers and investors who rely upon fast, no-hassle loans to conduct timely transactions.

Federal student loans are about to get more expensive. What you need to know (CNBC) Rated: A

Although the Department of Education hasn’t formally announced the new rates, this year’s bump is likely to be higher than expected, said Mark Kantrowitz, a student loan expert.

Americans On Pace to Amass a Collective $ 4 Trillion in Consumer Debt by the End of 2018 (Benzinga) Rated: AAA

LendingTree today released its first Consumer Debt Outlook for May 2018. Americans are on pace to amass a collective $4 trillion in consumer debt by the end of 2018. Collectively, Americans owe more than 26 percent of their income on consumer debt, up from 22 percent in 2010.

Incomes growing, but consumer borrowing growing faster
Overall, the percentage of total non-housing debt, at 26 percent of Disposable Personal Income, is now even higher than during the credit boom in the mid-2000s.

Source: Lending Tree

 

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

Excellent credit (760+ score): Offered APRs to consumers with a credit score of 760+ averaged 7.35% in April.

  • The average best APR offered to all borrowers with credit scores of 760 or above was 7.35%, a decrease of 7 basis points from the prior month and 2 basis points from the same period one year ago.
  • At $22,774, the average loan amounts offered with the best APRs to all borrowers with a score of 760, up 0.57% ($130) from last month, and over 17.86% ($4,067) from the same period one year ago.
  • The top 10% of offers, presented to borrowers with the best profiles within this group, had offered APRs of 4.87% on average, and loan amounts of $33,931. A borrower with this APR and loan amount would save $2,877 by consolidating debt with a 10% APR over a three-year term.
Source: Lending Tree

Real Estate Crowdfunding: MG Capital Migrates Investment Opportunity Online (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Recently, CI had a chance to catch up with Eric Malley, founder & CEO of MG Capital Management during the Crypto Invest Summit in Los Angeles. While not quite there yet, Malley is interested in the potential of blockchain.  He is looking at the options of how crypto and property can make sense for both investor and issuer.

RealtyMogul’s MogulREIT I Closes $ 4.9 Million Investments in Two Retail Shopping Centers (Citizen Tribune) Rated: B

MogulREIT I, as part of its diversified income strategy, recently completed two preferred equity investments in community-based retail centers. Community-based retail centers are centrally located within their respective population centers and focus on durable tenancy that serves the needs of the working community, thereby being less susceptible to internet retailing. The transactions include a $3 million preferred equity investment in a retail center in Waterbury, CT, consisting of three multi-tenant strips with 17 suites across 50.5 acres and a $1.9 million preferred equity investment in a retail center comprised of two lots with over 27,000 square feet located in Orange County, CA. CoStar reports that within a one-mile radius of the property, average household income is over $116,000.

Goldman Sachs, Apple Team Up on New Credit Card (Wall Street Journal) Rated: A

Apple Inc. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. are preparing to launch a new joint credit card, a move that would deepen the technology giant’s push into its customers’ wallets and mark the Wall Street firm’s first foray into plastic.

The planned card would carry the Apple Pay brand and could launch early next year, people familiar with the matter said. Apple will replace its longstanding rewards-card partnership with Barclays PLC, the people said.

Guaranteed Rate Continues Record-Breaking Streak through April (Blobe Newswire) Rated: A

Guaranteed Rate, one of the nation’s largest retail mortgage lenders, reached $3 billion in total locked loan volume for the month of April and eclipsed records previously broken in March. In a highly-competitive housing market, the retail mortgage lender showed it’s the home purchase expert by achieving the following records: 9,387 in total locked units, $2.5 billion in locked purchase volume and 8,041 in locked purchase units.

 

Why Nationwide is ditching retail banking (Tear Sheet) Rated: A

Nationwide is shutting down its retail bank, returning to its historical core business lines including insurance and retirement; part of this plan is to invest more resources in reaching the fee-only adviser community.

The move to wind down banking operations was a strategic decision to focus on trust operations that support  retirement plans, a company spokesman said. Gaining scale and becoming competitive in retail banking would have required a “significant investment.”

Digital Lending 2.0 — A New Era (LinkedIn) Rated: A

We are now seeing an evolution of the online lending model: version 2.0. This version looks in many ways like a traditional bank, albeit a much lighter and digital one, with multi-product platforms and a variety of custom offerings for consumers. With non-traditional models like Barclays and Goldman Sachs entering the market, online lenders are either partnering up or learning from the players they sought to disrupt. In digital lending 2.0, it will be important to take an open collaborative approach, broaden offerings and deepen customer relationships through more customized solutions.

Marketplace Lending Update #3: Kabbage Heads to Court (The National Law Review) Rated: A

A recently filed California lawsuit raises the stakes in the ongoing challenge to the “bank origination model.” The lawsuit, Barnabas Clothing, Inc. v. Kabbage, Inc., was filed on March 22, 2018 in Superior Court in Los Angeles and recently removed to the federal court.1 Barnabas alleges violations of state usury, false advertising, and unfair competition laws, and asserts two federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (“RICO”) Act claims. Barnabas seeks to certify a class on behalf of all California-based Kabbage borrowers and requests various relief, including that the court void the Kabbage loans.

You can do more than you think with bad credit (Inquirer Business) Rated: B

CreditCards.com, the average FICO credit score was 699 in 2016, which is just a step above fair credit. About 30 percent of Americans have poor credit, making it difficult for them to function in the financial world.

Get Creative with Loans

  • Peer to Peer LendingSince 2005, peer to peer (P2) lending has been a staple for those seeking funding with bad credit. Rather than going through an institution, you apply for and receive funds over a member-funded platform.

 

United Kingdom

Zopa to boost regulatory clout ahead of Brexit (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

ZOPA is recruiting staff to bolster its regulatory expertise and influence ahead of industry changes and developments such as Brexit.

The peer-to-peer lender is advertising for a public and regulatory affairs officer who will be responsible for building relationships with key regulatory and political stakeholders and industry bodies.

 

Nearly Half of Aspiring Property Developers Say Economic Growth Will Have the Greatest Effect on House Prices in the Next Five Years (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

According to LendInvest, when asked what will have the biggest effect on house prices in the next five years, nearly half (40%) of those surveyed viewed national economic growth as having the greatest impact. Only a quarter of respondents (24%) reportedly believe political developments, such as further elections and impending Brexit, will affect house price growth the most. And a shortage in supply of housing is the biggest concern affecting house prices for only a fifth (20%) of those surveyed, while 16% of aspiring developers cited the construction of new infrastructure such as the new HS2 and Crossrail lines as the key influencing factor.

 

Goldman Sachs has invested in a UK startup that tells you when to switch mortgages (Business Insider) Rated: A

Goldman Sachs has led a £13.6 million funding round into UK startup Trussle, a company that helps people get mortgages online and tells them when to switch to better deals.

Goldman Sachs Principal Strategic Investments and Propel Venture Partners led the Series B investment into Trussle, which was announced on Wednesday.

Virgin Money offer highlights testing times for challenger banks (Financial Times) Rated: A

CYBG recently made a takeover approach of rival Virgin Money as challenger banks look for solutions in what has become a tough market; challenger banks are dealing with increased competition by digital entrants, not to mention the big four UK banks, rising funding costs and bigger rivals in the mortgage market; M&A activity among challengers is increasing as companies look to consolidate and digitize to compete.

 

 

Credit Kudos a bureau hero in open banking roll-out race (Fintech Futures) Rated: B

Credit Kudos has got connected with banks in the UK, becoming the “first credit bureau to offer open banking services to lenders and individuals”.

According to the credit bureau, borrowers can now use its services to verify income and demonstrate creditworthiness using their financial history data.

The company has now launched connections with Lloyds, Halifax, Bank of Scotland, Royal Bank of Scotland, NatWest, Ulster Bank, Allied Irish Bank, Danske Bank, and HSBC.

Mortgages shine in Castlight Financial’s open banking pilot (Fintech Futures) Rated: B

Glasgow-based Castlight Financial is partnering with Paradigm Mortgage Services and Foundation Home Loans to launch a pilot of its affordability tool powered by open banking technology.

Called Affordability Passport, Castlight says it allows brokers to process mortgages in under ten minutes.

China

China Struggles to Establish Credit Scoring System (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

China’s government has tried for many years to establish a credit system that rivals the U.S. and Europe, but has found it a struggle to get there.

In 2015 China’s Central Bank contracted eight companies, including affiliates of TencentPing Anand Alibaba, to help build a credit system that could rival what other developed economies use. The experiment up until today has not fared well as lenders and e-commerce firms continue to use their own proprietary systems to determine risk of the borrower.

One of the main drivers behind the failure is companies were reluctant to share the data they collected. Also, conflicts of interest arose as users could be rewarded by using certain companies to drive their score up.

International

Splitit is financing purchases for debit cardholders (Tear Sheet) Rated: AAA

Splitit, a competitor to lending companies like Affirm and Klarna, is bringing its point-of-sale financing product to debit card users in the U.S. and Europe, targeting fashion and jewelry websites in particular, like Vestiaire Collective and Philip Stein.

Unlike its competitors, however, the company is focused on making the retail industry better for everyone involved — banks, processors, consumers and merchants — rather than displacing credit cards, said Gil Don, CEO of Splitit.

It might be decades before credit cards disappear, but different industries are already seeking ways to sidestep the fees that come with today’s credit card payments.

Getline ICO (GET Token): Blockchain Credit Scoring & Lending? (Bitcoin Exchange Guide) Rated: A

The GetLine network is a peer-to-peer lending platform that is built on the Ethereum blockchain. By leveraging distributed ledger technology, the objective of this project is to disrupt the lending sector, which is currently valued at a whopping $1 trillion. Therefore, transactions will be processed instantly thanks to the direct connection between lenders and borrowers. Moreover, the platform will rely on an advanced credit risk prediction mechanism, making the entire lending process safer and accessible to lenders and borrowers respectively.

 

India

RBI regulations create roadblocks for peer-to-peer lending companies (Business Standard) Rated: AAA

Is non-bank lending a form of access to credit for those in need or an investment asset class for the well-to-do? That is the question that India’s central bank perhaps grappled with while framing the regulations for the nascent peer-to-peer (P2P) lending companies.

While the regulations were put up only in November last year, a handful of companies have exited business and many others have changed tack after looking at the guidelines.

Asia

DBS Bank rolls out Singapore’s first in-app digital financial advisor that’s called ‘Your Financial GPS’ – (Business Insider) Rated: A

DBS Bank recently announced a new in-app holistic digital financial advisor which it called “Your Financial GPS”  – said to be the first of its kind in Singapore.

If you’re a DBS/POSB Bank member and have recently used your iBanking or digibank app, you might have noticed the new feature already available on the app’s main page.

Indonesia: Skystar-backed P2P lender Julo raises $ 5m Series A round (Deal Street Asia) Rated: A

Indonesian peer-to-peer (P2P) lending startup Julo has raised $5 million in a Series A funding round led by Skystar Capital and East Ventures.

Other investors that joined the round include Gobi Partners, Convergence Ventures, Provident Capital, Central Capital Ventura, Heyokha Brothers and other strategic investors, Julo announced on Thursday.

The new round of funding comes only a year after Julo raised an undisclosed amount in a seed round, also led by Skystar Capital.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor