Thursday November 8 2018, Daily News Digest

LendingClub total loans

News Comments Today’s main news: LendingClub loan origination estimates better than expected, losses widen. Zopa closes 60M GBP in funding. Landbay hits 200M GBP lending landmark. N26 expands in Europe. BBVA, Red Electrica Corporation complete blockchain-based syndicated loan transaction. Today’s main analysis: Q3 earnings for GreenSky, LendingClub, OnDeck. Today’s thought-provoking articles: How GreenSky is changing financing. LendingTree’s mortgage offers report […]

LendingClub total loans

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

International

Other

News Summary

United States

LendingClub profit beats estimates on record loan originations (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Online lender LendingClub Corp (LC.N) reported an adjusted third-quarter profit that edged past analysts’ estimates and raised its full-year earnings forecast on Tuesday, helped by record loan originations and higher transaction fees.

The company said it now expects 2018 adjusted earnings of between $89 million and $94 million, up from a previous range of $75 million to $90 million.

LendingClub loss widens on higher expenses (Reuters), Rated: A

Online lender LendingClub Corp’s quarterly net loss widened, due to higher expenses for outstanding legacy issues.

The San Francisco-based company’s net loss fell to $22.8 million, or 5 cents per share, in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, from a loss of $6.5 million, or 2 cents per share, a year earlier.

LendingClub to expand in Utah (Pulse.com), Rated: B

The Governor’s Office of Economic Development announced 

How GreenSky, In-House Financing, and Blockchain Are Transforming the World of Credit (Premier Gazette), Rated: AAA

Fifty years ago, if you needed a loan for yourself or your business, you would typically walk into a brick-and-mortar bank, fill out a bunch of paperwork, talk to a loan officer, and wait several days or weeks to find out if you were approved. Today, this story has changed, and it’s going to look even more different in the future.

Borrowers seem to like GreenSky’s new way of obtaining credit. So far, the fintech company has served more than 1.9 million customers, providing them over $13 billion. Perhaps GreenSky’s most promising distinction is that it has also been consistently profitable with its new way of providing loan services. Its transaction volume has grown steadily from $2.1 billion in 2015 to $3.8 billion in 2017. During the same time, it grew its merchant base from 5,000 to nearly 13,000. Clearly, consumers in the 21st century like the new way of borrowing.

GreenSky estimates the home improvement industry, one of its key targets, to be just south of $350 billion annually. At a transaction volume of $3.8 billion, the fintech company has roughly 1% of the market.

Source: Premier Gazette

The APR’s for GreenSky’s products tend to fall between 5% and 24%, depending on the borrower’s credit profile. Loan terms vary from 42 to 90 months, and customers can borrow up to $55,000. GreenSky does not cater to subprime borrowers.

Late in 2018, GreenSky announced a new partnership with American Express.

Roundup of Q3 2018 Earnings: GreenSky, OnDeck, LendingClub (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

OnDeck posted gross revenues of $103 million, up 8% from the previous quarter and 23% from the prior year period. OnDeck is benefiting from higher interest income due to rate increases as well as their origination growth while being able to decrease funding costs. Effective interest yield was 36.5%, up from 33.1% last year.

Source: Lend Academy

Net income came in at $9.8 million for the quarter, up from a loss of $4.1 million from the prior year period.

Source: Lend Academy
  • Gross revenue of $392 million to $396 million, up from $380 million to $386 million,
  • Net income of $20 million to $24 million, up from $10 to $16 million, and
  • Adjusted Net income of $40 million to $44 million, up from $30 million to $36 million.

GreenSky

GreenSky reported record transaction volume in the third quarter of $1.4 billion, up 33% year over year. Revenue increased 29% to $113.9 million year over year. GAAP net income was $45.7 million.

Source: Lend Academy

LendingClub

Net revenues were $184.6 million, up 20% from the prior year period and originations were $2.9 billion, up 18% from last year. Applications also reached their highest levels, up 30% year over year.

In Q3 2018 GAAP Consolidated Net Loss was $22.7 million, or $7.3 million if you exclude $15.5 million of expenses related to outstanding legacy issues.

Source: Lend Academy

Total loans issued by the company now stands at over $40 billion.

Source: Lend Academy
  • Net Revenue in the range of $688 million to $698 million.
  • GAAP Consolidated Net Loss in the range of $129 million to $124 million, reflecting expenses related to outstanding legacy issues through the third quarter partly offset by higher Adjusted EBITDA guidance.
  • Adjusted EBITDA in the range of $89 million to $94 million.

LendingTree Mortgage Offers Report – October 2018 (Lending Tree), Rated: AAA

October’s best mortgage offers for borrowers with the best profiles (the 95th percentile of borrowers) had an average APR of 4.61% for conforming 30-year fixed-rate purchase loans, up from 4.39% in September. The APR on refinance loan offers increased 22 basis points (bps), to 4.62%.

For the average borrower, the purchase APR for conforming 30-year fixed-rate loans offered on LendingTree’s platform was 5.27%, up 18 bps from September. The loan note rate of 5.14% is the highest rate of the year.

Consumers with the highest credit scores (760-plus, representing the 65th percentile of borrowers) received an average APR of 5.12%, versus 5.42% for consumers with scores of 680 to 719. The APR spread of 30 bps between these score ranges is the same as it was in September. For the average purchase loan amount of $233,938, the spread represents over $15,000 in additional costs for borrowers with lower credit scores over 30 years.

For the average borrower, the APR for conforming 30-year fixed-rate refinance loans increased 17 bps from September to 5.26%. The spread between credit score brackets (760-plus and 680 to 719) remained the same as last month, at 24 bps. That amounts to nearly $13,000 in extra costs over the life of the loan for borrowers with lower credit scores, given an average refinance loan of $238,447.

Average proposed purchase down payments fell to $60,361, a decline of about $3,600.

Source: Lending Tree

LendingTree Study Finds Millennials in the South Owe the Most on Their Cars (Benzinga), Rated: A

LendingTree today released its study on where millennials owe the most on their cars.

Key findings

  • Even car loans are bigger in TexasMetros in the Lone Star State dominate the top of the list: McAllenHoustonEl Paso and San Antonio have the highest median auto loan balances for millennials at $23,704$20,925$20,544 and $20,521 respectively.
  • Car capital of the world has the lowest auto debt. Ironically, Motor City has the lowest levels of millennial auto debt on our list with a median debt of $10,841 as well as the lowest average debt of $14,573.
  • Great Lakes area metros shine with the least auto debt. After Detroit, millennials in Rochester, N.Y.Grand RapidsToledo, Ohio, and Cleveland carry the lowest median auto debts, at $12,165$12,429$12,678 and $12,717 respectively.
  • New York and Ogden, UtahThese metros are on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to carrying any auto debt at all — New York has the lowest percentage of millennials with auto debt at 41.5 percent while Ogden, Utah has the highest percentage of millennials with auto debt (64.5 percent).

Outside Financial Brings Much-Needed Transparency to Auto Lending (Digital Journal), Rated: A

To prevent the average consumer from being charged more than $1700 in hidden markups on auto loan packages, Outside Financials opens an independent loan marketplace to facilitate transparency in auto lending and auto refinance.

We got a peek at Plaid’s financials, the fintech startup whose valuation has tripled in the past 6 months to as much as $ 3 billion (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

As of October, Plaid told investors it was on track to generate about $70 million over the next 12 months, two people who were briefed on the financials tell Business Insider.

That’s up from the $50 million in revenue the company told investors just one month earlier it was on track to generate, two other people who reviewed Plaid’s financials at the time said.

Fighting financial crime without excluding the underbanked (American Banker), Rated: A

Eugene Ludwig, founder and chief executive officer of IBM’s Promontory Financial Group, said artificial intelligence — already employed to help identify potential anti-money-laundering activity — is getting smarter, and can now be used to identify vulnerable groups of people who have been incorrectly labeled as high risk.

Nerdwallet Wants To Make Comparison Shopping For Financial Services Simple (Forbes), Rated: A

For example, Nerdwallet personal loan product page sorted loans by interest rates.

“All our consumers hated it. They wanted it sorted by monthly payments, which seems odd until you put yourself in their shoes and see what is going on month by month,” Chen said. “We have to meet them where they are. If you start by wagging your finger, that’s a good way to get them to hit the back button on their browser.”

Nerdwallet has three million members and more than 100 million visits each year, Chen said.

InfoSec Governance, Risk, and Compliance Manager (LinkedIn), Rated: B

SoFi is seeking an experienced InfoSec Manager to assist in all aspects of our governance, risk and compliance program.

NRL Mortgage Selects The Riivos Mortgage Lending Application (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Riivos Mortgage, a division of Riivos, Inc., the provider of cloud-based continuous value chain management technology, today announced that NRL Mortgage, an originator serving customers coast to coast, is using the Riivos Mortgage Lending forecasting, planning and reporting application to help them analyze and capitalize on growth opportunities. NRL Mortgage is majority owned by St. Christopher’s Holdings LLC, a privately-owned holding company based in Houston, Texas.

Judge suspends compliance deadline for CFPB payday rule (American Banker), Rated: B

U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel on Tuesday reversed a previous order from June and granted, in part, the request by acting CFPB Director Mick Mulvaney and two industry trade groups to delay the payday rule’s August 2019 compliance date. They sought a delay to prevent lenders from having to comply with the old rule before the revisions are finalized.

United Kingdom

Zopa, the UK P2P lending company, closes £60M round on path to launching a bank (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Obtaining a banking license and then launching an actual new retail bank requires capital. A lot of capital. Enter Zopa, the U.K. peer-to-peer lending company that wants to become a bank, which today is announcing that it has closed £60 million in further funding. Only £16 million is actually new new money, having already disclosed £44 million in August, so this is effectively an extension of that earlier fund-raise.

Landbay reaches £200m lending landmark (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

LANDBAY has hailed its quality service and strong broker relationships as it reached the £200m lending milestone this week.

The peer-to-peer property platform, which purely focuses on buy-to-let mortgages (BTL), said it had reached the landmark with a track record of zero defaults.

Atom is intensifying its mortgage push (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Atom has initially introduced 2- and 5-year buy-to-let remortgage products for landlords that have four to 25 properties. Users will have to pay a 1% loan fee, and the maximum loan term is 25 years.

Source: Business Insider

Older P2P property lenders boast “negligible or zero losses” (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE LONGEST running peer-to-peer property platforms are providing investors with high returns and “negligible or zero capital losses,” analysis claims.

Research from P2P analysis firm 4th Way has highlighted 11 lenders who now have a track record of four years or more.

LendInvest seeds newly launched real estate debt fund with £150m (Real Assets), Rated: A

LendInvest has launched a new real estate debt fund with £150m (€171.6m) seed capital from a previous fund.

JAJA SMASHES CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN AS IT READIES CREDIT CARD LAUNCH (Fintech Finance), Rated: A

Jaja Finance, the company on a mission to simplify the world of consumer finance, announces that it has already reached its fundraising target of £3m on equity crowdfunding platform Seedrs. The company will use the funds to expand its team and launch its digital credit card, Jaja.

China

Chinese tech CEO predicts ‘exponential’ growth in financial technology (CNBC), Rated: A

Financial technology has reached a tipping point for China’s Ping An Technology and future growth in that area is set to be exponential, according to CEO Ericson Chan.
European Union

N26 Expansion: German Challenger Bank Brings Services to Denmark, Norway, Poland, & Sweden (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Germany-based challenger bank N26 is bringing its services to Denmark, Norway, Poland, and Sweden.

“N26 passes on these cost benefits to its customers. N26 partners with the most innovative fintech and traditional financial companies to offer its customers best-in-class products such as TransferWise (foreign exchange), Raisin (savings), Clark and Allianz (insurance), auxmoney (credit) and others.”

International

Banks complete first syndicated loan on blockchain (BBVA), Rated: AAA

BBVA and Red Electrica Corporation have become the first businesses in the world to deliver a syndicated loan using blockchain. The €150m deal, granted by BBVABNP Paribas and MUFG, was reached in record speed using BBVA’s proprietary platform- which is powered by distributed ledger technology.

Seven Businesses That Promise Digital Can Be Ethical (Forbes), Rated: A

In financial services, an industry where trust is a particular issue, Monzo was founded on the idea that there should be an alternative to traditional banking practices. Monzo argues that banks should get rid of punitive fees, do more to ensure customers know exactly what they can expect to pay for an overdraft, and provide greater control over how people spend their money.

Start-up Wagestream has just raised £4.5m for a business it promises will kill off the payday loan sector and the ‘payday poverty cycle’.

Banks should ally with fintechs in battle against payday lenders (PaymentsSource), Rated: A

Bankers who regard payment technology companies such as fintechs as a problem may be missing opportunities.

Alternatives to payday lending are an example. These fintechs provide credit for nonprime customers, such as a recently divorced woman faced with a slew of new expenses. It is pricey credit, but cheaper than payday lenders. Unlike payday lenders, these companies provide credit reporting and reduced rates as a client pays off the loan. Eventually, a successful client qualifies for bank lending and leaves to take advantage of bank interest rates.

Source: PaymentsSource

Report: AI in Fintech (Diplomatic Courier), Rated: A

FinTech has revolutionized the way that banks and insurance companies function. Rather than prioritizing themselves and their services as in the past, banks must emphasize client needs in today’s new technological era. This focus on personalized financial services manifests itself in FinTech—a financial infrastructure for consumer enablement. As FinTech applies data and technology to financial services in an effort to address industry challenges, artificial intelligence is essential to FinTech’s existence and usage.

To read the full report click here for the digital edition.

Crypto Power Player PwC is Assisting on Cred Crypto Lending Platform’s New Stablecoin Project (Bitcoin Exchange Guide), Rated: A

A division of the worldwide accounting and consulting firm PwCis currently working with a new stablecoin project that aims at developing a U.S. Dollar-based coin. The Hong Kong division will be exploring the best practices for issuing new stablecoinsworking with the Loopring Foundation.

Research reveals three tech strategies that will benefit small and midsized financial institutions (Finastra), Rated: B

A new piece of research, sponsored by Finastraand executed by Mercator Advisory Group, shows that small and midsized financial institutions can derive significant benefits to operational efficiency by pursuing three distinct cost-saving strategies: vendor consolidation, cloud delivery, and artificial intelligence. Based on in-depth interviews with C-level representatives of community banks and credit unions with asset size between $200 million and $5 billion, the research gauges attitudes toward and levels of adoption for each strategy.

  • Consolidation of vendors ultimately eliminates the need to maintain and manage multiple systems, and can improve operational efficiency by 20-30%.i
  • Cloud delivery brings numerous benefits including the ability to easily scale system capacity to meet demand.
  • Artificial intelligence (AI), which is the least adopted of the three strategies to date, promises to make processes smarter, faster and more personalized to the consumer. However, in order to reap these rewards, banks must prioritize their vendor consolidation and cloud delivery road maps.

The white paper, titled Landmark Decisioning: Using Vendor Consolidation, Cloud Computing, and Artificial Intelligence to Improve Operational Efficiency, is available here.

Persona and FintruX announce renewed control over personal data (Leaprate), Rated: B

Persona, the blockchain-based solution for identity management,has just announced its partnership with FintruX, the P2P lending ecosystem, to streamline the onboarding process for customers while ensuring they remain in full control over their personal details.

Persona is the first identity management solution developing its own blockchain, as opposed to other projects being developed as ERC20 tokens over Ethereum.

Asia

Funding Societies | Modalku Included in Global List of 100 Leading Fintech Innovators (Markets Insider), Rated: AAA

‘Look at where debt has gone’: MAS chief warns of 3 shifts in global financial risks (Channel NewsAsia), Rated: A

While the fault lines of the last global financial crisis have been mostly addressed, risks remain and have shifted in three ways over the past 10 years, said the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) managing director Ravi Menon on Wednesday (Nov 7).

Meanwhile, the extension of credit has shifted from banks to non-banks – one of the areas that have not been given enough attention, said Mr Menon.

Canada

Loop Partners With Equifax to Launch Canada’s First Free Business and Consumer Credit Education Platform (Newswire), Rated: AAA

Equifax Canada and Loop today announced the launch of a credit health and monitoring platform for businesses. Launched at the intersection of Small Business Month and Financial Literacy Month, the new platform empowers Canadian small business owners and entrepreneurs alike, to improve their financial and credit health through easy-to-read credit scores, reports and resources.

Crypto Loans On The Rise – BTC Used As Collateral For Canadian Dollars (Crypto Disrupt), Rated: A

It is now possible to attain a loan for Canadian Dollars (CAD) using bitcoin as collateral. The ability to use crypto as a form of collateral for fiat is a sign of further legitimacy for the sector. More providers are expected to follow suit and offer crypto loans, with a wider range of fiat currencies for a larger range of acceptable cryptocurrencies used as collateral.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday January 31 2018, Daily News Digest

eloans

News Comments Today’s main news: Spreads narrow on SoFi’s SCLP 2018-1 consumer loan ABS. DiversyFund raises $1M. Ranger Direct Lending sees arbitration delay. Klarna partners with Maplin. BNI Europa partners with Funding Circle on German SME lending. Western Union opens tech center in India. Today’s main analysis: Banco Popular reboots Eloan. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Marketplace Lending Association executive director’s testimony […]

eloans

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

APAC

News Summary

United States

Spreads narrow on SoFi’s 1st consumer loan ABS of 2018 (Asset Securitization Report), Rated: AAA

Strong demand and higher credit enhancement allowed Social Finance to offer lower spreads on its first consumer loan securitization of the year, even after upsizing the deal to $850 million from $650 million originally.

Four tranches of rated were issued, resulting in an advance rate of 91%, according to a person familiar with the transaction. The amount of overcollateralization in the deal will gradually build from 9% to 16%.

Two senior tranches of notes rated AA + by KBRA were issued. The Class A-1 tranche, which has a shorter expected life, pays 50 basis points over the Eurodollar synthetic forward curve, in from 57 basis points on the comparable tranche of the previous transaction. The Class A-2 tranche pays 75 basis points over the interpolated swaps curve, in from 90 basis points on the previous deal.

 

Ranger Direct hit by arbitration delay and manager uncertainty (Citywire), Rated: AAA

The New Year rally in Ranger Direct Lending (RDL) shares has come to an abrupt halt after the listed loan fund, which is backed by fund manager Mark Barnett, said arbitration to settle the legal dispute between it and Princeton Alternative Finance had been extended by around two months.

The £119 million investment trust has been locked in an argument with Princeton, a New Jersey-based investment fund in which it is the leading investor, over its exposure to Argon Credit, a US peer-to-peer lending platform that collapsed in December 2016.

Uncertainty over the exposure to Argon – which represents 14% of its £217 million net assets – and doubts over the due diligence by its adviser Ranger Alternative Management (RAM) have hobbled the shares. They fell over 23% last year but had rallied since the end of December when they hit a record low discount of 32% below net asset value. From 704p at the start of the year they recovered to 767p last week but have dropped 4% or 31p today after yesterday’s announcement. Although still wide, the discount has narrowed to just under 13%.

Relx pays £580m for digital identity company (Financial Times), Rated: A

Relx, the UK-listed information and analytics group formerly known as Reed Elsevier, has struck its biggest deal in a decade with the £580m purchase of ThreatMetrix, an online identify verification business.

ThreatMetrix has one of “largest repositories of online digital identities”, according to UBS analysts, and has built a database containing 1.4bn unique online digital identities from 4.5bn devices in 185 countries.

GLI Finance scores £50m funding line from HoneyComb fund (AltFi), Rated: A

The funding line has a term of 3 years and comprises a £50m revolving credit facility, of which £20m will be drawn and deployed immediately.

Ezbob Raises £15M in Expansion Capital (Finsmes), Rated: A

Ezbob, a London, UK-based E-lending company, raised £15M in funding.

Da Vinci Capital Management Ltd. reportedly made the investment at a post money valuation of £100m.

Meet The Lenders That Need Your SME’s Money More Than You Need Theirs (Forbes), Rated: A

in particular, the UK’s peer-to-peer lending platforms are now crying out for new customers.

Today, however, more than 30 lending platforms, including all the large small business lenders, offer their own IFISA or are on the verge of launching a product. For investors, moreover, the returns available from these schemes looks very attractive: annual yields of 10 per cent or more in some cases look phenomenal when set against the backdrop of bank and building society accounts typically paying less than 0.5 per cent a year, even if there is a risk of losses on IFISAs if borrowers default.

Augmentum Capital to seek public listing to back fintech start-ups (Financial Times), Rated: B

Augmentum Capital, the venture group backed by Lord Rothschild, is planning to list a financial technology investment fund in what would be one of the sector’s biggest initial public offerings in a decade.

It is understood to be applying for admission to London’s main market in March and will seek to raise up to £125m with the sale of new shares.

China

China’s financial risk worse than in US before financial crisis, says former finance minister (Today Online), Rated: AAA

The level of risk facing China’s financial system could be higher than was seen in the United States before the global crash, according to a former Chinese finance minister.

“China’s ratio of M2 [a broad measure of money supply] to gross domestic product has surpassed 200 per cent, which is more than twice that of the United States, yet the average Shanghai interbank offered rate is 4.09 per cent, far higher than the 1.1 per cent in the US.”

According to official figures, the M2 money supply at the end of December was 167.68 trillion yuan (S$34.75 trillion), or 203 per cent of China’s nominal GDP in 2017.

Chinese P2P lending platform Senmiao Technology sets terms for $ 14 million US IPO (NASDAQ), Rated: A

Senmiao Technology, an early-stage Chinese marketplace for peer-to-peer lending, announced terms for its IPO on Tuesday.

The Chengdu, China-based company plans to raise $14 million by offering 3.3 million shares at a price range of $4.00 to $4.50. At the midpoint of the proposed range, Senmiao Technology would command a market value of $109 million.

European Union

Klarna signs Maplin for online pay-later (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Today, leading payments provider Klarna has announced a partnership with Maplin – the UK’s number one specialist technology retailer. Maplin customers will now be able to use Klarna’s Pay later and Slice It services, allowing them to order online and receive the very latest Smart Home tech, security/CCTV products, top quality drones and so on, and then pay for them either at a later date or spread the cost over time.

Pay later enables online and mobile Maplin customers making purchases of £200 or less to receive their products and pay for them 30 days later, with no interest or fees.

BNI Europa to fund German SME loans via Funding Circle (Finextra), Rated: AAA

The Portuguese online bank Banco BNI Europa and Funding Circle have entered into a strategic partnership to support the growth of small and medium-sized businesses in Germany.

Investment will support the funding needs of c. 600 companies and thereby help to create c. 1,500 new jobs

Banco Popular reboots Eloan for new era in online lending (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Banco Popular is relaunching E-loan (it dropped the hyphen from the name) to serve as its “fintech arm,” a stand-alone brand offering solely digital products.

Launched in 1997, Eloan re-enters a market where fintechs now account for over 30% of personal loan originations, according to TransUnion. The brand will compete for clients alongside well-financed upstarts like LendingClub as well as new offerings from banks such as Marcus from Goldman Sachs.

 

Spendesk Raises €8 Million to Expand Its Platform for All Company Purchases (Payments Journal), Rated: A

Spendesk, a fintech solution that helps businesses manage their spending, has raised an €8 million Series A round led by Index Ventures, with participation from existing investors. The funds will be used to accelerate product development and expand across Europe.

ABN Amro, ING and Rabobank hit by cyberattacks (Fintech Futures), Rated: B

Three Dutch banks, ABN AmroING and Rabobank, suffered a series of DDoS attacks last weekend (27 and 28 January).

During the attack, internet banking, mobile banking, its website and Ideal were unavailable or extremely slow on 27 January from around 8pm to 12.15am CET and on 28 January from 12pm to 2pm CET and after 7pm CET.

International

 

CHECQIT, the P2P Lending Platform Aiming to Empower the Unbanked (The Merkle), Rated: A

According to the World Bank’s Global Findex report, nearly 2 billion adults and 160 million small businesses from all over the world do not have bank accounts. Efforts to approach them to traditional financial institutions have not been enough, limiting their economic growth potential.

Only 14% of adults living in the Middle East hold a bank account, opposed to the 94% of citizens from first world western countries that do. Developing regions with underserved communities such as India and sub-Saharan Africa comprise, when combined, nearly 32% of the world’s unbanked and underbanked population.

As a response to this issue, Nassim Benzekri and his team developed CHECQIT, an Ethereum-based, decentralized, peer-to-peer lending platform that allows users to grow their collaterals against a fast-guaranteed loan.

Finastra acquires Olfa Soft SA (Realwire), Rated: B

Finastra has acquired Olfa Soft SA and its cutting edge FX e-trading platform for banks and financial institutions. The move enables Finastra to deliver a unique end-to-end real-time eFX trading solution for banks’ treasury departments, covering distribution, position-keeping, post-trade and payments.

India

Western Union Opens Tech Center In India (Bank Innovation), Rated: AAA

Cross-border payments company Western Union is opening a technology center in India, which will focus on biometrics, machine learning, and robotics, the company announced yesterday.

The center, located in Pune, Maharashtra, will have over 1,000 employees all focused on building these “innovative digital and retail customer experiences globally,” the company said in a press release.

Rubique announces strategic partnership with Optacredit (Outlook), Rated: AAA

Rubique, a marketplace lending platform for individuals and SMBs, entered into a strategic partnership with OptaCredit, an Artificial Intelligence-powered, data-driven online lending platform focused on providing unsecured credit to salaried professionals across India.

With its Online PLUS technology led model and proprietary matchmaking algorithm, Rubique will enlist the company on its online marketplace for applicants to avail viable loan products from OptaCredit’s offerings.

P2P Lending Set to Explode in 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

RBI’s much awaited official guidelines for Peer to Peer (P2P) lending platforms to bring them into the ambit of non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) is set to boost online lending. It is fast emerging as an investment option for retail lenders. The NBFC-P2Ps will act as an intermediary to provide an online platform to lenders and borrowers to transact on mutually agreeable terms. RBI has defined P2P lending as a form of crowdfunding that entails issuing unsecured loans to borrowers via an online portal in its 2016, ‘Consultation Paper on Peer to Peer Lending’. However, P2P lending is different from other crowdfunding activities in being a purely debt product, in which multiple lenders fund borrowers as personal loans or small business loans. Most of the P2P platforms in India such as IndiaMoneyMart curate their borrowers after conducting KYC checks, credit assessment, and due diligence before listing them on their loan exchanges.

On the positives, the regulation has made P2P lending platforms accountable to furnish credit repayment/non-repayment information to all 4 credit bureaus, thereby increasing transparency in the credit rating system. The credit rating agencies have records on about 150 million population but P2P lending platforms are also going to bring customers hitherto relying on private money lenders. This presents a huge opportunity to close the credit information gap. It will also reward sub-prime borrowers with a better credit score for showing improvement in loan repayment behaviour.

As many first time or retail borrowers take loans from money lenders or payday companies which charge interest as high as 5% to 20% per month, P2P platforms like IndiaMoneyMart are bridging the gap by making credit not only accessible but affordable. Bangalore-based IT consultant, Tanmay Thorat* (name changed) was paying over 300% interest to payday loan companies and approached IndiaMoneyMart for a small ticket size loan of INR 1 Lakh secured at rate of 13% annualized interest in March 2016required to settle his credit card debt and pay rent deposit.

The expectation from the Union Budget 2018 is immense in the BFSI segment, especially after RBI regulation. Experts hope that essential financial services will have GST rates revised from 18% to 5% or nil.

Budget 2018: how can we enhance the growth of startups in India? (YourStory), Rated: A

Most importantly, the fund of funds for startups (FFS) has begun to take shape with as much as Rs 1,100 crore being disbursed to SIDBI for allocation to venture funds. As of September 15, 2017, 17 venture funds have raised Rs 605 crore from SIDBI and as many as 72 startups have received about Rs 318 crore funds. The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) has also recently announced that this number will be increased to Rs 2,400 crore by the end of the next fiscal.

For instance, the startup space has reportedly seen a decline of 53 percent in seed funding and 25 percent in venture funds in 2017.

Listed below are four suggestions for Budget 2018.

  1. Abolish angel tax
  2. Encourage Indians to fund India
  3. Extend tax holiday
  4. Standardise and simplify   

10 things FM Arun Jaitley can do to boost access to capital via digital lenders (Financial Express), Rated: A

  1. Allow a lower MHP for servicing short-term needs of MSMEs
  2. Raise rate caps under MUDRA scheme: The RBI currently has capped the final rate that can be charged above the refinance rate offered by MUDRA at 3% for banks, 6% for NBFCs and 10%-12% for MFIs, depending on portfolio size. Since most of the new lenders incur high opex, this cap should be increased in the Budget 2018 to 10-12% in line with MFIs, for loans up to Rs 5 lakhs, and 8-10% for loans from Rs 5-25 lakh value.
  3. Extend the SIDBI net
  4. Make P2P platforms more attractive: A cap of 5% of net worth for lenders and a maximum individual loan amount of Rs 25 lakh for the borrowers would make these platforms attractive for both lender and borrower.
  5. Expand access to MSMEs
  6. Introduce PSU Banks turndown program
  7. Raise eKYC-based lending limit: The cap for lending through OTP based eKYC should be increased from Rs 60,000 to Rs 5 lakh.
  8. Promote eSign
  9. Mandate eMandate
  10. Increase the flow of data for lending
APAC

Lancers raises $ 9.2m venture round (Deal Street Asia), Rated: AAA

Tokyo-based Lancers, which operates a crowdsourcing platform under the same name, has closed a JPY 1 billion ($9.2 million) round from Tokyo-listed enterprises Persol Holdings and Shinsei Bank.

The investment sees Lancers concluding business partnership contracts with both companies concurrently and will also see it commence its new financing business targeting freelance workers, which the company claims comprise 17 per cent, or 11.22 million workers of Japan’s entire working population.

The addition of Shinsei Bank as an investor will see Lancers, Persol and Shinsei collaborate to develop and provide a new loan service to individual workers who need equipment investment or education/training upon starting a new business.

Crowd Realty closes $ 5.2m Series A (Deal Street Asia), Rated: A

Tokyo-based property crowdfunding portal Crowd Realty has closed its Series A round at JPY 580 million ($5.2 million) from Tokyo-listed Mitsubishi Estate, Shinsei Corporate Investment, Shinsei Bank, and Mizuho Capital, based on an account from The Bridge.

The Series A round saw two tranches: a follow-on investment of JPY 230 million subsequent to a JPY 350 million investment from Mitsubishi Tokyo UFJ Bank, Mitsubishi UFJ Capital, and Kabu.com Securities.

SSC warns against investing in cryptocurrencies (Viet Nam News), Rated: B

In a notice issued on its website on Monday, SSC said that the market now had companies operating in fintech, including cryptocurrency, initial coin offering, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending and blockchain. These were new products that had not been regulated, SSC said, thus posing high risks.

 

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday September 18 2017, Daily News Digest

LendingClub

News Comments Today’s main news: 400K UK consumers may have been affected by Equifax breach. Independent Community Bankers of America letter opposing ILCs. RateSetter launches consumer hire-purchase product. Klarna partners with Wacom. Google enters digital payments in India. Payday type loans come to e-tailers in India. Today’s main analysis: Analysis of SoFi deal SCLP 2017-5 and Lending Club deal CLUB 2017-P1. […]

LendingClub

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

Asia

Africa

News Summary

United States

Independent Community Bankers of America Letter (ICBA), Rated: AAA

As you may be aware, ICBA recently filed a comment letter with the FDIC objecting to the deposit insurance application of SoFi Bank, an industrial loan corporation to be chartered by the state of Utah. In our letter, we urged FDIC, for safety and soundness reasons and to maintain the separation of banking and commerce, to not only deny SoFi Bank’s application but also impose a moratorium on ILC deposit insurance applications. Furthermore, we said that Congress should close the ILC loophole because it not only threatens the financial system but creates an uneven playing field for community banks.

The news that Square also intends to apply to the FDIC for deposit insurance as an industrial loan corporation has significantly increased our concerns and made it even more urgent that the FDIC immediately impose a moratorium on approving deposit insurance applications for ILCs. As we noted in our SoFi Bank letter, the ILC charter is nothing more than a loophole in the law to circumvent the legal prohibitions and restrictions under the Bank Holding Company Act.

SoFi Bank and Square are applying as ILCs and not as commercial banks because their parent companies and their affiliates do not want to be subject to the legal restrictions and supervision attendant to the BHCA. Square, for instance, already owns a point-of-sale hardware appliance business and a food delivery service and therefore could not own a commercial bank without divesting its commercial activities. For safety and soundness 2 reasons and to maintain the separation of banking and commerce, the FDIC should deny SoFi Bank’s application and impose a moratorium for at least two years on future ILC deposit insurance applications, including any application by Square. 

Read the entire letter here.

Did Lending Just Change for Good? (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Bank lending regulations have rarely been thought of as dynamic or exciting but last night’s ruling by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to allow a lender to begin using alternative data in their underwriting could herald the beginning of a new era in lending and how banks work.

Why is this significant?

US banks have traditionally been guided by three key pieces of legislation, the Truth in Lending Act of 1968, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974 and the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977.  These three acts were created before the era of personal computers yet still guide bank lending today.  Since the rise of marketplace lending, which began in 2006, where borrowers go through a platform and investors fund those loans, it is becoming increasingly apparent that many of these regulations are in need of updating.

In an overly simplistic interpretation (and I am not an attorney), the regulator is giving an online consumer lender the right to underwrite loans using ‘alternative data’ which before was not in line with how the Equal Opportunity Act is interpreted by lenders.  It is not clear what data will be allowed but in a CNBC interview, Upstart co-founder Paul Gu suggested that SAT scores, college grades and even college majors are data points which are helpful in predicting loan defaults. 

So assuming the change stands, what is next?

As alternative lenders have more scope to use alternative data, machine learning complex data analysis is opening up an entirely new space for investors.  Gone are the days where banks only competed against each other with marketplace lenders now allowing investors to allocate capital in a similar way to banks, choosing loans to fund based on their own ideas and risk profile.   For now, this is mostly impacting consumer credit, but in the years to come, look for marketplace lending to impact all areas of lending as investors get more comfortable investing in this space regulations start to adapt.

Scandal costs Sofi chance to become a bank, says ex-SEC head (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

SoFi’s application to become a bank has almost no chance of approval in the wake of a sex scandal that forced out its chief executive, says a close adviser and former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

But last week’s departure of Mike Cagney, the co-founder, chairman and chief executive, has effectively killed the application, said Arthur Levitt, a former chairman of the SEC, who began advising the company two years ago.

“This departure of Mike makes that a very questionable attainment,” Mr Levitt said, referring to the charter.

He noted that the FDIC had turned down this type of application “many times” before.

Equity podcast: SoFi loses its CEO, big rounds for unicorns, and will this VC buy the iPhone X? (TechCrunch), Rated: A

We turned first to SoFi, a consumer-finance unicorn that has raised more than a billion in equity, and over $2 billion in total. The company is now down a CEO after allegations of misconduct brought censure upon its CEO, Michael Cagney, and the company’s culture.

Listen to the podcast here.

Fat cat frat boys ape the worst of banking and tech (Financial Times), Rated: A

The article also described employee concerns about lending practices and alleged that investors had been misled over a 2012 financing.

SoFi complained in a public blog about “inaccuracies” in the Times report, but focused on defending its lending practices.

If the allegations are true, SoFi and LendingClub have many of banking’s worst attributes with Silicon Valley’s warts layered on top.

Meanwhile, the allegations of doctored loans and conflicts of interest at LendingClub were reminiscent of some of the excesses of the bankers who fed the subprime mortgage market.

Goldman Sachs thinks fintech has as much potential as trading (Quartz), Rated: AAA

Goldman Sachs has been pilloried for lackluster results from its trading division (paywall), so this week the bank gave investors a peek into its plans (pdf) for making more money. Surprisingly, the Wall Street powerhouse thinks it can generate as much revenue from online consumer loans—a market targeted by many fintech startups—as from buying and selling securities.

Specifically, Goldman thinks it can make $1 billion in extra revenue from its consumer lending business over the next three years, as much as it expects for its trading operations. Combined with new lending for the wealthy and companies, the bank expects to bring in $2 billion in additional sales from loans. Goldman co-chief operating officer Harvey Schwartz said it’s one of the fastest-growing lending platforms ever launched, even though he says the bank is taking its time with the nascent business. The bank’s digital consumer-lending arm called Marcus is expected to have lent out $2 billion by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, big banks have access to cheaper funds than peer-to-peer lenders like Lending Club or Zopa. With consumer deposits and the billions of dollars they routinely borrow in credit markets, banks can undercut the loan rates offered by smaller companies.

That said, Schwartz acknowledged that consumer lending isn’t immune to economic downturns, and analysts cited by Bloomberg were skeptical about Goldman jumping into a market outside its core expertise.

Source: Quartz

The Bank of Google or Amazon? Don’t count on it (American Banker), Rated: AAA

It might seem like it is only a matter of time before the tech giants knock on banking’s door. In fact, a recent World Economic Forum report posited that big tech companies present a greater challenge to banks than fintech startups. The report notes that regulators will accept a more “oligopolistic distribution of financial services products by tech firms.” Already, the fintech providers Social Finance and Square have applied for FDIC-insured banking charters, just as the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency continues work to develop its limited-purpose fintech charter. Are the largest tech firms next in line?

Incumbents still hold the upper hand. The risk of an Amazon or Google or Apple dominating the traditional banking sector is nowhere near a slam dunk.

In every scenario, the tech giants would need to persuade regulators to grant them some kind of charter access in order to effectively compete and level the playing field on funding costs. This would involve easing traditional limits on commercial firms owning banks, and potentially navigating opposition from members of Congress.

But more fundamentally, tech giants have had mixed experiences in rolling out financial services such as Google Wallet and Apple Pay. And despite the reported consumer skepticism of legacy institutions, banks still continue to maintain a high volume of customer relationships.

SoFi CEO Resigns; Goldman & Mosaic Ink Deal; SoFi & Lending Club Deal Analysis (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

In the fallout of the Equifax breach, the leading credit bureaus are dealing with an overwhelming volume of credit freeze requests from consumers. While it is still too early to tell, it seems that the genie is out of the bottle. The breach is sparking additional focus on FinTech innovation to protect consumers (e.g., digital identity verification, disposable card numbers, etc.).

Beyond the headlines, SoFi’s growth engine continues. In Q2 2017 alone, SoFi funded $3.1 Bn in loans with $134 Mn in revenue and $61.6 Mn in adjusted EBITDA. Revenue and adjusted EBITDA were up 67% and 60% year over year respectively.  The news of Cagney’s resignation coincided with SoFi marketing its latest personal loan deal which priced this Friday. Interest in SCLP 2017-5 was initially strong, however the bond priced somewhat wider than guidance.

SoFi’s Latest Consumer Lending Deal: SCLP 2017-5

After Mike Cagney’s resignation on Friday, the lead underwriter re-launched SCLP 2017-5. Since guidance was released before the critical NY Times article on Tuesday, we have a close (but imperfect) control to study the consequences of management upheaval on deal execution.

ABS investors reacted negatively to the news; the bonds priced 10 to 15 bps wider than guidance on Monday.

Source: PeerIQ, Company Filings, S&P, Kroll Bond Rating Agency

LendingClub’s Self-Sponsored Prime Consumer Deal: CLUB 2017-P1

This is the second self-sponsored deal from LendingClub, and it follows the success of CLUB 2017-NP1. LendingClub expects to alternate between prime and near-prime securitizations at least once a year going forward. Of the $363 Mn outstanding, approximately $100 Mn came from LendingClub’s balance sheet (a shift from prior management’s business practice); the remaining loans were contributed from investors.

The CLUB 2017-NP1 and CLUB 2017-P1 deals total to approximately $628 Mn in loans, yet LendingClub has facilitated almost $29 Bn in loans on its platform as of Q2 2017 making it a small part of LendingClub by dollars loaned but a meaningful portion of EBITDA.

Source: PeerIQ, Company Filings, Kroll Bond Ratings Agency

The FinTech Investor Podcast Series: Interview With Ron Suber (SoundCloud), Rated: A

DiversyFund Sells Pre-IPO Shares in Accredited Offer (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

DiversyFund, a real estate crowdfunding marketplace, is selling pre-IPO shares in a Series A crowdfunding round through a Reg D 506(c) offering.

The Form D filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) indicated that Diversyfund had sold $200,000 of a $6 million funding round as of August 31st. Minimum investments of $100,000 are being accepted from accredited investors only.

Misha Esipov of Nova Credit (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • How talking with international students at Stanford led to the idea for Nova Credit.
  • The big problem that Nova Credit is trying to solve.
  • How they began their journey in trying to solve this problem.
  • Details of their Credit Passport product, the international credit report.
  • How they were able to convince international credit bureaus to share their data.
  • Why the big three U.S. credit bureaus have not developed an international credit report.
  • How Nova Credit is able to standardize data from very different countries.
  • Nova Credit’s business model and their similarity to a traditional credit bureau.
  • How they can report back credit data to international bureaus.
  • The other vertical they focus on beyond lending.
  • The kinds of lending platforms they are working with today.
  • The progress they have made since LendIt USA 2017.
  • When they first started making revenue.
  • Who has been backing Nova Credit.
  • What is on their road map for the next 6-12 months.
  • How they view expanding into new markets to help immigrants other countries.

The SoFi Sex Scandal Highlights How Hard It Is For Women In Fintech (Fast Company), Rated: A

Fintech has become a major force over the decade since the financial crisis, with $12.8 billion in venture capital flowing into the sector in 2016 alone. But of the nearly 500 deals that took place in the U.S. last year, less than a dozen went to companies founded by women.

“It’s lonely to be a woman in fintech, especially as a CEO,” says Rachel Mayer, cofounder and CEO of Trigger, an automated tool for investing alerts.

At Anthemis, based in London, 56% of employees are women, a remarkably equitable gender breakdown that is consistent at every level.

Former banking executive Sallie Krawcheck is following a similar playbook with her female-focused investing service, Ellevest. Since founding the company three years ago she has raised over $50 million in venture funding.

A survey of U.K.-based fintech firms published last week revealed that women represented just 3 in 10 employees. Of fintech board directors globally, just 8% are women.

Good news for fintech seen in CFPB’s ‘no-action’ move (American Banker), Rated: A

In an interview Friday, Upstart co-founder and CEO Dave Girouard explained why the fintech applied for the letter and how it works.

Is it fair to think of a no-action letter as a stay-out-of-jail-free card?

DAVE GIROUARD: We’re careful about not trying to interpret it in any way that is different than what the CFPB says it is. The letter makes it clear that they have reviewed what we do and how we do what we do and that they don’t find issue with it.

How do you feel about the agreement?

We’re pleased that the CFPB recognized the consumer advantage of alternative data and machine learning, the fact that it could make affordable credit more broadly available to more people.

So it’s not just about Upstart for sure — it’s the acceptance of these more modern techniques because they can and will benefit consumers broadly over time.

Sharestates Appoints New Chief Operating Officer, Adds SOC 2 Type 2 Certification (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Sharestates, an online real estate crowdfunding marketplace, has announced that Nicole Joseph has joined the executive team as the new Chief Operating Officer.

The new hire is accompanied by the completion of the company’s SOC 2 Type 2 Certification, which affirms that Sharestates now meets the security requirements and parameters for storing information on the cloud as laid out by The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA).

ReliaMax Announces New Whole Loan Portfolio Placement Service (BusinessWire), Rated: A

ReliaMax®, the complete private student lending solutions provider for banks, credit unions and alternative lenders, today announced at the 23rd Annual ABS East 2017 Conference a new whole loan trading service, ReliaMax Portfolio Placement, as an extension of its existing capital markets and liquidity programs. The ReliaMax Portfolio Placement service will facilitate qualified existing private student whole loan portfolios for sellers and buyers.

The ReliaMax Portfolio Placement service provides unique value to the private student lending marketplace in multiple ways including insurance, default prevention, credit analysis, and servicing. Some benefits include:

  • State-of-the-art servicing through ReliaMax helps buyers maximize the value of their portfolio, providing compliance and regulatory support and staffing to manage student loan-specific servicing requirements.
  • Loan insurance through ReliaMax Surety Company covers 100% principal and interest and mitigates risks, reduces defaults, and provides better cash flow.
  • Portfolio review and credit analysis provides guidance around the price at which the portfolio might transact.

ReliaMax has been involved in many third-party portfolio transactions. For example, in December 2106, MetaBank acquired a $151 million student loan portfolio which ReliaMax Surety Company now insures. The transaction also included the conversion of the portfolio servicing onto the ReliaMax Platform. Over the last three years, ReliaMax has provided insurance and/or servicing on 12 portfolio placement transactions.

The Top Small Business Funders By Revenue (deBanked), Rated: A

Square $1,700,000,000 $1,267,000,000 Went public November 2015
OnDeck $291,300,000 $254,700,000 Went public December 2014
Kabbage $171,800,000 $97,500,000 Received $1.25B+ valuation in Aug 2017

Lendio Partners with Ocrolus to Automate Bank Statement Analysis (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Lendio, the nation’s leading marketplace for small business loans,today announced a partnership with Ocrolus, the emerging leader in bank statement review automation. The PerfectAudit API, powered by Ocrolus, analyzes uploaded bank statements with 99+% accuracy, replacing manual review with automation. Ocrolus technology allows lenders, for the first time, to review every potential borrower’s bank statement data automatically, regardless of whether or not the borrower provides sensitive bank login credentials.

In April, Lendio became the first lending marketplace to integrate with Ocrolus, whose clients include banks, alternative lenders, accounting firms, law firms, and government entities. The PerfectAudit API gives Lendio the ability to systematically combat bank statement fraud and conduct a hyper-accurate review for every potential borrower.

Outsiders and Insiders Are Behind the Fintech Revolution (JD Supra), Rated: A

From peer-to-peer lending to online banking, the fintech industry is a rapidly growing area for technology investment. In the first quarter of 2017 alone, U.S. venture capital-backed fintech start-ups raised $1.1 billion across 90 deals, according to CBInsights Global Fintech Report. The only region to outdo the U.S. during this same period was Asia, which reported for the same group investment of $2.7 billion across 226 deals.

There exists a wide range of technologies that fall under the definition of fintech, and each is seeing significant growth. One such technology is artificial intelligence, which, according to the PricewaterhouseCoopers 2017 Global Fintech Report, 30 percent of large financial institutions are investing in. For example, another factoid from a separate PricewaterhouseCoopers report, projects that, by 2020, AI will automate a considerable amount of underwriting.

Mobile payments are another rapidly growing area of fintech, with TechCrunch reporting that there will be an estimated $60 billion worth of payments made on mobile platforms in 2017. The site also predicts that, by 2020, 90 percent of smartphone users will have made a mobile payment, which serves to underscore just how commonplace this fintech will be within a very short time.

AON: ALTERNATIVE RISK PREMIA VIABLE FOR MANY (AllAboutAlpha), Rated: A

A new report from Aon discusses the contemporary market for alternative risk premia: where it is, how it got here; where it may be headed.

The authors, Matthew Towsey and Chris Walvoord, begin with some very basic considerations of what ‘risk premia’ are. They are, on the one hand, the payments one receives for taking on a risk that others do not wish to hold (providing insurance), or they are on the other the winnings one pockets on strategies that take advantage of market anomalies.

A Q&A With NerdWallet CEO Tim Chen: ‘We’re Making An Impact’ (Benzinga), Rated: B

How does NerdWallet create its content and recommendations? Do data and algorithms play a role in your platform? I’m curious about the company from a fintech perspective.

It’s actually a mixture of both — algorithms and incredibly smart, financially savvy humans power our recommendations, reviews and expert advice.

The company seems to simplify financial information for everyday consumers. Do you think NerdWallet has helped to democratize the space?

That’s the goal! I truly believe that a person that has spent no time at all thinking about personal finance and can’t afford a financial advisor, should be able to make the same quality of choice as the most financially savvy person in the country

SDIRA TV Offers New Strategies Amidst Massive Equifax Hack (PR Web), Rated: A

Experts deliver new alternative investment advice and resources for individuals being impacted by the giant 2017 Equifax data breach. This includes all new episodes of SDIRA TV with national finance experts and investment advisors, as well as a side by side comparison white paper on retirement investing options.

Deeper concerns have surfaced as it was discovered three Equifax executives sold off substantial amounts of personally held stock before making the breach known.

20 Places You Can Raise Funding for Your Business (TechBullion), Rated: B

  1. Crowdfunding

There are several platforms where you can create your crowdfunding campaign. Examples include KickstarterIndiegogoand Go Get Funding.

  1. Peer-to-Peer Lending

Peer-to-peer lending involves a group of people coming together to lend money to each other. You can look for an entrepreneur peer who is willing to fund ideas similar to yours.

  1. Online Lending

There are several online lending service providers. Good examples are Kabbageand OnDeck.These online lenders will process your application within hours as opposed to traditional lenders.

 

My Take On Real Estate Crowdfunding (ValueWalk), Rated: B

Many of these platforms seem to market to investors, showcasing high dividend yields in the 8% – 10%/year range.

I read the following two articles in my research:

In general, those are new untested platforms, which may or may not do well for you over time. These investments have not been time tested during a recession. In addition, I do not understand very well how investment assets are segregated in those platforms, and how things would work out if a project you invested in fails miserably.

As Financial Processes Go Digital, Detroit Looks To Siphon Talent From New York, Chicago (Benzinga), Rated: B

He’s talking about fintech, which has leveled the playing field for non-New Yorks to flourish in financial services. Inspired by emerging tech trends, Raznick and Benzinga are taking stakes in Michigan’s future by spearheading the new Detroit Fintech Association.

The nonprofit trade organization will enhance the community’s exposure, connect startups with national leaders and mentors, support talent recruitment and magnify the Detroit voice in U.S. regulatory discussions. The DFA also aims to improve financial literacy in the city through work with Detroit high schools and higher education institutions.

FHA Loan Originations Expected to Generate Servicing Portfolio Growth Leading to Servicers Taking on Greater Non-Performing Loans and REO (Marketwired), Rated: A

Altisource Portfolio Solutions S.A. (“Altisource”) (NASDAQ: ASPS), a provider of real estate, mortgage and technology services, today issued the results of its inaugural Default Servicing Survey, a survey of over 200 mortgage default servicing professionals. According to the study, nearly three-quarters (71 percent) of servicing professionals surveyed predicted FHA/VA loan volumes would increase within their organizations in the next 12 to 24 months; 41 percent believed FHA loans will offer their organizations the most portfolio growth over the same time period.

According to the U.S. Department for Housing and Urban Development, FHA loans accounted for over 17 percent of newly originated mortgages in 20161 and currently constitute 35 percent of all loans delinquent for 30 or more days2. As the issuance of FHA loans grows, so does the potential increase in volume of default assets. Thus, it is not surprising that 93 percent of servicing professionals surveyed stated that foreclosure/trustee and Claims Without Conveyance of Title (CWCOT) capabilities are important factors to consider when evaluating a vendor to manage growing default portfolios.

Servicing Professionals Cite Challenges Stemming from Costs of FHA Conveyance and Managing CWCOT Programs

Servicing professionals (29 percent) cited remitting fees, costs and financial obligations associated with FHA conveyance as the greatest challenge for effective CWCOT programs. For servicing professionals working with third-party vendors to manage CWCOT portfolios, 15 percent said overall vendor management is a challenge associated with managing CWCOT programs while another 15 percent pointed to timeline delays and increased costs due to attorney oversight; 11 percent cited not having enough in-house personnel on staff to effectively manage the program.

Third-Party Expertise and Central Coordination are Critical to Successful CWCOT Program Administration

In order to overcome the financial, regulatory and oversight challenges associated with their vendors’ CWCOT programs, servicers must carefully evaluate their third-party vendor strategy to ensure vendors possess the right expertise and resources to execute the program. Most servicing professionals surveyed (97 percent) said they are exploring options including a single-vendor approach to help achieve their objectives; 91 percent identified FHA asset management experience as an important criterion for vendors. When specifically evaluating single vendors, 72 percent of servicing professionals surveyed said consistency and efficiency in managing REO properties is a very important consideration; 69 percent also pointed to compliance management.

United Kingdom

Equifax says as many as 400,000 UK consumers may be affected by data breach (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Equifax, the US credit-reporting company at the heart of a cyber-security scandal, has admitted that as many as 400,000 UK consumers may have had their personal information stolen.

The company said that while its UK systems were not affected by the massive cyber raid that targeted information for as many as 143m Americans, UK customer data “may potentially have been accessed”, because it was stored on US systems between 2011 and 2016.

If Equifax’s forecast is borne out, the data breach will be the biggest in UK cyber history, bypassing that of payday lender Wonga, which affected more than 250,000 customers.

RateSetter launches consumer hire-purchase product (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER has launched a hire-purchase (HP) product for individuals looking to buy vehicles.

Consumers will be able to borrow up to £25,000, but the peer-to-peer lender expects the agreements typically to be around £6,000. The terms range between 12 and 60 months, with APRs going from 19.9 per cent to 49.9 per cent depending on the customer’s creditworthiness.

Assetz Capital Reports “Development Funding Boom” with 175% Increase (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Peer to peer lender Assetz Capital is reporting it has seen a year-on-year increase of 175% in the number of property development projects funded around the UK. The online lender says this rise comes following sustained growth in the funding pool for property developments, as investors hunt for a piece of the development market.

There are two new types of Isa – should you switch to them? (The Telegraph), Rated: A

But as new types of Isa have emerged and new rules have been introduced, the situation has become more complicated.

And some Isa features – notably “flexibility”, which allows account holders to make withdrawals and then pay the money back in during the same tax year while keeping the tax benefits – have not been introduced by all providers, which has further muddied the waters.

A Help to Buy Isa, a type of cash Isa, is also an option. First-time buyers can deposit £1,200 in the first month and £200 a month thereafter to put towards a home purchase. The Government then tops up savers’ money by 25pc.

However, you can’t pay into a normal cash Isa and Help to Buy Isa in the same year, unless you choose a provider that allows you to split the cash. Nationwide and Aldermore both offer this option; they pay 2pc and 1.75pc respectively.

Lifetime Isas 

The Lifetime Isa is the newest addition to the Isa family.

Consumers between the ages of 18 and 40 can use the accounts to save towards their first home or retirement. Up to £4,000 can be put away each year into either a cash Lisa or a stocks and shares version. Eligible savers can continue to contribute until the age of 50.

Hargreaves Lansdown, Britain’s biggest fund shop, and rivals including AJ Bell, The Share Centre and Nutmeg, an online wealth manager, offer investment Lisas.

Innovative Finance Isas 

These Isas shield peer-to-peer investments, which allow consumers to offer unsecured loans to individuals and businesses through online platforms such as Zopa and Ratesetter, and certain “crowdfunding” investments, from tax.

Lending Works was the first to offer the new Isa, paying the same return as the firm’s existing accounts.

Zopa allows existing customers to sell their loans and buy them back within the Isa. They can also transfer their Isas with other providers to Zopa.

Networks are the new corporations (Inside Bitcoins), Rated: A

There are a lot more people in the world that can collectively lend micro loans on a regular basis than there are corporations that can regularly distribute loans above the value of a thousand dollars.

“A network of independent lenders committed to distributing micro loans could potentially rival long established financial organisations in terms of the combined value of peer to peer loans serviced to borrowers on a world wide scale” says Richard Ochieze, Managing Director at Ledgermark, LTD.

The case for Digital Collateral

The internet makes non repayment of loans a marvellously simple task for borrowers and as such; organisations like the Funding Circle, a peer to peer lending firm, are left wide open to have the profits of their retail investors depleted due to this lingering risk.

Traditional financial institutions have been able to maintain a fortress of checks and balances such as strict collateral requirements for both business and personal loans in order to provide themselves with a means of recourse should a borrower fail to repay his debt.

In this digital age in which peer to peer transactions are becoming the norm, this same form of protection must be made available to the average individual who wishes to loan his money out to borrowers in return for profit.

However, the question must be asked: how can a borrower pledge his house or farm as collateral via an online loans application?

Prior to the invention of the Blockchain such an asset did not exist and now that it does, the door has been opened to allow individuals based anywhere in the world to distribute and/or become the recipient of a secured micro-loan.

Can a robot help you invest for retirement? (AOL), Rated: A

Robo-adviser Wealth Wizards, for example, typically charges £65 for advice on investments of up to £30,000, and 0.30%, or £300, for guidance on what to do with a £100,000 retirement savings pot.

A typical financial adviser, meanwhile, charges about £580 for telling you how to invest a £200-a-month pension contribution, or between £1,000 and £2,000 for at-retirement advice on your £100,000 pot, according to figures from UK adviser network Unbiased.

JustGiving targeted by criminals for money laundering (BBC), Rated: B

Fundraising website JustGiving has said criminals are attempting to use its site to launder money.

The website told the BBC it had shut down nearly 100 of its appeal pages in the past 18 months because it believed they were fraudulent.

When discovered, no payments were processed, he said.

China

China will step up supervision of overseas investment risks – insurance regulator (Reuters), Rated: A

China will strengthen its supervision of overseas investment risks and capital flows from insurance funds, the insurance regulator said on Monday, adding that it will urge companies to improve their risk monitoring systems.

The China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) will step up supervision over the use of insurance funds, with focus on “chaos” such as irrational stock market fundraising and overseas acquisitions, said Guo Jing, vice head of the finance and accounting department of the CIRC.

China: WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Shanghai-based BTCC is the largest and first domestic bitcoin exchange in China. On September 14th, BTCC announced that it would immediately stop new user registration and close operation in China on September 30th.

The 2nd China Fintech Conference (2017) will be held on September 17th, 2017 in Beijing.
IDC Financial Insights announced the 2017 Fintech Rankings and Real Results at Finovate Fall New York 2017. This year, 4 Chinese companies won the honor to be named in the 2017 IDC Fintech Rankings. They are Ping An Technology (38), Hundsun Technologies Inc. (54), Pactera Technology International, Ltd. (55) and ECCOM Network System, Ltd. (64).
Last week, China’s financial and educational regulators announced to ban online lenders from offering loans to college students, and encouraged commercial banks to offer micro-credit products for the campus market. As a response to the call, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) has launched its own student loan product Rong e Loan this week.
European Union

Order not going to “Pending” with Klarna (Drupal), Rated: A

Project:  SOFORT Banking for Ubercart
Version:  7.x-3.1

Sofort has been bought by Klarna. Although everything should function as normal according to Klarna, since the switch the order is not going into “pending” after checkout — order status is “in checkout”.

commented 

This is a good place trying to get this sorted. My questions are:

  • Is this a new shop or one that runs for a while and worked OK before?
  • From the screenshot it looks like Sofort sends notifications pretty often, is that true?
  • The expectation is that the first of those notifications should switch the status to pending and confirming that to Sofort so that they know you got it and then they wouldn’t notify you again, right?

commented 

That’s exactly why this is failing. The Ubercart payment module wants to write into its table the value Aus sofort-Überweisung wird Klarna into the field method.

You should notify Sofort AG about this problem and I will do the same.

International

Klarna partners with global technology company Wacom (Klarna), Rated: AAA

Today we are proud to announce a new partnership with global technology company Wacom® that further accelerates Klarna’s expansion in the U.S. Wacom is now bringing our simple retail financing solution to the world of creative interface technology and software.

Financing a purchase over time has historically been optimized for brick and mortar stores. But the online equivalent can often be an ordeal, with redirects, lengthy forms and unclear information. Our process only requires a few fields of information, and lets consumers know instantly if they qualify for the financing solution.

How Incumbents Can Take on FinTech Challengers (LendIt), Rated: A

Digital technology has changed financial services. It has facilitated innovation, increased competition and made the mobile customer experience the key differentiator.

This embodies a strategic threat with McKinsey estimating that legacy financial institutions will see profits decline by up to 60% by 2025 if they fail to evolve, a figure which should be motivating incumbents to look outside of traditional practices for growth and sustainability.

Millennials and digital natives have turned away from traditional banks in search of mobile alternatives. They are drawn to the best products and experience, and banks with the right level of service can win over this large market. Mobile-only banks like N26 are leading the way.

SME lending also offers a significant opportunity for growth. The European Commission’s SME Performance Review estimated just under 23 million small and medium enterprises generated €3.9 trillion in value add and employed 90 million people in 2016-2016, and McKinsey has identified a $350 billion untapped lending opportunity within this sector.

One path is acquisition, which banks like BBVA have followed by acquiring companies like Finland’s Holvi and neobank Simple. This is an expensive option complicated by having to find a company with the right fit for the business.

Given the technology available, a cleaner option would be to build a digital banking spinoff which can operate like a FinTech.

Meridian Proposes to Bring Peer to Peer Lending into the Age of the Blockchain (Crypto Insider), Rated: A

The far reaching nature of the internet has allowed the myriad of local economies that exist in the world to become merged into one, global, interwoven marketplace.

Despite this, it is still incredibly difficult for people to get a loan from an international organisation – without offering some form of collateral and/or proving credit worthiness.

The average size of deposit needed to get a mortgage is 62% of annual income, and in London, it’s 131%.

As a result, only 20% of 25-year-olds own their home today compared with 46% 20 years ago – less than half.

If you have a bad (or no) credit history, it is virtually impossible to borrow from a mainstream lender.

Banks and building societies advertise temptingly low rates, but they only need to apply to 51% of successful applicants, so almost half of all borrowers pay a different rate – probably higher.

Director of Ledgermark LTD, Richard Ochieze, explains:

An alternative should be offered to people who are being let down by the traditional banking system. We believe that the Meridian system can do a lot to alleviate some of the problems that exist in today’s online lending market.

The Meridian service offers users the opportunity to procure a loan of up to one Bitcoin at a time.

To qualify for a loan users must pledge a certain amount of Meridian tokens as collateral.

Meridian tokens can be purchased during the ICO on 12 October 2017 and will then become tradable on all alternative currency exchanges.

India

Google gets into digital payments fray in India (Banking Technology), Rated: AAA

Google is expected to launch a mobile payments app in India next week, according to several news reports. Google Tez, which means “fast” in Hindi is the anticipated name of the payments service, which Indian news outlet The Ken says is “largely fashioned on the company’s global product – Android Pay“.

As TechCrunch notes, “this is a big deal because Google hasn’t made a big push into payments outside of the US.”

ICICI plans payday-type loans in pact with e-tailers (India Times), Rated: AAA

In a first of its kind for India, ICICI Bank will partner with e-commercefirms to provide automated payday loan-type credit to customers at the bottom of the digital pyramid. Unlike other software-based loans, the digital credit planned by the bank will be available to non-customers and new-to-credit borrowers.

Speaking to TOI, Anup Bagchi, executive director, ICICI Bank, said that the bank would price these loans similar to credit card advances. In the West, payday loans are advances that fund the low-income individuals to make up for cash shortfalls until their salary. The difference in the ICICI Bank loan is that for the first month, the buyer will get free credit for up to 45 days. It is only if they do not pay on the due date that borrowers will be charged interest at close to credit card rates.

The bank will lend to new-to-credit customers based on their track record with the e-commerce provider.

Here’s why RBI wants to regulate online P2P lending (VC Circle), Rated: A

“The RBI is concerned that this can go big and get out of control,” says Harish.

Faircent—which is backed by financial institutions like JM Financial, venture fund Aarin Capital and Mohandas Pai-promoted 3one4 Capital—is seen as the largest online P2P lender in India. Other names include Lendbox, Rupaiya Exchange and LenDen Club.

There are typically three models through which such lenders operate, says Aditya Kumar, founder and chief executive officer at Qbera.com, an online lender that began operations in February this year and claims to have a Rs 10 crore loan book. “While there are at least 30-40 P2P players, who connect lenders to borrowers, 15-20 do marketplace lending (where money is raised from banks and other financial institutions) and then there are loan aggregators who have been around for longer,” says Kumar.

While Kumar says the total P2P lending market size would be around Rs 25 crore, Rajat Gandhi, founder and CEO at Faircent, puts the figure at Rs 50-70 crore on an annualised basis.

Figures available with Peer2Peer Finance Association (P2PFA) suggest that the global P2P lending market saw cumulative lending of £8.5 billion during the first quarter of 2017, against £5.8 billion three quarters before. In the same period, the number of lenders grew by a fifth from 1.5 lakh to just over 1.8 lakh.

How to boost your retirement income with P2P Lending (India Times), Rated: A

The discourse around P2P lending has always been centered around what it means for borrowers and the advantages they can derive. However, what gets missed is that P2P lending has the potential to be a great source of investment for the lenders contributing to their retirement fund.

P2P lending is an investment delivering multiple benefits when building a retirement plan:

1. Add Lending to your Portfolio Mix: The adage that talks of not putting all your eggs in one basket still holds true. An investor should not limit his portfolio to only a few asset class, but focus on investing across investment opportunities so that market fluctuations do not have a huge negative impact on their retirement funds.

2. Steady and high returns not Linked to Stock Markets: P2P lending adds to building such a diversified investment portfolio while delivering returns that are not merely comparable, but often preferable to returns from other investment instruments such as mutual funds, stocks, and SIPs.

Lenders on Faircent.com are earning gross returns to the tune of 18% to 24% per annum on an average by building a diversified loans portfolio.

3. Income Generation & Power of Compounding: Another reason that P2P investment does well is because investors can compound their earnings. Lenders are earning back part of their investment, both principal and return, every month.

Asia

Get Me My Wedding Present: How We Run a Micro-Lending Business in Cambodia (Cointelegraph), Rated: AAA

MicroMoney co-founder and CEO Anton Dzyatkovsky on attracting new customers, recruitment issues and risks in greenfield countries.

Now that we’ve opened new offices in Myanmar, Thailand and Sri-Lanka, our decision to start with Cambodia can be seen as a definitive step which enabled us to embrace the largest community of unbanked people in the region, bringing the advantages of Blockchain as the key technology for global financial inclusion.

Cambodia is all about banks

For us as Europeans, the first surprise was the population’s absolute trust in local banks.

The US dollar is as used in Cambodia as the local currency is, and the exchange rate has remained stable for over 20 years. State regulators do not exercise particular pressure on the financial industry, and by the time we stepped into the game, 50 organizations had been involved in the consumer loan industry, each with an average capital of $1.5 mln and an ARPU of $5,000.

30-day overdue loans in Cambodia account for only 0.9 percent of the total, so the PAR ratio (portfolio at risk) is quite profitable (according to the local Central Bank).

Our Cambodian lessons

  • A growing share of the middle class due to the growth of GDP. For instance, Cambodian GDP grew six percent in 2016.
  • A market capable of generating cheap leads. We discovered all Cambodians belonging to the target audience have at least one active Facebook account, and for them Facebook often equals Internet in general: every national mobile operator provides free access to Facebook.
  • Dormant or non-existent competition. in Cambodia there were no paperless lending services without an escrow of land or real estate property.
  • Eager audience in need of a product. when we were checking out the market, we found only five percent of the population had a credit record. According to McKinsey, the number of ‘unbanked’ people in Asian region overall ranges from 65 to 80 percent of the adult population.
  • Collaboration at the local level. It helped us understand local customers and comply with local regulations (in this case you must be ready to assign 51 percent of your newly established company to a local partner).

Peer lending for small businesses (The Star), Rated: A

Funding Societies, which started in Singapore in 2015, is one of the first peer-to-peer (P2P) financing companies to open its doors here in Malaysia in February this year. It is also present in Indonesia.

Wong, who learned about alternative financing while studying at Harvard Business School, says P2P is well-suited for the Malaysian and South-East Asian markets where there is a big gap in SME financing. He estimates financing needs for small businesses in Malaysia to be at RM80bil.

According to Research and Markets, the global P2P lending market was valued at US$26bil in 2015 and is projected to reach US$460bil by 2022, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 51.5% from 2016 to 2022.

Funding Societies has made it to the Fintech 250 list, which is recognised and regulated by Securities Commission Malaysia, to provide financing to SMEs. The company also provides flexible investment opportunities with rigorous risk assessment and returns of up to 14% per year for investors, says Wong.

So far, the company has done more than 800 deals and disbursed more than RM180mil in financing to SMEs in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.

Default rate in the region is low at about 2%.

Bank approves online accounts in foreign currencies (Taipei Times), Rated: A

Taiwanese could soon be able to open bank accounts denominated in foreign currencies on the Internet after the central bank on Thursday gave its go-ahead to the plan.

Local banks could seek approval for the new accounts by the end of this year, or 60 days after the introduction of the new regulations, the central bank said in a statement.

Taishin, the banking arm of Taishin Financial Holding Co (台新金控) and the nation’s largest online lender by the number of accounts, told reporters that it aims to be the first applicant when the notification period begins.

Africa

Outsurance buys CoreShares stake as it launches robo-adviser (BusinessDay), Rated: AAA

Outsurance is to acquire a 25% stake in passive investment manager CoreShares, as the insurance company’s robo-adviser, Outvest, goes live.

The acquisition complemented Outvest, an online, automated advice business, the companies said in a statement on Monday.

In SA, financial advisers, to more effectively service their clients, are predominantly using these platforms, although there are platforms available to retail investors.

 

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Rumor: Able Lending is Selling Its Portfolio

Able Lending

An anonymous source notified Lending-Times that “Able lending is going bankrupt and are selling their portfolio, which is owned by Community Investment Management (CIM).” Able Lending was founded in 2014 by two Harvard graduates, Will Davis and Evan Baehr. The company was founded on the principle that businesses can receive more capital at lower rates by […]

Able Lending

An anonymous source notified Lending-Times that “Able lending is going bankrupt and are selling their portfolio, which is owned by Community Investment Management (CIM).”

Able Lending was founded in 2014 by two Harvard graduates, Will Davis and Evan Baehr. The company was founded on the principle that businesses can receive more capital at lower rates by raising funds from family, friends, and other fans. Investopedia calls it a “hybrid peer-to-business model” and describes it this way:

Able makes loans of between $25,000 and $250,000 to small businesses for one- to three-year terms, at rates ranging from 8% to 16%. They charge a 3% origination fee, but no penalty for paying the loan back early. Repayments come in monthly installments. The borrower must have been in operation for at least six months before applying and take in at least $50,000 in revenue.

CIM calls itself “the first impact investment firm focused on marketplace lending.” The company was founded in 2012 by managing partners Jacob Haar and Michael Hokenson.

Is Able Lending Really Going Out of Business?

Able Lending received $100 million in debt financing from CIM in September 2016. Backed by PayPal founder Peter Thiel of Founders Fund and Chris Gottschalk of Blumberg Capital, the company claims on its Contact page that inquirers will receive a call back within one hour. After placing a call to the company’s 866 number, listed on the Contact page, and hearing a message that the voice mail box was full and not taking new messages, I requested a call back by clicking the blue button and filling out the web form at 10:42 a.m. today. As of this writing, no company representative had yet called.

The company’s last blog entry was posted July 7, 2017. As late as July 28, 2017, the company was still receiving press attention as Nerdwallet published a review of Able Lending.

In February 2017, the company raised $4 million in a Series B funding round led by RPM Ventures. Crunchbase reports the company has raised $16.5 million in total equity funding in four rounds from 23 investors.

Baehr left the company in October 2016. He made his announcement on Medium that month citing his reason for leaving the company was because he realized he was not the right person to lead Able Lending and noted that his relationships with Davis and Able Lending remain positive.

Lend Academy interviewed Davis for its podcast in December 2016.

A call to CIM has also not been returned. The question remains, is Able Lending in trouble, or is this a vicious rumor?

Author:

Allen Taylor

Tuesday August 22 2017, Daily News Digest

Peter Renton investment results

News Comments Today’s main news: PawnHero lands $9.7M financing. AltFi Data scoops equity investment, appoints advisory board. Funding Circle to launch new Autobid, Autosell lending features. SocietyOne celebrates fifth anniversary. Today’s main analysis: Peter Renton’s MPL results for Q2 2017. Today’s thought-provoking articles: How Amazon’s Alexa will upend wealth management. The future of banking investments. Will finance businesses jeopardize the credit quality […]

Peter Renton investment results

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

  • Instant gratification and real-time vacations. AT: “In 2005, my wife and I toured Germany by train. At that time, we had our laptops and managed to book hospitality services using the public railway system’s free wi-fi. We thought it was cool that we could plan a two-week vacation on the fly and move from one city to the next with minimal planning. Today’s technology is even better and more readily available for this type of ‘vagabonding’.”
  • International REITs.

Australia

APAC

Middle East

News Summary

United States

My Quarterly Marketplace Lending Results – Q2 2017 (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

One could almost say my returns are in a downward spiral. Since peaking in Q1 2014 at 12.44% my returns have decreased pretty much every quarter and for the last two years that decrease has averaged around 0.5% per quarter.

This past quarter my overall returns stood at 7.28% and the returns for my original six accounts were 5.07%. My worst Lending Club account was my original account there and it came in at 1.95% for the year. The only good news, if there was any, was that I did not have a negative quarter in any of my accounts this quarter unlike in Q1.

Source: Lend Academy
  1. All the account totals and interest numbers are taken from my monthly statements that I download each month.
  2. The Net Interest column is the total interest earned plus late fees and recoveries less charge-offs.
  3. The Average Rate column shows the weighted average interest rate taken directly from Lending Club or Prosper.
  4. The XIRR ROI column shows my real world return for the trailing 12 months (TTM). I believe the XIRR method is the best way for individual investors to determine their actual return.
  5. The six older accounts have been separated out to provide a level of continuity with my earlier updates.
  6. I do not take into account the impact of taxes.

Lending Club

While Lending Club shows an 8.19% return I ignore that number and do my own calculation. My TTM return here is at an all time low of 1.95% but at least I have reversed what happened in Q1 when I had a negative quarter.

Prosper

Source: Lend Academy

Direct Lending Income Fund

The Direct Lending Income Fund continues to be my most consistent performer returning solid double digit returns every quarter since I started investing back in 2013.

How Amazon’s Alexa will upend wealth management (Financial-Planning), Rated: AAA

Advisors wondering how Amazon will enter wealth management should look to its cloud computing arm, Amazon Web Services, which is pitching the natural language processing, machine-learning brain behind its voice interactive service to wirehouses, broker-dealers and robo advisors.

Already, UBS has partnered with Amazon to enable clients and non-clients of the bank to get answers to financial and economic questions through Alexa.

The Future Of Banking Investments (Modest Money), Rated: AAA

I’ve actually had this subject on my mind for awhile. In my article “Customer Experience And Retail Banking: Why Banks Need To Enter The Modern World”, I discussed a day where my district manager came to show us the ABSOLUTE IMPORTANCE OF LOBBY LEADERSHIP!!!!!!! I was rather underwhelmed by its importance, but overwhelmed by the fact that the banks were all putting such a heavy focus on greeting customers at the door and making each trip to the bank “an experience”

One of the downsides of the future of banks—and one of the things that might compel someone to avoid bank stocks—is that they are slow to change. They are loathe to change.

Other businesses are trying to please their customers. Banks are trying to please their regulators. Because customers don’t issue multi-million dollar fines on banks when they don’t get what they want.

A New Challenger Has Entered The Battle!

Businesses always have competition within their field. Banks are no exception. Banks compete with other banks to provide their services to the global market.

Except now, with fintech growing at a record pace, banks face competition from small fintech companies and major technology giants such as Google and Apple.

We’ve seen companies like Lending Club take the world of lending andinvesting by storm with their peer-to-peer lending services. LendingTree has changed the way people shopped for mortgages, and LendKey is fast becoming a leader in student loans by acting as a broker for not-for-profit lenders and providing full after-funding services. I wrote a review about LendKey here.

For non-lending companies that aren’t brought to you by the letter “L”, there’s PolicyGenius (an online life insurance broker). There’s Acorns, a “micro investment” company that takes each of your debit card purchases, rounds them up to the nearest dollar, and invests the spare change into your investment portfolio. And of course, there’s PayPal, the legendary online payments/money transfer company.

Of course, the fintech firms aren’t even the largest future competitors! Ironically, it’s non-financial technology giants that pose the greatest threat to the future of traditional banks!

Why I Think Bank Stocks Are A Great Future Investment

No, I’m bullish on banks because I think that they will adapt, in their own unique way.

Read the rest of this snarky analysis.

What Key’s fintech investments say about commercial payments (American Banker), Rated: A

Last week the Cleveland-based bank announced it had taken an equity stake in the fintech firm Billtrust, which provides digitized and automated accounts receivable capabilities for companies. The investment is one of a series the $134 billion-asset Key has made in the space in the last two years.

Other banks are also making an effort to enhance commercial payments capabilities. Wells Fargo, for example, in June announced that receipt imaging would be available for commercial card customers who use the bank’s commercial card expense reporting service, which allows them to upload and manage receipts directly on mobile devices. U.S. Bank also began offering corporate clients a virtual payments service, for employees who need to make a one-off work-related payment or who make purchases rarely enough that they don’t need a physical plastic corporate card.

Key is hoping that B-to-B payment solutions will make it stand out in the competitive landscape of commercial banking.

Making Friends with Fintech: Tips for Bankers (ABA Banking Journal), Rated: A

Time and reality have since set in, and the tone of the conversation has shifted away from “compete” toward “collaborate.” Banks increasingly see the value of capabilities developed by fintech firms, and those companies in turn are becoming better acquainted with the challenges of regulation and other barriers to bringing their products to market.

For banks, the wakeup call has been the realization that customers are coming to value—and expect—a frictionless banking experience. And if banks can’t provide that kind of frictionless experience, Henrichs says, they’ll turn to alternate solutions.

Keys to building a successful fintech strategy

1. Adopt the right cultural mindset.

First and foremost, the bank must have an appetite for innovation.

For some banks, this may involve a shift away from viewing fintech companies as simply third-party vendors or service providers, and instead as collaborators working side by side to develop something new.

2. Do something.

And size isn’t an excuse to sit back and wait, Henrichs adds. Rather, it’s about choosing an area of focus that makes sense for the bank in terms of available resources. While that may not always be a big, sexy innovation, banks can start by achieving smaller, incremental change—something as simple as building and beta testing a new email delivery system can help build up the bank’s “try and fail muscle” and help lay the groundwork for future, larger-scale projects.

3. Be forward-looking.

Consumers’ demands are shifting every day, and new products will continue to hit the market at an unrelenting pace. Knowing that, bankers must be able to keep an eye on the horizon.

Will the human-robo approach to wealth management become best practice? (WhatInvestment.co.uk), Rated: A

According to the quarterly Fiserv “Expectations & Experiences: Borrowing and Wealth Management” survey conducted in June 2016, 49 per cent of consumers are interested in receiving financial advice from a robo-advisor.

However, there are limits to a robo-only approach. That is why we are witnessing an increase in wealth management firms that incorporate both digital advice and human advice to create a hybrid model, which is likely to become best practice in the industry.

Property Partner adds student assets to portfolio (Property Week), Rated: B

Real estate crowdfunding platform Property Partner has added student accommodation assets to its portfolio for the first time due to its high returns.

Online financial websites abound with free information (Lebanon Democrat), Rated: B

Annualcreditreport.com is a free website and app which will allow you to get a free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each credit reporting company.

Nerdwallet.com is another free website and app. The site offers financial tools and objective advice to help people better understand their financial options and make the best possible financial decisions.

Mint.com is a free website and app that helps you create budgets that make sense today and set you up for success tomorrow.

Bankrate.com is a free website and app that will help you find and compare rates on financial products like mortgages, credit cards, car loans, savings accounts, certificates of deposit, checking ATM fees, home equity loans and banking fees.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle to Launch New Version of Autobid & Autosell Lending (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On Monday, Funding Circle announced it is set to launch a new version of its existing Autobid and Autosell lending tools. Funding Circle will be eliminating the option to manually choose which businesses an investor may lend to and which loan parts to sell will be withdrawn. This is a significant shift in operation of the peer to peer lending platform as it begins to operate more like a fund.

Funding Circle created a new section on their web site dedicated to the explanation as to why they were moving away from peer to peer lending and becoming more like a fund by eliminating manual selection.

While many investors have enjoyed manually choosing loans, there are some drawbacks to it:

  • Many investors do not currently benefit from lending to all types of businesses.
  • It can mean your lending is not spread evenly across lots of businesses.
  • It can be confusing for investors.73% of new investors who join Funding Circle choose Autobid, and 80% of Funding Circle investors* say simplicity of lending is important to them.”

Regulatory spotlight on crowdfunding & P2P lenders (Moore Stephens), Rated: A

The FCA has launched a crackdown on peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, in the coming months, aiming to ensure protection for retail investors within this heavily risk-associated market.

China

Finance businesses may jeopardise credit quality of internet companies, Moody’s says (SCMP), Rated: AAA

These operations could weaken the internet companies’ credit quality, especially if their finances are consolidated on the technology companies’ accounts, Moody’s Investors Service said.

That’s because most internet companies don’t generate enough profits from operating these businesses, and they lack a track record of holding borrowers accountable for timely payments on their loans, Moody’s said.

Source: South China Morning Post

Unruly and unregulated, nation’s Internet finance sector urgently needs supervision (Global Times), Rated: A

After years of explosive but unruly growth, the online finance market requires cooling through tighter regulation.

On the contrary, there were few regulations to guide or hamper China’s Internet finance industry, with no such requirements as reserve levels or loan-to-deposit ratios. The near-absence of regulation greatly lowered the barriers to entry for the sector, which witnessed both explosive expansion and high failure and fraud rates as it grew. Take P2P lending platforms, for example. As of the end of July, 5,916 P2P lending platforms had been set up in China, but only 2,090 were operating normally, with the rest either encountering liquidity problems or simply closing, according to statistics from wangdaizhijia.com, a P2P industry portal.

Views on Yu’E Bao: easy for payment but difficult in credit! (Xing Ping She), Rated: B

Ant Financial has a big market share in the online payments industry in China. However, its ambitions go far beyond that. Recently, Ant Financial was known to get involved in the credit market.

Ant Financial seeks to merge the gap between the Yu ‘E Bao account and the general bank account through the online merchant bank. It hopes to connect the supply and demand side of the credit in its own account system, just as the bank account do.

But it won’t be easy. The biggest difference between the credit business and the payment business is that the credit business is a heavy capital business and a highly regulated licence business with a strong social spillover effect.

European Union

Sweden Cryptocurrency Boom: Top 3 Swedish Fintech Startups To Watch (IBT), Rated: AAA

The Swedish startup Klarna made waves this summer by launching its own peer-to-peer payment app called Wavy and acquiring a full banking license, which sets Klarna apart as one of the few fintech companies able to compete with traditional banks head-on. TechCrunch described it as a $2 billion startup working the  700,000 e-commerce sites. In June, Visa Inc. announced it is buying a stake in Klarna plus forming a payments partnership. Klarna is now widely considered one of the world’s most promising fintech startups.

The Stockholm Fintech Hub is less than a year old and is now reportedly home to more than 200 startups, plus representatives from a few global players like IBM and Microsoft.

There is a small but growing demand for bitcoin in Sweden. Sweden’s central bank is even considering the merits of making its own national cryptocurrency. In the meantime, Safello aims to become the “ Coinbase of Europe,” since the European bitcoin landscape is far more diverse than North America in terms of regulation and user habits. Coinbase, arguably the world’s best funded bitcoin exchange, is already available in Europe. However, Safello sets itself apart by focusing exclusively on the needs of European users, including support in nine different languages.

So far, Schuil said Safello has facilitated $10 million worth of transactions involving tens of thousands of European users.

Klarna and Safello aren’t the only Swedish startups with the potential to completely overhaul how people interact with money. Among all the startups buzzing around Stockholm, Biohax International certainly stands out. Biohax CEO Jowan Osterlund told IBT his team has implanted 3,000 microchips in people’s bodies, usually their hands, most of which happened in the past year.

These microchips can be used for purchases like train tickets and food. The Wisconsin company Three Square Market now lets employees buy office snacks with the swipe of a bio hacked hand, while also using the chip as a workplace ID for office equipment.

AltFi Data scoops equity investment, appoints advisory board (AltFi), Rated: A

The transparency agenda in online lending has taken a step forwards, as another analytics firm raises capital. AltFi Data has raised an undisclosed sum of equity funding, in tandem to forming a new advisory board.

Roger Spooner and Peter Wilson will join existing backer and executive board-member Michael Baptista on the newly established advisory board. Spooner was most recently a member of the management committee at global data firm Markit, where he was head of global client management. Following a 20 year career in private equity, Wilson was the inaugural CEO of British Business Bank Investments, where he was responsible for £1.5bn of government investment. In this role he oversaw a number of early institutional investments within the UK’s marketplace lending sector.

Funding campaign aims to establish new co-working space in Dublin (Irish Times), Rated: B

Sona 10 Newmarket, which is located next to the Teeling Whiskey Distillery, is being created in collaboration with the long-established Dublin Food Co-Op and will be hosted on its premises.

The brainchild of Adrian O’Connor, a Canadian entrepreneur who has lived and worked in the area for about a decade, Sona 10 has already raised some private funding to get the building open with some tenants already coming on board.

It is now seeking to raise an additional €25,000 via the Irish crowdfunding platform Flender to kit out the premises.

International

Real-Time Vacations: The Instant Gratification Of Fintech (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Being able to transfer money between accounts in real-time has become part of our daily lives, so much so that when these automatic services do not work, it becomes a problem.

Smartphones have become global standard: ‘conventional banking meant writing traveler’s checks and exchanging physical currency ahead of a trip, both of which are very expensive for the average consumer. Since then, new fintech providers – even in emerging markets – have dramatically increased the acceptance of foreign credit and debit cards,’ Likar said.

Vacationing in real-time is here: ‘you can now rent an apartment for same-day arrival on Airbnb or HomeAway, find last-minute dinner reservations through OpenTable, borrow a car near your location with Turo, and even book by-the-minute hotel rooms through the Recharge app.

Another aim of the fintech industry, in the same vein of the eradication of cash, is helping those that are unbanked and underbanked pay for services only available for those with credit cards. ‘Most airlines today accept payments from alternatives like PayPal. Other financial services companies, such as Affirm, offer three, six and twelve-month financing plans for customers who cannot afford to pay for the flight up front.’

WeSwap is a multi-currency card that can hold up to 18 different currencies, ensuring that consumers can lock in the exchange rate upfront rather than after the purchase,’ Likar mentioned.

International REITs: An Overlooked but Surging Asset Class (Investopedia), Rated: A

In the U.S., the real estate sector is one of the smallest groups in the S&P 500, but real estate investment trusts (REITs) are popular among income investors.

As WisdomTree points out in a recent note, a massive chunk of global real estate investments are actually found outside the U.S. (See also: Eyeing Emerging Markets REITs? See These ETFs.)

Australia

SocietyOne Celebrates Five Year Anniversary Of Helping Customers (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Australia-based online lender SocietyOne announced on Monday it is celebrating its five-year anniversary of helping customers achieve their lending needs. This celebration comes less than two months after the lending platform surpassed $300 million in total originations. The lender revealed that more than 13,000 customers thanks to $325 million provided by its investor funders.

APAC

PawnHero bags $ 9.7m financing, partners PLDT fintech arm (Deal Street Asia), Rated: AAA

Southeast Asia’s first digital pawn shop PawnHero has closed a $9.7 million (P500 million) financing deal with a Philippine investment bank even as it signed a partnership agreement with the fintech arm of telco giant PLDT.

Middle East

Ever a lender or a borrower be… (Khaleej Times), Rated: AAA

The key to the banks’ risk taking ability is aggregation. The bank is able to get the deposits at scale and at the same time lend to a large number of customers most of which are likely to pay back. In a portfolio of loans, historically, only a small percentage is non-performing. The individual lender has so far not had the ability to create a portfolio. The start of crowdfunding a few years ago began to change that. Crowdfunding works in the area of providing returns through some level of ownership of either the product itself or the company which is promoting it. For individual investors seeking a stream of steady income on the other hand, P2P Lending or Marketplace Lending makes more sense.

However, the speed of growth of P2P lending outstrips that of traditional banking. An excellent December 2014 whitepaper, A Trillion Dollar Market By the People, For the People published by Foundation Capital, describes the blistering pace at which P2P lending grew from a base of $870 million dollars in 2012. Estimates of the size of the industry vary from between $100 billion to $200 billion. The whitepaper predicts that the market size will be about $1 trillion by 2025.

On average, P2P lending platforms like Beehive are able to reduce interest rate spreads between sourcing and lending money by about 400 basis points (4 per cent). That’s because players in this space do not keep the loans on their balance sheets.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday April 5 2017, Daily News Digest

Wednesday April 5 2017, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: Colorado targets Marlette, Avant on ‘True Lender’ grounds. CRB sues Colorado. SoFi raises variable student loan refi rates. Kabbage extends $3B in funding to over 100K small biz customers. RateSetter adds expected losses committee. P2P Global Investments considers change of loan fund manager. Dango RECF platform celebrates 1M investors. Today’s main analysis: International P2P lending statistics. […]

Wednesday April 5 2017, Daily News Digest

News Comments

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United Kingdom

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International

Australia

China

Asia

News Summary

United States

Colorado Attorney General Pursues ‘True Lender’ and ‘Madden’ Actions Against Major Non-Bank Online Lenders (JD Supra), Rated: AAA

On February 15, the Colorado Attorney General filed substantially similar, separate amended complaints in the U.S. District Court of Colorado against Marlette Funding LLC and Avant of Colorado LLC, alleging violations of Colorado’s Uniform Consumer Credit Code based on “true lender” and loan assignment cases. Both actions were originally filed in state court on January 27, 2017, and both were subsequently removed to federal court — on March 3, 2017 and March 9, 2017, respectively. In each instance, the complaint cites CashCall, Inc. v. Morrisey, 2014 W. Va LEXIS (W. Va. May 30, 2014), and Madden v. Midland Funding, LLC, 786 F.3d 246 (2d Cir. 2015), as legal authority for claims alleging usury and other violations of Colorado’s Uniform Consumer Credit Code.

The amended complaint filed in Mead v. Marlette Funding LLC d/b/a Best Egg asserts that Marlette paid all costs, including legal, marketing and other expenses, incurred by Cross River Bank in originating Best Egg loans. In addition, the complaint asserts that Cross River “bears no risk that it will lose its principal in the event consumers default on the Best Egg Loans that it sells to Marlette or to Marlette’s non-bank designees” because: (i) Marlette maintains a bank account in favor of Cross River in the amount of Marlette’s anticipated purchases; (ii) Best Egg loans originated by Cross River are sold to Marlette within two business days; (iii) the parties’ contract specifies that Cross River has no liability to Marlette for sold loans, and (iv) Marlette is obligated to indemnify Cross River “against any claim that any aspect of the Best Egg lending program violates the law.”

The amended complaint filed in Mead v. Avant of Colorado LLC, in turn, similarly asserts that Avant and not WebBank, which originated the subject loans, bears all cost and expenses, including the costs of evaluating loan applications and credit reports and the costs associated with dispersals of loan proceeds.

Cross River Bank Sues State of Colorado (Over the Transom), Rated: AAA

News Summary:

  • On April 3rd, Cross River Bank filed a Declaratory Judgment Action (Federal District Court) against the State of Colorado to protect its federal statutory and contractual rights to freely extend credit and to freely sell those loans on a nationwide basis
  • Previously (in January 2017), the Colorado Attorney General sued Marlette Funding in an attempt to prohibit Marlette from enforcing loans validly made by Cross River and validly sold by Cross River to Marlette
  • Cross River filed the declaratory judgment action in support of Marlette Funding (an MPL partner), and the broader bank-platform model
  • According to Cross River General Counsel, Arlen Gelbard, “the Colorado Attorney General is attempting to undermine the concept of federal preemption, and with it 150-years of established banking law.”
  • More specifically, Colorado’s action violates Federal Deposit Insurance Act (Section 27) and National Bank Act, as well as the “valid when made” doctrine
  • “It is clear to us that Colorado’s lawsuit against Marlette intentionally did not name Cross River as a party because Colorado knows that Cross River’s actions are protected by its status as a state-chartered, federally regulated Bank, which affords complete preemption over state law”

The Issue – Federal preemption/uncertainty:

  • The federal preemption provisions which allow small banks like Cross River to compete with larger entities, have come under attack by several states and in some recent court cases such as Madden v. Midland Funding and other so-called “True Lender” cases.
  • While we believe these cases were wrongly decided as a legal matter, the broader impact has been to encourage states and other plaintiffs to disregard or undermine key legal doctrines of federal preemption and loans as being “valid when made”, leading to market uncertainty.
  • The characteristics of the Cross River model are very different from many others in the marketplace, where the named lender has little to no involvement in the origination process and retains no “skin in the game”
  • This lack of certainty about what loan terms apply to subsequent purchasers has broad, adverse ramifications for US banking and financial markets. Specifically, certain investors have moved away from this asset class, which has reduced liquidity in the market.
  • “Although the action taken by the Colorado Attorney General is being positioned as one to protect the consumer, the actual result will likely have a negative impact on consumers and small businesses, as their access to this important source of credit is significantly reduced.”

SOFI RAISES THE VARIABLE STUDENT LOAN REFINANCING RATES (lendedu), Rated: AAA

The Federal Reserve’s interest rate increase last month is starting to show up in some loan products including student loan refinancing. Fixed rate borrowers are safe for now, but those with variable interest can expect to pay more.

As of April 1st the interest rate on a variable student loan at SoFi increased both on the low and high ends of the range. Borrowers will now pay anywhere from 2.565 percent to 6.490 percent interest on a variable refinance loan. That compares with 2.365 percent to 6.29 percent interest just a month ago. The interest rate on SoFi’s fixed rate products held steady at 3.375 percent to 6.74 percent from March to April.

Kabbage Extends $ 3 Billion in Funding to over 100,000 Small Business Customers (IT Business Net), Rated: AAA

Kabbage®, a pioneering financial services, technology and data platform, announced it has extended more than $3 billion to small businesses across all 50 U.S. states, covering every industry. The company has also now served over 100,000 small businesses through its platform, representing the largest customer base of any online small business lender.

ApplePie Capital CEO & Co-Founder Denise Thomas Makes Marketplace Lending Success Look Easy (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

“We have gained a foothold within the industry by partnering with 42 brands to date. Moving forward we will continue to innovate…”

Erin: You recently signed new investors plus funding capital, thus standing out in a challenging market. Please share details about your MO. How long did it take to raise the money?

Denise: It took five months. The two main sources of funding we closed were new strategic partners and existing investors. Our strategy was to continue to tell our story and educate investors about franchise debt as an asset.

Erin: Please share your experience about dealing with a prominent Bay Area VC saying, “You don’t look like Fintech.”

Denise: Statistically, there are far more men running fintech companies, clearly there are some biases out there around that. A study released by Peterson Institute for International Economics in 2016 found that “An increase in the share [on executive teams and boards] of women would be associated with a 15% rise in profitability.” At the end of the day, you want people in your board room who are supportive.

Erin: You have spoken quite positively about your relationship with Fifth Third. How and why does ApplePie’s relationship with this bank differ from others?

Denise: As opposed to our other loan purchasers, Fifth Third has made a strategic investment in our company and holds a stake in the growth of our business. They co-led our B round with QED Investors, with whom they have now also partnered to make strategic investments in VC-backed fintech companies. They have a long term vision for our industry and provide their expertise to create better financial solutions and a superior experience for our borrowers.

Erin: ApplePie Capital’s loans are backed by personal guarantee and unsecured. Personal assets are not required to back loans. Tell me more…

Denise: In franchising, there is a blueprint for the business owners to follow, in terms of cost analysis and every other aspect. This is measurable and people have a path to multi-unit ownership. We look at each brand and evaluate the sustainability of the business model, which has proven itself over the last 25 years through historical SBA data.

5W Public Relations Named Agency of Record for Sharestates (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

5W Public Relations, one of the 15 largest independently owned PR firms in the US, has been named PR Agency of Record by Sharestates, an online real estate investment marketplace that is an industry leader in crowdfunding for individual and institutional investors.

Could Real Estate Crowdfunding Help Millennials Retire Sooner? (Realty Biz), Rated: A

Real estate crowdfunding has proven a popular choice for one of the most fickle investing groups in the marketplace: Millennials.

On the surface, it seems improbable. Millennials investing in real estate? This is a group that has been loathe to purchase homes, with less than a third of Millennials becoming homeowners compared to 64 percent of the general population. After a little analysis, however, there are powerful reasons why real estate crowdfunding appeals to Millennials—enough that more are certain to join the crowd of investors in the coming years.

The stereotype, of course, is that Millennials are all underpaid with limited skills and few opportunities. That’s not reality, but even if it were, real estate crowdfunding has very low barriers to entry. Some of the best and most successful crowdfunding portals allow for investment minimums as low as $5,000. That lets Millennials get into the real estate investment game much earlier than previous generations.

Second, real estate crowdfunding is an investment option that allows Millennials to bypass banks. Having come of age during the Great Recession, many Millennials don’t trust financial institutions or Wall Street firms. They do, however, see the need to protect their money from the kind of financial breakdowns that hurt their parents’ retirement plans nine years ago by investing in hard assets. Real estate crowdfunding offers the chance to do just that.

PayPal Directors Hit With Class Action Suit from Shareholders Over Venmo (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On March 24, 2017, shareholders of PayPal Holdings Inc., the parent company of mobile-payment provider Venmo, filed a derivative suit against its directors in the District Court of Delaware. A derivative suit is a form of class action in which shareholders can sue company officers or directors on behalf of the company.

The plaintiff shareholders claim in the suit that the directors of PayPal willfully or recklessly caused PayPal to make false or misleading statements which led to direct damages against PayPal. The false and misleading statements are alleged to have been made in PayPal’s quarterly reports, annual reports, and proxy statements which failed to disclose any of the alleged unfair and deceptive business practice or the fact that those practices would lead to increased regulatory scrutiny.

View the filing here.

Over 250,000 Shoppers And 1,400 Dealers Turn To AutoGravity (PR Newswire), Rated: A

AutoGravity, the FinTech pioneer transforming car shopping and finance with advanced mobile technology, today revealed that over a quarter million users – more than half of whom are millennials – have downloaded AutoGravity iOS and Android apps for car shopping and financing. AutoGravity also confirmed that its network of partner car dealerships has grown to more than 1,400 franchise dealers.

Since launching in 2016, AutoGravity has achieved significant growth across the United States, securing partnerships with the nation’s top automotive lenders, as well as four of the top five national dealer groups, representing all new and used car brands available in the country.

  • New cars remain popular with boomers. AutoGravity data shows two-thirds of car shoppers ages 50+ who pursue financing do so for new vehicles. In contrast, only half of AutoGravity car shoppers ages 18 to 25 who pursue financing do so for new vehicles
  • Japanese brands perform in California. Japanese economy and luxury car brands are more searched relative to American brands in California (as compared to the US overall)
  • Economy cars continue to be a popular choice. Economy brands rank in the top four most searched for vehicles across the US – luxury car brands round out the top seven
  • Millennials more cost sensitive than Gen X. Among car shoppers seeking financing on AutoGravity, millennials look to borrow ~15% less (finance amount requested) and seek to contribute ~25% less (cash down payment) relative to car shoppers ages 36+

Why FutureAdvisor orphaned its B2C book of business and other learnings at CFA Society’s robo-panel in San Francisco (RIABiz), Rated: A

The bad news: Selling robo financial advice to millennials — at least until they grow up and start acting like boomers — is a fool’s game.

Cianciolo provided the fullest update yet on FutureAdvisor since the firm’s eye-popping sale to BlackRock in 2015. See: Why BlackRock’s purchase of FutureAdvisor for $152 million could be a deal of destiny.

The robo — once the No. 3 retail player behind only Wealthfront and Betterment — no longer takes assets to millennials.

Standing up for retail and millennials was Zhang, a millennial herself, who questioned whether Roy and Ciancolo were being unduly pessimistic in capitulating to established players.

Jemstep had a brief period where it went for retail business but veered quickly to the B-to-B market.  “Can somebody [create a viable B-to-C robo advisor]?” Cianciolo asked. “Sure but you’re taking double and triple risks.”

Jamie Dimon Pushes for Simpler, More Coordinated Bank Regulations (WSJ), Rated: A

J.P. Morgan Chase JPM 0.33% & Co. Chief James Dimon laid out his wishlist of regulatory changes in his annual shareholder letter Tuesday, calling for simpler and better coordinated rules that could help to spur more lending and in turn economic growth.

Any changes are likely to help the bank. Mr. Dimon wrote that the “anticipated reversal of many negatives and the expectation of a more business-friendly environment” in addition to the bank’s results are among the reasons its stock price jumped about 30% in 2016.

Mr.. Dimon has previously said that rules should be coordinated among agencies, simplified and consistent, but in Tuesday’s letter spelled out what that meant for the first time.

He said banks have too much capital and that could be used instead to safely finance the economy.

Mr. Dimon reiterated that the so-called “gold plating” of international standards by U.S. regulators should be eliminated. Making U.S. rules stronger than international rules was in some cases a priority of Federal Reserve Governor Daniel Tarullo, who was the central bank’s regulatory point person but is stepping down this week.

Mr. Dimon also suggested reforms to the mortgage market since the housing sector has been “unusually slow to recover.”

Bond Street Partners With NerdWallet (Bond Street), Rated: A

Today, we are thrilled to announce that we’re partnering with NerdWallet to help more small business owners access fair and affordable financing. According to the Federal Reserve Bank, only 1 in 5 businesses that apply for a loan from a big bank are approved.

Together, we’ll create resources, guides and webinars to support the growth of businesses. In addition, entrepreneurs will now be able to access financing from Bond Street via NerdWallet’s Small Business Loan Tool.

Prominent Fintech Marketing Firm Leverage PR Sold to Caliber Corporate Advisors (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Leverage PR, a prominent marketing firm engaged in the crowdfunding and Fintech sector, has been sold to Caliber Corporate Advisors.  Founded by Joy Schoffler, a well-known and highly visible participant in the emerging industry of financial innovation, shared the news with Crowdfund Insider, explaining she expects to remain engaged with the firm but in a different role.

Leverage PR was founded in 2010 and was the first marketing firm to recognize the potential of alternative finance.

United Kingdom

RateSetter continues to boost transparency with new expected losses committee (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER has set up a new committee on expected losses as part of a review of the way it monitors and reports on credit risk.

The panel, which will come into effect later this month, comprises the peer-to-peer lender’s chief executive Rhydian Lewis, its chief finance officer Harry Russell and various heads of consumer and commercial credit risk.

Boosting expected losses data is the latest of a batch of strategic changes RateSetter has put in place to price risk more accurately following higher-than-expected losses on its 2014 and 2015 loans.

Peer-to-peer loan fund considers change of manager (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

The UK’s first peer-to-peer loan fund is to review its investment manager as a swath of funds struggle to generate returns from the emerging asset class.

The listed fund, P2P Global Investments, buys loans from websites matching interest-paying borrowers with lenders in the UK, US, Europe and Australia, as well as holding stakes in the platforms.

It is currently managed by MW Eaglewood Europe, an asset manager majority-owned by UK hedge fund Marshall Wace. In a short announcement to the stock market on Tuesday, the board said it would review the arrangement following discussions with Eaglewood and “significant shareholders” and would update the market in due course.

Oakam Brings Gamification and Rewards to Consumer Finance with New Mobile App Feature (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Oakam has enhanced its mobile app with the launch of Oakam Grow, a new feature that uses gamification to make consumer finance more engaging, rewarding and inclusive. Oakam Grow builds on the UK-based consumer lender’s application of behavioural science to encourage the development of positive credit habits, and supports its strategy to bring digital disruption to the largely analogue micro-credit industry.

Oakam Grow gamifies the experience for Oakam’s mobile app users through the application of social currency theory, which enables customers to share in the financial upside of their responsible credit behaviour. Customers earn points when making repayments via the app or referring friends, redeemable for loan repayments, cash-back, store vouchers, lower rates on future loans, or to socially vouch for friends in the loan application process. Oakam’s award-winning mobile app first launched in 2015, and today more than 55 per cent of its customers are regular users. The addition of Oakam Grow will further drive app downloads and engagement.

Oakam has seized on the opportunity to disrupt the £1.8 tn global micro-lending industry through the use of AI, machine learning and cognitive science. The century-old industry has seen little innovation since its founding and today relies on the same analogue processes that keep cost-to-income ratios above 50 per cent, and prices high for consumers. The industry’s network of around 200,000 doorstep loan agents globally also leaves consumers with poor or no credit history, vulnerable to misleading offers and predatory practices.

Oakam’s omni-channel model, comprising its digital properties and UK retail network, confronts both the issues of inefficiency and consumer protection.

RateSetter Business Finance Adds Relationship Manager Amanda Sharp (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

RateSetter has appointed Amanda Sharp as Regional Relationship Manager for London and the South East. Sharp previously spent 35 years with RBS Group.

How to navigate the P2P maze (FT Adviser), Rated: A

Against a backdrop of rising inflation and continued low interest rates, it is no surprise that a growing number of the UK’s financial advisers are looking for ways to make their client’s money work harder.

And there is one solution in particular that has caught the attention of eagle-eyed advisers: peer-to-peer (P2P) lending.

Assuming current Bank of England inflation at 2.3 per cent, according to latest figures, and interest rate forecasts, money deposited in the average high street savings account today will shrink in real terms after both one and two years.

In fact, some high street bank cash savings accounts are offering just 0.01 per cent in savings – less even than the current Bank Base Rate of 0.25 per cent.

Even in its slowest year yet, 2015, the sector grew by over 80 per cent according to one report (Nesta, Pushing Boundaries: the 2015 UK alternative finance industry report).

P2P lending is likely to grow even faster as more and more P2P lenders receive their full FCA authorisation – heralding the arrival of the ‘Innovative Finance ISA’ (IFISA), which will almost certainly add to the momentum the sector is experiencing.

European Union

Why Stockholm is creating more unicorns than London per capita (elite business magazine), Rated: AAA

The result of the Swedish government’s tech drive of the 1990s is that while Silicon Valley may be the undisputed champion of the world when it comes to producing unicorns, Stockholm comes a close second. According to SparkLabs, the seed-stage fund, the Californian city has produced 10.7 unicorns per million inhabitants, the Nordic city produced three and Tel Aviv, which came third, birthed 1.2. So it’s no wonder the European Digital City Index ranked the metropolis as Europe’s second best city after London when it comes to supporting its digital entrepreneurs. “In Stockholm, we’re really freaking good,” says Stark.

But even though access to a solid infrastructure has proven vital in fostering this thriving entrepreneurial community, it isn’t the only factor. Equally important for the success of Sweden’s startups is the fact that that the nation has a population of just under ten million, which means new enterprises have to be thinking about international expansion from the get-go.

‘Shadow banks’ step into the spotlight (Financial Times), Rated: A

The growing influence of alternative capital is most evident in the US — in April 2015, nonbank lenders accounted for more than half of new government-backed mortgages. Banks are still the biggest lenders in Europe, but rivals are emerging. Many of the new players are linked to the securitisation industry, where loans are packaged up and sold on as bonds to capital markets investors.

Private equity-funded upstarts have quietly taken a more active role in the UK’s securitisation market, which used to be dominated by big banks.

Today one of the largest users of securitisation in the UK is not a bank. The Northview Group, which writes mortgages under the Kensington brand and is funded through securitisation, describes itself as a nonbank challenger lender.

A wave of nonbank lenders, including companies such as Munt and Dynamic Credit, have appeared in the past few years. These players now account for close to a fifth of new Dutch mortgages, according to IG&H, a consultancy. This is up from almost nothing just a few years ago. The companies take capital from institutions and lend to homeowners.

Technology companies that facilitate lending between investors and businesses make up another area of growth in shadow banking, and they are becoming more adventurous in the services they offer.

Funding Circle is one of Europe’s best known peer-to-peer lending platforms, where retail users can invest in loans made online. It lends £100m a month in the UK and is expanding in Europe.

As with other forms of shadow banking, European P2P lending lags far behind the US market. Investors who use Funding Circle, which is also active in North America, said they were disappointed last summer with the performance of US loans written by the company. The concerns followed losses that investors made on P2P loans securitised by OnDeck, a nonbank lender.

International

Statistic of International P2P Lending Services March 2017 (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

The total volume for the reported marketplaces adds up to 532 million Euro.

Milestones reached this month are:

  • Mintos crossed 150 million EUR in originations since launch
  • Moneything reached 50 million GBP since inception

Australia

Agri-lending helped drive SocietyOne to a new loan record (Finder), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lender SocietyOne has announced a new lending record, passing the $250 million lending mark in March of this year. Part of the lender’s success is due to increased demand for its two agri-lending products, which, combined with a surge in personal loans over the post-Christmas and New Year period, saw an additional $45 million lent to customers.

China

China P2P industry lending nears Rmb1tn despite crackdown, new regulations (Financial Time), Rated: AAA

Growth in China’s peer-to-peer lending sector has proven resilient in the face of new regulations and a year-long crackdown by authorities on online financing, with total P2P loans blowing past the Rmb900bn ($130.7bn) mark last month.

Outstanding P2P loans came to Rmb920bn at the end of March, according to new figures released today by lending platform Wangdaizhijia.

Month-on-month growth in outstanding loans slowed compared to before the new regulations were introduced in August, from 5.7 per cent in July 2016 to 4 per cent last month.But when viewed in renminbi terms, growth has ratcheted up, with the industry tacking on an average Rmb35.6bn a month in the seven months since regulations were introduced, compared to an average rise of Rmb29.1bn in the seven months ended August.

China curbs ‘Wild West’ P2P loan sector (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending in China is at an inflection point as state regulators aim to transform it from a “Wild West” industry rife with fraudsters into a respectable market in which legitimate lenders can offer funds to willing borrowers.

With their offer of attractive fixed returns over short periods, P2P investments appear similar to saving products that reputable commercial banks offer as an alternative to low rates available for deposits. P2P yields are typically higher than those available from banks, making them an easy sell to investors.

Since 2011, 3,556 platforms have collapsed, according to Online Lending House, a website that tracks the sector. In a third of the cases, law enforcement agencies closed the platforms or their owners or managers simply disappeared.

Asia

Dangoestate.com Real Estate Crowdfunding Platform Celebrates 1,000,000 Investors (Digital Journal), Rated: AAA

Dango estate, the now five months old Singapore based investment platform is growing by leaps and bounds. The mood at their three offices around the world was very high yesterday as they celebrated the 1,000,000’th investor on the platform.

Dango estate has achieved great success in the crowdfunding industry in the shortest time, the platform has already funded more than $500,000,000 in loans worldwide and delivered over $350,000,000 in principal and interest to investors, with yields as high as 10%.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday December 16 2016, Daily News Digest

digital-only banks

News Comments Today’s main news: LendIt partners with 500 startups on PitchIt 2017. Victory Park Capital provides $100M credit facility and $3M preferred equity to Cognical. Today’s main analysis: Report details UK’s consumer credit picture. Today’s thought-provoking articles: The future of banking is digital. China begins execution of P2P fraud case. Where are the women in alternative investing? […]

digital-only banks

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United States

LendIt and 500 Startups Partner on PitchIt 2017 to Identify Fintech’s Next Stars (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

LendIt, the world’s largest show in lending and fintech, today announced its partnership with 500 Startups for PitchIt 2017, a leading global competition for fintech startups who can earn mentorship, endorsement and exposure to leading institutions, investors & press. Online applications also officially opened to qualifying fintech startups.

This year’s competition is slated to see hundreds of applicants all vying for a prestigious spot in the finals, and a chance to present on the keynote stage in front of thousands of members and high ranking executives from the fintech industry. This year’s Exclusive PitchIt Partner will be global venture capital fund 500 Startups, the world leader in investing in and mentoring early-stage fintech startups. The finalists will present to a panel of expert judges and thousands of conference attendees at LendIt USA on March 6, 2017 in New York City.

PitchIt @ LendIt attracts hundreds of investors, asset managers, funds and entrepreneurs, bringing together a community of influencers in the lending marketplace. To apply to PitchIt 2017, firms must meet the following criteria:

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

Any company that applies for PitchIt and fits the criteria automatically qualifies for our startup ticket pricing of only $295 per ticket.  Also, prior to the event, shortlisted companies will receive coaching from 500 Startups as well as industry leaders and other mentors. Eight selected finalists will receive a free all-access pass to attend the entire LendIt USA conference, up to $1,000 for travel to PitchIt, and a 50% discount Startup Zone booths. The overall PitchIt winner will receive a Bronze level sponsorship to future LendIt events, promotion and media support.

BlackRock to lead funding round for fintech startup (Reuters), Rated: AAA

BlackRock Inc plans to lead the next funding round for the startup iCapital Network, which gives individual investors access to private equity funds, hedge funds, and other alternative investments, the two companies said on Thursday.

Last year BlackRock bought FutureAdvisor, a robo-adviser that manages savings for individual investors.

Roofstock Expands its Single-Family Rental Real Estate Investment Marketplace to Dallas (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Roofstock (), the leading online marketplace and transaction platform in the $2 trillion single-family rental sector, today announced that it has expanded into the dynamic Dallas real estate market. In addition to strong home price appreciation forecasts, Dallas is expected to have robust rent and employment growth making it an excellent market for single-family rental investors. Recent measures estimate annual rent growth in Dallas of 5.1%, which is significantly ahead of the national average of 3.7%, and employment growth of 4.3% compared to the national average of 1.8%.

Roofstock has developed a proprietary marketplace for investors to find, evaluate and invest in single-family rentals online with tools and transparency never before available to either retail or institutional investors. With the addition of Dallas, Roofstock has now expanded to include 11 markets since its public launch in March of this year. The marketplace currently has over 130 exclusive investment properties available, representing a variety of investment characteristics, with new properties being made available daily. Roofstock differentiates its real estate investing marketplace by focusing on single-family rental properties that are fully leased, allowing buyers and sellers to benefit from immediate rental income from the date of purchase.

Roofstock’s revolutionary model features a proprietary marketplace of certified, cash-flowing homes for sale. Listings include detailed inspection, valuation and title reports, as well as information about the tenants and local property managers who have also been certified by Roofstock. The company stands behind its marketplace with a bold 30-day Money-Back Guarantee which investors can exercise if they are unhappy with the purchase for any reason. The unique technology tools and platform allows investors to purchase U.S. rental properties with confidence online from anywhere in the world.

Tech start-ups target financial services (Gulf News), Rated: A

It may not be much longer before bank branches join video-rental stores and record shops as relics of a bygone era.

At this point, the fintech sector hasn’t proven it can be a viable or trustworthy alternative to traditional banks and stock brokerages. Few of the start-ups have ever posted a profit, and one of the biggest, the Lending Club, is trying to recover from a breakdown that triggered the resignation of CEO Renaud Laplanche earlier this year. The Justice Department is investigating the events that led to Laplanche’s abrupt departure.

Banks, meanwhile, have demonstrated their resiliency and resourcefulness.

A recent survey of the financial services industry by the research firm Gartner Inc. found that 70 per cent of respondents considered fintech start-ups to be a bigger threat than their traditional rivals.

With their guard up, the much bigger banks are more likely to drive many of the fintech start-ups out of business if they don’t acquire them first, says Gartner analyst Rajesh Kandaswamy.

Although many consumers rarely expect big banks to act in their best interests, they typically consider them to be a safer place to keep money because of their long histories in business, says Forrester’s Berdak. Like the big traditional banks, most digital-only banks also offer government-backed insurance on deposits, but Berdak says that is not enough to overcome lingering doubts about their long-term prospects.

4 Real Estate Investment Types to Consider for 2017 (Equities.com), Rated: A

The good news for investors is that you can find projects that fall into each of these categories within the real estate crowdfunding (RECF) sector. RECF usually offers higher returns and lower fees than traditional investment classes, which makes it attractive for investors serious about growing their income.

Another benefit to RECF is that it allows investors the opportunity to partially fund projects they are interested in.

The World of Alternative Investing Is Exploding — Where Are the Women? (Observer), Rated: A

Remarkably, women even outperform men in their investments — when they invest, that is. Traditional equity market investing data indicates virtually no differencebetween men’s and women’s participation rates. If you look only at standard investment products, such as 401(k) accounts, stocks, ETFs, and retirement plans, the participation rates of the sexes appear to be equal. However, alternative investing tells a different story.

So I was surprised to find, when my team analyzed our user data, that our investor base was 90 percent male. This didn’t make sense to us. Alternative platforms also provide ways to make socially conscious investments, which we know matter deeply to women. In a 2015 survey, 95 percent of women said that helping others through their investing is important to them, and 90 percent prioritized environmental responsibility.

Alternative investing should also appeal to those who prefer stable investments, and women tend to mix or re-balance their portfolios less frequently than men do. There is no re-balancing or trading involved in alternatives, as they’re often set for a fixed duration, making them a more predictable option.

Fintech-led alternative platforms should emphasize the character of their investments. Opportunities to create jobs or have a positive social impact are particularly attractive to Millennial women. Not only do such investments make an economic impact on the community, but they also increase the amount of capital available to entrepreneurs who don’t fit into traditional bank underwriting.

Keeping It Real And Thinking Consumer First Is The NerdWallet Way (TechDay), Rated: A

Amongst the many challenges of being a fully functioning adult, responsibly managing finances is one of the most confounding. From choosing the right credit card to understanding what the heck a 401(k) truly is, personal finance can be a daunting and complicated struggle.

The millennial struggle of #adulting is driven a great part through the generation not having a firm understanding of finances. How does NerdWallet play into this discourse and thrive because of it?

The majority of people, including millennials, make financial decisions in the dark so we want to provide consumers with expert, honest and personalized information to empower them to make the best possible decisions- everything from selecting a credit card, mortgage lender to how to save and invest.

How did your own experiences influence the inception of NerdWallet and how have these continued to impact the brand as it’s grown into what it is today?

The inspiration for NerdWallet spurred when my sister, Kim –another Internet entrepreneur- asked for my help in finding a credit card at the same time my parents were put into a mutual fund, which was full of hard-to-understand terms.  It took me (a trained financial professional) over a week to make a recommendation after spending weeks researching available financial products and seeing firsthand how many complicated financial products were out there vying for consumer mindshare with no regards to consumers’ well-being. That’s when I realized how much of a barrier the complexity of information out there is for consumers. I put all of the credit card information into a spreadsheet and from there NerdWallet’s first credit cards tool was built in 2009. We saw the clarity we could provide with credit cards, which got us thinking about all the other financial decisions consumers have to face. Today, NerdWallet spans across 11 personal finance topics (Credit Cards, Banking, Investing, Mortgages, Household Spending, Education, Personal Loans, Life, Health and Auto Insurance, SMB, Taxes and Estate Planning) and has grown from 50 employees to more than 400.

Within fintech, regtech gets the spotlight (The Asset), Rated: A

In 2016 the likes of Credit Agricole, HSBC and J.P. Morgan were fined collectively US$521 million for rigging the Euribor rate breaching European Union anti-trust rules. More infamously Deutsche Bank this September was fined US$14 billion for mis-selling mortgage securities in the US.

Aside from avoiding fines, the cost of banking compliance is on the rise. According to the Federal Financial Analytics, a policy analysis firm, in 2013 the six largest banks in the US spent US$70.2 billion on compliance compared to US$34.7 billion spent in 2007.

Victory Park Capital provides $ 100 million credit facility and $ 3 million preferred equity to Cognical, Inc. (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Victory Park Capital (VPC), an investment firm focused on private middle market debt and equity investments, announced today it has provided a $100 million senior secured credit facility to Cognical, Inc. (d/b/a Zibby), to expand its omnichannel lease-to-own payment platform for in-store and online shopping. The credit facility, along with the accompanying equity investment, will help the company grow and scale its lease portfolio, providing underbanked consumers with an affordable alternative for acquiring durable consumer goods such as furniture, appliances and electronics.

3 Ways to Invest without the Stock Market (Modest Money), Rated: B

Lending Club is a part of the new wave of investing called peer-to-peeSo I was surprised to find, when my team analyzed our user data, that our investor base was 90 percent male. This didn’t make sense to us. Alternative platforms also provide ways to make socially conscious investments, which we know matter deeply to women. In a 2015 survey, 95 percent of women said that helping others through their investing is important to them, and 90 percent prioritized environmental responsibility.r lending, which is exactly what it sounds like. There is a person that needs money, and there is a person that is willing to lend money. As a borrower, there are several different reasons that you would want to use a site like Lending Club. With these peer-to-peer avenues, you don’t have the complications of going through all of the hoops of working with banks. You can complete the application on your terms. Additionally, borrowers will be able to secure better rates and will also have more flexibility on the requirements to secure the loan. As a borrower, you’ll be allowed to apply for a loan for just about any reason. You can use the money for home repairs, car loans, refinancing, or just to buy a pool for your children.

On the other side of the coin is the lenders. While there is never a “sure thing” when it comes to investing, Lending Club boasts excellent average return rates. According to their website, they typically see ROIs around 5.06% and over 8%, which is very attractive rates. Additionally, as a new investor, Lending Club is extremely easy to get started and has all of the risks laid out in front of you without the complicated jargon that scares new investors.

With Lending Club, you can open up a self-directed IRA, which means you will have full control of the investments inside of the account. Don’t worry, it’s not as difficult as it sounds. On the site you’ll be able to look through the variety of loans that are being requested and see the specific details of the loan and what the money is going to be used for. Once you find a loan that you want to participate in, you can decide how much money that you want to invest in that person’s application.

Exploring the Future of Digital Financial Advice: New Findings from CFP Board, Financial Services and Technology Leaders (PR Newswire), Rated: B

The CFP Board Center for Financial Planning today announced the findings of its blue-ribbon panel of experts who explored the future impacts of digital advice on the financial planning profession.

Known as the Digital Advice Working Group, thought leaders and senior executives from the worlds of technology and finance gathered to explore the future of digital advice and the role humans will play in delivering financial advice. The goal was to stretch the professional’s way of thinking about how future environments and events may lead the industry down several conceivable paths.

United Kingdom

Growth Capital Ventures gets £1.1m investment from Maven Capital Partners for new P2P platform (altfi), Rated: AAA

Maven Capital Partners (“Maven”), has completed a £1.1m investment in Growth Capital Ventures (“GCV”), funded through its managed Venture Capital Trusts. GCV is a leading developer and operator of specialist online investment and capital crowdfunding platforms.

GCV will use the investment to develop a new P2P lending platform. The new platform will focus on providing access to pre-vetted, quality investment opportunities that have the potential to deliver strong investment growth, and support syndication between institutional, professional and retail investors.

New report shares details about UK’s consumer credit for 2016 (WhaTech), Rated: A

Key findings:

  • Average credit quality has reached its lowest point in over four years, and default rates have been on an upward trend over the last two years.
  • Lower credit scoring criteria has been priced in by providers, resulting in average interest rates on loans of £5,000 rising 1.9% in a year.
  • P2P remains the fastest-growing sector. The P2P lending market is showing signs it is starting to consolidate, with synergistic partnerships with other sectors being used to increase the scale of operations.

We estimate that P2P lending will comprise 0.42% of total consumer credit in 2016, rising to 1.2% in 2020.

European Union

I Started a Zlty Melon Test Portfolio (P2P Banking), Rated: AAA

A few weeks ago I decided to start a small test portfolio investing in p2p loans at Zlty Melon. Zlty Melon is a p2p lending marketplace in Bratislava, Slovakia (see earlier articles about the Slovakian market). The marketplace lists loans to borrowers in Slovakia in Euro currency and to Czech borrowers in CZK. On the investor side Zlty Melon is open to residents of the European Economic Area. The website is available in English, Czech and Slovak languages.

I deposited 400 Euro via SEPA transfer. If you need currency conversion during a deposit, it might be cheaper to use Transferwise or Currencyfair than to do a direct bank transfer.

I set up an autoinvest (called ‘Investment Manager’) to automatically bid 25 Euro on each new cashfree housing loans, as these seem the most secure loans and so far according to Zlty Melon’s statistics for this loan type there have not been any defaults. I set it up to invest in Slovak loans only as I didn’t want any currency risk.

THE FUTURE OF BANKING: Growth of innovative banking fintech services (Business Insider), Rated: A

Banking is a rapidly changing industry, and the biggest paradigm shift that has occurred is the move to digital-only banks.

Millennials, in particular, are moving more frequently toward digital banking. And as a result, they’re walking into their banks’ traditional brick-and-mortar branches less often than ever before.

Digital-only bank Ally launched in the U.S. in 2008 and at the time, it was one of the first of its kind. But multiple new players have entered the scene in the last few years. These include Monzo, Tandem, N26, and Fidor in Europe, along with Digibank in India and B1NK in Kazakhstan.

These banks hold key advantages over traditional institutions, such as freedom from historical tech restrictions and the fees associated with brick-and-mortar branches. And in many nations, financial regulations also help these banks flourish. In Europe, these digital-only banks will soon be able to access customer data from traditional banks.

There are very few options for digital-only banks in the U.S. but in Europe, the options are plentiful. Digital-only banks across the pond are competing both with legacy banks and with each other for customers. So in order to lure clients away from their existing bank, they have to offer a significantly better product than their competition.

The payments segment is much more mature than other fintech areas, and a small handful of companies now dominate the business-to-consumer (B2C) space in particular.

Australia

$ 126 million year heralds significant market challenge from peer to peer lender SocietyOne (Mozo), Rated: AAA

Peer to peer lender SocietyOne has finished a record-breaking year on a high thanks to massive investment and borrowing growth, with November registering $15.3 million worth of lending alone.

With a total of $126 million in lending already in 2016, the company has now recorded $200 million in loans since its inception – a benchmark Managing Director and CEO Jason Yetton attributed to the growing appeal of the peer to peer lending sector.

The latest figures from SocietyOne highlight an increase in the number of borrowers entering the peer to peer lending market, with a 25% increase since August this year.

Default rates among borrowers using the company’s marketplace have also shown to be lower than the market average, sitting at 1.1% as of the end of November 2016 compared to a sector average of 2-3%.

China

China’s $ 8.6 billion P2P fraud trial starts (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Criminal prosecution of 26 people involved in China’s biggest alleged online fraud – a nearly 60 billion yuan ($8.64 billion) case involving online peer-to-peer lender Ezubao – has started in Beijing, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Friday.

Ten individuals, along with Ezubao’s parent companies Yucheng Holdings and Yucheng Global, are charged with fraudulent fund-raising, the news agency said. Sixteen other individuals face charges of illegally taking public deposits.

Ezubao, once China’s biggest P2P lending platform, allegedly collected 59.8 billion yuan of funds from investors through fake investment projects it advertised on its website and failed to repay 38 billion yuan. It collapsed in February, with executives saying the firm was “a complete Ponzi scheme”, which used investor funds to support lavish lifestyles for its executives.

An emerging Asia-Pacific fintech hub: Hong Kong (South China Morning Post), Rated: A

For decades, Hong Kong made its mark as the region’s leading financial centre, vying with New York and London for supremacy as a global nexus of money. Shaken by the Asian financial crisis, SARS, and the rise of Shanghai, gloomy predictions about Hong Kong swirled during the early years of the new millennium.

Two recent events however, may swing momentum back in favour of Hong Kong: The United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union in June 2016, and the election of Donald Trump as the incoming 44th president of the United States.

Confirming the growing prominence of financial technology (fintech) startups, InvestHK hosted the inaugural Hong Kong Fintech Week last month (November 7 to 11). More than 2,500 participants took part during the week, taking advantage of the high-calibre speakers and the array of events on offer. Notable participants included China’s biggest peer-to-peer lending and wealth management platform Lufax, online insurer Zhong An, JD Finance, WeBank, and Hong Kong-based bitcoin exchange BTCC.

Asia

Why banks need to be smarter than fintechs (The Asset), Rated: A

According to an Accenture, Asia-Pacific based fintechs as of September 2016 have raised US$10.5 billion from investors. A far cry from the US$103 million the region generated 10 years ago.

The banking opportunity especially in Asia is too significant to miss out on, McKinsey & Company data reveals that out of industry’s US$1.1 trillion 2015 profits close to half was originated from the Asia-Pacific region compared to only 28% in 2005.

Ukraine

P2P lending in Ukraine reaches UAH 5 bln (Interfax), Rated: A

The volume of the P2P lending market since the launch of this service in Ukraine has reached UAH 5 billion, Head of the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) Valeriya Gontareva has said.

Africa

AlliedCrowds Prepares for P2P Platform AlliedExchange Launch (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

London-based AlliedCrowds is preparing to launch its P2P service AlliedExchange soon as it has begun the search for a new Managing Director.

AlliedCrowds/AlliedExchange is backed and funded by FSD Africa, which in turn is backed by the British government.

This proposed platform will use P2P lending technology to present a range of sub-Saharan Africa loans to both retail and institutional investors, including diaspora, HNWIs, hedge funds, family offices, banks, development institutions, etc. The platform will have the ability to transact trades and manage accounts. Initially, the platform will be regulated by the FCA, but regional authorization will be sought in due course.”

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor