Wednesday March 14 2018, Daily News Digest

equity factor returns

News Comments Today’s main news: H&R Block, LendingTree partner on credit score access. KBRA assigns preliminary ratings to LendingClub’s CLUB Credit Trust 2018-NP1. Ant Financial consumer lending hits $95B. Non-Standard Finance buys guarantor loans business. EU rolls out new crowdfunding rules. Today’s main analysis: LendingTree’s mortgage savings tracker, mortgage rate competition index. Does strong economic growth equate to high factor […]

equity factor returns

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

H&R Block, LendingTree partner to empower clients to improve their financial well-being (Nasdaq), Rated: AAA

As part of continued efforts to help clients better understand their financial situation, H&R Block (NYSE:HRB) is partnering with LendingTree (NASDAQ:TREE) to provide clients convenient access to their credit score, LendingTree Academy and more. H&R Block clients can now seamlessly enter LendingTree via their MyBlockaccount, which is a private, secure, online portal clients can use year-round to access and add tax documents and personal information.

LendingTree Introduces New Mortgage Savings Tracker and Mortgage Rate Competition Index (PRNewswire), Rated AAA

LendingTree today announced the release of its Mortgage Savings Tracker and Mortgage Rate Competition Index. The LendingTree Mortgage Rate Competition Index is a new measure of the dispersion in mortgage pricing and will be released weekly. Built on top of the Mortgage Rate Competition Index, the Mortgage Savings Tracker will bring a new transparency to mortgage shopping by highlighting the significant savings that are available to potential borrowers for both purchase mortgages and refinancing.

Source: PRNewsfoto/LendingTree

 

Source: PRNewsfoto/LendingTree

Findings from the inaugural report:

  • Across all purchase loan requests on LendingTree (we looked at refinance loan requests separately) in 2017, we found an average Mortgage Rate Competition Index of 0.46 — this was the average spread between the lowest and highest APR offered by lenders.
  • It may not sound like much, but over 30 years translates to $21,000 in additional costs on a $300,000 loan.
  • The index was wider in the refinance market, averaging 0.55. Potential borrowers there could have saved an average of $26,000 had they shopped around to find the lowest rate.
  • Ringing in the new year, the index widened to 0.59 for potential purchase borrowers, translating to a potential savings of just over $27,000.
  • For potential refinance borrowers, again, the index was even higher at 0.63. That could result in a savings of almost $30,000. The savings increased because lenders are reacting differently to the overall uptick in rates.
  • The most recent data for the week ending 3/11/2018 showed potential savings of $26,780 for purchase and $27,616for refinancing.

See LendingTree white paper on the Mortgage Rate Competition Index here.

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to Consumer Loan Underlying Bond (CLUB) Credit Trust 2018-NP1 (Business Wire), Rated AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to three classes of notes issued by Consumer Loan Underlying Bond (CLUB) Credit Trust 2018-NP1 (“CLUB 2018-NP1”). This is a $301.727 million consumer loan ABS transaction that is expected to close March 21, 2018.

Source Business Wire

LendingClub trims CE on next near-prime consumer loan ABS (Asset Securitization Report) Rated: AAA

As in the past, LendingClub itself contributed only a small portion (7.55%) of the collateral for the Consumer Loan Underlying Bond (CLUB) Credit Trust 2018-NP1 transaction from loans it held on balance sheet, but this time only three unaffiliated parties were invited to contribute the remainder of the collateral.

source American Banker

CLUB 2018-NP1 will issue three classes of notes totaling $301.727 million. Credit enhancement for the senior $180.7 million tranche of Class A notes is 49.5%, down 30 basis points from the senior tranche of the previous transaction, which carried the same A-rating. However, enhancement for the BBB-rated Class B tranche has risen by 5 basis points to 37.4% and enhancement for the BB-rated Class C tranche has risen by 35 basis points to 15.35%, per Kroll.

DOES STRONG ECONOMIC GROWTH EQUATE TO HIGH FACTOR RETURNS? (All About Alpha), Rated: AAA

In this research report we initially focus on the Value, Size and Momentum factors from Fama-French, which are constructed as dollar-neutral long-short portfolios based on the top and bottom 10% of the US stock market. The data includes companies with small market capitalisations, excludes transaction costs and is available since 1926. We expand the factor set by the Low Volatility, Quality, Growth and Dividend Yield factors based on our own data, which is available since 2000. These are created via long-short beta-neutral portfolios and only include stocks with a market capitalisation of larger than $1 billion. Portfolios are rebalanced monthly and each transaction occurs costs of 10 basis points.

EQUITY FACTORS & REAL GDP GROWTH: 1947 – 2017

The chart below shows the returns of the S&P 500 and three factors (long-short) since 1947 sorted by positive and negative quarters of real GDP growth.

It’s worth highlighting that there were only 7 quarters of negative real GDP growth since 2000, so the results have to be taken with caution.

DIVERSIFICATION FOR AN EQUITY-CENTRIC PORTFOLIO

New Media Announces Strategic Alliance with Kabbage (BusinessWire), Rated: B

New Media Investment Group Inc. (“New Media” or the “Company”, NYSE: NEWM), one of the largest publishers of locally based print and online media in the United States as measured by number of publications, announced today that it has entered into an agreement with Kabbage, a pioneering financial services, technology and data platform serving small businesses. This alliance is intended to bring awareness of simple access to working capital through Kabbage’s fully automated online lending platform to more than five million small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) that do business in New Media’s markets.

AI as new tool in banks’ crime-fighting bag? (American Banker), Rated: A

But a funny thing has happened on the way to what should be an AI-led revolution — banks have been worrying what their regulators would say if they filed fewer suspicious activity reports, especially if their rivals continue to submit far more.

source: American Banker

“All the banks are worried that if they use machine learning, the number of SAR filings will go way down and the regulators will say, what happened?” Saleh said. “How come your SAR filings fell by 50%? Maybe there’s money laundering you’re not catching.”

Should Banks Become the New ‘Payday’ Lenders? (LendEDU), Rated: A

In early March, the Florida state legislature approved revamping regulations for payday loans, voting to allow payday lenders to make larger loans for a longer period of time.

The bill aims to allow alternative lenders to make installment-type loans up to $1,000, with a 60- to 90-day repayment period. The current law caps loans at $500 for a period of seven to 31 days.

The Pew Charitable Trusts’ proposal suggested that small banks could instead provide loans with payments capped at 5 percent of a borrower’s paycheck.

According to The Pew Charitable Trusts’ research, the average payday loan customer borrows $375 over five months and pays $520 in fees, while banks and credit unions could profitably offer the same amount over the same period for less than $100.

Bank regulators vow more flexibility in vetting fintech partnerships (American Banker), Rated: B

Senior leaders at the Federal Reserve, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, who all spoke at a banking conference in Orlando, Fla., said they have been working with examiners to be more understanding of the budding partnerships forming between banks and fintech firms — and how to examine those relationships going forward.

Clinc wants to solve financial institutions’ AI problems (Business Insider), Rated A

Clinc, a US-based provider of conversational AI technology for financial institutions (FIs),announced the launch of a new self-service platform, Spotlight, that enables FIs to train and deploy sophisticated conversational AI software in-house, independently of vendors.

source: Business Insider

Spotlight is available in over 80 languages, and can be integrated into any digital channel, including contact centers, mobile apps, and Alexa, Google, and Facebook Messenger, allowing FIs to create a consistent user experience. Spotlight is already being used by USAA and Isbank, one of Turkey’s largest banks.

MoneyLion Plus Takes An Innovative Approach to Encourage New Investors to Save (Lend Academy), Rated: A

As a nation we are chronically bad at saving and while the savings rate went up for a time after the financial crisis it is back down near 2005 levels now which was the all time low.

MoneyLion is trying to do something about this.

I interviewed CEO Dee Choubey on the Lend Academy Podcast just over a year ago but they have made some great strides since then. I caught up with him again recently to get an update. Today, over 2.2 million people have downloaded the MoneyLion app and 1.3 million people have connected their bank account.

Behavioral biometrics company BioCatch closes $ 30M round (Bankless Times), Rated: A

Behavioral biometrics provider BioCatch today announced it has closed a $30 million financing round led by Maverick Ventures with additional participation from American Express Ventures, NexStar Partners, Kreos Capital, CreditEase, OurCrowd, JANVEST Capital and other existing investors.

What Makes Warren Buffett Such an Influential Leader? (Industry Leaders), Rated: A

A data scientist at Orchard Platform, Michael Toth, who has also worked with BlackRock as portfolio analyst has evaluated Buffett’s shareholder letters annually at Berkshire Hathaway for personal growth as a sole investor. Using statistical computing, Toth quantified and highlighted Buffett’s positivity penchant for many years according to CBNC.
And results from the analysis revealed that Buffett has the ability to balance both realism and optimism. The dataset also taught Toth about the reasons why Buffett is a legendary investor and as well as an influential leader.
Only five of the forty shareholder letters analyzed showed a negative score of sentiment, and most interestingly, they all correspond perfectly to five periods of downturn in the economy.

What’s next for neobank Chime (Bankrate), Rated: B

Since its 2014 launch, the San Francisco-based startup has emerged as one of the leaders in the so-called neobank space. Earlier this year, it announced it has 750,000 accounts opened to date, and is now adding new accounts at a rate of 100,000 a month.

How Fintech Advances Are Creating New Opportunities for Micro-Businesses (NewsTimes), Rated: B

Those solutions benefit business owners, ranging from freelancers, to founders of startups, to leaders of burgeoning small businesses and other enterprises.

Lending is one of the most critical areas where fintech has filled a gap for small businesses. As smaller businesses often don’t need a considerable amount of money when they seek loans, they’ve struggled to get any financial assistance. That’s because banks and other lending institutions often don’t see any profit in providing loans of less than $100,000.

United Kingdom

 

Former RateSetter-backed lender ‘transforms’ new owner’s guarantor loans business (Peer2Peer Finance), Rated: AAA

Non-Standard Finance bought the guarantor loan provider last August for £53.5m, which included a minority stake owned by RateSetter.

The London-listed firm said on Tuesday that the acquisition has “transformed” its guarantor loans business, helping that division’s loan book to grow by 35 per cent. It said the acquisition contributed to the group’s overall operating profit rising 497 per cent to £2.7m in its latest annual results.

Tandem Bank to buy Pariti in UK fintech tie-up (Financial Times), Rated: A

Digital bank Tandem has agreed to buy fellow British fintech group Pariti, as it looks to head off rising competition from established lenders taking advantage of new legislation that gives them greater access to customer data.

New rules that came into force in January allow companies such as Tandem and Pariti to access customer data from other lenders if the individuals give consent.

AltFi London Summit Preps for Event this Month as UK Alternative Finance Continues to Grow (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The 5th Annual London Summit is scheduled to take place on March 26th during a time of significant change in the UK. Brexit jitters along with dramatic regulatory changes such as Open Banking and PSD2 has created a varied and dynamic environment. Yet alternative finance continues to grow with AltFi estimating that UK loan origination volumes increased by 41.9% to £14.1 billion in 2017. During 2018, this number is predicted to jump by £7 billion.

Speakers already confirmed include Samir Desai, CEO and co-founder of Funding Circle, Ricky Knox, CEO and co-founder of Tandem and Anne Boden, CEO and founder of Starling Bank.

 

Eight luxurious Holywood homes get £3m in funding from peer-to-peer lending firm (Belfast Telegraph), Rated: B

Eight luxury homes being built in the hills of Holywood have received £3m in peer-to-peer (P2P) funding.

Cobain Group, which is behind The Twisel Brae development, received the funding from lender Assetz Capital.

The eight detached properties, styled by designer Kris Turnbull, will range from 2,200 to 4,000 sq ft in size, and cost between £575,000 and £800,000.

China

Ant Financial Consumer Lending Reaches $ 95 Billion (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

From the start of 2017 until this month, Ant’s consumer lending has doubled via its Huabei and Jiebei units even as the government reduces quotas for new asset-backed securities that can underpin such loans, one of the people said, asking not to be named as the matter is private. The loans can incur annual interest rates as high as 15 percent, although they are normally less than that, another person said.

Controlled by Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma, Ant has become a financial giant that was said to be valued at $60 billion and currently has more outstanding consumer loans than China’s second-biggest bank.

China’s Financial Disintermediation And M2 (Trade Captain), Rated: A

The past few weeks have been deluged with important events in Asia, but we don’t want the data to be washed away in the flood. In particular, note that China’s liquidity conditions continue to tighten, pointing to a further slowdown in nominal GDP growth over the next two years. Granted, M2 growth bounced back in February, and should edge higher in coming months, due to favourable base effects. But it remains historically low. Moreover, growth in our broader gauge of liquidity likely will continue to slow.

WeChat: the real Beast from the East (The Finanser), Rated: A

 

Mobile payments is another area where Tencent is thriving. WeChat Pay, a mobile payment system integrated into the app, holds 40% of China’s whopping US$12.77 trillion mobile payment market. Kickstarted by China’s virtual red packets exchange that supplanted the tradition of giving monetary gifts during Chinese New Year, WeChat Pay has seen impressive growth since its launch in 2013. Its monthly offline commercial transactions jumped 280% year over year in 2017 while social payment transactions grew 23%. Along with Alibaba’s Alipay, the service is making cash and plastic obsolete in China.

European Union

New rules put forward to help crowdfunding platforms grow across EU (Bridging & Commercial), Rated: AAA

These proposals – which are part of the European Commission’s fintech action plan – will enable crowdfunding platforms to offer their services EU-wide and improve access to this form of finance for start-ups and SMEs.

At present, it is difficult for many crowdfunding platforms to expand into other EU countries, but once these proposals have been adopted by the European Parliament and the Council, the proposed regulation will allow platforms to apply for an EU label based on a single set of rules.

Future Finance Closes €40 million Investment Round (PR Newswire), Rated: A

  • Future Finance completed €40 million Series C round with existing investors.
  • Investors remain excited about Future Finance’s ability to disrupt the UK student lending market.
  • Equity injected will be used to fund loans and hire top talent in LondonDublin and Chicago.

Start-up to stardom, Bondora turns 10 years old (Bondora) Rated: B

In the height of the global financial crisis, Bondora was officially founded on 11.03.2008. While it may have seemed counter-intuitive to most to create a new financial platform at this time, there was a clear need to serve customers who had been failed by the banks and disrupt the wider financial ecosystem.

International

Higher yields driving marketplace lending uptake among institutions, finds study (AltFiNews), Rated: AAA

According to a new study, marketplace lending is here to stay. That’s among the major findings of the Greenwich Marketplace Lending research study, conducted August to October 2017. It is based on the fact that 52 per cent of institutions currently investing in the asset class believe that marketplace lending will be a significant part of the financial system in the next 10 years.

Greenwich Associates interviewed 74 investors from pension planners to asset managers to compile its results. These investors control more than $3.5 trillion in assets between them. When the research was conducted, 21 of the firms were investors in marketplace loans, while 53 were not.

Of those investing in the asset class, 67 per cent cited higher yield as their primary reason for investing. Diversification and low correlation (48 per cent), access to consumer or small business credit (43 per cent) and low volatility (33 per cent) were also cited as important drivers.

Australia

 

Why Smart Aussies Are Dumping Banks for Online Loans (Mozo), Rated: B

Everything is online these days – including some of the best value home loans around. In fact, Mozo has taken a look at our database, and found that 1 in 2 home loans with a rate under 4% are offered by online lenders.

And when we crunched the numbers, we found that by switching from the average big four bank variable rate to the best deal around from an online lender, a typical borrower with a $300,000 home loan could save as much as $2,596** every year!

Square Peg In $ 200m Round Hole (Channel News), Rated: A

Paul Bassat’s venture capital outfit Square Peg Capital is said to be looking to raise more than $200 million as it seeks to add more investments to its portfolio interests in graphic design group Canva and online lender Prospa. Melbourne-based Square Peg, which was backed in its early days by billionaire James Packer, invests across Australia, Israel and South-East Asia.

India

Faircent.com bolsters its leadership ranks with two key appointments (India Times), Rated: AAA

P2P lending major, Faircent.com on Wednesday said it is strengthening its leadership team with industry veterans Vikas Prasad and Mayank Bishnoi coming on board. Prasad has joined the company as Head – Planning, Processes & Control, while Bishnoi has taken over as Head – Customer Experience.

“As the largest player in the rapidly-growing P2P lending industry, Faircent.com is currently at a critical juncture of its growth journey. More and more Indians from across multiple geographies are associating with our platform, both as lenders and as borrowers,” said Rajat Gandhi, Founder & CEO – Faicent.com in a statement.

Regulations for fintech companies in India: A dire need (Qrius) Rated: A

FinTech small business lending is currently developing with promising potential to complement and emerge as a healthy alternative to brick and mortar banking. The number of small businesses turning to FinTechs or non-traditional lenders has exploded over the past couple of years with many economies reporting a sharp increase in the number of small businesses turning to marketplace lenders in 2017. Marketplace lending accounts for 0.08% of the $96 trillion global corporate and household outstanding debt. Growing at an average 123% a year since 2010, Morgan Stanley forecasts that it will reach $290 billion by 2020.

FinTech lenders are forced to pay a commission to introducers or brokers which goes up to 4% of the loan amount which is normally passed on to clients.

Asia

Grab to offer loans, insurance with new fintech platform Grab Financial (The Straits Times), Rated: AAA

Grab will now offer loans and insurance with its new fintech platform – Grab Financial – the ride-hailing company announced on Tuesday (March 13).

This new platform will encompass all of Grab’s fintech offerings, including payment services, rewards and loyalty services, and financial services, among others.

To provide loans to consumers, micro-entrepreneurs and small businessess across South-east Asia, Grab has embarked on a joint venture (JV) agreement with Credit Saison Co, one of Japan’s largest consumer financing companies.

Initial offerings include accident, hospitalisation and other critical insurance coverage to Grab’s 2.6 million drivers, accessible through the Grab driver app.

FintruX advisor Yash Mody explains the platform’s future plans (Finder), Rated: A

Basically, FintruX is building a truly global peer-to-peer lending platform, and it’s secure, it’s fast, it’s easy. Lenders and borrowers don’t have to worry because the platform does all the work for them. They basically set their criteria and then they don’t have to think about it. They don’t have to auction and they don’t, you know, it’s not a cumbersome process. So that’s why we think it’s a new way of doing business.

And obviously, there’s a lot of regulation in this area. So how scalable is it? Are you going to run into lots of different regulatory issues with, issues lending loans between countries?

Yeah, so we’ve taken great care to make sure that we’re within regulation. We have four lawyers on board and advisers and all that, and we’re very cognisant of what’s required. As a first stage, we’re not going to be doing cross-border lending. So let’s say, for example, we’re going to launch in Singapore and Canada, so it would be a loan that’s in Canada from a lender and a borrower in Canada.

Indonesia eyes fintech regulation to avoid ‘loan shark-like’ practices (Reuters), Rated: A

Indonesia’s financial regulator said it was considering setting a cap on interest rates and the size of loans offered by fintech firms, in a move aimed at minimizing the risk of defaults.

The emergence of these peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms, offering loans ranging from as little as a few hundred dollars to several thousands, has so far been welcomed by Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s biggest economy where tens of millions of people have little or no access to bank credit.

More than 300,000 people have borrowed from these firms, with total loan distribution reaching 3 trillion rupiah ($218 million) as of January, versus 247 billion in December 2016, according to data from the Financial Services Authority (OJK).

Venture financing investments in the software segment receiving highest attention in Japanese enterprise market (Global Data) Rated : A

In 2017, venture financing (VF) investments in the software segment constituted 46% of the total deal value in the Japanese enterprise market, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company. On the other hand, 38% of the total number of VF deals in the country was in the software segment.

source Global Data

VF investments in the IT service segment constitute 38% of the total deal value in 2017. The IT service segment investments are primarily focused on consumer facing enterprises, such as online lending, social networking, online media publishing, e-commerce, and online dating, among others. As Japanese technological advancements are on the forefront of global market, VF companies are investing in Japanese technology enterprises in order to expand their operations and achieve business growth.

New Business Models, Emerging Tech Enabling FinTech Companies to Improve Financial Inclusion (PRNewswire), Rated: A

FinTech companies are making significant progress in promoting financial inclusion through innovative business models, products and increased use of emerging technologies such as digital identity, Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning, says a new report co-authored by CreditEase, IFC, a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group, and Stanford Graduate School of Business. The report, “Financial Inclusion in the Digital Age,” was launched today during Money20/20 Asia in Singapore.

Over two billion unbanked adults in the world, representing 38 percent of all adults globally, do not have access to basic financial services and another 57 percent have basic accounts but do not have access to a full range of services that include diversified savings and investments, low-cost payments systems, insurance, or credit.

Peer to Peer lending increasingly popular in Vietnam (VietNamNet), Rated: A

In 2012, P2P outstanding loans worldwide totalled $1.2 billion, while the figure rose to $64 billion in 2015 and is expected to reach $1 trillion by 2025.

A big advantage of the P2P model is the high information security level based on BigData technology which encrypts, stores and controls customers’ information.

Analysts said with the advantages of the model, plus current conditions in Vietnam, P2P could replace black credit, or lending at very high interest rates, which is illegal in Vietnam.

According to the World Bank, 79 percent of the population in Vietnam cannot access official financial services.

Vietnamese P2P lending startup Tima seeks to close Series B round by June (Deal Street Asia), Rated: B

Tima claims to be the first P2P lending startup in Vietnam. Launched in 2015, the platform has seen cumulative money from its lender partners reach over $900 million. In 2016, Tima closed a seven-digit US dollar Series A funding from an undisclosed Singapore fund to accelerate its growth in the local market.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday August 4 2017, Daily News Digest

immediate payments

News Comments Today’s main news: SoftBank invests $250M in Kabbage. SoFi begins search for IPO-focused CFO. MarketInvoice has record trading day. George Banco acquired by Non-Standard Finance. Yirendai made $40M net profits in Q2. ID Finance partners with Da Vinci Capital on $200M fintech fund launch. Lendingkart Group raises $10M in debt funding. Today’s main analysis: Square Q2 shareholder letter. Immediate payments […]

immediate payments

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

Israel

News Summary

United States

SoftBank invests in US online lender to small business (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

SoftBank is investing $250m in Kabbage, one of the biggest US online lenders to small businesses, in a deal that could provide the firepower for a potential takeover of OnDeck Capital, a rival digital lender.

Kathryn Petralia, co-founder of Kabbage, told the Financial Times that the deal would finance growth in the company’s direct lending operation, which has provided nearly $3.5bn of funding to more than 100,000 small businesses in the US.

There has been speculation that Kabbage is planning to make a bid for OnDeck, a rival online lender that went public in 2014 and has since suffered an 80 per cent fall in its share price, hit by growing losses, rising defaults and higher funding costs.

SoFi Hints at IPO, Reports Record Results (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Social Finance Inc. posted record earnings and loan volume in the second quarter, as the privately held company’s chief executive hinted that it is moving closer to an initial public offering.

In a letter to investors reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, SoFi Chief Executive Mike Cagney sounded more optimistic about a potential public offering, as opposed to previous forums in which he said no deal would be coming in the foreseeable future.

(LT Editor: Here’s the letter again–in case you missed it yesterday).

Source: SoFi

Goldman Sachs is Going Big on Lending (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

The firm created GS Select to reach clients of nearly 4,000 independent investment advisors from Fidelity Investments. Clients will be able to borrow from $75,000 to $25 million backed by their investment portfolios.

What’s interesting about this move is that it could be expanded to other RIAs and financial advisors not just through Fidelity. We’ve seen this type of model before with self described “Lending as a Service” fintech companies, but this time it’s a big bank that has built this technology.

Source: Lend Academy

Square  Q2 2017 Shareholder Letter (LendIt), Rated: AAA

In the second quarter, our top-line results reflect our continued ability to attract larger sellers and increase product usage through cross-selling. Total GPV grew 32% year over year, and GPV from larger sellers grew 45% year over year. Transaction-based revenue increased 32% year over year—the same rate as GPV, which is a result of our ability to maintain transaction revenue margin. Subscription and services-based revenue nearly doubled year over year. Strong top-line growth, lower risk loss rates, and ongoing operating expense leverage drove another quarter of significant EBITDA and margin improvement.

We grew Square Capital loan volume 68% year over year and further diversified our investor base.

 

Source: Square Q2 2017 Shareholder Letter

Read the full report here.

An Australian Entrepreneur And Ron Suber Want To Fix America’s Student Debt Crisis With A Fintech Solution (Benzinga), Rated: A

A trillion-dollar black cloud of student debt hangs over multiple generations of Americans. Student debt is delaying marriages, major purchases, home ownership and general enjoyment of life for millions of people. There’s more student debt than even credit card debt.

Enter Credible CEO Stephen Dash. The Australian entrepreneur is taking inspiration from his home country’s approach to offer student borrowers a marketplace of easier options to get and refinance loans. Australia has an income-based debt repayment system, and Credible’s tech helps borrowers refinance to make affordable payments.

loanDepot’s Groundbreaking Tech Spurs Demand for New Innovation Lab (PR Newswire), Rated: A

loanDepot, America’s lender, today announced details of its new standalone tech campus, the mello ™ Innovation Lab. At this unique facility, the LD tech team will continue to innovate and expand mello, the company’s proprietary digital-lending technology.

With loanDepot’s goal to transform the lending industry, its mello ecosystem is shaping lending’s future as it expands its online and offline consumer relationship model. mello’s technology includes an intuitive web-based consumer portal, a state-of-the-art, mobile point-of-sale system, and a fully-digital mortgage loan application experience. The company has invested $80 million to date on its digital-first technology strategy.

loanDepot’s mello exists within a larger next-gen lending ecosystem that is boosted with the integration of digital-marketing tools and by third-party data enrichment that ensure greater accuracy, speed and certainty throughout the origination experience. On a massive scale, mello is changing the loan origination process into a digital consumer experience, making it faster, easier, and more accurate.

USAA lets members bare their financial souls to Alexa (American Banker), Rated: A

USAA went live Wednesday morning with a virtual assistant that works with Amazon’s Alexa voice interaction device and its corresponding shopping app. Now, USAA members — at least the first 400 that sign up at USAA Labs — can ask Alexa a range of questions about their accounts, balances, spending and transactions, and the bot will answer with specific details from the member’s USAA card and bank accounts.

In so doing, USAA is joining a small group of financial institutions — including Capital One, American Express and several credit unions — that have created Alexa Skills, as the chatbots that work with Alexa are called.

US CFTC Launches Initiatives to Promote Fintech in the Futures and Swaps Markets (Lexology), Rated: A

First, the CFTC announced Project KISS—“Keep It Simple, Stupid”—as a forum to examine how its existing rules might be applied in less costly and burdensome ways. Second, the CFTC launched LabCFTC as a way to promote responsible fintech and regulatory technology (“regtech”) innovation. Together, these initiatives appear to be a significant part of the CFTC’s response to calls for streamlined regulation from the industry, the White House and some members of Congress.

Project KISS

The CFTC website specifically invites public input on the following five “KISS Initiatives”:5

  1. Registration—the process of becoming regulated by the CFTC as any of the several entity types that the agency regulates
  2. Reporting—all reporting obligations, including swap data and recordkeeping
  3. Clearing—clearing services in connection with various contracts and transactions
  4. Executing—the execution of futures and swaps transactions
  5. Miscellaneous—any topics not specifically enumerated above

LabCFTC

This initiative is intended to enhance the agency’s involvement in fintech and regtech7 solutions and to support the goals of (1) providing regulatory certainty for fintech innovators and (2) enabling more efficient regulation through the use of emerging technologies. LabCFTC contemplates a variety of means to accomplish these objectives, including:

  1. Proactive outreach to and collaboration with the fintech industry to better understand the strengths and weaknesses of the CFTC’s current regulatory framework as applied to new technologies
  2. Participation in research and engagement with academia and professionals to harness and promote the advantages of fintech/regtech for the CFTC and the markets it regulates
  3. Collaboration with other financial regulators at home and abroad and the sharing of information about promising fintech applications and their potential risks
  4. The tracking of fintech developments to ensure that CFTC regulation supports rather than impedes innovation

Money360’s just getting started (Bankless Times), Rated: A

The company closed $143 million in loans in Q2, bringing its total to more than $350 million. It is on pace to top the $500 million mark before the end of 2017.

Many D.C.-area homeowners are guilty of this financial no-no — financing renovations on credit cards (The Washington Post), Rated: A

A May study by Hearth, a financial technology start-up that provides support for homeowners making renovation decisions, found that 12 percent of Americans planned to finance their renovation with a credit card, which is one of the most expensive ways to finance the cost.

The Hearth Home Renovation Survey, which asked 2,000 homeowners about their remodeling plans for the coming year, found the number of people planning to use a credit card to pay for their renovation is even higher in the Washington region at 16 percent.

In this region, 52 percent of homeowners prefer to pay with savings or cash, compared with 62 percent nationally. D.C.-area residents are also more likely to finance their project with a loan — 32 percent — compared with 26 percent nationally.

Computer says no: robo-advice is growing but we still don’t trust it (The Conversation), Rated: B

People are open to receiving financial advice from robots, our studiesshow, but there might be a way to go to in convincing people to trust them over a human.

We surveyed 138 people about their attitudes to, and preferences for, superannuation advice from a human or a computer. Unsurprisingly, most stated they would prefer to deal with a human across a broad range of financial decisions.

Some did prefer the computer – these tended to be younger people, and those on higher incomes.

Ideas to Help Cash-Strapped or Underbanked Consumers (Southeast Missourian), Rated: B

With the inception of new types of loans, cash-strapped customers can borrow a certain amount from alternative lenders. These loans entail borrowing money against your next paycheck. Unlike traditional payday loans, these lenders allow their customers a fair grace period to make their repayment, making it easier for borrowers to repay and meet their other financial needs. The traditional lenders, on the other hand, require borrowers to repay their full loan amount with their next paycheck.

Peer-to-peer funding is an alternative to acquiring financial aid. This entails letting other businesses invest in your business venture. Finding willing investors is not a hard process itself as you can acquire them by applying online. Small businesses can source one to five-year loans. The loans are available from widely known businesses like Lending Club.

Private Lenders to Gain Insight from Industry Experts (Benzinga), Rated: B

American Association of Private Lenders (AAPL) will hold its eighth annual conference Sunday, November 12 through Tuesday, November 14 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. The keynote speaker will be Daren Blomquist, Senior Vice President of Communications at ATTOM Data Solutions, formerly RealtyTrac, curator of the nation’s largest fused property database. The AAPL annual conference is one of the largest national events for private lenders and will include a full slate of speakers, resources, education and networking. More information can be found at .

First Associates Loan Servicing Opens a New 1000-Seat Operations Center in Baja California (Benzinga), Rated: B

First Associates Loan Servicing announced today the opening of their new 1000-seat capacity operations center in Baja California, Mexico. This state-of-the-art center will support the continued global expansion of First Associates and enable the company to continue delivering first-class service and security for their clients.

United Kingdom

RateSetter Milestone: Investors Fund £2 Billion of Loans & Have Earned More Than £76 Million in Interest (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

RateSetter recently announced its lenders have now delivered more than £2 billion in loans to people and businesses across the UK and in doing so have earned over £76 million in interest. According to the online lender, 94% of its lenders are individuals looking for a decent return on their money by investing, and accepting some degree of risk, rather than settling for the pitiful interest rates offered on bank deposits.

P2P business platform MarketInvoice marks record trading day (AltFi), Rated: AAA

The company had more invoice advances on 1 August than any other day.

The trading platform saw £4.1m  in invoice advances to UK businesses on Monday, a record setting day for the firm.

Usually £3.2m is the average amount that is advanced in a day. The increase in trading is largely do to MarketInvoice Pro, an invoice discounting facility.

RateSetter-backed lender acquired by Non-Standard Finance (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER investors are likely to get repaid early by George Banco following the acquisition of the guarantor loans provider by Non-Standard Finance.

Approximately £30m of RateSetter lending is currently outstanding to George Banco and many lenders will be repaid early as a result of the refinancing.

Blend Network launches with vow to be the “Goldman Sachs of P2P” (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

Blend Network will offer asset-backed property loans to retail and high-net-worth individuals, as well as hedge funds and other institutional investors. P2P specialist F&P will act as introducer for all of its loans, although Blend Network’s chief executive Yann Murciano said that he would be open to further partnerships in the future, as the business scales up.

P2P lending looks less than attractive on a forward-looking basis (AltFi), Rated: A

But, and yes, there is an important caveat, I am beginning to sense an important tipping point. Returns of between 4 and 6% pa from the big platforms – with an emphasis on the lower range of that spectrum – haven’t changed too much (in fact they’ve slightly fallen back). But I’m increasingly thinking that these returns are now inadequate for the potential of increased risk.

If one comes from a lending POV (point of view) then I would argue that the current returns are woefully inadequate, given where we are in the lending cycle.

  • The big banks are starting to increase their provisioning for bad debts
  • Here in the UK we’ve probably reached Peak Unsecured Lending with the BoE bearing down on all lenders about risk, worried senseless about a downturn in consumer spending as Brexit grinds on
  • The car lending market is quite clearly close to a systemic meltdown
  • ‘challenges’ are already appearing within the P2P space, most recently at Ratesetter where its wholesale lending capacity is being wound down
  • The housing market looks more vulnerable than ever before, with the very real possibility that we’ll see a steady drip feed of small price declines
China

Yirendai Made $ 40M Net Profits in Q2 and Dividend for the First Time (Xing Ping She), Rated: AAA

Yirendai, the first US-listed Chinese internet finance company, has recently issued its financial report for the Q2, 2017. In the second quarter of 2017, Yirendai has reached the loans volume of $1.22bn, increasing by 18 percent from the last quarter, especially increased 80 percent from the same period in 2016. By the end of second quarter, the accumulated loans transaction of Yirendai was up to $7.1bn.

Yirendai’s main revenue was charged for service fee from borrowers and lenders. As a result, its income scale is increasing rapidly with the fast growth of loans volume. In the period, Yirendai has made net income of $176 million, increasing by 16 percent from the last quarter and 61 percent from the same period of last year.

Tencent and national development banks to practice the national “Internet +” strategy (163.com), Rated: A

(Hereinafter referred to as “National Bank”) and Tencent (hereinafter referred to as “Tencent”) in Shenzhen Tencent headquarters signed the “Internet +” development of financial strategic cooperation agreement. “.. In the future, the two sides will be in the Internet + precision poverty alleviation, Internet financial innovation, domestic and international credit financing, Kechuang enterprise cultivation, information technology applications and many other areas of long-term, stable, in-depth and sustainable strategic cooperation. Chairman of the State Development Bank Party Committee, Vice President Zhang Xuguang, Director of the China Development Bank Shenzhen Branch Wu Liangdong, Vice President of Tencent Xie Qinghua, Tencent Internet + Strategic Cooperation General Manager Zhang Wei attended the signing ceremony of strategic cooperation.

European Union

ID Finance Teams Up With Da Vinci Capital to Launch $ 200 Million Fintech Fund (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Marketing fintech firm ID Finance announced on Wednesday it has joined forces with former Elbrus Capital fund manager, Yuri Popov, and asset management Da Vinci Capital to launch FinTech Credit Fund, which is described as a $200 million debt finance fund aimed towards fintech companies with a focus in alternative lending.

ID Finance also reported that the Fund will initially focus on projects within the CIS and European markets. Funding will be provided to companies involved in consumer/SME lending, with balance sheet and marketplace lenders being eligible.  Projects offering analytical solutions for credit scoring based on Big Data, AI and machine learning, as well as SaaS and PaaS solutions and payment services are of particular interest to the Fund and align with the investors’ areas of expertise.

International

GIC to invest in US talent agency (Straits Times), Rated: A

Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC, along with Canada’s largest pension fund manager, will invest US$1 billion (S$1.4 billion) in American talent management agency WME-IMG.

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, in a separate statement, said it would invest about US$400 million for an 8 per cent stake in WME-IMG, which owns brands like Ultimate Fighting Championship and the Miss Universe Organisation.

The US firm also counts the SoftBank Group, Silver Lake Partners and Fidelity Investments among its investors. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Australia/New Zealand

Harmoney’s loss is really a gain (AltFi), Rated: AAA

New Zealand peer-to-peer lender Harmoney’s revenue climbed 63 percent this year, edging the company closer to profitability.  While still loss-making, Harmoney has halved its losses from $NZ14 million last year to $7 million this year.

As well as climbing revenue, its financials were helped by a 15 percent drop in marketing costs, suggesting the company has grown out its brand recognition to a point where it feels comfortable paying less for advertising.

To date, Harmoney has lent more money than any other Kiwi P2P platform.

A new whitepaper by CoreData and HUB24 titled ‘The modern face of advice’, argues that while technological tools were reshaping the wealth management industry, the role of advisers remained critical and the relationship they built with their clients remained more relevant than ever.

The paper, which is based on interviews with advisers, said technology used in advice practices continued to mature and costs, including platform fees and management expense ratios were decreasing to boost bottom line results of firms.

Robo-advice could play a role in tapping into the estimated $2 trillion worth of unadvised savings in Australia but awareness was still in its infancy. However, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s (ASIC’s) ‘RG255: Providing digital financial product advice to retail clients’suggested robo-advice was here to stay.

India

Lendingkart Group raises $ 10 million in debt funding (Medianama), Rated: AAA

Lendingkart Finance Limited has raised $10 million in debt funding from Kotak Mahindra Bank, Aditya Birla Financial Services, and other financial institutions. The funds will be used to expand its operations to 700 cities and restock its loan book.

Retail banking may lose 55% of business to fintech (livemint), Rated: AAA

The retail banking sector could lose up to 55% of its business to fintech firms if it does not up the ante in terms of investment in digital transformation, according to a new study titled ‘Enterprise Digital Transformation: Evaluating Indian Enterprises’, brought out jointly by research firm Frost & Sullivan and software lobby body, Nasscom.

 

Havas Media bags integrated media mandate of Faircent.com (Exchange 4 Media), Rated: A

Havas Media Group, India has bagged the integrated media duties of Faircent.com, India’s largest peer to peer lending platform. The account will be handled out of the agency’s Gurgaon office.

Digital Disruption: Lending Trends Turn the Next Leaf! (DQ India), Rated: A

Lending in India is hard as only a fraction of people have access to organized credit. Less than 50% of SMEs get access to bank  finance. The lack of access to credit is forcing people to depend on money lenders at high rates of interest. In India, of the over 1.3 bn population, 600 mn is working class, out of which 150 million has access to credit and 20 million have scores acceptable  to banks.

P2P lending provides investors higher returns than investing in mutual funds/ stock markets, which are linked to the stock market and come with a risk of losing money due to their inherent volatile nature. With the lower interest rates, traditional investment tools like FDs and RDs look less attractive to customers.

Peer-to-Peer loans give regular monthly income to the investors in the form of EMIs.

Now own a piece of prime real estate investing a few thousands (India Times), Rated: A

RealX, a pune-based fintech start-up, has completed India’s “first fractional ownership” deal in real estate sector. The platform has bought a commercial property in Karad (Maharashtra) by pooling in investments from about 19 investors, RealX officials claimed.

RealX is an ecommerce platform which will allow property sellers and agents post their saleable property. Registered buyers, on the other side of the platform, could invest in these projects. The minimum investment threshold, currently, is Rs 5 lakh per investor.

Asia

Immediate payments key driver of banking revenue (The Asset), Rated: AAA

Sixty-six percent of banks with live IP systems in place see it as a revenue driver for their institution, which compares to less than 50% for companies without IP systems in place. Moreover, for all banks 53% say that IP will drive revenue growth for their organization, 61% believe that IP will enhance their level of customer service and 60% expect IP to reduce costs.

While 65% of surveyed institutions stated that open APIs would benefit their customer-facing proposition banks differed in their implementation strategy. The majority (55%) of banks opted for immediately creating open APIs and interfaces for developers, while a minority (45%) took a ‘wait and see’ approach.

Source: The Asset

Mastercard and PayPal expand Partnership in Asia (The Asset), Rated: A

The deal will expand PayPal’s presence at the point of sale and enable Masterpass for Braintree merchants in the region. Additionally, both companies will collaborate to create opportunities to leverage Mastercard’s new payment flow technologies, providing increased value to Mastercard cardholders, financial institutions, and PayPal customers. PayPal will also have the opportunity to give consumers and small businesses across Asia-Pacific the ability to cash out funds held in their PayPal accounts to a Mastercard debit card.

Israel

All of Israel’s FinTech innovation geniuses have left the country and taken their brilliant ideas with them (Finance Feeds), Rated: AAA

Israel was never a center of actual trading, but was always synonymous with the brilliant minds that invented every ancillary service from digital marketing and conversion funnels that have brought tremendous efficiency to retail brokerages, Plus500 being a case in point, to social trading networks that have prospered on a gigantic scale across China – read eToro’s efforts with PingAn as very much an example where other social trading ventures wilted and disappeared.

Mr Mandelzis secured $40 million in venture capital from Sequoia Capital and sold the company to ICAP in 2007 for $250 million which became the subject of a Kellog Business School case study.

Where is Mr Mandelzis now? New York.

Optimove consolidates, mines and models customer data, dynamically grouping customers into micro-segments, and forecasting their future behavior and value.

Optimove is headquartered in New York, and is a completely American company.

Social trading has died a death. There is very little evidence of the large firms that used to dominate, and most of that technology came from Israel.

The only one in existence is eToro, which is a social investment platform.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor