Thursday August 29 2019, Weekly News Digest

VC-backed fintech

News Comments Today’s main news: Funding Circle closes $198M ABS for U.S. SMBs. KBRA assigns preliminary ratings to Consumer Loan Underlying Bond Credit Trust 2019-P2. SoFi to create 300 jobs in Jacksonville, Florida. LendInvest postpones IPO until at least 2020. Binance offers crypto lending. Today’s main analysis: The nonbank and alternative lending industry in 2019. […]

The post Thursday August 29 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

VC-backed fintech

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United States

Funding Circle Closes $ 198 Million Securitization to Support US Small Businesses (Valdosta Daily Times), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle today closed its first asset-backed securitization (ABS) of US small business loans originated through its platform. The $198 million deal marks the debut of Funding Circle’s US securitization sponsorship capability, and is the fifth securitization of Funding Circle business loans globally.

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to Consumer Loan Underlying Bond (CLUB) Credit Trust 2019-P2 (Benzinga), Rated: AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to three classes of notes issued by Consumer Loan Underlying Bond (CLUB) Credit Trust 2019-P2 (“CLUB 2019-P2”). This is a $287.80 million consumer loan ABS transaction.

Preliminary Ratings Assigned: Consumer Loan Underlying Bond (CLUB) Credit Trust

2019-P2

Class

Preliminary Rating

Initial Class Principal

A

A+ (sf)

$200,700,000

B

A- (sf)

$37,900,000

C

BB (sf)

$49,200,000

DeSantis says SoFi, SS&C Technologies will create 498 jobs in Jacksonville (Jax Daily Record), Rated: AAA

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Wednesday that two international information technology companies will create a combined 498 jobs in Jacksonville, disclosing the names of Project Quail and Project Liberty.

SoFi, a California-based online personal finance company, has been seeking $1.5 million in state and city incentives through the Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund program as code-named Project Quail to establish its southeastern operations center and create 300 jobs in Jacksonville.

Court activity on Aug. 27: Sofi Lending Corp. vs Cindy Luu (SE Texas Record), Rated: B

The Harris County Civil Court reported the following activity in the suit brought by Sofi Lending Corp. against Cindy Luu on Aug. 27: ‘Original Petition Citation Issued’.

Swimming Pools Are a Highly Prized Amenity Amid the Summer Heat (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

A new LendingTree study ranks the 50 largest cities by its share of homes with a swimming pool. We found that about 10% of homes have pools, ranging from nearly 33% in Phoenix to 1% in Portland, Ore. We also looked at the values of homes with and without swimming pools to show how much this amenity is worth. Let’s dive in.

Key findings

  • You’ve gotta pay to play: The median home with a pool is valued at $469,187, while the median home without a pool is valued at $305,152 — a 54% premium. The highest premium is in Memphis at a whopping 157%.
  • Go West: It’s no surprise that six of the top 10 cities for swimming pools are in the West — four in California and one each in Arizona and Nevada.
  • Hot, hot, hot: Phoenix, which experiences more than 100 days above 100 degrees a year, leads the way with 32.7% of homes having a swimming pool.
  • Sunshine State: Florida is not far behind California with three cities in the top 10. Miami, Tampa and Orlando rank second, third and fourth, respectively.
  • Rain and water don’t mix: Two of the cities with the least swimming pools are in the rainy Northwest. Portland is in last place with just 1% of homes with pools, while Seattle is not far ahead with 1.3%.
Source: LendingTree

Brex Teams With BigCommerce To Offer Merchant Financing (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Corporate eCommerce card company Brex has announced a partnership with leading SaaS eCommerce platform BigCommerce, according to a release.

Brex’s open credit line, three-month payment terms and interest-free financing are now available to all BigCommerce merchants through the BigCommerce App Store.

German challenger bank N26’s plan to win over Americans (American Banker), Rated: A

N26’s new SoHo office has all the design elements of a tech startup — high ceilings, distressed wood, big windows, a pingpong table, beanbag chairs, community meeting areas.

Digital Banking And Branches Not An Either/Or Proposition (PYMNTS), Rated: A

GOBankingRates found that 25 percent of consumer prefer banking with a mobile app, though nearly half preferred banking in person at a branch or ATM. Yet 76 percent said they wouldn’t open an account with a bank that doesn’t have a mobile app.

According to Fiserv, the preference for digital interactions (online plus mobile) is 58 percent, considerably ahead of the preference for branch interactions (32 percent).

When breaking out online, though, there is a preference for online (37 percent) compared to mobile (17 percent).

Why Fifth Third is raising its bet on alternative power (American Banker), Rated: A

Fifth Third Bancorp is building out its renewable energy banking business, highlighting how the alternative power niche isn’t just for the biggest banks.

The $169 billion-asset Fifth Third recently added three new managing directors to its renewable energy investment banking group. With the additions of Timothy Beach, Ari Citrin and Oliver Janssen, the bank intends to offer more specialized capital markets and M&A advisory services to renewable energy firms, most of which are in solar.

How to Get Your Small Business Ready for a Recession (Successful Meetings), Rated: A

How students are trying to avoid college loans (Marketplace.org), Rated: AAA

Student debt can seem inevitable. Today, more than 44 million Americans owe nearly $1.5 trillion in student loans. This debt has been blamed for many things: Americans’ lack of retirement savingsdeclining rates of home ownership, even the death of marriage.

A look at the nonbank and alternative lending industry in 2019 (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

According to Oracle’s Digital Demand in Retail Banking study of 5,200 consumers from 13 countries, over 40% of customers surveyed think nonbanks can better assist them with personal money management and investment needs, and 30% of respondents who haven’t tried a nonbank platform said they’re open to trying one.

Business Insider Intelligence’s Online Mortgage Lending Report found that the top five US banks – Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and JPMorgan Chase, US Bancorp, and Citigroup – only accounted for 21% of total mortgage originations, which is a huge decline from their 50% combined market share in 2011.

Source: Business Insider

According to a survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, in 2016 only 58% of loan requests from small businesses were approved by incumbent banks, compared to 71% approved by alt lenders that same year.

Fund That Flip Raises Another $ 11M to be the Funding Solution for Real Estate Speculators (Alley Watch), Rated: A

AlleyWatch caught up with Matt Rodak to learn more about the company’s success, future growth plans, and recent round of funding, which brings its total funding to $13M across four rounds.

New Tools Help Mortgage Lenders Build Stronger Relationships with Borrowers’ Real Estate Agents (SimpleNexus), Rated: A

SimpleNexus makes it easy for loan originators to create co-branded mobile apps for Realtor partners to share with borrowers. The shared platform enhances the borrower experience by keeping partners up-to-speed on loan progress and putting mortgage calculators and other handy tools at partners’ fingertips.

Pagaya Expands PAID Shelf with Prosper: Closing $ 115 Million Consumer Credit ABS (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Pagaya, a global financial technology company using artificial intelligence (AI) to reshape asset management, today announced the closing of a consumer credit asset-backed security (ABS) at $115 million. Led by structuring agent Cantor Fitzgerald, the ABS will be actively managed by Pagaya’s AI.

Pagaya has been working closely with Prosper to develop innovative financing solutions for consumers, which will be featured in this securitization.

Tech startup Blooma launches out stealth with $ 2.75 million seed funding for its loan origination AI platform (Tech Startups), Rated: A

Blooma, a tech startup that reduces time to revenue for commercial lenders, launches out of stealth with $2.75 million seed funding to transform the lending experience for commercial and private lenders and other organizations. The financing was led by Floodgate, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based investor. Other backers include: Abstract Ventures, Crescent Ridge Partners and Serra Ventures.

Former PayPal executive joins crypto lending startup Cred as CFO (The Block Crypto), Rated: B

Cryptocurrency lending and borrowing startup Cred has hired former PayPal executive as its chief financial officer (CFO), according to an announcement Monday.

iCapital Network expands exec team with four New hires (PE Hub), Rated: B

“STYLE360” Celebrates 15 Years At New York Fashion Week With New Title Sponsor Klarna (PRWeb), Rated: B

Fashion event agency, A-List Communications announces their lineup and new title sponsor Klarna for their 15th year of STYLE360, which will take place during the latter portion of Spring/Summer 2020 New York Fashion Week from September 9 – 11, 2019.

White Oak Commercial Finance Originates a Revolving Credit Facility to The Good Kitchen (Financial Content), Rated: B

White Oak Commercial Finance (“White Oak”), an affiliate of White Oak Global Advisors, announced today the origination of a new revolving credit facility to healthy meal service company The Good Kitchen. Originally founded as a meal delivery service, The Good Kitchen will use the proceeds of the credit facility to expand its business into packaged meals sold at 1,500 stores across the United States.

Lenders Moving Away From Small-Dollar Loans to High-Interest Installment Loans (Lexology), Rated: B

California non-bank consumer lenders are moving away from small-dollar short term payday loans and are, instead, embracing longer-term installment…

United Kingdom

LendInvest reportedly shelves IPO plans for now (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Nearly a year after announcing a $39.5m “pre-IPO” funding roundLendInvest has delayed plans to IPO this year in favour of another private cash injection, according to a report by Financial News.

Mobile banking apps in the UK are surging ahead of investment and insurance apps (Business Insider), Rated: A

Over three-quarters of consumers in the UK use a finance app, according to a new study from Speedie Consultants that surveyed 200 people in the country. Twenty-four percent of those surveyed use their finance apps around twice a week, and 23% said they use it daily. The most common finance app users were aged 25-45, in addition to consumers over 65.

Source: Business Insider

Klarna launches VAR campaign created by 72andSunny (Prolific London), Rated: A

Swedish fintech payments firm Klarna has launched a new campaign focused around the introduction of Video Assistant Referee technology in the UK’s Premiere League.

Celsius Network Sees A 20x Increase In Deposits, However, Many Analysts Are Concerned (Bitcoin Exchange Guide), Rated: A

According to the latest press release, leading crypto lending firm Celsius Network has seen an increase of 2,165% growth in deposits. The network has already surpassed 20,000 BTC through mobile app deposits during the first year of operations.

New data reveals rapid growth in Peer-To-Peer lending is cannibalising High st bank market share (ResponseSource), Rated: A

Know Your Money data revealed that:

• Peer to Peer and Challenger lenders comparison searches have more than doubled in 3 years

• 33% of Businesses selected a P2P or challenger lender on  in 2019 – compared to just 15% in 2017

• Alternative lending interest more than doubled in the last 2 years

Revolut Boosts Executive Leadership with New Hires from Traditional Banking (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

According to Revolut, the Fintech bank has hired Philip Doyle as Director of Financial Crime Risk, Wolfgang Bardorf as Treasurer and Stefan Wille as Deputy Chief Financial Officer.

European Union

Zurich-based Numbrs is the latest fintech to join the unicorn club (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

The Zurich-based fintech, whose investors include former Deutsche Bank CEO Josef Ackermann, raised $40 million at a valuation of over $1 billion, reports Bloomberg. The latest investment brings Numbrs’ total raise to date to almost $200 million, CEO Martin Saidler told the outlet.

Notably, in contrast to many of its peers, Numbrs has joined the unicorn club not by focusing on venture capital and private equity funding, but instead by relying mostly on individuals and families — 50 have invested in the company thus far. The startup’s app enables users to aggregate their various bank accounts and manage their finances, and offers a marketplace for consumers to purchase various financial products.

Source: Business Insider

P2P Global Investments sells largest position for €250m (AltFi), Rated: A

The £1bn P2P Global Investments has sold one of its largest positions, in Castlehaven Finance, an Irish alternative development and bridging finance lender.

Castlehaven typically provides loans of between €1m – €20m in the property space, an increasingly big proportion of P2P GI’s portfolio.

The investment trust has provided financing in excess of €385m to Castlehaven since 2016.

What is the EU doing to understand if Artificial Intelligence apps are trustworthy? (Open Access Government), Rated: B

The University of Oxford received an immense £150 million donation to create a centre studying the ethics surrounding AI in the modern world, whilst global audiences continue to be fascinated by shows like Black Mirror which explore the worst-case consequences of AI accessing personal data.

The project is composed of three distinct, albeit related, parts, run in sequence from January 2019 to December 2020:

Part 1: Application of AI for risk management in bank and peer to peer lending

Part 2: Application of AI for risk management in financial investments and robot advisory

Part 3: Application of AI for risk management in blockchain payments and crypto assets

International

Binance Launches Crypto Lending Service (CryptoGlobe), Rated: AAA

Binance has launched a lending service allowing its users to earn cryptocurrency without trading, in a passive way. Currently the service is open for only a few tokens – its Binance Coin (BNB), Tether’s USDT stablecoin, and Ethereum Classic (ETC). Annualized interest rates are of 15% for BNB, 10% for USDT, and 7& for ETC.

Alternative Finance is Experiencing an Unprecedented Boom Worldwide (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Ten years after the financial crisis, Alternative Finance continues to exhibit strong growth. The sector is estimated to account for nearly €300 billion of inflows worldwide, a market exhibiting 25% annual growth and largely dominated by the Chinese (75%), which percentage was already recorded in 2015 by a study conducted jointly by KPMG and the University of Cambridge.

The United States takes second place with 19% of the market, while Europe currently represents just 6%, 60% of which comes from the United Kingdom. In France, alternative finance raised €1.4 billion in 2018, a year-on-year increase of 39% according to the annual report of KPMG and the non-profit group Financement Participatif France (FPF).

The latest crowdfunding trend is in real estate (Born2Invest), Rated: A

The global crowdfunding market is estimated to be expanding from 2018 to 2022 to $89.72 billion. From the first recorded successful crowdfunding in 1997, to how the first dedicated crowdfunding platform ArtistShare had come about in the year 2000,  crowdfunding has indeed disrupted many industries in different levels.

How and why the global centre of cryptocurrency moved back to Asia (Finder), Rated: A

The problem of investment scammers is much bigger than cryptocurrency though, Wong pointed out, and much bigger than Invest: Asia.

“I don’t think Invest: Asia is big enough to move the needle if you’re running a scam in China,” he said. “That just speaks to the size of the population in China. In general, I think there’s lots of financial scams in general in China, right? For example, a couple years ago there was a big peer to peer lending scandal.”

“The peer to peer lending was legitimately becoming a hot growth FinTech sector in China, but then people were running these peer to peer scams. Because it was so hot, everyone’s talking about it. It creates the conditions for scammers to launch whatever scheme that they want to launch.”

Australia/New Zealand

Prospa Full Year 2019 Results (Scoop), Rated: AAA

• FY19 loan originations of $501.7 million up 36.6% on the prior year (FY18: $367.3 million), 3.1% ahead of prospectus forecast.
• FY19 revenue of $136.4 million up 31.2% on the prior year (FY18: $104.0 million), in line with prospectus forecast.
• FY19 pro forma EBITDA of $6.8 million, ahead of prospectus forecast by 11.5%.
• Prospa has now delivered approximately $1.2 billion in loans since inception and total customer numbers in Australia and New Zealand grew to over 20,000 in FY19, up 58% on the prior year.
• Customer satisfaction remains consistently high, with Prospa’s annual average Net Promoter Score in excess of +77 in 2019. Prospa also has a rating of 9.8/10 on independent review platform TrustPilot.
• Business expansion has continued with the successful launch of new cash flow products and services and diversification into New Zealand.
• Further investment in executive strength, with new Chief Technology Officer, Chief Commercial Officer and Executive General Manager, Growth Channels appointed.

2019 Finder Awards winners (Finder), Rated: AAA

The 2019 Finder Awards recognise the market’s most competitive offerings across credit cards, home loans, personal loans, car insurance, banking, insurance, technology and superannuation.

Source: Finder
Source: Finder
Source: Finder
Source: Finder
Source: Up Bank
India

What future trends do you foresee in the startup ecosystem? (New India Express), Rated: AAA

P2P lending has also become increasingly popular as an alternative lending route as small businesses find it easier to obtain loans directly from other individuals. Going forward, we can expect more cloud-based services backed by advanced analytics that offer personalized loan limits and payback schedules, based on the borrower’s credit history.

Traditional players will also get into online lending and emulate the strategies of P2P lending companies. More businesses will start adopting work-from-home policies to increase cost savings and productivity. On the tech front, businesses will start investing more in AI and analytics to get a deeper insight into customer behaviour.

– Kewal Kapoor, director and creative strategist of CHAI Kreative and Return of Million Smiles  

Xiaomi is moving into India’s consumer-lending market (Business Insider), Rated: A

The fourth-largest mobile phone vendor plans to launch a consumer-lending business, dubbed Mi Credit, in India in the next few weeks, according to Reuters. It will offer loans of up to 100,000 rupees ($1,451), with interest rates starting at 1.8%.

Xiaomi is positioned as a leading smartphone manufacturer in India, with 70 million mobile phones in use throughout the country. It already launched its payment app, dubbed Mi Pay, in the country in March, which is reportedly “doing well,” per Reuters. For context, in China, Xiaomi’s lending business shows a loan book worth $8 billion.

Source: Business Insider

Furniture rental startup RentoMojo to raise Rs 27.7 Cr led by Samsung VC arm (YourStory), Rated: B

In July 2019, the company secured Rs 1.16 crore from Renaud Laplanche, the Co-founder and CEO of Upgrade, who earlier participated in the startup’s Series C funding round of Rs 77 crore in May, along with Accel Partners, Chiratae Ventures, IDG Ventures, and Bain Capital. At that time, the startup said the funds will be used for accelerating its growth and expansion to new cities.

Canada

IOU Financial Inc. Releases Financial Results for the Three and Six- Month Period Ended June 30, 2019 (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

  • Loan originations increased 31.8% to US$38.5 million in Q2 2019 compared to Q2 2018.
  • Total loans under management increased 36.4% to $101.0 million as at June 30, 2019 compared to the same period in 2018.
  • Adjusted gross revenue increased 25.1% to $5.5 million in Q2 2019 compared to Q2 2018.
  • Adjusted Operating Expense Ratio decreased to 10.0% in Q2 2019 compared to 11.9% in Q2 2018.
  • Adjusted net earnings amounted to $0.3 million in the second quarter of 2019, representing the sixth consecutive profitable quarter. Adjusted net earnings amounted to $0.8 million year-to-date.
Africa

Why and how peer-to-peer lending had to become market place lending (Business Live), Rated: AAA

The linked dangers of an inverted yield curve and a slowing economy have hammered banks stocks in recent months, and profit margins are already compressing. But the banks’ worries pale in comparison to challenges confronting the peer-to-peer or “market place” lenders — the start-ups that have set out, over the past decade or so, to upturn the banking industry.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday August 29 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Thursday May 2 2019, Weekly News Digest

fintech deals india china

News Comments Today’s main news: OnDeck publishes Q1 financial results. LendingClub to move 350 jobs out of San Francisco to Utah. Salary Finance picks SoFi co-founder Dan Macklin as CEO. Klarna rolls out payment plans for physical stores in UK. HeZhong International sets terms for IPO. India tops China as Asia’s top fintech funding source. Today’s […]

The post Thursday May 2 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

fintech deals india china

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United States

United Kingdom

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United States

OnDeck Reports First Quarter 2019 Financial Results (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

OnDeck today announced first quarter 2019 net income of $5.9 million, Adjusted Net Income of $8.3 million and gross revenue of $110.2 million.

Net income was $5.9 million, or $0.07 per diluted share, and decreased from the prior quarter’s net income of $14.0 million, 0.18 per diluted share, primarily due to higher loan loss provision, higher operating expenses and an accrual for income taxes.  Net income significantly improved from a loss of $1.9 million, or $0.03 per diluted share, in the year-ago period reflecting higher interest income from asset growth.

Adjusted Net Income was $8.3 million, or $0.10 per diluted share, and decreased from $15.9 million, or $0.20 per diluted share, in the prior quarter and increased from $6.4 million, or $0.08 per diluted share, in the year-ago period, reflecting the  aforementioned drivers.

Loans grew 3% sequentially and 19% from a year ago to $1.2 billion. Originations were $636 million, down from $658 million in the fourth quarter and up 8% from $591 million in the year-ago quarter.  The annual growth was broad-based with increases from both domestic and international operations as well as in both term loan and line of credit offerings. The average term loan size was unchanged sequentially at $53 thousand and was down from $58 thousand a year ago. Unit volume decreased 5% sequentially and increased 15% from the year-ago quarter.

Gross revenue was $110.2 million, essentially unchanged from the prior quarter, and up 22% from the year-ago quarter driven by higher interest income. Loan Yield of 35.6% decreased from 36.6% in the prior quarter reflecting a decline in portfolio performance while pricing was generally stable, and was unchanged from the year-ago quarter.

Interest expense of $11.3 million was essentially unchanged sequentially and decreased from a year ago despite a higher debt balance as borrowing rates improved. The Cost of Funds Rate continued to improve to 5.4%, a 20 basis point sequential improvement and a 140 basis point improvement from the year-ago quarter, as we refinanced debt at lower costs. First quarter financing activity included the extension and upsizing of four debt facilities aggregating to $595 million with improved terms.

Net Interest Margin was 29.5%, down from 30.0% the prior quarter as lower asset yields more than offset the impact from improved borrowing costs.  The increase in Net Interest Margin from 27.8% in the year-ago quarter was driven by improved borrowing costs.

Provision for loan losses increased to $43.3 million and the Provision Rate increased to 6.8%. The 15+ Day Delinquency Ratio increased 120 basis points sequentially to 8.7%.  Approximately half of the increase was in loans 15-89 days delinquent reflecting credit testing and economic trends, and the balance was in loans 90-days or more delinquent reflecting the change in our collection strategy for late-stage delinquencies. The Net Charge-off Rate increased to 12.2% and remains near the low end of our 12%-14% target range. The Reserve Ratio increased 30 basis points sequentially and 50 basis points from a year ago to 12.5%, reflecting portfolio quality trends and a higher proportion of 90-day plus delinquent loans, which have higher reserves.

Operating expenses increased from the comparable periods to $48.3 million, reflecting growth in the business and investments in our strategic initiatives, primarily technology and analytics. The Efficiency Ratio was 43.8%, up from 41.1% the prior quarter but improved from 49.3% in the year-ago quarter, while our Adjusted Efficiency Ratio* of 41.0% increased from 39.4% in the prior quarter and 40.1% in the year-ago quarter.

Provision for income taxes was $1.7 million compared to zero in 2018 when taxable income was completely offset by operating loss carryforwards. The effective tax rate was 24% and reflected a 21% U.S. federal rate, local and state income taxes, and losses in international subsidiaries.

Total assets increased 5% sequentially and 18% from a year ago to $1.2 billion primarily reflecting loan growth. Cash and cash equivalents was unchanged from year end at $60 million and decreased from $70 million a year ago. Other assets and other liabilities increased over the comparable periods as we recorded a net $28 million right-of-use asset in other assets and an equivalent increase in other liabilities stemming from the adoption of a new lease accounting standard. The 3% sequential increase in debt to $842 million was consistent with the growth in loans.

Total OnDeck stockholders’ equity of $309 million increased $10 million, or 3%, from year end and $45 million, or 17%, from a year ago.  Book value per diluted common share outstanding of $3.89 increased from $3.77 at year end and $3.40 a year ago.

Food Truck Satisfies as OnDeck Small Business of the Month (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

OnDeck today announced that Me So Hungry, a food truck business based in California, is its Small Business of the Month for April 2019. Owned by brothers Cory and Mike Ewing, Me So Hungry is the first food truck business to receive the OnDeck recognition.

LendingClub to slash San Francisco office, move 350 jobs to Utah (Mercury News), Rated: AAA

LendingClub, the online-loan marketplace, plans to wind down customer support operations in its home city of San Francisco and shift staff to Utah as it seeks to trim costs.

In an internal memo to staff reviewed by Bloomberg, Chief Executive Officer Scott Sanborn said LendingClub aims to have its teams completely out of San Francisco by December.

About 350 jobs will shift to Lehi, Utah, where LendingClub recently opened a new office.

SoFi Co-Founder Steps Back Onstage with Salary Finance (newKerala), Rated: AAA

Salary Finance announces SoFi co-founder Dan Macklin will be joining as CEO, Salary Finance Inc. (the US arm of the group).

Strong GDP Growth Continues (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Source: Bloomberg, PeerIQ

LendingTree Study Finds Tesla Drivers Have Highest Average Credit Scores (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

LendingTree today released its study ranking car brands by their buyers’ average credit score. Tesla buyers have the highest with a score of 740. Chrysler buyers have the lowest scores, with an average score of 656.

Key findings

  • Luxury brand buyers occupied the top spots. TeslaPorsche and Lexus lead with average credit scores of 740, 727 and 699 respectively.
  • Chrysler buyers had the lowest average credit score at 656, but it’s worth noting that this still falls in the “fair” range. It’s also right around the average credit score for all used car purchases.
  • For most auto makes, a credit score in the good range (670-739) was enough to be approved for an auto loan. Of the 30 different makes analyzed, 22 had an average approved credit score fall into that range

Read the full report here.

Understanding Sequential Pay Structures (DBRS), Rated: AAA

In a January 2019 newsletter, DBRS discussed the Evolution of the Shifting Interest Structure in residential mortgage-backed security (RMBS) transactions. Another common structure in RMBS transactions is the sequential pay structure.

The sequential pay structure is one of the most elementary and straight-forward structures in RMBS. Post-crisis, the sequential pay structure and its variations have been widely used in seasoned re-performing loan (RPL) and non-Qualified Mortgage (QM) transactions. Such structure largely benefits the senior classes in payment priorities over the subordinates.

Source: DBRS

Read the full report here.

Finitive Raises $ 6 Million Series Seed Round Led By Atomic Labs (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Finitive (www.finitive.com), a financial technology platform providing institutional investors with direct access to alternative lending investments, announced today that the firm raised approximately $6 million in a series seed financing. The round was led by Atomic Labs with participation from Ninepoint Partners – one of Canada’s leading private credit fund managers – as well as other investors and members of the management team.

Goldman Sachs, Regions help raise $ 55M for construction-lending fintech (American Banker), Rated: A

Built Technologies, a construction lending fintech platform, has raised $55 million in funding through Goldman Sachs and a handful of investors including Regions Financial, the company said Monday.

The Nashville, Tenn., company finished $31 million in series B funding through Goldman Sachs with the remainder amount raised by venture capitalists and Regions. The funding will help the 5-year-old fintech invest in research and development while building out its national client base, according to the firm’s CEO and co-founder, Chase Gilbert.

A busy month for fintech funding (American Banker), Rated: A

Novo, a challenger institution in the field of small-business banking, and the no-code platform provider Unqork held Series A funding rounds.

The online lender Upstart, which raised $50 million in a Series D round, says it can both lower loan loss rate and increase the number of customers underwritten.

Extend is building a platform to distribute digital cards by partnering with payment networks and card issuers. Another startup, MotoRefi, claims it can save consumers an average of $100 a month on vehicle refinancing by connecting them to trusted credit unions and community banks.

Moving Beyond Financial Literacy to Financial Empowerment (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Some of my thinking was prompted by this recent column in American Banker by Jennifer Tescher, the CEO of the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI).

There are several companies in this space doing great work in creating high quality products: EvenPayActivTrueConnect and HoneyBee all offer options to employers that help their employees who need access to quick financing. Even has a groundbreaking deal with Walmart that has resulted in 300,000 employees using their pay advance app.

MoneyLion has four million users and they are focused on ending financial stress for all Americans by taking a holistic approach and being proactive in providing help. Dave helps the 30 million people who are hit by overdraft fees each year by advancing $75 from their next paycheck. Tally is a fully automated debt manager to help consumers get out of credit card debt.

Inside Varo Money’s three-year quest for a bank charter (American Banker), Rated: A

Just ask Colin Walsh, the co-founder and CEO of Varo Money, who began discussions with regulators three years ago to charter a national bank. Though the fintech won approval from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency last year to move forward, it is still waiting on an answer from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Cross River Teams Up With RS2 To Offer New Digital Banking Experience (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Cross River, a bank that delivers advanced financial and compliance products/services to the fintech industry, announced on Monday it has teamed up with RS2 to offer a new digital banking experience. Through the collaboration, Cross River and RS2 will provide merchants with a global payment experience for processing credit and debit card transactions, as well as digital banking for their workers and consumers.

Blend’s Erin Collard: Mortgages are the data superset of every other financial product (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Financial technology company Blend began building its platform by helping traditional institutions digitize mortgages, working with firms like Wells Fargo, US Bank and some regional banks and credit unions.

New York launches its own ‘mini CFPB’ (American Banker), Rated: A

New York has created a statewide financial protection division that will focus solely on corporate compliance and consumer issues, following similar efforts by New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

The New York State Department of Financial Services on Monday named Katherine A. Lemire, a former assistant U.S. attorney, to be executive deputy superintendent of the agency’s newly created Consumer Protection and Financial Enforcement division.

Think Finance to Pay CFPB $ 7 for Loan Violations (Bloomberg Law), Rated: A

A bankrupt payday lender will have to pay a $7 civil penalty to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau over nearly $50 million in loans it issued in states where they were not legal, according to bankruptcy court filings.

Judge Brian Morris of the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana granted a stay in the CFPB’s litigation against Think Finance LLC on April 30, pending activity in the bankruptcy court.

Capital One drives auto finance deal with CarGurus (Finextra), Rated: A

CarGurus today announced a partnership with Capital One Auto Finance that will benefit both consumers and dealers.

The Most Powerful Women in Banking (American Banker), Rated: A

Camille Burckhart, Popular Inc.

Chief information and digital officer

Jacqueline Howard, Ally Financial

Senior director, corporate citizenship

Carrie Lichter, Fifth Third

Chief operational risk officer

Now you can pay for your flights in instalments with these booking companies (Lonely Planet), Rated: A

Online travel apps CheapOair and OneTravel will soon operate a new feature that allows customers to pay for their airfare in instalments. It means that customers don’t have to pay for the full cost of their flight upfront and can instead spread the cost out into more manageable payments that suit individual budgets, choosing between three-, six- or 12-month instalments. Fareportal, the company that operates CheapOair and OneTravel, said its partnering with online lender Affirm to introduce the new feature.

For example, a $300 (£230) purchase at 10% APR spread out over three months would cost $101.69 (£78) per month.

A recent study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce revealed that Mississippi, Nebraska and Maine are the three states where small to medium businesses have grown the most year over year. This is according to sales in Amazon stores, specifically. More than half of the items sold in Amazon stores are from small to medium businesses.

The top 10 fastest-growing states breaks down as follows:

  1. Mississippi
  2. Nebraska
  3. Maine
  4. Texas
  5. Indiana
  6. Colorado
  7. North Dakota
  8. Vermont
  9. Wisconsin
  10. Missouri

The third-party physical product sales, which is what gets sold on Amazon stores primarily, passed $160 billion in 2018. Nearly 20% of rural small businesses generate 80% of their revenue by selling products online.

Unlocking the Digital Potential of Rural America (American Innovators), Rated: AAA

Unlocking the digital potential for rural small businesses across the country could add $47 billion to the U.S. GDP per year.

Increased adoption could grow annual revenues of rural small businesses by more than 21% over the next three years – the equivalent of $84.5 billion per year – with states in the South seeing the greatest benefit

Online tools and technology have the highest potential impact on rural small businesses with revenue under $100,000

Read the full report here.

Proof of Work: the slow but steady process of institutional adoption (The Block), Rated: A

Antonio from dYdX

dYdX is a decentralized exchange for margin trading, borrowing, lending, and eventually derivatives. dYdX allows traders to trustlessly short and get leverage on crypto assets.

  • DAI lending rate has been high due to strong demand to go leveraged long on ETH, peaking at over 77% APR returns for lenders over the weekend

Brendan from Dharma

Dharma is the easiest place to borrow and lend cryptocurrencies. It enables non-custodial peer-to-peer lending through smart contracts on Ethereum.

  • #ReFi with #DeFi continued in full force, leading to over 1.7m in borrow volume (nearly all Dai-denominated)

Lendio Franchise Opens in Erie to Expand Access to Capital for Local Businesses (Lendio), Rated: B

Lendio has announced the opening of a new Lendio franchise in Erie. Through the Lendio franchise program, John Fee, a local business owner himself, will help other entrepreneurs in the community apply for loans, review their options and secure funding, easing their financial hurdles.

Fundbox Selected By Brandwise To Power Net Terms For Suppliers, Agencies, And Retailers (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

Today Fundbox announced that the sales technology leader Brandwise and Fundbox have entered into an exclusive agreement whereas Fundbox will be Brandwise’s business-to-business (B2B) trade financing partner.  Brandwise will leverage Fundbox’s business capital platform to power financing terms within the Brandwise ecosystem of 250,000 retailers.

White Oak Commercial Finance Adds to its ABL Originations Team (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

White Oak Commercial Finance, LLC (“White Oak”), an affiliate of White Oak Global Advisors, LLC, announced today the appointment of Michael Goletz to Director of ABL Originations, covering the Midwest U.S. region. Mr. Goletz joins from WNB Specialty Finance, a division of Woodforest National Bank, where he was responsible for sourcing and structuring asset-based lending debt facilities ranging from $5 million to $25 million.

Urjanet Announces 2019 SPARK Award Winners (PR Web), Rated: B

Urjanet, the global leader in utility data aggregation, today announced the winners of its 2019 SPARK Awards: AvidXchange, Bright Power, SimpleBills and Guppy – four companies at the forefront of using utility bill data to better serve their customers, community partners, and the environment.

  • Most Innovative Use of Utility Data: SimpleBills. In addition to utility bill management, residents can use SimpleBills to report their utility bill payment history to credit bureaus through a unique opt-in service.
  • Leader in Financial Inclusion: Guppy. Through its partnership with Urjanet to acquire user-permissioned utility data, Guppy enables greater access to financial services for consumers, as well as background and ID checks for businesses, all while keeping the end user in control of their own data.
United Kingdom

Klarna gets physical: All UK payment methods now available in-store (Fintech Finance), Rated: AAA

Global payments provider Klarna has today announced that all its alternative payment options are available both in-store as well as online.

Klarna’s alternative payment options include:

  • Shoppers can pay later, up to 30 days after delivery of goods
  • Shoppers can pay for purchases in 3 equal instalments collected monthly
  • For higher-ticket items, consumers can use Klarna’s consumer finance in 6-36 month payment plans

£1bn debt fund launched for UK non-bank lenders (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

EUROPEAN Risk Capital (ERG) has launched a £1bn multi-client debt programme for UK-based, mid-market non-bank lenders.

The programme – titled ‘CreditStream’ – has a minimum deal target size of £10m, making it primarily suited to mid-sized lenders including bridging and development lenders, second charge mortgagees, consumer and SME funders, auto/equipment finance companies, and fintech lenders. The maximum deal size can be in excess of £100m.

Lendy execs launch wage advance firm (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

Companies House documents show Brooke and Kelly, whosecurrent role at Lendy remains a mystery, set up a firm called Copious Capital in July 2018.

Copious Capital’s launch product is Pay Me Today, described as an “antidote to payday lending,” which lets companies approve and arrange salary advances for staff who need access to money before payday.

Lendy’s operations manager Pamela Guillamón owns between 25 per cent and 50 per cent of Pay Me Today, according to Companies House documents.

Woodford’s peer-to-peer exodus continues with VPC sale (Citywire), Rated: A

Fund manager Neil Woodford has followed his £88 million sale of his stake in peer-to-peer lending trust P2P Global Investments (P2P) by offloading his entire £40 million stake in rival VPC Specialty Lending (VSLV).

Relendex ‘very keen’ to get behind modular housing (Development Finance Today), Rated: A

Relendex is “very keen” to get behind modular housing, according to its chief operating officer Max Lehrain.
Development Finance Today recently reported on the difficulties lenders faced when funding modular builds, however Fintan explained some ways Relendex was able to feel comfortable with supporting such schemes.

OakNorth continues supporting British SMEs with senior lending hires (Fintech Finance), Rated: B

OakNorth – the bank for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs – is bolstering its regional presence with the appointment of four senior team members in Manchester, the Midlands and the South West.

Christopher Swarbrick, who has 18 years’ banking experience, joins as a Senior Director, Debt Finance. 

Christopher Richards joins from RBS where he spent 11 years and most recently held the role of Senior Relationship Manager, managing a portfolio of 40 complex banking relationships.

Mother tells of ‘devastating’ impact caused by collapse of Eridge firm London Capital & Finance (Times Local News), Rated: B

THE mother of two sons, one of whom is autistic, has told of the impact on their lives brought about by the collapse of a Tunbridge Wells based investment firm.

Around 11,500 people are set to lose a total £237million following the demise of the company based at Eridge Park.

LCF were selling unregulated mini-bonds, offering investors an eight per cent return for money that was purportedly being lent to a range of businesses.

China

HeZhong International sets terms for $ 5 million US IPO (Nasdaq), Rated: AAA

HeZhong International Holding, which operates a peer-to-peer lending marketplace in China, announced terms for its US IPO on Wednesday.

The Shenzhen, China-based company plans to raise $5 million by offering 1.3 million shares at a price of $4. At $4, HeZhong International Holding would command a market value of $55 million.

European Union

Which digital banks have the best overdrafts? (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Starling Bank

The London-based challenger bank charges 15 per cent equivalent annual rate for arranged overdrafts.

Charges £2 a month for unarranged overdrafts as well as the standard rate of interest. Will waive charges if your monthly overdraft interest comes to less than 10p for the month. Operates a monthly fee cap of £2.

Runner up

Monzo

Customers with arranged overdrafts are charges a 50p charge every day your account is overdrawn by more than £20, up to a maximum charge of £15.50 a month.

The Rest

B

The digital lender, launched by Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks in 2016, charges a 12.5 per cent equivalent annual rate on arranged overdrafts. On top of this it charges a fee of £6 a month. The bank charges £6 a day for unarranged overdrafts.

N26

The Berlin-based app-only bank, with more than 2 million customers in 24 countries, said it will launch an overdraft facility for its 200,000 UK account holders “soon.”

55 Investors Become the Co-Owners of a Building in Western Switzerland (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Foxstone (www.foxstone.ch) announces the acquisition, in crowdinvestment, of a residential building in Concise (VD) by 55 investors, of all ages and all backgrounds. They acquired a share of the building in co-ownership with a minimum amount of CHF 50’000.-

The total amount raised in co-ownership was CHF 3,250,000 for an acquisition price of the building of CHF 6,800,000, the remaining balance being financed by a mortgage. The net return on equity is 6.53%, which represents an annual return of CHF 3,265 for a CHF 50’000 investment. The Régie du Rhône takes care of the day-to-day management of the building.

How BBVA overhauled its mobile banking app (American Banker), Rated: A


International

Global fintech investment doubled in 2018 (HousingWire), Rated: AAA

Total global fintech investment increased from $50.8 billion in 2017 to a full $111.8 billion in 2018, according to KPMG’s The Pulse of Fintech, a biannual report that highlights key trends in fintech across the globe.

But the report showed something interesting when it comes to fintech – payments and lending continued to attract the most significant investment dollars globally.

China’s fintech funding dipped significantly in Q1 2019 (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Global fintech funding was down 13% from $7.3 billion in Q4 2018 to $6.3 billion in Q1 2019, according to a new report from CB Insights.

However, deal numbers increased from 427 in Q4 2018 to 445 in Q1 2019, despite early stage funding dipping, while mid- and late-stage funding increased. Moreover, funding actually ticked up 1.5% year-over-year (YoY) from $6.2 billion in Q1 2018.

P2P Industry is Likely to Shine Despite Troubles in China (Learn Bonds), Rated: A

According to a PWC report, the U.S. P2P market is likely to reach $150 billion by 2025. Another report from Allied Market Research indicates that Peer to Peer (P2P) market could grow at a CAGR of 51.5% from 2016 to 2022.

Efma White Paper Covers Potential of SME Ecosystem (Monitor Daily), Rated: A

Drawing insight from recent research, case studies and observations from bankers working closely with SMEs, this digest outlines the main challenges facing banks today when trying to attract SME customers, such as intense competition from new entrants like Alibaba-backed online lender MYbank and Tencent-backed WeBank in China. In other markets, like the UK, 63% of financial services players in 2018 didn’t exist a decade before.

Authors of the 2019 Geneva Report on the World Economy seek market participant input (Fintech Policy), Rated: B

The topic of this year’s Geneva Report on the World Economy will be “the future of banking.”

The authors of the report (Kathryn Petralia, Kabbage; Thomas Philippon, NYU Stern School of Business; Tara Rice, Bank for International Settlements and Nicolas Veron, Peterson Institute for International Economics and Bruegel) are asking for input from market participants.

Asia

India unseats China as Asia’s top fintech funding source (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

China’s massive fintech industry took a beating in recent months as the government continued to wind down online lending nationwide, rattling investor confidence.

Funding for fintech startups shrank 87.6 percent year-over-year to $192.1 million during the first quarter of 2019, a new reportfrom data provider CB Insights shows. India, which recorded $285.6 million raised for fintech startups in the period, overtook China to be Asia’s top fundraising hub for financial technology. Both countries clocked in 29 fintech deals, suggesting a cooling investor sentiment in China which saw its height of 76 deals just three quarters ago.

Source: CB Insights
India

Coming Together of Traditional Lenders and Fintech Players, Creating Better Opportunities (Entrepreneur), Rated: AAA

Fintech driven alternative lending is the second most funded and one of the fastest growing segments in the Indian fintech space. At last count, there were over 20 plus digital, alternative lending companies, each with their version of the truth, and probably another twenty in the stealth mode.

One thing common with most new age lending companies is that they rightly understand that they have a better chance of succeeding by collaborating with the existing lenders like Banks and NBFCs.

Canada

MOGO: A Rapidly Growing Canadian Fintech Provider (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

Mogo (MOGO) is a rapidly growing Canadian fintech company with over 800K members that generates revenues from a series of innovative products to help consumers manage & control their financial health.

  • Mogo is a high growth disruptor. Was the company not fighting the headwinds of strategically exiting the short-term loan business that it phased out throughout 2018, it would have shown 71% revenue growth on what it calls “core revenues” or revenues of continuing operations. Core revenue, excludes the company’s legacy short term lending revenue which Mogo fully exited at the end of Q3 2018. In 2018, the company generated $61 million in total revenues representing 26% growth, spurred by a doubling of its subscription and services business to $27 million. In the most recently reported quarter, Q4 2018, Mogo’s core revenue increased 75% versus the same period in 2017 with Subscription & Services revenue having its fourth consecutive quarter of at least 100% year over year growth. In 2018, it added more than 210,000 new members to reach 756,000 members on December 31, 2018 (up 39%), and on March 21st it announced it has surpassed 800,000 members.
  • Based on a combined value of the company’s lending business and its subscription services and fee generation business we believe the company is worth $7.67 per share when compared with other companies in these spaces.
Africa

The Legal and Regulatory Framework Governing Financial Technology (Fintech) in Nigeria (Lexology), Rated: AAA

FinTech is also gaining traction in the areas of lending and alternative financing (such as peer-to-peer lending, business-to-consumer lending, and so on), as well as financial and insurance products.

Pursuant to the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act, Chapter B3 LFN 2004, an entity that wishes to provide marketplace lending may do so by registering as a bank or Other Financial Institution (“OFI”).

The use of airtime for the repayment of loans to a mobile lender could constitute a premium rated service, the provision of which requires the approval of the NCC.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday May 2 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Wednesday July 18 2018, Daily News Digest

Major US Banks' Active Mobile Banking Users

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi partners with Ladder to offer life insurance. LendingClub has a new chief lending officer. BlueVine offers credit to QuickBook customers. Tencent, Alipay lose $1B due to payment rules. CreditEase Fintech Investment Fund ranked 3rd globally. Today’s main analysis: PeerIQ Marketplace Lending Loan Performance Monitor, May 2018. Today’s thought-provoking articles: JPMorgan, Wells Fargo mobile […]

Major US Banks' Active Mobile Banking Users

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

Other

News Summary

United States

Exclusive: SoFi teams up with Ladder to offer revamped life insurance (Fast Company) Rated: AAA

Social Finance (SoFi) today began offering life insurance to customers through a partnership with Ladder, a Palo Alto, California, startup. Customers who sign up for the co-branded service will be eligible for fully underwritten term life coverage worth up to $8 million. Most will get a policy quote instantly, sidestepping the hassle of a doctor’s appointment.

SoFi previously offered life insurance to its 500,000-plus members through Protective. But the customer experience was relatively traditional, and the value of connecting the service to SoFi was unclear. With Ladder, SoFi customers will be able to increase or decrease their coverage over time, as their needs change. SoFi, with its knowledge of customers’ overall finances, will be well-positioned to recommend such adjustments

LendingClub turns to outsider to oversee credit operations (American Banker) Rated: AAA

LendingClub has a new chief lending officer.

The San Francisco online lender said in a press release Monday that it had hired Ronnie Momen to oversee its credit strategy, including credit data use, analytics and innovative products. Momen will report directly to Steve Allocca, LendingClub’s president.

Momen previously was chief credit officer at the fintech company GreenSky. He was also chief credit officer for consumer unsecured products at Wells Fargo, where he was in charge of building risk capabilities for the company’s card and private-label products.

PeerIQ MPL Loan Performance Monitor: May 2018 (PeerIQ) Rated: AAA

  • Redesigned MPL Loan Performance Monitor tracks the delinquency rates, cumulative losses, cumulative prepays and transition matrices using public marketplace lending data that comprises unsecured consumer loans originated by Marketplace Lenders.
  • Show delinquencies (%), cumulative losses (%) and cumulative prepays (%) on this data set, broken out by annual vintages from 2013 – 2017. We further break the performance out by original loan terms of 36 and 60-months.
  • The right-hand axes show the outstanding loan balances broken out by either vintages or loan terms, which allows analysis of performance metrics in conjunction with the pool factor.
  • Overall, we notice that delinquencies and cumulative losses on newer vintages are higher while cumulative prepayments are lower than those seen on older vintages at the corresponding loan age.
Source: PeerIQ

OnDeck Announces Date of Second Quarter 2018 Earnings Conference Call (PR Newswire) Rated: A

OnDeck announced today that it will report financial results for the second quarter of 2018 on Tuesday, August 7, at approximately 7:00 a.m. ET. The company will host a conference call to discuss the results at 8:00 a.m. ET that same day.

The conference call will be webcast live on the company’s Investor Relations website and it can also be accessed toll free by dialing (866) 393-4306 for calls within the U.S., or by dialing (734) 385-2616 for international calls. The Conference ID # is 7156659.

JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo earnings calls show mobile banking trend (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo announced their Q2 2018 earnings on Friday, which echo the trend of ongoing but decelerating growth in mobile banking as the market matures.

  • JPMorgan Chase counts 31.7 million active mobile customers, up 12% from 28.4 million in Q2 2017. That marks a slowdown in growth, both from the 13% annual growth it posted last quarter and from the 15% it posted in Q2 2017.
  • Wells Fargo counts 28.9 million total active digital users, 22 million of whom use mobile banking. That demonstrates slow annual growth of just 4% year-over-year (YoY) from its 27.9 million total active digital customers in Q2 2017, as well as a slight uptick from 28.8 million users in Q1 2018, which could indicate recovery of active users in the wake of the bank’s fake account scandal.
Source: Business Insider

This slowdown is likely because of saturation in the digital banking market. Eighty-three percent of consumers use mobile banking, making it nearly ubiquitous, according to Business Insider Intelligence’s Mobile Banking Competitive Edge Report (enterprise only). That saturation, not a decline in interest, is causing firms to add digital customers at a slower rate; they’re seeing customers new to banks rather than those new to mobile offerings.

LendingTree Study: Where Home Price Inequality is Highest (Guru Focus) Rated: AAA

LendingTree today released a study on where home price inequality is highest.

Key Findings:

  • Detroit, Birmingham, Ala. and Indianapolis have the highest home price inequality in the nation, with a level of inequality twice that of the most equal markets.
  • Salt Lake City, Portland, Ore. and Denver have the least home price inequality. The 95th percentile of home values is 3x the value of the 5th percentile in these markets, compared with over 10x the value in the most unequal markets.
  • High home prices don’t necessarily mean high inequality. The San Jose and San Francisco metros, with the highest values for the 95th percentile of homes ($2.7 million and $2.3 million respectively) ranked No. 41 and No. 33 out of 50 for inequality.
  • The metros with the most inequality tended to have very low prices for the 5th percentile of home values.Of the 10 most unequal markets, none had a 5th percentile home value of $100,000 or more, and averaged $48,500. The most equal markets had a $242,100 average value for the 5th percentile of homes.
  • The World Bank lists the income GINI for the U.S. at 0.415 in 2016. Only our top ranked city, Detroit at 0.446, was above this level. So income inequality is greater than home value inequality, a phenomenon also reflected in the fact that wealthier households don’t need to spend as high a portion of their earnings on housing.
Source: Lending Tree
Source: Lending Tree

Why financial companies are giving customers the velvet rope treatment (Market Watch) Rated: A

More than 1 million people waited to get access to a cryptocurrency trading platform on Robinhood. (The company did not respond to MarketWatch’s request for comment.) And over 100,000 people have signed up in the last year for the waiting list for Petal, a no-fee credit card that has not yet launched, the company said. SoFi Money, a bank account through the lender SoFi, would not disclose an official number on its waiting list, but said it was “multiple tens of thousands.”

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to Marlette Funding Trust 2018-3 (Business Wire) Rated: A

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to three classes of notes issued by Marlette Funding Trust 2018-3 (MFT 2018-3). This is a $402.31 million consumer loan ABS transaction.

This transaction represents the eighth securitization collateralized by unsecured consumer loans originated by Cross River Bank, under the Marlette Best Egg Platform and sold to Marlette Funding, LLC (“Marlette”) or its affiliate.

Preliminary Ratings Assigned: Marlette Funding Trust 2018-3

Class Preliminary Rating Initial Class Principal
A AA (sf) $292,588,000
B A (sf) $56,689,000
C BBB- (sf) $53,032,000

‘You get out what you put in’: Fintechs find success in QuickBooks Online’s ecosystem (TearSheet) Rated: AAA

Intuit essentially runs two different partner platforms: one open and one closed. Intuit’s closed platform generally consists of one to three, hand-picked partners in a few categories. For a handful of lucky lenders, Intuit offers the QuickBooks Financing Platform.

Limited in number, these integration partners were offered early access to the growing QuickBooks community of business owners. In 2016, Intuit tapped BlueVine, a business lender known for its factoring product, to offer credit to QuickBooks customers.

Source: Tearsheet

As CRE Lending Landscape Shifts, Nonbank Lenders Step Up (Forbes) Rated: A

Even though CRE loans celebrated a record-breaking year in 2017, according to a Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) 

United Kingdom

Investment trust listings struggle in 2018 (Financial Times) Rated: A

Investment trusts raised £230m in June, 65 per cent less than the £654m raised in May and 81 per cent less than the amount raised in June 2017.

Twelve investment companies have come to market in the year to date, raising £1.1bn — 40 per cent less than the £1.7bn raised at the same point in 2017, when nine new trusts listed, but raised far more.

Fintechs such as P2P lenders can reduce risks of banking system (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

PEER-TO-PEER lending has been cited by the Treasury as an example of fintech’s ability to reduce risk in the financial sector by reducing concentration.

The government released a response on Tuesday to the 2017 fiscal risks report, which outlines the actions it is taking to address the 57 risks outlined by the UK’s fiscal watchdog, the Office for Budget Responsibility.

The response noted “the comparatively large and highly concentrated UK banking system” as a financial risk to the UK.

Why the UK’s digital banks enhance its status as a global fintech hub (AltFi Opinion) Rated: A

Progressive regulation, government support, access to talent, to funding and to sophisticated capital markets infrastructure – these are the strengths most commonly cited in explaining London’s emergence as a global fintech hub. But there’s another, less-vaunted reason that is becoming increasingly important.

In part as a result of the factors listed above, London boasts perhaps the world’s most active digital banking sector. Between Monzo, Revolut, Starling, Tandem, Atom, Loot, Curve and Tide – to name but a few – it’s already a very competitive market, featuring at least a few billion dollar businesses and spanning several million customers.

PROPERTY P2P LENDING: A NEW CHOICE FOR INVESTORS (Raconteur) Rated: A

Take peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, for example. By connecting those with money to invest with those looking to borrow, it allows you to target what could amount to a healthy, inflation-beating return, with less of the ups and downs of the stock market. And transaction costs are often minimal, too, with many platforms totally free to use.

Property-backed P2P lending in particular has proven popular because the loans are secured on bricks and mortar. It means, should the borrower be unable to repay the loan, the property can be sold to help pay the debt, ultimately reducing the risk to the investor.

UK challenger BankNorth preps for launch (FinTech Futures) Rated: A

The new bank, based in Leeds in the north of England, is the creation of five founders – all with plenty of experience with the old order and one challenger bank in particular.

Nancy Butler (commercial director) has worked at Atom, Santander and RBS. Craig Iley (chairman) did a stint at Atom; while Jonathan Thompson (CEO) has experience at Santander.

Jon Hogan (director) worked at Atom. In addition, Richard Baker (MD savings) was employed at Atom and Metro.

On its website the bank says it is “aiming to transform the way SME lending is delivered”.

In terms of specifics, it asks for a minimum investment of £25,000 and interested parties can download an investment memorandum. It is also looking for expressions of interest and people can reserve their allocation in its investment round.

Swoon adds Klarna Slice It solution (Retail Technology Innovation Hub) Rated: B

UK-based online furniture retailer, Swoon, is rolling out Klarna’s consumer financing solution, Slice it.

This enables shoppers to buy items and make payments of £500 or more over six months and those of £1,000+ over 12 months.

China/Hong Kong

Panic Roils China’s Peer-to-Peer Lenders (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

China’s savers are rushing to pull money from peer-to-peer lending platforms, accelerating a contraction of the $195 billion industry and testing the government’s ability to maintain calm as it cracks down on risky shadow-banking activities.

In some cases, savers are turning up at the offices of P2P operators to demand repayment, spooked by reports of defaults, sudden closures and frozen funds. At least 57 platforms have failed in the past two weeks, adding to 80 cases in June, the biggest monthly tally in two years, according to Shanghai-based Yingcan Group.

Tencent and Alipay set to lose $ 1bn in revenue from payment rules (Financial Times) Rated: AAA

New rules set by China’s central bank have the potential to wipe out more than $1bn in revenue for Alipay and Tencent; third party payment groups now need to hold all customer funds in reserve.

Previously payments groups were able to invest customer funds at banks to earn interest; the PBoC has been slowly implementing changes requiring 20 percent of funds to be held, then 50 percent and now 100 percent; the move is meant to protect fraud and protect customers according to the PBoC.

The changes do not affect mutual funds like Yu’E Bao.

HKMA and seven banks to jointly launch blockchain-based trade finance platform in September (South China Morning Post) Rated: A

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority and seven local lenders will launch a trade finance platform using blockchain technology in September, reflecting efforts by the city to bolster fintech development and close the gap with regional rival Singapore.

Lenders taking part in the project include HSBC and Standard Chartered Bank, Bank of East Asia, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited, Hang Seng Bank, and DBS Bank, according to a statement.

Sina-Backed Fintech Platform Pintec Filed For U.S. IPO (Crunchbase News) Rated: A

Pinduoduo made waves this week after aiming for a $1.63 billion IPO in the United States. The Chinese company is only three years old. Following the Pinduoduo news, two-year-old Sina-backed fintech startup Pintec also filed for a United States-based IPO, hoping to raise $70 million.

The Beijing-based startup is a technology platform that provides financial services that connect businesses to their end users. Its software covers installment loans, personal loans, SME loans, wealth management, and insurance brokerage services. One of its most popular offerings is online lending, which facilitated RMB 3.9 billion loans for over 1.1 million unique borrowers by the end of 2017, per its filing.

European Union

Klarna prepares for launch of payment card and for expansion (Financial Times) Rated: AAA

Not many companies end up inspiring their own verb like Google. But there are small signs, at least in the UK, that it is happening to Klarna, the Swedish financial technology start-up.

“Klarna it,” a young woman urges her friend on Twitter who is hesitating about a purchase with online retailer Asos. Asos offers Klarna’s “pay later” function, which gives shoppers 30 days to settle their purchases and allows them to return items without ever having paid for them.

International

P2P Lender CreditEase’s Fintech Investment Fund Ranked 3rd Globally (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

CreditEase, a China based peer to peer lending platform, has been recognized for its Fintech venture fund by a CB Insights report. According to the report, the CreditEase Fintech Investment Fund is number three in the world when it comes to ranking the most active Fintech VCs in the world.

While CreditEase started life as an online lender, the company has morphed into a Fintech conglomerate providing robo-advisory services, crowdfunding, Insurtech and more. Additionally, CreditEase, and their Wealth Management Fund of Funds, is a limited partner in many Fintech VCs.

The Fund invests in five subcategories within Fintech: Lending, Payments, Personal Finance / Wealth Management, Enterprise Solutions, and Insurtech.

Venmo: how the payment app exposes our private lives (The Guardian) Rated: AAA

Anyone can track a Venmo user’s purchase history and glean a detailed profile – including their drug deals, eating habits and arguments – because the payment app lacks default privacy protections.

This was the finding of a Berlin-based researcher, Hang Do Thi Duc, who analysed the more than 200 million public Venmo transactions made in 2017. Her aim was to highlight the privacy risk from using a seemingly innocuous peer-to-peer app.

By accessing the data through a public application programming interface, Do Thi Duc was able to see the names of every user who hadn’t changed their settings to private, along with the dates of every transaction and the message sent with the payment. This allowed her to explore the lives of unsuspecting Venmo users and learn “an alarming amount about them”.

Source: Public By Default / Hang Do Thi Duc & The Guardian

Billion Reasons to bring Financial Inclusion with a frictionless Ecosystem (Global Coin Report) Rated: A

Globally, 1.7 billion adults remain unbanked, which means more than one-third of the world’s population does not have formal financial services. It is believed that bringing unbanked adults and businesses into the formal financial platform could generate about $380 billion in new revenues for banks.

LALA world is hoping to create a financial ecosystem for all, where services including low-cost remittances, cashless payments, peer-to-peer lending, fiat lending, etc.prevail under one umbrella. It is opening the door to regulated financial services stating that it has great potential to protect up to $42 billion from what it calls “the grey market.”

LALA world has the vision to reach people with limited resources through blockchain, without needing to understand the underlying technology.

India

5Paisa.com plans to raise ₹103.5 crore via rights issue to enter P2P lending business (Live Mint) Rated: AAA

Discount broker 5Paisa.com is planning to raise about ₹103.5 crore through a rights issue to enter the peer-to-peer (P2P) lending business, said chief executive Prakarsh Gagdani in an interaction with Mint.

5Paisa.com is a discount broker, which was listed in November 2017. The company is backed by the IIFL group, which is engaged in distribution of financial services and broking. It plans to use the funds for investing in improvisation of technology platform, scaling up its business operations and invest in alternative businesses.

Finzy to Trigger Pan-India Channel Tie-ups for P2P Lending Visibility: Amit More (Business World) Rated: A

Bangalore-based finzy is the premier peer-to-peer (P2P lending solution in India. It connects borrowers with investors and makes the entire process simple and easy. finzy makes the entire borrowing process simple and user friendly.  You can get your loan funded in as little as 48 hours.

Amit More, founder and CEO, finzy, tells us more. Excerpts:

Who are your borrowers, typically? Also, how do you determine profiles of lenders?

Around 80 percent of our borrowers are salaried and 20 percent are self-employed. Contrary to the perception that the P2P industry is the lender of last resort and only cater to borrowers not served by banks and NBFCs, we, at finzy, offer loans, starting at a best-in-class rate of 10.99 percent per annum.

Asia

Vemanti Group Announces Investment In eLoan, JSC (Vemanti Group) Rated: AAA

Vemanti Group, Inc. (OTC PINK:VMNT), a technology-driven holding company, today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to take 20% equity interest in eLoan, JSC (“eLoan”), a Fintech company based in Vietnam whose focus is to build a decentralized ecosystem of financial services starting with its business-centric online Peer-to-Peer (P2P) lending marketplace.

Based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, eLoan () is a P2P lending marketplace that match investors with borrowers, allowing anyone to lend money directly to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Established in December 2017, the company is operational and post-revenue.

eLoan is the brainchild of CEO Trung Vo, a respected C-level banking veteran, and CTO Tom Tran, a seasoned Internet commerce executive and serial entrepreneur. eLoan is the first P2P lending company in Vietnam focusing purely on serving SME clients with short-term loans. Businesses can borrow up to $250K for up to 6 months. The company determines the loan rate based on risk category and loan term. Unlike traditional banks, the approval process is much quicker with decision made in as little as 24 hours. Whole or fractional loans are participated by individual and institutional investors. Investors make money from the interest charged on participated loans which currently stands at 12%-20% annually while eLoan earns revenues by charging borrowers an origination fee on each funded loan. There is no fee charged to the investors.

Canada

Cadre, partially owned by Kushners, opens Toronto office (Real Estate News Exchange) Rated: B

Cadre, an online startup which makes commercial real estate investments, recently expanded into Canada through the opening of a Toronto office focused exclusively on software product development.

The Canadian office of the fintech firm is strictly for research, engineering, and product development and “we are not raising money or signing deals in the area,” says Raj Singh, director of product and head of Canadian operations at Cadre. Singh joined Cadre in December to run the Toronto office.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday May 22 2018 Daily News Digest

GreenSky vs. LendingClub

News Comments Today’s main news: Kabbage to launch payment services. Funding Circle SME Income Fund limited force signal moves past key line. Zopa boosts TruFin results. DEPO launches to help lenders accept digital assets as collateral. Qudian stock drops 16.5%. Today’s main analysis: Deep dive into MFT 2018-2 vs. AVNT 2018-A (A MUST-READ). Today’s thought-provoking articles: Credit score improvement […]

GreenSky vs. LendingClub

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United States

Online lender Kabbage to launch payment services by year-end (Reuters) Rated: AAA

Kabbage Inc, a U.S. online lender for small businesses, plans to launch payment processing services by year-end, President Kathryn Petralia said on Monday, helping it to diversify and compete more directly with industry leaders PayPal Holdings Inc and Square Inc.

The Atlanta-based startup will offer tools to enable clients, mostly brick-and-mortar businesses, to accept card payments in-store and online, Petralia said in an interview.

Deal Deep Dive MFT 2018-2 vs AVNT 2018-A (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

This week we compare 2 very different MPL personal loan securitizations – Marlette’s MFT 2018-2 Prime deal and Avant’s AVNT 2018-A Near Prime deal.

Collateral Comparison 

AVNT 2018-A has lower average loan size by $6,435, shorter weighted average loan terms by 9 months and higher WAC by 16.28%. This is a reflection of the quality of borrowers that Avant and Marlette target. Marlette’s prime borrowers have higher weighted average FICO scores by 59 points than Avant’s near prime borrowers. The geographic distribution is quite similar between the two deals.

Source: PeerIQ, KBRA

Bond Characteristics and Pricing

The significantly higher WAC on AVNT 2018-A leads to a 14.8% pickup in excess spread. KBRA’s base case loss estimate is 7.4% higher on AVNT 2018-A, which leads to a 7.4% higher loss-adjusted excess spread on AVNT 2018-A.

Source: PeerIQ, KBRA

Capital Structure

AVNT 2018-A has 3.3% lower O/C which is compensated by 14.8% higher excess spread. The A tranches have similar CE in both deals but Marlette’s A is rated one notch higher.

Source: PeerIQ

Avant continues to benefit from tighter underwriting criteria (Asset Securitization Report) Rated: A

The introduction of tighter underwriting criteria continues to pay off for the online consumer lender Avant.

The company, which was founded in 2012 and is based in Chicago, was able to lower the credit enhancement, again, on its latest securitization, the $221.9 million Avant Loans Funding Trust 2018-A.

Kroll Bond Rating Agency assigned an A- to the $149 million senior tranche of notes to be issued, which benefit from 38.42% credit enhancement. That’s down from 41.8% on the comparable tranche of its prior transaction, completed last year.

LendingTree Study Finds More than Half of My LendingTree Users Improved Credit Scores in Majority of 50 Metros Analyzed (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

LendingTree today released its study on the top places with rising credit scores. With credit scores being a crucial component of personal financial stability and opportunity, LendingTree analysts decided to look at anonymized My LendingTree users who logged into their accounts in both the first quarter of 2017 and the first quarter of 2018 to determine the top metros for rising credit scores among the 50 largest in the United States.

Below are some of the key takeaways from the study.

  • JacksonvilleIndianapolisDenver and Tampa saw the highest rate of rising credit scores among the 50 biggest metros from Q1 2017 to Q1 2018.
  • Virginia Beach, Va.Los Angeles and Birmingham, Ala., had the lowest rate of rising credit scores, with 47 percent of Virginia Beach users raised their credit scores.
  • San Jose (Silicon Valley) saw the most dramatic rises in credit scores, with the highest rates of people who raised their score by more than 75 points and 100 points.
  • In the majority of the 50 metros analyzed, more than 50 percent of users improved their credit scores between Q1 2017 and Q1 2018.
  • About one in three increased their scores by over 20 points, and 3.5 percent were able to improve their scores by 100 points or more.
Source: Lending Tree
Source: Lending Tree

New Fintech IPO Offers Litmus Test for Online Lenders (Wall Street Journal) Rated: AAA

It wasn’t long ago that online lenders were ascendant. More than $3 billion in capital from investors as diverse as Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group Corp. and celebrity chef David Chang gushed into lending startups in 2015, according to Dow Jones VentureSource. Analysts at Morgan Stanley predicted that year that the nascent industry would account for 10% of all unsecured consumer and small-business loans by 2020.

Investors soured on the sector. Shares of LendingClub, which once had a market value of about $10 billion, are down 77% from their IPO price. Prosper’s valuation was slashed by more than two-thirds in a private fundraising round last year.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

GreenSky said in its IPO filings that it has facilitated more than $12 billion in loans to consumers for home-improvement projects and elective medical procedures.

Part of GreenSky’s advantage comes from its relatively low customer-acquisition costs. LendingClub’s biggest expense is sales and marketing, which last year rose to $229.9 million, equivalent to 40% of revenue.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

 

How to responsibly invest in bitcoin (Bankrate) Rated: A

Recently, Bank of America, Chase, and Citigroup joined Capital One and Discover in banning cardholders from using them to buy cryptocurrencies. Credit cards were one of the most popular payment methods because of their relatively low fees and instant transaction rates, and investors are having to look at other options to make their investments.

Source: Bankrate

You can borrow money from a family member or friend, or you can use a peer-to-peer lending platform like SoFi to leverage funds for Bitcoin investments. However, be cautious when borrowing money for an investment. Interest rates can eliminate any gains you get from the investment, and the risk of losing money in such a volatile market is high.

Is Mulvaney targeting fintech or nonbanks? (Respa News) Rated: A

The acting director also responded to a question about qualified mortgages which has left the industry scratching its head since. Was Mulvaney separating fintech marketplace lending from traditional mortgage lending, or was he drawing a line between depository mortgage and non-depository mortgages?

 

Banking overhaul heading for likely passage in Congress (Yahoo! Finance) Rated: A

Legislation that would ease banking regulations — and modify rules governing credit reports and some consumer loans — is headed for likely passage in Congress any day now.

The bill cleared the Senate in March with some bipartisan support and is expected to be voted on by House lawmakers this week, perhaps as early as Tuesday.

The measure rolls back some of the regulations imposed by the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010. That legislation came on the heels of the financial meltdown that rocked the U.S. economy a decade ago, when risky and unaffordable mortgages contributed to millions of homeowners losing their houses to foreclosure.

Main Street Banks’ New Lending Rivals: Hedge Funds and Private Equity (Wall Street Journal) Rated: A

Main Street banks are feeling squeezed by competition from new rivals: nonbanks like hedge funds and private-equity firms that are elbowing into business loans.

Growth in business lending has picked up recently—it was up 3.3% year over year as of May 9, according to Federal Reserve data released Friday, after falling below 1% earlier this year. But the growth rate is still far below where it’s been in recent years, when loans to businesses grew at a double-digit clip for much of 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Making technology the solution, not the problem, at small banks (American Banker) Rated: A

The board members of R Bank in Round Rock, Texas — who include the Hall of Fame fireballer Nolan Ryan, a co-founder of the bank — hold accounts there, and they, like most other patrons, knew its old technology made for clunky customer service.

So, says president and CEO Steve Stapp, he channeled those irksome experiences into board support for an investment in a systems overhaul at the $455 million-asset bank.

For community banks in highly competitive markets, service with a personal touch can be a differentiator to win and keep customers. But when legacy technology hampers the customer experience, all the cups of coffee in the world won’t help.

 

Vota turns your credit card transactions into recommendations, helps you spot fraud (Tech Crunch) Rated: A

Blippy, which was hyped up to a $46.2 million valuation back in 2010 before the world realized that almost nobody wanted a dedicated network for sharing and viewing each others’ purchases. Well, guess what? Someone’s trying a Blippy-like thing again — this time, in the form of a new app called Vota, which automatically records your credit card purchases and the places you visit so you can share them with friends or family, or view them privately for your own reference.

As a byproduct of this data collection, you may spot credit card fraud or other errant charges, too, or just get a handle on your spending.

Optimal Blue First-to-Market with Pipeline & Lock Management APIs (Business Wire) Rated: B

Optimal Blue is proud to recognize enterprise SaaS digital mortgage solution leader, Capsilon, as its first strategic partner to complete certification with the highly anticipated Pipeline & Lock Management APIs. By debuting these innovative system-to-system API interfaces in the mortgage industry, Optimal Blue has enabled Capsilon’s digital mortgage platform to fully support the creation, management, registration, and locking of first-lien mortgages instantaneously with Optimal Blue. As a result of this advanced integration, a completed application and pre-approval are done in half the time of the traditional back-and-forth processes, empowering loan officers to be more competitive in today’s purchase market and win more business from real estate agents.

Mastercard Unveils Fintech Initiative Aimed at Digital Banking (Banker & Tadesman) Rated: B

The company on Monday announced the creation of Accelerate, a new initiative to drive growth at scale for the fast-evolving fintech industry, reflecting the company’s ongoing commitment to this sector.

Designed to operate alongside its successful Start Path program, Accelerate will broaden Mastercard’s engagement with the payment fintech community including the next generation of digital banks.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle Sme Income Fund Limited Force Signal Moves Past Key Line  (Concordia Review) Rated: AAA

Checking on current RSI levels on shares of Funding Circle Sme Income Fund Limited (FCIF.L), the 14-day RSI is currently standing at 58.31, the 7-day is at 65.97, and the 3-day is resting at 83.22.

Funding Circle Sme Income Fund Limited (FCIF.L) currently has a 14-day Commodity Channel Index (CCI) of 148.41.

Shares of Funding Circle Sme Income Fund Limited (FCIF.L) have a 200-day moving average of 103.52. The 50-day is 104.93, and the 7-day is sitting at 104.82.

 

Zopa stake boosts TruFin annual results (AltFi News) Rated: AAA

TruFin, the AIM listed fintech lender and payments provider, has released its first set of annual results following on from its public listing back in February. The numbers show a 7.67 per cent uptick in its valuation of its stake in p2p lender Zopa in 2017.

TruFin, which says it used an external company to aid the valuation of Zopa, re-valued its holding upwards by £2.6m to £36.5m over the course of the year. The firm, which was spun out of hedge fund Arrowgrass’ fintech holdings, holds a c.15 per cent stake in Zopa bought by Arrowgrass in 2014 for £15m. TruFin was set up by Henry Kenner, one of the founders of Arrowgrass, who is also its CEO and chairman. The hedge fund itself was launched by a group of Deutsche Bank traders in the wake of the financial crisis, including Kenner.

UK watchdog says automated financial advice falls short (Rueters) Rated: A

Advice doled out online or via smartphone apps, referred to in the industry as “robo advice”, aims to cut costs for customers looking to save or invest. It also seeks to foster innovation and increase competition in financial services.

But the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said two reviews of the industry uncovered problems among early entrants.

Exclusive: Former ADS Securities exec Jamieson Blake joins specialty lender Basset and Gold (Leaprate) Rated: B

Following our exclusive report from earlier this month that Jamieson Blake, Head of Client Experience at the FCA regulated London based arm of ADS Securities, had resigned from the company, LeapRate has now learned that Mr. Blake has landed – at specialty lending and retail investment firm Basset and Gold, as Head of Relationship Management.

China

Why Qudian Inc Stock Dropped 16.5% Today (Motley Fool) Rated: AAA

Shares of Qudian (NYSE:QD) closed down 16.5% on Monday after the Chinese online lender announced earnings that fell short of expectations.

Qudian reported “diluted adjusted net income per share” of $0.16 but GAAP diluted net income per share of only $0.15 per share. Whichever yardstick you use, though, these numbers appear to be lower than the $0.17-per-share estimate quoted on Yahoo! Finance. Revenue, on the other hand, came in at $273.7 million, significantly above consensus expectations for $214.6 million.

European Union

European Company Helps Turning Cryptocurrency into Collateral (the Merkle) Rated: AAA

Following a similar model as traditional depository services, DEPO gives lenders the freedom to accept digital assets as loan collateral. The platform also allows borrowers to keep ownership of their digital asset during the entire loan period.  The platform also protects future financial gain of the asset for borrowers with its decentralized design.

By employing the DEPO platform, lenders will be able to accept cryptocurrency as collateral for loans. To be protected, lenders can request additional collateral, or a partial sale of the asset should the market become excessively volatile at any time during the loan period.

Matthias Setzer of PayU (Lend Academy) Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • The history of Naspers, the parent company of PayU.
  • What PayU does and the markets where it operates.
  • Why Matthias decided to leave PayPal after 12 years and move to PayU.
  • How PayU approaches going into a new international market.
  • The Naspers investment in Chinese giant Tencent and the PayU footprint in China.
  • Why the number one country PayU is focused on today is India.
  • Why they invested €110 million in Kreditech and how they are leveraging that partnership.
  • The point of sale lending product they have launched in India with Kreditech.
  • The biggest growth drivers for PayU over the next 12-18 months.

New Insight will change the way you think about data (Instantor Email) Rated: A

Today Instantor, the Swedish fintech company making financial decisions easy, announces Insight. A new product that will transform the way financial organisations assess risk for loan applicants. By using robust machine learning, Insight analyses more than 70 predictive features and insightful patterns in historical banking, and can be used to make better risk and opportunity decisions. Instead of having a risk team spending months testing risk models, Insight ́s intelligent features will build the most optimal risk model using the clients own data and can be up and running within a week.

Bricknode and Lendytech unite under Untie Group banner (Finextra) Rated: B

Untie Group used to be several companies, the largest of which were Bricknode and Lendytech. They had a common founder in Stefan Willebrand and used, at least to a degree, the same self developed software. Also a number of people have gone from one firm to the other over the years.

International

Decentralized Lending Promises Easy And Global Access To Credit, But Is It Too Good To Be True? (Forbes) Rated: AAA

Since the rise of cryptocurrencies, the term “decentralized” seems to be everywhere. Decentralization has been proposed in many industries as a way to heighten transparency and make transactions simpler. One field in particular which has shown great potential for the application of decentralization is money lending. As many might rightly ask, don’t we need banks who are willing to take the financial risk and approve loans? As it turns out, maybe we don’t.

For lenders, the use of smart contracts allows for much easier assessments of the counter-party’s trustworthiness. Something that would take traditional audits weeks, not to mention the costs of such a traditional audit. Validating transactions and follow-up can become fully automated. Collateral is automatically returned at the end of the loan period or liquidated if the loan is defaulted on, removing many of the time-consuming actions that come with it.

Automation, ‘platformisation’ tipped to take hold in banking (AltFi News) Rated: A

The report, entitled Whose customer are you? The reality of digital banking, shows that 73 per cent of bankers believe retail banking will be at least 80 per cent automated in the next two years. A further 78 per cent see ‘platformisation’ steering the market in the future.

71 per cent of respondents are focusing their digital investment budget on cyber security, up from 34 per cent last year. Yet a mere 17 per cent are thinking about the risks of third-party integrations under Open Banking.

Fin-tech changes the loan process: Meet new lending models (Bankless Times) Rated: A

The new FinTech lending model opens new opportunities to people who were not able to borrow from traditional banks and other financial institutions because of the poor credit history and other factors. Such loans are now available to the new groups of people who need an instant funding, for instance, small business owners, students etc. In particular, entrepreneurs got a chance to get a loan without collateral, which a while ago was a real obstacle for many business owners.

Millennials Choose FinTech

Millenials are the first generation to accept the real advantages of new technologies and ready to use them for their own convenience. When it comes to lending process, millennials no longer wish to visit bank branches personally, stand in lines, deal with unnecessary paperwork and wait for months to get the approval.

End of the Line…

Today we are already witnessing a drastic change in the lending model that existed for centuries. Consumers want to have a more flexible way to lend money but most importantly, they want this process to be quick. The FinTech industry already gave us this opportunity and hopefully, the following changes will be for the better.

 

Asia

Kieran Arasaratnam to Join Credify Founding Team as CFO (Digital Journal) Rated: B

Credify Inc., a pioneer in decentralised reputation systems, is pleased to announce that Kieran Arasaratnam is joining the founding team as Chief Financial Officer.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

What Investors Should Know About Non-Bank Lenders

nonbank lenders

Investors looking to add private debt and private equity to their portfolios may feel overwhelmed by all the choices. From peer-to-peer lending to crowdfunding, there are countless industry players across a wide range of alternative lending and financing models, serving everyone from individual borrowers to small and medium-sized businesses. Any funding model ultimately comes down […]

nonbank lenders

Investors looking to add private debt and private equity to their portfolios may feel overwhelmed by all the choices. From peer-to-peer lending to crowdfunding, there are countless industry players across a wide range of alternative lending and financing models, serving everyone from individual borrowers to small and medium-sized businesses.

Any funding model ultimately comes down to matching the needs of those who want capital with those who can supply capital. Typically, banks or other large financial institutions would act as the intermediary between investors and borrowers or entrepreneurs. But with many banks pulling back after the financial crisis, and the internet making it easier than ever to play matchmaker, the alternative finance universe is attracting more and more capital.

However, there is still broad-based confusion among both institutional and retail investors about the differences between the various alternative funding models. This confusion is exacerbated by how often the terminology is used interchangeably in the media and the larger financial community. The truth is that each funding model has distinct nuances, rewards and challenges, and it’s important for investors and their financial advisors to understand the differences before incorporating alternative lending or financing into an investment portfolio.

In general, these models can be broken down as either debt or equity investments, with a similar risk-reward profile as any other debt or equity investment.

DEBT (lower risk, lower reward)

Peer-to-peer lending

In a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending model, an individual or business borrows from an outside source or sources – a “peer” – rather than a bank. This process is facilitated through a third party, such as an online platform, which makes it easier to aggregate enough peers to fund the loan. These loans typically come with fixed terms and set repayment schedules. Many loans will also include details about the borrower—such as their income, credit score, occupation, and risk level—to help the “peers” (or lenders) determine whether to fund the loan and at what amount. Examples of peer-to-peer loans include consumer loans, student loans, small business loans, and fix and flip loans on single family homes.

Investors can get into the peer-to-peer lending market by purchasing the whole loan, a fractional interest in a loan or building a portfolio of fractional and/or whole loans. Investors then collect the proceeds of each loan payment, with the peer-to-peer lender taking a fee to cover the costs of running the platform. While even the most creditworthy borrowers may default on their loans, investors can mitigate this risk by building a diversified portfolio that includes multiple loans across different risk spectrums. Investors should also consider if the P2P loans they are investing in are unsecured or have some form of collateral securing the loan. Consumer and student loans tend to be unsecured, while small business and fix and flip loans tend to be secured.

Marketplace lending

Marketplace lending is another term used to further describe peer-to-peer lending. While the two terms are used interchangeably, an important differentiator is the source of capital. Whereas P2P lending platforms tend to rely on a group of small retail investors or large institutional investors to fund loans, marketplace lenders prefer to first pre-fund loans and then offer them to investors.

The marketplace lending model, therefore, offers qualified borrowers a guarantee that their loan will be funded within a specific timeframe, which may be an important consideration for some borrowers. For example, while a consumer borrower may be willing to wait until his loan is assessed and funded by multiple peers, a borrower looking to finance a real estate transaction has a closing date that must be met otherwise he will lose his down payment.

Direct lending/balance sheet business lending

In contrast to marketplace or peer-to-peer lending models, a direct lender will rely on its own balance sheet or proprietary access to funds as its primary source of capital. Instead of having to find enough retail and institutional investor capital to match the needs of borrowers, a direct lender can look to its unrestricted access of funds before making a lending decision.

The advantage of this approach is that the direct lender is better positioned to survive a potential downturn since each of the loans on its balance sheet represents a piece of collateral that can be used to offset any potential losses. Investors in these loans will therefore have a better opportunity to allocate capital in all market cycles. Many direct lenders may also manage a fund for accredited investors that consists of a portfolio of some, but not all, of the loans made by the lender.

EQUITY (higher risk, higher reward)

Crowdfunding

In the crowdfunding model, investors are given the opportunity to provide seed capital in up-and-coming products and businesses. Capital is provided in several forms including equity, preferred equity, mezzanine debt and senior debt . While equity stakes are typically small—often less than 1%—even a modest upfront investment can generate a large eventual payoff if the company is successful. This is particularly true of technology start-ups, which can grow quickly if their product or service is well received among customers.

This model is also popular in the arts and entertainment industries. For example, people might choose to fund an independently produced movie, music album or play in exchange for a small piece of revenues and/or additional perks like attending rehearsals and premiere parties, meeting the artist, or receiving a memento from the set. In real estate, crowdfunding is most typically used by developers seeking to raise money to fund development or redevelopment projects.

Investors should find out if the crowdfunder is providing equity and debt on the same project. This is critical should a recovery plan need to be put in place if the project does not go as expected. Typically, equity investors want to hold on and wait for an increase in value , while debt investors want to liquidate immediately in hopes of recovering their investment. A crowdfunder that is representing both equity and debt investors in the same project will have a conflict of interest. In addition, these investments also tend to be fairly illiquid, so investors should tread carefully. While these early stage equity investments could potentially pay off handsomely, there’s always the risk that the company or project is a flop.

Initial coin offerings

An initial coin offering, or ICO, is a brand-new type of funding model that is attracting many of the same types of companies that previously relied on crowdfunding. However, instead of acquiring an equity stake in the company, investors in ICOs receive cryptocurrency coins, like Bitcoin or Ether, which are redeemable for cash on certain exchanges. The idea is that as the company grows and becomes more valuable, the coins will also become more valuable.

Since ICOs are still loosely regulated, investors should take extra precautions when evaluating a crypto-related investment opportunity. While a business idea may sound great on paper, investors should look for growth signs like recurring revenues and a large potential market.

These five models only scrape the surface of the full universe of funding options for individuals and businesses. A company or a funding model doesn’t always fit neatly into a box either, and investors should take care to understand how each funding platform generates revenue and where its capital comes from.

When choosing which segment of the market to pursue, investors and advisors should also consider their risk tolerance, which will help determine whether a debt or equity investment is most appropriate, and at what scale.

Author:

Written by Evan Gentry, CEO of Money360.

Thursday December 14 2017, Daily News Digest

online lender delinquency rates

News Comments Today’s main news: LexinFintech relaxes on IPO funding goal. Welendus exceeds Seedrs funding target. LendingTree provides 2018 guidance prior to Investor Day. Yirendai invests in Lion Rock. Mercer delivers financial advice with AI through Facebook Messenger. Today’s main analysis: Online lenders test the faith of investors. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Why Google, Amazon scare BlackRock, Fidelity. A new chapter […]

online lender delinquency rates

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United States

Why Google and Amazon Keep Fidelity and BlackRock Up at Night (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

“Alexa…will I meet my retirement goal?”

“You are not on track to meet your retirement goal,” replies Amazon.com Inc.’s voice-activated digital assistant, with not a bit of sugar-coating. Then she suggests turning over $76 a month to Fidelity Investments and its advisers.

This won’t actually happen if you try it on your Amazon Alexa device at home. It’s a demonstration put on by EMoney Advisor LLC, a company owned by Fidelity, in its offices in Radnor, Pa. Amazon provides software for third-party developers to experiment with new functions. Fidelity is trying to find ways to apply artificial intelligence, computer algorithms, and voice-­recognition software to the hidebound world of money management and investing.

Earlier this year, Boston-based Acadian Asset Management LLC struck a deal so its portfolio managers could use Microsoft Corp.’s Bing Predicts, which makes forecasts using search and social media data, to help pick stocks; that agreement later ended.

BlackRock, led by chief executive officer Larry Fink, in recent years has been buying stakes in other companies, particularly technology firms. Through these purchases, the company is pushing into new lines of business.

Fidelity bought EMoney in 2015. It sells software to investment advisers that’s designed to make it easier to interact with their customers on budgeting for weddings, college, or retirement.

Online lending platforms test investors’ faith (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Tianqiao Chen still wants to be part of Lending Club. Last week, while shares in America’s biggest listed online lender were tumbling after another cut to profit forecasts, the chief executive of Shanda Group bought 4m more of them, further cementing his position as the company’s biggest shareholder.

Many operators are feeling the effects of a big push for market share in the latter half of 2015 and early months of 2016, says David Snitkof, chief analytics officer at Orchard. As the platforms rushed to offer new loans, credit quality suffered, and loans originated during that period are among the worst performers, with loss rates well ahead of projections.

Across the sector, valuations have fallen. Earnest, a San Francisco-based student loans specialist, sold itself in October to Navient, the loan-servicing company, for $155m, or about 40 per cent of its peak valuation. Personal lender Prosper, once a “unicorn”, saw its pricetag drop from a peak $1.9bn to $550m in a fundraising last month.

That meant platforms had to spend heavily to bring compliance and controls systems up to scratch. Lending Club’s latest quarterly filing, for example, shows it had $1.21 of operating expenses for every dollar of fee income over the first nine months — up from $1.03 at the same point two years ago.

LendingTree Introduces 2018 Guidance Ahead Of Investor Day (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Business Outlook – 2018

  • Revenue is anticipated to be in the range of $770 – $790 million, representing growth of 27% – 30% over the high-end of full-year 2017 guidance of $608 million.
  • Variable Marketing Margin is anticipated to be $270 – $280 million.
  • Adjusted EBITDA is anticipated to be in the range of $145 – $150 million, up 28% – 33% over the high-end of full-year 2017 guidance of $113 million.

The Analyst and Investor event is being hosted in New York at the Nasdaq MarketSite in Times Square.  The presentation will begin promptly at 10:30 a.m. ET.  A live audiocast with accompanying slides will be made available on the company’s investor relations website at investors.lendingtree.com.

 

Does the ICO Open a New Chapter for RE Crowdfunding? (Lexology), Rated: AAA

An ICO is simply the initial public sale of a new type of digital “coins”, or “cryptocurrency”.

Judging from the prolific way these new cryptocurrency ICOs are popping up, like mushrooms after a spring rain, one might imagine any clever techie could spin one up at the kitchen table with little more than an internet connection and some well-caffeinated daring-do. Yes, ICOs are easier than crowdfunding, they have that special “blockchain” cachet going for them, and the “regulators talons” have not yet sunk deep.

In a real-life example, on September 29, 2017, the SEC filed a civil complaint in federal district court against ICO promoter Maksim Zaslavskiy and two companies run by Mr. Zaslavskiy. According to the complaint, between July and October Mr. Zaslavskiy and his companies raised at least $300,000 in an ICO touting a new cryptocurrency called “REcoin” — “the first ever cryptocurrency backed by real estate.” According to the SEC complaint, Mr. Zaslavskiy and his companies have been peddling unregistered securities. Furthermore, the complaint alleges, the companies never had any real operations even though Mr. Zaslavskiy told investors in REcoin they could expect sizeable returns from those company’s operations; the securities he sold weren’t backed by any real estate or other assets as he claimed they were; and no “REcoin” digital tokens ever actually existed.

ICOs and Crowdfunding

Circling back to the original crowdfunding thesis, we should also expect this disruptive new technology to begin surfacing in even more impactful nextgen “killer apps” for commercial real estate investment. That’s right, real estate crowdfunding may actually make a comeback by dint of being co-opted into the blockspace. New-age real estate crowdfunding ecosystems are already forming; for instance, the Real Estate Asset Ledger (“REAL”) is one application currently being talked up as a real estate crowdfunding network built on blockchain infrastructure.

The Rise of the ICO (Coinlist), Rated: AAA

Zeus CrowdFunding Earns Top-Ten Ranking in Real Estate Crowdfunding Industry (PR.com), Rated: B

Zeus CrowdFunding earned high marks recently from an independent ranking and reviews portal. The Real-Estate Crowdfunding Review named Zeus CrowdFunding the #7 real estate crowdfunding site on the Web based on its “incredible volume” and other impressive advantages.

The ranking also lauded Zeus CrowdFunding’s low default rate and semi-liquidity option and guarantee and called the company “one of the few platforms offering conservative loans below 65% LTV.”

To read The Real-Estate Crowdfunding Review’s ranking and review of Zeus CrowdFunding, visit

Open Banking Trends Shift to US Market (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Open Banking is set to launch in Europe next month. As banks and fintech firms rush to ensure compliance we wanted to explore the effects on the US fintech market. Recently the CFPB set forth data sharing guidelines for banks and fintech firms to share information. There has since been a number of articles in the news pointing to frustration among fintech companies as banks have not been forthcoming with data sharing.

The current process is clumsy and requires consumers to login many times across many different services. This has also been something banks have complained about to agencies like the CFPB. Services such as Personal Capital and Mint constantly ping bank accounts for information that users have open access to. Setting up a similar initiative in the US could not only allow for a better experience but will undoubtedly be safer for the banks and fintech firms.

LendingUSA Secures $ 60m Credit Facility (Finsmes), Rated: A

LendingUSA, a Sherman Oaks, CA-based point-of-need financing company, secured a $60m credit facility.

The funding was provided by CapitalSource, a division of Pacific Western Bank, and a provider of commercial lending and banking solutions.

 

U.S. Fintech Simility Secures $ 17.5 Million During Latest Funding Round Led By Accel With Participation From PayPal (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Simility, a provider of machine learning–powered adaptive fraud prevention solution, today announced it has secured $17.5 million during its latest funding round. PayPal, Inc. also participated in the round as a new strategic investor along with existing investors The Valley Fund and Trinity Ventures.

First National Bank Plans Online SMB Lending Portal (PYMNTS), Rated: A

First National Bank and Trust Company is planning the launch of a digital small business lending portal and has tapped a partner to create the solution.

The financial institution (FI) said Tuesday (Dec. 12) that it is working with FinTech firm RCGILTNER Services to deploy the digital platform, which will launch in the first quarter of 2018.

Aspiration Taps $ 47 Million for Conscientious Banking (WSJ), Rated: A

Conscientious consumption and online banking services don’t typically go hand in hand. Andrei Cherny, co-founder and chief executive of Aspiration, aims to change that.

Aspiration, which offers online banking with optional fees and no penalties, provides its customers insights on how companies treat the environment and their employees, informing spending decisions.

Aspiration now boasts more than 200,000 account holders since launching in February 2015. On Tuesday, the Los Angeles company said it raised a $47 million Series B to further fuel its ambitions.

Will 2018 Be the Year of the Bank of Amazon? Experts Weigh In (Fortune), Rated: A

Payments

Matt Harris, Bain Capital Ventures: “SoftBank buys 20 percent of Stripe for $3 billion. PayPal continues to push itself down the path of being the leading financial services company for millennials and the mass market.” Dion Lisle, Capgemini SA: “‘Alexa, buy this’ or ‘Siri, I need an Uber, pay for it with my AmEx.’ Payments are going to be activated by that voice because that’s a great security method.”

Lending

Spencer Lazar, General Catalyst Partners: “Potential changes to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) under the Trump Administration will likely turn back the clock on Obama-era regulations on non-bank lenders. This will be a boon to startup lenders, making it far easier to dole out capital. The fear is that rates could potentially become predatory.”

Amazon vs. JPMorgan

Andy Weissman, Union Square Ventures: “Some combination of Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple, etc. will move deeper into online financing of small businesses.”

M&A

Tyler Sosin, Menlo Ventures: “Stripe and Adyen will merge, forming a $20 billion plus enterprise-value business and API-driven merchant processor.”

Funding

Charles Birnbaum, Bessemer Venture Partners: “Valuations in the alternative-lending space were overly optimistic in our opinion over the prior five years, but we do feel that the pendulum has likely swung back too far in the other direction following the recent pullback” leaving the sector ripe for potential funding or M&A.

Braviant Holdings Announces Launch of Chorus Credit Personal Loans (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Braviant Holdings, a leading fintech startup that offers analytics and technology-driven credit solutions for underserved Americans, is now offering personal loans up to $10,000 in Californiathrough its Chorus Credit online lending platform. Chorus will complement Braviant’s existing installment lending business, Balance Credit, by offering higher loan amounts at lower rates to the estimated 26% of California consumers who are underserved by traditional banks.

2017 YEAR-IN-REVIEW (Wunder Capital), Rated: A

In 2017, we increased our solar project pipeline by an order of magnitude. This is due in large part to more resources dedicated to pipeline development, advancements in our lending practice, and – at a macro level – a rapidly growing solar market and commercial sector.

Source: Wunder Capital

See the full report here.

Not “ripe,” says judge dismissing N.Y. fintech charter challenge (Banking Exchange), Rated: A

Yesterday U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald of the Southern District of New York dismissed one of those lawsuits, Vullo v. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. The judge dismissed the suit of the New York State Department of Financial Services, headed by Maria Vullo, against OCC on the grounds that the matter is not “ripe” for a decision on the legal ability of the Comptroller’s Office to issue such specialized charters.

Indeed, at the recent RegTech Enable conference in late November, OCC’s Beth Knickerbocker, chief innovation officer, characterized the proposal as “on hold.”

Why New York’s claim isn’t ripe

Judge Buchwald’s decision recapped the history of the proposal at length. Her decision came down to this sentence: “Claims are not ripe if they depend on the occurrence of contingent future event that may never occur at all.”

She pointed out that no injury would occur if OCC never issues such a charter to a fintech company.

Vanguard, the fund giant with nearly $ 5 trillion in assets, is using blockchain to underpin its mutual funds (Business Insider), Rated: A

Vanguard is moving to use blockchain to simplify how it updates index data underlying mutual funds, executives said on Monday, an important sign of confidence for the new financial technology.

Closely-held Vanguard, the top mutual fund firm with nearly $5 trillion under management, has successfully tested blockchain to automatically update data like the names and share prices of companies in index funds, processes that must currently be closely overseen by individuals, said Warren Pennington, a principal in Vanguard’s investment management group, in Pennsylvania.

UNOPPOSED MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE AMICIUS CURIAE BRIEF (U.S. District Court, D.C.), Rated: A

Further, to date, the parties have not raised an important argument that this Court should consider, namely, that restricting the President’s authority over the CFPB Director’s replacement only exacerbates the serious constitutional questions currently before the D.C. Circuit with respect to the CFPB’s structure. As CUNA explains, such questions could be avoided by adopting Defendants’ position in this case. Thus, CUNA’s perspective on the central issues in this case is invaluable and unrepresented by the parties.

Read the motion in full here.

(Coindesk), Rated: A

The startup revealed today that, through an existing partnership with MicroVentures, it will begin offering services to projects seek to use the blockchain funding model.

Specifically, accredited investors purchase Simple Agreements for Future Tokens (SAFTs), with the tokens set to be delivered at a later date. The mode has been used by a number of ICOs in recent months, and according to the page on MicroVentures, $915,000 has been raised from nine investors thus far in the new ICO.

Mastercard targets millennial clients with digital money management service (American Banker), Rated: B

The payments company today announced it is launching a new service called Assemble, which it calls a “prepaid innovation hub” designed to allow Mastercard partners or issuers to provide checking, budgeting, and payment features, as well as additional money management tools.

Longfin Corp. Becomes the First Public-listed FinTech Company Under Reg A+ on Nasdaq (GlobeNewswire), Rated: B

Longfin Corp. (NASDAQ: LFIN) announces that it will be traded on the Nasdaq market for the first day after its initial public offering (IPO) under Reg A+ closing on December 8, 2017.

U.S. News & World Report Names LendingPoint One of 2017’s Best Personal Loan Companies (BusinessWire), Rated: B

LendingPoint was named one of nation’s six best personal loan companies by U.S. News & World Report.

The media company evaluated personal loan companies in five key areas, reviewing data on eligibility, loan terms, fees, repayment methods and additional features. LendingPoint was cited as 2017’s top lender for people with fair to good credit, who have merit-based qualifications beyond FICO scores that make them worthy loan candidates.

Quesnay’s Female Founders in Tech Program Awards Goalsetter First Place (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Quesnay is pleased to announce that Goalsetter is the winner of the inaugural Female Founders in Tech, spotlighting female founders that positively impact the financial services and/or insurance technology industries.

The winners represented cutting-edge businesses that were also socially conscious:
– Goalsetter – Goalsetter is a goal-based savings and gifting platform, targeting millennials.
– Marinus Analytics – Marinus uses technologies to help identify and fight crimes like human trafficking and money laundering associated with it and other illicit activities
– LENDonate – LENDonate provides a marketplace lending platform for non-profits and supporters.

Approximately 100 women-led startups registered for the program with solutions ranging from artificial intelligence to blockchain to creative financial literacy and savings solutions. Seven finalists presented in New York to a panel of judges which included industry leaders from the sponsoring organizations: John HancockMassMutualRGAxSterling National BankTD Bank and Thomson Reuters.

 

United Kingdom

Welendus exceeds Seedrs fundraising target (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

WELENDUS, the peer-to-peer payday loan provider, has announced that its latest crowdfunding round on Seedrs has reached over 130 per cent of its target.

The firm had been seeking £150,000 but has already raised £197,991, according to Seedrs’ website.

Welendus said on Thursday that the funding round had attracted more than 250 investors.

Investec Provides U.K. Fintech With $ 67 Million for Online Loans (Bloomberg), Rated: A

London-based MarketInvoice, which arranges loans for small companies secured by accounts receivable, will handle the underwriting for Investec customers in the partnership, according to the bank’s website. Investec will provide 50 million pounds ($67 million) in the first year to fund the loans, Anil Stocker, the startup’s co-founder and chief executive officer, said in an interview.

The rise of the payday-style business loan (City A.M.),  Rated: A

British banks have been mired in criticism for not lending as much as they could.

Many businesses have meanwhile found that alternative lenders lack the data to provide products that are tailored to their needs.

Creative credit

Rate hikes typically result in an increase in lending profitability, and so the increase often stimulates the appetite to lend.

But an increased appetite to lend doesn’t always follow an increased ability to price risks on all loan applicants, and herein lays the risk: lenders become creative with the ways in which they entice borrowers and mitigate their risks.

These loans from mainstream lenders look like the payday loans that flooded the market in the height of the recession. They take minutes to apply for, turnaround is within one day, and command interest rates of up to 23 per cent APR – five times more than some personal loans.

Data shows increase in demand for alternative finance services (Londons School of Business Finance), Rated: A

The figures showed growth across the UK’s alternative finance market, including crowdfunding, invoice trading, and marketplace lending. The date found a year-on-year rise of 43 per cent in 2016 from £3.2 billion to £4.58 billion.

Business marketplace lending grew by 28.5 per cent from £881 million in 2015 to £1,232 million in 2016, placing it ahead of consumer marketplace lending, which previously had the biggest share.

LendInvest’s Latest Buy-to-Let Index Reveals: Manchester Tops Charts & Hull is Named Biggest Climber (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On Wednesday, specialist property lender LendInvest released its latest LendInvest Buy-to-Let Index report, which ranks all 105 postcode areas around England and Wales based ona combination of four metrics, which are capital gains, transaction volumes, rental yields, and rental price growth.

The Index report’s key findings include:

  • Manchester, leader of the Northern Powerhouse, takes top spot
  • Leicester breaks into the Top 10 and Birmingham climbs 8 places from #18 to #11, signaling upward mobility in the Midlands markets
  • Hull marks itself as biggest climber for 2017, rising 93 places to #6
  • Enfield tumbles from Top 10 in February to Bottom 10 in December
Source: LendInvest

Download the full report here.

One in two advisers ‘fire’ clients with less than £50,000 (Money Observer), Rated: A

Those with pot sizes of less than £50,000 are increasingly being turned away by their financial adviser. In 2014 just under a quarter of clients were shown the door, whereas in 2017 this figure rose to 50 per cent.

Artificial intelligence is guiding venture capital to start-ups (Financial Times), Rated: A

Mr Bonanzinga thought he could combine internet data and machine learning to do a better job of ferreting out prospects. It took two years and £5m in investment for InReach Ventures to create the software, which has so far trawled through 95,000 European start-ups, picking out 2,000 that Mr Bonanzinga might be interested in.

The software determines this based on the people they are hiring, the products they are developing and the traffic on their website, among other things.

Tifosy: The sports crowdfunding platform that wants to help small teams grow and big teams reconnect with fans (City A.M.), Rated: B

The company has already partnered with 15 clubs in England and Italy, raising £2.9m from “fanfunders” for a variety of different projects.

So rather than owners selling equity stakes to unfamiliar outside investors, crowdfunding solutions such as mini-bonds or equity shares have emerged as alternative solutions to many sports franchises.

Top-flight rugby clubs Harlequins and Wasps raised £15m and £35m respectively by issuing their own bonds, while Surrey County Cricket club raised £5m in seven days in 2015.

China

Chinese Online Lender LexinFintech Shrinks U.S. IPO Fundraising Goal (WSJ), Rated: AAA

LexinFintech Holdings Ltd., a Chinese online lender that is planning to go public in the U.S., scaled back its fundraising ambitions after regulatory changes in China sparked a rout in shares of similar companies.

Lexin, a four-year-old company whose backers include Chinese online-retail giant JD.com Inc., is planning to raise $120 million in an initial public offering, according to a Wednesday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

JD.com-backed micro lender slashes IPO by 70pc after China’s internet finance crackdown (SCMP), Rated: A

Lexin Fintech plans to offer 12 million American depositary shares at an indicative price range of US$9 to US$11 a share, raising as much as US$132 million, the company said in an updated filing on Thursday to the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

The fundraising value is sharply down from an originally planned US$500 million, as mentioned in the IPO prospectus issued last month.

Noncompliant P2P Lenders to Be Out by Mid-2018 (Caixin), Rated: AAA

Local banking regulators have until the end of June to weed out noncompliant peer-to-peer (P2P) lenders, according to a circular issued by a special working group led by the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC).

Yirendai Announces Strategic Investment in Lion Rock (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Yirendai Ltd. (NYSE: YRD) (“Yirendai” or the “Company”), a leading fintech company in China, announced today that it has made a strategic investment in Lion Rock, a comprehensive financial services platform that is focused on global asset allocation, through Lion Rock’s Series A financing of HK$50 million.

Lion Rock is headquartered in Hong Kong and offers a wide-variety of high-quality financial products, financial news, robo-advisory services as well as asset allocation services through its online platform.

Hong Kong Fintech Start-Up Lion Rock Raises $ 6.4M Led By Marathon Venture (China Money Network), Rated: A

Lion Rock FinTech Ltd., a Hong Kong-based fintech company, has raised HK$50 million (US$6.4 million) in an equity financing led by Marathon Venture Partners.

In addition, 9F Inc., the strategic investor who backed Lion Rock’s last round of financing, continued to invest in this round.

European Union

The Culture of p2p Investors Across the EU (FastInvest), Rated: AAA

FastInvest, a p2p fintech platform, recently studied data from over 8500 EU investors daily and came across a really unexpected finding. Highly specific traits and behaviors were driven by nationality over and above other individual factors when looking at big data.

From traditional investment metrics like risk aversion, to outside the box items like nationalistic tendencies and compulsive behaviors.  Across numerous areas, national cultural traits could be seen solely based on country to country locales.

Source: FastInvest

Poland
Even with the EU offering a bit of a more stable currency, only 1.76% of residents prefer to invest in Euro based currency loans.

Belgium
Only 2.20% of Belgian investors choose PLN (Polish) currency based loans as opposed to their own Euro.

Germany
Germans appear to be the most open minded of EU countries, with 15.73% making investments in PLN currency.

Netherlands
The Netherlands followed behind Germany in diverting from the euro, with 9.08% of investors choosing PLN based loans.

Download the full report here.

iZettle Grabs $ 47M Additional Funding, Eyes Market Expansion (PYMNTS), Rated: A

iZettle has grabbed €40 million in funding (the equivalent of $47 million) that the Stockholm-based payments firm will use to expand into new markets.

International

Disruptive Startup, Etherecash, Concludes ICO Ahead Of Schedule (Coinidol), Rated: B

Etherecash is one step closer to actualizing its vision of bridging the financial divide between the banked and the unbanked with the successful conclusion of its ICO ahead of schedule. The ICO is now scheduled to finish on 12th Dec 6:29 PM (GMT) after four impressive bonus rounds that outperformed expectations.

With over $30 million raised and 45000 registered participants, Etherecashcan now set its sight on eliminating traditional borders, intermediaries and prejudices in the way money is lent, spent, and sent.

Australia/New Zealand

MERCER LAUNCHES SUPERBOT, ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE DELIVERING FINANCIAL ADVICE VIA FACEBOOK MESSENGER (Mercer), Rated: AAA

Australia’s 17 million active Facebook users spend on average 1.4 hours a day liking, commenting and sharing stories with family and friends. Moreover, with roughly 17% of the earth’s population being active users of Facebook Messenger, there is irony in the fact that the smartphone generation is spending more time engaging on Facebook rather than thinking about their future financial readiness.

Accessed through Facebook Messenger, SuperBot represents the ultimate opportunity to scale financial advice across a very large proportion of the population.

Non-bank lenders lift profit 10% in 2017 (NBR), Rated: A

Eighteen of the 25 participants in the KPMG non-bank financial institutions performance survey posted increased earnings in 2017, generating a total net profit of $216.7 million, up from $196.6 million a year earlier. Total assets grew 12 percent to $10.96 billion, with lending boosted by the nation’s strong demand for new vehicles and several non-bank institutions testing the waters in the mortgage space as the major banks become more reticent in some of their credit criteria.

HNWI financial advice demand falls (Financial Standard), Rated: A

The use of financial advice among high-net-worth investors (HNWI) has fallen to a five-year low, according to the insights, which show 435,000 millionaires own more than $1 million of investable assets.

Almost 75% of HNWIs relied on the expertise of a financial advice professional in 2013 – but this has declined to 68% in 2017.

Credit Suisse found the number of Australian millionaires rose by 200,000 in the year to June, marking the third-largest increase after the US and Germany in its global wealth ranking.

CCR to help business financing (InvestorDaily), Rated: B

Indeed, interest rates on small business loans have “remained relatively high” due to a lack of competition – leaving banks as the major provider of lending to small businesses (80 per cent).

But a CCR regime would offer lenders more information about potential borrowers’ credit history than just negative credit information, as per the current standard.

The Australian government has determined a mandatory credit reporting regime to come into effect in July 2018, but a number of financial institutions such as NAB have already announced it will roll out such a regime.

Other forms of accessing finance for smaller firms or entrepreneur were large technology firms and alternative financing platforms, such as marketplace lending and crowdfunding, he added.

India

Online loans marketplace FinBucket gets funding from Impanix Capital (VC Circle), Rated: A

FinBucket Pvt. Ltd, which runs an eponymous online marketplace for loans and investments, has raised Rs 12 crore ($1.8 million) from Delhi-based early-stage venture capital firm Impanix Capital.

The startup plans to use the funds to increase its staff strength to 200 and expand operations.

‘Fintech can help assess credit score ’ (The Hindu), Rated: A

Financial technology firms that generate credit scores based on digital footprints of individuals will have a major role to play as banks begin to focus on lending to first generation customers who do not have credit history, former Deputy Governor of Reserve Bank of India H.R. Khan said here on Wednesday.

Fintech startup CapitaWorld raises funding (VC Circle), Rated: B

Mumbai-based fintech startup CapitaWorld Platform Pvt. Ltd has raised an undisclosed amount through convertible equity from high-net-worth individuals, corporate honchos and investors from Hong Kong and the Middle East.

The investors who participated in the latest round include former chief executive of Indian Banks’ Association Mohan Tanksale, Swift India CEO Kiran Shetty, Madhu Silica’s managing director Darshak Shah and former JP Morgan executive Mandar Mhatre, the startup said in a statement.

Asia

BHSI Launches Financial Institution Professional Indemnity Insurance in Asia (Insurance Journal), Rated: A

Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Co. (BHSI) announced it has introduced Financial Institution Professional Indemnity (FIPI) insurance in Asia.

The new BHSI policy is designed to cover a range of claims, from allegations of failure to disclose information, to misleading financial advice and breach of contracts, the company said in a statement. The policy combines coverage for civil liability, pre-investigations, mitigation expenses, bail bond costs, court attendance, loss of documents, and more.

The policy is designed for medium to large financial institutions, including securities dealers, regional banks, insurance companies, reinsurance companies, diversified institutions, and financial technology (fintech) and corporate advisory firms.

South America

Brazilian fintech Nubank starts international tech talent hunt (ZDNet), Rated: B

Brazilian fintech Nubank has launched an engineering center in Berlin as part of a plan to boost its software engineering function internationally.

Nubank has expatriated four of its engineers to Berlin to kickstart the European operations. It has also already started to hire local experts such as Gavin Bell, a senior engineer who previously managed the core data infrastructure platform at Soundcloud.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Madden vs. Midland Funding, LLC

Madden v. Midland

In 2005, Saliha Madden, a New York occupant, opened a Visa account with Bank of America. The account cardholder agreement had a Delaware choice-of-law clause whereby the parties involved stipulated that Delaware law would oversee the agreement. Madden defaulted on the loan and her account was later sold to debt buyer Midland Funding, LLC. Midland’s […]

Madden v. Midland

In 2005, Saliha Madden, a New York occupant, opened a Visa account with Bank of America. The account cardholder agreement had a Delaware choice-of-law clause whereby the parties involved stipulated that Delaware law would oversee the agreement. Madden defaulted on the loan and her account was later sold to debt buyer Midland Funding, LLC. Midland’s member endeavored to collect the obligated amount with a default interest rate of 27%.

In 2011, Madden sued Midland and its subsidiary accusing the company of using oppressive and out of line debt collection practices under Federal law and charging high interest under New York law (which states that rates surpassing 25% every year are criminally usurious). Midland retaliated saying that, as a national bank assignee, it was entitled to preemption of state usury laws granted to national banks by the National Bank Act (the “NBA”). The district court agreed with Midland and entered judgment in its favor. Madden appealed to the Second Circuit. The Second Circuit reversed that holding on appeal, reasoning that preemption applies only where the use of state law would undermine a national bank’s exercise of its power under the NBA. While Bank of America is a national bank, Midland or its partners are not. The US Supreme Court refused to hear the case, and on February 27, 2017, Judge Cathy Seibel of the Southern District of New York gave the borrower a key victory by holding that New York law and not Delaware law would apply to the case.

This has led to bills being introduced to untangle the uncertainty created by the court’s decision. The “Madden-Fix” bills are now a source of heated discussion. Below, we will analyze how it will affect the marketplace lending industry.

Bone of Contention: Choice of Law

In spite of the fact that the cardholder agreement chose Delaware law to oversee the legally binding relation between the parties, the District Court determined that New York law should be applied. The Court found there was no reasonable connection between the parties or the transaction with the State of Delaware. In addition, the Court noticed that New York’s usury restriction “constitutes a fundamental public policy” against exorbitant interest rates. Therefore, use of Delaware law would contradict that policy.

Impact on Alternative Lending Market

The District Court’s decision will completely take out “choice-of-law” clause from the credit agreements with New York borrowers unless the lender is a national bank. This will adversely impact alternative lenders as they extensively deal in consumer and credit cards loans, and most of their loan agreements carry interest rates in excess of 25%.

Additionally, the verdict adds another layer of vulnerability among lenders and debt purchasers who work in the Second Circuit (New York, Vermont, and Connecticut). Before Madden, it was broadly comprehended that loans that are “valid when made” are not made invalid when assigned or sold to another party. The District Court’s verdict weakens this guideline, rendering a valid- when-made loan possibly unenforceable to the degree it negates the law of the borrower’s home state.

The logic used in this case can have significant bearing and could be used beyond the sale of delinquent loans to debt collectors including, maybe, to any secondary sale of loans to non-national bank purchasers. Specifically, this verdict could unfavorably affect the MPL industry. There still might be a possibility for the originating banks to authorize the terms of a high-interest loan agreement, but the debt collection agencies might not be able to collect in the future. This could make banks downsize their primary lending (especially at higher interest rate), which will, in turn, reduce the supply of loans available for refinance by MPL. With the uncertainty hovering over the enforceability of existing loans, it has had a ripple effect on their value in the secondary market as well. Vulnerability additionally increases the risk of loss, thus making investments through companies or platforms that extensively invest in loans made to New York borrowers less appealing.

Madden “Fix” Bill

Lending, especially by MPLs, has plummeted in Second Circuit states following the Madden decision. Intense lobbying has seen Congress propose the Protecting Consumers Access to Credit Act of 2017, which is awaiting approval in both the House and Senate. This will enforce the validity of a loan after it is bought by a non-bank, basically recognizing the “valid when made” doctrine once again, and will give impetus to MPL but will also help in normalizing the lending in Second Circuit states. These bills will also go a long way in removing the bias between primary and secondary loan markets, and will also assist the securitization market and other avenues where the loans are sold to non-bank entities.

Obviously, there are apprehensions with regards to these bills. Adam Levitin, professor of law at Georgetown University, has voiced his opinion in an article in American Banker in which he widely criticized the bills saying they are overly broad and will help in facilitating predatory lending. But a consumer seeking credit will get it any which way they can and MPLs are at least regulated in comparison to illegal lending sharks and payday lenders.

Though Madden has not been applied to MPLs, the industry will be closely monitoring the ongoing proceedings. The possibility of class action is particularly worrying as it could open the Pandora box of litigations and deliberate defaults. Meanwhile, it will be a good idea for industry players to assess their lending activities to see whether they come within Madden’s reach or not, particularly in the Second Circuit states of Connecticut, New York, and Vermont.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

What is the Auto Loan Crisis?

auto loan crisis

The auto loan market has become a big bubble waiting for a small needle. In this report, we will answer the questions: How big is the bubble? How will we know it is ready to burst? What are the best ways to capitalize on what comes next? Anytime a central bank lowers interest rates to […]

auto loan crisis

The auto loan market has become a big bubble waiting for a small needle. In this report, we will answer the questions: How big is the bubble? How will we know it is ready to burst? What are the best ways to capitalize on what comes next?

Anytime a central bank lowers interest rates to nothing, creates $4 trillion out of nowhere, and does “whatever it takes” to re-inflate the world economy, there is bound to be a credit bubble somewhere.

Last decade it was housing. This decade it’s the auto industry.

Once the dust settled on the mortgage crisis of 2008, lending standards for loans on new homes tightened. Banks, desperate to start lending money, looked for places where standards hadn’t been touched.

They found autos. Armed with low interest rates, and tons of quantitative easing the Federal Reserve was force feeding the banks, securing an auto loan became easier than ever. Over 86% of Americans commute to work by car, so this proved to be a good market. Include the 1 million Americans who want to keep working in a buoyant auto industry, and you have the making of a new credit bonanza.

Starting in 2010, sales for both new and used vehicles hit new records. They have broken yearly sales records ever since. Auto manufacturers are producing more cars and trucks than before, riding the great recovery of the past half-decade.

But it is all based on financing. Auto leasing, where the buyer puts some money up front, pays a monthly amount for a number of years, and then returns the car to the dealership, has also reached record numbers. Since 2008, the percentage of auto purchases based on leases has doubled.

The total amount of auto loans outstanding has reached over $1.2 trillion, roughly the same amount of money lent out for student loans.

Given that stock markets are at record highs, interest rates are low, unemployment is at historical lows, and America is enjoying a pro-business president, what could go wrong? We may be reaching our limit. Warning signs are getting louder that the credit system in the auto industry has reached a speculative frenzy.

It all began right after the crisis when interest rates dropped to almost nothing. Normally, an auto loan would be given based on the lender paying a 6% interest rate on the money they lent. By 2010, that rate dropped to 2%.
As a result, the banks ceased to be the only lenders. Car dealerships began to issue loans. The car manufacturers expanded their finance arms, making more money available. Then came the venture capitalists, setting up auto loan lending businesses.

The more players in the field, the more they compete for new business. Prospects, or potential borrowers, were given a lot of leeway in securing new car loans. In short time, having a prime grade credit score (over 620) was no longer necessary. Eventually, having a credit score at all was no longer necessary. Subprime lending in the auto industry has sunk to dangerous levels.

The Latest Entry to the Race Soups Things Up for Everyone

As auto loans became a rare diamond in the ruff of a slowly recovering economy, lenders entered the market from outside the traditional banking system. Nonbank lenders like credit unions, or independently funded loan originators, started to issue loans, often with little to no lending standards.

As banks evaded subprime lenders, nonbank lenders came in to fill the gap. They were able to borrow money at 2%, then offer it to borrowers at well over 10% to get a car. This gave the nonbanks every reason to dole out money to subprime borrowers like it was water. A note from UBS put it all into perspective, “Greater regulation of banks coupled with excessive liquidity supplied from monetary policy has triggered an unsustainable surge in nonbank lending as lenders ease underwriting standards to boost market share.”

Nonbank lenders went from obscurity to controlling over 45% of the auto loan market. Subprime lenders now make up over a quarter of all auto loans. Weak borrowers are why default rates are skyrocketing, so much so that a New York Federal Reserve Bank warned that the problem was of “significant concern.”

Crossing the Wrong Line

The danger for subprime excess is twofold.

The first risk is credit quality. If people who cannot afford a loan get financing, eventually they will default. This is basic arithmetic we learned from the mortgage fallout. Without proper due diligence on the borrower, issuing a loan is like throwing money down a black hole.

Today, over 6 million Americans are delinquent on their car loans.

The second risk is fraud. Borrowers are now able to get financing right at the dealership. The loans require little research. Quite often, the borrower doesn’t have to produce a credit score to get a loan. Even if they have a history of defaulting on previous debts, they get financing right away. After all, the people issuing the loan are the ones selling the merchandise. If the loan doesn’t go through, the dealership doesn’t sell the car. What reason do they have to exercise caution or due diligence?

This poses a major risk for fraud.

One example is Santander Bank. They verified income on just 8% of their borrowers, then packaged all the loans into a security they sold to an investor.

According to UBS, as many as one in five auto loans may have occurred as a result of fraud.

This has not been priced into the market, which makes it especially dangerous. Markets price in everything that is known, and expected. The real shocks come when something unexpected suddenly occurs. Even if people doctor the numbers to get the loan, if they don’t have the money to make their next payment, the loan goes to default and their car gets repossessed.

If we don’t have exact figures on the extent of the fraud, we don’t know how bad things can get once people start to default en masse. This is exactly what led to the 2008 meltdown in home loans.

Santander Bank settled with Massachusetts and Delaware for issuing “unfair and unaffordable” loans to the tune of $26 million. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said, “These predatory practices are almost identical to what we saw in the mortgage industry a few years ago.”

According to Experian, almost 15% of all auto loans have been issued to borrowers with credit scores ranging from 300 to 500.

What to Watch For

As the undercurrents intensify, it takes a lot less to topple the ship. As the auto loan bubble expands, it takes much less pressure to pop it. The following are the fundamentals which set the environment for free money. If one of these assumptions were to suddenly change, you could see sudden and violent movements in the value of all auto loans.

Unemployment. Rising unemployment means more people will not be able to make payments on their loans, and default rates will rise. It also means more people won’t be able to take out new loans. This means lower sales for car manufacturers, and lower cash reserves to handle all the loans they underwrote but cannot collect.

Interest Rates. The past 5 years have made the auto industry doubly sensitive to interest rates. 80% of auto sales are made on credit. If rates go up, and the Fed has signaled at least 2 rate hikes in 2017, the terms for auto loans deteriorate and less people take out new loans. Current auto loans pegged to general interest rates will demand higher monthly payments from borrowers, adding to already high loan default rates.

Another big sensitivity to interest rates is duration. The length of the average car loan is longer than it has ever been, 70 months. The longer the loan, the more sensitive it is to interest rates. Even small movements can have huge impacts on credit quality. A couple of rate hikes in this environment can have a greater impact than a big rate increase just 10 years ago.

Another worry is “delinquencies.” Auto loans at least 90 days delinquent rose to 7.5% during the first quarter of 2017. A loan can be delinquent for a number of months before it goes into default. The ballooning number of loans that are late in payment implies a sharp rise in defaults in the coming months. A quarter of banks are forecasting a rise in delinquencies for 2017, an unprecedented event.

Of lesser import are trade issues and commodities. If President Donald Trump implements a 35% tariff on Mexican made goods, prices for cars will rise, requiring car manufacturers to up their prices, and consumers to take out more debt. If Mexico were to retaliate and a trade war ensues, the cost of producing a car can continue to rise, along with the price manufactures will have to charge to maintain profit margins. Oil and gas prices are low. However, if the proxy war between Saudi Arabia, the second largest oil producer, and Iran, the world’s fifth largest producer, were to move from Syria to their own countries, the price can go up very quickly.

Is a Collapse Imminent?

While subprime auto loans amount to over a quarter trillion dollars, the entire auto loan portfolio amounts to over $1.2 trillion. Car loans, unlike mortgages, can be paid off quickly. They are shorter loans. If a borrower defaults, it is easy to repossess the car and sell it.

Interests rates are low, inflation is in check. The economy is still expanding, and unemployment is low. In 2008, the total amount of consumer debt was 100% of household income. Today, it is only 80%. The auto industry is a lot smaller than housing, and most analysts maintain that an implosion of subprime auto loans is not big enough to expand beyond autos. In the US, $1.1tn in car-loan debt is less than 10% of the $14tn in home mortgages.

We may be seeing a slow deflating of the bubble rather than a quick pop. Defaults are rising. Less money is being invested into assets backed by auto loans. The amount of subprime auto loans has also plateaued, and even begun to decline. The money invested in nonbanks is “fickle” money. If things no longer look good, they will quickly move their money elsewhere.

As more and more cars are repossessed, used car lots are filling up. Prices for used cars are falling. 2017 saw a 5% decline in used car prices, the biggest decline ever. Used car dealers who have been in business for over 20 years are closing their doors due to too much inventory. This year, 4 million cars are coming off their lease.

This is having an impact on car sales, which are down 2% for the year.

These indicators show a definite slowdown in the auto sector, but not necessarily a crash. The situation is very serious, but not yet critical.

Echoes of Housing 2008

How does the auto loan market compare with conditions right before the 2008 credit freeze? How close are we to the edge of the cliff?

More than 1 million Americans are delinquent on their car payments. The last time the number was so high was in 2008.

Due to a glut of new cars coming on the market, and a rapid fall in car prices, most leased or credit financed cars are underwater. The loan is higher than the value of the car. Even if the car is repossessed, the borrower will have to make payments on a car they no longer have.

According to Morgan Stanley, the share of auto securities holding a bundle of auto loans with a FICO credit score below 550 has risen from 5.1 percent in 2010 to 32.5 percent today. Credit spreads are 40% higher today than right before the crisis.

Subprime delinquency rates are creeping up while the subprime market is ballooning in size. 3% of auto loans default without a first payment being made. That’s on par with the level in the mortgage market before the financial crisis

Here’s what Morgan Stanley said:

Across prime and subprime ABS, [60-plus-day] delinquencies are currently printing at 0.54% and 4.51%, respectively, with the latter approaching crisis-era peak levels (4.69%). Default rates are also picking up in similar fashion (prime: 1.52%; subprime: 11.96%), printing close to crisis levels.

U.S. vehicle sales have lagged behind 2016 levels every month this year. If that performance continues, this year will mark the first since 2009 that industrywide sales declined.

How to Play It

The obvious choice would be to short subprime auto debt. Based on packaged securities by banks, nonbank entities, and the financing arms of the major automakers, you can find the right securities and sell them short.

A great value play is to find the asset securities you believe will be paid off regardless of the financial environment and buy them at a deep discount. As the full portfolio of loans is paid off in half a decade, you will quickly see a rise in the value of your holdings, and a return of at least your investment. It’s possible to buy debt at $.30 to the dollar, only to see 75% of the money paid off.

The Equity Play

Automakers stand to lose the most from a meltdown in subprime loans.

  1. A huge portion of car loans come from the majors themselves. GM, Ford, and others all have financing arms which originate auto loans to help people buy their cars. If defaults rise, these companies stand to have huge write-offs.
  2. Lease expirations and repossessions create an inventory glut. As more cars return to the lots, prices decline. There is also a less need for new cars to be produced. Major automakers generate less by producing less and making less for each sale on depressed auto prices.
  3. Lending standards for autos will tighten. This will create a long-term ceiling on auto sales by tightening the limits on how many people are eligible for a new car loan.

The fact that 2017 has seen a slowdown in sales, even as the number of units delivered rivals record breaking years of the past means that dealerships are offering big discounts to customers to buy their car. This indicates that the auto industry is “buying” sales for this year at the expense of sales in future years. This implies a cyclical downturn for the auto industry right on the eve of a possible credit implosion.

Shorting the automakers is a practical play. You can short the big ones, like GM (ticker symbol GM), Ford (ticker symbol F), or Fiat Chrysler (ticker FCA). Fiat has more debt than cash on hand. GM also has huge amounts of debt, well over their current cash reserves. Their debt is so big, their cash flow after debt service last year was negative.

Ford has more debt than the size of the economy of Hungary.

You can short any of these, or short all of them. The auto ETF, ticker symbol CARZ, is tied to a basket of the major automakers.

The Great Hedge

Install an Airbag on the Fast and Furious Auto Loan Market

If car values become less than the loans, or interest rates make the monthly payments too prohibitive, borrowers may decide to stop paying. Even if they lose their car, they may decide it’s worth it just not to have to make the next payment.

This can put severe downward pressure on most bundled car loans. A credit crunch will depress all values for asset backed car loans.

Even if auto loans are unsecured, some loans are more reliable than others.

The best solution for investors of securitized debt is a portfolio heavy on cosigned loans. Cosigned loans require a lower interest rate, giving the borrower more reason to keep paying. It also puts and additional borrower on the loan. With cosigning originators like Backed, Inc., the cosigner is alerted the moment a payment is missed, enabling the cosigner to make payments before the loan goes into default.

The collateral of a cosigned loan is not just the car. It’s the relationship between the borrower and someone who put their credit on the line on their behalf. A cosigner can be a father, a brother, a friend, boss, or an army buddy. The borrower has far less reason to destroy a relationship he has his life invested into, than to let the loan go into default.
Using relationships as the ultimate human collateral is the surest investment in a volatile environment. Cosigned loans will have a higher paydown rate than all other types of auto loans. A great play is to invest in cosigned loans at depressed prices, if money leaves the entire auto market and the prices for all loans sell cheaper than a 1983 Chevy.

Author:

Gilad Woltsovitch is the Co-Founder and CEO at Backed Inc., responsible for designing the company’s first-class platform, UX and UI. Before Backed, Gilad co-founded iAlbums, a semantic curation engine for media players in 2010 where he served as the company’s CEO from 2011-2014. In 2013, Gilad also served as the entrepreneur in residence for Cyhawk Ventures and joined the Ethereum project, establishing the Israeli Ethereum meet-up group. Gilad holds a Masters of Art Science and Bachelors in Sonology from the Royal Conservatory of The Netherlands in The Hague, University of Leiden.