Thursday September 21 2018, Daily News Digest

Chinese companies surge on debut after US IPOs

News Comments Today’s main news: LendingClub spent $6.4M to relocate two executives. Funding Circle to price IPO between 420-530 pence. Funding Circle to set valuation at $2.4B after IPO. Qatar fund to invest in Lufax. X Financial completes IPO. Today’s main analysis: Fintech investors like ‘stodgy’, not ‘sexy’. Prospa has written $750M in loans. Today’s thought-provoking articles: How machine learning helps P2P […]

Chinese companies surge on debut after US IPOs

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

Other

News Summary

United States

Some Companies Spend Plenty to Lure Executives Willing to Relocate (Wall Street Journal) Rated: AAA

Some businesses have gone so far as to shell out millions to move key players from miles away. LendingClub Corp. LC -2.63% spent nearly $6.4 million to bring two new top officers and their families to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2017, according to an analysis of data from company proxies by research firm Equilar Inc. That sum largely reflects $3 million in relocation bonuses for Steve Allocca, the new president, and Thomas Casey, LendingClub’s chief financial officer. Both men moved from less-costly cities in Texas.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Fintech investors like ‘stodgy more than sexy’ (Financial Planning) Rated: AAA

A good chunk of the money being invested in wealth management and banking technology is going toward funding artificial intelligence-driven tools.

But forget the popular concept of conversational, British-voiced computers, chatbots or even cute robot assistants greeting customers at branches; the applications that investors want in on are focused on improving operational efficiency.

The industry’s current methods of handling compliance issues, back-office processing, clearing and settlements, he says, are ripe for reinvention.

Source: Financial Planning

How Does Machine Learning Help Peer to Peer Online Marketplaces Succeed? (Tech Pluto) Rated: AAA

Machine learning technology brings a real ROI to peer to peer marketplace owners. Airbnb, a company known for their personalized approach to each customer has seen a significant growth in the number of bookings after they started using machine learning. Other popular P2P marketplaces such as Etsy, Uber, Lending Club also apply intelligent algorithms to increase their conversion rates and acquire a competitive advantage.

Machine learning helps leading marketplaces and companies that provide AI consulting services develop features that bring tangible value to business and consumers. So how exactly do P2P marketplace companies use this cutting-edge technology? Let’s find out.

Predicting which products a user will like is a widely adopted use case for machine learning. A variety of digital products today have recommender systems powered by this technology. In the past product recommendation systems were based on hard-coded rules. Those rules determined what item to show to a user based on some predefined scenarios. For example, if a user buys a fancy red dress, she’s likely to also buy shoes that match this dress.

SoFi’s Former Head Of Venture Strikes Out On His Own (Benzinga) Rated: A

For this installment, Benzinga interviewed an intriguing fintech venture capitalist: Logan Allin, general partner at Fin Venture Capital and former head of venture at SoFi.

Allin’s career has been largely spent “in and around” financial services, he said, including stints at SoFi, City National Bank and Invesco Ltd. IVZ. He launched Fin Venture Capital in April with a focus on the global fintech sector, greenfield areas and B2B and B2B2C players in particular.

BZ: Fintech funding rounds are getting larger, some consolidation is occurring and the space in general is maturing — is there still room for small startups to have a major impact? What verticals are ripe for disruption?

According to Pitchbook’s data, the U.S. funding environment is skewed increasingly to growth and late stage startups and is on pace to surpass $100 billion in deal value for the first time since the dot-com era.

Indeed, there was $57.5 billion of VC invested in U.S. companies through the first half of the year, and the second quarter of 2018 is higher than six of the past 10 full-year totals. Despite the volume, the deal count has remained stable due to later-stage entry points and larger round sizes, and as a result, deployment is at a slower pace than seen in 2013-2015.

You’re seeing a move toward larger fund sizes with the same investment period as they’ve always had, five years, which leads to larger check requirements per deal and thus a move downstream to growth and late-stage rounds where the valuation math and round sizes align.

Goldman Sachs nears deal to sell its fintech app – WSJ (Reuters) Rated: A

Goldman Sachs is in advanced talks with several financial companies to spin off ‘Simon’, its three-year-old app that sells financial products to retail investors, the Wall Street Journal reported on.wsj.com/2OzaWmf on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

JPMorgan Chase, Barclays, HSBC Holdings , Credit Suisse, Wells Fargo and insurer Prudential Financial have expressed interest for a stake in the business, the report said.

The deal, which would value the app at around $100 million, is likely to be finalised in the coming weeks.

Lendio Franchising Growth Soars, Doubling Amount of Loans Funded Quarter Over Quarter Since Inception (Lendio) Rated: A

LendingTree Announces Startup Innovators Program at LEND360 (PR Newswire) Rated: A

LendingTree®, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, today announced it will sponsor a $10,000 award to be given at LEND360 to the fintech startup with the most cutting-edge solutions propelling the online lending ecosystem forward.

As the desire to enter the fintech space continues to heat up, LEND360’s Startup Innovators Program will highlight startup organizations’ crucial part of the fintech ecosystem, bringing new and innovative thinking to the industry.

LEND360 will be held October 8-10, 2018 at the Sheraton Grand Chicago.

iCapital Buys Bank of America Alt Feeder Fund Ops (Wealth Management) Rated: A

Alternative investing platform iCapital Network announced it has entered into a definitive agreement with Bank of America to acquire the bank’s alternative investment feeder fund operations. iCapital expects the volume on its platform to more than quadruple as a result, growing from $6 billion in invested capital across 14,000 underlying accounts to $25 billion across nearly 70,000 accounts.

Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch and U.S. Trust account holders and advisors will continue to use their existing interfaces and their client relationships, but the inner workings of the system will be improved, said Lawrence Calcano, CEO of iCapital.

More Americans With Low Credit Scores Buying Homes (Laredo Morning Times) Rated: A

If you have a low credit score and want to buy a home, your odds of getting a loan have improved. A study by the Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) shows that credit scores for new mortgage originations have been dropping, suggesting that lenders are slowly relaxing the tight credit policies imposed after the housing crisis.

According to the study, new mortgage loans with credit scores less than 700 increased from 21.9% of all mortgage loans in 2009 to 29.7% in 2017. These include scores in the subprime market that can reach down into the 400s. (While the typical lower credit score limit is 620 for conforming loans and 500 for FHA loans, loans may be granted at even lower credit scores with extenuating circumstances.)

The shift in average credit scores is driven by FHA loans – as expected by the lower acceptance criteria for FHA loans. The latest Origination Insight Report from Ellie Mae shows that only 16.7% of conventional mortgage loan originations in July 2018 were associated with FICO scores less than 700.For FHA loans, over 65% of FHA loans went to borrowers with scores below 700.

2Wheel Partners With Affirm to Offer 0% Financing (Motorcycle & Powersports News) Rated: A

Affirm Inc., a financial technology company, provides transparent alternatives to traditional credit. Customers can select the Affirm payment option at checkout and quickly and easily receive real-time approval of their loan amount. The payment terms are clearly stated with no hidden fees or compounding interest.

5 Surprising Traits of Digital Banking Winners (Financial Brand) Rated: A

Ever since JP Morgan declared itself a technology company that provides financial services — not the other way around — analysts and investors have been scrambling to discern which banking companies are doing tech well, and which are not. They know the institutions that harness the power of artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data, and more importantly, the applied business insights these technologies can generate, will be the banks that will be the winners in the long run.

“Long term I think this will determine the split between winners and losers,” one investor told the Financial Times in a story on AI and banking earlier this year.

New Research Indicates Non-Prime Hispanics Have a Leg up on Financial Health (Market Watch) Rated: A

When it comes to personal finances, Hispanics in the U.S. are more stable and optimistic than other groups studied. A newly released study from Elevate’s Center for the New Middle Class (CNMC) found that non-prime Hispanics – or those with credit scores below 700 – experience higher levels of employment and less volatile monthly income. When compared to the broader non-prime community, non-prime Hispanics in the U.S. are:

  • 65% more likely to plan for major expenses
  • 86% more likely to feel financially stable
  • 38% more likely to save money each month
  • 20% less likely to have had a vacation expense in the last 12 months
  • 23% less likely to spend on routine medical expenses
  • 50% more likely to be able to cover a $1200 unexpected expense
  • 3x more likely to regularly pay using a smartphone
  • 20% less likely to have a credit card
  • 25% less likely to have a personal retirement account
  • 2x more likely to regularly give money to a child or grandchild
  • 40% more likely to be employed

Why those high-profile bank glitches just won’t stop (American Banker) Rated: A

The glitch that left SunTrust customers without access to mobile and online banking for two days is just the latest digital snafu to afflict the banking industry. Upgrades by banks or their vendors that went haywire have resulted in multiple outages this past year.

So it begs the question: If there’s such potential for an upgrade to go wrong, why aren’t banks more prepared for the eventuality, instead of scrambling to get service back up and running?

Industry experts bear some bad news about the state of technology in banking: Banks can’t really be proactive enough to prevent the problems.

Why do state regulators want to limit consumer choice? (American Banker) Rated: A

The decision by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to begin accepting applications for special purpose national bank charters from fintech companies promotes innovation, gives consumers and businesses greater choice and creates economic growth and opportunity.

It is also good for America’s dual banking system, which the president of Conference of State Bank Supervisors and the superintendent of the New York Department of Financial Services ignore in their recent articles and statements.

Fed will have the say on key parts of OCC’s fintech charter (American Banker) Rated: A

The Federal Reserve is under increasing pressure to provide clarity on whether nonbank fintech firms that receive a special federal charter will have direct access to central bank lending and to the U.S. payment systems.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency confirmed in July that it would accept applications from fintech firms for a “special-purpose” national bank charter, although the new license has been legally challenged by state regulators.

But many experts say the OCC’s charter would lose value if the Fed did not allow direct entry to fintech firms. Those firms now, for example, can access the payments system only through bank partners.

White Oak Healthcare Finance Refinances Texas SNFs for Granite Investment Group (Digital Journal) Rated: B

White Oak Healthcare Finance, LLC (“White Oak”), today announced it acted as sole lender and administrative agent on the funding of a $33.2 million senior credit facility for Granite Investment Group (“Granite”). The funds were used to refinance a portfolio of four skilled nursing facilities in Texas.

Granite Investment Group is a privately held, real estate investment firm focused on multi-family, senior housing, and post-acute care.

AlphaFlow Continues Expansion with Launch of New York Office, Hiring of Fintech Executives Stephan Leccese and John Woodruff (PR Newswire) Rated: B

AlphaFlow, the first automated alternative investment platform for real estate, announced today the opening of a new office in New York City. The office launch and expansion operations will be helmed by recently hired fintech executive Stephan Leccese, who joins the firm as Vice President of Partnerships & Servicing.  John Woodruff, a former credit fund senior analyst, will be joining Stephan in New York, serving as Vice President of Investments.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle to price 71.4 mln IPO shares between 420-530 pence (Nasdaq) Rated: AAA

British peer-to-peer lender Funding Circle plans to sell up to 71.4 million new shares in its initial public offering for between 420 pence and 530 pence per share.

Funding Circle, which expects to list in October with a valuation of more than 1.5 billion pounds ($1.92 billion), said it plans to raise gross proceeds of about 300 million pounds.

Peer-to-peer lender Funding Circle to be valued up to $ 2.4 billion after IPO (CNBC) Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending platform Funding Circle announced the pricing range for its initial public offering (IPO) on Wednesday that could value the company up to around £1.8 billion ($2.4 billion).

The British fintech firm said the price range of the offer has been set at 420 pence to 530 pence per share. The flotation will comprise a maximum of 71.4 million new shares and a secondary component to be determined.

After the completion of the IPO, the issued share capital of the company is expected to comprise between 329.7 million and 345 million shares.

Is real estate crowdfunding the investment option for you? (Born2Invest) Rated: A

Equity crowdfunding has been a great alternative investment for many, but there are other principles that branched out from it. Some investors direct their funds not only on startups that offer unique products or services as others become virtual landlords through property crowdfunding.

Platforms like LendInvest, Landbay and Lendy have risen to make real estate investing more interesting because of higher returns. Some sources suggest that peer-to-peer lending (P2P) schemes like crowdfunding in real estate allow for returns in excess of 5-6 percent compared to traditional real estate investment trusts (REITs).

There are three ways to get into real estate crowdfunding: P2P, debt crowdfunding and virtual buy-to-let.

China

China’s Online Lender Lufax Attracts Potential Investment From Qatar Fund (Gooruf) Rated: AAA

China’s online lender Shanghai Lujiazui International Financial Asset Exchange Co. (Lufax) has attracted a potential investment from sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority (QIA).

QIA has been negotiating the probable purchase of a minority stake in Lufax with an estimated price range of about US$500 million to US$1 billion, said Bloomberg citing the source.

The company has been aiming to file for an initial public offering in Hong Kong since 2017, but only to witness its flotation on ice because of Beijing’s probes into online lenders.

Fintech / Peer to Peer Lender X Financial Trades on NYSE (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

Chinese peer to peer lending platform X Financial (NYSE: XYF) completed its initial public offering (IPO) today trading shares on the New York Stock Exchange. Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. and Morgan Stanley & Co. were joint book runners on the IPO.

The IPO saw the Class A ordinary shares priced at $9.50. The offering was for 11 million American Depository Shares (ADSs) thus representing a raise of about $104.5 million. Shares initially traded much higher jumping to over $20/share at one point but are now currently hovering around $13/share.

The underwriters have been granted an option to purchase up to 1,650,000 additional ADSs at the IPO price less the underwriting discount.

X Financial on IPO: We Have Built One of the Strongest Fintech Businesses in China (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Earlier today, China based X Financial (NYSE:FXE) traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in its initial public offering raising approximately $104.5 million as 11 million shares were floated at $9.50/share. The shares quickly jumped higher in early trading and eventually closed about 25% higher than the offer price. X Financial, a peer to peer lender and Fintech platform, is part of a growing group of Chinese firms deciding to list their shares on US exchanges. In fact, this was the 9th Chinese company to list on the NYSE this year.

X Financial reports experiencing dramatic growth in the past few years. Top line revenue was approximately USD $270 million for all of 2017. As of the first six months of 2018, the company had already topped this number (USD $279.3) as it appears to be on track to double the year prior total.

Investors Love Chinese Tech Stocks (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer online lender X Financial soared on its first day of New York trading, adding to a string of frenzied U.S. debuts by Chinese technology companies.

Source Bloomberg

Banks give China’s Web lenders a second life (The Business Times) Rated: A

China’s online lenders have found an unlikely lifeline. Investors are fleeing the country’s US$200 billion peer-to-peer (P2P) lending sector as regulators crack down. The funding squeeze has pushed many companies to team up with traditional banks that they once sought to disrupt.

Beijing is reining in the country’s non-bank lending sector. Strict rules, such as caps on loan balances for sites matching small borrowers with individual investors, have shut down hundreds of unruly upstarts. Regulators delayed a June deadline for companies to apply for licences, putting larger groups in legal limbo. New York-listed Yirendai has seen its market value more than halve to US$1 billion since the start of the year.

The stakes are huge. Chinese consumer finance – which includes credit card loans, e-commerce credit, and unsecured personal loans – is on track to top 11 trillion yuan (S$2.2 trillion) by 2020, up from four trillion yuan in 2015, according to Oliver Wyman. But banks prefer to lend to customers with credit histories, which much of the population lacks. They often spurn private corporate borrowers for similar reasons. That has opened the door for P2P operators as well as Web giants like Ant Financial.

Lending hand (Breaking Views) Rated: A

China’s online lenders have found an unlikely lifeline. Investors are fleeing the country’s $200 billion peer-to-peer (P2P) lending sector as regulators crack down. The funding squeeze has pushed many companies to team up with traditional banks that they once sought to disrupt.

Beijing is reining in the country’s non-bank lending sector. Strict rules, such as caps on loan balances for sites matching small borrowers with individual investors, have shut down hundreds of unruly upstarts. Regulators delayed a June deadline for companies to apply for licenses, putting larger groups in legal limbo. New York-listed Yirendai has seen its market value more than halve to $1 billion since the start of the year.

The stakes are huge. Chinese consumer finance – which includes credit card loans, e-commerce credit, and unsecured personal loans – is on track to top 11 trillion yuan ($1.6 trillion) by 2020, up from 4 trillion yuan in 2015, according to Oliver Wyman. But banks prefer to lend to customers with credit histories, which much of the population lacks. They often spurn private corporate borrowers for similar reasons. That has opened the door for P2P operators as well as web giants like Ant Financial.

China Rapid Finance to Participate in DBS Fintech Corporate Day (Acrofan) Rated: B

China Rapid Finance (NYSE: XRF), a leading online consumer finance platform in China, today announced that its Chief Executive Officer Zane Wang will participate in the DBS Fintech Corporate Day, to be held at the Fullerton Hotel in Singapore on Thursday, September 27, 2018.

The Company will also host investor meetings throughout the day.  Attendance at the conference is by invitation only.  Interested investors should contact your DBS sales representative to secure a meeting time.

International

Growth of Investor Numbers on P2P Lending Marketplaces (P2P Banking) Rated: AAA

The disadvantage of showing indexed numbers for growth is that it gives smaller, younger an advantage as their percentage increase of investor base is likely still higher because they come from smaller absolut numbers. An example for this effect is Peerberry where percentage growth of investors is rapid, but the absolute number as of Sep, 1st has reached only 2468 investors as it is a very young marketplace.

Source: P2P Banking

ETHLend Blockchain Crypto Lending Launches New Tech Firm Aave To Induce Innovation (Bitcoin Exchange Guide) Rated: A

Decentralized, peer-to-peer (P2P) financial marketplace, ETHLend has recently revealed the launch of a new tech firm dubbed, Aave. The reason for creating Aave is to induce consumers to come up with innovative ways to expand on “evolving and imaginative technology”. Simply put, the team is working towards bridging the gap centralized players like PayPal and Coinbase have left behind.

Aave will serve as the parent company for ETHLend and the team will remain the same. In other words, the CEO for Aave will be that of ETHLend, Stani Kulechov, Jordan Lazaro will serve as COO, Nolvia Serrano is the CMO, Mika Soyring is the CFO and Ville Valkonen is the CCO.

Australia

Fintech Prospa has now written $ 750 million in loans (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

Fintech Prospa, a lender to small business which in June postponed an ASX-listing after being pinged about unfair loans terms, says it has now written $750 million in loans.

Loans for the year to June were $367 million, a 70% increase on the previous 12 months and 9% higher than prospectus forecasts with strong momentum in the fourth quarter.

For the six months to June 2018, loans hit $211 million, up 16% on prospectus forecasts and up 61% on the previous corresponding period.

MENA

OurCrowd Still on Track to Top USD $ 1 Billion in Investment Crowdfunding (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

In many ways, OurCrowd epitomizes the aspirations of what investment crowdfunding has the potential to deliver for both issuers and investors. By providing access to quality deals to smaller (accredited) investors, OurCrowd has opened up an asset class previously closed off to all but the very fortunate. On OurCrowd, you can find yourself investing alongside some of the biggest names in venture capital – at the exact same terms – an important distinction. It is also important to note that OurCrowd has skin in the game for each offering it lists on the platform – thus interests are aligned: OurCrowd wants the company to succeed and it also very much wants to see a return on its own investment. These qualities make OurCrowd a compelling option for investors that are willing to shoulder an element of portfolio risk that can also drive some outsized returns.

OurCrowd is based in Israel – where many of its investments are made – but its vision is to empower investors globally and fund companies regardless of geographic borders. This is what you want to see in the digitized, internet fueled Fintech age.

Build a real estate portfolio starting with as little as $ 1000 (AME Info) Rated: A

Real estate crowdfunding comes to Dubai in the form of Smart Crowd

In the US, investors are utilizing crowdfunding sites like Realty Mogul, CrowdStreet, and Fundrise to start and/or build their portfolios, Investopedia notes.

Smart Crowd, an innovative new digital real estate investment platform that supports crowd-funding endeavors in the real estate sector, is trying to fill in a similar role in the region.

Asia

P2P operations launched in Hyderabad (Telangana Today) Rated: AAA

LenDenClub, a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform, launched its operations in Hyderabad. It will also expand to other cities later.

LenDenClub chose Hyderabad as the city is a major hub of the IT industry and houses a large number of young professionals, who are among the largest users of digital lending services in the country. It expects 10 per cent of its loan requests originate from Telangana in the next six months.

It is aiming to disburse loans worth Rs 100 crore in 12 months.

European Union

INLOCK Signs MoU with Institutional Lending Provider – Partners with Major CEE Crypto ATM Manufacturer to Test Its Platform (Bitcoin News) Rated: B

INLOCK, a crypto lending platform where licensed lenders can compete for borrowers who want to use their cryptocurrency as collateral for loans, announced today that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with an institutional lending provider and entered a partnership with one of the Central and Eastern European Countries (CEE) region’s biggest crypto ATM manufacturers to test its Minimum Viable Product (MVP). The company launched the ICO for its ILK token on September 15, the anniversary of the Lehman Brothers collapse.

The CEE region’s crypto ATM manufacturer plans to integrate INLOCK’s services into all of its machines, enabling users to directly take out loans and receive funding in cash within hours. The crypto ATM manufacturer will act as a matching service provider by forwarding customers to INLOCK.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday July 25 2018, Daily News Digest

Lending Club IPO

News Comments Today’s main news: Square, eBay partner on businesss loans. BNP Paribas launches UK fund for SME lending. Crowdstacker seeking 800K GBP on Seedrs. PPDAI to boost tech investment. Alipay, WeBank competition heats up. Today’s main analysis: The good news and bad news about Lending Club. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Americans are splurging on personal loans. How irresponsible mortgage lenders […]

Lending Club IPO

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

Other

News Summary

United States

eBay & Square Partner on Business Loans (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

eBay (Nasdaq:EBAY)  and Square Capital (NYSE:SQ) have signed an agreement to provide up to $100,000 in credit to sellers – in as little as one day. The partnership is not only a streamlined offering of financing for small businesses that use eBay but also a whack at traditional banks which are mostly unable to match such a speedy lending agreement.

Scott Cutler, Senior Vice President, Americas at eBay, says that eBay is committed to helping their sellers and providing credit in partnership with Square simply makes sense.

For example, if you have $30,000 CC debt and good credit you can get a 3-year payoff at about 6% and a 5 year at about 7%. That is a big improvement over a typical rate of 17.5% on purchases and an amazing 23.5% on cash advances. So you take out the $30,000 loan, pay off your credit cards and save thousands in interest while you are at it. In addition, your CC is now zero and you can start using it again.

Source: Seeking Alpha

They came to market via an IPO late in 2014 and were an immediate hit rising over 50% their first day. They were immediately valued at over $9 billion. Today they are at less than $2 billion, a drop of almost 80%.

And finally here is LC’s chart since the IPO. Talk about ugly.

Source: Seeking Alpha

Americans are splurging on personal loans thanks to fintech startups (Quartz) Rated: AAA

The stock of personal loans outstanding has grown to about $120 billion as of March, according to TransUnion data. That compares with $71.9 billion a decade ago—worth around $90 billion adjusted for inflation—when the subprime mortgage crisis crescendoed. About 17 million Americans have this type of debt which, unlike mortgages and automobile loans, isn’t collateralized by an asset.

Source: Quartz

Upstart financial technology companies like Lending Club, Prosper, and Avant account for about a third of this lending, up from less than 1% in 2010.

Source: Quartz

How Irresponsible Mortgage Lenders Created A Second Housing Bubble (Seeking Alpha) Rated: AAA

Rents Are Falling, But Prices Are Surging

I believe the culprit is a new crop of lenders who are outside of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac regulations on FICO scores and DTI. For example, San Francisco lender Social Finance (SoFi) is offering up to 3 million dollar loans with 10 percent down and “flexible DTI.

Source: Seeking Alpha
Source: Seeking Alpha

Firms like SoFi are the engine driving the madness in the California housing market. Here’s what Michael Tannenbaum, former Vice President of SoFi, had to say about their loans in 2016, “Sixty-five percent of the business we do is first-time home buyers; it’s a big deal we’re opening up to the jumbo first-time market.” A year later, he was gone. Other gems from the San Francisco Chronicle article – SoFi’s average loan at the time was $800,000 and two-thirds were in California. I shudder to think what their average loan size and DTI is now. Also, in addition to not being big fans of debt to income ratios, SoFi isn’t big on using other traditional measures like FICO scores to evaluate borrowers. In 2016, they declared their company a “FICO Free Zone” in a press release. Said a former business development associate, “The volume of applications coming in was crazy.” Other sources reported on the wild sex culture at the firm. As for their underwriting practices? As long as housing prices went up, they were more or less irrelevant. But, if prices go down, SoFi and their backers stand to lose a lot of money.

A Conversation with Figure’s Mike Cagney (Financial Revolutionist) Rated: A

Mike Cagney’s return to fintech’s center stage had been foreshadowed by a handful of reports suggesting that his new company would be focused on the origination of real estate-related assets and that, somehow, blockchain would figure into the mix. But Cagney, who played a foundational role in building SoFi into one of fintech’s biggest success stories before his departure, isn’t the type of entrepreneur who thinks small and nichey. With his new company, Figure, and the blockchain protocol it has built, Provenance, Cagney and his team of 80 professionals are taking aim at the gigantic world of institutional capital markets transactions. Why? Because that’s one place where the vig (i.e., rent-seeking) still sloshes around in copious amounts. But unlike SoFi, which is taking aim at banks, Cagney is now fixing his gaze on the administrators, trustees, custodians and other intermediaries who take a cut out of each securitization and other types of deals. On the eve of the first transaction to be put on Provenance (a HELOC), The FR’s Gregg Schoenberg sat down with Cagney to learn more about his plans and how blockchain is central to his mission.

Could Fintech & Blockchain Lending Further Drive The Housing Market Boom? (Forbes) Rated: A

Those who do not have the scores to secure loans from traditional lenders now have alternatives particularly in the form of P2P lenders. These platforms pool together money from interested investors and loan them out to borrowers.

They also have a much quicker turnaround compared to what customers might experience with banks and other large lenders. While these services started out only to fund smaller personal loans, some like LendingClub have grown and expanded to allow larger-value loans like mortgages to be made on the platform.

Blockchain-based lenders have built upon this crowdfunding concept and enhanced it with blockchain’s capabilities with smart contracts and tokenization. While initial efforts as espoused by the likes of 

Employer-focused PFM company gets $ 40 million (Business Insider) Rated: A

US-based personal finance management (PFM) company Even has raised a $40 million Series B funding round led by Keith Rabois of Khoshla Ventures, and including Valar Ventures, Allen & Company, Harrison Metal, Ron Conway, and Silicon Valley Bank.

Source: Business Insider

Even integrates with attendance, payroll, and banking systems to help consumers improve their financial health. Its features include Instapay, which enables users to request the money they have earned before their actual payday, and it uses AI to give users an “okay to spend” amount, so they don’t get surprised by sudden expenses. Additionally, it offers an automatic savings feature, similar to other PFM companies including Acorns and Cleo.

Fintech Startup LoanSnap Raises $ 8m in Series A Financing (Finsmes) Rated: A

LoanSnap, a San Francisco, CA-based developer of technology that protects people against dumb loans, raised $8m in Series A financing.

The round was led by True Ventures with participation from Baseline Ventures, Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, Core Innovation Partners, Joe Montana’s Liquid 2 Ventures, OVO Fund, Transmedia Ventures, and angel investors.

BlockFi Raises $ 52.5M for Cryptoasset-backed Loans (Business Wire) Rated: AAA

BlockFi, the leading cryptoasset to USD lender, announced today it has raised $52.5M to expand operations. Galaxy Digital Ventures LLC, a digital currency and blockchain technology investment firm founded by Mike Novogratz led the deal. This marks the industry’s first institutional investment in cryptoasset backed loans. BlockFi’s existing investors, which include ConsenSys Ventures and PJC, also participated in the funding round.

  • BlockFi planning rapid expansion of cryptoasset-to-USD lending platform
  • BlockFi partners with Galaxy Digital Lending LLC on loan purchasing facility and receives equity investment from Galaxy Digital Ventures LLC
  • Marks first institutional investment in cryptoasset backed loans

Credit Card Payoff App Tally Raises $ 25 Million (Cheddar) Rated: A

Tally, an automated debt-managing app, has raised $25 million in Series B funding with the goal of expanding its reach and finding new ways to alleviate consumers’ financial anxiety, Cheddar has learned.

Southern States Multifamily Portfolio Sells, Exceeding Targeted Returns for ArborCrowd Investors (The Daily Times) Rated: A

ArborCrowd (the “Company”) today announced its Southern States Multifamily Portfolio (SSMP) investment has been realized ahead of schedule, outpacing targeted return estimates. One of the properties in the portfolio is located in Mississippi and sold in late 2017. The two remaining properties, located in Alabama, recently sold. The aggregate portfolio sales price was $25.85 million, generating an internal rate of return (IRR) of over 29% for ArborCrowd investors.

The transaction marks the first of ArborCrowd’s six deals to complete its investment cycle, and its success is a great sign of the long-term viability of the Company’s growing platform. The SSMP investment opportunity was quickly oversubscribed when ArborCrowd presented the deal on its platform in February 2017, raising over $2.1 million in just 5 days. The over 29% IRR generated by the sale of the portfolio far exceeded the targeted 17% to 20% IRR projected by ArborCrowd at the time of the offering.

Lendio Reports Q2 Results: 90% Year-Over-Year Revenue Growth (Lendio) Rated: A

Lendio, the nation’s leading marketplace for small business loans, today announced record growth across all areas of its business, including 90 percent year-over-year quarterly revenue growth. To date, Lendio has helped facilitate more than $900 million in financing to over 45,000 small businesses across the U.S. and Canada through its marketplace of more than 75 small business lenders. The growth milestone comes after an 80 percent increase in loans funded through the Lendio platform in the last year.

From July 2017 to June 2018, Lendio facilitated nearly $400 million in loans to more than 22,000 small businesses. The average initial loan size among Lendio’s small business customers grew to nearly $35,000. The top five industries funded through Lendio’s marketplace include construction, retail, restaurants, health care and information media.

GM Maven CEO: Peer-To-Peer Auto Lending Will Be A Large Market (Bloomberg) Rated: A

Julia Steyn, Maven CEO, on their new peer-to-peer lending program for GM car owners, and the progress Maven is making in the shared economy.


Whitepages Pro Unveils Pro Insight, a Global Identity Review Solution Powered by Machine Learning (Global Newswire) Rated: A

Whitepages Pro, a global leader in digital identity verification, today announced Whitepages Pro Insight, a new and improved manual review solution designed to help businesses assess the identity risk of their customers, approve good transactions, and investigate fraud on a global scale. As the only global identity review solution that provides six ways to search, it enables users to balance accuracy and efficiency through direct workflow integrations, machine learning-informed insight, and robust analytics.

Within Pro Insight, users are first presented with Identity Review, a comprehensive interface that verifies and cross-checks both digital and traditional identity attributes (name, email, phone, primary and secondary addresses, and IP) to verify the identity behind a transaction. The solution analyzes and presents the relationships between the five core identity attributes in several intuitive ways:

  • Confidence Score – An overall measure of the risk associated with a transaction that cross-references the five core identity attributes. The Confidence Score is powered by machine learning insights from billions of transactional patterns across the Whitepages Pro Identity Network and the 70+ data signals of the Identity Check API.
  • Positive and negative signals – A concise list of primary factors that influence a given Confidence Score.
  • Results columns – A detailed list of matches, mismatches, and invalid inputs based on the links between a transaction’s identity elements. Users can click on specific attributes to further investigate associated people, historical data, and more.
  • Distance Map – A visual representation of geographical distances between phone, primary address, secondary address, and IP address.

Center For The New Middle Class: Non-Prime Consumers Spending More Responsibly On Vacation (Payment Week) Rated: A

Non-prime consumers are significantly less likely to be taking to the road for vacation this summer, opting for staycations instead, and spending far less on vacations if they take one, a new study released today from Elevate’s 

Source: The Center for the New Middle Class

Key findings from the CNMC survey conducted in June include:

  • The non-prime are 29% less likely to take a vacation
  • The non-prime are 22% more likely to “staycation”
  • If they do take a vacation, the non-prime spend half as much
  • The non-prime are 2x as likely to have turned down a vacation due to financial constraints
  • The non-prime are 61% more likely to borrow money for a vacation
  • Non-prime spend 18% less per child on summer entertainment
  • Those with children were more likely to take vacations and borrow money to cover costs

The research also indicated that across both credit segments, summer community resource utilization (i.e. pools, parks, libraries, etc.) was relatively high, with more than 85% in both segments using these facilities. Summer entertainment expenses per child were also very similar between the prime and non-prime groups.

Read the full report here.

United Kingdom

P2P Lender Crowdstacker Now Seeking £800,000 Through Seedrs Funding Round (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

Crowdstacker, a UK-based peer-to-peer lending platform, is now seeking £800,000through its equity crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs. Founded in 2014, Crowdstacker describes itself as an award-winning FCA regulated online alternative investment platform that provides ISA eligible P2P loans, bonds, and loan notes.

BNP Paribas launches UK fund for SME lending (FinTech Futures) Rated: AAA

BNP Paribas Asset Management will launch BNP Paribas UK SME Debt Fund 1, offering clients access to the UK SME lending market.

The asset management arm of the bank’s new fund will invest in senior loans to SMEs with an annual turnover of less than £50 million through its BNPP AM’s SME Alternative Financing platform.

The platform uses proprietary big data technology, which pairs with the bank’s balance sheet and infrastructure.

Podcast 159: Christoph Rieche of iwoca (Lend Academy) Rated: A

Christoph Rieche is the CEO and Co-Founder of iwoca, a small business lender based in London with operations also in Germany and Poland. The name iwoca stands for instant working capital so they have leveraged technology in order to provide capital to small businesses quickly and efficiently.

In this podcast you will learn:

  • Why Christoph decided to start iwoca.
  • The segment of the small business market they focus on.
  • What is behind the continued decline in overall small business loan volumes.
  • The loan product offered by iwoca.
  • The typical size of their credit lines.
  • The kinds of businesses applying for credit at iwoca.
  • How their underwriting works and level of automation they use.

Navigating through the P2P property maze (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

Landbay investors can expect returns of around 3.54 per cent on its fixed-rate product, or 3.18 per cent with its tracker-rate option, by investing in loans secured by UK property.

The Peer-to-Peer Finance Association member launched its IFISA in February last year, meaning that Landbay customers can also benefit from tax-free earnings on their investments.

LandlordInvest’s investors have earned average annual returns of 11.3 per cent to date, secured by residential or commercial property, with the option of an IFISA wrapper

London Proptech Firm Goodlord Forms New Open Banking Partnership With TrueLayer (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: B

Goodlord, a UK-based proptech platform, has formed a new open banking partnership with TrueLayer. Founded in 2014, Goodlord reports that its cloud-based platform is trusted by hundreds of agencies across the UK. The company has created a one-stop-shop by providing access to a dynamic suite of specialized services, including insurance, e-signing, referencing, and e-payments.

Starling Bank takes on Monzo with daring debit card design (FinTech Futures) Rated: B

UK digital challenger Starling Bank is upping its design game with the launch of a new teal-coloured vertical debit card as it plays catch up with Monzo.

The new card has all customer details, including name, card number and expiry date, on the back – and it’s rolling them out this week.

The card is inspired by the blue-green tones of the plumage of the starling bird. It is also one of the initial group of 16 original “web colours” formulated in 1987 to display web pages, reflecting Starling’s digital heritage.

China

PPDai to boost technology investment (Shine) Rated: AAA

PPDai, China’s first online peer-to-peer lending platform listed in the US, said today it would increase its registered capital to 1 billion yuan (US$149 million) and expand its artificial intelligence applications to hedge risks and improve investor confidence amid concerns over P2P lending.

The Shanghai-based company, which has about 71 million users ,employs AI, Big Data and blockchain to fight against risk and fraud.

Alipay and WeBank competition heats up as China reins in leverage (Financial Times) Rated: AAA

Alipay and WeBank are set up perfectly to take advantage of new priorities from Chinese policymakers to increase the flow of capital to small companies and households, their approach is different as WeBank looks to use bank partnerships to make capital connections.

Alipay uses scale, data and technology capabilities to compete with banks for deposits and funds its borrowing through the ABS market.

Alipay and WeBank plan to list their finance arms soon which will continue to put pressure on the rivalry as well as the broader financial market in China.

Zennon Kapron on what’s next for Chinese fintech (China Economic Review) Rated: A

Analysing these questions is all part of the day job for Zennon Kapron, the head of fintech research and consulting firm Kapronasia. In this interview with China Economic Review, Kapron gives his take on some of the market’s recent developments, and explains why China’s fintech industry is such an exciting space to watch.

CER: How worried should we be about the recent panic surrounding China’s small P2P lending platforms?

ZK: The fact that P2P lending platforms are failing is not surprising. Many of these platforms had inadequate internal operational processes, poor lending practices, and in some cases, were just complete scams. What will be interesting to see is if retail investors will still want to put new money on these platforms. I get the impression at the moment that many investors are just trying to get their money out. Even if the P2P industry manages to right itself, it may find that all the investors are gone.

China’s P2P Online Lending Dominoes Continue to Fall (Ciaxin) Rated: A

Another domino in China’s peer-to-peer lending industry fell.

Beijing-based iqianbang.com was the latest online P2P lending platform to close down. The company announced a “benign exit” last Friday night, citing “deteriorating online lending environment and drying up liquidity.”

Investors in several P2P platforms, including iqianbang.com, gathered Monday at a local Beijing police station to report the loss of money to police.

Chinese P2P Lender’s Controller Disappears After Sponsoring Portugal (Yicai Global) Rated: A

Zheng Yansen, the controller of peer-to-peer lender Guangzhou Leader Internet Financial Information Service has disappeared, the firm announced yesterday.

It also acknowledged that ‘some of its projects are delayed’ and said it will set up a work group as soon as possible to inventory its assets and businesses, request borrowers to repay loans earlier than scheduled, and liquidate collateral as quickly as possible.

European Union

FinLeap Partners With Fabrick to Launch Financial Management Startup for Small Businesses (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

FinLeap, the fintech start-up platform behind Germany’s SolarisBank, announced on Monday it has teamed up with Italian open banking platform Fabrick to launch a new financial management startup specifically for small businesses. According to FinLeap, the startup, called Beesy, will simplify accounting, tax and banking services for micro-enterprises and freelancers.

As soon as Beesy is launched, FinLeap added it will provide more details about the services and how they work.

Rabobank’s novel approach to protecting customer data (American Banker) Rated: A

Take Dutch-based Rabobank, for example, which now converts customer data to the Latin names of flowers and animals in order to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation that sensitive client information be disguised.

At the heart of all these regulations is the mandate that companies must make sure no one can access customer data who shouldn’t, and that every effort is made to protect that data from breaches. Storing customer data in the clear — not encrypted, anonymized, or pseudonymized — is not acceptable, to regulators or anyone else.

Source: American Banker
International

MoneyGram And Visa Team To Deliver Real-Time Global P2P (PYMNTS) Rated: A

MoneyGram and Visa announced today (July 24) that they have partnered to deliver real-time digital disbursements to MoneyGram customers using Visa’s push payments platform, Visa Direct.

Launching in October in two key markets, Mexico and the Philippines, MoneyGram will expand its options in which receivers from those markets may receive and use funds instantly  via their bank-issued Visa-branded debit card or Visa-branded prepaid card  and senders may choose the option by which to send those funds. The partnership leverages the trust that consumers globally have in the MoneyGram and Visa brands, as well as the ability for receivers to access funds 24/7/365 without having to visit an agent location to pick up cash.

Australia

Property Connect enters technology agreement with Clearmatch to market new lending products (Small Caps) Rated: A

Realty services group Property Connect Holdings (ASX: PCH) has entered into a minimum five-year licence agreement to use a technology platform powered by marketplace treasury company Clearmatch, in the development and marketing of its own lending products designed to ease property market transactions.

The binding heads of agreement allows Property Connect to use the SocietyOne platform owned by Clearmatch to develop products focused on the emerging project development finance and residential mortgage sectors within the private peer-to-peer lending market.

India

P2P lending platform Monexo partners with Cube Wealth for new-clientele (Business Standard) Rated: B

Peer-to-Peer (P2P) lender, has partnered with to provide clients with an alternative avenue for investments. The app-based firm’s user-base of 350,000 customers will have an option of placing a portion of their investments onto Monexo’s platform.

The market space is only three years old and until last October operated without any regulatory oversight. While there are 3,000 lenders in China with a total lending book of $500 million, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is said to have approved licenses to around eight firms.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Checking the Credit of the Subprime Consumer

Checking the Credit of the Subprime Consumer

In the US, there are tens of millions who do not have a reliable FICO score, either because their credit history is not sufficient or it is non-existent. This becomes a vicious cycle and an important reason why subprime borrowers struggle to obtain credit. Traditional lenders are dependent on FICO, and handicapped as they lack […]

Checking the Credit of the Subprime Consumer

In the US, there are tens of millions who do not have a reliable FICO score, either because their credit history is not sufficient or it is non-existent. This becomes a vicious cycle and an important reason why subprime borrowers struggle to obtain credit. Traditional lenders are dependent on FICO, and handicapped as they lack qualitative information about subprime borrowers who might otherwise be creditworthy. Clarity Credit Bureau was born with the clear goal to collect subprime data and cater to this population, which is not being served properly by the big three credit bureaus.

Over the years, the company has been able to carve its own niche in the subprime market. Now, lenders and financial institutions are using Clarity for subprime borrowers across the entire credit spectrum, and they are using the bureau in conjunction with other credit bureaus in order evaluate credit applications at a more granular level. This layering of Clarity above traditional data has created value for Clarity clients as they are able to offer credit to a wider client base with the assurance that they are creditworthy.

Extensive Database

Around 200-220 million consumers within the age group of 19 to 65 form the largest part of the credit consumer population in America. About one-third of this nearly 70 million person group are subprime borrowers. Sixty million are covered by Clarity, which is nearly 80% of the entire subprime market. This extensive and elaborate data is what makes the company stand out and be the sought after credit rating agency for subprime borrowers. on average, the entertains anywhere between 400,000 to 800,000 report requests every day.

Clarity does not use FICO data. The company has developed over 30 different report products. They also use the same information as traditional bureaus such as credit history, identity verification, etc. The only difference is that Clarity focuses on data collection for a different population set.

Traditional Bureaus as Laggards

Traditional Bureaus lag behind Clarity Credit Bureau due to the paucity of an adequate mechanism to have access to the subprime borrower data. Typically, financial institutions do not provide financial services to subprime customers without FICO data, and they report to credit bureaus.

But, if a lender client of Clarity requests a report on a customer and extends credit to that customer, the financial service provider submits the performance of the credit line to Clarity. It is structured as a “Give and Get” model, similar to other credit bureaus.

Competitive Edge in the Market

According to the Clarity’s founder, Clarity Credit Bureau is the largest bureau in the subprime credit reporting space. Moreover, it has succeeded in carving its niche as the most innovative player in this segment, and its revenues grew by over 70% from 2014 to 2015.

A Solution for Loan Stacking

Loan stacking is a serious threat in the P2P lending space. Borrowers have managed to take advantage of lenders due to the shortcomings of the alternative lending industry. To fend off loan stacking, lenders have been using a consortium approach for 10 years. This involves a group of lenders getting together and sharing every approved application among the consortium. It’s a temporary fix as information sharing is restricted to the consortium, and if the consumer gets a loan from a non-consortium player like a tribal lender or payday lender, the original lender would not be any wiser.

Keeping this in mind, Clarity has developed a real-time solution: Temporary Account Record, a patent-pending solution that will close the reporting gap from hours to minutes, which helps reduce the risk of underwriting unsecured loans. Everyone who is part of the Clarity family and using this technology will be notified when a lender approves a loan.

Real-Time Technology

In today’s world, where technology changes hands in mere weeks, methods used by the three big rating bureaus are quite off the pace. These bureaus use archiving technology for updating their database. Archiving technology will add new data to an existing database randomly from time to time. The resulting report generated might not be up to date or accurate. Clarity, however, uses real-time technology for reporting where the updated information is gathered and stored in the original format along with the date and timestamp.

Clarity Credit Bureau makes use of MySQL, an open source relational database, and the Bongo database system to capture and leverage big data. It uses an on-premise database architecture, instead of operating on the cloud, with multiple data centers complying with industry standard security and encryption certification. Though this is a costly solution, it is necessary as they deal with extremely sensitive public data.

Company History

Clarity Credit Bureau was founded in 2008 and is headquartered in Clearwater, Florida with the aim to provide unprecedented credit risk solutions to lenders and service providers that deal with nonprime consumers. The company also collects and analyzes multiple data points on the behavior of nonprime consumers, and endeavors to provide customized data-driven solutions to clients to meet their specific needs and circumstances.

Clarity Credit Bureau has over 100 employees and around 600 clients.

Founder and Manpower

Tim Ranney, the President and CEO at Clarity Services, has expertise in the IT sector and large database systems. Prior to the inception of Clarity Credit Bureau, he spent nearly 20 years in Internet security and risk management, serving as chief operating officer of an industry leader and senior executive for both Network Solutions and VeriSign.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.