Thursday September 19 2019, Weekly News Digest

MAS Singapore

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi to get its name on a football stadium. Petal raises $300M. Funding Circle closing in on 1-year anniversary of float. Zopa sends warning of imitation scams. Cumulative UK alt lending hits 11.3B GBP. Companies to get social credit in China. Today’s main analysis: Student loan refinancing rates are down. […]

The post Thursday September 19 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

MAS Singapore

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News Summary

United States

Sundays at SoFi: NFL Stadium in Inglewood Lands a Corporate Name (Commercial Observer), Rated: AAA

Online lender SoFi Lending Corp. has secured the naming rights and a 20-year deal with the Rams and Chargers, according to the Los Angeles Business Journal. The firm agreed to pay around $20 million per year, reports say.

SoFi Stadium, which will be the largest in the NFL, is the centerpiece to the much larger $5-billion Hollywood Park project developed by Rams Owner/Chairman E. Stanley Kroenke. Construction is 75 percent complete, and the stadium is expected to open next summer for other events before the NFL preseason begins in August.

Taylor Swift to Open SoFi Stadium Next Summer (KFI AM 640), Rated: B

The opening of the $2.6 billion SoFi Stadium will happen next summer on July 25th. However it’s not for a Rams or Chargers game. Swift announced that she will play two shows (July 25th and July 26th) at the stadium as a part in her much-anticipated 2020 world tour.

Economy is Top Concern for Small Businesses Ahead of 2020 Election (OnDeck), Rated: AAA

Key Findings from the OnDeck Small Business Survey:

  • Economic concerns arise in several dimensions, including tax policy, job growth, support for small businesses, government spending and the overall economic climate. These issues were cited as the top concerns of more than 33% of those surveyed;
  • Immigration was an issue of interest for 11.3% of small business owners surveyed, ranking second behind the economy as a concern.
  • 57% of small businesses surveyed said they were either ”Very Optimistic” or ”Somewhat Optimistic” about the economic outlook for their businesses;
  • 93% of those surveyed said they plan to vote in the 2020 election.
  • 60% of small business owners surveyed said they already know who they plan to vote for in the 2020 presidential election.

President Donald Trump was the choice of 37% of small businesses surveyed, followed by Joe Biden at 18%. When combined, the top five Democratic candidates were the preference of 44% of respondents.

Student Loan Refinancing Rates Down Sharply (Credible), Rated: AAA

During August:

  • Rates on 10-year fixed-rate loans averaged 4.70%, down 22% from a July 2018 peak of 6.05%
  • Rates on 5-year variable-rate loans averaged 4.03%, down 14% from September

A borrower repaying the average graduate school debt of $84,300 over 10 years at 6.36% interest — the average rate for grad school loans in recent years — could save:

  • $20,927 by refinancing into a 5-year variable rate loan
  • $8,327 by refinancing into a 10-year fixed-rate loan

Credit card start-up Petal raises $ 300 million debt round from Jefferies (CNBC), Rated: AAA

The New York City-based company announced a $300 million debt round from Jefferies on Tuesday, adding to existing venture capital investments from names like Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures.

Plaid adds credit card data to Liabilities product (Tearsheet), Rated: A

In July, Plaid launched its Liabilities product that gives developers access to real time information about what consumers owe. Expanding beyond student loan data, the company has added support for credit card information, so firms can build better debt management solutions.

GoCardless launches US debit payments solution and opens San Francisco office (TechCrunch), Rated: A

GoCardless, the London fintech that aims to become the one-stop shop globally for businesses that want to let customers pay via recurring bank payments, has launched a U.S. debit solution.

Specifically, GoCardless’  new U.S. product supports debit payments on the ACH (Automated Clearing House) network.

The company has also opened an office across the pond in San Francisco’s financial district, headed up by Andrew Gilboy, general manager, North America, who was previously the company’s chief revenue officer.

Nav Launches New Feature to Help Business Owners Boost Business Credit (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Today Nav, a fintech company that matches business owners with their best financing options for free, announced new offerings to help small business owners boost their business credit scores, giving an easy solution to developing a strong business credit profile that alternative and traditional lenders can trust and finance.

Why would HUD gut its own disparate impact rule? (The Times Weekly), Rated: AAA

Since 2013, the disparate impact rule has objectively examined the effects of business practices with lenders, landlords, insurers, and real estate professionals against the provisions of the 1968 Fair Housing Act. The rule required that first a plaintiff must establish a discriminatory effect in policies and/or practices, before the defendant(s) would bear the responsibility of proving their own practices were nondiscriminatory.

During delivery of Capitol Hill testimony earlier this spring, Nikitra Bailey, an EVP with the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) also underscored the importance of disparate impact in fair housing.

“Disparate impact analysis encourages creative approaches that both increase effectiveness and inclusion,” testified Bailey. “This process and the value of disparate impact analysis was recently pointed out and endorsed by the largest personal loan company in the country, Lending Club.”

BlueVine Appoints Dosh & PayPal Vet Brad Brodigan As New Chief Commercial Officer (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Online lender BlueVine announced on Wednesday it has appointed Brad Brodigan as its new Chief Commercial Officer. BlueVine reported that through this role, Brodigan will be responsible for overseeing revenue-generating functions including sales, customer service, and partner management.

Money360 Closes $ 170 Million in Commercial Real Estate Loans in July and August (GlobeNewswire), Rated: A

Money360, a technology-enabled direct lender specializing in commercial real estate (CRE) loans, announced today it closed approximately $170 million in loans during July and August. This benchmark brings Money360 close to $500 million in loans closed this year.

Groundfloor Now Allows Real Estate Developers to Gain Pre Approval on Loans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Groundfloor, a real estate lending and investing platform that allows anyone to participate directly in real estate investments, has launched a new product to make the lending process more easier for real estate investors. Groundfloor now allows certain developers to gain pre-approval on loans with a new program called “QC Maxx.”

ABS East; Stripe’s Lending Arm; Madden Decision (PeerIQ), Rated: A

In financing news, student loan fintech “College Ave” locked down a $300MM securitization and a AAA rating this week. The securitization was co-led by both Barclays and Goldman Sachs. Affirm, led by Max Levchin, is reportedly close to wrapping up a $1.5 Bn debt and equity financing with Thrive Capital and Spark Capital leading.

Stripe is mirroring other payments companies that have since built lending capabilities – notably, Square and PayPal. Stripe believes it can compete in an already crowded small business lending market (OnDeck, Kabbage, Fundera, Funding Circle, etc.) due to its data & channel advantages stemming from its payments business.

Fintech Firm OppLoans Announces Its First Bank-Led Credit Facility (GlobeNewswire), Rated: A

OppLoans, a growing fintech and top rated direct-to-consumer online lending platform, announced today that it has secured its first bank-led asset-backed revolving credit facility. This facility structure will enable OppLoans to further its mission by broadening access to online personal lending products for more middle-income consumers with credit challenges.

Aura Completes Three Social Bond Issuances Totaling 5 million Over Last 4 Months (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

M&G Investments and Community Capital Management, a mutual fund that specializes in impact and Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) related investments, have joined with U.S. and international banks to invest $145 million in Aura’s social bonds to finance the origination of affordable, small dollar installment loans to working families in the United States.

Challenger banks insist they’re equal to the task of lending (American Banker), Rated: A

Almost all U.S. challenger banks offer no-fee checking, savings accounts and enhanced personal financial management tools. Now some of the most popular have taken, or are poised to take, their next step: making loans.

Personal loans and credit cards are lucrative but inherently risky, and these young companies — like MoneyLion, Varo and others — will have to prove to regulators, investors and the public that they have the wherewithal to weather downturns in the credit cycle.

Cash-flow data shows promise as predictor of credit risk (American Banker), Rated: A

Melissa Koide, co-founder and CEO of FinRegLab, analyzed loan data from six lenders that use cash-flow data in their underwriting. She shares what she found.

Prevu Raises $ 2 Million in Seed Funding to Grow its Digital Home Buying Platform (Digital Journal), Rated: A

Prevu, a customer-focused digital home buying platform delivering industry-leading efficiency and savings, announced today the closing of its $2 million seed funding round. The round was led by Corigin Ventures, a prominent seed-stage venture capital firm with expertise in the real estate technology and consumer industries as well as a history of backing startups disrupting residential brokerage business models.

Embattled Prodigy Network CEO Rodrigo Niño to step down (The Real Deal), Rated: A

Prodigy Network founder Rodrigo Niño is stepping down from his position as CEO amid mounting financial and legal issues, The Real Deal has learned.

Prodigy, a real estate crowdfunding platform, has faced criticism from investors in recent months over underperforming investment properties and unpaid distributions. On Monday, an investor in one of Prodigy’s newest projects — the 13-story Standard Hotel in Chicago — filed a lawsuit alleging the firm was “insolvent” and had used investments “for purposes other than those relating to the project.”

EquityMultiple Provides Investors with Options to Take Advantage of Unique Tax Benefits (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Opportunity Zones are new, tax-advantaged vehicles for investors to earn more on their money. Created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, the first qualified opportunity zones (QOZs) first hit the market in early 2018. Designated by state authorities, there are now thousands of QOZs in the US designed to boost development in selected communities. Investors receive a break on capital gains taxes which can be significant. Local officials can spur economic development which leads to more jobs. Online investment platforms immediately saw the opportunity intrinsic to QOZs with multiple platforms now offering investments in developments that benefit from these tax breaks.

Why are your Opportunity Zone Offerings better than some others available on competing investment platforms?

Soren Godbersen: There are a number of firms out there now marketing Opportunity Zone offerings to investors. We’re proud of what we have been able to offer to our investor network and there are a few things about our Opportunity Zone investments that are unique:

How to Recession-Proof Your Investments (U.S. News), Rated: A

AFTER A DECADE OF steady growth, the economic cycle is due for a reversal, with concerns of a recession.

  • Consider other types of investments outside of stocks and bonds.
  • Know that timing the market is difficult.

What to Invest in During a Recession?

Other less correlated assets include the real estate niche. With real estate crowdfunding, hypermarket segmentation is available. Investors can choose their property type and geographic region when investing in real estate. Two real estate crowdfunding platforms for accredited investors are CrowdFund and EquityMultiple. Fundrise and Groundfloor open targeted real estate investing to nonaccredited investors as well.

Litecoin Non-Profit to Hold Undisclosed Treasury Sum with Crypto Lender (CoinDesk), Rated: A

The Litecoin Foundation is putting its capital to work, lending at interest through another cryptocurrency program.

The Foundation has tapped the Celsius Network, a blockchain-based crypto lending program, to become its preferred crypto wallet, Celsius Network CEO Alex Mashinsky told CoinDesk.

As part of the deal, the Foundation will allocate an undisclosed portion of its treasury to the Network. LTC holders can receive up to 10.53% annually back on their crypto holdings and dollar loans as low as 4.95 percent as well.

Fintechs give small business more choice for credit than just banks (PaymentsSource), Rated: AAA

It’s no secret working capital is the lifeblood of all small businesses. It’s the fuel that keeps them running, helps them grow and take on new opportunities.

And yet, so many small businesses struggle with cash flow. In fact, according to a recent study from Intuit QuickBooks, 61% of small businesses have had cash flow issues in the past year.

Source: FIS

Walmart’s New Credit Cards Have One Big Goal: Boost E-Commerce (Bloomberg), Rated: A

In a sign of how much Walmart Inc. is betting on e-commerce, the retailer’s revamped credit-card program with Capital One Financial Corp. offers better rewards for online shopping and checking out with its mobile app.

The new options, which become available Sept. 24 and use Mastercard Inc.’s network, offer 5% cash back for purchases made at Walmart’s website, including groceries. At the chain’s physical stores, shoppers only get that rate for a year and have to check out with Walmart Pay at the cashier. Otherwise, store customers get 2% back.

Finicity Releases New Verification of Income and Employment Solution for Lenders (PR Web), Rated: B

Finicity, a provider of real-time financial data access and insights, announced today the release of its new Verification of Income and Employment (VOIE) solution using patent-pending TXVerify technology that will speed up borrower verifications and further advance the industry shift toward a fully digital experience.

The Finicity VOIE solution digitally extracts a borrower’s pay statement data from the paystub and then cross-verifies that key data with their income transactions from their financial institutions. Enabled by its TXVerify technology, this detailed vetting process creates a real-time picture of an applicant’s income and employment for fast, accurate reports. The solution does this by leveraging the highest value data – direct from banks – along with a scan, photo or PDF of a borrower’s paystubs. This process significantly shifts the current paradigm from a mostly manual process to one that is fully digital, all while reducing fraud and increasing confidence in the underwriting process.

Sallie Krawcheck: Why ‘don’t buy daily coffee’ is terrible advice (CNBC), Rated: B

“Don’t buy daily coffee” is the go-to financial advice. Co-founder and CEO of Ellevest, Sallie Krawcheck, says that advice is misleading and just enjoy your latte.

Ethereum Development Studio ConsenSys Announces Codefi, A New DeFi Software Suite (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

ConsenSys founder Joseph Lubin announced at the Ethereal Tel Aviv press conference (on September 15) that his New York-based venture studio is launching a new product, Codefi, for the emerging decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem.

Despite not having invested in emerging DeFi platforms, Lubin described P2P lending systems such as Uniswap and MakerDAO as some of the blockchain industry’s most promising projects.

ApplePie Capital Partners with LSQ Funding on A/R Franchise Financing (Monitor Daily), Rated: B

Online lender ApplePie Capital entered into a new strategic partnership with LSQ Funding Group, a technology-enabled provider of accounts receivable financing for small and mid-sized businesses.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle nears one-year anniversary of London float (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

The peer-to-peer business lender began conditional dealings on the London Stock Exchange on 28 September before being officially admitted to the bourse on 3 October. It launched with an offer price of 440p per share, giving the firm a valuation of £1.5bn.

However, its market capitalisation as of 17 September has since dropped to £348.7m, with its shares now trading at just over 100p.

Zopa warns over imitation scam firms (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

ZOPA has warned over a growing number of scam operators targeting UK customers using the peer-to-peer lender’s name to dupe investors.

They include: asking customers directly for their Zopa login details; claiming to work with companies investing money in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies; or working with companies who would ask them to take out a Zopa loan to fund an investment.

Record numbers of investors and borrowers as cumulative lending hits £11.3bn (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

MORE than 150,000 lenders were invested in 321,483 loans facilitated by Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2PFA) platforms at the end of the second quarter, which the trade body deemed “a record level of involvement in the sector”.

Funding Circle is the largest P2P lender among the P2PFA platform members, having lent out a cumulative total of £5.4bn as of the end of the second quarter. It is followed by Zopa at £4.5bn, with ThinCats in third place with just over £491m.

£814m of new loans were made in the second quarter, compared to £866m in the first three months of 2019.

Monzo halts cash referrals as it hits three million users (AltFi), Rated: A

Monzo has ended its cash incentivised referral system as the firm continues to grow users at a rapid pace.

Monzo now has passed the 3 million ‘users’ number, hitting the milestone late on yesterday and is now onboarding 55,000 people to Monzo every week.

Transferwise Books Its Third Consecutive Year of Profits (Lendit), Rated: A

European fintech company Transferwise has recorded its third year in a row of profits; the company reported its net profit after tax climbed to £10.3 million in the fiscal year ending March 2019, up 66% from the previous year on revenue of £179 million;

Payment provider Klarna appearing at London Fashion Week has everybody talking (MyLondon), Rated: A

UK fashion Designer Henry Holland decided to take things up a notch in Saturdays catwalk show with a T Shirt design in collaboration with Klarna.

Klarna expands partnership with Mothercare (The Paypers), Rated: B

Klarna and Mothercare have announced an extension to their partnership, which will see Klarna’s Pay later, Pay in 3, and Slice it products available online and in-store across the UK.

OakNorth Bank provides £3.7m loan to Clearview Developments (London Loves Property), Rated: A

OakNorth Bank the UK bank powered by OakNorth has provided a £3.7m loan to Clearview Developments for a new residential development in Royal Tunbridge Wells.

Smarterly and OakNorth Bank partner to offer new Notice Cash ISA range to Smarterly customers (Fintech Finance), Rated: B

The product range includes five Cash ISA Notice accounts, exclusive to Smarterly, ranging from 35 days at 1.05% to one year at 1.25%; Customers will not be able to apply for these products with OakNorth directly;

These five Cash ISAs Notice Accounts are:

  • 35 days – 1.05%
  • Three months – 1.10%
  • Six months – 1.15%
  • Nine months – 1.20%
  • One year – 1.25%
China/Hong Kong

Coming Soon: ‘Social Credit’ for Companies, Too (WSJ), Rated: AAA

A key target of China’s coming “social credit” system, which among Westerners usually triggers visions of “1984”-style monitoring of people, is actually misbehaving businesses.

Corporate America needs to prepare.

About 80% of information on the main data-sharing platform relates to companies rather than individuals, according to China consulting…

Hexindai Reports Unaudited First Quarter of Fiscal Year 2020 Financial Results (PR Newswire), Rated: A

First Quarter of Fiscal Year 2020 Operational Highlights

  • Total loan volume facilitated[1] was US$ 28.2 million (RMB192.3 million) during the first quarter of fiscal year 2020, a decrease of 93.5% from the first quarter of fiscal year 2019.
  • Gross billing amount (net of VAT)[2] was US$4.7 million during the first quarter of fiscal year 2020, a decrease of 90.7% from the first quarter of fiscal year 2019.
  • Gross billing ratio (net of VAT)[3] for credit loans was 16.7% during the first quarter of fiscal year 2020, an increase from 11.7% during the first quarter of fiscal year 2019.
  • Number of borrowers[4] was 18,546 during the first quarter of fiscal year 2020, a decrease of 36.0% from the first quarter of fiscal year 2019.
  • Number of investors[5] was 9,534 during the first quarter of fiscal year 2020, a decrease of 85.9% from the first quarter of fiscal year 2019.

First Quarter of Fiscal Year 2020 Unaudited Financial Highlights

  • Net revenue was US$4.9 million during the first quarter of fiscal year 2020, a decrease of 90.5% from the first quarter of fiscal year 2019.
  • Operating costs and expenses were US$12.6 million during the first quarter of fiscal year 2020, a decrease of 18.9% from the first quarter of fiscal year 2019.
  • Net loss was US$7.2 million during the first quarter of fiscal year 2020, compared to net income of US$29.7 million in first quarter of fiscal year 2019.
  • Basic loss per ordinary shares in the first quarter of fiscal year 2020 was US$0.15, compared to basic earnings per ordinary shares (“EPS”) of US$0.62 in first quarter of fiscal year 2019.
  • Diluted loss per ordinary shares in the first quarter of fiscal year 2020 was US$0.15, compared to diluted EPS of US$0.56 in first quarter of fiscal year 2019.
  • Adjusted net loss attributable to Hexindai Inc.’s shareholders (Non-GAAP) in the first quarter of fiscal year 2020 was US$7.0 million, compared to adjusted net income attributable to Hexindai Inc.’s shareholders (Non-GAAP) of US$29.9 million in the first quarter of fiscal year 2019.
  • Adjusted EBIT (Non-GAAP) in the first quarter of fiscal year 2020 was (US$5.8) million, compared to US$36.6 million in the first quarter of fiscal year 2019.

Zhang Yue, senior vice president at CreditEase, discusses the demand for credit in China, write downs in her portfolio, P2P lending, their wealth management business and their expansion plans.

Securing privacy concerns in FinTech in Hong Kong (Lexology), Rated: A

Hong Kong has built a strong environment for fostering innovation and financial technology or FinTech. With its large financial sector and its strategic role with Mainland China and gateway to the rest of Asia and the world, Hong Kong has the potential to take on an important role in being a leader in FinTech. In March 2019, for example, Hong Kong issued its first virtual banking licences, which will likely increase adoption of FinTech in the financial services sector.

Emerging technologies used in Fintech services and operations come in different forms, and include:

  • data analytics that support the operations of financial institutions (for example, credit scoring, loan processing);
  • peer-to-peer (P2P) financing (such as P2P lending and crowdfunding platforms);
  • distributed ledger technology, such as cryptocurrency, bitcoin transactions and smart contract applications, as well as blockchain services to help reduce fraud by keeping provenance data on the blockchain; and
  • financial investments, such as stock trading apps, robo-advisors and algorithmic trading and budgeting apps.
European Union

Binance Announces Phase Five of Crypto Lending Featuring Privacy Coins XMR, ZEC, and DASH (Crypto-Economy), Rated: AAA

Leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance has announced its launch of the fifth phase of its cryptocurrency lending product in which it customers subscribe to an allocation to lend other users their funds for interest rates as high as 15% Apr.

the 15% interest rate was only available to Binance’s native coin lenders in the first phase. On Tuesday, the exchange revealed three coins that will be included in the crypto lending product including only privacy-centric coins Monero [XMR], Zcash [ZEC] and Dash [DASH]. Their annualized interest rates will be a constant 3.5% but the lending period is only two weeks starting from this Friday September 20th through October 4th.

P2P Lender creditshelf to Acquire SME Finance Provider Valendo (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

creditshelf Aktiengesellschaft has signed a purchase agreement for the acquisition of all shares in Valendo – part of the finleap Fintech ecosystem.

According to a company release, the purchase price was in the “low seven-digit amount.” Payment will take place in two separate tranches. creditshelf has the option of settling both tranches in the course of two capital increases via a contribution in kind.

International

How MAS propelled Singapore to the top of the class (Euromoney), Rated: AAA

Today, Singapore sits proudly atop the Euromoney Country Risk (ECR) rankings. Based on ECR’s blend of financial and economic data, combined with the views of leading economists, no country in the world today has a stronger financial position.

When MAS said in July 2019 that it planned to issue five new digital banking licences, analysts soon spotted that three of them were wholesale licences, open to banks and non-banks alike.

Winners will be encouraged to lend, using digital means, to small and medium-sized enterprises and other non-retail segments – further evidence that corporate banking will be the next segment to feel the hot breath of disruption on its neck.

Source: Euromoney County Risk

Goldman Leads Trulioo’s $ 70M Raise To Expand Global Digital ID (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Trulioo, the global identity verification provider, has raised $70 million in new funding, eyeing growth in its core digital identification efforts, the company announced Tuesday (Sept. 17).

The company said in a release that the funding includes $60 million in a Series C round that was led by Goldman Sachs Growth Equity. Other participants included Citi VenturesSantander InnoVentures and existing investor American Express Ventures. The remaining $10 million came as unannounced follow-on financing from early investors, including BDC Capital and Blumberg Capital.

Equifax Continues Leadership In Alternative Data With Worldwide Urjanet Partnership (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Equifax Inc. (NYSE: EFX) and Urjanet today announced a global partnership that empowers consumers and businesses to share their payment data from thousands of utility, telecom and cable providers worldwide for a more complete picture of individual payment history, easier identity verification and the potential for better access to credit. This partnership builds on Equifax’s leadership in alternative data, using the Urjanet Utility Data Platform to incorporate consumer-permissioned data into the Equifax differentiated data approach.

5 Reasons Investors Should Consider Tokenized Assets (Benzinga), Rated: A

According to Deloitte, we shouldn’t view DLT as just a new type of “database ” but rather as a new way to organize the security value chain from issuance to custody. But what exactly can be transmitted through this chain?

Fractional ownership – take as much as you want

Digitizing shares makes them highly divisible, meaning that investors can buy very small percentages of tokenized assets.

So long, intermediaries! 

Security tokens have a simpler investment structure and lower fees.

On the way to maximum liquidity

Cherry on top

A security token is basically a digital signature connected with a smart contract responsible for facilitation and verification of ownership rights transactions.

India

Ribbit leads Series B funding in online investment platform Groww (VC Circle), Rated: AAA

Groww, an online investment platform that sells mutual fund products, has raised $21.4 million (Rs 152.5 crore at current exchange rate) in a Series B funding round led by Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm Ribbit Capital.

Groww said existing investors Sequoia India and Y Combinator also participated in the funding round.

RBI looking at how NBFCs, HFCs set their lending rates (livemint), Rated: AAA

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is studying how non-bank lenders and home financiers price their loans, close on the heels of directing commercial banks to link their loan rates to external benchmarks.

Source: livemint

RBI restricts access to credit data of consumers (Economic Times), Rated: A

The Reserve Bank of India has ordered commercial banks and non-banking lenders to stop providing unregulated entities access to consumer data held by credit bureaus, dealing a blow to scores of fintech startups that have based their business models on such information.

Source: India Times

RBI not in favour of ‘teaser’ loans, examines rate-setting mechanism of NBFCs, HFCs (CNBCTV18), Rated: B

The banking regulator is not in favour of hybrid loan products or ‘teaser loans’, a senior Reserve Bank of India (RBI) official today clarified. The remark gains significance in the light of State Bank of India chairman Rajnish Kumar’s recent comment that SBI would seek the regulator’s view on whether banks can introduce fixed-cum-floating rate products.

No dearth of demand on credit side, disbursed credit worth INR 5 billion: Flexiloans Co-founder (IBS Intelligence), Rated: A

FlexiLoans.com, an online lender for MSMEs in India, said that it has crossed a milestone number of disbursing over INR 5 billion of unsecured business loans across the country with its unique digital-only model. The Mumbai-based company, which has disbursed over 16000 loans across 1000 cities and towns in the country, says that there is no dearth of demand on the credit side. The company caters primarily to micro, small and medium-sized businesses.

How has the online lending market shaped up in the last few years?

Digital Lending market is currently at about USD 2 billion, up from about USD 1 billion in 2016. Significant traction and market niches discovered by various FinTech startups across the country have made this space very exciting, holistic and game-changing.

Online SME lender Cash Suvidha plans to raise upto $ 10 million (IBS Intelligence), Rated: B

The online lender for business and personal loans, Cash Suvidha, is planning to raise $5 million -$10 million equity funds in the next six months.

Asia

Terafunding Closes US$ 18M Series B Financing Round (FINSMES), Rated: AAA

Terafunding, a Seoul, South Korea-based Peer-to-Peer (P2P) lending platform, raised US$18M in Series B funding.

Backers included KB Investment, Hana Ventures, IBK Industrial Bank and Woomi Construction.

Julo raises $ 10M to expand its P2P lending platform (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Julo, a peer-to-peer lending platform in Indonesia, said on Wednesday it has extended its $5 million Series A raise to $15 million as it looks to scale its business in the key Southeast Asian market.

The $10 million Series A2 round for the Jakarta-headquartered startup was led by Quona Capital,  with Skystar, East Ventures,  Provident, Gobi Partners and Convergence participating.

Chinese P2P Firms Seeks Business in Vietnamese Market (W7 News), Rated: A

The declining demand for peer-to-peer (P2P) lending in China has prompted firms to find business elsewhere. LearnBonds report that Chinese P2P companies are eyeing Vietnam, which alarmed local lending companies.

MENA

Now Money offers alternative for Gulf’s unbanked expats (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

About 70 per cent of the population in the Middle East and north Africa do not have access to banking services, says Ian Dillon, co-founder of Now Money, a Dubai-based financial technology group.

The GCC recorded outbound remittances of $120bn in 2017, according to World Bank data. However, Gulf banks tend to exclude workers earning less than $1,400 a month, leaving most of them reliant on exchange houses to remit cash home.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday September 19 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Thursday September 7 2017, Daily News Digest

robo-advisors

News Comments Today’s main news: Square plans to apply for an ILC banking license. Laplanche boosts volumes at Upgrade. SoFi CEO pulls out of Goldman fintech conference due to recent sexual harassment allegations. RealtyMogul launches MogulREIT II. Today’s main analysis: Why broker-dealer robo-advisors miss the point. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Why broker-dealer robo-advisors miss the point. RateSetter says even a millionaire couldn’t […]

robo-advisors

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

MENA

Canada

Africa

News Summary

United States

Square to apply for industrial bank, inflaming ILC debate (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Payment processor Square is seeking an industrial loan company, according to several sources familiar with the matter, further sparking debate over whether fintech companies should be allowed to use the controversial charter.

“ICBA’s feeling about Square applying for an ILC is the same about SoFi,” said Camden Fine, the president and CEO of the Independent Community Bankers of America. “If these entities want to be banks, they should apply for banking charters and come under full and unified banking supervision.”

Square’s main purpose for the charter will be to extend its small-business lending business, the spokesperson said. Though it also intends to take deposits, which would provide some amount of funding for its on-balance-sheet loans, the lion share of the company’s loans would still be sold off to third parties.

Square also felt the ILC charter was best suited to its structure, as the company owns a point-of-sales hardware appliance business and even a food delivery service called Caviar.

Ousted Lending Club chief boosts volumes at new venture (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Renaud Laplanche, the former Lending Club chief ousted over a governance scandal last year, is stepping up lending at his new venture, determined to re-impose himself on the market for refinancing more than $1tn of credit card debt.

Mr Laplanche launched his firm, Upgrade, in April, having raised $60m in Series-A funding from a group of investors including Union Square Ventures, Ribbit Capital and CreditEase, China’s leading online lender. As at Lending Club, he is homing in on consumers struggling with big balances on credit cards — offering to swap a floating rate of, say, 17 per cent for a fixed rate about 5 percentage points less.

While Mr Laplanche declines to say how much business he has done so far, he has begun to boost volumes, responding to steady demand from consumers and also for high-quality assets from half a dozen core institutional investors. That new cadre of investors is unfazed by the scandal which erupted in May 2016, he said.

SoFi CEO Backs Out of Goldman Event Amid Sexual Harassment Probe (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Social Finance Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mike Cagney was supposed to take the stage at the Goldman Sachs FinTech Conference in New York City on Thursday, but he backed out amid a lawsuit and internal investigation at the firm.

Why broker-dealer robo advisors miss the fintech point (Financial-Planning), Rated: AAA

Over the past two years, there’s been a growing trend of broker-dealers announcing prospective launches of their own robo advisor solutions. From LPL developing a platform with BlackRock’s FutureAdvisor to Voya planning to launch a robo advisor, and Kestra Financial announcing it is working on a robo platform on the back of its acquisition of H. Beck, there’s been no shortage of announcements.

Launching a robo advisor does hold appeal among broker-dealers. Many of their reps are asking for it, either because it’s an easier way to handle smaller clients, or just to have a robo advisor option for millennial clients. Who wouldn’t want a button for the advisor’s website that young people can click to open up small accounts that will grow with time? And from the broker-dealer’s perspective, ideally, this helps them address the coming generational shift of assets from baby boomers down to millennials.

But for a broker-dealer that in the aggregate is losing 3% to 5% a year in asset outflows a decade from now, it’s a crisis, because a broker-dealer still has a multi-decade open-ended timeframe as an ongoing business entity. This is why we see broker-dealers, as well as RIA custodians, so obsessively beating the drum about advisors needing to focus more on younger clients. It’s not actually because advisors desperately need younger clients for our businesses to survive. It’s because they, the broker-dealers and RIA custodians, need us to get younger clients for them so their businesses survive and so they have younger clients after we’re gone and retired!

And so from the broker-dealer’s perspective, if millennials are pursuing robo advisor solutions, then the broker-dealer wants to roll out a robo advisor to get those younger clients and solve its own long-term generational issue. But here’s the problem with the strategy: robo advisors live and die by their ability to get clients online, and that’s not easy for anyone, especially a large base of independent registered representatives.

DOOMED TO FAIL

Betterment is just over $10 billion in total assets after six years. Wealthfront is just over $7 billion AUM in that same duration. Schwab made news for $15 billion dollars of assets, but has actually noted only a third of that total was new assets. Vanguard is now over $80 billion, but remember they had much of their assets already as well. Vanguard is direct-to-consumer through the Internet already; those in Vanguard’s Personal Advisor Services were predominantly existing Vanguard investors, simply upsold to human advice. Even Edelman online, which launched in early 2013, has accumulated barely 1,000 clients and just $62M of AUM after four years (and their average robo client is actually a baby boomer anyway.)

Source: Financial-Planning

VALUE IN EFFICIENCY
In other words, the real blocking point of robo advisors is the client acquisition cost — what it takes to market and get a young investor to invest on your platform. As the founding companies learned the hard way, this is not an “If you build it, they will come,” kind of asset-gathering opportunity. Instead, robos at best have been struggling to solve those client acquisition costs in the face of slowing growth rates, and many have been getting outright buried by those costs. That’s why robo advisor growth rates continue to slow down. Most of them have already sold, and most of the ones that are left aren’t even really focusing on a pure robo strategy anymore.

RealtyMogul.com Launches Second Real Estate Investment Trust, MogulREIT II, to Invest in Multifamily Apartment Buildings (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

RealtyMogul.com, the online marketplace for commercial real estate investing, today announced the launch of the company’s second real estate investment trust or “REIT,” MogulREIT II.

MogulREIT II aims to invest in multifamily apartment communities across the United States that have demonstrated consistently high occupancy and income levels across market cycles. MogulREIT II also plans to invest in multifamily properties that offer value add opportunities with appropriate risk-adjusted returns and potential for appreciation objectives.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Housing and Vacancy Homeownership Report, the U.S. apartment market has experienced a strong recovery, as evidenced by the steady drop in vacancies and an average annual effective rent growth of 3.9% per year, between 2010 and 2015.

MogulREIT II plans to only consist of properties that satisfy RealtyMogul’s rigorous zero-based underwriting process, which analyzes each potential deal from scratch through a combination of proprietary in-house analytics and underwriting. RealtyMogul also spends over $1 million annually for the use of third-party data and technology to vet each deal. The process is so intensive, fewer than 1% of the requests reviewed by RealtyMogul pass its high underwriting standards. Keep in mind there are risks to investing, including loss of capital, so one should evaluate the full offering materials.

RealtyMogul MogulREIT II Survey Data (RealtyMogul Email), Rated: A

Overview

RealtyMogul recently commissioned Harris Poll to conduct an online survey among over 2,000 U.S. adults to better understand the reasons people choose to rent over buying a house.

Americans have shifting priorities and owning a home might not be at the top of the list

  • Roughly 7 in 10 Americans (71%) believe the home buying process is overwhelming
  • 70% of Americans believe people these days will need to rent well into their 30’s in order to save enough money to buy a home
  • Over a third of Americans (35%) would prefer renting over owning a home to maintain a flexible lifestyle
  • Roughly a third of Americans (34%) would rather save their money to spend on traveling than to put it towards buying a home
  • A third of Americans (33%) would prefer to rent than own a home if it meant they could still afford small luxuries (e.g. eating out, fancy coffee, avocado toast) in their everyday life

Read the full survey results here.

LendingRobot CEO exits (Geekwire), Rated: A

Emmanuel Marot has left LendingRobot, the peer-to-peer lending company he co-founded in 2013. He served as CEO of the startup for the past four years, navigating LendingRobot through a merger with NSR Invest in August.

Marot isn’t sure what his next career move will be but remains General Manager of Zenvestment.com, according to LinkedIn.

Legislative Update 162 (Experian Email), Rated: A

Highlights this issue:

  • On September 7, the House Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit has scheduled a hearing to review “Legislative Proposals for a More Efficient Federal Financial Regulatory Regime.” The Subcommittee has not released the full agenda, but it is expected that the hearing will focus on several bills affecting consumer credit.
  • Congress continues to consider legislation that would repeal the CFPB’s Arbitration Rule using an expedited legislative process under the Congressional Review Act (CRA). The House of Representatives passed a resolution of disapproval on July 25. The Senate is expected to take up the measure upon their return from the August recess, although there is uncertainty when a vote will take place given other priorities that Congress must pass by September 30, which is the end of the US Fiscal Year.
  • On August 30, three Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) requesting that GAO further evaluate post-breach identity protection products used by government agencies.
  • Legislators in California continue to debate legislation that would enact a broadband privacy law in the state, similar to the one first issued by the FCC and then overturned by Congress. A.B. 375 would prohibit an internet service provider from using, disclosing, selling or permitting access to customer personal information.

Read the full report.

StartEngine Files to Raise $ 5 Million Reg A+ Crowdfunding Offer (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

StartEngine, one of the most activea investment crowdfunding platforms in the US, has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to raise up to $5 million in common equity at $5 per share.

The actual listing is not yet live on the StartEngine platform. The filing indicates that up to an additional 100,000 shares may be issued as “bonus shares”. There are no selling shareholders and the entire proceeds will go to the company. According to the filing, the minimum investment is $500.

Web site steered U.S. borrowers into bad, illegal payday loans: CFPB (Reuters), Rated: A

The bureau imposed a $100,000 fine on California company Zero Parallel LLC, which as a “lead aggregator” identifies potential borrowers and then sells their information. The action shows the agency has its eye on the online side of the industry, which crosses state lines and has grown in recent years. Potential borrowers fill out web forms and then are immediately sent to a lender’s site to take out the debt.

According to a CFPB statement, Zero Parallel sold applications to lenders it knew did not follow states’ usury laws, interest-rate restrictions and prohibitions on who can make the loans, and kept borrowers in the dark about risks and costs.

Zero Parallel simply sold leads to the highest bidders, according to the CFPB, and borrowers did not know they were taking out illegal loans.

Zero Parallel will pay the fine without admitting or denying the allegations, the CFPB said. The agency also said it had reached an agreement with Zero Parallel’s owner, Davit Gasparyan, to resolve similar charges filed last year against his previous company, T3Leads, with a $250,000 fine.

FINTECH Gains Traction as Businesses Embrace Alternative Banking and Financial Solutions (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Global Payout, Inc. (OTC: GOHE) makes payment solutions available to clients around the world, serving the needs of everything from commercial enterprises to government institutions. Its Global Reserve Platform is a web-based banking platform that includes everything domestic, foreign exchange, and international payment service providers need to conduct financial transactions. It handles online banking, compliance, mobile wallets, card management, biometric payments, authentication, merchant payment processing, bill payments and more, while also offering core and traditional banking products. Global Payout’s primary focus in this area is logistics, in addition to small to medium size companies, banking, and travel firms.

The CEO of Able Lending Responds to the Rumors (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Yesterday, the CEO of Able Lending, Will Davis, reached out to me to clear the air. Here is his unedited statement:

We believe this story originated by the fact that we’ve been in active discussions with a number of originators to acquire Able, and there’s a non-zero chance this story was placed in order to throw an interested party off the trail.

This anonymous source doesn’t seem to be anyone close to Able, because Able does not own a portfolio of loans (it originates and distributes loans to direct lenders, who then hold those loans on their balance sheet) and therefore has no portfolio to sell. In any event, we have no plans to go out of business and no plans to declare bankruptcy.

Passive Investments In CRE: Do They Really Exist? (Seeking Alpha), Rated: B

The wealth of new crowd-funding opportunities in CRE is just the latest addition to a long line of traditional equity funds, REITs and ETFs already offering investors the chance to invest without the high upfront cost traditionally associated with a direct CRE investment. It sounds easy, right? But how truly “passive” are these opportunities?

The only problem with passive investing in CRE? Pure 100 percent passive investing doesn’t exist.

United Kingdom

RateSetter: Even a millionaire could no longer live off savings interest (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

ROCK-BOTTOM interest rates are now challenging the convention that someone with £1m in savings could live off the interest, RateSetter claims.

The peer-to-peer platform’s latest savings tracker found on average UK adults think they would need an income of £26,140 per year to live comfortably, but £1m in an average savings account would pay just 0.14 per cent interest, equating to £12,500 each year.

£1m invested in a one-year bank bond with an average rate of 0.79 per cent would earn just £7,900, while the same amount could earn £45,000 in a RateSetter account earning 4.5 per cent interest.

Investors opting to put their £1m into FTSE 100-listed stocks would have earned £80,000 in interest over the 12 months to the end of August, the research found.

Funding Circle reveals new brand positioning and identity with ‘Made to do More’ campaign (The Drum), Rated: A

The challenge was to find an emotional positioning that resonated with Funding Circle customers while instilling trust and confidence as a financial services company. Rooster Punk helped Funding Circle to identify a common thread that connects small business owners, investors and the people who work at Funding Circle. Results revealed they share a uniquely driven yet positive attitude to work and life, a restless determination to succeed and the tenacity to get there. The agency called this ‘Made to do More’.

Rooster Punk’s founder, Paul Cash, commented: “Developing Funding Circle’s new position and identity had to go deeper than a product message around faster business loans. We set out with the ambition that we didn’t just want people to buy from Funding Circle, instead we wanted them to buy into them.

Meet the firm which hopes to solve the late payment problem (City A.M.), Rate: A

This warning comes from Tony Duggan, chief executive of fintech firm Crossflow Payments, a company which acts like a cog between corporations, their suppliers, and funding providers – ensuring that suppliers don’t have to wait for a month or more to get paid.

Duggan’s warning is not just a reference to Brexit, but centres on the introduction of new payment practice laws, which will make it a criminal offence for a corporation not to make public whether it is paying suppliers according to the terms of the contract.

The code looks to stamp out problems with late payments. Ultimately it aims to improve the cashflow of businesses – largely suppliers – by making sure they are paid by their corporate customers on time.

Crossflow is a no frills sort of business; it’s basically a B2B version of peer-to-peer lending, and one that is currently pretty unique in the UK arena.

Peer-to-peer lender Linked Finance marks 1,000th loan (RTE), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lending platform Linked Finance has funded its 1,000th loan for a small or medium sized company here.

Figures published by Linked, which facilitates loans from individuals directly to businesses outside the banking system, show €31m has now been borrowed through the platform.

The company, which was launched in 2013, also said that €2.5m in interest has already been repaid to Linked Finance lenders.

Marrying self organising teams and customer obsession – Interview with Andrew Lawson (Customer Think), Rated: A

Highlights from my conversation with Andrew:

  • Capital One was an early pioneer in big data, data driven decision making , customer centricity and human centred product design.
  • Back in 2014, a lot of banks were talking a lot about being customer centric but when you get inside the banks there was little evidence to back that up. [Ed: Have things changed?]
  • Customer obsession is very much behind the growth of peer-to-peer lending.
  • When Andrew joined Zopa in 2014 they were a team of around 50 people lending about £20mill per month.
  • Zopa was founded to “make money simple and fair”.
  • Zopa was awarded Superbrand status in the early part of 2017. The annual Superbrands’ league table is based on independent research to identify the UK’s strongest brands, as voted for by marketing experts and thousands of British consumers.
  • Zopa still thinks of itself as a start-up despite the fact that they have been going for 13 years now.
  • In that time Zopa have never spent any money on growing their brand and have grown organically and via word of month.
  • Zopa has won a bunch of customer service awards that celebrate and recognise their approach.
  • Zopa has recently moved to a system of self-organising teams and that is helping them to achieve more and deliver more on their customer promise.
  • In the first quarter of 2016 they delivered more than they had in the whole of 2015 with the same number of people.
  • Ultimately, it’s all about creating an environment where you find and allow great people to go and solve problems.
  • Andrew’s role is all about ensuring they have the right people in the right tribes solving the right problems. It’s not about him being able to come up with all the answers as that just doesn’t scale.
  • In terms of mistakes, initially they found that their tribes went too tribal and it was difficult seeing what was going on within the tribes. That was a problem particularly given the level of technical and strategic dependencies that exist between tribes.
  • On a day to basis, their teams work in a way that is akin to a modern agile environment and are able to pick the right model (1 week sprints, 2 week sprints, kanban etc) depending on their context and preferences.
  • As is the nature of agile working, they are constantly tweaking and looking for ways to improve.
  • Other challenges they have faced include the management of people from different backgrounds, skillsets and with different experiences.
  • Given that they are now 250 people in London, the next big challenge for them will be how do they move this system into a remote context.
  • The heart of their success has been in creating those relationships where there weren’t relationships before i.e. between business people and tech people. It’s easy when you sit next to them or are in the same office but more difficult when you are in different locations, time zones or even speaking different languages.
  • They embraced a lot of Spotify’s approach as there are lots of things written about them and by them on how they organise themselves (videos, talks, blog posts, slide shows etc). Google ‘Spotify and Tribes’ to find more.
  • Don’t make assumptions around customers needs. Go and ask then as you will almost certainly be wrong.


UK fintech investment rises in H1 (Finextra), Rated: A

More than a billion dollars was invested in British Fintech companies in the first half of this year, over a third more than the same period in 2016, according to trade body Innovate Finance.

Fintech employs over 60,000 people in the UK and contributes $9bn (c.£7bn) to the economy.

Two peer-to-peer lending platforms also received significant rounds of investment. London-based FundingCircle a marketplace which allows investors to lend directly to SMEs raised another £80m in equity funding. Venture capital group Accel led the funding round alongside investors such as Temasek from Singapore. The business lent £1.1bn in 2016. In June Zopa another peer-to-peer lender raised £32m from Indian investor Wadhawan Global Capital and European venture capital fund Northzone. The business plans to use the funding for the ambitious roll out of its own retail bank.

China

After regulators ban on coin fundraising, over 40 ICO platforms closed (Xing Ping She), Rated: AAA

Several platforms have taken steps after the central bank’s announcement of ban on ICO (initial issue of tokens). Up to September 5th, more than 40 platforms in China have taken measures to suspend the operation, registration or even permanently stop the service of ICO. Among them, ICOAGE, a well-known ICO platform, has launched a one-key withdrawal function. Meanwhile, ICOAGE’s official website says that it will actively negotiate with the project side, and even if the project does not accept the refund, ICOAGE will pay the relevant digital currency in advance to ensure the safety of investors. It is worth mentioning that, despite the regulation to stop the ICO, there still stages “the last madness” in the market, with some of tokens’ daily gains exceeding 30%.

China steps up financial regulation to address risks (China.org.cn), Rated: A

China’s ban on Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), a digital coin fundraising scheme, was only part of a broader campaign to curb the country’s financial risks.

In an announcement Monday, China’s central bank ordered a complete halt on new ICO offerings, in which technology start-ups issue their own digital coins, or “tokens,” to investors to access funds.

Similar to ICOs, peer-to-peer (P2P) lending served as an Internet-based alternative for companies and individuals to borrow money. As the P2P industry took off in recent years, it also made room for high-profile fraud, which prompted regulators to act fast.

European Union

Klarna’s newest investor could hold the key to ‘growing the company’s revenues manifold’ (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Klarna last week reported some impressive revenue growth, which, combined with a push into digital banking and recent deals with VISA and Stripe make its future prospects look rosy.

What could make Permira a strategic asset for Klarna, is its stake in Magento, one of the world’s biggest e-commerce platforms. The idea would be to integrate Klarna with Magento; a goal that Lundell says was in the works already before Permira’s entry.

Seeing that Magento runs some 15 percent of global e-commerce, getting visibility on the platform could open up a gigantic new market for Klarna and its CEO and cofounder Sebastian Siemiatkowski.

Mambu’s SaaS Banking Engine Helps N26 Transform Operations (Fintech Finance), Rated: A

Mambu announced that its innovative solution is being used by N26 to allow the Berlin-based mobile bank to integrate systems and quickly bring services to market in support of its growth strategy.

Before N26 was granted a full banking licence in July last year, it used the services of a partner bank and then migrated to its own platform in late 2016. Since then their customer base has grown by 500%, helping them reach the 500,000 customer mark in August 2017.

Mintos Reports Topping €300 Million Milestone in Online Lending (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Latvia based Mintos has reached a new milestone having now topped  €300 million in online loans since platform launch two years ago. Mintos reports that more than €200 million has been invested in 2017 alone, making Mintos a market leader in continental Europe claiming a 40% market share.

Mintos states that as of September 2017, approximately € 1 million is invested in loans through Mintos daily, which is three times more than just a year ago.

European Central Bank working on new fintech licensing guidelines (Independent), Rated: A

The European Central Bank is working on new licensing guidelines that would also cover financial technology firms, Daniele Nouy, the ECB’s top bank supervisor told a conference on Wednesday.

The fintech sector, though still relative small, has been stealing market share from traditional lenders in a variety of sectors from payments to lending, attracting investment $6.5bn (£4.9bn) in the first half of the year.

Wirecard Supports Fellow Finance’s Market Entry in Germany and Ensures a Completely Digital Credit Process (Business Insider), Rated: B

Wirecard supports the Finnish FinTech company Fellow Finance to enter and provide a digital infrastructure for the German financial market. Wirecard is supporting Fellow Finance by placing their German full banking licence at the Fellow Finance’s disposal and in addition enabling a completely digital credit process. For example, the identification of the borrower as well as the signature of the credit agreement are made fully electronically.

The market volume of German alternative online financial services grew enormously between 2013 and 2015. In peer-to-peer consumer lending alone, there was year-on-year growth of 95%.

International

Q2 2017 Fintech Insights (FT Partners), Rated: AAA

Source: FT Partners

Get the full report here.

Banking the Unbanked through AirFox ICO (Cryptocoins News), Rated: A

AirFox’s groundbreaking idea involves using a mix of micro-credit and advertising to facilitate to make mobile data plans accessible to the world’s poor and underprivileged.

AirFox will launch their initial coin offering (ICO) on September 19, 2017 at 10:00 am EST. The token on sale is called AirTokens (AIR) and the period of sale has been fixed at 31 days. There are plans afoot to sell a total of 1.5 billion AIR, out of which 1.05 billion (70 per cent) are on offer at the crowdsale. AirTokens are based on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain.

Laying out his vision Victor Santos, CEO and Co-founder of AirFox says, “Investors will be able to hold AirTokens that will be used by Lenders and Advertisers to sponsor the mobile internet of millions of users. There will be a market for buyers and sellers of AirTokens. Those who wish to take the AirTokens and lend micro-credit to users, will also be able to earn an interest using the data that we collect on the smartphone.”

AirFox raises $ 6.5M in token presale (CoinReport), Rated: A

AirFox, the firm utilizing advertising and blockchain technology to bring smartphone data and internet to 4 billion people in the developing world, has met the presale target of its token, AirToken (AIR), almost two weeks early, raising $6.5 million, according to an email CoinReport received from BIGfish Communications, AirFox’s PR firm.

India

Modalku Gets Audited to Gain Public Trust (Jakarta Globe), Rated: A

Mitrausaha Indonesia Group, also known as Modalku, a homegrown marketplace that provides peer-to-peer lending, received an “unqualified opinion” which is the best possible audit outcome  from public accounting firm Purwantono, Sungkoro & Surja, hoping it will help the company gain the public’s trust.

Purwantono, Sungkoro & Surja, a member of Ernst & Young, granted the company an “unqualified opinion” ranking after reviewing the company’s financial statements, income reports and other relevant comprehensive income statement, equity changes, cash flow datat and other information for the year ending Dec. 31. A ranking of this stature means the statements are deemed sound.

Credit scoring platform CreditVidya bags $ 5 mn from Matrix, Kalaari (VC Circle), Rated: A

Mumbai-based InfoCredit Services Pvt. Ltd, which operates credit scoring platform CreditVidya, has raised $5 million (Rs 32 crore) in a fresh round of funding led by Matrix Partners, the company said.

Existing investor Kalaari Capital, which had invested $2 million in June 2016, has also participated in the round. While Matrix put in Rs 23.81 crore, Kalaari accounted for the rest.

What is P2P lending and borrowing: All you want to know about Digital marketplace for loans (Financial Express), Rated: A

In layman’s terms, Peer-2-Peer (P2P) lending and borrowing is like a digital marketplace for loans. Hence usually it is known as ‘marketplace lending’ or often gets confused with crowd-funding. Instead of applying for a loan with a bank, NBFC, private finance company or any other loan institution, you can request a loan from regular people like you and me (therefore, the term Peer-2-Peer).

Most of these loans are unsecured for a large number of people who are underbanked or thinly banked.

The actual logistics of Peer-to-Peer can be a little more complicated in India, but some platfoms like ours allow the borrower to download the app, fill the application form and apply for the loan. As a borrower, you have to fill a quick online registration form and pay the upfront registration fee which is refundable. Then proprietary credit assessment is done and a brief commentary of why you want a loan is shared with the lenders. The app requires the loan applicant to submit bank statement, upload basic KYC documents like PAN card, Aadhaar card etc. The proprietary algorithm assigns the loan interest rate and tenure to post the loan on the marketplace for lenders to assess and invest.

MENA

Developing Asia accounts for large trade finance gap (The Asset), Rated: A

Businesses particularly the micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) continue to face challenges in accessing sufficient credit, resulting in a global trade finance gap of US$1.5 trillion in 2016.

Emerging economies continue to face the greatest shortfalls with developing Asia accounting for 40% of the global total in trade finance gap. The MSMEs have the biggest difficulties in accessing trade finance, representing 74% of the total rejections in 2016, compared with 57% in the previous year.

The cost of regulatory compliance can lead banks to exit client relationships as reflected by the 40% response in the 2016 survey and 45% in 2015, including the withdrawal of correspondent relationships.

Mideast fintech startup NOW Money fetches $ 1.46 mln (PE Hub), Rated: A

NOW Money has closed its bridge funding round with a total of US$1.46m.

In addition to the recent US Venture Capital investment, mentioned in a previous press release, this funding round includes $700,000 from Dubai-based Venture Capital firm, Myrisoph Capital. Other contributions have come from private investors and MENA-based women’s investor network WAIN.

WAIN is the first investor network for women in the MENA region. Its goal is to build an informed ecosystem of women investors who support women entrepreneurs in the Arab world.

Canada

IOU Financial Partners with Rubicon Global to Fund Recycling Ecosystem (Business Insider), Rated: A

IOU FINANCIAL INC. (“IOU” or “the Company”; TSX-V:IOU), a leading online lender to small businesses (IOUFinancial.com), is pleased to announce a strategic partnership with Rubicon Global.  IOU joined the RUBICONPro buying program to provide Rubicon’s network of independent haulers with fast, convenient and reliable, non-collateral funding solutions.

Where bank loans are not an alternative, an IOU term loan will help Rubicon’s haulers invest in equipment to take on more recycling volume and proudly join Rubicon’s expansion projects for a more sustainable world.  IOU loans will also be provided to Rubicon’s base of thousands of small businesses embracing recycling to contribute to a healthy planet.  IOU will also promote Rubicon’s innovative model to its thousands of existing and past borrowers.

Africa

Development of African ­crowdfunding platforms (DandC), Rated: AAA

Africanise crowdfunding means setting up local crowdfunding platforms with adapted technology for local investment. No bank account? Not a problem! Many African countries lack conventional money transfer infrastructure; bank accounts and credit cards still tend to be the exception, not the rule. To permit widespread participation in crowdfunding in such circumstances, mobile phone-based money transfer services (like the Kenyan financial service M-Pesa) are needed. The Indian crowdfunding platform Ketto () works with a courier service that collects cash payments.

Copying these approaches is not the way to move ahead in Africa, not least because of the lack of an adequate institutional and legal environment. First and foremost, SME financing  requires national crowdfunding platforms with traditional financing options (donation-, rewards- and lending-based). Minimum contributions must be small and payable in local currency.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday August 23 2017, Daily News Digest

Delinquency rates

News Comments Today’s main news: Walmart, Affirm discussing loan offerings to retail customers. Funding Circle has created 80K new jobs. Zopa’s revenue jumped 60% last year. Indonesia fintech investment to hit record high. Today’s main analysis: Consumer debt’s new peak. 3 investments to make before the market collapses. Today’s thought-provoking articles: The rumors of P2P’s demise are greatly exaggerated. Why China […]

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United States

Walmart in Talks With Finance Startup Affirm to Offer Loans to Customers (TheStreet), Rated: AAA

Walmart Stores Inc (WMT) is in talks with financing startup Affirm Inc to use its services to offer installment loans to customers with limited credit histories, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The upstart is reportedly nearing a deal with Walmart that could have it offering installment loans to Walmart shoppers as early as this fall. The loans would be focused on costlier items such as tires and other purchases over $200, insiders said.

Consumer Debt Reaches New Peak: Will Losses Follow? (Forbes), Rated: AAA

This week, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York released its quarterly Household Debt and Credit Report.

  • Total consumer debt reached a record $12.8 trillion. The prior peak was $12.7 trillion in 2008.
  • Since the financial crisis, auto loans and student loans have soared. Auto loans are now at $1.2 trillion, up 70% since the depths of the recession in 2010. Student loans have reached an incredible $1.3 trillion.
  • Total credit card debt has reached $784 billion, the highest level since the fourth quarter of 2009. Credit card delinquencies have also started increasing from historic lows.
  • Mortgage debt is growing again, having reached $8.7 trillion. However, it remains below the 2008 peak of $9.3 trillion.
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Student and auto loan data is worrying. The growth rate of both products has been extraordinary. Credit card growth looks nominal (despite the recent press) compared to the continued surge in student and auto loans.

Source: Federal Reserve

These loss rates are driven by poor underwriting in both the student loan and subprime auto markets. But while interest rates on auto loans (especially subprime) are high (and priced for risk), student loan interest rates are typically in the low single digits – not enough to cover the implied loss rate.

Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Tech giants like Amazon and Facebook more disruptive to banks than fintech start-ups (CNBC), Rated: A

Banks are faced with more competitive disruption from tech behemoths than financial technology (fintech) start-ups, according to a report by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Drawing on interviews with finance and tech industry experts, the report found that banks were significantly lagging behind tech giants in the development of technologies like cloud computing, artificial intelligence and big data analytics.

Lenders have instead been turning to tech corporations to provide these functions, the report said. It singled out AmazonGoogle and Facebook as three companies dominating the market in these areas of innovation.

One example the report referred to was Amazon Web Services, which has lured several financial institutions including Aon, Capital One and Nasdaq to Amazon’s cloud computing business.

WSJ’s Greg Ip: US needs more Amazon disruption from CNBC.

RiverNorth: Executing on Providing Income for Investors in Marketplace Lending Loans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

RiverNorth is out with an encouraging note on its fund that invests in marketplace lending platform loans. As of the end of July 2017, RiverNorth’s portfolio consisted of 10,173 loans, with an average loan size of $10,176. The RiverNorth Marketplace Lending (NASDAQ:RMPLX) is designed to provide a high degree of granularity and diversification, and holds a duration of 1.5 with a weighted average FICO score of 708 on the consumer portion of the portfolio. Consumer loans represent a 76% allocation as of July. The Fund’s “subsidized and unsubsidized SEC” net yield currently stands at 11.02% and 9.27%, respectively.

Cloud Lending Solutions Releases Software for Leasing and Asset Finance (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Cloud Lending Solutions, a leader in cloud-based leasing software, announced major advancements to its end-to-end leasing solution, CL Lease™ for Self-Financed Lessors, Externally Funded Leases and Captives. CL Lease™ is designed as a customer-centric, cloud-based lease servicing application enabling lessors to efficiently service equipment leases.

By automating operations, CL Lease effectively manages and tracks multiple assets in a schedule, and can manage your asset disposition process (repossessions, and returns). Its fully extendible integration platform works with collection agents, repossession agents, equipment resellers, and dealers. CL Lease can automatically apply fees, calculate taxes, and collect payments through ACH and credit cards.

Recent economic research into the Equipment Lease and Financing industry indicate that equipment and lease software investment is projected to grow by 3.6% in 2017. The investment outlook for most equipment verticals continues to improve with 2017 seeing long-term leasing volume increasing in 10 of 12 leasing verticals, and recent momentum in first-half 2017 has accelerated in 8 of 12 verticals.

A short list of advancements are:

  • Criteria Based Scorecards – Scorecard evaluations consisting of multiple parties with different legal entity types. Lessors will be able to assign different scorecards to different Legal Entity Type values and evaluate different scorecards for business versus individuals. Scorecard evaluations consisting of multiple parties with different collateral types. In this scenario, financial institutions will be able to assign different scorecards to different collateral type values.
  • Financial Statement Analysis – Enable lessors to be able to spread financials and store electronically, this includes balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements, as well as configure calculations and financial ratios to support financial analysis. CL Lease will enable financial institutions to customize financial statements with custom fields and generate financial statement information, such as cash flow, from configurable statement calculations and allow users to input, generate and analyze financial statements spanning multiple reporting periods.
  • Multi Company, Multi Currency – Support for being able to manage multiple companies in the same CL Lease implementation. Highly useful for companies operating in multiple countries or jurisdictions, CL Lease can support local regional specifications and manage leases across geographical country lines.
  • Credit Exposure Support – Enhanced to enable lessors to calculate direct exposure, direct proposed exposure, indirect exposure and indirect proposed exposure calculations for borrowing relationships, as well as get updates on the exposure for all borrowing relationships on a daily basis. CL Lease will also enable users to update exposure calculations on-demand.
  • Feature Updates – Additional updates include: Contract Restructuring, Debt Schedules, Delinquency Management, Asset Tracking, Financing of multiple equipment, Cash Management, Reporting and Dashboards.

Cloud Lending Solutions Releases Software for Commercial Bank Lenders (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Cloud Lending Solutions, a leader in cloud-based commercial lending and leasing software, announced upgrades to its end-to-end suite of products for its commercial lending clients using: CL Loan™, CL Lease™, CL Originate™, CL Collections™, and/or CL Marketplace ™ and released a new product in CL Portal™. These advancements to the Cloud Lending solution suite are designed to address fundamental challenges found across Global Banking, Community Banks, Credit Unions, Lending Societies, and Global Financial Institutions.

A partial listing of feature advancements:

  • Underwriting Scorecards: Enables FIs to define rate cards consisting of configurable pricing and terms and assign them to configurable risk ratings. They can also define their scorecards, consisting of evaluation criteria, scores, and weights, which can be executed for a specific loan opportunity based on configurable criteria. Results of the scorecard evaluation, pricing, and terms can then be automatically applied to the loan or presented to the user for selection.
  • Financial Statement Analysis/Financial Spreading: Enables FIs to configure and generate financial statements, financial ratios for business and individual borrowing entities associated with a loan opportunity. Further, lenders can leverage the resulting financial statement data and analysis during the loan underwriting process and configure the layout and format of each financial statement, as well as the calculations and formulas that derive the financial statement values and the resulting financial ratios.
  • Risk Assessment and Exposure Lenders can configure risk assessment templates, generate risk scores/grades for borrowing relationships, define risk assessment criteria in scorecards and the risk rating thresholds, and evaluate risk assessments for borrowing relationships automatically or on-demand.
  • CL Portal™ A configurable front-end portal that provides a differentiated borrowing experience for consumer, commercial and small business loans for borrowers, investors and stakeholders; integrates product workflows and document management to create a personalized and unique experience for loans ranging from fully automated consumer loans to multi-entity, collaborative commercial loans.
  • Loan Committee and Communications: Providing a completely virtual committee experience where members can view, discuss, and vote on loan opportunities via their computer and communicate lending communications between team members online with an audit trail. Improves meeting efficiency by automatically capturing meeting minutes and enforcing loan presentation time limits.
  • Advanced Loan Origination provides FIs an ability define each of the stages of their loan origination process for each loan product and each mandatory task(s) required at each stage. Easily define loan origination tasks driven by additional criteria such as risk rating or loan amount and automatically assign each task to loan team members based on their role. This ensures an efficient process by enforcing due dates for tasks and ensuring policy compliance by enforcing task completion at the applicable stage of the loan origination process.
  • Relationship Dashboard Provides a 360-degree view of the customer relationship allowing financial institutions to obtain a comprehensive view of the entire borrowing relationship. Users get a real-time view into relationship documents and document exceptions; monitor, and evaluate relationship covenants, view financial accounts and loan opportunities in progress, and assess relationship risk using risk assessment templates and credit exposure calculations. This is provided in addition to customer relationship management functionality provided by Salesforce.

Importance of digitally transforming credit risk management (Digital Journal), Rated: A

The analysis suggests that banks urgently need to digitize their credit processes. This comes down to economics since lending continues to be a major source of bank revenue, especially with retail banking. It is the retail banking sector that is facing the greatest threat from new digital services, such as credit lenders. An example of such a lender is Kuliza, which is on-line only and deploys artificial intelligence to assess customer loan requests. A different approach is provided by Fusion Bank which uses ‘crowdlending’ to secure loans. A crowdlending platform brings investors (the crowd) together with borrowers and allows the investors (or lenders) to lend small sums of money directly to hundreds or thousands or borrowers, in anticipated of a return on the loan.

An example of how a major bank can embrace what is happening in the market is provided by Premium Credit, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Bank of America. To take on the challenge, Premium Credit worked with specialist technology company Arrk Group to create a digital customer acquisition platform. The success of this, for both bank and customer, was to reduce the time taken to process a loan from weeks to a matter of just minutes.

Federal Arbitration Rule Will Harm ‘Little Guys’ (CEI.org), Rated: A

Once again, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is putting forth a rule it presents as going after big banks, but will likely have its most devastating effects on small and startup financial institutions.

Other victims of the rule are likely to be credit unions, community banks, and sharing-economy innovations such as peer-to-peer lending.

As online commercial lending grows, some banks still prefer face-to-face meetings (Biz Journals), Rated: A

Many local banks that don’t already offer online commercial loan applications acknowledge that time may come, but for now in-face meetings still offer a lot advantages to potential borrowers.

Here’s a way for you to get a better handle on debt (MarketWatch), Rated: A

People tend to consider using borrowed funds in two contexts and depending on which context they’re in, people’s attitudes about what purchases they’re willing to borrow for drastically change.

Context 1: ‘How to pay’ decisions

One reason people might incur debt is to take advantage of attractive financing.

Context 2: ‘Whether to buy’ decisions

Another far more common reason people may use debt is because they cannot pay for their purchases with other means. Perhaps they are waiting for their next paycheck, or they have designated their savings to other things (expenses, other purchases, investments).

In a dataset from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that includes spending behavior from 30,242 households, we found that people who spent more on experiencesrather than material goods were also more likely to have greater credit card debt and to have paid more in credit card financing charges. We also saw this pattern in people’s likelihood of taking on a peer-to-peer loan. Using a large dataset from one of the biggest U.S. peer-to-peer lending companies, we found that people were more likely to have peer-to-peer loans for experiential purchases (for example, weddings or vacations) as compared to material purchases (such as swimming pools or motorcycles).

The average American household spends $12,800 annually on discretionary purchases and has $7,200 in credit-card debt. Indeed, a recent surveyfound that 74% of Americans have borrowed to pay for a vacation.

American Dream Leadership Series #2: Eric Sager of Online SMB Lender BlueVine (Forbes), Rated: B

What leader in business do you most admire and try to emulate?

I’ll focus on folks I’ve actually worked with. Francoise Brougher, Sarah Friar and Gokul Rajaram at Square are three people I learned a lot from, and there are certain things I try hard to emulate from each of them. Then of course there is Jack Dorsey, cofounder of Twitter and Square, who always impressed me with how thoroughly committed he was to the mission of helping small businesses succeed, and how that commitment influenced every decision I saw him make.

What’s a piece of advice that turned out NOT to be helpful?

To eliminate weaknesses or development opportunities. The truth, which I learned from both sports and business, is that my value to the team is way more about making the most of my strengths, and that any weaknesses, assuming I’m aware of them, can generally be covered very successfully by others on the team.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle has Supported the Creation of 80,000 New Jobs (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Last week, Funding Circle celebrated seven years of operation.

Today, Funding Circle has helped to provide financing for more than 32,000 small businesses based in the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and the US. Funding Circle reports that 69,000 individuals and institutions are now lending on their platform. The company estimates that their lending service has supported the creation of around 80,000 new jobs (globally).

Funding Circle is boxing its investors in (The Memo), Rated: A

The vision was that ordinary people could loan their hard-earned cash directly to others, who could borrow at far cheaper rates than from the bank.

But today Funding Circle joined Zopa and Ratesetter in abandoning that vision, instead announcing it will stop people from picking and choosing who to lend their money to, instead automatically pooling these investments across borrowers on the platform.

Some have pointed out that these behaviours and changes now mean that these peer-to-peer platforms are now acting much more like a bank or a fund, becoming middle-men managing the investments they’re facilitating.

Online lender Zopa’s revenue jumped 60% last year (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lender Zopa saw revenues leap 60% higher last year as losses narrowed.

The online lender’s revenue rose from £20.6 million in 2015 to £33.2 million last year, accounts filed with Companies House this week show. At the same time, losses narrowed from £8.8 million to £5.8 million.

Why Rumours of P2P’s Demise Have Been Exaggerated (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Are we really saying that an industry that didn’t exist a decade ago is failing because only one in 20 or so Britons have used it over the past 12 months? In fact, that seems like a pretty impressive adoption rate, particularly in an industry such as financial services, where start-ups face all sorts of issues around trust and credibility.

AltFi Data, one of the most trusted sources of analysis on the alternative finance sector, reckons peer-to-peer lenders have so far made advances of £1bn in the UK this year alone, taking their all-time advances close to £5bn. And those statistics are only for consumer loans; add in business finance and the figures are more like £3bn and £5bn respectively.

Brexit claims another victim: Britain’s venture capitalists (Politico), Rated: A

Since the country gave notice it was leaving the European Union in March, a growing list of British venture capital funds has been told they will not receive financial support from the European Investment Fund, an EU agency that provides almost half of the money for the region’s venture capital industry, according to several fund managers who held discussions with the body.

While little-known outside tech circles, the Luxembourg-based fund remains the largest backer of European venture capital, often providing up to 40 percent of funds’ total investments, equal to billions of euros each year.

In Britain, for instance, the European Investment Fund forked out €2.3 billion between 2011 and 2015 to support 144 local venture and private equity funds, or roughly one-third of overall investment for the sector, according to the latest figures available from the agency.

Zopa scales back higher-risk lending due to UK consumer credit outlook (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

ZOPA has reduced its exposure to higher-risk loans due to the UK’s worsening consumer credit outlook, which has led it to lower its projected returns on some investments.

The peer-to-peer lender also said that it is expecting slightly higher losses on its existing loans and an increase in early repayments from borrowers.

Subprime lender Provident Financial is in crisis (Business Insider), Rated: A

Shares in Provident Financial, a UK-based door-to-door lender, lost more than 74% of their value on Tuesday after the company cut its dividend, issued a profit warning, announced the resignation of its CEO, and announced the regulator is investigating part of its business.

Bradford-based subprime lender Provident warned investors it expects to make a loss of between £80 million and £120 million. Provident told investors in June to expect a reduction in profit of £60 million — but still a profit.

Debt collection rates plummeted from 90% in 2016 to 57% after the company changed from using self-employed agents to full-time “customer experience managers.” Customers are also borrowing £9 million a week less.

Interview with Terry Fisher, Founder at Huddle Capital (P2P-Banking), Rated: A

In an already crowded space, Huddle is differentiating itself by it high quality origination and a focus on educating its lenders to help them make better decisions.

What are the three main advantages for investors?

The main advantage for lenders on Huddle is that we are owned and managed by Access Commercial Finance which is an FCA regulated, balance sheet lender. Our belief is that most fintech businesses in the marketplace are too much ‘tech’ and not enough ‘fin’ so we are looking to correct that balance on Huddle.

What are the three main advantages for borrowers?

The main advantage to borrowers is getting speedy access to funding for strong business cases that have been unable to achieve satisfactory funding elsewhere.

What ROI can investors expect?

Currently we have loans that pay lenders from 8% to 16% per annum, depending on their risk appetite.

What were the main challenges launching your platform in a competitive (crowded?) market?

Once your tech works there are only 2 real challenges in this business – attracting lenders and finding borrowers. Fortunately we have got plenty of borrowers both existing and in the pipeline – so our challenge is getting out there in front of more lenders so they can learn about our platform and the benefits of lending through Huddle.

Which marketing channels do you use to attract investors and borrowers?

We are marketing to investors through the usual channels of PPC & SEO, but the primary channel we use is content led marketing, providing educational led content, empowering potential lenders to understand the lending business better and be in a position to make informed lending decision.

Peer-to-peer lending websites struggle (to attract borrowers (Financial Times), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lending websites are struggling to attract UK customers who want to borrow money, despite hundreds of millions of pounds of investment in the sector.

Just 7 per cent of 1,100 people said they had used this sort of service to borrow in 2017, according to a survey by consultancy EY. Separate research from Blumberg Capital, a venture capital group, reported only 4 per cent of 1,050 British adults had used alternative lending services in the past 12 months.

How banks could look into YOUR account to decide if they will give you a mortgage (Express.co.uk), Rated: A

MORTGAGE loans and another types of lending are set to get tougher than ever thanks to a new way banks will measure who is a good candidate – by looking directly into into a bank account to check up on spending.

Alastair Douglas, CEO of TotallyMoney.com, told Express.co.uk he expected the development to become the norm “within one or two years”.

Fintech trade body chief steps down (Financial News), Rated: B

The chief executive of the UK’s fintech trade body is stepping down next week after two and a half years in the role, with a former senior Nasdaq executive standing in until a permanent successor is found.

Innovate Finance, a not-for-profit association founded in 2014 to represent the UK’s global fintech community, said in a statement today that Lawrence Wintermeyer will step down at the end of the month.

Former Lloyds boss Eric Daniels sues to claim unpaid bonuses (Financial Times), Rated: B

Eric Daniels, who ran Lloyds Banking Group when it was rescued by UK taxpayers, is suing the lender with a former colleague to claim £1m of unpaid bonuses linked to its HBOS acquisition, according to a person briefed on the lawsuit.

The former Lloyds chief executive, who left in 2011, filed a claim this month with London’s High Court along with a separate claim filed by Truett Tate, the lender’s former head of wholesale banking.

China

China: Number One Fintech Country In The World? (Coin Telegraph), Rated: AAA

China has not only caught up, but rather leapfrogged major cities such as New York, Silicon Valley and London. Many people are even claimingthat clusters of cities such as the Pearl River Delta in China are becoming the “new Silicon Valley.”

Due to China’s relatively new capital market structure, a lot of legacy systems in place in Western countries just aren’t present yet in China.  On top of that, the major Chinese banks are all state-owned (ICBC, ABC, CCB and BOC). They’ve made a living off lending to other large state owned enterprises (SOEs), which has left a large section of the population, in particular small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) without the proper access to loans and credit.

Source: Coin Telegraph

China has well over 700 mln Internet users, or more than double the entire population of the US.  Combined with a propensity to use smartphones and mobile payments thanks to WeChat and Alipay, Chinese consumers have spectacular adoption rates of Fintech applications in comparison to other nations. For example, 40 percent of consumers in China use non-traditional payment methods such as Alipay, compared to just four percent in Singapore.

Source: Coin Telegraph

With major e-commerce platforms such as Alibaba’s Taoball and Tmall, and JD.com, there has been a need for quick and easy e-payments, which can be done using Fintech applications such as Alipay. Not only has this created opportunities within the payments vertical of Fintech, but also within lending, insurance, investment and wealth management.

Nation sees highest uptake of fintech (China Daily), Rated: A

China ranks top among 20 world markets in terms of fintech adoption, with 69 percent of surveyed consumer respondents saying they are actively using fintech services, 33 percentage points higher than the global average.

China ranks top among 20 world markets in terms of fintech adoption, with 69 percent of surveyed consumer respondents saying they are actively using fintech services, 33 percentage points higher than the global average.

Around 64 percent of fintech users said they prefer using digital channels to manage “all aspects of their life”. And 13 percent of polled consumers said they are regular users of five or even more fintech services, which include money transfer and fintech, wealth planning, deposit and investment, borrowing and insurance.

China’s first independent network bank gets authorized from CBRC (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

On 21st August, Baixin Bank, the first independent network bank in China, announced that they had been authorized by CBRC (China Banking Regulatory Commission).

According to public information, BaIxin Bank was jointly incorporated by China Citic Bank (shareholding ratio: 70%) and Fujian Baidu Borui Network Technology co. LTD (shareholding ratio: 30%). It takes more than one year for Baixin Bank to get the opening approval since Citic Bank’s Board Meeting passed the Bill on Establishment of a Pure Network Banking Company on November 17, 2015.

Li Qingping, the President of Citic Bank, previously said that the two parent companies would not interfere the marketing operation of Baixin Bank. It will provide a platform of banking for common people, enable them to conveniently enjoy finance service. Meanwhile, the bank will take advantages of both Citi Bank’s risk control capacity and Baidu’s innovative technologies like AI, big data and cloud computing, so as to meet the personalized financial needs of customers.

Credit Quality of Internet Companies Susceptible to Finance Business Actions (Financail Buzz), Rated: A

Moody’s Investor Services has opined that the credit quality of Internet companies could be weakened by Chinese technology companies pushing their way into orthodox businesses like finance and banking.

Lina Choi, senior credit officer, and the vice-president of Moody’s said that Internet companies can suffer from potential capital calls and contingent liabilities as a result of loans made to merchants and consumers. The scenario is also affected by wealth management distribution. Incidentally, these are the two main services offered by these online companies.

The first shareholders meeting held today: 13 directors 7 supervisors list of candidates surfaced (EEO.com.cn), Rated: B

Economic Observer learned that on August 22, the first shareholders meeting of Internet Clearing Co., Ltd. will be held in Beijing, after the meeting, the list of directors and supervisors will be officially released.

Compared to the financier, Jingdong Finance, quick money, one wallet of several directors of the rise, the Alipay director of the candidate Wang Zuojiang for the director level.

Tencent nominated director of the candidates Lai Zhiming in the technical and financial aspects have a very strong background.

Ping An paid the nomination of directors Candidate Zhu Yinjia is the only product of all the nominated directors of the professional background of professional payment.

International

3 Investments You Must Make Before Market Collapses (Newsmax), Rated: AAA

Exactly a year ago, in the wake of Brexit, the US 10-Year Treasury rate fell to an all-time low of 1.36%. At that point, bond yields—which move inversely to their price—had been declining for eight years with no end in sight.

Then Trump won the US election; another unexpected twist. An uptick in inflation and a series of rate hikes followed shortly afterward, and the 10-year yield has risen 67% from its lows.

  • Europe

Just a year ago, Europe looked like the last place you’d want to put your money in.

While everyone was applauding the uptick in US growth after the election, Europe recorded higher growth in 2016.

Despite improving fundamentals and strong performance, EU stocks remain relatively undervalued. For example, the Shiller P/E ratio is 55% lower for EU stocks than for their US counterparts.

Source: Newsmax
  • Peer-to-Peer Lending

P2P investors are currently averaging 7.3% returns on 36-month loans. Even those who took the most conservative approach saw returns of 5%.

The likes of Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley now account for over 70% of new capital.

Source: Newsmax

Fiserv Acquires Dovetail Group To Reinvent Payments Infrastructure Worldwide (PYMNTS), Rated: B

Fiserv, a financial services technology solutions provider, announced the acquisition of Dovetail Group Limited to further enable it to help financial institutions around the world transform their payments infrastructure. The new capabilities would be used to meet the evolving needs of wholesale, commercial and retail customers.

Australia

Amazon a bigger threat to banks than fintech: World Economic Forum (Financial Review), Rated: A

The combination of “open banking” regimes and data migrating to the computer cloud will lure global technology giants to create platforms for distributing financial services, a move that will force incumbent banks to compete head-on to control customer relationships or risk becoming mere suppliers of commoditised financial products.

That’s a view of the future set out by the World Economic Forum in a 194-page report on fintech disruption, released in New York on Tuesday, that warns traditional bank distribution models and economics “are at risk of being deeply disrupted by the drive towards platform models of banking”.

It calls out the arrival of internet behemoth Amazon into financial services. Amazon Lending, quietly launched six years ago, offers credit to merchants selling on its platform and uses their sales data to measure risk. It has made loans worth over $US3 billion and is expanding in the US, Britain and Japan, according to a recent report in the Financial Times.

It also points to Chinese tech giant Tencent’s Webank platform, which allows retail customers to purchase products from multiple competing credit and asset management providers, as a plausible model for financial services distribution in the future.

Asia

Indonesia’s fintech investments set to touch record high in 2017 (Deal Street Asia), Rated: AAA

Investments into Indonesian fintech startups are set to hit a record high in 2017 at the current run rate, according to an analysis by venture intelligence platform CB Insights. It is estimated that there will be a total of about 50 deals this year alone.

A recent study revealed that 80 per cent of the Indonesian population does not have a formal bank account, with 203 million Indonesians earning less than $4.50 a day.

In January this year, private lender Bank Central Asia (BCA) launched its VC arm, Central Capital Ventura, committing Rp 200 billion ($15 million) in investments so far.

In P2P lending, notable deals include Amartha raising $30 million in a round led by MCI in March this year. More recently, UangTeman announced a $12 million Series A round led by K2 Venture Capital with participation from Hong Kong-based STI Financial Group and American firm Draper Associates.

Moka is one of the best funded merchant payment startups in Indonesia, counting Convergence Ventures, East Ventures, Fenox VC, and Wavemaker Partners among its investors. Other active firms in this area are Pawoon, backed by Ideabox and Kejora Ventures, and Cashlez, backed by MCI and Gan Capital.

Middle East

UAE-Based Fintech Start-Up Secures $ 700K Investment to Advance Financial Services Access for Underserved Migrant Workers (Fox34), Rated: AAA

NOW Money has secured an investment of $700,000 from two U.S.-based venture capital investors – Accion Venture Lab, the seed-stage investment initiative of financial inclusion leader Accion, and Newid Capital.

The investment comes a year after NOW Money’s initial seed funding, which allowed the company to expand the team and develop the technology and brand. With the latest investment, also a part of its seed round, the team plans to launch the service across the United Arab Emirates and expand into the other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.

Funding squeeze lifts ME non-bank lending (Oman Trubune), Rated: A

Middle East investment companies are ramping up their lending to businesses, providing a lifeline for small and medium-sized firms struggling to secure finance from banks that tightened credit after a suffering rise in bad loans.

Industry participants estimate non-bank lenders in the region could provide around $1 billion over the next three to five years, including secured loans, mezzanine debt, preferred shares and convertible loans and bonds.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wedneday March 29 2017, Daily News Digest

ron suber fraud

News Comments Today’s main news: How to build a $100 billion company. Square launches in UK. Century-old Thai bank plans digital revamp. ClaimVantage raises funds to expand into Asia. Today’s main analysis: Tech will lead to new sub-prime crunch. Today’s thought-provoking articles: An unofficial chat with Ron Suber. How technology is changing online credit checks. Legal considerations of running a […]

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United States

United Kingdom

China

Asia

MENA

Africa

News Summary

United States

Tech will lead to new sub-prime crunch (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

The tables below demonstrate cumulative changes in interest rates for Lending Club and Prosper. Although the rate for high-grade loans for Lending Club has slightly increased over time, while dropping a little for Prosper, the tendency for both companies is similar: They are widening the gap between low and high-grade borrowers.

Since 2013, the top 40 percent of earners have accounted for 84 percent of all new income and 34 percent of new debt, which led to a material reduction in aggregate leverage relative to income and provided for consistent growth of retail sales, as this cohort represents 65 percent of total consumption. According to the article, the recession will be a result of a material reduction in consumption from these top earners, who have historically followed the deterioration of lower and middle-income households.

With the penetration of technology, more and more labor-intensive work is shifted to computers or machines. People employed in manual labor, who mostly get an hourly wage, are in less demand on the market, which leads to the number of such jobs decreasing. Most jobs that were previously done manually are being substituted by machines, which, accordingly, increases competition among workers of respective industries.

The statement is easily supported by the last data available: A new study by Forrester forecasts that cognitive technologies such as robots, artificial intelligence, machine learning and automation will replace 7 percent of U.S. jobs by 2025 (with 16 percent of jobs replaced and the equivalent of 9 percent jobs created).

By the end of 2016 there were more than 4.1 million people who drove for a living, with more than 3.5 million doing it full time. The automatization of driving will lead to all of them being forced to change their jobs, and obviously turning to software and tech industries is not an easily affordable option for these people.

Employment in the tech industry is, on the other hand, quickly growing. According to the results of a Cyberstates 2016 report prepared by nonprofit IT trade association CompTIA, employment in tech hit its highest growth rate in more than a decade in 2015, reaching 6.7 million people for companies with formal payroll in place in the U.S., up about 200,000 from the year prior.

Summarizing the above, we can expect that for workers employed in labor-intensive industries, the wages are not going to rise as a result of increased competitiveness for jobs in these sectors. Stagnating wages will lead to credit of such workers suffering (which is, in fact, already happening), as their anticipated increase in income is not realized even when the economy is doing well in general.

How To Build a 0 Billion Company (Newco Shift), Rated: AAA

Mike Cagney, the CEO of financial services startup SoFi, does not lack for confidence. But then again, confidence is what you need to raise billions of dollars and take on some of the largest and most powerful companies in the world — global financial giants like Chase, Citi, and Bank of America. To get there, Cagney’s got a pretty clever playbook: He’s partnering with those same banks, who buy the loans he originates and profit from SoFi’s unique skill at acquiring new customers.

An Unofficial Chat with Ron Suber, the Tom Brokaw of Fintech (finTEK News), Rated: AAA

If you circulate within fintech, pretty much anywhere on the planet, there is a high likelihood you’ve heard of Ron Suber.  And in case you haven’t, he’s the president of Prosper Funding, the marketplace lending platform that has now funded over $8B in loans, and recently closed a deal with a group of institutional investors to purchase up to $5 billion worth of loans over the next 24 months.

I asked him how he deals with all the travel, plus the highs ($5B deal-yeah!) and lows (Lending Club-OMG!) of the job, and he jokingly responded “Funny – (with) a unique combination of Yin Yoga and Johnny Walker Black”.  He also said he does “intention setting” before he gets out of bed every day, which he has found incredibly helpful.

The full deck for the Lendit 2017 presentation can be downloaded at this link: LendIt.FINAL

The last deck he shared with us from the AltFi Australasia Summit in Sydney.  The event was attended primarily by Australians and New Zealanders, with some Asians in attendance as well and also had a slightly different angle.

The speech compared online lending to online trading, showed a 5 point overview of the industry since inception, and included a picture showing traditional banks already involved in marketplace lending.

How to Start a Real Estate Crowdfunding Platform (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Tech development is not cheap. Those hoping to raise angel or VC capital for a real estate crowdfunding platform have, in my humble opinion, missed the boat by a couple of years.

That said, if venture funding isn’t available, it doesn’t make sense to spend a lot of money on technology. Many of the RECF platforms out there today would like to command a tech multiple, but in reality, function more so as technology-enabled brokering or origination shops. For the vast majority of RECF platforms, their value is is not in their technology, but their ability to fund or originate deals.

  • Will this be a personal platform for your own deals, or will the platform raise funds for deals from other parties? If the latter, you may be brokering or dealing, and may need to obtain a license.
  • Will you be selling equity or debt securities? What type of debt will you be selling? What will it be secured by, if anything? What type of equity will you be selling?
  • What type of real estate will you be raising funds for? Will the properties be residential properties? Commercial? Rehab? New development? Is there a geographic scope involved? You should have a specific business plan in mind.

It’s great that RECF platforms are hot right now, but remember – you’re still selling a security, and securities laws really aren’t the type of laws one should take lightly.

RealtyShares Raises Its Largest Joint Venture Capital Investment to Date for Avesta Biscayne Apartment Complex in Miami (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

RealtyShares, a leading online marketplace for real estate investing, today announced that its network of accredited investors has raised $3.5 million in equity capital for the $67.3 million acquisition and renovation of Avesta Biscayne in North Miami, Florida. This is the largest equity investment that RealtyShares has raised to date through its real estate investing marketplace.

Avesta Biscayne is a 402-unit apartment community near the Biscayne Bay shoreline, consisting of six mid-rise buildings and amenities including a clubhouse, two pools and a tennis court. The deal is sponsored by Avesta Communities, a vertically integrated multi-family owner-operator specializing in apartments serving the middle-income renter. Previously, Avesta raised $2.25 million through RealtyShares to recapitalize and renovate Avesta Bridgewater, a 344-unit apartment complex in Orlando, Fla.

Shadow banking is getting bigger, not better (Standard.net), Rated: A

In the U.S. mortgage market as a whole, shadow banks held a 38 percent share in 2015, compared with 14 percent in 2007.

In other markets, financial organizations that are not subject to bank regulation have flourished, too. According to the Financial Stability Board, the august body that makes recommendations to the global financial system from Basel, Switzerland, “other financial intermediaries” — the category that includes non-bank lenders but not insurance companies and pension funds — increased their assets to $80 trillion, or 23 percent of total financial assets, in 2014. Their average growth reached 5.6 percent in 2011 through 2014, while the global banking system’s assets stopped growing during that time.

The reason shadow banks have largely escaped public scorn, regulatory scrutiny and high capital requirements is that they often came in the guise of high-tech disruptors. Quicken Loans Inc., the third biggest mortgage lender in the U.S. in 2015, does business online and on the phone, and that somehow makes it less interesting to regulators than a bank that does the same through an old-style branch network. Lending Club and other “peer-to-peer” lending firms quickly became conduits for large investors, not “peers,” yet they avoided regulation as though they were innovative tech platforms.

By 2015, 85 percent of the mortgages they originated was sold to government-sponsored enterprises such as Fannie Mac, Ginnie Mae, Freddie Mac and Farmer Mac. They benefit from implicit and explicit government guarantees originally supplied to banks — without shouldering the same regulatory burden or facing the same stigma. In other words, they profit from regulatory arbitrage.

Kroll Bond Rating Agency Releases U.S. Consumer Loan ABS Rating Methodology (Business Wire), Rated: A

This report describes KBRA’s rating methodology for U.S. consumer loan asset-backed securities (“Consumer Loan ABS”). This includes transactions secured by collateral originated by traditional consumer loan companies, as well as, through online consumer loan marketplace lending platforms (“MPL Platform”).

Wells Fargo’s Robo is Pricier Than Competitors (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: A

Wells Fargo is betting that having access to a live financial advisor will convince clients to put up higher minimums and pay more for its robo-advice platform than for its competitors’ platforms, the Wall Street Journal writes.

The company’s Intuitive Investor automated advice service requires a $10,000 minimum investment and costs 0.5% of assets annually, according to the paper.

By contrast, Merrill Lynch’s Edge Guide Investing platform and Schwab Intelligent Portfolios only require a $5,000 minimum, while Wealthfront requires $500 and Betterment has no minimums, the paper writes. All of these platforms charge fees ranging from 0.25% to 0.45% of assets, except Wealthfront, which only starts charging 0.25% on accounts with more than $10,000, according to the Journal. Vanguard Personal Advisor Services, meanwhile, comes with a hefty $50,000 minimum but charges only 0.3%, the paper writes.

What’s more, Wells Fargo and other full brokerages aren’t necessarily competing with pure robo-advice pioneers such as Betterment and Wealthfront, William Trout, a senior analyst at research firm Celent, tells the Journal. Rather, they’re aiming to tap into their existing client base, he says. Wells Fargo is targeting its retail bank clients who currently don’t receive any form of advice, Lai tells the paper.

Jed Morey And The Art Of The Publishing Pivot (Innovate LI), Rated: A

So the New York Financial Press, launched in April 2016 by Syosset-based Morey Publishing as an “alternative financial news journal” that would dive deeper than earnings statements and trading indexes (not to be confused with the Wall Street-based media company founded in 2005 by Pierre Alexandre) – is now feeding Mayava Capital Inc., a Syosset startup created to facilitate small-business lending.

The other five sites – each focused on lending in a particular vertical market, such as healthcare or transportation or IT – were created by Morey et al specifically to usher visitors directly into Mayava Capital’s arms.

FUTURE DIGITAL FINANCE AND PERFORMANCE HORIZON RELEASE NEW INDUSTRY BENCHMARKING REPORT (Future Digital Finance Email), Rated: A

Today, Future Digital Finance and Performance Horizon released their findings from their new report titled “Benchmarking Performance Marketing Adoption within Financial Services Strategies”. As the consumer revolution in retail banking continues, the whole financial services vertical has seen dramatic shifts towards electronic interactions across their consumer and business-to-business operations. This new study takes a look at the wider variety of marketing channels firms have begun to leverage, especially ones with clear measurement methodologies that contribute towards revenues.

Key statistics from the survey include:
– Performance marketing, including affiliate marketing, primarily drives customer retention for 21% of financial services companies.
– Almost a third of companies spend at least 20% of their overall media budget on performance-oriented programs, while 21% of companies spend at least 40% of their overall media budget on performance oriented programs.
– Finance companies are looking to grow performance-based marketing programs as 77% of companies prefer to pay new partners based on performance.
– 93% of companies expect mobile website sales will increase, and 92% expect mobile app sales will increase in 2017.
– 86% of companies agree that data and insights from their existing partner marketing programs enable them to make better business decisions.

Mortgage Automation Pioneer cloudvirga Raises $ 15 Million in Series B Funding (PR Newswire), Rated: A

cloudvirga℠, developer of the automated, cloud-based intelligent Mortgage Platform® (iMP), announced today it has raised $15 million in a series B funding round led by Incenter, a Blackstone Group portfolio company. The new funding will support cloudvirga as it scales its technology and expands its product offerings.

Cloudvirga’s flagship mortgage point-of-sale (POS) system, the iMP empowers consumers to take the helm of a completely re-engineered mortgage workflow that automates the entire initial disclosures process and delivers unmatched transaction speed and efficiency to both borrowers and lenders. Central to cloudvirga’s success is its ability to maintain strict regulatory compliance, reduce time to close and save lenders money by moving many traditional back-office tasks to the front of the loan process.

Why squeeze fintech into a bank regulatory box? (American Banker), Rated: A

Within the constraints of its jurisdiction and mission, the OCC is clearly trying to do its part to address the regulatory issues raised by financial service providers in the technology sector. The agency is not simply pursuing a “bank-lite” charter.

The regulation of financial services in the U.S. is highly fragmented, and fintech is challenging every aspect of that structure. Federal and state agencies can stake claim over the regulation of fintech, yet both are ultimately limited by narrow lanes and tightly defined jurisdictional boxes prescribed to them by their respective charters. As a result, even the most well-intentioned efforts are only able to address the trees, but not the forest.

The goal of its proposal is to encourage the entry of fintech firms into federally regulated financial services. But if the actual pool of applicants ends up being extremely small, that’s going to be a real problem.

Random Forest Capital Raises $ 1.75 Million for Strategic Talent Acquisition (Random Forest Email), Rated: B

Random Forest Capital () completed its seed round in January 2017 with $1.75 million led by a very impressive group of angel investors. The money will be used to build out its full stack software and machine learning algorithms and acquire strategic talent for helping institutional investors find the right opportunities in consumer, residential, and commercial credit.

“There are 400+ platforms that originate many types of secured & unsecured debt,” said Kevin Farrelly, chief operating officer, general partner, and co-founder of Random Forest Capital. “We can analyze a massive amount of data from those platforms in seconds whereas a human analyst will take days to weeks.”

Random Forest Capital uses machine learning algorithms and third-party systems with APIs to source investment opportunities from eight platforms (and growing). Their custom algorithms then price the risk and can execute in microseconds.

“Loan originators make money originating loans – so it’s in their best interest to bucket all the loans together. Our goal is to preserve investor capital. These competing interests create a fundamental divide where alpha in marketplace lending is easily found,” said Austin Trombley, chief technology officer and co-founder of Random Forest Capital.

Random Forest Capital recently added two new members to its expert leadership team. Julie Choi, Ph.D. has been named the chief risk officer.  Carl Siemon, Ph.D. has been named the principle data scientist for Random Forest Capital. Siemon is a Physics Ph.D. graduate from UT Austin where he was supported by the prestigious National Defense Science and Engineering Fellowship.

MoneyLion Wins Gold at PYMNTS Innovation Project Awards for Best Credit Innovation (MoneyLion Email), Rated: B

MoneyLion, the mobile personal finance platform that puts consumers in control of their financial lives with AI-driven tools and smarter credit products, has won the gold medal for Best Credit Innovation at the PYMNTS 2017 Innovation Project Awards. The award coincides with a major growth milestone for MoneyLion, which now has over a million users.

Real estate crowdfunding platforms raising American real estate prices (STL Real Estate), Rated: B

But, with the rise of third-party crowdfunding platforms, most notably of Chinese origin, middle class people can get in on a piece of the real estate pie – no matter where they live.

Today, Brooklyn is where it’s at, with the price of Brooklyn town homes and apartments growing 16 percent between 2015 and 2016, while Manhattan properties decreased by 1 percent.

United Kingdom

JACK DORSEY LAUNCHES MOBILE PAYMENTS COMPANY SQUARE IN THE UK (Irish Tech News), Rated: AAA

Mobile payments company Square launched for UK based businesses today. This launch is the fifth market for Square since launching in the US in 2010 and since expanding to Canada, Japan and Australia.

Square Point of Sale has actually been available in the UK, among other markets around the world, for a few years already, however the full features of the product that’s available in Square’s four main markets were not available.

LendInvest Property Development Academy Expands Course Offerings (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

LendInvest, a leading UK online property finance lender, is launching the LendInvest Property Development Academy in four more key cities around the country following overwhelming demand for its London & Southeast courses.

In addition to three more courses for London & Southeast candidates this year, the Academy has expanded to:

  • Northern England: Manchester, 25 – 26 May
  • Scotland: Edinburgh, 22 – 23 June
  • Midlands: Birmingham, 7 – 8 September
  • Southwest England: Bristol, 9 – 10 November

All courses are carefully tailored to resonate with common issues facing developers in their respective regions. All modules are taught by industry specialists from the local area who will drawn on locally relevant case studies and anecdotal evidence.

Lendy Integrates Saving Stream Platform to Continue Growth (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Lendy, announced on Tuesday it is integrating its popular investor-facing platform, Saving Stream, under its Lendy brand as part of the platform’s continued growth. According to the company, it is merging Saving Stream, with its borrower-facing brand, Lendy Finance, in order to simplify its branding and to make accessing its loan-based crowdfunding platform easier and more accessible to clients.

Lendy revealed that the total amount loaned to property developers and investors through its peer-to-peer platform has now topped £285 million and its 15,000 registered users have received £20 million of interest from the loans they have written. The company also stated its user base has more than doubled from 5,600 at the start of 2016, with the platform’s popularity among lenders being driven by:

  • The security provided by property-backed loans
  • The additional security provided by Loan To Value (LTV) ratios on all Lendy loans being capped strictly at 70%
  • Returns of up to 12% on loans written through the Lendy service.
China

How technology is changing online credit checks (SCMP), Rated: AAA

It generally takes nothing more than a simple click on the ‘yes’ button to authorise an online peer-to-peer (P2P) lender to go through an applicant’s credit history before approving a loan.

But the assessment may in fact go far beyond the borrower’s imagination.

With vast amounts of data at their disposal, the powerful analytical programs behind the screen are often capable of picking up diverse fragments of an applicant’s life story and piecing together a complete picture. And it all happens in a matter of minutes.

Cloud Atlas, a risk management system developed by Finup, is one such example. After obtaining consumers’ consent to access their mobile contacts book and apps as well as information provided by third-party data agencies, the system is able to carry out a thorough analysis to figure out whether the applicant is eligible for loans on the particular P2P platform.

The pass rate of applicants for loans under the Cloud Atlas system is well below 10 per cent, as the three-year-old company uses strict criteria.

High employee turnover sign of transformation in P2P lending industry (Global Times), Rated: A

With the rollout of new regulations in February, there has been a wave of resignations in China’s peer-to-peer (P2P) lending industry, as employees worry about the prospects of the business.

“I resigned in February,” said a woman surnamed Liu, a former employee at one of China’s leading P2P platforms, which she refused to be named.

Liu started her career in Internet finance in October 2016. Half a year later, she worries about the industry’s prospects.

Recently, P2P industry employee turnover has shot up, with some workers joining larger P2P companies and some moving to other industries.

The number of Chinese P2P lending platforms fell from 3,516 in November 2015 to 2,393 in February 2017, according to data from the Shanghai-based P2P lending platform wdzj.com.

Just a few big Chinese P2P lenders seen surviving in sector tarnished by scandal (SCMP), Rated: A

The seemingly relentless proliferation of China’s peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms has finally been contained by stringent measures introduced by the government in a bid to tackle a fraud epidemic that tarnished the industry’s reputation.

The sector, which ballooned to host thousands of firms of varying sizes and specialities, will eventually become limited to just a handful of mega participants, according to Zhang Shishi, a co-founder of the Chinese P2P platform Renrendai.

However, the heated competition that emerged as a wave of profit-hungry new players crowded in, all hunting aggressively for investors and money in the markets, led to a rise in illegal activity. Countless cases of P2P lenders promising high returns from non-existent projects and then running off with the proceeds made the headlines.

Asia

Century-Old Bank Plans Digital Revamp to Fight Fintech Risk (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Siam Commercial Bank Pcl, Thailand’s oldest homegrown lender, plans to reinvent its mobile digital payment platform as a lifestyle app to help fend off competition from upstart financial technology providers.

The lender is working with companies including Accenture Plc, Microsoft Corp. and International Business Machines Corp. on the project, Chief Executive Officer Arthid Nanthawithaya said in an interview. The long-term goal is an app that allows customers to search and pay for entertainment options such as restaurants and cinemas, going beyond just day-to-day banking, he said.

Siam Commercial Bank’s shares gained 0.6 percent at 10:46 a.m. in Bangkok on Wednesday. The stock has climbed about 4 percent in the past three years, less than the 8 percent advance in the Stock Exchange of Thailand’s Banking Index.

‘Why would we ignore a billion people?’: An Irish fintech firm has raised €2m to expand into Asia (Fora), Rated: AAA

IRISH-BASED FINTECH COMPANY ClaimVantage has secured €2 million in funding to bankroll its move into Asia.

The international firm, which has been headquartered in Dublin since it was founded in 2006, develops and provides cloud-based claim management software for some of the top insurance firms in the US and Canada.

Singapore Inks FinTech Cooperation Pact with France (Cryptocoins News), Rated: A

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Singapore’s central bank and financial authority has signed FinTech cooperation agreements with a pair of French regulators to boost FinTech ties between the two countries.

The cooperation agreement sees Singapore’s central bank partner the Autorité de Contrôle Prudentiel et de Résolution (ACPR), the authority monitoring banks & insurance companies in France and the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), France’s stock market regulator.

Under the agreement, the three authorities will adhere to a framework that fosters the sharing of information relating to FinTech trends and services. Joint innovation projects and regulatory hurdles will also be discussed between the two countries.

MENA

MENA Fintech Startup NOW Money Wants To Help Everyone Get Access To Banking (Entrepreneur), Rated: AAA

According to the World Bank’s Migration and Remittances Factbook 2016 report, migrants are sending earnings worth more than US$441 billion to families in developing countries, contributing to the 10% of GDP of some 25 developing countries. With KSA, UAE and Kuwait among the top ten high-income countries categorized as main sources of remittances in 2014, six GCC countries accounted for $98 billion in outward remittance flows in 2014. As the region’s expat population transfer money to respective home countries, there’s a prevalent reality that there is a struggle (especially among blue-collar workers) to access bank accounts- and this is what fintech startup NOW Money is trying to solve.

With a tagline of “empowering the unbanked,” founders Katharine Budd and Ian Dillon launched NOW Money to provide expat workers who don’t have access to banking and remittance services with direct access to a current account, debit card and remittance from their proprietary app and service center.

Compared to outbound remittances sent as cash (which is often hard to follow), the startup tracks “payments from salary, to remittance, to collection by overseas. This is an important step change in the progress the UAE is making towards combatting money laundering and criminal funding.” With respect to security and privacy, facial recognition tech is used to enable users to log in to the NOW Money app- a photo cannot be used to fake an entry, since movement is accounted for by this feature: the user has to blink to log in. It also records the way you hold your phone and type, so suspicious behavior will cause an alert notification. Although pin codes and passwords are still present as per the current compliance laws requirement, the team believes such a system is still susceptible to hackers, and thus Budd asserts the advantage of biometrics.

Alternative Financing in Africa, Middle East (Microcapital), Rate: A

The authors estimate that approximately USD 475 million was made available in Africa and the Middle East via alternative financing methods between 2013 and 2015, with Israel accounting for USD 125 million of this total. The authors conclude that alternative finance as a whole grew more slowly in Africa and the Middle East than in other parts of the world as the development of the market was in its early stages.

Kabbage: working capital for small businesses unable to obtain credit from traditional sources (MENAFN), Rated: A

As a large percentage of small businesses, online retail sales as a percentage of total retail sales have doubled in the past five years. Ecommerce sales overall in 2006 were just over 107 billion, representing 2.7 percent of total retail sales . There are over 100 million Ebay users in the US today, with an estimated 200 million new listings in 2Q, 2008 alone. There are an estimated 5 million power sellers transacting over 48 billion on Ebay and more than 8 million high-volume sellers representing over 70 billion across all marketplaces.

Rob Frohwein founded Kabbage to get small businesses capital quickly, an area in which banks have long struggled.

Kathryn Petralia has 12 years of experience in the consumer credit and payments space.

Amy Zimmerman has spent 15 years building tech companies by identifying and cultivating talent. Her focus at Kabbage is to foster the company’s inventive culture.

Africa

The legal considerations of running a FinTech startup in Nigeria (Techpoint), Rated: AAA

However the alternative method is for a startup to operate on its own steam by meeting the requirements to obtain the requisite licences although this method requires significant capital outlay. As such, FinTech startups that are seeking to exploit the significant market opportunities in Nigeria are bound to run into several regulatory compliance obligations.

The payment and processing segment of the FinTech sector for example — which has shown the most growth and success thus far — is primarily governed by the same general framework as are traditional financial institutions providing offline financial services (e.g. money/payment transfers, clearing, switching, settlement etc), in addition to regulations related specifically to that sub-sector.

Thus, the legal and regulatory framework that is generally applicable to financial institutions — such as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Act, 2007, the Banking and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA) and all subsidiary instruments stemming from same — are all relevant to any non-bank led startups providing digital equivalents of offline financial services. This framework brings with it mandatory obligations such as KYC and AML requirements that must be strictly adhered to.

Commercial lending activities are regulated in Nigeria and as such require licensing by either the CBN (for banks and other financial institutions) or the Ministry of Home Affairs of the various states (non-financial institution lenders).

As it stands, insurance penetration in Nigeria is only at 0.6% and the growth of the middle class, alongside increased economic activity, indicates a very bright future for this sector.

The Nigerian Insurance Act provides the overarching framework for operators of all types of insurance business in the country and the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) is the industry regulator. Under the act, one must be duly registered with NAICOM before engaging in the business of insurance.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor