Wednesday November 29 2017, Daily News Digest

Qudian

News Comments Today’s main news: Fiduciary rule delayed–again.SoFi prepares sixth student loan refinance ABS.LendingTree secures $250M amended, restated credit facility.Indonesian tech investments hit $3B YTD. Today’s main analysis: Qudian bounces back. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Will Mulvaney back consumers or payday lenders?American consumers say financial crisis had no impact on their lives.Online education startup promises to […]

Qudian

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United Kingdom

China

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International

India

Asia

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United States

DOL Officially Delays Start of Fiduciary Rule (The National Law Journal), Rated: AAA

The Labor Department on Monday announced the official 18-month extension for the start of key provisions of the fiduciary rule.

President Donald Trump directed the Department to prepare an updated analysis of the “likely impact” of the fiduciary rule on access to retirement information and financial advice.

The extension will be published in the Federal Register on Wednesday.

SoFi readies sixth student loan refi ABS (GlobalCapital), Rated: AAA

SoFi is has entered the post-Thanksgiving pipeline with its sixth student loan refinancing transaction this year, in line with its plans to issue 12 securitizations in 2017.

The California-based online lender filed documents with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday. Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley are banks on the deal, according to the deal documents.

SoFi Tackles Consumer Debts in New Ad Push (Lend Academy), Rated: A

While relaxing over the Thanksgiving weekend you might have noticed a new trend occurring in television while watching the games: six second ads.

SoFi is focusing their message on the consumers lifestyle, presenting an understanding as to why someone needed to increase their credit card debt.

They also placed a Black Friday circular with several national newspapers which you can see in the photo below. The ad is a clever take on the typical sales fliers we all see around this time of year. But instead of an ad featuring low prices we see an ad touting much higher prices. The message is that if you are buying gifts on credit cards this holiday season and carrying a balance you will be paying a lot more than the advertised price. It is a message focused on smart spending, giving a better look at the true costs of products when financed.

Would Trump’s CFPB Pick Mulvaney Back Consumers Or Payday Lenders? (International Business Times), Rated: AAA

Demonstrators gathered outside the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in Washington D.C.  Wednesday to protest President Trump’s decision to appoint White House budget director Mick Mulvaney to director of the agency.

As a Congressman, Mulvaney accepted $55,500 in contributions from payday lenders during his four successful runs for Congress, including $26,600 during the 2016 election cycle,  according to the National Institute on Money in State Politics. Before he was tapped to lead President Donald Trump’s Office of Budget Management, Mulvaney took $115,200 from the securities and investment industry, and another $96,564 from the insurance industry in the 2016 cycle, both more than any other industry, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. This record, along with comments Mulvaney made indicating he would shutter the agency if given the opportunity, has led critics to question whether Mulvaney’s priority will be consumers — or the companies the agency is responsible for regulating.

Payday lenders appear to want Mulvaney to lead the CFPB.

Note to Mick Mulvaney: Donuts do not a CFPB director make (The Washington Post), Rated: A

President Trump’s hostile takeover of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, by contrast, relies on the rather less cherished legal principle of habeas cuppedia, Latin for “you shall have the pastries.”

Under the statute that created the CFPB, the watchdog agency set up after the 2008 crash to police lending abuses, it should now be rightfully run by Leandra English, the deputy director who succeeds the just-resigned director, Richard Cordray, until the Senate confirms a permanent replacement. Trump found another statute that he says lets him appoint Mulvaney. English filed suit to defend her legitimacy, Mulvaney submitted doughnuts, and a Trump-appointed federal judge, to nobody’s surprise, ruled in Trump’s favor.

Ten Years Post-Financial Crisis and Americans Say It Had No Impact, According to Hartford Funds Survey (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

New data released today by Hartford Funds revealed that a decade after the Great Recession, Americans are unclear how the economic event impacted their life and financial behavior.

The majority (40 percent) of respondents said that the financial crisis had no impact on their life, yet large numbers reported that they avoid the market (42 percent) and have altered their spending and savings habits (46 percent). Others (26 percent) shifted their retirement timeline and plan to work longer then they’d hoped, and 25 percent had to change jobs or take on additional jobs.

The majority (40 percent) of respondents said that the financial crisis had no impact on their life, yet large numbers reported that they avoid the market (42 percent) and have altered their spending and savings habits (46 percent). Others (26 percent) shifted their retirement timeline and plan to work longer then they’d hoped, and 25 percent had to change jobs or take on additional jobs.

STRATEGIC ADVANCES IN THE USA FUEL MONEVO’S GROWTH (BQLive), Rated: A

The company’s growth is set to continue with ongoing success in the US, Monevo’s newest territory.

Personal loan originations in the US reached new heights by the end of 2016. Total balances reached $102bn for the first time, $14bn higher than the end of 2015. The number of consumers with personal loans at the end of 2016 was 15.82 million.

Fifteen US lenders, including Lending Club, Sofi, and Prosper have joined Monevo’s roster of over 150 personal loan lenders across the world.

GETTING STUDENT FINANCIAL AID MAY BECOME WAY EASIER WITH NEW FAFSA APP (Newsweek), Rated: A

Just like Uncle Sam, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos wants you…to be able to apply for financial aid on your phone.

DeVos said Tuesday that the government plans to launch an app for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, which some 20 million people fill out every year in hopes of getting grants, loans and other money for college or career training. It’s all part of a plan to make the FAFSA much simpler to submit.

HouseCanary Announces $ 31 Million Series B Funding, Comprised of PSP Growth and Existing Investors (HouseCanary), Rated: A

HouseCanary, the data analytics and valuation platform for real estate professionals, today announced it has closed a $31 million series B funding round, bringing the company’s total funding to $64 million to date. Investors in the round include PSP Growth, the venture and growth equity arm of PSP Capital, a private investment firm founded by entrepreneur and former Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, as well as Alpha Edison and other existing investors.

Investors can now value over 100 million properties with a median error of 2.5% or less. Lenders and appraisers use HouseCanary technology to reduce the time it takes to complete an appraisal from more than 25 days to less than a week.

Your Sneak Peak of the LendIt Fintech USA Agenda (LendIt), Rated: A

Fintech

How secure is your data? Recent hacks and breaches have re-stressed the importance of the data security and customer information. This track will help young startups and big box financial institutions verify customers, understand data security and utilize tools to improve efficiency. The future of technology is in robotics, machine learning and biometrics, not grasping these changes will make your business extinct.

BlockFin Summit

Bitcoin. Blockchain. Cryptocurrencies. ICO’s. Everyone’s talking about them, but how will these new age concepts change the future of money?

Digital Banking

Banks are looking to fintech partners to transform their business for the digital revolution. This track will explore the crucial role of mobile banking, smart ATM innovations, chatbots’ role, and the digital transformation at all levels—from branch to infrastructure to data storage.

Lending

Learn how to scale your growth like Lending Club, increase access to credit like LendingPoint, and utilize mobile-only technologies like MoneyLion.

Source: LendIt

The secret to reeling in cybersecurity talent at three big banks (American Banker), Rated: B

There will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs by 2021, up from 1 million last year, according to the research firm Cybersecurity Ventures. Meanwhile, Frost & Sullivan estimates 1.8 million cybersecurity jobs will go unfilled by 2022, a rise of around 20% since 2015.

The military is skilled at producing what Gary McAlum, the chief security officer at USAA, calls “Jedi Knights.”

Wells Fargo is making a big push to hire veterans, said Rich Baich, its chief information security officer. He has held several positions in the Navy, the North American Air Defense Command, the National Reconnaissance Office and the FBI.

As of August more than 8,500 veterans worked at the San Francisco bank, and at any given time it has 200 team members on active duty.

United Kingdom

LendingTree Enters into a $ 250 Million Amended and Restated Credit Facility (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

LendingTree (NASDAQ: TREE), a leading online loan marketplace, announced today it has entered into an amended and restated $250 million five-year senior secured revolving credit facility that will replace LendingTree’s previous $125 million credit agreement.  The amended and restated revolving credit facility provides increased borrowing capacity and improved pricing, along with greater strategic and operational flexibility. The facility can be used to finance working capital needs, permitted acquisitions, capital expenditures, and general corporate purposes.

The amended and restated revolving credit facility will be governed by a maximum net leverage covenant of 4.50x, with step downs to 4.00x over time. Additionally, the amended credit facility contains an accordion feature under which the borrowing capacity can be increased by $100 million or a greater amount, subject to certain conditions.

Why a blockchain startup called Govcoin wants to ‘disrupt’ the UK’s welfare state (MENAfn), Rated: A

The UK chancellor’s recent Budget reminded us that systemic problems continue to plague the government’s delayed roll-out of universal credit – a single monthly welfare payment that will replace six separate benefits.

Govcoin, intent on ‘disrupting’ welfare state provision, has been working with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) since early 2016 to develop a solution for welfare payments.

‘Claimants can – voluntarily – download an app, which enables them to create virtual jam jars and apportion money to them. Whether that’s ‘rent’, ‘gas and electric’ – it’s entirely up to them,’ said Kay in an last autumn.

Govcoin will financially empower benefit claimants. But its distribution model involves benefits being paid – not in pounds and pence – but in the form of a cryptocurrency similar to . Govcoin promises to allow claimants to pay for goods and services – such as utilities – linked to the system.

Peer-to-peer Bitcoin lending fund launches (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

Called Bond, the fund lets accredited investors buy securities known as “Bond Units” in an asset portfolio that holds a mixture of property bonds, real estate and cryptocurrency assets.

Each Bond Unit, which digitally represents an equity share of Bond’s asset portfolio, will be issued on the Bitshares Blockchain and traded via the Bitshares decentralised exchange.

The portfolio has 30 per cent exposure to P2P Bitcoin lending; 30 per cent to property bonds and real estate; and 30 per cent to digital currency learning website the Billion Hero Campaign. The remaining 10 per cent is invested in alternative cryptocurrencies.

China

Banker Bulls Still Like Qudian, Despite China’s Crackdown (Barron’s), Rated: AAA

After losing more than 40% of its market value last week — as Chinese regulators tightened rules for online consumer lending — Qudian is seeing a 16% bounce today in its American depositary receipts (ticker: QD), to a recent $14.

Source: Barron’s

China’s fintech is still in its infant phase (TechNode), Rated: A

One of the Chinese fintech players that made their way to the US public market is Rong360 Inc’s Jianpu, an online platform for discovery and recommendation of financial products. The founder and CEO Ye Daqing recently joined its investor James Mi, founding partner of Lightspeed China Partners, on stage at TechCrunch Shanghai to discuss why the fintech is booming in China and what opportunities lie ahead.

There are many fintech companies that are quite controversial because some of them have damaged the reputation of the market. But two of the [fintech] companies you invested in have both filed for an IPO recently. James, what’s your view [on the market]? What makes you such a good investor, landing two IPOs?

Mi: Lightspeed mostly invests in early-stage companies. We usually look at their development in 3-5 years down the road.

We were actually very prudent about P2P. When we finished looking at all the companies we ended up choosing PPDAI because it was offering a real online solution. No offline sales. And this type of business contributes to the society.

Why are so many Chinese [fintech] companies going IPO in the US recently?

Ye: China will see ten to twenty years of significant growth in fintech and micro-finance. The level of digitalization of finance in China is much lower than that of e-commerce, which took more than ten years to reach 14%. Digital finance is currently at less than 5% penetration. In four to five years, or even longer, fintech will surpass retail. For example, lending, car mortgage, credit cards, and insurance.

Let’s look at another buzzword, that is artificial intelligence (AI). Every single industry nowadays is talking about AI. What will happen when AI meets fintech? 

Ye: The financial industry is actually a data industry, wholly relying on data to make risk control decisions and take care of customer service and marketing. Take our platform for example—it has nearly 70 million registered users, more than 2,500 partnered financial organizations, with 170,000 types of products, and each product is facing a changeable set of challenges and varying user behavior.

European Union

Nutmeg and Revolut investor launches new European fund (AltFi), Rated: A

A leading investor in Series A-stage technology companies, Balderton Capital has closed a total of $375m in its latest fund with a new generation of European tech in its sights.

Flender’s lenders throw €400,000 towards €2m funding round (SiliconRepublic), Rated: A

Dublin fintech Flender is hurtling with fierce velocity towards a funding round worth more than €2m, with involvement from some of its customers, who have already pledged €400,000.

“Initially, we offered €100,000 to them but this quickly overfunded and we increased this to €400,000.”

International

An online education startup thinks it can save bankers from losing their jobs to machines (Quartz), Rated: AAA

The attack on banking jobs has been relentless. British banks are set to close almost 800 branches this year, after shutting nearly 600 in 2016. The CEO of Deutsche Bank, Germany’s largest bank, warned that the company could afford to lose half of its staff to automation. Swiss bank Nordea announced at the end of last month that it was cutting a tenth of its staff, and its CEO said the banking industry could cope with half its current number of personnel. Consultancy Greenwich Associates estimates that 15% of the finance industry’s jobs are at risk of being lost to AI-driven alternatives.

In addition to teaching, Nguyen Trieu is leading by example with the launch of an AI-enabled mobile savings app, which is in the early planning stages.

But there’s a big difference in fintech scenes across the world.

The mindset and the way people use technology and fintech is very different. If you’re in Hong Kong, you have WeChat on your phone and you use it on a daily basis. Here, you don’t use fintech on a daily basis. Some people might use Revolut but they still have a traditional bank account. Here, fintech is seen as innovations on top of existing financial services whereas in Hong Kong, fintech is finance.

So the course is for everyone, everywhere?

And not just for people in finance. When we did the beta test only 40% of the users were from the finance industry—the rest were from tech, or were entrepreneurs or consultants.

So automation, AI, machine learning, and the like are all coming for your job if you don’t retrain?

Banks are thinking today about cutting thousands of jobs and increasing their technology budgets. To me, it is is absurd for a CEO of a bank to think this way.

So, what finance jobs most at risk right now?

In general, anything that can be automated will be automated. But right now, compliance is at risk. Over the past few years there’s been a lot of investment in compliance and KYC [know your customer], because regulators wanted the investment and it was a way for banks to demonstrate they were doing their part after the financial crisis. Now, that has totally changed. It’s starting to cost a lot and regulators have said we want you to show that you are being efficient, not just hiring a lot of people.

Exclusive Interview with Bloom Co-Founder Jesse Leimgruber (ChipIn), Rated: A

Bloom is a global decentralized credit scoring system available to anyone – even the unbanked and underbanked. Bloom’s flexible ecosystem will allow users to have access to credit services which work globally and are extremely secure and transparent thanks to the blockchain’s inherent features.

First off, why did you decide to use the blockchain in building Bloom? 

People shouldn’t be forced to rebuild credit from scratch when they move to a new country. Billions of people around the globe are still considered “credit unscorable,” forcing them into taking out dangerous, informal loans.

To make matters even worse, many governments generate credit scores based on religion, political affiliation, and voting status, instead of data. Even in the United States, 45 Million Americans (including many financially savvy millennials) still do not have a credit score.

What do you think is the biggest problem Bloom will solve and why is the problem important to solve?

3 Billion people cannot access credit, largely due to artificial restrictions from governments.
Tell us more about how BloomID works behind the scenes. The most interesting part about is the vouching process; how does this work and how does Bloom ensure that vouches are not manipulated or faked in any way?
BloomID is the Bloom protocol’s method of both establishing a reliable identity as well as forming the basis of creditworthiness for users who are newly entering the Bloom network. BloomID allows organizations who store information about individual identities to attest to the identity of a Bloom user and mark that information on the blockchain for future re-use. A user’s friends, family, and peers can help an individual bootstrap creditworthiness by vouching for their ability to act responsibly with credit. This is like a reference, similar to co-signing.

Is Bloom already working with notable businesses or firms? Are there any future partnerships in process? If yes, can you explain briefly about it?

We’ve been in touch with 100’s of lenders and partners. We’ve announced quite a few. Peer to peer lending, traditional fiat businesses, crypto lenders… we’re working with people on the whole spectrum.

For example: Self Lender is a credit building lender we are working with, Everex, Lendoit, and ETHLend are crypto lenders. We’re working with partners for anti-fraud such as TypingID.

Download the Bloom white paper here.

Exclusive Interview with ETHLend CEO Stani Kulechov (ChipIn), Rated: A

ETHLend is a Decentralized Lending Innovation using the Ethereum platform as its base.

First off, why did you decide to use the blockchain in building ETHLend?

Finance is where blockchain technology was conceived, and it is in finance that blockchain technology is arguably most transformative. It intrinsically offers greater visibility, scalability, and efficiency – and potentially at a lower cost.

By providing a means of authorizing fully trackable and verifiable transactions, it also offers the potential for truly open-source many-to-many lending. Presented in these terms, it may well seem like a threat to peer-to-peer firms. If blockchain removes the need for marketplaces, why should borrowers and lenders pay fees to these platforms? ETHLend promotes less fees, transparency, and integrity amongst borrowing and lending.

What do you think is the biggest problem ETHLend will solve and why is the problem important to solve?

In today’s world, you are at the mercy of banking institutions for borrowing and lending. We all know the bank pays out minimal interest on investment accounts and charges maximum interest on borrowing. We have partnered up with Bloom who provides credit scoring capabilities so both borrower and lender build a reputation amongst the ETHLend community which is usable elsewhere on the blockchain.

Why do you think the shift from traditional lending to P2P lending is happening right now?

Market research tells us that there are countries at the moment which are paying from 0.5 to 5 percent. For example, here in Finland, it is quite common to have a secured mortgage loan with an interest of 0.4 to 0.8 percent on bank’s marginal. On the contrary, In Brazil, the interest rate tops to 32 percent and Russians pay on average of 11 percent and in India 10 percent (take note that today’s numbers may differ).

The differences in interest rate mean that with a higher interest rate, people and businesses have less access to finance.

Source: ChipIn

Alternative investment LPs want more transparency and co-investment opportunities (HedgeWeek), Rated: A

More than 140 LPs responded to the survey, of whom approximately 52 per cent were based in North America, 31 per cent in Europe and 15 per cent in Asia Pacific. Nearly one quarter (22 per cent) were public pension plans, 15 per cent were consultants and 13 per cent were either endowments or family offices.

Intralinks is a leading financial services company with over USD31 trillion of transactions executed on its platform and over four million users. It has the largest community of GPs and LPs and is used by over 1,000 private equity, real estate and hedge funds on a daily basis. Over USD1 of every USD2 raised globally for private equity was facilitated using Intralinks for a total of USD317 billion in 2016 and 13 out of the 20 largest funds were raised on its platform.

More than one third of investors confirmed that their current allocation was more than 30 per cent, with nearly two thirds confirming that they planned to increase their allocation to alternatives over the next 12 months by 1 to 10 per cent.

Gold, Silver Storage & Lending For Hard Assets in the World’s Safest Jurisdiction (Palisade-Research), Rated: A

Gregor discusses Silver Bullion SG a company he started in Singapore where individuals can securely store their gold and silver. They just hold your precious metals and validate their authenticity. They do this without counterparty risk as your assets are marked, segregated and you hold the title. The company holds over 230 million in hard assets.

Using peer to peer lending you can withdraw up to half of your holdings in loans at low-interest rates.

GoCardless Tops Juniper Leaderboard for Fintech: A Sector Worth More Than 0 Billion in 2018 (BusinessWire), Rated: B

A new study from Juniper Research ranks GoCardless as the current clear leader in the fintech market. GoCardless enables simple payment processing and integration with many popular services, and Juniper believes that its potential for efficient, borderless commerce is disruptive and far-reaching.

Juniper’s Fintech Leaderboard Ranking

1. GoCardless

2. Onfido

3. Square

4. Lemonade

5. Kabbage

India

CROWDFUNDING SET TO GROW (Daily Pioneer), Rated: AAA

Crowdfunding activity in India is driven increasingly by mobile applications and payments. This trend is likely to witness exponential growth.

Rs 300 crore, the Indian crowdfunding industry is at a nascent stage compared to the global standards with the total amount of money raised via crowdfunding in 2016 at USD 738.9 million.

Asia

Investment in Indonesian tech start-ups reaches $ 3bn year-to-date (Oxford Business Group), Rated: AAA

Indonesia’s tech start-ups have been catching the eye of investors, having raised close to $3bn in funding in the year to September 13, a substantial increase on the $631m received in 2016.

Chinese firms are prominent among the foreign investors in Indonesia’s start-up boom, according to research firm CB Insights: Alibaba committed $1.1bn to online marketplace Tokopedia in August, and in May JD.com and Tencent Holdings invested $1.2bn in ride hailing motorbike service Go-Jek, which utilises mobile payment services.

Alternative financing posts 1462% growth

Last year Indonesia posted one of the highest growth rates in the Asia-Pacific region in alternative finance activity. The segment’s total market size expanded by 1462% to $35.4m, according to a report by the University of Cambridge, Monash University and Tsinghua University published at the end of September.

The study found that peer-to-peer (P2P) business lending had come to dominate Indonesia’s alternative finance market, accounting for just over 60% of the 2016 total, with P2P consumer lending representing 18% of the figure, or $6.5m.

Fostering collaboration and growing market opportunities

Indonesian tech start-ups attracted the second-highest amount of investment in South-east Asia between 2012 and September 13, at $4.6bn, behind Singaporean companies, which raised $7.3bn over the same period.

Fintech Challenge seeks to bolster financial inclusion in Vietnam (Nhan Dan), Rated: A

A programme entitled ‘Fintech Challenge Vietnam’ has been launched by the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), with the aim of fostering innovation in financial services that promote greater financial inclusion in Vietnam.

Fintech Challenge Vietnam has been organised by the SBV with the support of the Mekong Business Initiative and sponsorship by the Vietnam Bankers Association and the Vietnam Fintech Club.

VN Central Bank launches first-ever fintech challenge (VietnamNet), Rated: B

The focus of the Fintech Challenge is on fintech solutions that can improve the offer of financial services to the underserved and unbanked.

The challenge is an opportunity for Fintech companies from both inside and outside Việt Nam who are interested in collaborating with commercial banks to pilot and scale solutions that improve financial services in the following categories: electronic payments, e-KYC (Know Your Customer)/e-Identification, open APIs, blockchain and peer-to-peer lending to apply.

The deadline for application is January 18, 2018, at fintech.mekongbiz.org.

OJK to issue new fintech regulation in March (The Jakarta Post), Rated: B

The Financial Services Authority (OJK) aims to issue a regulation on financial technology (fintech) businesses by March next year amid robust development of the industry, OJK deputy commissioner Nurhaida said Tuesday.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday October 5 2017, Daily News Digest

roboadvisors aum

News Comments Today’s main news: Aspire Fintech is closing. Navient buys Earnest for $155M. Schwab creates robo-advisor, hires ex-Betterment GM to run it. Atom Bank nears 1B GPB in deposits. SoFi’s plan to become a bank isn’t going so well. Rubique has issued 50K credit cards. Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issues P2P lending platform directions. Today’s main analysis: Nutmeg sees […]

roboadvisors aum

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United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

India

Canada

News Summary

United States

SoFi’s Plan to Become the Bank of the Future Isn’t Going So Well (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Now, with Cagney felled by a flurry of sexual harassment allegations, the question is whether SoFi has any chance of building the financial supermarket he envisioned. This was always going to be a tall order given the intense competition from entrenched players and fintech startups alike, but now the SoFi brand has been tarnished as well.

“There are a lot of question marks,” says Alois Pirker, research director at advisory firm Aite Group. “The new CEO will need to find his or her bearings there and that will tell which direction they’ll be going.”

Some members of the board consider the moves into life insurance and wealth management Cagney “pet projects,” according to a person familiar with their thinking. Directors prefer to focus on more mature businesses such as personal loans and mortgages that are more predictable and established, said the person, who requested anonymity to discuss a private matter.

The firm reported revenue of $134 million in the second quarter, according to an email from Cagney to investors in August. It had adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $61.6 million and extended over $3.1 billion in student loans, personal loans and mortgages during that time frame. Personal loans are the most profitable, the person said, followed by student loans and then mortgages.

The wealth management unit had just $12 million in assets under management as of early September, according to a filing. This is far short of the more than $100 million the firm had set as an internal goal, people familiar with the matter have said.

SoFi readies 1st student loan bond post-management shakeup (Asset Securitization Report), Rated: A

Social Finance is returning to the securitization market with $626.4 million of bonds backed by loans used to refinance the student debt of borrowers with advanced degrees and high incomes.

The transaction, SoFi Professional Loan Program 2017-E (internal link; not in original source article), comes just weeks after the marketplace lender experienced a management shakeup; its chief executive officer and chief financial officer both resigned.

SoFi hosts party at Front & Palmer (Metro), Rated: B

Most people are not fans of student loan debt, but last week, SoFihosted a party at Front & Palmer in Philadelphia to celebrate it as a means of opening doors to education and more opportunities.

Recent college grads were invited to attend for free and to gain admittance, only needed to bring a proof of their student loan debt.

Source: Metro.com

Earnest, An Online Student Lender, Bought By Navient For $ 155 Million (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Financial technology start-up Earnest has agreed to be acquired by student loan servicing giant Navient for $155 million in cash, the companies said on Wednesday.

Earnest, an online lender that has focused on refinancing student loans, will remain a distinct brand and will continue to be led by its current management team, including founder and CEO Louis Beryl.

The acquisition will be a launching pad for Navient to begin originating its own student loans.

Schwab creates robo-exec slot and fills it with ex-Betterment unit chief (RIABiz), Rated: AAA

As its robo-assets soar to seemingly effortless heights, Charles Schwab & Co. is hiring an intriguing ex-Betterment talent to ensure that its good fortune holds.

The San Francisco-based investments giant, with $24 billion* of assets under automated management in Schwab Intelligent Portfolios and Schwab Intelligent Advisor, hired Cynthia Loh, the ex-general manager of Betterment for Business, the division that oversees the New York-based robo‘s 401(k) unit.

The Schwab robo-launch’s differentiators were its “zero” fee, its 24/7 access to service personnel and its national advertising. Yet the look and offering of the Schwab Intelligent offering are considered plain-vanilla in scope.

How tough can Schwab get with digital upstarts? (FinancialPlanning), Rated: AAA

Outlining his firm’s strategy for battling digital disruption, Schwab CEO Walt Bettinger envisioned it would push client asset revenues lower, while relying on its brand and established market share to grow.

Reacting to his statement, industry observers expect an uphill slog for independents as the largest firms gear up for a price war on three fronts: financial advice, online trading and ETFs.

An early study by A.T. Kearney predicted incumbents would slash prices to compete with robo advice upstarts. While that never came to pass, the 2015 study still predicted industry revenues would drop by as much as $12 billion by 2020.

“[Schwab has] $3 trillion in client assets. They have very positive brand recognition and customer satisfaction scores that are the envy of most of the industry. They have demonstrated a willingness to cut price to gain market share, as seen with their recent commission cuts in online trading. So yes, they can throw their weight around.”

The wisdom of possessing a trifurcated digital advice offering — Schwab Intelligent Portfolios, a digital-only service, an institutional platform for RIAs, and the hybrid robo advisor Schwab Intelligent Advisory — also becomes clearer, McDermott notes. (Schwab’s robo now has $20 billion in AUM).

Robo advice is expected to collectively top $1 trillion in assets under management in fewer than five years, according to Boston-based consulting firm Aite Group. But micro-investing will partly feed such growth, it predicts, noting over 60% of millennials already are subscribed to such apps.

FinTech Lenders and Banks Take Note (VedderPrice), Rated: AAA

While Upstart’s No-Action Letter has narrow applicability, it may serve as a tool for other FinTech lenders in implementing innovative products and services and establishing relationships with banks.

According to Upstart, its underwriting technology uses traditional underwriting methodologies in combination with other variables that are correlated with financial capacity and “repayment propensity.” Upstart states that its model understands and quantifies risk associated with all borrowers—both those with credit histories and those without credit histories. As a result, the Upstart loan program is able to offer credit to segments of the population with limited credit or work histories at more favorable rates. In other words, it appears Upstart is underwriting consumer loans without reliance upon traditional criteria, such as credit scores and length of employment history.

  • The No-Action Letter is only applicable to Upstart’s automated model for underwriting applicants for unsecured non-revolving credit, as described in Upstart’s original Request.
  • The No-Action Letter will expire three (3) years after its issuance, at which time Upstart may seek to renew the No-Action Letter.
  • The No-Action Letter is subject to modification or revocation at any time at the discretion of the CFPB staff for any reason, including where the CFPB’s staff determines that such modification or revocation is appropriate to protect consumers or is otherwise in the public interest.

On one hand, a no-action letter may be particularly useful for a FinTech company, utilizing innovative technology and operations, to obtain guidance concerning the permissibility of its business model under specific regulatory constructs. A no-action letter may also be useful for a FinTech company seeking to establish joint ventures with banks.

On the other hand, a CFPB-issued No-Action Letter has narrow applicability as it is only applicable to the requesting applicant, a specific regulatory issue and the facts and circumstances identified by the applicant in its request submitted to the CFPB. Should a fact or circumstance fail to be conveyed accurately, or should a fact or circumstance change, the No-Action Letter may be rendered useless.

Online housing investment platform Roofstock raises $ 35M in Series C (The Real Deal), Rated: A

Housing investment platform Roofstock raised $35 million in a Series C funding round as it looks to cash in on growing interest in single-family rental housing.

Roofstock CEO Gary Beasley said the firm will use the money to hire and to expand into new markets. The company has raised a total of $68 million from investors, according to Beasley.

From Shopping to Close, LendingTree Study Finds Mortgage Process is Getting Faster (Business Insider), Rated: A

LendingTree, an online loan marketplace, has released the findings of its study on shopping timelines for purchase mortgages. The study analyzed data from a sampling of more than 5,000 closed loans from March 2016 through May 2017 and reviews the timeline for the entire mortgage shopping experience – from first submitting a loan request and being matched with a lender to the date of the mortgage loan closing. The study revealed that the median time from early rate shopping to closing on a purchase mortgage declined 7 days from 2016 to 2017.

From 2016 to 2017, LendingTree has seen a 19% increase in the number of loans closed within 30 days and a 27% increase in loans closed in 60 days.

Congress is Trying to Get the IRS to Modernize (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Back in December 2013 Renaud Laplanche testified on Capitol Hill on small business lending. He was CEO of Lending Club back then and when a Congressman asked Laplanche a question as to how the government can best help he said to make IRS data more easily accessible to online lenders.

Fast forward four years and there appears to finally be some movement on this. Last week Congressman Patrick McHenry (R-NC) along with Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced a billthat would help the IRS move into the modern age and allow the automated retrieval of tax information through an API.

The IRS Data Verification Modernization Act of 2017 as it is called will require the IRS to create an API that will allow lenders to verify income in real time.

RealtyShares – New Small Balance Multifamily Program (RealtyShares), Rated: A

RealtyShares is now financing Small & Large Balance Commercial Multifamily, Apartment, Retail, & Hotel Assets.

Typical dwellings/ deal structure:

  • Class A, B & C+ dwellings
  • Typically like properties within a 30 mile radius of a popular MSA (but not necessarily a deal breaker as long as the project looks good)
  • The minimum loan financed needs to meet 1MM (Acquisition w/ renovation)
  • Asset Based Lender but having an experienced client who has done deals in the particular area is a great compensating factor

Project Summary

Loan Information

  1. Loan Amount
  2. Duration (term)
  3. Closing deadline
  4. Reason for deadline

Lien Information

  1. Amount of existing first lien
  2. Amount of other liens

Collateral Information

  1. Collateral Type
  2. Number of Units
  3. Total Square Footage
  4. Street Address
  5. Purchase Price and Purchase Date (if refi)
  6. “As Is” Real Estate Value
  7. Date of “as is” Appraisal/BPO
  8. Net Operating Income (NOI)
  9. Capital Expenditures since Purchase ($)
  10. Vacancy (%)

Guarantor(s) Information

  1. Net Worth of Guarantor(s)
  2. Estimated liquid assets of Guarantor(s)
  3. FICO Score of Guarantor(s)
  4. Guarantor(s) investment in collateral – current or proposed
  5. Sponsor’s Website

Use of Proceeds:
Please provide a concise description, a few sentences, on the Use of Proceeds (i.e., discuss: acquisition, refinance, site improvement, tenant improvements, planning, design/permitting, carry costs and etc.)

Exit Strategy:
Please provide a concise description, a few sentences on the Exit Strategy (e.g. discuss prospective buyer, prospective permanent financing).

What to Watch for When It Comes to Alternative Investing Opportunities (Madison.com), Rated: A

When you are working in the equity crowdfunding space, particularly as a company that is private, you certainly don’t have the liquidity that you would for a publicly traded stock that’s on the exchange.

On this episode of Industry Focus: Technology, host Dylan Lewis is joined by Motley Fool contributing writer Daniel Kline to talk about the dangers of this type of investing. They break down all the risks associated with purchasing shares in a company that does not have to report as much financial data as a traditional publicly traded company.

Watch the full video discussion here.

Elevate to Release Third Quarter 2017 Earnings on Monday, October 30, 2017 (Financial Times), Rated: B

Elevate Credit, Inc. today announced that it will release its third quarter 2017 financial results after the market closes on Monday, October 30, 2017. Ken Rees, Chief Executive Officer, and Chris Lutes, Chief Financial Officer, will also host a conference call on the day of the release (October 30, 2017) at 5:00 pm ET to discuss Elevate’s financial results.

Interested parties may access the conference call live over the phone by dialing 1-877-407-0792 (domestic) or 1-201-689-8263 (international) and requesting the Elevate Third Quarter 2017 Earnings Conference Call. Participants are asked to dial in a few minutes prior to the call to register for the event. The conference call will also be webcast live through Elevate’s website at 

An audio replay of the conference call will be available approximately three hours after the conference call until 11:59 pm ET on November 13, 2017, and can be accessed by dialing 1-844-512-2921 (domestic) or 1-412-317-6671 (international), and providing the passcode 13671832, or by accessing Elevate’s website.

Citi FinTech’s Customer-Driven Journey: Our Latest Mobile Enhancements (Citi), Rated: B

These new mobile investment features include a dividend reinvestment plan (DRIP), fund screener, consolidated search functionality and enhanced visualization. Through the Citi Mobile App for iPhone, any Citi client with a brokerage account now enjoys one-touch access to their financial advisors and the ability to manage their investments personally, without switching to another channel.

Dividend Reinvestment Plan: Now clients can enroll eligible securities in a dividend reinvestment plan (DRIP) right within the app. Once a customer has opted in, this feature helps our clients put their cash dividends to work, instead of idling in their accounts.

Investment Search: This consolidated search function makes investing easier for clients interested in managing their portfolios themselves.

Performance Visualization: An enhanced visualization enables clients to track their portfolio’s performance and make adjustments right within the app.

United Kingdom

App-only bank Atom nears £1 billion in deposits (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Startup, app-only bank Atom has passed £900 million in deposits less than two years after launching its first savings product.

The disclosure comes as Atom’s annual accounts show that the startup had £538 million in deposits from over 17,000 customers at the end of March. It means the app-only bank has attracted around £400 million in four months.

The bank’s accounts, filed with Companies House this week, show Atom has received over £300 million of small business loan applications and lent out close to £100 million in loans and mortgages by March this year.

Atom had a net interest loss of £1 million for the year, due to paying out interest on its 1.95% and 2.5% fixed savings accounts, at the time market-leading interest rates, before the launch of its lending products.

UK’s biggest robo-advisor Nutmeg sees losses widen (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Nutmeg, the UK’s biggest automated investment fintech in terms of assets under management (AUM), released 

Source: Business Insider

P2P lending on course for 20 per cent jump (FT Adviser), Rated: A

Lending across all of the peer-to-peer platforms in 2017 to date is already higher than in the whole of 2016, according to data from research agency 4thWay.

According to the data, total lending across all peer-to-peer platforms is likely to be at least 20 per cent higher this year than last with the largest platforms, Funding Circle and Zopa, leading the way.

Funding Circle has lent £865m in 2017 to date, compared with £825m in the whole of 2016.

European Union

The 8 Biggest Startups in Europe by Funding (Nanalyze), Rated: AAA

Zee Germans are leading the pack with 4 unicorns and we also see that fintech and ecommerce make up half of all the sector allocations.

Company Name Funding Country Sector
Spotify $8.53 Sweden Internet Software & Services
Otto Bock HealthCare $3.50 Germany Healthcare
Auto1 Group $2.80 Germany eCommerce/Marketplace
Klarna $2.50 Sweden Fintech
VistaJet $2.50 Malta On-demand
Adyen $2.30 Netherlands Fintech
Hellofresh $2.09 Germany eCommerce/Marketplace
CureVac $1.65 Germany Healthcare
BlaBlaCar $1.60 France On-Demand
Saxo Bank $1.45 Denmark Fintech
Global Fashion Group $1.10 Luxembourg eCommerce/Marketplace
OVH $1.10 France Big Data
Avaloq Group $1.01 Switzerland Fintech
AVAST Software $1 Czech Republic Cybersecurity
letgo $1 Netherlands eCommerce/Marketplace
MindMaze $1 Switzerland VR/AR

Big Brand Payments, Part 1

Another big player from Sweden is Klarna, founded in 2005 and now valued at $2.5 billion. With $521.44 million in funding from investors like Sequoia and Visa, Klarna is one of the most popular e-commerce payment solutions in Europe, used by Burberry, Overstock.com, J.Crew, Nike, Lenovo, and hundreds more.

Adlibris, one of Europe’s largest booksellers, used Klarna to improve its mobile checkout solution, resulting in an 80% conversion increase.

Big Brand Payments, Part 2

With a valuation just shy of its Swedish colleague Klarna, Netherlands-based Adyen (valued at $2.3 billion), has established a firm foothold in the world of merchant payments by providing a “friction-less payment experience”. Founded in 2006 and funded with $266 million to date, Adyen has some huge customers in its corner, including Netflix, Uber, Etsy, Spotify, Groupon, and LinkedIn. The secret is in its platform, which features support for a wide variety of payment options (250 worldwide, to be exact) in a single system, including Apple and Android Pay, all major credit cards, direct debit for recurring payments, in-app purchases, and much more. The Cambridge Satchel, a UK handbag company, saw its Black Friday sales rocket by 124% after switching to Adyen’s platform. In addition to one-time purchases, the platform also facilitates subscriptions and recurring payments more seamlessly.

Trelix Approved as a Third-Party Due Diligence Provider by DBRS (Business Insider), Rated: A

Trelix, a provider of due diligence, quality control, licensed fulfillment and non-licensed fulfillment products and services across the origination and securitization lifecycle, today announced that it has been approved as a third-party due diligence provider for DBRS-rated transactions. DBRS is a full-service credit rating agency respected for its independent, third-party evaluations of corporate and government issues. DBRS’s approval process, before adding a company as an accepted provider, includes an on-site review to assess companies’ staffing, infrastructure and capabilities relevant to securitization-related services.

As part of Altisource’s Origination Solutions platform, Trelix offers clients a unique combination of technology and risk management tools that position it to have a meaningful impact on the securitization market.

Dutch fintech company InvoiceFinance raises €6 million in funding (Tech.eu), Rated: A

InvoiceFinance, a fintech startup based in Amsterdam, has raised €6 million from Peak Capital.

The new funds will be invested in marketing purposes and hiring for the sales and development team.

New10 Partners With Mambu To Redefine Dutch SME Lending (Bob’s Guide), Rated: A

Mambu today announced that New10, ABN AMRO’s newly launched FinTech, has selected the SaaS engine to power a range of small and medium enterprise (SME) lending products in the Netherlands. New10, which aims to provide credit decisions within 15 minutes, went from concept to launch within 10 months, in line with ABN AMRO’s vision of digitisation and innovation.

Mambu took a collaborative approach working with the New10 team in order to complete implementation within four months. In a highly regulated environment, Mambu’s partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS) which has received Dutch regulatory approval, helped smooth the path to market. New10 launched on 21 September 2017 with a fully digital SME lending platform with plans to broaden the portfolio and potentially expand into new markets.

collectAI manages 25m Euro in Receivables (Otto Group), Rated: A

collectAI, the service for digital receivables, has processed receivables at a volume of 25m Euro since its foundation in 2016. collectAI automates and digitises invoices, dunning and debt collection processes and is the first digital end-to-end provider in receivables management.

Examples of successful KPIs on the clients’ side include: Introducing digital communication channels lead to an increase of the collection rate of 33 percent, while processing costs have been reduced by up to 41 percent.

While 23 percent of invoices are overdue Europe-wide (EHI 2016 – online retail only), the invoice remains the most popular payment method in Germany with a market share of 30,5 percent (EOS 2016). Even though returns from receivables and debt collection are essential for revenue and thus liquidity, only 18 percent of companies have digitised their receivables to date (EOS/Kantar 2017).

Papering Over the Cracks (LendIt), Rated: A

In 2016 there were a reported 5.4 million SMEs in operation in the UK alone and our economy depends heavily on the success of these “little guys”.

Fintechs and banks are now lending faster than the speed of light, but when it comes to uncovering fraudulent activity, are they actually left standing in the dark?

Invoice finance lenders have to be particularly vigilant when it comes to a different type of fraud: fresh air invoicing.

One way to avoid being stung by paper fraud is to lend against accurate financial data extracted directly from a company’s accounting package, rather than lending against a PDF or excel file that can be amended. Advances in technology means lenders are now able to access this level of data directly, securely and efficiently, so they can be sure they’re providing fair financial support to loan applicants.

International

BitProperty Announces Upcoming Token Sale, Beta Release of Real Estate Investment Platform (Bitcoinist), Rated: AAA

BitProperty, the blockchain-powered real estate investment platform, has announced that it will launch a closed beta release on October 5, 2017. Ten days later, on October 15, it will kick off a token sale to raise funds for further development of the platform.

The BitProperty platform is built on the Ethereum blockchain and uses two different types of tokens. The first type is an asset token that represents a share of a particular asset. When a real estate owner lists a property on the platform, the number of asset tokens issued against the property represents its value. Investors can purchase these asset tokens and will then receive income based on the performance of the asset (property) and the size of the stake that each investor holds.

The second type of token is the BTP token, which represents the inherent value of the platform backed by the pool of the company’s managed assets.

India

Rubique crosses over 50,000 credit cards customers (India.com), Rated: AAA

Mumbai-based FinTech startup Rubique continues to embark upon its fast-paced growth across sectors, including Retail and SME financing.

Rubique has till date successfully crossed over 50,000 Credit Cards customers.

RBI issues directions for peer-to-peer lending platforms (India Times), Rated: AAA

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), on October 4, issued directions for non-banking financial companies (NBFC) that operate peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms. According to the directions, from now on no NBFC can start or carry on the business of a P2P lending platform without obtaining a Certificate of Registration. Every company seeking registration with the bank as an NBFC-P2P shall have a net owned funds of not less than Rs 20 million or such higher amount as the bank may specify.

They have been asked to apply for registration as NBFC-P2Ps within 3 months.

NOTIFICATIONS (Reserve Bank of India), Rated: AAA

3. Scope

These Directions provide a framework for the registration and operation of NBFC-P2Ps in India.

(2) Process of Registration

(i) Every existing and prospective NBFC-P2P shall make an application for registration to the Department of Non-Banking Regulation, Mumbai of the Bank, in the form which will be specified by the Bank for the purpose. Existing NBFC-P2Ps shall apply within three months from the issuance of these Directions.

(ii) The Bank, for the purpose of considering the application for registration, shall require the following conditions, among others, to be fulfilled:

  1. The company is incorporated in India;
  2. The company has the necessary technological, entrepreneurial and managerial resources to offer such services to the participants;
  3. The company has the adequate capital structure to undertake the business of Peer to Peer Lending Platform;
  4. The promoters and the Directors of the company are fit and proper;
  5. The general character of the management of the company is not prejudicial to the public interest;
  6. The company has submitted a plan for, or implemented, a robust and secure Information Technology system;
  7. The company has submitted a viable business plan for conducting the business of Peer to Peer Lending Platform;
  8. Public interest shall be served by the grant of CoR;

Any other condition as may be specified by the Bank, fulfillment of which, in the opinion of the Bank, is necessary to ensure that the commencement of or carrying on the business in India shall not be prejudicial to the public interest.

6. Scope of Activities

(1) An NBFC-P2P shall-

  1. act as an intermediary providing an online marketplace or platform to the participants involved in Peer to Peer lending;
  2. not raise deposits as defined by or under Section 45I(bb) of the Act or the Companies Act, 2013;
  3. not lend on its own;
  4. not provide or arrange any credit enhancement or credit guarantee;
  5. not facilitate or permit any secured lending linked to its platform; i.e. only clean loans will be permitted;
  6. not hold, on its own balance sheet, funds received from lenders for lending, or funds received from borrowers for servicing loans; or such funds as stipulated in paragraph 9;
  7. not cross sell any product except for loan specific insurance products;
  8. not permit international flow of funds;
  9. ensure adherence to legal requirements applicable to the participants as prescribed under relevant laws.
  10. store and process all data relating to its activities and participants on hardware located within India.

(2) Further, NBFC-P2P shall-

  1. undertake due diligence on the participants;
  2. undertake credit assessment and risk profiling of the borrowers and disclose the same to their prospective lenders;
  3. require prior and explicit consent of the participant to access its credit information;
  4. undertake documentation of loan agreements and other related documents;
  5. provide assistance in disbursement and repayments of loan amount;
  6. render services for recovery of loans originated on the platform.

(3) NBFC-P2P shall not undertake any activity other than those stated in paras 6(1) and 6(2) of these Directions. Deployment of investible funds by an NBFC-P2P in instruments specified by the Bank, not for trading, shall however be permitted.

11. Transparency and Disclosure Requirements

(1) An NBFC-P2P shall be required to disclose the following:

(i) to the lender

  1. details about the borrower/s including personal identity, required amount, interest rate sought and credit score as arrived by the NBFC-P2P.
  2. details about all the terms and conditions of the loan, including likely return, fees and taxes;

(ii) to the borrower – details about the lender/s including proposed amount, interest rate offered but excluding personal identity and contact details;

(iii) publicly disclose on its website:

  1. overview of credit assessment/score methodology and factors considered;
  2. disclosures on usage/protection of data;
  3. grievance redressal mechanism;
  4. portfolio performance including share of non-performing assets on a monthly basis and segregation by age; and
  5. its broad business model.

(2) NBFC-P2P shall ensure that the providing of services to a participant, who has applied for availing of such services, is backed by appropriate agreements between the participants and the NBFC-P2P. The agreements shall categorically specify all the terms and conditions among the borrower, the lender and the NBFC-P2P.

(3) The interest rates displayed on the platform shall be in Annualized Percentage Rate (APR) format.

Finance Ministry Welcomes RBI Move On P2P Lending (Bloomberg Quint), Rated: A

The finance ministry today welcomed the central bank’s move to treat peer-to-peer, also known as P2P, lending platforms as non banking financial companies, saying it would improve financing for smaller firms.

RBI To Observe P2P Lenders As Well As Invest in Security Frameworks (Industry Daily News), Rated: A

The government has declared RBI (Reserve Bank of India) as the watchdog for P2P (peer to peer) lending marketplaces that have been segmented as NBFCs (non-banking finance companies). While this might elevate prices for online lenders via compliance needs, most have greeted the decision claiming that it provides them identification.

RBI To Allow Funds Transfer Among Mobile Wallets (Bloomberg Quint), Rated: A

The Reserve Bank of India will make prepaid payment instruments like e-wallets, gift cards and meal coupons interoperable for customers complying with the central bank’s know your customer guidelines.

Inter-operability among KYC compliant prepaid instruments will be implemented in six months after the RBI issues its revised norms within a week by October 11, the central bank said as part of its developmental and regulatory policies.

What startup entrepreneurs should learn from sports (MoneyControl), Rated: B

The so-called unicorn startups and their founders have become role models for the millennials. Hardly any town or city in India is left untouched by the startup fever and its multi-million funding stories.

1. Sport helps build character: Sanjay Darbha, the founder of Peerlend, a peer-to-peer lending platform and a sports enthusiast who competes in Senior Men’s circuit tournaments of the International Tennis Federation (ITF), explains, that sports inculcates attributes such as discipline, focus, and patience.

2. Sports lets you, be yourself: If entrepreneurs want to know the better or bitter side of their team members – make them play a sport.

3. Sport is a medium to connect beyond business: Ecosystem players should find innovative ways to connect with each other to get a better understanding of other’s needs and challenges.

4. Sport helps in building lasting bonds: A playground in an excellent incubator that helps in the construction of robust and long-lasting relationships.

Startups could use games to let their team members explore possible synergies between them.

Canada

Aspire FinTech is closing down (Aspire Email), Rated: AAA

Hey all,

I wanted to share the news today that Aspire Financial Technologies will be officially shutting down this week.  Sadly, the search for a strategic partner we started in the summer wasn’t successful, and our funding has now run out.  As a result, we no longer have the resources to continue the build of our loan data and analytics infrastructure solutions.

I’ll be running a sale process of Aspire’s IP (Aspire Gateway and ALD Explorer solutions) over the next month or so, looking for a quick outcome.  Feel free to contact me to discuss.

Thanks to all that have supported Aspire over the past two years.  Despite the odds, we made it this far, with your help.  Unfortunately, expensive and complex build requirements, with long institutional sales cycles, combined with a lack of scalable professional seed-stage funding in Canada, have been our undoing.  Any one of these being different would likely have yielded a better outcome, but all three together have proved to be terminal.

Mark and I have had a great team to work with.  We thank them for all the hard work and long hours, and wish them well as they move on to their next challenges (and hopefully a bit more stability!).

For me personally, I’ve made and consumed a great deal of  “FinTech Kool-Aid” over the past two years, which has permanently altered by view of the future, and the role that technology will play in the delivery of financial services to consumers, small businesses and corporations going forward.  I’m excited to see this play out, and the role I can play in making it happen.

Best regards,

David A. Fry, MBA, CFA
Co-Founder and CEO
Aspire Financial Technologies Inc.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday October 2 2017, Daily News Digest

marketplace lending uk

News Comments Today’s main news: CEO-less SoFi will have to wait to get a bank. Zopa partners with Saffron Building Society. Zopa updates credit risk model. Assetz Capital lowers commercial mortgage interest rate to 6.9%. RateSetter reports 56% of investors switch from cash. Beehive raises $5M. African billionaire invests in digital bank. Today’s main analysis: UK marketplace lenders struggle to find […]

marketplace lending uk

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

APAC

MENA

South Africa

News Summary

United States

SoFi’s CEO Hiatus Stalls Its Big-Time Banking Ambitions (The New York Times), Rated: AAA

One of the most valuable private financial technology startups in the United States, SoFi’s $4.3 billion valuation was based on expectations it could develop into a major lender but Cagney’s departure this month and the circumstances around his exit complicate efforts to create a new-generation bank that could compete against JPMorgan or Bank of America.

The company has hired headhunters over the past few days to help find his replacement, but an appointment is not expected to take place until the end of the year, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The gap at the top is likely to stall SoFi’s application for a banking license, according to the source, because regulators assess whether a company has a capable CEO before allowing it to accept deposits.

A banking license was a key part of Cagney’s push to grow SoFi beyond its core business of student loans and unsecured personal loans.

But without Cagney at the helm, the emphasis is expected to shift.

The company will be more disciplined about testing new products before selling them widely, a source close to the company said.

Square Wants To Be A Bank, And Real Banks Are Pissed (BuzzFeed), Rated: AAA

Small businesses love Square because it charges them less than the bigger, bank-owned payment processors, and the little white card-swipes that plug into a smartphone are easier and more convenient than handheld credit card terminals. Square also — through a partnership with a tiny bank in Utah — makes loans to small companies and entrepreneurs banks would turn away.

As much as small merchants love Square, smaller banks distrust it, particularly now that the company, which is based in San Francisco, has applied to become an industrial loan company (ILC), a controversial type of banking license offered in Utah and a few other states.

And while Square insists it only wants to make small loans to the merchants it serves, banks see this as a backdoor way into their bread-and-butter business of taking deposits and making loans, both to businesses and consumers.

And Square, with its at least 2 million merchant customers, may look to today’s bankers a lot like Walmart did a decade ago. The company has been aggressively soliciting the merchants who use it as a payment processor, offering them small-dollar loans by email.

Take Courtney Foster, who runs a one-chair salon in the Murray Hill neighborhood of Manhattan and has used Square to accept payments for years. One day she got an email from Square Capital with an offer of a loan of $1,000 to $1,500, which would be paid back directly out of her payments processed through Square.

She has since borrowed about $3,000 in total from Square using the money (supplied by Celtic Bank) to start her own line of hair products.

The average loan approved by Square is about $6,000, and the company has either advanced or loaned almost $2 billion since 2014. The amount due back is typically 10% to 16% more than the amount loaned out — which is on the low end for similar types of small business finance  with payments coming out of a fixed percentage of the merchant’s receipts received through Square. The whole balance is due after 18 months, though Square customers can repay early.

Utah has 16 industrial banks, and most fall into the latter category, while some are retailers that issue their own loans, like BMW. Other companies that operate Utah industrial banks include American Express, USAA, UBS, and Sallie Mae.

Acting OCC Head Noreika Comments on FinTech Charter and Online Lending (PeerIQ), Rated: A

Also, in a major shift from prior OCC Head Tom Curry, Noreika affirmed that the proposed FinTech charter could be granted to commercial firms. Former Chair of the FDIC, William Isaac, was also constructive on the concept of enabling commercial firms to engage in banking to drive greater competition, customer choice, and expand access to credit to the 60% of Americans that cannot access a loan from a US bank. Historically, the separation of banking and commerce under the Bank Holding Company Act has prevented commercial firms (outside the ILC charter) from offering banking services. Our interpretation of the above is that, under the FinTech charter, commercial firms such as Walmart, Amazon, Google, and Facebook would have a path to offering banking services.

Cross River Bank CRO Adam Goller moderated a panel including PeerIQ (Ram Ahluwalia), Affirm (Alex Karram), Marlette Funding (Jeff Meiler), and former Massachusetts Commissioner of Banks, David Cotney. PeerIQ cited data and research from Columbia and Harvard Law concluding that the lack of regulatory clarity stemming from Madden-Midland has reduced the availability of credit in District 2.

On Timing for Issuing Charters:
“Interest also remains in the possibility of the OCC offering special purpose national bank charters to nondepository fintech companies engaged in the business of banking. … We have not, however, decided whether we will exercise that specific authority to issue special purpose national bank charters to nondepository fintech companies. We will keep you posted.”

PeerIQ Context: The Conference of State Bank Supervisors and NYS Dept of Financial Services have challenged the OCC’s authority to issue charters. Also, the OCC may be waiting for the nominee of Head of OCC Joseph Otting to be confirmed by the US Senate before introducing the FinTech Charter. Otting was approved by the Senate Banking Committee in early September.

Will They or Won’t They: The OCC’s Fintech Charter (Payments Journal), Rated: A

“The Fintech Charter Decision is an unlawful assertion of power that usurps New York consumer protection laws and would preempt plaintiff’s ability to regulate any number of the over 600 non- depository institutions she currently regulates,” wrote Matthew Levine, the executive deputy superintendent for enforcement at the department.”

“Acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim, representing the defendants, argued that DFS lacks standing in the complaint because the OCC’s regulations addressing the special-purpose national bank charter have resulted in no injury-in-fact, because the office has not reached a final decision on whether it will offer the specific type of national bank charter that does not take deposits and conducts activities other than fiduciary activities. The U.S. Attorney’s Office also argues that the complaint should be dismissed for failure to state a claim.”

Scott Robinson of Plug and Play Fintech (Lend Academy), Rated: A

One of the leading accelerator programs today is Plug and Play, they claim to be the world’s largest startup accelerator. Lending Club and many other big names have gone through their program. In 2014 they started a dedicated fintech accelerator program, founded by Scott Robinson, who is our latest guest on the Lend Academy Podcast.

The Massive Hedge Fund Betting on AI (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Man Group, which has about $96 billion under management, typically takes its most promising ideas from testing to trading real money within weeks.

What spooked him was an experiment at his firm, Man Group Plc.Engineers at the company’s technology-centric AHL unit had been dabbling with artificial intelligence—a buzzy, albeit not widely used, technology at the time. The system they built evolved autonomously, finding moneymaking strategies humans had missed. The results were startlingly good, and now Ellis and fellow executives needed to figure out their next move.

The program stayed in quarantine until 2014, when a senior portfolio manager with a Ph.D. in mathematical logic named Nick Granger decided it was time to take it out of testing. He gave the AI system a small amount of money from a portfolio he was managing—then more, then more again. At each step, the program was profitable.

Source: Bloomberg

Matic Insurance Services and LendingQB Team Up to Eliminate Stress, Mortgage Delays Related to Homeowner’s Insurance (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Matic Insurance Services (Matic), a digital insurance agency that enables borrowers to purchase homeowner’s insurance during the home-buying transaction, today announced a new partnership with LendingQB, a provider of “lean lending” loan origination technology. Matic announced the news as part of a live demonstration at San Francisco’s Digital Mortgage conference.

Matic’s integration with LendingQB’s flagship loan origination software (LOS) makes it easy for borrowers to upload or secure a homeowner’s insurance policy during the mortgage application process. The result is a less stressful experience for borrowers and the elimination of costly insurance-related delays for LendingQB’s lender clients.

Is Yahoo a fintech company now? (Quartz), Rated: B

Fintech generally refers to companies like SoFi, TransferWise, and Revolut, whose ambition is to use technology to challenge traditional banks. What Yahoo Finance is doing is a little different—its app will add online brokers like Fidelity and E-Trade to its platform, but it won’t make any money from the brokerage charges. Instead, Yahoo Finance (now part of Oath, a Verizon-owned company), which has about 41 million mobile users, is trying to boost usage of its app.

The platform is targeted at devoted investors and provides more financial data for free than you can get outside of a Bloomberg terminal, according to Michael La Guardia, Yahoo Finance’s head of product.

Alipay almost accidentally started the world’s biggest money market fund (paywall) when it gave users a way to park their money from mobile payments. Amazon, meanwhile, offers credit to its merchants and has made more than $3 billion of loans, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF). Facebook has ambitions for its app to do just about everything, including financial activities. Tencent’s WeChat in many ways already does.

United Kingdom

Zopa searches for new borrowers through Saffron Building Society loan partnership (City A.M.), Rated: AAA

Zopa is partnering with a building society to offer its loans as it seeks to add more borrowers to the platform.

The online peer-to-peer lender will provide loans at 11 bricks-and-mortar branches of Saffron Building Society across Hertfordshire, Essex and Suffolk, as well as online.

Zopa Announces Credit Risk Model Update (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On Friday, online lending platform Zopa announced the latest update of its credit risk model. This news comes just a few weeks after the lender announced updated on improving loan sale time progress, rebate period, and ISA transfer-in. Chief Product Officer at Zopa, Andrew Lawson, revealed he and his team are continuing to monitor leading macroeconomic indicators carefully alongside how Zopa’s loans are performing compared to expectation:

Marketplace lenders struggle to find borrowers (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Zopa, the world’s first peer-to-peer lending company, hoped the partnership whereby drivers for the ride-hailing app were directed to its website for loans would mark its entry into a multibillion-pound market for secured loans in the UK.

But barely six months after the deal was struck it collapsed, with the partnership failing to attract as many drivers as expected.

Zopa’s experiment with Uber underlines the enormous difficulty faced by marketplace lenders attempting to find new borrowers. These borrowers are crucial for the platforms to grow at a time when there is strong interest from institutional investors to provide crowdfunded loans.

Source: Financial Times

According to Mr Zhang, institutional investors such as hedge funds, asset managers, pension funds and family offices now account for between 30 and 40 per cent of peer-to-peer consumer and business lending, compared with less than 5 per cent before 2014. BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, made its first significant retail investment in peer-to-peer loans last year when it bought a stake in Funding Circle’s investment trust.

So far, however, they have struggled to attract borrowers to match this demand. Competition is increasing from traditional banks — Goldman Sachs has its own online lending platform — especially for prime and super-prime debt that is less likely to default.

Source: Financial Times

Assetz Capital Lowers Commercial Mortgage Interest Rate From 7.9% to 6.9% (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Assetz Capital, one of the UK’s fastest growing peer-to-peer finance platforms and the largest property backed peer-to-peer lender, announced on Friday it has lowered its entry interest rate for commercial mortgages from 7.9% to 6.9% in an unprecedented move to give access to even lower rates for lower-risk borrowers looking for commercial mortgages. This is one of the lowest rates available from any alternative finance providers.

Three million small businesses still don’t accept cards, despite move away from cash (The Telegraph), Rated: AAA

Around three million of Britain’s small businesses do not accept card payments, despite the UK rapidly becoming a nation of card-only shoppers.

One in six British shoppers now uses cards only to pay. A further 38pc would typically try to pay with a card first before they have to pay with cash, according to a study by Square, the payment company belonging to Twitter founder Jack Dorsey.

Small companies could be missing out on millions of pounds’ worth of business by not offering card payment facilities, Square warned.

Card payments overtook cash payments as the main method of purchases in the UK for the first time in July this year, according to the British Retail Consortium. The average Brit has just £32.54 in cash in their purse or wallet right now – not enough to cover more than one of the average transaction size of £18.42.

Wonga on course for profit this year after major changes (Express), Rated: A

The company, which has been overhauled under new management after being accused of targeting the vulnerable and being forced to compensate nearly 200,000 borrowers who overpaid owing to “system errors”, cut its annual pre-tax loss from £80.2million to £64.9million.

Revenue grew by 18 per cent to £76.7million as more products boosted customer numbers by 6 per cent.

Wonga confirms £64.9m loss in year it ended Newcastle United sponsorship (ChronicleLive), Rated: A

Britain’s biggest payday lender Wonga has revealed it remained deep in the red last year with losses of £64.9m, but confirmed plans to return to profit in 2017.

Nutmeg loss widens to £9.3m as it develops advice offer (Citywire), Rated: A

Nutmeg’s 2016 losses have widened £9.3 million as it continued to invest heavily, as it presses ahead with developing the ‘most approporate’ advice proposition for its customers.

The loss, revealed in its accounts published on Companies House, follows the £8.9 million loss it posted in 2015. Its operating expenses rose from £10.8 million to £11.9 million over the year.

At the end of the year Nutmeg managed around £600 million in assets under management on behalf of 25,000 clients.

Turnover rose by almost 50% from £1.72 million to £2.56 million.

Wealthtech is coming to the High Street (Banking Technology), Rated: A

One area of fintech that is of interest is wealthtech. This sub-sector is likely to become more visible over the next few months. Wealthtech has become defined as utilising technology to enhance wealth management and the retail investment process.

The most visible players in the UK are the robo-advisors with Nutmeg the best known (and RiskSave following behind!) but other concepts are also deserving of attention, such as Munnypot.

These developments will soon be more visible at branch level.

An offering of automated financial advice from the retail banks could go a long way towards alleviating this. Santander and HSBC have already launched product offerings in this space, RBS is trialling a service through its Coutts’ sub-brand and Lloyds (with a quarter of the UK market) are sitting on the sidelines awaiting the results of the regulator’s Financial Advice Market Review (FAMR).

Fintech start-up Curve adds cloud-based accounting software to its app to simplify expenses (CNBC), Rated: A

Fintech start-up Curve will now let users claim business expenses across multiple bank cards through its app.

The London-based firm’s app allows its users to link all of their bank cards to one contactless MasterCard. Curve said it hopes to automate the tedious process and remove any friction associated with business expenses. It is predominantly targeted at small business owners and the self-employed.

Curve said Monday it would add online accounting software developer Xero to the app, meaning users will now be able to claim business spending across all their accounts.

The hottest startups in London (Wired), Rated: A

As London’s startup community awaits the result of Brexit negotiations – and its impact on single-market access – one might think tech would have ground to a halt. But growth continues: the last 18 months have seen billion-dollar valuations for TransferWise, Funding Circle and Improbable, and a near-unicorn valuation for Deliveroo.

Monzo

Monzo wants to make banking smarter. Founded in 2015 by Tom Blomfield, Jonas Huckestein, Jason Bates, Paul Rippon and Gary Dolman, it offers pre-paid cards connected to an app that tracks spending and lets its customers analyse their financial activity.

Nested

One of a growing number of UK property – or proptech – startups, Nested guarantees that it will sell your house within 90 days, or buy it themselves.

Habito

Habito scours more than 15,000 mortgage products to suggest the best option, and takes a commission from the eventual lender. In January 2017, the startup raised £5.5 million in a Series A round led by Ribbit Capital.

Ravelin

Founded in 2014, Ravelin analyses online behaviour in real time to reduce payment-related fraud. According to its clients – including Deliveroo, Karhoo, and Easy Taxi, its technology reduces fraud incidence by more than 50 per cent. The company has raised £4.3 million to date from backers including Passion Capital and Errol Damelin.

P2P needs the FSCS stamp of approval (Citywire), Rated: B

Some commentators estimated nearly half a million new investors would try their hand at P2P lending when the Innovative Finance ISA brought eligible platforms into the ISA fold.

This is unsurprising given that, according to government statistics, British consumers have around £500 billion either saved or invested in ISAs.

However, the stampede has not arrived yet.

Plenty of people think the FSCS offers an insurance policy against poor investment performance. It does not. If a share portfolio tanks, for example, the scheme will not be there to save you. That is the risk you run by choosing to invest in the equity markets.

The FSCS is, however, on hand to compensate investors if a provider has been shown to mismanage its product, and has subsequently gone bust. Only then does it offer up to £50,000 (2017/18 tax year), not the larger amount doled out to savers.

Hull has fast become a profitable city for buy-to-let landlords (Mortgage Introducer), Rated: B

LendInvest’s buy-to-let index ranked the city as the fifth best buy-to-let postcode for landlords in the third quarter of 2017, up from 33rd in the second quarter.

“Cities such as Hull and Nottingham making significant gains in the Index (up #33 to #5 and #35 to #12 respectively) is encouraging, and points to competitive market conditions in those areas and higher than average levels of activity.

The top 10 areas for investors in order of ranking are Luton (#1), Colchester (#2), Manchester (#3), Rochester (#4), Hull (#5), Stevenage (#6), Romford (#7), Southend-on-Sea (#8), Ipswich (#9) and Ilford (#10).

China

Wealth-Management Industry at Turning Point (Caixin), Rated: AAA

China’s wealth-management industry is undergoing profound changes, shifting away from short-term, fixed-income products to longer-term, equity-based investment, said Tang Ning, chief executive of Beijing-based fintech conglomerate CreditEase.

Last year, the Forbes listed a record 400 billionaires from the Chinese mainland, compared to 335 a year ago. The listed members held a total of $947 billion assets, a 14% rise from the previous year. Meanwhile, China’s per-capita GDP exceeded $8,123 in 2016, up from $8,069 a year earlier, according to the World Bank.

Unlike investors in the U.S. and other developed market, Chinese investors have long favored most the fix-income products like bonds and bank bills, betting on governments’ implicit payment guarantee. But as China’s economy slows and its financial market liberalizes, the government has become increasingly hesitant to offer such sweeping guarantees.

A number of wealth management companies including CreditEase have launched private equity FOF over the past few years. In early September, the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) approved the first batch of six firms including China Asset Management, China Southern Fund Management and Manulife Teda Fund Management to set up publicly offered FOF products.

Tang estimated that there are 200 million active investors in China who do not have access to human advisers and asset managers because of their hefty fees.

Alibaba’s Jack Ma places bet on China’s online insurance market (Asian Review), Rated: A

When the heads of three of China’s most prominent companies join hands to launch a start-up, investors notice.

Jack Ma Yun of Alibaba Group HoldingTencent Holdings‘ Pony Ma Huateng, and Peter Ma Mingzhe of Ping An Insurance Group — collectively known as the “three Ma’s” — did just that. Looking to turn Ping An into a full-blown financial technology company within ten years, Peter also enabled the growth of Lufax, which started as a peer-to-peer lending platform in 2011 and became one of the most valuable e-finance company worldwide as of September.

Four years ago they founded China’s first online-only insurer. It was a company with an untested business model and making no money, but it sparked an investor frenzy.

Source: Asian Review

HSBC: Mobile banking in China begins with your face (Enterprise Innovation), Rated: A

Mobile banking continues to soar in China. According to China Internet Watch, total transactions of China mobile banking clients totaled 55.63 trillion yuan (US$44 trillion), up 5.1% quarter on quarter. China Construction Bank (26.1%) and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (21%) have a combined market share of close to half of mobile banking in Q2 2017.

European Union

French Real Estate Crowdfunding Grows Steadily and Delivers (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The French real estate crowdfunding market grew by 50% in 2016 and keeps growing at the same linear growth pace in 2017. While new platforms continue to join, first entrants strongly dominate the nascent market. With €160 million worth of real estate projects funded, the French platforms have a positive record of delivering expected returns.

It has since grown at a fast, but more linear pace of +53% to reach €68 million in 2016, and is expected to grow by 50% again in 2017.

French real estate crowdfunding attracts new platforms. In 2016, their number grew from 26 to 42, with 19 new entrants and 3 withdrawals. Indeed, more than 90% of real estate crowdfunds are raised by the top 10 platforms and 75% by the top 5. Between them, the two leaders, WiSeed and Anaxago, account for more than 50% of the market.

Top 10 French real estate crowdfunding platforms
Platform

Regulatory Status

Regulated Real estate since

Projects

Value

Repaid

Wiseed

PSI

2014

123

€53,197,600

33 %

Anaxago

CIP

2014

83

€38,908,333

18 %

Lendix

IFP

2014

14

€15,875,000

7 %

Clubfunding

CIP

2015

30

€10,075,500

27 %

Lymo.fr

CIP

2015

29

€8,196,500

45 %

Fundimmo

CIP

2015

23

€7,734,900

26 %

Homunity

CIP

2016

22

€6,732,200

18 %

Koregraf

CIP

2015

17

€4,935,500

47 %

Proximea

CIP

2015

5

€3,490,000

20 %

Immovesting

CIP

2016

7

€2,932,000

Source : , September 2017

 

Source: Crowdfund Insider

WINNERS ANNOUNCED FOR INVESTOR ALLSTARS EVENT (BusinessCloud), Rated: A

The winners of the 15th annual Investor Allstars awards were announced this week, with Funding Circle co-founder and CEO Samir Desai being crowned Entrepreneur of the Year and CoderDojo winning the Tech4Good award.

The Entrepreneur of the Year award went to Samir Desai of Funding Circle and online property lending and investment platform LendInvest was announced as Europe’s Allstar Company.

The full list of award winners is:

  • Exit of the Year: Skyscanner (Scottish Equity Partners)
  • Growth and Buyout Fund of the Year: Livingbridge
  • Entrepreneur of the Year: Samir Desai (Funding Circle)
  • VC Fund of the Year: Idinvest Partners
  • Europe’s Allstar Company: LendInvest
  • Corporate Development Team of the Year: Sage Group
  • Investor of the Year: Benoist Grossmann (Idinvest Partners)
  • VCT of the Year: Octopus Ventures Specialist
  • Debt Provider of the Year: Kreos Capital
  • Seed Fund of the Year: LocalGlobe
  • Service Provider of the Year: Orrick
  • Tech4Good Award: CoderDojo Foundation (part of Raspberry Pi Foundation)
  • Digital Innovation in Art: Articheck

That viral ‘mermaid dog’ video was too good to be true (The Daily Dot), Rated: B

It seemed too good to be real. A hairy creature, which some people guessed was an afghan hound, effortlessly floats underwater and moves its arms with the grace of a ballet dancer. It’s pure euphoria, captured in a video that lasts only a few seconds.

When Klarna, a tech bank with a focus on online shopping, posted the video to its Instagram account on Sept. 17 with the caption, “When you’re swimming into the weekend like… #noworries,” many people assumed it was a video of a real animal swimming in a pool. Or maybe they just wanted to believe.

It’s an animation that is part of an ad campaign for Klarna, which is trying sell people on the company’s “smooth” payment system.

International

Regtech Startups On Pace For Record Deals, Against Backdrop Of Shifting Regulatory Landscape (CCB Insights), Rated: AAA

Deals to regtech startups have increased steadily (if at times slowly) over the past few years, from 83 deals in 2013 to 147 last year. At the current run rate, deals in 2017 are on track to hit a new high, while funding is on pace to grow 14% to nearly match record funding levels set in 2015.

In 2017 YTD, regtech startups have seen 103 deals worth $894M in disclosed equity funding. At the current run rate, deals in 2017 are on track to reach a new high of 148 (up slightly from 147 in 2016). Funding is also on pace to grow, potentially bringing total disclosed equity investment over the last 5 years to more than $5B.

Source: CB Insights

Last quarter saw 34 deals, dipping 13% from Q1’17 to hit a 6-quarter low. Though deals were down, funding was up 14% from the previous quarter — and grew 64% year-over-year — to reach $326M.

H1’17 has seen 73 investments, up 3 deals from H1’16, while funding is up approximately 54% over the same period.

Source: CB Insights
Australia/New Zealand

Yield-hungry investors switch their cash to peer-to-peer lenders (The Sydney Morning Herald), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lender, RateSetter, says 56 per cent of money invested with it is from savers withdrawing their money from their bank savings accounts.

Yield-hungry investors are understandably frustrated with earning next-to-nothing on their cash held at their banks, with interest rates at historic lows and likely to stay that way for the foreseeable future.

With the the advent of peer-to-peer (P2P) lenders, online platforms that match investors and borrowers, investors can get up to  three times the interest paid by term deposits.

NZ named Asia Pacific’s fintech champ (NZ Adviser), Rated: A

New Zealand has the highest per capita fintech lending volumes of any country in the Asia Pacific, and has embraced fintech faster than any other neighbouring Asia Pacific countries.

According to the research, peer-to-peer consumer lending forms the bulk of market activity in here. The second largest was donation-based crowdfunding, for which US$16.8 million was raised in 2016 – an increase of around 100% over the previous year. Equity-based crowdfunding was the third largest model in New Zealand with US$13.85 million across 2016 – up from US$11.86 million in 2015.

Appetise’s ASX listing; Study Loans & RateSetter close funding (Deal Street Asia), Rated: A

UK startup Appetise looks to list on the ASX, Study Loans has secured seed funding and P2P lender RateSetter Australia has closed additional funding from a private equity (PE) fund.

Melbourne-based fintech Study Loans, which offers a credit engine targeted at the student loans sector, has raised A$2 million ($1.56 million) in seed funding from investors that include the Simonds family and RMY Corp, as well as A$5 million ($3.9 million) in debt equity.

RateSetter Australia, a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform, has secured A$8.5 million ($6.65 million) from private equity fund Five V Capital. The deal values the company in excess of A$100 million. Existing equity investors in RateSetter are RateSetter UK, Carsales and Strattons.

India

Chqbook – Gurgaon Based Fintech Startup Raised Funds (Bizztor), Rated: B

Chqbook – a fintech startup that allows customers to explore, compare, book and get personal finance products like home loans, personal loans and credit cards, raises undisclosed funds from Youwecan backed Startup Buddy, Apurva Chamaria, global head of corporate marketing, HCL, Sachin Arora, ex-CTO Myntra, Bharat Gupta, Founder of Net Asset Consulting LLP, Amit Manocha, Private equity professional based out of Singapore, and others.

APAC

Indonesian P2P lending platforms recorded 496.5 per cent year-to-date growth of funding allocation (e27), Rated: AAA

Indonesian Financial Services Authority (OJK) revealed that peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms in Indonesia in total has channeled up to IDR1.4 trillion (US$106 million) in funding for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country. The number is a 496.5 per cent year-to-date (YTD) growth from December 2016’s number of IDR242.48 billion (US$17.9 million).

Funding Societies Dubbed First Southeast Asian Company to Win Global SME Excellence Award from United Nations’ ITU Telecom (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Singapore’s and Southeast Asia’s SME crowdfunding platform Funding Societies announced on Friday it was named the first southeast Asia company to win the Global SME Excellence Award from United Nations’ ITU Telecom, which was held this year in Busan, South Korea. 

PLDT unit disrupts businesses (Manila Standard), Rated: A

Vea, 67, now heads Voyager Innovations Inc., the digital arm of PLDT and the one behind digital platforms such as Smart Padala (mobile remittances), PayMaya Philippines Inc. (formerly Smart e-Money), Freenet (free sponsored data platform), VYGR (digital performance-based marketing), Tackthis! (electronic commerce platform), Hatch, (marketing technology and innovations platform), Lendr (digital consumer loan platform), FINTQ (financial technology unit) and Voyager DX (digital transformation).  Voyager, which has 600 employees, introduces solutions that allow customers to participate in the digital economy such as by using digital money.

Marzan presented data showing that 60 million or 58 percent of the Philippines’ 103 million people are Internet users.  Active social medial users are 60 million as well.

“In the Asia-Pacific region with 4.2 billion population, 46 percent are already Internet users and active social media users are 1.5 billion or 36 percent.  Mobile connection is 3.99 billion and active mobile social users are 1.44 billion. This is exponentially growing and we have to prepare for it,” Marzan said.

How FinTech uses technology to help the ‘unserved’ (Manila Bulletin), Rated: B

TrueMoney, a new financial technology player, seeks to have one TrueMoney center in each of the country’s more than 42,000 barangays to serve those who need a remittance network but have no bank accounts.

To meet that goal, TrueMoney teams up with cooperatives and groups in different regions. Its latest partnership is with Cebu People’s Multi-Purpose Cooperative (CPMPC), a community-based savings and credit cooperative with over 55,000 members to-date.

At this point, TrueMoney has over 5,000 centers in the Philippines.

MENA

Fintech Peer to Peer Lending Platform, Beehive, Raises $ 5m Investment (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Beehive, MENA’s leading peer to peer lending (P2P) platform, has secured $5m investment as part of a Series A round led by Riyad TAQNIA Fund and supported by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Fund (MBRF), the financial arm of Dubai SME, as well as several other regional investors. This latest fundraise brings the total raised by Beehive to $10.5m since its launch.

To date, Beehive has successfully facilitated finance over $35 million (AED 130 million) to more than 200 business funding requests and registered more than 5000 international investors.

South Africa

African Billionaire Patrice Motsepe Invests In Digital Bank (Forbes), Rated: AAA

South Africa’s first black billionaire Patrice Motsepe has reportedly invested in TymeDigital, an online lender that has recently been awarded an operating license by the South African Reserve Bank.

African Rainbow Capital (ARC), an investment firm founded by Patrice Motsepe, recently acquired a 10% stake in TymeDigital, which is a subsidiary of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, one of the world’s largest banks.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday August 3 2017, Daily News Digest

earning multiples

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi funds over $3.1 billion in Q2. Bread raises $126M to offer white label solution for major online purchases. RateSetter offers summer prize draw. Thomson Reuters adds alt finance data to Eikon. OnDeck partners with Payment Source in Canada. Today’s main analysis: FT Partners’ CEO monthly alternative lending market analysis for August 2017. International P2P […]

earning multiples

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

Asia

Canada

Africa

Philippines

News Summary

United States

FT Partners’ CEO Monthly Alternative Lending Market Analysis (August ’17) (FT Partners), Rated: AAA

We are pleased to announce our role advising 

Source: FT Partners

Read the full analysis here.

SoFi letter to investors (SoFi Email), Rated: AAA

Fintech Startup Bread Raises $ 126 Million In Bid To Finance Big Online Purchases (Forbes), Rated: AAA

When you buy something online, chances are you use your credit card. If it’s a bigger purchase, like a mattress or a washing machine, you might decide to pay it off over time. Bread is among the financial technology start-ups attempting to get you to ditch your plastic and instead opt to finance your purchase with a loan that has lower rates and predictable monthly payments.

Bread said on Wednesday it has raised $126 million through a Series B funding round to expand the number of retailers that offer its financing. Menlo Ventures led the equity portion of the investment, with participation from Bessemer Venture Partners, RRE Ventures and others. A debt facility was also provided by Victory Park Capital.

The New York-based company was founded in 2014 and offers white-label solutions for retailers who wish to offer convenient financing to their customers.

You can now use PayPal through Skype’s mobile app (TechCrunch), Rated: A

The still growing payments giant today announced a new deal with Skype that will allow users in 22 countries worldwide to send money to other Skype users through an updated version of the Skype mobile app. This extends PayPal’s potential reach by a sizable amount – the Skype app has been downloaded over a billion times to date, and has approximately 300 million monthly active users, according to Skype parent company Microsoft, as of last year.

To be clear, the feature is designed for sending money between friends and family – not payments for goods or services from a business.

How Two Brothers Turned Seven Lines of Code Into a $ 9.2 Billion Startup (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Every day, Americans spend about $1.2 billion online. That figure has roughly doubled in the past five years, according to the Department of Commerce, and it’s likely to double again in the next five as the internet continues to devour traditional retail.

In 2010, Patrick and John Collison, brothers from rural Ireland, began to debug this process. Their company, Stripe Inc., built software that businesses could plug into websites and apps to instantly connect with credit card and banking systems and receive payments.

The company now handles tens of billions of dollars in internet transactions annually, making money by charging a small fee on each one. Half of Americans who bought something online in the past year did so, probably unknowingly, via Stripe. This has given it a $9.2 billion valuation, several times larger than those of its nearest competitors, and made Patrick, 28, and John, 26, two of the world’s youngest billionaires.

One way to justify the number: Stripe’s new partnership with Amazon. com Inc., the largest and most sought-­after customer on the internet. Over the past couple of weeks, Stripe began handling a large, though undisclosed, portion of Amazon’s transactions. Neither company will address the scope of the deal—which was only revealed by Stripe’s addition of Amazon’s logo to its website—but it could help Stripe greatly increase its trans­action volume.

Seven years in, however, Stripe’s mission is less to send more books, vacuums, and grooming kits into the world than to “increase the GDP of the internet,” Patrick says. To do this, the company is beginning to move beyond payments by writing software that helps companies retool the way they incorporate, pay workers, and detect fraud. It’s part of an ambitious bid to revamp how online business has been conducted for 20 years and to give anyone with a bright idea a chance to compete.

Real Estate Lender Zeus CrowdFunding More Than Doubles Its U.S. Service Area (PR.com), Rated: A

Zeus CrowdFunding will now provide fast funding to more of America than ever before. The company more than doubled its service area this month, expanding to eight new states as well as Washington, D.C.

The full list of territories in which Zeus CrowdFunding will provide real estate listings for investment are as follows: Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and West Virginia.

KPMG: ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENT INDUSTRY DEAL MOMENTUM CONTINUES (All About Alpha), Rated: A

The auditing giant KPMG says in a recent report on merger and acquisition activityin the alternative asset management world that there was a dip in activity in this space in 2015, that there was a rebound “to more normalized levels” in 2016, and that the momentum off of that rebound continues in 2017, which saw 18 M&A transactions in the first quarter alone.

Stepping back a bit, the report observes that asset managers that have been focused for a long time on the long-only segment of the market are turning to M&A as one good way of capitalizing on the growing retailization of alternative strategies, “the increasing availability of liquid alternative investments to retail investors through registered investment (mutual) funds and retirement accounts.”

Another Big Picture point – various segments of the AI industry want to merge with one another. Private equity firms in particular want to “expand into adjacent asset classes such as real estate, infrastructure and hedge fund.”

RIA headcount, AUM on the rise as more firms embrace robo model (Financial-Planning), Rated: A

The RIA sector is enjoying brisk growth in both personnel and assets under management, but remains dominated by small businesses that cater to specialized sets of clients, including a growing number of firms that are rolling out interactive digital advice services.

Those are among the findings from a new report by the Investment Adviser Association, the group’s annual industry snapshot.

By the numbers, the RIA sector reached an all-time high with 12,172 SEC-registered advisers as of April 2017, up 2.7% from a year ago. Those advisers serve 35.6 million clients and manage $70.7 trillion in assets, according to the IAA’s analysis.

The data show that there are only a handful of mega-advisers serving a vast portfolio of clients, suggesting a heavy reliance on an automated advice platform. Just eight registrants report that they have more than 1 million clients.

Far more common are firms that have fewer than 100 clients, the analysis finds.

By far the largest segment of firms are those with AUMs between $100 million and $1 billion (56% of all registrants), and 87% of all registrants count fewer than 50 employees. Just 1% of registered advisers — only 124 — boast an AUM of $100 billion or more, yet those shops manage 54% of the total assets in the industry.

LendingTree, LeadsCon Announce Judges for First-Ever $ 25,000 Startup Innovation Spotlight (Markets Insider), Rated: A

LendingTree®, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, and Access Intelligence, a leading business information and marketing company, today announced the judges for its new initiative to showcase the top startup companies in financial technology (fintech) lead generation at LeadsCon this summer.

The judges for the Startup Innovation Spotlight are:

  • Doug Lebda, Founder and CEO of LendingTree
  • Matt Coffin, Founder of Coffin Capital & Ventures
  • AJ Agrawal, Founder of Verma Media and Marketing Consultant to Fortune 500 companies
  • Chris Fralic, Partner at First Round
  • Shawn Colo – Shawn is the Co-Founder & Managing Partner of 3L Capital as well as a senior advisor with Spectrum Equity Investors.

Beware the return of the ILC (American Banker), Rated: A

Recent remarks by acting Comptroller of the Currency Keith Noreika and the industrial bank application submitted by Social Finance have raised significant policy questions about the mixing of banking and commerce, really for the first time since Walmart’s and Home Depot’s failed banking bids prior to the financial crisis.

SoFi’s application, meanwhile, indicates that there may be greater interest in the last viable type of FDIC-insured bank charter still legally available to commercial firms. To be sure, the fintech-powered marketplace lender is not a commercial entity like Walmart. As a financial services provider, SoFi could apply for a mainstream bank holding company license. But SoFi’s industrial bank bid could be seen as a stalking horse, potentially opening the door for more companies — including commercial and industrial firms — that want banking powers. In addition, we should question the wisdom of granting SoFi an FDIC-insured banking license without requiring SoFI to accept regulation by the Federal Reserve as a bank holding company, as other financial owners of banks must do.

Ripple’s Product Suite is Growing (Ripple), Rated: A

And now, Ripple’s growing global payments network has 90+ customers, 75+ commercial deployments in progress and a common set of payment standards governing all transactions on the network.

Based on customer feedback, we’ve given our global payments network a name, RippleNet. This is not new – but simply an evolution of the growing network that has been building significant momentum. RippleNet is the world’s only enterprise blockchain solution for global payments.

Cloud Lending Solutions Announces Major Expansion of the CL Solution Suite With New Product: CL Portal (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Cloud Lending Solutions, a leader in cloud-based loan and leasing software, announced upgrades to its end-to-end suite of lending products for its commercial banks, retail banks and credit union clients with the expansion of its latest product CL Portal™ already in production at a Fortune Global 500 Bank.

The new CL Portal provides a differentiated borrowing experience for commercial, small business and consumer loans for borrowers, investors, and stakeholders by seamlessly integrating with loan product workflows and document management to create a personalized, unique experience for loans ranging from fully automated consumer loans to multi-entity, collaborative commercial loans. The CL Portal supports multiple borrower types including:

  • Commercial Loan Origination Portal: financial institutions can now design a commercial loan portal and enable borrowers to log on and securely upload required documents and check the status of a loan in progress. The CL Portal extends existing document management functionality already in CL Originate, to display a list of document requirements associated with the borrower and facilitate the document upload process and review process.
  • Small Business Loan Application Portal: facilitates a cost-effective, online small business loan origination process leveraging automated scoring criteria and third-party data. Designed to integrate with borrower and back office lending workflows, 3rd party data collections, document collections, and review from CL Originate.
  • Consumer Loan Application Portal: providing a multi-channel personalized and differentiated borrowing experience for consumer loan products. Configurable workflows allow banks to manage the complete consumer loan application including acknowledgments, credit, document delivery, offer, and acceptance.
  • Investor Portal works in conjunction with CL Marketplace, enables financial institutions to extend investment opportunities to their customers by making portions of loans available for investment. CL Portal enables investors to view investment opportunities, bid on applicable loans and manage existing investments.

15 Creative Ways Large Real Estate & Infrastructure Developers – Raise Millions Outside of Traditional Debt and Equity (Part I) (JDSupra), Rated: A

We know one developer who invested only $10,000 by utilizing just two of these strategies and made $35,000,000 by selling to a national homebuilder, and saving substantial within a tax preferred vehicle that his attorney helped him devise.

  1. Forward Sale Funding
  2. Overriding Royalty Interests
  3. Sponsorships
  4. Presales
  5. Crowdfunding
  6. Options Contracts
  7. Pay upon Completion Contracting
  8. Corporate Bond Funding
  9. Municipality Bonds
  10. Private Transfer Fees
  11. Sales/Leaseback
  12. 3rd Party Subordination & Cross-collateralizations
  13. Joint Ventures
  14. Subdividing
  15. Tax

Presales

Lenders typically require developers to presale or pre-lease a certain percentage (e.g. 50%) of their project before providing construction financing.

This requires that developers have the considerable skills and resources to generate presales.  While a typical sales and marketing budget may represent 5% of sales, the ability to achieve these presales makes the difference between getting funding and not.

Crowdfunding

Real estate crowdfunding continues to be a dynamic and ever-evolving industry, growing to an estimated $3.5 billion in 2016. By 2025, the crowdfunding industry as a whole is anticipated to be valued at more than $300 billion and online real estate marketplaces are primed to capitalize on that explosive growth.

 

Why young women today have a gloomier financial outlook than men (CNBC), Rated: B

Millennial women still trail their male peers when it comes to financial satisfaction, according to a new report from online loan marketplace LendingTree. Other elements point to why: The survey found women earn less, carry almost 30 percent more in outstanding debt, and are less confident about their ability to pay it off.

  • 57 percent of millennial men have an annual income of $50,000 or greater, compared to 42 percent of their female counterparts.
  • LendingTree, an online loan marketplace, says millennial women also carry almost 30 percent more outstanding total debt.
  • The top financial priority for millennial women was increasing savings while their male peers said increasing income.

Somewhat Favorable Media Coverage Somewhat Unlikely to Impact Elevate Credit (NYSE:ELVT) Share Price (Community Financial News), Rated: B

News stories about Elevate Credit (NYSE:ELVT) have trended somewhat positive recently, according to Accern. Elevate Credit earned a news sentiment score of 0.14 on Accern’s scale. Accern also gave media headlines about the company an impact score of 46.2609752435269 out of 100, meaning that recent media coverage is somewhat unlikely to have an impact on the company’s share price in the immediate future.

Fund That Flip plans to expand in Cleveland (Crain’s Cleveland Business), Rated: B

A New York City real estate services company, Fund That Flip, is bringing its sales and back-office operations to Northeast Ohio.

The three-year-old company currently has a small presence here at 1382 W. Ninth Street, and it intends to add 25 employees.

The convergence of fund administration and FinTech (Hedgeweek), Rated: A

The forces shaping industry change demand that the role of the fund administrator increasingly needs to also be that of a technology services firm, rather than simply a provider of financial services. The influence that FinTech is having on the fund administration industry is growing and the long-term demands will be even greater.

United Kingdom

RateSetter spurs on business brokers with summer prize draw (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER is giving its business finance brokers an extra incentive to find borrowers over the typically slow summer months, with a “six weeks of summer” prize draw.

The peer-to-peer lender, which originates both consumer and business loans, has previously expressed its intentions to boost its business finance segment.

RateSetter will automatically enter its business loan brokers into the draw, which started on 24 July and ends on 1 September. There is a different prize for each week within this timeframe.

Who will be the first £3bn P2P lender? (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

IT HAS been a busy quarter for the “big three” peer-to-peer lenders with Zopa, Funding Circle and RateSetter all reaching the £2bn lending milestone.

But who will be first to £3bn?

Zopa’s loanbook reached £2bn in January and was at £2.4bn as of the end of the second quarter of 2017, P2PFA figures show.

Funding Circle, which hit £2bn in February and was at £2.4bn by the end of the second quarter, saw 12 per cent growth since the first quarter and 45 per cent annually.

Meanwhile, RateSetter, which hit £2bn last week, had £1.9bn at the end of quarter two, up 9.6 per cent since the first quarter and up 35.9 per cent annually.

Going by growth rates, Funding Circle appears to be growing fastest so could hit the £3bn the quickest.

Meet the company behind Nutmeg’s ISA (AltFi), Rated: A

When Nutmeg launched its Lifetime ISA in April, it was through a partnership with digital wealth platform InvestCloud. The cloud computing and API-based technology allowed Nutmeg to quickly on-board clients while complying with regulators.

Asset-backed peer-to-peer lender launches IFISA (AltFi), Rated: A

There’s a new peer-to-peer ISA on the market. Asset-backed lending platform Ablrate has just launched its own take on the Innovative Finance ISA, after receiving full authorisation from the FCA in April.

Chinese investment powering regeneration of the North (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: A

One city that is often overlooked is Sheffield. There are already encouraging signs that Sheffield is a city on the up, however, and a big part of that is down to Chinese investment.

Last year it was announced that Chinese company Sichuan Guodong Construction had tied up a 60-year partnership with Sheffield City Council, with an initial commitment to spend £220m on up to five projects in the city centre over the next three years. It’s the largest Chinese investment deal in a UK city outside of London.

Folk2Folk launches Three Counties Hub (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: B

Folk2Folk has expanded its presence into Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire.
The peer-to-peer lending platform has repurposed its Tewkesbury office in Gloucestershire into a regional hub and, as a result, it is now active in these three counties.

When bank lenders say no, where does a business go? (RealBusiness), Rated: B

When bank lenders turn business owners away, they should refer them to alternative finance lenders instead. But how does it work?

However, accessing finance is still a bug-bear for many SME owners. Despite the increasing variety of options available, raising awareness is still crucial to the uptake of funding with many business owners still turning to bank lenders.

Tavener suggested aggregating all the funders into one place and creating a market comparison site. This is exactly what happened – pretty much every alternative funder was incorporated into Clifton’s Alternative Business Funding portal.

The platform now incorporates 120 different business funding products.

China

Intelligent finance new trend: UP Financial sets sail with “AI+big data” (PR Newswire), Rated: A

As the root of multiple industries, the financial industry’s evolution will make a significant contribution to the growth of the economy. On July 16Steven Yuan, CEO of UP Financial, at the LendIT Summit in Shanghai, presented to the whole world at the commercial application of shared AI- geometric stock, which marked the growth and imagination of China’s intelligent finance. In a speech under the title of “technology-driven new finance”, he predicted that wealth management and investment decisions will become highly intelligent for the economyIt can promote financial assets growing in a geometrical progression, and be able todrive the real economy’s development, and create unlimited value. The ultimate goal of the transformation of technological finance is to break the boundary of industrial innovations and increase the social value to the economy. New intelligent finance marks this improving direction.

What’s in a name? Everything, when it comes to China’s stock market (SCMP), Rated: A

You could be forgiven for assuming that a company with a name like Shanghai P2P Financial Information Service might be in the business of, well, peer-to-peer financial information services.

But names can be misleading, particularly when it comes to the Chinese stock market.

As of last Friday, shares of P2P Financial Information traded at 6.66 yuan, more than 72 per cent shy of its close of 23.4 yuan on June 11, 2015.

European Union

Fintech funding on the rebound as Irish start-ups play part (Irish Times), Rated: A

Ireland played its part, recording fintech investments of more than $230 million (€194 million) in the three-month period, led by Plynkwhich raised €25 million in a Series A round from Swiss Privée in June.

Total global funding to fintech firms rose to $8.4 billion (€7.1 billion) from $3.6 billion (€3 billion) with European fintech investment jumping to over $2 billion (€1.7 billion). This is well below the peak investment high of $5.8 billion (€4.9 billion) seen in the fourth quarter of 2015, but up on the $880 million (€741 million) reported in the first three months of 2017.

International

Thomson Reuters adds alternative finance data to Eikon with TAB Dashboard (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Created by Cambridge-based TAB U.K., TAB Dashboard is the world’s most comprehensive source of intelligence on the global alternative finance market, and its deployment on Eikon opens up a significant new asset class for its users.

Data on the alternative finance market is difficult to obtain, with financial professionals forced to gather information on a piecemeal basis, or direct from individual platforms, which is inconsistent between services, languages and definitions and therefore extremely hard to extract insight from. The addition of TAB Dashboard to Eikon allows customers to use extensive data in a format and environment they are comfortable with and which is consistent, shaping their strategy and keeping them aware of regulatory and policy changes.

TAB Dashboard analytics shows that in 2016 an average of $40.9M was raised every single day, more than double the daily average of $18.4M in 2014, with signs that that growth is continuing along the same path.

TAB U.K. analyses data from more than 900 different alternative finance platforms, including equity, bonds, SME debt, P2P and more, and has mapped more than ten million transactions.

International P2P Lending Volumes July 2017 (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

Milestones reached this month are:

  • Zopa crosses 2.5 billion GBP originated since launch
  • Ratesetter crosses 2 billion GBP originated since launch
  • Mintos loan volume since launch now over 250 million Euro
  • Lendix reaches 100 million Euro in financed loans since launch
Source: P2P-Banking

Today in Data: Mobile App News Breakdown (PYMNTS), Rated: A

225 million | Current amount of Paytm users prior to new messaging service launch at the end of August

$250 | Amount of coupons offered through grocery operator Food Lion’s new mobile app

31 | Number of European markets P2P payment service Klarna Bank’s new mobile app Wavy enables for mobile money transfers

India

Will RBI Regulations Facilitate Or Inhibit The P2P Lending Market? (Inc42), Rated: AAA

In the absence of proper regulations, people are often hesitant to use P2P platforms for lending and borrowing. To that end, the RBI has highlighted three main reasons peer-to-peer lending should be regulated in India.

In the 2016 paper, the RBI talked at great length about the risks of money laundering associated with peer-to-peer lending. To minimise these risks, the RBI is looking to cap the interest rates charged by P2P lending companies at the same level as NBFCs and microfinance institutions (MFIs). It also raised concerns regarding the lack of transparency in KYC and loan recovery practices.

  • The P2P companies would serve only as intermediaries, responsible for matching lenders and borrowers on the platform. The portal would act as the loan originator, without the lending and borrowing actually getting reflected on its balance sheet.
  • The platform will be prohibited from giving any assured return either directly or indirectly. It will, however, be allowed to opine on lender suitability and borrower creditworthiness.
  • Advertisements should contain adequate mention of P2P lending regulations.
  • The funds will have to move directly from the lender’s bank account to the borrower’s bank account to reduce the threat of money laundering.
  • Peer-to-peer lending platforms will also be prohibited from participating in cross-border transactions, under the FEMA guidelines for transactions between residents and nonresidents.

Fintech startups like Lendingkart, KredX move towards hybrid lending model  (India Times), Rated: A

Lendingkart, which has been lending through its own books as a nonbanking financial company, is set to start co-lending with banks and other financial firms through a marketplace platform in six-nine months, chief executive Harshvardhan Lunia said.

On the other hand, KredX, an invoice discounting marketplace platform for small and medium enterprises, has applied for an NBFC licence. Consumer lending company ZestMoney is also seeking to become a non-banking financial company.

Capital Float, which started its marketplace model last year and currently co-lends with five financial institutions, is set to scale up loans disbursed through its partners to 50% of its total disbursals by the end of this fiscal year. Currently, that’s at 40%.

Some digital lending companies such as BankBazaar, which runs a marketplace, and LoanTap, which lends on its books, do not see the need for a hybrid model.

Sebi forms panel to study fintech impact on securities market (Livemint), Rated: A

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) on Wednesday formed a 10-member committee on financial and regulatory technologies, headed by Manipal Global Education chairman T.V. Mohandas Pai.

Sebi said the panel will recommend to the regulator the utilization of fintech solutions for further widening and deepening of the Indian securities market. For this, the committee has to advise Sebi on better usage of existing financing platforms, both traditional and alternative (e.g. peer to peer lending and equity crowd-funding).

The panel will also advise Sebi on how to enhance market access and improve mobilization of household savings through new delivery channels of financial products, Robo Finance, investment advisory and portfolio management services.

Asia

Polytechnics in Singapore to add fintech courses in banking and IT diplomas (Tech in Asia), Rated: A

Polytechnics in Singapore are about to start teaching fintech with the help of Germany-headquartered Fidor Bank.

The bank is working with the Monetary Authority of Singapore to insert the Fidor Student Academy Singapore program into the curriculum of banking and IT-related diplomas offered by five polytechnics in the city-state.

Canada

OnDeck partners with Payment Source in Canada (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

OnDeck® (NYSE: ONDK), the leader in online lending for small business, announced today a partnership with Payment Source, the largest retail distribution network for prepaid products in Canada, to offer Payment Source’s Now Prepay customers access to the OnDeck online small business lending platform.

Payment Source operates the Now Prepay brand and provides prepaid mobile top ups, gift cards and financial products and services to more than 15,000 retailers throughout Canada.

Africa

Synthesis named as one of top ten fintech firms to watch (Synthesis), Rated: A

Synthesis, founded in 1997, offers highly specialised software development, consulting and integration services and technology based product solutions to banking and financial institutions in South Africa and other emerging markets.

Philippines

JG Summit diversifies into digital financing (The Standard), Rated: AAA

Conglomerate JG Summit Holdings Inc. said a unit teamed up with the founders of internet giants Skype and LU.com to form digital financial services marketplace to address the financial needs of underbanked consumers and micro and small and medium enterprises in the Philippines.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday August 3 2017, Daily News Digest

earning multiples

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi funds over $3.1 billion in Q2. Bread raises $126M to offer white label solution for major online purchases. RateSetter offers summer prize draw. Thomson Reuters adds alt finance data to Eikon. OnDeck partners with Payment Source in Canada. Today’s main analysis: FT Partners’ CEO monthly alternative lending market analysis for August 2017. International P2P […]

earning multiples

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

Asia

Canada

Africa

Philippines

News Summary

United States

FT Partners’ CEO Monthly Alternative Lending Market Analysis (August ’17) (FT Partners), Rated: AAA

We are pleased to announce our role advising 

Source: FT Partners

Read the full analysis here.

SoFi letter to investors (SoFi Email), Rated: AAA

Fintech Startup Bread Raises $ 126 Million In Bid To Finance Big Online Purchases (Forbes), Rated: AAA

When you buy something online, chances are you use your credit card. If it’s a bigger purchase, like a mattress or a washing machine, you might decide to pay it off over time. Bread is among the financial technology start-ups attempting to get you to ditch your plastic and instead opt to finance your purchase with a loan that has lower rates and predictable monthly payments.

Bread said on Wednesday it has raised $126 million through a Series B funding round to expand the number of retailers that offer its financing. Menlo Ventures led the equity portion of the investment, with participation from Bessemer Venture Partners, RRE Ventures and others. A debt facility was also provided by Victory Park Capital.

The New York-based company was founded in 2014 and offers white-label solutions for retailers who wish to offer convenient financing to their customers.

You can now use PayPal through Skype’s mobile app (TechCrunch), Rated: A

The still growing payments giant today announced a new deal with Skype that will allow users in 22 countries worldwide to send money to other Skype users through an updated version of the Skype mobile app. This extends PayPal’s potential reach by a sizable amount – the Skype app has been downloaded over a billion times to date, and has approximately 300 million monthly active users, according to Skype parent company Microsoft, as of last year.

To be clear, the feature is designed for sending money between friends and family – not payments for goods or services from a business.

How Two Brothers Turned Seven Lines of Code Into a $ 9.2 Billion Startup (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Every day, Americans spend about $1.2 billion online. That figure has roughly doubled in the past five years, according to the Department of Commerce, and it’s likely to double again in the next five as the internet continues to devour traditional retail.

In 2010, Patrick and John Collison, brothers from rural Ireland, began to debug this process. Their company, Stripe Inc., built software that businesses could plug into websites and apps to instantly connect with credit card and banking systems and receive payments.

The company now handles tens of billions of dollars in internet transactions annually, making money by charging a small fee on each one. Half of Americans who bought something online in the past year did so, probably unknowingly, via Stripe. This has given it a $9.2 billion valuation, several times larger than those of its nearest competitors, and made Patrick, 28, and John, 26, two of the world’s youngest billionaires.

One way to justify the number: Stripe’s new partnership with Amazon. com Inc., the largest and most sought-­after customer on the internet. Over the past couple of weeks, Stripe began handling a large, though undisclosed, portion of Amazon’s transactions. Neither company will address the scope of the deal—which was only revealed by Stripe’s addition of Amazon’s logo to its website—but it could help Stripe greatly increase its trans­action volume.

Seven years in, however, Stripe’s mission is less to send more books, vacuums, and grooming kits into the world than to “increase the GDP of the internet,” Patrick says. To do this, the company is beginning to move beyond payments by writing software that helps companies retool the way they incorporate, pay workers, and detect fraud. It’s part of an ambitious bid to revamp how online business has been conducted for 20 years and to give anyone with a bright idea a chance to compete.

Real Estate Lender Zeus CrowdFunding More Than Doubles Its U.S. Service Area (PR.com), Rated: A

Zeus CrowdFunding will now provide fast funding to more of America than ever before. The company more than doubled its service area this month, expanding to eight new states as well as Washington, D.C.

The full list of territories in which Zeus CrowdFunding will provide real estate listings for investment are as follows: Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and West Virginia.

KPMG: ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENT INDUSTRY DEAL MOMENTUM CONTINUES (All About Alpha), Rated: A

The auditing giant KPMG says in a recent report on merger and acquisition activityin the alternative asset management world that there was a dip in activity in this space in 2015, that there was a rebound “to more normalized levels” in 2016, and that the momentum off of that rebound continues in 2017, which saw 18 M&A transactions in the first quarter alone.

Stepping back a bit, the report observes that asset managers that have been focused for a long time on the long-only segment of the market are turning to M&A as one good way of capitalizing on the growing retailization of alternative strategies, “the increasing availability of liquid alternative investments to retail investors through registered investment (mutual) funds and retirement accounts.”

Another Big Picture point – various segments of the AI industry want to merge with one another. Private equity firms in particular want to “expand into adjacent asset classes such as real estate, infrastructure and hedge fund.”

RIA headcount, AUM on the rise as more firms embrace robo model (Financial-Planning), Rated: A

The RIA sector is enjoying brisk growth in both personnel and assets under management, but remains dominated by small businesses that cater to specialized sets of clients, including a growing number of firms that are rolling out interactive digital advice services.

Those are among the findings from a new report by the Investment Adviser Association, the group’s annual industry snapshot.

By the numbers, the RIA sector reached an all-time high with 12,172 SEC-registered advisers as of April 2017, up 2.7% from a year ago. Those advisers serve 35.6 million clients and manage $70.7 trillion in assets, according to the IAA’s analysis.

The data show that there are only a handful of mega-advisers serving a vast portfolio of clients, suggesting a heavy reliance on an automated advice platform. Just eight registrants report that they have more than 1 million clients.

Far more common are firms that have fewer than 100 clients, the analysis finds.

By far the largest segment of firms are those with AUMs between $100 million and $1 billion (56% of all registrants), and 87% of all registrants count fewer than 50 employees. Just 1% of registered advisers — only 124 — boast an AUM of $100 billion or more, yet those shops manage 54% of the total assets in the industry.

LendingTree, LeadsCon Announce Judges for First-Ever $ 25,000 Startup Innovation Spotlight (Markets Insider), Rated: A

LendingTree®, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, and Access Intelligence, a leading business information and marketing company, today announced the judges for its new initiative to showcase the top startup companies in financial technology (fintech) lead generation at LeadsCon this summer.

The judges for the Startup Innovation Spotlight are:

  • Doug Lebda, Founder and CEO of LendingTree
  • Matt Coffin, Founder of Coffin Capital & Ventures
  • AJ Agrawal, Founder of Verma Media and Marketing Consultant to Fortune 500 companies
  • Chris Fralic, Partner at First Round
  • Shawn Colo – Shawn is the Co-Founder & Managing Partner of 3L Capital as well as a senior advisor with Spectrum Equity Investors.

Beware the return of the ILC (American Banker), Rated: A

Recent remarks by acting Comptroller of the Currency Keith Noreika and the industrial bank application submitted by Social Finance have raised significant policy questions about the mixing of banking and commerce, really for the first time since Walmart’s and Home Depot’s failed banking bids prior to the financial crisis.

SoFi’s application, meanwhile, indicates that there may be greater interest in the last viable type of FDIC-insured bank charter still legally available to commercial firms. To be sure, the fintech-powered marketplace lender is not a commercial entity like Walmart. As a financial services provider, SoFi could apply for a mainstream bank holding company license. But SoFi’s industrial bank bid could be seen as a stalking horse, potentially opening the door for more companies — including commercial and industrial firms — that want banking powers. In addition, we should question the wisdom of granting SoFi an FDIC-insured banking license without requiring SoFI to accept regulation by the Federal Reserve as a bank holding company, as other financial owners of banks must do.

Ripple’s Product Suite is Growing (Ripple), Rated: A

And now, Ripple’s growing global payments network has 90+ customers, 75+ commercial deployments in progress and a common set of payment standards governing all transactions on the network.

Based on customer feedback, we’ve given our global payments network a name, RippleNet. This is not new – but simply an evolution of the growing network that has been building significant momentum. RippleNet is the world’s only enterprise blockchain solution for global payments.

Cloud Lending Solutions Announces Major Expansion of the CL Solution Suite With New Product: CL Portal (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Cloud Lending Solutions, a leader in cloud-based loan and leasing software, announced upgrades to its end-to-end suite of lending products for its commercial banks, retail banks and credit union clients with the expansion of its latest product CL Portal™ already in production at a Fortune Global 500 Bank.

The new CL Portal provides a differentiated borrowing experience for commercial, small business and consumer loans for borrowers, investors, and stakeholders by seamlessly integrating with loan product workflows and document management to create a personalized, unique experience for loans ranging from fully automated consumer loans to multi-entity, collaborative commercial loans. The CL Portal supports multiple borrower types including:

  • Commercial Loan Origination Portal: financial institutions can now design a commercial loan portal and enable borrowers to log on and securely upload required documents and check the status of a loan in progress. The CL Portal extends existing document management functionality already in CL Originate, to display a list of document requirements associated with the borrower and facilitate the document upload process and review process.
  • Small Business Loan Application Portal: facilitates a cost-effective, online small business loan origination process leveraging automated scoring criteria and third-party data. Designed to integrate with borrower and back office lending workflows, 3rd party data collections, document collections, and review from CL Originate.
  • Consumer Loan Application Portal: providing a multi-channel personalized and differentiated borrowing experience for consumer loan products. Configurable workflows allow banks to manage the complete consumer loan application including acknowledgments, credit, document delivery, offer, and acceptance.
  • Investor Portal works in conjunction with CL Marketplace, enables financial institutions to extend investment opportunities to their customers by making portions of loans available for investment. CL Portal enables investors to view investment opportunities, bid on applicable loans and manage existing investments.

15 Creative Ways Large Real Estate & Infrastructure Developers – Raise Millions Outside of Traditional Debt and Equity (Part I) (JDSupra), Rated: A

We know one developer who invested only $10,000 by utilizing just two of these strategies and made $35,000,000 by selling to a national homebuilder, and saving substantial within a tax preferred vehicle that his attorney helped him devise.

  1. Forward Sale Funding
  2. Overriding Royalty Interests
  3. Sponsorships
  4. Presales
  5. Crowdfunding
  6. Options Contracts
  7. Pay upon Completion Contracting
  8. Corporate Bond Funding
  9. Municipality Bonds
  10. Private Transfer Fees
  11. Sales/Leaseback
  12. 3rd Party Subordination & Cross-collateralizations
  13. Joint Ventures
  14. Subdividing
  15. Tax

Presales

Lenders typically require developers to presale or pre-lease a certain percentage (e.g. 50%) of their project before providing construction financing.

This requires that developers have the considerable skills and resources to generate presales.  While a typical sales and marketing budget may represent 5% of sales, the ability to achieve these presales makes the difference between getting funding and not.

Crowdfunding

Real estate crowdfunding continues to be a dynamic and ever-evolving industry, growing to an estimated $3.5 billion in 2016. By 2025, the crowdfunding industry as a whole is anticipated to be valued at more than $300 billion and online real estate marketplaces are primed to capitalize on that explosive growth.

 

Why young women today have a gloomier financial outlook than men (CNBC), Rated: B

Millennial women still trail their male peers when it comes to financial satisfaction, according to a new report from online loan marketplace LendingTree. Other elements point to why: The survey found women earn less, carry almost 30 percent more in outstanding debt, and are less confident about their ability to pay it off.

  • 57 percent of millennial men have an annual income of $50,000 or greater, compared to 42 percent of their female counterparts.
  • LendingTree, an online loan marketplace, says millennial women also carry almost 30 percent more outstanding total debt.
  • The top financial priority for millennial women was increasing savings while their male peers said increasing income.

Somewhat Favorable Media Coverage Somewhat Unlikely to Impact Elevate Credit (NYSE:ELVT) Share Price (Community Financial News), Rated: B

News stories about Elevate Credit (NYSE:ELVT) have trended somewhat positive recently, according to Accern. Elevate Credit earned a news sentiment score of 0.14 on Accern’s scale. Accern also gave media headlines about the company an impact score of 46.2609752435269 out of 100, meaning that recent media coverage is somewhat unlikely to have an impact on the company’s share price in the immediate future.

Fund That Flip plans to expand in Cleveland (Crain’s Cleveland Business), Rated: B

A New York City real estate services company, Fund That Flip, is bringing its sales and back-office operations to Northeast Ohio.

The three-year-old company currently has a small presence here at 1382 W. Ninth Street, and it intends to add 25 employees.

The convergence of fund administration and FinTech (Hedgeweek), Rated: A

The forces shaping industry change demand that the role of the fund administrator increasingly needs to also be that of a technology services firm, rather than simply a provider of financial services. The influence that FinTech is having on the fund administration industry is growing and the long-term demands will be even greater.

United Kingdom

RateSetter spurs on business brokers with summer prize draw (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER is giving its business finance brokers an extra incentive to find borrowers over the typically slow summer months, with a “six weeks of summer” prize draw.

The peer-to-peer lender, which originates both consumer and business loans, has previously expressed its intentions to boost its business finance segment.

RateSetter will automatically enter its business loan brokers into the draw, which started on 24 July and ends on 1 September. There is a different prize for each week within this timeframe.

Who will be the first £3bn P2P lender? (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

IT HAS been a busy quarter for the “big three” peer-to-peer lenders with Zopa, Funding Circle and RateSetter all reaching the £2bn lending milestone.

But who will be first to £3bn?

Zopa’s loanbook reached £2bn in January and was at £2.4bn as of the end of the second quarter of 2017, P2PFA figures show.

Funding Circle, which hit £2bn in February and was at £2.4bn by the end of the second quarter, saw 12 per cent growth since the first quarter and 45 per cent annually.

Meanwhile, RateSetter, which hit £2bn last week, had £1.9bn at the end of quarter two, up 9.6 per cent since the first quarter and up 35.9 per cent annually.

Going by growth rates, Funding Circle appears to be growing fastest so could hit the £3bn the quickest.

Meet the company behind Nutmeg’s ISA (AltFi), Rated: A

When Nutmeg launched its Lifetime ISA in April, it was through a partnership with digital wealth platform InvestCloud. The cloud computing and API-based technology allowed Nutmeg to quickly on-board clients while complying with regulators.

Asset-backed peer-to-peer lender launches IFISA (AltFi), Rated: A

There’s a new peer-to-peer ISA on the market. Asset-backed lending platform Ablrate has just launched its own take on the Innovative Finance ISA, after receiving full authorisation from the FCA in April.

Chinese investment powering regeneration of the North (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: A

One city that is often overlooked is Sheffield. There are already encouraging signs that Sheffield is a city on the up, however, and a big part of that is down to Chinese investment.

Last year it was announced that Chinese company Sichuan Guodong Construction had tied up a 60-year partnership with Sheffield City Council, with an initial commitment to spend £220m on up to five projects in the city centre over the next three years. It’s the largest Chinese investment deal in a UK city outside of London.

Folk2Folk launches Three Counties Hub (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: B

Folk2Folk has expanded its presence into Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire.
The peer-to-peer lending platform has repurposed its Tewkesbury office in Gloucestershire into a regional hub and, as a result, it is now active in these three counties.

When bank lenders say no, where does a business go? (RealBusiness), Rated: B

When bank lenders turn business owners away, they should refer them to alternative finance lenders instead. But how does it work?

However, accessing finance is still a bug-bear for many SME owners. Despite the increasing variety of options available, raising awareness is still crucial to the uptake of funding with many business owners still turning to bank lenders.

Tavener suggested aggregating all the funders into one place and creating a market comparison site. This is exactly what happened – pretty much every alternative funder was incorporated into Clifton’s Alternative Business Funding portal.

The platform now incorporates 120 different business funding products.

China

Intelligent finance new trend: UP Financial sets sail with “AI+big data” (PR Newswire), Rated: A

As the root of multiple industries, the financial industry’s evolution will make a significant contribution to the growth of the economy. On July 16Steven Yuan, CEO of UP Financial, at the LendIT Summit in Shanghai, presented to the whole world at the commercial application of shared AI- geometric stock, which marked the growth and imagination of China’s intelligent finance. In a speech under the title of “technology-driven new finance”, he predicted that wealth management and investment decisions will become highly intelligent for the economyIt can promote financial assets growing in a geometrical progression, and be able todrive the real economy’s development, and create unlimited value. The ultimate goal of the transformation of technological finance is to break the boundary of industrial innovations and increase the social value to the economy. New intelligent finance marks this improving direction.

What’s in a name? Everything, when it comes to China’s stock market (SCMP), Rated: A

You could be forgiven for assuming that a company with a name like Shanghai P2P Financial Information Service might be in the business of, well, peer-to-peer financial information services.

But names can be misleading, particularly when it comes to the Chinese stock market.

As of last Friday, shares of P2P Financial Information traded at 6.66 yuan, more than 72 per cent shy of its close of 23.4 yuan on June 11, 2015.

European Union

Fintech funding on the rebound as Irish start-ups play part (Irish Times), Rated: A

Ireland played its part, recording fintech investments of more than $230 million (€194 million) in the three-month period, led by Plynkwhich raised €25 million in a Series A round from Swiss Privée in June.

Total global funding to fintech firms rose to $8.4 billion (€7.1 billion) from $3.6 billion (€3 billion) with European fintech investment jumping to over $2 billion (€1.7 billion). This is well below the peak investment high of $5.8 billion (€4.9 billion) seen in the fourth quarter of 2015, but up on the $880 million (€741 million) reported in the first three months of 2017.

International

Thomson Reuters adds alternative finance data to Eikon with TAB Dashboard (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Created by Cambridge-based TAB U.K., TAB Dashboard is the world’s most comprehensive source of intelligence on the global alternative finance market, and its deployment on Eikon opens up a significant new asset class for its users.

Data on the alternative finance market is difficult to obtain, with financial professionals forced to gather information on a piecemeal basis, or direct from individual platforms, which is inconsistent between services, languages and definitions and therefore extremely hard to extract insight from. The addition of TAB Dashboard to Eikon allows customers to use extensive data in a format and environment they are comfortable with and which is consistent, shaping their strategy and keeping them aware of regulatory and policy changes.

TAB Dashboard analytics shows that in 2016 an average of $40.9M was raised every single day, more than double the daily average of $18.4M in 2014, with signs that that growth is continuing along the same path.

TAB U.K. analyses data from more than 900 different alternative finance platforms, including equity, bonds, SME debt, P2P and more, and has mapped more than ten million transactions.

International P2P Lending Volumes July 2017 (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

Milestones reached this month are:

  • Zopa crosses 2.5 billion GBP originated since launch
  • Ratesetter crosses 2 billion GBP originated since launch
  • Mintos loan volume since launch now over 250 million Euro
  • Lendix reaches 100 million Euro in financed loans since launch
Source: P2P-Banking

Today in Data: Mobile App News Breakdown (PYMNTS), Rated: A

225 million | Current amount of Paytm users prior to new messaging service launch at the end of August

$250 | Amount of coupons offered through grocery operator Food Lion’s new mobile app

31 | Number of European markets P2P payment service Klarna Bank’s new mobile app Wavy enables for mobile money transfers

India

Will RBI Regulations Facilitate Or Inhibit The P2P Lending Market? (Inc42), Rated: AAA

In the absence of proper regulations, people are often hesitant to use P2P platforms for lending and borrowing. To that end, the RBI has highlighted three main reasons peer-to-peer lending should be regulated in India.

In the 2016 paper, the RBI talked at great length about the risks of money laundering associated with peer-to-peer lending. To minimise these risks, the RBI is looking to cap the interest rates charged by P2P lending companies at the same level as NBFCs and microfinance institutions (MFIs). It also raised concerns regarding the lack of transparency in KYC and loan recovery practices.

  • The P2P companies would serve only as intermediaries, responsible for matching lenders and borrowers on the platform. The portal would act as the loan originator, without the lending and borrowing actually getting reflected on its balance sheet.
  • The platform will be prohibited from giving any assured return either directly or indirectly. It will, however, be allowed to opine on lender suitability and borrower creditworthiness.
  • Advertisements should contain adequate mention of P2P lending regulations.
  • The funds will have to move directly from the lender’s bank account to the borrower’s bank account to reduce the threat of money laundering.
  • Peer-to-peer lending platforms will also be prohibited from participating in cross-border transactions, under the FEMA guidelines for transactions between residents and nonresidents.

Fintech startups like Lendingkart, KredX move towards hybrid lending model  (India Times), Rated: A

Lendingkart, which has been lending through its own books as a nonbanking financial company, is set to start co-lending with banks and other financial firms through a marketplace platform in six-nine months, chief executive Harshvardhan Lunia said.

On the other hand, KredX, an invoice discounting marketplace platform for small and medium enterprises, has applied for an NBFC licence. Consumer lending company ZestMoney is also seeking to become a non-banking financial company.

Capital Float, which started its marketplace model last year and currently co-lends with five financial institutions, is set to scale up loans disbursed through its partners to 50% of its total disbursals by the end of this fiscal year. Currently, that’s at 40%.

Some digital lending companies such as BankBazaar, which runs a marketplace, and LoanTap, which lends on its books, do not see the need for a hybrid model.

Sebi forms panel to study fintech impact on securities market (Livemint), Rated: A

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) on Wednesday formed a 10-member committee on financial and regulatory technologies, headed by Manipal Global Education chairman T.V. Mohandas Pai.

Sebi said the panel will recommend to the regulator the utilization of fintech solutions for further widening and deepening of the Indian securities market. For this, the committee has to advise Sebi on better usage of existing financing platforms, both traditional and alternative (e.g. peer to peer lending and equity crowd-funding).

The panel will also advise Sebi on how to enhance market access and improve mobilization of household savings through new delivery channels of financial products, Robo Finance, investment advisory and portfolio management services.

Asia

Polytechnics in Singapore to add fintech courses in banking and IT diplomas (Tech in Asia), Rated: A

Polytechnics in Singapore are about to start teaching fintech with the help of Germany-headquartered Fidor Bank.

The bank is working with the Monetary Authority of Singapore to insert the Fidor Student Academy Singapore program into the curriculum of banking and IT-related diplomas offered by five polytechnics in the city-state.

Canada

OnDeck partners with Payment Source in Canada (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

OnDeck® (NYSE: ONDK), the leader in online lending for small business, announced today a partnership with Payment Source, the largest retail distribution network for prepaid products in Canada, to offer Payment Source’s Now Prepay customers access to the OnDeck online small business lending platform.

Payment Source operates the Now Prepay brand and provides prepaid mobile top ups, gift cards and financial products and services to more than 15,000 retailers throughout Canada.

Africa

Synthesis named as one of top ten fintech firms to watch (Synthesis), Rated: A

Synthesis, founded in 1997, offers highly specialised software development, consulting and integration services and technology based product solutions to banking and financial institutions in South Africa and other emerging markets.

Philippines

JG Summit diversifies into digital financing (The Standard), Rated: AAA

Conglomerate JG Summit Holdings Inc. said a unit teamed up with the founders of internet giants Skype and LU.com to form digital financial services marketplace to address the financial needs of underbanked consumers and micro and small and medium enterprises in the Philippines.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday July 26 2017, Daily News Digest

Lending Club loans

News Comments Today’s main news: Seedinvest cancels Sharestates’ Series A Offering. LendInvest bond issue. How Samoyed Financial is outsmarting Tencent, Alipay. Faircent launches auto-invest. MoneyMatch to replace 5-6 scheme in Philippines. Today’s main analysis: The state of business lending. Fintech lending: Financial inclusion, risk pricing, and alternative information. Today’s thought-provoking articles: How Goldman Sachs is disrupting consumer lending. How FCA consultations will […]

Lending Club loans

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

Middle East

Canada

Philippines

News Summary

United States

Seedinvest cancels Sharestates Series A Equities (Anonymous Email), Rated: AAA

Seedinvest gave the investors this explanation, according to our anonymous source:

The closing was held up and we subsequently discovered new material information. Sharestates’ offering (i.e. the ability to make new investments) came to a close during Q1 of this year. As we were working through closing operations, we requested a final set of offering documents from Sharestates’ counsel. This request in and of itself took months to be satisfied. While reviewing the red-line version of these updated documents, our counsel discovered that Sharestates had begun distributing quarterly management bonuses using cash they were generating through normal course of operations. As a result, we do not recommend proceeding with an investment. We are also withdrawing our fund’s commitment. 

How Goldman Sachs Is Disrupting This Trillion Industry (The Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

It’s been just over nine months since Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS)launched Marcus, its newly created consumer lending venture, and the platform has been rather successful so far. In fact, the company recently announced that it has surpassed $1 billion in loans already, and it could have much more room to grow.

It’s been just over nine months since Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS)launched Marcus, its newly created consumer lending venture, and the platform has been rather successful so far. In fact, the company recently announced that it has surpassed $1 billion in loans already, and it could have much more room to grow.

In addition, there’s no legacy credit card business to worry about, unlike most banks that also make personal loans.

According to Talwar, Marcus customers enjoy rates that are 300 to 500 basis points lower than credit card interest rates, and Marcus’ loans come with no origination, prepayment, or late fees — a rarity in consumer lending.

The State of Business Lending in 2017, According to Small Business Owners (Fundera), Rated: AAA

The biggest factor that’s presently clouding small business lending is the post-financial crisis surge of alternative small business lenders. Fundera’s VP of Strategy, Brayden McCarthy (along with Karen Mills, former head of the Small Business Administration) identifies in his working paper on small business lending that tighter restrictions on lending were imposed on banks after the 2008 financial crisis. Because of these tighter restrictions, banks had their hands tied when it came to providing loans to small businesses—providing a space within the small business lending market.

Main Takeaways

  • Small businesses are mainly applying for offensive financing rather than defensive financing.
  • Small businesses are still overwhelmingly going to brick-and-mortar banks to apply for financing.
  • A disconnect exists between small businesses owners and educational resources made specifically for them.

When you look at the business owners we surveyed, they are, by-and-large, successful. 56% of the businesses surveyed had a revenue of greater than $100,000 a year, and 60% of those surveyed ran businesses that had been in business for five years or more.

Furthermore, 80.6% of the small business owners reported having a personal credit score of 650 or above, one of the most important parts of the business loan application, and 68% reported having a business credit score of 80 or above.

One of the more shocking results was that a mere 5.94% of the respondents sought business financing in order to refinance a loan.

Meanwhile, only 10.89% of respondents said they applied for small business financing with an online lender. 

That being said, our respondents demonstrated a preference for the experience of applying online. 57.23% applied for a business credit card online directly while another 16% applied online through an affiliate like Creditcards.com, Nerdwallet, or The Points Guy.

Our poll found that 89.73% of those polled checked their personal credit at least once a year. Meanwhile, within the same sample of small business owners, 58.19% don’t check their business credit score at all.

Even more, when we asked respondents if they would be interested in a free business credit check, 34.23% said that they were “not at all interested.”

FINTECH LENDING: FINANCIAL INCLUSION, RISK PRICING, AND ALTERNATIVE INFORMATION (Philadelphia Fed), Rated: AAA

In this paper, we explore the advantages/disadvantages of loans made by a large fintech lender and similar loans that were originated through traditional banking channels. Specifically, we use account-level data from the Lending Club and Y-14M bank stress test data. We find that Lending Club’s consumer lending activities have penetrated areas that could benefit from additional credit supply, such as areas that lose bank branches and those in highly concentrated banking markets. We also find a high correlation with interest rate spreads, Lending Club rating grades, and loan performance. However, the rating grades have a decreasing correlation with FICO scores and debt-to income ratios, indicating that alternative data is being used and performing well so far. Lending Club borrowers are, on average, more risky than traditional borrowers given the same FICO scores. The use of alternative information sources has allowed some borrowers who would be classified as subprime by traditional criteria to be slotted into “better” loan grades and therefore get lower priced credit. Also, for the same risk of default, consumers pay smaller spreads on loans from the Lending Club than from traditional lending channels.

Download the white paper here.

LendingTree Announces Top Customer-Rated Lenders by Loan Product for Q2 2017 (PR Newswire), Rated: A

LendingTree today released its quarterly list of the top customer-rated lenders on its network based on actual customer reviews for the second quarter of 2017. The list features the top lenders in multiple loan product categories, including Mortgages, Personal Loans, Business Loans and Auto Loans, all of which are included in LendingTree’s online loan marketplace.

Lender rankings are based on a weighted average of overall rating and the total volume of customer reviews for mortgage, personal, business and auto loans. Lenders were rated on offered rates, fees and closing costs, responsiveness, customer service and overall customer experience.

Mortgage Category

#1 Winner: Busey Bank

Personal Loans Category

#1 Winner: Avant

Business Loans Category

#1 Winner: RapidAdvance

Auto Loans Category

#1 Winner: RefiJet

Mobile banking startup Varo Money has applied for a bank charter (TechCrunch), Rated: A

But Varo Money, which provides a mobile-first banking product to consumers, is up to that challenge. In an effort to offer similar — but better — checking, savings and lending products to consumers, the company has applied for a national bank charter with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

To get the company off the ground, Walsh raised $27 million from Warburg Pincus and spent the last two years creating a mobile-first competitor to existing checking accounts.

Meet the World’s First Robo-Lawyer for Real Estate Investing (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Bootstrap Legal, a legaltech and fintech startup, today launched software that automates the drafting of complex legal paperwork for those raising capital for real estate projects of $2 Millionand under. For the first time, real estate investors can draft their own legal offering documents using artificial intelligence. The new online service was launched in recognition of the changing marketplace of real estate investing. More and more smaller investors are able to access investment opportunities online. For platforms and issuers originating these offers, a streamlined and low cost service to provide necessary legal documents is vital.

This first-of-its-kind legaltech product both undercuts the legal fees associated with real estate capital raises and expedites the process. Real estate investors typically have limited time to raise capital for their project, and Bootstrap Legal’s new software allows users to control the legal process, so that they can have extra time to raise capital. Users who require additional assistance are connected to a real estate securities attorney to get questions answered.

These Bay Area FinTech Companies Are Revolutionizing The Lending Space (Benzinga), Rated: A

BeSmartee: BeSmartee is an artificial intelligence-powered lending and mortgage platform that originates documents, credit checks, and other financial information in just minutes.

Capsilon: Capsilon builds technology solutions for the mortgage industry’s most imperative challenges.

Credit Sesame: Credit Sesame is a fintech company that operates in the fields of education, credit, and personal finance.

Home Captain: Home Captain is a lending company that pairs clients with a pre-screened realtor in their area with the help of a real estate concierge throughout the way.

SuperMoney: SuperMoney compares financial products and services to give people the information they need to make better financial decisions.

CoinList Attempting to Standardize & Self-Regulate ICOs (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

CoinList, founded as a partnership between Angel List and Protocol Labs, is quietly trying to standardize initial coin offerings (ICOs) by self-imposing similar restrictions as the SEC imposes on companies that conduct certain private offerings under Regulation D.

CoinList, which was founded in part by AngelList, appears ready to launch token offerings on its site that are similar to the offerings available on AngelList’s site; that is, offerings regulated by the SEC under Regulation D. In order to invest in the offerings on CoinList, investors have to be “accredited” which is the same requirement that investors on Angel List have to meet as imposed by Rule 506(c) of Regulation D. However, since the SEC hasn’t come out with any guidance on ICOs and token sales yet, the requirement that investors be accredited on CoinList is one that is self-imposed by CoinList.

Why This Co-Founder Keeps His Calendars Public to His Employees (Entrepreneur), Rated: A

From client meetings to doctor appointments to family time, most things Sam Hodges does is public knowledge to his employees. All they have to do is check out his online calendar, which is set to “public” for employees. So why is this co-founder and managing director OK with letting others in on even his private life? Because at Funding Circle, Hodges says he fosters a culture of openness and transparency — in every respect.

“The first really crucial trait is around vision. As a leader your job is to understand the market, understand the business’ capabilities and then come back to the organization with a view on what you need to do in order to become successful.

“A second really vital skill is communication — being able to communicate in the right way with many different types of stakeholders.

“A third really important skill is problem-solving. In a leadership position, oftentimes what you face day to day are the things that are not going well and the opportunities that exist — so comfort with ambiguity, the ability to put structure around problems and the ability to be calm in the face of things blowing up.”

The Emotional Robo-Counselor For Your 401(k) (NASDAQ), Rated: A

So he co-founded Dream Forward, a 401(k) supplier that offers, as its website says, “Emotional Advisor A.I. technology.”

Easterbrook: The super high level of what we do is we’re selling 401(k) plans, fix all the obvious problems, lower the cost, make it easier to use, cause less headaches, no conflicts of interest, and then add conversational AI that employees can talk to about whatever they don’t understand, whatever the issues are.

Easterbrook: It looks like an online chat. It’s a chatbot. It’s designed to basically have 24/7 chat available to employees on whatever they don’t understand, whatever their issues are, whatever concerns they have. It talks to them in plain English in a way that we call it almost an emotional advisor instead of a robo-advisor.

AI 100: The Artificial Intelligence Startups Redefining Industries (CB Insights), Rated: A

Google can take on Amazon’s cloud dominance: PayPal co-founder (Fox Business), Rated: A

Tech companies are increasingly becoming more mobile and cloud based. According to Affirm and PayPal co-founder Max Levchin, Google’s (GOOGL) best bet to rival Amazon (AMZN) is through the cloud services business.

In his opinion, Google should diversify and focus on its cloud storage services as a means of competing and catching up to Amazon’s AmazonDrive.

A quick guide to what’s at stake in the SoFi charter controversy (American Banker), Rated: A

Social Finance’s application for an industrial loan charter has not only drawn opposition from a coalition of incumbent banks and community activists. It also serves as a microcosm of several perennial debates in financial services policy.

From complaints about an unlevel playing field to warnings about systemic risk, from giving back to the community to fostering innovation, here’s a rundown of the issues.

Why I Am Joining Affirm (LinkedIn), Rated: B

I’m excited to share that I recently joined Affirm as Head of Product to help build honest financial products that improve lives.

Affirm presents a new and unique opportunity for me at the intersection of technology, user experience, and financial services. If we’re successful, Affirm has the potential to be the most innovative and globally loved financial institution in the world.

4 Fintech Companies That Might Replace Your Bank One Day (Benzinga), Rated: B

Based in San Francisco, SoFi has changed the lending and wealth management space of fintech.

Wealthfront has introduced to the automated financial advisor to the world. Based in Redwood City, the company has deployed high tech software to follow market trends and create analysis for good investments. The automated financial investor manages risk, lowers taxes, and minimizes fees. Wealthfront’s trademark product, PassivePlus, combines high-level research experts with high-level technology to create a speedy and precise automated financial advisor.

Nerdwallet is the hub for free information on credit cards, banking, investing, mortgages, loans, credit scores, and more.

LendingClub Corp LC, based in San Francisco, allows people to invest and borrow money. The company offers personal loans, small business loans, auto refinancing, and now loans for medical treatments. Investors make monthly payments in order for investors to make a monthly return. Scott Sanborn is the CEO of the company, which has lent $26 billion and has over 1.5 billion customers.

United Kingdom

LendInvest Bond Issue (SyndicateRoom), Rated: AAA

Property investment platform LendInvest is launching a five year retail bond, offering investors a fixed rate of 5.25 per cent. The Bond is due to reach maturity in August 2022.

The bonds will bear interest at a fixed annual rate of 5.25 per cent, payable semi-annually on 10th February and 10th August. The minimum initial subscription is £2,000, each Bond has a face value of £100. Once launched, investors will be able to sell their bonds on the open market at any time during market hours. The offer period is now open and is expected to close at 12 noon (London time) on 4 August 2017.

Upcoming FCA consultations will shape future of UK P2P lending (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending will continue to go from strength to strength, with low interest rates still squeezing bank margins, a trend towards fintech and a requirement for rapid decision making. P2P lending is establishing its position in the market even with an uncertain economic and political climate. As a result, myriad of opportunities and challenges must be considered across the sector.

The regulator has also expressed concern that P2P firms’ wind-down plans may not be adequate and is planning to strengthen the rules around this. Firms should therefore expect to see an increase in capital requirements.

Another cause of concern, which requires further exploration, is around potential conflicts of interest. There’s a risk that large investors will have greater access to preferential deals, over small investors, which creates problems for effective competition within the sector. Given the regulator’s mandate to promote competition more generally across financial services, it will be interesting to see how this gets applied to the new rules.

Is new retail bond from LendInvest a buy? (AltFi), Rated: A

That looks a smart move because it’s now planning to return to the retail market but this time via bond – Funding Circle, by contrast, chose to use an investment trust to raise money from the stock market, with a target annual yield of around 6.5%.

Compared with the rates on offer from rival P2P platforms such as Zopa and Ratesetter, the yield of 5.25% is not bad and unlike its nearest rivals the investor also get secured assets to work against. That’s important when comparing the Lendinvest yield of 5.25% against the Funding Circle SME Loan income fund yield of around 6.5%. The latter is not secured and is mostly invested in risky SME loans.

Also, Lendinvest has a sensible average LTV ratio at 63% which should give private investors some comfort although I would observe that if house prices fell more than 15% across the board, the bond might be in danger of breaching its covenant. I don’t think that is likely but it is always possible.

The damaged reputation of asset-backed securities is on the road to recovery (City A.M.), Rated: A

It’s been a decade since the collapse of two hedge funds managed by Bear Stearns. The funds were backed by subprime mortgages, and they failed when hoards of borrowers defaulted on their loans. This sparked a chain reaction which culminated in the global financial crisis of 2008.

“ABS could therefore represent the future of crowdfunding more generally, but real estate crowdfunding in particular. This long-suffering acronym could very well make a comeback to help revolutionise the market for real estate investment as we know it.”

Growth Street bolsters team with new sales and relationship management hires (LendIt), Rated: B

SME lender Growth Street has brought on board a new Director of Sales, Head of Relationship Management and Business Development Manager as the firm’s expansion continues.

The new appointments bring a wealth of sector experience to Growth Street. Chan Purewal, formerly of Boost Capital and Bibby Financial Services, has joined the business as Director of Sales.

Nicola Weedall, previously of GE Capital and latterly Head of Risk and Compliance at invoice financing specialist DueCourse, has joined Growth Street as Head of Relationship Management. Her role will be split between London and Manchester.

Meanwhile, Nick Owers, formerly Head of Banking Relationships at iwoca, becomes a Business Development Manager. Nick has also worked for Lombard and Royal Bank of Scotland in the past.

VC investment into UK FinTech ‘fell by 40% in Q2 2017’ (Tech City News), Rated: A

According to CB Insights’ ‘The Global FinTech Report: Q2’17′, venture capital-backed deals in UK FinTech fell by 40% during the second quarter of this year.

The report says funding plummeted by 52% after a temporary surge in the first quarter of the year following Atom Bank’s and Funding Circle’s $100m deals.

How to boost your retirement income with Peer-to-Peer? (Radio Times), Rated: B

Over the past ten years, peer-to-peer lending has taken the UK by storm and has become a viable option for many people looking for a potential retirement income. To date, more than £10 billion has been invested through UK peer-to-peer lenders, returning on average 7.17% total gross interest. (source: AltFi Data)

With the right peer-to-peer loans that are backed by tangible assets like property, such as ones offered by Assetz Capital, the risk of loss can be reduced as those assets may be sufficient to recover lent funds should the loan default.

Creditors set to miss out in Morgan Tucker administration (The Business Desk), Rated: B

Morgan Tucker, the Nottinghamshire-based consulting engineering firm, went into administration at the end of May owing over £3m to creditors, according to papers seen by TheBusinessDesk.com.

The business’s expansion into the Middle East caused significant losses, it emerged in June.

Among some of the firm’s biggest creditors were Funding Circle which was owed £218,513 and Vendor Loans which was owed £112,000. The firm also owed HMRC £286,513.

China

This Chinese Credit Card Company Plans On Outsmarting Tencent And Alipay With A More Secure Product (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Startup firms like Samoyed Financial, a Chinese online credit card issuer, are on the cutting edge of consumer lending.

Samoyed Financial offers prime consumers credit cards online at below-market interest rates. While so many consumers require loans to make larger purchases, online lending firms in China (particularly peer to peer lending firms) have in the past struggled to control risk.

Credit card use in China has risen from five million in 2002 to 300 million at present.

Because China lacks a complete credit risk credit rating system like FICO, firms have been forced to rely on their own credit risk assessments in the burgeoning consumer lending market. Lin’s firm uses data taken from the consumers’ phone records and online behavior, with consumers’ authorization. The data is then used to build a credit risk model.

Samoyed Financial also incorporates artificial intelligence in the form of the Alpha S robot to review information and determine whether an applicant looks suspicious.

China declares war on get-rich schemes, citing risk of social unrest (SCMP), Rated: A

Chinese police will strike hard against shady financial schemes because of the risk of social unrest from such fundraising ploys, according to the Public Security Ministry.

Guo said at a nationwide meeting with local police authorities on Sunday that law enforcers must use “big data” technology to uncover and stop such crimes as early as possible.

Chinese Fintechs Use Big Data To Give Credit Scores To The ‘Unscorable’ (Forbes), Rated: A

Last November 11, China’s so-called Singles’ Day, sales across Alibaba platforms reached new heights: RMB 120 billion, or $17.9 billion.

Offline borrowing, however, is still largely absent. Hua Bei is basically a virtual credit card, but 60% of the users have never owned a physical credit card. Traditional banks are not lending money to individuals because they lack a reliable credit score. In fact, most Chinese people, by Western standards, are simply “unscorable”–only 25% of the population have a credit history.

With spending increasing, credit card use per capita actually declined from 0.34 in 2014 to 0.29 at the end of 2015, according to People’s Bank of China. In that same year, however, mobile payment users grew 65%. For the whole year, $5.5 trillion third-party mobile payments were completed in China.

Chinese P2P Neo Online Helps Children Realize Football Dream with International Champions Cup (Markets Insider), Rated: B

Neo Online, a leading Chinese peer-to-peer lending platform under Neo Capital Management Group Co., Ltd. (“Neo Group”), joined with the 2017 International Champions Cup China to hold a public interest meeting under the theme “Big big kids in a big big world”.

In January 2017Neo Online launched the public welfare program “Kids Are Awesome”, which supports adolescent development and growth in such areas as culture, sports, arts, and health.

European Union

P2P lending platforms poised to join Nutmeg and Seedrs on Fidor marketplace (AltFi), Rated: AAA

One of the most interesting and recent of these partnerships is between challenger bank Fidor and host of other players such as digital wealth manager Nutmeg.  Fidor’s UK commercial customers can now access a whole suite of investment opportunities through the digital marketplace, including access to alternative investment opportunities via a number of the most respected fintech companies in the UK.

Fidor Bank is a digital bank with over 100,000 users across Germany and UK.

Interview with Loit Linnupõld, CEO of Crowdestate (P2P-Banking), Rated: A

What are the three main advantages for investors?

Pre-vetted real estate investment opportunities – Our experienced real estate and finance team evaluates thoroughly each aspect of every project and picks the best investment opportunities to be published for crowdfunding.
Low minimum investment amount – the minimum investment on our platform is just 100 euros, meaning basically anyone can afford to invest into real estate with Crowdestate.
Everyone can invest – Crowdestate is open to all investors all around the world, provided that they have a way to make an international bank transfer to their virtual investment account previously created on our platform.

There are many different types of investment opportunities on Crowdestate. Debt, equity, secured, unsecured… Why did you decide to use so many different types for the offers?

What ROI can investors expect?

The historical money-weighted average internal rate of return on our exited investment currently at 29.59%. However, as the fast-increasing money supply is driving the expected returns down, the investors’ annual returns are probably going to remain between 10-20%.

Stock loan falls short for buy side as liquidity source (Securities Lending Times), Rated: A

In a joint survey by InvestOps and SimCorp, 14 percent of 100 respondents highlighted securities lending as their most popular source of liquidity.

The survey did not detail respondents’ reasons for neglecting securities lending as a liquidity source or expand on whether heads of operations simply considered the practice as a back-up option.

International

ID Finance’s chatbot cuts client services workload by a third (ID Finance Email), Rated: AAA

ID Finance, the digital finance, credit scoring and emerging markets company has developed and introduced a self-learning chatbot for MoneyMan, its online lending platform serving customers in Spain, Georgia, Russia, Poland, Kazakhstan and most recently Brazil.  Since launch at the beginning of July, over a third of customer requests are already being processed automatically.

The chatbot interacts with new customers at the loan application stage and with registered users when they log in to their personal account. The chatbot helps to locate the information required to determine loan eligibility, and provides recommendations of relevant products tailored to the individual’s requirements and financial prudence. General advice on personal budget planning and financial literacy is also offered.

The chatbot works within the NLP (Natural Language Processing) and NLU (Natural Language Understanding) AI frameworks. Information is processed based on statistical matches covering a wide range of frequently asked questions. And the NLU platform enables analysis of messaging flow so the meaning of the information can be sought out in context.

Additional capabilities include finding non-trivial links in dialogue with users and providing relevant answers to questions unrelated to credit and finance. Thanks to the machine learning technology, the number of questions the chatbot is able to answer increases by 20 per cent daily. The average response time is around ten seconds and if a question cannot be answered the message is automatically forwarded to an available client support operator.

Australia

Former big bank CIO joins fintech board (Broker News), Rated: B

Online loan marketplace and fintech HashChing has welcomed two new financial services heavyweights to its advisory board.

Paul Rickard, managing director of CommSec and former executive at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, and Marty Switzer, chief operating officer of the Switzer Financial Group both joined the board in June earlier this year.

India

Faircent.com launches fully-automated ‘Auto Invest’ feature (DNA India), Rated: AAA

In a pioneering development for the country?s fintech sector, Faircent.com, India?s largest peer-to-peer lending platform has launched a new Auto Invest feature for registered lenders.

It eliminates the need for lenders to browse through several borrower profiles by automating the entire process.

As per its latest Data and Analytics report, 90 percent of the lenders on the platform are earning 18 percent to 26 percent gross returns.

Softbank to pick up 20% stake in Paytm’s parent company One97 Communications (Money Control), Rated: A

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) on Tuesday approved Softbank’s acquisition of 20 percent stake in Paytm’s parent company One97 Communications.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) on Tuesday approved Softbank’s acquisition of 20 percent stake in Paytm’s parent company One97 Communications.

The target launch is August 15, 2017.

Why India’s Hike messaging app adding payment services matters (Kapron Asia), Rated: A

Hike messenger, a popular phone messaging service app in India, has recently decided to introduce payment services on its platform.

The payment service includes both peer to peer payments that do not require bank accounts and use in-app wallets, and bank to bank payments using the UPI platform introduced by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).

Hike has been able to beat Whatsapp to providing in-app payment services.

Asia

‘Flexible’ Regulations Give Indonesia’s Peer-to-Peer Lending Startups Room To Grow (Forbes), Rated: AAA

It’s been seven months since the Indonesian government issued regulations for the peer-to-peer (P2P) lending industry, and the mood in the sector is optimistic.

Suleiman said the market is dominated by local companies that engaged with regulators as the guidelines were being created and were primed to grow once the legal structure was in place.

Indonesia’s Financial Services Authority (OJK)stipulated that startups must have $200,000 in capital before they can be approved for an operating licenses as lenders, and capped loan values at $150,000. For now, that amount suits most P2P lenders just fine, Suleiman said.

Suleiman said that most SMEs fail to secure traditional bank funding because they don’t have enough collateral, which he said is especially problematic in creative industries.

One company meeting the demand for SME financing is Investree, a P2P marketplace startup that launched in 2016.

Ant gold service together Malaysia’s second largest bank to build local version of Alipay (Tech.Sina.com.cn), Rated: A

The ant gold service today announced an agreement with Touch’n Go (TNG), a subsidiary of CIMB, to form a joint venture to provide electronic wallet solutions for local users.

At present, millions of Malaysians use the Touch’n Go card for electronic payments every day in retail stores, car parks and public transport systems. In the future, new e-wallet will help TNG’s new and old customers to get more services on their mobile phones, including electricity providers.

Indonesian FinTech Launches App For Individual SME Investors (PYMNTS), Rated: B

Reports Friday (July 21) said Mitrausahua Indonesia Group, which operates a peer-to-peer lending platform, has launched a mobile app for individual investors of small businesses.

The app joins Mitrausahua’s flagship offering Modalku. For small businesses, interest rates range from 12 to 26 percent. For investors, Modalku promises returns higher than those of commercial bank deposit and fixed investment products.

The app offers a feature, Automatic Funding, which automates the process by which investors can find SME borrowers suitable to lenders’ preferences. Investors can start investing at $75 but must have $750 deposited into their accounts.

Middle East

Middle East women seed crowdfunding campaigns attract more backers (Khaleej Times), Rated: AAA

A total of 97 campaigns were successfully funded in the region in 2015 and 2016, 24 of which were female-led and 73 male-led. And while the number of campaigns funded in the region is still relatively low vis-a-vis more established territories, however, seed crowdfunding is still relatively new to the region. Average pledge amounts to female-led campaigns are 29 per cent higher than male-led campaigns, compared with a difference of only 5 per cent globally, said PwC and The Crowdfunding Centre report – Women Unbound: Unleashing female entrepreneurial potential.

Seed crowdfunding generated a total financing of $ 3.25 million (with $527,300 going to female led campaigns) in the Middle East for 2015 and 2016, with female-led campaigns in the Middle East generating an estimated 5,320 backers, compared with 4,240 for those that were male-led, it added.

Canada

Despite recent gains, Canada lags in fintech adoption (The Globe and Mail), Rated: A

Although the percentage of Canadians using new financial technology has doubled over the past 18 months, Canada lags much of the rest of the world in adopting services offered by online providers.

In Canada, only 18 per cent of digitally active Canadians have used two or more fintech services in the past six months, compared with 33 per cent globally, according to Ernst & Young LLP’s FinTech Adoption index. And while the Canadian rate has almost doubled from 8 per cent in 2015, Canada remains in the bottom of world rankings along with Japan and Belgium.

China has the highest adoption rate at 69 per cent, while India and Britain are close behind with 52 per cent and 42 per cent, respectively.

Philippines

New lending platform to replace ‘5-6’ scheme (The Standard), Rated: AAA

MoneyMatch, an online peer-to-peer lending platform developed by local company FinTech Global Inc., aims to provide Filipinos an alternative to “5-6” scheme, or moneylenders charging exorbitant interest rates on loans.

Bautista said a borrower could apply for loan from P10,000 to P2 million which could be used to start to a small business, get a housing loan, or a new car, and pay for their loan at terms that they could afford.

The interest rate for the loans will range from 15 percent to 36 percent depending on creditworthiness of the borrower.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday July 11 2017, Daily News Digest

cumulative volume asset class securitizations

News Comments Today’s main news: CFPB bans banks from barring class action suits. Ballard Spahr’s response. Seedrs, Nutmeg partner with Fidor Bank on fintech marketplace. China Rapid Finance facilitates 20M cumulative loans. Auxmoney passes half-billion Euro mark. Today’s main analysis: Lend Academy looks at PeerIQ’s securitization report. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Which advisers do robos threaten? Global and regional M&A report. Faircent […]

cumulative volume asset class securitizations

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

Africa

News Summary

United States

CFPB bans mandatory arbitration clauses, allows class action against banks (Housingwire), Rated: AAA

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau revealed its new rule to ban companies from using mandatory arbitration clauses, allowing consumers to participate in class action lawsuits.

The new rule mainly pertains to consumer financial products like credit cards and bank accounts that have arbitration clauses in their contracts that prevent consumers from joining together to sue their bank or financial company for wrongdoing.

However, the new rule is not applicable to mortgage finance.

So for who the rule does apply to, according to the CFPB, it applies to the major markets for consumer financial products and services overseen by the bureau, including those that lend money, store money, and move or exchange money.

Under the rule, companies can still include arbitration clauses in their contracts, but companies subject to the rule may not use arbitration clauses to stop consumers from being part of a group action.

CFPB issues final rule prohibiting class action waivers in consumer arbitration agreements; Ballard Spahr to hold July 20 webinar (Consumer Finance Monitor), Rated: AAA

The CFPB announced today that it has issued a final rule that prohibits covered providers of certain consumer financial products and services from using an agreement with a consumer that provides for arbitration of any future dispute between the parties to bar the consumer from filing or participating in a class action with respect to the covered consumer financial product or service.

On July 20, 2017, from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. ET., Ballard Spahr attorneys will hold a webinar: The CFPB’s Final Rule Prohibiting Class Action Waivers: What You Need to Know.  The webinar registration form is available here.

Our analysis of the CFPB’s proposed rule and arbitration study found that the CFPB’s own data confirmed that arbitration is a faster, less expensive, and far more effective way for consumers to resolve disputes with companies than class action litigation.  The CFPB’s study showed that consumers who prevailed in an individual arbitration recovered an average of $5,389.  By contrast, the study showed that the average class action settlement for consumers who received cash payments was only $32.35.  And those consumers often had to wait as long as two years to receive the payment.  Class counsel, however, recovered a staggering $424,495,451.

Consumers who prevailed in individual arbitration thus received 166 times as much as the average putative class member.

The final rule will take effect 60 days after publication in the Federal Register and will apply to agreements entered into more than 180 days after that.

Ballard Spahr’s Comment on Arbitration Rule (Ballard Spahr), Rated: A

The rule is expected to cost the roughly 53,000 financial services companies who currently use arbitration agreements between $2.62 billion and $5.23 billion over the next five years to defend an additional 6,042 class actions that will be brought by plaintiffs. The CFPB expects those numbers to be repeated every five years after that.

CFPB’s long-awaited arbitration rule may be a short-lived victory for consumers (LA Times), Rated: A

It’s all but certain that Republican lawmakers in control of the House and Senate will move quickly to overturn the rule as part of their ongoing efforts to cripple the consumer-watchdog agency and create a more business-friendly regulatory landscape.

PeerIQ Reports on Q2 2017 Marketplace Lending Securitizations (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Q2 2017 was no exception with nine securitizations taking place totaling $3 billion, a 76% growth over the second quarter of 2016. This is in line with Q1 2017 where issuance was the same, but there were only seven deals. Total issuance is now $21.9 billion across 92 deals.

Other highlights provided by PeerIQ include:

  • Multi-seller club deals and self-sponsored deals have emerged at several leading platforms.
  • Dealer and rating agency participation continues to intensify.
  • New issuance spreads continued to tighten and flatten—a credit friendly environment for securitization.
  • Delinquency rates have continued to increase across several verticals—such as subprime auto, student, and personal loans—due to exposure to riskier borrowers, a re-leveraging of consumer balance sheets, “loan stacking,” and shifting payment priority trends.
  • Initial pricing is near record tight levels.


Millennial Money Study (Fully Vested), Rated: AAA

Are Millennials really so different than their Boomer and X’er counterparts?

Given that even the oldest Millennial is a Digital Native—potentially more connected than any prior generation in history— how does this inform their financial lives? What is their relationship to money? Their relationship to earning and saving? To legacy and innovative banking products? Do they prefer “cloud banking” (banks without physical branches or ATM’s) to “terra banks” (brick and m ortar ? ltraditional branches)?

Of course, any generational cohort that is so unwieldy in size contains a multitude of opinions and approaches—in fact, Millennials are now the largest living generation, according to Pew. In this survey, we show that there are substantive differences between the mindsets of the youngest (20–24) and oldest (30–35) Millennials.

Q: Which institutions do you trust the most?

  • Among the four institutions we queried, Big Tech was the most trusted at 34%.
  • The government is the next most trusted at 25%.
  • The press is only trusted by 21% of those polled.
  • Coming in at last is the Big Banks at 20%.

Q: What institutions do you trust the least?

  • The press and the government are in a tie for least trusted at 34%, with 41% of our youngest Millennials distrusting the press.
  • Big Banks are only trusted by 24% of those surveyed.
  • Big Tech is only found to be “least trustworthy” by 8% of our sample.

Read the full report here.

Millennial Men Trust Trump on Finance; Women Don’t (BusinessWire), Rated: A

  • Millennials between 18 and 22 years of age say the Great Recession did not impact them, while those at the other end of the age bracket very greatly felt, and continue to feel, negative impact.
  • Female Millennials are significantly less likely to take a credit card than their male counterparts.
  • Having a high income, being male, and living in a city are predictive of high levels of interest in cloud banking, or banks without physical branches.

Comptroller Concerned About Banks And FinTech Partnerships (PYMNTS), Rated: A

FinTech firms — which, in many cases, appeared on the landscape as banks’ competitors because of their ability to offer faster, easier access to financial services like online credit or money transfers — are now evolving into bank partners. That is a scenario, the OCC warns, that should have banks showing particular caution.

FinTech firms and their products are still new and require greater care by banks, according to the OCC’s warning, particularly when it comes to underwriting loans for consumers and small businesses.

Why Your Phone Will Be the Key to ATMs of the Future (WSJ), Rated: A

Over the past year, lenders such as Wells Fargo & Co., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America Corp. have started to roll out new ATMs that can link to customers’ mobile devices. Customers will sign in through their phones, potentially using a fingerprint, and then transmit a code to the ATM.

Other banks have shared similar difficulties with how to approach biometric data. A survey by the U.K.’s University of Oxford andMastercard Inc. published in June found that while nine out of 10 bankers wanted to take advantage of biometrics, only about a third reported a good experience so far using the technology.

Meanwhile, the need for next-generation ATMs is urgent. For one, card fraud is rising despite new security measures such as chip-enabled cards. Fair Isaac Corp. , a credit-data provider, has said it detected a 70% uptick in compromised cards being used at ATMs and merchants in 2016.

In their quest to use smartphones for biometrics, banks are relying on processes that are already well established. A customer using a phone at an ATM would authenticate her identify, using, say, a fingerprint as is the case with Apple Inc.’s iPhone and Apple Pay.

That means banks wouldn’t have to protect treasure troves of genetic templates from hackers. This is because the biometric data would be stored on individual devices, not in a central location.

That approach does shift more of the security burden to the user.

Is Realty Mogul the Easiest Way to Invest in Commercial Real Estate? (DoughRoller), Rated: A

Is it possible to get involved in large-scale real estate projects without actually buying property outright on your own? Realty Mogul proves it is.

Realty Mogul has actually succeeded at financing the first crowdfunded hotel in the country. The company famously raised $1.5 million to build the Hard Rock Hotel in Palm Springs, California, easily selling out of its offered shares in the campaign.

Accredited, non-accredited, and institutional investors can all use the tool. It actually offers tailored tools and features for all three types of investors. Users can also choose to invest in real estate loans or equity investments.

To date, users have invested over $265 million through RealtyMogul.com. Investors have used this money to successfully finance more than 350 properties. The combined value of investments is over $700 million.

ETHLend.io White Paper – Democratizing Lending (Github), Rated: A

Abstract: ETHLend.io introduces decentralized lending on Ethereum network by using ERC-20 compatible tokens or Ethereum Name Service (ENS) domains as a collateral.

Read the white paper here.

Betterment Yearns to be Amazon of FAs. Does Amazon? (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: A

The CEO of robo-advice pioneer Betterment believes his firm can turn into the Amazon of financial services, he tells Business Insider. But if Amazon itself entered the game, it could drastically alter the wealth management industry forever, financial planners tell InvestmentNews.

But Amazon itself could get into wealth management, considering that it’s already doing $1 billion in small business lending and brisk business in payments and credit cards, InvestmentNews writes.

Now, what if Amazon partnered with Betterment?

Nearly a Third of Millennials Say They’ve Used This App to Pay For Drugs (Fortune), Rated: A

Venmo’s a handy app for those times when you need to split a check or pay a buddy back a round of beers—but according to a new survey, some Venmo devotees are using it to settle a different kind of debt: the one they owe their drug dealers.

A survey of more than 1,200 millennials by student loan marketplace LendEDU found that nearly one-third of them admitted to using the payment app to buy drugs. Notably, that’s more than the 21% who said they’ve used the app for gambling purposes.

Daniel Gorfine Appointed as Director of CFTC’s Fintech Sandbox LabCFTC (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Acting Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo has appointed Daniel Gorfine to serve as Director of LabCFTC and Chief Innovation Officer. Launched in May, LabCFTC is the CFTC’s sandbox type environment for Fintech innovation.

Gorfine is well known in the Fintech and alternative lending space due to his previous roles at both OnDeck and the Milken Institute. In this role, Gorfine will be responsible for coordinating with international regulatory bodies, other US regulators, and Capitol Hill to discuss best practices around implementing digital and agile regulatory frameworks and approaches for the CFTC.

LendingTree Announces New Chief Marketing Officer, Brad Wilson (Cision), Rated: B

LendingTree® (NASDAQ: TREE), the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, today announced that Brad Wilson has joined the company as its new Chief Marketing Officer. Effective immediately, Wilson will oversee LendingTree’s brand strategy, marketing operations and consumer engagement as the company continues to expand into new financial service categories.

United Kingdom

Seedrs & Nutmeg Partner with Fidor Bank on Fintech Marketplace (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Seedrs has announced that it will be the sole equity finance provider in a new partnership with Fidor Bank, a challenger bank that launched in the UK back in 2015. Nutmeg, an online wealth manager, will also be joining Seedrs on Fidor’s new marketplace. The two platforms are the inaugural partners with additional partners expected to be announced in the coming months. The marketplace is expected to include a number of debt based peer-to-peer lending platforms as well.

Government urged to boost British Business Bank’s P2P resources (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE FEDERATION of Small Businesses (FSB) has called for the government to boost the resources it gives to the British Business Bank so firms can access better information on alternative sources of finance such as peer-to-peer lending.

The report warns that many small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) remain unaware or wary of alternative finance options, with respondents expressing concerns that P2P lending has not been tested through the economic cycle and that the sector remains “worryingly unregulated.”

FinTech Disruption: TransferWise Case Study (The Market Mogul), Rated: A

Gone are the days when many assumed that big banks were the only options consumers had in banking, savings and foreign exchange.

They offer this fast service at a cheap price, with amounts to around £400, costing a flat fee of £2 after that, with a fee of 0.5% on the amount sent. This proves to be transparent, easy and straight-forward, especially as TransferWise communicates with users on every step of the process.

Automatic saving bots harness artificial intelligence, data science and algorithms to challenge traditional banking with what many consider inflexible, untailored, and rather boring personal finance.

Millennials are at ease; they can simply open Facebook to manage their finances, or sit back and let the machines save for them.

For example, there are a number of neo-banks and challenger banks who directly challenge the larger banks.

Monzo bank, for example, offers this new banking outlook. It offers instant balance updates and notification on spending for transparency, with handy insights, such as why a transaction was declined.

Mergermarket Group rebrands as ‘Acuris’ (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Mergermarket Group, the provider of business intelligence and research for fixed income, transactions, infrastructure, compliance and equities, today announced that it has re-launched under the brand name Acuris.

Folk2Folk launches “locaI” ISA (Business Cornwall), Rated: A

Folk2Folk, Peer-to-Peer lending platform for local and rural business today announces the launch of its Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA), giving investors the opportunity to support British businesses within their local area whilst earning tax-free interest on their Folk2Folk loans.

Launch of AlgoMe Set to Disrupt Asset Management and Fintech (Cision), Rated: B

AlgoMe, the London-based start-up using intelligent technology for career development and job placement, has announced its official launch today. AlgoMe is a unique and compelling proposition for professionals and companies. It is designed with the user in mind, specifically the Asset Management and Fintech professional and company.

China

China Rapid Finance: 20 Million in Cumulative Loans Facilitated (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

China Rapid Finance announced on Monday it has exceeded 20 million cumulative loans facilitated since its marketplace lending platform launch. According to the lender, this new milestone demonstrates accelerating the growth of its consumer marketplace due to the fact that the number of facilitated loans has nearly doubled within the past six months from 10.7 million cumulative loans as of the end of 2016.

The news of the 20 million cumulative loan facilitated milestone comes less than two months after China Rapid Finance released its unaudited financial results for the first quarter of 2017, which revealed the following:

  • Total gross billings on transaction and service fees: Increased by 13.1% to US$16.8 million from US$14.8 million in the prior year period.
  • Gross billings from consumption loans: Increased by 336.8% to US$6.7 million in the first quarter of 2017 from US$1.5 million in the prior year period. 
  • Gross billings from lifestyle loans: Totaled to US$10.1 million in the first quarter of 2017, as compared with US$13.3 million in the prior year period. 

China Rapid Finance Exceeds 20 Million Cumulative Loan Milestone (PR Newswire), Rated: A

This milestone demonstrates accelerating growth of China Rapid Finance’s consumer lending marketplace, as the total number of facilitated loans has nearly doubled within only the past six months from 10.7 million cumulative loans as of the end of 2016. On a year-over-year basis, second quarter facilitated loans jumped by over 350% to more than 5 million, up from approximately 1.1 million loans in the same quarter of last year.

China Rapid Finance also continues to achieve a high rate of customer retention. Approximately 73% of borrowers on its marketplace were repeat borrowers as of March 31, 2017. The Company expects that its lower cost of acquiring borrowers, higher customer retention rate, and larger loan sizes for repeat customers will contribute to its long-term sustainable growth.

China’s estimated population of 500 million EMMA, who have no credit histories and substantial difficulty borrowing money from traditional banks, constitutes one of the world’s largest untapped consumer credit market opportunities.

European Union

German Consumer Lender Auxmoney Passes the Half-Billion-Euro Mark (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

German online consumer lending marketplace auxmoney announced that it has crossed a new milestone: the marketplace has granted more than 70,000 loans worth more than €500 million in cumulated volume.

Source: Crowdfund Insider

Moneypark Buys Rival Fintech (FiNews), Rated: B

Moneypark has agreed to buy DL Conseils en financement immobilier (DL), based in Lausanne, the company said in a statement today.

Moneypark’s owner, Helvetia insurance company, financed the acquisition.

Moneypark didn’t say how much it paid for Lausanne-based DL, which has been active as a business for ten years.

International

Which advisers profits are under threat from robo-advice? (FT Adviser), Rated: AAA

The highest-margin part of the financial advice business is safe from being carried out by automated services because customers value the personal touch most in these areas, a global survey has suggested.

These include creating a comprehensive financial plan, where 64 per cent thought human participation was beneficial, buying a pension, where 61 per cent thought it was beneficial, and looking to reduce a tax bill, where 58 per cent felt personal was better.

However, those advisers who focus more on fund and stock-picking face a greater threat from the march of robo-advice.

Despite perceptions that Millennials, or so-called ‘digital natives’ were less interested in interacting with people, more than half of those in this age group agreed with putting personal customer service over tech  – 53 per cent versus 65 per cent for the Baby Boomer generation.

Among the 60 per cent who believe that technology can’t replace personalised customer service, the belief is held more strongly by investors in the US and Europe, where 76 per cent and 64 per cent respectively agreed, than in Asia Pacific, where just 52 per cent agreed.

Women were more likely to agree, with 65 per cent of women agreeing that robots cannot replace advisers, against 55 per cent of men.

Global and regional M&A: H1 2017 (Mergermarket), Rated: AAA

Global M&A in the first half of 2017 has seen a 8.4% increase by value despite 1,117 fewer deals on the same period last year. H1 2017 recorded US$ 1.49tn across 8,052 deals, compared to US$ 1.38tn with 9,169 deals. Companies have been looking at ‘future-proofing’ in the wake of rapid changes to technology and politics to keep ahead of rivals. There have been 17 megadeals (> US$ 10bn) announced since the beginning of the year, versus 14 such deals in H1 2016.

As faith in the market continues to grow, European M&A has surged ahead, securing a 32.3% share of the global value. Both the US (US$ 602.6bn, 2,446 deals) and Asia Pacific (exc. Japan) (US$ 272.9bn, 1,585 deals) saw their share drop to 40.4% and 18.3% from 42.8% and 21.3% respectively. Following political uncertainty across the continent earlier in the year, European activity rose by 28.7% in Q2 to US$ 271.2bn (1,450 deals) compared to Q1 2017 (US$ 210.7bn, 1,641 deals). With 3,091 announcements in H1 2017, dealmakers generated a substantial US$ 481.9bn-worth of deals in Europe representing a 30.1% increase on the same point in 2016 (US$ 370.5bn 3,732 deals).

See the full report here.

A bizarre co-working scheme and the global rise of online real estate fraud (The Real Deal), Rated: A

An Australian in New York, Cindy, who like many other victims only spoke to The Real Deal on the condition that her name be changed, is one of more than a hundred investors from around the globe who lost their savings to what appears to be a bizarre fraud.

In reality, however, the space, along with other Bar Works locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Miami and Istanbul, looks to have served as a front for Renwick Robert Haddow, a British career fraudster. Through a labyrinth of agents and websites, of emails and social media ads, Haddow and his associates orchestrated a global fraud scheme, sources said.

In the world of scams, Bar Works is relatively small. But it is a perfect example of why real estate investment fraud is on the rise around the globe, bolstered by the spread of e-commerce and social media, the lack of an international enforcement authority, the complex nature of development projects, and investors’ thirst for outsized returns.

For Ruth*, a British retiree, it began with a “very slick” Facebook ad by an investment agency called Heron Global Partners.

Prosecutors claim he raised more than $36 million from Bar Works investors and wired $16 million to foreign bank accounts that were likely tied to him or his associates. They also allege he ran a separate scheme, Bitcoin Store, that promised high returns from investments in the virtual currency.

Endeavor Company, NovoPayment, Takes Major Global Fintech Honor (Crossroads Today), Rated: B

NovoPayment, a leading financial technology service provider and member of the Endeavor network, has earned the honor of the 2017 PayAwards Best in Category in the Outstanding White-Label Platform classification. PayAwards has conferred the most prestigious recognition of excellence in payments technology worldwide for 11 years. The awards are presented annually by Paybefore, whose publications are the leading source of industry information for payments executives.

Australia

As temperatures dip and winter energy bills soar, Australian homeowners are borrowing an average of $13,230 to make their homes more energy efficient according to an analysis of thousands of RateSetter’s personal loan customers. The peer-to-peer lender says that almost one in five (18%) home improvement loans are now taken out for green renovations that will reduce their energy bills.

The analysis of RateSetter data also shows that amongst all renovators, 89% see the use of energy efficient and environmentally friendly options as important or somewhat important to their project; selecting options such as energy efficient lighting, alternative power sources and low toxicity products in their renovation.

RateSetter’s survey of loan customers also found that around four in ten (41%) current home improvement borrowers indicated that they would make additional green changes to their home over the next 12 months.

Fintech companies are unlikely to completely replace the more conventional sectors of the financial services industry as they are mostly inexperienced in financial sector operations, according to a CFA report.

The report also found that blockchain technology would bring the most significant change to the financial services industry at 40 per cent, followed by robo-advisers (22 per cent), mobile payment (19 per cent), P2P lending (eight per cent), crowdfunding (seven per cent), and other (three per cent).

Fintechs pose disintermediation threat (Financial Standard), Rated: A

The latest CFA Institute report shows fintechs specialising in blockchain, robo-advice, mobile payments and peer-to-peer lending have the highest potential to disintermediate the financial services industry.

CFA Society Sydney president Anthony Serhan said innovation in these areas will likely disrupt financial institutions together with artificial intelligence, big data and cyber security – albeit with “limited discussion.”

India

Clocking an average of Rs 3 crore a month in lending, says Faircent’s CEO (Moneycontrol), Rated: AAA

In an interview with Moneycontrol, Rajat Gandhi, CEO and Founder of peer-to-peer lender Faircent, said that lenders can analyse the credit risk of borrowers by looking at their bank statement, income tax filings and physical verification of the borrower at the residence and at the office.

“One loan does not get funded by one lender, we have a rule that no lender can fund more than 20 percent of any borrowers requirement,” Gandhi said.

Speaking about Faircent’s financial performance, Gandhi said that around Rs 20 crore worth of loans have been disbursed over the platform till now and they are clocking an average of Rs 3 crore a month in lending.

With funding from Chinese investors, LoanMeet is trying to build a loan book of Rs 100cr (YourStory), Rated: A

At present, LoanMeet provides ultra-short-term loans of (15, 20, and 30 days) to retailers to buy inventory and repay them. But while being purely in inventory financing, there are two verticals for distribution.

The first entails giving the loan directly to the retailer who buys inventory and repays the loan after selling the goods. The second model revolves around tying up with distributors from whom retailers procure their goods. This helps bring in even more retailers as consumers of loans.

LoanMeet has a retailer (consumer) app which allows businesses to upload their Aadhaar number, business registration proof, PAN number as well as bank statement for the last three months.

Asia

CB INSIGHTS, a private research company on the startup industry, has named Modalku to the Fintech 250, a group of emerging private companies working on groundbreaking financial technology.

Modalku, the pioneering fintech (financial technology) peer-to-peer lending company operating in Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia, is the only peer-to-peer lending company from Southeast Asia selected to be on the list.

Africa

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday December 27 2016, Daily News Digest

lending-times

News Comments Today’s main news: Landbay receives full FCA authorization. Bizfi hits $2B origination milestone. Today’s main analysis: The rise of proptech. Today’s thought-provoking articles: What we learned about alternative finance this year. What can P2P lending offer SMEs? What to expect in MPL in 2017. United States Bizfi originates $2B in small business loans. AT: “Lending Club […]

lending-times

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United Kingdom

China

India

Asia

Middle East

News Summary

United States

Bizfi Hits $ 2B Origination Milestone; Providing Financing to More Than 35,000 U.S. Small Businesses (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

Today, Bizfi, the premier fintech company with a platform that combines aggregation, funding and a marketplace on a single platform for small businesses, announced that it has surpassed $2 billion in financing – through both growth and working capital – to more than 35,000 small businesses across America.

Lending Club Announces Bonus Incentive for New IRA Investments (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Lending Club (NYSE:LC) recently announced it is now offering a bonus incentive for IRA investments. From now through April 30, 2017, investors that open an IRA investment will receive a bonus of up to 3% of their investment.

What to Expect for Marketplace Lending in 2017 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

2017 will be a pivotal year for the marketplace lending (MPL) space as the market will seek stabilization in both confidence and venture funding, following a challenging 2016, but also as leading companies look to establish themselves as mainstay providers of consumer credit. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers’ DeNovo team, the main issues facing the MPL industry in 2017 include:

  1. ) an emphasis on improved transparency;
  2. ) next steps following regulatory changes;
  3. ) expansion to ancillary asset classes; and
  4. ) the potential impact from tax policy changes.

Transparency remains the single largest input affecting the overall health and sustainability of marketplace lenders.

Signs of market stabilization are evident with several recent wholesale bond sales and new credit facilities. Although originations have declined for three consecutive quarters, year-to-date (through September 2016) originations of $7.8 billion are nearly equivalent to the $8.2 billion for the first nine months of 2015, according to Orchard Platform.Further encouraging data is the growth in securitizations, with year-to-date issuance of $5.4 billion up from $3.0 billion for the equivalent period in 2015.

The two key takeaways from recent global regulatory announcements are 1) the lending industry has changed with validation of the MPL model; and 2) the uncertain regulatory path for MPLs is over. The onus is now on marketplace lenders to take the next steps which could play a critical role in becoming a mainstay provider of credit.

In addition to non-bank optionality in pursuing special purpose charters, 2017 could mark the transition of a major marketplace lender to a traditional banking structure. The benefits of lower cost deposit funding and the potential need to increase balance sheet lending options could entice an established MPL to pursue a traditional bank structure.

Fintech Payments: 5 Ways to Get Paid Without PayPal (Huffington Post), Rated: A

One of my favorite developments in the fintech payments space is Venmo. You can send money from bank account to bank account for free. I use Venmo to pay some of my own service providers.

Unlike PayPal, which will charge you to receive money, Google Wallet doesn’t take a fee when you receive money.

Beyond Bitcoin, there are other cryptocurrencies, all of which use blockchain technology to make sure you get paid as a freelancer.

You can use Due to send and receive global payments. Due offers a digital wallet, and we offer eCash solutions. It’s a new world out there, and you really don’t need to rely entirely on PayPal to get paid as a freelancer.

Insurtech european-style (Medium), Rated: A

There are numerous successful attempts to create an online accessible, paperless and flexible insurance. Companies like FinanceFox, Clark, Guevara, Friendsurance or Lemonade are not only offering a more suitable way to communicate, but also create new business opportunities themselves. That explains why FinanceFox received a total funding of $33.5m in 2 rounds from 9 investors, Friendsurance $15.3m in 3 rounds from 3 investors, or Lemonade $13m, just to name a few.

The first obvious approach to reach the market of Millennials is to build a bridge between them and established insurance companies.

With the intent to lower customer acquisition costs a different type of model emerged that may be classified as a B2B2C approach in the field of online insurance. Although the best model is still to be found out, so far it looks like this approach might be superior compared to the previously mentioned ones as it allows to significantly lower CAC through being included in already pre-existing channels and therefore scale faster.

What We Learned About Alternative Finance In 2016 (PYMNTS.com), Rated: A

A year ago today, you had never heard the word “Brexit,” never seriously said the words “President Trump” and never once considered that you would have to make sense of a world where Brad and Angelina had fallen out of love. Wells Fargo was just a bank that was really good at getting its customers to sign up for credit cards, and Lending Club and its P2P counterparts were coming to eat mainstream banking’s lunch.

The CFPB has had a busy year every year since it was created in 2011. Still, the breadth of topics the Dodd-Frank consumer protection watchdog took on in 2016 was fairly impressive — even by the CFPB’s aggressive internal standards.

Last year saw the agency offer up major revisions to regulation governing payday (and short-term) lending, arbitration in consumer contracts, car loans, marketplace lenders and prepaid cards. The agency also handed down the largest fine to a bank in its history — $100 million to Wells Fargo for creating an incentive system that pushed its employees to set up a series of consumer accounts without actually getting consumer permission. Wells was additionally hit with $85 million in fines from the Office of the Comptroller of Currency and the L.A. DA’s office.

Two things to watch this year. One, where do those default rates go, because a lending platform that can’t get people to pay back their loans isn’t a lending platform at all — it’s a charity. Two, which players survive and how they do it. Will they partner with the banks they were once primed to destroy, or will they find a way to keep on going it alone (mostly)? And those default rates, we should note, won’t just be important to watch in P2P lending.

Two things to watch this year. One, where do those default rates go, because a lending platform that can’t get people to pay back their loans isn’t a lending platform at all — it’s a charity. Two, which players survive and how they do it. Will they partner with the banks they were once primed to destroy, or will they find a way to keep on going it alone (mostly)? And those default rates, we should note, won’t just be important to watch in P2P lending.

Though much changes in the credit marketplace, one thing remains the same: Consumers have to pay their loans, and those that lend to consumers have to either be pretty sure the repayment is coming or price the loan to account for the risk. Whether regulation and the loan products next year reflect that unchanging reality remains to be seen.

5 Fintech Startups to Watch in 2017 (Fast Company), Rated: A

After flying under the radar for its first four years of operations, San Francisco-based Metromile dropped a bombshell in September: It had quietly raised nearly $200 million in a series of unannounced investment rounds, while at the same time positioning itself to grow nationwide as an independent auto insurer. Pay-per-mile auto insurance, the company’s core offering, is now poised to go mainstream.

Real estate technology moved into the spotlight in 2016, with blockbuster rounds going to Compass ($75 million) and OpenDoor ($210 million). In parallel, crowdfunding real estate platforms have been proving their mettle—bootstrapped Sharestates, for example, recently passed $230 million in funded projects.

Cadre, as its name implies, is less interested in crowdfunding and more interested in capturing the large pools of capital required to fund major commercial deals.

Whether the company’s high engagement leads to equivalent growth in assets under management remains to be seen. Stash’s strength lies in its “start small, think big” ethos; users can invest as little as $5, allocated according to their beliefs and values. The catchy, curated portfolio options include “Roll With Buffett” and “Social Media Mania.” At the end of the day, Stash is Blackrock ETFs, rebranded for nest egg newbies. But there might just be a business in that.

Is Venmo ripe for disruption, too? That is the thinking behind Tilt, which bills itself as a “social network built around money” and claims to be the fastest-growing app on college campuses. From Friday night pizza with roommates to a sorority-sponsored fundraiser, Tilt brings the functionality of peer-to-peer payments, crowdfunding, and Eventbrite under one roof.

Cross River Bank made headlines (and induced some head scratching) when it announced $28 million in venture capital funding last fall.

But fintech regulations are due for big changes in 2017, and Cross River may find itself at a sudden disadvantage. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the nation’s top bank regulator, announced plans for a new type of license on December 2. Under the special charter, fintech startups would be able to grow more quickly nationwide by sidestepping the arduous process of navigating state licenses and rules. They would also subject themselves to greater scrutiny on the part of the OCC with regard to consumer protections, capital controls, and more.

More Americans Resolve to Seek Financial Advice in 2017: Allianz (Credit Union Times), Rated: B

Much uncertainty exists about what lies ahead in the coming year, but many Americans are optimistic about their personal finances, Allianz Life reported this week.

Allianz Life’s annual New Year’s Resolution Survey found that consumers’ positive financial outlook is prompting them to get their finances in order, either with professional advice or on their own.

United Kingdom

Landbay wins full FCA authorisation (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

LANDBAY has been given an early Christmas present from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) with the news that it has been granted full regulatory authorisation.

The peer-to-peer lender now plans to apply to HMRC for approval to offer the Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) early next year.

Landbay specialises in buy-to-let property investments, and recently partnered with Zoopla to offer investors the chance to access buy-to-let mortgages via the property website for as little as £100.

Fintech Lending Platform BillFront Secures $ 35M During Series A Funding Round (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Fintech platform for digital media companies, BillFront, recently announced it raised $35 million during a Series A Funding round. Investors who participated in the funding round included 4Finance, NIBC Bank, and FinLeap.

It offers financing solution for digital media companies by providing access to revenues and enables customer growth potential.

Funding Circle Takes a Look Back at 2016 Memorable Moments (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

With less than two weeks until 2016 comes to an end, Funding Circle took a look back at its marketplace lending platform’s memorable moments of the year.

London fintech firm Nutmeg adds £12 million to Series D, bringing total to £42 million (Tech.eu), Rated: A

UK fintech firm Nutmeg has raised £12 million in a Series D funding round led by Taipei Fubon Bank, Taiwan’s second largest financial services firm. The company announced the round last month, which at the time brought in £30 million, in a round led by Convoy, Hong Kong’s largest listed independent financial advice firm. Now the total is £42 million.

The Practitioner: Financing landscape gloomy for small businesses (AccountancyAge), Rated: A

It’s interesting to sit in with the banks and hear about how they are restructuring again, and still open for business. However, when push comes to shove, the best bit of advice they can give the client is to consider other sources of funding, such as Funding Circle.

They also said that banks are no longer interested in offering the traditional overdraft. This much I do believe. From our client bank, I would say less than 5% have a bank overdraft. Over 25% have or have had an EFG loan a bank loan, 20% have asset or invoice finance, and about 10% have used a crowdfunding, Funding Circle, option.

I tend to agree with the finance house, who stated that companies such as Funding Circle may not be around forever: while they make it so easy to get money, there are going to be business owners who take advantage of it. Whether they end up growing their business as a result, well, the loan company won’t find out until it’s too late.

The rise of ‘proptech’: how the fall of the traditional estate agent has opened the door to upstarts (The Telegraph), Rated: AAA

Traditional property companies are under attack from many fronts: transactions in November were 7.3pc lower than a year ago.

This old-fashioned industry is in the throes of being upended by new technology start-ups, given the moniker ‘proptech’. It’s a diverse field, from data analysis to lending and investment, and from software providers to property management, conveyancing and online agents.

One upstart that emerged this year, becoming a serious thorn in the side of traditional companies, was the online estate agency Purplebricks. As a hybrid agency, it dispenses with expensive physical offices, and employs freelance ‘local property experts’ to advise sellers.

But there are limits to how far some companies can scale, according to Wilson. There are a few market leaders in the peer-to-peer lending sector, such as Lendinvest, which caters to buy-to-let investors. In this area, there is a ceiling, and the market is saturated: “the savings ratio is low, and who has money to put into crowdfunding in property?” he asks.

Other big property companies are looking to proptech start-ups to help them diversify and take on upcoming challenges for the sector, such as Savills which in June invested in online estate agent Yopa, and Connells, which bought a similar company, Hatched, in 2015.

VPC Sells P2P Loans Originated on Funding Circle as it Re-Focuses on Balance Sheet Investments (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

VPC Specialty Lending Investments has sold its portfolio of peer to peer loans that were originated on Funding Circle UK.  VPC stated it was seeking “less volatile returns” in selling the P2P assets.

Peer-to-peer lending: what can it offer SMEs? (The Telegraph), Rated: A

After eight months of searching, Mr Adams and Ms Bloomfield eventually obtained a loan to buy the building from peer-to-peer lender, Folk2Folk, which specialises in rural business projects local to the South West. The interest-only loan works like a mortgage and has a rate of 6.5pc, with repayments made monthly. It’s secured against the property, so will be repaid if and when it is sold. The lender adopts a relatively cautious attitude and will only lend up to 60pc of the property’s forced-sale value.

Experts say the downside of peer-to-peer loans is that they often carry higher rates than an equivalent bank loan. Without the protection of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, investors are putting their money at greater risk than depositors in a bank, and rates are higher as a result.

Questions have been raised over the quality of some of the loans on some platforms’ books – and the risk to lenders if they default. There are concerns that the industry could not survive a downturn, which could cause large numbers of borrowers to default at around the same time. If you can get a bank loan, it’s probably still a better idea.

Ms Jones recommends that businesses try specialist lenders such as Folk2Folk once they have decided to go down the peer-to-peer or crowdfunding route.Different firms have different specialisms. For example, SpaceHive, a crowdfunding company, gives out loans for community projects and regeneration.

Equally, the stage the business is at is crucial. Many peer-to-peer lending companies, such as Funding Circle, require two years of trading accounts, so they aren’t appropriate for brand new start-ups.

For a totally new business, Ms Jones recommends starting with reward-based crowdfunding through a website such as Kickstarter or Indiegogo, so owners can avoid giving away equity in the business at an early stage.

Once the initial funding is complete, a business could consider equity-based crowdfunding, where a portion of the business is given away in exchange for funds.

Unicorn and Maven announce VCT top-ups (Professional Advisor), Rated: B

Unicorn Asset Management announced it would launch a £15m offer for its popular AIM VCT early in the new year.

Also seeking a new subscription is Maven VCT 6, which hopes to raise £6m in top-up funds. It will be the only one of Maven’s funds to raise money in this fund-raising season.

Maven has also revealed its VCT funds have invested £1.1m in Growth Capital Ventures (GCV), which is developing a peer-to-peer lending platform that will provide access to pre-vetted investment opportunities.

Let Your Clients Buy the Farm and Manage the Risk (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: B

According to the survey, clients were interested in parking their finances in other alternative spaces as well. Private equity received high marks with 26% saying they would look to invest there. Notes and peer-to-peer lending rounded out the top spots.

China

Chinese billionaire with ambitions to reshape investment models (Financial Times), Rate: A

Chinese retail investors may be able to dream of Picasso while hanging share certificates on their walls.

A Singapore-based Chinese billionaire investor, who this year acquired stakes in peer-to-peer group Lending Club, the fund manager Legg Mason and Sotheby’s, has proposed “securitising” the artist’s work to create fractional ownership and tap a wider market in Asia.

The investors would profit if the artwork rose in value, Mr Chen adds.

Beijing court accepts P2P fraud case (China Daily), Rated: B

Beijing First Intermediate People’s Court announced Thursday that it is hearing a high-profile peer-to-peer (P2P) fraud case involving tens of billions of yuan.

India

10% interest rates: Money lenders make a comeback due to currency shortage (Business Standard), Rated: A

While one of the objectives of was supposed to create a transparent economy by obliterating black money, it has created a parallel one led by informal money lenders, say bankers.

Even in urban areas, cash crunch is forcing people to look at non-bank financial avenues for short-term loans. As a result, several individuals or small and micro enterprises are now turning to online portals working in the space of peer-to-peer lending. Under this, one individual can lend money to another without assistance from any financial intermediary.

Asia

As banks retreat, fintech muscles into SME financing (The Asset), Rated: AAA

Considered the backbone for most economies within Asia, SMEs (small to medium enterprises) have been for the longest time neglected by the financial system.

Funding Societies based in Singapore is just one of the many P2P (peer-to-peer) providers in the region that aim to connect investors looking for additional yield to SMEs searching for funding. Moreover, Fundnel another Singapore based firm is aiming to help institutional investors discover private companies with promising growth potential. Currently Fundnel was able to raise US$49 million for approved companies on its platform.

Middle East

Central Bank of Iran Set to Launch Regulatory Fintech Body (Crowfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Central Bank of Iran (also known as CBI) announced earlier this week that it is planning to launch its very own fintech regulatory body. According to the director of CBI’s Office for Innovative Technologies, Ali Kermanshah, the organization has been working on fintech regulations since 2012, and it is planning to develop an ecosystem to authorize financial startups and fintech firm operations.

According to the Financial Tribute, unofficial reports now show that over 50 fintech firms are currently operating in Iran, most of which were developed in the past three years.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday November 15 2016, Daily News Digest

Tuesday November 15 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: Prosper has new CEO. Today’s main analysis : 7 critical changes of the maturing FinTech sector. Today’s thought-provoking articles: UK’s FinTech sector is nervously waiting for the final Brexit outcome. Will EU regulate FinTech? Bank of Indonesia sets up a FinTech office. United States Prosper has new CEO GP:” This is a huge […]

Tuesday November 15 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments

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European Union

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India

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United States

Prosper Marketplace Names David Kimball Chief Executive Officer (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Prosper Marketplace, a leading online marketplace for consumer credit, today announced that the company’s board of directors has named David Kimball Chief Executive Officer. Kimball succeeds Aaron Vermut and the appointment is effective December 1, 2016. Vermut has served as the CEO of Prosper Marketplace since March 2014 and will retain his seat on the company’s board of directors.

Bracing for seven critical changes as fintech matures (McKinsey&Company), Rated: AAA

For the past decade, fintech companies—technology firms that focus on financial products and services—have moved quickly, forcing incumbents to rethink their core business models and embrace digital innovations. But now, the fintech industry is itself maturing and entering a period of rapid change. Companies wondering how they will fit into this new era must first understand the forces that are pushing the changes.

While the industry will undoubtedly continue to expand as its customer base grows and investor appetite remains unsated, changes are imminent. Indeed, the very concept of what comprises fintech will shift. As the industry evolves, it will play a role well beyond financial products and services, individual companies will vie to become undisputed leaders by size and breadth, and ecosystems will develop that have a tight grip on customer loyalty.

This new fintech era is being shaped by changes in market conditions, new regulations, and shifts in consumer demands and behaviors.

Expanding scope

The scope of products and services offered by fintechs is expanding rapidly. The shift brings fintechs away from a focus on frontline activities to a broad engagement throughout the value chain.

 

Increasing diversity

The fintech industry is also becoming more diversified, with a wide variety of business models seen across geographies, segments, and technologies.

Improving collaboration

Collaborative partnerships will become increasingly important as fintechs seek scale and traditional financial institutions seek digital expertise.

Impending consolidation

As the industry continues to mature, fintechs will likely enter a period of consolidation, with larger players turning to mergers and acquisitions to satisfy their expansion goals.

Normalizing valuations

Valuations of fintechs are also normalizing as investors become more cautious and start favoring companies with proven track records.

Shifting regulations

Not surprising for a new industry, the regulatory regimes affecting fintechs are also evolving swiftly and will significantly influence how the industry develops. In many markets, regulators are playing a more proactive role in overseeing the industry, often encouraging its development, for instance by following a sandbox—or test and learn—approach that allows fintechs to experiment without impacting the entire financial system.

Emerging ecosystems

As digital offerings become more mature and interconnected, vast ecosystems will develop that span multiple industries. In many instances, fintechs will become submerged in these ecosystems, representing, like many others, a component of a much broader digital network.

StreetShares Foundation and JPMorgan Chase Partner to Give Veterans $ 10,000 in Monthly Business Awards (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

StreetShares, the lending and investing community for veterans and their supporters and creators of the Veteran Business Bond, recently announced the formation of the StreetShares Foundation. The goal of the StreetShares Foundation is to inspire, educate, and support veteran small business owners. JPMorgan Chase & Co. is partnering with the StreetShares Foundation to provide up to $10,000 each month in Veteran Small Business Awards.

The StreetShares Foundation plans to give three Veteran Small Business Awardseach month to eligible veteran and military-spouse small business owners:

  • First Place – $5,000
  • Second Place – $3,000
  • Third Place – $2,000

One unique feature of the new Veteran Small Business Award program is the focus on public participation. StreetShares Foundation encourages everyone who supports veterans and entrepreneurship to participate in voting for their favorite veteran business at StreetShares.com/Foundation. Finalists will be presented for public vote each month.

SEC Should Take Lead on Regulating Fintech, GOP Commissioner Says (Morning Consult), Rated: A

The Securities and Exchange Commission should play the leading role in regulating financial technology, said Commissioner Michael Piwowar, the lone Republican on the panel.

The statement, made at the agency’s fintech forum on Monday, could set the stage for a turf battle among agencies like the SEC, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as they grapple with how to police the emerging industry. The OCC is weighing a national charter for fintech firms and said it will release a paper on the matter by the end of the year.

Real Estate Marketplace Roofstock Raises $ 20m Series B (Biz Journals), Rated: A

Roofstock (www.roofstock.com), the leading online marketplace and transaction platform in the $2 trillion single-family rental (SFR) sector, today announced $20 million in Series B financing led by Lightspeed Venture Partners, with substantial participation from existing investors including Khosla Ventures, Bain Capital Ventures, Nyca Partners, QED Investors and SV Angel. Roofstock has raised a total of $33.25 million in equity since the company’s formation in May of 2015.

The company has developed a proprietary marketplace for investors to find, evaluate and invest in single-family rentals online with tools and transparency never before available to either retail or institutional investors. Since its public launch in March of this year, the company has expanded to serve 10 markets, engaged thousands of registered users, grown its transaction volume by 400% from Q2 to Q3, and significantly expanded its inventory and seller network.

Robo-advisers sound off to SEC about rule changes for automated advice (Investment News), Rated: A

The SEC hosted a forum of financial technology experts Monday to discuss the impact of innovations in investment advice and other financial services. SEC staff is considering whether further guidance or even new rules are needed to protect investors.

Automated-advice providers, often called robo-advisers, register with the Securities and Exchange Commission as investment advisers and are subject to the Investment Advisers Act, which requires clients’ interests to come first when providing recommendations, among other standards.

Regulators have questions about how that happens when recommendations are generated by algorithms, and in May the SEC and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. alerted investors to the risks associated with using a digital provider over a human.

iCapital Network Marks Two Year Anniversary of Platform Launch (Yahoo! Sports), Rated: B

iCapital Network today announced it has surpassed $2 billion in platform assets since the launch of its online alternative investment platform two years ago. The firm’s proprietary technology has helped to rapidly democratize private investments such as private equity and hedge funds by connecting individual investors and their advisors to asset managers through a streamlined and secure digital interface.

1031 Crowdfunding, LLC Ranked Among Top 10 Real Estate Crowdfunding Sites (PR Newswire), Rated: B

1031 Crowdfunding, LLC announced today that the Company moved up in the rankings for the 2016 Top 100+ Real Estate Crowdfunding Sites to #10 overall and maintained its position as #1 ranked Real Estate Crowdfunding site for 1031 Exchanges.

United Kingdom

THE U.K.’S FINTECH SECTOR IS WAITING NERVOUSLY FOR THE BREXIT OUTCOME (Newsweek), Rated: AAA

This week, one arm of the British government’s post-Brexit outreach strategy extends to Singapore. A mission organized by the Department for International Trade, one of two new bodies set up by Theresa May to handle the U.K.’s post-Brexit future, is heading to the Asian city-state, bringing in tow nine companies from Britain’s booming FinTech (financial technology) sector, as well as Simon Kirby, a Treasury minister.

The government is pitching it as a landmark event. But this is just the first round in a long fight.  Brexit could well mean an end to the free movement of people from Europe—something highly prized by talent-hungry technology businesses—and could threaten the “passporting” rights that allow British financial services businesses to ply their trade throughout the bloc. It has some work to do to keep the sector strong.

But now, like everybody else, FinTech businesses are waiting to find out what Brexit means for Britain. They do so with some trepidation: of 12 leading FinTech companies that Newsweek surveyed for this piece, all but one were concerned about the referendum vote’s impact on their business, and 10 rated the continuation of passporting rights as either vital or important for their future success.

Fintech Platform Revenues for Lending & Financing to Exceed $ 10bn by 2020 (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Juniper Research has found that Fintech platform revenues to support lending and financing are set to reach $10.5 billion globally by 2020, doubling the $5.2 billionexpected this year. The analyst house claimed that growth would be driven by a combination of factors including:

  • an acceleration in P2P (peer to peer) lending;
  • crowdfunding becoming a viable alternative to traditional lending mechanisms;
  • the deployment of next generation analytics platforms.

The new study, Fintech Futures: Market Disruption, Leading Innovators & Emerging Opportunities 2016-2021, argued that, in the absence of credit checking bureaus in emerging markets, applicants’ social media activity will be a deciding factor for their loan applications, with suppliers developing equivalents to credit scores so that lenders can gauge their risk exposure.

OFF3R Relaunches Alternative Asset Investment App with Majority of UK Platforms (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

OFF3R has relaunched its updated site that allows investors to access peer to peer lending, property / equity crowdfunding and managed investment platforms in a single application. The multi-channel platform was said to have received a “total overhaul” for both its desktop and mobile version.

OFF3R was initially focussed on the equity crowdfunding sector. The new marketplace will allow investors to sign up for free and subsequently discover 100’s of investment opportunities from some of the leading alternative investment platforms in the UK and Europe.

Lossmaking online wealth manager Nutmeg raises £30m (Financial Times), Rated: A

Nutmeg, the lossmaking online wealth manager, has raised £30m from international investors in a deal that underscores the belief that low-cost “robo-advisers” will reshape financial advice even though firms have had limited success so far.

The London-based company, which posted pre-tax lossesof £9m this year, has attracted £24m from Convoy, Hong Kong’s largest listed financial advisory firm, as well as £6m from its existing backers. Nutmeg said it was considering using the funds to expand into Asia.

The funding round is the largest in a UK fintech company since the country voted to leave the EU. It doubles the total investment in Nutmeg, which offers low-cost automated online advice and was launched in 2011.

Alternative investment ops gaining pace, OFF3R (IBS Intelligence), Rated: A

Equity crowdfunding platforms raised £216.25 million and P2P facilitated a combined lending of £2.6 billion over the last year, according to OFF3R research. The marketplace for alternative investments has launched an index outlining month-on-month performances of equity crowdfunding and P2P lending platforms. It analysed the likes of Seedrs, Crowdcube, Syndicate Room, Angels Den, Envestors and The House Crowd. The P2P lending platforms examined were Zopa, Landbay, RateSetter, ArchOver, Marketinvoice, Lending Works, Funding Circle and Thin Cats.

Sharia-compliant P2P lenders could enter market, banker reveals (Bridging & Commercial), Rated: A

Speaking to Bridging & Commercial, Maisam Fazal, head of commercial finance at Al Rayan Bank, admitted that there may be a gap in the market for alternative finance such as P2P lending.

“I know I have a lot of contacts working on [Sharia-compliant P2P] right now, trying to get this on the market.

Despite welcoming more firms to the Islamic finance market, Maisam suggested that rates as low as Al Rayan’s could make it off-putting for potential new entrants.

Finstar appoints CEO to oversee new fintech investment unit (Finextra), Rated: B

Private equity outfit Finstar Financial has appointed Mark Ruddock from Wonga to oversee a new corporate venture group that will look for opportunities in the fintech space.

Ruddock has been appointed as CEO of FinstarLabs, a special-purpose investment vehicle aimed at expanding the PE firm’s fintech portfolio.

European Union

EU Commission Puts Fintech Review on Agenda for 2017 (Fortune), Rated: AAA

The European Commission aims to propose recommendations for financial technology firms early next year, taking a first step towards assessing the risks and rewards presented by a sector that is shaking up traditional banking.

Announcing an internal task force meant to propose recommendations for the sector in the first half of next year, EU financial services commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis said technological innovation in finance was a development to be encouraged.

The Commission did not clarify whether fully-fledged regulation is on the cards, but some regulatory changes appear likely.

Vattenfall: Anna Borg Appointed Senior Vice President for Business Area Markets (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Anna Borg, currently Senior Vice President and head of Klarna’s commercial operations in the Nordics, has been appointed Senior Vice President of Vattenfall’s Business Area Markets. Anna Borg will be a member of Vattenfall’s Executive Group Management and report directly to President and CEO Magnus Hall. She will take up her new position 1 April, 2017.

During the past two years Anna Borg has headed Klarna’s, a leading European fin tech player, online buying and payment solutions business in the Nordics. Before that she spent 18 years at Vattenfall, holding numerous management positions, including heading the business development of the market and trading operations.

Manage your own property portfolio with Housers (The Olive Press), Rated: A

3. In what way is real estate crowdfunding and Housers different?
In regular real-estate investment, your money is invested in either one or a very few properties and you need large amounts to be able to participate in this market. Via Housers, everybody can participate in the real estate market for a minimum investment of just €50, and in up to as many properties as they like.

5. Why should people choose this way to invest?
It allows them to diversify their investment, thus reducing the risks. Because Housers manages the whole process, from purchase to lease to sale, the customer doesn’t have to worry about paperwork, tenants etc.

8. How do people make money?
Housers make money every month when dividends are paid, based on the rental income of each property; or, when the projected sales price is reached, they also share in the capital gains that the property has generated.

China

The Fintech Files: Will P2P Disrupt the Banks? (CFA Institute), Rated: A

Lu.com (陆金所) is one of the world’s largest players in the P2P market. Recently, I sat down with Gregory Gibb, CEO and chairman of Lu.com, in his office in Shanghai to discuss how the industry will evolve.

Is P2P a big enough market for financial institutions to enter?

They differ a lot by location. In the United States, the consumer market’s already been dominated by the banks. Lending Club and the like are eight or nine years into the business but still not very big.

If you go to places like India, Indonesia, or China, where . . . there’s a huge amount of consumer-borrowing need, there’s also a huge amount of retail investing need — and in the case of China, where the banks are 80%–90% non-retail because there are easier places to make money and it’s more socially rewarding to be a corporate banker than a retail banker — the market’s going to be big because the traditional players aren’t going to grab the consumer lending as fast. So the answer differs a lot in terms of scale in different countries.

Sounds like P2P can grow to be quite big in markets like China if it simply captures a slice of the pie.

The peer-to-peer market in China today is just north of USD$100 billion in loans outstanding. To say that the market will be a trillion US dollars within the next seven to 10 years is not a crazy number.

So why aren’t the banks going into P2P?

There is absolutely nothing stopping a bank from doing this. But why would a bank do P2P?

The funding cost is 1%, 2%, 3% on the deposit side and the credit card APR is 18%. Then they are making 15–16 points in gross margin. And if they went into a peer-to-peer model, they may have to give the investors 5% or 6%. So they’ve lost a couple hundred basis points of profit.

Fintech advances prompt lenders to become start up friendly (South China Morning Post), Rated: A

Finding the right partners with which to work and fostering an environment for fintech collaboration are posing challenges for lenders, as the relationship between big global banks and emerging financial technology companies shifts away from competition to more of collaboration.

Many large global banks in their current form are not easily compatible with agile and innovative financial technology start ups, due to their complex existing systems and legacy issues. Some managers responsible for working with fintech companies at financial institutions, speaking privately, bewailed their more senior colleagues’ inability to make the necessary changes to the way in which they operate.

“Most of the fintech companies are trying to sell their services to or partner with existing institutions,” said James Lloyd, fintech leader at EY. “But that does not mean that banks can forget the 5 per cent that are trying to compete with them,” he said.

It is for both this reason, and doubts about what their rivals might be doing, that banks are still concerned about fintech.

India

Here’s why India’s fintech sector could boom (Business Insider), Rated: A

The government made the surprise move in a bid to combat “black money,” or currency that is unaccounted for, and counterfeit currency. Consumers have until December 30 to exchange their R500 notes for new editions with enhanced security features, while limited numbers of new R2,000 ($39.70) notes have been issued. A replacement R1,000 note will be introduced in “due course,”

Asia

BI’s new ‘fintech office’ to ensure both innovation, security (The Jakarta Post), Rated: AAA

Bank Indonesia (BI) on Monday officially launched a financial technology (fintech) office to monitor the services offered by the young and thriving industry so as to ensure innovation continues and consumers simultaneously enjoy security.

BI governor Agus Martowardojo described the new office as an advisory hub for all fintech companies operating in Indonesia and as a facilitator to help the industry expand further and ensure greater financial inclusion in a country where half the population does not have access to banks.

As part of its office, BI plans to monitor the development of fintech companies through its regulatory sandbox, a sort of laboratory where ideas on innovation are shared between regulators and fintech players so they can be tested and evaluated with the central bank’s supervision before they go commercial.

B2B FinTech Startup MC Payment Grabs Funding (PYMNTS), Rated: B

Singapore-based B2B FinTech firm MC Payment announced a new funding round, as well as global expansion, late last week.

Reports Friday (Nov. 11) said MC Payment raised $3.5 million from an investment firm in Thailand, as well as participation from Aura Funds Management, tryb Capital and Perle Ventures. The funds have also allowed the company to enter the Thailand market, reports said.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor