Monday December 4 2017, Daily News Digest

mortgage delinquencies by credit score band

News Comments Today’s main news: Lending Club closes first-of-kind MPL transaction. Zopa the first P2P lender to lend 100M GBP in one month. Marcus’s personal loan hits the mark. China issues new rules for cash loan market. Lexinfintech delays IPO. China Rapid Finance posts quarterly earnings. Today’s main analysis: Mortgage delinquency case study. International P2P lending volumes. Today’s thought-provoking articles: China […]

mortgage delinquencies by credit score band

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

Canada

Africa

News Summary

United States

LendingClub Closes First-of-Its-Kind Transaction in Marketplace Lending (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

LendingClub (NYSE: LC), America’s largest online marketplace connecting borrowers and investors, today announced that it has closed a first-of-its-kind transaction in marketplace lending — a whole loan transaction structured as a tradeable, pass-through security called a CLUB Certificate*. This first milestone transaction totaled $25 million with an institutional investor seeking a liquid vehicle with which to access the consumer credit asset class.

The CLUB Certificate transaction consisted of whole loans structured as a pass-through security. The instrument trades in the over-the-counter market with a CUSIP and is efficiently cleared through the Depository Trust and Clearing Company (DTCC).

Lending Club diversifies with pass through deal (Global Capital), Rated: A

The $25m transaction was purchased by an institutional investor seeking “a liquid vehicle with which to access the consumer credit asset class”, chief capital officer Patrick Dunne told GlobalCapital, though he declined to reveal pricing information or the buyer’s identity.

The inaugural CLUB certificate consists of whole loans structured as a pass-through security, and trades in the over-the-counter market with a CUSIP number, and cleared through the Depository Trust and Clearing Company (DTCC).

Unlike a securitization, the certificate only pools three year and five year loans of a particular grade that the investor is looking for.

Goldman Sachs’ Marcus Personal Loan Hits the Mark as Other Lenders Struggle (LendEDU), Rated: AAA

When Goldman Sachs launched Marcus, a personal loans product, a little over a year ago, it set an aggressive goal: lend $2 billion by the end of 2017. And while competing online lenders have reported a series of losses since then, Goldman announced this month that Marcus has hit that milestone.

Marcus offers loans from $3,500 to $30,000 on an unsecured basis, meaning they don’t require collateral such as a car or house. Borrowers must make monthly fixed payments, and interest rates range from 6.99 percent to 23.99 percent. On the Marcus website, a sample loan of $15,000 at 13 percent APR is estimated to cost a borrower $19,312 at the end of a 48-month term.

While Marcus has been soaring, other online lenders have been struggling. Lending Club, Prosper, and OnDeck all reported losses over the past 18 months.

Donuts at the CFPB, LC’s Pass-Through Security, Mortgage Delinquency Case Study (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

On Friday, Lending Club completed a first-of-its-kind transaction in marketplace lending by selling a whole loan pass through security. The transaction size was for $25 Mn and was sold to a single institutional investor. LendingClub held 5% to comply with risk retention rules. The transaction is notable for the following reasons:

  • Expands the market. The pass-through security reflects the same risk and return characteristics of a whole loan pool.
  • Lower Financing Costs. Additionally, as market liquidity grows, the CUSIPs may enjoy lower-cost repo financing as an alternative to higher-cost credit facilities.
  • Secondary Markets. The product addresses certain investors’ demand for secondary market liquidity.
  • Valuation. The price discovery generated from markets in CUSIPs will enable valuation agents such as PeerIQ and Duff & Phelps to calibrate pricing to observed trades in the market.

Mortgage Delinquencies and the 2008 Crisis

Following the integration of TransUnion’s deep datasets on the PeerIQ platform, we examine the historical delinquencies for mortgages over the last 15 years. As seen below, we find that Mortgage delinquencies increased meaningfully, across all credit scores, one-year before the financial crisis.

Source: PeerIQ, TransUnion

We also show that the rise in delinquency levels above corresponds to the rise in Debt-to-Income levels (and other underwriting statistics – not shown) leading up to the crisis.

Source: PeerIQ, TransUnion

There’s a gift for student lenders in the education bill (American Banker), Rated: A

After the 2016 elections, there were high hopes that student lenders (and servicers) would benefit from a more favorable environment regulatory environment and expanded lending opportunities.

Until recently, however, there was not much to show in either respect. While the industry cheered the Department of Education’s decision in August to stop sharing servicing data with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, higher education did not appear to be a high priority for the Trump administration.

Ethan Senturia of Dealstruck (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Our latest guest is Ethan Senturia. He was the CEO and Co-Founder of Dealstruck, an online small business lender that was founded in 2013 and shut down in late 2016. Ethan talks about his journey as the CEO of Dealstruck and what led to its demise. He does not sugar coat anything and he takes a great deal of personal responsibility for everything that happened.

His has written a book about this journey called Unwound: Real-time Reflections from a Stumbling Entrepreneur and it is being released on Amazon today.

Beware Those Sketchy Loans Advertised on Instagram (Lifehacker), Rated: A

We’ve warned readers before about new, slick credit companies like Affirm, which want to replace credit cards with on-the-spot loans integrated right into online purchase pages. For all their talk of helping consumers, these companies aren’t much more than friendly loan sharks, re-branded to offer a “premium experience,” but still dangerous and even predatory.

But as Cagle points out, Affirm’s median interest rate of 19 percent is above the median credit card rate, and retailers use the company to build, and then aggressively advertise, the model of buying expensive products on credit. For all of Affirm’s talk of responsibility and helping consumers make better choices, their third most-popular buying category is fashion.

Affirm seems to be making the problem worse. As Cagle puts it: “Affirm is not just meeting a demand, but creating one, encouraging shoppers to buy and spend more. Affirm claims an average 75 percent boost in order values across all its merchant partners.”

MiaDonna Lifts AOV 36%, Repeat Purchases 17% With Financing Option (Retail TouchPoints), Rated: A

With a young, tech-savvy consumer base, MiaDonna, an online jewelry retailer specializing in ethically sourced lab-grown diamonds, wanted to be up-to-the-minute with its payment options as well. The retailer selected financing company Affirm, enabling shoppers to pay in three-, six- and 12-month increments.

MiaDonna, which now makes approximately 20% of its sales through Affirm, noted that shoppers using the service are both spending more and coming back. Affirm users make 17% more repeat purchases, with average order values (AOV) that are 36% higher compared to non-users.

The company’s target consumer is females aged 18 to 34 who are in a relationship and are close to getting engaged or married (within six to 12 months).

Marketplace Lenders Should Remember Experience Can Be Replicated, Experts Say (Bank Innovation), Rated: A

“The borrower experience at a marketplace lender is better than [the experience] at a bank, and that’s why it’s here to stay,” Don Davis, portfolio manager for Prime Meridian Capital Management, said today. during a panel discussion at the 3rd Annual Investors conference for Marketplace Lending, pointing to the ease of the online lending experience for borrowers.

Coinsource Adds 18 Bitcoin ATMs in Atlanta, Among Ten Most Unbanked US Cities (Bitcoin.com), Rated: A

The Texas-based bitcoin ATM network, Coinsource has deployed 20 new machines in the state of Georgia, marking its single largest installation to date. 18 bitcoin ATMs have been installed in the city of Atlanta, and 2 machines in the nearby college town of Athens.

survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) found that 7% of households (9 million) in the US are unbanked and an additional 19.9% of households (24.5 million) are underbanked.

“Atlanta, Georgia is in the top ten of most unbanked cities in the country, and more than one in ten households have no involvement with traditional banks. Around 30% of residents are underbanked, meaning they might have to check accounts, but have to rely on other kinds of services like pawn shops, check-cashing and payday loan companies to get cash and credit,” Clark said.

To maximize exposure to potential clients, the ATMs were set up near high traffic areas, as well as close to the Georgia State University and Emory University in Atlanta, and the University of Georgia in Athens. 16 of the new machines are for buying bitcoin only, while 4 have both buy and sell functionality.

The state of Georgia now has a total of 101 bitcoin ATM kiosks, making it the third largest US market for bitcoin ATMs behind the cities of Chicago and New York.

Data Science is Becoming the Most Important Skill in Fintech (Lend Academy), Rated: A

The world generates some 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day.

Chris Skinner penned this interesting piece last week claiming the critical importance of data in banking:

Data is the new air, and the banks that breathe the best will win. In other words, banks that really get data analytics, and can apply machine learning to gain deep customer insights are the ones that will survive.

Data scientists are going to be needed in many areas of fintech businesses such as customer acquisition, cybersecurity, customer service – even compliance. For online lending businesses the other two critical areas are underwriting and collections.

Glassdoor releases an annual 50 Best Jobs in America report and for the second year in a row Data Scientist had the top spot.

Elevate Credit, Inc. to Present at KeyBanc Capital Markets Consumer Conference and Jefferies Consumer Finance Summit (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Elevate Credit, Inc. (NYSE:ELVT), today announced that it’s CEO Ken Rees and CFO Chris Lutes will present at the following upcoming conferences:

CU urges lawmakers to oppose repeal of CFPB’s payday loan protections for consumers (ConsumersUnion), Rated: A

Consumers Union, the policy and mobilization division of Consumer Reports, today urged Congress to not repeal a rule adopted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in October that would protect consumers who take out high-cost payday, installment and auto title loans. Under a Congressional Review Act resolution introduced today in the House of Representatives, the CFPB’s new rule could be repealed by lawmakers before it goes into effect in mid-2019.

New House bill would kill consumer watchdog payday loan rule (CNBC), Rated: B

A congressional resolution introduced Friday in the House would kill the CFPB’s new rule aimed at making sure borrowers of so-called payday loans can afford to repay their debt.

Consulting for regulatory approvals to open a peer to peer lending platform in USA (Upwork), Rated: B

I need an expert who can help with regulatory approvals to open a peer to peer lending platform in USA. You can be a lawyer or financial consultant who have experience in the domain and knows what’s involved. You must have experience related to lending industry.

United Kingdom

Zopa zooms ahead to become the first peer-to-peer group to lend out £100m in a month (City A.M.), Rated: AAA

The financial services firm lent £100m to low-risk borrowers in the UK last month, a 48 per cent increase on November 2016.

Zopa said it has lent more than £900m in 2017 to the end of November, with the increase in lending volumes being driven in part by its integration with price comparison websites.

It expects to have lent out £3bn in total by January 2018.

P2P platforms rush to launch innovative finance Isas (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lenders including Funding Circle and RateSetter have set dates for the launch of their innovative finance Isas, but high demand and a clampdown from providers on the highest risk borrowers will slow the process for new investors.

This week, Funding Circle became the latest to launch an IF Isa.

Yet the platform, which facilitates lending to small businesses, will not be rolling out its IF Isa to new investors immediately to make sure it can match new loans to borrowers. Instead, it is opening access to its 74,000 existing lenders in batches. Those who have used the platform for the longest and who lend most frequently will be offered first chance to apply.

RateSetter also confirmed this week that it had set a February launch date for its IF Isa after receiving authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in October. The platform, which facilitates loans to businesses and consumers, says it expects to raise £500m in the first full tax year after opening, but would only offer the IF Isa to existing investors in the short term. The platform said it had made that choice to reward loyal customers.

No Christmas cheer for P2P sector as Brexit pushes FCA review into 2018 (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

PEER-TO-PEER lending platforms will need to wait until at least the new year for the outcome of the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) post-implementation review as Brexit and other market issues have taken priority at the City watchdog, Peer2Peer Finance News has learned.

However, it can also be revealed that a snippet of the industry data compiled by the Cambridge Judge Business School’s Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF) for use in the FCA report will be unveiled before Christmas.

Crowd For Angels Launches £50 Million Bond Investment Opportunity (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On Thursday, peer-to-peer lending platform Crowd For Angels reportedly announced the launch of its £50 million bond investment opportunity. This news comes less than a year after Crowd for Angels launched its first crowd bonds, which are described as specially created secured, high-interest products act are eligible for the platform’s IFISA.

According to P2P Finance Newsthe online lending portal is looking to raise the funds for a Liquid Crypto Bond, which will pay investors 3% over five years. The investors will then receive cryptocurrency tokens through an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) that may be traded on external exchanges or used for project investments on the Crowd For Angels peer-to-peer lending platform.

Brits to spend £1bn worth of work hours planning for Christmas (London Loves Business), Rated: A

With less than a month to go for Christmas, a new research from online lender Sunny has found that the number of hours Brits spend planning for Christmas and buying gifts online while at work are worth £1bn, with over 15m Brits admitting to planning for Christmas during work hours.

Whether at work or at home, Sunny’s research demonstrates a clear gender divide, with women most likely to take on the task of planning for Christmas. Almost a third (31%) of men admit they don’t spend any time planning meals and a quarter (24%) say they don’t do any cooking or preparing of meals, compared to only one in seven (15%) women. Men also don’t make time for Christmas cards, with a fifth (20%) not giving any time to writing them versus fewer than one in ten (9%) women.

Money saver Men who have tried this Women who have tried this
Shopped around online for gifts to make sure I’m getting the best deal 35% 51%
Started next year’s shopping in the January sales 12% 22%
Re-gifted presents 9% 26%
Used coupons/vouchers to buy food and drink for the Christmas period 24% 36%
Participated in secret Santa rather than gifting everyone 7% 16%


P2P platform appoints ex-Barclays manager
(Bridging&Commercial), Rated: B

RateSetter Business Finance has appointed Richard Steele as its regional manager for the Midlands.
The peer-to-peer lending platform said Richard brought experience to its team having previously served at Barclays as a relationship manager and BCRS Business Loans as a business development manager.

Revealed – the 25 people doing the most to spread the PropTech word (EstateAgentToday), Rated: B

This year the list was compiled in association with the UK PropTech Association, the trade body set up in February; in addition to property investment platform LendInvest, two UKPA figures – chairman Eddie Holmes and Estate Agent Today contributor and PropTech consultant James Dearsley – were on the judging panel.

Dan Hughes, director of data and information product management for RICS, has been named the top PropTech Influencer of the Year.

Professor Andrew Baum of Oxford University took second place, after authoring PropTech 3.0, a much-discussed document in the field of PropTech.

Third was digital strategist Antony Slumbers, while fourth was Gary Chimwa, the organiser behind Future:PropTech events.

You can see the full list of 25 here and the top 10 International Influencers here.

RICS director tops proptech influencer list (Development Finance Today), Rated: B

Dan Hughes of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) (pictured above, right) has topped LendInvest’s PropTech Influencer List for 2017.
In fourth place was Gary Chima, the organiser behind Future:PropTech events, and in fifth was Dominic Wilson, managing partner of proptech start-up incubator Pi Labs.
China

China issues new rules to clean up runaway cash loan market (SCMP), Rated: AAA

China on Friday issued new rules to clean up its controversial cash loan and online micro lending market, including prohibiting lending to people without an income and putting a curb on the total charges on runaway credit, according to an official notice seen by the South China Morning Post.

It ordered therefore, that with immediate effect, all organisations and individuals must obtain a licence to conduct lending business. All lending institutions must also state clearly a comprehensive charge, which includes interest rates and various fees charged for different categories of offerings for the loan.

The tightened controls attempt to curb a common practice where online lending platforms bypass the maximum legal interest rate charge of 36 per cent with additional add-on fees.

Lenders are also banned from rolling over the credit more than twice and must put a cap on the cost of each loan.

Funds from online micro loans are also banned from being used to speculate in stocks and pay for property down payment. In addition, asset management products offered by financial institutions and banks are disallowed to invest in products securitised by cash loans, campus loans – loans granted to students with no regular incomes – or property down payment loans.

Online micro lenders expanded by 23 per cent in two years to 452.4 billion yuan (US$68.4 billion) by the end of 2016.

China’s debt crackdown hits cash loan providers (Reuters), Rated: A

On Friday, China’s financial regulators introduced new measures aimed at restricting the industry, which is estimated to be worth 1 trillion yuan ($151.5 billion).

The number of repeat borrowers is rising, which could signal financial stress on borrowers, analysts say. The companies, however, say the repeat lending is just a sign of the attractiveness of their platforms.

Online consumer lending in China, of which cash loans are a significant portion, dwarfs similar activity in the rest of the world combined, accounting for over 85 percent of all such activity globally last year, according to a recent report by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance.

The boom in micro-lending comes as lenders seek to cash in on rising incomes in a country where credit card penetration remains at about one-third of the population, according to data from the central bank, which says about half a billion consumers don’t have a credit score.

And the online cash loan sector is projected to reach 2.3 trillion yuan by 2020, according to the research firm iResearch.

Outstanding household debt in China equalled 45.5 percent of gross domestic product at the end of the first quarter, according to the Bank of International Settlements, compared to 27.9 percent five years ago.

Lexinfintech delays U.S. IPO pricing as China reins in micro-loan sector (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Chinese consumer lending firm Lexinfintech will delay the pricing of its planned Nasdaq IPO to conduct more due diligence, a source with direct knowledge of the situation said – a move that comes after Beijing issued new rules to tighten control of the micro-loan sector.

The source, who was not authorized to speak to the media and declined to be identified, did not say how long the IPO was likely to be delayed.

China Continues Its Quest For A Credit Ranking System (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

China is on the hunt for a homegrown alternative to the U.S.-based FICO score credit ranking system as it attempts to keep up with the rapid expansion in consumer loans being offered through mobile.

Lacking such a single system, online lenders instead use a patchwork of methods to assess consumer credit worthiness, including things like online questionnaires and analysis of consumer data such as individuals’ eCommerce purchases.

The National Internet Finance Association of China — a two-year-old agency closely aligned with China’s central bank — is tasked with the job, but has offered little in the way of specific detail about how the three-year-old search for a system is progressing — past noting in a brief report late Monday that “this would complete an important rung in procedural order.”

China’s “Social Credit System” Will Rate How Valuable You Are as a Human (Futurism), Rated: AAA

In a contentious world first, China plans to implement a social credit system  (officially referred to as a Social Credit Score or SCS) by 2020.

Every citizen in China, which now has numbers swelling to well over 1.3 billion, would be given a score that, as a matter of public record, is available for all to see. This citizen score comes from monitoring an individual’s social behavior — from their spending habits and how regularly they pay bills, to their social interactions — and it’ll become the basis of that person’s trustworthiness, which would also be publicly ranked.

The companies that are implementing SCS include China Rapid Finance, which is a partner of social network giant Tencent, and Sesame Credit, a subsidiary of Alibaba affiliate company Ant Financial Services Group (AFSG). Both Rapid Finance and Sesame Credit have access to intimidating quantities of data, the former through its WeChat messaging app (at present with 850 million active users) and the latter through its AliPay payment service.

According to local media, Tencent’s SCS comes with its QQ chat app, where an individual’s score comes in a range between 300 and 850 and is broken down into five sub-categories: social connections, consumption behavior, security, wealth, and compliance.

THE CHINA RAPID FINANCE LTD – (XRF) POSTS QUARTERLY EARNINGS RESULTS (Bangalore Weekly), Rated: AAA

China Rapid Finance Ltd – (NYSE:XRF) announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday. The company reported ($1.01) EPS for the quarter. The company had revenue of $10.46 million during the quarter.

Alibaba launches $ 7bn bond issue (Capital.com), Rated: A

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has launched a bond issue aimed at raising $7bn just three years after selling $8bn of debt.

The bonds are being offered in five tranches – 5.5-year, 10-year, 20-year, 30-year and 40-year.

Proceeds from the sale will be used to invest in long-term growth.

Private equity funds found to be investing in banned digital currencies offerings (SCMP), Rated: A

Beijing’s municipal financial regulator has warned private equity (PE) funds not to continue investing in initial coin offerings (ICOs), a practice banned by the mainland’s central bank three months ago.

Huo Xuewen, chief of the Beijing Bureau of Financial Work, said in a report published on Sunday that some of the funds had been found taking part in ICOs – fund-railings by the issuers of digital currencies such as bitcoin – outside the regulatory framework and he pointed out it was a wrongdoing that the regulator would seek to weed them out.

He added the authorities now plan to set up a strict monitoring system to track operations and investments by PE funds.

P2P Lender Hexindai: A Discussion with CFO Johnson Zhang Regarding the Recent IPO (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Hexindai (NASDAQ:HX), a China based peer to peer lender, became the most recent Chinese online lender to trade on a US exchange early last month. The company will report fiscal year results this coming Tuesday before markets open. Last month, Hexidai become another Chinese online lender to list their shares on the US markets in a successful IPO that raised approximately $50 million with each ADS priced at $10/each. The market cap of Hexindai stands at over $550 million today with shares in the company having traded between $10.90 and $17 since the IPO.

We asked Zhang why his company decided to list on the NASDAQ.  Zhang explained that in comparison to Hong Kong the US capital markets is wider and has more comparitive companies. Zhang noted that Yirendai and other online lenders now trade on US exchanges.  NASDAQ was selected because Hexindai is more tech focused. 

Zhang said a key component of their competitive advantage is their sophisticated risk management. Their application pass through rate is equal to just 25% of submitted applications and their default rates are very low.

Their second competitive advantage is their extended off line channels. For example, if a customer goes to a travel agency and wants to book a trip, the agency may say they have a financing solution and will provide the application to Hexindai and then they will determine whether or not they should provide a loan to the borrower.

“For our last fiscal year there were 200,000 borrowers and 110,000 active investors. An average loan size is 80,000 RMB. The typical use of the loans are for personal use like overseas traveling, continuing education or housing renovation. We believe loan proceeds are for self investment. Their life. For their job to become better. We help the emerging middle class.”

International

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

Funding Circle reaches the milestone of 3 billion GBP loans originated since launch.

I removed Comunitae, because of the stop due the fraud case.

Source: P2P-Banking

The Market Maker’s Guide to Decentralized Exchange (Airswap), Rated: AAA

Market making is generally an ongoing process that includes ingesting data, generating a price, and placing an order on an exchange.

Source: Airswap

Decentralized exchange promises two major benefits:

  • Security and control
  • Global marketplace

Unlocking the ability to transact globally, through a decentralized exchange, will affect society in profound ways. Global information transfer birthed the term “globalization”. Global asset transfer will birth some new term that we all haven’t yet thought of, and in the end the borders that blockchain break down will be greater than the borders we saw the internet break down.

Decentralized exchanges will succeed, likewise, when there is liquidity and usability, both of which do not exist yet on any solution.

Source: Airswap

Micro-finance: do good and turn a profit (MoneyWeek), Rated: A

The ultimate example of this is the “micro-finance” movement. The idea is that you lend money to a micro-finance institution that in turn lends the money to ordinary folk (frequently women) in the developing world for practical projects that generate returns for investors. Investors hope to get back all of their money plus a return – net returns of around 2% a year aren’t uncommon.

The only trouble is that while micro-finance does score highly in terms of “impact”, it is often not so much crowd-based as “command-and-control” in style. In other words, it’s usually a credit institution making the actual lending decisions and you invest via their pool of funds.

Now, however, we have the crowd revolution and the rise of alternative finance and peer-to-peer (P2P) lending. In the Netherlands, this has given rise to companies such as Lendahand, which provide a marketplace for investing in individual projects for a defined return, usually via some form of bond. Over here in the UK, Ethex provides a similar marketplace for investors to back individual projects with real impact.

So, why not marry micro-finance, the crowd, and renewable energy into one product? That’s the idea behind a relatively new website called Lendahand, a joint venture between the Dutch platform and Ethex. The platform is working with local providers such as SolarNow in Uganda as part of its Energise Africa initiative to provide finance for solar panels. This is done via unsecured bonds that pay out 5%-6% a year for a period of between one and three years, with interest usually paid every six months (along with some of the debt, which is amortised as it is repaid).

Top 100 fintech companies revealed (Banks.am), Rated: A

First, second and third place, on this year’s Fintech100, are occupied by Chinese fintech firms: Ant Financial, which owns Alipay payments platform; ZhongAn, which uses big data to automate online property insurance; Qudian, an online electronics retailer offering monthly instalment re-payments.

The fourth and fifth places are occupied by Oscar, which seeks to radically transform health insurance through technology and Avant, the fastest-growing marketplace lending platform for short-term consumer credit.

The sectorial breakup of the Fintech100 is as follows: 32 lending companies, 21 payments companies, 15 transaction and capital markets, 12 insurance companies, 7 wealth companies, 6 regtech (regulatory technology-Banks.am) & cyber security companies, 4 blockchain and digital currencies companies, and 3 data and analytics companies.

Fintech100 includes a broad range of fintech companies from 29 different countries.

SelfKey Will Greatly Aid the Expansion of the FinTech Sector (Cryptocoins News), Rated: B

One blockchain based startup, SelfKey, is creating a blockchain-driven decentralized digital identity system that gives users full control over their personal information. The platform allows individuals to create their own secure personal identity wallet that stores important identity documents. This wallet also stores KEY tokens, which can be used to purchase services on the SelfKey marketplace. These services, which range from passport applications to opening bank accounts, don’t control users’ data–users do.

Users have the key, so to speak, that releases their own data.

Australia/New Zealand

CollinStar Holdings to Acquire BiWang Group in a 100 Million US Dollars Buyout (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

On December 2, 2017, CollinStar Holdings paid $ 100 million US dollars to acquire the entire BiWang Group, including BW.COM.

AUSTRALIAN FINTECH LAUNCHES ALTERNATIVE FUND (Money Management), Rated: A

Australian fintech and fully licensed marketplace lender, Zagga has launched its Alternative Growth Fund aimed at wholesale investors, including self-managed super funds (SMSFs), which will target net returns of 6.5 per cent per annum.

The fund, which would have the minimum investment for wholesale investors of $50,000, was designed to add scale to the Zagga business model which uses a bespoke algorithm to match wholesale investors with borrowers, the firm said.

Banking gap widens as tech-savvy consumers look to new products (News.com.au), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lender RateSetter has examined big bank profit margins and found that while they are paying record low rates on deposits their lending rates for personal loans and credit cards continue to climb.

“You can drive a bus through the spread between bank deposits and consumer lending rates,” said RateSetter CEO Dan Foggo.

“Publicity stunts such as dropping fees on ATMs are little more than a smokescreen for the poor value,” he said.

  • Online savings account rates have dropped from 6.55 per cent to 1.6 per cent;
  • Bonus saver account interest rates have fallen from 4.8 per cent to 1.85 per cent, but;
  • Credit card interest rates have climbed from 18.6 per cent to 19.75 per cent, and;
  • Unsecured personal loan rates rose from 13.8 per cent to 14.5 per cent.

FMA statistics show the fledgling NZ P2P lending sector is serving banks and fund managers well (Interest), Rated: A

But the Financial Markets Authority’s first statistical report on P2P lending, issued this week, highlights just how little actual P2P lending there has been in NZ to date.

The useful and informative FMA report details that there are 20,744 investors registered with licensed P2P services. At 207,230, there are about 10 times as many borrowers registered with P2P services. The volume of investors, or savers, versus borrowers sounds unbalanced and it is. But the bulk of money being lent through P2P platforms is coming from banks and institutional, or wholesale, investors.

Far and away the biggest NZ P2P lender is Harmoney. According to the FMA report, as of June 30 the total value of Harmoney loans outstanding was just under $239 million. The five other active P2P lenders had a shade under $50 million worth of outstanding loans between them.

India

Customers without credit scores can take the digital journey to get loans (livemint), Rated: AAA

Mumbai-based CreditVidya, a fintech start-up, uses alternative data sources to assess fraud and risk. It has recently raised $5 million Matrix Partners and had previously raised $2 million from Kalaari Capital. The money is being used for product development and hiring manpower. A lot of the investments are going into research and development and setting up the team right, which will include data scientists from the US. The plan is to have a total of 146 employees by end of 2018, said the founders of the company.

Currently you work with over 20 banks and non-banking financial (NBFCs) who are looking to assess customers of small unsecured credit. What is the quality of these banks and NBFCs?

Rajiv Raj: We have a mix of small and big banks and NBFCs. We have big banks such as State Bank of India, ICICI Bank Ltd and Axis Bank Ltd. There are many micro services that these companies use.

Abhishek Agarwal: We are also in talks with an MNC (multinational corporation) banks. Right now, 10 relationships are with large banks and NBFCs, out of the 27, and remaining are in mid- and small-sized banks. Every bank is focused on retail loans and in that pie on unsecured lendings. Personal loans, consumer durables and two-wheeler loans are the segment where there has been a tremendous rise.

Recently, P2P regulations came out. These companies will have to start reporting to credit bureaus. Has any P2P platform approached you to use alternate data?

Agarwal: We are currently working with three P2P lenders. Here again, it is for risk assessment of first-time borrowers. People who are digital savvy and want to access this facility, are first-time borrowers and under 35 years. Cibil’s (a credit bureau in India) penetration in the 25-35 age group is poor. Hence, 75-80% of the cases will have a no Cibil score.

Raj: These are thin-file customers who don’t qualify for loans.

Why are the traditional credit bureaus not using alternative or digital data to assess customers?

Raj: One, there is a regulatory issue. Two, they have never done this before.

Agarwal: Experian (a credit bureau) in the US has been around for the last 40 years. Digital lending in the US exists for the last 12 years. Experian never used alternative data in the US. It is not in their DNA. All the traditional bureaus in India are heavily influenced by their parent companies in the US. There is no product that the bureaus have launched in India that is only for the Indian market. They haven’t done anything that is new and specific to India.

While analysing customers, what parameters do you use to evaluate credit worthiness?

Agarwal: You look at five types of fingerprints—social finger print (anything you put on social media), device fingerprint (such as SMS), browser fingerprint (anything that identifies your device), click stream fingerprint (how fast you type) and biometric fingerprint (the physical fingerprint).

Fintech Trends to Watch Out for in 2018 (Entrepreneur), Rated: A

With a continuation to the credit line onboarding the digital trend, the next year will see more and more people borrowing using data, believes Vikram Sud, former APAC operations and technology head of Citibank and also ex-group COO of Kotak Mahindra Group.

Algorithm-based investments will see a hike, interactive brokers too will grow in numbers, while the cost of availing them will keep dropping.

While the majority of fintech users today rely on wallets and prepaid investments for transactions, many in the industry believe that that is set to change.

Citing a 360 degree financial inclusion and a future of uniform payments globally, Himaghna Dey Sarkar, Chief Expansion Officer, ToneTag spoke about how they are enabling sound-based payments. The app listens to the frequency of tones in the existing EVC machines, and enables transactions directly to the merchant’s bank account.

Sud believes that we are moving closer to a stage where the cards business is at a risk. With more and more retail lending options like buy now and pay later, Sud said that the line of credit will become more prominent.

A little bit of data can go a long way! (ETCIO), Rated: A

Imagine there being minimal record of your existence – your credit history and identification papers being almost non-existent. Unfortunately, this is not a movie plot but a reality that millions across the world have to grapple with. Both developing and under-developed economies have their fair share of people who have no formal credit footprint. These are people who have never borrowed from or interacted with formal banking channels in their lives. This lack of interaction with banking channels is one of the primary reasons that these people do not possess sufficient format documentation, a primary requirement of banks. The repercussion of this is that there is minimum information available about their credit history and when they do approach a lender for capital; more often than not they are deemed ineligible and are turned away.

Over the last few years, digital lending platforms have emerged as viable sources of credit for such borrowers.

By 2022, over 70% of India’s population is expected to own a smart phone. With a current smart phone user base of 300 million, smart phone penetration in rural India is growing at a much faster pace as compared to the urban India. This means that each one of us is generating reams of digital data giving online lenders a glimpse into our habits and preferences.

Asia

Integrated finance services in e-commerce (TelecomAsia.net), Rated: A

Again there is speculation in the US over whether companies like Amazon, Facebook, Apple or Wal-Mart could acquire a banking license.

If you go to buy items online, you might need finance for your purchase. The easiest solution nowadays is probably to use a credit card to make the payment. Then, depending on your card, you have more time and flexibility to make the payment. The problem is the actual annual interest rate of the card is easily 30% to 40%. You could get a loan with much lower interest rates, but it is complex to get a loan quickly when you are buying something.

Now we see a situation FinTech that integrated finance solutions are easily available for all kinds of retail services and they offer also a smooth customer experience. This is part of a much bigger development in the finance industry. Finance services are no longer their own isolated islands, but they can be components in any service.

Fintech competitiveness depends on AI technology (The Korea Times), Rated: A

Limiting individual investment in peer-to-peer (P2P) financing at 10 million won ($9,220) is a typical one. The ban on non face-to-face contracts on discretionary investments in the asset management field also limits the domain of fintech startups online. It is necessary to change perspectives in modifying regulations to something that will help new fintech companies.

Fintech can be classified into three areas: well-known money transfer and payment; P2P finance represented by cloud funding; and asset management represented by robo-advisors. The common technology necessary for all three is artificial intelligence (AI).

In P2P lending, supervised learning can be used in P2P for credit scoring and anticipation of expected returns. For asset management firms, reinforcement learning can be used for automated portfolio building.

Canada

National Bank of Canada capped off a better fiscal year with strong fourth-quarter profit as the Montreal-based lender enters a new phase of an aggressive plan to redefine itself.

And chief executive officer Louis Vachon said the bank is now shifting from a phase of heavy cost-cutting and job losses to one that reduces costs by using technology to automate more of its processes.

The bank is spending a total of $750-million a year on technology, about $350-million of which goes to new projects.

Profit from the core personal and commercial banking segment was $239-million in the fourth quarter, compared with $191-million a year earlier, as loans and deposits grew and deposit margins improved. The wealth-management arm also posted a 29-per-cent increase in profit to $110-million.

Provisions for credit losses – the money set aside to cover bad loans – rose to $70-million in the fourth quarter, from $59-million a year ago. But the increase effectively belonged to Credigy Ltd., a U.S. subsidiary that specializes on buying distressed loans at discounted prices.

The bank expects Credigy will continue to grow, but is tapering its appetite for unsecured consumer debt as it winds down an agreement that saw the firm buy $1.3-billion in prime loans from Lending Club, a U.S.-based online lending firm. Credigy will instead look at doing more deals for secured loans with lower spreads but also lower losses.

Africa

Kenyan, Nigerian startups make global Fintech 100 (Disrupt Africa), Rated: AAA

They include two Nigerian startups, namely payments company Flutterwave and financial management app Riby. Kenyan insurtech startup GrassRoots Bima also makes the list.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday November 30 2017, Daily News Digest

Lending Club

News Comments Today’s main news: Lending Club rolls out its next-generation small business credit policy. Elevate’s RISE surpasses $300M in outstanding loans. Upgrade, Corridor collaborate on big data, credit analytics. Assetz Capital completes Seedrs funding round with 1.6M GBP. Alibaba seeks majority stake in SenseTime. Revolut banks on cryptocurrency. Comunitae suspends activities due to fraud. Today’s main analysis: The hidden relationship between […]

Lending Club

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

MENA

News Summary

United States

Next Generation Small Business Credit Policy (Lending Club), Rated: AAA

We are excited to announce the next generation small business credit policy on our platform which allows us to power the vision of even more small business owners.

Minimum qualifications have been reduced from 24 months in business to 12 months in business and from $75,000 to $50,000 in annual sales.

Since 2014 we’ve facilitated over $500 million in loans to thousands of small businesses across the nation.

Elevate’s RISE Product Surpasses $ 300 Million in Outstanding Loans (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Elevate Credit, Inc., a leading tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, today announced its RISE product has surpassed $300 million in total outstandings, with more than 130,000 open accounts.

Will Lending Club Turn a Corner? (GuruFocus), Rated: AAA

Lending Club arguably pioneered peer-to-peer lending, which has been one of the most vibrant segments of the credit market. Some analysts, however, have questioned the company’s ability to continue growing without adopting some traditional banking practices, like taking deposits.

Lending Club has failed to manage costs well over the past two years, leading to its inability to net profits. As illustrated in the chart below, the company’s trailing 12-month revenue now stands at about $551 million, but it has managed to reduce the net loss from about $175 million in the first quarter to about $94 million in the third quarter.

Source: GuruFocus

Lending Club’s first-half 2017 loan originations figure, however, declined from the prior-year period, dropping to approximately $4.1 billion versus $4.7 billion last year.

Would You Take Out a Loan for a Pair of Jeans? (Racked), Rated: AAA

Jocelyn Vera Zorn is not eager to talk about the loan she took out to buy the pants. “It’s kind of embarrassing,” she grimaces.

For merchants, Affirm provides exceptional benefits, increasing average order values across the board; perhaps not surprisingly, people will shop more, and more often, when they don’t immediately feel the costs. And for many customers, including Jocelyn, the predictable, convenient payments are worth the higher interest rates.

Affirm claims to be a more transparent and honest, if not cheaper, line of credit for the underserved. Using internal, proprietary data science and artificial intelligence, the company says it approves 126 percent more borrowers than traditional lenders, based on soft credit pullsand an opaque mosaic of consumer information.

Source: Racked

While more than two-thirds of Americans own at least one credit card, 20 percent are considered subprime, with a FICO score of 600 or below. Another 10 percent are on the bubble.

Source: Racked

Upgrade and Corridor Collaborate on Big Data and Credit Analytics (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Upgrade, Inc. (), a consumer credit platform that combines personal loans with tools that help consumers understand and monitor their credit, today announced a strategic partnership with Corridor Funds (), a new credit analytics and portfolio management platform founded by Manish Gupta. Mr. Gupta was recently EVP, Global Head of Information Management and Advanced Decisioning at American Express and prior to that spent many years as Chief Credit Officer of the Amex US consumer lending business. Under the terms of the partnership, Corridor will provide independent analytical review and validation to investors in Upgrade’s personal loan products, and will collaborate with Upgrade on new product design.

TechCrunch Founder Arrington Raising 0 Million XRP Fund (Coindesk), Rated: A

Announced today at CoinDesk’s Consensus: Invest in New York, TechCrunch founder Michael Arringtonrevealed he’s raising $100 million for a hedge fund that will buy and hold crypto assets while making investments in token sales and (some) equities and debt.

Launched under a new entity called Arrington XRP Capital, the fund claims to be the first that will require all limited partners (LPs) to make investments in XRP, the cryptocurrency that powers San Francisco startup Ripple’s RippleNet software.

Why Social Impact Matters in Tech: How LendUp Saved our Customers More Than $ 150 Million Dollars (Huffington Post), Rated: A

Five years later, LendUp customers are improving their credit scores, and now I’m proud to say that LendUp Loan customers have saved $150 million versus what they would have spent with traditional small dollar lenders, all while improving their credit score to open up more financial options in the future.

Two-thirds of LendUp Loan customers report having income swings of $100 or more a month. And since our newest customers lack short-term savings — 83% aren’t confident they can cover a $400 emergency — 77% report that they often miss bill payments.

Fintech Can Help Fast-Track Puerto Rico’s Recovery (Forbes), Rated: A

Agile, customer-experience-focused financial technology businesses continue to drive innovation, modernization and access to credit in America’s financial services marketplace when banks and other traditional providers can’t meet consumers’ needs. For example, fintech lenders help consumers and small businesses alike find financial products and services that meet their credit needs, whether it’s a short-term loan for an emergency expense or capital to help grow a small business — even when these applicants have been denied by their banks.

OnDeck monthly series highlights successful small businesses (Bankless Times), Rated: A

Online small business lender OnDeck today launched a new monthly series spotlighting the achievements of its small business customers and how they are thriving as a result of receiving capital from OnDeck.

For December, the customer success spotlight is on Dana Donofree, the owner of AnaOno, a lingerie and loungewear company for women with a unique mission.

“Applying for a loan can be incredibly stressful but fortunately, OnDeck had quick questions and quick responses.  Right away, I could see how much financing I was approved for and what that meant regarding payback. I had the opportunity to review everything before I took the loan.”

New Survey Finds Relationship Tension and Anxiety are Hidden Costs of Debt (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

The old saying goes, ‘money can’t buy happiness.’ It should also say ‘and debt can make you anxious, keep you up at night and cause problems in relationships.’ That’s according to a new telephone survey of 1,004 U.S. adults conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). The survey found nearly three-quarters of Americans (73 percent) are living with debt driven by factors such as everyday expenses, a lack of income, mortgage costs and student loans, reflecting the far-reaching potential impact of debt upon society.

Recent data shows outstanding household debt reached a record high of $12.84 trillion, making this survey timely. With U.S. consumer spending growing at its fastest pace since 2009, it appears the frugal habits many Americans adopted directly after the Great Recession are a thing of the past.

More than half of Americans with debt (56 percent) say it has negatively impacted their life.

Of those, one-in-five (21 percent) say debt is causing relationship tension with a spouse or partner and one-in-ten (11 percent) have misled family or friends about their financial situation. Debt is not just impacting life at home, it has found ways to creep into all aspects of the day. Nearly a third (31 percent) admit to worrying about their debt in general while nearly one-in-five (18 percent) say they worry while at work and one-in-four (25 percent) worry at bedtime.

Living with debt has become a financial and mental burden for nearly three-in-ten Americans with debt (28 percent) who stress about everyday financial decisions because of their debt. Nearly one-fifth of Americans with debt (19 percent) have received letters and calls from collection agencies. While the low interest rate environment has the potential to keep payments lower, one-in-four (25 percent) say that they’re worried a rate hike could change that.

Nearly seven-in-ten Millennials with debt (68 percent) admit it has had a negative impact on their everyday life compared with roughly half of Baby Boomers (48 percent) and three-fifths of GenXers (59 percent) with debt. Most concerning, the survey found that of those with debt, Millennials are twice as likely to worry about debt compared to Baby Boomers (M: 43 percent, BB: 19 percent) and more than a third (37 percent) admit that their debt causes them to stress about everyday financial decisions.

Source: BusinessWire

World’s largest bitcoin exchange, bitFlyer, enters the US (CNBC), Rated: A

The world’s largest bitcoin exchange by trading volume is launching in the U.S.

BitFlyer, based in Tokyo, announced Tuesday it became the fourth digital currency exchange to receive a “BitLicense” to operate in New York. The exchange said it also has licenses to operate in 40 other states.

Former U.S. Comptroller Thomas Curry, Now At Boston Firm, Is Still Fintech Advocate (The National Law Journal), Rated: A

Curry, who was integral in leading the federal banking regulator’s efforts in advancing financial technology, including through the proposal of a special purpose national bank charter for fintechs, joined Nutter McClennen & Fish this week. He is a partner and will co-lead Nutter’s Banking and Financial Services practice group.

How involved with fintech do you plan to be?

That will be a key area and something I’m excited about working with the other members of the firm on. Fintech is interesting, especially if you’re talking about online lending and marketplace lending.

Do you expect the fintech charter will, in fact, move forward?

From my standpoint, I would not have pursued the charter without being very comfortable with the legal foundation for it.

How will you advise clients in the meantime until any special purpose charter is finalized?

Today institutions, banks as well, need to be making strategic decisions about which direction they’re going in. Well before you decide whether to apply to a fintech charter, you should be thinking through the process, so I think the time is now.

Here’s How Andreessen Horowitz & Union Square Ventures Are Betting On Blockchain (CB Insights), Rated: A

This year’s blockchain craze has pushed a huge amount of new money into cryptocurrencies, private blockchain projects, and companies holding initial coin offerings (ICOs). As of now, the total market capitalization of cryptocurrencies stands at more than $340B — a huge leap from where it started the year at $18B.

Source: CB Insights

Blockchain startup AlphaPoint names Nasdaq EVP Salil Donde CEO (Finextra), Rated: B

As it gears up for the launch of a public blockchain network promising to democratise asset digitisation, AlphaPoint has poached Nasdaq EVP Salil Donde and installed him as CEO.

Should I Refinance My Student Loans? (Credible), Rated: B

But you shouldn’t make the decision to refinance your loans lightly. Refinancing can help some borrowers save money, but what refinancing can do for you depends on a number of factors, including the repayment term and repayment options that you choose for your new loan.

Source: Credible
United Kingdom

Assetz Capital Completes Latest Seedrs Round With More Than £1.6 Million in Funding (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending platform Assetz Capital completed its latest equity crowdfunding round on Seedrs. The online lender launched the funding round last month and raised a total of £1,665,892.

Thistle and lender rescue developer (Development Finance Today), Rated: A

LendInvest has teamed up with specialist packager Thistle Finance to provide a developer with a £1.3m development exit finance loan.

The developer was set to move from his standard development finance rate on to a more punitive default rate on 1st December, which could have added 0.75% to his monthly interest payments.

However, the development exit finance loan provided by LendInvest – at around 70% LTV – will save the borrower 0.5% on the standard rate he had been paying.

Finance a vital resource as billing delays hit building industry (Asset Finance International), Rated: A

Businesses in the UK construction sector have been hit by a leap in payment delays, with invoices taking an average of 69 days to be settled.

Analysis of more than 13,000 companies by Funding Options, the online business finance supermarket, shows that delays have risen 8% in the past two years.

Yours Clothing in payments tie-up with Klarna (Retail-Systems), Rated: A

Yours Clothing, a UK independent retailer of plus size ladies clothing, has announced a partnership with Klarna which will allow its customers to use the Pay later and Slice it payment options.

Klarna’s Pay later allows customers to try goods first. When checking out online or on mobile, Yours Clothing customers who use Klarna’s Pay later will receive their products and then have 14 days to pay Klarna back interest-free.

Klarna’s second payment option – Slice it – gives shoppers the ability to spread the cost of any purchases over £60 into equal monthly instalments.

Proplend Joins the NACFB (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

On Wednesday, Proplend, a UK based peer to peer lender in the property space, announced it has joined the NACFB.

3 smart New Year’s resolutions for business owners (Funding Circle), Rated: B

  • Manage your stress level
  • Make smart money decisions – 
    • Improve your personal credit. Yes, this has everything to do with money. You see, the higher your credit score, the more likely you’ll be able to score lower interest rates on the money you borrow. This can save you hundreds of thousands of dollars over your lifetime, so it’s definitely a resolution worth making.
    • Compare financing offers. Some options just aren’t good for your business. Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you know the APR you’ll be paying, and compare multiple loans to pick the best deal.
  • Continue to learn
China

China fintech lending boom fuels risks of data theft (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

The rise of online consumer loans in China has spawned a thriving black market in stolen user data.

Virtually non-existent in the country five years ago, consumer lending through websites and mobile apps has expanded rapidly over the past 18 months amid a proliferation of fintech start-ups that use big data to assess credit risk.

In a chatroom devoted to consumer lending on Tencent’s QQ social-media platform, the Financial Times contacted a person claiming to be an employee of an online lender who was offering user data for sale.

For Rmb4 ($0.61) per user, he offered to provide the full name, national ID number, phone number and loan limit. He added that for some borrowers, the data would also include a credit score from Sesame Credit, the unit of Alibaba’s financial affiliate Ant Financial that sells credit scores to banks and consumer lenders with users’ consent.

Alibaba Seeking Biggest Stake in AI Startup SenseTime (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is in discussions to invest about 1.5 billion yuan ($227 million) and become the largest backer of Chinese facial recognition startup SenseTime, according to a person familiar with the matter.

SenseTime, which says it’s valued at more than $2 billion, is backed by Qualcomm Inc. and considered one of the more advanced players in machine vision technology.

Uncertainties of overseas markets may transmit P2P risks back to China (Global Times), Rated: A

A number of Chinese peer-to-peer (P2P) lending companies went public in the US this year. Those P2P firms have been growing quickly, with some venturing into high-risk segments such as campus loans and cash advances. As they go public overseas, it creates potential risks that may eventually affect China’s financial stability. Supervision is needed to bring the P2P lending sector in order.

That these companies listed in the US reflects several factors. One main reason is the companies are expanding. Most are underperforming, and some are in the red. US stock exchanges do not have strict requirements for indicators such as net profit and cash flow. Also, the US market attracts investors from all over the world, easily raising more funds.

China’s Lending Crackdown Is Notable for Three Reasons (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Policy makers from the People’s Bank of China and the China Banking Regulatory Commission convened in Beijing on Nov. 23 to discuss new measures to crackdown on online consumer loan platforms, including those for payday loans and peer-to-peer lending. On the same day, Alibaba Group affiliate Ant Financial said it will enforce a cap of 24 percent on interest rates charged by lenders on its website, or 12 percentage points lower than current rates.

Although the measures haven’t been made public, our industry checks suggest three notable changes. First, the issuance of new licenses to online micro-loan platforms is being suspended, suggesting that regulators are scrutinizing online lending practices. Second, banks and bank-holding companies are being told not to buy loans underwritten by online platforms because such assets are deemed too risky. Third, turning the loans into securities will be forbidden because regulators believe securitization amplifies risks and gives investors less of an incentive to perform due diligence on the underlying assets.

So-called P2P online lending platforms have mushroomed from fewer than 10 to more than 2,000 in just over seven years, but only a few hundred operate with government-issued permits.

European Union

Digital Bank Revolut Prepares to Launch Cryptocurrency Features (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Digital only challenger bank Revolut is preparing to enter the cryptocurrency world with new features on their bank app to allow users to exchange and use Bitcoin and other digital currencies.

While no official announcement has been made yet, Edward Cooper, Head of Mobile at Revolut, recently tweeted out Revolut’s intent to offer digital currency solutions.

Spanish Peer to Peer Lender Comunitae Suspends Activity Due to Fraud (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

According to a report in El Español, peer to peer lender Comunitae has ceased all operations indefinitely due to fraud detected on the platform this past October. The Comunitae web site is still live but certain portions are not functional.

Swedish Chamber Export Prize 2017 to Klarna and Daloc (Sweden Abroad), Rated: B

The Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the Netherlands, The Embassy of Sweden and Business Sweden are very proud to announce the winner of the Swedish Chamber Export Prize 2017; Klarna.The prize aims to strengthen the Swedish-Dutch business relations and has been awarded since 2012 to Swedish related companies in the Netherlands.

International

Alibaba-Backed Paytm Aims to Become World’s Largest Digital Bank (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Paytm Payments Bank aims to create the world’s largest digital bank with 500 million accounts, envisioning an online financial services provider of everything from wealth management to credit cards and stock market trading.

The bank, backed by the country’s largest digital wallet of the same name, launched formally Tuesday and is targeting people who don’t have access to professional financial services. That aligns with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambition to broaden access for the under-banked in the nation of 1.3 billion people.

Paytm was one of fewer than a dozen entities that secured permits to start payments banks, which can accept deposits and remittances but cannot lend.

It said it will operate a mobile-first bank with zero fees on online transactions and no minimum balance.

Cryptocurrencies and the ‘crowd’ are small businesses’ bank alternative (PaymentsSource), Rated: AAA

A major trend shaping the small-business landscape is the rise in cryptocurrency, which can provide alternative means for a variety of cross-border financial transactions.

Cryptocurrency is ideal for cross-border transactions in several ways. In addition to being secure and permanent, cryptocurrency transactions allow borrowers and lenders to sidestep time spent working through a bank, as well as converting from one currency to another. For many investors, the speed and convenience of cryptocurrency-based transactions presents an opportunity to magnify gains.

Along with crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending, cryptocurrency can improve access to both payments and credit for SMEs.

International Fintech companies with > 5M funding (Crunchbase), Rated: A

TransferWise is an money transfer service allowing private individuals and businesses to send money abroad without hidden charges.
Funding Circle is a lending platform focused exclusively on small businesses operating in in the U.S., the U.K. and Continental Europe.
Blockchain is a web-based bitcoin platform that makes using bitcoin safe, easy, and secure for all consumers and businesses worldwide.
Building a bank as smart as your phone. Intelligent notifications, instant balance updates and financial management.
WeLab analyzes unstructured mobile big data within seconds to make credit decisions for individual borrowers.

Independent Asset Managers need to become polygamous (Finextra), Rated: A

Independent asset managers shall maintain relationships not only to custodians. Due to disintermediation and distributed ledger technology they will be able to profit from a much broader range of financial assets.

Source: Finextra

SWIFT warns banks on cyber heists as hack sophistication grows (Reuters), Rated: A

Brussels-based SWIFT has been urging banks to bolster security of computers used to transfer money since Bangladesh Bank lost $81 million in a February 2016 cyber heist that targeted central bank computers used to move funds.

Taiwan’s Central News Agency last month reported that Far Eastern International Bank (2845.TW) lost $500,000 in a cyber heist. BAE later said that attack was launched by a North Korean hacking group known as Lazarus, which many cyber-security firms believe was behind the Bangladesh case.

Nepal’s NIC Asia Bank lost $580,000 in a cyber heist, two Nepali officials told Reuters earlier this month.

Australia

FACEBOOK LIVE: Treasurer Scott Morrison on fintech and the banking royal commission (Business Insider), Rated: A

He’s now in Sydney at fintech business Prospa, the nation’s leading online lender to small business, where’s he talking to Business Insider about the sector as well as the 12-month investigation into misconduct by the banks.

See the video interview here.

India

Want a loan? Make sure you’re tweeting the right things (Quartz), Rated: AAA

The article that someone tweeted about, posts that they liked on Facebook, and a new phone just bought on an e-commerce site—all these events now play a crucial role in determining if an individual is eligible for a loan or not.

Online lending firms have seen rapid growth in the last two years, despite the presence of a wide network of banks and non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) in India. That’s because, till 2015, about 70% of Indians remained under-served by banks and other financial institutions, an opportunity that these firms are trying to cash in on. Now, even banks and NBFCs are tying up with online lending firms to reach out to more customers.

The 166 million households that make up middle-income India—with annual earnings of between Rs2.2 lakh ($3,414) to Rs3.59 lakh ($5,572)—typically apply for personal loans to buy consumer durables, for weddings, to meet medical expenses, set up a new business, and the likes.

“We have about 80-90 parameters that are used to check a consumer’s credit worthiness. And that’s where technology comes into play to ensure that it can be done swiftly and efficiently,” said Satyam Kumar, co-founder, LoanTap, an online fintech platform that provides retail loans to salaried individuals.

Delhi start-up wins GIST pitch (The Hindu), Rated: B

GyanDhan, a Delhi-based start-up working in the space of education loans, emerged winner of a GIST pitch competition for enterprises in the Fintech and Digital Economy, one of the four focus sectors at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, here on Wednesday.

Lupiya Circle, an online market place created by women in Zambia to financially empower women in the African nation through a branchless banking model was declared the runners-up.

MENA

Saudi Arabia puts buzz back into Mideast startup scene (Arab News), Rated: A

Since 2005, the top 200 funded startups in the MENA region have attracted more than $2 billion in capital, according to a report issued by MAGNiTT, which tracks the development of startups across the region.

To date, the majority of top funded startups in the region were established in the UAE, and the primary financial backers have also tended to be UAE-based.

But a recent uptick in funding from Saudi investment firms points to a developing ecosystem for startups in the Kingdom, according to MAGNiTT founder Philip Bahoshy.

Bahoshy said that startups providing solutions for broader regional challenges such as sticky logistics and cross-border banking frictions stand the best chance of attracting meaningful investment.

2018 will be the year African fintech takes off (Global Trade Review), Rated: AAA

Next year will be a good year for Sub-Saharan Africa. After a challenging 2017 for many of its nations, 2018 will see economic growth return across the continent, gas activity boom and fintech innovation pick up in speed.

So says Ecobank Research as it recently launched the newest version of its yearly Fixed Income, Currency and Commodities Guidebook, which provides analysis on African markets for investors and businesses.

The research department of the Pan-African bank forecasts three key trends that will take hold across Africa during the next 12 months. GTR takes a closer look at them.

3. Africa’s evolving role in fintech leadership

But 2018, he emphasises, will see African fintech firms increasingly driving this innovation. “There will still be international investors, but the actual leadership of fintech development is going to start coming increasingly from the Africans. It’s not going to be the Europeans and Americans going in, saying, ‘you should do this’.”

Ecobank’s research highlights South Africa, Kenya, Rwanda, Nigeria, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire as tech hubs that will nurture the next wave of African startups and help connect them with investors.

One fintech that has caught Ecobank’s attention in particular is IroFit, a firm that uses the mobile network to enable real-time financial payments without the need for an internet connection.

Other emerging innovations in Africa include digital tools to build credit profiles for the previously ‘unbankable’ or using blockchain technology for digital identity and KYC solutions.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday November 22 2017, Daily News Digest

delinquent credit cards

News Comments Today’s main news: Ron Suber shares lessons learned from his first 120 days in ‘rewirement’. Paytm invests in CreditMate. Faruqi & Faruqi law firm investigates Qudian. China clamps down on microlending. Australian alternative lenders make Fintech 100. Today’s main analysis: Americans having trouble paying off credit cards. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Alt lenders accuse banks of not following […]

delinquent credit cards

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

Canada

News Summary

United States

LESSONS FROM THE FIRST 120 DAYS OF REWIREMENT (Ron Suber), Rated: AAA

The first 120 days were filled with new languages, cultures, histories, beliefs, and people. I visited four foreign lands that were completely new to me, and no, New York and Silicon Valley were not on the itinerary.

Here are some lessons I’ve gained from the journey.

  • LESSON 1: Being first, ahead of your time and unique doesn’t guarantee success and longevity.
  • LESSON 3: The USA credit card and payments industry has a long way to go to catch up. No one (and I mean no one) swipes a credit card nor inserts a chip credit card in a machine and then signs a paper receipt in Australia and Singapore.
  • LESSON 4: There is still a huge opportunity to disrupt the currency exchange market. Upon arriving in Australia, I went to change US dollars to AU currently and was faced with: “No, you are not a customer” or “Yes, no problem” followed by a bad conversion rate and a 12% fee!
  • LESSON 8: New and old global giants are awakening to the FinTech Golden Age and responding accordingly, albeit slowly. Singapore is now a major global financial center that has come a long way very fast, and generally not focused on the short term.

The big successes are coming to those thinking long term (Bezos/Musk), the balance of power is shifting globally and the best is yet to come!!

P.S. Two young new FinTech companies to watch: Finch and Friendly Transfer. (No, I am not invested…yet)

US law firm launches investigation into star Chinese payday loan lender Qudian (SCMP), Rated: AAA

Qudian, the Chinese online payday loan platform, could be facing a rash of class-action lawsuits in the US after its share price tumbled drastically this week on the New York Stock Exchange, triggering concerns over the integrity of the firm.

New York-based law firm Faruqi & Faruqi, is now encouraging investors in Qudian to get in contact with it, as it is now “investigating potential claims against Qudian”, it said in a statement. Qudian was unavailable for comment.

Shares in the leading provider of online small consumer credit in China tumbled 5.28 per cent on Monday to close at US$20 in New York, 16.7 per cent down from its IPO price of US$24, and more than 40 per cent down from a historic intraday high of $35 reached on its trading debut on October 18.

Source: South China Morning Post

Americans are having trouble paying off their credit cards — and it could spell trouble for the economy (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

US credit-card debt recently surged to record highs, surpassing peaks seen before the 2008 financial crisis. Several large US banks and credit-card companies reported a rise in credit-card delinquency rates for August, the second consecutive monthly rise.

Source: New York Fed
Source: New York Fed

Fed funds is just 1% to 1.25% after four increases starting in December 2015, and yet many Americans pay credit-card rates well into the double digits.

Banks aren’t following CFPB data-sharing guidance, fintechs say (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Some fintechs are accusing financial institutions of not following either the spirit or letter of the data-sharing principles the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released in October.

One of fintechs’ primary accusations is that banks are selectively choosing fintechs to work with — leaving the rest out in the cold. Though the CFPB data-sharing principles do not spell out that banks should work with everyone equally, the spirit of the document suggests financial institutions should work with all trusted third parties.

Capital One has signed agreements with five fintechs and data aggregators—Clarity Money, Intuit, Abacus, Xero and Expensify—since introducing its data-sharing application programming interface in February. It says more are in the pipeline.

Banks have too many conflicting requirements

Another issue cited by fintechs is that it’s tough dealing with each bank’s different set of standards and requirements.

“Some of those standards may be in conflict,” Petralia said. “It can take years to comply with a bank’s requirements and it probably eliminates access to newer startups, to smaller businesses that don’t have a lot of cash sitting on their balance sheet, to support that kind of long lead time for legal requirements.”

Early Stage Investing vs. Real Estate Investing: Similarities and Differences (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Both venture capital (VC) investing and real estate investing involve some level of risk assessment, they both have the potential for big returns, and investors have the opportunity to help someone else reach a desired goal. Despite this common ground, there are some distinct differences.
Private Equity Investing
To realize returns on this type of investment, investors must understand the different stages of the startup cycle, how to evaluate a business plan, understand how to assess talent, technology, and business processes to determine whether a startup has the potential to succeed, and know how to judge market forces that could have an impact on the startup company.
Real Estate Investing
Real estate investments can be structured in many ways to benefit investors who are looking for specific types of returns. For instance, house flipping (Fund That Flip and Peerstreet) or commercial or multifamily flips (Sharestates and Patch of Land) offer short-term gains while rental properties (Roofstock and HomeUnion) offer long-term passive income. Commercial real estate investing (CrowdStreet and RealtyShares) may involve property development or long-term leasing with spans of three, five, ten years or more. New REITs (FundRise eREITs and MogulREIT) offer investors a way to invest in multiple properties or types of real estate through a single vehicle. Real estate funds or portfolios (AlphaFlow) also allow investors to diversify their debt investments through a single vehicle.
How to Evaluate an Early Stage or a Real Estate Crowdfunding Opportunity
Due diligence in real estate investing is also important. Basic criteria for evaluation include:

  • The platform – Does it have a strong financial position and available capital? Is the underwriting done in-house or outsourced? What is the background and experience of management team? What is their plan for insolvency, recouping losses, and managing risk?
  • Fees – Every investment involves opportunity cost. Is there an ongoing management fee, or does the investor pay a percentage based on returns or total portfolio size?
  • Borrowers – How does the platform assess borrower track record and credit? 
  • The investment – What is the developer’s business plan? What are the expected cashflows, expenses and projected returns? What is the loan-to-value before repairs and after repairs? Are investors in a first-lien position or second? Where is the property located?

CFPB, CashCall Spar Over Possible $ 287M In Restitution (Law360), Rated: A

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau squared off against CashCall Inc. and its affiliates in California federal court on Monday about whether it would be appropriate to make the online lender pay as much as $287 million for deceiving consumers, with the CFPB calling the company’s loans “financial snake oil” and CashCall saying its business was legitimate.

JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs Trial DLT for Equity Swaps (Coindesk), Rated: A

A group of major financial firms including JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs has trialed the exchange of equity swaps over a distributed ledger (DLT) system.

By carrying out trades across a network where all parties use the same valuation data and share the same books, in theory, payments can be processed nearly instantaneously and disputes over transactions will be less likely.

Small Business Saturday: Why Banks And Businesses Need To Start Playing Offense (Forbes), Rated: A

Similarly, while I do believe the banking industry has made strides in embracing technology over the past few years, the reality is that far too many bankers are still “playing defense” when it comes to fully integrating technology into every aspect of their business.

Finastra Universe introduces Sophia the humanoid robot (Finastra Email), Rated: B

I wanted to invite you attend Finastra Universe in New York on Tuesday, December 5thFinastra Universe is a one-day global executive event series focusing on fintech and the future of financial services.

The event will include panel and Q&A sessions, where Finastra experts and guest speakers will explore how financial firms can leverage new, more dynamic technologies within lending and other areas to improve internal efficiencies, deliver connected customer experiences and enhance business outcomes.

I’ve included a link to the full agenda Where: Marriott Marquis Times Square, 1535 Broadway, New York

When: Tuesday, December 5th, 2017
 
Click 

Financial tech is a big business. What Charlotte’s doing to become a larger player. (Charlotte Observer), Rated: B

More than 125 people attended the inaugural Southeast Fintech Venture Conference on Monday to hear presentations from investors, fintech success stories such as small-business lender Kabbage and new firms just getting off the ground, including some from Charlotte. Sponsors included investment firm Frontier Capital and asset manager Barings, which hosted the event at its new Tryon Street headquarters.

According to the National Venture Capital Association, Charlotte-area companies brought in about $393 million in venture capital investments in 2017, led by a $300 million round for payments company AvidXchange.

United Kingdom

Consumer credit – walking the regulatory tightrope (Lexology), Rated: AAA

Subprime and near prime lending have been subject to intense regulatory scrutiny during the aftermath of the financial crisis. The global economic crisis that took hold in 2007 has largely been attributed to the widespread practice of irresponsible lending to consumers, often with no means of repayment. In 2013, StepChange Debt Charity reported that the average payday loan debt of its clients was £1,657, whereas the same clients’ average net monthly income was a much lower £1,379.

Following the transition in regulatory regimes from the OFT to the FCA, a series of tougher measures have been introduced to move staunchly away from the lending practices which allowed firms such as payday lender Wonga to maintain a representative APR of 5,853% in 2013. The FCA has made it clear that it regards non-standard finance as a “high risk” activity and as such dedicates special resources to intensively monitoring businesses in this sector.

Almost half of SMEs have never checked their credit score (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: A

Nearly half of SMEs (44%) have never checked their credit score, according to the latest research from RateSetter’s business finance division.

RateSetter’s research also found that a further 6% of businesses had not checked their credit score within the last 12 months and only 18% had viewed their score within the last six months.

Never mind the Brexit: Alternative finance offers a route to prosperity (Startups.co.uk), Rated: A

It is a little over a decade since Northern Rock became the first UK bank in 150 years to fail because of a run on its deposits. For a brief moment it looked as if the entire global financial system might collapse overnight, with only government intervention and billions in bail-outs preventing a worst-case scenario.

According to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the number of small businesses that were successful in their attempt to get a loan fell from 90% in 2007, to 65% in 2011.

According to our latest research, just 43% of small business owners see trading conditions improving in the coming year. Meanwhile 52% of start-up business owners say they do not think banks will continue to lend at the same levels in 2018.

More than half of the 1,000 small business owners we surveyed say they are planning to grow or expand their business in 2018.

These alternatives to traditional forms of lending are proving particularly popular among the 96% of UK businesses that employ fewer than 10 people.  According to our research, 40% of start-ups and younger business owners say the growth of alternative finance options has made them less reliant on banks for funding.

Investment Committee: Arnaud Gandon, Heptagon Capital (Citywire), Rated: A

One area of credit we find attractive, however, is lending to small businesses in the UK and Europe. The opportunity set for companies such as Funding Circle is growing fast, due to the retreat of traditional banks in providing loans for smaller companies. During the last quarter, Funding Circle outstripped the major high street banks for net new loans. We see the company essentially as a technology platform enabling the efficient issue of small loans to thousands of companies. It has a solid management team and is looking to expand its successful business model to other geographies.

Here’s what the UK’s fintech community is most concerned about over Brexit (Verdict), Rated: A

Fintech is now worth over £7bn to the UK economy every year and employs around 60,000 people, according to the Treasury office.

Marta Piekarska, director of ecosystems at Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger project, said she believes Brexit will impact fintech in the UK because it will make things harder for collaboration.

“About half of our developer workforce today are non-UK European nationals. Already it is hard to find great developer talent in the UK.  Obviously, if freedom of movement isn’t as easy and non-UK EU nationals feel that it’s not really a nice environment to come to the UK to work, then we will have a problem.”

Open Banking: How can customer centricity drive innovation? (City A.M.), Rated: A

The Payments Services Directive (PSD2) is a major piece of UK/EU legislation that will ensure that all payment service providers (PSPs) that operate in the single market are subject to rigorous supervision and adhere to the appropriate transformative rules to create a fair, open-banking framework.

In practical terms, a customer will be able sign up for a loan, credit card or a mortgage by using a log-in that looks and feels a little bit like Facebook Connect and authorises the provider to see all of the customer’s financial transactions from the previous 36 months. The main gatekeepers and one of the leading innovators in this space are London-based FinTech company TrueLayer. As the go-between between a customer, their bank and the product or service provider, they ensure real-time, secure connectivity of the customer’s data.

Blockchain Based Building Platform BitRent Announces Token Sale (The Merkle), Rated: B

BitRent has given itself a mission: to make real estate investing easy, transparent and profitable all over the world. The platform uses a combination of techniques that will allow its users to control construction processes. These techniques include BIM open modeling and computer aided monitoring using RFID chips, to make investing in commercial and residential shared-equity construction more transparent and predictable. On the platform, investors can invest in real estate, without a minimum entry threshold. The online mode allows them to control construction processes and receive dividends when the construction has been completed. Moreover, users can receive data on free area or items of commercial property.

The BIM (Building Information Modeling) technology that the platform uses, allows all users of the platform to monitor a project at any stage.

The platform will release its RNT tokens, based on Ethereum. The token sale will start on the 1st of December 2017, 11:00 UTC and will last till March 1, 2018.

China

China clamps down on online micro lending; U.S.-listed shares plunge (Reuters), Rated: AAA

China took steps to rein in the rapidly growing and lightly regulated market for online micro-lenders in the government’s latest crackdown on internet finance, sending shares of U.S.-listed Chinese financial firms into a tailspin.

A top-level Chinese government body issued an urgent notice on Tuesday to provincial governments urging them to suspend regulatory approval for the setting up of new internet micro-lenders, sources who had seen the notice told Reuters.

The multi-department body, tasked by the central government to rein in risks in the internet finance sector, also told local regulators to restrict granting of new approvals for micro-loan firms to conduct lending across regions, according to the sources.

Shares Of Chinese Online Credit Providers Crash Over Crackdown Fears (NASDAQ), Rated: A

Shares of Qudian ( QD ), Yirendai ( YRD ) and other China-based providers of online credit plunged Tuesday on reports that China’s Internet Financial Risk Management Group had ordered a suspension of online small-loan approvals, but some stemmed their losses by session’s end and others even gained ground.

In addition to Qudian and Yirendai, also falling were China Rapid Finance ( XRF ) and PPDAI Group ( PPDF ).

U.S.-listed Chinese financial firms dive on regulatory action (Reuters), Rated: A

Shares in online lender Qudian (QD.N), whose shares only debuted last month, sank by as much as 20 percent in early trading.

Shares of China Commercial Credit Inc (CCCR.O) fell 6.4 percent, those in PPDAI Group (PPDF.N) some 17.8 percent. Jianpu Technology (JT.N), which also debuted just this month, fell 9.5 percent and China Rapid Finance (XRF.N) slipped 12.92 percent.

From Drone Hackers to Cyber Bodyguards, China Cyber Security a Growing Concern (China Money Network), Rated: A

Q: What major trends are you seeing in China’s cybersecurity market?

A: I think the major trend in China is similar to what is happening in the rest of Asia. The frequency and extent of cyber-attacks are increasing rapidly.

Q: What Chinese business sectors are most vulnerable, or need to do more to protect themselves?

A: Tech companies with lots of portals to its websites, especially like peer-to-peer lending, or any tech companies with valuable intellectual property are prime targets of cyber attacks.

Q: What should Chinese tech companies be doing to defend themselves, or at least reduce the damage done by cyber attacks?

A: Firstly, employee education is important. Over 90% of hacking is conducted through phishing and spear phishing. We have worked with a Chinese company with 20,000 employees, and we sent 20,000 emails to them with a link offering a chance to win iPhone. 30% of the staff clicked on the link, which actually is a quite regular percentage. In a real-life scenario, if 30% of your 9000 staff were to click, that’s 3000 cases of malware potentially downloaded into your systems. But after phishing training, finishing the exercises, the number was reduced to 5%.

Q: There are reports saying cyber security experts “cyber bodyguards” is one of the hottest jobs in China. What particular specialty expertise faces the greatest shortage?

The “cyber bodyguards” are in a booming industry, particular for providing preventative measures. Firstly, there are the penetration testers; also known as ethical hackers or white hat hackers. They replicate what a real hacker would do; not stealing any data or doing anything bad, but will scan systems for any gaps and weaknesses in the company’s defenses that may be exploitable during a cyber attack. They will then advise on remediation measures.

European Union

EBA weighs up risk and rewards of Fintech in new Discussion Paper (FinanceJobs.ie), Rated: AAA

The European Banking Authority takes a cautious and carefully balanced view in its deliberations on how it should approach FinTech in its latest Discussion Paper. In reviewing the FinTech landscape in Europe the EBA raises many more questions than it answers, concluding that it should undertake much more detailed follow-up work in a number of areas. But it does raising warning flags about possible unevenness in the playing fields offered by different jurisdictions, in the area of sandboxing and innovation hubs, for example.
Overall, the The European Banking Authority says, FinTech may increase competitiveness in the Single Market by lowering barriers to entry for newcomers while preserving fair competition and incentives to innovate.

The EBA says a significant increase in overall operational risk has been witnessed in the last few years, including higher conduct risk, increased cybersecurity issues and digital fraud issues, and increased outsourcing risk. ‘At the same time new or previously immaterial risks, such as the risk of mismanagement of personal data / lack of data privacy, seem to be amplified by the lack of expertise of human resources and the inadequacy of technology infrastructures.’

It points out that alternative lending platforms such as peer-to-peer lending can put pressure on the interest income from loans of existing credit institutions while new entrants offering commoditised products and services at lower costs, such as money transfers and brokerage, can reduce the fees and commission income of established players.

DreamQuark beefs up financial services through artificial intelligence (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Meet DreamQuark, a French startup that wants to help banks, insurance companies and asset management firms with all of their artificial intelligence needs. DreamQuark crunches your data, creates models based on machine learning and lets you apply those models on all past and future data points.

International

Robeco launches fintech investment fund (Finextra), Rated: A

Robeco has launched a Global Fintech Equities fund to give wholesale and retail investors exposure to companies that are transforming the financial sector.

The actively managed fund will invest in three distinct segments, labelled ‘today’s winners’, ‘fintech enablers’ and ‘challengers’. Today’s winners include companies that already have a competitive advantage in this space, fintech enablers provide the digital backbone for emerging companies, and challengers are the companies that have the breakout potential to stand out from the pack.

Following a successful pre-ICO, Etherecash has announced a public ICO that launched November 15th and will end December 19th. Focusing on the 2.5 billion unbanked, Etherecash looks to excel in both spending and sending, as well as providing a peer-to-peer lending platform, to enable those with little or no credit history the ability to access funds.

The ICO sale will auction off 144,000,000 tokens, which will help support ongoing development of the platform and can be purchased with Bitcoin or Ethereum. A bonus of 12% is available for participants in the first week, which goes to 3% in week four, and finally to 0% in week five.

The ICO has a soft cap of $15 million, which if not reached, will conclude the ICO as a failure with funds returned to the respective investors. The hard cap is set at $100 million. 40% of funds will be used for further core development; 25% in growth and marketing; 20% for legal, accounting, and advisory feeds; and the remaining 15% for admin and operational costs.

57% of internal frauds are carried out by senior and middle management, according to the whitepaper.

Australia/New Zealand

Aussie lenders make Fintech 100 list (TheAdviser), Rated: AAA

Ten Australian companies have been listed in KPMG’s Fintech 100 list, which identifies the top 50 fintech firms and an “emerging 50” list of companies “seeking to boldly push the envelope in financial services”.

Online SME lender Prospa was the highest ranked Australian company at number 24. It also placed second on the Australian Financial Review’s Fast 100 list after averaging a 239 per cent revenue growth since 2013–14 and holding $50 million in equity and debt funding in 2017.

US-based lender OnDeck, which broke into the Australian market in 2015, placed 28th in the ranking, up two places from last year’s report, while German fintech Spotcap (which also has operations in Australia) came in at number 32.

How I’m Saving a Week (or ,500 This Year) on My Home Loan (Mozo), Rated: A

Fast forward to three months ago, when I suddenly realised my rate of 4.27% was more than 60 basis points higher than the best on the market. I had become a victim of that time honoured tradition of banks fattening profit margins and it was time to do something about it.

I knew there were now stacks of lenders offering rates below 4.00%, and after comparing the best loans decided to go with an online lender to take advantage of their super low variable rate of 3.64%.

India

Paytm invests in online lending startup CreditMate (VC Circle), Rated: AAA

One97 Communication Ltd, which runs mobile wallet firm Paytm, said on Tuesday it has picked up a stake in Mumbai-based fintech startup CreditMate.

CreditMate helps two-wheeler dealers and financiers assess and approve vehicle loans to customers with no formal credit history, Paytm said in a statement.

8 ‘blockhain hacks’ which NITI Aayog, AWS, Microsoft, Accel, Coinbase believe are beneficial for society (YourStory), Rated: AAA

Anshul said that there is a lot of hype and misconceptions related to blockchain. He explained that outside of a small group of crypto-savvy investors and developers, blockchain is often synonymous with cryptocurrency, and erroneously so. Their goal with this hackathon was to give developers (with or without past blockchain experience) a chance to envision how the same distributed ledger technology that powers Bitcoin might be able to improve transparency, efficiency, and honesty in enterprise and government processes, particularly in regions of the world suffering from high corruption.

Anshul added that another objective of the event was to explore use cases for concepts like IndiaChain — a blockchain infrastructure for a Digital India, building on existing initiatives like Aadhar, the world’s largest biometric identity project with unique 12-digit IDs for 1.2 billion Indian residents.

Gif credit- Proffer

Here are eight hack projects recognised by the partners.

  • 1. SWASHchain: a battery SWApping and SHaring infrastructure verified on the blockchain
  • 2. AgroChain: tracking farm products from farmer to consumer
  • 3. chAIn: decentralised AI with Homomorphic Encryption to guarantee data privacy
  • 4. Betoken: decentralised Hedge Fund for social impact investing
  • 5. Open Complaint Network: crowdsourcing issues and rewards
  • 6. 0xSHG: zero-interest loans for rural microfinance – Hence the team believes that blockchains are a unique solution which address both issues by organising not just financial capital but also social capital. The team has created an Aadhar-linked capital-pooling network.

  • 7. SureFly: last-minute crowdfunded insurance for flight delays – Insurance premium is calculated as a function of the probability that a passenger will miss a flight which is in turn a function of flight time, insurance seeker’s distance from the airport, traffic on the roads, length of airport lines, etc.
  • 8. MyH2OBot for “Habit Economics”

Sharing economy: creating opportunities in the digital era (livemint), Rated: A

The rise of the sharing economy is commonly attributed to culture or ideology. It’s assumed that millennials don’t want to be trapped by houses, cars and other expensive belongings, for example, or that they believe sharing is good for the environment.

Research conducted by the BCG Henderson Institute (BHI) indicates that economics, not attitude, is driving the sharing economy.

Among respondents who use sharing services, 40% of Germans, 57% of Americans and 67% of Indians said that well-priced, convenient offers could convince them to abandon ownership altogether.

Aside from physical assets, investors have also poured $5.7 billion into peer-to-peer lending ventures.

Start-ups by no means have a lock on the sharing market, however. In fact, 55% of consumers in India said they would prefer dealing with established operators—the highest among the countries surveyed.

Asia

Banyuwangi Regent Anas Connects MSME with Fintech Startups (Netral News), Rate: A

Banyuwangi Regional Government will again partner with digital platform startups to develop the region.

After with Gojek ride-hailing service provider, there are several more similar companies that will be embraced. One of them is the startup of financial technology (fintech), especially for financing facilities to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME).

Canada

CANADIAN PAYMENTS INNOVATION FORUM SAYS COLLABORATION CONTINUES TO DRIVE FINTECH INNOVATION (Betakit), Rated: A

At the third annual Canadian Payments Innovation Forum in Toronto, over 100 payments and banking executives gathered to examine how FinTech is transforming the Canadian financial services industry, and what providers can do to prepare.

After launching with Samsung Pay earlier this year, Gamble indicated that ‘cash alternatives’ would continue to be a focus and something to watch in the market. Due to Interac’s smaller size (the company has about 250 employees), Gamble said they just don’t have the “bandwidth” to do everything themselves, so turning to partnerships is key.

“We strive to deliver alternatives to cash, and as a community, we’ve done an amazing job of delivering contactless capabilities at POS. Canadians moved more than $90 billion in etransfers this year, so our little country is significantly leading the space in P2P transfers.”

AI is already moving forward quickly in financial advice and management, and the use of financial technology, or fintech, seems to be growing among older Canadians.

“Our average client is 47 years old and our second largest demographic group is baby boomers,” says Randy Cass, CEO and founder of Nest Wealth, a Canadian financial robo-advisor that was founded in 2013.

“For retirement planning, the AI isn’t necessarily cutting the financial advisor out of the process. What we’re likely to see is AI helping the financial advisor to get faster and more comprehensive data analysis and provide more seamless client support,” Mr. Narvey says.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

How PayPal is Making Itself Competitive

PayPal Swift Financial

Even though the SME sector is the proverbial “backbone” of the US economy, it still faces a lot of difficulties in accessing credit. Six in 10 businesses find it difficult to borrow, which is essential to expedite their growth plans. Around 58% of SMEs rely on bank loans, and 50% of SMEs use working capital […]

PayPal Swift Financial

Even though the SME sector is the proverbial “backbone” of the US economy, it still faces a lot of difficulties in accessing credit. Six in 10 businesses find it difficult to borrow, which is essential to expedite their growth plans. Around 58% of SMEs rely on bank loans, and 50% of SMEs use working capital to fund their businesses. This has led to a spurt in considering non-traditional channels like private equity (36%) and crowdsourcing (35%) for funding requirements. Though financing conditions have eased up after the 2008 financial crisis, there is still a massive demand-supply mismatch and alternative lenders are swiftly moving in to exploit the opportunities.

Following the growth trajectory of other industry players, PayPal, the online payments giant, has acquired Swift Financial, a leading provider of working capital solutions for small and medium enterprises in the U.S., in its bid to expand their working capital unit.

Swift Financial

Swift Financial was founded in 2006 by Ed Harycki and is headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware. Since its inception, it has provided funding to more than 20,000 small businesses. Because of its unique technology platform that combines data, technology, and outstanding customer service, it has been recognized for its excellence by J.D. Power and was awarded “contact center operation customer satisfaction excellence in the live phone channel” under the J.D. Power Certified Contact Center Program. The company has developed sophisticated credit scoring and pricing tools and data.

Swift Financial had raised over $56 million before it agreed to sell itself to PayPal. Loan amount ranges from $5,000-$75,000, and the loan-term ranges from 13-52 weeks. The loan APR ranges from 2.5% to 18.75% and the median APR is 13.52%. It has originated loans worth $800 million (approximately). On average, Swift funds applications within 3 days.

PayPal

PayPal enables its users to transact through their bank accounts, credit card companies, and more, while keeping their personal information discreet. In 2013, PayPal launched its lending arm. The Working Capital Unit provides cash advances to its clients based on their sales volume. It uses the data collected through its payment platform for assessing the creditworthiness of the borrowers. Since its launch in 2013, PayPal’s Working Capital Unit has provided more than $3 billion in funding to more than 115,000 small businesses (with maximum funding of up to $125,000). PayPal describes it lending arm, Working Capital Unit, as a strategic offering that drives merchants to increase their sales growth and helps in increasing processing volume.

How PayPal is Charting Its Own Path

After being acquired by eBay in 2002, PayPal split from the multi-national ecommerce J.D. J.D. PowerPowers company in 2015. It listed itself on NASDAQ under the ticker PYPL. Since then, it has been trying to chart its own path. 2017, particularly, has been busy for the company as it has been expanding partnerships and acquiring businesses that will help the company create a financial services behemoth.

  • Partnered with Skype (August 2)
  • Expanded relationship with JP Morgan Chase (July 20)
  • Expanded partnership with Citibank (July 20)
  • Finalized acquisition of TIO Networks (July 18)
  • Expanded partnership with Samsung (July 17)
  • Launched capability to pay for app store purchases using PayPal (July 11)
  • Launched instant bank account transfers (June 20)
  • Enabled Android users on Chrome to authorize PayPal purchases with their fingerprint (May 17)
  • Extended partnership with Google (April 18)

Apart from the above-mentioned partnerships and acquisitions, one of its biggest pushes into alternative lending is acquiring Swift Financial to bolster its lending arm Working Capital Unit. The company should have been a leader in the space considering the share of online payments it controls, but had lagged behind rivals like Kabbage and OnDeck in the previous years.

The Reason PayPal Acquired Swift Financial

PayPal’s current market cap is around $70 billion; company’s 2nd quarter revenue was $3.14 billion, a jump of 20% year over year. It has added 22 million active accounts, and its mobile payment volumes have increased by 50% since the second quarter of 2016. Its Venmo payment volume was up by 103% to $8 billion in the second quarter of this year. It has the resources to dominate the segment, and Swift Financial will give it that much-needed shot in the arm.

The company earlier entered into a commercial white-label partnership with Swift Financial for providing affordable funding solutions to small businesses. It is anticipated that the acquisition of Swift Financial will enable PayPal to expand its lending ecosystem. The acquisition will allow PayPal to increase its maximum loan size from the current $125,000 to almost $500,000. PayPal sales were dependent on serving merchants on it’s own platform. This allows PayPal to create a different sales funnel and introduce new merchants to its bouquet of products. Cross-selling opportunities are immense and will surely add a lot of value to the deal in the future.

Moreover, Swift Financial’s technology platform will provide supplementary data to PayPal’s underwriting algorithm that will help it to fully understand a business’s strength and will also support PayPal in offering add-on financial services to its clients.

Impact on SME Lending

According to the Small Business Administration, there were approximately 28.8 million small businesses in the United States representing 99.7% of all businesses. Considering the multi-trillion-dollar market opportunity, and the gap while accessing credit from traditional sources, makes the Swift Financial acquisition by PayPal extremely strategic.

Since their inception, Kabbage and OnDeck have originated loans worth over $10 billion combined. A number of tech companies have set up their own lending arms to encourage spending. Amazon set up Amazon Lending in 2011 and has so far loaned out $3 billion to SMEs. Square Capital, which was launched in 2014, passed $1 billion in loans originated in November 2016. It became imperative for the company of PayPal’s size and stature to do something radical and big in order to stay in touch with its rivals. PayPal’s move is considered a bold move and a strong statement of intent.

Conclusion

Acquisition of Swift Finance will provide a strong foundation to PayPal’s ambition of becoming a leader in the SME lending segment. PayPal’s infrastructure, database, and big pockets means that you can bet safely that the company will be a force to reckon with in this growing industry segment.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Tuesday November 7 2017, Daily News Digest

fintech credit

News Comments Today’s main news: Review of OnDeck Q3 earnings. Wealthfront to be first robo to offer a mutual fund. ArchOver goes over 50M GBP lending milestone. Hexindai rises 27% on first day. NOT coming soon: Ant Financial IPO. EU to create Europe-wide crowdfunding framework. Ripio closes $37M ICO. Today’s main analysis: Marketplace lenders balance growth, quality. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Will […]

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International

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News Summary

United States

OnDeck Q3 2017 Earnings Results Review (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

With their latest financial results released today, the firm reiterated their plans to achieve GAAP profitability in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Originations in the quarter grew to $531 million, up 14% from the prior quarter. They also reported that operating expenses were at the lowest level in more than two years.

Revenue increased to $83.7 million, up 8% over the prior year period. Not surprisingly, loans sold or designated for sale continued to fall and represented just 1.3% of term loan originations. Other Revenue increased $0.7 million from the previous quarter to $3.4 million which reflected increased revenue from OnDeck-as-a-Service. Compared to the third quarter of 2016, the company improved bottom line performance by $12 million.

Source: Lend Academy

Online lender OnDeck posts surprise third-quarter loss (Reuters), Rated: A

Online lender OnDeck Capital Inc(ONDK.N) reported an unexpected third-quarter loss on Monday after the effects of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma offset higher interest income and lower expenses, and its shares fell nearly 4 percent.

Chief Executive Officer Noah Breslow said on a call with analysts that the company had increased its loss reserves by $3.5 million after the hurricanes hit some of its small-business clients in August and September.

Wealthfront set to be the first robo to offer its own mutual fund (FinancialPlanning), Rated: AAA

Now Wealthfront wants to return the favor, filing with the SEC on Wednesday for a mutual fund offering of its own. If approved, it would make Wealthfront the first major independent robo to offer its own fund.

Dubbed the Wealthfront Risk Parity Fund, the derivatives fund will invest in global developed and emerging market equities, global developed and emerging markets fixed income, real estate investment trusts and commodities, according to the filing.

The fund will carry a 51-basis point expense ratio. It will be made available to Wealthfront investors with no contribution limitations and to institutional investors with a $5 million investment minimum.

Marketplace lenders balance growth and quality (Banking Exchange), Rated: AAA

Fintech lenders now account for nearly a third of the personal unsecured loan market, from nearly 0% in 2010. The new players appear poised to not only continue building share there, but to begin gaining share in other credit types.

Rapid growth in personal loans

Wirth says TransUnion records indicate that there are over 100 fintech consumer lenders in the U.S. now—way beyond the usual companies mentioned in this area—and that new firms with new models continue to enter the market.

Source: TransUnion LLC. All rights reserved

TransUnion studied over 40 million personal loans originated by banks, credit unions, traditional finance companies, and fintech consumer lenders from 2014 to 2016. Among the findings of the research was that in spite of the perception that fintech personal loan borrowers skew towards the young end of the demographic spectrum, this is not the case. In fact, among the four categories of lenders, consumers 18-29 accounted for the smallest portion of borrowers from fintech lenders.

Source: TransUnion LLC. All rights reserved

Reviewing quality and return

A surprise for some in the TransUnion research is the fintechs’ choice of credit strata. Many see fintech consumer lenders chiefly as subprime creditors, but it turns out that six out of ten fintech personal loans are made to prime or near-prime borrowers. The latest figures indicate that 10% of fintech personal loan originations are subprime borrowers, while among all lenders the total is 14%.

Source: TransUnion LLC. All rights reserved

Using the risk-return methodology outlined above, TransUnion computes that the first-year effective portfolio risk-returns rank as follows: traditional finance companies, 11.5%; fintech lenders, 8.7%; banks, 6.7%; and credit unions, 6.3%.

Fintech will change more in the next 5 years than it has in the last 30 (CNBC), Rated: AAA

Today, Schulman said the person-to-person payment business is valued between $35 billion and $40 billion. In five years, its projected value is estimated to reach $335 billion.

Similarly, “online digital payments today are about $3 trillion,” the CEO said. “By 2020, three years from now, it’s supposed to be over $8 trillion. And we’re a leader in that market right now with 218 million people using the platform, so we just got to keep delivering on what customers want, merchants want and to stay that market leaders.”

PayPal CEO: Fintech will change more in the next 5 years than it has in the last 30 from CNBC.

Affirm Launches New Way to Pay For Holiday Travel (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Affirm, Inc., the company started by serial entrepreneur Max Levchin to provide fair and honest financial products, today introduced Travel with Affirm in time for the end-of-year holiday season. Travel with Affirm lets consumers book their travel plans, including airfare, hotel rooms, luxury suites, and more while splitting their purchases into manageable monthly payments. Charter partners in Travel with Affirm include Expedia, offering flight-and-hotel packages; CheapAir, offering low prices on airfare and more; and Suiteness, for those that want to treat themselves to an exclusive, luxury hotel suite.

According to a recent study conducted by Affirm, Inc. of 1,000 U.S. adults about holiday shopping habits, 61% of respondents said that holiday spending is a source of family strife. Over a third (34%) said they are worried about how they are going to cover their holiday spending costs this year.

Therefore, it’s not surprising that, according to another recent study conducted by Affirm of over 1,600 people, two of the top three reasons consumers use deferred interest products is for vacation and travel expenses along with holiday shopping. 67 percent of respondents also believe that some credit products are designed to purposefully cheat consumers.

“We know how tough traveling during the holiday season can be,” said Kyle Killion, co-founder and chief of product at Suiteness. “So, partnering with Affirm to offer as low as 0% APR on hotel suites with the ability to easily pay over time allows our customers to enjoy the holidays while knowing exactly what the final cost for their suite will be.”

In 2016 alone, U.S. consumers paid over $94 billion in fees. That doesn’t even include the $70.4 billion in interest fees credit card issuers made.

The simplest way to book travel
Using Travel with Affirm is quick and easy. All it takes is five pieces of personal information for a real-time credit decision. And then it’s up to the consumer to select the monthly payment plan—3, 6, or 12 months—that fits their budget.

Any U.S. resident 18 years or older (19 years old in Alabama or a ward of the state in Nebraska) is eligible to use Affirm.

And, paying Affirm bills is equally straightforward. After making their purchase, the consumer receives timely e-mail and SMS reminders on when their next payment is due. Alternatively, they can set up Autopay for recurring automatic payments.

“Credit cards are broken,” said Levchin. “If all Americans used Affirm instead of traditional revolving lines of credit, we could save people $90 billion a year in fees alone.”

CommonLoan Marketplace Milestone: Over $ 680 Million in Loans Processed (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Commercial real estate lending platform CommLoan announced on Monday it has successfully processed more than $680 million in loans since its launch in 2014.

Impact Housing REIT Makes Top 14 Non-Accredited Real Estate Crowdfunding Sites (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Impact Housing REIT, LLC (ImpactHousing.com), today is pleased to announce that it has made The Real Estate Crowdfunding Review’s 2017-2018 Top 14 Nonaccredited Real Estate Crowdfunding Sites, receiving Industry Honors for Most Experienced Sponsors, and Most Socially Conscious, the only award given in the category.

Real Estate Issuers Need Online, Alternative Investing Processes to Thrive (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Blaine McLaughlin, chief operating officer of VIA Folio, says it’s time for real estate issuers to move away from the traditional capital raising process and use online brokerage technology. McLaughlin, who recently spoke at the IPA Vision 2017 Conference, said investors have embraced technology in every other aspect of their lives, so real estate issuers must now meet them on their own terms.

The additional benefits of using an online, alternative investing process include:

  • Meeting advisors and investors on their own turf. More advisors are using alternative investments to diversify client portfolios and differentiate their business.
  • Reaching accredited and non-accredited investors. Issuers that choose to raise capital under the JOBS Act have more flexibility when marketing to investors.
  • Offering different ways to invest. Advisors consider many factors, including security type, before making investment decisions. Issuers that use Folio’s online brokerage technology can choose to offer publicly registered or private securities, including Reg A+, Reg D, S-11 and small-cap Reg A+ IPOs.
  • Lowering investment minimums. For real estate securities issuers, high investment minimums are a necessary evil to keep expenses down. An online brokerage process – where subscription, closing, price reporting, statements and other services are done online – reduces administrative expenses, in turn enabling lower investment minimums.

CFX Markets Raises $ 2.17M Seed/Series A Funding (FINSMES), Rated: A

CFX Markets, a Chicago, IL-based secondary market trading platform for alternative assets, closed a $2.17M Seed/Series A funding round.

The round was led by West Loop Ventures, with participation from M25 Group, Origami Capital Partners, Harvard Business School Angels of Chicago, SixThirty Ventures, and angel investors David Schwartz of Waterton Capital and David Krell, founder of ISE.

Why banks are sub-branding new customer offerings (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Marcus by Goldman Sachs, for example, touts itself as the startup inside Goldman Sachs that built an entirely digital personal loan product for consumers — a new set of customers for the 148-year-old company. Two weeks ago JPMorgan Chase introduced Finn, an app for people who would rather skip the branches for completely mobile checking and savings accounts with personal finance tools. Last week, Wells Fargo announced a similar offering called Greenhouse, a standalone mobile banking app with digital-only accounts and personal finance features.

For large legacy institutions, it’s hard to make changes and scale them both across the company and the consumer base. For banks, it’s much easier to create and brand an entirely new experience, which is partly why they’re launching things like Marcus, Finn and Greenhouse. Doing so also ends up being a sort of innovation showcase for their peers and prospective employees.

“A sub-brand allows us a sandbox to rapidly innovate and learn from consumer preferences and behaviors, while maintaining the core Chase brand which our customers know and love,” she said.

Goldman Sachs plans rebranding of online consumer bank (American Banker), Rated: A

Last year Goldman Sachs found a warmer, fuzzier way to connect with the U.S. public, and now it’s doubling down on that approach.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs is the brand name for the Wall Street bank’s one-year-old digital consumer-lending business. The name is a reference to Marcus Goldman, who founded the company in 1869.

Digital investments give small banks deeper borrower pool (American Banker), Rated: A

With fewer customers showing up in branches for coffee and local gossip, some community banks are digitally transforming themselves to bring Main Street to people’s homes.

In July, SourceMedia Research surveyed 304 chief information officers from banks, credit unions and other financial institutions with assets ranging from less than $100 million to more than $10 billion, and nearly 70% said they planned to spend more on technology in 2017.

“Community banks don’t just compete against banks in their immediate community. We now compete with every bank, whether it be bricks-and-mortar or internet-based, credit unions, payment processors, credit card companies, investment houses, fintechs, peer-to-peer payments, you name it,” said Ryan James, Surety’s CEO.

Crawford noted customers have increased expectations when it comes to lending, in large part due to experiences with online lenders that tend to offer quick decisions and digital-first experiences.

Source: American Banker

Big banks target Venmo (CB Insights Email), Rated: A

Venmo, now owned by PayPal and acquired for a reported $26.2M, is certainly one of the best tech M&A transactions ever.

PayPal recently extended the “pay with Venmo” capability to 2 million online retailers with a focus on enabling e-commerce via mobile.

ReliaMax Selected to Service and Insure MetaBank’s Additional $ 73 Million Private Student Loan Portfolio (BusinessWire), Rated: A

ReliaMax, the leading private student lending platform for banks, credit unions and alternative lenders, announced today that the company is now servicing and insuring an additional $73 million in private student loans for MetaBank, the bank subsidiary of Meta Financial Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:CASH). In December 2016, ReliaMax was selected to service and insure MetaBank’s initial $151 million private student loan portfolio acquisition.

AI-driven finance app Douugh partners Choice Financial for checking account (Finextra), Rated: A

San Francisco-based fintech startup Douugh has teamed up with community bank Choice Financial to launch an app-based checking account and debit card that will lean heavily on AI to help users better manage their money.

Choice has also made an investment in Douugh, which has raised $2.5 million to date and is the brainchild of Andy Taylor, who previously founded Australia’s largest P2P lending platform, SocietyOne.

FinTech is the New Imperative that Lending Companies Need to Embrace (CIOReview), Rated: A

In today’s fast-paced life, where customers are short of patience and starved of time, an old-school retail lending organization doesn’t really make a compelling survival case. In the last couple of years, however, retail lending has witnessed a sudden surge in interest. Well, the reasons are a no-brainer; it is the optimization of financial technology that has worked as a catalyst and led to welcome changes in the landscape. Technology has enabled banks to get rid of sluggish loan management process, curbing the costs and delay predicament that has impeded the growth of many retail lending processes.

eMoney Advisor Announces Expanded Business Development Organization (Business Insider), Rated: B

eMoney Advisor (eMoney) announced today the hiring of Jeffrey Schwantz as SVP, Head of Enterprise Sales and Shannon Porro as VP, Strategic Partnerships. These two new roles report to eMoney’s Head of Business Development, Stephen Langlois, who joined the company in May.  The additions reflect eMoney’s commitment to expanding its presence with larger financial institutions and to better support its customers’ needs as the company evolves its planning-led wealth management platform to enable enhanced growth, profitability and risk management of its diverse customer base. Approximately 60 percent of eMoney’s nearly 50,000 users are affiliated with individual advisors while the remaining 40 percent are affiliated with firms, larger financial institutions and enterprises.

CFTC Commissioner Quintenz Names Margo Bailey Special Counsel (MondoVisione), Rated: B

Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Commissioner Brian Quintenz announced today that Margo Bailey will serve as his Special Counsel.

Prior to joining Commissioner Quintenz’s office, Bailey worked as Counsel at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) where she reviewed the derivatives activities of national banks and supported the OCC’s Fintech initiative.

United Kingdom

ArchOver surpasses £50 million lending milestone (Finextra), Rated: AAA

ArchOver, the peer-to-peer (P2P) business lending platform, has facilitated over £50 million of lending with no losses or late payments.

The ArchOver platform produces average yields of 7.3% per annum, and comes with multiple security measures built in to protect investors.

PropTech Lending: High Tech vs. Old-School Underwriting (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Interestingly, it seems property lenders are disproportionately wary of the pitfalls in automating credit underwriting – more so than their colleagues in SME and consumer lending verticals, it seems. And rightly so.

Within SME and consumer loans, many sophisticated tech lenders principally rely on automated systems to perform their credit assessments. Many use a statistical approach; intelligent systems first gather borrower data, then smart algorithms interpret those to assess credit integrity and price the loans. Where the underlying loans are large in number and small in size, there is safety in numbers: the statistical approach is supported by the granularity and homogeneity of the underlying asset class. More often than not, the alternative approach – to manually underwrite each loan – is somewhere between too costly and impossible.

  • Limited digital availability of data is, and will remain, a key handicap for property lenders looking to scale with enhanced tech.
  • Portfolio risk tolerance is substantially lower for property lenders thanwithin consumer or SME lending. Consequently, a property lender’s attitude to resolving the tension between tech (to reach scale) and manual underwriting (to keep loan books robust) will remain different.
  • Even if all relevant data was digitally available, and even if property loan amounts were smaller, real estate assets cannot be classified in the way consumers can. A statistical approach to credit underwriting will miss important nuances and hence remains risky.

Could the rate rise boost returns for peer-to-peer lender Zopa? (AltFi), Rated: A

The Monetary Policy Committee has raised interest rates for the first time in ten years, from 0.25 per cent to 0.5 per cent.

More so than any other peer-to-peer lender, Zopa has been wrestling with the base rate, which was cut to its all-time low of 0.25 per cent in August 2016.

It opted for the latter course, several times dropping its interest rates, and so too its target returns for investors. In fact, Zopa has doubled down on that strategy in recent months, pledging in August to cut back on its riskiest loans, with losses growing beyond expectation.

Small businesses turn to alternative finance to fund growth (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

A poll of 1,000 small business owners by payments company Worldpay found 52 per cent are concerned that traditional routes to finance, including bank loans, might not be available at the same levels in the coming year.

Nearly a third (30 per cent) have already encountered difficulties securing funding through these traditional channels.

Meanwhile, 40 per cent of younger business owners claimed the growth of alternative finance options has made them less reliant on banks for funding.

Robo-advice responsibility (Lexology), Rated: B

The FCA identified two particular regulatory reasons why it considers that robo-advice presents a big opportunity:

  • since the FCA has a competition objective, they see that robo-advice can drive innovation, delivering economy and efficiency and reaching underserved consumers;
  • the final report of the Financial Advice Market Review which was published in 2016 and concluded that steps needed to be taken to make the provision of advice and guidance to the mass market more cost-effective as well as addressing consumers’ lack of confidence when making financial decisions.
China

Hexindai prices $ 50 million best-efforts IPO at $ 10 midpoint; up 27% on first day (NASDAQ), Rated: AAA

Hexindai, a Chinese marketplace for peer-to-peer lending, raised $50 million by offering 5 million ADSs at $10. The company had planned to offer 2.7 million to 8.9 million ADSs at a range of $9 to $11 in a min-max, best-efforts IPO. On Friday, Hexindai began trading on the Nasdaq under the symbol HX. The stock ended its first day at $12.66 (+27%) but traded down to $11.23 (-11%) on Monday.

Jack Ma says no Ant Financial IPO anytime soon (Tech in Asia), Rated: AAA

Speaking in front of media on Saturday, the billionaire Alibaba founder said that there’s no timeline for when Ant Financial will list, and they will only consider the IPO route – ie: the possibility of going ahead with it – two years later, reports Yicai.

“Regarding Ant Financial going public, we don’t have a time yet and we don’t know whether it will be in China, Hong Kong, or in the USA,” said Ma. “We will not really think about it in the next 12 or 18 months because there’s huge potential in inclusive financing and other tech-related opportunities. We will probably think about it two years later, but not now.”

Online Lender Fincera Announces 2 For 1 Stock Split (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Fincera (OTCQB:YUANF) , a China based peer to peer online lender targeting small and medium-sized businesses and individuals in China, has announced that its Board of Directors has approved a 2 for 1 stock split of the Fincera’s outstanding shares of common stock in the form of a 100% stock dividend payable on or about November 8 , 2017 to shareholders of record on November 1 , 2017. Stockholders will receive one additional share for each share held on that date .

Chinese police to step up crackdown on financial crime (Reuters), Rated: A

Chinese police will intensity a crackdown on financial crime to safeguard national security and fend off financial risks, the public security ministry said in an online statement on Tuesday.

The ministry said it will focus on crimes involving illegal fundraising, the online finance industry, securities and futures markets, and financial institutions.

Is Technology About to Decimate White-Collar Work? (Technology Review), Rated: B

Lee pointed to several of the investments made by his company, Sinovation Ventures, as clear signs of how routine office work is already being transformed by AI. For example, Lee has backed Smart Finance Group, a company that uses machine learning to determine a person’s eligibility for a payday loan. Sinovation has also invested in companies that automate customer service, training, and other routine office services.

Lee identified four distinct but nonsequential waves of AI. The first wave is being fueled by the availability of large quantities of labeled data. This has given big Internet companies, both in China and in the U.S., an advantage in building their businesses and cementing AI expertise.

The second wave—which is more relevant to the kind of workplace disruption Lee sees coming—is based on the availability of company data, especially in industries such as law and accounting.

A third wave relies on companies generating data through new products or apps, or by paying for it to be created.

European Union

The European Commission Hopes to Scale Crowdfunding by Creating a European-Wide Framework (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The European Commission has published an Inception Impact Assessment that pitches a legislative proposal for an EU framework for crowdfunding including peer to peer lending. The initiative is accepting feedback from interested parties until November 27, 2017. The expectation is the Commission will create a framework that is supportive of the policy for a Capital Market Union the heart of the mission of the EC. Thjs new framework is expected by Q1 of 2018.

Overall, the main policy objectives are as follows:

  • Enable platforms to scale cross-border: creating the required conditions such as licensing regimes that can be used across the EU without requiring further authorization in each EU country.
  • Provide platforms with a proportionate and effective risk management framework: cross-border activity requires a high level of trust.
International

Ripio Closes $ 37 Million ICO for Ethereum Lending Network (Coindesk), Rated: AAA

Blockchain startup Ripio has raised $37 million in an initial coin offering (ICO).

The RCN whitepaper indicates that 42.5 percent of the tokens would be dedicated to a pre-sale maximum, with 8.5 percent set aside for a public sale minimum. The remaining 49 percent were reserved for operational needs, such as incentives, marketing and expenses.

Millenials get finance advice from bots! (iAfrica.com), Rated: A

Forrester surveyed online adults in 20 markets to determine their need for and perception of financial services. The resulting report, “Millennials Want Financial Advice, With or Without Humans”, shows that Millennials:

  • Want financial advice: Results from the study showed that in Europe, 32% of online adults between the ages of 18 and 37 say they “rely on financial advice from professionals,” compared with 29% of older generations.
  • Are not afraid to share personal information in order to get the advice: At least two thirds of US Millennials were willing to share personal data in order to get improved service from their financial institution.
  • Are not confident in the current advice they are receiving: Only 38% of US Millennials are confident that a bank or credit union will offer them valuable financial advice, compared with 46% of their older counterparts. Moreover, just over two-thirds of US Millennials say, they don’t know who to approach in order to get reliable financial advice, compared with less than a third of older generations.

While 26% of US adults say they prefer to use mobile devices to access financial services and advice, almost half (46%) of Millennials say they would rather use their mobile phone for this.

China and Australia sign agreement on fintech cooperation (OpenGovAsia), Rated: B

The China Securities Regulatory Commission (‘CSRC’) and Australian Securities and Investments Commission (‘ASIC’) have entered into an agreement yesterday to promote innovation in financial services in their respective markets.

China is Australia’s largest two-way trading partner in goods and services (valued at AU$155.2 billion in 2016, up 3.7% on the previous year). China is also Australia’s largest export market (AU$93 billion in 2016) and Australia’s largest source of imports (AU$62.1 billion in 2016).

India

Top 10 Trends to Look Out in Fin-Tech Industry for Year 2018 (BW Disrupt), Rated: AAA

  1. ATMs will start disappearing
  2. Credit decisions will go beyond looking at CIBIL scores for individuals and SMEs – Credit providers will start leveraging other forms of digitized data to evaluate ability and willingness to pay of the borrower.
  3. Chat and payments platforms will start integrating
  4. Payments and lending platforms will start integrating – Payment platforms will see thin margins in their payments business and will start building or partnering with lending platforms. For lending platforms, a payment platform is a cheaper customer acquisition avenue and also a source for credit assessment data.
  5. Fraud Prevention solutions will start emerging
  6. Wealth platforms will go direct to consumer
  7. New themes will emerge in Insurtech
  8. Large institutions will consolidate credit: While I don’t predict the death of P2P lending entirely, as interest rates keep reducing and costs of capital for larger institutions keep reducing, it is difficult to see P2P lenders getting any scale. The only advantage that P2P lenders have is information asymmetry but with newer methods to collect data on the borrower, I see that advantage diminishing gradually.
  9. Regtech solutions becoming mature
  10. Greater localization of bots – Over 30 startups are working on bots for the fintech sector in India.

Why India’s Improved World Bank Ranking Will Boost Its Startups (Forbes), Rated: A

Following India’s meteoric rise to crack the top 100 in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report, the country’s startup community is confident of attracting more foreign investments across sectors and emerging as a highly preferred investment destination in the region.

This year, India has improved its performance in six of those areas — specifically, there’s been a marked improvement in getting an electricity connection to start a new business, resolving insolvency, obtaining bank credit and tax reforms.

Rajat Gandhi, founder of P2P lending platform Faircent, said: “The ranking is a shot in the arm for the government, which has eased the way for fintechs to do business. It has become simpler for startups like mine to approach regulators for business. Moreover, this will boost the confidence of investors and allow more capital to come our way.” Prateek Mehta, cofounder of investment platform Upwardly.in agreed: “We are moving towards an entrepreneur-rich economy, so raising funds and scaling operations should be easier. With reforms like GST, the burden of compliance is greatly reduced, especially in cross-state businesses, which can simplify the operations of a startup. Compliance can be made even easier in the first three years of a startup.”

Wilful defaulters cannot bid for their companies: SBI chief (India Times), Rated: A

State Bank of India (SBI) chairman Rajnish Kumar on Monday said that promoters of defaulting companies are within their rights to bid for their businesses which are on the block following insolvency proceedings. However, wilful defaulters or those borrowers who have diverted funds will not find any place in the bidding process, he said.

Asia

Singapore’s Central Bank Chief Has a Warning for Fintech Investors (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

While technological innovations such as blockchain and the area of big data analytics can result in powerful applications, people should be wary of some peer-to-peer lending platforms and the rapidly rising values of cryptocurrencies, Menon said in an interview with Bloomberg News late last month.

One potential area of concern for Menon is some examples of P2P lending, in which platforms connect investors with borrowers, and make money from charging both parties a fee.

Still, high-profile cases of malfeasance such as Ezubo — dubbed China’s biggest Ponzi scheme — have brought to light instances of how they can be used to defraud investors. In China, almost 4,000 P2P platforms have closed or run into difficulties since 2011, according to Yingcan Group, which tracks the data.

Another area of concern is in the use of big data, where increasing use of mobile phones, social media and the internet has given companies unprecedented access to customer data.

The MAS has set aside about $165 million for a five-year plan to nurture fintech and is spearheading Project Ubin, a blockchain-based project to facilitate cross-border payments. Last week, the regulator unveiled a so-called transformation map for financial services that aims to create 4,000 new jobs annually in the industry — a quarter of that in fintech alone.

Read a transcript of Ravi Menon’s comments on fintech

Kinerjapay Preparing to Launch Peer to Peer Lending Service (PR Newswire), Rated: A

KinerjaPay Corp., (OTCQB: KPAY), a digital payment and ecommerce platform (“KinerjaPay” or the “Company”), announced today that it is preparing to launch a peer-to-peer lending application to provide Indonesia’s largely underserved consumer sector with access to credit.

Indonesia’s Financial Services Authority estimates the country’s demand for consumer and small business financing at approximately US$125 billion. Domestic financial institutions are able to address an estimated US$50 billion, leaving a financing gap of about US$75 billion which is not being served by financial institutions.

KinerjaPay’s P2P application will offer loans in the range of $100 to $10,000 to individuals, and $5,000 to $500,000 to businesses over fixed periods of 12 to 60 months. The interest rate charged for borrowed funds falls between 8% and 18%, depending on the loan grade or creditworthiness of the borrowing entity. The Company will receive a fee of 1% of the amount of borrower payments received within 15 days of the due date of the loan.

Securities Commission Malaysia: Equity Crowdfunding, P2P Lending & DLT Gaining Traction as it Embraces Digital Innovation (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

According to SC, the equity crowdfunding and peer to peer financing platforms have funded 450 campaigns, raising a total of RM 50 million  (USD $11.8 million) to meet the financing needs of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

For equity crowdfunding in particular, more than 70% of the issuers have women or youth as founders, with 40% of the investors under the age of 35.

Canada

Report aims to enhance fintech innovation and competition (Investment Executive), Rated: A

Canadian investors should receive clear, upfront fee disclosure, and securities regulators should be working with robo-advisors to help facilitate the development of cheap alternatives to traditional advice, according to a draft report from the Competition Bureau.

On Monday, the federal agency released the draft report on its market study concerning technology‑led innovation in the Canadian financial services (fintech) sector in a variety of market segments, including payments, crowdfunding, and investment advice.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Taking Over Small Business Lending From the Banks

kabbage online smb lending

Five years ago, 95% of Kabbage’s loans went to eBay businesses. Today, 90% of the company’s loans are extended to brick-and-mortar businesses representing a seismic shift in how the direct lender has transformed since its founding in 2009. Co-founder and CEO Rob Frohwein got the idea for Kabbage from his own knowledge of eBay. He […]

kabbage online smb lending

Five years ago, 95% of Kabbage’s loans went to eBay businesses. Today, 90% of the company’s loans are extended to brick-and-mortar businesses representing a seismic shift in how the direct lender has transformed since its founding in 2009. Co-founder and CEO Rob Frohwein got the idea for Kabbage from his own knowledge of eBay. He wanted to give third parties access to business financing and developed a platform for underwriting small business loans to those types of businesses.

Headquartered in Atlanta, Frohwein recruited Kathryn Petralia, who serves as head of operations, and Marc Gorlin, no longer with the company, as co-founders. Despite being a balance sheet lender, Kabbage does have its partners. Victory Park Capital provides most of the funding for its debt while Mohr Davidow, ING, and other investors cover its equity funding.

On August 3rd of this year, Kabbage completed a Series F funding round of $250 million led by the SoftBank Group. That amount brought their total raised through the six rounds to $488,650,000. The company’s A series round in January 2011 raised a modest $6.65 million, with BlueRun serving as the lead investor. Their funding has progressed steadily. Series F almost doubled Series E, which raised $135 million in October 2015. Reverence Capital led that round.

A founding member of the Innovative Lending Platform Association (ILPA), Kabbage is an online lender motivated by unique and interesting data and is one of the largest U.S.-based nonbank lenders to small businesses.

Partnership Highlights

Kabbage has enjoyed a stellar history of partnerships, almost right from the beginning. Its first loans were issued in May 2011 based on debt funding from Victory Park Capital. In February the next year, the company entered an agreement with United Parcel Service allowing small businesses to share their shipping histories with Kabbage. Three years later, in March, they partnered with MasterCard to make Kabbage’s data and technology platform, as well as access to working capital, available to MasterCard’s small business partners. Then, in April 2016, the small business lender began servicing Santander UK’s SME customers. A couple of months later, Kabbage announced a partnership with Scotiabank to enable businesses to borrow up to C$100,000 (US$78,290) online in as little as seven minutes. Most recently, in August 2017, the firm received the previously mentioned $250 million investment from SoftBank Group, capital that Frohwein said will help the company expand in the U.S.; launch analytics tools to provide loans for specific verticals; branch into new markets, like Asia; and explore acquisitions to add new products to its inventory.

Petralia shared how the company might also use the SoftBank investment to expand existing technology, such as the Smart Box Disclosure and Loan Comparison tool. Released in 2016, in partnership with OnDeck and CAN Capital, this tool helps small businesses better assess and compare finance options. There was also industry speculation earlier this year that the SoftBank capital might provide Kabbage with the firepower for a potential takeover of OnDeck Capital, which went public in 2014 but has since struggled with growing losses, rising defaults, and higher funding costs. Both Kabbage and OnDeck have been mum about those rumors.

On October 24, 2017, Kabbage and ING announced a partnership to fund small businesses in France and Italy, an expansion of their 2015 partnership in which they did the same in Spain.

Success and Accolades

As the company has expanded its reach around the world, so has its pedigree. In 2012, they were named to Red Herring’s list of the Top 100 private North American companies. In 2013, they made the Fast Company’s Top Ten Most Innovative Companies in Finance list. Forbes added them to the Top 100 Most Promising Companies list in 2014 and 2015. In 2016, CNBC put them on the Annual Disruptor 50 list of the most forward-thinking and ambitious companies revolutionizing industries and markets worldwide. Then, three years in a row (2015, 2016, and 2017), they were included in the Inc. 500 list of the country’s fastest growing private companies.

Still, partnerships and accolades do not necessarily spell success. When banks pulled out of SME lending in the wake of the 2008-09 financial crisis, Kabbage was one of the companies that stepped forward to fill the void and meet the need. To date, they’ve lent $3.5 billion to more than 115,000 small businesses. In fact, they’ve funded $3 million a day, on average.

The Future of Kabbage and Small Business Lending

Petralia says the future for Kabbage is more direct lending underscored by a marked increase in platform partnerships. The company is actively evaluating products to engage small businesses and their direct lending needs.

Further, Petralia promises that, along with companies like PayPal and Square, Kabbage is poised to help lead the industry into a future with more focus on customer experience and a greater focus on the relationship with the borrower. Where traditional financial companies worked with brokers, fintech lenders continue to focus on the relationship with borrowers.

Kabbage is also carving its niche in the future by tapping into the ever-growing diversity in the U.S. population. Petralia is pleased to confirm that the company is reaching the plateaus and celebrating the accomplishments it does on the strength of a leadership structure and work force that boasts a greater mix of women. On average, women account for 26% of the work force in fintech companies, but that mix is as high as 35% at Kabbage, which also boasts four women on its leadership team.

Furthering the company’s ties to diversity, Petralia says the company also exceeds the financial services industry by double in terms of women and minorities customers, as women and minorities are more likely to run small businesses. As the company’s customer application is blind, no concrete data exists on this.

Still, it looks as if Kabbage is poised to continue to spearhead the growth of the online lending industry, and whether Mr. Frohwein envisioned his company filling that void left by the banks or not doesn’t matter. What matters is that Kabbage is on the cutting edge of new direction in small business lending, and it’s paving a path for others to follow.

Authors:

Written by Paul Keenan and Allen Taylor

Allen Taylor

Using Bitcoin for Small Business Loans on a Global Scale

BitBond cumulative loan volume

In the last couple of years, blockchain technology has disrupted multiple segments of traditional finance. Lenders are beginning to see the advantages the technology offers and how it can help to improve their existing processes. It is still in a nascent stage in alternative lending with  massive room for growth. One such company is Berlin-headquartered Bitbond, […]

BitBond cumulative loan volume

In the last couple of years, blockchain technology has disrupted multiple segments of traditional finance. Lenders are beginning to see the advantages the technology offers and how it can help to improve their existing processes. It is still in a nascent stage in alternative lending with  massive room for growth. One such company is Berlin-headquartered Bitbond, which launched in 2013 as the first global marketplace for small business loans using cryptocurrency Bitcoin as the nodal currency for loans.

Bitbond’s Story

While working as a consultant, Founder and CEO Radoslav Albrecht witnessed the inefficiencies prevalent in bank lending processes, which led him to develop a global online lending platform that can be accessed by almost every SME around the world.

While brainstorming the idea for his startup, he came across the problem of processing cross-border payments and realized traditional remittance methods are extremely expensive and time-consuming. He stumbled upon Bitcoin and realized it is the perfect alternative for transmitting money across borders in an efficient, cheaper, and safer way.

In 2013, he partnered with a software developer from Berlin to launch Bitbond, but they soon parted ways and Albrecht became the sole owner of Bitbond.

Business Model

Bitbond has an uncluttered business model primarily focusing on small business owners like retailers, online stores, and restaurants who have a working capital requirement. Average loan size is $12,000, and loan periods range from 10 weeks to three years. The company caters to businesses all around the globe. Both individuals as well as institutional investors invest in the platform.

As far as revenue is concerned, it charges an origination fee paid upfront by the borrower, which usually ranges from 1%- 2.5% depending on the duration of the loan. For every loan repayment, the company charges 1% from the investor as a loan servicing fee.

Technology

Extensively dealing in Bitcoin to orchestrate payment processes, Bitbond’s process is simple and secure. Investors fund loans with fiat currency and that currency is converted into Bitcoin on the platform. Once that process is complete, a borrower is paid in Bitcoin and can choose a payment method or get the coin transferred to their bank account withdrawing the money after converting the Bitcoin back to the user’s native fiat currency. Bitbond has partnered with Bitpesa, an online payment platform, to convert Bitcoin to pay off loans and process payments across different countries. It has also partnered with Bit4coin, an Amsterdam-based Bitcoin company, that converts Bitcoin into Euros.

Because Bitcoin is relatively new, bank integration is still a problem. Therefore, in some countries, borrowers have to go to a Bitcoin exchange to get currency converted. But the company is trying to tackle this issue by adding more banks to its network. Thus far, they’ve integrated with banks in over 50 countries.

Key Success Factors

The fact that Bitbond exclusively deals in cryptocurrency gives it the ability to lend anywhere in the world. This geographical freedom is what gives Bitbond an upper hand over its rivals. Other lenders dealing in SME funding like Kabbage and OnDeck are no doubt bigger than Bitbond in terms of size, but they are active in only developed markets like the U.S. and the UK. Borrowers already have multiple options whereas Bitbond enjoys negligible competition in dozens of markets across the world.

The firm is also partnering with multiple e-commerce platforms that refer their online sellers to Bitbond. It is a win-win as the e-commerce platforms are able to add value to sellers’ operations while Bitbond is able to partner the company across multiple countries.

Key Performance Indicators (KPI)

ndSource: BitBond
Source: BitBond

It’s a fully regulated financial service institution under German law with a loan volume that stands at $4.5 million. Out of that, $3.5 million was originated this year alone. Bitbond is hoping to grow on a 10X basis for the coming couple of years.

Customer Profile

Bitbond focuses on small online retailers on platforms like eBay and Amazon. They usually have annual revenue between $200,000-$300,000. The loans are typically for buying larger quantities of inventory at a better price. It is able to reach loan decisions in an hour, and even in difficult cases, Bitbond does not take more than two days to get back to the borrower with an answer. This is the reason why small online retailers prefer Bitbond to other financing options. When the company started off, the majority of traffic came from the U.S. but the bulk has now shifted to Europe and Africa.

Lender risk assessments of the future will be much more automated and help cut down loan application processing times. Lack of flexibility when it comes to products is another area where the industry will see a change. Down the road, products will be customized as per the need of the particular business as compared to a one-size fits all approach currently followed.

Future Plans and Company Leadership

Bitbond wants to grow stronger in Europe and Africa, but they also want to tap neglected regions of the world. Secondly, the firm also wants to explore other verticals like secured lending for offering higher ticket loans. They wants to develop a large secured loan marketplace where the collateral is digitally liquidated as compared to the investor or platform physically having to obtain possession.

Albrecht has a degree in economics and, prior to Bitbond, worked as a senior consultant at Roland Berger advising banks around the world on restructuring strategy. Bitbond has so far raised a total of $7.5 million in various rounds of funding with $5 million of it as debt. Obotritia Capital is the lead debt investor and Sekip Can Gokalp led the last equity fund raise of $1.2 million.

Conclusion

There is no doubt Bitcoin is the future and the industry will continue to grow at a neck-breaking pace. Bitbond will definitely reap rich benefits for starting early, and it’s global play is something investors, both debt and equity, would love to participate in for a combination of scale and diversification.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Tuesday October 24 2017, Daily News Digest

fraud transactions

News Comments Today’s main news: OnDeck collaborates with Ingo Money, Visa on real-time SMB lending. Affirm’s new mobile app allows consumers to borrow money for almost any online purchase. N26 readies for launch in the UK. P2PFA reports over 700M GBP in Q3 new lending. Fincera issues $1B in Q2 lending. Kabbage automates SMB lending in France, Italy with ING partnership. […]

fraud transactions

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News Summary

United States

OnDeck Collaborates with Ingo Money and Visa to enable real-time Loan Funding to Small Businesses (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

OnDeck (NYSE: ONDK), the nation’s largest online lender to small business, announced today agreements with Ingo Money and Visa to enable real-timefunding of loans to small businesses via their debit cards, powered by Visa Direct. OnDeck will be the first company in the online lending industry to offer real-time access to capital via a customer’s existing small business debit card.

The move by OnDeck comes in response to small business demand for improved cash flow and faster payment experiences. A recent survey found 70% of small business owners report they have a small business debit card, and of those without debit cards, 87% of them said they would get a new debit card to take advantage of real time transfers. The virtual card grants you a one-time card number, an expiration date, and a three-digit security code, which can then be used to make singular online purchases, while the repayment plan is managed through the app.2OnDeck plans to use Visa Direct through Ingo Money’s technology platform to disburse loan proceeds securely in real time to its line of credit customers via their existing small business debit cards. Visa Direct is Visa’s real-time push payments platform allowing companies to leverage Visa’s global scale to develop faster payments solutions for ubiquitous reach to consumers or small businesses with a debit card.

Ingo Push, the turnkey push payments service from Ingo Money, allows OnDeck customers to receive funds via a vast network of eligible debit or prepaid card accounts, including eligible Visa cards; online and mobile wallets; and a network of more than 40,000 cash-out distribution points.

SoFi priced itself at double its valuation during recent M&A talks (Pitchbook), Rated: AAA

SoFi reportedly mulled a potential sale earlier this year, but the talks evaporated over a hefty asking price. After receiving a non-binding offer of $6 billion from a foreign bank, the online lender pegged its target acquisition price at $8 billion to $10 billion as it negotiated with several US companies, including Charles Schwab, per the Financial Times. That price would have ranked the deal among the second most valuable VC-backed fintech companyin the US. It’s also one of eight American startups that have raised $500 million+ rounds this year.

But while SoFi could likely fetch a relatively high acquisition price, the $8 billion to $10 billion figure is far more than it appears to be worth. In February, the online lender raised a $500 million round at a valuation of $4.4 billion—and since then, its value has likely dropped amid sexual harassment allegations at the company.

Source: Pitchbook

Why Charles Schwab Held Talks to Buy Online Lender SoFi (Investopedia), Rated: AAA

Citing people familiar with the matter, the Financial Times (paywall) reported the deal talks with Schwab were prompted by a $6 billion offer from a foreign bank after SoFi raised $500 million in funding led by Silver Lake. With a more than $4 billion valuation after that, the unnamed foreign bank expressed interest in acquiring SoFi. That prompted the online lender to reach out to other potential suitors aiming to fetch $8 billion to $10 billion in a sale.

At first blush, a deal with Charles Schwab may not make sense, given it isn’t in the online lending business. But SoFi does have a wealth management unit that would give the San Francisco discount brokerage access to more customers and thus more assets under management. It’s also a low-cost provider on that front, something very much in Schwab’s wheelhouse. According to SoFi’s website, the company doesn’t charge customers for the first $10,000 invested and charges 0.25% per year. It also has a team of live advisors that give customers advice and ETF portfolios that are curated by the company. SoFi also has a large customer base, particularly of millennials, that would be attractive to Schwab. Earlier this year ex-CEO Cagney predicted SoFi would end the year with 500,000 customers.

Affirm’s new mobile app lets you borrow money for almost any online purchase (The Verge), Rated: AAA

Lending startup Affirm, founded by PayPal and Yelp co-founder Max Levchin, is out to destroy the credit card, or at the very least make a noticeable dent in its utter ubiquity. The company, which began in 2012 by offering simple and transparent loans for web purchases, is today launching a mobile app to the public that acts as a virtual credit card, so it can be used as a line of credit with no strings attached for pretty much any online purchase. The app is available now for iOS and Android.

The virtual card grants you a one-time card number, an expiration date, and a three-digit security code, which can then be used to make singular online purchases, while the repayment plan is managed through the app. To use the service, you need to provide proof of your identity, but credit is extended only for the item you want to buy, with the company determining your likelihood to pay back the loan based on your current credit and the total amount being lended.

You’ll need approval for every purchase you try to make, up to a maximum of $10,000. In total, Chou says Affirm has made more than 1 million loans for a total amount of more than $1 billion since it started roughly five years ago. It also now counts as over 1,000 merchants as partners, including mattress maker Casper, furniture site Wayfair, and Expedia.

Now, Affirm wants to extend its services to anyone and any merchant, by going directly to the consumer with a virtual card.

Although Affirm may offer as low as 10 percent APR, or in some cases zero percent for select partner merchants, you still run the risk of paying more for a purchase using the company’s virtual card than if you had a standard credit card. For those who are simply bad with money and borrowing, it has the same pitfalls as a credit card, though with a few more speed bumps and warning signs built in.

LexisNexis Risk Solutions True Cost of Fraud in Lending (LexisNexis), Rated: AAA

For every dollar of fraud, lending companies incur $2.82 in costs, which includes chargebacks, fees, interest, merchandise replacement and distribution, according to the LexisNexis Risk Solutions Fraud Multiplier. Large digital lenders, with over $50 million in annual revenue, are hit hardest by fraud in this space. These large digital lenders face a higher risk of successful fraud attempts than others within the lending space, but it really is a problem across the digital lending space, even with small and midsized digital lenders.

Source: LexisNexis

Get the full report here.

The Rise of Robo Advisors and the Death of Traditional Financial Advice (The Epoch Times), Rated: AAA

When BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager with USD 5.7 trillion in AUM, decided to layoff talented stock pickers in favor of machines for portfolio management in March, it was a sure sign that times are changing.

The top performer in a group of the five leading robo advisors in the first eight months of 2016 generated returns that were encroaching on double-digit territory, and in some cases outperformed their more expensive mutual fund counterparts.

Source: The Epoch Times

And it’s not just BlackRock that’s demonstrated a willingness to favor machines over stock pickers. Robo advisors as a category, which is comprised of approximately 100 firms, oversee USD 60 billion in AUM as of year-end 2016 across 15 countries, according to Deloitte. That amount is expected to balloon more than fivefold to USD 385 billion in a half decade, according to Cerulli Associates research.

A recent Capital One Investing survey says in times of extreme market volatility, millennials are the least likely generation to turn to a person for financial advisory services at 69%. In fact, millennials are the generation that place the highest value on robo-advisory services, evidenced by 65% of them saying automated financial advice “enhances their financial peace of mind,” according to the poll.

Bloom seems to be the Vanguard of the robo advisory market, undercutting its competitors on fees and charging as little as USD 10 per month to manage a 401(k) or 403(b) account.

Leading the charge is robo-advisory firm Betterment, which boasts 270,000 usersand USD 10 billion in AUM.

FS Card Inc. Closes $ 150 Million Credit Facility to Continue its Build Card Product Expansion (FS Card Inc), Rated: A

FS Card Inc., an emerging financial services leader for underserved consumers, today announced it has raised $150 million in financing to fund future growth.  Through its Build Card product, FS Card will expand access to traditional credit and create an on-ramp into the financial mainstream for small-dollar loan customers.  The new credit facility closing comes as FS Card wraps up a year of rapid growth with Build Card portfolio expansion of nearly 500 percent in 2017.

The funding will be used for sustained portfolio build as part of the company’s ongoing commitment to financial inclusion in a market where a new rule from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is likely to impact access to alternative credit products.

According to Prosperity Now and The Federal Reserve, more than half of Americans are credit invisible or subprime, while 47 percent do not have $400 to pay for an emergency expense.  FS Card leverages its proprietary machine learning algorithms to actively meet the increasing demand of underserved consumers for fairly priced credit with a prime-like experience.

These 11 startups are re-inventing how money works and they’re worth more than $ 1 billion (Business Insider), Rated: A

Fintech is a multi-billion dollar industry, with startups in the US raising around $18 billion since 2015, according to PitchBook and nearly 1,400 venture capitalist-backed deals. Two of the most valuable startups in the country — Stripe and SoFi — are in the fintech sector. And there are 11 fintech startups valued at more than $1 billion.

10. Kabbage — $1.3 billion

Kabbage is valued at $1.3 billion, according to PitchBook estimates, thanks to a $250 million investment round in August 2017.

9. Robinhood — $1.3 billion

The zero-commission, US-focused stock brokerage is valued at $1.3 billion following a $110 million funding round in April 2017.

In total, Robinhood has raised $176 million, which is quite a lot considering the founders were initially rejected by 75 different venture capitalists.

5. Avant — $2 billion

Avant was valued at $2 billion after a $325 million funding round in September 2015.

Though its valuation makes it the fifth most valuable fintech startup in the US, it’s seen some rocky shores in the years since. In June 2016, the company reportedly laid off staff and lowered its monthly lending by half.

3. Credit Karma — $3.5 billion

Credit Karma scored a $3.5 billion valuation on a $175 million funding round in June 2015 which brought the company’s total funding to $368 million.

2. SoFi — $4.4 billion

SoFi was valued at $4.4 billion during its most recent round of funding in February 2017, which brought the company $500 million from investors. In total, the company has raised over $2 billion, including a $1 billion round led by SoftBank in 2015.

1. Stripe — $9.2 billion

Stripe was valued at $9.2 billion in its most recent $150 million funding round in November 2016. The company has raised a total of $440 million since its founding in 2010.

Groundfloor Launches Loan Origination Network As Investor Demand Surges (PR Newswire), Rated: A

In response to overwhelming investor demand, Groundfloor, the only real estate crowdfunding platform that is open to non-accredited investors, today announced the launch of its Loan Origination Network for mortgage brokers and third-party originators interested in tapping additional real estate loan opportunities. The company has opened up its innovative real estate financing platform to brokers nationwide who now have the opportunity to provide customers with low cost capital for fix and flip projects.

According to a recent report from ATTOM Data Solutions, the estimated total dollar volume of financing for homes flipped in Q2 2017 was $4.4 billion, up from $3.9 billion in the previous quarter and up from $3.4 billion a year ago to the to the highest level since Q3 2017, a nearly 10-year high. Also, more than 35 percent of homes flipped in Q2 2017 were purchased by the flipper with financing, up from 33.2 percent in the previous quarter.

Key benefits for mortgage brokers and third-party originators:

  • Competitive rates from six percent
  • Unique deferred payment option
  • Low documentation
  • Closing in as little as seven days
  • Costs rolled into loan principal
  • Discounted fees for high volume partners
  • Partners assigned dedicated Business Development Manager

Mortgage industry veteran Debora Valentine joins the team as Senior Vice President, Business Development. Valentine brings more than 25 years of experience in sales to Groundfloor’s senior leadership team.

Marqeta Partners with Alipay for US Transactions (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Alipay has partnered with Marqeta on real-time payment processing for millions of Chinese travelers visiting North America.

Yesterday, Alipay announced  it had teamed up with smart terminal provider Poynt to enable its Chinese users to pay with its services through all Poynt devices in North America.

Alipay makes inroads into US with JPMOrgan Chase deal (Finextra), Rated: A

Alipay, the world’s leading third-party payment platform, today announced they are working with JPMorgan Chase, a global financial leader, toward a relationship by which Chinese consumers traveling in North America would be enabled to pay using their Alipay Mobile Wallet at Chase merchant clients.

The proposed relationship between JPMorgan Chase and Alipay would enable its acceptance at many of Chase’s merchants in North America. Through Alipay’s geolocation-based “Discover” function and push notifications within the Alipay app, Chinese travelers can locate merchants nearby, receive promotion information, and make purchase decisions. It also enables local merchants to better target and connect with Chinese consumers.

The Number of Consumers Opening HELOCs May Double During the Next Five Years (Globe Newswire), Rated: A

Approximately 10 million consumers are expected to originate a home equity line of credit (HELOC) between 2018 and 2022. This would more than double the 4.8 million HELOCs originated in the previous five-year period (2012-2016). The projection is part of a new TransUnion (NYSE:TRUstudy that evaluated recent dynamics in the HELOC industry, and was released today during the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Annual Convention & Expo.

TransUnion projects 1.4 million new HELOC borrowers in 2017 and 1.6 million in 2018, about a 30% increase from the previous two-year period of 2015 (1.1 million) and 2016 (1.2 million).

HELOC Originations – 2017-2022 Include Projections
Year 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019-2022
HELOC Originations (In Millions)  0.7 0.8 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.4 1.6 8.4

The TransUnion HELOC study found that rising home prices and the resulting increase in equity is beginning to fuel interest in HELOCs. The Case-Shiller home price index rose as high as 180 in 2005 and 185 in 2006 before dropping to 134 in 2012. By July 2017 it had risen again to 194, and is expected to rise in the next few years to well over 200.

According to the study, there were 4.9 million HELOC originations in 2005 when home equity stood at $13.3 Trillion.  HELOC originations dropped to a mere 600,000 in 2011 as home equity declined to $6.3 Trillion.  Home equity has once again risen to $13.3 Trillion in 2016, yet HELOC originations continued to be low at 1.2 million.

Who are the HELOC borrowers?

The study explored the primary reasons why consumers open HELOCs and estimated the percentage of HELOCs opened under each motivating reason.

Types of HELOC Borrowers
HELOC Category Defining this Type of HELOC Borrower Percentage of
HELOCs
Debt Consolidation “Consolidate balances from other credit products, usually to a lower interest rate” 30 %
Large Expense “Finance a large credit need (e.g., home renovation project)” 29 %
Refinance “Refinance a HELOC, often to change terms or to get a better rate” 25 %
Piggyback “Concurrent with a mortgage origination, often used as part of a down payment” 9 %
Undrawn “Standby, undrawn line of credit for a ‘rainy day’” 7 %

Online Small Business Lending Provides Benefits to Small Business Owners, Finds New Survey (Electran), Rated: A

Four leading trade associations – Electronic Transactions Association, Innovative Lending Platform Association, the Marketplace Lending Association, and the Small Business Finance Association – commissioned a comprehensive survey of U.S. small business owners from Edelman Intelligence.  The survey conducted by Edelman Intelligence found that a large majority (70%) of small business owners believe there are more credit options today when compared to five years ago, and 97% of those feel that the growing number of financing options is a good thing.

Key findings of the study include:

  • 70 percent of small- and medium-sized business owners say there are more lending options now, and 97 percent of those believe that the increase in options is a positive thing for their businesses.
  • Most small business owners reported using online small business lenders to help them expand their locations, make necessary hiring and equipment purchases, and help manage cash flow.
  • Of the small business owners considering taking out a loan in the next 12 months, close to 40 percent say they will consider borrowing from an online lender.
  • According to the study, 98 percent of small business ownerswho have used online lenders say they are likely to take out another loan with an online lender.
  • For many small business owners, online small business lending platforms are a popular alternativeto asking friends and family for a loan.
Source: Electran.org

PeerStreet Launches Affiliate Blogger Program (BusinessWire), Rated: A

PeerStreet, a marketplace for investing in real estate-backed loans, is excited to announce its affiliate program at FinCon 2017. Backed by Andreessen Horowitz, PeerStreet’s platform provides investments in high-yield, short-term real estate loans. The newly launched program will allow PeerStreet to partner with the personal finance community to better serve both current and future investors.

PeerStreet aims to reach more investors through the affiliate program by working with financial writers and influencers to share thought leadership and market information about this unique space. In addition to high-conversion advertising opportunities, affiliate program partners will also have access to PeerStreet’s dedicated Affiliate Director, who can provide deep insight into PeerStreet’s service and offer tailored support.

Mastercard Takes Blockchain Mainstream with API (Finovate), Rated: A

Mastercard announced it has tested and validated its blockchain and will be opening access to it via a set of three APIs published on the Mastercard Developers website. The APIs include the Blockchain Core API, the Smart Contracts API, and the Fast Pay Network API.

Mastercard will pilot the blockchain for use in the business-to-business space, implementing it to increase speed and transparency in payments and decrease costs for cross-border payments.

Mastercard’s blockchain operates independently of a digital currency.

Fannie Mae Introduces New Tech Solutions to Lower Costs & Shorten Mortgage Processes (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Online lender Fannie Mae announced on Monday the launch of its new single source validation, new API platform, and servicing marketplace for servicing transfers. 

Single Source Validation saves lenders time and money

  • Allows lenders to validate a borrower’s income, assets, and employment with a single report from a single approved vendor that the lender chooses.
  • Uses source data for validation (a borrower’s bank account, including pay stream and direct deposit information).
  • Reduces the number of paper documents borrowers need to provide.
  • Amplifies savings already being realized by lenders who currently use Day 1 Certainty validation services.

New API platform levels the playing field for lenders

  • Provides lenders with all the information they need from Desktop Underwriter to originate a loan.
  • Allows lenders to access information that they can customize to their needs.
  • Uses industry-standard data formats and protocols so lenders can integrate the Fannie Mae API to their systems quickly and easily.

Servicing Marketplace 

  • Provides sellers greater access to servicers when they sell loans to Fannie Mae and creates more efficiencies in managing co-issue transactions with Fannie Mae.
  • Offers transparent pricing, a standardized process, and standardized data requirements when a loan is sold to Fannie Mae.
  • Improves data quality and simplifies the servicing rights transfer process for sellers and servicers.

Envestnet | Yodlee to Integrate Risk Insight Solutions With Fannie Mae’s Desktop Underwriter Validation Service (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Envestnet | Yodlee (NYSE: ENV), a data aggregation and data analytics platform powering dynamic, cloud-based innovation for digital financial services, today announced its integration with Fannie Mae through a pilot program to digitally validate borrowers’ assets. Fannie Mae will leverage Envestnet | Yodlee’s Risk Insight Solutions to fuel the Day 1 Certainty™ validation of assets offering, which gives lenders a faster and simplified borrower experience.

We’re doing fine . . . (CU Insight), Rated: A

Over a four-decade career in financial services I have witnessed, experienced and participated in transformational change.  The conversations around emerging technology like the ATM caused industry debate – consumers would never use a machine to make a withdrawal from their account.  Credit cards not tied to a specific gasoline brand, local merchant or one of the giants of the catalogue sales world – Montgomery Wards, Sears and that upstart JC Penney – would never be accepted.  Consumers would never do their banking over the telephone, and of course never accept online banking – remember the first versions using a floppy disk? And checks would always be the only way, other than cash, to pay for things (bill pay, PayPal, debit cards and other payment methods…all have dispelled that).

We should be concerned about the FinTechs.  They are not a fad nor are they going away.  They are very well capitalized, and they have revolutionized how to leverage big data in ways we can only dream of.  They have challenged credit score lending structures by leveraging their ability to engineer data.  They are mobile optimized, in fact they are mobile prevalent, and they strive for immediate decisions and funding.  Where traditional lenders are still caught up in past practices making it difficult to refinance student debt, underwrite small business loans in minutes, grant signature loans at the point of purchase, or embrace new credit models, the FinTechs are quickly gaining ground in market share because they can do those things today.

And we have not evolved our cornerstone lending program, the signature loan, to compete not only at the POS for autos, but for personal improvements and major retail purchases as SOFI, Lending Club and so many other FinTechs have.

Arizona seeks $ 250K from partners accused of defrauding investors in payday-loan venture (AZ Central), Rated: A

Robin Erickson, an Arizona snowbird, remembers the pitch she got from her life-insurance agent about LoanGo, a startup internet payday-loan company.

The Mount Vernon, Washington, resident said she was told that the investment would generate an 18 percent return, and she “more than likely” would get her money back in a year.

“I loaned him $30,000, and I haven’t heard from him since,” Erickson, a retired elementary-school teacher, told The Arizona Republic in a phone interview.

The Arizona Corporation Commission’s Securities Division alleges that Erickson and four other older investors were defrauded of a combined $250,000 after making investments in 2011 and 2012 with LoanGo.

Administrative Law Judge Scott M. Hesla on Oct. 10 sided with state regulators and ordered the men to pay a total of $250,000 in restitution to the five investors. The judge also ordered the men to pay penalties of up to $15,000 each for “multiple violations” of the state’s anti-fraud provisions.

The judge, in his ruling, noted that Billingsley failed to inform investors that their money would be used to repay business startup loans of $10,000 each to himself and Peterson. The judge also wrote that investors were not told Billingsley received a $15,000 commission for obtaining their investments.

The judge noted that Billingsley was repaid his startup loan the same day one person invested $45,000 in LoanGo, and that Peterson was repaid the same day a different person invested $25,000 in the company.

AIMA’S NEW DUE DILIGENCE TEMPLATE (All About Alpha), Rated: A

It has been 20 years since the Alternative Investment Management Association published its first due diligence questionnaire, a template designed to standardize the diligence process by which investors decide if a particular management is right for them.

Now it has published a new questionnaire/template, covering a broader range of entities/strategies. Specifically, for the first time there are questions specifically covering private credit and private equity strategies. The new document also integrates what were formerly separate questionnaires specific to commodity trading advisers and fund of funds managers.

A CFPB policy everybody seems to like (really) (American Banker), Rated: A

Banks have welcomed the statement of principles because they are non-binding, while fintechs are encouraged by the CFPB’s recognition of key issues in the debate.

Yet the principles could also lay the groundwork for future regulation if banks and fintechs cannot work out some outstanding issues on their own.

Screen scraping

The most controversial aspect of data sharing is screen scraping. Banks loathe data aggregators’ practice of asking a consumer to provide their online banking login credentials, so the firm can scrape their account data. They argue it’s unsafe to hand out banking credentials and that aggregators bombard their servers with these requests, preventing actual customers from accessing their accounts.

The CFPB’s principles seem to discourage screen scraping without banning it.

Knight said the principle may encourage banks to directly provide data to third parties.

Informed consent

The CFPB’s principles around informed consent appeared the most stringent, suggesting that it’s not enough to just disclose what a company is doing, but disclosures must be done in language anyone can understand.

The principle may pose a challenge for banks and fintechs. How many companies send notifications about how they’re using and storing consumers’ data, in easy to understand language?

OCC head discusses the fintech ecosystem (Business Insider), Rated: B

However, while Noreika again defended the OCC’s right to license non-depository companies on Thursday, he also said the agency has not decided whether it will “exercise that specific authority.” This is more ambiguous than the OCC’s previous stance, perhaps suggesting the regulator believes the measure won’t survive such strong opposition.

Noreika said there’s been progress here, as federal regulators are now more willing to engage in dialogue with each other and with fintechs.

Source: Business Insider

The Robo Report Announces 2 Year Return Numbers for Robo Advisors In New Q3 Report (Business Insider), Rated: B

The Robo Report, the first and only report on the performance and portfolios of robo advisors, published by BackEndBenchmarking, has been released for the third quarter 2017, the company announced.

The expanded Report now offers a first look two full years of a few robo advisors performance data, along with new sections that include interviews with WiseBanyan, Personal Capital and Betterment; the addition of Sofi, TIAA and WealthSimple; and upside/downside capture ratios for more specific quant on risk tolerance, as well as more detailed asset allocation and style analysis.

The company currently tracks Acorns, Betterment, eTrade, Fidelity Go, Future Advisor, Personal Capital, Schwab, SigFig, Tradeking, Vanguard, WiseBanyan, TD Ameritrade, Ellevest, Hedgeable and Merrill Edge, Sofi, TIAA and WealthSimple.

First Associates to Host Industry Networking Event in New York (PR Web), Rated: B

First Associates Loan Servicing announced today that they will be hosting an industry networking breakfast for Marketplace Lending and Investment Banking professionals the day prior to the American Banker Digital Lending + Investing Conference.

Hosted at Aureole Restaurant in Manhattan, this event will include a panel of marketplace lending superstars, including speakers from Prospect Capital, Macquarie, MoneyLion and more, who will discuss the state of the industry.

If you have interest in attending panel discussion and event, please click here to learn more.

CoinList spins out of AngelList (Axios), Rated: B

CoinList, a provider of financial services for staging and managing initial coin offerings (ICOs), is spinning out of AngelList as a standalone company that will be led by former Sidewire CEO Andy Bromberg, it tells Axios.

United Kingdom

German app-only bank N26 gears up for UK launch as it recruits country manager (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Closely-watched German fintech startup N26 is recruiting a country manager to spearhead its launch into the UK.

A job listing on N26’s website says it is looking for someone to take “charge of the market entry of N26 in the UK.” The successful applicant will be “responsible for the operational setup and development of N26 in the UK market,” and should “build up the branding for N26 within the UK market in order to successfully attract and win new customers.”

P2PFA reports over £700m of new lending in third quarter (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

THE PEER-TO-PEER Finance Association (P2PFA) has reported that new lending among its members equated to more than £700m in the third quarter of 2017, despite losing ‘big three’ platform RateSetter during the period.

The self-regulated trade body said on Monday that cumulative lending by the existing P2PFA platforms came in at more than £7.1bn by the end of September 2017.

Peer to Peer Lending Exhibits Steady Growth in Q3 2017 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The UK Peer to Peer Finance Association (P2PFA) has published their quarterly numbers on sector growth for the third quarter of 2017. Covering the period between July and September 2017,  the P2PFA says the numbers confirm continued steady growth in levels of new lending and in the number of borrowers facilitating loans through peer-to-peer lending platforms.

P2PFA Q3 2017 Q4 2016 Q1 2017 Q2 2017 Q3 2017
Cumulative lending £4,888,231,038 £5,708,635,402 £6,391,925,730 £7,168,727,657
o/w lending to businesses £2,922,779,264 £3,487,208,822 £3,924,226,666 £4,440,151,180
o/w lending to individuals £1,965,451,774 £2,221,426,580 £2,467,699,064 £2,728,576,477
Base stock of loans (outstanding loan book) £2,132,049,663 £2,497,408,800 £2,745,490,796 £2,958,326,435
o/w lending to businesses £1,213,693,991 £1,470,605,094 £1,630,765,546 £1,754,510,098
o/w lending to individuals £918,335,672 £1,026,803,706 £1,114,725,250 £1,204,816,337
New Lending £603,011,422 £703,047,838 £666,096,755 £733,270,490
o/w lending to businesses £404,171,535 £447,073,032 £419,818,940 £472,393,077
o/w lending to individuals £198,839,887 £255,974,806 £246,277,815 £260,877,413
Capital repaid £370,158,773 £401,358,998 £411,834,014 £508,891,428
o/w lending to businesses £249,776,784 £253,832,226 £253,477,742 £337,105,103
o/w lending to individuals £120,381,989 £147,526,772 £158,356,272 £171,786,325
Net Lending Flow £237,151,881 £305,679,840 £254,262,739 £228,055,356
o/w lending to businesses £158,793,983 £197,231,806 £166,341,195 £138,964,268
o/w lending to individuals £78,457,898 £108,448,034 £87,921,544 £89,091,088
Number of current lenders 121,476 128,000 140,098 134,658
Number of current borrowers 191,055 214,631 231,189 246,813
o/w are businesses 29,594 34,566 39,043 43,425
o/w are individuals 161,461 180,065 192,146 203,388


Q4 2016 Q1 2017 Q2 2017 Q3 2017
Folk2Folk £139,344,302 £176,419,805
Funding Circle £1,524,427,000 £1,830,397,245 £2,158,457,107 £2,747,357,362
Landbay £42,948,000 £43,142,119 £43,975,419 £59,561,822
Lending Works £33,636,000 £39,368,050 £48,864,686 £71,699,386
MarketInvoice £754,325,000 £837,793,900 £918,450,994 £1,201,857,191
ThinCats £196,907,000 £211,446,000 £226,981,000 £254,955,000
Zopa £1,731,685,000 £1,926,038,724 £2,172,561,894 £2,656,877,091
Total £4,888,231,038 £5,708,635,402 £6,391,925,730 £7,168,727,657

What getting servicing right really means (Mortgage Strategy), Rated: A

Earlier this year LendInvest received the highest possible rating for the quality of our loan servicing from ARC Rating, a regulated European credit agency, for the third straight year. It’s a big achievement for any lender, but particularly an online lender.

Here are some of the things that ARC looks for when rating a lender’s servicing standards:

  • Corporate governance and structure
  • Due diligence
  • Internal controls
  • Industry-standard technology
  • Data backup
  • Financial condition

A guide to Open Banking (Lexology), Rated: A

Open Banking refers to an open source technology that allows anyone to create apps and websites for the financial services sector. Developers use an application programme interface (API) to create software that allows customer data to be shared securely between banks and trusted third parties – with the customer’s consent.

The Open Banking Standard is publically available and can be accessed by developers when creating apps and websites. The final version of the Open Banking Standard is due to be in use by 2019.

Examples of Open Banking apps

  • Yolt is a money management app owned by ING Bank and launched in beta format in June 2017. Yolt allows users to view all their bank accounts, credit cards, bills etc. in one place – even if they are from different providers. Users can compare prices, including energy prices, and set budgets on their phone.
  • HSBC announced in September 2017 that it was testing an Open Banking platform that will allow its customers to view their current accounts, credit cards, loans, mortgages and savings from up to 21 different providers.
  • Wave offers a service for businesses to give clients access to all of their finances in one place. It acts as an invoicing service; tracks income and expenses to make accounting easier; allows for streamlined payment of staff and will leverage data from as many sources as possible. It also offers loans to clients by connecting with the online lender OnDeck.
  • DueDil is an app which uses data to make online due diligence passports for its clients so that they can prove their financial credentials.
  • Tandem collects the banking data of its customers from their banks, analyses their spending habits and provides suggestions for how they can save money.

Why buy-to-let investors are focusing on graduates in the London suburbs (The Telegraph), Rated: A

As rents continue their inexorable rise, the appeal of living in inner London boroughs such as Camden – where the average monthly rent is £2,219 – is starting to lose its shine.

According to peer-to-peer lending platform Landbay, the central areas popular among students are being eschewed by graduates, who are looking to make the capital their long-term base.

Faced with spending up to 75 per cent of their take-home pay on rent, graduates looking to work in London are choosing to live in areas where they can remain in commuting distance but pay less. And with average student loan debts of more than £50,000 according to the Institute of Fiscal Studies, any savings are welcome.

Top ten outer London boroughs | Average rent and yield

Year ending 31 August 2017

1 Bexley (YoY% 1.98 / Av.£ 1,004)

2 Sutton (YoY% -0.23 / Av.£ 1,056)

3 Havering (YoY% 1.59 / Av.£ 1,072)

4 Croydon (YoY% 0.02 / Av.£ 1,125)

5 Bromley (YoY% 0.47 / Av.£ 1,169)

6 Hillingdon (YoY% 0.38 / Av.£ 1,192)

7 Barking and Dagenham (YoY% 1.49 / Av.£ 1,203)

8 Lewisham (YoY% -0.16 / Av.£ 1,232)

9 Redbridge (YoY% 1.08 / Av.£ 1,249)

10 Enfield (YoY% 0.88 / Av.£ 1,252)

Source: Landbay

Fitbit Pay arrives in UK and Arcadia offers host of new ways to pay (Internet Retailing), Rated: B

Users of Fitbit can start to use their devices to pay contactlessly in stores a la Apple Pay from today.

Starling Bank, a mobile bank which offers money management and payment tracking through its app, is also the first UK bank to launch with Fitbit Pay, Apple Pay and Android Pay.

China

Fincera Reports $ 1 Billion in Loans for Q2 2017 (Crowddfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Fincera Inc. (OTCQB: YUANF), a provider of online financing and e-commerce services for small and medium – sized businesses and individuals in China, has reported financial results for the second quarter ended June 30 , 2017.

According to their numbers, loan transaction volume across both CeraPay and CeraVest platforms for Q2 2017 totaled approximately RMB 6.9 billion (USD $ 1.0 billion ).

Source: Crowdfund Insider

Chinese issuers prepare ‘supercycle’ of technology IPOs (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Chinese companies have raised $38.6bn through IPOs in the year to date, according to Dealogic.

Issuers in financial services — which, like education and leisure is at the confluence of the hot segments of consumer services and tech — include Ppdai, which is raising $350m in New York, Yixin, Lexin and Jianpu Technology.

Yixin illustrates another trend: many of those coming to market are backed by China’s tech royalty including Tencent, Alibaba, Baidu and JD.com. Auto financier Yixin, backed by the latter trio, is expected to raise about $200m.

Like Qudian, which listed last week, fellow online lender Lexin is heading to the US and is expected to raise around $600m, according to bankers. Jianpu Technology, a financial comparison site akin to Lending Tree in the US or MoneySuperMarket in the UK, filed for its IPO last Friday.

Source: Financial Times

Rong360 starts listing process in USA, whose revenue nearly tripled in two years (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

Recently, Rong360’s JianPu Technology has filed an IPO prospectus to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Rong360, which started with a diversion business, this time takes the VIE model to list in US. Its business scope covers loans, credit cards and finance, as well as big data risk controls. However, it is noteworthy that Rong360 is still in the red, and its big data risk control business has also led to a compliance controversy.

According to the prospectus, the company plans to go public in the U.S. with a maximum of $200 million deal for it, and the underwriters are Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan and Huaxing Capital. Rong360 was founded in 2011 and has finished four round of equity finance. The listed entity is a wholly owned subsidiary of Rong360, which was registered in the Cayman Islands in June 1st this year.

With the net loss of $7.2 million in the first half of 2017, Rong360 is still in the red. However, the deficit of JianPu Tech has been shrinking. The prospectus shows that the company’s revenue has increased from 168.4 million RMB in 2015 to 182.1 million RMB in 2016. And in the first half of 2017, its revenue has grown to 393.4 RMB, nearly tripled in less than two years.

Criticism, regulatory tightening to weigh on share price (Global Times), Rated: A

Chinese online lender Qudian Inc is under fire in China after what observers said was a less-than-impressive interview by its CEO Luo Min Sunday that was aimed fending off criticism of the company’s business practices. The critics said it could instead exacerbate the company’s domestic image and hurt its share price.

Following its splashy debut in the US, Qudian was the subject of many negative news reports, mostly from popular social media accounts, about its business model, with some questioning its practice of targeting students for loans and others even describing the company as a “loan shark” – lending money at usurious rates.

“Our bad loan ratio is below 0.5 percent, that’s very low. So we can afford it when those people don’t pay up… Losses have been contained at a low level,” Luo said.

But part of the interview drew much attention and even mockery. Luo said, “Loans that weren’t paid on time were considered dead accounts. We never pushed people to pay back. We don’t even call. If you don’t pay back, then never mind, we’ll just give it to you as a gift.”

European Union

ING Partners with Kabbage, Inc. to Expand Automated Small Business Lending into France and Italy (Kabbage Email), Rated: AAA

Kabbage Inc., a global financial services, technology and data platform serving small businesses, and ING, a global bank, are expanding their strategic partnership into France and Italy to provide small businesses with real-time access to working capital. Building on ING’s successful launch in Spain with the Kabbage Platform TM , this partnership allows millions of small businesses throughout France and Italy to easily apply, qualify and access ongoing lines of credit up to €100,000 with ING in under 10 minutes.

IRELAND’S FIRST SYNDICATED PROPERTY FINANCE PLATFORM LAUNCHED WITH €1.5 MILLION CROWD-LENDING LOAN (Irish Tech News), Rated: A

Initiative Ireland has today announced the launch of Ireland’s first syndicated property finance platform.

The launch coincides with the company’s pre-approval of a €1.5 million secured loan, which has been approved for funding via the platform. The largest crowd-lending loan approved to date in Ireland, the loan will fund the development of 10 social housing apartments and a ground floor restaurant on the North Strand Road, Dublin.

International

Empowering the Unbanked through Fintech and Microfinance (Huffingtong Post), Rated: AAA

One angle that needs to be discussed more is how the introduction of these new services is also lowering barriers to most financial activities.

For instance, the rise of cashless options has given the unbanked access to financial services especially in regions that banks find unserviceable. So, it is quite refreshing then that some new Fintech efforts are focused on this particular area since financial inclusion is considered as a key aspect to poverty reduction.

I recently spoke with Sharone Perlstein who is currently working on delivering microfinance services to emerging markets.

What attracted you to microfinance?

There are about 2.5 billion people in the world who are unbanked. Microfinance bypasses the banking system and can help unbanked people develop their own personal economy that will enable them to support their families, their communities, and ultimately the economy of their country.

What are the key challenges in microfinancing and how do you think they can be overcome?

Human resources: Until now, a very large workforce was required to provide this service to those who need it. Today, with automation and smarter information systems, we can significantly reduce manpower and streamline processes to make loans more economically viable for borrowers and lenders.

Most microfinance companies operate where they are most needed, namely in rural areas where the technological infrastructure is unadvanced and unstable. These areas are usually far from urban centers and transportation is inconvenient and expensive. As a result, communication between the microfinance service provider and its potential customers is complex and challenging.

Granting loans to people without a bank account may be risky from a business point of view, since it is difficult to know whether potential borrowers are trustworthy or will be able to meet the terms of the loan. It is also difficult to monitor their business and economic activity. In other words, it is very difficult to build a financial profile for a borrower with no banking activity. Here, too, mobile technology changes the picture.

Some argue that microfinance loans, supposedly meant to help poor people succeed financially, often leave them with debts they can’t afford because of the high-interest rates. What is your opinion on this matter? Is this a real problem? What causes it? And how can it be solved?

I think the best solution is to ensure that:

A. Potential borrowers understand the terms of the loan in depth.

B. The Microfinancier knows the potential borrower in depth.

Why do you choose to focus on Indonesia?

I researched the region’s economy a bit and discovered that there were more than 50 million small and medium-sized businesses, representing about 97% of the business sector in Indonesia and responsible for 30%, if not more, of its GDP growth. However, many of these businesses don’t have enough money to realize their full potential, especially in rural areas, and the banks do not provide the right solution. For this reason, the Bank of Indonesia has enacted a law according to which banks will have to devote at least 20% of their loans portfolio to microloans by 2018, thus opening a window of opportunity for businesses and other microfinance companies wishing to enter the local ecosystem.

Will Your Next Loan Be in Bitcoin? (The Street), Rated: A

Bitcoin could have you covered on your next home loan.

In this line, the longstanding contribution of traditional banks in the worldwide economy is undeniable. But due to their credit selectiveness, renowned bureaucracy and transactional costs, the question is: Can this system can be improved to better serve the 2 billion underbankedaround the world? Greater financial inclusion provides benefits far beyond improved economic health for underserved societies; it is also way for governments to reduce corruption and fraud and promote entrepreneurship and growth.

Anecdotally, at the end of 2015, Lending Club had a total loan volume of $15.9 billion. Year-end of 2016 shows a total volume of $24.6 billion so the annual volume for 2016 is the difference or $8.7 billion.

Just last year, Ripio Credit Network, which wrapped up a $31 million Ethereum ICO, entered the credit service market using Bitcoin as the transaction vehicle. A year later, BitPagos launched Ripio as a digital wallet that enables consumers to send, receive, store, and buy or sell Bitcoin in local currency and to make online payments. In January 2017, BitPagos rebranded as Ripio, with around 100,000 users in tow across North and South America.

Mambu: A Truly Global SaaS Banking Platform for Traditional Finance & Fintechs (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Mambu is a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform that has quickly differentiated its product as a leader in the white label global online banking space.

Mambu is operating in 45 different countries indicating its ability to quickly adapt to diverse regulatory regimes.

Co-founded by CEO Eugene Danilkis and COO Frederik Pfisterer, Mambu is Berlin based Fintech, a standout in the emerging German Fintech scene. Danilkis started his career developing NASA-certified software for the International Space Station.

Can you please provide an update on Mambu and global utilization? How many different companies are using your digital banking services? Which countries are you operating in?

Mambu is live on 6 continents, countries of operation include the UK, Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, the US, Kenya, Australia, Philippines, China and Argentina, to name a few.

We have more than 180 live operations in over 45 countries, our solution powers over 5000 loan and deposit products which serve over 4 million end customers.

Our clients range from FinTech revolutionaries to traditional banks.

  • Oaknorth
  • N26
  • New10, ABN AMRO’s newly launched SME lending Fintech, went from concept to launch in 10 months and is offering a fast and fully digital loan application process for Dutch businesses.
  • Globe Telecom’s lending business Fuse
  • PayU Colombia

Is online lending, including P2P, marketplace and balance sheet lending, the most demanded service right now?

Eugene Danilkis: Across all lending verticals, consumer, business and marketplace, there is significant demand for digital and customer centric loan products.

That being said, we have experienced a rise in demand from institutions looking to launch new digital banking services, offering both deposit and loan products.

We’ve also seen a growth in institutions looking to explore a different approach and take a marketplace model similar to that of N26.  They want to collaborate with product providers to offer clients a wider range of products and services.

There appears to be more traditional lenders (IE banks) more inclined to go it alone and launch their own platforms. Goldman Sachs launched Marcus which they developed in house. Is this a trend? Or an opportunity for Mambu?

Eugene Danilkis: As mentioned above, this is a trend that is gathering momentum and it is an opportunity for Mambu.

From Bitcoin To Equity: Fintech Terms Explained (International Business Times), Rated: B

Cryptocurrency: A digital currency that uses cryptography, the art of coding messages to keep them secure.

Blockchain technology: A type of software pioneered by the bitcoin community. It is a new way to structure data by spreading it out across the network so no single party can meddle with the records.

Ethereum: A type of open source blockchain network created by a Russian-Canadian programmer named Vitalik Buterin.

Smart contracts: A piece of software that runs on a blockchain platform and is programmed to automatically complete transactions based on specific circumstances.

Mining: The process of verifying transactions on decentralized cryptocurrency networks is called “mining.”

ICO: An initial coin offering is a type of fundraising campaignwhere a high-tech project raises cryptocurrency by selling tokens, usually a new token unique to this project or startup.

P2P: This stands for peer-to-peer, direct transfers between two people. If you send a friend money through the Venmo mobile app, that’s a P2P money transfer.

Altcoin: A generic term for almost any cryptocurrency that isn’t bitcoin, short for alternative coin.

Cryptocurrency wallet: In the crypto space, a wallet is a piece of software that manages your coins and assets.

Utility token: A cryptocurrency that activates a product or service, grants access to a community or network, or otherwise spurs the blockchain-based project’s development.

India

Connect adds State Bank of India to panel (Mortgage Introducer), Rated: B

Mortgage network Connect for Intermediaries has added State Bank of India – the largest bank in India – to its panel.

The bank offers limited company and special purpose vehicle buy-to-let mortgages with rates starting from 2.59% to 60% LTV and 2.89% to 75% LTV.

It also offers buy-to-let mortgages for individuals from 2.09% to 60% LTV, while it accepts applications from first-time landlords if they have a residential mortgage.

Connect now has a panel of more than 100 lenders, with Octane, West One and Funding Circle being added this year.

Africa

Mastercard Foundation Announces Fifth Annual Symposium on Financial Inclusion (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

The Mastercard Foundation today announced that its fifth annual and largest Symposium on Financial Inclusion (SoFI) will take place in Accra, Ghana, on November 7 – 9, 2017. The Symposium champions the idea that, to achieve greater financial inclusion, financial service providers in developing countries must do more to meet the needs and expectations of people living in poverty.

Each year since 2013 the Foundation has convened hundreds of industry professionals to focus on barriers to greater financial inclusion around the world.

This year’s event will reflect on progress made over the past five years, explore challenges that still lie ahead, and plan how to expand and deepen financial inclusion for the world’s most underserved people.

Attendees will hear from an impressive lineup of keynote speakers, including:

  • Opening Keynote Address: Juliet Anammah, Chief Executive Officer, Jumia Nigeria
  • Keynote Address II: Dr. Ernest Addison, Governor, Bank of Ghana

The Mastercard Foundation first awarded the Clients at the Centre Prize in 2015 to the Swedish mobile microinsurance firm BIMA. Last year, the Prize was presented to the South African international remittance company, Hello Paisa. Each year draws nearly 100 applicants from companies around the globe. The three 2017 finalists are:

  • Jumo, a large-scale, low-cost financial services marketplace that uses behavioral data from mobile usage to create financial identities for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises;
  • ftCash, one of India’s fastest growing financial technology ventures which aims to empower micro-merchants and small businesses with the power of digital payments and loans; and
  • Destacame, a free online platform that empowers users by giving them control over their data to build their financial capabilities and to access financial products.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Millennials and Alternative Lending

millennial credit

People born in or after 1981 are referred to as “Generation Y,” or “Millennials.” Putting tags aside, the fact is one of the largest generations in history is about to move into its prime spending years and, therefore, it is not surprising at all as to why they are the center of every business plan and strategy. […]

millennial credit

People born in or after 1981 are referred to as “Generation Y,” or “Millennials.” Putting tags aside, the fact is one of the largest generations in history is about to move into its prime spending years and, therefore, it is not surprising at all as to why they are the center of every business plan and strategy. Financial institutions and online lending platforms are making a beeline to cater to this demographic.

Millennials in Numbers

Roughly, millennials account for 1.7 billion individuals globally. They represent approximately 25 percent of the entire world population and will account for 75 percent of the workforce by 2025. In the United States, there are 92 million millennials as compared to 77 million baby boomers making millennials the largest generation in US history. More importantly, 63% of global millennials do not have a credit card, and 70% of them feel their relation with banks is only transaction-based.

Opportunities for P2P lenders

Digital engagement is at an all-time high among millennials, and they are savvy online consumers by default. This demographic offers myriad opportunities for alternative lending companies for the following reasons:

  • Technology Disruptors: Millennials are technology driven and wish to do all their activities digitally. This gives a lucrative opportunity to online lending companies to target them by serving innovative yet tailored products. According to the Consumer Mobility Report, it was observed that nearly one in six (16 percent) in the US are considering options other than cash and checks for doing transactions. The overreliance of this generation on technology works in favor of online lenders as they are able to structure products which are accessible by millennials on their smartphones or tablets.
  • Drowning in Debt: According to HSBC’s 2016 report, the average cost of studying in the US is approximately $33,215, and with the increasing cost of a college degree, millennials are burdened with staggering student loans. It was observed that average debt per graduate student is $57,600, with an average default rate of around 11.8%. Students are drowning in debt and are putting off future plans like buying a home or getting married. A trillion dollar market is in upheaval, as these millennials will look for cheaper and flexible student loans.
  • Lack of Trust: According to a three-year study conducted by Scratch/Viacom Media Networks, it was observed that 71% of millennials would rather visit a dentist than a bank. And another 33% of millennials are of the view that they won’t need banks in the coming five years. Also, 33% of them are willing to switch their banks within 90 days. These loyalty numbers don’t augur well for traditional financial institutions.
  • Low Credit Score or No Credit Score: Millennials are increasingly finding it difficult to secure lending from traditional banks because they either don’t have any credit score or have a low credit score. This is a vicious cycle as banks only lend to individuals with a good FICO score, but you only get a good FICO once you secure and pay off a loan.
  • Preference for Liquidity: As per the PricewaterhouseCoopers and George Washington University’s Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center report, it was found that in spite of having little knowledge about finance; merely 27% of millennials are seeking financial help from professionals, and 42% rely on payday loans for liquidity.

A snapshot on millennial borrowing:

Source: Zoot Enterprises, Inc.

Strategies Used by P2P Lenders

The evolution of our financial system can be gauged from the fact that fintech startups targeting millennials have raised billions in funding from VCs and other institutional investors. These online lenders have differentiated themselves in the following manner:

  • Credit Worthiness – Millennials struggle with their credit score as they usually have a very short financial history. Online lenders understand that a millennial can’t be evaluated on the basis of a single number. They have built their lending algorithms on other qualitative characteristics like social media usage, college degree, and location. Even the time of the loan application is a relevant factor.
  • Banks Going Down the Fintech Path – Fintechs are nimble organizations and are able to react to customer demand on an almost real-time basis. Banks are slow-moving mammoths but have the advantage of ultra-low cost of funds. Instead of competing, many startups have partnered with banks for either becoming their tech partners or onboarding them as their financial partners for lending to millennials. Case-in-point is the OnDeck and JP Morgan partnership for the bank’s SMB clientele.
  • Mobile – Lenders can now disburse loans in minutes. The applicant can actually now apply through his smartphone without even leaving his home. Their systems allow for uploading and verification of all applicable loan documents digitally. This removes any hassle of physically going anywhere for your credit requirements. As compared to weeks of waiting for a response from a brick-and-mortar bank with a fintech lender on your side, you can decide to buy your dream house in a day.
  • Trust Factor – According to Experian’s latest research, millennials are embracing online lenders for their comfort, speed, and convenience.

a) 47 percent of millennials said they are likely to use alternative finance sources in the near future.
b) 57 percent reported that they are willing to use alternative companies and services that innovate to meet their needs.
c) 13 percent said they’ve already taken out a loan from an alternative or non-bank lender.

Being a young startup is actually working in the alternative lender’s favor as it helps them disassociate from traditional bankers who have always been considered as behind-the-curve and untrustworthy. They are leveraging their hip and social image to attract image-cautious millennials.

Conclusion

Originally, traditional banks seemed to have missed the bus in understanding and serving the millennial market. But with acquisitions, strategic partnerships, and massive tech investments, banks like JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs are reinventing themselves. On the other side, many clones of the same underlying business model are springing up in the online world. This herd mentality has led to the commoditization of innovation and the novelty factor. It is imperative that the alternative lending sector matures and consolidates to ensure its continued growth and success.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Sofi’s IPO: Will the Time Ever Be Right?

SoFi IPO

Introduction The last few quarters were not good for IPOs, but, finally, the market has gained some momentum. In Q2 2017, 54 IPOs managed to raise $11 billion. The first two quarters of the year have surpassed IPO fundraising for the whole of 2016. Online lenders are also moving down the IPO road, and SoFi […]

SoFi IPO

Introduction

The last few quarters were not good for IPOs, but, finally, the market has gained some momentum. In Q2 2017, 54 IPOs managed to raise $11 billion.

The first two quarters of the year have surpassed IPO fundraising for the whole of 2016. Online lenders are also moving down the IPO road, and SoFi is the next online lender touted for listing on the stock exchange after posting record numbers in its second quarter results. But the recent departure of CEO and founder Mike Cagney puts a major question mark on what’s next for the student finance pioneer.

Social Finance: First of its Kind

Social Finance (SoFi) is an online finance company that offers a range of lending and wealth management services. Mike Cagney, Dan Macklin, James Finnigan, and Ian Brady founded SoFi in 2011 to provide a lending platform to students at Stanford and other elite colleges. Initially, the company was structured on a model to help students use funds raised from alumni, and since the borrowers and lenders are socially connected via alumni networks, default are less likely to happen.

The lender shifted from the alumni-based model to a more scalable underwriting approach to provide lending options to all financially responsible individuals. The underwriting model does not only evaluate its borrowers on financial parameters like bill payments and debt, but also evaluates their cash flow, professional history, and education. It has broadened its offerings from the initial student refinance to mortgages and personal loans targeting high earning young professionals.

Social Finance: Numbers

Last year has been tumultuous for the entire alternative lending space as the industry was plagued by an increase in default rates, regulatory changes, corporate governance issues, and scandals. Amidst all this chaos, SoFi still managed to generate positive results in 2016 as it funded approximately $8 billion in loans witnessing an impressive jump from $5 billion in loans in 2015. The graph below shows the growth in total loan originations to $16.7 billion (approx) from more than 250,000 members since inception.

With its vision to expand into new product segments and countries beyond the US, SoFi raised $500 million in February 2017 in a Series F funding led by Silver Lake, Softbank Group, and GPI Capital. With this investment round, the company’s total equity funding has reached a mammoth $1.9 billion.

In the second quarter of 2017, SoFi reported that it originated $3.1 Billion in loans and earned $134 million in revenues with an adjusted EBITDA of $61.6 million. The company has expanded its horizons by venturing into the lucrative insurance business. SoFi has obtained insurance license from several states such as Massachusetts, California, Florida, South Dakota, and Arkansas to act as insurance broker and has partnered with Protective Life Insurance. This could be a game changer as it allows SoFi to cross sell multiple products to its existing clientele.

Controversies and Scandals

SoFi was recently in the news as Cagney was accused of fostering a toxic culture in the company by current and former employees. In the wake of sexual harassment allegations, his resignation is not surprising. But such a reputational hit might hamper the company’s plans of opening a bank this year.

To ensure strategic continuity of its operations and to achieve its plans to go public this year, Tom Hutton, the Executive Chairman of the company has been selected as the interim CEO. He was of the view that the company is “well positioned, stable and strong enough; there is only need to build a transparent, respectful and accountable culture”.

Previous Attempts made by the company for an IPO

In 2014, SoFi shelved its first IPO plans after receiving funding of $1 billion from a group of investors led by Softbank. SoFi was developing new business lines such as wealth management and life insurance at the time and was not ready to be scrutinized by investors on a quarterly basis.

In 2015, Cagney again claimed that the company was looking to file an IPO within 12 months. But due to adverse market conditions in 2016 and regulatory challenges faced by the entire sector, SoFi decided to put off its plans that year.

The headwinds subsided in July 2017 when the US IPO market embraced Redfin’s IPO (an online real estate brokerage company which also offers mortgages) with open arms. With the offer price of $15 per share, Redfin managed to raise $138 million and closed at $21.72 on the first day of listing (45% above the listed price). Its grand show in the US IPO market broke the dry spell for fintech IPOs and gave SoFi the proverbial green signal to go public this year.

Following the Footsteps of Other Lending Platforms

2014 proved to be a path-breaking year for online lending platforms as two of the biggest players in the industry–Lending Club and OnDeck–came out with their IPOs. Lending Club’s IPO marked the first ever public offering by an online lending platform and raised $870 million. It was valued at $8.9 billion at one point. And in December 2014, OnDeck, a lending platform for small businesses also went public raising $200 million with a valuation of $1.3 billion. Since the beginning of 2016, both companies haven’t had a good run in the stock market as the stock price of Lending Club has fallen by approximately 43.4% and OnDeck’s stock price has fallen by 53.88%. Waiting out almost three years for that coveted IPO may prove to be lucky for SoFi as the market seems to have bottomed out.

Recent OCC Developments

The recent development at The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), which regulates all national banks and federal saving associations, is surely going to benefit SoFi. The OCC declared it would accept applications by fintech lenders provided such companies would be subject to certain federal banking rules under the special charter. Being designated as a national bank will help SoFi to accelerate its growth plan and also will instill confidence in potential borrowers and investors.

Conclusion

With its focus on creating a community, SoFi has set the gold standard in the industry in terms of customer satisfaction and product innovation. This has enabled the company to etch its place among the elites in the industry. The only clouds on the horizon are the departure of Cagney along with sexual harassment claims. But analysts expect that the company’s IPO will receive a strong reception from the market. Investment from some of the big names in the industry goes to show investors believe in the platform’s business model, and now the stage is set for SoFi to roll out its long-awaited IPO.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.