Tuesday October 2 2018, Daily News Digest

delinquencies by vintage

News Comments Today’s main news: Renaud Laplache banned from securities industry for 3 years. Varo Money pulls bank charter application. Funding Circle completes IPO. Marcus enters the UK. OnDeck Australia expands equipment finance. Today’s main analysis: Delinquency/Loss Trends, yield curve. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Americans prefer humans over robo-advisors. Global P2P lending market expected to reach $898B by 2024. AltFin’s path to […]

delinquencies by vintage

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

Other

News Summary

United States

Lending Club founder settles; banks fear weak third quarter (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Renaud Laplanche, the co-founder and former CEO of online lender LendingClub, agreed to pay $200,000 and be banned from the securities industry for three years to settle Securities and Exchange Commission fraud charges. In addition, LendingClub Asset Management (LCAM), an investment management unit of LendingClub, will pay a $4 million fine while Carrie Dolan, the company’s former chief financial officer, will pay $65,000.

LendingClub Responds to DOJ and SEC Settlements (PR Newswire), Rated: A

“We are pleased to have resolution and closure,” said LendingClub Chairman Hans Morris. “Following an internal review in 2016, LendingClub’s Board of Directors accepted the resignation of Renaud Laplanche as Chairman and CEO of the Company. The Board’s decision was not made lightly but the violation of the Company’s business practices, along with a lack of full disclosure by Mr. Laplanche during the review, was unacceptable. The allegations made by the DOJ and the findings of the SEC further support the Board’s decision to take swift and decisive action. We have full confidence in our new management team and we are a better company today.”

Why this fintech pulled its FDIC charter application (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Varo Money is inching closer to having a bank — the next step will require a major leap.

The fintech, which aims to offer consumer banking services with no fees, applied for a national bank charter over a year ago. While it recently received preliminary and conditional approval from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Varo has been unable to secure the blessing of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Delinquency/Loss Trends; Yield Curve One Hike from Inversion (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

The range of Fed Funds Rate is now between 2% – 2.25%. A super-majority of committee members indicated that they would like to hike rates by another 25 bps in DecemberUS GDP growth of 4.2% in the 2nd quarter was the fastest since 2014 Q2, and US consumer confidence reached an 18-year high in September.

 

Source: Federal Reserve, Bloomberg, PeerIQ
Source: PeerIQ, Bloomberg

Delinquencies by Vintage

Source: PeerIQ

Bank of America is luring top talent from Apple and Disney to fuel its billion digital ambition (Business Insider), Rated: A

Like its competitors, Bank of America Merrill Lynch is spending a colossal amount of money to stay competitive in the financial tech race: Its $10 billion annual tech budget sits just behind JPMorgan’s $10.8 billion and ahead ofCitigroup’s $8 billion.

A large chunk of that spending goes to the firm’s profit-driving consumer-banking operation, which accounts for $34.5 billion in revenue and $8.2 billion in net income, which is 38% of the firm’s total.

SoftBank Invests $ 400M in Home-Selling Startup Opendoor (Coverager), Rated: A

Online real estate marketplace Opendoor  has announced a $400M investment from the SoftBank Vision Fund, bringing its total funding to date to over $1b. The company also announced it has secured access to more than $2b in debt financing from top banks.

Governor Brown Signs Bill That Expands Access to Capital for the Underbanked (BusinessWire), Rated: A

INSIKT, a CDFI-certified fintech company disrupting the predatory lending industry, today celebrated a major step forward for working families and small businesses in California with the signing of Assembly Bill 237 (AB237), following unanimous approval by the CA Legislature. Sponsored by Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego), this new law significantly expands access to lower cost loans for Californians who are part of the 66 million underbanked in America ensnared in endless cycles of predatory debt.

AB237 builds on the success of California’s Pilot Program, established in California in 2010 to provide affordable credit for loans below $2,500. The Pilot Program has many consumer protections, including rate caps, mandated underwriting, credit education and reporting of payback information to credit bureaus so that consumers can build their credit score.

The Pilot Program has been working, with the volume of payday lending declining in California by almost 7% from last year, the third consecutive annual decline. AB237 extends all of the Pilot Program’s consumer protections to larger loans of up to $7,500. It also adds new protections, including a 36% maximum debt-to-income ratio, minimum loan terms of one year, and mandatory rate reductions on second and third loans for borrowers in good standing.

Compass Raises $ 400M in Series F Funding (Finsmes), Rated: A

Compass, a NYC-based real estate technology company, raised $400m in Series F financing round.

The round – which will bring the total capital raised to nearly $1.2 billion – was led by the Softbank Vision Fund and Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), with participation from Wellington, IVP and Fidelity.

Americans Prefer Humans over Robos for Financial Advice (Wealth Management), Rated: AAA

Americans are relatively comfortable with automating financial advice but the majority still want a human to consult, according to Charles Schwab’s latest Consumer Digital Demands report.

The report, which surveyed 1,000 U.S. adults this summer, including 391 current robo advisor users, showed Americans are more open to technology performing some tasks than others. For example, 75 percent of respondents said they’re comfortable with more human assistance than automation when it came to performing surgery. They also are overwhelmingly more comfortable with humans over technology when it comes to driving a car (74 percent), diagnosing a major health issue (73 percent) and flying an airplane (66 percent).

Source: Charles Schwab

Read the full report here.

46 percent of millennials think it takes $ 1,000 to start investing—here’s how much you actually need (CNBC), Rated: A

recent survey from financial services app Twine found that 46 percent of millennials believe they need at least $1,000 to start investing. Another 17 percent believe they need at least $10,000 before they’re able to invest.

Overall, 56 percent assume they don’t have enough money to become investors themselves.

It’s simply not true. There are plenty of ways to get into the market with as little as $1, including contributing to an employer-sponsored 401(k) plan, opening a Roth IRA or using a robo-advisor such as Betterment, Wealthsimple or Ellevest, which offer $0 account minimums.

CREDIT WITH A CONSCIENCE (Petal Email), Rated: B

We’re thrilled to announce today that the Petal credit card is now publicly
available on our website at www.petalcard.com.

Meet Klarna (Missy Farren & Associates, Ltd. Email), Rated: B

We’re excited to let you know we are now working with 

Real Estate Mogul And Owner of Flipnerd.com, Mike Hambright, Has Been Published In Forbes (MENAFN), Rated: B

Flipnerd.com continues to grow and make its mark in the real estate world due to the versatility and expertise of its owner, Mike Hambright. In recognition of his expertise, business acumen and dedication to succeeding in his carved niche, the founder of this real estate company has been published on one of the greatest platforms in the world, Forbes.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle Goes Public on the London Stock Exchange (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

It was a landmark day for fintech in London as Funding Circle became the first UK marketplace lender to complete an IPO.  The company raised £300 million at a valuation of around £1.5 billion. They began trading on the London Stock Exchange (LSE: FCH) this morning with an initial price of 440 pence (at the lower end of the forecasted price range of 420p to 530p). While rising early in the day to 460p it closed the exactly flat at 440p.

Funding Circle valuation ‘reflects brand and growth opportunity’ (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

The peer-to-peer business lender, which listed on the London Stock Exchangeon Friday, was originally targeting a market value of £1.8bn. But after narrowing its IPO price range, it subsequently priced at 440p, implying a market capitalisation of £1.5bn.

Some market commentators argue the company is overvalued as it is still loss-making, although revenues surged from £51m in 2016 to £94.5m last year.

Goldman Sachs Enters U.K. Savings Market, Continuing Consumer Push (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. entered Britain’s £700 billion ($922 billion) cash savings account market Thursday with the U.K. launch of its consumer bank Marcus, adding a fresh source of funding for the U.S. investment bank.

Online-only Marcus offers savings accounts paying interest of 1.5%, the highest rate for instant-access savings products, according to price-comparison websites.

Zopa customers vote Bond’s Aston Martin as most iconic screen car (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE ASTON Martin DB10 driven by Daniel Craig in the James Bond films has been voted the most iconic car in film and television.

The car won 35 per cent of votes in a poll conducted by peer-to-peer platform Zopa.

Inspector Morse’s maroon MK II Jaguar followed in second place with 14 per cent, while Dominic Toretto’s Dodge Charger from The Fast and The Furious came third.

Relendex increases max loan size to £5m (Development Finance Today), Rated: A

Relendex has announced that it has increased its maximum loan size from £3m to £5m.

Loans will also be available on commercial and industrial assets, where circumstances allow, as Relendex plans to reach a lending target of £100m in 2019.

UK in debt: how it looks in figures (London Loves Business), Rated: A

The research briefings provided by the UK Parliament itself show that student debt stands at £105 billion by the end of March 2018.

The Guardian reports that only 5% of the graduates remain unemployed six months after graduating. In addition to that, 74% of professionals who enter the workforce are full-time first degree graduates. In terms of the pay that they get, males more than females tend to benefit from getting a degree. The men’s average pay rise to £24000.

The Guardian reports that by the end of July 2017, unsecured credit had risen to a level not seen since September 2010. Specifically, unsecured debt has reached £201.5 billion.

70% believe low credit scores or zero hour contracts would prevent borrowing (Financial Reporter), Rated: A

Just 31.6% of the 2,400 respondents recognised that none of the reasons listed automatically prevent someone from getting a mortgage.

A massive 47.5% believed a low credit score could stop someone getting a mortgage, 33.4% thought a zero hour contract would be a barrier and 15.6% said a payday loan would stop an application from being accepted.

Fintech iwoca responds to £775m RBS competition package briefing (iwoca Email), Rated: B

The CEO of one of Europe’s fastest growing business lenders has a cautiously optimistic outlook for the £775 million RBS Alternative Remedies Package following a briefing by Banking Competition Remedies this morning.

“Funds from Pools C and D of the package’s Capability and Innovation Fund, would enable iwoca to bring innovative new technology to the market, making it easier for small businesses to secure finance on their terms, whenever and wherever they need it. What’s more, we would be that much closer to achieving our target of funding 100,000 small and micro businesses in the next five years.”

China

China Rapid Finance Announces Submission of Regulatory Report and Board Change (Markets Insider), Rated: AAA

China Rapid Finance Limited (the “Company” or “XRF”) (NYSE: XRF), operator of one of China’s largest consumer lending marketplaces, today announced that it submitted its P2P Compliance Self-Inspection Report (the “Report”) to its local P2P regulatory office. The Report is the first of three steps mandated in the inspection process, a key element in demonstrating compliance with industry reforms being promulgated by the National P2P Rectification Office.

Golden Bull Reports 75% Revenue Rise for First Half; Up 6% on Wall Street (Capital Watch), Rated: A

The stock of Golden Bull Ltd. (Nasdaq: DNJR) rose more than 6 percent by Monday afternoon after the Chinese P2P lending company posted a 75 percent increase in revenue for the first half of 2018.

Revenue jumped to $4.9 million compared with $2.8 million during the first six months of 2017, the Shanghai-based company said, thanks to an increase in borrowers. According to its statement, Golden Bull has facilitated 3,000 loans with total volume of $77.8 million during the first half compared with 2,200 loans in the amount of $53.7 million processed a year ago.

Chinese Household-Debt Levels Reach Record High (The Epoch Times), Rated: A

While its overall household wealth has increased, China’s household debt-to-GDP ratio reached a record high of 49.1 percent in 2017, according to a new report on global wealth by German insurance giant Allianz. Since the beginning of 2008 to the end of last year, Chinese household debt jumped an average of 27 percent annually, according to separate but corroborating data from the Bank of International Settlements.

Samoyed Holding Files For $ 80 Million U.S. IPO (Seeking Alpha), Rated: A

Samoyed Holding (SMY) intends to raise gross proceeds of $80 million from a U.S. IPO, according to an F-1 registration statement.

The firm provides technology-driven credit services to credit-proven millennials in China.

SMY is growing revenues and weighted-average APR but is also seeing sharply increased charge-off rates for its credit card balance transfer marketplace.

European Union

Younited Credit expands to Portugal (AltFi), Rated: A

The Paris-based consumer lending platform Younited Credit has increased its potential customer base by launching in Portugal, its sixth European market. Already distributing loans in Germany and Austria, it has 35 per cent of its loans in Italy and Spain.

Telia Sweden overhauls organisational structure, brings in Klarna customer service head on 01 January (Telecompaper), Rated: B

Johan Andersson will lead the strategy division, Fredrik Sidmar will be in charge of professional services, Piero Trivellato will be responsible for digital and analytics, and Sandra Alenius will lead customer service delivery. Alenius will join Telia from Swedish payments specialist Klarna.

International

Global peer-to-peer lending market set to reach $ 898bn by 2024 (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

THE GLOBAL peer-to-peer lending market will grow to $898bn (£688bn) by 2024, according to new research.

The report predicted that this will allow the P2P market to achieve a compound annual growth rate of 48.2 per cent over the next eight years.

AltFin’s Inconsistent Path To SMB Adoption (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

In the U.K., $248.9 million was lent to SMBs via alternative lending platforms in Q2, according to the U.K. Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2PFA). The P2PFA highlighted that the statistic means net lending to SMBs, via member alternative lending players, surpassed that of high-street banks, which lent about $169.4 million to SMBs during the year’s second quarter. New lending to small firms, among member marketplace lending portals, increased by nearly $130.3 million, the association noted.

In the U.K., 30 percent of small firms need external financing simply to survive, according to new Liberis data.

In the U.S., 63 percent of SMBs sought a loan for working capital needs last year, including payroll, inventory and supplies, according to new data from S&B Global Market Intelligence.

In Mexico, 44 percent of small businesses that have been in operation for five years haven’t seen their incomes rise, according to Moody‘s Senior Credit Officer Felipe Carvallo in an interview with Euromoney. According to Moody’s data, small businesses accounted for just 9.1 percent of all loans in Mexico as of last March — equivalent to only 2 percent of total GDP, reports said.

Skynet Controversy: Similarly Named Tezos dApp Promises Enhanced Peer-to-Peer Lending (BTC Manager), Rated: A

Skynet Open Network seems to promise all things to all people – fastest blockchain implementation, AI on Blockchain, Healthcare on Blockchain and more. Some of the 17,000 people on the SkynetOpen telegram channel were understandably furious about the similarities in the name when Skynet World announced their project on September 26, 2018.

According to the Skynet World whitepaper, they are the first DAPP on the Tezosblockchain.

Skynet World aims to disrupt the bank lending space by offering peer to peer lending through their app. According to Skynet World:

“Banks are the major source of debt finance for both households and businesses, accounting for about three-quarters and two-thirds respectively of all debt finance provided to those sectors… Banks charge most of the interest up front, a practice known as amortization. Through amortization, 70% of the total interest is paid by the halfway point of the mortgage period.”

Australia

SME lender expands equipment finance (AustralianBroker), Rated: AAA

An online lender has expanded its offering of equipment finance, saying it is providing a solution for the “underserved” market of small business owners.

OnDeck Capital Australia said it had received feedback from small businesses and brokers about the length of the loans.

India

MODI OPERANDI (All About Alpha), Rated: A

What’s your liquidity M.O.? If you are less than certain, it is time to look east toward the country of India and the land of Modi. After all, when 1.3 billion people cough there is a decent chance the rest of the world just might get sick, or maybe just sick of being gated, PIK-ed, or having their holdings marked down 10% or more in a single trading session.

In September an unlisted India company that relied on debt funding for various infrastructure projects defaulted and the spillover into the listed equity markets was contagious and quick. The poster child this time around was Dewan Housing Finance Corp. Their commercial paper, which was issued to fund their longer term capital needs, ticked up 50 basis points when a mutual fund went to liquidate some of that holding, and the stock ended up dropping by more than half in a single trading session. Despite management claims of good health and solid liquidity, many investors could not process or hear it as they ran from the fire. Some other names in this sector suffered similar fates, and the damages (or buying opportunities) are still being sorted out. In India, the publicly traded mutual funds are estimated to own 60% of the commercial paper issued by these non-bank finance companies.

Uttam Prakash Agarwal joins PaisaDukan as independent director (Business Standard), Rated: B

Former Uttam Prakash Agarwal has joined NBFC-lending major as 

APAC

Belt Road Capital invests $ 3m in Vietnamese P2P lending startup Tima (Deal Street Asia), Rated: AAA

Mekong-focused venture capital firm Belt Road Capital Management (BRCM) has injected $3 million in a Series B funding round of Tima, a Vietnamese P2P lending platform incepted in 2015.

The latest investment values the company at $20 million. Tima raised a series A round in 2016 from Dunearn Singapore Fund and G Capital.

First Circle, a Philippine-based Fintech, Preps to Launch New SME Targeted Credit Facility with Support of Government (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

First Circle, a Philippine Fintech, is expected to announce a new credit facility for SMEs nationwide. This new facility has gained the support of the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

First Circle is an online lender that provides supply chain financing to SMEs.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday September 13 2018, Daily News Digest

funding circle

News Comments Today’s main news: OnDeck tops $10B in small business lending. KBRA assigns preliminary ratings to Consumer Loan Underlying Bond Credit Trust 2018-P2. Robinhood looking to IPO. Faircent approved by Reserve Bank of India. Today’s main analysis: A credit card debt study from Wallet Hub. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Should the next billion dollar financial platform be for […]

funding circle

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

India

Other

News Summary

United States

OnDeck Small Business Online Lending Tops $ 10 Billion (PR Newswire) Rated:AAA

OnDeck has achieved a milestone in the Financial Technology (FinTech) industry, becoming the first non-bank online lender to surpass $10 billion in total loans originated to small businesses. OnDeck, with operations in the United StatesCanada and Australia, is the world’s largest non-bank online lender to small business by total loan volume.

The achievement by OnDeck, a pioneer of the FinTech lending industry, is the latest indication that small businesses increasingly prefer to seek financing online. According to the Small Business Credit Survey from the Federal Reserve, small business owners are turning to online lenders in record numbers. In 2017, 24 percent of small businesses seeking credit applied online, up from 21 percent the previous year.

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to Consumer Loan Underlying Bond (CLUB) Credit Trust 2018-P2 (Business Wire) Rated: AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to three classes of notes issued by Consumer Loan Underlying Bond (CLUB) Credit Trust 2018-P2 (“CLUB 2018-P2”). This is a $270.30 million consumer loan ABS transaction that is expected to close September 27, 2018.

Source: Business Wire

Robinhood is targeting an IPO (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

Fintech unicorn Robinhood, which offers zero-fee stock, option, and crypto trading, has begun preparations to go public, Baiju Bhatt, the company’s chief executive, revealed at TechCrunch Disrupt SF last week. The US-based firm has raised $539 million in funding, and it’s currently valued at $5.6 billion.

Source Business Insider

In preparation for the initial public offering (IPO), the five-year-old company is in the process of hiring a chief financial officer (CFO), as well as undertaking audits from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and FINRA, a US securities markets watchdog.

The Next Billion Dollar Financial Platform – Baby Boomers (The Sociable) Rated: AAA

If you’ve immersed yourself in the world of Silicon Valley and you keep up with current trends, then it comes as no surprise that ageism in the U.S. tech world is an ongoing debate. The job search engine Indeed reports that 43% of workers in the tech industry worry about losing their jobs due to their age. While the general population is aware of the issue, its resolution is slow-moving.

The characteristics of Generation Z – those born after 1996 – are still being discovered. We don’t know enough about them yet to understand what kind of impact they will have. The Millennial Generation and Gen X have arguably been the main sales focus during the rise of Silicon Valley. Millennials in particular have overtaken the market, with 83% of today’s managers belonging to that generation. Finally, we have the Baby Boomers. Whether it’s because Millennials believe that older generations can’t use new tech – or that they inherently cater to people their own age by nature – Boomers are falling by the wayside.

People aged 50+ are the largest demographic in the United States, encompassing one third of the total population at 110 million. This age group is responsible for spending 50% of the total disposable income in the country.

Credit Card Debt Study: Trends & Insights (Wallet Hub) Rated: AAA

Americans repaid $40.6 billion in credit card debt during Q1 2018 – the second-largest quarterly payoff ever. But we added almost $30 billion back to our tab in Q2 2018. We also began the year owing more than $1 trillion in credit card debt for the first time ever, after adding a post-Great Recession record of $91.8 billion to our tab in 2017.

Only four times in the past three decades have we overspent so much in a year. And in each case, the charge-off rate – currently near historical lows – rose the following year. That’s true so far, as charge-offs are up nearly 3% from Q4 2017 to Q2 2018.

Source: WalletHub

Source: WalletHub

College Ave Student Loans Announces Completion of Second Successful Securitization (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Student loan marketplace, College Ave Student Loans, announced on Tuesday it has completed a $199 million securitization of private student loans, its second successful securitization. According to the platform, the CASL 2018-A transaction completed over the summer, achieved higher ratings than College Ave’s inaugural securitization, receiving an ‘AA’ rating from DBRS and an ‘A’ rating from S&P for its senior notes. 

According to College Ave, the transaction was heavily oversubscribed attracting a broad and diverse group of repeat investors and nine new participants. Barclays and Credit Suisse were joint lead underwriters on the transaction with Barclays serving as structuring agent and sole bookrunner.

White Oak Global Advisors raises $ 2.1 billion for its Direct Lending Strategy (Globe Newswire) Rated: A

White Oak Global Advisors, LLC (“White Oak”) is pleased to announce the close of the White Oak Yield Spectrum Fund (the “Fund”) to outside investors. The Fund and other associated vehicles raised concurrently approximately $2.1 billion of total commitments, exceeding the $1.75 billion fundraising target. White Oak’s previous flagship fund, the White Oak Summit Fund, closed with approximately $1.3 billion of commitments in March 2016.

The capital for the White Oak Yield Spectrum Fund was raised from a diversified group of institutional investors worldwide. In particular, the Fund attracted very strong support from public and private pension funds, insurance companies and global family offices. White Oak currently manages over $5.6 billion of committed assets.

The Fund will primarily invest in first-lien, directly originated lending strategies, including term loans, asset-based loans, and equipment financing.

‘Fintech Charter’ Has No Early Takers as Lawsuit Looms (Wall Street Journal) Rated: A

A national banking regulator is offering cutting-edge financial firms a new pathway into the traditional banking system. So far, few of them are biting.

The lack of immediate interest from the likes of LendingClub Corp. LC +0.00% , Square Inc., and others comes in large part from uncertainty about what activities the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s so-called fintech charter will allow, what regulatory requirements it will carry, and whether it will hold up in court.

That uncertainty grew Wednesday when the Conference of State Bank Supervisors, a group of state regulators, said it intends to file a lawsuit challenging the OCC’s authority, renewing a previously unsuccessfully legal challenge.

2018 Fed Rate Hike Survey (Wallet Hub) Rated: A

Source Wallet Hub

Opendoor Buys Open Listing To Create End-to-End Marketplace (PYMNTS) Rated: A

In a press release, Opendoor said the acquisition of Open Listings, which operates a platform that aims to make it easier and lower-cost to find, tour and buy any home on the market, will enable it to create an end-to-end marketplace for the buying, selling and trading of homes. According to the company, 71 percent of home sellers are also looking to purchase a home.

With the acquisition, Opendoor customers will be able to line up a purchase of any home on the market via a trade-in transaction. Buyers who use Open Listings will get a discount on the home purchased through a commission rebate of up to 50 percent, the company said in the press release.

Via mobile phone or computer, customers can tour and submit an offer on any home on the market, get an offer on their existing home and align the timing of both transactions. By integrating Open Listings with Opendoor‘s mortgage, title and homes services, the company said conducting a real estate transaction will be as easy as booking a flight or making an online purchase.

Fintech out to start national bank clears one hurdle but faces more (American Banker) Rated: A

Varo Money in Salt Lake City is one step closer to becoming a national bank.

The fintech firm, which aims to lower the cost of banking through a mobile-only platform, recently received preliminary and conditional approval from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Varo still needs to apply and receive approval from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Federal Reserve.

Colin Walsh, Varo’s co-founder and CEO, is optimistic that the company will be operating as a bank within a year. He characterized the OCC’s decision as a pivotal moment for banking — one that shows regulators are more willing to consider nontraditional models.

State regulators renew push to block OCC’s fintech charter (American Banker) Rated: A

State regulators said Wednesday they intend to refile a lawsuit against the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in an effort to block it from offering a new federal bank charter for fintech firms.

The Conference of State Bank Supervisors said its board recently decided to proceed with another round of litigation against the national bank regulator now that the agency said July 31 it would offer a so-called special-purpose national bank charter to fintech firms.

This will be the state regulators’ second attempt at blocking the OCC in court.

Millennials in this American city are carrying the most debt (Ladders) Rated: B

New data from online loan marketplace LendingTree shows that San Antonio is the American city where Millennials have “the most debt,” with a median debt balance of $27,122 — not including mortgages.

Researchers took a look at “anonymized credit report data of My LendingTree users who live in the 50 biggest metro areas in the U.S.” to compile the data. They were born anywhere between the years 1981 and 1996.

The 10 cities where Millennials have the most debt

Here they are, plus the average percentages of what highly contributes to Millennials’ “total debt balances.” Again, these don’t include mortgages:

  1. San Antonio: median balance of $27,122, with car loans making up 43.2% of “total debt balances”
  2. Pittsburgh: median balance of $26,403, with student debt being 45.7% of all debt
  3. Austin: median balance of $26,164, with 18.1% of all debt being from credit cards and 37.1% being from car loans
United Kingdom

Stress testing at Funding Circle (Funding Circle) Rated: AAA

This means building a sustainable platform that allows investors to earn attractive and stable returns by lending to creditworthy businesses, during every stage of an economic cycle. Since 2010, globally we’ve improved access to affordable capital for more than 50,000 businesses, and opened up a new asset class for over 80,000 investors.

Source: Funding Circle

Fed stress parameters included:

Adverse Scenario Severely Adverse Scenario
GDP Falls 2 ¼ percent below Q4 2017 Falls 7 ½ percent below Q4 2017
Unemployment Rises to 7% Rises to 10%
Home Prices Falls 12% Falls 30-40%
Source: Funding Circle

Thinking of buying into the Funding Circle IPO? Read this first (AOL) Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lender Funding Circle fired the starting gun on its much-anticipated plans to go public earlier this month. The company, which is only eight years old, is looking to attract a value of £1.7bn and raise £300m in the process.

Since its founding, Funding Circle has transformed the market for business financing, matching everyday investors who have money to spare with businesses looking for funding to expand. In total, the company has put together £5bn in loans for small businesses since 2010.

However, if you’re thinking of buying into the IPO, there are several issues you need to consider first.

Barclays opens up mobile banking app to rival accounts (Fintech Futures) Rated: A

Barclays has become the “first” UK bank to allow customers to bring their other current accounts into its mobile banking app.

Barclays says this new feature gives customers a way to get a clearer picture of their day-to-day finances within its app. It uses API technology – all powered by open banking.With competition in UK banking tougher than an East End gangster, banks are trying to stand out and play a game of constant one-upmanship.

It’s also a riposte to the many fintech start-ups offering a similar service. For example, last month London-based personal finance app Bippit launched with the offer of an account connecting and savings service.

Monzo: When is a bank not a bank? (FT Alphaville) Rated: A

Monzo is frequently hailed as one of the most exciting challenges the tech industry poses to high street banks.

Wikipedia calls it a “digital, mobile-only bank”. Mashable summed it up as the “bank that’s apparently so cool it’s become a chat up line in London’s bars”. Its own stated ambition is to “build a better bank”. In April 2017, it acquired a banking licence.

But does Monzo actually behave like a bank?

Banks, under one interpretation, are economic inventions which create liquidity from an array of otherwise illiquid assets. Douglas Diamond, the US economist, describes a bank as “a lender financed with demand deposits”. Depositors sacrifice higher returns for the privilege of immediately being able to withdraw their capital whenever they want.

iwoca: We are the UK’s Fastest Growing SME Finance Provider (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Online lender iwoca says it is UK’s fastest growing SME finance provider. The claim comes following the publication of the Sunday Times Hiscox Tech Track 100 which ranked iwoca 30th on the list.

The Sunday Times Hiscox Tech Track 100, published last Sunday, 9th September 2018. Ranked No. 30 on the ilst – which ranks Britain’s tech firms in regards to the fastest-growing sales. iwoca joins a group of prominent UK Fintechs recognized by the Times.

Proptech Startup Unmortgage Raises £10M in Seed (FinSMEs) Rated: A

Unmortgage, a London, UK-based proptech startup, raised £10m in funding.

Backers included Anthemis Exponential Ventures, and Augmentum Fintech plc.

The company intends to use the funds to expand operations and finance the part of the homes it purchases.

Crowdfunding – looking beyond equity investment (What Investment) Rated: A

At a time when banks were increasingly adopting the ‘computer says no’ approach, entrepreneurs and those involved with company start ups sought different ways of financing their ambitions.

Crowdfunding platforms including CrowdCube and Seedrs emerged, using technology to bring investors and companies thirsty for cash together.

Ten years later there are more crowdfunding platforms than ever, the top 10 crowdfunding platforms in 2018  as listed by What Investment.co.uk’s sister website Growth Businessinclude names such as Seedrs, CrowdCube plus RateSetter, Trillon Fund and Funding Circle.

P2PFN celebrates its second birthday (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: B

PEER2PEER Finance News launched two years ago today!

The progress that has been made in two years is staggering. Most P2P platforms have become fully FCA authorised and many of them have launched IFISAs – which attracted £290m in the last tax year.

The UK’s largest P2P firms have cumulatively lent out more than £11bn, Zopa is getting closer to its bank launch and Funding Circle is floating on the main market of the London Stock Exchange next month.

China

China’s tech is addicted to debt (Technode) Rated: AAA

China has become addicted to debt. Now, its tech industry is hooked too.

It started innocently enough. Back in 2008, when the fallout of America’s own debt binge was giving the whole world a hangover, China engaged in a decisive and robust economic stimulus, injecting RMB 4 trillion into key sectors of its economy. Banks, mostly state-owned in China, were directed to lend more, particularly to other state-owned firms. As a result, China recovered quickly from the global financial crisis, even as the US and Europe struggled to get back on their feet.

However, even as the Chinese economy recovered, the banks continued to lend, and Chinese companies continued to invest, most notably in infrastructure projects. Not only did they invest, they invested A LOT.

Source: TechNode
European Union

Spotcap Issues Quarter of a Billion in Credit Lines to Businesses (Spotcap) Rated: AAA

Global fintech lender Spotcap has issued more than EUR 250 million in credit lines since its launch in 2014.

The company combines robust credit assessment principles with innovative technology to offer a smooth and straightforward loan experience. The fintech undertakes cash flow based, rather than credit-score based underwriting, resulting in a fair assessment of the real-time performance of a business.

In the last 12 months, Spotcap experienced more than 100 percent year-on-year growth in the volume of credit lines it provided, growing at a faster pace than the alternative finance industry, which recently experienced 41 percent year-on-year growth in Europe.

International

Fintech investment powerhouse Ribbit Capital aims for $ 420 million with its latest fund (Tech Crunch) Rated: A

Ribbit Capital, the financial technology investment firm whose portfolio includes hits like the no-fee mobile investment platform Robinhood; cryptocurrency wallet and marketplace provider Coinbase; and Root Insurance, the automotive insurance platform that just joined the billion-dollar startup club; is raising $420 million for its latest fund, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The fund would be Ribbit’s fifth foray out with limited partners and its $420 million target is only a nominal increase from the $300 million it had set out to raise for its fourth fund last year.

Coinbase alone is now worth at least $8 billion on paper, and no one laughs when chief executive Brian Armstrong says that his company’s goal is to become the New York Stock Exchange of crypto securities.

Robinhood, another one of Ribbit’s portfolio darlings, is flirting with a $6 billion valuation after its latest funding round earlier this year — and has become synonymous with stock trading for a new generation of investors (despite some criticism about its business model).

 Australia

Fintech Prospa Ranks 6th in LinkedIn Top Startups List (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

Prospa says it has been named 6th on the 2018 LinkedIn Top Startups List. The list marks the 25 best startups to work for in Australia. Prospa adds that it is the top Fintech on the list as well.

Prospa is an online lender catering to small business. Prospa allows SMEs access to loans between $5,000 and $250,000, with approval and funding within as little as 24 hours.

Now in its sixth year, Prospa has established itself as delivering consistent high growth with a solid customer satisfaction NPS score averaging 77 and customer repeat rates of 69%.

Small business lenders pledge fairness under ASIC’s gaze (The Sidney Morning Herald) Rated: A

Fintech lenders say they’re moving quickly to review and amend any unfair contract terms before the watchdog comes knocking, but there are still questions about best lending practice.

Last week, alternative lender Prospa confirmed it had changed a number of contract clauses after receiving a query letter from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) back in June that arrived just days before the startup put the brakes on its planned ASX listing.

India

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday June 18 2018, Daily News Digest

funding circle

News Comments Today’s main news: Opendoor secures $325M in financing. RateSetter IFISA tops 100M GBP. China Rapid Finance’s earnings call slides. Alior Bank, solarisBank, Raisin, Mastercard partner on European digital bank. Harmoney to lend through its own platform. Amazon launches lending platform in India. Today’s main analysis: Rising interest rates and inflation. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Is P2P lending dying? The economic […]

funding circle

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Other

News Summary

United States

Opendoor now has $ 325 million more. SoftBank could come next. (Recode) Rated: AAA

Opendoor has already taken out $1.5 billion in loans for home buying. And the company now says it has accepted another $325 million in new financing that values it at more than $2 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Opendoor will expand to 50 cities with the $325 million round. But SoftBank, with its huge $100 billion checkbook, could help Opendoor expand to even more as soon as later this year. The Japanese investor typically invests hundreds of millions of dollars into private companies, and that sort of check would be expected here, though some of the money tends to buy out existing investors.

Rising Rates and Inflation (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

The Fed raised interest rates for the 2nd time in 2018 and the target Federal Funds Rate now stands at 1.75% – 2%. The committee indicated that it would raise rates twice more in 2018, a departure from the previous stance of 3 rate hikes in 2018.

The Fed summarizes member views using the “dot-plot”. The dot plot consolidates every committee member’s estimates of rates at the end of 2018, 2019, 2020 and the for long-term. The green line shows the median estimate indicating that most Fed members expect rates to be between 2.25% – 2.5% at the end of 2018, and between 3% – 3.25% at the end of 2019.

Source: Federal Reserve, Bloomberg
Source: Bloomberg, PeerIQ

Forward Rates – Where do we go from here?

Source: Bloomberg, PeerIQ

Braviant Holdings Announces $ 50 Million Credit Facility with Keystone National Group (PR Newswire) Rated: A

Braviant Holdings, a provider of tech-enabled credit solutions for underserved Americans, has entered into a $50 million senior secured credit facility with institutional investment firm Keystone National Group.

The Keystone debt facility allows Braviant to expand its newly launched near prime lending platform, Chorus Credit. Chorus is Braviant’s latest offering in support of the company’s mission to promote financial inclusion for 51 million adults considered underbanked by the FDIC. While the FDIC estimates that these adults make up 19.9% of U.S. households, data from the Fair Isaac Corporation, better known as FICO, suggests that 43% of U.S. consumers have below 700 credit scores. In the traditional banking sector, a lower than average FICO score severely limits access to credit for almost half of the nation’s population. Chorus aims to close the credit gap for middle America by offering $2,500 to $10,000 personal loans that are repaid in small, affordable installments.

Is P2PLending Dying? (P2P Lending Expert) Rated: AAA

Seriously. I’m asking. Is p2plending dying? Returns have sucked the last couple of years for all investors, but especially us retail investors since the 2015 and 2016 vintages have performed so poorly. My own returns are 400-500 basis points lower than my returns on my 2013 and 2014 vintage loans were and I know some colleagues and friends who have lost money on these investments.

But can the industry survive?

Source: P2P Lending Expert

How Will the Fed’s Interest Rate Hike Impact the Average Joe? (Dough Roller) Rated: A

On Wednesday, The Federal Reserve decided it was going to increase the federal funds rate by 25 basis points, from 1.75% to 2%. This is the second rate increase already this year. In March, new chairman Jerome Powell and the Fed increased the federal funds rate from 1.5% to 1.75%. The Fed also indicated that they’d be targeting two more increases this year alone.

As I said before, when the Fed increases rates, it usually means something is going well for the economy. And all signs are pointing to that being the case. Unemployment is currently at 3.8%. In the last 50 years, unemployment has only been this low two times. That’s significant, and it means that more people are finding jobs. It may also signify a strengthening job market for you. The Fed projects unemployment will drop to 3.6 percent by the end of the year, too.

Zelle is on track to be more popular than Venmo in 2018 (Business Insider) Rated: A

Zelle is a year-old service that lets you instantly transfer money to someone else, much like Venmo or Square Cash.

But Zelle differs from either service in a major way: because it was built by seven of the largest US banks, it’s often able to integrate more seamlessly with your bank’s mobile app. While other services make you wait a few days for the money you received from friends to show up in your bank account, Zelle can transfer the money almost instantly.

For those reasons, analysts at eMarketer expect Zelle to “leapfrog” other payments services before the end of the year.

Credit Union SMB Loan Approvals Hit Record Lows (PYMNTS) Rated: A

The latest data from the monthly Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index suggests a slump in small business lending among U.S. credit unions.

press release issued on Wednesday (June 13) detailed the May Index’s latest findings, which found that large banks with more than $10 billion in assets are approving of nearly 30 percent of small business loan applications, a two-tenths of a percent increase from April levels. That figure is also a new high for post-recession big bank lending to small businesses.

Digital-only banks grapple with integrating ‘human’ interaction into their products (Tearsheet) Rated: A

Digital-only banks cater to younger customers who don’t want to talk to bankers at brick-and-mortar branches — or bother visiting a branch at all. Or so they think.

Recent customer surveys indicate otherwise, according to research findings released this month from Celent, commissioned by Samsung. It revealed that customers want some kind of human interaction for complex issues. The study found that about half of U.S. banking customers aged 18 to 44 said they banked digitally, but prefer to resolve some matters in-person. Overall, most customers surveyed preferred dealing with humans on matters like setting up financial goals or getting investment advice. To respond to fraud, a lost or stolen card, or identity theft, a majority of those surveyed across age categories preferred to phone the contact center or address it in a physical branch.

Source: Tearsheet

Real Estate Finance Is Changing, Thanks to ‘Fintech’ Startups (The Bridge) Rated: A

If your student loan debt is larger than your salary, investing in real estate might sound like a joke. But it’s doable, said Dave Conroy of the startup Meridio, a website in beta testing that lets users invest amounts of money that you might have in your wallet right now–even $20–into specific properties. Using blockchain technology keeps each transaction cost low, said Conroy, whose company is an offshoot of Bushwick-based ConsenSys, which is building myriad applications based on the Ethereum platform.

For investors, the service would reduce transactions costs and make a real-estate portfolio more liquid. For owners, it would unlock more capital and streamline transactions. While Meridio won’t provide market intelligence about properties to invest in, prospective investors can call on their own experience, says Conroy, who previously worked for the National Association of Realtors.

Why digital banking and robo advice are pairing up (Financial Planning) Rated: A

Banks and digital wealth startups are headed toward the same goal from different starting points.

Each side is increasingly seeking to package automated investment advice with checking because customers are expressing an interest in getting both services from one provider.

Fifth Third Bancorp’s securities unit teamed up with Fidelity recently to offer automated advice, while the microinvesting app Acorns rolled out a debit card called Spend and opened up 50,000 checking accounts in two days.

Wells Fargo simplifies payments pricing to compete with Square (Payments Source) Rated: A

Wells Fargo will simplify the prices it charges small businesses to accept credit and debit card transactions as the bank responds to pressure from startups such as Jack Dorsey’s Square Inc.

The changes, which are tailored for small businesses that process $100,000 a year or less, eliminate many of the complicated pricing policies that varied from client to client, according to Danny Peltz, who leads treasury management and merchant services at the company. Business customers will also be able to apply online for payment processing capabilities with Wells Fargo, Peltz said.

New Technologies and New Customer Experiences Drive Banking Today (Lend Academy) Rated: A

American Banker’s Penny Crosman sat with Cathy Bessant, Chief Operations and Technology Officer, Bank of America to discuss the bank’s use of AI.  She described how the bank has inventors all over the world in their distributed innovation model.

Peer to Peer Micro-Credit Site Puddle Shuts Down (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Puddle, an online lender that provided micro-credit in a peer to peer platform, is shutting down.

In an email circulated by the company, Puddle founders stated that after five years of operation the businesses model was “unsustainable.”

RealtyMogul, Comunidad Realty Partners Sell Dallas Area Investment Property (Herald Courier) Rated: B

RealtyMogul, a pioneer in providing private real estate to discerning investors, announced that it has sold an investment property in partnership with Comunidad Realty Partners at greater than 1.5 times its purchase price.

The property, Lodge at Main, a 208-unit multifamily apartment complex in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas area was acquired in 2015.

California may force online business lenders to disclose rates (American Banker) Rated: AAA

A bill pending in California aims to tame the disorderly, confusing and largely unregulated world of online small-business lending by mandating that borrowers receive standard price disclosures.

The bill, which passed the Senate without a vote to spare and has failed to garner much support from either the online lending industry or its critics, still faces a tough fight in the state Assembly. But if the measure does get enacted in California, it could serve as a blueprint for other states.

The legislation tackles the question of whether commercial lenders should be required to disclose the price of financing in a way that enables borrowers to compare multiple offers. Just as nettlesome is the question of how any such comparison metric should be calculated.

Source: American Banker

The bill would apply to small businesses that borrow $500,000 or less.

United Kingdom

RateSetter Reports IFISA Tops £100 Million in Record Time (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

UK based peer-to-peer lender RateSetter is reporting that subscriptions to its IFISA have surpassed £100 million. This milestone took four months to reach and, according to RateSetter, faster than any other P2P lender. To date, RateSetter has originated over £2.5 billion in online loans to both businesses and individuals.  RateSetter states that more than 10,000 IFISA accounts have now been opened.  The average annual return received by investors stands at 4.4% with more than £100 million in interest having been paid.

Peer-to-peer lender Ratesetter to raise £30m as London float looms (City A.M.) Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lending business Ratesetter is working on a £30m fundraising which is expected to be a prelude to a London float.

According to Sky News Ra

tesetter is working with investment bank Lazard and broker Peel Hunt to raise £30m from investors.

The funding round would value Ratesetter at about £280m.

The fundraising is expected to be a precursor to a stock market flotation which could take place as early as next year.

THE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF LENDING THROUGH FUNDING CIRCLE (Funding Circle) Rated: AAA

In the UK, where Funding Circle has been established the longest, the platform is now competing directly with banks in the small business lending market – with net lending through the platform exceeding that of the entire UK banking system for two successive quarters at the end of 2017. A survey of Funding Circle’s customers undertaken for the study suggests 89 percent of the platform’s UK small business customers would approach
Funding Circle first again in future, rather than going to a bank.

Source: Funding Circle

Read the full report here.

Funding Circle CEO on the Fintech Frenzy in Europe (Yahoo Finance) Rated: A

How the big three shaped P2P (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

ALTHOUGH we still tend to think of peer-to-peer lending as a young sector, it is now 13 years since Zopa became the first lender in the market. It was joined five years later by Funding Circle and RateSetter and since then the big three have dominated the P2P market.

Here are some of the key moments in their journeys.

London Block Exchange To Strike Deal With UK Bank (Crypto Daily) Rated: A

London Block Exchange, a UK based crypto provider is alleged to be pairing up with a new UK based bank, ClearBank.

If this news is indeed true, this will mark the first time a lender has struck a deal with a cryptocurrency-based entity.

The UK proves its tech chops, Google’s massive diversity gap and Brexit cause business tensions (Elite Business) Rated: A

Out of Europe’s 34 unicorns, the UK has produced 13. These have a combined value of $23bn, equal to 38% of the European total. This puts the UK ahead of Germany  and France, which have six and three scaleups valued over $1bn respectively. Given the nation has already spawned success stories like Deliveroo and Funding Circle, it’s hardly surprising that VC investment is also booming in the UK. Last year British startups raised $7.9bn compared to Germany’s $3.2bn and France‘s $2.8bn.

Brexit has made UK SMEs worry about talent

Having polled companies in 11 countries, researchers revealed that UK entrepreneurs were much less confident about the conscious uncoupling than those in the EU. Overall, 57% of respondents felt that their biggest challenge was that they had too little time and that they were doing everything themselves. This was double the 24% who thought hiring the right people were their biggest worry.

Alternative finance funds see mixed success (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

Over the past year, P2P Global Investments (P2PGI), VPC Specialty Lending Investments and Ranger Direct Lending (RDL) have moved away from pure P2P to boost returns and narrow their discounts, while the Funding Circle SME Income Fund (FCIF) has remained true to its roots, all with varying outcomes.

The FCIF investment trust solely backs loans originated via the Funding Circle platform and saw its net asset value (NAV) return 6.9 per cent last year, while trading on a healthy premium.

In comparison, RDL – which has recently announced its intention to close – returned 5.4 per cent, VPC – which has shifted from P2P towards balance sheet lenders – saw its NAV total return grow by 3.07 per cent, while P2PGI – which last year merged its manager MW Eaglewood with Pollen Street Capital and is focusing more on asset-backed alternative lenders – reported a NAV return of 3.03 per cent during 2017. RDL and P2PGI are both trading at double-digit discounts to NAV.

Updated Crowd2Fund app includes IFISA management tools (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: B

PEER-TO-PEER platform Crowd2Fund has relaunched its app to include Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) management features via their smartphones.

Digital Challenger Redwood Bank Raises £9.8 Million (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Redwood is targeting the SME market. Products include mortgages for business owners and professional landlords, as well as a range of savings accounts. Redwood seeks to offer British businesses fast, simple, transparent loans and savings accounts, coupled with superlative service. They also promise that money is being invested back into British business and into the communities they are a part of. Warrington Borough Council has a 33% stake in the firm that was pegged at £30 million.

BIS wants tighter rules for funds offering credit, fintech (Reuters) Rated: A

Regulations introduced after the financial crisis a decade ago to smooth out banking booms and busts should be extended to funds that provide credit, or shadow banks, and fintech firms, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) said on Sunday.

The introduction of “macroprudential” policy requiring banks to build up separate “countercyclical” buffers of capital if credit markets become frothy was a core crisis-era innovation.

The buffers can be released if loans begin turning sour and maintain resilience of the financial system to shocks – a departure from the traditional “microprudential” focus on the stability of individual banks.

China

China Rapid Finance 2018 Q1 – Results – Earnings Call Slides (Seeking Alpha) Rated: AAA

Source: Seeking Alpha
Source: Seeking Alpha

Chinese P2P giant Lufax dodges valuation bullet (Nasdaq) Rated: A

Lufax is wisely trying to grow up in private. The Chinese financial technology giant, which focuses on peer-to-peer lending and wealth management, plans to raise more than $1 billion at a $40 billion valuation ahead of a delayed Hong Kong flotation, says Reuters. That makes sense. Listing now could upset Beijing, and might only be achievable at a discounted price. Abundant venture capital allows the Ping An-backed startup to keep growing without a distracting market debut.

European Union

Alior Bank, solarisBank, Raisin and Mastercard to unveil European digital bank (Fintech Futures) Rated: AAA

Poland’s Alior Bank has teamed with solarisBankRaisin and Mastercard to unleash a pan-European digital bank.

The new offering, which is planned to be launched in the fourth quarter of 2018, will be built on the “strengths of all partners”.

Alior Bank will deliver multicurrency accounts with international transfers and deposits.

solarisBank will add the banking infrastructure with its technological, compliance and regulatory framework.

Raisin through its network of partner banks, is adding various savings and investment possibilities to the offering.

N26 launches a revised metal card (Tech Crunch) Rated: A

Fintech startup N26 is updating its N26  Metal product and launching it tomorrow. You might remember that the company first announced its premium card at TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin in December 2017. Shortly after the conference, the card was available in early access for existing N26 Black customers.

But the company had to go back to the drawing board and update the card design. N26 Metal customers had some complaints about the design of the card in particular.

International

Fintechs are staring down the future of banking (Financial Post) Rated: A

For instance, U.S.-based Lending Club, which has been around since 2007 and which is public, has arranged US$35 billion in consumer loans for its two million borrowers. The average loan — and it originates about US$2.4 billion a quarter — is about US$14,000.

Those themes were on full display this week in Toronto at an event organized by the KiWi Private Credit Fund, which raises capital from investors and purchases unsecured consumer loans and secured small business loans originated by established U.S.-based lending marketplaces.

“But they are not good at pricing a 9 per cent or 12 per cent risk,” he added, all of which allows entities such as his, to meet that need. It has US$27 million in assets; an average loan of almost US$14,000 and targets a return in the six- to eight-per-cent range.

Australia/New Zealand

Harmoney is to begin lending money through its own online platform (Interest) Rated: AAA

Peer to peer lending facilitator Harmoney Corp is making a number of tweaks to its operation, which will include the ability to lend its own money through its own platform.

The company has also renamed its ‘platform fee’ – recently the subject of Commerce Commission court action – as an ‘establishment fee’ and dropped the fee by $50 to $450. The company has also tweaked some of its interest rates higher (see below tables).

Harmoney will now be operating two different markets within its platform; the existing P2P facility and a new ‘wholesale market’ operated through a new subsidiary Harmoney Nominee.

Australian regulator sues Westpac for staffer’s poor financial advice (Reuters) Rated: A

An Australian regulator filed a lawsuit against No. 2 lender Westpac Banking Corp (WBC.AX) over a financial planner it alleges gave poor advice for years, upping its scrutiny of a sector already under fire amid an embarrassing public inquiry.

Australia’s A$5 billion ($3.7 billion) financial planning sector has provided some of the most damning evidence at an inquiry into finance sector misconduct, ordered by the government after a string of banking scandals including fraud.

P2P lender cuts rates (Good Returns) Rated: A

Peer to peer lender Lending Crowd has cut its borrower interest rates for all new business and personal loan applications including vehicle purchases and debt consolidations.

A1 grade personal borrowers will have a market leading rate of 6.89% pa and SME businesses will have rates available from 7.98%. Interest rates across all loan grades will range from a low of 6.89%
to a high of 18.96% (previously 7.90% to 19.75%).

Parents giving $ 10k towards kid’s first car (Finder) Rated: A

Survey shows 60% of parents are giving kids $10,594 to buy their first car.

According to research conducted by RateSetter, parents are stumping up $10k to get their child their first set of wheels.

RateSetter found that among parents who bought their child a car, 15% chose a new model, 71% opted for a used one and 14% donated their own vehicle. The majority of families could afford a car under $10,000, while 26% spent between $10,000 and $20,000. A lucky 12% of kids were gifted over $20,000 towards their ride. Parents in Victoria spend the most on their child, up to $13,386. In NSW, the average outlay was $10,404.

India

P2P lending companies change tack in bid to become NBFCs (Business Standard) Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending companies are changing their business model as they migrate to becoming (NBFCs).

RBI had created a special category called NBFC-P2P, in view of the proliferation of entities. While mandating Rs 20 million as minimum net worth, RBI had also imposed a Rs 1-mn cap for individual lending on such platforms.

So far, a couple of these entities have got an NBFC licence from RBI. Faircent says it got the licence about 20 days earlier.

Amazon launches lending platform for sellers (The Economic Times) Rated: AAA

Amazon India has launched a platform for lenders and sellers wherein sellers can choose from competitive rates and loan offers. It will also open its APIs to lenders to plug in and lend to the sellers as part of the new programme, called the seller lending network.

India will be the first geography for Amazon where it has launched such a seller platform.

Fiscal 2015 World Bank Lending Report highlights India as one of the biggest Loan Beneficiary (Digital Journal) Rated: AAA

Fintechs offer loans to individuals with low credit scores as well. For instance, in the case of Qbera, individuals with a minimum credit score of 600 can qualify for personal finance. This is not quite so in the case of private banks – individuals need to have a minimum credit score of 750 to be eligible.

Aye Finance Secures $ 21.5M in Series C Funding (Finsmes) Rated: A

Aye Finance, a Gurgaon, India-based provider of financial services to micro and small businesses, secured $21.5m in Series C funding.

Backers included CapitalG, SAIF Partners and LFT.

The company intends to use the funds to accelerate business growth.

P2P lending: Can India replicate the UK experience to achieve Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas? (Economic Times) Rated: A

India is still struggling with a huge credit gap that is holding back the economy. Getting a bank loan is an extremely cumbersome and long-drawn process for salaried individuals and small businesses, alike. According to a study conducted jointly by ASSOCHAM and EY, around 19% of India’s population remains unserved by the traditional banking sector.

Several million MSMEs that lack a tangible financial record are thus not eligible for credit from legacy financial institutions who still use traditional credit and financial data to evaluate eligibility. For the Indian economy to achieve the next level of growth, the current gap of nearly $200 billion in credit supply to MSMEs and significant under-banked population of India needs to be addressed immediately.

Asia

FSC reins in P2P firms (Korea Joongang Daily) Rated: AAA

In Korea, P2P firms, which directly connect borrowers with investors through online platforms, are not under the direct supervision or management of financial authorities. The Financial Services Commission (FSC) only indirectly supervises them by requiring registration of P2P firms’ lending subsidiaries, which most P2P firms use to carry out the process of lending money to borrowers.

But this safeguard also has many loopholes. TheHighOneFunding, for example, had uploaded the name of a different person as CEO when it registered its lending subsidiary with government regulators.

With more investors attracted to the idea of making easy money through high interest rates on P2P lending, the cumulative amount of loans on such platforms has dramatically increased, from 37.3 billion won in late 2015 to 3.50 trillion won as of May.

MENA

Where’s the money, honey? (Gulf News) Rated: AAA

According to the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, nearly 50 to 70 per cent of loan applications made by SMEs in the UAE are declined by traditional banks, while loans to SMEs account for around four to five per cent of the outstanding bank credit in the UAE.

Enter peer-to-peer lending.

Over the years, such platforms have become big business: In 2016, the size of the peer-to-peer lending market in the US, UK, the European Union, Australia and New Zealand was estimated to be more than $72 billion, according to AltFi. In China, loan originations in 2015 were estimated at $101 billion.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday January 29 2018, Daily News Digest

financial advice market

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi buys Clara Lending product, engineering teams. LendingClub files 8K on $200 warehouse agreement. Raisin surpasses 5B Euro. Columbian lender LoanPie goes online. Today’s main analysis: UK P2P lending hits 3.1B GBP, borrowers shift to online lending. Today’s thought-provoking articles: PeerIQ evaluates letter from Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Mulvaney. Funding Circle in no […]

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United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

South America

News Summary

United States

SoFi Buys Teams From Mortgage Startup Clara to Boost Offerings (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Social Finance Inc. has acquired the engineering and product teams of mortgage startup Clara Lending, bolstering the financial technology company’s offerings beyond student-loan refinancing, according to people familiar with the matter.

SoFi confirmed the acquisition on Friday and said taking on the Clara teams allows it to “immediately ramp up our technical capabilities.”

San Francisco-based SoFi has plans to hire about 100 engineers, one of the people familiar with the matter said, and Clara filled about 20 of those spots.

How Credible.com Makes Refinancing Student Loans Easy (Pop Dust), Rated: A

While refinancing my own loans, it was a stressful situation to navigate, even with the help of my parents. Coming out of school with a $200,000 degree but only a $40,000 annual salary was a tough pill to swallow, and I wasn’t alone – several of my friends found themselves in a similar situation.

Credible is working to change all of that by simplifying the refinancing process. Instead of hopping from lender to lender and form to form looking for a good rate, Credible provides a one-stop shop where you can connect with a variety of vetted lenders and get real rates in about two minutes, without affecting your credit score.

LendingClub Files 8K on $ 200 Million Warehouse Agreement (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

LendingClub (NYSE:LC), the largest marketplace lending platform in the US, has just posted an 8K regarding a warehouse funding agreement with certain lenders. LendingClub has enlisted the assistance of JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. as administrative agent, and Wilmington Trust, National Association as collateral trustee. The warehouse is to provide a $200 million secured revolving credit facility.

LendingClub’s 8K filing.

Strong GDP growth, Mulvaney’s New Director for CFPB, SoFi’s New CEO (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

In this week’s newsletter, we interpret key points of Mulvaney’s letter and how they may affect the lending industry.

Source: PeerIQ

The US economy grew by 2.6% in the 4th quarter, continuing the pattern of strong trend growth in 2017. Global economies continue to enjoy an unusual period of synchronized growth, a constructive pattern last seen in the mid-2000s. US growth was primarily driven by consumer spending of 3.8%. US consumer spending is supported by US consumer credit outstanding which grew at an annualized rate of 8.8% – well ahead of GDP growth.

Bank earnings continued to roll in this week. Retail banks reported that credit card losses rose 20% year-over-year to $12.5 Bn.  Credit card losses as a percentage of outstanding receivables have increased to 4.5% from 2.9% in 2015 as credit normalization trends continue. The combination of high consumer credit growth relative to GDP, full employment levels, and low productivity growth is casting doubts on whether 3%+ GDP prints are sustainable.

Earnest Co-Founder Steps Down a Few Months After Selling Startup (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Louis Beryl, co-founder and chief executive officer of Earnest Inc., left the online lender this week after selling his company in October.

The San Francisco-based startup was acquired by student loan provider Navient Corp. for $155 million after a lengthy search for a buyer. Beryl and his co-founder, Ben Hutchinson, were supposed to remain at the firm and continue running Earnest as a separate unit within the company. Hutchinson remains there as chief operating officer, Navient said.

Don Davis of Prime Meridian (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • When marketplace lending first got on Don’s radar.
  • Why he decided to start Prime Meridian.
  • How his offerings have expanded from one product to four.
  • The total AUM they are at today.
  • Who their typical investor is today and how that has changed over the years.
  • How his conversations with investors have changed.
  • What investors misunderstand about the space today.
  • What platforms his company is investing on today.
  • How they conduct due diligence on new platforms.
  • Don’s views on why some of platforms have failed.
  • How the investor pullback of 2016 affected Prime Meridian.
  • The state of the marketplace lending industry today.
  • What areas Don likes most and what he likes least.
  • The only two things that matter for marketplace lending platforms.
  • How he has been able to grow his company so quickly.
  • What’s next for Prime Meridian.

A bank’s unfolding plan to enter online consumer lending (American Banker), Rated: A

Meta Financial Group in Sioux Falls, S.D., has struck a deal to provide personal loans to customers of Liberty Lending, an online lender based in New York.

The $5.2 billion-asset Meta said it expects to originate $500 million to $1 billion in personal loans during the three-year partnership. The program marks Meta’s first foray into the direct-to-consumer credit business.

Discover CEO bashes online lenders (American Banker), Rated: A

Discover Financial Services CEO David Nelms said this week that many of the online lenders that have emerged in recent years do not understand how to underwrite the loans properly over the long run. He also jabbed at the technology-focused firms for their failure to achieve profitability.

JP Morgan Chase invests $ 20bn for new branches and jobs (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

JP Morgan Chase has unleashed a five-year $20 billion investment plan that includes 400 new branches, 4,000 jobs and an increase in staff wages across the US.

It is also a stark contrast to yesterday’s report concerning branches in 2017. Last year, US banks accelerated their pace of branch closures, shutting down 2,069 locations (an 18% increase compared to 2016).

According to JP Morgan Chase, these new branches and bankers will help the firm increase small business lending nearly 20%, or $4 billion, over three years.

7 failed fintech ideas that might succeed today (PaymentsSource), Rated: A

Blippy’s card-sharing social network

Contactless payment cards

Opendoor Raises $ 135M in Funding (Finsmes), Rated: A

Opendoor, a San Francisco, CA-based online home-selling service, raised $135m in funding.

The round was led by Fifth Wall Ventures and Lennar with participation from Rialto Capital Management.

Technology will have a massive impact on your financial future: here’s why (The Next Web), Rated: A

For consumers, that’s mostly good news; it means you have access to more services in a digital format, and at a much less expensive rate. For the finance industry, this is coming with big changes; as banks digitize more, Citigroup estimates that the industry will lose 1.7 million jobs or more to automation and digital environments.

On a level that’s probably more familiar with mainstream consumers, we can look to the emergence of money savings appsstock exchange appsbudgeting apps, and other tools designed to make financial management easier for the average customer.

As many as 45 percent of financial intermediary services are victims of economic crime every year, which makes security and privacy top concerns for the finance industry.

 

Ladenburg Thalmann Launches Tech Innovation Platform (Financial Advisor), Rated: B

Brokerage and advisory firm Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services has announced the launch of its Enterprise Innovation initiative and Innovation Lab. The company said innovation strategist Dan Sachar has been named as the vice president of enterprise innovation.

United Kingdom

P2P Lending Tops £3.1 Billion in 2017, Q4 Sees Borrowers Shift to Online Lending (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The UK Peer to Peer Finance Association (P2PFA) has published aggregate fourth quarter data for of 2017 for its member platforms. The P2PFA shows that during 2017 £3,145,098,842 in peer to peer loans were facilitated. Cumulative lending transacted through P2PFA member platforms exceeded £8 billion.

Funding Circle heads for market (The Times), Rated: AAA

Sources close to the lender said it was in “no hurry” to do an initial public offering but, if markets remain favourable, the float could go ahead in the second half of this year.

Atom Bank chairman to step down (AltFi), Rated: A

Anthony Thomson, the founder of UK challenger bank Atom Bank, is planning to step down from his role as chairman after it completes its latest £150m fundraise.

Existing non-executive director, Bridget Rosewell, will be taking over the helm of the Durham-based lender, subject to regulatory approval.

Best buy-to-let areas in the UK for 2018 (Simply Business), Rated: AAA

LendInvest’s latest buy-to-let index is out, and it makes great reading for landlords looking for the best buy-to-let areas.

  • Manchester is currently the best place to buy-to-let in England and Wales. It ranked highest for rental yields (5.55 per cent) and rental price growth (5.76 per cent). Manchester took the top spot after a steady climb up LendInvest’s rankings throughout 2017.
  • Colchester in Essex and Luton in Bedfordshire are in second and third position, with rental yields of over 3.78 per cent. Colchester has the strongest capital gains of all postcode areas over the last 12 months, while Luton remains a popular commuter town within easy reach of London.
  • The Midlands is still the buy-to-let location to watch, though – Leicester rose an incredible 17 places to reach ninth place in December’s index, while Birmingham narrowly missed out on the top 10, coming in at 11th.

According to the research, here are the 10 best buy-to-let areas 2018:

  1. Manchester
  2. Colchester
  3. Luton
  4. Rochester
  5. Southend-on-sea
  6. Hull
  7. Romford
  8. Norwich
  9. Leicester
  10. Ipswich

Top 10 areas for capital gains in the UK

Area Capital gains
Colchester 11.96%
Southall 11.09%
Hemel Hempstead 10.27%
Slough 10.19%
Harrow 9.89%
Ipswich 9.44%
Luton 9.16%
Southend-on-sea 9.12%
Ilford 8.82%
Hull 8.46%
Source: LendInvest

FCA reports increase in advice firm numbers (Money Marketing), Rated: A

Figures drawn from regulatory returns show 5,270 financial advice firms had at least one staff member advising on retail investments, with a total of 25,951 advisers recorded as at the end of November 2017.

The number of advisers at banks and building societies continued to decrease, however, from 3,525 to 3,374. 34 banks had at least one adviser as at the end of November last year, compared to 38 the December before.

Expert Tips to Keep a Close Eye on your Cash Flow this Year (NewBusiness), Rated: B

Find the right finance for you

Here are some examples of the various types of external finance that may be available if you need a helping hand:

Bank loan – one of the most commonly chosen finance options. The loan will be fixed over an agreed period, with a fixed rate and monthly repayments.  Eligibility for this can be dependent on how long you have been trading for.

Peer-to-peer lending – this is a form of borrowing without using a traditional financial institution such as a bank or building society. The lending involves individuals or ‘peers’ where you are matched up to people willing to invest in, and lend money to, your business.

Merchant cash advance – an alternative financial solution if you have strong sales and good volume of card transactions every month. You receive a lump-sum payment to be repaid via an agreed percentage of your future credit and debit card transactions.

Business credit card – stay in control of your business expenses and keep your cash flow moving. A business credit card is a short-term flexible way to manage expenses.

London fintech start-up Duco raises £20m (The Times), Rated: B

Duco, which was founded eight years ago by a computer science postgraduate from University College London, allows financial institutions to manipulate enormous amounts of data through remote internet servers, popularly known as the cloud. It is understood the funding round values the company at about $100m.

China

Future FinTech Announces Digital Assets Transfer Agreement (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Future FinTech Group Inc. (NASDAQ: FTFT) (“Future FinTech”“FTFT” or “the Company”), a financial technology company and integrated producer of fruit-related products, today announced that on January 23, 2018, one of its wholly owned subsidiaries, DigiPay FinTech Limited (“DigiPay”), entered into an agreement to acquire 60% of the digital assets associated with DCON, a blockchain development project that has developed 100 communities utilizing blockchain technology and which intends to conduct a variety of financial businesses to provide users with a diversified blockchain experience.

European Union

Deposit marketplace Raisin surpasses €5bn after record year (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Since its founding four years ago, Raisin has returned its first cash flow positive month after passing €5bn in brokered savings deposits.

The European marketplace for savings and investment products increased its total customer deposits by over €3bn in 2017, after its international expansion efforts bolstered growth. The company now serves over 30 European markets, with around 20 per cent of all new customer acquisitions coming from abroad.

Europe’s Alternative Finance Sector Accelerates (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Europe’s online alternative finance market continues to grow, but remains dominated by the UK, new research shows. The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance says the market was worth €7.7bn by the end of 2016, the most recent period for which data is available, with €5.6bn of that total accounted for by the UK.

The data means the alternative finance market across Europe grew by 41 per cent during 2016, providing a range of valuable funding for entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises that was not available from traditional funding sources. Stripping out the UK, however, the market was up by 101 per cent, with the less mature alternative finance industries of continental Europe now growing very rapidly.
The UK’s share of the European alternative finance market fell to 73 per cent in 2016 from 81 per cent a year earlier as other markets grew faster. France, Germany and the Netherlands are now the three largest alternative finance markets outside the UK, followed by Finland, Spain, Italy and Georgia.
Consumer lending remains the single biggest sub-sector of the alternative finance industry, with peer-to-peer lending sites accounting for 34 per cent of the marketplace. However, SME funding is significant, with peer-to-peer business lending, invoice trading and equity-based crowdfunding together accounting for 40 per cent of the market.
International

FintruX – Disrupting P2P Lending and Unsecured Loans on the Blockchain (ChipIn), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lending platforms are also still on a global uptick. In just one country where this new kind of access to capital is having a major impact, the UK, over $3.3 billion in P2P loans were facilitated in 2017. That number is expected to continue to rise globally this year, and blockchain is likely to be right in the middle of it.

The FinTruX Network is one of the world’s first blockchain-based online marketplaces for unsecured lending that connects the dots in an environment augmented by specialized servicing agents who can configure and construct each borrower’s (smart) contract in real time.

Cascading levels of credit enhancement help borrowers improve creditworthiness. Lenders are provided with several forms of reassurances that their money will be repaid. Loans are over-collateralized. Local third-party guarantors and cross-collateralization act as an additional kind of insurance.

And here is the best part: All of this is enabled by a system token which creates not only a fee structure but a tracking device, authenticator, and payment system, all in one place.

Robo Advice: Are ETFs the Solution? (CFA Institute), Rated: A

RiskSave and True Link are examples of such emerging technology. The portfolios generated from a broader spectrum of assets improve on the current robo model, offering more efficiency and superior risk-return characteristics.

Robo advice and digital asset management will open up financial advice to a much wider market. People who previously were priced out of financial advice will now be able to afford it. The reduced costs of robo advice in the United Kingdom could give as many as 16 million more people access to financial advice, according to estimates from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Are ETFs the correct solution?

Much of the financial management industry has concluded that ETFs are the future of automated advice. That is naive.

Tradeshift explores new Frontiers with innovation lab launch (Fintech Futures), Rated: B

Business commerce platform Tradeshift has unveiled Tradeshift Frontiers, an innovation lab and incubator designed to apply emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), distributed ledgers, and internet of things (IoT) to business networks, supply chains, and global trade, reports David Penn at Finovate (FinTech Futures’ sister company).

India

FinTech platforms providing robust loan disbursal to MSMEs (Outlook), Rated: A

CreditMantri helps small business connect with NBFCs and banks on its platforms and avail financial assistance. The easy and hassle-free digital procedure makes it easy for a business to avail a loan in lesser time.

Aye Finance, along with its commercial operations, also funds its non-profit initiative to coach MSMEs on market knowledge, business book-keeping and advising on operations techniques. These, in turn, help sustain employment at the bottom of the pyramid. Aye Finance has already impacted an ecosystem of over 40,000 MSMEs through its business enterprise loans.

CoinTribe is confident about the adoption of digital in the SME segment especially as younger generations enter the domain. With increasing digital adoption in the country and expansion of the MSME sector, CoinTribe aims to facilitate USD 5 billion of loans through its platform over a period of 5 years and is rapidly scaling up its marketplace operations.

Faircent’s P2P model serving business loan requirements is an example of how far lending industry has come to serve MSMEs. The platform has over two lakh registered borrowers and 18,000 registered lenders.

South America

Columbia business launches $ 1.8M investment website (Columbia Daily Tribune), Rated: AAA

LoanPie, an online local marketplace based out of Columbia for residential and commercial real estate investing, last week launched its website with over $1.8 million in investments available.

The company seeks to introduce more accredited investors to the secondary mortgage market using a web-based platform. LoanPie’s goal is to create return on investment for 25,000 subscribers by the end of this year.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday July 25 2017, Daily News Digest

SEC enforcement results

News Comments Today’s main news: ICBA letter opposing SoFi as a bank. Moody’s upgrades 7 Prosper ABS MPL tranches. UBS invests in iCapital Network. TenX processes Bitcoin with Visa transactions. BNI Europa reaches profitability. Today’s main analysis: SEC focus on capital formation, enforcement in direct lending. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Will U.S. banks dominate consumer lending again? China needs a bigger […]

SEC enforcement results

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Asia

News Summary

United States

Here is the Letter by the ICBA Slamming SoFi’s Effort to Become a Bank (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Last week, the Independent Community Bankers of America  (ICBA) sent a letter to the attention of Kathy Moe, Regional Director of the FDIC in San Francisco. The subject of the letter was the ICBA’s vehement opposition to Fintech darling SoFi’s effort to become a licensed bank.

The ICBA asked that Congress close the alleged “ILC loophole” because it not only threatens the financial system but creates an uneven playing field for community banks.

Read the full letter here.

SEC Focus on Capital Formation & Enforcement, and What it Means for Direct Lending (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

What might a focus on the SEC’s capital formation mandate mean for investors?

  • Retail investors may have greater access to alternative investments typically reserved for accredited investors. For instance, Piwowar questioned the premise of a distinction between accredited vs. non-accredited investors.
  • Small businesses may see a reduction in disclosure obligations to encourage small businesses to tap the public capital markets. SEC Chair Clayton identified the reduction of US IPOs (in the wake of SOX and post-Enron regulations) as a serious issue.
  • ABS investors may have a reduction in the disclosure and liability requirements for publicly registered securitizations. ABS issuance has shifted to Rule 144A private placements – in fact 100% of deals in the marketplace lending market are privately placed – in part, due to the higher disclosure and attestation burdens for public deals.

SEC Enforcement Actions & Investor Protection

After the late-2008 Madoff scandal, the SEC dialed up enforcement activities with the goal of improving investor confidence and market integrity.

Not surprisingly, enforcement actions on direct lending strategies has increased substantially as the sector continues to grow. (We refer reader’s to Harvard Law School’s SEC Enforcement Actions Against Investment Advisors for more information.)

Direct Lending is Prone to Valuation Negligence

A pool of unsecured personal loans may contain thousands of loans with differing and constantly shifting loan and borrower attributes. Unlike, say, a CMBS transaction where a valuation agent can visit a property, speak to an owner, and evaluate a tenant – the sheer volume of hundreds of thousands of loans requires advanced analytics to value a portfolio.

Below we share below our principles for valuation:

  • Transparency: A well-documented valuation methodology, with clear exposition of prepayment, default, credit spread, and other assumptions.
  • Auditable: A repeatable and testable valuation framework.
  • Fair value: Fair value based on a consistent modeling framework that factors in both unobservable and observable valuation inputs from similar assets or adjacent capital markets.
  • Accounts for major risk factors: The pricing framework accounts for risk factors including default risk, prepayment risk, and credit spread risk.
  • Forward looking: Loan valuations must be driven off of expected future cashflows, where cashflows are a function of the borrower’s current credit attributes, macro conditions, payment performance, and seasoning.
  • Loan-level: The pricing framework operates on a loan-level to address granularity in credit risk of loan rather than coarse replines.

Moody’s upgrades seven tranches from four Prosper marketplace lending ABS securitizations (Moody’s), Rated: AAA

The complete rating actions are as follows:

  • Issuer: Citi Held For Asset Issuance 2015-PM1
    • Class B Notes, Upgraded to A1 (sf); previously on Aug 6, 2015 Definitive Rating Assigned Baa3 (sf)
    • Class C Notes, Upgraded to Ba2 (sf); previously on Jul 14, 2016 Confirmed at Ba3 (sf)
  • Issuer: Citi Held For Asset Issuance 2015-PM2
    • Class B Notes, Upgraded to A1 (sf); previously on Oct 23, 2015 Definitive Rating Assigned Baa3 (sf)
    • Class C Notes, Upgraded to Ba2 (sf); previously on Jul 14, 2016 Confirmed at Ba3 (sf)
  • Issuer: Citi Held For Asset Issuance 2015-PM3
    • Class B Notes, Upgraded to A1 (sf); previously on Dec 18, 2015 Definitive Rating Assigned Baa3 (sf)
    • Class C Notes, Upgraded to Ba2 (sf); previously on Jul 14, 2016 Confirmed at Ba3 (sf)
  • Issuer: Consumer Credit Origination Loan Trust 2015-1
    • Class B Notes, Upgraded to A1 (sf); previously on Feb 11, 2016 Upgraded to Ba2 (sf)

Will banks in the US dominate consumer lending once again? (AltFi), Rated: AAA

SunTrust Bank is an interesting case in point. They are a large 125-year-old bank headquartered in Atlanta. They had total assets on their balance sheet of $204 billion as of December 31, 2016 which makes them a top 25 bank in the US.

From our perspective, what is most interesting about SunTrust is they have an online consumer lending platform. They actually acquired a small online lending platform called FirstAgain a few years ago and relaunched it as LightStream in 2013. They are starting to get some real traction, having done $1.5 billion in loans in 2015 and over $2.3 billion in 2016. Their average interest rate is lower than the marketplace lenders and their biggest categories are auto lending and home improvement.

Discover Bank is most well known in the US for their credit cards but they also have a robust personal loan business. In 2016 they originated $4 billion in new personal loans making them the second largest online lender in the category behind Lending Club. Unlike Lightstream, Discover’s personal loans are focused on debt consolidation so they are going directly after Lending Club and Prosper in this space. I find this a curious decision given that they have a $62 billion dollar credit card loan book (as of December 31, 2016).

The four biggest US banks are still mostly on the sidelines

JPMorgan Chase is the largest credit card issuer in the US with $142 billion in balances outstanding. Possibly because of their dominance in credit cards, they do not offer a personal loan product beyond student loans and a Home Equity Line of Credit.

Bank of America is very much like Chase in their offerings towards personal loans – they offer home equity loans and student loans. Nowhere on their website can you find an offering for personal loans.

Even though Citi is the second largest credit card issuer it does actually offer personal loans. You can apply on Citi’s website for a personal loan up to $30,000 (up to $50,000 if you apply by phone). Rates range from 7.99% to 17.99%.

Robo giant Betterment raises m in new funding round (AltFi), Rated: A

Robo-advice giant Betterment continues to grow. The platform raised a $70m (£54m) funding round, an extension of last year’s Series E.

The firm has raised nearly $300m in total since it was founded in 2008, as some question the business model of robo-advisers. The company was valued at $700m in 2016.

The funding round was led by Swedish investment company Kinnevik and included investments from Bassemer Venture Partners, Menlo Ventures and Francisco Partners.

PayPal to partner with JPMorgan (Reuters), Rated: A

PayPal Inc (PYPL.O) said on Thursday it would partner with JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N), allowing the bank’s customers to link their Chase Pay and PayPal accounts.

Fintech faithful put payments on a pedestal (Reuters), Rated: A

Fintech’s faithful are putting payments on a pedestal. Square and PayPal shares are near all-time highs – as are those of venerable outfits like Visa, MasterCard and First Data. They’re each chasing what could be a $2.3 trillion revenue business by 2019, according to McKinsey. But they can’t all be winners.

Privately held Stripe kicked off the frenzy last November when it raised $150 million in its fourth funding round. That doubled to $9.2 billion the valuation of the seven-year-old company, which builds software to allow companies to quickly set up and track digital payments.

Quarterly InsurTech Briefing Q2 2017 (CB Insights), Rated: A

In this report we focus on one of the insurance industry value chain’s most underestimated modules – claims management. It is a $170 billion global industry currently controlled approximately 90% by incumbents. And it is booming with innovation.

Download the full report here.

Catching Up with Michael Koenitzer of Global Debt Registry (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Erin: How is GDR optimising the demand for its loan level diligence solutions?  How does the platform source partnerships?

Mike: Most online loans underwriting already undergoes some form of validation. Up until recently, however, most of the industry has relied on manual document validation — it’s taken awhile for the industry to wake up to digital data validation. That’s where we come in – we offer a more efficient and a trusted method of validation than what’s been used in the lending space in the past.

Erin: Leveraging blockchain technology is becoming integral in fintech.  Please describe GDR’s new multi-party blockchain proof of concept (POC) that is designed specifically for the online lending industry. What initial issues did/do you face and how did/do you and your team resolve them?

Mike: We see blockchain as perfectly suited to the online lending space and more specifically, the set of solutions we offer our clients, because it offers a single source of data that enables clients to access an immutable audit trail. They can see the state of a given loan across its entire lifetime and that builds confidence and trust.  The more certainty investors have, the more likely they are to invest capital in the online lending space.

Erin: Distributed ledger technology is another key fintech innovation. Why has GDR initiated partnerships with the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance and Structured Finance Industry Group (SFIG) Blockchain Task Force for its strategy development?

Mike: Both organizations are naturally aligned with our role in shaping the broader conversation around blockchain adoption and what this technology can do for the online lending sector specifically. Through the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance, we’re connecting with many of the banks we’ve been working with through our portfolio of loan validation tools, and with SFIG, we’re sharing and developing best practices around securitizing those loans, working with the underwriters.

Erin: How do you see marketplace lending evolving overall?

Mike: The space is going to continue growing, but it is also going to consolidate as any industry does during the process of maturation. I also think that there will also be a reality check on how well the online lending platforms underwrote the loans and what was missed if anything in the underwriting process.  We have seen and I think we will continue to see a shift from rivalry to increased cooperation and joint ventures between traditional banks and online lenders.

MPOWER Financing Extends Student Loan Program to All 50 States Through Partnership with Bank of Lake Mills (PR Newswire), Rated: A

MPOWER Financing, an innovative fintech company and provider of educational loans to high-potential international students, has entered a new partnership with Wisconsin-based Bank of Lake Mills, which enables MPOWER Financing to offer its online lending program to students in all 50 U.S. states.

As a result, MPOWER Financing is now available to thousands more students looking to secure financing across an expanded roster of 223 universities across the nation.

MPOWER Financing is a public benefit corporation whose mission is to remove the financial barriers to higher education in the U.S. by providing the financial resources necessary for students to attend schools and complete their undergraduate or graduate studies. Founded in 2014, MPOWER Financing provides financial resources to domestic students, DACA students and international students who are often undervalued and do not fit traditional credit criteria.

Older Women Flunk Financial Literacy Quiz (Forbes), Rated: A

In a survey released today, the 2017 RICP Retirement Income Literacy Gender Differences Report, from The American College of Financial Services, only 18% of women age 60 to 75 passed. By contrast, 35% of men did (also pretty shabby, if you ask me).

Most of the women surveyed (55%) said they were extremely confident they would have enough money to live comfortably in retirement. Only a quarter of those women passed the financial literacy quiz, however.

Also, the women surveyed were less likely than the men to get financial advice and information from friends: only 27% of women consulted friends vs. 39% of men.

Some 55% of women with advisers said it is extremely important that their money pro educate them about the risks of running out of money in retirement; just 42% of men felt this way. And 60% of women said it’s important to receive education from an adviser about investment management, as opposed to only 47% of men.

S.F. real estate fintech Opendoor to expand into Florida (Biz Journals), Rated: B

The move reflects just how fast the so-called iBuyer market is expanding, as some homeowners opt for a quick sale to Opendoor or its rival OfferPad to forego the time and expense involved in a traditional home sale.

United Kingdom

How does P2P stack up against other investments? (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

But as P2P enjoys its moment in the sun, it is worth looking at how the sector stacks up against investment and savings products.

  • P2P vs Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs)

Over the past year, the FTSE 100 has broken a number of records, ending last month 12.43 per cent higher than 30 June 2016.

While the majority of P2P platforms have not been able to beat the unusually strong performance of the FTSE 100, a few have come very close. LandlordInvest and Lendy are both offering up to 12 per cent on a variety of property loans, and Ablrate has listed asset-backed loans on its site for 14 per cent.

  • P2P vs cash ISAs

As a result, the returns offered by cash ISAs have reached historic lows. By December 2016, there was not a single cash ISA offering more than one per cent, and by May 2017, P2P platforms were noticing a surge of ISA transferswhich they credited in part to low-paying cash ISAs.

Funding Circle is offering a maximum return of 7.2 per cent on its SME loans, while Zopa is offering 6.1 per cent to Zopa Plus account holders, and RateSetter is offering five-year loans at a fixed rate of 4.6 per cent.

investUP Identifies Opportunities for P2P Lenders (Bob’s Guide), Rated: B

The peer-to-peer lending industry is maturing, with the market growing at over 30% per annum, and figures suggesting it will be worth over £5 billion by the end of 2017; as such, the sector is now regulated by the FCA.

investUP is a peer-to-peer lending aggregation platform with the ability to automatically place investments for time-conscious investors. Investors enable a lending robot, driven from criteria provided by the investor, to create a bespoke algorithm which works for them. investUP is authorised and regulated by the FCA.

China

China’s shadow banking crackdown needs a bigger stick (Enterprise Innovation), Rated: AAA

For non-bankers, shadow banking leaves this perception of illicit financial services that harms economies if not the financial services industry. The reality is that shadow banking, and the non-banks that offer the service, is a welcome source of diversification of the credit supply from the banking system, and provides healthy competition for banks. At least that is what is stated in the Global Shadow Banking Monitoring Report 2016 published by the Financial Stability Board, the Swiss-based international body that monitors and recommends on the global financial system.

Mid-tier banks bear the highest risk as WMPs now account for close to 50% of their deposits, increasing their liquidity vulnerability.

Cash loans platform-2345, realized $ 14.93million profit during the first half year. (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

Cash loans platforms-2345 revealed its semi annual report last night. The revenue of the company was $159million during the first half year, increased by 127.1%.
The company’s original businesses were soft and hard ware developement. The huge increse this time due to the popular of internet finance(cash loans).

Tencent Internet insurance layout (Wall Street China), Rated: A

July 18, Taiwan Fubon gold control vice chairman Cai Mingxing said the company is working with Tencent to set up a joint venture in Shenzhen, the future of Fubon products or other company’s policy, will be in Tencent’s WeChat and other platforms. At the same time, Fubon Financial Control has received the approval of the management of robot management services, and hope that as soon as possible in the domestic launch of no one branch. This cooperation with Tencent, headquartered in Xiamen, Fubon Insurance will be through the WeChat sales insurance business.

CITIC Bank on the line of the first domestic block chain letter of credit information transmission system (01caijing.com), Rated: A

Recently, CITIC Bank on the block chain based on the domestic credit information transmission system (BCC) (BCLC) (a), which is the first time the domestic banking sector block technology will be applied to the settlement of credit. As of July 21, CITIC Bank has used BCLC to carry out real domestic letter of credit business, trading volume of more than 100 million yuan.

European Union

BNI Europa reaches profitability on its 3rd year anniversary (BNI Europa Email), Rated: AAA

Banco BNI Europa (“BNI Europa”) grew its total assets 36,7% reaching almost 500M€ in June this year. Total revenue grew 146,2% reaching 6,6M€ and the net profit was 2,7M€ allowing the bank to recover losses from 2016.

One year and half after its opening and with a new management team, the bank decided to completely change its strategy and focus on innovative products. Due to its limited resources, it also decided to create several partnerships with Fintech’s to accelerate its growth and product offering.

BNI Europa has been known for its customer centric digital platform and its attractive terms deposits and remunerated accounts. This year it launched with great success “Cereja” the reverse mortgage product for the senior consumer segment and the digital consumer credit platform “Puzzle” focused on independent workers.

The bank has also specialised in the management of alternative lending. So far, BNI Europa established twelve partnerships with European Fintech’s providing funding and credit to Banco BNI Europa across several European countries. Those credit products include consumer loans, student lending, SME medium term lending, SME revolving credit, invoice discounting and bridge lending.

Managing the fraud risk of frictionless payments (Finextra), Rated: A

Andrew Davies, VP, Global Market Strategy, Financial Crime Risk Management, Fiserv, talks about how increased speed and convenience in payments increase fraud risk, how financial institutions can address financial crime threats through technology and processes, and how firms can derive further benefits from their investment in fraud prevention – including by leveraging customer transaction information to identify new opportunities.

Watch the video interview with Davies here.

International

UBS Follows Credit Suisse Fintech Move (Finews), Rated: AAA

Zurich-based UBS has invested in New York-based fintech iCapital Network, «Crowdfund Insider» reported, without disclosing financial details of the deal.

iCapital is a digital distribution platform which provides access to private equity and hedge funds for wealthy clients and their private bankers.

UK vs. US: Liberalization of Fintech vs. More Regulation (Coin Telegraph), Rated: A

Based on the policies involving cryptocurrencies and Blockchain technologies, UK moves to liberalization of cryptocurrencies while the US looks into more regulations.

Bitcoin Foundation warns that the US is moving backwards in terms of accepting cryptocurrencies and other peer to peer banking models, which could result in the US Banking system being left behind.

Meanwhile, Britain’s new system will give fintech corporations more freedom allowing them to compete on the world stage.

FinTech and RegTech – What Next for Financial Crime’s International Standard Setter? (RUSI), Rated: A

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global standard-setter for anti-money laundering (AML) and counterterrorist finance (CTF), in May brought together more than 150 delegates for its most in-depth discussion to-date on FinTech and RegTech.

There are, however, potential vulnerabilities inherent in the sector. RUSI’s FinTech FinCrime Exchange (FFE), run in partnership with FINTRAIL, a financial crime risk management consultancy, presented on both the risks and opportunities observed during six months of industry engagement.

The most significant fintech acquisitions of 2017 so far (Bob’s Guide), Rated: A

According to KPMG’s Pulse of Fintech report, fintech VC activity in Europe has hit a historically high level for successive quarters. In Q1 2017, global investment in fintech companies hit $3.2bn across 260 deals. Q1 2017’s total capital invested soared to $610m, which was noted as the highest tally in years.

  • Broadridge Financial Solutions acquires Message Automation: Amount undisclosed
  • First Data acquires CardConnect for $750m
  • AntFinancial buys MoneyGram for $1.2bn
  • Paypal acquires TIO Networks for $233m
  • D+H and Misys merge in $4.8bn acquisition and form Finastra
  • Mastercard closes acquisition of Vocalink for $920m
  • Worldpay agrees to $10bn acquisition by Vintav
  • Klarna acquires Billpay for $75m

Time for fintechs to shine – nominations for 2017 Fintech 100 open (BizEDGE), Rated: B

Nominations are now open for the 2017 KPMG & H2 Ventures Fintech 100, the annual list designed to recognise leading fintech innovators.

Companies or any fintech that deserve to be considered for the 2017 Fintech 100 need to be nominated by Thursday, August 31.

Asia

Singapore Startup Takes Bitcoin Into Real World With Visa (Bloomberg Technology, Rated: AAA

TenX is pitching its debit card as an instant converter of multiple digital currencies into fiat money: the dollars, yen and euros that power most everyday commerce. The company said it takes a 2 percent cut from each transaction and has received orders for more than 10,000 cards. While transactions are capped at $2,000 a year, users can apply to increase the limit if they undergo identify verification procedures.

TenX currently processes about $100,000 of transactions a month. By the end of 2018, it’s targeting $100 million in monthly transactions and a million users.

Ant Financial invests in Shanghai-based fintech startup VFinance (e27), Rated: A

Ant Financial, the financial services affiliate of Alibaba, has made a strategic investment in VFinance (维金), a Shanghai-based startup providing digital financial infrastructure solutions to enterprises in China, according to VFinance’s announcement.

At a press conference on July 18, VFinance also signed strategic cooperation with MyBank (网商银行), an online bank launched by Ant Financial in 2015.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor