Monday March 5 2018, Daily News Digest

marketplace lending

News Comments Today’s main news: Kabbage says ‘no’ to lending for assault guns. Collateral enters administration. Orix invests $60M in Wecash. SMBs accept face-to-face payments via mobile devices. Today’s main analysis: The friction between new finance and old regulations (a must-read report). Today’s thought-provoking articles: 3 lessons from LendingClub’s earnings. The business schools that produce the highest salaries. Beware fintechs […]

marketplace lending

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Africa

News Summary

United States

Online lender Kabbage to restrict weapons lending (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Kabbage Inc, a U.S. online lender for small businesses, said it will cut ties with clients that make or sell assault-style rifles or that sell weapons or ammunition to people under 21 years old, one of the strongest steps by any financial firm after last month’s high school massacre in Florida.

3 Revelations From LendingClub’s Earnings Report (The Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

1. Lawsuit settlements

One piece of good news is that the company recently dealt with its largest liabilities from the 2016 scandal, settling both federal and state class action shareholder lawsuits. The bad news: LendingClub has to pay plaintiffs a total of $125 million, with $47.75 million covered by insurance, leaving LendingClub on the hook for the remaining $77.25 million. That amounts to roughly 12% of the company’s liquid assets and about 5% of the current market capitalization.

2. A challenging environment

In addition to these company-specific problems, the macroeconomic environment has become more challenging, though that is no fault of LendingClub. Increased awareness of personal loans delivered via the internet has spurred a large increase in applications, and LendingClub saw a 43% increase in applications in 2017 — much higher than the company’s 3.7% growth in originations.

3. Cost cuts in 2018

LendingClub believes it has stabilized both its credit model and its investor base in 2017 while introducing new investor products, and it will pivot in 2018 to focusing on controlling costs. Part of that will entail outsourcing its loan servicing to industry-standard third parties while reallocating internal engineers to the things that differentiate the company, like data-driven underwriting and product innovation.

For the full year 2018, the company forecasts 18% to 22% revenue growth while targeting cost growth of only 14% to 16%.

 

The top 20 business schools where graduates earn the most money, ranked from lowest to highest salary (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

With that in mind, online lender SoFi looked at the average salary graduates of American business schools earn and ranked the top 20.

SoFi’s approach is unique. It reviewed the self-reported income on over 60,000 student-loan refinancing forms from January 2014 to December 2017.

The average salary for graduates of all business schools SoFi reviewed was $109,992.

  • 20. University of Texas at Austin — $139,776
  • 3. Stanford University — $186,534
  • 2. Columbia University — $189,295
  • 1. University of Pennsylvania — $224,034

There is Friction Between New Finance & Old Regulation (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The Milken Institute is out with a comprehensive report this week that drills down into existing legislative action by Congress that addresses the emerging Fintech industry. This is the first report of its kind and provides a solid perspective on what Congress has accomplished to date while recognizing the fact elected officials can do far more.

“Subjecting nonbank lenders to 50 different state usury laws is inconsistent with today’s increasingly interconnected and digital global economy.”

The research provides multiple policy recommendations. In brief, they are as follows:

  • Provide certainty on “true lender” and “valid when made” issues to maintain a vibrant, competitive marketplace for credit.
  • Harmonize inconsistent state-by-state regulations related to mobile banking to drive financial inclusion and access.
  • Update tax reporting guidelines regarding cryptocurrency transactions to protect against tax evasion and to promote a more transparent, responsible marketplace.
  • Enable the reporting of alternative data that can expand access to credit.
  • Develop common reporting standards among U.S. financial regulators to foster a more transparent marketplace.
  • Require the IRS to automate certain data collection and reporting processes that can help enhance the speed and efficacy of the underwriting process.

This report is a must read policy paper for Capitol Hill staffers and US Fintech industry participants.

Read the full report here.

Equity and Credit Market Volatility, Continuing Bank-FinTech Partnerships (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

US equity markets had a bad week as the S&P500 closed 3.3% lower at 2,659. CDX IG spreads widened marginally by 0.6 bps to 55 bps and CDX HY spreads widened by 8.7 bps to 337 bps. We have seen significantly higher volatility this year, driven mainly by rising interest rates and inflation expectations. No new MPL deals have priced since the rise in volatility, although we expect the first $1 Bn MPL ABS transaction to announce soon.

We share a few anecdotes from our informal conversations which we share in generic fashion to protect the innocent:

  • A large issuer: “Our bonds are oversubscribed 2 to 3x. And when we share that with our investors they want more.”
  • A large ABS investor: “We need help monitoring losses in the personal loan ABS space. Is this an indutry issue?”
  • A large investment bank (Warehouse): “We ar doubling our exposure to warehouse lending. We have the mandate to grow the book.”
  • A large investment bank (Syndicate Desk): “MPL has gone mainstream now.”
  • A lender: “The 5% risk retention requirement is hurting our ability to issue loans to consumer and grow our business responsibly.”
  • An issuer: “We are a small emerging originator and we have 7 term sheets – from large banks and small – in the last few weeks. Competition in warehouse lending is growing.”

Also heard at the conference was that Citibank is planning a Marcus-like online lender to enter the consumer unsecured loans space, although the timeline was unclear. Our view is that the GS Marcus – and specifically the ROE and NIM opportunity – is inspiring competitive response from other banks including Citi.

Marketplace lenders develop new wrinkles to attract more funding (American Banker), Rated: A

Last year, marketplace lenders learned that maintaining diverse sources of funding is just as important as managing the credit risk in their loans.

LendingClub, Marlette Funding and others developed their own securitization platforms, rather than relying on whole-loan sales to large investors. They also invited some of these investors to contribute seasoned loans to collateral pools for these in-house deals.

Marketplace lending’s death has been over exaggerated (PaymentsSource), Rated: A

It’s clear that equity investors no longer see the value of marketplace lenders, such as companies that provide credit at the point of sale or online lending.

Source: PaymentSource

A typical lender leverages equity into debt at a fixed ratio. If they want to grow their portfolio they have to raise equity and lever it into more debt. An off-balance sheet marketplace eliminates the equity-debt leverage ratio allowing a lender to double and triple their portfolio as quickly as they can grow their marketplace.

The SEC Goes Hot with ICO Subpoenas but are Regulators “on Shaky Legal Ground?” (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The fact the Securities and Exchange Commission has been issuing subpoenas to initial coin offering (ICOs) issuers has been rumored for quite some time. Recently, multiple publications, including Crowdfund Insider, revealed this fact. The SEC has been warning of this sort of activity for many months and, while not surprising to most, it is an unpleasant moment for an issuer when that subpoena shows up.

Mulvaney says the CFPB will depend heavily on state Attorneys General for enforcement of consumer protection laws (Lexology), Rated: B

For example, the acting director noted that the agency will devote greater resources to consumer education, instead of relying heavily on enforcement actions to ensure consumers make the correct choices, reaffirming previous remarks in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece (previously covered by InfoBytes here).

Mulvaney stated that he does not anticipate devoting any further resources to mandatory arbitration clauses, citing Congress overturning its arbitration rule through the Congressional Review Act as evidence the Bureau does not have the authority to do so.

3rd Circuit holds payday lender’s arbitration clause unenforceable (Lexology), Rated: B

On February 27, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit held that an arbitration clause is unenforceable if the corresponding forum selection provision designates a forum that does not actually exist.

The benefits of fintech for the credit invisible (microbilt), Rated: A

 

Rethinking The Reputation Of The Merchant Cash Advance (PYMNTS), Rated: A

The rise of alternative lending and familiarity of growing names like OnDeck is beginning to shift public perception of the merchant cash advance, however.

There are scenarios, too, in which a merchant cash advance may actually be the best financial option for a business in need of working capital.

“We see a lot of clients who already have a long-term equipment loan, or an SBA loan, or a loan from a traditional bank or a factoring line, and they’re looking to unlock short-term liquidity from their business,” he said. “When you take out an SBA loan or equipment loan, you have to have some type of collateral to pledge, and that money can dry up quickly. We come in un-collateralized.”

One driver behind the shifting reputation of merchant cash advances is the industry’s participation in technology adoption and innovation.

At Best Egg, talk is a best practice (American Banker), Rated: B

So, every quarter, he and the company’s management team host an all-hands meeting and outline to the company’s 100-plus employees what the most important goal for the next 90 days will be.

So the word went out to employees that for the time being, efforts to grow the business would have to take a back seat to making certain that the existing business was profitable. According to Meiler, it was employees’ focus on the task that helped Best Egg rack up $11 million in GAAP profits last year, even as competitors were still posting operating losses in the tens of millions of dollars. And, he adds, the company still grew its business by 60% anyhow.

Best Fintechs to Work For (American Banker), Rated: A

Office exercise happens beyond a standing desk at many of the companies. NvoicePay not only provides stretching areas and lockers to employees, it offers monthly classes with a certified trainer and kinesiologist. Marlette Funding’s Best Egg unit offers employees self-defense classes on site, along with yoga.

And if you like the beach, check out nCino, where employees regularly go for early morning paddleboat sessions at nearby Wrightsville Beach in Wilmington, N.C., and SmartbizLoans, which hosts “Disco Yoga” at San Francisco’s Baker Beach.

Addressing an employee’s well-being and comfort comes in different forms, whether it is Cross River Bank’s policy of providing 100% of the premium for various insurance benefits covering employees and their families, Nav’s unlimited paid time off option for employees, or Ensenta’s tradition of celebrating workforce diversity with multiple holidays, including Kwanzaa, Diwali, and the Day of the Dead.

To keep burnout in check, PeerStreet mixes play with hard work (American Banker), Rated: A

To that end, they’ve established a company that regularly celebrates its successes and milestones with parties, and encourages employees to get together and have fun in nonwork environments. A prime example of the latter is the PeerStreet Olympics, an annual event in which the company is divided for a day into teams of friendly athletic competition, some of which takes place on the beach near its Southern California offices.

United Kingdom

Peer-to-peer lender Collateral enters administration (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Collateral (UK), a small P2P company offering pawnbroker-style and property-backed loans with 15 per cent returns, went into administration on Wednesday after it emerged that it was not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority.

BondMason offers to step in on Collateral loans (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

PEER-TO-PEER investor BondMason has offered to step in and manage the loanbook of the troubled Collateral platform.

BondMason, which invests in loans across more than 30 P2P platforms on behalf of investors, revealed it has invested 2.48 per cent of its portfolio through Collateral, which has fallen into administration.

P2P platforms reassure investors after Collateral closure (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

PEER-TO-PEER lending firms have been reassuring their investors about the safety of their platforms in the aftermath of Collateral going into administration.

Business lenders Ablrate and MoneyThing have both sent messages to their customers detailing their stability, performance and regulatory requirements that mean they have to hold client money separately and have a ‘living will’ that puts a plan in place should a business fail.

Growth in the number of Zombie businesses in the South East says report (Daily Echo), Rated: A

The proportion of south east companies which are only paying the interest on their debts – one of the signs of a so-called ‘zombie’ business – has risen to four per cent in December from one per cent in April 2017, according to indicative research by R3, the insolvency and restructuring trade body.

This represents around 12,000 businesses in the region.

Beware Fintech Firms Bearing Bitcoin (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Rather than try and undercut banks, or chase millennial savers’ pennies at a loss, fintech firms are now leaping at the chance to make serious cash through a technology that most banks won’t even touch. What’s more, Bitcoin has the power to take over people’s lives. One trader says it’s worse than gambling; Korea calls victims “zombies.”

Here’s a roll call of recent converts: Mobile-payments firm Square Inc. has rolled out Bitcoin trading; social-payments app Circle splashed $400 million on Poloniex, only about 15 months after it had stopped offering bitcoin trading; and money-transfer company Revolut has started offering crypto trading facilities.

Trading platform Coinbase booked more than $1 billion in revenue last year, according to Recode, which, if true, is more than peer-to-peer marketplace Lending Club and more than Square. On top of the money to be made from trading fees and asset-price gains, Bitcoin could also act as a lure, helping startups cross-sell their other products to a bigger audience.

 

London Fintech Humaniq Launches New Version of Mobile App (Crowfund Insider), Rated: A

On Friday, London-based FinTech firm Humaniq revealed it is marking the milestone of its mobile app reaching its first 50,000 downloads by unveiling a new, improved version.

Some of the new features include:

  • New referral program: The new 2.0 referral program will build on this by displaying community progress with referrals and thereby make the referral process more transparent and intuitive for all users.
  • Transaction options extension: Transactions can now be made through the messaging chat system.
  • New registration process: Allows users to start interacting with a Humaniq assistant bot, which becomes smarter and is learning to execute more useful commands, even without the registration.

Peer-to-peer lender Linked Finance helps firms to add 2,400 jobs (The Times), Rated: A

The country’s largest peer-to-peer lending platform said that it had supported the creation of more than 2,400 jobs since it began its Irish operations almost five years ago.

Linked Finance, which connects local businesses in need of loans with an online lending community of individuals, institutions and other investors, said firms that had borrowed money through its platform had raised staffing levels by 24 per cent on average.

City Moves for 5 March 2018 – who’s switching jobs at ArchOver? (City A.M.), Rated: B

ArchOver, the peer-to-peer (P2P) business lending platform, has announced Bill Johnston will join its board of directors as a non-executive director (NED). In his role, Bill will support ArchOver in formularising its training and development programme, to ensure it has the right talent in place as it continues to scale.

China

Orix invests $ 60m in Chinese fintech startup (Asian Review), Rated: AAA

Japanese financial services group Orix bought a 6.4 billion yen ($59.8 million) stake in Wecash, a Chinese startup that uses big data and artificial intelligence to rate consumer credit.

Wecash can calculate a consumer’s creditworthiness in 10 seconds or less using phone records and other personal information, and has partnered with dozens of financial institutions so far. It also suggests potential lenders to consumers looking to take out a loan.

Only about 30% of the Chinese population is believed to borrow money from banks.

Hong Kong gives fintech measures the thumbs up (Asia Asset Management), Rated: B

Hong Kong will allocate HK$500 million (US$64.1 million) to financial services, including fintech, over the next five years, Mr. Chan said in the budget speech.

European Union

We talked to Nordic fintech queen Lena Apler – and her message to legacy banks is reboot or die (Business Insider), Rated: A

Big banks are particularly exposed when it comes to ETF funds. The fast-growing $5 trillion-dollar industry is being challenged by a crop of robo advisors, such as Apler’s portfolio company Sigmastocks, an algorithm-powered tool that tailors portfolios for customers, or BetterWealth, a roboadvisor app.

Although the region’s leading banks, such as Danske, Nordea and Swedbank are doing some good things and building new digital banking products and roboadvisory capabilities, Apler says, it won’t be enough.

Apler’s online bank Collector, which received its full banking license in 2015, has expanded to comprise cards, saving accounts and quick loans to both consumers and businesses. Collector doesn’t face the same issues as legacy banks in a digital world, Apler explains.

International

SMBs Turn To Mobile Devices To Accept Payments In Face-To-Face Environments (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

The retail point-of-sale (POS) terminal market is no stagnant business. While it is currently a $15 billion industry, Global Market Insights is expecting it to reach $45 billion by the year 2024.

Only 13 percent of small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are considering adding new payment types to face-to-face and remote environments, according to The PYMNTS SMB Technology Adoption Index.

Here are five ways SMBs are accepting payments from their customers.

  1. About a quarter – or 26 percent – of SMBs use hardware and software integrated POS to accept payments in a face-to-face environment.
  2. Almost two in 10 – or 19 percent of SMBs – use check scanning to accept payments in a face-to-face environment.
  3. And just about the same amount – 18 percent – of SMBs use NFC-enabled terminals to accept payments in a face-to-face environment.
  4. Fourteen percent of SMBs use mobile phones to accept payments in a face-to-face environment.
  5. Just under one in 10 – or 8 percent – of SMBs use mobile tablets. 

AltFin Shines As Investor Interest In B2B FinTech Continues (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Total venture capital across the global FinTech market between 2010 and 2017 hit a combined $97.7 billion, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 47 percent.

Accenture highlighted Kabbage, the U.S. alternative small business lending firm, that secured $900 million in 2017, while other alternative finance players, like LendingPoint and SoFi, landed significant investment rounds.

This week, alternative lender C2FO showed that the alternative finance funding gears are still turning, landing $100 million from Allianz X and Mubadala Investment Company. Existing backers Temasek, Union Square Ventures and Mithril Capital also participated, an announcement said.

This week’s blockchain investment comes from Square Peg Capital, which provided $5.5 million in Series A funding to AgriDigital, an Australian company hoping to use the funds to expand into North America.

Reports in The Australian Financial Review this week said the company uses blockchain to facilitate supply chain finance to the agriculture business, offering supply chain management features also powered by distributed ledger technology.

Why More MBA Students Are Gunning For Careers In Fintech (Business Because), Rated: A

According to CB Insights, $4.7 trillion of revenue generated by financial services firms is at risk of being displaced by fintech startups.

Prominent business school alumni have founded successful fintech startups, such as Giles Andrews, who setup peer-to-peer lender Zopa after getting an MBA at INSEAD. Jeff Lynn and Carlos Silva developed crowdfunding platform Seedrs during their MBA at Oxford’s Saïd Business School. According to PwC’s Global Fintech Report 2017, funding of fintech startups has increased at an annual growth rate of 41% over the past four years, with $40 billion in cumulative investment made.

Niels Turfboer is UK managing director at Spotcap, the Berlin-based online lender.

Lending and profit on the blockchain – Bitstrades targets new markets (The Merkle), Rated: B

Bitstrades is clearly aiming to position itself as a complete platform that both links users together and also leverages economies of scale to make both lending and investing possible. The Bitstrades ICO raised millions in funding and now the BSS token is available for trading.

TigerWit Raises $ 5M in Funding (Finsmes), Rated: B

TigerWit, a global fintech company, secured $5m in funding.

Australia/New Zealand

Financial planners not needed in credit space (TheAdviser), Rated: A

Bringing financial planners into the credit space would be unnecessary, according to a Commonwealth Bank executive, as there are more than enough brokers to service the mortgage needs of Australians.

The CBA executive said: “With 16,000 brokers out in the marketplace, we’re certainly not in a position where we need more people to serve Australians well in meeting their mortgage needs. For me, it’s certainly not a quantity issue.

The PC has also alleged that brokers working for lender-owned aggregators could feel compelled to provide customers with home loan products offered by the bank with an ownership share of the business.

Commissioner Stephen King referenced CBA’s ownership of Aussie Home Loans and cited figures published in the PC’s report, which said that 37 per cent of loans written by Aussie brokers were for CBA products.

We launch a new calculator that figures out the true “cost of credit” of a loan contract (Interest.co.nz), Rated: B

This one will be very helpful for readers who know just three things: how much they are borrowing, the amount of their repayments, and the number of those repayments.

It will be very useful indeed for anyone contemplating taking out a personal loan, a car loan, or even a payday loan.

With just these three items, you can work out the effective cost of credit of the debt obligation, expressed as a % per annum.

India

FY 19 – Beginning of a New Era for P2P Lending in FinTech Sector (India Info Online), Rated: AAA

India is poised to be a USD 4-trillion economy by 2022, of which USD 1-trillion would be digital economy.

Digital economy was a focal point for this budget ’18 as government’s support with regard to lending MSME’s allocated 3794 crore in the form of capital support and interest subsidy by 2022 which will help develop the MSME sector. Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) contribute about a third of India’s manufacturing output and provide employment to over 10 crore people. Despite this, the share of institutional lending in the total borrowings of MSMEs is less than 10%.

The prudential guidelines include maximum leverage ratio that can be maintained (2 times), minimum net owned funds (Rs2 crore), cap on aggregate exposure of lender to all borrowers (Rs.10 lakh), borrowers across all P2P (Rs10 lakh), exposure of single lender to borrower (Rs50,000) and maturity of loans (not exceed 36 months).

Signzy is helping banks solve customer authentication, onboarding problems with blockchain-based solution (YourStory), Rated: B

Signzy developed blockchain and AI-based solutions to digitally identify, verify, and authenticate customers. Its onboarding solution, Real KYC, has now been deployed by more than 45 large clients, including leading banks, NBFCs, mutual funds, P2P lending platforms, payment wallets, and so on.

Africa

Nigerian banks are using Facebook Messenger to onboard small businesses (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Mastercard is working with Facebook Messenger to bring a digital payments and banking experience to small businesses in Nigeria, in an effort to incentivize Nigerian merchants to close the mobile payments adoption gap and bring them onto the formal financial grid.

The payments giant, which has said it’s in the business of killing cash, is bringing this initiative to a country where 98 percent of the $301 billion in consumer-to-business payments is transacted using cash.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday January 24 2018, Daily News Digest

InsurTech

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi hires Noto to be CEO. StreetShares secures $23M in equity to reach military, veteran market. Zopa fills positions for bank launch. Dianrong raises $70M. Yirendai signs onto Internet Finance Industry Credit Information Sharing Platform. Tera Funding sets Korean fundraising record. Today’s main analysis: FT Partners publishes 2017 InsurTech Almanac (a must-read). Today’s thought-provoking articles: […]

InsurTech

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

Asia

Lending Times News

News Summary

United States

SoFi Names Anthony Noto Chief Executive Officer (SoFi), Rated: AAA

SoFi today announced that its Board of Directors has named Anthony Noto as chief executive officer and a director, effective March 1.

Twittter executive leaves to run SoFi (SF Gate), Rated: A

In Noto, SoFi has chosen a fast-rising executive in the tech industry. Noto, 49, was one of the most respected bankers at Goldman Sachs before becoming the chief financial officer of the National Football League and then Twitter.

Twitter dips after a key executive leaves for online lending startup SoFi (Business Insider), Rated: A

  • Shares of Twitter slid on Tuesday morning after the online lending startup SoFi announced that Anthony Noto, Twitter’s chief operating officer, will be joining the company as its new CEO, effective March 1. 
  • Twitter has suffered from several departures of key executives in the past two years as the company struggles to bring value to shareholders.
Source: Business Insider

SoFi’s Incoming CEO Brings IPO Experience to a Troubled FinTech (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Noto, who worked on technology, media and telecom deals at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. before joining Twitter in 2014, brings to the job a background in tech and finance. Beyond Twitter’s nascent revival, his turnaround abilities are largely untested. But given his history of taking companies public — including Twitter — a SoFi IPO is very much a possibility, according to people familiar with the situation. Furthermore, they say, it’ll be nice to have an adult in the room after all the recent turmoil.

SoFi Wealth, launched last year and harbored ambitions to quickly manage $100 million in assets, Bloomberg News reported in October. It grew slowly until last quarter, when it tripled its assets from September to $42.3 million as of Jan. 18, spokesman Jim Prosser said. The average account holds about $4,300. Other digital wealth startups have north of $10 billion under management.

FT Partners Research Publishes 2017 InsurTech Almanac (FT Partners), Rated: AAA

Highlights of the 2017 Almanac:

  • 2017 was a very active year for the InsurTech sector globally, with the most financings ever (over 200) and more than $2 billion in financing volume
  • While the total announced financing dollar volume for 2017 was lower than in the prior two years, when excluding rounds over $50 million, the volume reached a record high of approximately $1.3 billion
  • Of the four largest financings this year, two were in the Online Health Insurance space (Bright Health and Clover Health), one was in the Telematics space (Nauto) and one was in Online P&C Insurance (Lemonade)
  • 2017 also featured another wave of mid-range to larger financing rounds for InsurTech companies founded in the last several years, including Next Insurance’s $35 mm Series A, The Zebra’s $40 mm Series B, Health IQ’s $35 mm Series C, PolicyGenius’ $30 mm Series C and Trov’s $45 mm Series D
  • Europe had significant increases in financing activity, the largest out of any region this year — financing volume and deal count both grew by more than 2x; the region also recorded its largest InsurTech financing ever: BIMA’s $107 million raise led by Allianz X, which was the fifth largest financing globally in 2017
  • Among the cohort of InsurTech companies founded since 2010, this year marked two milestones:
    • First IPO: China-based ZhongAn (SEHK:6060) raised approximately $1.5 billion
    • Largest acquisition: Guidewire acquired Cyence for $275 million
Source: FT Partners

Download and read the full report here.

California Insurtech Hippo Secures $ 25 Million Through Series B Financing Round (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Hippo, the California-based insurtech company that is transforming home insurance for savvy homeowners, announced on Monday it secured $25 million in Series B funding round, which was led by Comcast Ventures and Fifth Wall. The investment comes less than two weeks after Hippo announced it formed a strategic partnership with Spinnaker Insurance Company.

OnDeck Announces Date of Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2017 Earnings Conference Call (OnDeck), Rated: B

OnDeck (NYSE:ONDK), the leader in online lending for small business, will report its fourth quarter and full year 2017 financial results on Tuesday, February 13, at approximately 7:00 a.m. EST. The company will host a conference call to discuss the results at 8:00 a.m. EST that same day.

The conference call will be webcast live on the company’s Investor Relations website or listeners can access the call toll free by dialing (833) 227-5836 for calls within the U.S., or by dialing (647) 689-4063 for international calls. The Conference ID passcode is 5468078.

StreetShares Secures $ 23 Million Equity Funding to Scale for the Military and Veteran Market (StreetShares Email), Rated: AAA

StreetShares, Inc., the leading small business funding and government contract financing company serving the military and veteran market, announced today it has completed its Series B funding round, raising $23 million in fresh equity capital. The Series B round was led by a $20 million investment from Rotunda Capital Partners, LLC, and included an additional $3 million from existing investors, including veteran-focused venture firm, Stony Lonesome Group.

AutoGravity Milestone: Exceeds $ 2 Billion in Finance Amount Request in 2017 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

AutoGravity, a California-based Fintech on a mission to transform car shopping and financing, announced last week it surpassed $2 billion in finance amount requested in 2017.

Central Pacific Bank adds Elevate Credit executive to board of directors (Pacific Business News), Rated: A

Honolulu-based Central Pacific Financial Corp. has appointed Christopher Lutes as director of the boards of CPF and Central Pacific Bank.

Lutes has been the chief financial officer of Elevate Credit Inc. and its predecessor company, which specializes in tech-enabled online credit solutions, since 2007.

LoanDepot to offer agent, contractor referrals to mortgage shoppers (The Orange County Register), Rated: A

Borrowers signing up for a mortgage through LoanDepot soon can get real estate agent referrals from the online lender as well.

And later this year, people getting home-improvement loans will be able to get the names of contractors, architects, roofers and other professionals.

loanDepot Expands mello Brand (PR Newswire), Rated: A

LD Holdings Group, LLC, parent company of loanDepot, the nation’s second largest non-bank consumer lender, today announced continued expansion beyond its profitable mortgage and personal loan businesses.  In Q1, a newly formed venture, mello Home, will connect pre-approved homebuyers with verified real estate agents in their local market, and help consumers find and hire home improvement and other pros.

Fintech startup wants to help advisers find and sell muni bonds (InvestmentNews), Rated: A

It’s like Zillow, but for bonds.

That’s the idea behind Bond Navigator, a cloud-based digital marketplace for advisers to find and evaluate municipal bonds, that launched Tuesday from startup 280 CapMarkets.

Amazon, PayPal to head to Vegas ABS bash (GlobalCapital), Rated: A

Amazon has already tapped the securitization markets as part of a plan to shift the risk of its business lending programme off its balance sheet.

Amazon has stated in previous quarterly reports that it intends to transfer more of the risk of its seller financing programme to third parties.

Similarly, PayPal has expressed interest in funding its credit portfolio through third parties, including bank lending, securitization, private equity and sovereign wealth funds, although the company told GlobalCapital in August that this would unlikely be a near term project.

Acorns wants to bring investing and education together (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Many financial services companies, both startups and incumbents, talk about the importance of customers’ financial education but how they integrate it into their own offerings often manifests as no more than a dedicated content marketing section or blog. Acorns itself has an online magazine called Grow that features news, financial how-tos and interviews with celebrities like Kevin Durant, Ian Kahn and Tony Robbins.

First Bank Goes Big into Peer To Peer Lending, Launches “Cent” (Business Insider), Rated: A

For personal banking customers of First Bank, the largest community bank headquartered in North Carolina, transferring money to family and friends is now as simple as hitting “Cent.”

On January 22, First Bank launched Cent, its new quick-money transfer tool, allowing personal banking users of the bank’s mobile banking application to send money to anyone, anytime, anywhere in the U.S., regardless of if the recipient banks with First Bank or not. And there are no fees.

Marketplace Lending In 2018: A DIY Mindset (mondaq), Rated: A

There is no doubt marketplace lending, by offering speed and flexibility not historically seen in traditional banking, has done its part to foster the “do it yourself” (DIY) era.

The industry’s rapid growth reflects in part the entry of more than 100 new players in the market in less than a decade.

6 Business Loan Scams and How to Spot Them (AllBusiness), Rated: A

1. The peer lending scam

Peer-to-peer lending has become one of the most important sources of online financing. Unfortunately, there are some shadowy operators out there, using Facebook Messenger and other less traditional avenues to hook in victims.

The scam works like this: You’ll be contacted out of the blue and offered peer-to-peer financing, then asked to pay an arrangement fee or fork out for background checks. You’ll never see the promised cash and you could lose quite a bit of money, as well as data that can be used for identity theft.

4. The credit repair scam

Most young businesses have an inadequate credit score. It’s a simple fact of life. However, there are plenty of predators out there who’ll be keen to convince you that they have the expertise and tools to transform your score—in return for a hefty fee, of course.

5. The loan broker scam

Loan brokers exist to identify the right products for your business, make introductions to lenders, and prepare the paperwork to ensure a smooth process. There are plenty of legitimate and professional brokers, who get paid a commission from lenders for arranging loans; unfortunately, there are also quite a few sharks, who charge upfront fees for the same service.

2018 Predictions and Pitfalls In Finance and Investing (AlleyWatch), Rated: A

Online and Alternative Investing Will Remain Strong: The amount of investors using online investing and alternative options will continue to remain strong, especially for both Baby Boomer and Millennial investors. Online investing exposes investors to a larger number of companies driving innovation, and, many online investors are starting to realize an ROI from their online investing activities. In spring 2017, the number of people who lived in a household that used an online investing/stock trading service within the last 12 months amounted to 15.79 million.

LendingTree Announces Top Customer-Rated Lenders by Loan Product for Q4 2017 (PR Newswire), Rated: B

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

Mortgage Category

#1 Winner:  LenderFi, Inc.

Personal Loans Category

#1 Winner: Upgrade

Business Loans Category

#1 Winner: Seek Capital

Auto Loans Category

#1 Winner: RefiJet

Don’t Let Payday Lenders Off the Hook (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Payday lending can be a useful service. A two-week loan of $500 at 400 percent annualized interest can make sense if, say, you need to fix your truck to get to work. Unfortunately, the industry has long made much of its money by trapping customers in a series of consecutive loans that can end up costing many times the amount borrowed. A patchwork of state laws has done little to combat such practices.

CFPB Drops Investigation Into Payday Lender That Contributed To Mick Mulvaney’s Campaigns (International Business Times), Rated: A

Payday lender World Acceptance Corporation announced in a press releaseMonday that it received a letter from the CFPB stating that the financial watchdog had closed its nearly four-year investigation into the company’s marketing and lending practices. The company, which is headquartered in South Carolina, has given at least $4,500 in campaign donations to Mulvaney, who represented South Carolina in the House for six years before becoming President Donald Trump’s budget director last year.

Bye, bye, boomers — banks are looking toward millennials (Chicago Tribune), Rated: A

Sorry, boomers, but the world of banking and insurance isn’t so interested in you anymore. You’re getting too old to buy insurance and too conservative with your investments. And your time horizons are too short to be very profitable to the investment world. The financial services industry is aiming at millennials now.

–Six in 10 millennials are hesitant to discuss their situation with friends because they are embarrassed that they make less money or are ashamed of poor financial decision in their past.

–Only 12 percent of millennials feel very prepared for their financial future.

–Only one-third of millennials feel like they make enough to pay for bills and also save for the future.

Todd Ruppert Joins Money360 Board of Advisors (Business Insider), Rated: B

Money360, a technology-enabled direct lender specializing in commercial real estate loans, today announced that effective immediately, Todd Ruppert, former CEO and president of T. Rowe Price Global Investment Services, has joined the company’s Board of Advisors.

Ten Ways Young Can People Build A Strong Credit Record (Forbes), Rated: B

According to a report by WalletHub, young people struggle with low credit scores partially because they don’t have the time behind them to establish wealth and experience.

  1. Set Up Automatic Payments
  2. Get A Low-Limit Credit Card – Charging small items to a credit card and then paying it off in full every month builds credit in no time. You can find offers for these at creditcards.com and similar sites, with many offering cards with a $300 limit or so.
  3. Piggyback Off Of Others First – By becoming an authorized user on someone’s credit card, you can start building credit from their payments.
  4. Build A Credit History – It is not uncommon to get a 0% or 2% auto loan these days, and this way of building credit history is brilliant.
  5. Minimize Unsecured Debt
United Kingdom

Zopa expands executive team ahead of bank launch (Finextra), Rated: AAA

P2P lender Zopa has begun building the executive team for the launch of its new challenger bank later this year, appointing a CFO, chief risk officer and chief customer officer.

Chief financial officer Steve Hulme joins from Tandem Money where he was CFO for the last two years. Before Tandem, Hulme served as CFO for PayPal’s global credit business and as CFO for Capital One’s UK and Canadian business.

He will be joined by former TSB man Phillip Dransfield as chief risk officer. Dransfield has a 20-year track record in risk management taking in two of the counttry’s largest high street banks.

The left-field appointment of chief marketing officer goes to Clare Gambardella from health and fitness brand Virgin Active.

How UK fintech startups are preparing for open banking (ComputerWorldUK), Rated: AAA

Major banks are scrambling fast to not only comply with the regulation by opening up their APIs, but are also looking to leverage the new open landscape to separate themselves from their competitors and avoid being bitten by these fintech startups.

Take HSBC UK, which has proved itself to be an early mover when it comes to PSD2 by announcing a new beta app which will allow customers to see all of their accounts on one screen, even if they are with a rival bank.

However, UK challenger banks like Monzo and Starling, as well as some other fintech startups listed below, have been working towards the idea of open banking for some time now.

Monzo

According to a blog post by Simon Vans-Colina, an engineer at Monzo, the new API, which they are calling the AIS API, “will be made available to particular companies, that have been granted authorisation as AISPs.

Iwoca

As CEO Christoph Rieche explained to our sister site Techworld, real-time access to customers’ transactional data, which the banks have traditionally held onto for current accounts, is very valuable to his company.

Chip

“In a utopia consumers can start to grant affordability criteria to a lender, provide transaction data to a savings mechanism like Chip, or income data to a mortgage lender,” he said. “You can choose exactly which data you want which third parties to access, so it puts control into the customer’s hands.”

TrueLayer

Founder Francesco Simoneschi likes to compare TrueLayer to Twilio or Stripe, two companies that provide simple, secure and regulated access to core infrastructure (be it telco networks or payments infrastructure, respectively) through a core API.

So TrueLayer sits between the new breed of fintech companies looking to deliver value from newly opened customer financial data, and underlying banking infrastructure, charging a small fee for access to the API.

Emma

Cofounder Edoardo Moreni wrote in a blog post at the time: “Emma is currently building the banking app for millennials (iOS and Android), a mobile-only solution that helps consumers avoid overdrafts, find and cancel subscriptions, track debt and save money.

Debt tracker Emma integrates with Monzo (AltFi), Rated: A

After receiving its FCA approval last week as a Registered Account Information Services Provider (RAISP), subscriptions and debt tracking app Emma has now announced its first official integration with digital bank Monzo.

SME bosses aware of P2P lending but cautious about using it (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

Research among 200 SMEs by recruitment specialist Tindall Perry found while 74 per cent of finance directors describe their knowledge of alternative finance as average or above, only a quarter suggested that they were comfortable with accessing crowdfunding, with P2P lending also scoring less than 50 per cent.

In contrast, 85 per cent of companies said that they understood how best to access asset-based lending, while invoice finance, trade finance and venture capital all saw a positive response rate of between 55 and 75 per cent.

Top bankers warn of financial stability threats amid the calm (City A.M.), Rated: B

Speaking at the World Economic Forum, the annual gathering of the global elite in the Swiss ski resort, she said: “We have far fewer tools to deal with any event that happens.” Richards predicted an upset could occur “somewhere where none of us are looking”, and highlighted peer-to-peer lending as an example.

Current financial conditions have echoes of the pre-crisis era, according to Jes Staley, chief executive of Barclays, speaking at the same event. While he said he believes banks are much less of a threat to stability than a decade ago, he warned that current benign conditions may not last.

China

Dianrong Increases Series D Round Funding by US$ 70 Million (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Dianrong today announced additional Series D round funding of US$70 million that was led by ORIX Asia Capital Limited, a wholly-owned investment vehicle of ORIX Corporation, and included CLSA, the overseas platform of CITIC Securities, China’s largest investment bank, which in turn is a part of CITIC Group, one of China’s largest conglomerates.

Japan’s Orix invests $ 60 mln in Chinese P2P lender Dianrong (Reuters), Rated: A

Orix Corp has invested $60 million in peer-to-peer lending platform Dianrong, in what is the Japanese financial firm’s first investment in a Chinese fintech venture as it looks to tap into the fast-expanding sector, sources said.

Yirendai Connects to NIFA’s Internet Finance Industry Credit Information Sharing Platform (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Yirendai Ltd. (NYSE: YRD) (“Yirendai” or the “Company”), a fintech company in China, announced today that it has connected to the Internet Finance Industry Credit Information Sharing Platform (“the Platform”) established by the National Internet Finance Association of China (“NIFA”). The Platform was established to serve as an industry wide credit data sharing database in aims of reducing credit risk, improving the credit environment and promoting the healthy development of the internet finance industry. Currently, all leading online lending platforms are required to upload their operating credit data to the Platform’s database and members can only make manual inquiries on the Platform through its webpage. Yirendai has been selected by NIFA to participate in a pilot project to enable automatic queries and the Company expects to launch an automated query function in its system shortly.

European Union

Banks and Fintechs Are Duelling In a ‘War For Talent’ (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Payments company GoCardless Ltd., which employs 170 people in London, will open a Paris office in February, said chief product and technology officer Carlos Gonzalez-Cadenas. Online lender LendInvest Ltd. said it will make a “concerted effort” to hire additional engineers in London this year, while Salesforce.com Inc.-backed software company Anaplan Inc. says hiring engineering talent is its current priority.

Faes said about 30 to 40 percent of its hires come from major financial institutions, adding that 100 percent of the team’s small risk and compliance team came from banks. For MarketInvoice Ltd., another British online lender, about three-quarters of its 85 employees — roughly a third of which are software engineers and data scientists — came from a large corporate in the financial services or accountancy space, said CEO and co-founder Anil Stocker.

Europe’s fintech industry, which includes challenger banks and online-only lenders, has rapidly expanded over the past 10 years. Traditional financial institutions have faced intense competition as a result, with former Barclays Plc CEO Antony Jenkins saying in July last year that banks could face obsolescence in five to 15 years.

How Adyen Became a $ 2.3bn Payments Company (Forbes), Rated: A

According to a report published in September last year by Innovate Finance and Magister Advisers, VCs poured around $8bn into fintech startups and early stage companies across the continent between 2010 and 2017 and over the course of that period, deal sizes rose significantly. In London – generally considered to be Europe’s Fintech Hub – figures published in January  by London and Partners found that the UK’s fintech sector attracted £1.24bn in 2017 alone.

Established in 2006,  the Amsterdam-based company is currently valued at around $2.3bn and has has built a portfolio of more than 4,000  clients, including Netflix, Facebook, Uber and Spotify, plus retailers such as River Island and Superdry.

International

Cross Border Funds Transfer (CBFT) using Hyperledger Fabric Blockchain (LinkedIn), Rated: AAA

Hyperledger Fabric is a permissioned blockchain platform contributed by IBM and provides plug-and-play modular blockchain components. You can see the commit history visualization of fabric project. Fabric runs chaincode which is comparable to Ethereum’s smart contracts. The consensus protocol is pluggable.

Transaction Flow Let’s see how nodes work together to execute a transaction. For now, let’s assume that the chaincode is already installed on the Peers.

  • Step 1: Transaction requests are proposed by a client. The client must be connected to the required number of peers according to the endorsement policy. A proposed Transaction is forwarded to Peers for Endorsement.
  • Step 2: Each endorsing peer simulates and validates the transaction. Peers reply with their Endorsement and certificate if they agree that the transaction is permitted.
  • Step 3: The client receives results from different Peers and can thus verify agreement among the Peers. Upon verification, the client forwards the transaction to the OS.
  • Step 4: Determining a well-ordered sequence of transactions is the task of the Ordering Service (OS). The OS generates transaction blocks containing validated transactions in the order they are deemed to have occurred, writes them to the ledger and then broadcasts them to all peers that a new set of blocks are now available on the ledger.
Source: Raj M Shimpi

The disappointing arrival of Open Banking … and the optimistic future (The Finanser), Rated: A

All well and good but, in a move that I am fairly sure was carefully orchestrated by the banking community, nearly all of the mainstream media greeted the launch of Open Banking with fear and scaremongering.

Nevertheless, the FinTech community are far more advocates of the new regime:

Note that to find the positive spin on Open Banking, I’ve had to seek out more business or niche news channels than the doomsayers of the mainstream consumer media.

Nasdaq-listed Longfin to open up Ziddu smart contracts to P2P lending (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

GLOBAL fintech group Longfin Corp is planning to make its Ziddu cryptocurrency smart contracts available for peer-to-peer lending.

Ziddu.com provides smart contracts which are available on cryptocurrency Ethereum’s blockchain and can be used as alternative finance solutions within trade finance and FX markets, without the need for a middleman or underwriter.

Building the World’s Most Inclusive Banking Service (Medium), Rated: A

Currently, there are over 2 billion people worldwide who find it difficult to access traditional banking services, often because they are new to the country or do not qualify for credit. I, too, was one of those people. When I arrived in the UK, I didn’t have a proof of address and credit history required to open a bank account, and just like many others in a similar position, I was left in a ridiculous catch-22 situation. I needed a bank account to get a job and a place to live but, in order to get a bank account, I was required to have a place to live and a job.

Monese is laying the foundation of how banks will work in the future by bringing the accessibility and convenience to levels that weren’t possible just a few short years ago. You can now bank locally in 20 different countries, in a matter of a few minutes — all you need is a mobile phone and your passport. You can literally open an account in your home country or an international IBAN in another country whilst standing in a supermarket queue.

Over 270,000 people have signed up to Monese and every day 1,000 more are joining us.

Source: Monese

$ 10 million ICO Success Karma Announces P2P Lending Access, aExchange Listing of KRM Token (The Merkle), Rated: A

Fresh from the success of a well-received ICO that raised $10 million, blockchain start up Karma has now announced open access to its peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform via the use of its native KRM token, which also began trading on CoinLink exchange on January 11th, 2018.

India

NeoGrowth Credit secures funding of Rs300cr from LeapFrog Investments and others (Medianama), Rated: A

NeoGrowth Credit, a lending startup focused at SMEs has secured Rs 300 crore of equity funding from LeapFrog Investments, and existing investors like Aspada Investment Company and Quona Capital through Accion Frontier Inclusion Fund, reports The Economic Times. The report adds that as part of the investment, LeapFrog’s partner Michael Fernandes will join NeoGrowth’s board.

Asia

Tera Funding raised KRW 10 billion from Korean leading investors in Series A funding round (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Tera Funding, a real estate P2P lending company in Korea, announced that it has secured KRW10bn (approx. US$9.3M) through its series A funding round from Woori Bank, Atinum Investment, SBI Investment and Premier Partners on 8 January 2018.

It is the largest single series A investment for Korean P2P lending start-ups, and this comes as a pleasant surprise for the industry as such decision to invest in Tera Funding was made after a thorough due diligence amid general public’s increasing worries about the industry with rising defaults and arrears mainly incurred by late-comers who take riskier approach.

Blockchain will force banks to change their feudal mindset (e27), Rated: A

Having said that, the advent of cutting-edge technologies is pushing banks to change the way they operate. While they have been able to survive many revolutions in the past, they cannot remain aloof to blockchain, one of 21st century’s biggest revolutions.

Lending Times News

Check out our new daily news digest and website Blockchain Times. Be sure to subscribe to our daily newsletter for the best in Blockchain news.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday January 5 2018, Daily News Digest

small business lending

News Comments Today’s main news: Wealthfront gets backing from Tiger Global. Funding Circle partners with Kansas bank. Elevate customers see rise in credit scores. NextCapital raises $30M for digital advice platform. London tops tech funding. HMT Treasury says P2P lending not deposit-taking. Yields lower in Euro zone as MiFID II begins. Today’s main analysis: FT Partners’ CEO monthly alt lending market […]

small business lending

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

An investing startup that grew by $ 100 million in a single day just got some big name backing (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Wealthfront, a robo-adviser with more than $9 billion under its management, announced Thursday that Tiger Global, the New York investment firm, would lead a $75 million fundraising round.

Wealthfront plans to use the new capital to enhance its Path platform, which allows users to view all of their financial accounts.

“Path’s appeal to young people propelled our growth such that people under 45 now represent 85% of our clients,” Wealthfront cofounder Andy Rachleff said in a statement.

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

As FT Partners wraps up 2017 and looks forward to 2018, we are extremely proud of our accomplishments. Celebrating over 16 years in business, we executed a record number of deals, significantly expanded our team, continued our global expansion and won a number of industry awards during the past twelve months. We are confident that 2018 will be another successful year for the Firm and we are incredibly thankful to our clients and friends across the industry.

In case you missed it, we recently published our latest in-depth, 200+ page industry report: “

Source: FT Partners

Read the full report here.

Business-Loan Growth Fell Off a Cliff in 2017 and No One Can Figure Out Why (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Business-loan growth fell to its lowest levels since the aftermath of the financial crisis in the final weeks of 2017, a puzzling development that could weigh on bank earnings later this month.

Bank loans to companies grew 1.1% from a year earlier as of Dec. 20, up slightly from a 0.8% rate the prior week, according to Federal Reserve data. That Dec. 13 level was the lowest since spring 2011, when banks were just starting to lend to companies again after the financial crisis.

The readings likely cement 2017 as the worst year for this type of lending in recent history. The average weekly rate of business-loan growth was 2.7% for 2017 through Dec. 20, compared with 9.3% in 2016 and double-digit growth in the two years before that.

Looking at 2018: A Discussion with Ron Suber (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

“[People] from the banking industry from the tech industry. We have grown up,” said Suber. “We had some people that were great from the early days but were not good for long term growth. There has bee a major turnover in the leadership at many of these companies. My call is that companies are focusing on cash flow, profitability and EBITDA for the first time. Earnings on GAAP basis … I think that is great for the industry. You are seeing companies generate cash. [In the past] Prosper did $400 million in month and it lost money. Now it is doing, say $200 million a month and it is making money. They are being run to be profitable businesses. That is the takeaway from 2017.”

Suber says that today, Prosper makes money every quarter. They have $100 million on the balance sheet and it gets higher every month.

“We are seeing lots of money coming in from Asia to buy loans now. More than ever,” added Suber.

LendingClub, a reporting company, has had a tough two years as its stock has tanked while Wall Street looked elsewhere for growth.

ELEVATE ANNOUNCES BOOST IN CUSTOMER FINANCIAL HEALTH (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

More than 140,000 customers of Elevate’s RISE product have seen an improvement in their credit scores. Additionally, more than 35,000 RISE customers are now eligible to receive at least a 50 percent reduction in their APR and more than 13,000 customers are eligible to receive RISE’s lowest rate.

More than 160 million Americans are either non-prime or “credit invisibles,” without any credit score. These customers account for almost two-thirds of the U.S. population, yet are significantly underserved by the traditional financial industry.

RISE loans are originally priced to risk. Customers are eligible to receive 50 percent off of their rate on subsequent loans after 24 months of payments, eventually achieving a further reduction to 36 percent. Today, more than 35,000 customers have received or are eligible to receive a 50 percent rate reduction and more than 13,000 customers are eligible for an APR of 36 percent.

About the Data

Elevate worked with a major credit bureau to which it reports, gathering anonymized data on RISE customers. Elevate reviewed credit scores of customers from the customer acquisition point up to two quarters after loan completion.

The number of customers who have reached the necessary number of payments to receive a rate reduction was calculated by tabulating the number of accounts at the number of payments necessary.

  • 24 months of payments are required to receive 50 percent off of the customer’s original APR
  • 36 months of payments are required to reach 36 percent

NextCapital Raises $ 30M for its Digital Financial Advice Platform (ChicagoINNO), Rated: AAA

NextCapital officially announced Thursday that it has raised $30 million in new funding to grow its enterprise digital advice platform.

The Series C round brings the company’s total funding to more than $52 million. The round was led by Oak HC/FT, and included additional investments by Manulife Financial, Transamerica Ventures, Vermont Seed Capital Fund and Route 66 Ventures.

FSOC Annual Report on Financial Stability Highlights Marketplace Lending (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Last month the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) released their annual report. This 165-page report highlights potential risks to our financial system by looking at new developments and providing recommendations to improve financial stability.

Section 4.14 of this year’s report deals with new financial products and there is an entire section on marketplace lending. Here is their conclusion about our space:

Although marketplace lending has the potential to reduce costs and expand access to credit, the extent to which these benefits have been realized thus far is unclear. Furthermore, the marketplace lending model has not been tested through a full credit cycle. There are risks that misalignment of incentives could exist on these platforms.

Can blockchain technology revive peer-to-peer lending? (American Banker), Rated: A

The original premise of online peer-to-peer lending platforms was simple and democratic: A single mom from Kalamazoo, Mich., could post her story explaining why she needed $5,000 to pay off her credit card, and a retired electrician in Illinois could read it, decide to fund her loan and receive interest far exceeding what he could get on his savings account.

LendingClub and others that proffered this people-helping-people model quickly found they needed to make changes.

 

Unbanked vs. Underbanked: Who they are and how they differ (MicroBilt), Rated: A

Slightly more than two-thirds of households in America frequently make use of traditional banking services, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. But that leaves 33 percent of people in the U.S. who don’t, a significant percentage by any measure.

Unbanked

As the title implies, unbanked Americans are those who don’t make use of any banking services whatsoever. This includes debit cards and checking accounts, as well as savings accounts. In 2015 – the most recent year for which data is available – the unbanked represented 7 percent of U.S. households, translating to approximately 23 million individuals, including children, the FDIC reported. The percentage of unbanked households in the U.S. is down slightly from 2013, when it was 7.7 percent.

Families have a plethora of rationales for why they opt to go without banking services, but it’s usually due to what they do not have in terms of savings. Nearly 57 percent of unbanked households cite this as their prime reason, according to the FDIC report.

Underbanked

Around 20 percent of Americans are underbanked, according to the FDIC, which means they have either a checking or savings account, though rarely both. Households are also usually given the underbanked distinction if they’ve used alternative financing options during the previous year, such as money orders or rent-to-own services. Around 67 million Americans are underbanked, or the equivalent of 24.5 million households, based on 2015 figures from the most up to date FDIC survey.

As far as demographics are concerned, millennials are among the most likely to be underbanked, with 31 percent of them under the age of 24, according to federal figures.

‘We don’t need to stay in the student market’: How BankMobile wants to grow its offering and replicate its model (Tearsheet), Rated: A

BankMobile, the digital-only bank that offers checking accounts to students, wants to start offering them credit.

The three-year-old Customers Bank subsidiary launched a personal loan product for its customers at the end of December, but that was just the first of a suite of credit products the bank plans to roll out this year as part of its “customer-for-life” strategy, according to Luvleen Sidhu, president and chief strategy officer.

BankMobile has 1.8 million customers to date and has opened about 300,000 new accounts each year in the student demographic through its university partnerships.

Why are you expanding into credit now?
We’re just looking at our demographic. Many in our current customer base are living paycheck to paycheck — that’s why personal loans make sense.

How do you plan to expand your products after the personal loan?
We have a lot of products to introduce on the credit side: credit cards in the second quarter, student refinancing in the second quarter, auto loans and home equity by the second half of next year.

You’re partnering with Upstart on credit products. What are the advantages of that approach?
In the longterm you could say it’s more expensive to partner but those costs outweigh the fact that we get to market much faster.

How has competition changed since BankMobile launched?
It’s accelerated. Challenger banks and Neobanks like Moven, GoBank, Simple and Varo continue to flourish and grow. Digital banks like Ally, USAA and Captial One 360 have really done a push in 2017 attracting millennials, tweaking their product, tone, messaging, branding to make sure they start penetrating that segment. Traditional banks are finally realizing the branch based customer acquisition model is not sufficient.

Banks compete for tech talent by helping on student loans (American Banker), Rated: A

Banks spend not only a lot of time thinking about how to attract millennial customers, but also how to get millennials to work for them.

Though banks might be hard-pressed to offer similar wages — average starting salaries at Uber, Pinterest, and Airbnb are all over $220,000, according to Paysa — they can offer something most tech companies don’t: a student loan repayment benefit plan.

Inside Citizens Bank’s branch redesign strategy (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Banking giants like Citi and Capital One with much more money and resources at hand have been making branches look more like lounges, coffee shops or museums as they figure out what to do with them with less foot traffic, but in 2018, smaller institutions could start to make a move on their plans.

The Providence, Rhode Island bank is transforming its branches into digitally-connected community centers, Johnson said.

Citizens currently has 1,200 branches, and the bank is in the second year of a 10-year plan to reduce its branch footprint as lease expiries take effect. It’s replacing paper pamphlets with digital tools, like a digital retirement checkup platform customers can use while meeting with bankers. The bank can also project digital content onto the walls of a meeting room — a nod to the digital-first habits of some younger customers. Citizens is on an ambitious track to reduce its retail footprint by as much as 50 percent — a “do more with less” approach that over the long term that will save occupancy costs, CEO Bruce Van Saun said in an earnings call last year.

How banks use behavioral economics to win over customers (American Banker), Rated: A

When a major international bank was looking to improve the response rates for its credit card mailers in 2017, rather than changing the graphics or upgrading the paper stock, it turned to a firm that could offer guidance on how consumers make decisions.

It was trying to tap into the insights of behavioral economics, a discipline that uses psychological observations about human behavior to analyze and predict how people will act.

A Fight Over the Credit Score Lenders Use for Your Mortgage (WWJ), Rated: A

Banks and rival lenders are butting heads over the credit scores used to decide millions of mortgage requests by U.S. home buyers.

Now, a federal agency is weighing whether to step into the fight, which revolves around a longtime requirement for lenders who sell mortgages to Fannie Mae FNMA -3.17% and Freddie Mac FMCC -3.31%to gauge most borrowers using FICO scores. The Federal Housing Finance Agency’s ultimate decision could have wide-reaching ramifications for the mortgage market and home buyers across the U.S.

Many nonbank lenders, which in some recent quarters have accounted for more than half of the mortgage dollars issued in the U.S., want the ability to use a credit score provided by a company owned by credit-reporting firms Equifax Inc., EFX +0.00% Experian EXPGY 0.23% PLC and TransUnion . TRU 0.80% These lenders argue the alternative score would open the mortgage market to a greater number of people and lead to more mortgage approvals, helping to boost home sales and the economy.

That is where VantageScore Solutions LLC, the scoring firm that Experian, Equifax and TransUnion launched in 2006, says it can step in.

The company says it can assign a credit score to about 30 million more consumers than FICO. Roughly 7.6 million of those consumers would potentially be eligible for a Fannie or Freddie mortgage, VantageScore says.

Envestnet Finalizes Acquisition of FolioDynamix for $ 195 Million (Finovate), Rated: A

Wealth management intelligence solutions company Envestnet has finalized its acquisition of Actua Corp’s FolioDynamix, a wealth tech solutions company, this week.

PropertyMetrics helps real estate investors create more accurate proformas (Realty Biz), Rated: A

With that in mind, a company called PropertyMetrics has built a web based platform that’s designed to help investors come up with a proforma that includes evaluation and analysis. With PropertyMetric’s software it’s possible to analyze any property in minutes, from any device. This means investors can quickly generate a quick cash flow proforma, perform a cash flow analysis and generate PDF reports from anywhere, in a matter of minutes.

10 favorite stocks for 2018 from top-ranked stock newsletter writers (MarketWatch), Rated: A

Michael Brush, Brush Up on Stocks

I also recently suggested Lending Club Corp. LC, +0.98% in part because of the huge buying by Chinese technology and internet expert Tianqiao Chen, who founded the online gaming company Shanda Interactive Entertainment years ago while he was in his 20s.

He owns around 20% of Lending Club, an online peer-to-peer lending platform. LendingClub recently tightened its lending standards, which hurt loan growth, so the company missed earnings estimates and guided down. But it still expects 15%-20% annual revenue growth over the next few years. This seems plausible given how many people with OK credit would like to refinance their credit card debt with loans. Lending Club estimates $300 billion to $350 billion in credit card debt could potentially be refinanced in this way.

An Online Lending Task Force is Coming to New York (deBanked), Rated: A

An online lending task force DFS study will be coming soon to New York, according to legislative records.

Chippewa Cree Tribe Settles BEH Gaming Ltd Lawsuit (PRWeb), Rated: B

Plain Green, LLC, the online resource for the short-term financial needs of underbanked and subprime consumers, today announces a successful settlement with BEH Gaming Ltd related to loans to the Chippewa Cree Tribe and Chippewa Cree Tribe Development Corporation. Plain Green’s settlement and payment of the debt to BEH releases the Chippewa Cree Tribe and Chippewa Cree Tribe Development Corporation from all liability. The settlement amount is under seal of court order.

The agreement settles a lawsuit filed by Florida-based BEH Gaming Ltd in 2014 (Case # DV-14-142 in the 12th Judicial District Court in Hill County, Montana) to repay loans to expand Northern Winz Hotel and Casino.

Portland ad agency lands $ 126M LendingTree account (Biz Journals), Rated: B

Advertising agency R2C inked a deal late last month to become the new media partner for LendingTree Inc.

LendingTree is an online loan marketplace for financial needs like auto loans, small business loans and credit cards headquartered in Charlotte, N.C. AdWeek reports that the company had a media budget of $126.5 million in 2016, and spent nearly $61 million during the first half of 2017, though R2C won’t manage LendingTree’s entire media budget.

Growing your business? These 3 financing mistakes can cost you big (News-Journal), Rated: B

1. Not understanding the true cost of your loan

When shopping for a business loan, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by fast-talking salespeople, endless strings of acronyms and confusing terms. If it’s unclear how much you’ll really pay for financing, that’s a good sign you should walk away, Hodges cautions.

2. Getting trapped in daily or weekly repayment cycles

Term loans are often the better option, Hodges says. They allow businesses to borrow a set amount of money for a specific purpose, like hiring new staff or stocking up on inventory. The funds are then paid back over a set amount of time, with consistent monthly payments and no surprise fees.

3. Not knowing what you deserve

After seeing countless small businesses get stuck with credit products they couldn’t afford or understand, a coalition of small business advocates, lenders and online credit marketplaces came together to launch the Small Business Borrowers’ Bill of Rights. As the first-ever gold standard for responsible business lending, the Bill of Rights outlines the rights and safeguards that small businesses should expect from finance providers.

3 Behaviors To Keep Credit in Good Standing (MicroBilt), Rated: B

Source: MicroBilt
United Kingdom

London was top destination for tech funding in 2017 (Reuters), Rated: AAA

London was the top city in Europe for technology investment last year, with more funding going into companies in the British capital than into firms based in Paris, Berlin and the next seven cities combined, data showed on Friday.

Tech firms in London attracted 2.45 billion pounds ($3.3 billion) in venture capital funding in 2017, about 80 percent of the 2.99 billion pounds invested in Britain as a whole, according to data compiled by funding database PitchBook for London & Partners.

Fintech, or financial technology, was the most popular segment for investors, attracting a record 1.34 billion pounds in venture capital, the data showed, led by major rounds for TransferWise, Funding Circle and Monzo.

London’s tech scene pulls in record £2.5bn in 2017 venture capital bonanza (City A.M.), Rated: AAA

London’s tech venture capital investment reached another all-time high in 2017 as firms raked in four times more cash than Paris, the nearest European rival.

Softbank’s $502m (£392m) investment in game development platform Improbable was the biggest single investment during the year, but it was London’s burgeoning fintech firms which led the way with a record haul of investments.

European cityLondon Total funding raised (£)

2.45bn

European cityParis Total funding raised (£)

564.97m

European cityBerlin Total funding raised (£)

456m

European cityStockholm Total funding raised (£)

360.27m

European cityMadrid Total funding raised (£)

65.38m

European cityAmsterdam Total funding raised (£)

212.18m

European cityDublin Total funding raised (£)

117.45m

European cityHelsinki Total funding raised (£)

56.98m

European cityCopenhagen Total funding raised (£)

40.23m

European cityLisbon Total funding raised (£)

2.43m

Treasury clarifies whether P2P lending constitutes deposit-taking (AltFi), Rated: AAA

HMT Treasury has passed an order confirming that straight-forward peer-to-peer lending does not constitute deposit-taking.

The order relates to the now-infamous “Dear CEO” letter, sent in March 2017, in which the FCA effectively ordered P2P platforms to cease and desist with all wholesale lending activities. The rationale was that a business borrowing money in order to lend that money on constitutes a form of deposit-taking. This was deemed illegal, per article 5, paragraph 1 of the regulated activities order.

How angel investors support UK start-ups (Growth Business), Rated: A

Investing in start-ups is becoming increasingly popular and accessible in the UK. The attractiveness of that market has come from two main factors: the success of a number UK start-ups built over the past two decades (ASOS, Just Eat, Zoopla, Funding Circle) which are showing the way for many more to come and the supportive policies implemented by the various governments over the same period to encourage investment in ventures.

These schemes have proven to be extremely popular with private investors who every year invest over £1.5 billion into high growth ventures under SEIS and EIS.

So how do you get started with investing in start-ups if you are new to this market?

Your first option is to invest through online equity crowdfunding platforms (ECF) such as Seedrs, Crowdcube and Syndicate Room, which showcase dozens of investment opportunities from start-ups looking to raise equity funding from the public. The advantage of ECF websites is that they are convenient and accessible to anyone with investment tickets starting at £10.

If you consider yourself to be a more sophisticated type of investor looking to build a portfolio of investments with tickets of more than £5,000 per company, then you should probably think about joining an angel syndicate.

A third option to get started is to invest through a start-up fund.

High numbers using expensive credit to buy basic household appliances (Ekklesia), Rated: A

Research found almost 60 per cent of people on a low income turn to more expensive forms of credit to purchase home appliances because they do not have the means to pay up front or access to affordable credit. Seventeen per cent say they used a credit card to make the purchase, 10 per cent used an overdraft and 10 per cent used a store card. More worryingly, significant numbers said that they used high cost credit to buy home appliances, with 13 per cent relying on hire-purchase and eight per cent saying that they used a payday loan.

Blockchain-based banking startup Babb names Paul Johnson as CIO (Finextra), Rated: B

Blockchain-based banking startup BABB (Bank Account Based Blockchain) has appointed banking technology veteran, Paul Johnson who previously lead one of the UK’s leading challenger banks, Aldermore, as CIO to spearhead the development of the world’s first decentralised bank.

European Union

Euro zone yields edge lower as MiFID II kicks in (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Germany’s 10-year government bond yield fell 2 basis points to 0.44 percent DE10YT=TWEB, off two-month highs hit on Tuesday after weekend comments from the European Central Bank’s Benoit Coeure that there was a “reasonable chance” ECB stimulus will not be extended this year.

Most core euro zone bond yields were down 1-4 bps on the day, with the gap between Italian and German 10-year bonds yields tightened to 160 basis points as Italian yields dropped as much as 6 bps to 2.03 percent. IT10YT=TWEB

Ireland meanwhile kicked off its annual funding drive by raising 4 billion euros with a syndicated 10-year bond, covering around a quarter of its issuance target just three days into the year.

P2P platform bosses offer cautious support for pan-EU licences (AltFi), Rated: A

“Opt-in passports” are the way forward, says Lendix co-founder Patrick de Nonneville.

The EU Commission is laying the groundwork for a licence that will allow European crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending platforms to operate across the bloc.

“We think it’s a great development that will be useful for us,” said Patrick de Nonneville, chief operating officer at French marketplace lender Lendix.

Raffael Johnen, CEO and co-founder of leading German marketplace lender auxmoney, offered his thoughts.

“Getting closer to a single digital market will further boost the creation of true European fintech champions.”

International

Online lender Funding Circle inks partnership with Kansas bank (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle, an online lender that operates in four countries, is partnering for the first time with a U.S. bank.

On Thursday, the 7-year-old company announced a deal with Intrust Bank in Wichita, Kan., under which it will sell $20 million worth of its small-business loans to the $5 billion-asset institution.

This Cryptocurrency Inventor Has Suddenly Become One of the World’s Richest Men (Money), Rated: A

Cryptocurrency has a new king. His name is Chris Larsen, and he’s the co-founder and former CEO of Ripple, which created the digital token known as XRP. He’s now one of the world’s richest billionaires, thanks to XRP’s incredible hot streak.

XRP, a cryptocurrency intended for international transactions, has had a meteoric rise this winter. Its value went from $0.25 a coin in mid-December to $3.16 as of Wednesday, according to Coinmarketcap. It’s currently the second biggest cryptocurrency behind Bitcoin.

Forbes reports that, as a result, Larsen almost instantly became worth $37.3 billion (based on XRP’s Monday exchange rate).

India

BCCL invests in fintech company FinREQ in an ads-for-equity deal (Medianama), Rated: AAA

Bennett, Coleman & Co Limited (BCCL), the publisher of the Times Of India and the parent of Times Internet, has acquired an undisclosed stake in online loan company FinREQ.

As such, it looks like the investment in FinREQ is an ads-for-equity deal.

FinREQ was founded in 2011 and has tie-ups tie-ups with nationalized, co-operative, foreign, private banks, NBFCs and Housing Finance Companies. The company provides a variety of loans ranging from overdrafts, import & export finance, supply chain financing, loans against property (LAP), loans against share, lease rental discounts and others.

Online lending platform EarlySalary raises $ 15.7 mn in Series B round (VC Circle), Rated: A

Pune-based Social Worth Technologies Pvt. Ltd, which runs online lending platform EarlySalary, has raised Rs 100 crore ($15.7 million) in a Series B funding round led by Eight Roads Ventures India, a company statement said.

Invest smart with these asset class investment options (ANI), Rated: B

Fixed Depositsinvestment in goldReal Estate and many other traditional options are losing grounds when trying to woo the new age investors.

A research from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies indicated that nearly three-quarters of millennials are saving for retirement and that we started doing so at an earlier age than previous generations.

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending in India currently gives a net return of 18-22 percent to lenders.

Asia

Commencement of Online Lending Service for Small Businesses That Leverages Accounting Big Data and AI Technology (Orix), Rated: A

ORIX Corporation (“ORIX”) and Yayoi Co., Ltd. (“Yayoi”) announced today that the ALTOA Online Lending Service, which leverages accounting big data and AI technology, will commence its operation through the jointly established entity, ALTOA, Inc. (“ALTOA”).

The ALTOA Online Lending Service is an online lending service that provides small amount, short-term loans for small businesses through a new credit model that leverages the credit know-how of ORIX, the accounting big data of Yayoi, and the AI technology of d.a.t. Inc., who is a partner in this venture.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday April 17 2017, Daily News Digest

Monday April 17 2017, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: Republicans propose drastic overhaul of CFPB.  BOE chief sees no need for tougher FinTech regulation. CBRC assistant chair reported ‘out of contact’. Today’s main analysis: Transparency remains a sticking point for online lenders. The India FinTech Market Map. Today’s thought-provoking articles: How this FinTech CEO plans to prosper. Interview with Scott Sanborn. International regtechs […]

Monday April 17 2017, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

  • Republicans propose drastic overhaul of CFPB, Dodd-Frank. GP:” This is just a proposal and it will likely change a lot by the time, if and when, it gets adopted into law. In all cases, the theme here seems to be more control and less power for the agencies.”  AT: “We saw this one coming. I didn’t expect a name change, but I think that’s interesting, especially the use of the word ‘opportunity,’ which puzzles me. Why would a regulatory agency include that word in its name? Another thing I find interesting is the deputy director holding the job at the will of the president, which I expected. However, it makes the agency serve at the whim of the winds of the political climate, like all other executive agencies. What makes that interesting is it goes against the initial conception of the agency, which was intended to be independent of the chief executive. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, good or bad either way, but we can expect the Democrats to fight this hard.”
  • How this FinTech CEO plans to prosper in 2017. GP:”The key is customer satisfaction, which itself relies on a good product, fair pricing, ease of use whom themselves depend on the cost of financing, employee satisfaction, technology quality and an infinite list of other items.”
  • Transparency remains a sticking point for online lenders. GP:”This is very interesting data. If the online lenders build a reputation of being expensive, regardless if it’s true or not, it will hurt their customer acquisition costs significantly. This has to be fought and this perception is very dangerous. In general consumers, especially opinion leaders, are not stupid. I think a good way to fight for transparency and to fight the high rate and unfavorable terms opinion is by actually releasing actual verifiable data that offers more transparency and demonstrates the rate and term points. ” AT: “It’s important that online lenders not simply claim to be transparent. Most consumers, millennials, in particular, are well aware that technology is not inherently transparent. It can be used to set up walls of opaqueness as easily as see-through curtains, or blinds. If you’re going to call yourself ‘transparent’, you’ve got to be transparent.”
  • Chatting P2P marketplaces with LendingClub’s CEO. GP:” Lending Club is really turning into a large company, run as a large company, on values and brand and letting every department alone to do what they can with controls in place. I am curious how it will defer from a large bank in two or three years.” AT: “Scott Sandborn shares some interesting insights into marketplace lending in general and LendingClub in particular.”

United Kingdom

  • BOE chief sees no need for tougher FinTech regulation. GP:”I am pleasantly surprised, and once again I understand how the UK, despite being a small market, continues to be the point of reference in finance in the entire world and has been for hundreds of years. I am yet to see a single US regulator who says even once: there is no need for more regulation.” AT: “This is a sign of maturity. In the U.S., when legacy institutions sense up-and-coming competitors, the first thing they want to do is use regulation as a protectionist scheme. Competition is good–for the goose and the gander.”
  • Researcher showcases unauthorized NFC payments with cloned Android device. AT: “This is interesting. We must all understand there’s no such thing as fail-safe security in the cyber world. Every device is a potential entry point for bad actors. In fact, every app on every device is a potential entryway for hackers and other bad actors. The key goal for security experts is to stay ahead of them. This hole needs to be plugged quickly.”

European Union

International

China

India

Asia

MENA

Africa

News Summary

United States

Republicans propose drastic overhaul of Dodd-Frank and CFPB (Housingwire), Rated: AAA

According to the summary of bill changes, the original CHOICE Act would restructure the FHFA and OCC as bipartisan commissions. The FDIC would be reorganized as a bipartisan commission with all five commissioners appointed by the president, and both the Comptroller of the Currency and the CFPB director would be removed from the FDIC board. Also, NCUA board of directors would be increased from three members to five.

The new CHOICE Act 2.0 cuts a lot of those proposed changes, and instead, the FHFA director would be removable at will by the president, with no changes to the current law regarding OCC and NCUA. The FDIC structure would stay the same as proposed in CHOICE 1.0.

The original CHOICE Act replaced the director of the CFPB with a Consumer Financial Opportunity Commission, a bipartisan independent Commission serving staggered terms.

Instead, in the newest version, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau would be changed to the Consumer Financial Opportunity Agency, an executive agency with a sole director removable at will. The deputy director would also be appointed and removed by the president.

While the original CHOICE Act established a CFPB Credit Union Advisory Council, the updated one removed it because the bill eliminates mandatory CFPB advisory committees.

How This FinTech CEO Plans To Prosper In 2017 (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Along with FinTech industry guru Ron Suber, Prosper’s president, Kimball is intent on growing loan volumes, offering lower average rates compared to traditional lenders, delivering higher returns to investors and returning Prosper to profitability.

Prosper, which is the original online peer-to-peer marketplace, has originated over $9 billion in consumer loans over the past decade.

Since being appointed CEO of Prosper Marketplace late last year, Kimball has stepped outside his former financial role as Prosper’s CFO to take on a more operational-driven strategy.

David Kimball: Ultimately, the long-term success of platforms will be dependent on their ability to deliver a great product and a consistent experience. The success of the partnerships will depend on the ability for the two companies to communicate and understand each other (language, transparency, and culture), and it will depend on how well objectives remain compatible.

David Kimball: Last year, the industry did a lot to lay the foundation for a successful 2017, and we’re seeing that work pay off. The [recently announced loan purchase deal] gives us the funding stability we need to continue to grow, while at the same time giving us some great long-term partners that are invested in our business and its success.

David Kimball: A successful CFO is one who partners with the business instead of playing the finance sheriff. That requires a willingness to understand the business, to think holistically, to work with peers who jointly own the results. The CFO is the finance subject matter expert, but should be able to consider other disciplines, just as a CTO should be able to understand the financial implications of engineering decisions.

As CEO, I continue to think holistically and I now have an opportunity to flex into other areas of the business.

Transparency remains a sticking point for online lenders (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

A small business credit survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found 46 percent customer satisfaction at online lenders like Lending Club and OnDeck Capital with a 19 percent rate of dissatisfied customers – compared with large banks’ 61 percent of customers who indicated they were satisfied with their small business loan process and 15 percent of whom expressed dissatisfaction. Almost half of all customers specified that their dissatisfaction came from a “lack of transparency.”

Online lending customers are also dissatisfied with higher interest rates and unfavorable repayment terms, two common issues for the growing industry, which continues to have a higher cost of capital and for customer acquisitions.

Chatting P2P marketplaces with LendingClub CEO, Scott Sanborn (Simple Innovative Change), Rated: AAA

CL: The LendingClub story is a fascinating one and one that I’ve followed from the early days. So how does it feel to sit here and realize that so much of what is here today and the proliferation of all these different lending platforms is really because of this company and this team and what you have been able to build?

SB: I think it is exciting. It’s very gratifying to see how the initial idea has gained traction and how that has spawned new players who are bringing new energy and new ideas to different segments of the market. I think the clearest benefit is looking at how much value we’ve driven to consumers and investors.

For example, the personal loan market was actually shrinking when we first started. It shrank like 57% from 2007 to 2010, and yet we were still able to giveCL: There’s this great photo from the day of the IPO back in 2014 in which you can see just how elated you were. At the time you were the CMO and it was a very happy day, but when you stepped into the CEO role recently it wasn’t necessarily under the happiest of conditions. So, how have you handled the ups and downs of being a part of the Lending Club team, and how are do you lead the team through these challenging periods?

CL: That’s the answer you want to hear, by all means. Since becoming CEO at LendingClub, what have you learned about your own management style and how are you navigating the transition to this role?

SB: So much is swirling and changing in real-time, which means you need to keep everyone in the loop. In those early days after I stepped into the CEO role, I can’t tell you how many times we pulled all 1,500 employees together and marched them across the street to a hotel, to fit them into one room and explain, “Here’s what’s happening. Here’s what we know. Here’s what comes next.” That was certainly critical.

Lastly, we have focused tirelessly on assembling the right team. When a business is growing 80% to 100% a year for so many years it’s hard for the organization to keep up, and this was an opportunity to say, “Okay, new reality. Let’s look at what the right foundation is for the next decade of Lending Club.”

CL: One of the other reasons that I wanted to speak with you is because I often speak with seed and series A Fintech startups that’ll eventually face the challenges of being a larger organization if successful. So, what do you think are the challenges associated with trying to be an innovator while also being a larger organization?

SB: Literally, I left that conversation, and sat down with several team members in a room and said, “Okay, what are our values?” It was remarkably easy, actually, to identify what our values were. We put those down on paper and we revisit them, probably annually, maybe every 18 months or so and say, “Do they still resonate? Are they still right for this stage of the company?” Essentially all of our initial values have remained intact and we’ve added one or two as we’ve grown to reflect the new stage of the company.

Since then we have remained crisp on what our values are, and we have made sure we’re hiring to those values, and that our performance reviews reflect those values as well. That’s how you keep the essence of a company and that integrity of the company as you grow. The reality is, as you get bigger and layers get introduced and processes get introduced maintaining that value system will help the company stay, essentially, intact and stay functioning well.

CL: As we look to the vision of the future loan markets, do you think that startups will increasingly become the sourcing mechanisms of loans with financial institutions acting more as the wholesale banking providers?

SB: I think we’re not done seeing the different types of models that could emerge and how they could participate, and I think that’s part of what’s exciting. Not all of them will be great ideas, and not all of them will work, but some will.

If you look at our model, banks provide between a quarter and 30% of our funding and they have a very low cost of capital. When you combine their low cost of capital with our low operating cost it allows us to give, especially that super-prime customer, an incredible value that they couldn’t get at these institutions directly.

United Kingdom

Bank of England Chief Sees No Need for Tougher Fintech Regulation (Corporate Counsel), Rated: AAA

Fintech could pose a threat to traditional banks in the United Kingdom, according to Bank of England Governor Mark Carney. But that doesn’t mean he thinks they should be subject to tougher regulation.

The Bank of England created a New Bank Start-up Unit last year, which advises companies trying to become new banks. Carney said in his speech that four mobile banks have been authorized as a result of the new division.

Some of the questions that he said need to be answered, moving forward are: “Which fintech activities constitute traditional banking activities by another name and should be regulated as such? How could developments change the safety and soundness of existing regulated firms? How could developments change potential macroeconomic and macrofinancial dynamics including disruptions to systemically important markets? And what could be the implications for the level of cyber and operational risks faced by regulated firms and the financial system as a whole?”

Researcher Showcases Unauthorized NFC Payments With Cloned Android Device (The Merkle), Rated: A

While this concept sounds ridiculous to most people, they should not underestimate the power of root malware on Android devices. By using this type of malicious software, it is possible to abuse the host card emulation protocol. Google introduced this feature in Android 4,4, as it allows for NFC payments by keeping the Android device next to a payment terminal. Unfortunately, it appears this protocol can also be used to make fraudulent purchases.

Thankfully, this exploit has been discovered by a security researcher who notified both Google and all of the applications he successfully “abused” about this vulnerability.

European Union

Aegon Leaves Legacy Behind With Ohpen’s Cloud Finserv Platform (Forbes), Rated: A

Ohpen, a banking technology company based in Amsterdam,has announced that it will partner with Aegon to develop a new platform for Aegon’s Dutch services, from banking to investments. It will also support multiple labels including Aegon’s Knab (bank spelled backwards) an entirely digital bank.

Aegon, a global financial conglomerate whose American holdings include Pimco, will replace multiple individual systems for pensions, savings, current accounts and wealth management with a single Ohpen platform running in the cloud on Amazon Web Services (AWS). Aegon will plug into Ohpen’s platform through a flexible, 100% API-based interface.

Multiple companies under one corporate umbrella do many of the same things and have their own infrastructure and staff. Ohpen lets them merge all those activities onto a single cloud-based back end and then put an API on top so any application or Web site can get to it.

International

Keeping the banks honest: meet the regtech rule-obeyers (Wired UK), Rated: AAA

Under mounting pressure to become more transparent and accountable, banks and financial institutions are turning to regtech: technology that automates regulatory compliance.

London-based FundApps alerts financial institutions when regulations change, and gives them software to help compliance. Launched in 2010, it covers 88 jurisdictions.

Legislation in Europe requires companies to “know your customer” to make sure they’re not money laundering. That’s what Trulioo does.

Qumram records, retains and allows on-demand replays of digital activity across web, social and mobile.

US accounting rules require banks to store historical loan data to predict future repayment. “This is what we help them do,” says Vivek Subramanyam, CEO of Fintellix. Launched in 2006, it recently launched a website targeting US community banks and credit unions that are grappling with accounting regulations.

KYC3 (“Know Your Customer, Counterparty and Competition”) automates due diligence, so companies can screen potential clients.

How the World’s Richest Companies Can Help Its Poorest Citizens (Time), Rated: AAA

From Kenya and Tanzania, to Jordan and Peru, digital technology and simple mobile phones are opening up opportunities for millions of people by helping them to safely save and manage their money.

From Kenya and Tanzania, to Jordan and Peru, digital technology and simple mobile phones are opening up opportunities for millions of people by helping them to safely save and manage their money.

Four of the world’s largest telco system manufacturers — Sweden’s Ericsson, China’s Huawei, Canada’s Telepin and India’s Mahindra Comviva — have put aside their fierce competition and agreed to collaborate, not out of altruism but in order to better compete. Announced at the Innovate Finance Global Summit in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, who works to bring competitors together to meaningfully address financial inclusion for the poor, these companies are developing a set of “application programming interfaces,” or in plain English, ways of making computers talk to each other. These APIs will create open-source standards for the development of digital financial services that are automatically compatible with each other, lowering costs for providers and increasing the utility of digital financial services for customers overall.

By governing how different digital accounts send and receive money, the APIs can be the basis for a new “internet of payments,” across which individuals, banks, merchants, employers, and governments seamlessly transact. The APIs are still under development, but when they’re complete they will be released as a global public good, available to anyone who wants to invent.

AI In Fintech: 100+ Companies Using AI Algorithms To Improve The Fin Services Industry (CB Insights), Rated: B

Funding to AI startups reached record highs in 2016 and applications for artificial intelligence technologies exist across nearly the entire spectrum of business. Highlighted here are the top 100 AI startups selected by CB Insights operating across numerous industry verticals.

China

Assistant chairman of China Banking Regulatory Commission, Yang Jiacai, reported to be ‘out of contact’ (SCMP), Rated: AAA

Fifty-six-year-old Yang Jiacai, assistant chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) was reported to be “out of contact” since Tuesday, April 11, by Chinese media Caixin and Caijing.

Caixin reported Yang had transferred all his responsibilities to his colleague, the commission’s vice-chairman Cao Yu.

Yang made his last public appearance a week ago during a press conference for the CBRC, during which he introduced some heavy-handed regulatory moves planned by the commission.

Podcast 97: Yihan Fang of Yirendai (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

In this podcast you will learn:

  • The origins of Yirendai and how it was incubated inside CreditEase.
  • When and why Yirendai was spun-off from CreditEase.
  • Some background on all the divisions inside CreditEase.
  • The typical borrower who comes to Yirendai for a loan.
  • How Yirendai has broken new ground in China.
  • The different channels they use to obtain borrowers.
  • The typical size, rate and term of their consumer loans.
  • How these borrowers use their loan proceeds.
  • How Yirendai differentiates themselves from their competitors.
  • Who the typical investors are who participate on their platform.
  • The average amount each of their 200,000 investors deploy on their platform.
  • How their investor product works and details of their risk protection fund.
  • How their business model works as far as revenue.
  • A breakdown of their institutional investor interest.
  • Why they decided to do an IPO in New York rather than Shanghai or Hong Kong.
  • The impact of the new marketplace lending regulations in China.
  • Yihan’s perspective on the fraud that has happened in China.
  • Details of their new Yirendai Enabling Platform that they launched at LendIt.
  • What areas Yirendai will focus on in the coming years.

China is Cracking Down on Unscrupulous Financial Services (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

In a series of reports, ChinaNews is pointing to the increasing scrutiny of the Chinese government regarding financial fraud and over-all malpractice.

Now the China Banking Regulatory Commission has published measures to address risks in the financial and banking sectors. According to ChinaNews, CBRC highlighted 10 areas for improving risk control in both traditional and internet finance – which includes peer to peer lending.

All of this is taking place with the back-drop of Xian Junbo, Chairman of China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC), being placed under investigation for “disciplinary violations.” He will be the most senior government financial regulator to be investigated in several years.

WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Big Data Company Wecash raised $ 80 million in series C funding led by China Merchants Capital, Fore Bright Capital and SIG. Two new investors – Dongfang Hongdao Asset Management and Lingfeng Capital joined the existing investors in this round.

On April 10, China Banking Regulatory Commission released “Guidelines on risk prevention and control in banking industry” to make the P2P online lending market standard by perfecting the in-out mechanisms, paying more attention to the supervision and perfecting the governance of online lending companies.

According to the PwC Global FinTech Survey China Summary 2017 released on April 6, the three main areas to be disrupted by FinTech in China over the next five years will be consumer banking, investment & wealth management, and fund transfers & payments. E-retailers, large technology companies and financial institutions will be the biggest sources of disruption.

Compared with developed countries, the market-penetration level of auto finance in China is much lower. However, it also indicates that China has a tremendous room to develop and grow.

US

Australia

China

Market-penetration

80% – 85%

70%

Less than 30%

On April 6, second-hand car online trading platform Souche closed on $180 million in Series D Funding led by Warburg Pincus. Other participants in the round included VMS Investment Group, ClearVue Partners, Haitong International, CreditEase and Morningside Capital. Notably, Souche just finished Series C Funding led by Ant Financial in the last November. In the past five months, Souche has raised a total of $280 million.

 

India

The India Fintech Market Map: 72 Startups Working Across Lending, Payments, Insurance & Banking (CB Insights), Rated: AAA

Looking at Indian fintech specifically, funding to private companies in the sector boomed from about $175M in 2014 to a high of $2B in 2015 (buoyed by mega-rounds to Paytm) and then slid to $530M in 2016. Still, 2016′s total funding was more than 200% higher than total funding in 2014. A host of global corporations and their venture arms have entered the fray, eager to reach India’s mostly unbanked population and profit from the country’s tech-friendly regulatory environment.

‘Free’ credit reports from fintech portals (livemint), Rated: A

Apart from bureaus, online financial marketplaces are also offering free credit scores and reports. These reports are not counted against the free reports you can get from credit bureaus directly.

On the four fintech platforms we went to, it took no more than a few minutes to log on, authorise the fintech to access our credit report, and get it on the screen or in email. And it was also simpler to get a report here than from a bureau’s website.

On Bankbazaar, we got the report on its website and in email. Paisabazaar displays the report on its website. Both sites provided reports from Experian Credit Information Co. of India Pvt. Ltd.

FinTech: To Regulate Or Not To Regulate? Former RBI Deputy Governor R Gandhi Explains (Bloomberg Quint), Rated: A

In lending, peer-to-peer lenders and online SME (small and medium enterprises) lenders are targeting clients considered too risky by banks. They claim to use technologies that can assess credit worthiness in smarter ways than the traditional income statements used by banks. In payments, wallet companies have taken the lead in retail payments forcing banks to up their game.

One gripe that banks have is that these fintech firms are getting away unregulated, which gives them a lot more flexibility in how they do business.

That’s true for now, said R Gandhi, former deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) who retired after a 37-year stint at the central bank earlier this month. The dilemma for the regulator is to decide when to regulate and how to regulate so as to ensure that innovative business models get a fair chance, Gandhi explained in an interview with BloombergQuint on Tuesday.

Is India ready for Peer-to-Peer lending industry? (Faircent), Rated: A

What we are trying to do is to create a P2P (Peer to peer) lending industry. Fundamentally we are providing an alternative to banking and other financial institutions.

Karun: Investors whom we call lenders can get returns up to 18% to 20% per annum which is much better than other options today. As a borrower you can avail unsecured loans at much cheaper interest rates. What we feel is that the banks make huge margins in terms of the rates that they offering customers on their savings and the rates they are lending it out to people at, in the form of loans. By reducing the margin, with Faircent as the match maker, we are able to pass value to both sides of the table, to borrowers as well as lenders.

Karun: We are purely a digital entity.   We are trying to use technology so that there is minimal offline intervention.

We’ve done a lot of marketing technology interventions, like we have a CRM which is built on top of our platform, which is a custom made CRM. We have integrated it with our lead gen channels. We have an email marketing platform using which we nurture our customers and also do promotional activities with potential customers. We have done a lot of work in trying to become Omni-channel. Three main channels which we use are email, SMS and Voice.

Karun: We are using a lot of the off- the- shelf products. But the challenge for us is really how do we integrate them with our platform. So hence we have to be much more careful about which option we choose. We are using Octane and Amazon for email. Octane is basically a mix of email and SMS which we are predominantly using for marketing.

Karun: Yes, we have a mobile app which is available on the Android and iOS platform. Right now, our focus has been more to enable our customers to access our platform on the mobile device. So for example if there is an investor who wants to invest in loans on the fly he can do it using our app. At present we’re not really focused on the app to acquire more borrowers or acquire more investors and lenders.

Razorpay plans overseas foray (The Hindu Business Line), Rated: B

Razorpay, a payment gateway solution provider focused on online merchants, plans to go international. It is looking to enter South East Asia and West Asia markets in 2018-19, Harshil Mathur, co-founder, has said.

The fintech startup, which started its journey in mid-2014, is in talks with local and global (banking) players in these markets, Mathur said.

Razorpay, which had raised Series A funding of $11.5 million, is not worried about funding for the next two years, according to Mathur.

Asia

ORIX Launches New Online Lending Business for Japanese Small Businesses (Orix), Rated: AAA

ORIX Corporation (“ORIX”) and Yayoi Co., Ltd. (“Yayoi”), an ORIX Group company, announced today that they are launching a new online lending business, a new FinTech service utilizing accounting big data and proprietary Artificial Intelligence (AI) based credit model.

The business will provide Internet-based lending to small businesses in Japan. A new credit model is under development, utilizing ORIX’s credit expertise, Yayoi’s accounting big data, and cutting edge AI technology by ORIX’s partner company, d.a.t. Inc. Most existing credit models in the market to date relied solely on static data such as financial reports; by utilizing dynamic data, such as day-to-day journal data and other transactional data, the new credit model is expected to offer much better predictive power than before.

ALT plans to start offering lending services on a trial basis to the approximately 600,000 companies, who are existing users of Yayoi’s online services1 in October 2017. Customers will be able to apply online, during which process they grant permission to access their accounting data.

According to a survey of 7,609 Yayoi customers, 85.0% of small corporations have a need for short-term financing, but 36.5% of those have been shying away from obtaining traditional loans, due in part to the excessive amount of time and efforts required for approval of short-term financing. With respect to sole proprietors, just 16.4% of them have obtained short-term traditional loans. Utilizing online lending can reduce complex administrative procedures, including the need to submit financial reports and other paperwork and to visit financial institutions in person, and can also shorten the time needed to obtain much needed cash, making simpler, more flexible financing possible.

AN INDONESIAN peer to peer (P2P) lending startup, KoinWorks is supporting small and medium enterprises (SME) and education by launching an art exhibition, ARTificial Intelligence which will run from April 13 to April 30 at Pacific Place, Jakarta.

Benedicto also says that KoinWorks mainly focuses on SMEs that conduct their sales and marketing activities online. He also believes that by connecting SMEs to lenders, it will bring benefits to both sides.

Benefits for lenders are through net gained interest from their investment which can be up to 19.8% annually depending on the risk level. The service also fulfils social needs by helping businesses to grow.

Users may invest in KoinWorks with a minimum deposit of US$7.50 (100,000 rupiah). The funding will be deposited in real-time at a virtual bank account. Users only need to scan and upload information from their identity card, fill in the form, and deposit the money.

LendIt China Event, Lang Di Fintech, Updates on PitchIt Competition (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

LendIt, the global lending and Fintech conference, has announced the official launch of the Asian edition of their Fintech startup competition, PitchIt, in association with JadeValue, a Shanghai-based Fintech incubator. The competition is for all early stage Fintech startups in Asia-Pacific.

PitchIt will take place at the Lang Di Fintech conference, China’s largest global Fintech conference in Shanghai in July.

The 8 Finalists Will Receive:

  • Opportunity to secure investment and partners by meeting investors
  • Have your pitch heard by the international fintech community in front of an audience of international and local attendees across APAC.
  • Gain valuable exposure through global PR
  • Up to $1,000 for travel to Lang Di Fintech
  • Year-round exposure through press and brand visibility and the chance to gain mentorship from Global VCs on pitching and product positioning prior to the event.

The Winner Will Receive:

  • Mentorship, co-working space for 6 months and guaranteed investment of $150,000 from JadeValue
  • 2 free passes to LendIt USA 2018, roundtrip airfare and accommodations
  • Curated meetings for investment purposes in the US during LendIt USA 2018 (April, 2018, San Francisco)
  • Complimentary sponsorship at LendIt USA 2018
MENA

The future of digital money (Gulf News), Rated: A

At a time when the consumer relationship with cash is more virtualiser and abstract, and where use of physical cash continues to decline in many markets, the next phase of digital money offers undiscovered potential for a new period of expansive growth in transactions, beyond the limits of national borders.

The region’s e-commerce marketplace is thriving too, but it depends more on cash on delivery than on electronic payments. At the same time, a relatively low share of adults have bank accounts, while mobile money accounts have had limited success. That could be about to change. New Fintech entrants are playing their part in helping drive payment digitisation.

Furthermore, developments in payments technology are making it easier for us all to transact. Egypt’s Payfort recently has successfully helped smaller merchants accept electronic payments, and offers instalment payment options to help merchants improve sales. We’re also seeing global providers such as Apple Pay, Google Pay becoming more active in the region after a slow start and more global players are coming, for example Samsung, with Samsung Pay about to deploy payment services that are promising to be easier, faster and more secure using your Samsung smart phone.

Africa

VoguePay Wins Best Fintech Startup Award (This Day Live), Rated: B

VoguePay.com, a secure payment gateway has won the “Best Fintech Startup” at the 6th edition of the Cashless Africa Awards 2017, organised by Mobile Money Africa in Lagos recently.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor