Thursday November 29 2018, Daily News Digest

GlobalData

News Comments Today’s main news: MPOWER Financing raises $110M. Funding Circle, BBB partner on SME lending. Zopa sells batch of defaulted loans. Yirendai misses earnings estimates by .17 EPS. RateSetter aiming to be Australia’s biggest consumer loans provider. Revolut greenlighted to expand into Singapore, Japan. Today’s main analysis: Is UK headed for credit card crisis? Today’s thought-provoking articles: 37.4% of purchase […]

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United States

United Kingdom

Southeast Asia

Other

News Summary

United States

MPOWER Financing raises USD110 million in latest funding round (Private Equity Wire) Rated: AAA

MPOWER Financing, a fintech company providing educational loans to high-potential international and DACA students, has completed its largest funding round to-date with USD110 million in new financing for students enrolling in major US universities.

This latest round, led by Gray Matters Capital and Community Investment Management (CIM), will be used to support new product growth and technology enhancements as well as to finance MPOWER Financing’s expanding student loan portfolio.

“We co-created a unique type of debt with Community Investment Management’s leadership team. This USD100 million is just the beginning of MPOWER’s Capital Markets roadmap,” says Mike Davis, MPOWER Financing Chief Investment Officer and co-founder.

37.4% of Purchase Borrowers Received  Mortgage Rates Under 5% Last Week (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

  • For 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, 37.4% of purchase borrowers received offers under 5%, up from 29.4% the prior week. A year ago, 98.1% of purchase offers were under 5%.
  • Across all 30-year fixed-rate mortgage purchase applications on LendingTree, the most common interest rate was 4.875%, offered to 21.3% of borrowers.
  • 27.9% of 30-year fixed-rate mortgage refinance borrowers received offers under 5%, up from 20.1% the prior week. A year ago, 98.1% of refinance offers were under 5%.
  • Across all 30-year fixed-rate mortgage refinance applications, the most common interest rate was 5.00%, offered to 22.3% of borrowers.


5 Technologies And Trends Changing The Credit Industry (ValueWalk), Rated: AAA

New tools and advancements in the credit industry are transforming the way consumers borrow cash. Before, loan options were limited to government entities (Pag-IBIG and SSS), banks, credit cards, cash advance from credit cards, and loan sharks. These financial institutions (apart from loan sharks) are heavily regulated, but with a roster of new methods offered today, loaning has become more accessible and borrower-friendly.

The Future of Fintech Video Series: Intuit Consumer Group (ATM Marketplace), Rated: A

Intuit Consumer Group’s Varun Krishna gives some background on the company’s latest partnerships with Lending club and Wealthfront. This interview is part of a video series, “The Future of Fintech,” produced by Mobile Payments Today and powered by Galileo Processing.

MPL Loan Performance Monitor (as of August 2018) (PeerIQ), Rated: A

Highlights from the August 2018 MPL Loan Performance Monitor :

  • Our MPL Loan Performance Monitor tracks the delinquency rates, cumulative losses, cumulative prepays and transition matrices using public marketplace lending data that comprises unsecured consumer loans originated by Marketplace Lenders.
  • Delinquencies on the 2017 vintage in the first 18 months are lower than those on the 2015 and 2016 vintages with lenders having tightened underwriting standards.
  • Cumulative loss rates on the 2017 vintage are lower than those on the 2015 and 2016 vintages. Cumulative losses on the 2015-2017 vintages are outpacing those on earlier vintages.
  • Cumulative prepayments have picked up, with the 2017 vintage paying significantly faster than all prior vintages.

Lendio Recognized as a Great Place to Work for Third Consecutive Year (Lendio), Rated: A

Lendio was certified for the third consecutive year as a great workplace by the independent analysts at Great Place to Work. Lendio earned this credential based on extensive ratings provided by its employees in anonymous surveys. A summary of these ratings can be found at 

Four Major Fintech Trends In The Self-Directed IRA Industry (Forbes), Rated: A

Fintech has helped significantly increase the number of investment options available to self-directed IRA investments. From online crowdfunding platforms to peer-to-peer lending portals, as well as cryptocurrency and digital asset exchanges, new financial technology has helped self-directed IRA investors gain access to new and exciting investment opportunities in an efficient and secure investment environment.

There has never been a better time to find a bad credit mortgage (Mortgage Introducer), Rated: A

Research conducted by the Online Mortgage Adviser website has discovered that up to 70% of potential mortgage applicants fail to approach lenders or other service providers because they mistakenly believe that their personal circumstances or financial histories will preclude them from being considered.

The study, which was based upon a survey of over 2,000 people nationwide, found that almost 50% of respondents believed that a low credit score, or evidence of previous issues, would automatically disqualify their application. 33% and 15% (respectively) felt that a zero-hour contract or payday loan would prevent them from achieving a mortgage loan.

stREITwise Launches Invest for a Cause (GlobeNewswire), Rated: A

stREITwise, an investment vehicle that makes commercial real estate investments accessible to everyone, is announcing the second annual Invest for a Cause holiday campaign. Through December 31st, their executive team will personally make a donation equal to 2% of any new investment to a non-profit of the investor’s choice.

2018’s Top Takeaways (Commercial Property Executive), Rated: A

But perhaps the biggest catchphrase of 2018 represents the rapidly evolving technologies that are benefiting—and some even say revolutionizing—the commercial real estate industry. So-called “proptech” includes a range of building performance solutions, along with financial benefits like the developing blockchain process protections and growth of the still fledging real estate crowdfunding business. (Our most recent discussions include our Mission: Success profile of MetaProp’s founders and the CFO Corner column “3 Ways to Leverage Fintech.”)

Small Banks Join Forces To Bring Fintech To Customers (Forbes), Rated: A

The move is driven in part by a desire to innovate and part survival. It comes as millennials are bypassing branches and traditional banking services for the fintech offerings at an increasing rate. Take Quicken Loans, the Detroit-based lender that operates Rocket Mortgage it’s completely digital platform, for one glaring example.

Stocks Hold Onto Gains Ahead of Powell Speech (Nasdaq) Rated: A

Counterstrike: The market looks like it might rise into the G-20 meeting that begins on Friday, so Jeremy thought this was a good time to pick up a couple names. Firstly, the editor added a 6% allocation in online marketplace Lending Tree (TREE), which has been halved from its 2018 highs. But it could be poised for a sharp move higher as a strong quarterly report has exposed its oversold position.

Online Lender Settles With FTC Over Refinancing Misrepresentations (Manatt), Rated: A

Issuing a warning to other lenders, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reached a deal with an online lender over charges the company violated the FTC Act by making false statements about student loan refinancing.

Velocity Commercial Capital Chooses SS&C for its Finance Transformation (SS&C), Rated: A

SS&C Technologies Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq:SSNC), a global provider of financial services software and software-enabled services, today announced that Velocity Commercial Capital, LLC (‘Velocity’) has signed a multi-year agreement with SS&C Primatics’ EVOLV platform. EVOLV will help Velocity transform their financial operations and capitalize on growth opportunities in a controlled environment. Velocity, a direct portfolio lender, provides investment property loans for residential 1-4, multi-family, mixed-use and small balance commercial properties.

Guaranteed Rate Expands Its Footprint in Hawaii (GlobeNewswire), Rated: B

Guaranteed Rate, Inc. (“Guaranteed Rate”), one of the largest independent retail mortgage companies in the United States, today announced that it will acquire certain assets of Honolulu HomeLoans (HHL) and Hawaii Lending Alliance (HLA), growing its existing Guaranteed Rate presence in the Hawaii market and adding an experienced team of mortgage professionals.

BFS Capital Appoints Mark Ruddock as Chief Executive Officer (Citizen Tribune), Rated: B

BFS Capital announced today the appointment of Mark Ruddock as Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. He will also join the company’s Board of Directors.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle and BBB announce £150m SME lending partnership (Bridging & Commercial), Rated: AAA

The British Business Bank (BBB) has committed to lend up to £150m to UK small businesses through Funding Circle.

The transaction has been made under the bank’s ENABLE Funding programme and is expected to support the growth of over 2,000 UK companies.

The new facility will provide senior financing to a transaction with the Funding Circle SME Income Fund Limited, the publicly traded fund that lends exclusively through Funding Circle.

Zopa sells batch of defaulted loans to boost investor returns (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

ZOPA has sold a batch of defaulted loans to a debt collection agency, which it says will enable a faster and higher recovery for investors.

The peer-to-peer consumer lender informed its investors last week about the debt sale. It said that it has received upfront payment for the loans in question and will pass on the proceeds to investors within the next couple of weeks.

The UK could be headed for a credit card crisis (GlobalData Email), Rated: AAA

Almost three quarters of retail consumers in the UK (those with liquid assets between £0 and £3,918) do not pay off their credit card balances in full each month, says 

Britain’s creative industries break the £100 billion barrier (Gov.UK), Rated: A

The UK’s roaring creative industries made a record contribution to the economy in 2017, smashing through the £100 billion mark.

Its value of the creative industries to the UK is up from £94.8 billion in 2016 to £101.5 billion, and has grown at nearly twice the rate of the economy since 2010, according to figures published today by the Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS).

It continues to perform highly and over the last two months British tech firms Monzo, Farfetch and Funding Circle have surpassed the $1 billion mark, meaning they are now so-called ‘unicorns’.

China

Yirendai (YRD) Posts Quarterly Earnings Results, Misses Estimates By $ 0.17 EPS (Fairfield Current), Rated: AAA

Yirendai (NYSE:YRD) announced its earnings results on Monday, November 12th. The technology company reported $0.35 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.52 by ($0.17), Briefing.com reports. The company had revenue of $163.20 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $179.48 million. Yirendai had a return on equity of 40.40% and a net margin of 18.56%. The company’s revenue was down 28.3% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the firm posted $0.74 EPS.

Source: Fairfield Current

Senmiao Technology (AIHS) Acquires 60% Equity Interest in Chinese Automobile Financial Leasing (StreetInsider), Rated: AAA

Senmiao Technology Limited (NASDAQ: AIHS), an online lending platform in China connecting investors with individual and small-to-medium-sized enterprise borrowers and creditors, today announced that it entered into an Investment and Equity Transfer Agreement (the “Agreement”) to acquire a 60% equity interest in Hunan Ruixi Financial Leasing Co., Ltd. (“Ruixi”), a Chinese licensed financial leasing company focusing on the auto industry with registered capital of $10 million. In exchange for the 60% equity interest in Ruixi from its three existing shareholders, Senmiao has agreed to contribute $6 million in registered capital to Ruixi. The acquisition closed on November 22, 2018.

Beyond The Sugar Rush: Strategic Stimulus For Chinese Stocks (Seeking Alpha), Rated: A

Private companies and even individuals have taken full advantage of loose credit conditions. Rising corporate bond defaults and nonperforming loans, as well as the recent collapse of hundreds of peer-to-peer lending platforms, suggest that at least in some cases, the money came too easily. Concerned global equities investors are already applying a substantial discount to Chinese stocks because of debt issues.

European Union

‘Inconsistent and punitive’ employee ownership rules are damaging Europe’s start-ups, say tech bosses (Telegraph), Rated: AAA

A group of thirty European tech start-ups have warned that the European Union’s “inconsistent and often punitive rules” employee ownership rules are hindering their businesses.

The entrepreneurs, which include the founders and chief executives of iZettleTransferWise and Delivery Hero, stated that laws across the continent make it costly for employers to give out stock options to employees.

The warning to EU policymakers, in an open letter, comes as research by venture capitalists Index Ventures finds that employees own only 10 per cent of late-stage start-ups in Europe, because of limitations brought about by regulations.  However in the US it is 20 per cent.

Online Lender October Officially Launches in the Netherlands (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Online lender October (formerly Lendix) has launched in the Netherlands. Alongside this expansion, the Paris based October is providing SME financing in France, Spain, and Italy.

According to a note from October, SMEs may apply for loans ranging from €30,000 and up to €3.5 million.

Solactive Launches New Sharing Economy Index (Mondo Visione), Rated: B

Solactive is pleased to announce the launch of the Solactive Sharing Economy Index. It tracks companies active in the Sharing Economy, and other modern economies such as on-demand and subscription.

Formerly being attributed to open-source communities, the umbrella term “Sharing Economy“, nowadays reflects various economic activities such as peer-to-peer sharing of goods and services.

International

Zero Fees and Interest-free Loans in Decentralized Credit Networks (NewsBTC), Rated: AAA

Money lending is the core principle of any functioning economy. Decentralized credit networks which have recently seen a rapid increase in popularity promise easy and global access to credit and loans for businesses and the public by immediately connecting borrowers and lenders on the platform. Users of IOU credit networks can even take advantage of interest-free loans and zero fees.

Australia

RateSetter putting pieces in place to be Australia’s biggest consumer loans provider (Finder), Rated: AAA

When RateSetter started operations in Australia four years ago, the peer-to-peer (P2P) lending industry was in its infancy and its risk-based, investor-funded loan was seen as an alternative. But a lot can happen in four years. Today, major banks such as CommBank, HSBC and Citi use risk-based pricing, once only the domain of P2P lenders, while the formerly “alternative” RateSetter funded over $25 million in consumer loans this month.

Foggo said the lender has been “determined” to focus on specific products. One of its new ones is a renewable energy loan which it launched two and a half years ago.

India

Suspension of Aadhaar verification to hit lending of small fintech players (The Hindu Business Line), Rated: AAA

Fintech players, especially online lenders in the personal and consumer loans segment, are likely to face slowdown in business following the Supreme Court order that prevents private companies from seeking Aadhaar data for e-KYC and e-signatures.

Asia

Fintech firm Revolut gets green light to expand to Japan and Singapore (CNBC), Rated: AAA

British mobile bank Revolut has obtained licenses to operate in Japan and Singapore as it readies an expansion into Asia.

The London-based financial technology firm said Thursday that it had acquired a remittance license from the Monetary Authority of Singapore and full authorization from Japan’s Financial Services Agency.

It said Thursday that it intends to launch its platform in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region in the first quarter of 2019, and is looking to select Singapore to host its APAC headquarters.

Online lending platform Oriente announces 5m initial funding for Southeast Asia (kr-Asia), Rated: A

Hong Kong-based online lender Oriente today announced a US$105 million initial round of financing to scale its business across Southeast Asia. The fintech startup already runs lending platforms in the Philippines and Indonesia and will launch in Vietnam soon.

Tapping into digital economy (The Jakarta Post), Rated: A

According to the latest survey by Google and Singapore’s Temasek Holdings, Indonesia’s digital economy is projected to triple to US$100 billion by 2025 from $27 billion this year, given the mushrooming of the country’s online marketplaces. The projection is not an exaggeration as indicated by the huge transaction values at a recent online shopping festival, dubbed a warm-up for the National Online Shopping Day in mid-December.

P2P lending transactions total Rp 13.8 trillion in first three quarters (The Jakarta Post), Rated: A

According to Financial Services Authority (OJK) data, transactions through peer to peer (P2P) lending totaled Rp 13.8 trillion (US$951 million) in the first three quarters of 2018, with the non-performing loan (NPL) rate recorded at 1.2 percent.

P2P lending transactions in 2018 have increased drastically compared to the last two years, with the OJK recording Rp 284 billion in transactions in December 2016 and Rp 2.56 trillion in December 2017.

Who’s afraid of peer-to-peer lending? (Bangkok Post), Rated: A

The recent announcement by the Bank of Thailand on peer-to-peer (P2P) lending rules represents a significant paradigm shift. If all goes to plan, by early next year Thailand will be among the few Asian countries, most notably China and Indonesia, to legalise this match-making platform between lenders and borrowers.

Bukalapak eyes investment products, P2P lending to cash in on fintech opportunity (Deal Street Asia), Rated: B

Indonesia’s online marketplace unicorn Bukalapak is planning to cast a wider net in the country’s booming fintech market. The company is looking at launching new investment products and enter new verticles such as P2P lending and remittances, co-founder and president Muhamad Fajrin Rasyid told this portal.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday October 25 2018, Daily News Digest

The Most Free and Clear Cities

News Comments Today’s main news: Funding Circle cuts price range for IPO. Nelnet withdraws industrial loan charter (ILC) application. China Rapid Finance names former Hewlett Packard exec as Co-CEO. Faircent drops prime lending rates. Today’s main analysis: The most free and clear cities in America. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Fincera grows as China’s P2P lending industry falters. BNP Paribas discusses […]

The Most Free and Clear Cities

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United States

United Kingdom

China/Hong Kong

International

India

Other

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United States

Nelnet withdraws application for industrial loan charter (American Banker) Rated: AAA

Nelnet, a student loan servicing company, has withdrawn its application to become a Utah-chartered industrial bank.

The Lincoln, Neb., company had filed an application with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Utah Department of Financial Institutions in late June to form Nelnet Bank. Nelnet was pursuing an industrial loan charter.

The withdrawal is a “temporary step back” in what Nelnet knew could be a long process, Tim Tewes, the company’s president, said in a press release.

LendingTree Reveals the Most Free & Clear Cities in America (Lending Tree) Rated: AAA

Many U.S. property owners dream of the day they shed the mortgage, owning their homes outright. Reaching this milestone means not only skipping the monthly payment but achieving what is perhaps a lifelong goal of asset accumulation. LendingTree ranks U.S. cities by the proportion of such homeowners who are free and clear.

Source: LendingTree

The Federal Reserve’s measure of how much wealth households have in real estate equity has climbed from a $6-trillion level nine years ago to about $15 trillion in 2018.

Source: LendingTree

CreditShop Announces the Successful Conversion of More Than 500,000 Mastercard Credit Card Accounts (PR Newswire) Rated: A

CreditShop LLC today announced the successful conversion of more than half a million Mastercard credit card accounts and $1.4 billion in receivables. The portfolio, which was acquired in March 2017, was converted to the new Mercury Mastercard® which launched in May.  The Mercury Mastercard is marketed by CreditShop, and issued by First Bank & Trust of Brookings, South Dakota.

CreditShop believes that there are few reasonably priced credit cards available to credit-challenged consumers. There are about 75 million Americans in the “middle market” with FICO scores ranging between 575 and 675, and many are charged high fees by sub-prime credit card issuers.  The Mercury Mastercard is designed to give hard-working, middle market consumers access to a better credit card, at a reasonable price, so they can manage their financial lives better.

Covr Financial Technologies raises $ 10MM Series A from leading technology venture firms (PR Newswire) Rated: A

Covr Financial Technologies, a digital, multi-carrier life insurance platform for financial institutions, today announced it has raised $10 million in Series A funding. In addition to Covr’s existing individual and family investors that made additional investments during this funding round, Covr’s current venture partners all participated including Nyca Partners, Commerce Ventures, Countour Venture Partners and Connectivity Capital Partners and were joined by new investor Allianz Life Ventures. This most recent round brings Covr’s total fundraising to more than $20MM.

Fintech Leader OppLoans Appoints Stacee Hasenbalg to Chief Compliance Officer Role (PR Newswire) Rated: B

OppLoans has announced the appointment of Stacee Hasenbalg to the role of Chief Compliance Officer. Ms. Hasenbalg has held positions in banking and financial services for more than 20 years, including the role of Associate General Counsel, US Regulatory Liaison at Bank of Montreal, and Chief Compliance Officer at Avant. At OppLoans, Hasenbalg will join the executive team leading the company’s compliance and risk oversight function to ensure maximal transparency and efficiency as the firm delivers financing to underbanked consumers.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle cuts price range for London IPO (Financial Times) Rated: AAA

Funding Circle, the peer-to-peer lending platform, has cut the maximum valuation it is seeking in its upcoming stock market flotation, which is viewed as a test for UK investors’ appetite to back alternative lending vehicles.

The loss making company — which connects small businesses seeking credit with private and institutional investors willing to lend to riskier borrowers for potentially higher returns — originally set a price range of 420p to 530p per share for its IPO. This would have valued it at up to £1.8bn.

Funding Circle, which is the first peer-to-peer lender to go public in the UK, has now narrowed that price range from 440p to 460p, giving a maximum valuation of £1.5bn.

Lending to manufacturers grew over the last year (Business Insider) Rated: A

Lending to manufacturers grew by 7.4 per cent over the last 12 months, in contrast to a wider 2.1 per cent contraction overall in UK business borrowing, according to banking trade body UK Finance.

The figures released today also show that UK business deposits for non-financial companies grew by 1.5 per cent in the last 12 months.

PLATFORM RAISES £4.5M TO END ‘PAYDAY POVERTY’ CYCLE (Business Cloud) Rated: A

FinTech start-up Wagestream has raised £4.5m in funding from a group of the world’s leading technology and social impact investors.

The fledgling company’s ‘Get-Paid-As-You-Go’ service allows workers to access their monthly wages in real-time.

Backers include QED Investors, Village Global (a global VC backed by leading entrepreneurs, including Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos), as well as the London Mayor’s Co-Investment Fund and the Fair by Design fund, whose social impact charities include Big Society Capital, Nominet Trust and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Frank Field asks City watchdog to protect Wonga borrowers from ‘disaster zone’ (AOL) Rated: A

MP Frank Field has written to the City watchdog to seek assurances that borrowers from collapsed payday loan company Wonga will be protected from “a financial disaster zone”.

Following a meeting with Wonga’s administrators Grant Thornton, the independent politician has written a letter to Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) chief executive Andrew Bailey asking what steps the regulator will take to protect customers from loan sharks.

Mr Field wrote that it was still possible “people of good will” could buy the company’s £400 million worth of outstanding loans and “treat borrowers without exploitation”.

Tandem Bank adds auto-savings rules (Fintech Futures) Rated: B

Tandem Bank is launching the possibility of setting auto-savings rules, designed to help customers automate regular payments to the savings pot.

When a rule is triggered, money will be automatically moved from their current account into their Tandem account. This money will then start to earn interest.

China

As China’s P2P Industry Stumbles, One Company Is Soaring (The Diplomat) Rated: AAA

China’s peer-to-peer (P2P) lending industry is going through a challenging time, as regulators ensure that companies follow a list of over 100 new rules. The rules have been put into place to eliminate the fraudulent or poor business practices that have plagued the industry since its inception in 2006. Many of these firms have struggled to reduce customer credit risk, lacking sufficient financial and technological expertise. But some companies have continued to perform well despite the chaos, and one of these is Fincera, which lends to businesses.

Fincera Inc. is one of the first companies in China to make loans to trucking businesses online. The company operates a P2P lending platform called “Qingyidai” that continues to thrive despite the turbulence in China’s P2P lending sector. As hundreds of P2P lending firms are shut down and/or bailed out due to China’s current regulatory and economic environment, the few that persist stand out. For Qingyidai, the secret to survival is in its risk control methods, which combine technology with traditional risk control methods.

China Rapid Finance Limited (XRF) Names Former Hewlett Packard Executive as Co-CEO (Street Insider) Rated: AAA

China Rapid Finance Limited (“XRF” or the “Company”) (NYSE: XRF), a leading consumer finance marketplace and technology platform in China, today announced the expansion of its leadership team with the appointment of Russell Krauss, a former Hewlett-Packard executive, as Co-Chief Executive Officer and Vice Chairman. The appointment is intended to help accelerate its strategic corporate transformation as it launches new initiatives and business lines.

Crypto.com Announces Advisory Board (PR Newswire) Rated: B

Huey Lin (Operations)

Huey Lin is COO of Affirm which offers services that empower consumers to advance their financial well-being. Affirm was founded by Max Levchin and is one of Silicon Valley’s fastest growing fintech startups, having raised over US$500m. As COO, Huey is responsible for all aspects of operations, and scaling the company. Prior to Affirm, Huey spent nearly 12 years at PayPal in several key roles, including director of international risk policy & strategy and senior director of Asia-Pacific operations. She played an instrumental role in helping PayPal expand in Europe, meet critical global compliance requirements and was one of the first product managers.

European Union

Aren’t we at the ‘peak of the cycle’? BNP Paribas responds (Altfi News) Rated: AAA

In an exclusive interview with AltFi, Stéphane Blanchoz said the firm plans to originate €1 billion a year in SME loans in Europe, with at least €400m in the UK. Blanchoz is heading up the operation as head of SME alternative financing.

BNP is working with a number of origination partners, including CODE Investing and Caple, but also plans to originate loans itself.

The operation will focus on ‘medium enterprises’, with loans ranging from £500k to £5m. According to a presentation delivered at its offices last week, the asset manager sees this as an underserved segment of the market, populated by around 34,000 companies. Companies within this segment are turning over between £1m and £50m a year.

Ronald Kleverlaan, Director European Centre for Alternative Finance, Shares Insight Into European Fintech Marketplace (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Ronald Kleverlaan: The alternative finance market in Europe is currently preparing for the next growth phase with EU wide regulations, launch of new initiatives backed by large institutional funders and public support for cross-border investments.

Previously alternative finance was used in startups or specific higher risk industries and in several countries 10-20% of that market is already funded through alternative finance providers.

One of the main drawbacks is the maximum of €1 million to be raised by companies through a platform. In most member states this maximum has already been raised to €5 million or €8 million making it applicable also for larger scale-ups and growing companies to raise funding though these platforms.

The Finnish Financial Supervisory Authority approved Fellow Finance Plc’s prospectus (Globe Newswire) Rated: A

The Finnish Financial Supervisory Authority has today, on 26 September 2018, approved Fellow Finance Plc’s (“Fellow Finance” or the “Company”) Finnish language Prospectus (“Prospectus”) regarding the Company’s planned listing on the First North Finland marketplace of Nasdaq Helsinki Ltd and the initial public offering related thereto (the “IPO”).

The Prospectus will be available in electronic form on or about 26 September 2018, on Fellow Finance’s website at www.fellowfinance.com/company/ipo, at the website of Evli Bank Plc at www.evli.com/fellowfinance and at the website of Nordnet Bank AB Finnish Branch at www.nordnet.fi/fellowfinance. The printed versions of the Prospectus will be available on or about 27 September at the registered office of the Company at Ratakatu 1 b A 10, FI-00120 Helsinki, at Evli Bank Plc’s office located at Aleksanterinkatu 19 A, 4th floor, FI-00100 Helsinki and at the Nasdaq Helsinki Ltd (Fabianinkatu 14, 00100 Helsinki).

MYBESTBRANDS Launches Universal Checkout in Collaboration With Payment Provider Klarna (PR Newswire) Rated: B

Klarna, one of Europe’s leading payment providers, and MYBESTBRANDS, Germany’s largest online shopping mall for premium and luxury fashion, have joined forces to launch the Universal Checkout (UCO), the first cooperation of its kind in Germany. Innovative bot technology developed by MYBESTBRANDS combined with the Klarna Checkout will create a superior shopping experience for customers, driving increased order values, conversion and ultimately building loyalty for MYBESTBRANDS’ merchants.

Customers will now be able to add items from different merchants to a single cart on MYBESTBRANDS and then pay with a click via Klarna.

International

Striking the Delicate Balance Between Customer Experience and Fraud Prevention (TransUnion), Rated: AAA

Striking the delicate balance between customer experience and fraud prevention is not an easy feat. This was a common theme among newly released Forrester Consulting global studies exploring fraud in the financial services, insurance and single and multi-family rental industries.

Increases in fraud are corroborated by the research conducted by Forrester.

  • Nearly all financial services firms (94%) in the study recognized that they have experienced some sort of fraud, whether it’s identity theft/new account fraud, synthetic identity fraud, or account takeover fraud in the past two years.
  • Almost two-thirds of insurance companies (62%) have seen an increase in soft fraud and 57% have seen an increase in identity fraud in the past year.
  • Virtually all property management companies (97%) have experienced fraud in the properties they manage in the past two years.
Source: TransUnion

The studies come at a time when TransUnion’s own proprietary fraud data found that outstanding balances of suspected synthetic fraud for auto loans, bankcards, retail cards and personal loans have now surpassed $1 billion as of Q2 2018. Insurers and large and small property managers also face new fraud schemes as the prevalence of online applications continues to rise.

Source: TransUnion

See the full study on fraud here.

Speakers tell ABS pros not to sweat the credit cycle (GlobalCapital) Rated: A

Panelists speaking on state of the consumer ABS market on day two of ABS East told a packed audience that while the credit cycle is definitely in its late stages, material distress in consumer credit was unlikely to be seen for some time.

The comments reflect a broader sentiment that has been expressed at the conference, that the bull market is showing no signs of slowing down and is throwing the likelihood of a recession of any size into question (see related article).

This Exchange Protects User Funds by Keeping 98% in Cold Storage (News BTC) Rated: A

A new European exchange wants to protect their customer funds from governments and hackers by regulatory compliance and a special focus on security.

Blockchain.io is a newly announced exchange that intends on enforcing strict rules to comply with both international and local laws, even for future regulations. The company wants to stay regulatory-compliant, audit their records and only approve carefully selected coins in order to make sure that they stay on the right side of the law.

For instance, a variety of simple and complex order types will be featured. Moreover, there are plans to integrate a peer-to-peer (p2p) lending system to let user borrow from a fund managed and maintained by Blockchain.io. The interest rates of such transactions will be based on supply and demand.

Australia

Real Estate Startup Konkrete Gets Backing From Signum Capital (ThirtyK) Rated: AAA

Blockchain startup Konkrete announced it is receiving financial backing from Signum Capital, an investor in blockchain technologies.

Konkrete, which provides a platform for tokenizing real estate assets, is in the midst of raising $3 million. The Melbourne, Australia-based company has $2 million in precommitments with Signum as the lead investor, according to Australia’s Financial Review.

The announcement comes amid a flurry of blockchain-related real estate projects worldwide.

India

Faircent.com drops prime lending rates by 200Bps to 9.99% p.a. for unsecured loans (Economic Times) Rated: AAA

Leading NBFC-P2P Faircent.com on Wednesday announced a reduction in the interest rate on unsecured loans to 9.99% per annum for prime borrowers listed on its platform. According to a statement, the move is a first for India’s lending market, with such an interest rate being the lowest for unsecured loan offered by any private/PSU bank or alternative lending platform in the country, so far.

Faircent says this is the direct result of RBI regulating the peer-to-peer lending sector in India and recognizing it as an NBFC-P2P, thereby unlocking the alternative credit supply into the economy.

SC verdict on Aadhaar Act may make operations expensive for fintech players (Your Story) Rated: A

The Supreme Court of India on Wednesday, while upholding the constitutional validity of Aadhaar, struck down Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act, which allowed the sharing of citizen data with private entities.

Bhavin Patel, co-founder and CEO of P2P lending platform LenDenClub, says,

“The authenticity of data through Aadhaar is really high considering physical documents (like PAN card) can be copied. The costs of verification for delivering ultra-small ticket size loans (of say Rs 5,000) will definitely be a concern. We estimate that there will be a 30-percent increase in costs on physical verification, which will add up to another Rs 100 or Rs 150.  Also, deployment may take a day or more now (in an ideal scenario) since physical verification takes 24 hours at least.”

COAI to examine implications of Supreme Court verdict on Aadhaar linkage with mobile connections (Economic Times) Rated: A

Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI) Wednesday said it will examine and assess implications of the Supreme Court judgement, which states that it will not be mandatory for customers to link Aadhaar for mobile connections and bank accounts.

The apex court Wednesday struck down the Section 57 of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 that permitted private entities like telecom companies or other corporates to avail of the biometric Aadhaar data.

Loan Rate DOWN: While HDFC, SBI, ICICI, Indusland Bank hike lending rates, this lender bucks the trend (Zee Business) Rated: A

Loan takers are having to pay interest through their noses and there has been no relief in sight for a long time. However, bucking the trend is this new-age online lender. Faircent.com has actually reduced interest rates on unsecured loans by a whopping 200 bps to 9.99% per annum for prime borrowers listed on its platform. This is lowest “lowest” interest rate for unsecured loans offered by any private/PSU bank or alternative lending platform in the country, Faircent claimed in a statement. It further said the reduction in lending rate is the “direct result of RBI regulating the peer-to-peer lending sector in India and recognizing it as an NBFC-P2P, thereby unlocking the alternative credit supply into the economy.”

Significantly, unsecured loans are issued without any collateral and are supported only by the borrower’s creditworthiness.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had hiked repo rate in August 2018 from 6.25% to 6.50% to curb inflation. This affected both the existing as well as future borrowers taking loans from banks. Following RBI decision, several public sector and private banks have increased their Marginal Cost-based Lending Rates (MCLR), making the with borrowers pay higher interest rates and EMIs on their loans. Faircent.com has done the opposite.

Asia

BoT readies peer-to-peer lending service (Bankok Times) Rated: AAA

The Bank of Thailand plans to set regulations for peer-to-peer (P2P) lending service by the year-end, widening opportunities for small-business operators to access financial sources.

The central bank expects to set out regulations to cover all related parties, including P2P lending platforms, borrowers and lenders, said assistant governor Ruechukorn Siriyothin.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor