Wednesday May 2 2018, Daily News Digest

Wednesday May 2 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: RateSetter overhauls Rolling Market product. Revolut to offer cash back in cryptocurrency. Kabbage hires new CTO. BlueVine raises $200M. iZettle expected to IPO. ETMoney launches CreditLine. Today’s main analysis: Are marketplace lenders, tech companies living up to the hype? Today’s thought-provoking articles: Revising the ICAPM to reflect effects of style investing. Cagney’s Figure to offer home […]

Wednesday May 2 2018, Daily News Digest

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United States

United Kingdom

International

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News Summary

United States

Kabbage Hires CTO to Lead Development of Future Data-First Solutions for Small Businesses (PRNewswire) Rated: AAA

Kabbage, Inc., a global financial services, technology and data platform serving small businesses, appoints James Chou as its chief technology officer (CTO). With more than 20 years of successfully leading technology innovations, Chou will oversee the development of the company’s next generation of data-driven financial products and services for small businesses.

Ex-SoFi CEO Mike Cagney Makes a Comeback With a New Blockchain-Focused Startup (Fortune) Rated: AAA

The new startup plans to offer three- to 10-year home equity loans and a buy-lease-back product, the report says. In other words, it will purchase retirees’ homes and then lease them back. Many banks cut down on these types of loans following the financial crisis, but they’re starting to gain traction again due to rising home prices.

 

Online Lender BlueVine Receives $ 200 Million Line of Credit from Credit Suisse (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

Online lender BlueVine has secured a $200 million asset-backed revolving credit facility with Credit Suisse. Additionally, the SME focused platform said it has upped its business line of credit to $250,000. Earlier in 2018, BlueVine doubled its invoice factoring credit limit to $5 million. BlueVine’s total funded volume since founding is expected to top $1 billion in 2018.

To date, BlueVine has raised more than $400 million in equity and debt funding and is funded by Lightspeed Venture Partners, 83NORTH, Correlation Ventures, Citi Ventures, Menlo Ventures, Rakuten Fintech Fund and other private investors.

Senate should take up bill to help lenders see ‘credit invisibles’ (American Banker) Rated: A

The Credit Access and Inclusion Act of 2017 would amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act to allow the reporting of certain positive consumer credit information, such as on-time payment histories, to consumer reporting agencies. In other words, the legislation would help consumers build up their credit history for something they’re already doing.

A New Crop of Fintech IPOs Will Face Skeptical Investors (Bloomberg) Rated: A

There are now close to 30 private fintech startups with valuations at or above $1 billion, according to data platform PitchBook. A few of them are increasingly cited as possible IPO candidates. Among the most closely watched are Pimco-backed GreenSky, which has already filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and Dutch payments company Adyen BV, said to be considering IPO as soon as this year.

The question now is what happens to those billion-dollar-plus valuations when the public gets a look at the companies’ financials and growth projections. In the past, fintech companies haven’t fared too well. Square Inc., which is set to report earnings this week, is the exception.

BOK Financial Implements Partnership With Roostify to Streamline Mortgage Process (Business Wire) Rated: A

BOK Financial, a top-25 regional financial services company, has implemented a partnership with Roostify, a digital lending platform that gives customers more control of their home buying process while allowing loan officers to utilize the latest technology to more easily process loans.

The new digital platform is a tool that offers functionality and efficiency to customers including:

  • Customers can start an application, provide documentation and follow their loan’s progress online.
  • Applicants have a secure way to upload, send, and receive loan documents. Homebuyers can add other involved parties to transaction, such as the real estate agent.
  • Users don’t have to guess where they are in the process – they will receive timely loan status updates.

Inside a swanky New York party for graduates who paid off their student loans (Market Watch) Rated: A

Garrido also entered a competition to win a trip to New York furnished by SoFi, the company that’s made its name refinancing student loans, including one of her own. The occasion of the competition, which Garrido ultimately won: To join other SoFi customers—or “members” in the company’s parlance—who paid off their debt to celebrate at a rooftop bar and restaurant last Thursday in the swanky William Vale hotel in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

On one side of the student debt story are those that our college finance system has truly crippled: Borrowers who leave school with debt and no degree or graduate with degrees worth little in the labor market, or benefit less from their degree simply because of where they came from. Many in the latter group struggle to repay the debt—and not necessarily due to lack of ambition. Despite the rebounding economy, levels of student-loan delinquency remain stubbornly high.

Mom, CFP: New Varo Money Survey Reveals That When Americans Need Financial Advice, They Come To Mama (Payment Week) Rated: A

Mobile banking company 

U.S. judge dismisses state regulators’ lawsuit over national ‘fintech’ charter (Reuters) Rated: A

A District of Columbia federal judge dismissed a lawsuit brought by state bank regulators against the U.S. Comptroller of the Currency over its proposal to offer charters that would let so-called fintech companies do business nationwide.

Since the OCC has not reached a final decision on the fintech charters, the claim of harm by the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) was speculative, U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich wrote in her decision tossing out the case, issued late on Monday.

The future of lending is here, meet RAD Lending (TechBullion) Rated: A

Introducing the RAD Lendingplatform, a foundation for the financial products for the modern crypto economy, where a family of RAD credit products — personal and business loans, credit cards — will help filling the gap between crypto holdings and real-life fiat spending.

RAD Lending’s peer-to-peer (p2p) lending platform will use the benefits of the blockchain and smart contracts for its crypto secured credit products. The platform will connect fiat money investors looking for the predictable yield, with crypto-asset holders looking for loans in easily spendable fiat. By accepting crypto assets as a collateral against loans, and using the guardrails of the blockchain and smart contract technology, the platform will mitigate risks for both investors and lenders.

REVISING THE ICAPM TO REFLECT EFFECTS OF STYLE INVESTING (All About Alpha) Rated: AAA

A recent paper by Michael Stutzer, of the University of Colorado at Boulder, Leeds School of Business, suggests that the intertemporal version of the capital asset pricing model (ICAPM) needs some revision in light of the market dominance of style investors.

A more full statement of that might be: it needs revision in light of the lack of empirical support for its foundations on the one hand, and in light of the dominance of style investors on the other: and that these two revisions turn out to be one and the same.

Read the full paper here.

5 Top Lenders You Should Consider for Tiny House Financing (Student Loan Hero) Rated: A

 Upstart

  • Upstart personal loans come with an APR range of 7.73% to 29.99%
  • Borrow between $1,000 and $50,000
  • Repayment terms of three or five years
  • Qualify with a credit score of 620 or better

2. LendingClub

  • LendingClub personal loans come with an APR range of 5.99% to 35.89%
  • Borrow between $1,000 and $40,000
  • Repayment terms of three or five years
  • Qualify with a credit score of 600 or better

4. FreedomPlus

  • FreedomPlus personal loans come with an APR range of 4.99% to 29.99%
  • Borrow between $10,000 and $35,000
  • Repayment terms of two, three, four, or five years
  • Qualify with a credit score of 640 or better

5. SoFi

  • SoFi personal loans come with an APR range of 5.37% to 14.24%
  • Borrow between $5,000 and $100,000
  • Repayment terms of three, five, or seven years

Personal Capital links with employers to grow user base (Tearsheet) Rated: B

Digital wealth adviser Personal Capital is offering its financial advice platform to employers to grow its user base beyond its core group of investors.

The company last week inked an agreement with benefits provider Alight and investment firm AllianceBernstein to use Personal Capital’s tech platform to help participating employers select personalized 401(k) offerings for their staff members. Co-branding with Personal Capital exposes large swaths of new users to the platform.

PLI 23rd Annual Consumer Financial Services Institute, Chicago session (JDSupra) Rated: B

The second presentation of the 23rd Annual Consumer Financial Services Institute, sponsored by the Practising Law Institute, will take place in Chicago on May 7-8, 2018.  I am co-chairing the event, as I have for the past 22 years.

New to the Institute this year will be a panel on the second day that I will moderate and that will discuss the rapidly changing landscape for marketplace lending and fintech.

United Kingdom

RateSetter overhauls Rolling Market product (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

RATESETTER has unveiled a series of changes to its Rolling Market product, removing the ability for investors to set their own rate on reinvested funds and altering how returns are paid.

Currently investments in the Rolling Market are reinvested each month, meaning the interest rate can change, but from 6 June, investments will remain matched to the same borrower until the loan is repaid, so the return will remain the same.

The rate will only change when the money is reinvested.

UK Fintech Startup Revolut Will Give Cash Back In Cryptocurrencies (Forbes) Rated: AAA

In a bold bid to further tempt young, tech-minded customers, London-based fintech startup Revolut is going to launch a debit card that gives users 1% cash back in cryptocurrencies.

UK challenger banks braced for fresh wave of consolidation (Financial Times) Rated: A

Senior executives at several smaller lenders and established high street banks said they expect a pick-up in M&A activity, after last year’s £850m takeover of Shawbrook and FirstRand’s £1.1bn purchase of Aldermore put the sector on notice for a return to dealmaking.

Cryptocurrency lobby group calls for regulation based on P2P model (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

A GROUP of the UK’s leading cryptocurrency platforms want the regulator to use peer-to-peer finance legislation as a framework for their own sector.

CryptoUK, a self-regulatory trade association with eight members, has set out new plans for the Treasury to make cryptocurrency investment a regulated activity under the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

The plans are part of a written response by CryptoUK to the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee inquiry into digital currencies, which is currently underway.

Do you live in a P2P property hotspot? (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

But as the P2P property market has expanded, a few clear trends have begun to emerge. In some parts of the country, P2P property lending is going strong. In fact, if you’re based in one of these P2P property hotspots, you may be living next door to one…

Walthamstow-Wellesley is currently offering investments in three new-build properties in E17, while Octopus Choice has loaned money on more than 30 properties in the E17, N17 and N15 areas. The Octopus platform is offering rates of between 4.49 per cent and 7.99 per cent of borrowers, with an average of four per cent in returns for investors.

Huddersfield-The West Yorkshire town of Huddersfield has been a surprising recipient of P2P property funding, largely thanks to property platform Lendy, which has financed several large property developments there. Its proximity to Manchester and Leeds means that it is likely to attract even more developer interest in the coming years.

Eastbourne-Landbay currently keeps 21 per cent of its property portfolio in the South East, with dozens of properties in and around Eastbourne.

YPO Innovation Week Unites Innovators for the Global Fintech Summit 2018 in London (Globe Newswire) Rated: B

As a part of its third annual YPO Innovation Week, YPO will host the Global Fintech Summit in London, United Kingdom, where the most dynamic global innovators will be together for a rare chance to network, overturn conventional thinking and leave inspired with the tools to infuse innovation in their companies and communities.

The Global Fintech Summit 2018 will explore the latest disruptive technologies and opportunities across the fintech landscape – including blockchain, bitcoin and robo-advice to online payments, crowdfunding, P2P lending and private equity while connecting YPO leaders from throughout Europe and across the world to share challenges, insights and needs.

China

China’s Biggest Tech Unicorns Stampede to Go Public (Wall Street Journal) Rated: AAA

An unprecedented wave of Chinese technology companies is accelerating plans to raise money from the global capital markets, hoping to leverage investors’ optimism about the sector and lock in buoyant stock valuations.

In recent months, at least a dozen Chinese companies with collective private valuations of roughly $500 billion have been in talks with bankers and potential investors about initial public offerings in the second half of this year or in early 2019, according to people familiar with the discussions.

European Union

iZettle to announce IPO plan early next week (Financial Times) Rated: AAA

iZettle is gearing up to announce its intention to float as early next week in what would be the largest initial public offering by a European financial technology company.

The Swedish payments and ecommerce group has been in talks with potential investors and could seek a valuation of about SKr10bn ($1.1bn) when it is expected to launch its IPO process on Tuesday next week, according to people involved in the flotation.

International

Banks and Fintechs: Adversaries or Partners? (Wharton) Rated: AAA

Some fintechs will aggressively go it alone and challenge the legacy banks in their most lucrative markets. And recent rule changes in Europe, which force banks to transfer closely guarded customer information to fintechs upon customer request, will add new momentum to the upstarts.

Still, the drive towards collaboration is well underway, as the following on-the-ground examples suggest.

  • ICICI Bank, India’s largest private bank, and Paytm, the country’s largest digital payments platform, have jointly launched a digital credit account on the Paytm app. Paytm-ICICI Bank Postpaid gives customers access to instant micro-credit for everyday expenses — from bill payments to movie tickets. Its algorithm – from ICICI – is based on a customer’s financial and digital behavior and evaluates credit-worthiness in seconds.
  • Bocom International, the investment banking arm of China’s Bank of Communications, has partnered with Hong Kong fintech firm FDT-AI to develop intelligent, personalized investment research based on bank clients’ past transactions. The hope is to offer more tailor-made investment advice.
  • ING Group has partnered with Scalable Capital, a leading online wealth manager and robo-advice firm in Europe, to offer a fully digital investment solution to ING’s retail customers starting in Germany. Customers do a paperless registration in under 15 minutes. With a minimum investment of 10,000 euros they can monitor their portfolios on both Scalable Capital and ING mobile apps and online portals.
  • Kabbage, a U.S.-based leading online lender, has partnered with large players such as Scotiabank, for streamlining online lending; MasterCard, for business loans through MasterCard’s network of acquirers; ING, to provide capital to small businesses; and Santander Bank, for loans to small and medium enterprises.

Financial regulators turn their sights on banks’ use of cloud (Financial Times) Rated: A

Financial regulators on both sides of the Atlantic have turned their attention to the cloud, as concerns mount over how to supervise online storage services, which hold information from the world’s biggest banks.

Global financial institutions are becoming increasingly reliant on the cloud — using it to store customer-account data and their banking systems, leading supervisors to fret about what might happen if a bank collapses.

As well as cyber risk, regulators ‎are worried about concentrating so much information in the hands of Amazon, Google and Microsoft — the three big companies that dominate cloud provision — without the same level of supervisory oversight as banks, according to people familiar with regulatory discussions.

Chris Larsen: From Marketplace Lending Pioneer to Creating the New Internet of Value (Lend Academy) Rated: A

But Chris had an itch to start a new company, one that was based on this emerging blockchain technology.

Of course, this move proved to be prescient and his new company, which eventually became known at Ripple, has the potential to completely rewrite the rules of global commerce. In 2013 they introduced the XRP token as the vehicle to help them achieve this goal. XRP (as of this writing) is the third most valuable token with market cap of $32 billion. This is down considerably from its high in January when its market cap reached around $150 billion and briefly made Chris Larsen one of the wealthiest people in the world.

When you think about how far technology has come and the fact that information has flowed freely across borders now for 25 years it is just crazy that the way we move money internationally has barely changed since the 1980s. And while companies like Transferwise have made it more efficient and simple to send money internationally, it is still more expensive and much slower than the system that Chris Larsen envisions. He sees this new system as the second internet: the internet of value.

Living Up To The Hype (Or Not) (PYMNTS) Rated: AAA

Bitcoin, marketplace lending — pick your poison — they came to disrupt, but the jury is still out on whether they can ever achieve that goal. The global citizen and international nomad may change the nature of work around the world, but they need a “finabler” to help them do it.

And new EU regulations like GDPR may be a sea change in how business worldwide will get done, but no one seems to know if that change will come as an easy, rising tide or a tsunami of transformation.

Source: PYMNTS

BFEX: EMPOWERING THE WORLD WITH A BETTER FINANCIAL IDENTITY BY SHANKAR BISWAS (Bitcoinist) Rated: A

BFEX’s peer to peer lending platform is a financial market place with a difference: it is transparent, secure and credible and different from the banks with its proprietary; Decentralized Social Trust Credit Scoring that will provide millions with access money at fair rates with a new improved social identity. BFEX will create better indicators by making meaningful connections between traditional and nontraditional data where raw Credit scores are only a part of the story. Nontraditional data will allow us to look at trends in consumer behavior that completes the picture and tells a better story of the person.

India

ETMoney forays into lending with the launch of CreditLine (Medianama) Rated: AAA

Times Internet’s ETMoney has entered into the lending space with the launch of a new service called CreditLine on its platform, in partnership with RBL Bank.

ETMoney is a personal expense management app which allows users to invest in mutual funds, gold deposits, liquid funds etc, buy insurance, manage expenses and more. The company claims that the app has 4 million users so far and said that it has grown 20x in the last 12 months.

Competition

Paytm is reportedly trying to enter the lending space and is seeking a licence from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to become a peer-to-peer lending platform.

Mobikwik too is working on the launch of a lending product that will offer instant credit to customers directly from its app.  Other players in this segment are like Capital Float, NeoGrowth, Paytm-backed CreditMate, CASHe, LendingKart, MoneyTap, EasySalry, Faircent, LoanMeet amongst others.

Asia

New P2P lender snares key Asian backers (Financial Review) Rated: AAA

OurMoneyMarket has just closed a $4 million funding round which saw N2N Connect, a Malaysian stock exchange-listed financial information provider backed by Japan’s financial media giant, Nikkei Inc, emerge as a key shareholder. Singapore-based YK Capital, a tech company investor, also tipped into the raising.

Run by Adam Sutherland, formerly a securitisation banker at National Australia Bank, and chief operating officer Crystal Anderson, and chaired by John Barry, NAB’s former head of debt capital markets in Asia, OurMoneyMarket has been up and running for nine months and during that time has made $1.5 million in loans.

It’s taking things slowly; there have been $95 million in applications. It has delivered early investors a 13 per cent net return. Revenue is growing at 45 per cent month on month.

Singapore launches the “Fintech Fast Track” for new patents (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) has announced the launch of a new initiative, dubbed the Fintech Fast Track initiative, which aims to grant patents for fintech innovations at a faster pace than before. While it can traditionally take up to 2 years for a patent to be granted, this new initiative will bring that down to 6 months for new fintech solutions. The initiative includes fintech innovations related to electronic payments, investment platforms, insurance technology, blockchain, banking, security, fraud, and authentication, among others.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday February 9 2018, Daily News Digest

personal loans

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi brightens startup scene in Helena, Montana. LendingTree rates Upgrade #1 personal loan. UK P2PFA gets a new head. India considering digital payments tax rebate for P2P lenders. Today’s main analysis: Why point-of-sale lending is hot. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Industrial loan company (ILC) applications may soon be seen in a positive light. P2P lending […]

personal loans

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

India

Canada

Africa

News Summary

United States

Startup Fever is Catching on Everywhere (Even in this Little Montana Town) (Inc.), Rated: AAA

There is a new millennial-friendly mixed-use development with a high-end steakhouse, movie theater, and hotel. And yes, even a town of 30,000 located more than 500 miles from the closest major metropolitan areas (Salt Lake and Seattle) has an entrepreneurial ecosystem. In fact, in some ways Helena has a startup scene larger cities would be jealous of. A few years ago, SoFi, the online student loan servicer that also provides personal loans and mortgages, contracted with two local programmers to help build their platform.

One of those programmers, David Thompson, is a graduate of the University of Montana-Western, Montana Tech, and the University of Montana. David had no interest in moving to the Bay Area, and successfully convinced SoFi to locate a substantial portion of its engineering team in Helena. Today SoFi is multi-billion-dollar startup, and David is the VP of Engineering, managing more than 100 programmers and engineers out of two locations in Helena.

For the last several decades–and especially over the last few years–we’ve heard a lot about the death of small towns and middle America. However, the success of SoFi and the emerging startup scene in Helena shows the potential for tech companies to be agents of economic revitalization in small towns and cities outside of the coasts.

LendingClub Schedules Fourth Quarter 2017 Earnings Release and Conference Call (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

LendingClub (NYSE: LC), America’s largest online marketplace connecting borrowers and investors, announced that it will report earnings for the fourth quarter of 2017 on Tuesday, February 20, 2018, after market hours. LendingClub will host a conference call to discuss the fourth quarter financial results at 2:00 p.m. Pacific Time (5:00 p.m. Eastern Time) on the same day.

A live webcast of the call will be available at  under the Events & Presentations menu. To access the call please dial +1 (888) 317-6003 or outside the U.S. +1 (412) 317-6061 with conference ID 8062913 ten minutes prior to 2:00 p.m. Pacific Time (or 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time).

Elevate Credit Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2017 Earnings Release Available on Its Investor Relations Website (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Elevate Credit, Inc. (“Elevate”), a leading tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, today announced financial results for the fourth quarter and full year 2017. Elevate has posted its fourth quarter and full year earnings release to its Investor Relations webpage at 

The Company will host a conference call to discuss its fourth quarter and full year financial results on Thursday, February 8th at 4:00 p.m. Central Time / 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Interested parties may access the conference call live over the phone by dialing 1-877-407-0792 (domestic) or 1-201-689-8263 (international) and requesting the Elevate Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2018 Earnings Conference Call. Participants are asked to dial in a few minutes prior to the call to register for the event. The conference call will also be webcast live through Elevate’s website at 

Upgrade, Inc. Rated #1 Personal Loan by LendingTree (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Upgrade, Inc. (), a consumer credit platform that combines personal loans with tools that help consumers understand and monitor their credit, announced that it has been named #1 in the personal loans category for the fourth quarter of 2017 by LendingTree.

Why point-of-sale lending is hot right now (American Banker), Rated: AAA

But research conducted by banks and fintechs has found that many younger Americans are uncomfortable carrying credit card balances, partly because they saw their parents struggle with debt during the financial crisis and prefer the more certain repayment terms of installment loans.

Personal loans issued by banks — these exclude credit cards and auto and home equity loans — hit a record $807 billion at Sept. 30, according to data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., up 9% from two years earlier and nearly 30% since 2012. That’s not even including the many billions of dollars of loans made by upstart online lenders that don’t end up on banks’ balance sheets.

San Francisco-based Affirm originated more than $1 billion in point-of-sale loans last year — and, increasingly, regional banks that are funding the loans, either directly or behind the scenes.

Source: American Banker

Inside Overstock.com’s financial services strategy (Tearsheet), Rated: A

For the past few months, the 19-year-old e-commerce company has been quietly building out FinanceHub, a sort of marketplace for financial services that includes existing Overstock credit cards and insurance products; loans by LendingTree, Prosper and Sofi; a robo-adviser for automated investing, as of last week — and as of Tuesday morning, a discounted trading platform.

Fintech Firms Look to Enter Banking Via Century-Old Tactic (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Financial-technology firms eager to offer banking products are eyeing a century-old model that fell out of favor during the financial crisis but could see a revival under the Trump administration.

The industrial loan company charter, available in a handful of states and particularly popular in Utah, allows nonfinancial companies to enter the banking sector without being subject to many of its restrictions, including oversight by the Federal Reserve. Companies seeking the charters must still obtain deposit insurance from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which last approved insurance for an industrial loan company in 2008.

That could soon change. President Donald Trump’s pick to head the FDIC, Jelena McWilliams, suggested during Senate testimony last month that she would look favorably on new applications.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Who Is Chris Larsen? Founder Of Ripple Tops Forbes Cryptocurrency List (International Business Times), Rated: A

According to Forbes, Larsen’s net worth is between $7.5 billion and $8 billion in cryptocurrency, in large part thanks to his massive holding of Ripple—the cryptocurrency he co-founded in 2012.

Larsen, a Stanford M.B.A. and veteran Silicon Valley player, is no stranger to the world of digital finance. Prior to his involvement in cryptocurrency, he co-founded the online mortgage lender E-Loan. The company was valued at $1 billion in 2000. In 2006, he co-founded Prosper Marketplace—the first peer-to-peer lending marketplace in the United States.

Goldman Sachs is trying to build the ultimate financial destination for the masses (Business Insider), Rated: A

Individuals looking to saddle up with the prestigious bank needed to fork over a minimum investment of $10 million for wealth management services. The typical client had more than $50 million in investable assets.

Personal Capital Launches Socially Responsible Investing (Finovate), Rated: A

Wealth tech company Personal Capital is making it easier for investors to put their money in causes that are important to them with the launch of its Socially Responsible Personal Strategy today.

Autobooks Raises $ 10M in Series A1 Funding Round (Finsmes), Rated: A

Autobooks, a Detroit, MI-based fintech startup, raised $10M in Series A1 funding.

Toyota partners with AI firm Aire to spot finance delinquency (Motor Finance), Rated: A

Toyota Financial Services (TFS) has launched an evaluation of AI software from Aire to spot customers with higher risks of delinquency.

Aire’s machine learning technology will identify which lessees have entered customer delinquency by skipping a payment, and will give TFS an estimate on how likely they are to default on further instalments.

Aire’s software has already been used by lenders, including p2p lender Zopa, in the initial credit application phase.

Confluent Continues Momentum in 2017 with 4X Subscription Growth (Digital Journal), Rated: A

Confluent, provider of the streaming platform based on Apache Kafka, today announced 2017 results, which include 4X subscription growth year over year and 98 percent customer satisfaction.

In the 2017 Apache Kafka Report, many companies reported using the distributed streaming platform for more accurate and faster decision making, reduced operating costs, improved customer experiences and reduced risk. 1 in 4 respondents work for organizations with more than $1 billion in annual sales, illustrating how quickly this technology has gained traction across large enterprises. In addition, more than 15% of respondents are processing more than a billion messages a day.

Other 2017 highlights include:

  • Raised $30 million from Sequoia, Index Ventures and Benchmark to meet global demand for streaming platforms.
  • Expanded employee base by 120 percent, added numerous offices throughout the US and extended its footprint to six additional countries.
  • Added new customers around the globe, including Alight Solutions, Capital One, Funding Circle, HomeAway and Nordea Bank.
  • Announced the general availability of Confluent Cloud, an Apache Kafka as a Service offering that empowers enterprises and developers to move faster with streaming data.
  • Surpassed 200 partners, including some of the largest Systems Integrators and Platform partners in the industry.

Fintech partnerships can work (American Banker), Rated: A

That Radius Bank in Boston would strike another fintech partnership — it announced one Wednesday with the startup Mantl, which is trying to cut down online-account openings to four minutes — is less revealing than its part in Radius’ evolving MO.

When Nathaniel Harley, CEO of Mantl, first visited Radius, he was seeking feedback on a personal financial management technology the company was working on. But he was quickly talked into changing the direction of his company.

The two companies started building an account-opening system for all digital channels in March 2017. They worked to reduce manual entry and other hassles from the account-opening process. Mantl brought in one of its own fintech partners, Alloy, to handle much of the decisions, including anti-money-laundering checks, identity verification and fraud detection. Radius and Mantl used Alloy’s workflow management tool to configure the decision-making process.

Source: The American Banker

Mulvaney can’t just kill CFPB payday rule, but here’s what he can do (American Banker), Rated: A

Banking rules cannot be rewritten overnight, and so acting Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Mick Mulvaney has a tall order remaking the payday loan regulation crafted under his predecessor. But observers say Mulvaney has options for altering the rule to the industry’s favor.

One option would be to refocus the rule on disclosure requirements, which would be several steps short of a repeal but more amenable to lenders than the current CFPB regulation.

Democratic senators demand answers on CFPB’s stalled Equifax data breach investigation (Housingwire), Rated: A

Did the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau kill its investigation into Equifax’s data breach that exposed the personal information of 145.5 million U.S. consumers to hackers?

On Thursday, a group of 32 Democratic senators sent a letter to the CFPB, demanding answers on the state of the bureau’s investigation into the Equifax breach.

CFPB Seeks Comment on its Enforcement Processes (The National Law Review), Rated: A

The CFPB has issued a request for information that seeks comment on how the agency can best achieve meaningful burden reduction or other improvement in the processes it uses to enforce federal consumer financial law while continuing to meet the CFPB’s statutory objectives and ensuring a fair and transparent process.  Comments on the RFI must be received no later than 60 days after the date it is published in the Federal Register, which the CFPB expects to be February 12, 2018.

In the new RFI, the CFPB now seek comment on all aspects of its enforcement processes but lists the following seven topics:

  • Communication between the CFPB and subjects of investigations, including timing and frequency of such communications and information provided by the CFPB on the status of an investigation
  • Length of CFPB investigations
  • Notice and Opportunity to Respond and Advise (NORA) process, including whether the NORA process should be mandatory rather than discretionary and the information contained in letters the CFPB may send to potential subjects of investigations pursuant to the NORA process
  • Whether subjects of potential enforcement actions should have the right to make an in-person presentation to the CFPB before the CFPB decides whether to initiate legal proceedings
  • Calculation of civil money penalties, including whether the CFPB should adopt a civil penalty matrix
  • Standard provisions in CFPB consent orders
  • Manner and extent to which the CFPB can and should coordinate enforcement activity with other federal and/or state agencies with overlapping jurisdiction

Altegris To Merge With Artivest (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Altegris, an alternative investment research and management firm, and Artivest, an alternative investment technology firm, announced today that they plan to merge under the name Artivest, pending customary corporate and regulatory conditions to closing. The joint 100-person team will service over $3 billion in client capital—immediately becoming the largest independent alternative investment technology and solutions firm for wealth managers, fund managers, and independent advisors.

SharesPost Launches Unit Focused On Initial Coin Offerings; Hedge Fund Executive John Wu To Lead Group (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Taking a next step in its mission to provide liquidity to private growth companies,SharesPost today announced the launch of its Digital Securities Group.

The Digital Securities Group will bring security token issuers and investors into the SharesPost private marketplace. Token issuers and investors will use SharesPost’s existing Alternative Trading System to invest in ICO’s and trade in digital securities in compliance with U.S. securities laws.

Lenders to allow Airbnb income on mortgage forms (MarketWatch), Rated: A

Homeowners soon will be able to count income they earn from Airbnb Inc. rentals on applications for refinance loans.

A new program — expected to be announced on Thursday by Airbnb, mortgage giant Fannie Mae and three big lenders — will allow anyone who has rented out property on Airbnb for a year or longer to count some or all of that money as income.

SEC Exams to Focus on Disclosures, Robos, Cryptocurrencies (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: B

In 2018 the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations plans to pay closer attention to matters involving retail investors, particularly when it comes to disclosures, and zero in on cryptocurrencies, initial coin offerings and secondary market trading, the regulator says in a press release.

The regulator will also continue monitoring digital advice platforms, with a special focus on their compliance programs, including algorithm oversight, investor data protection and disclosures of conflicts of interest, according to the exam priorities. The SEC has made progress in the ratio of investment advisors it examines each year, from just 8% five years ago to 15% in fiscal year 2017, the regulator says. In 2018, the SEC plans to target those advisors it has never examined before, according to the regulator.

Former Keller Williams CEO Chris Heller joins loanDepot brand family as CEO of mello Home (loanDepot), Rated: B

LD Holdings Group, LLC, parent company of loanDepot, the nation’s fifth largest retail lender, today appointed top real estate executive Chris Heller to head its recently-launched mello Home business. Combining digital simplicity and smart local advice, mello Home seamlessly connects home buying, financing, and improvement services into a single consumer experience.

Fintech looks to the future of financial advice at T3 (InvestmentNews), Rated: B

If the theme of the 2017 T3 Conference was the fiduciary rule, 2018 was all about the future of financial advice.

Quovo launched Cue, a new alerts engine that leverages Quovo’s aggregation technology to notify financial advisers about account activity and client milestones.

MoneyGuidePro announced a new partnership with MX, a data aggregation provider, that lets advisers bring held-away assets into the financial planning software.

 

United Kingdom

UK P2P Finance Association Announces a New Leader (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

It was through the work of the P2PFA, led by Christine Farnish, that these regulations were sensible and promoted the growth of the industry there. And while this initial regulatory framework is currently being reviewed by the FCA, today, the UK is one of the most competitive markets in the world in no small part because of these initial regulations.

Paul Smee brings more than 17 years experience in leading trade bodies in the UK. Previously, he was Director General of the Council of Mortgage Lenders for six years so he comes with experience leading finance trade bodies. He looks like a great choice to take over from Christine.

City Moves for 9 February 2018 – who’s switching jobs at Lendy, RegTek.Solutions and M&G? (City A.M.), Rated: B

Lendy, one of Europe’s leading P2P secured property platforms, is pleased to announce the appointment of Andrew Wawrzyniak as its new head of finance. Andrew was previously head of finance at Fund Partners, a leading fund manager, which specialises in the operation of collective investment schemes.

RegTek.Solutions, the market-leading control and compliance software provider for global trade and transaction reporting, has appointed Rob Bernstein as chief financial officer (CFO).

Rebuildingsociety partners with Leeds Council to support local businesses (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

PEER-TO-PEER business lender Rebuildingsociety has secured an agreement with Leeds City Council whereby the local authority funds loans through its platform.

The council will review business loan requests from companies with an LS postcode prefix, consider the industry and location of the company, and contribute to the loan amounts required by suitable applicants.

European Union

P2P Lending Is Becoming A Significant Income Source For Young Investors (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

According to Robo.cash, P2P lending is turning to a significant source of additional income for the growing number of the European investors.

The online lending platform also confirmed:

“The majority of investors are in the age groups: 25-34 years — 40%, 35-44 years — 31%, 45-60 years — 20%. The less number is the age of 18-24 years (6%) and 61 plus (3%). These figures are supported by the employment of investors: employees — 72%, entrepreneurs — 15%, students — 6%, retiree — 2%. At the same time, the most investors are just getting acquainted with P2P-services (52%) and the comparable number already has at least one-year practice: 1-3 years — 34% and over 4 years — 13%.”

Is Lithuania the most fintech-friendly destination in Europe? (Finextra), Rated: A

The country has been actively promoting itself as gateway destination to the European marketplace for non-EU firms and British startups fleeing Brexit. Registering a company takes merely three days, while getting a Payment Institution or Electronic Money Institution license takes only three months, two-to-three times faster than in other EU jurisdictions. Other perks include remote Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures, low profit tax, startup visa options and a sandbox regime for fintech startups in their first year.

The country also boasts a growing talent pool of up to 31,000 trained IT professionals with a further 8000 in the pipeline.

Lithuania Registered 35 New Fintech Companies in 2017 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

This week, Invest Lithuania released the Lithuania Fintech Report 2017, which revealed that a total of 117 fintech companies were operating in the country in 2017, with 35 of them being registered last year.

International

IOU financial partners with goEBT to offer funding to network of 25,000 convenience store owners (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

IOU FINANCIAL INC. (“IOU” or “the Company”; TSX-V:IOU), an online lender to small businesses (IOUFinancial.com), is pleased to announce a strategic partnership with Marietta, GA-based c-store solutions provider goEBT (goEBT.com).  Through this strategic partnership, goEBT’s network of 25,000 convenience store owners nationwide will be able to access IOU’s fast, convenient, non-collateral funding solutions.

LENDDO AND EFL TEAM UP FOR FINANCIAL INCLUSION (#Include1Billion), Rated: A

Our companies come together united by the common vision of providing financial inclusion for more than one billion new and underserved individuals across the globe. We will together provide a suite of credit scoring and identity verification products to more than 20 emerging markets.

Our companies have individually facilitated over 5 million credit assessments since inception, allowing more than 50 financial institutions to disburse over $2 billion USD in credit to people with limited information.

The first joint product offering is already live in Asia and Latin America, with additional products and features scheduled for release in the coming months.

From #Include1Billion

Fuse Business Loans from Mynt began working with LenddoEFL to assess credit risk for its clients that were 80% unbanked.

Foxconn’s Gou said to invest in US crypto merchant bank venture (EJ Insight), Rated: A

Terry Gou, the billionaire chief of Taiwanese electronics giant Foxconn, is said to have invested in a cryptocurrency merchant bank being set up by Mike Novogratz, a former Wall Street macro hedge fund manager.

Citing a source familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reported that Novogratz has raised about US$250 million for his cryptocurrency merchant bank venture through a private placement.

India

Google search bias fine, Swiggy funding, Digital payments tax rebate & more (ET Tech), Rated: AAA

The government might consider giving tax rebates to merchants accepting payments digitally in order to promote the overall fintech sector, which is at its infancy at present but growing at a rapid pace, suggested the Reserve Bank of India.

Talking about the fintech sector the RBI has identified tech startups working in the space of peer-to-peer lending, blockchain, big data, smart contracts, robo advisors and online aggregators.

Read more.

HOW TO FUND YOUR HIGHER STUDIES (Money Today), Rated: AAA

Traditionally, one’s option was limited to getting an education loan from a public sector bank. Now that the demographics are favourable and the education loan market has the potential to grow, non-banking finance companies (NBFCs), fintech players and peer-to-peer (P2P) lenders are jockeying for a piece of the market.

Seek more funding: Education loans are part of the priority lending category, but unlike the US, there is no provision for student loan waiver in India. It means your loan will not go away until you pay it off. Try and find out if there is any other source of funding available, including financial aid, bursary and scholarship or upfront savings, which will bring down the loan amount.

What Banks Offer

Most of them offer education loans for studying medicine, engineering or management at graduate and post-graduate levels or for pursuing further studies in India and abroad. Some also provide categorised loans. For instance, State Bank of India (SBI) offers Scholar Loan for students who get admitted to premier institutions like IITs, IIMs, NITs and AIIMS, and a Global Ed-Vantage loan for studying in global counterparts. Bank of Baroda offers Baroda Scholar loan for studying abroad and Baroda Gyan loan for higher studies in India while separate schemes are available for courses conducted by the country’s top institutions.

Source: Money Today

Fintech/P2P Players

Landing an education loan may not be easy anymore, given the spurt in defaults. And that is where the new-age fintech firms and P2P lenders see a lucrative opportunity. “For those who fail to qualify for education loans from banks and NBFCs, P2P lending platforms can be an alternative way to borrow,” says Gaurav Aggarwal, Associate Director, Unsecured Loans, at Paisabazaar. In other words, aspiring students can raise personal loans from banks or fintech players like MoneyTap and LoanTap, or P2P lenders like Faircent and CreditMantri to cover their educational expenses.

What Lies Ahead For India’s Fintech Sector? (CXO Today), Rated: A

To understand what lies ahead for India’s fintech sector, it makes sense to understand the fintech growth is expected to boom in the Asia Pacific region. A Frost & Sullivan report predicts that the region is expected to grow at a CAGR of 72.5% from 2015 to 2020, reaching US$72 billion.

According to Quah Mei Lee, Industry Principal, ICT, Asia-Pacific, the mobile payments market in Singapore was estimated to be worth US$1.4 billion in 2017. The market is still small but is growing fast.

Indian digital payments industry is expected to reach $700 billion by 2022 in terms of value of transactions.

It is expected that more than 80% of the urban population in India will adopt digital payments as a part of their routine by 2022, and 70% of the retail chains will adopt the same.

Canada

A Canadian Way to Access US Small Business Lending (Stockhouse), Rated: AAA

Enter IOU Financial.  As “online lending” has become a 21st century reality, a financial niche has sprung up with online lending institutions that are prepared to cater to small businesses and provide badly needed capital, efficiently and affordably.

Compared to the above, IOU Financial provides easily manageable, working capital term loans for small business, and does so:

  • Quickly
  • Efficiently
  • Affordably

The speed of IOU’s loan application process is a big draw for small business owners.  IOU’s application generally takes roughly three to five minutes to complete.

Source: Stockhouse

 

Grounded Kitchen & Coffeehouse is OnDeck’s Small Business of the Month (PR Newswire), Rated: A

OnDeck (NYSE: ONDK), the online lender to small businesses, today announced that Grounded Kitchen & Coffeehouse, owned by Amir Rahim, has been selected as the OnDeck Small Business of the Month for February, 2018. The Ottawa-based restaurant is the first small business in Canada to earn the OnDeck spotlight award.

Africa

Glaring Ponzi Schemes In Ghana Now (Modern Ghana), Rated: A

So assuming I have $1000.00 I have no use for and would want to make a little interest on, All I have to do is go unto one of these platforms to match me with someone in need of $1000.00. These platforms because of the high risk they take (borrowers don’t provide tangible collaterals) usually charge higher interest and in return given higher interest to lenders than Treasury Bills will normally do. This idea is supposed to be easy and help people financially as there is gap between loans needed and financial institutions willing to give (“The two largest peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms, Prosper and LendingClub founded in 2005 and 2006 respectively, have originated over $6 Billion in loans to date. Although they have only begun to scratch the surface of the $3 trillion consumer debt market” Nav Athwal Cofounder and CEO of RealtyShares, a crowdfunding for real estate platform). Yet like most good things miscreants, hooligans and hoodlums find a way to make the system corrupt.

These swindlers promise up to a 100% interest rates within 5 working days. So they lure greedy but naïve people to roll in cash through mobile money. With a Minimal amount of GHC100.00 you get registered and paired with another person. You’re required to send the money to this person who they claim registered 5 days ago and the said day is the day of maturity.

Ways to spot financial scams and Ponzi schemes
1. If your interest is too good to be true, then its probably a lie. When you’re being offered an interest bigger than the T Bills in lending you should be wary and do due diligence.

2. They usually don’t tell the project in which your money will be invested.

3. Pressurised to respond quickly? 4. Are the contact details vague?

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday September 22 2017, Daily News Digest

APAC alternative finance

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi hit with a new lawsuit. Former SoFi loan reviewer says company created a hostile work environment. LendingClub launches Android app for investors. ZhongAn prices Hong Kong IPO at HK$59.70, raises $1.5B. Australia passes Japan to become second largest alternative finance market in APAC. Today’s main analysis: APAC alternative finance report. Today’s thought-provoking […]

APAC alternative finance

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

APAC

South America

News Summary

United States

SoFi Condoned ‘Rampant Sexual Activity,’ Lawsuit Alleges (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

A former loan reviewer at Social Finance Inc. claims in a lawsuit she was repeatedly sexually harassed while working there, ratcheting up pressure on the embattled fintech startup.

Sonoma County Superior Court court clerk confirmed by phone that the complaint was filed Thursday.

Top management indulged in the inappropriate behavior, which then trickled down through the ranks, according to the complaint. Cagney dated subordinates at SoFi’s San Francisco office — where his wife works as chief technology officer and vice president of engineering — and attended parties with SoFi’s Healdsburg staff while intoxicated, Zamora alleges.

SoFi Faces New Sexual Harassment Claim Days After CEO’s Departure (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Yulia Zamora, who worked as a loan reviewer at SoFi’s Healdsburg, Calif., office from October 2015 until October 2016, said in a complaint against the company that a manager had propositioned her for sex and retaliated against her when she refused.

She added that SoFi exhibited a “hostile work environment where sexually inappropriate behavior became widely accepted and laudable by upper management.”

In her complaint, Ms. Zamora said that a SoFi director of operations who had authority over promotions approached her during and after an office Christmas party in December 2015. The manager, Adam Cobb, told her that he was “intimidated by [her] beauty” and that he “want[ed] to do sexy things” to her, according to the complaint. She denied his advances, the complaint added.

In the weeks following those comments, Mr. Cobb refused to promote Ms. Zamora and refused to write her a letter of recommendation after she resigned from the company, according to the complaint. She raised the issue with supervisors just after the party, but said that they found the story “entertaining rather than upsetting.”

Why Startup Founders Should Be Required to Sign a ‘No Go, Bro’ Clause (Fortune), Rated: AAA

Startup CEOs like Cagney, Travis Kalanick at Uber, and Taylor Freeman at UploadVR—accused in a recent lawsuit of bragging with his co-founder Will Mason about how many girls they were going to have sex with at company parties, and designating a room at the office as a “kink room”—can destroy as well as create billions of dollars in value for their companies, all while creating toxic work environments.

Whether they resign like Cagney and Kalanick or remain with the company like Freeman and Mason, startup executives typically own a large percentage of company stock. That often leads investors and boards to treat them gently when it comes to sexual harassment allegations and other forms of misconduct—but it should not.

Before making a big investment in a startup, investors should use their power to require CEOs to sign a clause under which they forfeit a large proportion, or potentially all, of their stock, if fired for misconduct, including reasons such as sexual harassment and misrepresentations to investors.

 

 

 

LendingClub, a peer-to-peer loans platform, just launched its Android app for investors (Android Police), Rated: AAA

With the LendingClub Invest app, you can log in via your fingerprint, view information like your current value and return, as well as transfer money.

Keep in mind that this is for investors, not borrowers. It’s for those using the service who want to manage their accounts and view the details of their current investments. Borrowers using LendingClub don’t have an app just yet.

The full log for this initial release is below:

WHAT’S NEW

Access your LendingClub investor account through a convenient experience optimized for your mobile device.
In this initial version you can:
– Log in to your account with a touch of the finger (for Android 6.0 or above)
– View and manage your account
– See your Net Annualized Return (NAR)
– Invest in Notes
– Use your saved filters to find the Notes you want
– Set up and update automated investing
– Transfer money between your LendingClub account and your bank

Hackers Entered Equifax Systems in March (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Hackers roamed undetected in Equifax Inc.’s EFX +2.76% computer network for more than four months before its security team uncovered the massive data breach, the security firm FireEye Inc.FEYE +0.24% said this week in a confidential note Equifax sent to some of its customers.

FireEye’s Mandiant group, which has been hired by Equifax to investigate the breach, said the first evidence of hackers’ “interaction” with the company occurred on March 10, according to the Mandiant report, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Equifax has said it didn’t discover the breach until July 29. Days later it called in Mandiant. Equifax didn’t disclose the breach until Sept. 7.

In a progress report that accompanied that announcement last Friday, Equifax said hackers accessed consumers’ data from May 13 through July 30. It didn’t mention in that report that the attack had begun at an earlier date.

Mandiant’s report this week noted the hackers accessed one of Equifax’s servers by taking advantage of a flaw in software called Apache Struts, used by many companies to build interactive websites.

Two days before the access occurred, on March 8, security researchers at Cisco Systems Inc. warned of the flaw in Struts and a patch was issued by the Apache Software Foundation. Equifax in its report last week said its security staff “took efforts” to fix the system, saying it understood the intense focus outside the company on patching efforts and that its review was ongoing.

After interacting with Equifax’s server in early March, the hackers then entered the computer command “Whoami,” Mandiant wrote. This command would have given the attackers the username of the computer account to which they had just gained access, an early step in a hacking attempt.

The Ultimate Anti-Competitive Mergers (Prospect), Rated: A

When you need a new mortgage in the future, will your only options be AmazonWellsFargo or AppleChase? The prospect of a mash-up of banking and commerce keeps people like George Washington University law professor Arthur Wilmarth up at night. “This would mean an end to healthy innovation and startups and competition,” said Wilmarth. “I think it is that dire.”

In principle, these maneuvers could inject competition into a banking industry controlled mostly by four Wall Street giants, making financial services more accessible and flexible to modern needs. But special charters also let fintech evade critical regulatory scrutiny. And the tentative steps by SoFi and Square seem like a dry run for the day Silicon Valley’s giants decide to get in the game, building sprawling businesses the government has aimed to prevent for decades.

Banks get all sorts of privileges from the government—and if banks can also function as ordinary commercial enterprises, they have unfair advantages against other businesses (who are also their clients).

Non-Prime Gen-Xers Lack Financial Stability According to New Research by Elevate’s Center for the New Middle Class (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Members of Generation X (those born between 1965 and 1980) now sit at the age where they anchor the country’s economic and social structure. Yet, new research from Elevate’s Center for the New Middle Class shows that Gen-Xers face a slew of economic challenges that perpetually keep them off balance. Worse still, that lack of balance means they can’t plan for the future or get back on track.

Non-prime Gen-Xers, in particular, lack stability – in their employment as well as their income. They have difficulty predicting their monthly income, and consequently act like cash accountants in managing their day-to-day finances. Non-prime Gen-Xers are thus the least likely generational cohort to be able to save money—an important aspect of financial planning. Compared to their prime counterparts, non-prime Gen-Xers are:

  • 4x as likely to be living paycheck to paycheck
  • 4.5x as likely to worry about meeting monthly expenses
  • 2x as likely to have been laid off in the past year, and almost 3x as likely to be laid off in the last 5 years
  • 5x as likely to feel “significant stress” over finances
  • 5x more likely to say that in the prior 12 months they were never able to plan for a major expense

The planning gap between prime and non-prime Gen-Xers is wider than any other generation, and 1 in 5 reports running out of money every month. When it comes time to pay for unplanned or unexpected expenses, such as medical bills or car repairs, only 13 percent feel confident they could come up with $1,200. This lack of confidence may be due to lack of reliable options. Though 80 percent of prime Gen-Xers have a solid option – savings, credit or turning to family/friends – only 44 percent of their non-prime counterparts have a solution for coming up with the funds.

3 Stocks With eBay-like Return Potential (The Motley Fool), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lending platform Lending Club is finally starting to show signs of growth after several quarters of stagnant loan originations. With the stock down 74% since its first trading day in 2014, there’s certainly potential for a big investment win if things continue to go well.

For the second quarter of 2017, Lending Club’s loan originations grew by 10% year over year as well as sequentially, which came as a pleasant surprise to investors. Revenue grew by an impressive 35% from last year, and profit margins improved tremendously. What’s more, Lending Club’s CEO said that the company could approach GAAP profitability as we head into 2018, which would be a major improvement from the first half of the year.

Lending Club’s loan portfolio is currently about $11.1 billion in size, which may sound like a lot, but consider that the U.S. nonrevolving (loan) consumer lending market has more than $2.7 trillion in outstanding balances, not including mortgages, according to the Federal Reserve.

US auto-loan fintechs help incumbent lenders stay up to speed (Business Insider), Rated: A

Hyundai Capital America, the car maker’s US lending division, has partnered AutoGravity, a US-based digital car shopping and financing platform, to extend its loans more easily to consumers looking to buy a Hyundai, Kia, or Genesis vehicle.

Hyundai Capital will be one of several auto lenders that consumers can borrow from via the platform.

JPMorgan Chase partnered online car marketplace TrueCar in August 2016 to launch an end-to-end digital platform, Chase Auto Direct, for finding and financing a vehicle. Additionally, Ford Motor Credit Co., the car giant’s lending arm, started leveraging US marketplace lender AutoFi’s software in January to make it easier for customers to buy and finance a vehicle without going to showrooms.

The Saatva Company Partners with Payment Solutions Company Klarna (PR Newswire), Rated: A

The Saatva Company, the largest online luxury mattress retailer, has formed a strategic partnership to offer financing plans to its customers with Klarna, a global payment solutions company that works with other top U.S. brands like Microsoft and Taylormade.

Through this partnership, Saatva customers now have the option to “Slice Up Your Payment” through Klarna and spread the cost of purchases over time with convenient, stress-free low APR financing offers. It is available immediately under all three Saatva Company brands – Saatvamattress.com, Loomandleaf.com and Zenhaven.com.

After selecting the perfect mattress, customers can apply for Klarna financing at checkout through a simple three-step instant credit approval process. Customers are approved for an open line of credit that may also be used at any other merchant where Klarna is accepted.

Digital Lending Dramatically Cuts Down Closing Times (The M Report), Rated: A

In a recent sampling of 10,000 purchase loans from LendingTree, a leading online loan marketplace, the closing times on mortgages saw a sharp decrease thanks to more digital lending; approximately 74 percent on average from May 2016 to May 2017. According to the report, the average closing still takes roughly 72 days, but this rate is influenced by several other buying factors as well as digital integrations.

The study shows the average amount of days to close in Boston (79.5) strongly differs from the time spent in a city like Denver, (56.2); a 23.3 day difference.  New York closely followed Boston at 79.2 days and Cleveland at 71.5. Phoenix and Dallas barely ranked above Denver at 57.5 and 57.6 days respectively. The time to close also varies largely by state, with Montana measuring at 52.7 days until closing and New York at 91 days.

Activehours raises $ 39 million for its new take on cash advances (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Nine months after raising $22 million for its unique take on the cash-advance business, Activehours has gone back to the venture capital well and pulled out another $39 million in financing.

Led by Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from the company’s early-stage investors Matrix Partners, Ribbit Capital, and March Capital Partners, Activehours has managed to now raise nearly $65 million since its launch in 2013.

The Palo Alto-based company skirts regulation as a payday lender because it doesn’t charge interest on the cash that it fronts to customers. Instead, the company asks that users pay a small voluntary fee for access to their money ahead of their payday.

Tribal Lender Claims Immunity From Challenge To Immunity (Law360), Rated: A

An online lender accused of striking “rent-a-tribe” deals with a Native American tribe in order to benefit from tribal immunity urged a Virginia federal judge Tuesday to dismiss a proposed class action over its lending practices, saying it is, in fact, a sovereign arm of the Chippewa Cree tribe and therefore immune from the litigation alleging false immunity.

The Government Shouldn’t Collect Private Financial Information from America’s Poor (National Review), Rated: A

The CFPB, which was created under Dodd-Frank supposedly to protect consumers and prevent the next big financial crisis, is now being used to try to discourage payday lending, vehicle title, and certain high-cost installment loans.  The rule will require customers applying for a small-dollar loan – the average of which is $350 — to submit extensive personal financial information in support of their applications. In addition to determining a customer’s ability to repay the loan, the lenders will be required to share this information with each credit reporting agency (CRA) registered with the Bureau.

With this data all in one place, it will be vulnerable to a potential hack.

And just this week the SEC reported a hack.  Now government will have a new pool of data for hackers to try to infiltrate.

Embracing Blockchain Is in the ‘National Interest’ (Coindesk), Rated: B

Giancarlo continued:

“Everything we do has been digitized. The one thing that has not yet been digitized is regulation. We’re still very much an analog regulator of digital markets.”

And most importantly, Giancarlo stressed that it is imperative that U.S. regulatory structures catch up with the fast-moving digital economy.

eOriginal Announces Coluzzi as New Chief Financial Officer (Benzinga), Rated: B

eOriginal, Inc., today named Michael Coluzzi as Chief Financial Officer (CFO), another valuable addition to the executive team of the rapidly growing financial services technology firm.

Coluzzi is the third key addition to eOriginal’s leadership following a growth capital investment by LLR Partners. In addition to the new CFO, Brian Madocks joined as Chief Executive Officer in April 2017 followed by Timothy Wall as Chief Revenue Officer earlier this month. These hires and the existing eOriginal management team together will drive the business towards achieving full potential.

Veteran CFO Bruce Felt Joins Personal Capital’s Board of Directors (Business Insider), Rated: B

Personal Capital, the leading digital and professional advisor based wealth management firm, today announced that Bruce Felt, the Chief Financial Officer of DOMO, has joined Personal Capital’s Board of Directors and will chair the Audit Committee.

Felt is the CFO of DOMO, one of the fastest growing SaaS companies in the country. Previously, he was the CFO of SuccessFactors, where he guided the company through six acquisitions, a public offering and the sale of the business to SAP. Felt has spent 25 years managing financial operations for high-tech companies and serving on multiple boards of directors.

Form 8-K Elevate Credit, Inc. For: Sep 15 (StreetInsider.com), Rated: B

The Registered Office of the corporation in the State of Delaware is changed to 251 Little Falls Drive, in the City of Wilmington, DE, County of New Castle, Zip Code 19808. The name of the Registered Agent at such address upon whom process against this Corporation may be served is Corporation Service Company.

United Kingdom

Ex-Barclays CEO Antony Jenkins raised £34 million for his fintech startup (Business Insider), Rated: A

Former Barclays CEO Antony Jenkins has raised £34 million ($46 million) for his fintech startup 10X Future Technologies.

The Series A funding round was led by Chinese firm Ping An Insurance and consulting firm Oliver Wyman.

London-based 10X, which went public last October, will help banks and financial institutions modernize their back office technology.

Older people are underserved by financial services, says the City watchdog (City A.M.), Rated: A

In its Ageing Population Project, the FCA found that older people’s needs are not being fully met which may result in exclusion, poor customer outcomes and possibly even harm.

It has called on retail banks, advisors and the savings industry to think about the vulnerabilities which older people – defined as those who are aged 55-plus – may face.

Cautious investors blind to risks of alternative favourites (FT Adviser), Rated: A

The aftermath of the financial crisis has seen investors pour capital into income generating alternative assets perceived to be low risk but market watchers have warned the dangers won’t be evident until interest rates rise.

The AIC said 70 per cent of the investment trust launches over the past five years have been in the alternative income sector.

Jonathan Davis, who runs Jonathon Davis Wealth Management in Hertford, said he has been preparing his clients portfolios for higher inflation, and higher interest rates, and generally avoiding UK equities.

LendInvest hires Aldermore’s Boden (Mortgage Strategy), Rated: B

Aldermore head of commercial mortgages Ian Boden has joined specialist lender LendInvest.

Boden joins the group as sale director, after five years at Aldermore Bank.

He has previously worked at Lloyds Bank and HSBC and has an advanced diploma in financial planning from the CII.

In his new role, Boden will help grow the business development team at LendInvest. He will help the group expand to new markets.

Deadline nears for pub purchase (County Echo), Rated: B

THE 30 September deadline to secure the necessary funds to purchase the threatened Tafarn Sinc pub in Rosebush is fast approaching.

“The aim now is to see a sum of £200,000 in shares achieved by 1 October and also the committee has endorsed a special Peer to Peer (P2P) lending scheme where a four per cent gross interest rate is offered to individuals who can lend a £5,000 sum to the co-operative to secure the total funds.

“As a target for the P2P we have 20 lots of £5,000 loans we are seeking and then this will bring in the needed final sum to purchase the pub and ensure it is owned by local people.”

China

China online insurer ZhongAn prices HK IPO at top end, raises $ 1.5 bln (Kitco), Rated: AAA

ZhongAn Online Property & Casualty Insurance Co priced its IPO at the top of an indicated range, raising $1.5 billion in Hong Kong’s biggest ever financial technology stock offering, IFR reported on Friday.

China’s first internet-only insurer priced 199.3 million new shares at HK$59.70 ($7.65) each, the top of a HK$53.70-HK$59.70 range said IFR, a Thomson Reuters publication. It cited people close to the deal.

ZhongAn Online Property & Casualty Insurance Co priced its IPO at the top of an indicated range, raising $1.5 billion in Hong Kong’s biggest ever financial technology stock offering, IFR reported on Friday.

China’s first internet-only insurer priced 199.3 million new shares at HK$59.70 ($7.65) each, the top of a HK$53.70-HK$59.70 range said IFR, a Thomson Reuters publication. It cited people close to the deal.

China’s first Internet Insurance Company is set to list in Hong Kong on 28th Sep (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

Zhongan Insurance, which was co-founded by Jack Ma of Alibaba, Ma Mingzhe of PING AN and Pony Ma of Tencent, is the first internet insurance company in China. Because of its strong background, every move of Zhongan Insurance is closely concerned. On September 17, Zhongan Insurance revealed it would be listing in the main board of Hong Kong stock exchange. More details, the price range will be set at HK$53.7- 59.7, and the company plans to raise HK$10,948 million in total, it is scheduled to begin trading on the main board of the Hong Kong stock exchange on September 28. If the plan is implemented, Zhongan will become the first publicly listed fintech unit of China.

Chinese online stockbroker Tiger Brokers gets investment from US firm Interactive Brokers (SCMP), Rated: A

Tiger Brokers, a Chinese online securities brokerage start-up backed by Wall Street billionaire investor Jim Rogers, said on Thursday it has landed an investment from Interactive Brokers Group, one of the largest electronic brokers in the United States.

The Beijing-based Tiger Brokers, which offers an app to allow Chinese investors to trade on US stock markets and the Hong Kong exchanges and in Chinese A shares, did not disclose the size of the investment by Interactive Brokers.

The Top 10 Most Valuable Unicorns (Benzinga), Rated: B

The United States is home to the most unicorn companies in the world, with over 100 such companies, according to a new report by HowMuch.

8. Lu.com ($18.5 billion): China

Lu.com is an online finance marketplace which started as a peer-to-peer lending platform. Since 2011 it has service over $2.5 billion peer-to-peer loans.

 

European Union

EU’s new data privacy law creates headaches for U.S. banks (American Banker), Rated: AAA

What happens when a cookie of a Brit in London lands in the server of a community bank in the U.S. if, on an off-chance, the Brit browses the bank’s website?

It’s unclear, experts say, but U.S. banks — especially small and midsize banks — need to go find out because the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) could affect them, unlike the EU privacy regulations before it.

The countdown is ticking on GDPR’s website. The law, approved by the European Parliament in April 2016, will take effect in late May 2018. It will apply to “all companies processing and holding the personal data of data subjects residing in the European Union, regardless of the company’s location,” the website said.

International

SoftBank’s Banker Stash (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Their presence begs a question of the Vision Fund, whose backersinclude Apple Inc. and Saudi Arabia. Is its long-term goal to get into everything from ride-hailing apps to indoor farming, or is it more about getting juicy returns?

One Fund to Rule Them All
SoftBank’s $93.2 billion Vision Fund is the world’s largest private equity fund.
Anshu Jain, Deutsche Bank’s former co-chief executive officer and key architect of its rapid growth in markets prior to the credit crunch, was an adviser at SoftBank-backed U.S. based online lender Social Finance Inc. until recently.

While SoftBank put in equity to the tune of $28 billion, its partners, including the government funds of Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, hold part of their stakes via preferred instruments, also known as mezzanine capital. It means they’re owed yearly payouts, similar to a dividend.

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, for instance, is injecting $45 billion, but only $18 billion of that is straight equity, the Wall Street Journal reported in May. The preferred units will earn about 7 percent interest annually over the life of the fund, expected to be 12 years.

Source: Bloomberg

Which banks are leading digital (and who are the laggards)? (The Finanser), Rated: A

Banks typically spend 80% of their IT budgets on legacy technology maintenance and a tier one bank could easily spend up to $300m a year on existing software which constantly needs expensive updates in order to meet regulatory requirements.

Why so much? Because most of those systems are written in programming languages that no one knows anymore. Anna Irrera writes on Reuters that 43 percent of US banks’ core systems are written in COBOL.

$3 trillion in daily commerce flows through COBOL systems. The language underpins deposit accounts, check-clearing services, card networks, ATMs, mortgage servicing, loan ledgers and other services.

In another report, Autonomous Research said the banks with the most potential to do better than analysts’ profit expectations because of digitisation were: JPMorgan Chase and SunTrust in the US, Spain’s CaixaBank, Lloyds Banking Group in the UK and KBC in Belgium.

Autonomous ranked the banks based on two criteria: their current level of digitisation and their transformation outlook. It assessed 18 attributes from customer ratings of mobile banking apps to IT expertise on the board of directors. Banks viewed as being behind on digitalisation included HSBC, BNP, Credit Suisse, Intesa Sanpaolo and Standard Chartered; the three biggest Japanese banks: MUFG, Mizuho and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group; and the four big Canadian banks: TD Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, Bank of Montreal and Bank of Nova Scotia.

Bitcoin’s connection to the real economy (Business Live), Rated: A

Among those leaving the building is Wayniloans (‘an online peer to peer lending platform based on bitcoin technology. Wayniloans INC was founded in 2015 and is based in Buenos Aires, Argentina’).

According to Juan Salviolo, Wayniloans co-founder:

On Wayniloans part of our business is achieved thanks to bitcoin, and in May we agreed to a sentence to reach consensus for the good of the ecosystem. This sentence was later changed to a longer agreement without our notice, and it was known as the New York Agreement (NYA). At the time we didn’t know that existing developers wouldn’t support it, or that most Latin American bitcoin users, our customers, would view it as a contentious proposal.

Which brings us back to Fickling’s point. The connection between Bitcoin and the real economy is sentiment and therefore, ipso facto, prima facie, mutatis mutandis, sentiment is the sole driver of value.

Australia

Australia ranked as the second largest alternative finance market in the Asia Pacific (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Findings from a joint study by KPMG, the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance and the Australian Centre for Financial Studies, released today, reveals that Australia’s alternative finance market size grew by 53 per cent from 2015 to 2016 and has now reached US $609.6 million.

According to the Second Asia Pacific Alternative Finance Industry Report, Australia has leap-frogged Japan to become the second largest alternative lending market (behind China) across the Asia-Pacific.

Outside of China, Australia now contributes 30.42% of the total market in Asia Pacific and stands well ahead of Japan (US $398.45 million) and South Korea (US $376.31 million) in terms of market size.

CCAF Asia-Pacific Report Shows Dramatic Rise for Alternative Finance in Australia (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

China is the biggest kid on the block when it comes to the emerging alternative finance market in the Asia Pacific region. In fact, China has the largest alternative finance market in the world driven by a fast growing economy, a highly connected population via mobile devices, and a need for access to capital not serviced by traditional state owned banks. But rapid alternative finance growth is not isolated to just China in the Asia Pacific region. Australia experienced growth of 53% from 2015 to 2016, according to the recent research report published by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance. Australia’s alternative finance market has now reached US $609.6 million.

MoneyPlace CEO Stuart Stoyan echoes Bertoli’s sentiment regarding online lending;

“We have now moved on from being an ‘early stage’ and ‘cottage’ industry to be a legitimate source of funding for Australian borrowers,” he said.

Daniel Foggo, CEO of RateSetter Australia, explained that while trust and confidence in banks continues to erode, peer-to-peer lenders are building a sustainable, technology-led alternative to the bank model, offering better value to Australian investors and borrowers.

Trademarks and fin-tech (Lexology), Rated: A

Technology is an increasingly important aspect of the financial marketplace. With the rapid introduction of platforms such as crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending and new crypto-currencies, it is important for fin-tech users and providers to protect their intellectual property (IP) from infringement and ensure they are not at risk of infringing the IP of another.

Businesses that provide fin-tech services are at risk of infringing the trademarks of other such providers. For instance, one European peer-to-peer facilitator attempted to register a trademark for their brand, only to be challenged by a similarly branded business. This resulted in an expensive negotiation that lasted for almost a year and a half.

India

RBI move on P2P lending companies may affect small players, say experts (The New Indian Express), Rated: AAA

While the recent Reserve Bank of India (RBI) notification treating all peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms as non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) is likely to bring some credibility to the business, experts say it’s a battle half won by the fintech firms.

The RBI proposal, they say, might cripple the operations of small players who won’t be able to comply with some of the new requirements such as keeping net available funds of Rs 2 crore.

APAC

Asia Pacific Alternative Finance Report “Cultivating Growth” Released (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance together with the Australian Centre for Financial Studies at Monash University and Tsinghua University today released their second annual alternative finance report.

Source: Lend Academy

Alternative finance volume totaled $245.28 billion in 2016, up from $103.31 billion in 2015. It’s amazing to see alternative finance continue to grow in the region. Not surprisingly, China is the main driver accounting for 99.2% of the total Asia Pacific market. China represented approximately 85% of the entire global market in 2016.

Other findings from the report include:

  • China continues to see “distinctively low levels” of institutional participation in alternative finance compared to other markets such as the US and UK, with only five per cent of peer-to-peer business lending coming from institutions in 2016.
  • In the Asia Pacific outside of China, about $1.5 billion was raised by businesses through alternative finance channels, up 72 per cent from the previous year, with an estimated 43,000 business entities utilising alternative channels of business finance.
  • In China, 72 per cent of peer-to-peer consumer lending platforms see cyber-attacks as the biggest threat to the industry, while more than 50 per cent across all platforms in China see current and proposed regulatory norms to be adequate.
  • Outside of China, 69 per cent of platforms in Japan see existing regulation as inadequate or too relaxed, while in Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia around two thirds of platforms see current regulations as adequate.
Source: Lend Academy
South America

Venezuela Said to Be Late on $ 185 Million Sovereign Bond Payment (Bloomberg), Rated: A

The intermediaries tasked with passing along interest payments for the cash-strapped nation haven’t received the funds for an $185 million coupon that was due Sept. 15, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Investors interviewed by Bloomberg say they haven’t been paid, and brokers say their clients are still waiting on the cash.

The government has a 30-day grace period — now 25 days — to make good on the payment before triggering an event of default on the notes.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday August 25 2017, Daily News Digest

alternative investing

News Comments Today’s main news: Ellevest raises $32M to target women investors. eOriginal, Notarize close first digital mortgage closing. OFF3R launches SIPPS portal. Zopa reduces higher-risk lending. China issues draft rules on illegal fundraising. TWINO adds second Russian originator. African university to offer fintech degree. Today’s main analysis: Should P2P lending investors worry about default rates?Early-stage fintech investment in UK, Germany. Today’s […]

alternative investing

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

Africa

News Summary

United States

Wall Street alum Sallie Krawcheck just raised $ 32 million for her investing platform (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

But the uncertainty and risk that comes with the markets is very often a major deterrent, especially for women, who invest at a much lower rate than men in the US.

To combat this, former Wall Street executive Sallie Krawcheck launched Ellevest in 2016, a digital investing platform that puts female investors’ money in low-cost ETFs based on a pick-and-choose set of goals, like starting a business, buying a home, having children, and retiring comfortably.

This week, the startup raised $32.5 million in its latest round of funding, according to CNBC. Tennis superstar Venus Williams, who is a champion of equal pay and opportunity for women both on and off the court, was among Ellevest’s first investors.

Just 28% of women are willing to take on high risk to get a good return on their investment, compared to 45% of men, according to a 2015 report by BlackRock.

Man finds it can be hard to return $ 6,000 (WoodTV), Rated: AAA

When 53-year-old Wyoming resident Duane La Varier found $6,180 had mysteriously appeared in his bank account, he never dreamed how hard it could be just trying to give money away.

He said he and his wife never filled out any applications and never sought any kind of loan.

The deposit a week ago had come from a company called LendingClub.

“I said, ‘I did not apply for this loan. Just take it back, just take it all out of my account.’ They said no.”

LendingClub is not the actual lender — it represents lenders — but Dudum said the company will take the hit for the $6,000 loan and its fees.

eOriginal and Notarize Make Digital Mortgage the New Reality (Broadway World), Rated: AAA

With its launch of Notarize for Mortgage, the company’s proprietary signing and remote notarization platform, Notarize recently completed the first-ever online mortgage closing. By integrating directly with eOriginal’s electronic vault, they enable lenders to leverage a joint solution that takes only a few short days to set up and launch before borrowers can start closing loans online. Together, Notarize and eOriginal allow lenders to quickly provide a seamless digital experience spanning the entire closing process all the way through registration with MERS (Mortgage Electronic Registration System, Inc.) and sale into the secondary market.

Connecting lenders, title agents, borrowers and notaries online 24 x 7 to digitize the closing process, the Notarize for Mortgage platform is approved by both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, underwritten by national title underwriters, and was launched with five lender customers and numerous warehouse lender and mortgage servicer partners. The platform is available to lenders online or via modern APIs that allow them to integrate an online closing process directly into their existing tools, automating their closing operations entirely.

eOriginal’s platform of integrated solutions delivers a fully digital mortgage and supports every type of digital closing strategy.

TRANSPARENCY IN ALTERNATIVE INVESTING (All About Alpha), Rated: AAA

In February of this year, the Economist Intelligence Unit surveyed 200 senior asset managers and institutional investor executives to learn what factors are most important in the way they make their decisions. Several different types of institution were involved, including hedge funds, private equity firms, insurance companies, and nonprofits.

New Business Models – and Transparency

The 2008 global financial crisis of course had a negative impact on the alternative investments industry.

New business models have arisen to supply demand across the spectrum of investors, including those investors eligible for and interested in alternatives. Publicly traded limited partners are one important example.

Who will win the robo advisor IPO race? (Financial-Planning), Rated: AAA

It’s been a decade since the launch of the industry’s leading independent digital advice platforms — Betterment, Wealthfront and Personal Capital.

The question that now remains for all three: who will cross the IPO finish line first?

In terms of assets, the trio has kept their positions in the market respectively, with Betterment leading all independents with over $10 billion in AUM, followed by Wealthfront’s $7.4 billion and Personal Capital’s $4.9 billion.

Collectively, the three count just over 420,000 clients and over 548,000 accounts, according to SEC filings and company statements.

Personal Capital, which always tailored its services for HNW clients before lowering its account minimums (and then raising them up again) claims its average client account size is roughly $380,000; users with more than $1 million in investable assets, the company says, comprise about 40% of its AUM.

Source: Financial-Planning.com

Online Lenders Featured in the Inc. 5000 (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Every year Inc. pulls together a list of the top 5000 fastest growing private companies in the United States. This year there were around 250 companies that made it in the financial services category and there are several familiar names on the list.

Other lenders readers may recognize are Lighter Capital (634), FastPay (1653), National Funding (2030), and ZestFinance (2202).

How Debit Activity Can Benefit Lenders in a Cashless Society (Clarity Services), Rated: A

With nearly half the American population carrying a subprime credit score, rent-to-own companies, online installment, storefronts and others are embracing new tools to intelligently navigate a market that has been largely overlooked.

  • Cash is only 14 percent of the share of transactions by value of payments (The Federal Reserve System Cash Product Office).
  • While the average American spends roughly $100 per day – not counting the purchase of a home, motor vehicle or normal household bills (Gallop), half of us are walking around with less than $20 cash (Bankrate.com).
  • If given the choice between a cashless and cash-only shop, most consumers in the wealthiest countries prefer the cashless option (ING Group/eZonomics).
  • Nearly 40 percent of Americans said that they would be happy to go completely without cash. (ING Group/eZonomics).

The top 7 startups from Y Combinator S’17 Demo Day 2 (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Standard Cognition is using machine vision to build the checkout of the future. Called autonomous checkout, the technology will allow shoppers to grab what they want and walk out of a store without having to go to a cashier. Standard Cognition believes it tech will enable those companies to save money and reduce theft.

Dharma Labs is building what it calls the first “protocol for debt on blockchains.” Citing the popularity of ICOs, the startup believes there’s a “proven demand for cryptoassets that look and act much like equity.” So Dharma has built a mechanism for decentralized peer-to-peer lending. “Anyone in the world can borrow and anyone in the world can lend.”

Emailage Raises $ 10m in Growth Equity Funding (Finsmes), Rated: A

Emailage, a Chandler, AZ-based provider of global fraud prevention and identity verification using email address scoring, raised $10m in growth equity funding.

The round was led by Anthos Capital, with participation from Radian Capital, Wipro Ventures, Mucker Capital and Tallwave Capital.

The company intends to use the funds to expand existing partnerships, further advance its email address-based predictive scoring system, and accelerate growth in North America, EMEA, LATAM and other key markets.

How to Expand Your Business Online by Offering More Products or Services (Kabbage), Rated: A

Hopefully, increased revenues will help ease cash flow problems and in the end, improve profits. Other advantages of growing business may include the chance to bring in more qualified employees, acquiring more customers and improving credit scores.

Expand service areas

Companies that provide services to homes or other businesses may find that their hometown or neighborhood has a limited customer base.

Expanding to nearby locations is one of the most common ways that local businesses grow into regional businesses. This also allows the company to add some more geographic areas to a business website, directories, and social pages to show up in more local searches.

Expand services

Most small business owners have to work to manage cash flow, and this task is much tougher when revenues are only high for a few months but operational costs last all year.

These are some ways to expand services both offline and online:

  • One good way to promote this kind of service online could be through holding webinars with tax tips for small businesses or even individuals. Some tax preparers might also produce books or videos for sale to help startups and small businesses manage tax planning better.
  • Some of these plucky entrepreneurs have learned to keep business flowing by offering holiday specials for getaways. Others have opened their facilities up to host seminars or workshops for organizations.
  • He kept his local business website to attract repair customers, but he also added an online store to sell products to the DIY crowd all over the country. He promoted this online store by creating some how-to videos.

This credit card alternative could be bad for your wallet (WSBTV.com), Rated: B

The problem is that these instant loans encourage impulse spending — and it doesn’t have to be a pricey vacation! Affirm will spread payments over a period of 12 months for loans of $100 or more.

To put that in perspective, you could easily pay more than $15 in interest on just a $100 loan!

LENDINGCLUB INVESTOR REVIEW: THE BEST PEER TO PEER LENDING SOLUTION (The College Investor), Rated: B

Over the last 8 years, 150,000 investors have lent over $26 Billion in personal loans through the peer to peer LendingClub platfrom. On average, investors in the top grade loans earned 5-7% annualized with strong cash flow.

As an added bonus, LendingClub allows you to invest as little as $25 per note. That means it’s easy to spread your risk across dozens or even hundreds of loans.

First, you need to meet some strict investor requirements.

  •  Income requirements: Must earn $70,000 annually ($85,000 in California)
  • Net Worth Requirements: Must have a net worth (exclusive of your home value) of $70,000 ($85,000 in California). People with a $250,000 net worth do not have to abide by the income requirements ($200,000 in California).
  •  Kentucky residents must be accredited investors (earn $200,000 annually or have a net worth of $1 million)
  •  Residents of Alaska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania cannot invest in LendingClub
  •  No more than 10% of your net worth can be investing in lending club notes
  •  $1,000 minimum investment

LendingClub charges $100 per year for their self directed IRA accounts, but they waive that if you maintain $5,000 of investments in your first year or $10,000 in subsequent years.

Once you select your loans, LendingClub will help you evaluate the risk on your portfolio of loans. They will even provide a projected rate of returns based off of history.

Source: The College Investor

TD Auto Monitors Fintech Startups (Auto Finance News), Rated: B

TD Auto Finance is keeping a close eye on fintech startups as it evaluates “opportunities that might exist” for auto refinance and private-party transactions, President and Chief Executive Andrew Stuart told Auto Finance News.

TD Auto is already “in discussions” with several fintech players to evaluate “where that might go,” Stuart said.

5 Things To Know Before Taking A Loan Online (ValueWalk), Rated: B

If you’ve considered taking a personal loan online here’s what you need to know:

  1. More accessible – Smaller, newer financial firms have stepped in to fill the gaps left behind by traditional banks since the crisis.
  2. Tailored products – You can tailor the specifics of the loan, such as the timeline for payback and the purpose of the loan. Businesses can use everything from inventory to invoices without the need for a personal guarantee.
  3. Pricing Variety – Whether the payments are amortized monthly or weekly. Whether the effective annual rate is as attractive as you expected.
  4. Less Regulation – Alternative lenders and online loan providers are not regulated by the FDIC the same way as traditional banks.
  5. More awareness – The lack of regulation means alternative online lenders have more flexibility to provide custom lending solutions. They can be as innovative as they want with these financial products. However, you need to be more careful when dealing with an online lender. Look into their history, get assurances from the company, and do your best to educate yourself about their business.
United Kingdom

OFF3R launches new SIPPS portal (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

OFF3R has launched a new channel dedicated to Self Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs), the tax-free vehicle for pension savings.

The investment aggregator’s SIPPs portal launched on Tuesday 22 August with an initial list of three pension providers: Hargreaves Lansdown, IG, and True Potential Investor. It details the various fees and investment thresholds of each platform, as well as information on the different management styles.

Zopa reduces higher-risk lending (Bridging and Commercial), Rated: AAA

Zopa has revealed it is taking steps to attract more lower-risk customers as it continues its reduction in higher-risk lending.

Zopa has reduced the amount of lending in its higher return D-E markets, which are included in its Plus product.

The Plus product was designed for investors who were willing to accept more risk for higher returns, with rates of between 6-7%.

Zopa expects that the lower-risk approach will mean the targeted returns for new investments in the Plus product will be 4.5%.

“For example, the proportion of D and E loans in the Plus product would go from 30% until now, to 10-15% in the future.”

Peer-to-peer lending: should you worry about default rates? (Your Money), Rated: AAA

Neil Faulkner, managing director of peer-to-peer research and ratings agency 4thWay, explains that investors should pay close attention to published bad-debt figures (which cover loan write-offs as well as simple defaults) of the different platforms.

Zopa

When a loan is approved, Zopa makes an assumption about its likelihood of falling into default over the lifetime of the loan, and then revises this default expectation over the lifetime of the loan.

Source: YourMoney.com

Zopa divides up investor money between many borrowers matching the risk profile specified at the outset by the investor, to spread the risk. If a borrower misses four months of repayments, then a recovery process begins.

RateSetter

The headline rate to note is that over its lifetime, 98.31% of loans are up-to-date – in order words, around 1.7% are in some form of arrears.

Funding Circle

Funding Circle is a little different in that you are lending to businesses rather than people. Over the lifetime of the site, it says that around 2% of loans have turned bad.

Lending Works

To date, Lending Works has an actual bad debt rate of 1.1%.

Assetz Capital Update: Investors Have Earned £25 Million to Date (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Assetz Capital has shared that investors in aggregate have earned gross returns of more than £25 million on their investments in approximately four years. Assetz Capital says lenders earned an average of 8% gross interest across all Assetz Capital loans since platform launch, before allowances for tax or any losses not covered by a provision fund.

Currently, Assetz Capital has about 20,000 registered and active investors. The returns since the launch of the platform were generated from over £309 million lent to UK businesses from a range of industries looking to raise funds, including SME, bridging and development sectors.

ThinCats plans staggered IFISA roll-out before end of 2017 (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

Earlier this month, ThinCats received full authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which allowed the firm to apply for ISA manager status from the HMRC. While a launch date has not been officially set, Stewart Cazier, head of retail, told Peer2Peer Finance News: “I’m definitely thinking 2017. I’d be very disappointed if it didn’t happen this year.”

Innovate Finance CEO steps down (AltFi), Rated: B

After two and half years at the helm of the fintech member association, Innovate Finance, Lawrence Wintermeyer has stepped down.

Wintermeyer is leaving to pursue other opportunities, he said.

China

China issues draft rules in crackdown on illegal fundraising (Reuters), Rated: AAA

China issued draft rules targeting illegal fundraising on Thursday, as the authorities step up a campaign to crack down on risky and illicit behavior in the country’s financial sector.

The draft rules, issued by the law office of China’s State Council, call for participants engaged in illegal fundraising to cover the losses stemming from those activities.

Regulators will guide financial institutions and non-bank payment service providers on tightening up their supervision of suspicious fund flows, the draft rules said.

Financial institutions and non-bank payment service providers, if found to be negligent, will be subject to having their illegal income forfeited. They will also be subject to a fine of more than 1 time but less than five times of the illegal income, the draft rules said.

The executives responsible for the illegal activity will be removed and banned from entering the financial industry for a certain period of time and could be subject to fines of between 50,000 yuan and 500,000 yuan each ($7,507-$75,072), the rules said.

China Rapid Finance Posted a $ 13.5M Net Loss in Q2, but Very Close to Profitability (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

Recently, China Rapid Finance (NYSE:XRF) released an unaudited financial report for the second quarter of 2017. In the second quarter, the company reported a gross income of $24.5 million, up 59% from a year earlier, and their net income was $15.2 million, up 9 percent year on year. The company posted a net loss of $13.5 million in the second quarter, compared with $5.9 million in the same period last year, as the cost of including customer incentives increased.

However, the company still held the “Low and Grow” business strategy. Compared to the profitability, there are more concerned about gross income. Through analysis of the company’s financial and business data, we can find that some business data is changing and the potential for profit is increasing.

Better Buy: SINA vs. Weibo (The Motley Fool), Rated: A

Chinese internet companies SINA (NASDAQ:SINA) and Weibo(NASDAQ:WB) are closely tied to each other. SINA holds a 46% stake in Weibo, deriving 72% of its top line from the Chinese Twitter clone (as Weibo is referred to by some).

Weibo’s greater gains have made it more expensive with a trailing price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 132 as compared to SINA’s 30.

SINA relies on Weibo for 70% of its revenue, which means that investors can still enjoy the latter’s rapid growth via a stock with a lower valuation. Additionally, SINA’s non-Weibo business has started gaining some traction of late, with the company witnessing 8% year-over-year growth from this segment in the latest quarter.

While there is no denying that Weibo’s growth is still impressive — as the 28% year-over-year jump in its monthly active users boosted its advertising revenue by 72% last quarter — at the same time, there will be a limit to the company’s growth given its negligible presence outside China and the competition from the likes of Tencent‘s (NASDAQOTH:TCEHY) WeChat.

Fluid Wins LendIt Choice Award – Aug 2017 (FluidFi), Rated: B

Fluid, a California based FinTech & AdTech startup announces today that it received LendIt LangDi Fintech Choice Award from LendIt Conference in Shanghai, China.

European Union

Latvian P2P Lender TWINO Adds Second Russian Originator (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Latvian peer-to-peer lending platform TWINO has reportedly added a second Russian originator to its platform since its December 2016 launch.

According to P2P Finance News, over 40% of TWINO’s investors have funded Russian loans.

Early-Stage Fintech Investment In The UK & Germany Goes To Insurtech, Banking (CB Insights), Rated: AAA

Year-to-date, European fintech companies have raised close to $2.6B across 295 deals, meaning that at the current run rate 2017 could see 500 deals and $4.5B in total funding by year end. For perspective, funding to European fintech companies is already 30% higher in 2017 YTD than the 2016 total.

 

UNITED KINGDOM

UK early-stage fintech financing has remained above 15 deals quarterly since Q2’14. Total disclosed funding has been a bit choppier: at $27M, Q4’16 was the lowest quarter since Q2’14, while the following quarter (Q1’17) saw the third-highest total funding at $81M and the largest number of deals at 33. Most recently, Q2’17 figures fell to $41M across 16 deals.

For example, Monese, which provides banking services for immigrants and expats, raised a $10M Series A in Q1’17, while Wirex, which allows for the holding of fiat currencies and cryptocurrencies in a single account on its personal banking platform, raised a $3M Series A in the same quarter.

Insurance is trending up across Europe at large, with more than 20 early-stage deals closing for approximately $50M year-to-date.

GERMANY

Funding hit its peak in 2016 as well, at $135M, well above the previous high-water mark of $46M in 2013 and more than 4X the $31M total for 2015. 2017 is on pace to surpass 2016 early-stage fintech financing figures, with 22 deals and $83M year-to-date.

Germany has also seen an increase in early-stage deals to small business banking and API-focused mobile banking platforms. Financing rounds to this group have increased steadily since 2015, which saw 5 deals close for $17M and was followed by 7 deals in 2016 (for a much smaller $6M).

Klarna (Hortonworks), Rated: A

Klarna uses Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP) and Hortonworks DataFlow (HDF) to help drive its deep data mining and AI, and to thus mitigate risk for buyers and sellers.

International

San Francisco and Berlin have new competition for the capital of ‘fintech’ (CNBC), Rated: AAA

Dubai has seen a surge of interest from fintech startups and banking assets over the last three years, according to the emirate’s financial center’s management body.

It’s fast becoming a destination for financial technology startups because of its location, private investment and innovation.

He told CNBC that the financial services industry contributes about 12 percent to Dubai’s total gross domestic product and it is expected to increase to 18 percent by 2024.

Increased appetite for fintech investment in Dubai from CNBC.

AXIS Capital Partners with Plug and Play Tech Center (BusinessWire), Rated: A

AXIS Capital Holdings Limited and its operating subsidiaries (“AXIS Capital”) (NYSE:AXS) today announced it has partnered with Plug and Play, a global digital startup innovation platform headquartered in Silicon Valley. By joining Plug and Play’s InsurTech platform, AXIS will gain access to world-class digital insurance startups and will provide mentorship and technical support, along with underwriting and actuarial expertise, to help turn their ideas into products or services.

To help address the rapid and transformative changes underway within the (re)insurance industry, AXIS will work with property and casualty, life/health and general InsurTech startups that have been accepted to Plug and Play’s InsurTech program. This 12-week program attracts applications from hundreds of startups from around the world that utilize technology, data and analytics to develop innovative new business models, products and services.

AXIS will focus on the areas of Insurance, Reinsurance, Health, IoT (Internet of Things), FinTech and Mobility, with leaders from different business areas serving as program mentors and technical advisors.

Australia

Digital advice embraced by all ages (Financial Standard), Rated: AAA

Superannuation fund member engagement via Decimal’s digital financial advice software increased 37% in the past year, latest quarterly statistics show.

Decimal’s digital insights report for the June quarter shows 2366 members in its superannuation client base decided to engage with super via the digital advice channel over a 12 month period, up from 1731 the year prior.

Total funds under advice increased to $8.4 billion, up 72% year-on-year, and Decimal Software chief executive Nick Pollock said compound growth is stimulating for the super sector.

“The insights show that 43% of all logins were by women, 28% of logins took place outside of business hours, with 31% of those logins happening between 10pm and 6am,” Pollock said.

Australian fintech launches industry census (AltFi), Rated: A

Australian fintech has launched an expanded industry census, which will seek to unpack key issues like how to expand overseas and gender diversity and help set lobbying and policy priorities.

Working on the census, consultancy firm EY, and industry group FinTech Australia, have asked Aussie fintechs to complete it by 3 September.

FinTech Australia Reveals Initial Speaker Line Up for Inaugural Fintech Fest (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

FinTech Australia and Next Money, along with the State Government of Victoria, a gearing up for their inaugural week long Fintech event –  Intersekt. The Fintech festival will be taking place in Melbourne, Australia from October 27 to November 3rd if you happen to be in Australia.

Confirmed speakers for Intersekt so far include:

  • Anthony Thomson, founder of the UK’s Metro and Atom Banks (and the current chairman of Atom Bank). Atom Bank is one of the leading UK Challenger banks.
  • Ron Suber, called the “godfather of Fintech” due to his globe-trotting reputation for promoting online lending and all things Fintech. Suber recently joined the leadership team at Credible, the multi-lender marketplace for student loans. Suber is also President Emeritus of Prosper Marketplace and holds a broad portfolio of Fintech investments.
  • Megan Caywood, chief platform officer for the UK’s mobile only Starling Bank, who has delivered a range of major customer experience improvements.
  • David Birch, an international thought leader in digital identity and digital money and author of “Before Babylon, Beyond Bitcoin”
  • Van Le, who is the co-founder of Xinja, which is on track to be Australia’s first independent, 100% digital bank made for mobile.
    Lucy Liu, co-founder and chief operating officer of Melbourne-based payments company Airwallex who was this year named as one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30
  • Emma Weston, CEO and co-founder of AgriDigital, which provides a blockchain-enabled, integrated commodity management solution for the global grains industry
India

Over 40% Indians act on financial advice given by spouse, RBI report shows (Zeebiz), Rated: AAA

Key Highlights:

  • Over 50% Indians think that their children will take care of them financially after retirement
  • 44% Indians do not think they will ever retire from work 
  • An average of 66% of randomly selected adult household members have a bank account.
Source: Zeebiz

The report found that the average Indian household holds 84% of its wealth in real estate and other physical goods, 11% in gold and the residual 5% in financial assets.

Source: Zeebiz

The report said that 44% Indians have not thought of retirement as “people like me cannot retire from work,” they said.

Only 13% people surveyed were actively saving for their retirement while 33% had absolutely no planning for retirement.

Only around 5% people had money invested in financial assets for their retirement planning while gold formed nearly 10% of this fund.

India’s Domestic Workers Have A New Ally In This Innovative FinTech Startup (Forbes), Rated: A

The team at SERV’D has a simple but ambitious goal: to organize India’s unorganized domestic workforce. That means bringing financial inclusion to millions of unregistered workers via a mobile contract and payment app.

The lack of written contracts also makes it difficult for low-income domestic workers to build a financial history. Without that, they struggle to save money or obtain insurance, which all but guarantees they will remain in poverty. Exclusion from formal financial services bars people from accessing health insurance, bank accounts, and can even inhibit them from finding affordable housing.

SERV’D seeks to replace the verbal work agreements made between customers and their hired help. Instead of tenuous oral contracts, the fintech startup wants employers and employees to create digital agreements on the SERV’D app. The platform also allows them to make digital payment transfers so neither party has to worry about dealing with cash.

Most importantly, the online payment trail creates traceable income records for poor, unbanked workers. With enough proof of income built up, they will eventually be able to open bank accounts and access financial products that are currently beyond reach.

Ezetap’s fresh funds are the latest VC dollars flowing to Indian fintech (PitchBook), Rated: A

Mobile payments startup Ezetap is the latest Indian fintech company to pull in new equity financing. The company has raised $16 million from investors including JS Capital Management, Social Capital and Horizons Ventures.

Fintech NBFC “Prest Loans” Forays Its Operations In Rajasthan (BusinessWorld), Rated: B

Prest Loans the new age FinTech NBFC, providing online loans to small businesses and MSME segment has expanded its operations by opening new office in Rajasthan.

Asia

LATTICE80 & FINOLAB Sign MOU on Fintech (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

LATTICE80, a Singapore based non profit Fintech hub backed by Marvelstone Group, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with FINOLAB in Japan to mutually boost their Fintech ecosystems and global networks. Marvelstone is a global VC group based in Singapore.

This Fintech bridge will seek to create a passporting system for Fintech’s in each country to expand into new markets.

PH startups urged: Aspire to be unicorns (Cebu Daily News), Rated: AAA

Aldo Carrascoso, founder and chief executive officer of GlycoProX Biosciences, Veem, and Jukin Media & Verego, said that focusing on becoming “unicorns” detracts the purpose of why people launch startups in the first place.

Lee argued that the first unicorns were founded in the 1990s, Google Inc. being the clear “super unicorn” of the group with a valuation of more than $100 billion. Many unicorns were also born in the 2000s, although Facebook Inc. is the decade’s only super unicorn.

Other prominent unicorns today include Uber, Airbnb, Dropbox, Spotify, Pinterest, and Lazada, to name a few.

Treading the path toward that level takes mindfulness of revenue, a good business model, addressable market, and a product-market fit, said Carrascoso.

Benjamin cited Xoom, a San Francisco-based digital money transfer or remittance provider, which traces its foundations to serving clients between the Philippines and the US.

Since then the company has expanded to India and Mexico, among others, and was bought by PayPal for $890 million. Today, they do $9.1 billion in money transmissions and are operating in 18 countries with a demand for money remittance services.

The search for a unicorn is on (Sunstar), Rated: A

THE Philippines may have its own “tech unicorns” or technology businesses valued at $1 billion in the future. But experts says more work and collaboration is needed to achieve this dream.

To date, no Philippine tech startup has managed to meet the goal of being a billion-dollar company.

Globally, the US and China lead in numbers, having produced the most number of unicorns like Facebook, Uber, Airbnb as well as Xiaomi and Alibaba. Meanwhile, Malaysia in Southeast Asia has produced two unicorns in Grab and the Lazada Group.

First, he said Philippine startups need to know how to be fundable. Instead of aiming to be a unicorn, he advised local startups to become a “cockroach” instead, one that characterizes strong survival skills, or a rhino, “big and realistic.”

Getting payments to pay off (The Edge Markets), Rated: A

“A key advantage of e-wallets is the low cost. You can make payments and transfer money at much cheaper rates than in conventional payment systems,” explains Gunther Zhen, the founder and CEO of iPayLinks Financial Information Service (Shanghai) Co Ltd.

For China, this is certainly the case. While incumbent payment systems that rely on Visa, Mastercard and UnionPay charge merchants an estimated 2.5% to 3% MDR (merchant discount rate), new rivals like Alipay charge between 0.7% and 1.2%.

In Malaysia, however, the landscape could be different as the current MDRs are already quite low. Bank Negara Malaysia’s Payment Card Reform Framework has slashed the MDR on debit and credit cards since July 2015 when it took effect.

Today, domestic debit cards have an MDR of only 0.56% while for international debit cards, it is 0.96%. Credit cards are still relatively expensive with an MDR of 1.35%, but that is expected to drop drastically by 2021 when Bank Negara will cap interchange fees (the largest component of MDR) at 0.48% — less than half the 1.1% ceiling imposed today.

Just look at Touch ’n Go Sdn Bhd, which booked RM15.3 million of interest income in 2015 on RM429.3 million worth of deposits in card balances. And this is merely from the relatively small balance in each card.

Alipay creation, Yu’E Bao, is one of China’s most popular internet-based funds. It had amassed RMB1.43 trillion as at end-June. By comparison, Bank of China, one of the four major commercial banks in the country, had total deposits of RMB1.6 trillion as at end-2016.

Pundi-Pundi Raises $ 4M in Pre-A Funding (Finsmes), Rated: A

Pundi-Pundi, a Jakarta, Indonesia-based mobile payments and micro-loan startup aiming to create a cashless environment in South East Asia, closed a $4M pre-A round of funding.

Africa

UCT to offer fintech-focused degree from 2018 (BusinessDay), Rated: AAA

The University of Cape Town (UCT) has become one of the first tertiary institutions in Africa to offer a degree specifically designed to equip students with the critical skills and knowledge to embrace the technological revolution in the financial services sector.

One of its key focus areas will be blockchain technology, or the distributed ledger system, that has given rise to new crypto-currencies such as bitcoin and ether.

The crypto-currency market is reportedly now worth more than $50bn and the use of virtual currencies is gaining traction in SA.

UCT has sought to tackle this problem by offering a new master’s degree in data science with a specialisation in financial technology, said Georg, who is also the course convener. The programme is due to commence in 2018.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday August 16 2017, Daily News Digest

unsecured personal loan market

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi battles its first PR crisis. Small businesses braced for higher costs post-Brexit. ID Finance sees potential in Brazilian market, sees 82% revenue growth in 2017 first half. Today’s main analysis: Pullback in subprime loans. Prosper’s Q2 numbers. Today’s thought-provoking articles: New fintech lenders encroaching on business banking turf. Pullback on subprime loans. Hongling Capital […]

unsecured personal loan market

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

SoFi battles its first major PR crisis (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

In a wrongful dismissal suit filed last week, a former employee reportedly claimed he was let go after he told management he had seen female employees subjected to lewd and inappropriate comments and that managers canceled loan applications when internal errors were made — a tactic to secure quarterly bonuses of up to $15,000. There’s also talk of a second class-action lawsuit alleging broader mistreatment of employees at the company.

But experts said the extent of the damage to the SoFi brand will center on whether other employees come forward to corroborate the allegations.

Jim Prosser, vp of communications and policy at SoFi, said the company carried out an internal investigation into the matter and challenged the notion that loan applications could be arbitrarily cancelled.

Based on sentiment expressed on Twitter, the lawsuit hasn’t made a big dent in SoFi’s brand reputation. Since the news broke Friday, 119 tweets mentioned the SoFi Twitter handle, 53 percent of which were positive and 47 percent were negative, according to Brandwatch. Compared to the past month, the SoFi handle attracted 920 mentions, 75 percent of which were positive. Still, Terry maintains that it’s not a massive conversation, and the news may have gotten less play with the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, capturing headlines.

Start of a New Trend? Pullback in Subprime Loans Observed (GlobeNewswire), Rated: AAA

For the first time since 2012, originations to subprime consumers declined year-over-year for a number of major credit products, according to TransUnion’s (NYSE:TRUQ2 2017 Industry Insights Report. The report, powered by PramaSM analytics, found that 4.63 million subprime consumers originated an auto loan or lease, personal loan or credit card in Q1 2017. Comparatively, 4.89 million subprime consumers originated one of these products in Q1 2016.

In Q1 2017, subprime personal loan originations declined 10.6% year-over-year, compared to a positive annual growth rate of 11.0% in Q1 2016. This marks three straight quarters of year-over-year declines in originations. More than 100,000 fewer subprime consumers opened a personal loan in Q1 2017 than in Q1 2016.

In fact, personal loan originations declined for all risk tiers, but at lower rates than for subprime originations. Total originations dropped 6.9% from 2.99 million in Q1 2016 to 2.78 million in Q1 2017.

In the credit card market, subprime originations declined by 1.8% to start 2017, the second consecutive quarter of decline. Since 2014, subprime originations had increased at a rapid rate, averaging growth of 29.2% in the first quarters of 2014, 2015 and 2016. In Q1 2017, subprime originations declined at nearly the same rate as total originations (down 1.9%).

As subprime consumers gained access to credit cards, lenders kept subprime credit lines low. In Q1 2017, subprime consumers held just 2.6% of total credit lines.

Auto loan originations declined 8.9% year-over-year from Q1 2016 to Q1 2017. Originations to subprime consumers dropped to 1.10 million in Q1 2017, down from 1.20 million in the first quarter of 2016. At the same time, total originations declined just 2.9% to 6.73 million in Q1 2017.

Source: TransUnion

Mortgage Delinquency Rate Drops to New Low since Recession

The mortgage delinquency rate reached the lowest level since the recession in the second quarter of 2017, dropping below 2% for the first time in almost 10 years. The mortgage delinquency rate was 1.92% in Q2 2017, down 16.5% from 2.30% in Q2 2016.

Viewed one quarter in arrears, mortgage originations remained relatively steady year-over-year in the first quarter of 2017. Up slightly from 1.46 million in Q1 2016, mortgage originations reached 1.49 million in Q1 2017. Largely due to the rise in interest rates, originations declined 28.3% between Q4 2016 and Q1 2017. A year prior, originations only declined 9.4% between Q4 2015 and Q1 2016.

More than 83% of mortgage originations were in the prime and above risk tiers in the first quarter of 2017. Market share of prime and above risk tiers has remained roughly in that range since Q4 2013.

The average new account balance, also viewed one quarter in arrears, declined 1.6% from $223,262 in Q1 2016 to $219,743 in Q1 2017.

Source: TransUnion

Total Credit Card Balances Rise Following Rich Credit Offers in 2016

The latest TransUnion Industry Insights report found that total credit card balances continued their steady year-over-year increase in the second quarter of 2017. Total card balances reached nearly $714 billion, up 7.8% from $662 billion in Q2 2016. The average balance per consumer grew 3.3% to $5,422, up from $5,247 in Q2 2016.

The credit card delinquency rate reached 1.46% in Q2 2017, up 13.2% from 1.29% in Q2 2016. This brings the card delinquency rate above the average Q2 delinquency reading of 1.27% for the last three years.

Source: TransUnion

Auto Delinquency Rate Rises after Years of Non-prime Origination Growth

TransUnion’s latest Industry Insights Report found that the auto delinquency rate reached 1.23% in Q2 2017, an increase of 10.8% from 1.11% Q2 2016.

Viewed one quarter in arrears, auto originations declined to 6.73 million in Q1 2017, down 2.9% from 6.93 million in Q1 2016. This marks the third consecutive quarter of year-over-year declines in auto originations and the first decline in origination growth in any first quarter since 2010.

Total auto balances achieved a new high in Q1 2017, reaching $1.145 trillion. The total balance was up 6.9% from $1.072 trillion in Q1 2016.

Source: TransUnion

Personal Loans Reach New Milestones as Balances Grow and Delinquencies Drop

In the second quarter of 2017, the personal loan delinquency rate declined to the lowest level since 2009. The delinquency rate was 3.02% in Q2 2017, an 8.5% decline from 3.30% in Q2 2016.

Personal loan balances achieved a new milestone of nearly $107 billion in Q2 2017, growing 10.8% over Q2 2016, when total balances were $96 billion. While balances increased, the growth rate was lower than the average Q2 growth rate of 24.7% for the past three years. The average balance per consumer also reached a new high at $7,781 in the second quarter, up slightly from $7,745 in Q2 2016.

Personal loan originations, viewed one quarter in arrears, declined 6.9% to 2.78 million in Q2 2017, compared to 2.99 million in Q2 2016.

Source: TransUnion

Please visit  more charts and details about TransUnion’s Q2 2017 Industry Insights Report or to register for TransUnion’s Q2 2017 Industry Insights Webinar.

Prosper Reports Strong Q2 Numbers – Is Cash Flow Positive Again (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Source: Lend Academy

As you can see in the graphic above Prosper had a rocky 2016. They went from a quarterly origination high of over $1.1 billion in Q4 2015 to a low of $312 million in Q3 2016. Since that time they have shown some solid growth with originations in Q2 2017 coming in at $775 million up from $586 million in Q1. They still have a long way to go before they reach record levels but growth has returned to the first US marketplace lender.

  • Total originations from inception through June 30, 2017 was $9.7 billion.
  • Transaction fee revenue rose to $35.4 million, up 32% quarter-over-quarter and 84% year-over-year.
  • Whole loans represented 94% of total loan volume in Q2.
  • Adjusted EBITDA was $6.7 million up from a loss of $11.6 million in Q2 2016.
Source: Lend Academy

New Fintech Lenders Encroaching On Business Banking Turf (The Financial Brand), Rated: AAA

Small and micro businesses struggle to get the cash they need. According to the Federal Reserve’s small business credit survey, 60% of applicants obtained less financing than they needed.

And they need money. The top challenge facing small businesses, says the Fed, is credit availability or securing funds for expansion (44%), followed by paying operating expenses (36%), making payments on debt (25%), and purchasing inventory or supplies to fulfill contracts (17%).

Unfortunately, size makes these loans unattractive to many banking providers. More than half (55%) of small businesses needed $100,000 or less and three-quarters sought $250,000 or less.



Can Smaller Banks and Credit Unions Compete? And Should They?

First, while online lender websites may be alluring, small business owners are still concerned about data security and privacy — particularly with these neo-lender startups. Second, the product features among fintechs are not always clearly stated, making it difficult to compare product offerings and costs.

These issues mean many small businesses still prefer to get a loan from a bank. Half (50%) seek financing from a large bank, and 21% from online lenders. And their preference is for loans not credit cards; 86% say they applied for a loan or a line of credit vs. only 31% who just applied for a credit card.

Smaller loans can be profitable, if you approach them in new ways using new tools.

  1. Reengineer the Process with Big Data. With so much data available on small business owners and more computing power, banks can use big data in innovative ways to decision loans. No longer limited to a credit score, big data can analyze the behavior of the business and predict its ability to pay back the loan. Big data also means that fewer applications must be sent to a human for decisioning. Real-time decisioning cuts costs for the bank and since so much customer data is already digitized, there’s less need to require borrowers to submit reams of documentation.
  2. Partner with Fintech. Rather than try to compete with online alternative lenders, consider joining them. IN 2015, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. announced a partnership with On Deck Capital to create online small business loans. Called Chase Business Quick Capital, it provides Chase customers with faster access to cash than a traditional bank loan. Chase states that the capital can be available in the same day. In the past, a small business loan could take weeks to decision and then fund.

Goldman Tops Banks Betting on a New Type of Hedging (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. are leading big banks in plowing record funds into outside ventures trying to disrupt their industry, a role typically dominated by venture capital firms, according to a report from Opimas, a management consultancy.

Goldman Sachs has invested in about 15 so-called fintech firms focusing on capital markets businesses this year, while JPMorgan has bet on nine, the report shows. Altogether, banks and other established companies will probably pump a record $1.7 billion into the sector through 44 deals in 2017, Opimas estimated.

A hot fintech startup has amassed nearly $ 5 billion from people willing to hand over their bank logins (Business Insider), Rated: A

  • Personal Capital is a startup known for its free platform, which allows people to plug in their bank and investment accounts to see all their financials at once.
  • CEO Jay Shah says Personal Capital has been monetizing the business by getting richer clients to pay for financial advice.
  • The startup recently raised an additional $40 million in outside funding.

The company is managing assets for Americans worth about $4.9 billion, and increasingly the customers are more affluent, Personal Capital’s CEO, Jay Shah, told Business Insider in a recent interview.

Shah declined to say how many of the company’s estimated 1.5 million free users convert to paying for financial advice from the free platform.

What you need to know about financial services fraud (Tearsheet), Rated: A

In finance, there are three distinct patterns of fraud: transaction fraud, application fraud and account takeover fraud.

Card issuers lost $15.72 billion (72 percent) in gross fraud losses in 2015 and merchants and acquirers lost the remaining $6.12 billion (28 percent), according to the Nilson Report.

Application fraud is the fastest-growing type of fraud in financial services and happens when a fraudster actually pretends to be you using actual account credentials to open new lines of credit. We can break it down even further into three types:

  • Third party fraud: when someone gets enough of someone’s personal information from a compromised data set to go to a bank and pretend to be that person to apply or a loan or credit card
  • First party fraud: when the person coming to the bank (or other service) really is the person he or she claims to be but intends to not pay back the loan or credit card; in instances of first party fraud, the bank or business is the victim, not the customer
  • Synthetic fraud: when someone creates a persona using fake or borrowed information, like a social security number, and adds other, made-up elements of personally identifiable information like a name, address or date or birth

Account takeover fraud is the final type of fraud (for the purposes of this primer, at least). It happens to people when fraudsters obtain their various user IDs and passwords to be able to access other accounts that involve financial transactions.

Did those new chip cards I got help?
Kind of! Account takeover incidents increased 61 percent to $2.3 billion from 2015 to 2016, according to research by Javelin published in February. Victims pay an average of $263 out of pocket and spent 20.7 million hours to resolve it in 2016 – six million hours more than in 2015.

Community banks stand to gain from blockchain — if they work together (American Banker), Rated: A

Blockchain is most widely known as the platform to house virtual currencies such as bitcoin,ethereum and litecoin. But the uses for blockchain are going well beyond virtual currencies. The Republic of Georgia, for example, voted in April 2016 to implement a land ownership registry that relies on blockchain to verify ownership of property. If the United States did something similar with blockchain, banks could close real estate loans more quickly. Think about a world where ownership interests in real estate can be verified immediately and with certainty.

In this world, the expansive role of the title agent would essentially dissipate (or be greatly minimized), the time taken to verify title would be eliminated and, most important, the cost associated with confirming a title interest through title insurance would be dramatically reduced. All of these results would improve the closing process, both from an efficiency standpoint for banks and from a cost standpoint for the customer.

Technologists are also using blockchain to try to replace our needlessly difficult residential mortgage loan origination processes so that the process, from application to closing, can be reduced from a few weeks to a few days.

To realize these kinds of opportunities, community banks in a region should collaborate on strategies to bring blockchain into the banking industry.

Top and The Best Peer-To-Peer (P2P) Lending Sites For Online Loans (FX Daily Report), Rated: A

A PriceWaterhouseCoopers report noted that though the P2P industry is in its infancy loans to the tune of $5.5 billion have been disbursed by the P2P websites in the U.S. in 2014 alone. According to PriceWaterhouseCoopers, P2P lending could be more than $150 billion by 2025.

#1: Funding Circle

Funding Circle has disbursed more than $1 billion in loans to over 8,000 businesses in the world. Along with the growth in terms of the number of businesses borrowing from the company, Funding Circle has seen a substantial growth in the number of investors too. In fact, Funding Circle’s investor base includes banks, other financial institutions, and more than 40,000 retail investors. Even the U.K. government is an investor.

#2: Lending Club

As leading online lending marketplace, the company that connects borrowers and lenders has disbursed loans to the tune of $11,167,217,348 as of mid-2015.

#3: Upstart

The minimum amount you can borrow is $3,000 and the maximum is $35,000. The annual percentage rate or APR starts at 4.7 percent. They offer loans for just about everything.

#4: CircleBack Lending

Loans are offered by CircleBack Lending for tenures of 3 or 5 years and amounts ranging from $3,001 to $35,000. The APR ranges from 6.63 percent to 36 percent.

#5: Prosper Marketplace

The company has registered tremendous growth since its inception and currently has a client base of more than 250,000. Prosper has disbursed loans worth more than $4 billion so far.

#6: Peerform

This popular lending marketplace offers 3-year loans ranging from $1,000 to $25,000 with an APR of 7.12 percent to 29.99 percent. Peerform does not look at the FICO score alone in order to measure the risk of lending. The company’s Loan Analyzer carries out the evaluation on a case to case basis. According to Peerform, the Loan Analyzer was developed in consultation with leading economists and it follows a differentiated method for determining the creditworthiness of each borrower. As a result, even individuals whose credit scores are in the range of 600 may be able to secure loans.

#7: SoFi

SoFi’s offers loans starting from $5,000 and up to $100,000, which is higher compared to the standard amount of $35,000 offered by many other players in the peer-to-peer marketplace.

CFPB Says Tribal Online Lender Case Belongs In Illinois (Law360), Rated: A

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau urged an Illinois federal judge Monday not to transfer a suit claiming four Native American tribe-owned companies charged excessively high interest for online loans, saying there’s much more reason to keep the suit in Illinois than to move it to the companies’ preferred Kansas venue.

Golden Valley Lending Inc. and three other online lenders owned by the California-based Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake Tribe had asked U.S. District Judge Thomas M. Durkin in June to transfer the CFPB’s suit to Kansas,….

Why fintech startups love advertising on the New York City subway (Tearsheet), Rated: A

For a consumer fintech startup, it’s the perfect place to put some advertising dollars. TransferWise has built its business around the ability to let people send money overseas at a low cost. Sixty percent of its users are immigrants; 40 percent are American-born. Its employees represent more than 50 countries. Its user base and prospective customer pool looks a lot like the people of New York.

Even if they’re American-born, theres still a chance they moved to New York from someplace else. TransferWise wants to send the message that it celebrates that diversity.

The subway is a hot destination for startups in general, looking to stretch their marketing budgets. E-commerce startups like Thinx and Casper both love advertising on the subway, calling them “conversation starters” and a way to be in a city where “trends are set.” They’re also effective, say these companies: David Zhang, Casper’s CMO, told Tearsheet’s sister site, Digiday that subway ads are highly effective to target local audience because when riders get stuck on the train, they have nowhere to look except at those ads.

Three years ago Venmo ran an ad campaign around the New York subway featuring an everyday millennial called “Lucas” (who, it turns out, was a Venmo engineer). Venmo’s message to subway riders was the same (although less nostalgic and bittersweet): we do the same things you do, we understand you. The campaign sparked a lot of frustration and confusion for consumers — but the company was engaging with them.

Charlotte fintech startup targets couples who don’t merge finances (Charlotte Agenda), Rated: A

Couples today are getting married later.

And when they do get hitched, they’re much less likely to combine their finances. Only one-third of millennial couples are putting everything in a joint bank account and fully merging their money. That’s down from about half of couples overall, according to research from TD Bank.

Honeyfi, an app planning a formal beta launch later this week, is designed to allow couples to blend finances to the extent they’re willing to — and figure out how to manage things accordingly.

Both sides load in all their financial accounts but can choose what’s visible to their significant other — both at the account level and at the individual transaction level. If you want to keep your shopping spree under wraps, you can do that with Honeyfi.

Small banks’ fintech efforts held back by Volcker Rule (American Banker), Rated: A

The Dodd-Frank Act’s Volcker Rule was meant to protect the financial system by prohibiting banks from engaging in certain risky activities. But it may also be stopping community banks from being able to reap significant benefits from the fintech revolution.

I bought a new Surface with the Surface Plus program (onmsft.com), Rated: A

Here’s a couple of things to note: In order to be considered for the Surface Plus Program, you are required to purchase Microsoft Complete and you will be required to do a credit check through KLARNA. KLARNA handles the financing and you will have to make your monthly payments through KLARNA and NOT Microsoft. After choosing the Surface Pro (fan-less Intel Kaby Lake i5 processor, 8 GB RAM, 256 SSD)I found that my 24-month payment plan is similar to a AT&T phone payment plan.

I have not started making payments yet, but my payments will be about $63 a month, with an option to upgrade after 18 months.

 

It takes about a week. I placed my order on August 1, got order on August 8. It is annoying that there is no tracking, but they don’t next-day a device to you when you order online through KLARNA. It can be frustrating I know, I checked my status every day freaking out. Going to a Microsoft Store is a better option.

Alan Gellman Joins Credible as Chief Marketing Officer (PR Web), Rated: B

In the latest move to capitalize on its expanded offerings and accelerate recent growth, personal finance marketplace Credible.com today announced that former Esurance CMO Alan Gellman is joining Credible as its first chief marketing officer.

Gellman who, prior to Esurance, led digital marketing at Wells Fargo, said joining Credible will allow him to pursue his goal of helping a consumer-centric growth-stage company realize its potential.

After launching as the first personal finance marketplace to provide instant, personalized offers for student loans, Credible expanded its offerings to include personal loans, and this month announced the pilot of its credit card marketplace. In the first half of 2017, more than 80,000 people qualified for loan offers through the Credible marketplace.

In his most recent position as chief marketing officer at Esurance, a leader in the self-directed insurance market, Gellman was named one of “The 50 Most Innovative CMOs in the World” by Business Insider. His appointment follows an announcement earlier this month that Ron Suber joined Credible as executive vice-chairman and a member of the board of directors.

New Leaf Communities, in Partnership With RealtyeVest, to Build 35 Unit Townhome Project Near Amazon Fulfillment Center (GlobeNewswire), Rated: B

New Leaf Communities, in partnership with RealtyeVest, announced plans today to raise capital for the new construction of Camden Crossing, a 35-unit townhouse development located in thriving northeast Jacksonville, FL. Online retail giant, Amazon, has plans to open a fulfillment center which will add approximately 1,200 new jobs located less than 2 miles away from the planned property. Additionally, Camden Crossing will be located less than 2 miles from River City Marketplace (a large, bustling outdoor shopping center) and Jacksonville International Airport (JIA). Forbes named Jacksonville one of America’s fastest growing cities in 2017. The 1,495 square foot townhouses will have 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, single car garages, and will be located on 6.15 acres.

According to Lee Arsenault of New Leaf Communities, Camden Crossing will offer investors an opportunity to earn an above market return while being secured in a hard asset like real estate.

RealtyeVest was chosen exclusively to raise capital for this project due to their powerful real estate crowdfunding platform, which allows individuals to review and invest in real estate online.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle: Small businesses braced for higher costs after Brexit (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

MORE THAN two thirds of small businesses that import goods and services expect costs to increase when Britain leaves the European Union, Funding Circle claims.

A poll of 1,325 small business borrowers by the peer-to-peer platform found 69 per cent of firms expect their average costs to increase by £5,300 per month resulting in £60,000 per year of extra spending.

Businesses were also deflated by the overall result of the general election with only 12 per cent stating that they feel positive about the outcome, while 41 per cent were concerned.

Buy-to-let property platform hits £50m milestone (Property Industry Eye), Rated: A

Founded in 2012 with an initial focus on Manchester, the House Crowd claims to offer investors returns of 8-10% to fund property projects, known as peer-to-peer (P2P) lending.

There have been 307 projects funded so far, all of which are secured on the underlying property.

 

4thWay Criticizes Competitors: “Comparison Websites Display Wildly Inaccurate Information About Peer-to-Peer Lending” (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The worst inaccuracies were found to be:

  • Five of the six are presenting peer-to-peer lending as “savings” rather than “investing” a year after the Financial Conduct Authority expressed well-founded concerns about this practice.
  • The two money sites that compare P2P investments in their comparison tables include P2P lending in savings account comparison tables rather than separate investment comparison tables.
  • Risk of fraud and negligence were not mentioned by any of the money sites.
  • Just one of the six mentioned the risks to investors of concentrating their pots on just one P2P lending platform.
  • Risks identified in behavioral investing theory (such as poor investing results from those who are too greedy or fearful) were not mentioned by any of the sites.
  • None of the six explained the full costs to investors of using P2P services, typically covering just a smaller part of the costs (the lending fee), while sometimes leaving the impression that lending is completely free. (It is never free for investors due to hidden costs.)
  • No money sites made clear the vast difference in risks between the various P2P lending platforms.
  • Just one generic money site explains that bad debts might be higher in a financial downturn.
  • While all showed the risk of losses if a P2P lending platform goes out of business, five did not explain that you could experience delays in getting your money back.
  • Five out of six relied heavily on provision funds and on the level of interest rates to assess whether a P2P lending platform is safe, assuming safety is always correlated. (Interest rates are an unreliable measure of risk and provision funds are a secondary risk-control or risk-measurement devices. Much more important factors include such things as solid underwriting and credit-risk models, good security and low bad debt history.)
  • Some of the money sites did not explain that provision funds might not always be sufficient to cover losses.
  • All six fail to mention that you might not in all circumstances be able to get your money back as soon as you expect, even if there is an option to sell your loans and exit early.

The Start Up Loans Company and NatWest to help UK firms access alternative finance (Startups.co.uk), Rated: A

The Start Ups Loans Company, headline sponsor of the Startups Awards 2017, has announced a partnership with NatWest to help UK businesses access alternative sources of funding.

The government-backed Start Up Loans Company joins six other finance providers on the Capital Connections scheme including Seedrs, Funding Circle, Assetz Capital, iwoca, Together and NatWest Social & Community Capital.

Robo roundtable: Restricted advice like buying an ill-fitting suit (Citywire), Rated: A

New Model Adviser® sat down with the heads of three robo firms, or ‘digital wealth managers’.

  • Adam French, chief executive, Scalable Capital
  • Johann Bornman, director of product, ETFmatic
  • Giovanni Dapra, chief executive, Moneyfarm

Tuesday August 1 2017, Daily News Digest

Charge offs

News Comments Today’s main news: Ron Suber joins Credible as Executive Vice-Chairman. Prosper pulls plug on anti-theft app. FCA extends credit assessment rules for P2P platforms. Klarna launches P2P payment app. Revolut’s Seedrs campaign oversubscribed. Harmoney loses 63% revenue. UIDAI launches mAadhaar app. Today’s main analysis: Vintage Analysis on loan performance with age. Elevates Q2 2017 results. Today’s thought-provoking articles: AI and the […]

Charge offs

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News Summary

United States

Ron Suber Joins Credible as Executive Vice-Chairman (Credible), Rated: AAA

Renowned fintech executive, advisor and investor Ron Suber has joined personal finance marketplace Credible.com as executive vice-chairman and a member of the board of directors.

“It’s been extremely exciting to see the Credible team turn a startup with a promising business model into a fast-growing company that’s respected by consumers, lenders and the industry” Suber said. “I have decided that now is the right time to help Credible seize their broader opportunity in the fintech ecosystem.”

Revisiting Vintage Analysis- How Loans Perform With Age (Orchard), Rated: AAA

The older vintages have longer lines, as they have more months of history. Using this data, we can examine how loans booked at different times compare to each other at equivalent periods in their life-cycle. This can help an investor evaluate their current portfolio and help them make comparative judgments about its performance.

Source: Orchard Platform

Factors to Consider Within Vintage Analysis

Interest Rates

Source: Orchard Platform
Source: Orchard Platform

Credit Grade

Vintage analysis can also help us to see how loans within a particular credit grade perform over time. In our prior analysis, we examined the performance of the top graded loans (A for Lending Club and AA for Prosper). However, as time has passed, these two platforms have increasingly been lending to borrowers with credit just below the top grades.

FICO Score and Debt-to-Income Ratio

From the data below we can see how loans from Lending Club charge-off over time controlling for the debt-to-income ratio of the borrower.

Source: Orchard Platform

 

ELEVATE CREDIT ANNOUNCES SECOND QUARTER 2017 RESULTS (Elevate), Rated: AAA

Second Quarter 2017 Financial Highlights

  • Nearly 20% year-over-year revenue growth: Revenues totaled $150.5 million, an 18.7% increase from $126.8 million for the prior-year period.
  • Almost 29% year-over-year growth in loans receivable: Combined loans receivable – principal, totaled $481.1 million, a 28.7% increase from $373.7 million for the prior-year period.
  • Stable credit quality: Loan loss provision was 48.0% of revenues and within our targeted range of 45%- 55%. The ending combined loan loss reserve, as a percentage of combined loans receivable, was 13.8%, lower than the 15.7% reported for the prior-year period.
  • Customer acquisition costs within targeted range: The total number of new customer loans for the quarter was approximately 66,000 with an average customer acquisition cost of $294, within our targeted range of $250-$300.
  • Second consecutive quarter of net income: Net income of $3.0 million, or $0.08 per diluted share, versus a net loss of $7.5 million, or $(0.59) per diluted share, for the second quarter of 2016.
  • Adjusted EBITDA margin: Adjusted EBITDA totaled $19.8 million, up from $7.3 million in the second quarter of 2016. The Adjusted EBITDA margin increased to 13.2% from 5.8% for the prior-year period.

Second Quarter 2017 Business Highlights

  • Elevate IPO. On April 6, Elevate began trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the “ELVT” ticker symbol.
  • $200 Million in Outstandings for Elastic. Just a year after achieving $100 million in outstandings, Elastic surpassed $200 million in total principal outstandings, with more than 120,000 open accounts.
  • Elevate Labs Launched. The Company launched Elevate Labs, including its new San Diego-based Advanced Analytics Center, underscoring its approximately $40 million annual investment in state-of-the art technology and data science.
  • RISE Enters Kansas with Line of Credit Product. Bringing additional responsible loan opportunities to non-prime consumers and expanding its product offering, RISE entered its 16th state, Kansas, the first state where RISE offers a line of credit product.
  • Savings for Customers. The average effective APR of its products for the quarter was 131%, down from 148% in the same quarter last year. The Company estimates indicate that Elevate’s products – Rise, Elastic and Sunny – saved customers approximately $304 million in the three months ended June 30, 2017 versus payday loans.
Source: Elevate release q2-2017-release

Elevate Reports Net Income of $ 3 Million on 0.5 Million in Revenue (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

According to the company, revenues for the quarter totaled $150.5 million – an 18.7% increase versus year prior where Elevate delivered $126.8 million in revenue. Elevate reported net income of $3.0 million, or $0.08 per diluted share, versus a net loss of $7.5 million, or $(0.59) per diluted share, for the second quarter of 2016.

Combined loans received were said to total $481.1 million, an increase of 28.7% from $373.7 from year prior quarter.

Prosper pulls plug on anti-ID-theft app (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Prosper Marketplace, one of the largest marketplace lenders, is discontinuing the Prosper Daily app.

The app, formerly known as BillGuard and a favorite of many fintech insiders, helped users protect their identities and monitor their credit scores.

The online lender said it will no longer have access to users’ financial accounts once the app is discontinued and that it will reimburse annual subscribers.

Artificial Intelligence And The Future of Digital Lending (The Financial Brand), Rated: AAA

To be a digital lender, banks and credit unions must do more than provide a digital app. Internal lending processes must be transformed to eliminate friction and unneeded steps, with artificial intelligence (AI) supporting proactive loan decisions.

According to PwC, a financial organization must initially define what is desired from both a customer experience and operational efficiency basis around consumer lending. Next, banks and credit unions must build a digital lending strategy around the following organizational competencies. The path to becoming a true digital lending organization involves five steps.

  1. User-Centric Design
  2. Data-Driven Decision Making
  3. Flexible Infrastructure
  4. Effective Development Approach
  5. Organizational Agility

Digital Borrower Expectations

The expectations of the digital borrower have increased over the past several years, mostly based on marketplace offerings and digital experiences in other industries. While the interest rate and closing costs on loans are still primary considerations, the speed, simplicity, transparency and customer service of the entire process is important.

According to the PwC report, Consumer Lending: Understanding Today’s Empowered Borrower, three out of four demographic segments prefer to be online for each phase of the lending process as opposed to traditional methods, such as in person or on the phone.

While some lender apps offer the higher-ranking features – such as the ability to calculate the loan amount that the borrower can afford and the ability to lock in an interest rate on a loan, most of the other features are still not offered by most organizations.

Being a Digital Lender is More Than Just Fewer Clicks

To become a digital bank, organizations need to think beyond ‘minimizing the number of clicks’, reducing manual data entry, and improving the speed of decisions.

The process of becoming a digital lender for the long-term moves investments from ‘digital features’ to a ‘digital mentality’ and process that can support changing digital lending options. It is a major move from investing in just digital output to investing in the digital input that works behind the scenes. It is a strategic framework for the future of digital lending.

PeerStreet Integrates with Personal Capital to Provide More Detailed Investment Overview (PeerStreet Email), Rated: A

PeerStreet, an award-winning platform for investing in real estate backed loans, has announced an integration with Personal Capital, powered by the Envestnet | Yodlee Data Aggregation Platform. Customers of both Personal Capital, an automated investment service with more than $4.8 billion assets under management, and PeerStreet can now view their PeerStreet positions within the context of their investment portfolio on Personal Capital.

Realty Mogul’s REIT Turns One (Realty Mogul Email), Rated: A

Celebrating its one year anniversary, MogulREIT I recently declared its twelfth consecutive month of 8% annualized return on investment. With ten assets across the country, MogulREIT I is a diversified portfolio of commercial real estate investments designed to provide consistent cash distributions, while protecting and returning capital contributions.

Money360 Closes $ 143M in Commercial Real Estate Loans in Q2, Marking a Record-Breaking Quarter (Markets Insider), Rated: A

Money360, a direct marketplace lender focused on commercial real estate, today announced that the company closed $143 million in loans in the second quarter, marking the lender’s best quarter to date. Money360 has now closed more than $350 million in total loans and is on pace to close more than $500 million by the end of the year. On average, the company is now closing $50 million in loans each month.

A few of the $143 million in loans closed in the second quarter include:

  • A $15.6 million bridge loan for a three-tenant medical office property in Grand Forks County, North Dakota.
  • A $11.1 million bridge loan for the acquisition of a multi-tenant retail property in Wayne County, Michigan.
  • A $9.7 million bridge loan for a two-story, 198-room hotel property in Cumberland County, North Carolina.

Read our analysis of Money360.

Wells Fargo Sued in Yet Another Public Embarrassment (Financial Advisor), Rated: A

The assault on the Wells Fargo brand continues, with a lawsuit accusing the bank of pushing almost 250,000 of its clients into delinquency by forcing them into auto insurance they didn’t need — or even ask for, Bloomberg reports.

The bank allegedly made millions of dollars off unsuspecting clients, according to the proposed class-action lawsuit filed in San Francisco federal court and cited by the newswire.

Wells Fargo allegedly didn’t check whether its clients taking out auto loans already had auto insurance, or ignored the fact that they did, Bloomberg reports.

Insurance CEOs Say Change Is Coming (CB Insights), Rated: A

Markel co-CEO Richard Whitt III on the $919M acquisition of State National

We, like a lot of people, are starting to look at the insurtech space. And State National, I think they are ideally situated to sort of be the go between the insurtech folks and sort of your standard insurance carrier types. It’s a clash of cultures there, I would say.

The insurtech folks are used to things happening lightening fast and with minimal regulatory issues and all that and that’s not insurance. So there almost needs to be a translator between insurtech folks and standard insurance folks. And that is a role that State National plays…And we see them helping us with our insurtech initiatives sort of being that translator between us and those folks.

Chubb CEO Evan Greenberg: “Change is coming”

But with that said, change is coming. And we are not alone in terms of carriers improving their capabilities, because of what technology brings that will lead that change. It’s around data, it’s around straight through process, it’s around data that improves the customer experience, while at the same time improving your ability to select risk and to do it quickly i.e. in seconds and to be able to then straight through process business.

You taking out a loan for your business and technology enables those other forms of distribution. The customer will buy it from a desktop, the customer will buy it from a mobile device, they will buy it any time anywhere and they will service it anytime anywhere.

Timothy Li of Fluid (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Into this void steps Fluid, the brainchild of Timothy Li, our next guest on the Lend Academy Podcast. He has found a unique way to provide students access to credit and consequently a way to start building their credit while they are in college. Fluid provides small loans of up to $500 at 0% interest. It is a fascinating idea that we explore in some depth on the show.

Are Technology Firms The Next Financial Service Providers? (Forbes), Rated: A

Financial system regulatory costs continue to climb in part due to it being rife with problems that led to 45% of financial intermediaries, such as money transfer services and stock exchanges, experiencing economic crime. Blockchain increases transparency and decentralizes the financial system with encrypted, unforgeable records embedded in a secure network. By reducing transaction costs and removing intermediaries, blockchain technology is poised to increase mass peer-to-peer collaboration, which could make existing financial organizations unnecessary.

Automated investment services, sometimes referred to as robo-advisors, are emerging as an easily accessible, cost-efficient solution to managing assets with 24/7 availability and annual fees of .2% to .5%, making it substantially less than typical rates.

The financial technology upsurge is bringing accessibility and availability to the forefront, making existing banking options resemble archaic institutions. With apps that let you make quick, feeless transactions (such as Venmo) and peer-to-peer lending platforms (such as Lending Club), customers and millennials are welcoming these innovative platforms. According to a 2015 report, 75% of millennials visit bank branches either once a month or less than that, and 38% of them don’t use a branch to perform banking activities.

Fintech, however, is fostering financial inclusion and building public confidence, evidenced by mobile platforms such as M-Pesa reaching 80% of households within four years.

OCC files motion to dismiss fintech charter lawsuit (American Banker), Rated: A

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit by state regulators challenging the agency’s fintech charter.

2020 REI Group Launches REI Data Systems With Investorwell (Digital Journal), Rated: A

Dallas- based 2020 REI Group has announced the creation of a data services and technology division to further their mission of providing products and services to real estate investors nationwide.

The new division will be labeled as REI Data Systems and will be led by Mike Inman, Vice President of Technology for 2020 REI Group.  Inman was most recently IT Manager of Application Development for the City of Grand Prairie and has a vast background in cloud based applications, GIS mapping, mobile applications, and data analytics.

The official launch for InvestorWell will be mid-August. The platform will help real estate investors find funding for their projects based on eight simple questions.

The Role of Digital in Financial Planning (Insead Knowledge), Rated: A

Long-term saving is a classic case study in behavioural biases. These must be managed and mitigated – whether it is through digital or face-to-face advice.

Inertia is one such bias. While people will generally put off taking action, research has shown that if they are intimately involved in preparing a plan, they are more likely to stick to it. The most committed planners also tend to be the most financially literate.

While robo-advisors are getting lots of press at the moment, they are mostly just a delivery mechanism. A nice user interface should not be a substitute for solid advice that ultimately addresses a key financial and behavioural problem. Digital poor advice is still poor advice.

  • Users should be asked, in non-misleading terms, whether they want a basic, average or luxury retirement lifestyle.
  • The language should be free of jargon and go to the heart of the users’ problem.
  • The tool should allow users to be actively involved in making the trade-offs based on their unique needs, wants and circumstances.

Startups want to change what you insure and how you insure it (TechCrunch), Rated: A

In the real world, however, insurance coverage hasn’t kept up with the social and economic changes of recent years. Sharing economies have gained scale. Jobs have gone from full-time to gig-based. And the vast millennial generation has entered adulthood intent on completing any complex transaction in a couple of minutes online.

So far this year, insurance-focused startups have raised more than $700 million in venture funding, according to Crunchbase data, with significant backing from both traditional VCs and large insurers. The lion’s share of investment has gone to companies pioneering and popularizing coverage categories and delivery models, with a particular focus on millennial customers.

One of the most richly funded players in this space is Trōv, which has an app for quickly insuring personal and work items like laptops, smartphones and high-end cameras. The five-year-old company raised a $45 million Series D round in April led by reinsurer Munich Re, bringing total funding to nearly $90 million.

Cover, which just closed an $8 million Series A, offers a similar service. Customers take a picture of the item they want to insure and Cover offers a policy, underwritten by a partner insurance firm.

One of the most richly funded insurance startups over the past few years is Metromile, which insures based on how much customers drive. Rack up few miles, and pay little beyond a small monthly base rate. Drive more, and it goes up. U.K.-based Cuvva, meanwhile, has raised seed funding to build out insurance offerings for short-term use of a car, for people learning to drive and for people who drive very little.

Silicon Valley-based Hippo is also marketing itself as a new kind of homeowners insurance company, with policies that offer stronger protections for common valuables like home electronics.

For short-term rentals, meanwhile, Slice Labs is partitioning off a space.

Next Insurance, founded last year, sells coverage for yoga instructors, photographers, home contractors and others whose needs don’t always fit with standard insurance policies. The Silicon Valley company raised $48 million to date from VC and insurance industry backers. Bunker, which bills itself as an insurer for freelancers and independent contractors, is also scaling up. The San Francisco company closed a $6 million Series A round in May.

One is Ladder, which has raised $16 million to build out a platform for offering direct-to-consumer term life insurance online. Another, Brooklyn-based Fabric, has raised $2.5 million for its digital platform offering instant quotes on accidental death coverage, as well as broader life insurance policies.

An Attorney’s Take On Real Estate Crowdfunding (RealCrowd), Rated: A