Thursday April 25 2019, Weekly News Digest

fintechs

News Comments Today’s main news: LendingClub restructures SME lending. Funding Circle lowers return projections. RateSetter receives Queen’s Award for Enterprise. SoFi could get $500M funding from Qatar. Today’s main analysis: How personal loans impact credit scores a year into repayment. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Employer payday loans and continuous billing using today’s technology. Interview with Deserve’s […]

The post Thursday April 25 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

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United States

LendingClub shuts down SME lending arm (Banking Tech), Rated: AAA

US peer-to-peer lending pioneer Lending Club has closed the doors on its in-house small business lending operation, reports Julie Muhn at Finovate.

Opportunity Fund, a non-profit small business lender; Funding Circle, one of the largest alternative small business lending platforms in the US; and Lending Club have teamed up to offer Lending Club’s small business clients’ access to credit. Businesses can now borrow up to $300,000 for rates as low as 5%.

How Personal Loans Impact Debt and Credit Scores a Year Into Repayment (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

Key findings

  • One year after taking on a personal loan, 52% of borrowers owed less overall on credit cards and personal loans. These borrowers’ balances — the sum credit card and personal loan balances — fell $811 on average.
  • Among baby boomers who took out personal loans, 56% lowered their overall balances after their first year of repayment, compared with 52% of Generation X and 48% of millennials.
  • Boomers also lowered their balances by much larger amounts, owing an average $2,048 less after a year. Balance reductions of younger borrowers were more modest: Generation X lowered their overall balance by $338, and millennials reduced their overall balance $250.
  • A year into repaying a personal loan, credit scores declined slightly for all age groups. Boomers’ credit scores declined the least, with the median falling just 1 point from 669 to 668. The median score of Generation X personal loan borrowers fell 7 points, from 659 to 652. Millennial credit scores fell 10 points, dropping from 661 to 651.
  • Credit utilization rates — the ratio of the sum of credit card balances to the sum of credit card limits — show a similar trajectory. One month after taking a personal loan, the median utilization rate fell from 35% to 26%. But after the first month, utilization increased. The median utilization rate one year after taking a loan increases to 44%.

How To Get Your Paycheck Early (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Speaking of Walmart, the retailer has partnerships with two fintech startups–Even Responsible Finance and PayActiv–that enable its US workers get part of their salary paid before payday.

Employees can get up to eight drawdowns (called Instapays) on their salary ahead of scheduled payouts. The first eight drawdowns are free to the employees, and then in subsequent use, fees are levied across a personal finance app available through Even.

Continuous Billing

There’s no reason why billers can’t provide continuous information about what a customer owes, in real time, online or through mobile apps.

Deserve’s Kalpesh Kapadia: ‘We promise the best credit card for our customer’s profile and life stage’ (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

The financial system has always struggled with young people. Because the system uses credit history, young people were frequently excluded from credit products because they’re new to the system. If you’re an immigrant or foreign student studying in the US, it’s way worse. Kalpesh Kapadia set out to change a system that was skewed against young people. He’s the co- founder and CEO of Deserve, which offers credit cards to college students at 2500 universities in the US.

To do this, he’s created an analytics-based lending platform that’s also branching out into powering credit cards as a service. We talk about how Deserve is able to underwrite credit-thin files and why he thinks his firm is at an advantage when it comes to competing against Marcus’s credit products and Apple’s new credit card.

Resolve Accelerates Shift to B2B eCommerce with Automated Net Payment Terms (GlobeNewswire), Rated: A

According to Forrester Research, business-to-business (B2B) eCommerce is poised to reach over $1.8 trillion by 2023. To help power this explosive growth, Resolve today announced that it has formally spun out of Affirm to launch an automated payments platform offering extended net terms. Early customers using Resolve’s payment automation technology have realized significant increases in B2B sales, growth in order size, and faster sales cycles.

Online Auto Loans: The Pros and Cons (U.S. News), Rated: A

Things are different now. Almost every financial institution has an online presence, and most offer information about car loans on their site. Most also provide an opportunity to apply for financing online, with a growing number able to take car buyers through the entire auto loan process without ever having to visit a bank or credit union branch.

It’s Not Easy Solving For $ 1.5 Trillion In Student Debt (PYMNTS), Rated: A

There is $1.5 trillion worth of student loan debt outstanding in the U.S. and it is creating problems.

Admittedly the plan is quite a bit more complex than that, as detailed by Sen. Warren in a Medium post that went live yesterday (April 22). In broad strokes, for students from families with less than $100,000 a year in annual income, $50,000 in student loan forgiveness would be available. The post also calls for “substantial debt cancellation for every person with household income between $100,000 and $250,000.” The Warren plan also calls for the elimination of tuition at all two-year and four-year public institutions of higher learning, and would create a fund of at least $50 billion specifically for historically black colleges and universities. Federals subsidies for for-profit colleges would be banned.

Would You Take a Job Just for the Fertility Insurance? (Glamour), Rated: AAA

The cost, however, put it out of reach. A single round of IVF rings in at about 

dv01 Launches Credit Risk Transfer Market Surveillance Offering (dv01 Email), Rated: A

dv01 today announces the launch of its Credit Risk Transfer (CRT) Market Surveillance offering, which will be showcased on April 25 at the 4th Annual Credit Risk Transfer Symposium in New York.

dv01’s latest offering adds $1.8 trillion of Freddie Mac (STACR) and Fannie Mae (CAS) CRT securitizations to dv01’s modern web-based data analytics platform, furthering their goal of bringing greater transparency to capital markets. Building on the success of dv01’s Market Surveillance offering for consumer loans (launched in 2017), the CRT offering will allow investors to analyze historical performance of CRT deals both individually or as combined deals, perform whole market analysis, and run cash flow scenarios.

Let’s give post offices another job (The Student Life), Rated: A

As of 2017, approximately 6.5% of households in the U.S., totaling more than eight million, don’t have an account open at an insured bank, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. An additional 24.2 million households utilize non-traditional financial services that often make them vulnerable to usurious lending rates.

Americans utilizing alternative forms of credit spend nearly 10% of their salaries on fees alone. For a family making the average salary of $25,500 in 2012, those fees average out to $2,412.

The USPS has 59% of its locations in zip codes that have one or fewer banks, according to a 2011 government report. This could help people to overcome a geographic boundary.

Equifax acquires PayNet to help expand access to capital for small and mid-sized businesses (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Equifax Inc., a global data, analytics and technology company has acquired PayNet, a company that provides commercial credit risk underwriting and management solutions to online and alternative finance lenders, and commercial finance and leasing companies in the U.S. and Canadian markets.

Marketplace Lending Update #5: The Very Long Arm of Colorado Law (The National Law Review), Rated: A

Recently a state court in Colorado ruled that securitization trusts that acquire marketplace lender loans originated to Colorado consumers are subject to Colorado jurisdiction. The court’s ruling derailed the attempt by the securitization trusts to escape the ongoing battle between the State of Colorado and marketplace lenders over rates and fees that can be charged to Colorado residents.

Berman Tabacco Announces Major Win for Victims of Plain Green Online Lending Scheme (BusinessWire), Rated: A

In a long-awaited opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit today ruled that borrowers who took out loans from the Native American-affiliated online lender Plain Green can proceed with their nationwide RICO class action in Vermont federal court. The Second Circuit affirmed a May 2016 ruling by District Judge Geoffrey W. Crawford and comes nearly two years after oral argument on Defendants’ appeals. Berman Tabacco and Gravel & Shea PC are Lead Counsel in the case, Gingras, et al. v. Rosette, et al., No. 5:15-cv-00101-gwc (D. Vt.).

2nd Circ. Says Tribal Officers Not Immune In Payday Loan Suit (Law360), Rated: B

The Second Circuit on Wednesday rejected a bid by officers of tribe-owned lending company Plain Green LLC to escape a suit claiming they charged exorbitant interest rates on so-called payday loans,…

White Oak Global Advisors Completes $ 30M Loan for Danimer Scientific Holdings (AP News), Rated: B

White Oak Global Advisors, LLC (“White Oak”) today announced it acted as sole lender and administrative agent to provide a $30 million senior credit facility to Danimer Scientific Holdings, LLC (“Danimer”), a manufacturer of specialty compostable and biodegradable plastics. This transaction expands on White Oak’s ESG-lending platform, which aims to finance small and medium-sized enterprises (“SMEs”) that are developing solutions to help address environmental and social issues around the world.

Online Lender Upgrade Recognized as Top Place to Work in San Francisco (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Online Lender Upgrade, a Fintech serving the consumer credit market, has been named a “Best Place to Work in the Bay Area’”by the San Francisco Business Times and Silicon Valley Business Journal. Upgrade is the creation of  CEO Renaud Laplanche, the founder of publicly traded marketplace lending platform LendingClub. This is the second time Upgrade has been recognized as a nice place to work in the notoriously work focused bay area.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle lowers return projections (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

FUNDING Circle has revised down its annual return projections in the face of a weaker environment for consumer credit.

The peer-to-peer business lender now predicts investors in its Balanced portfolio will achieve a return of 4.5 to 6.5 per cent a year.

Investors in its Conservative portfolio, meanwhile, could achieve 4.3 to 4.7 per cent a year.

Peer to Peer Lender RateSetter Receives Queen’s Award for Enterprise (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer investment platform RateSetter has been recognized with a prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise for excellence in innovation.

Challenger bank Tandem to double headcount as CEO warns of Brexit brain drain (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Tandem Bank said on Tuesday it had moved into a new 16,000 square foot office in London as part of plans to double headcount this year to 230 and grow to 300 people by the end of 2020.

“Last year we hit 500,000 customers when we had an expectation for 150,000,” Knox told Yahoo Finance UK.

Consumer P2P loans weigh on P2PGI fund returns (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

P2P Global Investments (P2PGI) has warned that its legacy peer-to-peer lending portfolio continues to be more volatile than expected despite posting an improved net asset value (NAV) return for 2018.

P2PGI – the world’s first P2P-focused investment trust – revealed in its annual report that its NAV for 2018 was 5.2 per cent, up from three per cent in 2017.

China

How Leverage Turns Market Corrections into Crashes (Yale Insights), Rated: AAA

Q: Is shadow borrowing unique to China?

It’s difficult to study the phenomenon very precisely. We do observe shadow lending in various forms growing throughout the world, including in the U.S., and, if left unregulated, this type of lending could mean that household and financial institution leverage keeps rising in a way that is both unregulated and undocumented.

Because the Chinese government believed that the shadow sector was partly responsible for the crash, it seized the data from some shadow lending platforms and allowed us to analyze it.

Q: Who’s providing the financing in these situations?

The exact sources of financing are not well known. Some of it could be other stock investors that have put up their own holdings as collateral and borrowed against it and then lend out the proceeds on the shadow market. It could also be peer-to-peer lending platforms. It’s also believed that some of the financial institutions and brokerage firms within China may have also lent out within the shadow sector.

Trade war with US could lead to economic ‘cold war’ for China, Beijing researchers say (SCMP), Rated: A

The tit-for-tat tariff war with the US and the broad hostility is seen as a major risk endangering China’s “economic security”, along with a property bubble, local debt, unemployment and online financing including peer-to-peer lending, according to the latest edition of China’s Economic Security Outlook.

European Union

French Lender Societe Generale Issues $ 112 Million Bond on Ethereum (CoinDesk), Rated: AAA

French financial services giant Societe Generale Group has issued about $112 million worth of bonds in the form of a security token on the public ethereum blockchain.

Announced today, a subsidiary called Societe Generale SFH used the OFH token (obligations de financement de l’habitat, or home financing obligations) to represent 100 million euros of covered bonds, a type of security that is backed by specific assets but remains on the issuer’s balance sheet.

The bond has a five-year maturity with a 12-month extension period, Moody’s said.

N26 opens tech hub in Vienna with a focus on security (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Fintech startup N26 is opening an office, its fourth, in Vienna. Eventually, the company plans to hire 300 software engineers, product managers and IT specialists.

API card platform Marqeta signs up three customers in Europe (Verdict), Rated: B

The platform has been signed up by French digital bank Morning, Swiss digital bank Yapeal, and Spanish POS lender Aplazame.

CoinLoan Plans IEO and Seeks Partners (Digital Journal), Rated: B

CoinLoan crypto-backed lending platform declares its intention to launch an Initial Exchange Offering and invites discussion with major crypto exchanges interested in the listing.

International

SoFi Is in Talks With Qatar for $ 500 Million Funding Round (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Fintech startup Social Finance Inc. is in the final stages of closing a funding round from the Qatar Investment Authority and others, according to four people familiar with the matter.

The new round, which could close as soon as this week, is said to value the startup at an amount similar to the $4.3 billion valuation of its 2017 funding round, led by Silver Lake. Two of the people said that in order to achieve the same valuation, investors were asking for more protections should the company raise money or sell itself for a lower price tag in the future. The terms of the deal have not been finalized and could still change, the people said. All of the people asked not to be identified because the discussions are private.

These are the top 10 hottest fintech startups and companies in the world (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Fintech industry funding has already reached new highs globally in 2018, with overall funding hitting $32.6 billion at the end of Q3.

Brex

What it does: Brex is a US-based corporate credit card provider, which initially focused on serving startups.

Raisin

Why it’s hot in 2019: Raisin became a fintech unicorn after raising $114 million in January, and has since then formed partnerships with Commerzbank and ClearScore. Additionally, the startup partnered with Starling Bank in 2018 to launch bank accounts in the UK

SoFi

Why it’s hot in 2019: While the company previously focused on loans, including student loans, in 2019 it has made some significant moves into the wealth management space, and launched both free ETFs and an investment product, dubbed SoFi Invest. As it becomes a more rounded financial product, SoFi will be worth watching in the next few years.

Lending Express

What it does: Lending Express is a US-based lending platform, which focuses on SMBs, and helps them gain access to more funding by providing them with advice.

Volt Bank

Why it’s hot in 2019: In January, Volt became Australia’s first fully licensed neobank. The challenger bank will first offer a suite of retail banking products, as well as budgeting and account aggregation tools, and plans to enter the SMB banking sector in 2020.

U.K. fintech now has war chest to push stateside (American Banker), Rated: A

Fresh off a $100 million funding round last year, the British startup OakNorth is preparing to license its business lending technology to U.S. banks and beyond.

The 3-year-old small-business lender is entering the U.S. at a time when fintechs and banks have stepped up their digital business lending efforts. Though OakNorth has not announced any official partnerships in the U.S., CEO Rishi Khosla said there’s appetite for what the firm is offering.

BlockFi Is Now Paying Interest on $ 53 Million of Crypto Deposits (CoinDesk), Rated: A

Crypto lending startup BlockFi has gathered another $18 million of bitcoin and ether deposits since last month, bringing its total interest-earning accounts to $53 million.

The company also lowered its minimum balance to earn interest on bitcoin from 1 BTC to 0.5 BTC and expanded its operations to India, meaning its service is now available globally, except for territories sanctioned by the U.S., U.K. and E.U.

No crypto winter for BlockFi as client base reaches 50% (CoinGeek), Rated: B

Crypto lending startup BlockFi has been growing, and now claimed that it has grown its client base by 50% in just one month.

Funds at your disposal: Digital lending making inroads into traditional lending (Finextra), Rated: A

The penetration of the internet of things and devices such as smartphones has brought in many advancements. This has made economic activities available at the touch of a button. Among the various sectors, the digital world has evolved the way traditional banking processes are being carried out. A growing number of businesses and individuals are filling applications online for taking loans rather than getting into the lengthy lending process.

Microsoft Will Pay You To Develop… Ethereum? (CryptoBriefing), Rated: B

“[ConsenSys Labs] has put up a few bounties in the vein of rethinking the lending market, and thinking about a peer-to-peer lending and a decentralized credit score system,” explains ConsenSys’ Operations Lead Vivek Singh. Instead of relying on centralized credit agencies, such a system—if successful—could allow borrowers to leverage their social connections into a sort of decentralized credit score.

India

Indian lendtech ZestMoney raises $ 20m (Banking Tech), Rated: AAA

ZestMoney, a start-up that helps consumers with no credit history get loans to buy online, has raised a $20 million Series B.

‘Money Loji’ launches App that offers loans to salaried professionals within 5 Minutes (Business Standard), Rated: A

Money Loji, a modern money ending platform, has launched its App, which offers quickest and the most secure loans to salaried professionals for an immediate requirement with flexible repayment options starting from 7 days to a maximum of 90 days. They follow a unique three-step process – application, approval, disbursement which is carried out within 3-4 minutes. The eligibility criterion is a minimum in-hand of Rs 20,000/month and a minimum age of 23 years. The application requires the users to upload an identity proof, an address proof, last 3 alongside the slips.

Blockfi Launches High-Interest Crypto Lending Program in India (Bitcoin.com), Rated: A

New Jersey-based crypto startup Blockfi announced Tuesday that it has expanded service to users in India. Its flagship Blockfi Interest Account (BIA) for BTC and ETH is now available in 65 countries.

Asia

Nuo Network Crypto Lending Platform Becomes Asia’s Biggest with $ 2 Million in Reserves (Bitcoin Exchange Guide), Rated: AAA

ConsenSys ventures backed Nuo.Network, which is a non-custodial lending platform recently made it to the top 5, dollar Defi (Decentralized Finance) projects and it presently the largest lending platform based in Asia. In the past month, the value of loans given has doubled, this is partly due to the growth of DAI reserves, which is now about 500,000 USD and the surge in Maker stability fees.

Why China’s Ping An OneConnect picks Indonesia for expansion (The Asset), Rated: A

The archipelago is viewed as an ideal market to benefit from the services offered by the enterprise. According to the Ping An Group, Indonesia, at around US$27 billion in 2018, is the largest and fastest-growing internet economy in Southeast Asia.

MENA

Banks use fintech to make up for lost time on financial inclusion (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

It fell to a mobile phone company more than a decade ago to financially empower tens of millions of Africans who found themselves passed over by the traditional banking sector. Now, some 12 years after Vodafone co-founded M-Pesa, the mobile payments venture that took east Africa by storm, banks are upping their game to improve financial inclusion rates across Africa and the Middle East, as technology widens their ability to deliver banking services at lower costs.

Source: Financial Times

In east Africa, the Catalyst Fund has backed Sokowatch, a three-year-old Kenya-based fintech that enables small retailers to order goods from suppliers registered on the mobile-focused platform and receive same-day deliveries. It also offers access to credit. The platform has already expanded into Tanzania and Rwanda.

In the Middle East, Citigroup has given $5m to a microloans fund in Jordan that helps give women access to credit. The financial support will help provide loans to around 10,000 additional women.

Iraq’s financial inclusion drive boosted by homegrown fintech (Financial Times), Rated: A

Around 7m Iraqis are now receiving welfare benefits or public sector salaries electronically, as the government replaces cumbersome cash dispersals with biometric debit cards that can be used at ATMs and in shops.

Only 23 per cent of Iraqis aged 15 and over held an account with a financial institution in 2017, according to the World Bank — although that figure has doubled since 2011.

Source: Financial Times

YouHodler Cryptocurrency Lending Platform Adds Dash (Dash News), Rated: A

Users will now be able to borrow in EUR, USD, or Stablecoin against their Dash as well as use the site to covert Dash to any crypto or fiat on the platform and withdraw to their crypto or fiat wallet. If a user enters their credit/debit card on the platform then they can “convert DASH to fiat and instantly withdraw that amount onto their personal cards, adding a unique “real world” utility for crypto”.

Canada

7 ways emerging fintech hubs are taking on the giants (PaymentsSource), Rated: AAA

Toronto is another significant fintech force in North America, and the leading fintech zone in Canada, because of the high concentration of financial organizations and technology development in Ontario. Last year Toronto accounted for CA$221 million (US$165 million) in total fintech investments across 25 deals, according to a recent report from Toronto Financial International (TFI).

Toronto ranks ninth out of the top 15 global fintech hubs, according to TFI. Currently the region has more than 190 fintech companies and 20 incubator/accelerators in operation. Payments represent the single leading category of fintech investment in the Toronto area, and combined with lending and digital currencies/FX firms it accounts for half of all local fintech activity, according to TFI.
Source: PaymentsSource
Latin America

Brazilian Credit Marketplace FinanZero raises USD 11 Million in Series B Round (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

FinanZero, a Brazilian fintech that operates as a consumer loan broker, received a new round of investment, raising USD 11 millionfrom Atlant Fonder, Dunross & Co and Vostok Emerging Finance, among other investors.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday April 25 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Unique Branding Trends – Only for Online Lenders

online lending

By the very definition of FinTech, online lenders have been using technology to transform financial services. In the early days, this equated to moving the mountains of paperwork into digital forms and automating manual processes. Rather than optimizing transactions and speeding approvals, the same inefficient processes were often recreated. The same documents were required — […]

online lending

By the very definition of FinTech, online lenders have been using technology to transform financial services. In the early days, this equated to moving the mountains of paperwork into digital forms and automating manual processes.

Rather than optimizing transactions and speeding approvals, the same inefficient processes were often recreated. The same documents were required — now in a PDF format rather than paper. In fact, some lenders made the mistake of modernizing the front-end customer experience but didn’t link their digitization efforts to the back office.

User-Focused Design and Branding

What’s changed? Now, consumers are demanding more security, privacy and personalization from their banks and financial service providers. Online lenders and financial institutions must upgrade their user experience by speeding transactions, providing personalized pricing and integrating data sources to reduce documentation requirements.

A recent article in The Financial Brand magazine says consumer lending is entering a new era of digitization. The PwC Consumer Finance Practice team identified key trends that will drive the next era of innovation in digital lending:

  • Evolving end-to-end workflows and processes
    This long-running trend to simplify and streamline the often arduous loan approval process is now including new data sources. Financial institutions are re-thinking the requirements to originate a loan and reworking their customer experience and internal workflow to deliver a frictionless lending experience.
  • Friendly Financial Advice Delivered Digitally
    Borrowers value personal advice and often require 24/7 access to answers. Fortunately, digital tools are becoming more acceptable with the flexibility of self-service and collaborative models to deliver information quickly and efficiently.

The next generation of digital lending will engage consumers in new ways, such as digitally-augmented human support, voice interaction, AI-powered virtual assistants and chatbots, wearables, and augmented and virtual reality.

Online-Only Lenders

Since online-only lenders don’t have storefronts to develop in-person relationships, clear communications are critical for building trust. Opportunities to better serve online customers include:

  1. Discrete Research and Application Process
    Plain Green Loans recently conducted another round of focus groups with customers and received feedback about the need for protecting their privacy. As a provider of short-term loans to consumers during emergencies, Plain Green’s customers require discretion as they research loan options online. Customers also expressed appreciation for a simplified and streamlined loan approval process. The consumers seeking emergency loans are on tight deadlines and need immediate responses to determine next actions. A fast review of applications and loan approvals are imperative to these consumers. In fact, a recent PwC survey of more than 1,600 adults with full-time employment found that 46 percent of those in the study – which typically has more stable finances than other groups – stated that financial challenges are the number one source of stress in their lives. The study concluded that lenders have tremendous opportunities to assist consumers in understanding their financial options and help them choose the best solution based on their personal situation.
  2. Building Consumer Confidence
    Feedback from the Plain Green customer focus groups emphasized the need for authenticity, being real and believable.Creative Bloq’s list of big branding trends in 2018 cited the recent massive data breaches and natural disasters occurring one after the other as the reason consumers want extra assurance from brands that they will provide security. They say, “consumers are looking for clues to determine whether a brand can be trusted, from the overall design quality and experiential thoughtfulness, to ratings and feedback on social media. Brands have to view all of their activities through the lens of a skittish public and a tumultuous world; particularly online.”Online reviews were a major topic of discussion during the focus groups. Several customers said they don’t believe the reviews on websites because the testimonials are all positive or have high ratings. Instead, they preferred to research customer feedback on their own using Yelp, Google or other platforms to give them a broader understanding of experiences the general population may have encountered.
  3. Brand Images Reflecting Diversity
    Focus group participants expressed a desire for more diversity in branding images. They want real people shown on websites and in communications that reflect wider demographic groups.Customers stated that they distrust images of people looking too happy, too sad or with fake, over the top emotions. Especially when making a financial decision, the customers want to see people with expressions that underscore the serious nature of the transaction.The focus groups provided meaningful insights that will inform our customer care team, website development, and acquisition and loyalty programs.

It’s clear that online lenders and other financial services providers must continuously seek customers’ feedback to align product development and business strategies to customers’ needs.

Author:

With more than 12 years of experience designing groundbreaking marketing strategies for Fortune 500 companies and financial technology brands, Guy Dilger, Guy Dilger, VP of Marketing, Plain Green, LLC, is known for generating engaging content and compelling concepts that resonate with targeted consumers. Prior to Plain Green, Dilger held senior positions within fintech and retail spaces where he managed national marketing campaigns and customer-centric loyalty initiatives for Sears and Kmart. Previously, he was part of the management team at Limited Brands, where his marketing work in support of Express brand included CRM, email, web-based programs and the redesign and relaunch of a private label credit card. Dilger has an MBA, as well as a bachelor of science in economics, from Southern Methodist University.

Friday January 5 2018, Daily News Digest

small business lending

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

small business lending

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

India

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News Summary

United States

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: FT Partners

Read the full report here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About the Data

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Unbanked

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

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

Underbanked

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Michael Brush, Brush Up on Stocks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Not understanding the true cost of your loan

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

2. Getting trapped in daily or weekly repayment cycles

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

3. Not knowing what you deserve

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

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

Source: MicroBilt
United Kingdom

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

European cityLondon Total funding raised (£)

2.45bn

European cityParis Total funding raised (£)

564.97m

European cityBerlin Total funding raised (£)

456m

European cityStockholm Total funding raised (£)

360.27m

European cityMadrid Total funding raised (£)

65.38m

European cityAmsterdam Total funding raised (£)

212.18m

European cityDublin Total funding raised (£)

117.45m

European cityHelsinki Total funding raised (£)

56.98m

European cityCopenhagen Total funding raised (£)

40.23m

European cityLisbon Total funding raised (£)

2.43m

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

European Union

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

International

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

India

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Asia

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

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

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

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor