Crowdfunding Alongside Experienced Real Estate Investors

ArborCrowd

The concept of crowd funding really came to the fore with the passing of the Jobs Act of 2012. The Act relaxed regulations for private funding and encouraged businesses and startups to raise money from private investors through online portals. As per a Massalution report, the real estate crowd funding industry was valued at $1 billion […]

ArborCrowd

The concept of crowd funding really came to the fore with the passing of the Jobs Act of 2012. The Act relaxed regulations for private funding and encouraged businesses and startups to raise money from private investors through online portals. As per a Massalution report, the real estate crowd funding industry was valued at $1 billion in 2014, $2.5 billion in 2015, and is projected to reach more than $300 billion by the end of year 2025. By combining online crowdfunding, technology, and real estate, platforms are providing comparatively small investors the opportunity to partake in much larger real estate deals that they would otherwise never get to invest directly.

A Look at ArborCrowd Services

The company came up with its first deal, 1413 York Avenue, in 2016. After a successful launch, they launched six more deals and generated $20 million in equity capital to finance multifamily real estate projects.

Multifamily properties have the ability to generate healthy returns and survive in adverse market cycles because of the low level of risk involved. According to the founders, a new generation of investors will find it a secure way of investing in real estate.

ArborCrowd investors co-invest with a network of professional sponsors having an extensive knowledge base. Each deal is financed with different amount of contribution from sponsors ranging from 30% to 80% while the share of crowdfunding investors is dependent upon projected IRR of each project. The company has built strong relationships with industry leaders over the years as it has worked with institutional investors.

Crowdfunders’ pool of money is invested in capital stacks of $2 to $6 million. Sponsors at Arbor bring money up-front and raise the balance from accredited investors. This assures the viability of the project to outside investors. The minimum investment per deal is $25,000. All investors are invited to invest on a deal basis so they can analyze where there money is being invested. The company aims for an IRR from 10%-15% for its projects.

Philosophy on Debt Investing

P2P lending, or debt crowdfunding, is the traditional method of arranging finance for customers and businesses. Despite offering steady income and priority of payment over other capital stacks, real estate debt crowdfunding is considered risky by ArborCrowd’s founding team. Most of the tech companies that offer debt on their RECF platforms are operating in a precarious environment. Debt investors sacrifice the potential of higher returns, which can be enjoyed only in equity financing, whereas faltering projects can usually wipe out equity and debt investors.

How ArborCrowd Works

Sponsors approach ArborCrowd with investment deals that are best suited for crowdfunding. Market presence of group companies including Arbor Realty Trust, Arbor Commercial Mortgage, and AMAC has helped ArborCrowd leverage their relationships with industry leaders. The whole group is determined to deliver one-stop solutions customers. The entire procedure of sourcing, underwriting, and closing the deal takes approximately one month, after which the distribution takes place.

The current strategy is to partner with people having extensive industry experience and a sound track record. People interested in crowd investments can register on the company’s online portal and download the details about the business plan as well as current and past deals financed to get an idea about the underwriting process.

Investors participate in the deals through effective marketing techniques including email, marketing pitch design, and organizing webinars while focusing on providing them with the best-sourced deals and sponsors.

ArborCrowd offers these investment opportunities to only accredited investors and ensures a proper vetting of these prospective clients. The process of online verification takes one hour for potential investors.

Each ArborCrowd project is tested on different parameters depending upon the nature of the underlying property. Most money lending institutions use inappropriate tools to evaluate each deal. Automated analytical tools are helpful in this regard, but no algorithm can replace the human touch. Arbor brings its management’s decades of experience and industry contacts to ensure that it can capture the deal first.

Who Are ArborCrowd Investors?

The company’s investor ecosystem includes tech millionaires, investment clubs analyzing different real estate opportunities in multiple markets, and real estate brokers. The founders shared an experience where an investor took out his life insurance money to invest with the platform. This highlights the trust the ArborCrowd brand name has in the market.

Who Are ArborCrowd?

ArborCrowd, a part of Arbor family of real estate companies that include Arbor Realty Trust, Inc. (NYSE: ABR), Arbor Commercial Mortgage, and Arbor Residential Mortgage, is focused on providing diversified real estate investment opportunities to accredited investors. Their deals are sponsored by sophisticated and experienced real estate deal makers and were previously available to only institutional and high net worth individuals. All the documents and reports related to financial projections, timelines, and business plans are made available to the investors to enhance transparency and build investor confidence.

ArborCrowd allows real estate crowdfunders opportunities to invest alongside experienced real estate investors

Ivan and Adam Kaufman founded ArborCrowd with a motive to source investors in real estate through the amalgamation of technology and crowd funding. In the initial phase of real estate crowdfunding (RECF), the father-son team consciously stayed out of RECF. They were happy to let other tech-focused startups enter the space first. Their aim was to understand how the market evolved online and learn the best practices jumping into a nascent industry. In 2016, they entered the market with their own product offering.

Their ArborCrowd ethos involves a real estate company leveraging technology as opposed to a technology company leveraging real estate. The founders are experienced operators in the field and understand the nuances that will act as a moat to their business.

CEO and Co-Founder Ivan Kaufman has more than three decades of experience working in residential and commercial real estate. His background in mortgage loans, asset management, and real estate financing is an important asset to the company. His background and the Arbor brand name help attract top quality sponsor and marquee real estate deals.

Adam has worked with leading technology and real estate companies and has experience in marketing and business development.

ArborCrowd is privately owned and no outside investors other than the Arbor Group has a stake in the crowdfunding platform.

The Future of Real Estate Crowdfunding

Introduction of advanced tools, a growing fintech world, and a massive demand for online and user-friendly platforms assisting people to access commercial real estate transactions is expected to reshape the real estate industry. The long-term vision of the company is not to just increase the quantity of projects financed through its platform, but to be known for financing viable projects concentrating on quality.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Friday December 1 2017, Daily News Digest

interest rate sensitivity

News Comments Today’s main news: Affirm partners with Shopify Plus.The Fed is thinking about starting a cryptocurrency.Payday lending group sues Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).Funding Circle gets first IFISA sign-up within 15 minutes of opening.Assetz Capital to launch IFISA with manual lending.KappAhl to offer mobile payments in store with Klarna. Today’s main analysis: How should […]

interest rate sensitivity

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United States

United Kingdom

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European Union

International

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India

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News Summary

United States

Affirm Joins Forces With Shopify Plus to Help High Growth Retailers Rapidly Scale Online Store Sales (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Affirm, Inc., the company started by Max Levchin to provide fair and honest consumer financing, today announced it has joined the Shopify Plus Technology Partner Program to help more retailers quickly scale their online store sales by giving their customers a quick and easy alternative to credit cards.

Affirm App Gives Loans For Designer Jeans, Holiday Flights And More (International Business Times), Rated: A

Affirm’s chief of staff and head of international expansion, Ryan Metcalf, told International Business Times the startup works with 1,200 retailers nationwide and issued $1 billion worth of loans in 2017.

“We are able to approve 126 percent more people than industry averages. A large portion of these people have no access to credit or if they do they are being mispriced in the market because their FICO score is outdated,” Metcalf said. “Around one in 10 Americans have ‘unscorable’ credit reports. That’s around 30 million people. So we’re also able to offer credit to those people as well.”

According to the Fair Isaac Corporation’s data, 20 percent of American credit card owners are ranked as “subprime” because their FICO score is 600 or lower.

Expert Commentary: how should equity investors position for a secular uptrend in rates? (INTL FCStone Email), Rated: AAA

In Four Interest Rate Myths, I made a theoretical case for higher rates by debunking the New Gospel of the New Normal. The Slow Agony of and Old Bull highlighted seven signs that the bond bull market was already over. This report discusses the most important question facing market participants for the next five years – how should equity investors position for a secular uptrend in rates?

The report reviews the performance of U.S. sectors, currencies, and international indices during prior hiking cycles and their recent correlations with yields. Six conclusions emerge:

  • Almost tautologically, bond proxies have consistently underperformed during prior hiking cycles.
  • Currently, only two sectors are positively related to interest rates: financials and energy. Since their valuations remain below average, these sectors are a cheap option against the risk of rising rates.
  • Investors should monitor the correlation between yields and tech stocks: higher rates would kill the bull market if the correlation between tech stocks and bond yields turned negative.
  • U.S. stocks and the dollar index have tended to fall in prior hiking cycles.
  • Korean equities and, to a lesser extent, Japanese stocks have outperformed during prior hiking cycles.
  • The performance of emerging markets and commodity-driven markets is mixed: they have outperformed massively during in the 2003-2006 cycles, but have suffered during the hiking cycles of the 90s.

Read the full report here.

Dudley Says Fed Has Started Thinking About Official Digital Currency (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Federal Reserve Bank of New York President William Dudley said Wednesday the U.S. central bank is beginning to explore whether it could adopt its own digital currency, in an appearance at Rutgers University where he also expressed optimism about the economy.

Bitcoin is “really more of a speculative activity,” Mr. Dudley said. But he said aspects of the technology are interesting and worthy of attention. “It’s premature to be talking about the Federal Reserve offering digital currencies, but it is something we are starting to think about,” he said.

Some academics have called for the Fed to offer its own digital currency. They believe it would afford the central bank better control over the economy by tweaking interest rates at the consumer level, bypassing fickle financial markets that often work at cross-purposes with Fed policy aims.

THE FINTECH EFFECT: AMAZON, GOOGLE, AND THE DISRUPTION OF SMALL BUSINESS LENDING (The Boss Magazine), Rated: AAA

If banking bigwigs and fintech entrepreneurs have seemed a bit queasy since October’s Lendit Europe conference, they might be blaming Karen Mills for daring to illuminate the elephants in the room: Amazon and Google, and their ability to disrupt the small business lending industry.

Mills, a former White House administrator for small business and current Harvard Business Review fellow, succinctly pointed out the obvious. With the tremendous amount of financial and personal data these behemoths collect, a broadening of scope into small business lending may be inevitable.

While Google hasn’t made any notable overtures into the lending business yet, Amazon launched its lending business to support its merchants in 2012. As reported by Bloomberg, the retailer issued $1 billion in loans in the 12 months between May 2016 and June 2017. To date, they have extended $3 billion to over 20,000 small businesses here, as well as in the U.K. and Japan.

The Magnificence of Micro Loans

Merchant services provider Square has given its merchants loans of over $1.5 billion since its in inception in 2014, and PayPal’s Working Capital program has loaned over 115,000 global businesses a total of $3 billion.

Amazon and Square merchants repay the loans automatically based on the amount of sales they make. PayPal’s maximum small business loan amount is 30 percent of a merchant’s annual PayPal sales, not to exceed $97,000 for the first loan.

Small Business Domination

Small businesses account for roughly 99.9 percent of all businesses in the U.S., and are responsible for 61.8 percent of the new jobs established from Q1 1993 to Q3 2016. About 80 percent of the nation’s 29.6 million small businesses are nonemployers.

Payday lending group plans to sue the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (USA Today), Rated: AAA

The Community Financial Services Association of America plans to challenge one of the federal watchdog’s signature achievements could signal how the consumer bureau’s previous enforcement policies will shift under new Trump administration leadership.

The anticipated battle would target a new rule that was indeed published in the Federal Register on Nov. 17, capping a contentious 18-month public comment and lobbying battle between the payday loan industry and consumer advocates.

Federal budget director Mick Mulvaney, installed by Trump as the bureau’s acting director, has been critical of the payday lending rule and has received campaign backing from the industry. He received $31,700 in 2015-2016 federal campaign cycle contributions from payday lenders, ranking ninth among all congressional recipients, according to data analyzed by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Federal judge refuses to block Trump’s designation of Mulvaney as interim head of CFPB (Legal NewsLine), Rated: A

A federal judge on Tuesday rejected arguments by Leandra English, who was named the deputy director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau by outgoing director Richard Cordray, in a lawsuit she brought over the agency’s interim leadership.

Judge Timothy J. Kelly for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, according to a minute order and entry on the case docket, denied English’s emergency motion for temporary restraining order after a motion hearing held Tuesday.

English filed her lawsuit Sunday night in attempt to block President Donald Trump’s naming of Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney as the bureau’s acting director.

In a minute order filed Wednesday, Kelly said the parties will meet, confer and submit by Dec. 1 a joint proposed schedule for briefing the merits and/or for briefing a preliminary injunction, or separate schedules.

Payday lender going public as new sheriff takes over at CFPB (Seeking Alpha), Rated: B

Curo Group is looking to raise about $100M with the sale of 6.7M shares at hoped-for range of $14-$16 each. Prospectus here

Marlette Funding President Offers Insight on Personal Loan Market (LendEDU), Rated: A

Q: So we know that Fintech personal loan lenders are starting to attract more consumers and take up more of the market. How do you expect traditional banks to react to this over the next couple of years if the trend continues?

A: You’re starting to see banks wake up to this new way of lending. They’ve been impacted by a regulation-focused environment in recent years, driving them towards a compliance mindset. However, banks are starting to think of ways to grow their consumer lending businesses, and technology is a big part of this.

Q: What sort of future do you see for blockchain technology in the Fintech personal loanmarket? What sort of challenge would its implementation pose to Fintech lenders?

A: One use that I could see for Fintech lending is creating a more secured identity verification process for the customer. From the recent Equifax news, you have a single source of data where all relevant info is in one location, and a breach creates both chaos as well as problems with trust. Distributed ledger tech creates an interesting opportunity to limit this concern, but it’s going to take a long time before it can be implemented fully.

For Workers In A Pinch, Start-Ups Experiment With No-Interest Loans (Forbes), Rated: A

Dave is part of a new crop of financial technology companies that are trying to help consumers avoid nasty overdraft fees, as well as payday loans, pawn shops and other expensive forms of debt, via zero-interest loans. They’re going after workers who may struggle to make ends meet, but who could benefit from a minor influx of cash at the right time.

Dave analyzes a consumer’s bank account history to issue warnings about potential overdrafts up to seven days in advance. Then, for users who still find they’re in a pinch, it may approve a loan of up to $75. Dave doesn’t charge interest, but the app costs $1 a month and users are asked to leave a tip on advances. The Mark Cuban-backed service has amassed 100,000 users since it launched in April.

In 2016, financial institutions hauled in $33.3 billion on overdraft fees alone, according to Moebs Services, an economic research firm.

Dave, in addition to companies like Even and Earnin (formerly Activehours), are attempting to do away with the high interest rates and fees that they say put a financial institution’s incentives in contrast with those of the borrower. Their answer: Small, zero-interest advances on a person’s next paycheck with no hidden or punitive fees.

According to one study of low and moderate income families, household income spiked — or fell — by more than 25% in six months out of every year.

YieldStreet CEO Milind Mehere: Excited about Growth and YieldStreet’s Future (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Launched in NYC in 2015, YieldStreet aims to allow people to invest in alternative investments that are backed by real collateral. With a world-class advisory board which recently added three new members Ron Suber (Prosper Group), Mitch Jacobs (On Deck)Alexandra Wilkis Wilson (Gilt Group) and a growing leadership team, including Volfi Mizrahi who just joined as Managing Director of Originations and Ivor Wolk as General Counsel, the platform’s growth is undeniable.

Erin: On what other elements of your YieldStreet street vision are you currently working?

Milind: Continuing to expand our product and audience offering – AutoInvest will let users choose their investment preferences such as asset class, yield and duration, then the algorithm our platform uses will match them as offerings become available. In 2018 we hope to open the platform to non-accredited investors, and we are working to provide liquidity on our platform, as well as creating products for the Financial Advisor/RIA market and IRA market.

Erin: How do you expect YieldStreet to grow? How do you source deals?

We work with a network of originators and asset managers, as well as many funds (from $50M to $10B) in the private credit space.

Erin: What lessons from Yodle — from its beginnings to its $342M sale to web.com in 2016 — have you applied to YieldStreet?

Milind: We have been incredibly efficient at YieldStreet because of that. We have just raised $3.7M in seed capital to reach $200M in originations, where some of our peers have raised anywhere from 6x-25x to achieve the same results. Yodle taught me to be extremely disciplined about where to invest and when.

Erin: What are YieldStreet’s future plans for growth by 2018? by 2020? by 2025?  How do you predict the sector will change and be disrupted?

Milind: According to a recent report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the asset management industry is set for “transformational change” and booming growth in the next decade. Alternative asset classes, such as real estate and private debt are expected to grow to about $21.1 trillion by 2025.

Innovative Approaches to Expanding Home Availability and Affordability (Lend Academy), Rated: A

It seems like almost every day I see a story about increasing real estate prices in the major metropolitan areas of the US. Prices in cities like San Francisco, New York, Seattle, Washington DC have made homeownership unobtainable for many people.

SoFi comes to mind with their jumbo mortgage which allows borrowers to put just 10% down and offers loans up to $3 million.

Landed is taking a different approach. I spoke with Alex Lofton who is Head of Growth and Co-founder at the company. They first came on my radar this summer when TechCrunch profiled them. They are similar to companies like Unison (who recently was on the Lend Academy podcast) and Point with a slight twist. Currently, the company focuses on teachers to help purchase a home, providing up to 50% of the down payment. Like other similar products, Landed participates in either the upside or downside when the home is sold.

PWC CHARGE: ASSET MANAGERS ARE DIGITAL TECH ‘LAGGARDS’ (AllAboutAlpha), Rated: A

In filling out the particulars of this claim the authors of the new report make four more specific points: one, asset management is a buyers’ market and will become more so, in large part because “institutional investors have the tools to differentiate alpha and beta,” and they want to pay for the former not the latter. They also say that asset managers have been filling gaps in the financial system that emerged in the wake of the global financial crisis – they’ll need to capitalize on and expand these once-niche markets. Thirdly, while they make the common point that traditional active managers feel a squeeze between passive management on the one hand and alternatives on the other, they go further in that direction than other analysts have, saying that the way to react to this squeeze is not to try to beat back the competing forces but to join them, to turn a management firm into a “multi-asset solutions firm.”

But perhaps the most surprising of the four points is the contention that asset management has been a refuge of digital technology “laggards,” and that this will change in the near future, as “technology giants … enter the sector, flexing their data analytics and distribution muscle. The race is on.”

Lincoln Financial Network Launches Integrated Technology Platform to Drive Greater Client Engagement and Collaboration in Financial Planning (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Lincoln Financial Network (LFN), the retail wealth management affiliate of Lincoln Financial Group (NYSE:LNC), today announced that it has successfully launched a meaningful enhancement to its fully integrated wealth management platform for financial advisors and their clients – Automated Account Opening (AAO). AAO encompasses a full suite of new capabilities, integrated tools, and client-servicing solutions that will increase client satisfaction and collaboration with advisors.

Banks resist pressure to raise rates, but for how long? (American Banker), Rated: A

Online banks have been aggressively raising the rates they pay on consumer deposits, and that is putting pressure on mainstream banks to consider following suit or risk losing valuable deposits to their more nimble competitors.

A recent survey of 100 banks conducted by MoneyRates.com found that online banks such as Ally Bank, Goldman Sachs’ GS Bank and Sallie Mae Bank are paying significantly higher rates on savings and money market accounts than their brick-and-mortar counterparts.

U.S. regional banks delve deeper into advisory services to boost growth (NASDAQ), Rated: A

Smaller banks, like their bigger Wall Street rivals, have aggressively cut costs since the 2008 financial crisis and trusted ultra-low interest rates to increase loan volumes.

U.S. Bancorp, BB&T Corp, SunTrust Banks Inc, Fifth Third Bancorp, KeyCorp and Citizens Financial Group Inc together earned $6.97 billion in non-interest income in the third quarter, up 10.6 percent from a year earlier and 15.2 percent from the second quarter.

That compares with growth in net interest income of 7.7 percent and 2 percent, respectively.

RICH PICKINGS

The number of millionaires in the United States is at the highest since Chicago-based research company Spectrem Group started measuring it in 2004, but thresholds of – for example $250,000 to invest – mean many are too small to get personal attention from the big Wall Street firms.

Born between the early 1960s and 2000, Americans from Generations X and Y who have an average annual income of about $200,000, account for 18 percent of millionaires compared with 8 percent in 2012.

Yet only 58 percent have financial advisers compared to 72 percent five years ago, according to a study by Fidelity Investment.

KeyBank Forms Strategic Partnership With Snapsheet To Provide Powerful Insurance Claims Payment Solutions (PR Newswire), Rated: A

KeyCorp (NYSE: KEY) announced today its strategic investment and partnership with Snapsheet, an innovator of self-service claims solutions for insurance carriers. This investment follows the joint launch and announcement of Snapsheet Transactions, a payment platform on the back end of Snapsheet’s existing claims solution.

Snapsheet Transactions provides carriers with a payment hub that features a variety of payment options, without adding complexity or risk to insurance carriers’ back-end processes. Key and Snapsheet will continue to partner with each other to support the rollout and execution of enhancements and innovations related to Snapsheet Transactions.

Concord President & COO Shaun O’Neill to Lead Panel at Marketplace Lending Conference in New York City (PRWeb), Rated: B

Shaun O’Neill, President and COO of Concord Servicing Corporation, a leading force in the portfolio servicing and financial technology industry, has been invited to serve as moderator of a finance-related panel during the upcoming Information Management Network’s 3rd Annual Investors’ Conference on Marketplace Lending. O’Neill’s panel will focus on the highly topical “Trends and Best Practices for Loan Servicing” during the conference, to be held December 1st at the Marriott New York Downtown, in New York City.

LendingTree Logo To Appear On Greensboro Swarm Jerseys As Part of Company’s Partnership With Hornets (NBA.com), Rated: B

The Charlotte Hornets, Greensboro Swarm and LendingTree announced today that the LendingTree logo will appear on the jerseys of the Swarm as part of the Founding Level Partnership announced earlier this month between the Hornets and LendingTree.

Family loans: How to dodge the drama (Work IT, SOVA), Rated: B

There are advantages of a family loan for a borrower: no credit check, low or no interest and flexible payback terms.

Family loans may also come with tax considerations, whether the lender charges interest or not. Charge zero interest, and you may face a gift tax; a borrower who receives a gift may have to report it as taxable income. Tack on an interest charge and you must follow IRS-specified guidelines for the rate you charge and report it as income.

BORROWERS: EXHAUST OTHER OPTIONS FIRST

When weighing the pros and cons of a family loan, also consider alternative options, including a personal loan borrowed from a bank, credit union or online lender that can be used for any purpose.

Personal loans from credit unions and online lenders typically have more flexible qualification requirements than a bank loan.

LENDERS: ASSESS THE REASON FOR THE REQUEST

If you are lending the money, try to set your emotions aside and look at the reason for the loan. Has your family member been rejected by banks and other lenders? If so, why? Will your loan help promote good financial decisions?

United Kingdom

Funding Circle IFISA motors ahead with instant sign-ups (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle has begun rolling out its Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) to investors and had a customer sign up within 15 minutes.

The peer-to-peer business lending giant started emailing users on Thursday morning, in order of when they opened accounts and started investing.

The IFISA account is a flexi-ISA, meaning you can withdraw any available funds without affecting your annual £20,000 ISA subscription limit, providing you transfer them back in by the end of the tax year.

Assetz Capital Announcement: Soon to Launch IFISA Set to Include Manual Lending (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The online lender reported that the IFISA will be launched next month, with users able to use their £20,000 annual tax-free allowance on the Assetz Capital platform. Users will be able to transfer in past years’ ISA savings from their cash and shares ISAs. Assetz Capital also noted that new and existing investors will be able to open an IFISA wrapper on the platform and then invest into any automated Assetz investment account. The IFISA is also set to include the popular Manual Loan Investment Account (MLIA) in the New Year.

Digital banking: a tough way to make money (Financial Times), Rated: A

It’s been a busy period for the UK’s fledgling digital banks. Since January, eight UK digital banks have collectively raised $600m and two challenger banks were acquired for $2B+. Digital banks have built out the tech, landed banking licenses, and started winning customers – but they have arrived at a ‘now what’ moment. How can they capture a large enough customer base to validate their significant collective investment?

Monzo reported that its prepaid card scheme loses around £50 per active customer per year, and other digital banks face similar costs. While on the one hand the cost to acquire these current account customers is not very high, given the ‘buzz’ around the sector and banks’ word of mouth-driven growth – these current accounts, with their low average balances, are also inherently unprofitable. So it’s a steep climb for digital banks to recoup their operational costs, much less make a lot of money per customer.

P2PGI unveils new strategy that speeds up timetable for target returns (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

P2P GLOBAL Investments (P2PGI) has brought forward its timetable for reaching its target returns of six to eight per cent after unveiling its new portfolio strategy on Thursday morning.

The investment trust said it now expects to provide a dividend of at least 15p per quarter by the end of the second quarter of 2018, which analysts say reflects an annualised yield of 7.8 per cent.

LendInvest: How our BTL launch will fill the portfolio landlord lending gap (Mortgage Solutions), Rated: A

The prospects of the dinner party landlord, who picked up a property or two during the boom years, have been dented by moves like the additional rate of stamp duty on second homes and the changes to mortgage interest tax relief.

In contrast, it’s the professionals who are best placed to adjust their budgets and ride out such changes. These are the investors who spend their working hours – rather than just their spare time – focused on running their property businesses.

Countrywide’s letting index in August flagged up the fact that the number of homes on the market to tenants has jumped by 171,000 over the last two years, despite the number of landlords falling by 154,000 over the same period.

Three reasons why investors must consider alternative lending (Money Observer), Rated: A

With cash held at the bank slowly being eroded by inflation, many investors have been attracted to the enhanced return prospects offered by alternative – or ‘peer-to-peer’ – lending.

Alternative lending is very interesting from this perspective, as it is one of the few income options available to retail investors that may be shielded from market volatility. This has grown in importance recently as many markets are currently trading at historically high valuations. Markets follow a supply and demand dynamic and the traditional asset classes are definitely vulnerable to sudden downside pressures in stressed market environments.

China

Was 2017 the year that Chinese fintech grew up? (Ecns.cn), Rated: A

While investments in the Chinese fintech sector tripled to almost 10 billion US dollars in 2016 compared to the year before, 2017 has seen a significant drop in corporate fintech investments across Asia. KPMG reports that corporates have only put 840 million US dollars into the sector in 2017, compared to 6.8 billion US dollars in 2016.

Decline of P2P, robo-advisors

One other area that has struggled in 2017 has been robo-advisors. In 2016, China Merchants Securities predicted that by 2020, some 5.22 trillion yuan (758 billion US dollars) worth of assets would be managed by robot financiers.

China leverage and shadow banking biggest threats to growth (The Asset), Rated: A

FINANCIAL system leverage and shadow banking pose the biggest threat to China’s economic growth, according to a live poll of attendees at the Fitch on China Forum.

The forum was organized by The Asset in association with Fitch Ratings and held on November 30 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong.

Source: The Asset

Ant Financial and QCash scoop FT fintech awards (Financial Times), Rated: B

A big Chinese group and a US not-for-profit have triumphed in the second annual Financial Times fintech awards, with Ant Financial taking the “impact” prize and QCash winning for “innovation”.

European Union

KappAhl first to offer mobile payments in store with Klarna (NB Herard), Rated: AAA

KappAhl is the first major fashion chain to offer its customers digital payment solutions in stores via their smartphones. Customers will have the option to make their purchases with Klarna In-Store, paying either on the spot or upon invoice.

This new payment solution will become one of the cornerstones in KappAhl’s digital transformation, with customers in stores benefitting from the same payment options that they have in Shop Online.

The service has been rolled out gradually and, as of 1 December, will be available in all 173 KappAhl and Newbie stores in Sweden. From 1 December, the service will be available in all 96 Norwegian stores, and, from 4 December, in all 58 stores in Finland.

Fintech company Deposit Solutions raises $ 20 million from existing investors (Tech.eu), Rated: A

Deposit Solutions, a German fintech company, has raised $20 million in a round led by e.Ventures and Greycroft, both existing shareholders.

The new funds will be used to grow the Hamburg-based company’s Open Banking platform for savings deposits for both B2B and B2C services, and to expand internationally. Its APIs allow banks to connect to the platform to build and offer deposit services. It has partnered with more than 50 banks.

Why Scandinavia’s Biggest Bank Is Setting Up Its Own Fintech Startup Fund (Forbes), Rated: A

The bank has announced that it’s setting up Nordea Ventures, to make strategic investments in fintech start-ups.

A case in point is Tink the Swedish-based fintech company, where Nordea provided capital and advice and integrated some of Tink’s own technology into its own digital products while preserving Tink’s name and brand.

Tink’s app helps consumers to aggregate financial transactions in one place, to compare and switch mortgages to a partner bank or open a savings account, for instance. Another Tink app for banks and payment services like Klarna provides account aggregation and payment capabilities.

Nordea invests in fintech company Betalo (Nordea), Rated: B

Nordea is investing in the fintech company Betalo. This takes our partnership with the Swedish company to the next level after a cooperation agreement was signed in March 2017.

PSD2 BRINGS DELAYED DISRUPTION TO THE FINTECH ECOSYSTEM (TechSavvy), Rated: A

A new EU-directive is about to force banks to open up their data vaults and allow third parties to access their user data. Nordea has chosen to embrace the change with open eyes, and a fintech startup predicts tough competition embarking on the opportunities it brings along.

The release of bank data is bound to cause a stir in an otherwise traditional and established sector. One of the incumbents that have already made an imprint is the fintech startup Spiir.

American tech giants might end up owning the financial space. Rune Mai looks to China to catch a glimpse of what the financial future might hold. The retail giant Alibaba owns half the payment market here with an all-encompassing app that offers everything from dating, financing to shopping.

Nordea is more inspired than afraid of Amazon. The bank has more than 10 million customers in the Nordic region, and they have decided to face the coming change with open eyes. They are actively pursuing a first mover strategy and has allocated more than 100 people to ready themselves for the coming digital disruption.

International

Blockchain P2P Lending, Sending, and Spending: Etherecash Garners Support from Over 40,000 Contributors During Pre-ICO (Digital Journal), Rated: AAA

A little over three weeks are left in the Etherecash token sale and it’s been a fantastic run so far; the success they have seen comes after a big appearance at the World Blockchain Summit, Dubai, which was closely followed by a heated Pre-ICO.

The platform is the remedy to the overly-complex and lengthy process of getting a traditional bank account, and will provide access to finances through a cryptocurrency-backed P2P (Peer-to-Peer) fiat currency loan marketplace. P2P loans are backed by the borrower’s own crypto-wealth allowing them to borrow up to 80 percent of their wallet’s value.

On top of this, once the crypto debit card is available, users will be able to store multiple types of cryptocurrency on it, allowing them to shop anywhere and everywhere as they please, even abroad.

Based on the Ethereum standard token ERC20, purchasable with Bitcoin or Ethereum, the exciting ICO Launch began 15th November, 2017 – ending December 19th, 2017.

Australia

Treasurer of Australia Scott Morrison Visits Online Lender Prospa’s New Office in Darlinghurst (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Prospa, an online lender serving SMEs in Australia, had a visit from the Honorable Scott Morrison yesterday. The Treasurer of Australia help to open up Prospa’s new high tech Darlinghurst office, which apparently is quite large extending over two floors housing a team of 150.

Prospa expects to add another 50 hires over the next 12 months as it accommodates platform growth.

India

KrazyBee looks to expand in Tamil Nadu (The Times of India), Rated: A

Online lender KrazyBee says it is rapidly expanding its business in Tamil Nadu and its focus in the state will be on solving unique needs of the student community.

KrazyBee, which earlier operated in five cities (Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune, Vellore and Mysore), said that is expanding aggressively in over 11 cities, including Chennai. With more than four lakh registered student borrowers on its platform, KrazyBee says it currently processes over 3,000 loan applications and disburse around 1,700 loans per day.

Asia

Asian banks’ operating income could be hit by fintech disruption (Channel News Asia), Rated: A

Asian banks that do not take any action against the rise of financial technology (fintech) could see their operating income take a hit, said the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on Thursday (Nov 30) in its latest Financial Stability Review.

For lenders in Singapore that do nothing to stave off the disruption, that could mean a 5 per cent loss in operating income over the next five years, the central bank warned.

 

Mobile wallets taking hold in Asia (The Asset), Rated: A

WHILE the development of digital payments started with the launch of the first universal credit card in the 1950s, the space has rapidly evolved, and now the mantle is being passed to e-wallets, otherwise known as mobile wallets.

In 2014, credit and debit cards accounted for more than half of e-commerce payments in terms of transaction value. However, that share is predicted to drop to 49% in 2019 as mobile wallet options start to gain ground, according to a report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

Canada

Activists across Canada demand fair banking for low-income people (TheStar), Rated: AAA

At the Toronto rally held outside Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s constituency office, a 46-year-old man was holding the loan he got in August from a payday loan company and was trying to get pedestrians to look at it.

He took out a $5,500 loan to pay his rent in August, to be paid back at 60 per cent interest by 2020.

Don is a member of the grassroots activist group called Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), and one of thousands of people who, on Tuesday, rallied across Canada demanding fair banking.

Mobetize’ CEO to speak at first BC Tech Association FinTech Day (Globe Newswire), Rated: B

Mobetize Corp. (OTCQB:MPAY), a leading fintech service provider for payments, remittances and mobile banking solutions, today announced CEO Ajay Hans will be the keynote speaker at BC Tech’s Fintech Day event on December 5.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday November 22 2017, Daily News Digest

delinquent credit cards

News Comments Today’s main news: Ron Suber shares lessons learned from his first 120 days in ‘rewirement’. Paytm invests in CreditMate. Faruqi & Faruqi law firm investigates Qudian. China clamps down on microlending. Australian alternative lenders make Fintech 100. Today’s main analysis: Americans having trouble paying off credit cards. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Alt lenders accuse banks of not following […]

delinquent credit cards

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

Canada

News Summary

United States

LESSONS FROM THE FIRST 120 DAYS OF REWIREMENT (Ron Suber), Rated: AAA

The first 120 days were filled with new languages, cultures, histories, beliefs, and people. I visited four foreign lands that were completely new to me, and no, New York and Silicon Valley were not on the itinerary.

Here are some lessons I’ve gained from the journey.

  • LESSON 1: Being first, ahead of your time and unique doesn’t guarantee success and longevity.
  • LESSON 3: The USA credit card and payments industry has a long way to go to catch up. No one (and I mean no one) swipes a credit card nor inserts a chip credit card in a machine and then signs a paper receipt in Australia and Singapore.
  • LESSON 4: There is still a huge opportunity to disrupt the currency exchange market. Upon arriving in Australia, I went to change US dollars to AU currently and was faced with: “No, you are not a customer” or “Yes, no problem” followed by a bad conversion rate and a 12% fee!
  • LESSON 8: New and old global giants are awakening to the FinTech Golden Age and responding accordingly, albeit slowly. Singapore is now a major global financial center that has come a long way very fast, and generally not focused on the short term.

The big successes are coming to those thinking long term (Bezos/Musk), the balance of power is shifting globally and the best is yet to come!!

P.S. Two young new FinTech companies to watch: Finch and Friendly Transfer. (No, I am not invested…yet)

US law firm launches investigation into star Chinese payday loan lender Qudian (SCMP), Rated: AAA

Qudian, the Chinese online payday loan platform, could be facing a rash of class-action lawsuits in the US after its share price tumbled drastically this week on the New York Stock Exchange, triggering concerns over the integrity of the firm.

New York-based law firm Faruqi & Faruqi, is now encouraging investors in Qudian to get in contact with it, as it is now “investigating potential claims against Qudian”, it said in a statement. Qudian was unavailable for comment.

Shares in the leading provider of online small consumer credit in China tumbled 5.28 per cent on Monday to close at US$20 in New York, 16.7 per cent down from its IPO price of US$24, and more than 40 per cent down from a historic intraday high of $35 reached on its trading debut on October 18.

Source: South China Morning Post

Americans are having trouble paying off their credit cards — and it could spell trouble for the economy (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

US credit-card debt recently surged to record highs, surpassing peaks seen before the 2008 financial crisis. Several large US banks and credit-card companies reported a rise in credit-card delinquency rates for August, the second consecutive monthly rise.

Source: New York Fed
Source: New York Fed

Fed funds is just 1% to 1.25% after four increases starting in December 2015, and yet many Americans pay credit-card rates well into the double digits.

Banks aren’t following CFPB data-sharing guidance, fintechs say (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Some fintechs are accusing financial institutions of not following either the spirit or letter of the data-sharing principles the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released in October.

One of fintechs’ primary accusations is that banks are selectively choosing fintechs to work with — leaving the rest out in the cold. Though the CFPB data-sharing principles do not spell out that banks should work with everyone equally, the spirit of the document suggests financial institutions should work with all trusted third parties.

Capital One has signed agreements with five fintechs and data aggregators—Clarity Money, Intuit, Abacus, Xero and Expensify—since introducing its data-sharing application programming interface in February. It says more are in the pipeline.

Banks have too many conflicting requirements

Another issue cited by fintechs is that it’s tough dealing with each bank’s different set of standards and requirements.

“Some of those standards may be in conflict,” Petralia said. “It can take years to comply with a bank’s requirements and it probably eliminates access to newer startups, to smaller businesses that don’t have a lot of cash sitting on their balance sheet, to support that kind of long lead time for legal requirements.”

Early Stage Investing vs. Real Estate Investing: Similarities and Differences (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Both venture capital (VC) investing and real estate investing involve some level of risk assessment, they both have the potential for big returns, and investors have the opportunity to help someone else reach a desired goal. Despite this common ground, there are some distinct differences.
Private Equity Investing
To realize returns on this type of investment, investors must understand the different stages of the startup cycle, how to evaluate a business plan, understand how to assess talent, technology, and business processes to determine whether a startup has the potential to succeed, and know how to judge market forces that could have an impact on the startup company.
Real Estate Investing
Real estate investments can be structured in many ways to benefit investors who are looking for specific types of returns. For instance, house flipping (Fund That Flip and Peerstreet) or commercial or multifamily flips (Sharestates and Patch of Land) offer short-term gains while rental properties (Roofstock and HomeUnion) offer long-term passive income. Commercial real estate investing (CrowdStreet and RealtyShares) may involve property development or long-term leasing with spans of three, five, ten years or more. New REITs (FundRise eREITs and MogulREIT) offer investors a way to invest in multiple properties or types of real estate through a single vehicle. Real estate funds or portfolios (AlphaFlow) also allow investors to diversify their debt investments through a single vehicle.
How to Evaluate an Early Stage or a Real Estate Crowdfunding Opportunity
Due diligence in real estate investing is also important. Basic criteria for evaluation include:

  • The platform – Does it have a strong financial position and available capital? Is the underwriting done in-house or outsourced? What is the background and experience of management team? What is their plan for insolvency, recouping losses, and managing risk?
  • Fees – Every investment involves opportunity cost. Is there an ongoing management fee, or does the investor pay a percentage based on returns or total portfolio size?
  • Borrowers – How does the platform assess borrower track record and credit? 
  • The investment – What is the developer’s business plan? What are the expected cashflows, expenses and projected returns? What is the loan-to-value before repairs and after repairs? Are investors in a first-lien position or second? Where is the property located?

CFPB, CashCall Spar Over Possible $ 287M In Restitution (Law360), Rated: A

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau squared off against CashCall Inc. and its affiliates in California federal court on Monday about whether it would be appropriate to make the online lender pay as much as $287 million for deceiving consumers, with the CFPB calling the company’s loans “financial snake oil” and CashCall saying its business was legitimate.

JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs Trial DLT for Equity Swaps (Coindesk), Rated: A

A group of major financial firms including JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs has trialed the exchange of equity swaps over a distributed ledger (DLT) system.

By carrying out trades across a network where all parties use the same valuation data and share the same books, in theory, payments can be processed nearly instantaneously and disputes over transactions will be less likely.

Small Business Saturday: Why Banks And Businesses Need To Start Playing Offense (Forbes), Rated: A

Similarly, while I do believe the banking industry has made strides in embracing technology over the past few years, the reality is that far too many bankers are still “playing defense” when it comes to fully integrating technology into every aspect of their business.

Finastra Universe introduces Sophia the humanoid robot (Finastra Email), Rated: B

I wanted to invite you attend Finastra Universe in New York on Tuesday, December 5thFinastra Universe is a one-day global executive event series focusing on fintech and the future of financial services.

The event will include panel and Q&A sessions, where Finastra experts and guest speakers will explore how financial firms can leverage new, more dynamic technologies within lending and other areas to improve internal efficiencies, deliver connected customer experiences and enhance business outcomes.

I’ve included a link to the full agenda Where: Marriott Marquis Times Square, 1535 Broadway, New York

When: Tuesday, December 5th, 2017
 
Click 

Financial tech is a big business. What Charlotte’s doing to become a larger player. (Charlotte Observer), Rated: B

More than 125 people attended the inaugural Southeast Fintech Venture Conference on Monday to hear presentations from investors, fintech success stories such as small-business lender Kabbage and new firms just getting off the ground, including some from Charlotte. Sponsors included investment firm Frontier Capital and asset manager Barings, which hosted the event at its new Tryon Street headquarters.

According to the National Venture Capital Association, Charlotte-area companies brought in about $393 million in venture capital investments in 2017, led by a $300 million round for payments company AvidXchange.

United Kingdom

Consumer credit – walking the regulatory tightrope (Lexology), Rated: AAA

Subprime and near prime lending have been subject to intense regulatory scrutiny during the aftermath of the financial crisis. The global economic crisis that took hold in 2007 has largely been attributed to the widespread practice of irresponsible lending to consumers, often with no means of repayment. In 2013, StepChange Debt Charity reported that the average payday loan debt of its clients was £1,657, whereas the same clients’ average net monthly income was a much lower £1,379.

Following the transition in regulatory regimes from the OFT to the FCA, a series of tougher measures have been introduced to move staunchly away from the lending practices which allowed firms such as payday lender Wonga to maintain a representative APR of 5,853% in 2013. The FCA has made it clear that it regards non-standard finance as a “high risk” activity and as such dedicates special resources to intensively monitoring businesses in this sector.

Almost half of SMEs have never checked their credit score (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: A

Nearly half of SMEs (44%) have never checked their credit score, according to the latest research from RateSetter’s business finance division.

RateSetter’s research also found that a further 6% of businesses had not checked their credit score within the last 12 months and only 18% had viewed their score within the last six months.

Never mind the Brexit: Alternative finance offers a route to prosperity (Startups.co.uk), Rated: A

It is a little over a decade since Northern Rock became the first UK bank in 150 years to fail because of a run on its deposits. For a brief moment it looked as if the entire global financial system might collapse overnight, with only government intervention and billions in bail-outs preventing a worst-case scenario.

According to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the number of small businesses that were successful in their attempt to get a loan fell from 90% in 2007, to 65% in 2011.

According to our latest research, just 43% of small business owners see trading conditions improving in the coming year. Meanwhile 52% of start-up business owners say they do not think banks will continue to lend at the same levels in 2018.

More than half of the 1,000 small business owners we surveyed say they are planning to grow or expand their business in 2018.

These alternatives to traditional forms of lending are proving particularly popular among the 96% of UK businesses that employ fewer than 10 people.  According to our research, 40% of start-ups and younger business owners say the growth of alternative finance options has made them less reliant on banks for funding.

Investment Committee: Arnaud Gandon, Heptagon Capital (Citywire), Rated: A

One area of credit we find attractive, however, is lending to small businesses in the UK and Europe. The opportunity set for companies such as Funding Circle is growing fast, due to the retreat of traditional banks in providing loans for smaller companies. During the last quarter, Funding Circle outstripped the major high street banks for net new loans. We see the company essentially as a technology platform enabling the efficient issue of small loans to thousands of companies. It has a solid management team and is looking to expand its successful business model to other geographies.

Here’s what the UK’s fintech community is most concerned about over Brexit (Verdict), Rated: A

Fintech is now worth over £7bn to the UK economy every year and employs around 60,000 people, according to the Treasury office.

Marta Piekarska, director of ecosystems at Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger project, said she believes Brexit will impact fintech in the UK because it will make things harder for collaboration.

“About half of our developer workforce today are non-UK European nationals. Already it is hard to find great developer talent in the UK.  Obviously, if freedom of movement isn’t as easy and non-UK EU nationals feel that it’s not really a nice environment to come to the UK to work, then we will have a problem.”

Open Banking: How can customer centricity drive innovation? (City A.M.), Rated: A

The Payments Services Directive (PSD2) is a major piece of UK/EU legislation that will ensure that all payment service providers (PSPs) that operate in the single market are subject to rigorous supervision and adhere to the appropriate transformative rules to create a fair, open-banking framework.

In practical terms, a customer will be able sign up for a loan, credit card or a mortgage by using a log-in that looks and feels a little bit like Facebook Connect and authorises the provider to see all of the customer’s financial transactions from the previous 36 months. The main gatekeepers and one of the leading innovators in this space are London-based FinTech company TrueLayer. As the go-between between a customer, their bank and the product or service provider, they ensure real-time, secure connectivity of the customer’s data.

Blockchain Based Building Platform BitRent Announces Token Sale (The Merkle), Rated: B

BitRent has given itself a mission: to make real estate investing easy, transparent and profitable all over the world. The platform uses a combination of techniques that will allow its users to control construction processes. These techniques include BIM open modeling and computer aided monitoring using RFID chips, to make investing in commercial and residential shared-equity construction more transparent and predictable. On the platform, investors can invest in real estate, without a minimum entry threshold. The online mode allows them to control construction processes and receive dividends when the construction has been completed. Moreover, users can receive data on free area or items of commercial property.

The BIM (Building Information Modeling) technology that the platform uses, allows all users of the platform to monitor a project at any stage.

The platform will release its RNT tokens, based on Ethereum. The token sale will start on the 1st of December 2017, 11:00 UTC and will last till March 1, 2018.

China

China clamps down on online micro lending; U.S.-listed shares plunge (Reuters), Rated: AAA

China took steps to rein in the rapidly growing and lightly regulated market for online micro-lenders in the government’s latest crackdown on internet finance, sending shares of U.S.-listed Chinese financial firms into a tailspin.

A top-level Chinese government body issued an urgent notice on Tuesday to provincial governments urging them to suspend regulatory approval for the setting up of new internet micro-lenders, sources who had seen the notice told Reuters.

The multi-department body, tasked by the central government to rein in risks in the internet finance sector, also told local regulators to restrict granting of new approvals for micro-loan firms to conduct lending across regions, according to the sources.

Shares Of Chinese Online Credit Providers Crash Over Crackdown Fears (NASDAQ), Rated: A

Shares of Qudian ( QD ), Yirendai ( YRD ) and other China-based providers of online credit plunged Tuesday on reports that China’s Internet Financial Risk Management Group had ordered a suspension of online small-loan approvals, but some stemmed their losses by session’s end and others even gained ground.

In addition to Qudian and Yirendai, also falling were China Rapid Finance ( XRF ) and PPDAI Group ( PPDF ).

U.S.-listed Chinese financial firms dive on regulatory action (Reuters), Rated: A

Shares in online lender Qudian (QD.N), whose shares only debuted last month, sank by as much as 20 percent in early trading.

Shares of China Commercial Credit Inc (CCCR.O) fell 6.4 percent, those in PPDAI Group (PPDF.N) some 17.8 percent. Jianpu Technology (JT.N), which also debuted just this month, fell 9.5 percent and China Rapid Finance (XRF.N) slipped 12.92 percent.

From Drone Hackers to Cyber Bodyguards, China Cyber Security a Growing Concern (China Money Network), Rated: A

Q: What major trends are you seeing in China’s cybersecurity market?

A: I think the major trend in China is similar to what is happening in the rest of Asia. The frequency and extent of cyber-attacks are increasing rapidly.

Q: What Chinese business sectors are most vulnerable, or need to do more to protect themselves?

A: Tech companies with lots of portals to its websites, especially like peer-to-peer lending, or any tech companies with valuable intellectual property are prime targets of cyber attacks.

Q: What should Chinese tech companies be doing to defend themselves, or at least reduce the damage done by cyber attacks?

A: Firstly, employee education is important. Over 90% of hacking is conducted through phishing and spear phishing. We have worked with a Chinese company with 20,000 employees, and we sent 20,000 emails to them with a link offering a chance to win iPhone. 30% of the staff clicked on the link, which actually is a quite regular percentage. In a real-life scenario, if 30% of your 9000 staff were to click, that’s 3000 cases of malware potentially downloaded into your systems. But after phishing training, finishing the exercises, the number was reduced to 5%.

Q: There are reports saying cyber security experts “cyber bodyguards” is one of the hottest jobs in China. What particular specialty expertise faces the greatest shortage?

The “cyber bodyguards” are in a booming industry, particular for providing preventative measures. Firstly, there are the penetration testers; also known as ethical hackers or white hat hackers. They replicate what a real hacker would do; not stealing any data or doing anything bad, but will scan systems for any gaps and weaknesses in the company’s defenses that may be exploitable during a cyber attack. They will then advise on remediation measures.

European Union

EBA weighs up risk and rewards of Fintech in new Discussion Paper (FinanceJobs.ie), Rated: AAA

The European Banking Authority takes a cautious and carefully balanced view in its deliberations on how it should approach FinTech in its latest Discussion Paper. In reviewing the FinTech landscape in Europe the EBA raises many more questions than it answers, concluding that it should undertake much more detailed follow-up work in a number of areas. But it does raising warning flags about possible unevenness in the playing fields offered by different jurisdictions, in the area of sandboxing and innovation hubs, for example.
Overall, the The European Banking Authority says, FinTech may increase competitiveness in the Single Market by lowering barriers to entry for newcomers while preserving fair competition and incentives to innovate.

The EBA says a significant increase in overall operational risk has been witnessed in the last few years, including higher conduct risk, increased cybersecurity issues and digital fraud issues, and increased outsourcing risk. ‘At the same time new or previously immaterial risks, such as the risk of mismanagement of personal data / lack of data privacy, seem to be amplified by the lack of expertise of human resources and the inadequacy of technology infrastructures.’

It points out that alternative lending platforms such as peer-to-peer lending can put pressure on the interest income from loans of existing credit institutions while new entrants offering commoditised products and services at lower costs, such as money transfers and brokerage, can reduce the fees and commission income of established players.

DreamQuark beefs up financial services through artificial intelligence (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Meet DreamQuark, a French startup that wants to help banks, insurance companies and asset management firms with all of their artificial intelligence needs. DreamQuark crunches your data, creates models based on machine learning and lets you apply those models on all past and future data points.

International

Robeco launches fintech investment fund (Finextra), Rated: A

Robeco has launched a Global Fintech Equities fund to give wholesale and retail investors exposure to companies that are transforming the financial sector.

The actively managed fund will invest in three distinct segments, labelled ‘today’s winners’, ‘fintech enablers’ and ‘challengers’. Today’s winners include companies that already have a competitive advantage in this space, fintech enablers provide the digital backbone for emerging companies, and challengers are the companies that have the breakout potential to stand out from the pack.

Following a successful pre-ICO, Etherecash has announced a public ICO that launched November 15th and will end December 19th. Focusing on the 2.5 billion unbanked, Etherecash looks to excel in both spending and sending, as well as providing a peer-to-peer lending platform, to enable those with little or no credit history the ability to access funds.

The ICO sale will auction off 144,000,000 tokens, which will help support ongoing development of the platform and can be purchased with Bitcoin or Ethereum. A bonus of 12% is available for participants in the first week, which goes to 3% in week four, and finally to 0% in week five.

The ICO has a soft cap of $15 million, which if not reached, will conclude the ICO as a failure with funds returned to the respective investors. The hard cap is set at $100 million. 40% of funds will be used for further core development; 25% in growth and marketing; 20% for legal, accounting, and advisory feeds; and the remaining 15% for admin and operational costs.

57% of internal frauds are carried out by senior and middle management, according to the whitepaper.

Australia/New Zealand

Aussie lenders make Fintech 100 list (TheAdviser), Rated: AAA

Ten Australian companies have been listed in KPMG’s Fintech 100 list, which identifies the top 50 fintech firms and an “emerging 50” list of companies “seeking to boldly push the envelope in financial services”.

Online SME lender Prospa was the highest ranked Australian company at number 24. It also placed second on the Australian Financial Review’s Fast 100 list after averaging a 239 per cent revenue growth since 2013–14 and holding $50 million in equity and debt funding in 2017.

US-based lender OnDeck, which broke into the Australian market in 2015, placed 28th in the ranking, up two places from last year’s report, while German fintech Spotcap (which also has operations in Australia) came in at number 32.

How I’m Saving a Week (or ,500 This Year) on My Home Loan (Mozo), Rated: A

Fast forward to three months ago, when I suddenly realised my rate of 4.27% was more than 60 basis points higher than the best on the market. I had become a victim of that time honoured tradition of banks fattening profit margins and it was time to do something about it.

I knew there were now stacks of lenders offering rates below 4.00%, and after comparing the best loans decided to go with an online lender to take advantage of their super low variable rate of 3.64%.

India

Paytm invests in online lending startup CreditMate (VC Circle), Rated: AAA

One97 Communication Ltd, which runs mobile wallet firm Paytm, said on Tuesday it has picked up a stake in Mumbai-based fintech startup CreditMate.

CreditMate helps two-wheeler dealers and financiers assess and approve vehicle loans to customers with no formal credit history, Paytm said in a statement.

8 ‘blockhain hacks’ which NITI Aayog, AWS, Microsoft, Accel, Coinbase believe are beneficial for society (YourStory), Rated: AAA

Anshul said that there is a lot of hype and misconceptions related to blockchain. He explained that outside of a small group of crypto-savvy investors and developers, blockchain is often synonymous with cryptocurrency, and erroneously so. Their goal with this hackathon was to give developers (with or without past blockchain experience) a chance to envision how the same distributed ledger technology that powers Bitcoin might be able to improve transparency, efficiency, and honesty in enterprise and government processes, particularly in regions of the world suffering from high corruption.

Anshul added that another objective of the event was to explore use cases for concepts like IndiaChain — a blockchain infrastructure for a Digital India, building on existing initiatives like Aadhar, the world’s largest biometric identity project with unique 12-digit IDs for 1.2 billion Indian residents.

Gif credit- Proffer

Here are eight hack projects recognised by the partners.

  • 1. SWASHchain: a battery SWApping and SHaring infrastructure verified on the blockchain
  • 2. AgroChain: tracking farm products from farmer to consumer
  • 3. chAIn: decentralised AI with Homomorphic Encryption to guarantee data privacy
  • 4. Betoken: decentralised Hedge Fund for social impact investing
  • 5. Open Complaint Network: crowdsourcing issues and rewards
  • 6. 0xSHG: zero-interest loans for rural microfinance – Hence the team believes that blockchains are a unique solution which address both issues by organising not just financial capital but also social capital. The team has created an Aadhar-linked capital-pooling network.

  • 7. SureFly: last-minute crowdfunded insurance for flight delays – Insurance premium is calculated as a function of the probability that a passenger will miss a flight which is in turn a function of flight time, insurance seeker’s distance from the airport, traffic on the roads, length of airport lines, etc.
  • 8. MyH2OBot for “Habit Economics”

Sharing economy: creating opportunities in the digital era (livemint), Rated: A

The rise of the sharing economy is commonly attributed to culture or ideology. It’s assumed that millennials don’t want to be trapped by houses, cars and other expensive belongings, for example, or that they believe sharing is good for the environment.

Research conducted by the BCG Henderson Institute (BHI) indicates that economics, not attitude, is driving the sharing economy.

Among respondents who use sharing services, 40% of Germans, 57% of Americans and 67% of Indians said that well-priced, convenient offers could convince them to abandon ownership altogether.

Aside from physical assets, investors have also poured $5.7 billion into peer-to-peer lending ventures.

Start-ups by no means have a lock on the sharing market, however. In fact, 55% of consumers in India said they would prefer dealing with established operators—the highest among the countries surveyed.

Asia

Banyuwangi Regent Anas Connects MSME with Fintech Startups (Netral News), Rate: A

Banyuwangi Regional Government will again partner with digital platform startups to develop the region.

After with Gojek ride-hailing service provider, there are several more similar companies that will be embraced. One of them is the startup of financial technology (fintech), especially for financing facilities to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME).

Canada

CANADIAN PAYMENTS INNOVATION FORUM SAYS COLLABORATION CONTINUES TO DRIVE FINTECH INNOVATION (Betakit), Rated: A

At the third annual Canadian Payments Innovation Forum in Toronto, over 100 payments and banking executives gathered to examine how FinTech is transforming the Canadian financial services industry, and what providers can do to prepare.

After launching with Samsung Pay earlier this year, Gamble indicated that ‘cash alternatives’ would continue to be a focus and something to watch in the market. Due to Interac’s smaller size (the company has about 250 employees), Gamble said they just don’t have the “bandwidth” to do everything themselves, so turning to partnerships is key.

“We strive to deliver alternatives to cash, and as a community, we’ve done an amazing job of delivering contactless capabilities at POS. Canadians moved more than $90 billion in etransfers this year, so our little country is significantly leading the space in P2P transfers.”

AI is already moving forward quickly in financial advice and management, and the use of financial technology, or fintech, seems to be growing among older Canadians.

“Our average client is 47 years old and our second largest demographic group is baby boomers,” says Randy Cass, CEO and founder of Nest Wealth, a Canadian financial robo-advisor that was founded in 2013.

“For retirement planning, the AI isn’t necessarily cutting the financial advisor out of the process. What we’re likely to see is AI helping the financial advisor to get faster and more comprehensive data analysis and provide more seamless client support,” Mr. Narvey says.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor