Friday May 4 2018, Daily News Digest

Square Q1 2018 results

News Comments Today’s main news: Law firm files class action against Lending Club. KBRA assigns preliminary ratings to Marlette Funding Trust 2018-2. Funding Circle’s securitization priced at tighter spread than expected. Klarna intros new consumer app. Today’s main analysis: Square’s Q1 2018 results. Today’s thought-provoking articles: More light shed on Lending Club’s hidden fees. Fintech funding at $127B. Financial inclusion […]

Square Q1 2018 results

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

International

Other

News Summary

United States

New Securities Fraud Class Action Against Lending Club (LC) Has Been Filed (Markets Insider) Rated: AAA

Block & Leviton LLP (www.blockesq.com), a securities litigation firm representing investors nationwide, announces that a new class action lawsuit has been filed against Lending Club Corp. (“Lending Club” or the “Company”) (NYSE: LC) and certain of its officers and directors alleging violations of the federal and securities laws. Class members interested in serving as lead plaintiff are reminded of the July 2, 2018 lead plaintiff deadline.

The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California (No. 3:18-cv-02599), alleges that throughout the Class Period, defendants made false and/or misleading statements when they stated that Lending Club customers would receive a loan with “no hidden fees.” On April 25, 2018, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) filed a complaint alleging that Lending Club knowingly charged consumers hidden fees, contrary to their public disclosures.

The FTC Shines the Light on Hidden Fees and Hidden Disclosures: A Cautionary Tale for Advertisers (the National Law Review) Rated: AAA

Lending Club was fully aware that thousands of consumers applied for loans with no knowledge of the obscure origination fee. In fact, Lending Club received “[a]t least tens of thousands”12 of complaints directly from consumers about the hidden fees.  Indeed, Lending Club’s own training materials for customer service representatives listed “I didn’t receive the full loan amount” as one of the two most common complaints that representatives were trained to address.13 Consumers “frequently complained that they only discovered the fee after [Lending Club] disbursed their loan proceeds, when they noticed that the amounts disbursed were smaller than they were expecting.”14 Once consumers became aware of the fee, many elected to cancel their loans, often “preferring a loan from a competitor or no loan at all.”15

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to Marlette Funding Trust 2018-2 (Business Wire) Rated: AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to three classes of notes issued by Marlette Funding Trust 2018-2 (MFT 2018-2). This is a $310.1 million consumer loan ABS transaction.

Preliminary Ratings Assigned: Marlette Funding Trust 2018-2

Class Preliminary Rating Class Principal
A AA (sf) $216,125,000
B A (sf) $45,592,000
C BBB- (sf) $48,375,000

Square Announces First Quarter 2018 Results (SquareUp) Rated: AAA

Square, Inc. (NYSE: SQ) has posted its financial results for the first quarter of 2018 on the Financial Information section of its Investor Relations website at square.com/investors.

From the shareholder letter:

We continue to accelerate growth at scale, expanding our ecosystem for sellers and individuals. In the first quarter of 2018, total net revenue was $669 million, up 45% year over year, and Adjusted Revenue was $307 million, up 51% year over year. This is an increase from the fourth quarter of 2017, when total net revenue and Adjusted Revenue grew 36% and 47%, respectively, year over year. Gross Payment Volume (GPV) was $17.8 billion, up 31% year over year. Net loss in the first quarter was $24 million, which is an increase of $9 million from a net loss of $15 million in the first quarter of 2017. Adjusted EBITDA was $36 million in the first quarter of 2018, compared to $27 million in the first quarter of 2017. We achieved an Adjusted EBITDA margin of 12%, which reflects our reinvestment in the business to drive long-term growth.

Source: SquareUp.com

Read the full shareholder letter here.

Goldman CEO pledges caution in consumer lending (Financial Times) Rated: A

Goldman’s Marcus has scaled extraordinarily fast having provided $2.4 billion in consumer loans; some analysts have expressed concerns on the credit quality of the loans Marcus has been making; Blankfein on Wednesday noted that a poor credit environment could bring new risks but he isn’t concerned with their timing into the market; the bank has a long-term view on their consumer focused business and believes they can manage it through the ups and downs.

Trusted Key Solutions Raises $ 3M in Seed Funding (Lend Academy) Rated: A

Trusted Key Solutions Inc., a Seattle, WA-based blockchain-based secure digital identity company, raised $3m as part of a seed funding round.

The round was led by Founders Co-Op, with participation from Pithia, Inc., the venture capital company of The RChain Cooperative.

 

Private Lenders Eye Graduate Loan Market (Inside Higher Ed) Rated: A

Private lenders hold just a fraction of the outstanding student loan debt in the U.S. — about 7.7 percent as of last year. But those companies have plans to grow their student loan holdings.

The PROSPER Act, House Republicans’ opening bid to update the Higher Education Act, would raise undergraduate lending limits and add new annual limits for graduate student borrowing. Those students would have their total annual borrowing capped at $28,500 annually. Currently, graduate students can borrow up to the cost of attendance.

Graduate loans also offer a higher loan volume for private lenders. As Quinlan noted to investors, grad students make up 16 percent of the borrower market but hold 40 percent of student loan debt. So the average borrower holds more debt, they’re older, and they’re better educated, too, making it more likely that they will pay off their loan.

Promise Financial No Longer Offers Personal Loans (Student Loan Hero) Rated: A

The recent end of Promise Financial personal loans leaves brides- and grooms-to-be with one less borrowing option. The company, which focused solely on financing weddings through unsecured personal loans, stopped funding new loans in January 2017, reported Bloomberg.

Group aims to form first new bank in Mass. in decade (American Banker) Rated: A

A group in Springfield, Mass., has applied to form a new bank. The group hopes to raise $25 million to $30 million in initial capital. If it opens, Green Apple would become the first new bank in Massachusetts since 2008, according to the state’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation.

The application notes that Green Apple, which aims to open by the end of this year, would focus on small-business banking, commercial real estate lending, personal banking, renewable energy, local agriculture businesses and the food security sector.

Confessions of a former trader: Incentives at banks are misaligned (Tear Sheet) Rated: A

Banks like to call themselves technology companies. And most large ones are currently focused on fighting — and winning — the war for talent against Silicon Valley.

The problem is, they have issues when it comes to incentivizing their many tech employees to create great products.

Big tech firms have a plan…do you? (CU Insights) Rated: A

Credit unions aren’t paving the way.  Nor are they pioneering the ability to serve the underbanked.  Seriously.  Many are doing great things, that’s for sure, yet the fundamental change is originating from tech firms.  And they’re not doing it alone (more on that later).

4 Facts You Need to Know About Personal Loan APRs (Student Loan Hero) Rated: A

Although CreditCards.com lists the national average APR on a credit card at 16.38% as of January 2018, the rates on three-year unsecured loans are only 9.22% for credit unions and 10.09% for banks as of March 2018, according to the National Credit Union Association.

An online lender might provide an even lower personal loan APR, with FreedomPlus offering rates starting at 4.99% and SoFi at 5.37%.

Virginia sues, accusing major online lender of violating consumer protection laws (Daily Press) Rated: A

Virginia alleges one of the nation’s largest online lenders made more than $47 million of illegal, high-interest-rate loans that put Virginians on the hook for tens of millions of dollars in interest and fees.

The state is suing Net Credit, which sells personal loans for up to $10,000 and charges interest rates of as much as 155 percent, for violating the state’s consumer protection laws.

The lawsuit also alleges that Net Credit has lied to Virginians about the legality of its loan terms and that it has continued to automatically debit money from customers’ bank accounts after they’ve filed bankruptcy and won a court-ordered freeze on debt collections.

Online Lending Policy Institute (OLPI) And Benzinga Partner For The 2018 BZ Awards Gala in NYC (Benzinga) Rated: B

The Online Lending Policy Institute (OLPI) today announced that it will partner with Detroit-based financial media outlet Benzinga for the Benzinga Global Fintech Awards Gala (BZ Awards) in NYC on May 15, 2018.

United Kingdom

 

European Investment Fund and KfW back Funding Circle securitisation (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

FUNDING Circle’s latest securitisation has been priced at a tighter spread than its first with backers including the European Investment Fund (EIF) and German development bank KfW.

The £207m portfolio is issued by investment trust P2P Global Investments and has been priced at 75 basis points, compared with 220 basis points on the tranches issued in 2016.

NatWest outlines plans to grow digital lending offshoot Esme (Finextra) Rated: A

NatWest has outlined plans to scale and grow its digital lending platform Esme Loans following a successful pilot phase.

Esme Loans was developed by the bank at its innovation unit with fintech firm Ezbob as a direct response to the emergence of specialist direct and P2P lending platforms.

Overfunding: Real Estate Source Platform Infabode Secures £750,000 Funding Target on Seedrs (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Real estate source platform, Infabode, has successfully secured its initial £750,000 funding target on equity crowdfunding platform Seedrs from more than 150 investors. Founded in 2013, Infabode reported that it connects its community of users with industry information from the real estate sector on one customizable online platform. Infabode’s platform has more than 450 content providers and over 17,000 members.

Financial inclusion in the rich world (The Economist) Rated: AAA

The council identifies only 36% of the population as “white British”. Dalston Junction, a now-trendy part of the borough, buzzes with a down-at-heel sort of cosmopolitanism: a Caribbean bakery; the Halal Dixy Chicken shop; the Afro World wig-and-extensions parlour; dozens of outlets for Lycamobile (“call the world for less”) and for money-transfer firms.

Competing with this last group is a branch of Oakam, a British lender set up in 2006. It advertises itself as an “alternative to doorstep lenders”, the traditional financiers for those beneath the bar set by mainstream banks. Originally aimed at recent immigrants, it extended its reach to the rest of those “lacking access to basic financial services”—a group it puts at 12m across Britain. A report published in March 2017 by a House of Lords committee estimated that 1.7m adult British residents have no bank account; 40% of the working-age population have less than £100 ($140) in cash savings; and 31% show signs of financial distress.

Profits jump 86% at City broker Numis on M&A advice boom (Financial Times) Rated: A

Revenues jumped 41 per cent in the six months ending in March to £74.1m compared with £52.4m over the same period of the prior year. Pre-tax profits rose 86 per cent to £19.5m.

Corporate broking and advisory revenues were up 76 per cent year on year to £50.9m, boosted in part by a growth in fees from M&A advisory work, a growing sector for some City brokers. However this compared with a weak comparative period, and fell 10 per cent below a record performance in the second half of last year.

Majority of savers misunderstand benefits of IFISAs (Global Banking and Finance) Rated: A

61% of UK savers acknowledge possibility of higher returns and better interest rates with IFISAs, but majority still don’t understand the service 

Over a third (36%) of UK savers would place their money in an IFISA if they had the money available.

While a large proportion acknowledge the prospect of higher returns (61%) alongside the allure of the tax-free wrapper and greater diversification, the IFISA is still a hard sell, according to research undertaken by P2P lending service ArchOver. In truth, the majority of UK savers (57%) still don’t fully understand the service.

 

European Union

Klarna escalates its war on banks with a new consumer app – and upcoming payment card (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

  • The $2,5 billion e-invoicing company is today launching its first pure consumer app, which gives users an overview of their Klarna transactions in addition to a host of other features.
  • It’s essentially a remake of Klarna’s existing app and serves as a meeting place between merchants and their end customers.
  • The app is first rolled out across the Nordics and continental Europe, with UK and US launches planned for later this year.

Zopa’s Giles Andrews named Kreditech advisory board chairman (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

ZOPA co-founder Giles Andrews OBE has been named as chairman of German alternative consumer lender Kreditech’s advisory board.

The fintech firm provides loans and credit cards for the under-banked and those with poor or little credit history and operates in Mexico, Spain, Czech Republic, Poland and Russia.

International

Fintech funding hits $ 127bn (AltFiNews) Rated: AAA

More than $127bn has been invested in fintech companies globally since 2014, with funding topping $40bn last year, according to data gathered by Fintech Global.

Last year this number declined to just over 1800 but with an increased in the average deal size to $22.4m in 2017.

Source: AltFiNews; Fintech Global

 

RCN launches Ripio engine to bring blockchain and smart contracts to loans (Venture Beat) Rated: A

Ripio Credit Network (RCN) — a global credit network based on cosigned smart contracts — has released an entirely new version of its NanoLoanEngine, the driving mechanism behind its protocol. The upgrade, which is called Basalt, includes significant improvements that will offer lenders and borrowers more flexibility. The company also claims that the new engine lowers costs.

Basalt changes how interest is applied to the network’s loans and eliminates nearly all maintenance fees associated with those transactions.

 

HOLD Platform plans on surpassing SALT as a “Crypto as a Collateral for a Cash Advance” (Tech Newsletter) Rated: A

What HOLD (HOLD) allows you to do is simple, if you don’t want to sell your crypto or you want to “HODL” but at the same time you need cash, then HOLD is the platform for you. By creating an escrow that will lock up your funds as a collateral, HOLD will then send you a credit card of that amount in fiat, which means that you can have liquidity without selling your crypto assets.

How HOLD (HOLD) can have major advantages over SALT

What you might be thinking is that SALT already provides these types of services but the major advantage of HOLD platform is the almost instant credit card that will be issued for you to use in any store making adoption of crypto as payment a closer reality. This is a very important middle step towards businesses accepting crypto as payment.

Hellas Direct and Revolut Join Forces (Coverager) Rated: B

Athens-based digital-first insurer Hellas Direct  has teamed up with banking alternative Revolut  to build “microinsurance, by-the-day products.”

Also, according to the press release, “the partnership will allow Revolut and Hellas Direct to push their offering into new markets and enable them to leapfrog some of the traditional barriers of growth and expansion by using the core competencies of each partner.

Profile Software ports core banking platform to the cloud (Finextra) Rated: B

Profile Software, an international, award-winning banking solutions provider, announced today that FMS.next, its leading Core Digital Banking platform, is now available in the cloud.

 

Australia

Major Bank Loses 12 Million Customers’ Data in the Most Embarrassing Way Possible (Gizmodo) Rated: A

BuzzFeed reports that the Commonwealth Bank lost 12 million customers’ data after magnetic tape backups containing their personal financial history from 2004 to 2014 went missing. It just lost them. They may have literally fallen off a truck. And the bank didn’t even bother telling its customers about the incident.

While said losing-of-data was only publicly revealed this week, it took place back in 2016, when the Commonwealth Bank hired a subcontractor to destroy the backup tapes while decommissioning a data center. After it didn’t get a receipt of the tapes’ destruction, the bank investigated and discovered that the tapes were nowhere to be found.

Cryptocurrency for the rest of us (PHYS.ORG) Rated: B

Enter Bamboo, a West Australian startup whose mission is to make a cryptocurrency investment platform for the rest of us.

Bamboo brings together two new ideas. One complicated (cryptocurrency) and one a bit more simple (microinvesting). As platform Raiz (previously Acorns Australia) describes on their site, microinvesting works by transferring “spare change automatically from everyday purchases into a diversified portfolio”. For example, if you were to buy a coffee for $4.80, Raiz would round the sale up to $5.00 and then invest the $0.20 for you.

India

OYE! Loans Receives $ 2.25 Mn in Funding from UK’s GAIN Credit (Indian Web 2) Rated: AAA

Noida-based OYE Fintech, which operates a consumer-focused lending platform called OYE! Loans, has raised $2.25 million (about ₹15 crore) from GAIN Credit, Inc. OYE! Loans currently serves new-to-credit and new-to-workforce consumers with simple, timely and affordable One Year EMI loans (hence the brand OYE!), with ticket-sizes ranging between 10K and 1L INR.

The company leverages alternative data to assess risk on customers who have thin or non-existent footprints on the credit bureau. The loan application to disbursal process is largely online, enabling for quick turn-around times of less than 2 business days – an attribute that has strengthened its growing reputation as a lender-of-choice within its target markets.

Bigger Gains (Business Today) Rated: A

Interest rates on bank deposits are at a decade low, and those on small savings schemes are close to a 40-year low. This has forced people to look for alternatives, one of which is peer-to-peer, or P2P, lending.

 

 

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday March 6 2018, Daily News Digest

credit card charge offs

News Comments Today’s main news: Is Amazon about to partner with JP Morgan Chase? Elevate saves customers $3B over payday loan alternatives. LendInvest hosts a roadshow. Folk2Folk lenders provide 200M GBP to UK rural businesses. China issues first personal credit rating license. Today’s main analysis: Credit card losses surge at small banks. Today’s thought-provoking articles: FT Partners’ CEO monthly […]

credit card charge offs

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

News Summary

United States

Amazon wants to make it easier to shop its website without a credit card (CNBC), Rated: AAA

Amazon is in early talks with financial institutions including J.P. Morgan Chase to help launch checking account-like products, aimed at younger customers and those without bank accounts, The Wall Street Journalreported Monday.

More than a quarter of U.S. households have no or limited access to checking and savings accounts. Unbanked doesn’t necessarily mean unconnected, about 6 in 10 unbanked consumers have a smartphone, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts.

New prime subscriptions flattened in the third quarter of 2017, according to analysts at Morgan Stanley. Another survey by Piper Jaffray in June said that 82 percent of U.S. households with more than $112,000 in annual income are already Prime members. Its reach is the lowest among those that make less than $41,000 a year.

In November, it announced that shoppers at 7-Eleven stores nationwide could deposit as little as $15 and as much as $500 into an Amazon account through its “Amazon cash” program. Shoppers can then use that cash to shop on Amazon. Nearly one-half of the U.S. population lives within one mile of a 7-Eleven store.

Will Amazon Pitch Financial Advice To Millennials? (Financial Advisor), Rated: A

If Amazon is successful in creating a banking relationship with its vast customer base of millennials, can an investment advice platform be far behind?

Stich predicts that Amazon, a company with a $700 billion market cap, will offer three levels of investment accounts to millennials and interested customers: It could offer do-it-yourself accounts and robo-advisory accounts; and for those who want a personal advisor, Amazon could create and refer customers to a state-by-state network of select investment professionals.

Consumers interested in idea of Amazon-created cryptocurrency, survey reveals (The Block), Rated: A

More than half of consumers would be open to using an Amazon-created cryptocurrency, with Amazon Prime users even keener, according to poll findings from student loan marketplace LendEDU.

The study, which polled 1,000 consumers who had purchased a product from Amazon in the past 30 days, found 51.7% would be interested in an ‘Amazon Coin’, with the number increasing to 58.27% for Prime members, and only one in five (21.9%) saying no.

Only 17% of those polled said they would trust Amazon more than a traditional bank, compared with 23% who disagreed and 38% who said levels of trust would be about the same. Nine in 10 respondents however said that overall, they trusted Amazon to have their best interests in mind, with 52.49% answering ‘yes, very much so’ and 37.56% opting for ‘somewhat.’

Elevate Milestone: Customers Have Saved More Than $ 3 Billion Over PayDay Loan Alternatives (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Elevate Credit, Inc. (Elevate), a tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, announced on Monday its customers have saved more than $3 billion to date, versus what they would have paid for payday loans. $1.3 billion was saved in 2017 alone.

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

This month’s report features an exclusive interview with Keith Smith, Co-founder and CEO of Payability, a platform that provides friction-free financing to sellers operating on digital marketplaces. In our conversation with Keith, he delves into the vision behind founding Payability and the unique opportunities and strategies of lending to online marketplace sellers.

M&A
Financings
 (FT Partners Advised)
 (FT Partners Advised)
 (FT Partners Advised)
 (FT Partners Advised)
 (FT Partners Advised)

Source: FT Partners

Download and read the full report here.

A Dialogue with Peter Renton: Cryptocurrency and Beyond (deBanked), Rated: AAA

deBanked: Why did you decide to rebrand LendIt as LendItFintech?

Renton: The main reason is that we have moved beyond the online lending space.

deBanked: What about online lending? The industry has gone through a lot of changes in its relatively short history. How do you expect to see the competitive landscape change in the next year or so? What about farther out?

Renton: The online lending space has gone through a lot of changes in its short history. I feel like the biggest trend we’re seeing right now is banks launching their own platforms. Take Goldman Sachs with the Marcus online lending platform, for example. More than anything else that has happened in the history of online lending that is among the most telling for the future, I think.

deBanked: What do you see as the biggest risks for online lenders today? How can they best overcome these challenges?

Renton: As an industry, we have to focus on profitability.

Credit-Card Losses Surge at Small Banks (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Missed payments on credit cards at small banks have risen sharply over the past year, a sign that their cardholders are taking on more debt than they can handle. Their charge-off rate, or the share of outstanding card balances written off as a loss after consumers failed to pay, hit 7.2% in the fourth quarter, up from 4.5% a year ago, according to Federal Reserve data.

But they’ve especially surged at smaller banks, those outside the 100 largest by assets that have less than around $10.4 billion in assets. There, the average charge-off rate is near an eight-year high, while the 3.5% loss rate at large banks remains well below the 10.6% seen in 2010.

tZero Has Acquired VerifyInvestor for Million in Cash (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Buried within the tZero Offering Memorandum for its ongoing initial coin offering were several interesting items of note. The first was the fact the SEC was in the process of reviewing the offering. Another interesting bit of information was the fact tZero has acquired a majority stake in VerifyInvestor.

 

Gina Harman of Accion (Lend Academy), Rated: A

My next guest on the Lend Academy Podcast is Gina Harman, the CEO of the U.S. Network for Accion. They are a non-profit lender with 14 regional offices around the country focused on providing funding to underserved businesses. Accion has a very consultative approach to lending so their work often involves face to face meetings with the potential borrowers. But they are also serving the entire country through online means today.

LendingPoint Launches Merchant Solutions Platform (BusinessWire), Rated: A

LendingPoint, the company working to revolutionize access to consumer credit, today unveiled LendingPoint Merchant Solutions to provide merchants and other service providers a fully integrated one-stop retail financing platform to convert more consumers at the point of sale.

LendingPoint Merchant Solutions combines the LoanHero merchant onboarding, program management and reporting technology with LendingPoint’s industry-leading credit underwriting, risk management, and customer service expertise.

Grameen America eyes banks in ambitious push to expand microlending effort (American Banker), Rated: A

Grameen America is looking for banks and social impact investors to help fuel significant growth in its microlending effort.

The plan is to double the size of its loan portfolio, and lend a cumulative total of $2 billion, over the next five years, David Gough, its chief financial officer, said in an interview.

RICO suit filed against Great Plains Lending over allegations of predatory online lending scheme (Legal NewLine), Rated: A

Vanessa C. Grainger, Beverly Kristina Miller and Lilya J. McAtee, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, filed a complaint on Feb. 16 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina against Great Plains Lending LLC, Kenneth E. Rees, Victory Part Capitol Advisors LLC, et al. over alleged violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

THE SEC’S ICO SUBPOENA EXPLAINED (Irish Tech News), Rated: A

“The SEC typically sends a subpoena for one of two reasons: you are either a direct target of a new or ongoing investigation or you are involved somehow with an entity or individual that is under investigation,” notes William Skelley, Co-founder of William Chris, a Dubai-based consulting firm founded by David Drake and Simon Cocking.

Clayton had stated that most ICOs need to register with SEC because, like other securities that the agency regulates, they trade coins in secondary markets. However, ICO companies have shown reluctance in subjecting themselves to SEC’s oversight despite the fact that up to $8.7 billion has been raised through ICOs, based on CoinDesk data.

How Stash Invest is trying to reach the underserved (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Stash is letting its customers invest in single stocks, the company’s latest major investment product launch beyond theme-based exchange-traded funds.

Stash lets customers buy portions of shares (called fractional shares) with a minimum balance of $5.

Core Upgrade Brings Orion’s Dynamic, Time-Saving Reporting to Private Assets (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Orion Advisor Services, LLC (“Orion”), the premier portfolio accounting service provider for advisors, today announced the release of its Alternative Investment Platform (“AIP”), a tool that lets Orion advisors show their clients’ private assets as easily as their public holdings at no additional cost.

AIP lets financial advisors track and maintain alternative investment data for client assets held in private equity, direct investments, venture capital, hedge funds, private real estate, REITs, and more, with ease and efficiency. AIP lets advisors aggregate and update committed capital amounts, total cash distributions, return of capital, and commitment amounts for alternative investments of all types into client reports alongside publicly-traded assets to create a cohesive picture of the client’s net worth.

Is there a sandbox in the US’s future? (Euromoney), Rated: A

The cooperation between the FCA and the CFTC will cover information sharing, referrals and learning from proofs of concept, trials or innovation competitions.

Various agencies – including the CFTC, SEC and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (Finra) – oversee specific segments of the market, and for a US sandbox regime to be successful there would need to be substantial collaboration and coordination between all of these agencies.

Shinnecock Partners Publishes “How to” for Private Investors on Direct Lending (PRWeb), Rated: B

Direct lending is a new category that is reshaping the asset management and investment landscape, yet most investors see the arena as a “black box.” Shinnecock Partners, a 28-year old family office boutique with significant expertise in alternative finance and fintech, offers investors insights into the category with its recently published report: High Yield for Investors in Specialty Finance: Exploring Opportunities in Factoring and Merchant Cash Advance. Written and researched by the firm’s founding partner, Alan C. Snyder and co-author Marla Harkness, the 37-page report is a virtual blueprint for investors, RIAs, advisory firms and the new generation of innovators who have started alternative lending companies to serve a vacuum left by large banks and community banks that used to serve small and mid-size business pre-recession.

The paper covers:

  •     In-depth descriptions of both factoring and merchant cash advance (MCA) loan originators
  •     Insider lingo, so investors are up to speed when reviewing documents
  •     Regulatory history and framework
  •     Detailed investor evaluation checklists

You can access the report here: High Yield For Investors in Specialty Finance.

Fintech firms are gobbling up Manhattan office space (The Real Deal), Rated: B

Fintech firms and units of larger companies accounted for roughly 877,000 square feet of Manhattan office leasing last year, according to JLL data reported by the Wall Street Journal. That’s almost triple the sector’s total for 2014.

Venture capital funding for fintech firms has roughly doubled from 2014 to $2.2 billion in 2017, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Albuquerque ranks among 10 best places for new small businesses (Biz Journals), Rated: B

Albuquerque ranked No. 8 on LendingTree’s list of the best cities for new small businesses released Feb. 27.

United Kingdom

Roadshow Announcement (London South East), Rated: AAA

LendInvest Limited, the specialist mortgage provider, announces that it has mandated Peel Hunt to arrange a series of meetings with fixed income investors in the UK and Channel Islands, commencing the week of 5 March 2018, to discuss a possible second issue of sterling denominated bonds.

Folk2Folk Lenders Provide £200 Million to Rural Businesses in the UK (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Folk2Folk, a peer-to-peer (P2P0 lending platform for local and rural businesses, announced on Monday it has now lent £200 million, providing a valuable source of capital to hundreds of local businesses across the UK. According to the online lending, this milestone demonstrates the strong demand in the company’s Local Lending Movement as Lenders and Borrowers are attracted by Folk2Folk’s platform, providing a fair exchange that sees no difference between what Borrowers repay and Lenders receive on a monthly basis.

Folk2Folk’s lending milestone was reached thanks to a growing community of local Lenders who have placed £20,000 or above on the lender’s platform. The average lent per Lender now exceeds £65,000. Lenders receive 6.5%pa interest which is paid monthly, helping them achieve their financial goals, whether it be an additional income for retirement or funding a life event like a once in a lifetime holiday.

Exchange Platform LendingBlock Boosts the Development of the Crypto Sphere (Coinspeaker), Rated: A

Lendingblock is an outstanding representative of the “picks and shovel” business of the crypto economy. The recent announcement of an ICO by this company raises an important issue: can these followers of Gold Rush traditions achieve the same success?

Lendingblock is an open exchange platform for both borrowers and lenders of crypto currencies. The platform enables owners of digital assets to earn passive, low risk interest income, while borrowers get an opportunity get assets needed to support trading, hedging and working capital needs.

Tales of failed peer-to-peer lenders (AltFi), Rated: A

A little-known pawnbroking and property-backed peer-to-peer lending platform named Collateral has gone into administration, according to reports. Its investors are in limbo, unable to access their money or even view their accounts.

Be The Lender folded in August 2014. It was a tiny peer-to-peer platform with a focus on lending to small businesses.

GraduRates was a very small peer-to-peer lender specialising in loans to post-graduate students. In 2014, with a new regulatory regime for P2P firms looming, its founder Jonathan Webb decided to close down operations.

TrustBuddy was a peer-to-peer firm specialising in short-term loans for consumers. It is perhaps the best-known example of a P2P blow-up because it was the first big platform to go belly-up.

Finally, the complete comedy that was the Ezubao blow-up. There are many, many examples of failed Chinese P2P platforms, but Ezubao takes the biscuit.

FOS tells adviser to pay client over £30k loss through unsecured Sipp loan (Money Marketing), Rated: A

The Financial Ombudsman Service has told an adviser to compensate a client who they told to make an unsecured loan to a third party with money from their Sipp.

Mr H says O’Rourke Partnership recommended and arranged for him to make an unsecured loan of £29,325 to the third party from funds he held in his Sipp.

The loan was to be over a short-term at a high rate of interest but the loan has not been repaid and Mr H has lost his money.

An investigator reviewed the complaint, thought the advice was unsuitable and recommended that it should be upheld.

P2P lending “high  up the scale of respectability” for non-standard investments (AltFi), Rated: A

BondMason boss warns that recent FSCS fines are likely make SIPP providers extra cautious in reviewing non-standard investments.  

An estimated one million people are said to have taken up a SIPP (self-investment pension plan) since the wrapper was first introduced as part of the government’s Pension Freedom Reforms in April 2015. But squeezing non-standard investments into the still relatively-new tax wrapper hasn’t been easy.

Archover announces new non-exec director, nears profitability (AltFi), Rated: A

The peer-to-peer business lender is turning dissenters into directors with its latest hire, after hitting £60m in lending.

ArchOver, the p2p business lending platform, has announced it will be appointing Bill Johnston to its board as a non-executive director. Johnston previously was an outspoken critic of p2p lending and alternative finance in general, but says he has been swayed after seeing ArchOver succeed.

Beauty marketplace founder joins Blend Network management team (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

A FORMER Morgan Stanley banker turned beauty marketplace founder is among two appointments to the board of a new peer-to-peer lending platform aiming to become the “Goldman Sachs of P2P”.

Roxana Mohammadian-Molina, a former Morgan Stanley vice president and founder of Zeebba – which arranges at-home beauty services – has joined asset-backed property lender Blend Network as business development manager.

Metro Loans Presents Unsecured Business Start up Loans for Unemployed in UK (MENAFN), Rated: B

The UK based direct lending company has come up with unsecured business start up loans to build up new entrepreneurs.

China

China Issues its First Personal Credit Rating License (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On February 22, the People’s Bank of China published an announcement about setting up personal credit rating agencies. According to the document, Baihang Credit Rating Co., Ltd., was granted the first personal credit rating license in China, and the qualifications of its management team (including board member, supervisors and senior management) has all received approval.

A New Ransomware Virus Could Steal All Your Alipay Balance

Recently, a ransomware virus called “unicorn 2.1” raged online. It spreads through QQ and other Instant Messengers.

Once the virus hacks the computer, it will lock all the files in the computer and requires the victim to pay ¥3 yuan by scanning with his / her Alipay. As long as the victim scans the QR code, the hacker will be able to get access to the Alipay account and steal all the balance.

International

Marketplace lending platform Maliyya scores EUR1.3 million in seed funding (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Maliyya, a fintech company engaged in development of a P2P lending and borrowing platform, has just closed the first seed investment round of USD$1.3 million from Ground1 Ventures, a private investment firm based out of UK.

Targeting to become a primary P2P lending and borrowing platform for the Middle East, North African and Asian Region, Maliyya is working on to roll out its MVP in the coming months.

How can today’s generation of lenders fight global financial crime? (LendIt), Rated: AAA

What if you lent money to someone who used it to finance an act of terrorism? Or to disguise the proceeds of drug dealing. How would this make you feel and what would it mean for the reputation of your growing business?

Today’s generation of FinTechs however, face huge technology and operational challenges – they interface with banks and therefore need ‘bank-grade’ solutions for KYC/AML but existing technology solutions struggle to fit with their unique needs. Increasingly, they are looking to new technology to help them comply with global KYC/AML standards, maintain banking relationships and ultimately fight financial crime.

What are the financial crime risks for lenders and FinTechs?

Lenders spend billions of dollars a year on compliance solutions trying to combat their financial crime risk, which broadly fall into two categories: anti-money laundering / terrorist financing (AML/CTF) risk and fraud.

Crypto’s missing pieces: Building a sustainable financial ecosystem (International Business Times), Rated: AAA

Centralized, “off-chain” cryptocurrency exchanges, including Bitfinex and Poloniex, support margin-lending. Although limited to certain customer groups, and a limited number of assets, they generally fit the definition of money markets. The downside is that investors have to trust that the exchange won’t get hacked or abscond with assets. That’s a big risk. The recent $530 million heist from the Japanese exchange, Coincheck, isn’t likely to be the last, and many customers feel that the incremental returns aren’t worth the risk. That may change as exchanges move toward adoption by the existing financial system.

Peer to peer lending protocols, including ETHLend and Lendroid, eliminate the risk of centralization by allowing users to lend to each other directly. But to an outside observer, they hardly resemble money markets with a uniform interest rate.

Peer to peer lending protocols, including ETHLend and Lendroid, eliminate the risk of centralization by allowing users to lend to each other directly. But to an outside observer, they hardly resemble money markets with a uniform interest rate.

Profile Software’s innovative solutions for banking and wealth industry (Hubbis), Rated: B

The company today has a presence in Europe, the Middle East, America, Asia and Africa, throughout those regions delivering innovative solutions to both start-ups and established banking and finance institutions, through direct communication or a reliable partners network.

Profile’s leading platform, Axia is an omnichannel wealth management  platform covering all aspects of the investment operations that modularly, and with flexibility, embrace the whole spectrum of portfolio management, with continuous updates on client onboarding, online trading, compliance issues (such as MiFID II), instruments, custodian links and bank interfaces, financial planning, and so forth. The investment management solution also supports operations in insurance firms, private banking, custody, brokerage needs and more, with a successful track record.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor