Thursday June 20 2019, Weekly News Digest

ASIC borrowers

News Comments Today’s main news: LendingClub expands borrower program. Funding Circle forced to narrow range of valuation. Yirendai revenues come from haircut loans. Chinese P2P lenders explore southeast Asia. Borrowell passes 1M members, raises $20M. Today’s main analysis: 5 ASIC findings on marketplace lending. Today’s thought-provoking articles: US Core, inflation ease. Fintech lending algorithms discriminate […]

The post Thursday June 20 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

ASIC borrowers

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

Other

News Summary

United States

LendingClub Expands Program to Help Borrowers Actually Pay Off Debt (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

LendingClub shared a few stats on borrowers who choose this method:

  • Save an average of nearly $900 over the course of their loan
  • Cut their credit card interest rate nearly in half
  • Increase their credit score in just three months

The product has been tested for over a year and LendingClub is working with a partner network of over 1,700 credit card, bank and loan companies to make the process seamless. What’s interesting is borrowers can add up to 12 creditors per loan which is an important feature since borrowers often hold balances across many cards.

Turning Lending Club’s Worst Loans into Investment Gold (Towards Data Science), Rated: A

This is a writeup of a machine learning project I completed. In this post I hope to:

  • Describe my algorithm for predicting loan defaults.
  • Use the algorithm to construct a portfolio of clean loans

Inflation Miss (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

US Core CPI rose by 2% YoY in May, just at the Fed’s target rate but below economists’ expectations. Consistently low inflation is boosting calls for a rate cut next week. The market is pricing in a 24% probability of a rate cut next week and a 76% probability of a rate cut in September.

Source: Bloomberg, PeerIQ

Fintech algorithms discriminate 40% less than traditional lenders (Quartz), Rated: AAA

Algorithmic fintech lending is less discriminatory against minorities than traditional loan officers, according to a recent study of US mortgages. The findings signal hope that technology could provide financing that’s more fair, but the research also underscores how widespread discrimination remains.

The US housing market has long been prejudiced against minorities. When Latino and Africa-American borrowers are looking to buy a home, they usually end up paying 7.9 basis points (0.079 percentage points) more than whites to take out the mortgage, and 3.6 basis points more when they refinance the debt, according to a National Bureau of Economic Researchworking paper published this month.

Buttigieg worries tech may add racial bias to credit decisions (American Banker), Rated: A

Pete Buttigieg said the way credit scoring is done in the U.S. is fraught with inequality and he’s worried the process may get worse with systems based on artificial intelligence.

Commercial Real Estate Crowdfunding Eyes ’18-Hour Cities’ for Small Investors (The Street), Rated: A

When Clear Point Gardens, a 604-unit apartment complex in Columbus, Ohio, recently changed hands, it produced a nearly 43% gain in 16 months, an amazing windfall for investors in the deal.

All 68 of them.

The sale of Clear Point, financed with help from investors on CrowdStreet’s online platform, is the latest example of how online syndication is revolutionizing the way deals are financed in the $6 trillion commercial real estate market.

HSBC launches digital mortgage platform with help from Roostify (HousingWire), Rated: A

One of the world’s largest banks is about to join the digital mortgage revolution, as HSBC Bank USA, the U.S. arm of HSBC Group, announced that it is partnering with Roostify to launch a digital mortgage platform.

Mirador’s Trevor Dryer: ‘The world doesn’t need another high price lender’ (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Trevor started Mirador to fill this void of bank-originated small business lending. We talk about why he started Mirador with a lending as a service model and what painpoints he was addressing.

Dave is launching a checking account that helps users build their credit score (Business Insider), Rated: A

The Los Angeles-based company, backed by investors including Mark Cuban, the DJ Diplo, and hedge fund Mark 2 Capital, said on Tuesday it’s rolling out a new checking account product that reports all rent payments to credit agencies. The new feature, added to Dave’s original app, helps customers to build their credit. Dave plans to begin reporting utility payments later this summer.

CoreLogic Launches Marketrac Platinum (CoreLogic), Rated: A

With Marketrac Platinum, lenders and title companies can utilize the interactive platform to identify top performing real estate agents and brokerage firms to prioritize professional relationships based on market trends.

Zirtue Revolutionizes Peer-to-Peer Lending (IT Business Net), Rated: A

Sprout Mortgage Launches ACORN Automated Underwriting System (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Sprout Mortgage, the innovative force in Non-QM lending, today announced the launch of its ACORN automated underwriting system (AUS) as part of an ongoing effort to deliver value-added services to its third-party origination clients.

Finicity Integrates with LendingQB to Optimize Mortgage Origination Process (PR Web), Rated: B

Finicity announced today an integration with LendingQB. LendingQB’s platform now uses Finicity’s digital Verification of Assets (VoA) solution to allow lenders to free up resources, increase processing speed and reduce mortgage fraud while providing borrowers with a more efficient and positive experience.

Cardholders Seek to Capital-ize on Madden (The National Law Review), Rated: A

Last week, three Capital One cardholders filed a putative class action in the Eastern District of New York, Cohen v. Capital One Funding, LLC,1 alleging that the rates of interest they paid to a securitization trust unlawfully exceed the sixteen percent threshold in New York’s usury statutes.  The Plaintiffs seek to recoup the allegedly excessive interest payments and an injunction to cap the interest rates going forward.

Fundbox Tapped By Top B2B E-Commerce Software Provider OroCommerce to Power Net Terms (Fundbox Email), Rated: A

According to a 2019 research study by

Cross River poaches execs from student refinancing firm Laurel Road (American Banker), Rated: A

Cross River Bank, a Teaneck, N.J.-based bank that focuses most of its energy on supporting fintechs, is hiring several people from the student loan refinancing company Laurel Road to its capital markets team.

Cross River’s fintech partners include Affirm, Circle, Best Egg, Coinbase, Rocket Loans, Stripe, Upstart and Transferwise.

Optimizely Closes $ US105M Financing Round (Which-50), Rated: A

Optimisation platform Optimizely has closed US$105 million in financing, including US$50 million in Series D funding. The funding, led by Goldman Sachs Private Capital Investing, also included Accenture Ventures.

Austin Niemiec Named New Executive Vice President of Quicken Loans Mortgage Services (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

Quicken Loans Mortgage Services (QLMS), the second largest mortgage lender serving the needs of brokers, regional banks and credit unions, today announced that Austin Niemiec has been named Executive Vice President.

Self Lender Awarded Inaugural Inclusive Fintech 50 (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Self Lender is pleased to announce its inclusion in the inaugural list of winners of the Inclusive Fintech 50. The Inclusive Fintech 50 is a competition launched in February to help early-stage fintech companies attract capital and resources to benefit the world’s 3 billion financially underserved people. The competition was organized by MetLife Foundation and Visa Inc., with global nonprofit Accion and World Bank Group member IFC.

United Kingdom

No sign yet of breaking out of circle (The Times), Rated: AAA

The early days of a company’s life on the stock market tends to set the tone for what follows. The grief around Funding Circle’s listing began even earlier and has continued to plague it.

Days before trading in shares of the specialist online lender began at the end of September, Funding Circle and its bankers were gunning for a valuation of up to £1.75 billion, only to be forced to narrow the expected range shortly before it came to market, and then to price the shares at the lower level of 440p apiece.

Source: Refinitiv

Three Biggest Overperformers And One Underperformer In Peer-To-Peer Lending (4th Way Email), Rated: AAA

Landbay

  • Over £300 million lent.
  • Maximum loan size to property valuation (LTV) 80% – better than all the major high-street banks.
  • Average LTV: 72% – highly suitable for these kinds of mortgages.
  • Average rent: 190% of the monthly mortgage payment.
  • Over 90% of mortgages are to experienced and professional landlords.
  • Reserve fund: 0.6% of outstanding mortgages – modest but useful.
  • Type of lending: residential BTL.
  • Typical risk of this type of bank lending: very low.
  • P2P bad debts: none.
  • Interest rate: 3.54% after expected bad debts.

Proplend

  • £65 million lent.
  • Maximum loan size to property valuation (LTV) 75% and investors can choose to limit to 50% – lower than all high-street banks.
  • Average LTV  60% – highly suitable for these kinds of mortgages and loans.
  • Minimum rent on rental properties usually 110% of the monthly mortgage payment.
  • Type of lending: residential and commercial rented properties up to five years; some development lending; a mix of senior and junior debt (junior means other lenders get repaid first if the borrower’s property has to be forcibly sold to repay the loans).
  • Typical risk of this type of bank lending: low to moderate for shorter-term rental properties; moderate to high for developments and junior debt.
  • P2P bad debts: none.
  • Interest rate: 7.32% to 9.43% after expected bad debts (7.32%-12.13% before bad debts).

CrowdProperty

  • £35 million lent.
  • Maximum loan size to property valuation (LTV) 70% and investors can choose to limit to 50% – lower than all high-street banks.
  • Average LTV  61% (against starting value of property) – very low for these kinds of loans.
  • Type of lending: property development lending.
  • Typical risk of this type of bank lending: moderate to high.
  • P2P bad debts: none.
  • Interest rate: 8% after expected bad debts (7.32%-12.13% before bad debts).

Rebuildingsociety – the Underperformer

  • £15 million lent.
  • Type of lending: unsecured small business lending to sub-prime.
  • Typical risk of this type of bank lending: moderate to high.
  • P2P bad debts: 17% of total lent in pounds
  • Interest rates: estimate an average 5% after heavy losses.

British Business Bank adds £60m firepower to non-bank lender (AltFi), Rated: A

Simply, a non-bank lender, focused on SME asset financing has scored a a third financing tranche of £60m from the British Business Bank.

One fifth of UK investors upping exposure to debt investments (Investment Week), Rated: A

One-fifth of UK investors are increasing their exposure to debt amid low interest rates and Brexit uncertainty, according to research from FJP Investment, which found this number climbs to 34% when 18-to-35 year-olds are considered in isolation.

However, the independent survey – which comprises 950 investors – discovered 44% of participants are more focused on short-term debt investments over this financial year due to both political and economic uncertainty; this figure rose to 68% among under 35s.

OakNorth completes loan to Oncore IT for the acquisition of Fuse Technologies (Fintech Finance), Rated: A

OakNorth – the bank for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs – has provided a loan to Oncore IT, a managed service and cloud platform provider.

The finance has been used for the acquisition of Fuse Technologies, a London based provider of unified communications tools.

Brexit and drive for growth sees IT fintech salaries surge (AltFi), Rated: A

London-based java developers lead the pack, commanding starting salaries of up to £60,000, followed by software developers in the capital on up to £55,000.

Intense competition between UK-based fintechs – lead by Revolut, TransferWise, OakNorth and Funding Circle – and high street banks attempting to upgrade their services has led to bidding wars in order to gain top level IT professionals, said the report called The UK Fintech Revolution.

Lloyds first to launch open banking app for credit cards and savings (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

Customers of Lloyds Bank, Halifax and Bank of Scotland are the first to see their savings accounts and credit cards in one place, thanks to open banking technology, reports Jane Connolly.

J.P. Morgan working on a secretive digital banking project based out of London (TechCrunch), Rated: A

A number of incumbent banks are known to be developing new digital-first products in a bid to keep the new wave of challenger banks at bay and now it appears that the latest to make that move is J.P. Morgan.

According to sources, the investment bank has begun recruiting for a secretive skunkworks project within London’s booming fintech industry. Very few details are known about what exactly J.P. Morgan plans to build, although TechCrunch understands the bank is busy hiring high level developers with full-stack and cloud-based dev skills for the new project, along with other personnel.

Following Facebook’s Libra launch, UK regulator hints at greater Big Tech scrutiny (AltFi), Rated: A

The FCA says technology is dramatically changing the markets it regulates and blurring regulatory boundaries in a new report into its activities.

China

Yirendai Revenues Come From Suspect Haircut Loans (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

Over 60% of YRD’s FY 2018 revenues stem from “haircut loans” (P2P service fees charged to borrowers) that are prohibited by Chinese regulation. Recent developments in the P2P lending sector with regards to questionable lending practices, unethical collections, and usury are not being disclosed in YRD’s SEC filings, leaving U.S., Canadian, and international investors completely in the dark.

The Chinese P2P Lending Market

Unlike in developed countries, there are no administrative bodies (such as the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission) which regulate peer to peer lending exchanges in China. Instead, such services are regulated by self-organized internet associations and retail banks. The lack of meaningful oversight has caused the Chinese P2P lending market to bubble into $178.9 Billion in FY2018, almost 22 times the size of the P2P lending market in the United States and 447 times that of Japan’s.

Over 850+ fraudulent/ponzi lending platforms were exposed in FY 2018 alone.

Source: iiMedia Research

But the bad numbers don’t end here:

– The total loan volume amounted to 245.9 billion in Q12019, down -55.5% Y/Y.

– 85.7 in new loans were lent in March 2019, down -53.5% Y/Y.

– Principal balance of all loans: 8,029 CNY billion, down -3.6% Y/Y.

– sum of P2P lenders and borrowers, up 21%.

Chinese P2P lending platforms look to Southeast Asia amid industry purge back home (Technode), Rated: AAA

A slew of Chinese fintech and peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms are looking to more lenient markets in Southeast Asia (SEA), following a prolonged industry crackdown in China that has left the sector reeling.

Over the past year, China’s regulatory clampdown on risky financial practices has wiped out more than half of the country’s P2P lending platforms. As of May, just 900 survived, down from almost 1,900 recorded a year ago.

In early June, Indian daily newspaper the Economic Times reported that Chinese fintech companies, including WeShare, 9F Group, and CashBUS, are exploring investment opportunities in the country’s burgeoning online lending sector, particularly in the P2P lending space.

XW Bank Welcomed by IMF as One of 6 Outstanding FinTech Companies From China (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) welcomed 6 outstanding FinTech companies from China including Ant Financial, WeBank and XW Bank.

European Union

Snask helps Klarna to communicate its ‘smooth’ banking offer with off-the-wall film and photography (Creative Boom), Rated: A

When Stockholm studio Snask was approached by Klarna, one of Europe’s biggest banks, to help communicate how its revolutionary payment solutions make life easier for its customers, it set out to create seven “never-seen-before” worlds.

LHV Bank Integrates Estateguru Investments in Online Banking Dashboard (P2P-Banking), Rated: A

You might wonder why that is relevant as most readers are unlikely to be LHV Bank customers. LHV Bank is a bank in Estonia.

I think it is highly interesting, as it is – to my knowledge – the first time a bank has integrated p2p lending investments in its customer interface. So the LHV bank customers, not only see their accounts and stock depots, but also their Estateguru investments conveniently listed in their online bank dashboard. Much has been talked about what role could banks have in p2p lending (mere transaction banks? providing credit lines?) and also there is a lot of speculation if PSD2 (open banking) will help fintechs to seize the access to the customer from banks because they could control the user interface in the future. But this is actually a first step a bank takes in the opposite direction. By aggregating “non-bank” information inside the dashboard, they aim to make the banking interface more useful for the customers.

International

How Klarna is Helping the World Shop Like a Queen (Power Retail), Rated: AAA

Klarna is the latest Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) app to sweep through the world. Originating in Sweden, the BNPL platform allows users to purchase goods and schedule repayments in timeslots. At this point in time, Klarna is the first and only BNPL platform that’s available in the U.S. It’s also available in the UK, Denmark, Norway, Belgium and many other European countries.

Australia

Five key ASIC findings on marketplace lending (Cuffelinks), Rated: AAA

In April 2019, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) released its third report on marketplace lending, the Survey of marketplace lending providers: 2017–18The report paints a clear picture of a once-nascent industry enjoying growth with new borrowing increasing by nearly 45% in the 2017-18 financial year. The report notes that this growth is moderating compared to the near doubling in funds borrowed the previous year (from $156 million to $300 million). By contrast, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reports that overall personal lending has declined by an astonishing 24% in the 12 months to March 2019.

Source: Cuffelinks

The ASIC report found that the average interest rate charged for marketplace loans entered into during the 2017–18 financial year was 11.5%, up from 10.5% in the 2016–17 financial year.

Source: Cuffelinks
India

All you need to know about P2P lending and Commodities (India Times), Rated: AAA

Vinay Mathews, Founder and COO, Faircent and Sanjay Gakhar, Vice President, MCX talks about the benefits of investing via the P2P platform and Commodities, ET Wealth investment Workshop in Delhi Listen in!

Watch the video here.

Asia

Indonesian firms turn to P2P lenders for funds (Asia-First), Rated: AAA

Small companies in Asia-Pacific are tapping new funding sources, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) study commissioned by Mastercard, with peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms in Indonesia reportedly posting USD1.4bn worth of transactions in 2018, an increase from USD20m in 2016.

Canada

Borrowell passes one million members, raises $ 20 million in new capital (Zone Startups), Rated: AAA

RFI alumni company Borrowell announced that it had reached significantly more than a million users, making it Canada’s largest consumer fintech company by that measure.

In addition to this membership milestone, Borrowell also confirmed that it has received $20 million in Series B funding.

AltFi Toronto Summit 2019 (AltFi), Rated: B

WED, 9 OCTOBER 2019, 08:30 – 17:30 EDT

Blind Bird tickets are now on sale at a 50% discount ahead of the Summit’s agenda being announced later this Summer.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday June 20 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Tuesday November 27 2018, Daily News Digest

Reliable Consumers for JP morgan, Citigroup, wells fargo and Bank of America

News Comments Today’s main news: LendingClub hits $1B in CLUB certificate issuance. Zopa boosts Augmentum Fintech fund returns. Monzo breaks record on crowdfunding round. Yirendai’s critical stage to regain growth. Judo gets $350M in funding. Today’s main analysis: How late-cycle expansions turn into recessions. Today’s thought-provoking articles: LendingClub does more lending during holidays. Turning LendingClub into a financial health club. Why […]

Reliable Consumers for JP morgan, Citigroup, wells fargo and Bank of America

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

India

Other

News Summary

United States

LendingClub Reaches $ 1bn in CLUB Certificate Issuance (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

LendingClub has seen issuance of their new CLUB Certificate reach $1bn in less than a year after first announcing the pass-through security product last December at their investor day. The CLUB Certificate was created to make it easier for institutions to invest in LendingClub originated loans.

Loan for the holidays: Lending Club loans out more during holiday shopping months (Thinknum Media) Rated: AAA

This year was a record-breaking season for holiday shopping, as online spending surged 23.6% according to Adobe Analytics.

But where is all that money coming from? While some consumers saved up for the season, others might have turned to loans, such as ones offered at Lending Club ($NYSE:LC), to pay down huge gifts or refinance debt from credit card spending.

Outside of March 2016 — a month during an unusual stretch of time right before its chief executive Renaud Laplanche stepped down and a federal subpoena came in — Lending Club typically has the most loans issued by dollar amount in the months before the holiday season, according to data tracked since 2013.

Source: Thinknum

LendingClub CEO Working to Turn It Into a Financial Health Club (Web Pro News) Rated: AAA

The CEO of LendingClub, Scott Sanborn, says that they are really looking to make membership in the club mean something and are working to take Lending Club and turn it into a ‘financial health club’ that will help people successfully manage expenses. He says that LendingClub helps by shining a spotlight on credit card debt which is the first step to doing something about it.

A Looming Crisis in People’s Overall Financial Health

We are seeing really an epidemic happening which is incomes have been stagnant for more than 20 years. All of people’s major expenses, healthcare, college, housing, is going up and it’s creating a real looming crisis in people’s overall financial health and it’s something that people just aren’t talking about. Close to half of Americans have credit card debts and they are more than twice as likely to talk about spousal infidelity than they are about the fact that they have credit card debt that they need to manage. We believe that by shining a spotlight on the problem it’s the first step to helping people do something about it.

Top fintech VCs explain how PayPal missed a golden opportunity and why they wouldn’t invest in LendingClub today (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

PayPal is arguably one of the biggest success stories to come out of Silicon Valley in the last 20 years. It launched the careers of Peter Thiel, Elon Musk, and Max Levchin and paved the way for other members of the “PayPal mafia” to make seed investments in a next generation of startups.

“OnDeck and LendingClub have scaled, strong businesses now, but you’d never invest in those companies as startups today,” Harris said. “I don’t think you would look at unsecured personal lending or small-business lending, where you have to go out and acquire customers in the wild, with no special sauce. That’s 10-year-old thinking.”

The current model many VCs advocate is for companies to find ways to offer additional services, like loans, to existing customers. Acquiring new customers can be expensive, and there’s a competitive advantage when you underwrite or target new services to existing customers, because they know more about them.

PeerIQ’s Lender Earnings Webinar; Bank Exec Comments on the Credit Cycle (Peer IQ) Rated: AAA

One of the main themes that we explored in the LEI was how late we are in the credit cycle. Most C-level executives were extremely are sanguine on the economy but are nonetheless taking precautions. PeerIQ’s view is “The good news — and the bad news — is that conditions don’t get better than they are now.” We recommend reviewing Bloomberg Julie Verhage’s “US Banks See Good Times Ahead Even as Many Prep for Downturn” for more.

Source: Peer IQ

How Late-Cycle Expansions Turn into Recessions

The current US expansion that started in June 2009 is the longest on record at over 113 months. Late expansions are characterized by low unemployment, high consumer confidence, high asset values. We currently observe a near 50-year low unemployment rate, near record high consumer confidence, and the highest level of consumer credit outstanding (although well below peak per-capita debt levels).

Ironically, it is these solid economic indicators that are responsible for the party coming to an end. In a simplified model, credit availability expands to the marginal borrower (e.g., new entrants, cov-lite corporate loans, thin-file credits, etc.) just until the marginal consumer or corporate loans creates more losses than expected. Lenders feel the pinch on credit performance and on funding due to rising rates. Lenders individually tighten lending leading to a reduction in the supply of credit on an aggregate basis.

PeerIQ’s Q4 2018 Lending Earnings Insights Report (Lend Academy) Rated: A

PeerIQ released their Q4 2018 Lending Earnings Insights Report which points to a number of themes showing the economy is strong but CEOs are striking a cautious tone. Delinquencies and defaults continue to be low as consumers have seen their wages rise and taxes drop. Lenders are increasing reserves as they anticipate credit to renormalize in the near future, saying the economy right now was too good to be true.

Read the Full Report here.

Excerpts:

Regulators are increasingly focusing on the greater role of non-banks in consumer lending.Large money center banks continue to pull-back from riskier loans such as small business and consumer lending. Large banks instead have increased their credit facility volume 6x since 2010. FDIC Chair Jelena McWilliams cites the significant role of non-banks in origination as potential for systemic risk. The FDIC is contemplating granting ILC charters to non-banks – a major shift.

Delinquencies and charge-offs in FinTech asset classes are near all-time lows, although charge-offs on prime credit are increasing. Enova (Subprime) and OnDeck (Small Biz) are seeing near cycle-low charge-offs, while LendingClub (Prime) is seeing higher delinquencies on newer vintages. The change in LendingClub’s charge-off estimates across loan grades was mixed. Charge-offs on grades B and C are estimated to be higher by 28 bps and 16 bps respectively QoQ.

Small Businesses Are Poised for Growth, but Are Lenders Ready? (Business Wire) Rated: AAA

Source Business Wire

Betterment, Merrill Edge, Fidelity’s Go Lead the Pack in Digital Advice Branding, Claims Cerulli (Financial Advisor IQ) Rated: A

Robo-advice pioneer Betterment is the pack leader in digital platform awareness among investors, a new Cerulli Associates study reveals. But Merrill Lynch and Fidelity aren’t far behind, the study shows.

Among the more than 5,500 people polled, the Betterment brand was known by 15% of respondents, Merrill Lynch’s Merrill EDGE by 13%, and Fidelity’s Go by 12%. Trailing the three frontrunners was Charles Schwab’s Intelligent Portfolios and Vanguard’s Personal Advisor Services, which were each recognized by 10% of respondents, the study reveals.

For its digital platform marketing awareness study, Cerulli polled investors under the age of 45 earning more than $125,000 annually and with more than $250,000 in investable assets.

5 Business Loans You Can Get Without Being Profitable (NAV) Rated: A

With the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting over 415,226 startup firms less than 1 year old in 2017, it’s apparent that this category of business will need funding like never before. However, business loans are tricky. On hand, they tend to offer a larger line of credit to companies than personal loans or lines of credit. On the other hand, qualifying can be difficult and often requires you to provide at least two years of documentation that you are profitable.

For the brand new business that hasn’t managed to turn a profit (yet), what is left? How can you get a cash infusion into your business in time to expand, add employees, support a product launch, or refinance existing debt? The following loans are a bit non-traditional, but just might be exactly what you are looking for in your quest for funding during your startup years.

TD Bank Launches New Digital Mortgage Experience Powered by Roostify (Business Wire) Rated: A

Roostify, a digital lending platform provider, announced that TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank®, has leveraged Roostify’s technology to provide customers with a digital mortgage offering. This digital experience combines the latest in lending technology with a human-centric approach that gives TD Bank’s customers an accelerated, low-stress path to home ownership.

The deployment now provides prospective homebuyers with useful tools to assist them in finding a loan that fits their needs and budget. Leveraging Roostify’s proprietary DecisionBuilder lead tool, TD Bank’s Digital Mortgage allows consumers to explore which loan products they qualify for, right from a simple-to-use web page. Consumers can then move on to apply for their chosen loan in minutes, and follow a streamlined, all-digital process for moving their loan through closing. With easy access to TD Bank’s expert loan team, homebuyers can enjoy both the convenience of a digital solution and reassurance of expert guidance as they navigate one of the most significant transactions of their lives.

The Lending Alternatives Hopeful Investors Should Know Inside And Out (Forbes) Rated: A

People buy real estate for many reasons — generating cash flow, a tax write-off, appreciation value. Some of the greatest profits are made when buying real estate in a down market. Seasoned investors and fortunate newcomers who purchased coastal residential property from 2012-2017 are sitting on healthy equity appreciation as well as competitive interest rates in the 3.5-5% range.

The traditional path to buy a property is to obtain financing through banks, credit unions or a mortgage company. Following the 2008 housing crisis, traditional lenders implemented more strict guidelines: Stellar credit scores from 740 and above, stable employment, a low debt-to-income ratio, six months or more of liquid reserves.

For hopeful investors unable to meet these demands, alternatives are to pay all cash or to finance the purchase using hard money financing or a private lender. By utilizing one of these two methods, buyers also do not have to be concerned with the mounds of paperwork lenders requested. There are some advantages and disadvantages by using either type of alternative financing.

How Marcus by Goldman Sachs took to the streets of New York to market its high yield savings account (Tearsheet) Rated: A

Marcus, the online consumer bank by Goldman Sachs, has been running a man-on-the-street ad campaign about recent research the company conducted. According to the survey, 60 percent of Americans with savings accounts don’t know the interest rate on their savings account, and *more than half* of Americans with savings accounts (56 percent) opened theirs without exploring other options.

Dustin Cohn, head of brand and marketing communications at Marcus, joins the podcast to talk about the survey and why Marcus chose interest rates as a differentiator. We unpack the recent advertising campaign and explore the recent acquisition and integration of personal finance app, Clarity Money.

Ross: Easy money and the rise of ‘neo banking’ (My NorthWest) Rated: A

Banks are entering a whole new era. It’s called neo banking. Because it’s so “neo.”

You just sign over your paycheck, and suddenly you can buy things with a wave of the phone. As far as I can tell, you just look romantically at what you want to buy – and it’s yours!

You can even get loans. But it’s friendlier because neo banks don’t have loan officers who look at your income statement and say “Ha ha ha, you’re kidding!”

United Kingdom

Zopa helps boost Augmentum Fintech fund returns (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

ZOPA’S latest funding round has boosted the value of Augmentum Fintech’s portfolio, helping the fintech investment fund report net asset value growth of 5.1 per cent in its maiden financial results.

UK-listed Augmentum Fintech unveiled its first financial results on Monday since launching in December 2017. It reported that a recent £60m private fundraise by Zopa had boosted the value of its stake in the lender by £3.5m to £22m.

Augmentum Fintech Sees Portfolio Rise In First Interims Since IPO (Morning Star) Rated: A

Augmentum Fintech PLC reported its first interim results Monday since listing on the London Main Market in March.

In the period from incorporation on December 19 last year to September 30, the fintech venture capital investor had a net asset value total return of 5.1%.

At September 30, Augmentum Fintech’s NAV per share was 104p. The company’s net assets at September 30 totalled GBP97.8 million.

The company’s portfolio fair value increased 62% since the company listed in March to GBP53.9 million on September 30 from GBP33.3 million on March 13.

Monzo confirms record-breaking UK fintech crowdfunding round (City AM) Rated: AAA

Digital bank Monzo has today announced it will be heading back to the crowd for the last chunk of its series E fundraising round, with a target of up to £20m.

The raise, first reported exclusively by City A.M. in August, will be the largest fintech crowdfunding round in the UK to date.

Going live on Exeter-based platform Crowdcube, existing Monzo investors will get early access to the round from 3 December. The round will then be opened up to other Monzo customers, who can invest up to £2,000.

Banking app Monzo explores expansion into high-cost loan products (The Telegraph) Rated: A

Monzo, the financial technology start-up,  is considering launching loans aimed at “the Wonga segment” of the market, its chief executive Tom Blomfield said.

Mr Blomfield said he hopes in future to offer loans to people with poor credit scores who may not be able to access more traditional loan products.

UK Competition and Markets Authority Questions PayPal Acquisition of iZettle (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has issued a statement on the PayPal acquisition of iZettle – an event that was announced in early 2018 and closed in September. PayPal purchased Sweden based iZettle for $2.2 billion as the company seeks to gain access to iZettle’s point of purchase credit platform.

The CMA stated:

“… the CMA has found that PayPal could face insufficient competition in the UK after acquiring its market-leading rival. The finding raises concerns that the merger could result in customers, which include small and medium-sized businesses, paying higher prices or receiving a lower quality service.”

The CMA added that iZettle could have provided strong competition for PayPal if the company had not moved to take over the Fintech.

NatWest digital loan ceiling lifted to £700K (FinExtra) Rated: A

NatWest has today announced the launch of a new digital platform which will be available to all NatWest business and commercial customers allowing them to apply online for secured and unsecured loans of up to £750,000 – the largest digitally available loans in the industry.

The new platform, available to all business and commercial banking customers who use online banking, will allow applicants to complete the process in a matter of minutes, with a decision being communicated to customers usually within 24 hours, sometimes immediately. This fully digitised application process streamlines the customer experience and reinforces NatWest’s position as the UK’s leading commercial lender.

NatWest’s development underlines the bank’s commitment to further improving its digital offering and builds on the success of its ESME Loans platform, which provides loans of up to £150,000, Mettle – the standalone digital business current account, and LenderComm, the first production use of blockchain in the syndicated loan marketplace.

Arbuthnot Commercial Asset Based Lending supports acquisition of Euxton Tile Supplies Ltd (Bridging Loan Directory) Rated: B

Arbuthnot Commercial Asset Based Lending (ABL) has supported the acquisition of Euxton Tile Supplies Ltd (Euxton) by Earle Group with a £2m asset based lending facility, comprising a £1,250,000 confidential invoice discounting line and a £750,000 cash flow strip to provide the desired level of headroom in the transaction.

Wonga to automate compensation claims (TNT Magazine) Rated: A

Wonga, the payday lender that went into administration this August, plans to automate its compensation claims process – sparking fears that customers will lose out. Accounting firm Grant Thornton is in the process of winding up Wonga and is legally obliged to assess the claims of all customers who believe that they have been mis-sold loans.

The Guardian reports that in a bid to cut costs the administrators are creating an automated ‘adjudication tool’ that will decide which claims to pay out on, rather than processing each claim manually.

In its October letter to creditors, Wonga said that it had been receiving roughly 200 to 500 compensation claims every day after it went into administration on 30 August. Before that date the company had received 24,000 complaints from customers and a further 9,500 had been escalated to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Proplend Milestone: Surpasses £50 Million in Online Lending (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Less than six months after surpassing £40 million in online lending, UK based peer to peer lender in the property space, Proplend, announced on Monday it has now reached £50 million in online lending. According to the lender, all loans are commercial property backed, comprising a mix of bridging and mortgage lending risk-adjusted returns, which were funded by the lending platform’s growing band of Classic account, Pension account, and ISA “Lenders.” Proplend also revealed:

“By circumventing the traditional banking system, our Lenders have access to secured, inflation-beating fixed income returns whilst providing creditworthy commercial borrowers with an invaluable source of fast, flexible, interest only alternative funding. Having facilitated its first loan in 2014, Proplend has since accommodated over 50 commercial facilities, each loan typically funded within 24 hours by more than 100 participating Lenders. With a maximum loan term of 5 years, 20 loans have fully repaid to date with more than £15m capital returned and over £4m interest earned across the book – much of it tax-free.”

China

Yirendai Is At A Critical Stage To Regain Growth (Seeking Alpha) Rated: AAA

Yirendai Ltd (NYSE: YRD) released the third quarter 2018 earnings on November 12, with diluted Earnings per ADS of RMB2.43 (USD$0.35), decreased from USD 0.5 from second quarter. Considering the application of ASC 606, the adjusted earnings per ADS (if ASC were not adopted) is RMB 5.89 (USD 0.86), increased from RMB 4.91 in the same period from last year.

  1. The volume of newly originated loans has been decreasing, more than the loan volume decrease of the industry. We can compare YRD’s loan volume with the industry, as well as some competitors, as below.
    Source: Seeking Alpha

WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Ping An Invests $47 million in Berlin-based Fintech Startup Finleap

The Ping An Insurance Group’s Global Voyager Investment Fund led a €41.5 million ($47 million) investment towards Berlin-based Fintech company Finleap.

Internet Finance Association of Jiangxi Province Issues P2P Exit Guidelines

On November 16, the Internet Finance Association of Jiangxi Province issued the “Guidelines for the Exit of Online Lending Intermediary Organizations in Jiangxi Province (Trial)”, stating that online lending institutions should put the rights of protecting lenders at the top of their exit work and minimize the loss of lenders. The guidelines specifically mention that when a P2P institution exit, it needs to take eight steps, namely:

(1) to file an application for withdrawal;

(2) to set up an exit work leading group;

(3) to issue an exit notice and close some platform functions;

(4) to prepare a business list of circumstances and formulate an exit plan;

(5) submit an exit plan and other related materials;

(6) publish relevant information such as the exit plan;

(7) implement the lender’s funds as planned, and steadily settle the stock items;

(8) completion of the exit.

European Union

Lendingblock Receives In-Principle Licence as DLT Provider in Gibraltar (Crowdfun Insider) Rated: AAA

Securities lending platform for digital assets Lendingblock has issued a statement indicating that the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (GFSC) has made an in-principle decision to grant the firm authorization as a Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) provider. Lendingblock adds that it continues to work closely with the GFSC as it seeks the full DLT licence.

Lendingblock says that following this decision, and the successful testing period, the Lendingblock platform is open for institutional onboarding in preparation for launch.

Market participants are now able to sign up for access and will be able to commence borrowing and lending  BTC, ETC, BCH, and LTC beginning early next year.

Digital lenders ‘must keep investing to grow’ (IBS Intelligence) Rated: A

Research from digital ID specialist Mitek has concluded that there is a huge opportunity for digital lenders to grow, if they continue to invest in digitisation.

The findings have been published as a whitepaper, authored by fintech research practice Autonomous NEXT. Titled European Digital Lenders, it looks into the state of the digital lending market in Europe.

He said the report found that venture capital investment is still flowing into the space and is set to hit $800m in Europe: “The UK alone has originations of over $6bn, and Europe-wide, the addressable market is $150bn – with current digital lender revenues estimated at $400m,” he added. “Moreover, the market shows impressive originations growth, with a 60% CAGR since 2013.”

Australia/New Zealand

Australian challenger bank Judo gets $ 350m funding boost (Fintech Futures) Rated: A

Melbourne-based challenger bank Judo Capital is edging towards a bank licence with a $350 million debt facility agreement with firm Credit Suisse.

The bank shared the news with Business Insider. David Hornery, co-founder and co-CEO of Judo, says the facility will provide further depth to Judo’s funding for Australian SMEs.

Short-term loan, long-term debt: Superloans under investigation after slew of complaints (Stuff) Rated: A

Short-term money lender Superloans has come under attack from people who say they target poor and vulnerable consumers, charge extremely high interest rates, and resort to illegal means for recouping their money.

The Commerce Commission has launched an investigation into Superloans after it received more than 20 complaints against the company since 2013 – several from financial advisors.

Copies of the complaints, obtained under the Official Information Act, reveal one complainant alleged Superloans threatened to take repayments out of a person’s pay cheque, illegally.

Another woman complained that a Superloans’ employee only looked at her bank statements before approving her loan application, and did not check her credit.

India

IvyCap Ventures makes first investment in P2P lending through Lendbox (The Ecomonic Times) Rated: AAA

Credit marketplace LendBox has secured the first investment by a large institutional investor in India’s peer-to-peer lending space, raising Rs 6 crore in a pre-series A financing round.

Major Trends Witnessed this year in Fintech (Entrepreneur) Rated: A

Online lending platforms have been quite phenomenal in filling in the credit void within our country. But how accomplished are they in doing so? MSME loans are considered as the trickiest element of lending given the sheer opacity that exists within the sector. This opacity has decreased the share of scheduled commercial banks in MSME credit from 95% to 90% between December 2015 and March 2018. The credit growth turned negative post-demonetization. During the same period, the share of loans by NBFCs (which are essentially used by online lending platforms) nearly doubled growing with an annual average of 35 per cent, largely because of cutting-edge technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Big Data.

5 ways to reduce risk in P2P lending (The Economic Times) Rated: A

Lending money is a risky affair. However, there are ways to minimize the risk. Since peer-to-peer (P2P) lending is a relatively new concept and the RBI regulations for the P2P sector are barely about a year old, here are five effective ways in which you can reduce the risk to ensure getting your money back. Of course, with interest.

Understand the platform
You should try to understand how the online P2P model works before lending money on it. An investor should be aware how the money is lent on the platform and what are the risks involved in lending money on the platform.

Do not hesitate to ask the P2P player about the overall volume, defaults, recovery process and likely returns. You can do your own research or simply contact the P2P company through emails, chats or phone calls.

Do not go overboard
Sure, P2P platforms can offer your higher double-digit returns. But that doesn’t mean you should lend your entire in P2P lending. Choose the amount you wish to invest and then diversify,” says Raghavendra Pratap Singh, Co-Founder, i2ifunding.

Ex-Infosys CFO & Director V. Balakrishnan Joins Association of NBFC P2P Platforms as Patron Member (Indian Web) Rated: B

Within a month after the formation of NBFC-P2P industry bodyAssociation of NBFC P2P Platforms, the association today announced the joining of finance industry veteran & Former Infosys Chief Financial Officer V Balakrishnan as Patron Member.

P2P lending industry players have formed association to represent the Indian NBFC-P2P industry at various national as well as at international forums. The P2P operators participating in the operations are OML P2P, Monexo, PaisaDukan, Finzy, Cashkumar, Liquiloans, Micrograam, Lendsmartp2p, Peerlend and Indiamoneymart. The association aims to establish formal lines of communication between various government and regulatory authorities on matter of compliance and to create awareness about the industry and to work towards enhancement of public trust in this sector.

Asia

HonestFund Raises $ 12.2 million (USD) in our Series B round (Honestfund Email) Rated: AAA

HonestFund is one of the largest peer-to-peer lending players in South Korea. We were founded in 2015 and currently have about USD 300 million in cumulative originated loans. We have recently raised USD 12.2 million in our Series B round from the top VC firms, IT giants, and the largest financial institutions (i.e. Shinhan Bank and Hanwha Life Insurance) in South Korea.

Canada

Unlicensed online payday lenders are operating in New Brunswick (Global Newswire) Rated: A

Unlicensed online payday lenders are targeting New Brunswickers, warns the Financial and Consumer Services Commission.

FCNB has been receiving complaints from consumers about inappropriate collection practices by payday lending businesses not licensed to operate in the province.

“We are hearing that these businesses are contacting consumers who have fallen behind in their payments at their place of employment and in some cases, threatening to seek repayment from their employer. Sometimes they are contacting them up to 50 times a day,” said Alaina Nicholson, director of Consumer Affairs at FCNB. “It is against the law for a payday lender in the province to contact you at your place of work, or to contact your employers or coworkers to collect a payday loan that is late.”

Subscribe Technologies Upgrading Lendertech With Peer To Peer Lending Service And Integrating Platform Into Gingerly Marketplace (Stockhouse) Rated: A

Subscribe Technologies Inc. is pleased to announce it is upgrading the Company’s Lendertech financial technology platform with financial service auction and matchmaking features and has begun the initial phase of integrating the technology with the Company’s flagship Gingerly small business software application marketplace.

LenderTech facilitates greater and broader access to capital for those in need, including across a number of traditional and emerging areas such as mortgages, commercial lending, auto loans, student loans, and small business loans, among others.

As intended, our development team is now integrating this money lending service into the Gingerly software application marketplace and dashboard, with the addition of new Peer-to-Peer matchmaking features, designed for SMEs to have greater and faster access to lenders in one clean and simple to use interface.

IOU Financial Inc. Joins the FINSYNC Lending Network  (PR Newswire) Rated: B

 IOU FINANCIAL INC., a leading online lender to small businesses (IOUFinancial.com), is pleased to announce its strategic partnership with FINSYNC, Inc. (“FINSYNC”).

Small businesses of all types rely on FINSYNC to visualize, manage and project cash flow and analyze loan options.  IOU’s non-collateralized financing product has been assimilated by FINSYNC, enabling users who apply for financing through FINSYNC to quickly access IOU’s affordable, flexible financing for working capital and expansion.

Africa

Nigeria’s mixed signals on fintech (Euromoney) Rated: AAA

Earlier this year, the country’s central bank and the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System opened a regulatory sandbox to enable budding fintech companies to develop new products freely and securely, becoming one of the first African countries to do so.

Even before that launch, Nigeria was frequently touted as the continent’s next big fintech hub, set to compete with South Africa and Kenya.

Bitcoin exchange NairaEx, online lender KiaKia and invoicing platform Payant are just three of the firms that have made a name for themselves in short order.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday March 2 2018, Daily News Digest

Seed

News Comments Today’s main news: How Funding Circle wants to fix the financial system. VPC Specialty Lending, Ranger Direct see dividends move up. Klarna triples net profit, mainly in Nordic countries. Today’s main analysis: International P2P lending volumes. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Can Seed solve banks’ digital onboarding issues? How banking institutions can decentralize (The best read of the day). Institutional […]

Seed

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Asia

News Summary

United States

This neobank believes it can solve banks’ digital onboarding problem (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Since 2014 the neobank Seed has been reimagining one of the sleepier areas of banking: deposit accounts for small businesses.

Rather than walk into a branch — Seed, of course, has none — yoga instructors, food truck owners and other would-be customers can apply for accounts in less than five minutes on the startup’s web or mobile app. If approved, they receive a business debit card in the mail.

Now Seed, led by veterans of the fintech Simple, is selling banks software to help them solve one of their most pressing problems: finding a way to open accounts online as branch transactions continue to decline.

Source: American Banker

Lendio Franchise Announced in Clemson Region (Lendio), Rated: A

Lendio, the marketplace for small business loans, today announced the opening of a new Lendio franchise in the Clemson, South Carolina Region. Through the Lendio franchise program, Andy Ronemus will help local businesses in the community apply for loans, review their options and secure funding, easing the financial hurdles for small business owners.

In A Time of Need, A Woman Rises To Disrupt Fintech In Puerto Rico (Forbes), Rated: A

One notable leader in this endeavor is 

Fintech Startup Magilla Wants to Be the Match.com of Loans (Big Law Business), Rated: A

Since its launch in January 2016, Sacramento-based startup Magilla Loans says it’s originated more than $5 billion in loans and is changing the way lenders connect with borrowers. The platform can shrink into a few days what can often be a weeks- or months-long process of loan applications, data submissions and waiting just to get a loan term sheet.

Crowdlending helped Shorewood business woman’s dreams come true (tmj4), Rated: A

One Shorewood businesswoman did this all on a website called Kiva.

Shelia Long’s business is a workspace that helps ladies who work from home come together to get inspired.

“It was so great as the loans were coming in you can see like Switzerland, Boston, Carlsbad, Texas,” said Shelia Long.

One-hundred-thirty-seven people in total used PayPal to help her get to a goal of raising $8,000 at zero-percent interest.

Validus Specialty Launches Package Policy for Fintech Companies (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Validus Specialty Underwriting Services, Inc. (Validus Specialty) announced on Thursday a comprehensive package policy specifically designed for private U.S. fintech companies. According to the company, the solution is designed to address Fintech’s complex risk management needs, which are traditionally underserved by incompatible and inadequate policy forms.

What’s next for marketplace ABS? Revolvers, ETFs & IOs (Asset Securitization Report), Rated: A

Last year, marketplace lenders learned that maintaining diverse sources of funding is just as important as managing the credit risk in their loans.

LendingClub, Marlette Funding and others developed their own securitization platforms, rather than relying on whole-loan sales to large investors. They also invited some of these investors to contribute seasoned loans to collateral pools for these in-house deals.

INSTITUTIONAL INVESTORS WARY OF PASSIVITY (All About Alpha), Rated: AAA

Geopolitical events are the most worrisome prospect on the minds of the decision makers at institutions looking ahead to 2018. The percentage of respondents who believe such events will have a negative impact this year is at 74%. The second most worrisome? Asset bubbles (65%).

More than three fifths (63%) of those surveyed said that the growth of passive investing has increased systemic valuation risk: 59% believe that flows into passive strategies artificially suppress volatility.

In 2015, Natixis found that 64% of institutions said they were upping their investments with active managers. In 2016, that number rose to 67%. In the latest survey it rose again, to 68%.

Be cautious when seeking income (Money Week), Rated: A

But Square Pie had sold bonds on the Crowdcube platform, offering lenders 8% a year. It illustrates why so many people are suspicious of mini-bonds (debt issued by small, retail-orientated firms). Anyone thinking of lending to just the one relatively new business has to be aware of the risks – and then ask: is 8% enough?

A more diversified option

The latest offering in this category comes from a platform called Goji, which aggregates a variety of direct-lending and peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms. It has just brought out a Renewables Lending Bond, which pays out anything from 5.5% for a three-year term (with regular income) to 7.6% over five years, where the interest is rolled up at repayment. The underlying assets are provided by a direct lender called Prestige Group, which lends to clean-energy projects.

The book of loans – around 39 – has an average duration of four years, with a typical loan-to-value ratio of between 70% and 80%.

2018 LightStream Home Improvement Survey (PR Newswire), Rated: A

More than half (58 percent) of homeowners are planning to spend money on home improvement projects in 2018, according to the fifth annual LightStream Home Improvement Survey. LightStream is the national online lending division of SunTrust Banks, Inc. (NYSE: STI). Budgets for renovations are on the rise: among homeowners planning renovations, 45 percent will spend $5,000 or more — an all-time survey high. Those planning to spend $35,000 or more doubled from 2017.

The survey shows robust enthusiasm for renovation, as well as a thoughtful desire to balance a home’s needs and the homeowners’ budget, so they have the financial confidence to move forward. Specifically, the survey revealed the following trends:

    • Home “Sweat” Home
      The majority of homeowners plan to invest sweat equity, as 65 percent say they’ll do at least some of the work themselves. The 18-34 group is particularly fond of do-it-yourself projects, with 70 percent planning to work on at least a portion of their renovation.
    • Staying — and Aging — in Place
      Only seven percent of homeowners are renovating to prepare their homes to be sold, the lowest percentage since 2015. Instead, 14 percent of homeowners across all age groups — not just baby boomers — are citing “aging in place” as a reason for making a home improvement. Even respondents aged 18 to 34 (11 percent) and 35 to 44 (10 percent) say they’re renovating “to prepare my home so I can stay in it as I get older.”
    • Tax Reform Boosting Budgets
      With recent passage of tax reform, homeowners have already begun calculating how the changes might affect what they spend on home improvements. One in four homeowners who have set a budget for renovation projects stated that tax reform has had an impact, with 18 percent increasing their budget and seven percent decreasing it.
    • Paying for Projects
      The majority of homeowners (62 percent) plan to pay for projects, at least in part, by using savings. Additional payment strategies were further revealed. Intent to fund through home equity lines of credit (HELOC) jumped from 10 to 13 percent. “U.S. economic growth and limited housing inventory have contributed to healthy home equity gains,” said Ellen Koebler, SunTrust head of consumer solutions. “HELOCs can offer a financial solution for many homeowners, as accrued value may be available to tap for renovations.”

At the same time, the percentage of people intending to use a home improvement loan has grown 29 percent from 2017 with 54 percent more 18- to 34-year-olds planning to fund projects through home improvement financing.

Crowdfunding your way to homeownership (Mic), Rated: A

According to recent research from the National Association of Realtors®, 24% of buyers under age 36 saved for their down payment for more than two years.

NAR research also found that 25% of homebuyers ages 36 and younger used a gift from relatives or friends for some or all of their down payment.

Platforms have popped up that simplify this process: HomeFundMe, which launched last year, and Feather the Nest.

An estimated 1,500 “nesters” have used Feather the Nest to crowdfund a down payment since 2014, according to company president Beth Butler, with an average goal of $10,000 to $15,000.

JPMC’s FinLab Launches $ 3M Contest For FinTech Startups (PYMNTS), Rated: B

To help identify FinTech products that may improve the financial health of underserved populations in the U.S., the Financial Solutions Lab (FinLab) launched its fourth annual $3 million challenge. The lab focuses on products that meet the financial needs of overlooked populations, JPMorgan Chase said in an announcement.

Accounts in Transit (O’Dwyer PR), Rated: B

Kwittken signs up Laurel Road, online lender of student loans, personal loans and mortgages. Aaron Kwittken’s firm will be responsible for raising awareness of the company’s products through content marketing, brand activations, thought leadership and traditional media relations. Laurel Road, which is part of Darien Rowayton Bank, recently surpassed $3 billion in student loan originations.

United Kingdom

Keeping the little guys in the loop: How Funding Circle hopes to fix the financial system (City A.M.), Rated: AAA

“When we think about the people we hire, it’s all about energy,” says Funding Circle co-founder James Meekings. “We want staff to share their excitement about what they do with others in the office – even if they’re talking about tax.”

“Even though we now have 800 employees, we still feel like a small business. We still push for opportunity and for people to be creative.”

VPC and Ranger funds see dividends tick up, but remain below target (AltFi), Rated: AAA

The £219m Ranger Direct Lending and £337m VPC Specialty Lending investment trusts have announced their latest quarterly dividends with both portfolios showing an uptick since their last pay-outs.

Leeds offers business loans through peer-to-peer platform (Room151), Rated: A

Leeds City Council is to use a peer-to-peer lending platform to lend money to local businesses.

The authority has decided to use the rebuildingsociety.com platform — based in the city — to provide money for small and medium sized businesses with an LS postcode.

Isas 2018: Innovative Finance Isas hit stumbling blocks (Financial Times), Rated: A

Innovative finance Isas (IF Isas) offer the promise of a good return, sheltered from tax, to investors willing to take on the higher risks of the peer to peer (P2P) finance market.

The market has taken longer than expected to ignite, however, as providers struggle to match growing demand with limited supply. Many new investors will find the door shut, at least for now.

Growing consumer indebtedness in the UK combined with the prospect of rising interest rates could push up default rates on loans, sharpening the dangers for those invested in the highest-risk P2P products.

How does the Isa allowance actually work? (Which?), Rated: B

For the tax year 2017-18, the maximum amount you can pay into one – or a combination – of Isas held in your name, is £20,000.

Once the new tax year for 2018-19 begins on 6 April, your allowance resets – once again to £20,000.

There are five main types of Isas. The current annual limits are as follows:

  • Help to Buy Isa: Money can only be used to buy your first home, and savings receive a government bonus of 25%. You can save £1,200 in the first month, then £200 per month thereafter. Therefore, in the first year you will have a limit of £3,400. In the following years the limit will be £2,400.
  • Lifetime Isa: Expressly for first-time buyers or to be used in retirement once the account holder has reached the age of 60. There’s a 25% government bonus on savings up until the account holder is 50 years old. You can pay in up to £4,000 per year.
  • Cash Isa: A traditional savings account – money you pay in grows with the provider’s interest rate. You can pay in up to £20,000.
  • Stocks & shares Isa: Money you deposit is invested in stocks & shares by the provider. Returns can be higher, but so is the risk that you may end up with less money than you paid in. There will also usually be fees involved for managing your investments. You can pay in up to £20,000.
  • Innovative finance Isa: Money paid in is invested in Peer-to-Peer (P2P) lending platforms, and you receive the interest when this loan is repaid. There is also some risk involved. You can pay in up to £20,000.
European Union

Klarna’s profits driven by growth in Nordics and Germany (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

The Swedish group posted a 27 per cent increase in revenues to SKr4.53bn ($546m) while net profit more than tripled to SKr346m. Klarna processed about €18bn in online transactions last year, an increase of 42 per cent.

Klarna reports double-digit sales growth (Finextra), Rated: A

As a result, 89,000 retailers globally now use Klarna products, this represents a 20% growth compared to the previous year. Available in 14 countries, retailers are increasingly adopting Klarna solutions which makes the payment processes as smooth as possible for consumers. As a result of the surge in retailer adoption, Klarna now handles 10% of all online payments in Northern Europe.

International

How Banking Institutions Can be Decentralized (CoinTelegraph), Rated: AAA

Decentralized banking is a term that has been construed in the wake of the cryptocurrency boom.

Cryptobanks are decentralized platforms that provide the usual services that centralized banks provide, primarily lending services and credit scoring, but essentially cuts out all of the middlemen that a centralized bank uses. The people needed in a bank to approve loans and structure financial data are replaced in a crypto banking ecosystem by smart contracts and p2p, peer-to-peer, services.

What kind of technologies do crypto banks use?

P2P, Blockchain, cryptocurrencies, Machine Learning, Big Data and smart contracts are used in crypto banking.

All transactions are recorded on the Blockchain.

Machine Learning Big Data.These technologies help to automate the lending process and cut through bureaucracy. AI can work 24/7 and match lenders with borrowers.

Do crypto banks have their own native currency?

Yes. Native cryptocurrencies help make the bank global.

Datarius, the first social p2p crypto bank, for instance, uses their own native token DTRC for all transactions. This helps create a standard for a global payment system within the p2p lending process.

What is social lending?

Thanks to Big Data and AI, crypto banks can see beyond a borrower’s credit score to identify their level of trust. Listings can include Trust Limit, Trust Management and User Ratings which helps AI decide if the participant is justified in borrowing from a specific lender.

Crowdlending: Anatomy of a successful strategy (EurekAlert!), Rated: A

The entrepreneur’s strategy for achieving this can be summarized in three stages. The first consisted of bypassing the banking monopoly on his platform using “cash vouchers,” a tool dating from 1937 that had long been forgotten. They allow personal loans to be made without a bank as intermediary. Secondly, by collaborating with future competitors, the public authorities and the sector’s regulators(2), the entrepreneur contributed to the development of a long-term crowdlending regulation in France. This collaboration relies on the creation of a meta-organization(3) called “Financement Participatif France” (FPF), which worked to define the status of “Intermédiaire en Financement Participatif” (IFP, equivalent to “crowdlending financing intermediary” in English), which regulates this new market.

Asia

Smartag International Signs Agreement to Provide Fintech Solutions to Rural Indonesia (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Smartag International, Inc. entered into a joint venture agreement with PT. Supratama Makmur Sejahtera (“PTSMS”), an Indonesian Fintech company to form a Joint Venture Indonesian PMA company in which Smartag will own 51% equity and PTSMS will own 49%. This follows an earlier MOU signed on October 12, 2017 between PTSMS and PT Rijan Dinamis Selaras (“RDS”) representing Pondok Pesantren Riyadhul Jannah Pacer Mojokerjo, founder of Consultative Assembly of Indonesian Boarding Schools which has a network of 28,000 boarding schools to undertake a Fintech project (the “Indonesian Project”).

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday January 3 2018, Daily News Digest

ETFs Europe

News Comments Today’s main news: GreenSky raises $4.5B in equity, becomes most valuable online lender. Funding Circle has eye on IPO at 2B GBP valuation. P2P lenders in India blame lending limit on rising costs. GN Compass wants to disrupt lending liquidity in Canada. Today’s main analysis: Can Mifid II spur growth in European ETF market? Today’s thought-provoking […]

ETFs Europe

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

India

Asia

Canada

Africa

News Summary

United States

Who’s the Most Valuable Online Lender? After This Deal, It’s GreenSky (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Financial-technology firm GreenSky LLC raised new equity from Pacific Investment Management Co. in a deal that valued the digital lender at nearly $4.5 billion, said a person familiar with the matter.

It vaults GreenSky over Social Finance Inc. to become the most highly-valued online lender in the U.S. It also makes the Atlanta company the second most valuable privately held U.S. fintech company behind Stripe Inc., which processes payments for Internet businesses.

Pimco, the Newport Beach, Calif., money manager, invested at a valuation roughly 25% above the $3.6 billion GreenSky fetched in 2016.

What 2018 Will Mean For Marketplace Lenders (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

2017 was a tough year for some of the biggest names in alternative financial services in the U.S. – Prosper, OnDeck and LendingClub, in particular.

Breslow is hyping OnDeck’s future of partnerships with mainstream baking players – in particular, calling out a renewed partnership with JPMorgan Chase in August to expand the banks’ SMB lending reach.

Prosper, perhaps unsurprisingly, is focused on remaining prosperous, as measured by profitability and further developing its new securitization platform.

LendingClub finally got investors to show them some love – and after its record low following its analyst day earnings accounting, stock jumped 15 percent in mid-December and has managed to hold relatively stable.

Marketplace Lending Predictions for 2018 (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

First, let’s review my predictions I made exactly one year ago.

  1. 2017 will be the year of the bank partnership
    I would say I was partially right on this one.
  2. The OCC Fintech Charter will receive a positive reception
    So, while many of the fintech platforms supported the charter there was no real positive movement this year.
  3. Lending platforms will offer banking products
    While we had a couple of platforms offering credit cards for the most part this prediction failed to materialize.
  4. One large platform will be acquired
    Student lender Earnest was acquired by Navient in a deal announced in early October.
  5. There will be no new IPOs this year
    I was almost right on this one but one US lending platform did have an IPO in 2017.
  6. China will become an important source of capital outside the USA
    I got this one right.
  7. Artificial intelligence will take center stage
    I think I read more articles about AI this year than in the previous five years combined.

My 2018 Marketplace Lending Predictions

  1. Five top 25 banks will launch their own online lending platforms
    Banks have realized that if you want to provide successful loan products today you need to have an online presence.
  2. Two new pieces of legislation will be passed that will benefit the industry
  3. One of the top five (non-bank) online lending platforms will be acquired
  4. A major lending platform will get hit with a cyber attack
    Here is the one prediction where I really hope I am wrong.
  5. The tech giants consolidate their positions in online lending
    Amazon, PayPal and Square have all started to roll out various online lending offerings to their huge customer bases.
  6. 2018 is the year of product line expansion
  7. Messaging apps start to get integrated into online lending

The Top 10 Most Important Marketplace Lending Stories of 2017 (Lend Academy), Rated: A

  1. Mike Cagney is Gone as CEO of SoFi Effective Immediately
  2. The Cleveland Fed Retracts Their Report on “P2P Lending”
  3. Prosper Finally Closes Their Big $5 Billion Deal
  4. Renaud Laplanche is Back with a New Consumer Lending Platform Called Upgrade 
  5. The New Breed of Small Business Lenders: Amazon, Paypal and Square
  6. The Fastest Consumer Lenders to $1 Billion in Originations
  7. CFPB Announces No-Action Letter to Upstart
  8. The OCC Publishes Details on the Fintech Charter
  9. Bills Being Introduced to “Fix” Decision in Madden v. Midland
  10. Takeaways From LendingClub’s First Ever Investor Day

Ex-Netflix Exec Thinks This Fintech Company Has Netflix-Like Potential (The Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

Netflix has completely disrupted the entertainment industry, sending large incumbents scrambling to compete with its vast global scale.

How did Netflix pull this off? Several reasons, but one is certainly Netflix’s unique culture, outlined in its now-famous Culture Deck.

That deck was constructed by Patty McCord, who spent 14 years as Netflix’s chief talent officer.

The company McCord joined is Lending Club (NYSE:LC).

In the press release, McCord stated:

I see a lot of parallels between where Netflix was as a company 10 years ago, where LendingClub is today, and where it can go in the next 10 years. I’m attracted to LendingClub for the stellar people and the way it exemplifies the concepts of freedom and responsibility. Culture can help drive innovation in companies that are paving new ground and transforming legacy industries, like Netflix did and like LendingClub is doing today. … In our innovative world, I see marketplaces like LendingClub as the future.

Ousted SoFi CEO is back with a new startup (Axios), Rated: A

Why it matters: If 2017 was the year in which VCs began to fire controversial execs, 2018 may be the year in which they’re forced to decide on quick-turn second acts.

Affirm’s big business for 2018 is marketing (Tearsheet), Rated: A

  • Affirm isn’t just a payment method or a personal loan anymore — it’s a marketing lever for merchants

  • Affirm sees every transaction at the point of sale — who is buying, what they’re buying and where; it’s a departure from the way credit is underwritten today, where lenders have no idea why borrowers need the money or how they’ll use it

Where Does Alternative Lending Go in 2018? (Hackernoon), Rated: A

When most people think of alternative lending, they immediately think of payday loans and other abusive loan products. In the tech world, the first thing that comes to mind are online lenders: those who take loans traditionally originated in person and move them online. That was the first wave of alternative lenders — think LendingClub, Prosper, OnDeck, to name a few.

Alt investments on the rise among RIAs (InvestmentNews), Rated: A

Based on the success of the RIA industry, the trend of breakaway advisers interested in exploring the independent channel continues to gain momentum.

Propagated by wirehouse branch management to keep their top producers in their seats, this false campaign is now being revealed as its exact opposite; there are more customizable solutions for RIAs to access and deploy alternative investments for their high net worth clients than ever before.

For example, to access alternatives on their own, RIAs in the past typically would be looking at $25 million AUM minimums just to reach cost-effective scale, and many alternative managers have $10 million individual minimums themselves.

5 fintech charts that surprised us this year (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Loyalty and rewards incentives may not be enough to make consumers like mobile payments, and it could be on retailers to find what would keep people coming back to their mobile wallets. Mobile payment adoption among Apple, Android and Samsung Pay today is low. Paying with cash or card works just fine for them, customers say.

Transparency is the big sticking point when it comes to why small businesses still prefer banks to online lenders.

What Silicon Valley Misunderstands About Banking & Fintech (The Financial Brand), Rated: A

There are some relevant lessons learned about behavioral finance and digital adoption discussed in the book “FinTech Innovation.” One of the most important lessons is the distinction between digital banking winners and laggards over time.

  • Disruptive innovation is ultimately less important than sustaining innovation.
  • Digital is a ‘pull’ technology, while much of financial serves are ‘push’ market places.
  • Platforms win on digital: bundling is more important than unbundling.

The Distinction Between ‘Push’ and ‘Pull’ Marketplaces

Digital brings many benefits to streamline the processes in financial services, but front office disintermediation could easily create financial exclusion in the Western world because many households operate in a ‘push’ modality. Only the few self-directed consumers are comfortable enough to ‘pull’ financial products.

This is the reason why the growth of first mover Robo-Advisor solutions were initially very promising but then faltered, while firms like Vanguard and Charles Schwab can still grow fast on digital.

Being a ‘pull’ marketplace means using digital with a purpose, like looking for a specific product on Amazon. However, very few households would google for the next investment fund or business loan. Instead, the majority would ask a friend, a banking organization or an advisor about their recommendations.

Will tomorrow’s core banking systems run on open-source software? (American Banker), Rated: A

Banks, long committed to keeping customer data private and their own code proprietary, are now opening up to fintechs and third-party developers in new ways.

Open-source projects are underway at Deutsche Bank, which made code from its Autobahn commercial banking software publicly available this fall, and at JPMorgan Chase, whose Quorum blockchain software is available in the open-source software repository GitHub.

For fintech owned by a CUSO, will banks buy? (Banking Exchange), Rated: A

Morales, CEO of QCash Financial, a credit union service organization (CUSO) owned by WSECU (formerly Washington State Employee Credit Union), says that constraint may be lessening based on the final ruling on payday lending issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in October.

Credit unions, however, are interested in the QCash small-dollar lending platform. Morales says that nine credit unions have signed up for the product and five are currently live with it.

Fintech Predictions For 2018 (Financial Advisor), Rated: B

Identity verification will be a priority in 2018, with 60 percent of online marketplaces and other websites adopting technologies and techniques for verifying new users’ identities, the company predicts.

Bankers anxious as Trump mulls credit union regulator for CFPB (American Banker), Rated: B

The Trump administration’s consideration of J. Mark McWatters to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is stoking fears among bankers that he will show favor to credit unions once in office.

United Kingdom

UK’s Largest P2P Lender Funding Circle Said to be Planning IPO at £2 Billion Valuation (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle, a UK based peer to peer lender, is reportedly planning an initial public offering (IPO) for 2018. The news of the new listing is courtesy of SkyNews that reports Funding Circle will begin meeting with investment banks during Q1 of 2018 as they sign up underwriters for the deal. Shares are expected to list at some point in late 2018. If Funding Circle trades on an exchange it will become the first UK P2P lender to do so thus representing a seminal event in the online lending industry.

Urban Jungle Raises £1M in Seed Funding (FinSMEs), Rated: A

Urban Jungle, a London, UK-based insurtech startup, completed a £1m seed funding round.

Moneywise reveals top 2018 financial resolutions for UK adults (London School of Business & Finance), Rated: A

Research from financial advice website Moneywise has revealed the top financial goals of its users for 2018.

Moneywise found that cutting down on unnecessary spending was the top financial resolution for 2018, with 18 per cent citing this as their main priority.

Starting or boosting cash savings was voted the second most popular financial resolution for 2018, with this goal being set by 11 per cent of Moneywise users, whilst 10 per cent plan to start investing for the first time or boosting investments in a Stocks and Shares Isa.

When IFAs fight back against digital investment management (WhatInvestment.co.uk), Rated: A

More robo-advice platforms are on the market than ever before, and the number will grow rapidly during 2018. A joint report from the FCA and the Treasury, published last June, found that 100 robo firms are either on the market already or in active development.

IFAs may well find this frustrating – even with professional credentials and years of experience, they are subject to more distrust and scrutiny than a number of untested algorithms. Worse, these algorithms may come to represent their primary competition: they offer lower prices, they open up access to financial advice, and there is a range of options available for customers minded to use them, with more to come.

Proplend Looks Back on 2017 P2P Successes & Announces 2018 Plans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On Tuesday, online platform Proplend gave its 2017 peer-to-peer lending year in review.

  • The majority of platforms gained full Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) authorization
  • Many platforms sought ISA Manager Status to launch Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) – with Proplend being among the early adopters.
  • LendInvest withdrew FCA approval application and stepped down from the Peer to Peer Finance Association as it moved from all P2P activity
  • RateSetter’s wholesale lending practices notably proved costly. The lender eventually withdrew from the P2PFA after breathing the association’s operating principles

The lender went on to note its plans for 2018:

  • The redesign of Lender Dashboards, Proplend.com website and the launch of our Auto-Invest product
  • Initially Proplend Auto-Invest will be a low-risk (Tranche A), three-year, Innovative Finance ISA product targeting returns of c.5% each year
  • The lender has built a “healthy” loan pipeline which will be available on the platform from early 2018, subject to due diligence, valuations, and legals.

5 alternative investments to the stock market (BM Magazine), Rated: B

  1. Real Estate
  2. Gold and other Precious Metals
  3. Backing and Staking in Poker
  4. Peer-to-Peer Lending
  5. Equity Crowdfunding

Could 2018 be a bumper year for tech IPOs? (Computer Business Review), Rated: B

After a couple of quiet years on the IPO front, the market could be ready to bounce back with Funding Circle said to be the first targeting flotation.

In January 2017 the P2P site surpassed a £1bn valuation thanks to an £82m funding round, led by the likes of Accel.

With distribution deals with the likes of the Royal Bank of Scotland and Santander, Funding Circle lent more than £1.7bn in 2017.

The London Stock Exchange revealed that 106 companies floated on its markets in 2017, raising £15bn, up 63% by number and 164% by value on 2016. These numbers mean that the LSE surpassed all European exchanges in the year by both IPO number and by money raised.

European Union

ETF providers hope Mifid II will spur European growth (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

ETF trading has since spread to 25 exchanges across Europe, but no accurate record of activity has been required by regulators. About 70 per cent of ETF trading in Europe goes unreported because it occurs via private bilateral over-the-counter transactions.

This should begin to end from Wednesday with the introduction of sweeping European rules designed to strengthen protection for investors and improve transparency across the continent’s financial markets. The package of regulations, known as Mifid II, requires comprehensive, detailed reporting of ETF trades.

Source: Financial Times

The passive investment industry, which is dominated by BlackRock, State Street and Vanguard, are betting Mifid II will set their European businesses on a growth path akin to the US, where usage has spread far more widely and deeply. Assets held in US-listed ETFs stood at $3.5tn at the end of November, compared with just $790bn across all European-listed ETFs, according to ETFGI.

Source: Financial Times
International

The FinTech outlook for 2018 (The Finanser), Rated: AAA

There are four big things for 2018 from a FinTech viewpoint that are obvious to me however, which are:

  1. Getting down to business with Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  2. Rationalising and cleansing core data structures
  3. Continuing the digital drive
  4. Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) continues to rise

Therefore, rather than me making predictions, I thought it interesting to review the views of other commentators.

Jim also wrote another piece that nicely summarises Forrester’s predictions for 2018 which include:

  1. Banks not embracing Open Banking, but increasing partnerships with start-ups;
  2. Faster moves to embrace Digital Banking whilst losing focus on face-to-face communications; and
  3. Focus on back office transformation.

 

Saxo Bank’s Payments business sent me a press release with their top three predictions, which are:

  • The demise of traditional, slow, expensive cross border payments
  • Payment Service Providers (PSPs) will help merchants to expand internationally
  • Tech giants move into banking

Top 10 Companies of the Blockchain Industry in 2017 (Coin Telegraph), Rated: A

The total market capitalization of all the cryptocurrencies hit the $600 bln mark in December.

Source: Coin Telegraph

Coinbase is one of the top digital currency wallet and platform for exchange. Market capitalization: $2 bln (GDAX)

Ripple is a real-time gross settlement and currency exchange. Its main goal is to make an entire system devoted to money transferring. Market capitalization: $30 bln

India

P2P players blame lending limit for rising costs (Business Standard), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending (P2P) platforms have seen a rise in traffic as well as investor interest after registering themselves with the  But they argue the Rs 1-million limit placed on across all platforms is restrictive.

“With time, these limits are going to be relaxed by the  These have been imposed in order to avoid rapid growth that could lead to systemic risk,” said Ekmeet Singh, CEO, Lendbox.

Industry players want the to raise the limit for individual borrowers and remove the limit for institutional 

P2P lender AnyTimeLoan, prop-tech startup Foyr, tech firm Imanis raise funds (Deal Street Asia), Rated: A

While Spice Digital is investing up to $3.9 million in AnyTimeLoan, prop-tech startup Foyr has raised $3.8 million from JLL and others. Also, Wipro has put in an additional $2 million in US-based tech firm Imanis.

Asia

Crowdo Recaps 2017 Milestones: 3,500+ Projects Funded (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Crowdo, a South East Asian online marketplace for P2P lending and crowdfunding, posted an infographic citing its 2017 milestones.

Canada

Meet GN Compass: The ICO Attempting to Disrupt Liquidity In The Lending Market (Equities.com), Rated: AAA

Collins: I left the railway, cashed out my pension and started my own lending company; Great North Capital Inc. We have successfully funded approximately 100 loans; primarily focusing on high risk clients. Based on my accumulative knowledge and experience in both banking and running Great North Capital, I started to develop the idea for a peer-to-peer lending solution where there is very limited risk to the investors (lenders) while making loans liquid. Also by having our own credit system for borrowers, they have the opportunity to improve their credit rating on the platform by making timely payments and having no delinquencies. At the same time, I was learning more about cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. I quickly realized the huge potential of the blockchain and how it can solve the liquidity problem as well as securing an investor’s principal capital; which are the main issues of current peer-to-peer lending platforms. I got in touch with Jean Pierre Rukebesha who immediately liked the idea and decided to come on board as co-founder and CFO. Hence GN Compass (Great North Compass) was born.

Older Canadians still leery of fintech despite flood of services, RateHub finds (IT Business), Rated: A

Between last year’s official release of Android Pay, the increasing ubiquity of artificial intelligence (AI)-powered support platforms such as Sun Life’s Ella, and the ongoing digital transformation of Canada’s banks, Canadians have more opportunities than ever to integrate fintech into their lives – but according to financial comparison platform developer Ratehub.ca, the eldest among us aren’t taking advantage.

According to the company’s 2017 Digital Money Trends Report, released last month, fewer than half of baby boomers reported trusting robo-advisors, mobile payments, marketplace and peer-to-peer lenders, and rate comparison website, while in many cases millennials and generation X-ers were nearly twice as likely to do so.

Other findings from the report include:

  • Nearly twice as many millennials (44 per cent) and generation X-ers (42 per cent) reported trusting robo-advisors compared to boomers (23 per cent).
  • Nearly twice as many millennials (71 per cent) said they trust mobile payments compared to boomers (38 per cent). (62 per cent of generation X-ers said they trust mobile payments.)
  • Twice as many millennials (47 per cent) and generation X-ers (48 per cent) trust marketplace lenders compared to boomers (23 per cent).
  • 58 per cent of millennials and 53 per cent of generation X-ers trust peer-to-peer lenders, versus only 32 per cent of boomers.
  • 63 per cent of millennials and 60 per cent of generation X-ers trust rate comparison websites, versus 42 per cent of boomers.
Africa

Internet firm Opera bets on Kenyan to steer Africa Fintech (Business Daily), Rated: A

Internet browser company Opera has picked Eddie Ndichu to drive its Fintech strategy in Africa even as it prepares to set up an office in Nairobi.

Opera has said that it is investing Sh10.3 billion ($100 million) in Africa’s digital economy over the next two years and OPay is part of those investments.

In a statement Tuesday, Opera said that it had appointed Mr Ndichu as the managing director and vice president for Fintech in Africa.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday January 3 2018, Daily News Digest

ETFs Europe

News Comments Today’s main news: GreenSky raises $4.5B in equity, becomes most valuable online lender. Funding Circle has eye on IPO at 2B GBP valuation. P2P lenders in India blame lending limit on rising costs. GN Compass wants to disrupt lending liquidity in Canada. Today’s main analysis: Can Mifid II spur growth in European ETF market? Today’s thought-provoking […]

ETFs Europe

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

India

Asia

Canada

Africa

News Summary

United States

Who’s the Most Valuable Online Lender? After This Deal, It’s GreenSky (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Financial-technology firm GreenSky LLC raised new equity from Pacific Investment Management Co. in a deal that valued the digital lender at nearly $4.5 billion, said a person familiar with the matter.

It vaults GreenSky over Social Finance Inc. to become the most highly-valued online lender in the U.S. It also makes the Atlanta company the second most valuable privately held U.S. fintech company behind Stripe Inc., which processes payments for Internet businesses.

Pimco, the Newport Beach, Calif., money manager, invested at a valuation roughly 25% above the $3.6 billion GreenSky fetched in 2016.

What 2018 Will Mean For Marketplace Lenders (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

2017 was a tough year for some of the biggest names in alternative financial services in the U.S. – Prosper, OnDeck and LendingClub, in particular.

Breslow is hyping OnDeck’s future of partnerships with mainstream baking players – in particular, calling out a renewed partnership with JPMorgan Chase in August to expand the banks’ SMB lending reach.

Prosper, perhaps unsurprisingly, is focused on remaining prosperous, as measured by profitability and further developing its new securitization platform.

LendingClub finally got investors to show them some love – and after its record low following its analyst day earnings accounting, stock jumped 15 percent in mid-December and has managed to hold relatively stable.

Marketplace Lending Predictions for 2018 (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

First, let’s review my predictions I made exactly one year ago.

  1. 2017 will be the year of the bank partnership
    I would say I was partially right on this one.
  2. The OCC Fintech Charter will receive a positive reception
    So, while many of the fintech platforms supported the charter there was no real positive movement this year.
  3. Lending platforms will offer banking products
    While we had a couple of platforms offering credit cards for the most part this prediction failed to materialize.
  4. One large platform will be acquired
    Student lender Earnest was acquired by Navient in a deal announced in early October.
  5. There will be no new IPOs this year
    I was almost right on this one but one US lending platform did have an IPO in 2017.
  6. China will become an important source of capital outside the USA
    I got this one right.
  7. Artificial intelligence will take center stage
    I think I read more articles about AI this year than in the previous five years combined.

My 2018 Marketplace Lending Predictions

  1. Five top 25 banks will launch their own online lending platforms
    Banks have realized that if you want to provide successful loan products today you need to have an online presence.
  2. Two new pieces of legislation will be passed that will benefit the industry
  3. One of the top five (non-bank) online lending platforms will be acquired
  4. A major lending platform will get hit with a cyber attack
    Here is the one prediction where I really hope I am wrong.
  5. The tech giants consolidate their positions in online lending
    Amazon, PayPal and Square have all started to roll out various online lending offerings to their huge customer bases.
  6. 2018 is the year of product line expansion
  7. Messaging apps start to get integrated into online lending

The Top 10 Most Important Marketplace Lending Stories of 2017 (Lend Academy), Rated: A

  1. Mike Cagney is Gone as CEO of SoFi Effective Immediately
  2. The Cleveland Fed Retracts Their Report on “P2P Lending”
  3. Prosper Finally Closes Their Big $5 Billion Deal
  4. Renaud Laplanche is Back with a New Consumer Lending Platform Called Upgrade 
  5. The New Breed of Small Business Lenders: Amazon, Paypal and Square
  6. The Fastest Consumer Lenders to $1 Billion in Originations
  7. CFPB Announces No-Action Letter to Upstart
  8. The OCC Publishes Details on the Fintech Charter
  9. Bills Being Introduced to “Fix” Decision in Madden v. Midland
  10. Takeaways From LendingClub’s First Ever Investor Day

Ex-Netflix Exec Thinks This Fintech Company Has Netflix-Like Potential (The Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

Netflix has completely disrupted the entertainment industry, sending large incumbents scrambling to compete with its vast global scale.

How did Netflix pull this off? Several reasons, but one is certainly Netflix’s unique culture, outlined in its now-famous Culture Deck.

That deck was constructed by Patty McCord, who spent 14 years as Netflix’s chief talent officer.

The company McCord joined is Lending Club (NYSE:LC).

In the press release, McCord stated:

I see a lot of parallels between where Netflix was as a company 10 years ago, where LendingClub is today, and where it can go in the next 10 years. I’m attracted to LendingClub for the stellar people and the way it exemplifies the concepts of freedom and responsibility. Culture can help drive innovation in companies that are paving new ground and transforming legacy industries, like Netflix did and like LendingClub is doing today. … In our innovative world, I see marketplaces like LendingClub as the future.

Ousted SoFi CEO is back with a new startup (Axios), Rated: A

Why it matters: If 2017 was the year in which VCs began to fire controversial execs, 2018 may be the year in which they’re forced to decide on quick-turn second acts.

Affirm’s big business for 2018 is marketing (Tearsheet), Rated: A

  • Affirm isn’t just a payment method or a personal loan anymore — it’s a marketing lever for merchants

  • Affirm sees every transaction at the point of sale — who is buying, what they’re buying and where; it’s a departure from the way credit is underwritten today, where lenders have no idea why borrowers need the money or how they’ll use it

Where Does Alternative Lending Go in 2018? (Hackernoon), Rated: A

When most people think of alternative lending, they immediately think of payday loans and other abusive loan products. In the tech world, the first thing that comes to mind are online lenders: those who take loans traditionally originated in person and move them online. That was the first wave of alternative lenders — think LendingClub, Prosper, OnDeck, to name a few.

Alt investments on the rise among RIAs (InvestmentNews), Rated: A

Based on the success of the RIA industry, the trend of breakaway advisers interested in exploring the independent channel continues to gain momentum.

Propagated by wirehouse branch management to keep their top producers in their seats, this false campaign is now being revealed as its exact opposite; there are more customizable solutions for RIAs to access and deploy alternative investments for their high net worth clients than ever before.

For example, to access alternatives on their own, RIAs in the past typically would be looking at $25 million AUM minimums just to reach cost-effective scale, and many alternative managers have $10 million individual minimums themselves.

5 fintech charts that surprised us this year (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Loyalty and rewards incentives may not be enough to make consumers like mobile payments, and it could be on retailers to find what would keep people coming back to their mobile wallets. Mobile payment adoption among Apple, Android and Samsung Pay today is low. Paying with cash or card works just fine for them, customers say.

Transparency is the big sticking point when it comes to why small businesses still prefer banks to online lenders.

What Silicon Valley Misunderstands About Banking & Fintech (The Financial Brand), Rated: A

There are some relevant lessons learned about behavioral finance and digital adoption discussed in the book “FinTech Innovation.” One of the most important lessons is the distinction between digital banking winners and laggards over time.

  • Disruptive innovation is ultimately less important than sustaining innovation.
  • Digital is a ‘pull’ technology, while much of financial serves are ‘push’ market places.
  • Platforms win on digital: bundling is more important than unbundling.

The Distinction Between ‘Push’ and ‘Pull’ Marketplaces

Digital brings many benefits to streamline the processes in financial services, but front office disintermediation could easily create financial exclusion in the Western world because many households operate in a ‘push’ modality. Only the few self-directed consumers are comfortable enough to ‘pull’ financial products.

This is the reason why the growth of first mover Robo-Advisor solutions were initially very promising but then faltered, while firms like Vanguard and Charles Schwab can still grow fast on digital.

Being a ‘pull’ marketplace means using digital with a purpose, like looking for a specific product on Amazon. However, very few households would google for the next investment fund or business loan. Instead, the majority would ask a friend, a banking organization or an advisor about their recommendations.

Will tomorrow’s core banking systems run on open-source software? (American Banker), Rated: A

Banks, long committed to keeping customer data private and their own code proprietary, are now opening up to fintechs and third-party developers in new ways.

Open-source projects are underway at Deutsche Bank, which made code from its Autobahn commercial banking software publicly available this fall, and at JPMorgan Chase, whose Quorum blockchain software is available in the open-source software repository GitHub.

For fintech owned by a CUSO, will banks buy? (Banking Exchange), Rated: A

Morales, CEO of QCash Financial, a credit union service organization (CUSO) owned by WSECU (formerly Washington State Employee Credit Union), says that constraint may be lessening based on the final ruling on payday lending issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in October.

Credit unions, however, are interested in the QCash small-dollar lending platform. Morales says that nine credit unions have signed up for the product and five are currently live with it.

Fintech Predictions For 2018 (Financial Advisor), Rated: B

Identity verification will be a priority in 2018, with 60 percent of online marketplaces and other websites adopting technologies and techniques for verifying new users’ identities, the company predicts.

Bankers anxious as Trump mulls credit union regulator for CFPB (American Banker), Rated: B

The Trump administration’s consideration of J. Mark McWatters to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is stoking fears among bankers that he will show favor to credit unions once in office.

United Kingdom

UK’s Largest P2P Lender Funding Circle Said to be Planning IPO at £2 Billion Valuation (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle, a UK based peer to peer lender, is reportedly planning an initial public offering (IPO) for 2018. The news of the new listing is courtesy of SkyNews that reports Funding Circle will begin meeting with investment banks during Q1 of 2018 as they sign up underwriters for the deal. Shares are expected to list at some point in late 2018. If Funding Circle trades on an exchange it will become the first UK P2P lender to do so thus representing a seminal event in the online lending industry.

Urban Jungle Raises £1M in Seed Funding (FinSMEs), Rated: A

Urban Jungle, a London, UK-based insurtech startup, completed a £1m seed funding round.

Moneywise reveals top 2018 financial resolutions for UK adults (London School of Business & Finance), Rated: A

Research from financial advice website Moneywise has revealed the top financial goals of its users for 2018.

Moneywise found that cutting down on unnecessary spending was the top financial resolution for 2018, with 18 per cent citing this as their main priority.

Starting or boosting cash savings was voted the second most popular financial resolution for 2018, with this goal being set by 11 per cent of Moneywise users, whilst 10 per cent plan to start investing for the first time or boosting investments in a Stocks and Shares Isa.

When IFAs fight back against digital investment management (WhatInvestment.co.uk), Rated: A

More robo-advice platforms are on the market than ever before, and the number will grow rapidly during 2018. A joint report from the FCA and the Treasury, published last June, found that 100 robo firms are either on the market already or in active development.

IFAs may well find this frustrating – even with professional credentials and years of experience, they are subject to more distrust and scrutiny than a number of untested algorithms. Worse, these algorithms may come to represent their primary competition: they offer lower prices, they open up access to financial advice, and there is a range of options available for customers minded to use them, with more to come.

Proplend Looks Back on 2017 P2P Successes & Announces 2018 Plans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On Tuesday, online platform Proplend gave its 2017 peer-to-peer lending year in review.

  • The majority of platforms gained full Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) authorization
  • Many platforms sought ISA Manager Status to launch Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) – with Proplend being among the early adopters.
  • LendInvest withdrew FCA approval application and stepped down from the Peer to Peer Finance Association as it moved from all P2P activity
  • RateSetter’s wholesale lending practices notably proved costly. The lender eventually withdrew from the P2PFA after breathing the association’s operating principles

The lender went on to note its plans for 2018:

  • The redesign of Lender Dashboards, Proplend.com website and the launch of our Auto-Invest product
  • Initially Proplend Auto-Invest will be a low-risk (Tranche A), three-year, Innovative Finance ISA product targeting returns of c.5% each year
  • The lender has built a “healthy” loan pipeline which will be available on the platform from early 2018, subject to due diligence, valuations, and legals.

5 alternative investments to the stock market (BM Magazine), Rated: B

  1. Real Estate
  2. Gold and other Precious Metals
  3. Backing and Staking in Poker
  4. Peer-to-Peer Lending
  5. Equity Crowdfunding

Could 2018 be a bumper year for tech IPOs? (Computer Business Review), Rated: B

After a couple of quiet years on the IPO front, the market could be ready to bounce back with Funding Circle said to be the first targeting flotation.

In January 2017 the P2P site surpassed a £1bn valuation thanks to an £82m funding round, led by the likes of Accel.

With distribution deals with the likes of the Royal Bank of Scotland and Santander, Funding Circle lent more than £1.7bn in 2017.

The London Stock Exchange revealed that 106 companies floated on its markets in 2017, raising £15bn, up 63% by number and 164% by value on 2016. These numbers mean that the LSE surpassed all European exchanges in the year by both IPO number and by money raised.

European Union

ETF providers hope Mifid II will spur European growth (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

ETF trading has since spread to 25 exchanges across Europe, but no accurate record of activity has been required by regulators. About 70 per cent of ETF trading in Europe goes unreported because it occurs via private bilateral over-the-counter transactions.

This should begin to end from Wednesday with the introduction of sweeping European rules designed to strengthen protection for investors and improve transparency across the continent’s financial markets. The package of regulations, known as Mifid II, requires comprehensive, detailed reporting of ETF trades.

Source: Financial Times

The passive investment industry, which is dominated by BlackRock, State Street and Vanguard, are betting Mifid II will set their European businesses on a growth path akin to the US, where usage has spread far more widely and deeply. Assets held in US-listed ETFs stood at $3.5tn at the end of November, compared with just $790bn across all European-listed ETFs, according to ETFGI.

Source: Financial Times
International

The FinTech outlook for 2018 (The Finanser), Rated: AAA

There are four big things for 2018 from a FinTech viewpoint that are obvious to me however, which are:

  1. Getting down to business with Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  2. Rationalising and cleansing core data structures
  3. Continuing the digital drive
  4. Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) continues to rise

Therefore, rather than me making predictions, I thought it interesting to review the views of other commentators.

Jim also wrote another piece that nicely summarises Forrester’s predictions for 2018 which include:

  1. Banks not embracing Open Banking, but increasing partnerships with start-ups;
  2. Faster moves to embrace Digital Banking whilst losing focus on face-to-face communications; and
  3. Focus on back office transformation.

 

Saxo Bank’s Payments business sent me a press release with their top three predictions, which are:

  • The demise of traditional, slow, expensive cross border payments
  • Payment Service Providers (PSPs) will help merchants to expand internationally
  • Tech giants move into banking

Top 10 Companies of the Blockchain Industry in 2017 (Coin Telegraph), Rated: A

The total market capitalization of all the cryptocurrencies hit the $600 bln mark in December.

Source: Coin Telegraph

Coinbase is one of the top digital currency wallet and platform for exchange. Market capitalization: $2 bln (GDAX)

Ripple is a real-time gross settlement and currency exchange. Its main goal is to make an entire system devoted to money transferring. Market capitalization: $30 bln

India

P2P players blame lending limit for rising costs (Business Standard), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending (P2P) platforms have seen a rise in traffic as well as investor interest after registering themselves with the  But they argue the Rs 1-million limit placed on across all platforms is restrictive.

“With time, these limits are going to be relaxed by the  These have been imposed in order to avoid rapid growth that could lead to systemic risk,” said Ekmeet Singh, CEO, Lendbox.

Industry players want the to raise the limit for individual borrowers and remove the limit for institutional 

P2P lender AnyTimeLoan, prop-tech startup Foyr, tech firm Imanis raise funds (Deal Street Asia), Rated: A

While Spice Digital is investing up to $3.9 million in AnyTimeLoan, prop-tech startup Foyr has raised $3.8 million from JLL and others. Also, Wipro has put in an additional $2 million in US-based tech firm Imanis.

Asia

Crowdo Recaps 2017 Milestones: 3,500+ Projects Funded (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Crowdo, a South East Asian online marketplace for P2P lending and crowdfunding, posted an infographic citing its 2017 milestones.

Canada

Meet GN Compass: The ICO Attempting to Disrupt Liquidity In The Lending Market (Equities.com), Rated: AAA

Collins: I left the railway, cashed out my pension and started my own lending company; Great North Capital Inc. We have successfully funded approximately 100 loans; primarily focusing on high risk clients. Based on my accumulative knowledge and experience in both banking and running Great North Capital, I started to develop the idea for a peer-to-peer lending solution where there is very limited risk to the investors (lenders) while making loans liquid. Also by having our own credit system for borrowers, they have the opportunity to improve their credit rating on the platform by making timely payments and having no delinquencies. At the same time, I was learning more about cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. I quickly realized the huge potential of the blockchain and how it can solve the liquidity problem as well as securing an investor’s principal capital; which are the main issues of current peer-to-peer lending platforms. I got in touch with Jean Pierre Rukebesha who immediately liked the idea and decided to come on board as co-founder and CFO. Hence GN Compass (Great North Compass) was born.

Older Canadians still leery of fintech despite flood of services, RateHub finds (IT Business), Rated: A

Between last year’s official release of Android Pay, the increasing ubiquity of artificial intelligence (AI)-powered support platforms such as Sun Life’s Ella, and the ongoing digital transformation of Canada’s banks, Canadians have more opportunities than ever to integrate fintech into their lives – but according to financial comparison platform developer Ratehub.ca, the eldest among us aren’t taking advantage.

According to the company’s 2017 Digital Money Trends Report, released last month, fewer than half of baby boomers reported trusting robo-advisors, mobile payments, marketplace and peer-to-peer lenders, and rate comparison website, while in many cases millennials and generation X-ers were nearly twice as likely to do so.

Other findings from the report include:

  • Nearly twice as many millennials (44 per cent) and generation X-ers (42 per cent) reported trusting robo-advisors compared to boomers (23 per cent).
  • Nearly twice as many millennials (71 per cent) said they trust mobile payments compared to boomers (38 per cent). (62 per cent of generation X-ers said they trust mobile payments.)
  • Twice as many millennials (47 per cent) and generation X-ers (48 per cent) trust marketplace lenders compared to boomers (23 per cent).
  • 58 per cent of millennials and 53 per cent of generation X-ers trust peer-to-peer lenders, versus only 32 per cent of boomers.
  • 63 per cent of millennials and 60 per cent of generation X-ers trust rate comparison websites, versus 42 per cent of boomers.
Africa

Internet firm Opera bets on Kenyan to steer Africa Fintech (Business Daily), Rated: A

Internet browser company Opera has picked Eddie Ndichu to drive its Fintech strategy in Africa even as it prepares to set up an office in Nairobi.

Opera has said that it is investing Sh10.3 billion ($100 million) in Africa’s digital economy over the next two years and OPay is part of those investments.

In a statement Tuesday, Opera said that it had appointed Mr Ndichu as the managing director and vice president for Fintech in Africa.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday November 30 2017, Daily News Digest

Lending Club

News Comments Today’s main news: Lending Club rolls out its next-generation small business credit policy. Elevate’s RISE surpasses $300M in outstanding loans. Upgrade, Corridor collaborate on big data, credit analytics. Assetz Capital completes Seedrs funding round with 1.6M GBP. Alibaba seeks majority stake in SenseTime. Revolut banks on cryptocurrency. Comunitae suspends activities due to fraud. Today’s main analysis: The hidden relationship between […]

Lending Club

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

MENA

News Summary

United States

Next Generation Small Business Credit Policy (Lending Club), Rated: AAA

We are excited to announce the next generation small business credit policy on our platform which allows us to power the vision of even more small business owners.

Minimum qualifications have been reduced from 24 months in business to 12 months in business and from $75,000 to $50,000 in annual sales.

Since 2014 we’ve facilitated over $500 million in loans to thousands of small businesses across the nation.

Elevate’s RISE Product Surpasses $ 300 Million in Outstanding Loans (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Elevate Credit, Inc., a leading tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, today announced its RISE product has surpassed $300 million in total outstandings, with more than 130,000 open accounts.

Will Lending Club Turn a Corner? (GuruFocus), Rated: AAA

Lending Club arguably pioneered peer-to-peer lending, which has been one of the most vibrant segments of the credit market. Some analysts, however, have questioned the company’s ability to continue growing without adopting some traditional banking practices, like taking deposits.

Lending Club has failed to manage costs well over the past two years, leading to its inability to net profits. As illustrated in the chart below, the company’s trailing 12-month revenue now stands at about $551 million, but it has managed to reduce the net loss from about $175 million in the first quarter to about $94 million in the third quarter.

Source: GuruFocus

Lending Club’s first-half 2017 loan originations figure, however, declined from the prior-year period, dropping to approximately $4.1 billion versus $4.7 billion last year.

Would You Take Out a Loan for a Pair of Jeans? (Racked), Rated: AAA

Jocelyn Vera Zorn is not eager to talk about the loan she took out to buy the pants. “It’s kind of embarrassing,” she grimaces.

For merchants, Affirm provides exceptional benefits, increasing average order values across the board; perhaps not surprisingly, people will shop more, and more often, when they don’t immediately feel the costs. And for many customers, including Jocelyn, the predictable, convenient payments are worth the higher interest rates.

Affirm claims to be a more transparent and honest, if not cheaper, line of credit for the underserved. Using internal, proprietary data science and artificial intelligence, the company says it approves 126 percent more borrowers than traditional lenders, based on soft credit pullsand an opaque mosaic of consumer information.

Source: Racked

While more than two-thirds of Americans own at least one credit card, 20 percent are considered subprime, with a FICO score of 600 or below. Another 10 percent are on the bubble.

Source: Racked

Upgrade and Corridor Collaborate on Big Data and Credit Analytics (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Upgrade, Inc. (), a consumer credit platform that combines personal loans with tools that help consumers understand and monitor their credit, today announced a strategic partnership with Corridor Funds (), a new credit analytics and portfolio management platform founded by Manish Gupta. Mr. Gupta was recently EVP, Global Head of Information Management and Advanced Decisioning at American Express and prior to that spent many years as Chief Credit Officer of the Amex US consumer lending business. Under the terms of the partnership, Corridor will provide independent analytical review and validation to investors in Upgrade’s personal loan products, and will collaborate with Upgrade on new product design.

TechCrunch Founder Arrington Raising 0 Million XRP Fund (Coindesk), Rated: A

Announced today at CoinDesk’s Consensus: Invest in New York, TechCrunch founder Michael Arringtonrevealed he’s raising $100 million for a hedge fund that will buy and hold crypto assets while making investments in token sales and (some) equities and debt.

Launched under a new entity called Arrington XRP Capital, the fund claims to be the first that will require all limited partners (LPs) to make investments in XRP, the cryptocurrency that powers San Francisco startup Ripple’s RippleNet software.

Why Social Impact Matters in Tech: How LendUp Saved our Customers More Than $ 150 Million Dollars (Huffington Post), Rated: A

Five years later, LendUp customers are improving their credit scores, and now I’m proud to say that LendUp Loan customers have saved $150 million versus what they would have spent with traditional small dollar lenders, all while improving their credit score to open up more financial options in the future.

Two-thirds of LendUp Loan customers report having income swings of $100 or more a month. And since our newest customers lack short-term savings — 83% aren’t confident they can cover a $400 emergency — 77% report that they often miss bill payments.

Fintech Can Help Fast-Track Puerto Rico’s Recovery (Forbes), Rated: A

Agile, customer-experience-focused financial technology businesses continue to drive innovation, modernization and access to credit in America’s financial services marketplace when banks and other traditional providers can’t meet consumers’ needs. For example, fintech lenders help consumers and small businesses alike find financial products and services that meet their credit needs, whether it’s a short-term loan for an emergency expense or capital to help grow a small business — even when these applicants have been denied by their banks.

OnDeck monthly series highlights successful small businesses (Bankless Times), Rated: A

Online small business lender OnDeck today launched a new monthly series spotlighting the achievements of its small business customers and how they are thriving as a result of receiving capital from OnDeck.

For December, the customer success spotlight is on Dana Donofree, the owner of AnaOno, a lingerie and loungewear company for women with a unique mission.

“Applying for a loan can be incredibly stressful but fortunately, OnDeck had quick questions and quick responses.  Right away, I could see how much financing I was approved for and what that meant regarding payback. I had the opportunity to review everything before I took the loan.”

New Survey Finds Relationship Tension and Anxiety are Hidden Costs of Debt (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

The old saying goes, ‘money can’t buy happiness.’ It should also say ‘and debt can make you anxious, keep you up at night and cause problems in relationships.’ That’s according to a new telephone survey of 1,004 U.S. adults conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). The survey found nearly three-quarters of Americans (73 percent) are living with debt driven by factors such as everyday expenses, a lack of income, mortgage costs and student loans, reflecting the far-reaching potential impact of debt upon society.

Recent data shows outstanding household debt reached a record high of $12.84 trillion, making this survey timely. With U.S. consumer spending growing at its fastest pace since 2009, it appears the frugal habits many Americans adopted directly after the Great Recession are a thing of the past.

More than half of Americans with debt (56 percent) say it has negatively impacted their life.

Of those, one-in-five (21 percent) say debt is causing relationship tension with a spouse or partner and one-in-ten (11 percent) have misled family or friends about their financial situation. Debt is not just impacting life at home, it has found ways to creep into all aspects of the day. Nearly a third (31 percent) admit to worrying about their debt in general while nearly one-in-five (18 percent) say they worry while at work and one-in-four (25 percent) worry at bedtime.

Living with debt has become a financial and mental burden for nearly three-in-ten Americans with debt (28 percent) who stress about everyday financial decisions because of their debt. Nearly one-fifth of Americans with debt (19 percent) have received letters and calls from collection agencies. While the low interest rate environment has the potential to keep payments lower, one-in-four (25 percent) say that they’re worried a rate hike could change that.

Nearly seven-in-ten Millennials with debt (68 percent) admit it has had a negative impact on their everyday life compared with roughly half of Baby Boomers (48 percent) and three-fifths of GenXers (59 percent) with debt. Most concerning, the survey found that of those with debt, Millennials are twice as likely to worry about debt compared to Baby Boomers (M: 43 percent, BB: 19 percent) and more than a third (37 percent) admit that their debt causes them to stress about everyday financial decisions.

Source: BusinessWire

World’s largest bitcoin exchange, bitFlyer, enters the US (CNBC), Rated: A

The world’s largest bitcoin exchange by trading volume is launching in the U.S.

BitFlyer, based in Tokyo, announced Tuesday it became the fourth digital currency exchange to receive a “BitLicense” to operate in New York. The exchange said it also has licenses to operate in 40 other states.

Former U.S. Comptroller Thomas Curry, Now At Boston Firm, Is Still Fintech Advocate (The National Law Journal), Rated: A

Curry, who was integral in leading the federal banking regulator’s efforts in advancing financial technology, including through the proposal of a special purpose national bank charter for fintechs, joined Nutter McClennen & Fish this week. He is a partner and will co-lead Nutter’s Banking and Financial Services practice group.

How involved with fintech do you plan to be?

That will be a key area and something I’m excited about working with the other members of the firm on. Fintech is interesting, especially if you’re talking about online lending and marketplace lending.

Do you expect the fintech charter will, in fact, move forward?

From my standpoint, I would not have pursued the charter without being very comfortable with the legal foundation for it.

How will you advise clients in the meantime until any special purpose charter is finalized?

Today institutions, banks as well, need to be making strategic decisions about which direction they’re going in. Well before you decide whether to apply to a fintech charter, you should be thinking through the process, so I think the time is now.

Here’s How Andreessen Horowitz & Union Square Ventures Are Betting On Blockchain (CB Insights), Rated: A

This year’s blockchain craze has pushed a huge amount of new money into cryptocurrencies, private blockchain projects, and companies holding initial coin offerings (ICOs). As of now, the total market capitalization of cryptocurrencies stands at more than $340B — a huge leap from where it started the year at $18B.

Source: CB Insights

Blockchain startup AlphaPoint names Nasdaq EVP Salil Donde CEO (Finextra), Rated: B

As it gears up for the launch of a public blockchain network promising to democratise asset digitisation, AlphaPoint has poached Nasdaq EVP Salil Donde and installed him as CEO.

Should I Refinance My Student Loans? (Credible), Rated: B

But you shouldn’t make the decision to refinance your loans lightly. Refinancing can help some borrowers save money, but what refinancing can do for you depends on a number of factors, including the repayment term and repayment options that you choose for your new loan.

Source: Credible
United Kingdom

Assetz Capital Completes Latest Seedrs Round With More Than £1.6 Million in Funding (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending platform Assetz Capital completed its latest equity crowdfunding round on Seedrs. The online lender launched the funding round last month and raised a total of £1,665,892.

Thistle and lender rescue developer (Development Finance Today), Rated: A

LendInvest has teamed up with specialist packager Thistle Finance to provide a developer with a £1.3m development exit finance loan.

The developer was set to move from his standard development finance rate on to a more punitive default rate on 1st December, which could have added 0.75% to his monthly interest payments.

However, the development exit finance loan provided by LendInvest – at around 70% LTV – will save the borrower 0.5% on the standard rate he had been paying.

Finance a vital resource as billing delays hit building industry (Asset Finance International), Rated: A

Businesses in the UK construction sector have been hit by a leap in payment delays, with invoices taking an average of 69 days to be settled.

Analysis of more than 13,000 companies by Funding Options, the online business finance supermarket, shows that delays have risen 8% in the past two years.

Yours Clothing in payments tie-up with Klarna (Retail-Systems), Rated: A

Yours Clothing, a UK independent retailer of plus size ladies clothing, has announced a partnership with Klarna which will allow its customers to use the Pay later and Slice it payment options.

Klarna’s Pay later allows customers to try goods first. When checking out online or on mobile, Yours Clothing customers who use Klarna’s Pay later will receive their products and then have 14 days to pay Klarna back interest-free.

Klarna’s second payment option – Slice it – gives shoppers the ability to spread the cost of any purchases over £60 into equal monthly instalments.

Proplend Joins the NACFB (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

On Wednesday, Proplend, a UK based peer to peer lender in the property space, announced it has joined the NACFB.

3 smart New Year’s resolutions for business owners (Funding Circle), Rated: B

  • Manage your stress level
  • Make smart money decisions – 
    • Improve your personal credit. Yes, this has everything to do with money. You see, the higher your credit score, the more likely you’ll be able to score lower interest rates on the money you borrow. This can save you hundreds of thousands of dollars over your lifetime, so it’s definitely a resolution worth making.
    • Compare financing offers. Some options just aren’t good for your business. Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you know the APR you’ll be paying, and compare multiple loans to pick the best deal.
  • Continue to learn
China

China fintech lending boom fuels risks of data theft (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

The rise of online consumer loans in China has spawned a thriving black market in stolen user data.

Virtually non-existent in the country five years ago, consumer lending through websites and mobile apps has expanded rapidly over the past 18 months amid a proliferation of fintech start-ups that use big data to assess credit risk.

In a chatroom devoted to consumer lending on Tencent’s QQ social-media platform, the Financial Times contacted a person claiming to be an employee of an online lender who was offering user data for sale.

For Rmb4 ($0.61) per user, he offered to provide the full name, national ID number, phone number and loan limit. He added that for some borrowers, the data would also include a credit score from Sesame Credit, the unit of Alibaba’s financial affiliate Ant Financial that sells credit scores to banks and consumer lenders with users’ consent.

Alibaba Seeking Biggest Stake in AI Startup SenseTime (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is in discussions to invest about 1.5 billion yuan ($227 million) and become the largest backer of Chinese facial recognition startup SenseTime, according to a person familiar with the matter.

SenseTime, which says it’s valued at more than $2 billion, is backed by Qualcomm Inc. and considered one of the more advanced players in machine vision technology.

Uncertainties of overseas markets may transmit P2P risks back to China (Global Times), Rated: A

A number of Chinese peer-to-peer (P2P) lending companies went public in the US this year. Those P2P firms have been growing quickly, with some venturing into high-risk segments such as campus loans and cash advances. As they go public overseas, it creates potential risks that may eventually affect China’s financial stability. Supervision is needed to bring the P2P lending sector in order.

That these companies listed in the US reflects several factors. One main reason is the companies are expanding. Most are underperforming, and some are in the red. US stock exchanges do not have strict requirements for indicators such as net profit and cash flow. Also, the US market attracts investors from all over the world, easily raising more funds.

China’s Lending Crackdown Is Notable for Three Reasons (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Policy makers from the People’s Bank of China and the China Banking Regulatory Commission convened in Beijing on Nov. 23 to discuss new measures to crackdown on online consumer loan platforms, including those for payday loans and peer-to-peer lending. On the same day, Alibaba Group affiliate Ant Financial said it will enforce a cap of 24 percent on interest rates charged by lenders on its website, or 12 percentage points lower than current rates.

Although the measures haven’t been made public, our industry checks suggest three notable changes. First, the issuance of new licenses to online micro-loan platforms is being suspended, suggesting that regulators are scrutinizing online lending practices. Second, banks and bank-holding companies are being told not to buy loans underwritten by online platforms because such assets are deemed too risky. Third, turning the loans into securities will be forbidden because regulators believe securitization amplifies risks and gives investors less of an incentive to perform due diligence on the underlying assets.

So-called P2P online lending platforms have mushroomed from fewer than 10 to more than 2,000 in just over seven years, but only a few hundred operate with government-issued permits.

European Union

Digital Bank Revolut Prepares to Launch Cryptocurrency Features (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Digital only challenger bank Revolut is preparing to enter the cryptocurrency world with new features on their bank app to allow users to exchange and use Bitcoin and other digital currencies.

While no official announcement has been made yet, Edward Cooper, Head of Mobile at Revolut, recently tweeted out Revolut’s intent to offer digital currency solutions.

Spanish Peer to Peer Lender Comunitae Suspends Activity Due to Fraud (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

According to a report in El Español, peer to peer lender Comunitae has ceased all operations indefinitely due to fraud detected on the platform this past October. The Comunitae web site is still live but certain portions are not functional.

Swedish Chamber Export Prize 2017 to Klarna and Daloc (Sweden Abroad), Rated: B

The Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the Netherlands, The Embassy of Sweden and Business Sweden are very proud to announce the winner of the Swedish Chamber Export Prize 2017; Klarna.The prize aims to strengthen the Swedish-Dutch business relations and has been awarded since 2012 to Swedish related companies in the Netherlands.

International

Alibaba-Backed Paytm Aims to Become World’s Largest Digital Bank (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Paytm Payments Bank aims to create the world’s largest digital bank with 500 million accounts, envisioning an online financial services provider of everything from wealth management to credit cards and stock market trading.

The bank, backed by the country’s largest digital wallet of the same name, launched formally Tuesday and is targeting people who don’t have access to professional financial services. That aligns with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambition to broaden access for the under-banked in the nation of 1.3 billion people.

Paytm was one of fewer than a dozen entities that secured permits to start payments banks, which can accept deposits and remittances but cannot lend.

It said it will operate a mobile-first bank with zero fees on online transactions and no minimum balance.

Cryptocurrencies and the ‘crowd’ are small businesses’ bank alternative (PaymentsSource), Rated: AAA

A major trend shaping the small-business landscape is the rise in cryptocurrency, which can provide alternative means for a variety of cross-border financial transactions.

Cryptocurrency is ideal for cross-border transactions in several ways. In addition to being secure and permanent, cryptocurrency transactions allow borrowers and lenders to sidestep time spent working through a bank, as well as converting from one currency to another. For many investors, the speed and convenience of cryptocurrency-based transactions presents an opportunity to magnify gains.

Along with crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending, cryptocurrency can improve access to both payments and credit for SMEs.

International Fintech companies with > 5M funding (Crunchbase), Rated: A

TransferWise is an money transfer service allowing private individuals and businesses to send money abroad without hidden charges.
Funding Circle is a lending platform focused exclusively on small businesses operating in in the U.S., the U.K. and Continental Europe.
Blockchain is a web-based bitcoin platform that makes using bitcoin safe, easy, and secure for all consumers and businesses worldwide.
Building a bank as smart as your phone. Intelligent notifications, instant balance updates and financial management.
WeLab analyzes unstructured mobile big data within seconds to make credit decisions for individual borrowers.

Independent Asset Managers need to become polygamous (Finextra), Rated: A

Independent asset managers shall maintain relationships not only to custodians. Due to disintermediation and distributed ledger technology they will be able to profit from a much broader range of financial assets.

Source: Finextra

SWIFT warns banks on cyber heists as hack sophistication grows (Reuters), Rated: A

Brussels-based SWIFT has been urging banks to bolster security of computers used to transfer money since Bangladesh Bank lost $81 million in a February 2016 cyber heist that targeted central bank computers used to move funds.

Taiwan’s Central News Agency last month reported that Far Eastern International Bank (2845.TW) lost $500,000 in a cyber heist. BAE later said that attack was launched by a North Korean hacking group known as Lazarus, which many cyber-security firms believe was behind the Bangladesh case.

Nepal’s NIC Asia Bank lost $580,000 in a cyber heist, two Nepali officials told Reuters earlier this month.

Australia

FACEBOOK LIVE: Treasurer Scott Morrison on fintech and the banking royal commission (Business Insider), Rated: A

He’s now in Sydney at fintech business Prospa, the nation’s leading online lender to small business, where’s he talking to Business Insider about the sector as well as the 12-month investigation into misconduct by the banks.

See the video interview here.

India

Want a loan? Make sure you’re tweeting the right things (Quartz), Rated: AAA

The article that someone tweeted about, posts that they liked on Facebook, and a new phone just bought on an e-commerce site—all these events now play a crucial role in determining if an individual is eligible for a loan or not.

Online lending firms have seen rapid growth in the last two years, despite the presence of a wide network of banks and non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) in India. That’s because, till 2015, about 70% of Indians remained under-served by banks and other financial institutions, an opportunity that these firms are trying to cash in on. Now, even banks and NBFCs are tying up with online lending firms to reach out to more customers.

The 166 million households that make up middle-income India—with annual earnings of between Rs2.2 lakh ($3,414) to Rs3.59 lakh ($5,572)—typically apply for personal loans to buy consumer durables, for weddings, to meet medical expenses, set up a new business, and the likes.

“We have about 80-90 parameters that are used to check a consumer’s credit worthiness. And that’s where technology comes into play to ensure that it can be done swiftly and efficiently,” said Satyam Kumar, co-founder, LoanTap, an online fintech platform that provides retail loans to salaried individuals.

Delhi start-up wins GIST pitch (The Hindu), Rated: B

GyanDhan, a Delhi-based start-up working in the space of education loans, emerged winner of a GIST pitch competition for enterprises in the Fintech and Digital Economy, one of the four focus sectors at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, here on Wednesday.

Lupiya Circle, an online market place created by women in Zambia to financially empower women in the African nation through a branchless banking model was declared the runners-up.

MENA

Saudi Arabia puts buzz back into Mideast startup scene (Arab News), Rated: A

Since 2005, the top 200 funded startups in the MENA region have attracted more than $2 billion in capital, according to a report issued by MAGNiTT, which tracks the development of startups across the region.

To date, the majority of top funded startups in the region were established in the UAE, and the primary financial backers have also tended to be UAE-based.

But a recent uptick in funding from Saudi investment firms points to a developing ecosystem for startups in the Kingdom, according to MAGNiTT founder Philip Bahoshy.

Bahoshy said that startups providing solutions for broader regional challenges such as sticky logistics and cross-border banking frictions stand the best chance of attracting meaningful investment.

2018 will be the year African fintech takes off (Global Trade Review), Rated: AAA

Next year will be a good year for Sub-Saharan Africa. After a challenging 2017 for many of its nations, 2018 will see economic growth return across the continent, gas activity boom and fintech innovation pick up in speed.

So says Ecobank Research as it recently launched the newest version of its yearly Fixed Income, Currency and Commodities Guidebook, which provides analysis on African markets for investors and businesses.

The research department of the Pan-African bank forecasts three key trends that will take hold across Africa during the next 12 months. GTR takes a closer look at them.

3. Africa’s evolving role in fintech leadership

But 2018, he emphasises, will see African fintech firms increasingly driving this innovation. “There will still be international investors, but the actual leadership of fintech development is going to start coming increasingly from the Africans. It’s not going to be the Europeans and Americans going in, saying, ‘you should do this’.”

Ecobank’s research highlights South Africa, Kenya, Rwanda, Nigeria, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire as tech hubs that will nurture the next wave of African startups and help connect them with investors.

One fintech that has caught Ecobank’s attention in particular is IroFit, a firm that uses the mobile network to enable real-time financial payments without the need for an internet connection.

Other emerging innovations in Africa include digital tools to build credit profiles for the previously ‘unbankable’ or using blockchain technology for digital identity and KYC solutions.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday July 27 2017, Daily News Digest

fintech adoption millennials

News Comments Today’s main news: Betterment expands financial advice to all users. Lendio originates $500M in business loans. UK fintech funding jumps 37%. Linked Finance secures more than 1M Euro for Waterford businesses. Fintech adoption in Canada doubles in 18 months. Today’s main analysis: Marketing fintech solutions to millennials. Today’s thought-provoking articles: The SEC investigative report that will put […]

fintech adoption millennials

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United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

Middle East

Africa

Canada

News Summary

United States

After raising $ 70M, Betterment expands financial advice to all users (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

On the heels of announcing a fresh $70 million in funding led by Swedish investment firm Kinnevik AB, Betterment is launching a new messaging feature that will allow users to ask questions and get answers from its team of financial advisors.

With its new messaging product, Betterment is offering up personalized financial advice to a larger portion of its user base — that is, anyone with an account. Customers can send secure messages through the Betterment app to ask for financial advice and get a response within one business day from one of the company’s experts.

Lendio Surpasses $ 500 Million in Business Loans Originated Through Its Online Marketplace (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Lendio, the nation’s leading marketplace for small business loans, today announced that it has helped facilitate more than $500 million in financing to over 21,000 small businesses across the U.S. Lendio helps fuel the American Dream through its marketplace of over 75 small business lenders in all 50 states and parts of Canada. The growth milestone comes after a 141 percent increase in loans originated through the Lendio platform in the last fiscal year.

Small business lending indices show that small business borrowing is at its highest level in nearly a year. According to Thomson Reuters/PayNet, business owners are investing to meet customer demand, which is driving the economy. Data from Lendio’s platform is telling a similar story, and it’s not just businesses on the nation’s coastlines that are thriving. A heat map of Lendio’s top states for small business loans, based on loan volume, shows small business growth is booming in America’s heartland, the southern states and beyond.

The average loan size among Lendio’s small business customers is $26,873. The top five industries funded on Lendio’s marketplace include construction, restaurants, retail, healthcare, and manufacturing. Lendio also helps small businesses get loans fast, with 70 percent of businesses getting funding within five days of submitting an application.

MARKETING FINTECH SOLUTIONS TO MILLENNIALS (Envisionit), Rated: A

One of the key factors that set millennials apart from other generations is their adaptation of technology into their everyday lives. They are hyper-connected: disproportionately drawn to mobile and wearable devices for their day-to-day needs; far more likely to make purchases on them instead of computers or in person; and constant users of social media.

Source: Pew Research Center, Social Media Survey, April 2016

Not only are millennials more likely than Gen X’ers and Baby Boomers to use fintech products now, they are expected to use them even more in the future.

  • 68% say that in 5 years, the way we access our money will be totally different
  • 70% say that in 5 years, the way we pay for things will be totally different
  • 73% would be more excited about a new offering in financial services from Google, Amazon, Apple, Paypal or Square than from their own nationwide bank
  • 33% believe they won’t need a bank at all in 5 years
Source: EY, EY Fintech Adoption Index, 2016

Although awareness and lead generation campaigns can still be effective, millennials also look for reviews, comments, and other content that will help them trust the brand.

  • 33% say they read blogs before making a purchase
  • 62% say that if a brand engages with them on a social network, they are more likely to become a loyal customer
Source: Google/Millward Brown Digital, B2B Path to Purchase Study, 2014

Here is the SEC Investigative Report on ICOs that Will Squelch Emerging ICO Market (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued an investigate report on the fast growing Initial Coin Offering (ICO) market that will squelch the ICO market, at least in the US. This investigation compelled the SEC to determine that DAO Tokens represented securities as defined under the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

Get the full report now.

The New Breed of Small Business Lenders: Amazon, Paypal and Square (Lend Academy), Rated: A

If asked where to get a small business loan most people would state their local banks or even some of the bigger traditional banks. Those aware of the online lending space may mention the likes of KabbageOnDeckFunding Circle or maybe even some of the new online initiatives of big banks like Wells Fargo’s FastFlex product. However there is another, often overlooked segment of small business lenders and they are names you have heard of: AmazonPaypal and Square.

Since Amazon is a marketplace for sellers they have an incredible amount of data on the cash flow of businesses that operate on the platform. They also have a significant pool of borrowers, resulting in virtually no customer acquisition costs.

Not only can Amazon select the borrowers they want to lend to but lending also helps grow the sales on Amazon.com. Pajitnov initially borrowed $1,000 dollars but eventually borrowed $19,000 to buy out a competitor.

Square is able to efficiently underwrite small businesses and have repayment be based on sales. Square’s average loan size is just $6,000. According to Square’s Q1 2017 earnings release Square Capital facilitated over 40,000 business loans totaling $251 million in the first quarter of 2017, up 64% year over year. The company is reportedly looking to lend to consumers as well.

Digital or doomed? What credit unions need to be top of wallet (Credit Union Journal), Rated: A

Outstanding service on its own isn’t enough for credit unions to get top-of-wallet status with members.

This past quarter, Clark noted, Venmo processed $6.8 billion in total payment volume, double the amount from the same quarter one year prior. These companies are not just processing payments, he said, they are capturing information that can be used to improve the customer experience and build brand loyalty.

Clark pointed to online personal finance company SoFi, which, by leveraging digital, has turned the concept of “scale” on its head. The company has funded $19 billion in loans to 300,000 members, and has resulted in $1.45 billion in member savings.

Clark said credit union management must focus on delivering via digital channels, because payments are now the leading indicator of PFI status, and offering speed, agility and a frictionless experience are critical to growing PFI.

How Real Estate Investing Is Spurring Millennial Home Ownership (Forbes), Rated: A

Millennials are the largest group of home buyers for the fourth consecutive year, according to the National Association of Realtors 2017 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report. Nearly 40% of home buyers were under 36 years old.

But most importantly, in a joint Real Estate Investment Survey with Harris Interactive, RealtyShares found that 55% of millennials are enthusiastic about home ownership as an investment, and over half would invest in property other than their primary residence.

In fact, 70% of all Americans think investing in real estate is more difficult than investing in other asset classes. Few are aware of the options towards home ownership, such as borrowing from retirement, real estate crowdfunding or house hacking.

Not surprisingly, millennials believe technology makes the real estate investment process easier.

Realtor.com analyzed the top 10 cities where millennials want to live and (of the 60 largest U.S. cities) found the top were: Salt Lake City, Miami, Orlando, Seattle, Houston, Los Angeles, Buffalo, Albany, San Francisco, and San Jose. Millennials also want homes over 2,375 sq. ft. on average and nearly half surveyed in the March 2016 National Association of Home Builders study said they wanted at least four bedrooms, an outdoor space (deck, patio and front porch), shower and tub in the master bath and hardwood floors on the main level of the home.

CFTC Grants First Authorization to LedgerX to Operate as Clearing House for Digital Currency Derivatives (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

LedgerX, has received regulatory approval from the US Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to operate as a clearing platform for derivatives in contracts clearing in digital currencies such as Bitcoin.

This fund offers a more diversified way to dip your toes into alternative waters (The Globe and Mail), Rated: A

So-called “alternative investments” have long been the preserve of pension funds and well-heeled accredited investors, providing access to non-traditional asset classes such as private equity, infrastructure, hedge funds, emerging-market debt and limited partnerships.

Enter mutual-fund giant Mackenzie Financial Corp., which of late has been scooping up $30-million a month in a mutual fund designed to complement an old-fashioned balanced fund and the usual 60/40 asset mix. The Mackenzie Diversified Alternative Fund (“MDAF,” Series A and Series F) has a standard minimum investment of $500, in reach of any investor with a financial adviser. Launched two years ago, it has $350-million in assets, says Allan Seychuk, Mackenzie’s senior investment director of asset allocation.

Household Credit and Local Economic Uncertainty (USC Lusk), Rated: A

This paper investigates the impact of uncertainty on consumer credit outcomes. Individual-level data on credit-card balances and mortgages reveal strong borrower-specific heterogeneity in response to changes in an equity-based measure of county-level economic uncertainty. Low-risk borrowers reduce their credit-card balances and use of mortgage credit in response to increased localized uncertainty, while lenders expand the availability of credit to these borrowers. The opposite is obtained for high-risk borrowers. The economic magnitudes are especially large during the recent financial crisis. This evidence suggests that localized uncertainty about economic conditions might independently affect aggregate economic activity through consumer credit markets.

Source: Household Credit and Local Economic Uncertainty (USC Lusk)

Read the full white paper here.

Why Enova’s tech recruiters look beyond the languages on your resume (Built in Chicago), Rated: A

An early adopter of the Ruby on Rails framework, Enova is one of the city’s biggest Rails shops. But for developers looking to get a job with the online lender, prior Ruby experience is by no means a prerequisite. Enova hires for aptitude and personality, rather than resume bullet points.

What is the most interesting technological challenge to making that happen?

Caprio: Scale. Each year, we process as many loans as a small bank does — but we do it with orders of magnitude fewer people. The only way you can do that is with technology, analytics and massive amounts of efficiencies.

We also have to navigate a globally regulated environment. Each country has different rules and regulations. Some of our teams interact with five different regulating bodies in three different countries. It’s not easy to keep all of those in balance while still having upward of 60 software releases a week.

And then you need to adapt when those rules and regulations change.

Caprio: Recently, the laws in one state changed in a way that required a custom product. We were able to segment it, size it, spec it out and build it in about five weeks. You can’t even get a loan from a bank in four weeks, so the fact that we could actually create a completely new lending product in that time is a testament to what we’re capable of.

Why do you think other companies don’t offer opportunities like that?

Caprio: Our interview process is probably only 30 percent technical, and the rest is behavioral, problem solving and cultural add. We want to see what kind of partner you’re going to be, and what kind of co-worker you’re going to be.

Lahari Manam, technology manager: We also have something called fellowships. If someone has an exciting idea that requires more than a few days for research and prototyping, they can apply for a fellowship to work on it for three or four weeks instead of doing their normal day-to-day work.

Banks may have new foe in cellphone companies (American Banker), Rated: A

Banks have increasingly turned to cellphone devices in helping them to reach customers. But cellphone companies may soon be trying to offer financial services of their own.

In recent years, the country’s largest cellphone carriers have begun to experiment with new financing options for smartphones and other devices.

Easy to raise 28 million US dollars C round financing IDG capital growth fund leader (01Caijing), Rated: A

July 26 news, the domestic mobilization platform was easy to raise in early 2017 to complete the 28 million US dollars C round of financing, the current round of investment for IDG Capital’s growth fund leader, Tencent, IDG, Germany with capital, fellow capital Old shareholders with the vote.

Up to now, easy chip has a total of about $ 65 million financing. The company’s existing investors include Tencent, IDG Capital, Germany with capital, fellow capital, IDG capital growth fund.

Using Peer-to-Peer Lending As A Method For Startup Growth (Forbes), Rated: B

Typically, you can’t borrow more than $35,000, but for many small businesses or startups, that amount (or less) is just the infusion of cash they need.

Some of the immediate benefits of a P2P loan is that no collateral is required. Lower interest rates tend to be available, depending on your credit score, loan amount and loan term, because the peer-to-peer lenders operate with low overhead. You can repay the loan early and not have to contend with any prepayment penalties. Since it is an online lending environment, you’ll also enjoy faster approval and no paperwork except for a few online forms and a digital signature.

First, think about your current credit score to see if you qualify. These P2P lenders are not just giving out loans and want to see how fiscally responsible you are with loans. If you have a low credit score, you may have to work on improving it before this option becomes available.

United Kingdom

UK fintech funding jumps 37% led by Funding Circle, Zopa, Monzo (AltFi), Rated: AAA

The United Kingdom attracted £432m ($564m) of new venture capital investment in the first six months of 2017 representing an uptick of 37 per cent compared to the same period in 2016, according to research from Innovate Finance.

Alternative lending, challenger banks and wealth management  were the top three investment verticals for UK fintech investments with notably large cash raises from Atom Bank, Funding Circle and Monzo.

UK fintech investment smashes pre-Brexit levels so far this year (Independent), Rated: AAA

UK-based fintech startups pulled in $564m (£433m) of venture capital investment in the first six months of the year, more than half of which came from outside Britain.

The latest figures paint a promising picture, with investment up almost 50 per cent on the second half of last year in the aftermath of the Brexit vote.

That still lags 2015, when a record $676m was invested in the first half of the year and over $1.3bn for the entire year. But from July 1 to July 23, the sector has already raised another $155m.

Funding Circle Teams Up With Just Eat to Offer Discounted Business Loans to Takeaway Restaurants (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lender Funding Circle has reportedly joined forces with UK-based Just Eat to provide takeaway restaurants with discounted business loans. Funding Circle will now offer nearly 30,000 restaurants that use Just Eat the discounted loans. The takeaway businesses will now be able to borrow up to £60,000 from the online lender.

Salamanca Group Completes Series A Funding for P2P Lender Proplend (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Salamanca Group, a London-based Merchant Bank, announced on Wednesday it recently completed a Series A funding round for peer-to-peer lending platform, Proplend. The company states it facilitated the fundraising through its proprietary network and has also acquired a stake in the online lender.

Identifying the risks of crowdfunding (City A.M.), Rated: A

With the market recently hitting £10bn, crowdfunding is no longer a small fish in the big finance pond. But as the sector expands, it’s also becoming more complex.

In equity crowdfunding, for example, you may buy a small stake in an exciting new business, investing early in the hope of making maybe 10 times your money. The majority of new businesses will fail, so investors should create a broad portfolio on the assumption that over time a few big successes outweigh the failures.

In contrast, lending to more established businesses may not have the potential to make tenfold returns, but consequently the risk of losing your capital is typically lower. This is perhaps why 97 per cent of the £10bn crowdfunding market is in debt-based alternative finance.

Lending Works offers bonus of up to £200 to new and existing investors (P2P Finance News), Rated: B

LENDING Works is offering cash bonuses of up to £200 to new and existing investors for a limited time period.

The peer-to-peer consumer lender said that from Monday 24 July, investors will receive a £50 bonus for every £5,000 they invest. The offer expires on Sunday 20 August, meaning that customers could potentially earn up to £200, if they invest at least £5,000 in each of the four weeks.

Fintech startup Cleo secures £2 million in new round of funding (Tech.eu), Rated: A

Financial management app Cleo has raised £2 million led by Local Globe’s Robin Klein with participation from Atomico CEO Niklas Zennström and Albion founder Jason Goodman.

Launched in January, Cleo uses AI to monitor your bank accounts and manage your money. According to the company, it’s currently managing £400 million in assets where it handles user queries about balances, spending, savings, and bills. Insights are delivered through Facebook Messenger. Its key demographic is under-30s.

‘Leeds has phenomenal potential to become fintech hub’ (Yorkshire Post), Rated: B

YORKSHIRE has phenomenal potential to become a hub for financial technology – or fintech – companies because it is starting to attract fast-growing firms that have moved from London, according to a leading entrepreneur.

Daniel Rajkumar, the owner of investUP, which is based in the Leeds Digital Hub, believes that the region’s traditional financial services sector can join forces with technology firms to secure jobs and investment.

The peer-to- peer lending industry is growing at a rate of around 30 per cent a year.

Mr Rajkumar believes there is great scope to grow the region’s fintech sector, and initiatives like the Leeds Digital Hub are helping to promote collaboration.

Prodigy Finance Takes MBA From McKinsey In India To The UK’s Top-Ranked Business School (Business Because), Rated: B

Close to postponing her enrollment, Vinni was introduced to alternative student loans provider Prodigy Finance, a financial technology – fintech – company, founded by MBAs, for MBAs.

While banks are reluctant to lend internationally, Prodigy Finance’s borderless, peer-to-peer lending model gives international MBA and master’s students – from 150 countries worldwide – access to the loans they need to study abroad.

China

Moderate Regulation Necessary for ICO Projects: PBoC Advisor (Cryptocoins News), Rated: AAA

A senior aide and advisor to China’s central bank has called for the regulation of ICO (initial coin offering) projects while urging investors to show caution.

In an interview with prominent Chinese financial publication Yicai, Sheng Songcheng – a counselor to the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), claimed moderate regulation was necessary for ICOs.

Sheng believes the government should warn investors of the risks whilst ensuring that regulatory moves don’t trample on innovation.

European Union

Irish P2P Lender Linked Finance Secures More Than €1 Million for Waterford-Based Businesses (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Irish peer-to-peer lending platform Linked Finance has successfully secured more than €1 million for Waterford-based businesses. According to the Muster Express, over 30 businesses in Waterford have raised funds through the lending platform to facilitate their business growth.

Zinsbaustein Crowdfunds Real Estate Project in Munich (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Zinsbaustein is partnering with well-known development group Demos Wohnbau GmbH, a company with 50 years of expertise in Munich and the surrounding area. The investment crowdfunding platform is giving investors the opportunity to participate in a subordinated loan with as little as €500 at an interest rate of 5.25% per year. The project includes 95 apartments and associated parking spaces. Reportedly, 40% of the apartments have already been sold are have been reserved.

NEW REPORT: Shutting Down PSD2’s New Security Threat (PYMNTS), Rated: A

The July PYMNTS Digital Identity Tracker™, powered by Socure, features news on how security technology providers are using new technology, including biometrics and two-factor authentication, to protect customer data and comply with new regulations surrounding data security.

In fact, according to one recent study, 60 percent of transactions conducted by the start of the next decade will be authenticated and completed using biometric technology.

International

TECHNOLOGICAL LEAPFROGGING: WHY RICH COUNTRIES LAG BEHIND IN FINTECH ADOPTION (Meshed Society), Rated: AAA

The results of a study recently published by the consulting firm EY revealed that China and India have the highest adoption of FinTech services among its online population out of 20 countries. 69 percent of China’s and 52 percent of India’s digitally active citizens have used at least 2 FinTech services over the past 6 months.

In many developed countries on the other hand, where people have over many years learned to associate the Internet with the PC, smartphones still often are being considered a secondary device for many digital tasks; a device that people use only when they are not near a PC. This narrative has naturally been accepted even by the commercial players, which prevented a dynamic advancement of FinTech services similar to the the one which, for example, can be witnessed in China right now.

Source: Meshed Society

Global VC fintech investment attracts $ 6.5 Billion in H1 2017 (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Global VC investment for FinTech in H1 2017 attracted $6.5 billion of VC investment with 787 deals, a 45% decrease year on year, according to statistics compiled through Pitchbook by Innovate Finance, the not-for-profit membership association for global FinTech.

The US attracted the most investment both in deal value, which topped $3.3 billion, and deal volume, with 357 investments in total. Overall, the US experienced a 7.7% increase on H1 2016 deal value, but an 18.5% decrease in deal volume. Last year this quarter, the US secured 438 deals.

The top three global FinTech deals came from the US and China, with American firm SoFi raising the largest round globally at $453 million.

Atom Bank ($102 million), Funding Circle ($101 million), Zopa ($41 million), Monzo ($27 million) and Currency Cloud ($25 million) led the top 5 top UK deals. Collectively the firms attracted $296 million in funding.

Australia

Anna Bligh on open bank data (Innovation AUS), Rated: A

Speaking at the National Press Club on Wednesday afternoon, the former Queensland premier described the various technological changes that the banking sector is facing, singling out open data as the biggest on the horizon that will benefit consumers.

An open banking regime would force banks to share product and customer data with their customers and other third parties with consent.

Ms Bligh said Australian banks would welcome this new open data regime if a focus is placed on security and data safety.

India

How CoinTribe is eyeing disbursal of Rs 600 Cr to small businesses by 2019 (Your Story), Rated: AAA

Conceived in May 2015, their enterprise, CoinTribe, is a loan marketplace focused sharply on Micro-Small Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). The model facilitates not just loan or lead generation for banks, but also assesses a customer’s credit risk through proprietary underwriting engines and provides suitable suggestions.

The startup looks at mainly providing standardised business loans. The company’s website does mention personal loans, but that’s not a focus area.

Including all costs of operations, predictive NPAs (non-performing assets) and margins, CoinTribe gives unsecured business loans at interest rates ranging from 16 to 21 percent. But the average interest rate by portfolio is 19 percent.

Money Laundering And A $ 7.6 Bn Scam: A Grim Look At The Dark Side Of P2P Lending (Inc42), Rated: AAA

News of Ezubao bilking 900,000 investors out of more than $7.6 Bn surfaced soon afterwards. What followed was a country-wide hysteria as part of what is now considered the largest financial scam in Chinese as well as global history.

As per reports by The New York Times, more than 95% of Ezubao’s investment products turned out to be fake.

In April 2016, reports surfaced that Lending Club’s then-CEO Renaud Laplanchemade alterations in loan application documents in order to hasten the transaction process. Laplanche eventually stepped down amidst reports of employee embezzlement, scam and conflict of interest. Following the controversy, Lending Club, which was once valued at $8 Bn, saw a markdown to around $1.7 Bn.

To thwart competition, many companies tend to project lower delinquency rates than the actual numbers. Between 2007 and 2008, for instance, Prosper reported a loss rate of 26.1%. According to third-party verification, however, the company’s default rate during that period was actually around 36.1%.

In the UK, Quakle ceased operations in 2011, as a result of a near-100% default rate.

Known for lending money to individuals with a less-than-stellar credit score, Estonia-based Bondora reportedly has a loan default rate of more than 70%.

All the above factors bring us to the general lack of transparency that continues to plague the P2P lending market, more than 10 years after the world’s first peer-to-peer lending platform Zopa cropped up in the UK.

During the financial crisis of 2007-08, subprime lending was often supported by very little verifiable documentation and credit checks. The originators of the subprime mortgages served only intermediaries that, like the P2P lending platforms, did not have any “skin in the game”. Lenders, on the other hand, had to rely on third-party credit ratings and assessment that were at times unreliable. The lack of transparency was actually one of the major contributing factors behind the housing market scam in 2008.

The average ticket size of peer-to-peer investments in India ranges between $2,330 (INR 1.5 Lakhs) and $3,107 (INR 2 Lakhs). Since interest rates are not fixed, they can be below 10% but, at times, can also reach 30%-40%.

According to a report by Reuters, unsecured personal loans currently constitute 4% of all loans in India. In March 2016 alone, $47.4 Bn (INR 2,96,800 Cr) was issued as personal loans to the country’s 1.31 Bn population.

FinTech Firms Alibaba and Paytm in Talks over India’s Leading Online Grocer (Cryptocoin News), Rated: A

Asia

China, India deals lift Asian venture capital fintech financing to US$ 2.7b (SCMP), Rated: AAA

That was up from US$1.6 billion generated across 55 transactions in the same period last year, and marked the highest number of fintech deal activity in Asia for the past five quarters, according to a new report from venture capital research firm CB Insights.

Overall funding raised by venture capital-backed fintech start-ups in Asia last year hit a record US$5.4 billion across 165 transactions, compared with US$4.8 billion over 162 transactions in 2015.

The region’s latest quarterly fintech tally surpassed the US$2 billion raised in North America and about US$500 million in Europe during the same period. The global total was US$5.2 billion over 251 deals.

Asia’s top-ranked fintech deal, however, was the US$1.4 billion investment made in May by Japanese telecommunications and internet conglomerate SoftBank Group Corp for a minority stake in One97 Communications, the parent of Indian digital payments giant Paytm.

That was followed by the US$292 million Series D, or fourth round, fundraising by mainland peer-to-peer lending platform operator Tuandaiwang in the same month.

From Porn Filter to Credit Rater (Forbes), Rated: A

Remark has managed to collect data from almost every social media site on Earth: 1.3 billion active user profiles, 10 billion images, 15 billion posts and 50 billion comments are gathered from Tencent, Alibaba, Facebook, Twitter and others. Remark’s intelligence platform, KanKan, was assembled to analyze data and build facial-recognition algorithms to help live-streaming companies filter out pornography.

Now the New York-born Tao, 40, has decided that credit rating in China has a more stimulating future.

The company, with $59 million in revenues in 2016, claims to have signed up one of China’s largest banks for KanKan.

Middle East

Islamic crowdfunding: Spotlight on real estate (Gulf Times), Rated: A

MercyCrowd offers for the first time to the people in Qatar opportunities for international real estate purchases through crowdfunding. Not only that, the platform puts an emphasis on socially responsible investments, which means it offers international premium property to as many people as possible and not just the wealthy upper bracket, and also obeys ethical financing and actively promotes donations.

Via its platform, people can either become investors in lettable real estate with minimum investments as little as £50 and projected returns of between 4% and 10% annually plus a potential capital appreciation when the property is sold, or sponsors looking to fund their property through crowdfunding.

Africa

Uganda on the Fintech curve (IT News Africa), Rated: AAA

Fintech today has many variations, one of the most widespread being payments in the form of mobile payments, mobile wallets and payment apps. In Uganda, “mobile money” is the most ubiquitous of these.

Another category is investment management through the use of robo-advisors (machine learning and artificial intelligence) for wealth and retirement planning. We see Fintech in fundraising through equity and non-equity crowd funding platforms for access to private and alternative investment opportunities and online lending platforms. Fintech is also making its presence felt in deposits and lending, especially peer-to-peer or marketplace lending. Digital currencies such as Bitcoin have emerged and are growing in significance and popularity.

Fintech is an intersection of finance and technology and, in Uganda’s case, there is lack of clarity as to the main regulator. Should Fintech be regulated as Finance or as Technology?

Canada

FinTech adoption rate more than doubles in 18 months (Insurance-Journal), Rated: AAA

Canada’s FinTech adoption rate has more than doubled in the past 18 months, going from 8 per cent to 18 per cent since 2015, says EY’s 2017 Fintech Adoption Index released July 25.

 

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday March 2 2017, Daily News Digest

alternative lending

News Comments Today’s main news: Funding Circle raises $100M . Upstart Raises $32.5M. Lendio offers MPL franchise program. Proplend gains FCA approval.  Monexo to start 1 min loan approval process. Today’s main analysis: FT Partners’ CEO Monthly Alt Lending Market Analysis. Today’s thought-provoking articles: International P2p lending statistics. China to regulate P2P lending platforms. United States FC receives extra $100M from […]

alternative lending

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United States

United Kingdom

European Union

China

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

Funding Circle Receives Additional $ 100 Million From CIM Through U.S. Business Multi-Year Agreement (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

SME lender Funding Circle announced on Wednesday that Community Investment Management (CIM), an investment firm focused on marketplace lending, will finance an additional $100 million in loans to businesses originated through Funding Circle in the U.S. According to the online lending platform, the multi-year agreement will allow it to provide further injection of capital into the country’s small business sector.

Since its launch in 2010, investors on Funding Circle, which includes 60,000 individuals, financial institutions, government, and the listed Funding Circle SME Income Fund, have helped more than 25,000 businesses globally access $3 billion in transparent and affordable financing.

Lendio Announces First-of-Its-Kind Marketplace Lending Franchise Program (Benzinga), Rated: AAA

Lendio, the nation’s leading marketplace for small business loans, today announced it is expanding the reach and availability of its small business lending options with the launch of a new franchise program.

The Lendio franchise program complements the company’s core value of helping small business owners fuel the American Dream. Through this program, franchise owners across the country can ease the financial hurdles for small businesses in their local community. Lendio franchisees get access to Lendio’s marketplace and technology, comprehensive training, branded marketing tools and national advertising, partnerships, and access to Lendio’s franchise support team to help coach small business owners through the lending process.

Lendio currently has franchisees in five territories, with significant interest in many others. Partners Kyle Bohrer and Bryan Gealy, in Erie, Pennsylvania, joined Lendio as the first franchise owners. Bohrer has been in the small/mid-sized business marketplace for over 10 years. Located in the Great Lakes region, Bohrer has been working on saving Erie small business owners money on their shipping.

FT Partners’ CEO Monthly Alternative Lending Market Analysis (March ’17) (FT Partners), Rated: AAA

Earlier this week, FT Partners announced one of the largest deals in 2017, Prosper’s $5 billion loan purchasing agreement with a consortium of investors that includes affiliates of Third Point, New Residential Investment and Soros, among others. This highly strategic transaction for Prosper aligns investor interest by including an equity structure tied to loan purchasing volumes. The transaction highlights FT Partners’ continued strong track record in advising on the most significant and complex deals across the FinTech ecosystem.

Introducing the First SaaS Lending Platform (Upstart Email), Rated: AAA

by Jeff Keltner, Head of Business Development, Upstart

Those that know my history at Google will understand why I’m excited to tell you about Powered by Upstart, a Software-as-a-Service offering derived from Upstart’s top-rated consumer lending platform. From rate requests through servicing and collections, this new service brings modern technology and data science to the entire lending lifecycle.

Our beginnings

Anna, Paul, and I founded Upstart to bring the best of Google to consumer lending. Upstart was the first platform to leverage modern data science and technology to power credit decisions, automate verification, and deliver a superior borrower experience. In 2014, we were first to launch next-day funding . As of today, more than 20% of our loans are fully automated and we expect this percentage to increase significantly through 2017. With more than 50,000 Upstart loans originated, we have the highest consumer ratings in the industry and have delivered industry-leading returns to loan investors. With Net Promoter Scores (NPS) in excess of 80, we’re excited about the impact we’re having.

Technology partner

FinTech is disrupting all areas of financial services. As a leading tech platform in marketplace lending, Upstart aims to partner with financial institutions rather than compete with them. Given the pace of change in lending, technology partnerships will be critical in the years to come, and Upstart aims to be a partner the industry can rely on.

But Powered by Upstart is not just software – it’s a turnkey solution that provides all necessary document review, verification phone calls, fraud analysis, and (optionally) customer service, loan servicing and collections.

Software-as-a-Service in lending

SaaS has grown exponentially in the last decade because of its obvious virtues: rather than buying, installing, configuring, hosting, and supporting software yourself, the software is delivered over the cloud. It’s more reliable and always up to date. Delivering cloud software can be challenging in any industry. Usability, reliability, and performance are the minimum to play, and effective change management is critical to success. As the team that delivered Google’s SaaS platform before it was called cloud, we understand these challenges.

Of course, the regulatory environment in lending raises the bar even higher. We’ve long demonstrated our commitment to trustful and compliant lending, and we’re likewise committed to delivering robust and compliant lending software. We’ll be at the LendIt show in New York City next week, so please come visit our booth to learn more about Powered by Upstart!

Klarna: Financing Better Customer Experiences (PYMNTS.com), Rated: A

Swedish payment processor Klarna has recently made news when it expanded the options and the channels that it makes its point of sale financing options available to.

Billingsley explained that in the case of GhostBed, the revolving credit product provided by Klarna helps turn a one-time mattress sale to its customers into a customer who comes back to purchase accessories.

According to Billingsley, that’s possible because it enables eligible consumers to make additional purchases with that same retailer without having to sign up for another loan or go through the financing process all over again for each subsequent transaction made.

Either the new purchases can be added to their existing credit account or they can simply use a different form of payment for the transaction.

Billingsley noted that the financing solution also works without any redirect to an external URL, so the consumer remains on the merchant site and within the brand experience when signing up.

Depending on the customer segment and even the merchant itself, utilizing Klarna’s full checkout solution isn’t exactly what they need. Which is why, Billingsley noted, the company is pushing its payment APIs, which allow merchants to add Klarna’s proprietary payment solutions directly into their existing checkout.

As for Klarna’s power users, the two biggest consumer populations are millennials and females in their mid-30s who are usually in charge of their family’s purchases.

Billingsley pointed out that many millennials today either don’t have a credit card or don’t like using one — their affinity for credit card brands and status is much different from previous generations. This makes millennials much more willing to use a payment option that allows them to break up payments over time for major purchases.

In the case of the young mother who manages her household’s income, also known as the Household CFO, she typically sees it as more convenient to make payments over time on a big purchase rather than putting a transaction on her debit or credit card.

Upstart Raises $ 32.5M (Upstart Email), Rated: A

It’s been three years since we launched the Upstart lending platform, and today we’re pleased to announce we’ve raised $32.5M to take our business to the next level. The funding round was lead by Rakuten, a global leader in internet services and global innovation headquartered in Japan, and by a large US-based asset manager. Existing investors Third Point Ventures, Khosla Ventures, and First Round Capital also participated. We’re particularly excited to have Oskar Mielczarek de la Miel, Oskar Miel, Managing Partner of the Rakuten FinTech Fund join Upstart’s Board of Directors.

With more than 50,000 loans originated, Upstart has the highest consumer ratings in the industry, has Net Promoter Scores (NPS) in excess of 80, and has delivered industry-leading returns to loan investors.

Prominent Fintech Investor & Prosper President Ron Suber Invests in Money360, Joins as Strategic Advisor (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Ron Suber, Prosper Marketplace President and prominent Fintech investor, has taken a stake in Money360 – a fast growing real estate investment marketplace.  Suber will also play an active role as a Strategic Advisor to Money360 to help boost platform growth.

Suber explained;

“I have been investing in the loans from Money 360 for my personal family office for many months. I have enjoyed the risk-adjusted returns, investment structure and liquidity options. Upon completing additional due diligence, I have decided to personally buy equity in the company and become a strategic advisor to the management team/Board of Directors. 

Labor Dept proposes delaying new rule for financial advisers (Reuters), Rated: A

The U.S. Labor Department has taken a first step toward possible derailment or dilution of its controversial rule on retirement advice as it begins to re-examine it at the directive of President Donald Trump, according to a notice made public on Wednesday.

The department proposed a 60-day delay of the fiduciary rule, which requires retirement advisers to put the interests of clients ahead of their own. It was slated to take effect on April 10, but Trump asked the department to review the rule one more time for its impact on investors.

The proposed delay should have a “calming” effect on the marketplace, which had been “hanging in limbo” ahead of the April 10 effective date, said Denise Valentine, a senior analyst with Aite Group, which advises the financial services industry on regulatory issues.

California Hedge Fund Association (CHFA) Announces Rebrand to California Alternative Investments Association (CalALTs) (PRWeb), Rated: A

The California Hedge Fund Association (CHFA) announced that it has adopted CalALTs as its new brand name. The 1,200 member organization, which focuses on fostering growth and advancing the development of California’s alternative investment community, rebranded in response to the strong demand from a broader group of alternative investment managers and a new focus on bringing together and serving a wide range of alternative investment managers across the state of California and beyond.

The alternative investment community in California currently includes over 1,000 firms with approximately $1 trillion in assets under management.

Monroe Capital Selected as the 2016 Lower Mid-Market Lender of the Year by Private Debt Investor (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Monroe Capital LLC was selected as the recipient of the 2016 Lower Mid-Market Lender of the Year Award in the Americas region by Private Debt Investor, a global independent publication based in London covering the private debt and private equity industries. This is the fourth consecutive year that Monroe has been recognized by the Private Debt Investor Awards as a leader in the Lower Mid-Market, Unitranche and Senior Lender categories.

Monroe Capital provides “one-stop” financing solutions for buyout, recapitalization, growth, and refinance transactions in the form of senior and junior loans and equity co-investments, supporting both private equity sponsored and non-sponsored transactions and privately owned businesses. The Private Debt Investor Awards recognize firms in three geographic regions: the Americas; Europe, Middle East and Africa; and Asia-Pacific. Winners were selected by eligible voters among the private debt, private equity and institutional investor communities.

United Kingdom

Proplend gains FCA approval (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

COMMERCIAL property peer-to-peer lender Proplend is the latest platform to receive full authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Brian Bartaby, chief executive of Proplend, said the firm would now apply for ISA manager status from HMRC but said it was unlikely to have an Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) ready this tax year.

The lowest risk is tranche A at zero to 50 per cent LTV, tranche B is 51 to 65 per cent LTV and tranche C is 66 to 75 per cent LTV.

Returns on the platform  currently range from five to 12 per cent and borrowers can access loans of between £250,000 to £5,000,000 for up to five years on an interest-only basis. The platform has funded £11.5m of loans so far and has recorded zero defaults.

LandBay, Proplend, & FundingSecure Named Top Three UK Property P2P Lending Platforms (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On Tuesday, 4thWay writer, Matthew Howard released his very own assessment on the top three property P2P lending platforms are in the UK. The three he selected were LandBay, Proplend, and FundingSecure.

In his selection, Howard ranked the lenders based on their features and opportunities each platform can provide. He selected LandBay as his first pick because the lender has done over £10 million in P2P loans.

Proplend was selected as Howard’s second pick. He chose the lender due to the lender’s interest rates are even in the lowest-risk “tranche A” range from 5.5% to 7%; more than £10 million has been lent through Proplend; and users may easily identify loans that are for just 50% or less of the property valuation.

FundingSecure was Howard’s third pick. His selection was based on the lender’s record of doing around £100 million in P2P lending, more than half being property loans; offers bridging and property development loans; uses the current valuation, even on development loans; interest rate lenders earn is 12% on all these loans; the minimum that may be lent on each loan is £25.

Fintech startup Yielders becomes first to receive Sharia Compliance Certification in UK (EconoTimes), Rated: A

UK-based fintech startup Yielders announced that it has successfully completed independent Sharia Certification that was conducted by UKIFC and overseen by prominent scholars in the fintech sector.

Britain wants you to be banker, but are you ready for the risk? (The Memo), Rated: A

Plans to bring the risk and returns of peer-to-peer lending into one of Britain’s most popular investment products might provide some welcome relief for entrepreneurs … and some sleepless nights for those taking the plunge.

Following up on a Budget pledge, the government has now published a consultation on including peer-to-peer lending in individual savings accounts (ISAs).

Some 23m people in the UK have ISAs, which make the return from your savings and investments completely (or mainly) tax-free. But 16m people opt to hold just the safer version, cash ISAs, which are tax-free savings accounts with banks, building societies and National Savings & Investments.

Meanwhile, UK households, who hold around 60% of their financial wealth in cash, have borne the brunt of the Bank of England’s low-interest-rate policy. Before the financial crisis, in mid-2007, you could get a return of over 6% a year from a best-buy cash ISA. Today, the best is little over 2%.

However, peer-to-peer lending is more risky than putting your savings in a bank.

This is borne out by a recent poll. peer-to-peer firm Wellesley found that 47% of people surveyed said they would increase their investment in peer-to-peer lending if it could be included in an ISA and 44% if it offered better interest rates than traditional banks.

Another survey, by Opinium in 2012, found 49% of the population would be open to peer-to-peer lending as an alternative to traditional banking.

Advisers’ Robo Face Off (FT Adviser), Rated: B

So last week’s revelation that almost 6,000 people have used LV’s full automated financial advice service since it was launched in summer 2015, maybe shouldn’t be greeted with too much concern by advisers.

Also LV said it was “unable” to reveal how many of the 6,000 customers who paid the £199 for a full statement of advice went on to pay £499 to execute the statement of advice.

That is as maybe, but if our trip to the world of Back to the Future is anything to go by, human beings will – unless they become robotic themselves – still need face-to-face advice.

European Union

International P2P Lending Statistics February 2017 (P2P Banking), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle continues to lead ahead of Zopa and Ratesetter. The total volume for the reported marketplaces adds up to 408 million Euro.

  • Funding Circle reaches 2 billion GBP in originations since launch
  • Fellow Finance crosses 100 million EUR since inception
  • Geldvoorelkaar hits 100 million EUR since inception

China

China looks to better regulate online P2P lending platforms (Technode), Rated: AAA

To help regulate the online P2P lending industry plagued by fraud and embezzlement, the China Banking Regulatory Commission published the Guidelines on Depositing and Managing Online Lending Capital (in Chinese, Guidelines for short) on February 24. In January this year, 1.8 million registered users were unable to withdraw their funds from platform operated by Qiyuan (short for 北京起源财富网络科技有限公司 or “Beijing Qiyuan Wealth Online Technology Limited” in English). The owner of the company, Fang Fan, embezzled the funds invested in the company’s eight different online lending platforms.

The Guidelines is the latest effort by the government to regulate the online P2P lending market which handled RMB 204 billion worth of transactions this February alone. It sets out three major basic principles regarding the safekeeping of the capital gained from P2P lending platforms. The first is that funds invested into the platforms by users must be deposited into commercial banks. The second stipulates that any transaction and reconciliation of the invested funds must be expressly approved and verified by both the debtor and creditor. Lastly, banks and online lending companies must carry out daily reconciliations and keep clear records of the transactions.

India

P2P market place Monexo to start 1 min loan approval process (India times), Rated: AAA

Lending marketplace Monexo has become the first peer-to-peer lending company in India to introduce a 1-minute loan approval process.

The company will leverage its proprietary, self-learning analytics platform as well as its tie-up with CRIF to access credit scores and other relevant financial data to aid in the loan disbursement decision making process, Monexo said in a release.

The borrowers can avail a loan of Rs 50,000 to Rs 5 lakh for tenure of 6 months to 60 months. There is no origination fee or prepayment fee. But the borrower must just pay a success fee of 2.5 per cent if the loan to him is approved and he decides to avail it.

The potential of blockchain technology to eliminate physical currency by ushering in virtual currencies like Bitcoin might be overstated, said Reserve Bank of India (RBI) deputy governor R. Gandhi.

While speaking about currencies, the central banker pointed out that to be effective, a currency needs to uphold concepts of confidence and anonymity at all times. However, after the initial rounds of usage, these concepts cannot be sustained in virtual currencies.

Talking about another major innovation in the financial technology space, marketplace lending or crowdfunding, the central banker noted that after the first few rounds of funding and successes, as a larger number of people get attracted to the concept, the system is likely to collapse. This makes marketplace lending unsustainable for a large number of people or amounts.

Asia

Tera Funding loans grow to top 100 bln won in 2 yrs (Yonhap News Agency), Rated: AAA

The chief of Tera Funding, a peer-to-peer (P2P) property financial service provider, said Thursday that the company’s accumulated loans have surpassed 100 billion won (US$87.6 million) since its launch two years ago.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor