Thursday May 9 2019, Weekly News Digest

leveraged loans

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi launches ETF for gig market. LendingClub’s higher fees lead to earnings win. CrowdStreet hits $500M in real estate investments. Funding Circle offers manual lending in foreign markets. Marcus delays German launch. Today’s main analysis: LendingClub, GreenSky, and OnDeck earnings. Today’s thought-provoking articles: GDP growth continues. The pros and cons […]

The post Thursday May 9 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

leveraged loans

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

International

Other

News Summary

United States

SoFi launches gig-focused ETF (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Today, the company announced a new exchange-traded fund (ETF) product focused on the gig economy. GIGE, which trades on Nasdaq, is an actively managed fund advised by Toroso Investments that allows investors to capitalize on this hot sector of the economy. Toroso offers a range of services around creating and managing ETFs.

The company also announced the creation of an ETF focused on high-growth stocks. That ETF, which trades as SFYF on the NYSE, is designed to identify and capture the growth of the top 50 of the 1,000 largest publicly traded issues.

LendingClub Records Higher Transaction Fees on the Way to Earnings Beat (TheStreet), Rated: AAA

Online-loan marketplace LendingClub (LC – Get Report) was rising more than 14% Wednesday to $3.70 after reporting a surprise profit in the first quarter, though the company’s guidance was short of expectations.

LendingClub reported a 22% increase in transaction fees that led to a 15% increase in revenue to $174.4 million and adjusted earnings of 2 cents per share. Wall Street was expecting the company to report revenue of $169.4 million and a loss of 3 cents per share.

Higher Fees Drive LendingClub’s Earnings Beat (PYMNTS), Rated: A

The marketplace lending platform reported adjusted net loss of $11.25 million, or 3 cents a share — red ink, but less than the 4 cents per share loss analysts were forecasting.

That stronger-than-expected revenue outcome was driven by stronger-than-expected loan originations during the first quarter, which rose 18 percent year-on-year to $2.73 billion. That increase in originations drove an increase in transaction fees, which were up 22 percent to $135.4 million.

For the second quarter, the company expects net revenue between $185 million and $195 million, with the high end slightly below the average analyst estimate of $196.7 million.

Why LendingClub Stock Leapt 12.4% Today (The Motley Fool), Rated: B

Wedbush believes LendingClub’s improving operating efficiency will help it produce an adjusted EBITDA margin of 20% by the end of 2019. The firm also expects LendingClub to grow revenue by 12%-15% annually in the coming years.

LendingClub, GreenSky and OnDeck Q1 2019 Earnings Results (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

LendingClub

LendingClub rounded out 2018 originating the most loans in the company’s history at $10.9 billion. With their Q1 2019 results, the company is off to a great start in 2019. Originations were $2.7 billion, up 18% year over year. The company reported that application growth was 31% over the same period.

Source: Lend Academy

Net revenues came in above high end guidance of $172 million at $174.4 million for the quarter, up 15% year over year. GAAP Consolidated Net Loss was $(19.9) million, compared to $(31.2) million in Q1 2018. Finally, the company delivered adjusted EBITDA of $22.6, up 47% year over year and well above their projections of $13-$18 million. LendingClub is on track to become adjusted net income profitable over the second half of 2019.

GreenSky Q1 2019 Earnings

In Q1 2019 GreenSky increased transaction volume on the platform 20% to $1.2 billion. They also grew revenue 22% to $103.7 million form the prior year period. GAAP Net Income in Q1 2019 was $7.4 million. The company had aggregate commitments of $11.8 billion from nine bank partners of which $4.5 billion remain unused. The company ended the quarter with $268 million in cash.

Source: Lend Academy

OnDeck Q1 2019 Earnings

Originations fell for the quarter to $636 million compared to $658 million for the previous quarter. This was attributed to OnDeck tightening their credit box during the quarter. The company shared that their line of credit product reached an all time high of $150 million for the quarter.

Strong GDP Growth Continues (PeerIQ Email), Rated: AAA

Unemployment fell to 3.6% – the lowest level since 1969. The last time unemployment levels were this low, the first humans landed on the moon. The inflation rate was 5.5% The DJIA was 800. The average cost of a new home was $15K, and the average salary was $9K. A gallon of gas cost a scorching thirty-five cents.

Source: PeerIQ

On the regulatory front, Senator Durbin introduces a bill to create a 36% APR Cap on Consumer Loans. The 36% cap matches a similar rate for loans offered to service members and is superseded by strict state-level caps, and offers no preemption of the patchwork of state laws for digital models.

Online marketplace reaches $ 500M in online real estate investments (Real Estate Weekly), Rated: AAA

CrowdStreet, Inc., a technology provider with an online marketplace for direct equity investment in commercial real estate (CRE), announced that in March it crossed the $500 million threshold in total online investments with a record number of new individual investors.

The news accompanies a record quarter with over $75 million invested.

The Pros And Cons Of Leveraged Loans (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

Corporate America has taken on substantially more debt in the aftermath of the Great Recession. Today, the underlying structure of that leverage looks different. Fewer bonds are being issued. Bank loans to indebted companies now match junk bonds in total issue. This article will review the market for leveraged loans – a marketplace that has grown tenfold in the new millennium and has passed the $1 trillion threshold.

In 2017, nearly 70% of levered loans were refinanced at lower interest rates. That creates a lot of turnover.

BlackRock is building a team of 30 data scientists to create a next-generation stock-lending platform (Business Insider), Rated: A

BlackRock founded a Palo Alto, California-based group called AI Labs last year, directed by the Stanford professor Stephen Boyd. Now, according to job postings reviewed by Business Insider, the 30-member team is tackling projects ranging from next-generation lending platforms to automating human tasks.

ONLINE LENDER SETTLES WITH FTC FOR .85 MILLION (Lawyers and Settlements), Rated: A

Avant LLC, the online lending phenomenon which had previously been hailed as a “breakout financial success story,” has agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for $3.85 million. Although the lawsuit largely relied on a different federal statute, it shares much of the consumer financial protection zeal of the excessive overdraft fee lawsuits recently leveled against credit unions, banks and payday lenders. But it also reveals shortcomings in federal consumer protection laws.

Providing Additional Liquidity to Some Delinquent Borrowers Can Actually be a Win-Win (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Consumers who fall behind on credit payments may find an unexpected lifeline—another loan from their lender. A new TransUnion (TRU) study found that, in some instances, both lenders and consumers can benefit when additional loans are extended to customers during difficult times. The findings were released today during the 2019 TransUnion Financial Services Summit, attended by more than 300 executives from across the globe.

In the study, 31% of delinquent borrowers experienced improvement on one or more of their delinquent debts when securing a new personal loan. In addition, 24% of borrowers also performed well on the new loan.

Monzo plots US launch as soon as this summer (The Telegraph), Rated: A

Monzo, the mobile banking app known for its coral coloured debit cards, is planning to launch in America as soon as this summer, The Daily Telegraph has learnt.

The £1bn start-up challenger bank is in the process of hiring executives to lead its product and marketing arms in the US. It is expected that the company will choose Los Angeles as its base.

Affirm, Kabbage, Tala — The Big Three of Online Loans (Bitnews Today), Rated: AAA

Affirm is a company that provides payday loans online and at points of sale. To receive an approval decision, a potential Affirm client does not have to wait long — the company’s scoring system processes its questionnaire, profiles in social networks and other documents very fast.

Source: Bitnews Today

KABBAGE

Kabbage also provides loans online using an automated system. However, the clients of this company are not ordinary consumers, but owners of SMEs. When the founders of Kabbage decided to launch a new project in 2009, there was a gap between personal loans for consumers and credit lines allocated to small businesses in the lending system.

Source: Bitnews Today

TALA

  • the initial idea of the company’s founder Shivani SIROYA to start her own business was that “the existing credit system works very poorly”;
  • to assess the creditworthiness, Tala uses its own scoring system, which examines a set of data about the potential borrower, using machine learning technology and big data;
  • the intellectual service works in automatic mode: it investigates, makes a decision, issues loans.
Source: Bitnews Today

Resolve launches as a B2B online financing service (Digital Commerce 360), Rated: A

Financial technology company Affirm is betting that what works for online retailers will also work for B2B merchants who want to offer online financing to customers.

Affirm has launched Resolve as a B2B version of an online financing service that Affirm provides to retailers.

Kabbage Teams with BTEA to Fuel Access to Funding for Women- and Minority-Owned Businesses (Finanzen), Rated: B

Kabbage, Inc., a cash flow technology and automated lending platform for small businesses, has formed a strategic alliance with New York’s largest contractor association, the Building Trades Employers’ Association (BTEA), to provide access to fast and flexible small business funding for BTEA members through the Kabbage platform. The alliance will support women and minority-owned business enterprise (WMBE) contractors who often have difficulty accessing the funding required to procure contracts for New York’s largest construction projects.

The alliance between BTEA and Kabbage provides BTEA’s 1,300 contractor companies, including more than 100 MWBE contractor members, the opportunity to access lines of credit as high as $250,000 and attain greater financial capacity.

In The Face Of Growing Fraud Threats, Finance Firms Should Look At Managed Security (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Financial institutions face a complex array of threats — from the immediate such as synthetic identities which have been used to defraud individual firms multiple times.

In 2018, more than 43,000 breaches across all industries involved the use of customer credentials stolen from botnet-infected clients, the Accenture report said.

Read the full report here.

Fig Loans Becomes First-Ever FinTech to Receive CDFI Certification (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Fig, a mission-driven FinTech company that offers credit building alternatives to predatory loans for low-income borrowers, has become the first-ever FinTech company to become both a Certified B Corporation and federally certified Community Development Institution (CDFI). VilCap Investments and Techstars are early Fig Loans investors.

CFPB plan a mixed bag for debt collectors (American Banker), Rated: A

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a plan Tuesday to restrict how often debt collectors can call borrowers about unpaid credit and to allow consumers to opt out of other types of communications.

The proposal to overhaul the debt collection industry would limit phone-based collection attempts for the same consumer to seven calls per week. Debtors could also opt out of allowing collectors to contact them via voice mail, email and text messages.

Read the full text of the proposed rule here.

Behind The Scoop: An inside look at Genesis’ lending business (The Block Crypto), Rated: A

  • $250m worth of outstanding loans gives it an estimated 2/3 share of the total outstanding crypto loan pie
  • Genesis has seen its total USD value of borrows increase 35% QoQ in 1Q19, vs. lending protocols which saw a ~20% decline; Genesis total borrow volumes were almost an order of magnitude greater than all of borrows on lending protocols in 1Q19

Ocrolus, inFactor Partner on End-to-End Automation for Merchant Cash Advance Lenders (Ocrolus), Rated: B

Ocrolus today announced a partnership with inFactor, the financing platform that brings clarity and security to small business financing. This partnership combines two powerful technology solutions to drive end-to-end underwriting automation for Merchant Cash Advance (MCA) lenders

United Kingdom

Funding Circle still offers manual lending in other markets (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

FUNDING Circle is still offering investors the option to self-select their loans in its three overseas markets, its annual report revealed last month.

The peer-to-peer business lender scrapped its manual lending option in the UK in 2017, saying that its auto-invest product ensures better diversification.

Digital Lending Platform Esme Loans Hits £50 Million of Lending to UK Businesses (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Esme Loans, the NatWest backed standalone digital lending platform for SMEs, announced last week it has hit £50 million of lending to UK businesses. The online lender reported that it has seen a continued period of strong growth, following an uplift in lending of 337% between 2017 and 2018.

Goldman Sachs’ digital savings account Marcus just reached a UK milestone (AltFi), Rated: A

Just eight months since launching in the UK, Goldman Sachs’ digital savings account has attracted a quarter of a million customers.

Investors are getting more comfortable with the P2P ISA (AltFi), Rated: A

In the 2016/17 tax year just 5,000 customers opened IFISAs with a total £36m subscriptions (these figures were disputed by some platforms as being too low). In the following 2017/18 tax year this shot up 31,000 investors backing the IFISA with £290m subscribed in the tax year and a total of £366m in outstanding balances in IFISAs at 5 April 2018.

What is the best provision fund structure? (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

PROVISION FUNDS are designed to cover peer-to-peer investors in the event that a borrower defaults on their loan, but the way they are funded and operated varies widely across platforms. So what should investors be looking for and is there an optimal structure to reduce their chances of losses?

One key difference is whether pay-outs from reserve or provision funds are automatic or discretionary.

RateSetter is credited with the invention of the provision fund concept, which has been part of its business model since it launched in 2010. It is funded by borrowers’ repayments and money is automatically reimbursed to investors if loans go into arrears.

Tandem Recognized as Best New Digital Bank (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Challenger bank Tandem has been recognized by CFI.co (Capital Finance International) as the “Best Neo Bank UK 2019.”

OakNorth launches mortgages for HNWIs, SMEs, and clients with atypical income streams (Fintech Finance), Rated: B

OakNorth – the bank for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs – has today announced it is entering the retail mortgage market with lifetime tracker rate products, aimed at affluent individuals with atypical sources of income.

The six largest banks in the UK dominate 77 percent of the mortgage market, but often find it commercially unviable to create bespoke mortgages for these individuals as they lack the appropriate cost base and expertise to cater to them. These individuals therefore require more bespoke lending solutions, and as a lender that has provided over £3bn in bespoke loans to UK entrepreneurs since its launch, OakNorth has the necessary expertise and tailored credit analysis models to cater to this unique market niche.

China

Jiayin Group Readies $ 40 Million U.S. IPO (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

Jiayin Group (JFIN) has filed to raise $40 million in an IPO of ADSs representing underlying Class A shares, per an amended registration statement.

According to a 2017 Oliver Wyman report on Chinese FinTech firms, outstanding loan balances for online peer-to-peer lending platforms have exploded in recent years, from RMB 31 billion ($467 million) in January 2014 to RMB 856 billion ($129 billion) by January 2017.

P2P lending in crisis as regulatory bubble pops (Technode), Rated: A

Chinese peer-to-peer (P2P) lender Dianrong, once hailed as the “LendingClub of China,” appears to be in crisis following an announcement that it is closing around two-thirds of its offline branches and laying off as many as 2,000 employees. At around the same time, it was accused of falling behind on wages and severance payment. In mid-April, the company reportedly sought $100 million in investment to meet new capital requirements.

European Union

Goldman Delays Marcus’ Germany Launch (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

Goldman Sachs has decided to delay the German launch of its consumer bank Marcus until 2020.

International

International P2P Lending Volumes April 2019 (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

The total volume for the reported marketplaces in the table adds up to 571 million Euro.

Milestones achieved this month (total volume since launch):

  • Mintos crossed 2 billion EUR
Source: P2P-Banking

This credit card won’t let you buy anything else after you’ve hit your annual carbon limit (Fast Company), Rated: A

Doconomy is launching two versions of the card later this year. One just tracks your carbon footprint as you spend, and the other, called Do Black, takes the additional step of setting a hard limit on your footprint for the year. Initially, the data used to calculate the impact of each purchase will be imprecise—the system pulls the category code of a merchant that classifies it as a particular kind of store, then makes a calculation based on the general carbon footprint of the industry, whether you’re buying something from a fast-food joint, a clothing store, or an airline. The limit is based on a country-specific calculation of how much carbon each citizen can emit to stay on track with the 2030 goal to cut emissions in half.

Others are working on similar solutions; a startup nonprofit called Poseidon Foundation is beginning to work with retailers to track the impact of specific purchases and let customers instantly buy a carbon offset equal to their emissions. Ben and Jerry’s tested the concept at an ice cream shop in London last year.

Over 50 Banks, Firms Trial Trade Finance App Built With R3’s Corda Blockchain (CoinDesk), Rated: A

ABN Amro, Standard Chartered, ING and around 50 other banks and companies have participated in tests of a trade finance application called Voltron.

The tests saw firms across 27 countries use Voltron, which was developed by R3 using its Corda platform, to make simulated letter of credit transactions.

Real Estate Tokens: What They Are and How to Invest (Bitcoin Market Journal), Rated: A

Put simply, a real estate token is a virtual asset used to represent ownership of land, apartments, homes, and various other real properties. The intent is to eliminate antiquated and outdated methods of dealing with real estate. Instead, buyers and sellers complete transactions with digital tokens.

Currently, it can be a challenge to find the right place to invest in real estate tokens; however, there are a few platforms that can get you started.

Harbor

The Harbor platform provides users with a way to trade real estate on a blockchain network. Assets available on Harbor include private REITs, real estate funds, building ownership, and land. Using blockchain technology means Harbor provides transparency, efficiency, fractional ownership, and, of course, liquidity.

Slice

Additionally, Slice gives users the ability to hold, trade, or liquidate their tokens with its built-in security exchange platforms. The platform is available to anyone who has $10,000 he or she is willing to invest.

Meridio

Meridio is a platform that gives its users the ability to invest in shares of real estate on the blockchain. Through Meridio, properties are split into digital shares, which gives investors and owners a way to interact with one another seamlessly.

Bitfinex Releases Whitepaper to Confirm $ 1 Billion Initial Exchange Offering (CryptoGlobe), Rated: A

Cryptoasset exchange Bitfinex has confirmed that it is planning to raise $1 billion through an initial exchange offering (IEO).

Dong has also been accepting pre-orders for Bitfinex’s upcoming token sale through his crypto-lending application Renrenbit. The well-known investor had reportedly taken pre-orders from users who wanted to participate in the public phase of Bitfinex’s upcoming $1 billion token sale, even before IFinex published an official whitepaper for it.

Cred Partners with Tron and Bitcoin.com to Provide Crypto Lending and Borrowing Services (Bitcoin Exchange Guide), Rated: A

Bitcoin.com has announced a partnership with Cred in which Bitcoin.com users will earn interests of up to 10% on their crypto holdings. Cred is a crypto borrowing and lending company whereas Bitcoin.com is an information portal that has over 4 million Bitcoin wallets.

Fvndit Launches $ 10M Equity-Back Digital Security Offering (Financial Buzz), Rated: A

Fvndit, Inc. (“Fvndit”), a California- and Vietnam-based fintech company, today announced the launch of a $10M digital security offering. Proceeds from the raise will be used to further propel Fvndit’s business objectives as the market leading SME-focused crowd-based funding platform in Vietnam.

Its wholly-owned subsidiary, eLoan, JSC (“eLoan”), operates an online Peer-to-Peer (P2P) funding and investing marketplace in Vietnam, its current local market. Today, SMEs account for more than 41% of Vietnam’s GDP (of $241B USD) and 97% of all enterprises but still remain largely neglected by traditional banks with 70% of them do not have access or have difficulty in accessing credit. eLoan was launched in late 2017 with a clear mission – to make credit more simple and investing more rewarding.

TomoChain teams up with Constant to bring first stablecoin to its platform (Cryptoninjas), Rated: B

Creci Wins its Category at the Innovate Finance Global Summit (PR Web), Rated: B

Creci, an early stage start-up, with headquarters in Hollywood, Florida and offices in Medellin and Bogota, was selected on April 30, 2019, as the category winner for Peer-to-Peer Lending, Alternative Funding, and SME Lending at the Innovate Finance Global Summit in London.

Australia

YOZO a quick and open answer to business lending maze (Mirage News), Rated: A

YOZO is redefining lending for small business by offering a transparent and seamless experience for their borrowing needs. Firstly, by taking the guessing game out of an increasingly frustrating question, “how much can my business borrow?”. YOZO helps small business gauge their borrowing capacity in under a minute. Secondly, by providing an intuitive online experience to apply and receive funds in 48 hours for approved customers.

Southeast Asia

Brankas wants to bring Southeast Asia’s banks and e-commerce into the digital era (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Fintech continues to be among the biggest topics driving startups and investment in Southeast Asia. The region’s “internet economy” is forecast to grow massively as its 600 million people increasingly come online — already Southeast Asia has more internet users (350 million) than the U.S. has people, but developing a robust payment landscape underpins those heady growth forecasts.

Brankas,  an Indonesia-based startup that operates regionally, is one such young company — it operates a platform that gives banks and financial companies the tech to roll out digital products and embrace online services.

Singapore Fintech Firm Heading into Indonesia (Retail News), Rated: A

Following a successful Series B funding round, SME lending platform Validus Capital is launching in Indonesia. SME lending platform Validus Capital has launched in Indonesia, its first Southeast Asian market outside its home country of Singapore, the firm announced in a media release on Thursday.

Latin America

Brazil fintech Nubank opens Mexico office as it seeks Latam expansion (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Brazilian fintech firm Nubank will open an office in Mexico on Tuesday, an initial step in a potential expansion into other Latin American countries, a company executive said.

Nubank, a six-year-old startup that has raised $400 million from investors such as China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd, Sequoia Capital, Tiger Global Management and Kaszek Ventures, will start Mexican operations with 20 employees, Nubank executive and co-founder Cristina Junqueira said in an interview.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday May 9 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Monday August 7 2017, Daily News Digest

LendingClub

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi Ventures to support financial services startups. Prosper’s valuation dives 70%. Fundrise drops minimum investment to $500 for New Starter Portfolio Offering. UK P2P lenders asked to reveal past defaults. Hargreaves Lansdown cancels special dividend. FinMason expands into Prague. PledgeMe close to profitability. Today’s main analysis: LendingClub is looking beleaguered. Australian fintech update. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Surge […]

LendingClub

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

Africa

Barbados

News Summary

United States

SoFi Ventures to support financial services startups (Pitchbook), Rated: AAA

SoFi, a provider of online lending and wealth management services, has launched a strategic VC arm led by 

Surge in FinTech Financings; PeerIQ Closes Series A (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

This past week featured a slate of fintech venture financings. Kabbage (Series F: $250M), Dianrong (Series D: $220M), Bread (Series B: $126M), and Juvo (Series B: $40M) all announced major financings.

And last, but not least, , led by TransUnion, Hearst Financial Venture Fund, and Macquarie Group.

For PeerIQ, it means continuing to execute upon the vision we shared at our seed financing just over two years ago. This fall, we will be launching our first products uniting TransUnion’s dataset with the PeerIQ analytics platform.

Along with its investment, Hearst brings several major holding companies, including auto data provider, BlackBook, and Fitch Ratings, the global ratings provider, which opens up many new value propositions for our customers. Finally, we are working hand in hand with Macquarie, a major provider of capital to the fintech space, to improve tools for warehouse lenders and their borrowers alike.

Lending Club Is Looking Beleaguered Heading Into Q2’s Do-Or-Die Earnings (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

Source: Thomson Reuters Eikon, image made by James Brumley

Fast forward to Monday. That’s when Lending Club is expected to log another progressive quarter, cranking revenue up to $136.2 million, and whittle the per-share loss back to only one cent; the company lost nine cents per share on $103.4 million in sales for the same quarter a year earlier. Not only is revenue expected to keep growing beyond that, Lending Club is expected to swing back to a profit in Q3, of two cents per share.

Fintech lender Prosper’s valuation dives 70% in latest funding round (Biz Journals), Rated: AAA

San Francisco fintech Prosper is about to close on $50 million in funding, in a round that slashes its value 70 percent to $550 million, The Information reports .

That a steep decrease from the $1.9 billion valuation the second-largest online lender saw just last year.

Fundrise Drops Minimum Investment to $ 500 in New Starter Portfolio Offering (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The Fundrise Starter Portfolio starts with a $500 minimum and includes a 9.25% annual dividend yield and zero advisory fees through the end of the year. If you want to try it out the Starter Portfolio comes with a 90 day guarantee. If you have a change of heart, Fundrise will purchase your investment back at the original investment amount. Not a bad deal to test the waters.

Online Lender Prosper in Talks on Deal That Would Slash Its Value (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Prosper Marketplace Inc. is in talks to sell a roughly 10% stake to a Chinese conglomerate in a deal that could reduce the online lender’s valuation by more than two-thirds, according to people familiar with the matter.

Under the terms of the proposed transaction, Linca would invest $50 million in Prosper at a valuation of about $550 million. No deal has been finalized, however, and there was no guarantee the parties would come to an agreement, the people said.

David Kimball, who took over as Prosper’s CEO last December, has been focused on making the company profitable. In February, to ensure a funding source for the company’s loans, Mr. Kimball agreed to sell $5 billion worth of Prosper’s loans to a consortium of investors over the next two years along with warrants to purchase shares representing 35% of the company, The Wall Street Journal previously reported.

Small Change Completes First Real Estate Crowdfunding Offer Under Reg CF (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Real estate investment crowdfunding site Small Change has closed its first real estate offering available to everyone – not just accredited investors.

Small Change reports that investors have funded projects via their platform in cities including Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, New Orleans, and Washington D.C. These projects are as diverse as the cities in which they’ve been built. They include Pittsburgh’s first tiny house, a historic main street mixed-use conversion, and affordable housing in Washington, D.C. with the largest residential solar install in the country.

Small Change has now completed its first offering open to all investors — a Starter Home Two project by architect Jonathan Tate.

WSFS Introduces Private Student Lending Solutions (WSFS), Rated: A

WSFS Financial Corporation (Nasdaq:WSFS), the parent company of WSFS Bank, today announced that it is now offering Private Student Lending Solutions, expanding its consumer lending product line to bridge the funding gap that exists between the actual cost of higher education and the federal aid, grants and scholarships available.

WSFS is partnering with LendKey.

SoFi to finally file for IPO? (Housingwire), Rated: A

Social Finance, better known as SoFi, first teased it would file for an initial public offering nearly three years ago.

SoFi CEO Mike Cagney appears to be interested in filing for an IPO again.

If SoFi did file for an IPO, it would mark the second major IPO for a housing-related company after a dry spell the last few years.

According to an article in Reuters by Lisa Lambert, “Last year IPOs in the United States fell by more than a third from 2015, and many of those 102 share offerings ended up trading below their debut price.”

Renters Insurance: PolicyGenius vs. Lemonade (Coverager), Rated: A

Yesterday, NYC-based digital broker PolicyGenius announced its expansion to renters insurance. The product is delivered in collaboration with Stillwater.

Another thing happened yesterday. Lemonade announced its renters and homeowner’s insurance is now available to folks in NJ, joining those residing in CA, IL and NY.

The result: Stillwater was 40% more expensive than Lemonade, all else equal.

Fluid Strikes Strategic Partnership with Nomad Credit (LendIt), Rated: B

Fintech and adtech startup Fluid announced a strategic partnership with Nomad Credit, a financial marketplace for international students in the US; the partnership looks to offer better credit options to this underserved market; together the companies will deliver better financial literacy, credit building tools and more cost effective financial products.

Here’s how start-ups get funded before they’re ready for venture capital (CNBC), Rated: B

Fledgling businesses rarely command seed or venture funding right out of the gate. But they still need cash to get started.

In reality, there’s a big difference between securing a loan for your business and winning over backers on a site like Kickstarter. Meanwhile, equity crowdfunding, enabled by sites like AngelList, CircleUp and SeedInvest, is generally for businesses that are further along.

Here are the real ways that most entrepreneurs get money at the very start.

  • Personal savings
  • Wages
  • Credit cards
  • Loans
  • Crowdfunding

Countering West Coast Pull, by Helping Finance Start-Ups Sell in New York (The New York Times), Rated: A

Nine of the 15 United States financial technology “unicorns” — companies worth $1 billion or more, as tracked by CB Insights — are in the San Francisco area. These Bay Area companies, which are not public, include the online payments processor Stripe, the online lender Social Finance and the finance website Credit Karma.

For the last seven years, a New York business-backed program — the FinTech Innovation Lab — has been working to stem that West Coast tide by helping financial services start-ups sell their services in New York in an industry where the city clearly dominates: big banks and other finance companies.

Make Delaware the financial technology capital (Delaware Online), Rated: A

One such “industry of the future” that Delaware should be working to attract is the financial technology sector, or what some affectionately call “FinTech. Empowered by mobile computing, these companies use technology to bring better, cheaper, more efficient financial services to citizens. Mobile apps that allow you to send money quickly to friends or family are examples of FinTech products.

For a number of reasons, Delaware is well-suited to become the nation’s FinTech capital. First, the financial services industry has served as a core portion of Delaware’s economy for over 40 years. Individuals with skills and expertise are ready and waiting.

Second, banks, of which many call Delaware home, are leading the way in partnering with startups large and small to develop new solutions and businesses in the space.

Third, Delaware’s nimble government and business community make it a flexible, attractive place for innovation.

Is an Online Business Loan Your Best Option? (Nav), Rated: B

There should be no surprise that with the growth of the internet and online banking that online lending would be close to follow. Over time, banks began to accept loan applications online and eventually began to offer full-service lending through the web.

While online loans may be tempting, it is important to consider every option when borrowing a large sum. Comparison shopping is your friend. There are more than 44 different kinds of business financing — that’s a large ocean to navigate before finding the lowest-cost option that fits your business profile and approval chances.

Nonbank lenders typically lend from their own funds or look to the financial markets to raise millions or billions of dollars to lend in smaller increments.

Here are some questions to ask yourself to get started:

  • How much money do you need to borrow?
  • Do you need an in-person experience or are you comfortable online?
  • What are the best interest rates available today?
  • What origination fees are you willing to pay?
United Kingdom

UK’s peer-to-peer lenders to be asked to reveal past defaults (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

The FCA is expected to announce new measures later this year, including forcing P2P groups to give extra information on the past performance of loans and on how much due diligence they have done on the borrowers’ past performance.

P2P lenders — which had collectively facilitated loans of £7.3bn in the UK by the end of last year, according to research from the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2PFA) — have had plenty of time to prepare for tighter regulation.

The FCA’s latest review is the second in two years, and any measures are unlikely to come in before mid-2018, since the industry will be given between three and six months to respond to the proposals the authority puts forward later this year.

Hargreaves Lansdown Cancels Special Dividend After Regulator Warns on Capital (The New York Times), Rated: AAA

Fund supermarket Hargreaves Lansdown cancelled a planned special dividend on Friday after Britain’s financial regulator said the company needed to shore up its capital base, sending its shares lower.

The company plans to launch its HL Savings product later in the year, a cash deposit service supported by marketplace lending, and this year also launched Lifetime ISAs, or individual savings accounts eligible for a government bonus.

Distribution still keeping the wheels of credit turning (Computer Weekly), Rated: A

A recent survey revealed a third of SMEs in the IT sector have missed out on business opportunities because of a lack of finance. Distributors have long been a major source of credit for SME resellers but with consolidation taking place in distribution through mergers and acquisitions, the sources of credit available to resellers are being reduced.

One distributor that has publicly taken the initiative on credit is Exertis. The company recently introduced a programme called Credit Xtra with the intention of doubling the credit limit for more than 1,650 of its SMB accounts. There is also the option to increase the limit further if resellers remain within the distributor’s credit terms.

Dow believes that it is especially important to offer extra credit at this time of year, when resellers are targeting the peak summertime buying period in education.

LendInvest closes retail bond offer early (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

LENDINVEST has closed its bond offer early, due to strong demand from both retail and institutional investors.

The online mortgage lender launched the five-year notes on 19 July and the offer was scheduled to close at noon on Friday. However, it closed the offer at 11.30am on Thursday.

It said estimated net proceeds from the offer would be just under £49m and confirmed that the issue date will be 10 August.

Kantox raises £4.6 million from investors as it targets profitability (Business Insider), Rated: A

Foreign exchange fintech company Kantox has raised £4.6 million from its existing investors as it aims for profitability.

Filings with Companies House show Kantox raised the sum at the end of July.

Kantox, founded in 2011, made an operating loss of £258,538 on revenues of £2.3 million in 2015, the most recent year accounts are available for.

LendingCrowd offers cashback incentive (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

LENDINGCROWD has launched a £150 cashback offer to investors when adding £2,500 or more amid surging demand from borrowers for business loans.

The offer, which runs until 31 August, is available to new and existing investors and can be used in its Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA.)

Competition regulator confirms P2P business lenders exempt from APR rules (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

NEW pricing rules on business loans will not apply to peer-to-peer lenders, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has confirmed.

From today, all providers of unsecured loans and overdrafts worth up to £25,000 to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), will have to publish and clearly display the annual percentage rates (APRs.)

It had previously been unclear if this would apply to P2P and alternative finance lenders but the CMA confirmed to Peer2Peer Finance News this morning that it would not.

Can P2P Lending Kill NBFCs? (TechBullion), Rated: A

NBFCs, on the other hand, are the Non-Banking Financial Companies.

Does P2P lending offer such a serious threatto NBFCs and can P2P lending kill NBFCs? We write an informative review to let you know!

While NBFCs mostly deal with the unbanked population, P2P concentrate on the businesses that are usually locked out by traditional lenders and also on the tech-savvy individuals.

While P2P platforms have embraced the use of modern technology, NBFCs have failed in the use of technology. This has really affected their growth as they cannot really compete efficiently in the modern world.

Should you go with the crowd? (MoneyWeek), Rated: B

The returns available to investors aren’t as high as they used to be, but they’re still much, much more than you’d get putting your money in a deposit account. But there’s a very good reason for that. It’s an awful lot riskier too. You’re not covered by the financial services compensation scheme – which safeguards up to £85,000 of your savings if your bank goes bust. That means you cold lose everything.

China

Hexindai Partners with China UnionPay to Launch a Mobile Payment Function to Its App (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Hexindai Inc. (“Hexindai” or “the Company”), a fast-growing consumer lending marketplace in China, today announced that it has partnered with China UnionPay to launch its “Quick Pass” app on Hexindai’s mobile platform. The app will allow investors on the Company’s platform to use surplus funds that have not been lent out to pay for goods and services provided by stores partnered with China UnionPay by scanning a QR code created by the app.

Huge Internet finance firms to be assessed (Shanghai Daily), Rated: A

CHINA will explore methods to include large Internet financial businesses of systemic importance in its macro prudential assessment, said a central bank report issued late Friday.

The first peer-to-peer lending platform opened in 2007, and exploded in popularity, with the number of such platforms increasing 18-fold between 2012 and 2015 and the combined transaction volume jumping about 40 times over the period, said the State Information Center.

Inclusive finance to lift fintech firms (China Daily), Rated: A

Financial technology or fintech companies, particularly those focused on credit analysis, will greatly reduce cost of lending and also reduce credit risks. So, they are likely to experience fast growth on market demand as commercial banks are joining the inclusive finance market.

That market is currently dominated by smaller, private financial institutions, such as peer-to-peer or P2P lending platforms and consumer finance platforms.

In China, only 30 percent of citizens are covered by existing credit reporting system, while in mature markets the percentage could be 70 percent or higher.

By the end of July, the five biggest banks in China-Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China, China Construction Bank, Bank of Communications and Bank of China-had launched inclusive finance arms, just two months after the authorities concerned called for better financial services for a wider group of people across China.

European Union

FinMason Announces International Expansion: Opens Operations in Prague (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Boston-based fintech and investment analytics firm, FinMason, announced its international expansion plans and the opening of a new operations center based in Prague. The company stated the initial expansion will include the hiring of twenty software engineers to keep pace with the rapid growth and development needs of the company.

The company shared that FinMason Europe, s.r.o., opened August 1st and the first employees have already started.

Vendorly Adds Three New Companies to Vendor Oversight Platform (Markets Insider), Rated: AAA

Vendorly, an innovative vendor oversight platform for financial institutions, today announced the continued expansion of its platform through the addition of three new third-party oversight integrations available on the Vendorly™ platform. These additions further enable our customers to enhance their compliance management framework and help them maintain the high oversight standards required in today’s marketplace.

Continuing this momentum, the new vendor oversight additions to the Vendorly platform include:

  • Dun & Bradstreet (NYSE: DNB)— Vendorly customers now have access to Dun & Bradstreet data to help make smarter decisions about their current and prospective vendor network.
  • The ID Co. — With DirectID, Vendorly customers now have the ability to conduct bank verification for current and prospective vendors in their network, to reduce fraud and misrepresentation prior to payment.
  • TINCheck — Vendorly customers now have the ability to validate the tax ID of all organizations in their current and prospective vendor network.

iFunded Tackles Large Project With Bond Issue (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

A new entrant in German online real estate lending, iFunded wants to address the market of larger property development projects that lie beyond the scope of real estate crowdfunding. Partnering with umbrella investment bank NFS Netfonds Financial Service, the platform is launching its first €10 million real estate bond issue, to be listed on the open market of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. With this, iFunded leads, for the real estate online funding segment, the Fintech startup trend that consists in moving from exemption/sandbox status to a fully regulated financial environment.

According to Crowdfunding.de, in the first half of 2017, German online real estate crowdlending platforms raised €58 million, 45% more than in the entire year of 2016.

In July 2017, iFunded launched its first public bond offering, what motivated you as a company to add the classical fundraising channel to your online real estate platform?

Real estate crowdfunding in Germany has grown very significantly recently and will reach between €100 and €120 million by the end of 2017. However, it still is small.

Our first project Eisenzahnstrasse Berlin is a €10 million bond issue (ISIN: DE000A2E4FQ5) with a 3.5-year maturity and 5.5% interest rate. It is destined to transform an exi property into 281 flats, including a penthouse, and 2,400 sqm commercial space. The total estimated budget is €49.6 million and the expected income €67 million.

Robo-adviser Moneyfarm expects profitability by 2019 (Citywire), Rated: A

European robo-adviser Moneyfarm expects to become profitable by 2019 as it looks to bring to market new products in the coming months.

The Italian firm filed its 2016 financial statements this morning, announcing expansion to 10,000 customers in the UK and £260 million in global assets under management (AUM), which renders it the second largest robo-adviser in Europe.

The firm has reported total losses of £6.4 million in 2016, but claims this was in line with its agreed targets.

Kildare businesses raise over €1m through Linked Finance (Leinster Leader), Rated: B

Linked Finance, Ireland’s leading peer-to-peer (P2P) lending company has raised over €1m for Kildare-based businesses.

36 Kildare businesses including well-known businesses Kelly’s Mountain Brew, Celbridge Playzone, and The Academy Barber, have used the Linked Finance platform to raise funds and facilitate business growth.

International

Analog Regulations Built for the Traditional Banking Space are not Conducive to Fostering Innovation in Financial Services (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Mueller notes that Singapore and the UK were the early leaders in Fintech innovation as the respective governments determined it was of strategic importance. With government backing, Fintech flourished.

But there are many challenges for this transformation that is occurring at a breakneck speed. And as Mueller says;

“analog regulations built for the traditional banking space are not conducive to fostering innovation in a financial services industry turned digital.”

Mueller bullets out intrinsic challenges to the existing regulatory ecosystem:

  • Fear of failure has resulted in some regulators taking a go slow approach instead of being proactive. When things go wrong – who gets the blame?
  • Complexity in Fintech requires new skills. Regulatory agencies are typically populated with people entrenched in well defined processes. There is a lack of proper skills and staffing.
  • Internal culture may not be willing to adapt. Changing processes is always a challenge. A cohesive policy strategy is missing.
  • Fintech innovators may struggle to engage and communicate with a regulator. Fear of engagement harms us all

Yes, some countries are blazing trails in Fintech and the list of countries pursuing a Fintech Hub status is growing. Without acknowledging the elephant in the room that the US is not at the top of this list (even though it is the leading global financial center) is telling about the regulatory morass elected officials have allowed to persist.

Read the full report here.

FinTech and the world of investment banking (Brave New Coin), Rated: A

Global banks and investment banks are far more complex creatures than their high street counterparts, which is why we’ve seen far less disruption in corporate, commercial and wholesale banking that we are seeing in retail, but don’t be complacent or closed here. There are things happening in the more complex areas too.

While fintech covers a diverse array of companies, business models, and technologies, companies generally fall into several key verticals, including:

Lending tech: Lending companies on the list include primarily peer-to-peer lending platforms as well as underwriter and lending platforms using machine learning technologies and algorithms to assess creditworthiness.

Payments/billing tech: Payments and billing tech companies span from solutions to facilitate payments processing to payment card developers to subscription billing software tools.

Personal finance/wealth management: Tech companies that help individuals manage their personal bills, accounts and/or credit, as well as manage their personal assets and investments.

Money transfer/remittance: Money transfer companies include primarily peer-to-peer platforms to transfer money between individuals across countries.

Blockchain/bitcoin: Companies here span key software or technology firms in the distributed ledger space, ranging from bitcoin wallets to security providers to sidechains.

Institutional/capital markets tech: Companies either providing tools to financial institutions such as banks, hedge funds, mutual funds, or other institutional investors. These range from alternative trading systems to financial modelling and analysis software.

Equity crowdfunding: Platforms that allow a collection of individuals to provide monetary contributions for projects or companies provisioned in the form of equity.

Insurance tech: Companies creating new underwriting, claims, distribution and brokerage platforms, enhanced customer experience offerings, and software-as-a-service to help insurers deal with legacy IT issues

Source: Brave New Coin

Meantime, rather than ignoring these changes, the biggest banks are investing in them. Since 2012, the ten largest US banks by assets participated in 72 rounds of investment totalling $3.6 billion in 56 FinTech companies whilst, in Europe, Banco Santander leads with the most number of unique investments to FinTech startups. The firm has made 13 investments to 12 unique fintech startups. The largest investment was a $135 million in Q3 2015 to small business lender Kabbage, that also included participation from ING among other investors.

Alt-Lending Enjoys Sudden Investment Revival (PYMNTS), Rated: A

This week alone saw two examples of those concerns in action: One U.S. lawmaker, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II (D-Mo.) sent a letter to five alternative small business lenders operating in the country, inquiring about their business practices.

This week also saw one alternative lender in the U.K., DueCourse, fall into administration.

All of this makes it even more surprising that alternative lending startups, by far, secured the greatest amount of investment this week – pushing half a billion dollars, in fact.

PYMNTS breaks down the major AltFin investment rounds, plus covers the other B2B FinTechs that were able to secure new funding.

Australia/New Zealand

PledgeMe closes in on profitability in 2017, weighs up new product development (NZ Herald), Rated: AAA

PledgeMe came within cooee of turning a profit in the 2017 financial year, boosting revenue from fees to use its equity crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending platform while also clamping down on costs, and is considering adding another string to its bow which that could need another capital injection.

The Wellington-based company narrowed its annual loss to $11,228 in the 12 months ended March 31 from $398,611 a year earlier as revenue climbed 55 per cent to $268,473 and operating costs were slashed 48 per cent to $288,502.

Fintech Australia Shares 2017 Australian Fintech Update (Infographic) (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On Saturday, Fintech Australia released a new infographic that revealed more details about the Australian fintech industry’s successes so far this year.

 

Non-bank loans gain momentum in tough lending regime (The Sydney Morning Herald), Rated: A

We have seen demand for construction loans between $10 million and $30 million spike 20 per cent per cent over the last six months as Tier 1 banks are quickly tightening both pre-sales thresholds and loan-to-valuation ratios on new developments.

One area of the greatest demand for non-bank finance is coming from Chinese property developers, who do not have the track record or Australian assets to provide comfort to the major lenders.

Peer-to-peer lending models, like that of Chifley Securities, allow us to access investor funds to progress these developments, as we are applying different, more nuanced assessment of the risks associated with these loans.

Will property crowdfunding take off in Australia? (Your Investment Property), Rated: A

A new study conducted by the University of South Australia (UniSA) in partnership with DomaCom, suggests that crowdfunding could become a viable new vehicle for investors trying to make headway into the country’s increasingly challenging property market.

Braam Lowies, the study’s lead researcher, noted that while the concept was relatively new in Australia, it had been successful in the United States and United Kingdom for approximately seven years.

India

Wadhawan Global takes second UK bet, invests Rs 175 crore (India Times), Rated: A

Wadhawan Global Capital (WGC), which owns 38% of Dewan Housing FinanceBSE 0.07 %, has invested Rs 175 crore in London-based mortgage financer Neyber, marking it’s second investment through the newly set up UK arm as it seeks to expand its global footprint.

Why PPF is like a safety jacket for investors of P2P lending (India Times), Rated: A

Those who do not back the idea of PPF believe investors should carry the risk of loss as the principal idea of P2P Lending is to offer investors an “alternative investment route”. The P2P Lending platform, at best, can try to strengthen the risk-assessment processes by making the optimal use of technological innovations.

While the other camp which is in favour of PPF opines that it is not a luxury but a necessity at the moment as it will only instill confidence among the investors. And, it’s not about disbelieving one’s capabilities.

Asia

Consultation by MAS on the provision of robo-advisory services in Singapore (Lexology), Rated: AAA

A summary of the proposals put forward by MAS in the Consultation Paper is set out below.

  1. Expansion of licensing exemptions

    (a) Expansion of licensing exemption for dealings in securities other than CIS

    (b) Expansion of licensing exemption for provision of fund management services incidental to advisory activities

  2. Dispensation with prior client approval for each and every rebalancing transaction
  3. Case-by-case exemption from collecting full information on the financial circumstances of clients
  4. Relaxation of criteria for CMS licences in fund management for digital advisers
  5. Development, monitoring and testing of client-facing tools
  6. Provision of information on algorithms and conflicts of interest
  7. Responsibility of the board and senior management

MAS Establishes Payments Council (LATTICE80 Email), Rated: A

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced on 2 August that it will establish a Payments Council, comprising 20 leaders from banks, payment service providers, businesses,and trade  associations. Members are appointed for a two-year term and chaired by Mr Ravi Menon, Managing Director, MAS. The Payment Council marks the vision of an e-payments society, fostering collaboration between providers and users of payment services in Singapore.

Green Packet an emerging fintech play (The Star), Rated: A

Communication and technology services company Green Packet Bhd is eyeing an expansion into a new growth area – the mobile payment solutions segment, an area poised for disruptions through technology.

According to the 2016 Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes survey, 74% of Malaysians prefer to make electronic payments instead of cash, an increase of 8% compared with 2015. In fact, Visa indicated in a separate study that seven in ten Malaysians are willing to use mobile wallets.

Hyperintelligent banking in the fickle era of social media (Inquirer.net), Rated: A

Such is the case of American banking giant Citi, which sees itself as a technology company with a banking license, having introduced video banking recently in India.

Video banking is seen suitable especially in wealth management, which is part of the regional consumer business led by Selva. This is a segment where customers need trust and constant advice.

Citi receives 70 million calls a year, almost half of which are answered by a phone agent. The bank usually spends about 30 to 45 seconds validating the call, asking the client his or her mother’s maiden name, date of birth and details about the last transaction.

In the Philippines, Citi now implements voice-enabled biometrics for easier client verification. Citi is likewise moving toward facial recognition.

Fintech Buys Stake in Exchange (finews), Rated: B

GSX, which owns and operates the Gibraltar Stock Exchange, said on Friday that Cyberhub Fintech Holdings Limited is a new strategic shareholder. Cyberhub is a unit of Broctagon, a derivatives trading technology provider.

The stock exchange also wants to become the world’s first to fully integrate blockchain technology.

Africa

The role of financial advisers in raising national savings levels (Biz Community), Rated: A

According to the 2017 Old Mutual Savings & Investment Monitor, working South Africans allocate only 15% of their incometowards savings.

Naidoo explained that these statistics emphasise the extent of the national savings deficit and the large gap that exists between targeted economic growth of 5.4% per year, as per the NDP, and the ability of the South African economy to fund that growth.

Naidoo believes that financial services providers and advisers have a vital responsibility to promote a savings culture via collaborative advice and financial literacy efforts.

Barbados

Carilend seeing ‘phenomenal’ growth (Loop News Barbados), Rated: AAA

Just three months in and Barbados’ sole peer-to-peer lending company, Carilend, is seeing tremendous success with 100 percent of its loans.

With over 900 registered users on the site to date, the team at Carilend has been amazed at the response they have received.

Carilend reported their “average” Borrower is borrowing $8,617 for 43 months at an average interest rate of 11.34%. Whilst all applications receive an answer in one working day, Carilend recently approved a brand new Borrower in 2 hours; 22 minutes from receipt of their initial application.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday March 10 2017, Daily News Digest

delinquency rates in u.s.

News Comments Today’s main news: China’s tech giants are pouring billions into U.S. startups. Zopa puts investors on waiting list. RateSetter investors embrace provision fund rules. Latvia breaks RE dev crowdfunding record. Ping An Bank to provide third-party depository service to P2P lenders. Carilend to open first P2P lending platform in Caribbean. Today’s main analysis: Marketplace Lending 2.0. How Brexit could […]

delinquency rates in u.s.

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

  • Zopa introduces investor waiting list. GP:” Perhaps another way of doing this would be to have a waiting dollar list, not a waiting investor list: each investor can invest $x per month, depending on platform needs. This way you don’t lose clients who see no activity for some time and you take a token of their participation to have them commit and stay committed. ” AT: “Regulated growth is the best kind of growth.”
  • RateSetter investors embrace new provision fund rules. GP:” A very interesting change. We should evaluate these changes in depth.”

European Union

  • How Brexit could help Berlin take London’s fintech crown. AT: “I have to say, though I’m a firm believer that it will take a lot of mojo to overtake the UK as the world’s leader in P2P lending and fintech, there is a compelling argument that Berlin’s growth could be fueld by U.S. and Asian companies choosing Germany over the UK to gain access to European markets post-Brexit. Howevr, they’ll still need a presence in the UK if they want access to the UK market. Whether business interests lean toward Berlin over London in the aggregate and over the long haul, however, remain to be seen.”
  • Latvia’s largest crowdfunded RE dev project.
  • Fellow Finance P2P lending review.

China

Asia

Caribbean

  • Bid to change loan services. AT: “Barbados need no longer be known only for good music and sunny beaches. Fintech has reached so many new shores.”

News Summary

 

United States

China’s tech giants are pouring billions into US start-ups (CNBC), Rated: AAA

Joe Chen, CEO of Chinese social networking service Renren, first met SoFi CEO Mike Cagney in Palo Alto in 2011 and, over coffee, decided to invest in the fast-growth, disruptive online finance start-up. That initial $4 million investment helped SoFi get its start and led to two more financings within three years, with Renren contributing a major chunk of some $230 million raised.

Similarly to Renren, China’s tech titans Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent are leading a surge of Chinese investment in cutting-edge U.S. technology start-ups with bold ambitions to expand their footprint, attract top talent and gain an edge in innovation.

Collectively known as the BAT, China’s giant technology companies that dominate search, e-commerce and mobile messaging in their home market are going global. The United States is their primary shopping place to diversify and build out their brands.

China’s four largest internet companies — the BAT plus e-commerce company JD.com — have invested $5.6 billion in 48 U.S. tech deals over the past two years, according to CBI Insights data.

Last year Chinese investors put a record $45.6 billion in U.S. companies, triple the amount for 2015, according to research group Rhodium Group in New York City.

Besides its groundbreaking investment in SoFi, Renren has invested in a series of U.S. fintech start-ups, leading a $31 million lead investment in crowdfunding real estate site Fundrise in 2014 and leading a $40 million investment in U.S.-based stock-trading outfit Motif in 2015.

For the founders of U.S. tech start-ups, getting cozy with Chinese acquirers and investors can make good business sense. With a Chinese investor, their business gains a competitive edge in the exceedingly difficult-to-penetrate China market. Getting funds from China’s leading tech companies can help U.S. companies gain an entry point to China, an immediate on-the-ground presence and strategic insights such as how to best customize products for the local Chinese market.

Why ‘challenger banks’ haven’t taken off in the US (Tradestreaming), Rated: AAA

Digital banks, big in the U.K., have a trust problem in the States.

That model hasn’t really caught on in the U.S., though, where startups are mostly building technology-based solutions for payments, investing and lending – anything that doesn’t require opening a bank account with an unknown entity. Building that type of business profitably is hard: the cost of customer acquisition is high and complying with complex financial regulations can be a big undertaking.

BankMobile, a rare U.S. success story, offers a compelling case study. With about 2 million accounts since its 2015 launch, it has grown so quickly Customers is selling it to Flagship Community Bank in Clearwater, Florida. (The Durbin Amendment of the Dodd-Frank Act requires companies with more than $10 billion in assets cap their interchange fees at 44 cents, and Customers’ asset size is just below that. BankMobile’s revenue comes mostly from interchange fees on debit cards.) The $175 million deal is expected to close before the end of the third quarter.

Luvleen Sidhu, president and chief strategy officer, said one of the main reasons BankMobile has been so successful is it is acquiring new customers at a low cost – about $10 per account, she specified, compared to the roughly $300 she said it generally costs to acquire a customer returns come out to “maybe $85 a year” in revenue.

U.S. startups are joining banks, not challenging them.

However, it will take more than a better customer experience enabled by technology to motivate customers to open an account or switch from their current bank, despite their general dissatisfaction with the current financial system, Khan said. These new experiences need to focus more on customer behavior – something banks get but startups need to work on more. What will ultimately make a digital bank stand out from legacy banks that are improving digitally is the way it handles data.

That’s why it’s important to remember a tech giant like Facebook or Amazon could get into banking services before a digital bank even takes off, Khan said. If it’s a competition for customer trust, the tech company could beat out all the banks.

Marketplace Lending 2.0 (Deloitte), Rated: AAA

But 12 months later, we see a picture that is much bigger in scope than just MPL-bank convergence. Marketplace lending is an integral piece of a larger fintech puzzle that is transforming the financial services industry.  We expect that asset classes such as small business, student, and unsecured consumer will move almost completely to digital platforms in the medium term, while other asset classes, such as residential mortgages and auto lending will get there more slowly.

Further out, we see a technology platform-enabled lending environment moving from a predictive to a prescriptive analytics stage.

Download the report here.

Six ways Goldman Sachs’ online lender, Marcus, strives for an edge (American Banker), Rated: AAA

  1. It’s tackling a pain point for consumers: credit card debt.
  2. It’s kicking it old school with direct mail.
  3. It’s borrowing culture and office design strategies from startups.
  4. It’s light on fees.
  5. It’s turned off automated voice response.
  6. It lets people defer payments. This isn’t for everyone necessarily, but those who make 12 consecutive payments on time earn a pass. They can contact the bank to defer one payment with no fees or extra interest, so a 32 -month loan becomes a 33-month loan.

What Crowdfunding and ‘Democratizing Capital’ Could Mean for Minority Entrepreneurs (Equities.com), Rated: A

The digital crowdfunding trend in America started in 2003 when ArtistShare launched as the world’s first donation crowdfunding platform for creative artists. Crowdfunding has surely stimulated the national and global economy over the years, but equity crowdfunding is a federally regulated tool with the ability to shift power from large, robust institutions to the individual entrepreneur and investor.

Equity crowdfunding acts as a catalyst for individuals to collectively combat institutional discrimination along with the very real wealth and unemployment disparity between races in the country. While organizing a crowdfunding campaign strategy is complex in nature, leaders across the country are working hard to make this crowdfunding easier and more accessible to everyone.

Below are a few leaders making a difference in the minority community:

  • Dar’shun Kendrick at Minority Access to Capital– Securities lawyer with a focus on helping minorities access capital the legal way.
  • Maureen L. Murat, Crowdie Advisors– Future lawyer with a passion for immigration and securities law helping entrepreneurs raise capital via equity crowdfunding.
  • Kendrick Nguyen and Paul Menchov at Republic– Equity crowdfunding platform highlighting minority, female, and impact investing offerings.
  • Devin Thorpe, Champion of Social Good– Journalist, author, and avid speaker on a mission to solve some of the world’s biggest problems before 2045 by championing the work of change agents who will do it.
  • Lynn Da, Buy The Block– Advocate for minority investment education and access to real estate crowdfunding investments. Platform set to launch April, 2017.
  • StartingFive Partners and General Catalyst Partners, FundLatinos – These two groups came together to develop this donation crowdfunding platform to bring together with the vision to build the tools, technology and partnerships needed to foster a trusted environment for Latinos to raise money for personal and community causes that matter.
  • Charlie Jackson, CEO at Texas Diversity Fund– Equity crowdfunding platform with a focus on encouraging diversity in entrepreneurship.

Backed Secures First Institutional Debt Capital (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Backed, the online lending platform that has digitized co-signing of personal loans, today announced it has finalized its debt financing deal with Israel’s largest financial institution, Harel Insurance and Finance. Harel has also participated in Backed’s extended seed round, and has become a lead equity investor. Backed and Harel are setting up an independent special purpose funding vehicle for financing its growing loan portfolio.

Backed was founded with the mission of helping individuals with thin or no credit history gain access to fair loans. Its unique co-signing mechanism is fully digitized, and allows the Backer (co-signer) to keep track of the loan progress and to step in to cover missing payments if necessary. Backing is designed to help borrowers and Backers avoid defaults, rather than impose added risk on the co-signers. Simultaneously, the co-signing model allows Backed to offer competitive returns to its investors, with reduced risk due to its co-signing mechanism.

LendingHome Launches One-Stop Online Mortgage for Digital Natives, by Digital Natives (VentureBeat), Rated: A

LendingHome’s online mortgage is the first to prioritize the customer experience by putting control over the process into the hands of the homebuyer. While the first wave of digital lenders brought the old-school paper mortgage application online, retrofitting it to be accessed via the Internet, much of the process is still controlled by the lender offline and is opaque and confusing for the homebuyer. In contrast, LendingHome has created the next-generation digital mortgage that gives homebuyers confidence and control over the process with a dynamic, interactive online experience. It also offers a faster, simpler, and more transparent mortgage process than the outdated paper-laden methods still used by many lenders.

It gives homebuyers confidence and control over the process with a range of loan options, innovative features, and trustworthy resources to choose from. It includes the ability to:

  • Select the right loan for your needs anywhere, anytime: Borrowers can select from a range of loan products at competitive rates. Using LendingHome’s Trade Points tool, they can configure the loan that’s best for their needs without wasting time going back and forth with a loan officer.
  • Lock your rate with the click of a button: Online rate lock allows borrowers to capture available rates in real time without the worry of missing out because the market moved.
  • Get guidance right when you need it: An educational hub offers advice on complex topics like debt-to-income and loan types. Extensive in-product tips and education are available exactly at the time they’re needed to help throughout the application process. While it’s easy to complete the mortgage process online, LendingHome has personalized loan specialists available to talk to borrowers via phone or chat when needed.
  • Know what to expect and do at every step: A personalized dashboard lets borrowers know exactly what documentation they’ll need to provide, without the headache of fielding last-minute piecemeal requests via email and phone. A Milestone Tracker lets them know exactly where they stand in the mortgage process and what comes next.
  • Stay on the same page with your real estate agent: A Loan Tracker tool enables borrowers to seamlessly share the progress of their loan with their real estate agent or partner.

LendingHome’s home financing solution is available at www.lendinghome.com/home-loans to homebuyers in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, and Washington, with more states to be added in the coming months.

There are 15.8 million homebuyers — many of whom are tech savvy — expected to enter the market from 2015 to 2025, according to research from the book. Today, forty-seven percent of homebuyers are first-time buyers, and half (50 percent) are under the age of 36. They have a median age of 33 and nearly six in 10 are Millennials (56 percent) per a recent survey by Zillow Group. Per the same survey, the majority of homebuyers, 87 percent, use online resources to search, shop and purchase their home.

Fueled by Rocket Mortgage, Detroit-Based Quicken Loans Achieves Record-Breaking Year (PR Newswire), Rated: A

One year after Quicken Loans’ Rocket Mortgage Super Bowl ad ignited a nationwide conversation about the power of the American homebuyer, the largest FinTech lender funded $7 billion of its record $96 billion in total closed loan volume in 2016 through Rocket Mortgage. In just 11 months Rocket Mortgage’s closed volume alone would already rank as a top-30 national mortgage lender, among the nearly 50,000 banks, credit unions, brokers and mortgage companies in the United States.

Monroe Capital Corporation BDC Announces Fourth Quarter Financial Results (NASDAQ), Rated: A

Monroe Capital Corporation (Nasdaq:MRCC) (“Monroe”) today announced its financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2016.  The Board of Directors of Monroe also declared its first quarter dividend of $0.35 per share, payable on March 31, 2017 to stockholders of record on March 17, 2017.

Fourth Quarter 2016 Financial Highlights

  • Net investment income of $5.4 million, or $0.32 per share
  • Adjusted Net Investment Income (a non-GAAP measure described below) of $5.8 million, or $0.35 per share
  • Net increase in net assets resulting from operations of $7.5 million, or $0.45 per share
  • Net asset value (“NAV”) of $240.9 million, or $14.52 per share
  • Paid quarterly dividend of $0.35 per share on December 31, 2016

5 female founders shaping the future of fintech (Built in NYC), Rated: A

Alexa Van Tobel launched LearnVest in 2009 with the mission of making financial planning affordable and accessible.

Sallie Krawcheck, a former titan of finance at companies like Citigroup and Bank of America, launched Ellevest in 2016 with the mission of closing the gender investment gap. The robo-advisor works to help women secure their financial futures by taking women’s unique life attributes — such as longer lifespans, different salary curves and more frequent career breaks — into consideration.

A former McKinsey consultant, Jennifer Fitzgerald cofounded PolicyGenius to fill a  gap in the insurance industry.

Vicki Zhou, who previously held roles at Citigroup, SFC Associates and Archipelago Capital Management, launched the company in 2013 with Herbert Moore. WiseBanyan’s platform provides users with tailor-made financial plans by recommending and managing an assortment of bonds and stocks, which users can then track, add to or withdraw from.

Orchard Platform is a marketplace lending platform that helps institutional investors, investment managers and loan originators connect and transact. Angela Ceresnie co-founded the company in 2013 with Matt Burton, David Snitkof, Jonathan Kelfer and Phill Rosen.

Want to start a mortgage company? loanDepot CEO updates thoughts on barriers to entry (Housingwire), Rated: B

Hsieh said last year that regulation was a barrier to entry into the business. People are eye-balling entering the mortgage industry because of $9 billion of untapped potential market share, Hsieh said at the time.

Now a year later, Hsieh added to it, stating technology is now a new barrier to entry — no longer just capital and regulatory obstacles.

And there’s data to back his claim. The Mortgage Bankers Association forecasts$1.63 trillion in total mortgage originations in 2017. So it’s true that more people want in, but greater investment in technology is becoming an ever-increasing necessity.

Citi names Piazza permanent head of fintech unit (American Banker), Rated: B

Citigroup on Thursday announced that Yolande Piazza will serve as the permanent head of its fintech unit.

Piazza had been serving in that role on an interim basis since August, when the previous chief executive of Citi FinTech, Heather Cox, left for a role with USAA.

Kabbage, Arcadia price pair of MPL deals (Global Capital), Rated: B

Sole lead Guggenheim increased the deal size of the Kabbage offering from $500m to $525m before pricing on Wednesday.

The $388.8m ‘A’ notes were priced at 275bp over swaps, while the $83.3m ‘B’ notes were priced at 400bp over swaps. The $27.7m ‘C’ notes and the $25m ‘D’ …

East Bay real estate investor crowdfunds purchase of San Jose tech park (Biz Journals), Rated: B

The Hellyer Oaks Technology Park in San Jose has been acquired by Walnut Creek-based Vertical Ventures, but the sale was funded partially by a real estate crowdfunding tool called CrowdStreet.

United Kingdom

UK’s biggest peer-to-peer lender introduces investor waiting list (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Zopa, the oldest and largest peer-to-peer lending platform in the UK, has introduced a waiting list for new investors on the platform. The new setup applies to both institutional and individual investors, and follows on from the “platform limit” which was introduced in December.

The newly introduced waiting list is an attempt to place a greater weight of emphasis on existing investors, by moderating the on-boarding of new customers. Zopa doesn’t yet know how long the waiting list will be, but says that it will try to manage it such that it’s never too long.

Of course, this wouldn’t be an issue at all if originations were outstripping investments. It would appear that Zopa is overweight investment at the moment.

RateSetter’s investors embrace new provision fund rules (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER’S investors have widely endorsed changes introduced to the provision fund, as hardly any of them have used the one-month window to withdraw their funds without an exit fee.

The peer-to-peer finance firm updated its lender terms in early February, one month ahead of changes to its provision fund to address concerns that it was “too binary”.

The average amount invested has now ticked up to over £22,000 – a 0.6 per cent month-on-month increase that also confirms investors feel comfortable with the platform’s strategy.

European Union

How Brexit could help Berlin take London’s fintech crown (MarkeWatch), Rated: AAA

When it comes to Brexit’s winners and losers, Berlin looks set to snag a few victories — especially the city’s growing financial-technology sector.

A rolling billboard (“Keep calm and move to Berlin”) is one of the stunts that have ruffled British feathers.

But Berlin’s gains might not come from a Brexit-driven exodus — that is, from U.K.-based technology companies abandoning their homeland. Instead, its fintech scene will benefit from U.S. and Asian businesses actively choosing Berlin, and not London, as their EU base.

That at least is the prediction from Stefan Franzke, CEO at Berlin Partner, a business development agency. He estimates that Berlin is home to roughly 80 to 100 fintechs and expects that number to double by late 2018.

To be sure, Londoners have played down the Brexit threat to the U.K. capital’s fintech crown.

At the same time, Germany is already catching up, by some measures. Funding inflows for the country’s fintech sector totaled $421 million in last year’s first three quarters, topping the U.K.’s $375 million, as shown in the chart above from accounting giant EY.

But London’s fintech scene is going to be hard to overtake, given advantages like the U.K. capital being a top financial hub and the English language serving as the business world’s lingua franca nowadays.

Latvia’s largest crowdfunded RE dev project – 950,000 euros fully funded in less than 24 hours. (Crowdestate Email), Rated: AAA

A residential real estate project located at Saules Aleja 2A in Riga, Latvia was fully funded on Crowdestate.eu crowdfunding platform. This was the single largest crowdfunding campaign in Latvia for a real estate development. The project is managed by Crowdestate and advised by a leading Estonian residential developer Hepsor OÜ.

The development project will include the purchase of a land plot and the construction of a residential building next to a park and a beautiful pond in the highly sought after Agenskalns neighborhood. In less than 24 hours, 769 investors from 23 countries all over the world participated in funding this project, reaching the record breaking amount of 950 000 euros.

The investment opportunity offers an IRR of 20.46% per annum.

On crowdestate.eu platform anyone can be an investor, with the minimum investment starting from 100 euros. The largest amount invested into the Saules Aleja 2A project was 30 000 euros and the average investment per investor was 1 297 euros.

Fellow Finance P2P Lending – My Portfolio and Strategy (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

Fellow Finance is a p2p lending marketplace in Finland. It started 2013 with loans to Finnish consumers, and later added Polish consumer loans and loans to Finnish SME’s. Since launch more than 100 million EUR in loans were funded.

I currently invest only in Finnish consumer loans and concentrate on 3 and 4 star loans for which the market rates are currently 13% and 15%. The Finnish consumer loans are covered by a buyback guarantee of 70%, meaning in case they are 90 days overdue, they will be sold for 70% of outstanding principal to a collection agency.

The market rates do fluctate sometimes at +/- 1%, and I felt it necessary to tweak the rate of my allocator then to keep it bidding (at the best possible rate). Fellow Finance is one of the very few platforms, where investors can configure the autoinvest to buy on the secondary market, but I have not used that.

Overall the website – which is available in english language – is good, only sometimes a tad slow to respond.

 

China

WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Last week, the National People’s Congress (NPC)and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the country’s top legislative and political advisory body, opened the 2017 sessions in Beijing.

And this year, “Fintech” was once again named as the top keywords of “Two Sessions”:

(15 Top Keywords of 2017: artificial intelligence, virtual reality, Internet+, sharing economy, blockchain, Fintech, content industry, Internet healthcare, automatic drive, platform era, innovation, institutional improvement for internet, information safety, digital economy and smart city)

Ping An Bank is planning to provide third party depository service for P2P online lending platforms.

Here are some main points of the measures:

  • Actual controllers of P2P online lending platforms must be government, large state-owned enterprises, main-board listed companies, small and medium enterprise board listed companies, or financial institutions with licenses from China Banking Regulatory Commission, China Securities Regulatory Commission, China Insurance Regulatory Commission or Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security;
  • Platforms must be in operation for more than a year without any negative press reports, and monthly turnover should exceed 100 million yuan;
  • Platforms should market their depository cooperation with Ping An Bank truly and objectively;

On March 2nd, Wanda Group and China UnionPay officially announced a strategic co-operation. The two sides will develop cutting-edge financial technology to promote the application of intelligent transaction and smart service in commercial scenarios.

On March 2nd, Fintech platform Xiaoying Financial secured 1 billion yuan in Series B funding. The new investors include Suzhou Goldmantis Group, the Industrial Fund of Jinke Entertainment, Shanghai Urban Real Estate Holdings Company, Bo Nian Kang Health Management Group and more.

On March 2nd, prepaid card company Jiangsu Ruixiang announced it had ceased cooperation with more than 50 Lotte Mart stores in Jiangsu provinces.

Asia

Dubai Regulator Signs FinTech Pact with Singapore’s Central Bank (Cryptocoins News), Rated: A

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) have signed a cooperation agreement to develop and nurture Fintech innovations and entrepreneurs in both countries.
Dubai is certain to benefit from the agreement with Singapore, the latter arguably established as Asia’s and one of the world’s leading Fintech hubs.
Notably, the two authorities will also collaborate on projects that explore the possibility of technologies such as blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT), digital and mobile payments, big data and more.

P2P lending changes the finance game (Manila Bulletin), Rated: B

First to be introduced and gained traction in the United States and Europe, this method called peer-to-peer or ‘person-to-person’ (P2P) lending paves the way to democratize the lending while keeping it credible and very secure.

There are less requirements needed compared to the traditional money-lending process. What attracts the borrowers are the low interest rates and the minimal requirements, while the convenience and safety attracts the lenders.

Caribbean

Bid to change loan services (Nation News), Rated: AAA

Carilend Ltd officially launched its peer-to-peer (P2P) lending website last week, introducing a process that matches lenders (who can lend from $2 500 up in $25 increments) directly with borrowers (who can borrow from $2 500 to $50 000 in $25 increments, subject to credit referencing and scoring).

Carilend officials said theirs was the first P2P lending site in the Caribbean “aiming to bring together borrowers and lenders to give a better deal and a better experience to both”.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday February 9 2017, Daily News Digest

south korea p2p

News Comments Today’s main news: Huge spike in deposits after Lending Works launches IFISA. Public-private partnership forms Online Lending Policy Institute. Today’s main analysis: How private debt/alternative credit boosts income, risk-adjusted returns. Today’s thought-provoking articles: What roll-back of Dodd-Frank means for MPL. An end to P2P wholesale lending. BondMason calls for end to provision funds. United States Private-public […]

south korea p2p

News Comments

United States

  • Private-public partnership forms OLPI. AT: “This is an interesting approach to dialogue concerning MPL innovation, regulation, and growth. Where the Marketplace Lending Association exists primarily for the benefit of lenders, the OLPI seems to have its focus on consumers. Both attempt to influence public policy, but they different paths.”
  • What rollback of Dodd-Frank means for MPL. AT: “I completely agree that regulation legitimizes the industry, but I am concerned that over-regulation can kill innovation. On the other hand, there is a real danger that protectionist policies can lead to banks reverting back to risky lending practices, hurting consumers, and making it difficult for marketplace lenders to compete. I hope we can strike a fine balance that encourages innovation, fosters competition, and provides more options for consumers.”
  • Zoot Enterprises XOR Data Exchange partner on risk mitigation.

United Kingdom

European Union

China

Asia

News Summary

United States

Unique Public and Private Partnership Forms Online Lending Policy Institute (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

The Online Lending Policy Institute (OLPI) today announced its formation and the appointment of its first Executive Director, Professor Cornelius Hurley. OLPI will provide a one-stop resource for those interested in Fintech generally and marketplace lending specifically. The OLPI will provide research and education to ensure informed policy and best practices.

The OLPI provides policy analysis, in-depth research, broad educational initiatives (like the successful MPL Policy Summit), and relevant and engaged thought leadership to foster responsible growth of online lending (providing a strong bridge between established financial services and technology knowledge). To that end, the OLPI convenes various stakeholders, facilitates industry consensus, and encourages the development of a regulatory framework that protects borrowers while promoting innovation.

Key activities of the OLPI will include:

  • Substantive research that affects the online lending industry
  • Publishing white papers, studies, and reports
  • Engaging policy makers and industry stakeholders in the creation of forward-thinking public policy
  • Commissioning studies to ensure policymakers and those studying the industry have accurate data to rely on
  • Hosting the annual MPL Policy Summit to share, educate, and exchange ideas
  • Acting as the one-stop solution for all who seek to understand legal and regulatory landscape of online lending
  • Providing the tools necessary to ensure responsible innovation in Fintech– OLPI will be a valuable research resource for the various associations that have already formed to advocate for Fintech

To reach its goals, the OLPI knew it was important to be led by an expert in financial services thought leadership that has built a reputation of integrity and innovation with the banking community at large. The OLPI is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Cornelius Hurley as the first Executive Director of the Institute. Professor Hurley brings more than 35 years of diversified legal, entrepreneurial, and academic experience in the financial sector.

OLPI’s growing roster of members includes founding members Cross River Bank, Boston University’s Center for Finance, Law & Policy, and RocketLoans, among others. OLPI will announce its broader membership, including many leading industry players at LendIt 2017, where OLPI will host a day of legal and regulatory panels.

What Trump’s Rollback of Dodd-Frank Means for Marketplace Lending (Forbes), Rated: AAA

For marketplace lenders, the industry has matured despite a relative lack of federal regulation and uniformity. While it has thrived due to reduced oversight from lending authorities, a wave of deregulation in Washington could be a curse rather than a blessing as it can further erode the legitimacy fintech pioneers have started to garner since the great recession.

While reactionary regulations can hinder economic recovery, Dodd-Frank was structured in a way that made enacting new rules a heavily vetted process.

Bank lending has increased at a rate of 6 percent a year since 2013, reaching a record high of $9.1 trillion in commercial loans in 2016 and JPMorgan increased core loans more than 10 percent across all categories. If the banking sector has struggled under Dodd-Frank, it hasn’t curtailed profits.

Dodd-Frank has made it much more difficult for consumers to gain access to mortgages and other loan products and raised some costs, in turn affecting profitability, particularly among smaller community banks.

Regulation For Marketplace Lenders Creates Legitimacy

Without smart regulation, fintech companies will continue to be at a disadvantage when compared to brick and mortar counterparts, making it more difficult for a still-developing industry to establish itself as a legitimate entity.

Disruptive innovation can often flourish in this vacuum, but there’s a cost. Without the legitimacy that regulation offers, marketplace lending could struggle to be taken seriously as a direct competitor of the established banking system.

The danger lies in overregulation, but we are a long way from that.

Zoot Enterprises, XOR Data Exchange Partner For Risk Mitigation (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Zoot Enterprises has announced that it has formalized an agreement with XOR Data Exchange to provide Zoot clients access to multi-industry data predictive of identity theft and fraud risk. With the rise in online fraud, clients rely on Zoot to identify new ways to support their business strategy and quickly react to new fraud trends.

The partnership will bring a wider variety of predictive data sets and analytics to institutions that rely on Zoot for their platform needs across a wide variety of industries including financial services, merchant services, telecom, insurance, and healthcare. By sharing data through XOR, businesses are reducing credit and fraud losses, while providing additional insight into fraud rings that may target several different industries and establishing the creditworthiness of businesses that may not be identified using traditional providers.

United Kingdom

Huge Spike in Deposits Reported After Lending Works IFISA Launched (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

Lending Works CEO Matthew Powells reported an influx of more than 500K GBP deposits within 3 hours after launching the Lending Works Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA). Lending Works’ IFISA product offers 4% (up to 3 years) or 4.7% (up to 5 years term) tax-free for investments on the p2p lending marketplace.

A recent survey of Lending Works’ existing investors found that 88% plan to open an IFISA, with around a third expecting to invest between 10,000 GBP and the maximum threshold of 15,240 GBP of their annual ISA allowance into the IFISA before the end of the tax year in April.

First major peer-to-peer Isa becomes available, offering up to 4.7pc tax-free (The Telegraph), Rated: AAA

Lending Works has become the first large peer-to-peer company to offer an “innovative finance Isa”, beating several better-known rival lenders to the launch.

The new Isas will offer the same rates and terms as Lending Works’ existing accounts. Investors can lend over a three or five-year period. Three-year loans attract interest of 4pc and five-year loans earn 4.7pc. 

Of these only three have launched an Isa. The companies, Abundance, CrowdStacker and Crowd2Fund have lent out less than £100m between them in total.

An end to the nascent P2P wholesale lending market (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Last weekend, the Mail on Sunday reported that lending money to businesses that in turn lend that money on — aka wholesale lending — is something the regulator reckons doesn’t count as P2P lending. According to the Mail, the FCA thinks P2P lenders doing this “would mimic banking – but without the same protection for individuals or regulations for the firms involved”.

Good news for fans of clarity. Less good news for fans of Ratesetter, a leading P2P lender with a boundary blurring business model and a wholesale lending operation that has historically made up around 15 per cent of its loan originations, as we showed in March last year.

The FCA’s views on wholesale lending in the P2P sector are not entirely clear. One advisor to P2P lenders said “different platforms have been getting different messages”, but suggested the practice might raise the question of whether deposit taking was going on. As they explained it, a lending business borrowing from a P2P lender would, in effect, be borrowing money from ordinary people for the purposes of lending it on, which is not a million miles away from what a bank does. In short, the P2P lender might be viewed as a channel for attracting deposits.

P2P investing firm calls for end to provision funds (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

PEER-TO-PEER lenders should not use provision funds, a P2P investment manager has argued in a new report.

BondMason claims the funds, used by platforms such as Zopa and RateSetter, are just a tool to attract lenders.

The investment firm, which aims to get clients a seven per cent return by selecting P2P loans across approved platforms on their behalf, argues that provision funds “do little (nothing) to improve returns for well-diversified investors.”

Looking at the wider market, the BondMason report found lending in the P2P market grew by 39 per cent in 2016 to £3.2bn but warned that this was down from the annual growth of 91 per cent between 2014 and 2015.

19 laptops containing customer information have been stolen from fintech company GoCardless (Business Insider), Rated: A

Fintech business GoCardless is offering some customers free credit monitoring for a year after admitting 19 laptops containing personal information were stolen from its offices.

The stolen laptops contained personal data on an unspecified number of customers, such as email addresses, passport numbers, dates of birth, and names, according to The Register, which first reported the theft. Importantly, no financial data was held on the laptops.

LendInvest unveils refurbishment product (Mortgage Introducer), Rated: A

LendInvest has launched a refurbishment product with interest between 0.92% and 1.1% per month which is rolled up and paid at the end of the term.

The loan is based on gross development value, not loan-to-value – and is available up to 70% GDV.

Customers can take out loans between £100,000 and £2m for terms up to 18 months.

Peer to Peer Lending on “Right Path” as Wealth Managers Seek Quality Investments (Crowdfund Insider), Rate: A

BondMason has published its Market Report 2017 reviewing the trends in the UK peer to peer lending market.  BondMason is a platform that provides investors a method to diversify their investments across many P2P lending platforms.

According to BondMason’s research, P2P lending is beginning to see a flight to quality as the industry matures and weaker platforms exit the market. BondMason’s numbers indicate that the UK direct lending market totaled £3.2 billion of lending in 2016. This is an increase of 39% versus 2015 but a drop in growth as the industry grew by 91% from 2014 to 2015.

BondMason believes there is significant room for growth of the online lending sector. While P2P lending accounted for £3.2 billion during 2016, the total addressable market is between £100 to £120 billion in the UK.

NatWest to offer online investment fund service and ‘robo-advice’ (Financial Times), Rated: B

NatWest is unveiling a service for customers to access investment funds online through the bank for the first time, ahead of plans to launch a “robo-advice” service later this year.

The service, called NatWest Invest launches later this month and will allow bank customers who do not wish to pay for financial advice to choose their own funds and invest with a minimum of £500.

Other banks in the UK are planning to follow suit by offering robo-advice. Santander is among the lenders in the process of developing an automated advice service and has invested in robo-adviser provider SigFig.

FinTech Monthly (Tech City News), Rated: B

Monese, an online banking app, raised a $10m Series A round. The app enables non-native citizens to open a UK bank account.

Seedcamp sold part of its stake in money transfer startup TransferWise. This news came shortly after it was reported that US giant Andreessen Horowitz increased its investment in the London-based startup.

And finally, Mastercard has launched a mobile marketplace for East Africa’s agricultural sector. The digital platform, called 2KUZE, meaning ‘let’s grow together’ in Swahili, will enable farmers to buy, sell and receive payments for agricultural goods via their phones.

European Union

How Private Debt/Alternative Credit Boosts Income and Risk-Adjusted Returns (LinkedIn), Rated: AAA

Quantitative easing has caused a significant distortion of asset prices and market dynamics. It has had an enormous impact on the price of most publicly-traded liquid assets, causing yields to drop below a level any return can historically justify. In this context, investors are looking for alternative solutions and private markets offer significant investment opportunities and value enhancement.

Alternative Investments and Alternative Credit have asset solutions that are very different from each other with very dissimilar drivers. Understanding these asset classes requires specialization and expertise. For example, in banks, sub-asset classes such as shipping, trade and commodity finance, infrastructure finance, leverage loans, and leasing are executed by specialized departments and treated as asset classes on their own merits.

Firstly, the active asset managers and institutional investors are providing the alternative sources of credit either directly or through their clients. This began the growth of a credit market along with the traditional bank lending in some sectors. The shrinking balance sheets of banks presented a tremendous opportunity for investors who were jolted by traditional fixed-income securities and needed options for diversification and higher yields.

Secondly, many new so-called Fintech companies in Alternative Lending have entered the market and established business models which are challenging the traditional status quo. They are still small in size in comparison with incumbent players; however, their business model is addressing many current challenges in the financial sector (inefficiency, information asymmetry, maturity transformation).

The increasing participation of the institutional investor market and new platforms are likely to bring more transparency regarding the actual return contribution of different asset classes in the future.

How Does Alternative Credit Enhance Risk-Adjusted Return and Income?

Currently, most liquid fully “institutionalized” asset classes do not offer the appropriate balance between risk and return. Monetary interventions themselves over the past few years have caused a positive return  on the most liquid public assets solely as a result of artificial demand pressure.

Contrary to public traditional fixed-income markets, Alternative Credit offers a private pricing differential (PPD) of 0.5% to 5% over the fixed income market, which is an attractive level.

In these uncertain times, Alternative Credit offers a plausible answer: “Going for the safest part in the capital structure and going for shorter tenors.”

  • Credit investments currently the highest safety in capital structure.
  • Alternative Credit can enable exposure for shorter tenors to self-liquidating assets (trade finance, factoring, supply chain finance).
  • Alternative Credit offers a floating rate exposure.

The best feature of Alternative Credit is its due diligence.

Alternative Credit offers portfolio construction opportunities to diversify other asset classes traditionally owned by banks (not mark to market) and segments that are not yet on the public market’s radar.

As equities became too volatile after the financial crisis of 2008, Private Debt became a surrogate for high-yield bonds. In addition, there was a contraction of more than 70% in the AAA-rated bonds and many of them lost their triple-A status (Preqin, 2014). This provided the cornerstone for the development of Alternative Credit, which enhanced the return of the portfolios by offering a combination of higher rates of return and lower risk.

Alternative Credit has already become the cornerstone of investments in many institutional portfolios and has become a regular source of income. It can be concluded that Alternative Credit is the new form of asset class that is expanding quite rapidly, in part due to the shortage of credit created by the credit crisis.

What drives the success of crowdfunding campaigns? (Invesdor), Rated: A

The first article, titled “Success drivers of online equity crowdfunding campaigns” addresses the research question that Andrea so aptly formulated. The question is highly relevant, as a large part of crowdfunding campaigns – both on Invesdor and on other platforms – have not reached their funding targets. Could something be done to increase the probability of a campaign succeeding?

Based on sixty campaigns that had been conducted via Invesdor, we found the following:

1.  Campaign characteristics that are pre-determined by the target company – with assistance from Invesdor – are relevant in determining the campaign’s success:

  • The lower the minimum investment requirement, the more investors and funds a campaign can be expected to attract.
  • Campaign duration is negatively associated with the number of investors.
  • Higher funding targets seem to attract larger numbers of investors.
  • The availability of financials in the pitch is positively associated with the number of investors.

2. The use of the entrepreneur’s (and Invesdor’s) networks is important for campaign success.

  • The more money the target company can raise through its and Invesdor’s private networks during the hidden phase, the more investors and more funds it is likely to attract in total.
  • Posting the campaign on social media is a strong predictor of success.

3. The understandability of the target company’s products may play a role in success

  • The results indicate that companies that offer consumer products, rather than products targeted to other businesses, may be more likely to conduct successful campaigns.

The results presented here are based on an aggregate assessment of campaigns and investments.

Fellow Finance Group 1 January – 31 December 2016 (Fellow Finance), Rated: B

2016 was a year of rapid growth for Fellow Finance. The number of platform users grew 220% and the total amount of intermediated consumer and business loans in Finland and Poland was above 50 million euros. This growth resulted in the overall loan volume exceeding 90 million euros which strengthened Fellow Finance’s position as the leader of the crowdfunding platforms in the Nordic countries and with 4,3% market share in continental Europe (source: Liberum Altfi Index). In Finland, Fellow Finance’s market share was over 30% of the whole crowdfunding market (source: Ministry of Finance of Finland). The average of annual yield for investors was 11%.

China

Hong Kong government dismisses report ranking city 5th for fintech (South China Morning Post), Rated: AAA

The government has dismissed a research report ranking Hong Kong only fifth last year among leading fintech hubs, saying the study did not directly compare financial technology development but rather financial and business environments as a whole.

During a Legislative Council meeting on Wednesday, finance sector legislator Chan Chun-ying asked the government why Hong Kong ranked three spots behind rival Singapore – which ranked second – in the report by global accounting firm Deloitte.

Banks should embrace fintech boom (The Straits Times), Rated: A

Fintech complements rather than threatens banking institutions. In my experience, banking has always been about technology, so today’s fintech innovation boom represents evolution rather than revolution for traditional banking. It is supplementing and diversifying the existing financial system – not replacing or disrupting it.

If we look closely, fintech is currently only focusing on a mere fraction of the financial services spectrum. To date, much of the focus of fintech has been on retail banking services – lending and financing along with payments-related products and services, where mobile and e-commerce has led to real demand from consumers.

Similarly, peer-to-peer lenders appear to be more focused on small businesses and higher-credit-risk borrowers than on mainstream banked clients.

Asia

Korean government to tighten watch over P2P lending (Pulse), Rated: AAA

From the second quarter, the government plans to toughen watch and scrutiny on peer-to-peer (P2P) lending service in burgeoning demand in South Korea.

Currently, moneylenders with assets worth at least 12 billion won ($10 million) fall under the broad state regulation. Smaller lenders can run money business upon registering with local governments.

Under a new act that would go into effect in the second quarter, small lenders also would have to comply with state regulation and watch.

Kelvin Teo erases borders with an online lending platform (Asian Review), Rated: A

In January last year, Riza Fansuri was in a quandary. The 37-year-old, who runs a small food supplier in a Jakarta suburb, wanted to develop new products, but that would take money. He tried applying for loans at banks, but they all turned him down because he could not provide sufficient collateral.

Desperate for help, he turned to a website for peer-to-peer lending, a method of debt financing that allows individuals to lend and borrow money directly from each other online instead of borrowing from banks. Half in doubt, he applied for a loan, and a week later, he managed to secure the 100 million rupiah ($7,485) needed to carry out his plan. His company successfully created two new products — instant ice cream and pudding mixes — that now account for 40% of its sales.

The website Fansuri used is run by Funding Societies, a fintech startup that operates in Indonesia, Singapore and soon in Malaysia. The company was founded by Kelvin Teo, a graduate from Harvard Business School, and Reynold Wijaya, an Indonesian classmate from the school. In less than two years, the company has arranged more than 360 loans worth a total of $19 million.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor