Thursday March 9 2017, Daily News Digest

Thursday March 9 2017, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: Kabbage’s prices $525M securitization. LendIt announces industry award winners. AlphaFlow launches automated real estate investing platform. Zhong An to sell 5-10% stake ahead of IPO. Ant Financial invests in Mynt. Atom Bank raises $102M for mobile-only bank. Today’s main analysis: Is the short-term credit cycle ready to roll over? TU bolsters fraud prevention exchange. Today’s thought-provoking […]

Thursday March 9 2017, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

  • LendIt Awards winners and PitchIt competition. GP:”In my eyes, Scott Sanborn winning best executive of the year is the award that stands out the most. The second award that was interesting is for Zopa winning best consumer lender award while also being the oldest (started in 2005!). Note: Zopa was also nominated among the most innovative platforms. Being the oldest, the one that stands out and among the most innovating is outstanding and certainly worthy of an award. A healthy industry that is growing also needs its celebrations. Having awards is a great way to bond the industry together and make it into an industry celebration. ”  AT: “Congratulations to all awards winners.”
  • Kabbage prices $525M securitization. GP:” ABS on small and medium business loans are less usual than on unsecured person. This securitization seem quite hot. Senior are anticipated to be rated A by Kroll. Expected to close arond March 20. Significantly oversubscribed. We can conclude that the SME securitization market is looking strong. We should look at the next OnDeck securitization with this in mind and hopefully be able to differentiate the market trends vs the company effect in that securitization. “
  • AlphaFlow launches new automated real estate investing platform.
  • Second sign in as many days that the short-term credit cycle will turn over. GP:” The articles on AlphaFlow are a mixed bag. One should critically evaluate the contents beyond the title. The defaults in auto and p2p are inching up as TransUnion showed recently. But very little and I wonder if it’s really significative. In p2p the defaults had inched up last year but it seemed to have been due to companies focused on growth too much. Recently OnDeck’s reserves for losses had to more then triple, however we haven’t seen this in their competitors. Perhaps not yet. I would conclude that we should watch what is going on but not panic, yet. “
  • TU bolsters fraud prevention exchange. AT: “As the number of consumers with personal loans rises the potential for fraud increases. This should be an area of concern for all lenders.”
  • Data aggregation for lending decisions.
  • CreditEase addresses top FinTech trends at LendIt.
  • Election years can disrupt Fintech too. AT: “Regulation is going to be a big discussion for the industry this year and next.”
  • StreetShares partners with Nor-Cal FDC.
  • Qapital raises $12M to expand Fintech app to more areas.

United Kingdom

European Union

China

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

Kabbage prices $ 525m securitisation (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Kabbage, a pioneering financial services, technology and data platform, today announced that on March 7, 2017, it priced $525 million of fixed-rate, asset-backed notes in a private securitization transaction.

The facility is expandable to $1.5 billion. The notes will be issued in four classes by Kabbage Asset Securitization LLC, a newly formed, wholly owned subsidiary of Kabbage Inc. The senior class of notes is anticipated to be rated “A(sf)” on the closing date by Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA). Guggenheim Securities is serving as sole structuring advisor and initial purchaser of the notes. The securitization is expected to close on or about March 20, 2017, and is subject to customary closing conditions.

The securitization was significantly oversubscribed with interest from top-tier institutional investors. This represents the largest asset-backed securitization of small business loans in the online lending industry, next to Kabbage’s prior, expandable, ABS note issuance in March 2014.

LendIt Names PitchIt Competition And LendIt Industry Award Winners (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

LendIt, the world’s largest show in lending and fintech, today announced the startup winner for its fifth PitchIt competition and 18 winners for its first LendIt Industry Awards in various categories including Innovator of the Year, FinTech Woman of the Year and Executive of the Year.

PitchIt is a leading global competition for fintech startups to earn mentorship, endorsement and exposure to institutions, investors and broad visibility. Out of eight PitchIt finalists, the judges winner as well as the audience winner was awarded to Nova Credit, the world’s first cross-border credit reporting agency. Nova Credit is fundamentally changing the way immigrants secure loans by enabling individuals to transfer their overseas data.

  • Best Journalist Coverage – George Popescu, Editor in Chief, Lending Times
  • Emerging Real Estate Platform – PeerStreet
  • Top Fund Manager – Prime Meridian Capital Management
  • International Innovator of the Year – Trulioo
  • Top Law Firm – Chapman and Cutler
  • Top Accounting Firm – Deloitte
  • Top Fintech Equity Investor – QED Investors
  • Most Innovative Bank – Cross River Bank
  • Top Service Provider – First Associates Loan Servicing
  • Best in Show – Deloitte – awarded to the best exhibitor at LendIt, judged on booth design and impression as well as staff conviction and enthusiasm.

AlphaFlow Launches New Investment Platform to Bring Automated Investing to Real Estate (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

AlphaFlow, the leader in passive online real estate investment, today announced it has launched AlphaFlow Managed Portfolios. The company will build, manage, and rebalance a portfolio of 75-100 real estate loans for investors. This marks the first automated real estate investment service of its kind.

AlphaFlow provides clients with a first-of-its-kind set it and forget it automated service to build and manage a real estate portfolio. The company’s founders have been at the forefront of the disruption in real estate investing. In 2013, Sturm co-founded RealtyShares, one of the largest real estate crowdfunding platforms. Three years later, AlphaFlow was the first to offer funds that allowed investors to participate in loans across multiple real estate crowdfunding platforms with a single investment. AlphaFlow Managed Portfolios bring similarly innovative benefits to investors, including daily portfolio rebalancing that automatically reviews portfolios on a daily basis for opportunities to reallocate investments in order to increase diversification.

While many investors have embraced online equity investing, the real estate industry has traditionally been slow to change. As a result, the options available today are fairly limited for passive investors. AlphaFlow believes that in the next ten years, everyone will have some type of real estate in their investment portfolio.

The Second Sign In As Many Days That The Market Is Ready To Roll Over (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

It has now been widely known that there is a bubble in the United States automobile market and recent exposes about subprime financing and recent commentary from dealerships about heavily discounted and incentivize selling have led us to this conclusion in a relatively straightforward fashion.

We also believe that the first loan default cracks would show in peer-to-peer lending, a riskier and lower credit worthy form of lending that exists in the spot where bankers simply used to not lend. Just days ago, we saw Lending Club, arguably the most popular peer-to-peer lender, report that delinquencies had risen significantly.

More importantly, this news pushes us further into our thesis that the short term credit cycle is likely about to turn over.

This was always a two pronged thesis: peer to peer lending and the auto market. With the second piece now falling into the puzzle, we think this is a great time to reiterate our notion that the market has hit its peak and that we think this is a great time to get hedged. In addition to having about 60% of our portfolio long and about 40% short at this time, we have also added some short-term S&P 500 puts to further hedge our long positions.

TransUnion Bolsters Fraud Prevention Exchange as Online Fraudsters Continue to Impact Personal Loan Delinquency Rates (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

Newly released TransUnion (TRU) data found that as personal loan delinquency rates rise, online fraud, which includes loan stacking, continues to make significant contributions to these increases. Serious delinquency rates (90+ days past due) at the conclusion of 2016 for personal loans originated in 2015 rose to 6.22%, up nearly 3% from the year-end 2015 delinquency rate of 6.05% for loans originated in 2014.*

Serious delinquency rates (90+ days past due) for personal loans with characteristics of online fraud stood at 11.02% at the end of 2016 for loans originated in 2015. Online fraud includes fraudulent loan stacking, which involves attempting to secure multiple loans from one or more lenders within a short period of time. While down from the 11.81% rate at the conclusion of 2015 for loans originated in 2014, it represents even more borrowers because of the continued growth in the personal loan space.

To combat online fraud, TransUnion has further expanded its Fraud Prevention Exchange to offer insights from the entire network of available TransUnion customer data — not just from Exchange members. These newest updates were unveiled today at LendIt USA 2017, a lending and FinTech conference.

The Exchange enables lenders to:

  • Reduce fraud losses without impacting the consumer experience and lending timelines.
  • Receive real-time alerts (within seconds) to mitigate instances where lenders don’t discover problematic accounts until days or weeks have passed and losses may have been incubating unknowingly inside live loans.
  • Utilize TransUnion’s vast network of customers inside and outside of the Exchange for more insight into originations fraud.
  • Quickly adjust and adapt to evolving fraud threats and trends.

Data aggregation’s new frontier: Lending decisions (American Banker), Rated: A

Financial data aggregation, long used to power digital personal financial management tools, has found a more moneymaking role — speeding up underwriting decisions.

Rather than faxing in documents or submitting PDFs of data downloaded from multiple websites, consumers and small-business owners are granting online lenders permission to use aggregation technology to grab their financial transaction data.

So long as the technology is working as intended, lenders will gain something they may have not been privy to before — years’ worth of transaction data, such as cash flows that aggregators think lenders should crunch as part of their credit analysis in addition to credit history data. And sure, banks may already count some applicants as customers and have access to their financial transactions. However, most consumers have multiple bank accounts that lenders would also need to mine.

Lenders in other countries like Australia and Europe appear to be further along than U.S. banks — especially in building open application programming interfaces to simplify the flow of data among apps.

CreditEase Addresses Top FinTech Trends at LendIt USA 2017 Conference in New York (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

CreditEase, China’s leading fintech company announced today that its subsidiary company, Yirendai (YRD), an leading online digital consumer financial service platform, together with CreditEase Fintech Investment Fund and CreditEase Offshore Private Credit Fund (“OPCF”) delivered a series of keynote speeches at the 2017 LendIt USA conference in New York from March 6 to 7.  LendIt annual conferences are recognized as one of the largest global fintech industry events dedicated to connecting the global fintech and lending communities.

On the main stage, Yirendai executives delivered a keynote speech named From Big to Strong: China FinTech Entering a New Era. Yihan Fang and Yang Cao of Yirendai shared with the audience the latest fintech industry trends in China, regulatory environment of online marketplace lending in China, and industry’s current challenges. In addition, Yirendai announced the launch of Yirendai Enabling Platform (“YEP”), a technology platform that enables partner companies to utilize Yirendai’s data acquisition, anti-fraud technology, as well as customer acquisition capabilities, to help optimize industry’s efficiency and enhance customer experience.

Anju Patwardhan, Senior Partner of CreditEase Fintech Investment Fund and member of Investment Committee delivered a keynote speech on financial inclusion issues for the middle class and also discussed the latest trends in fintech globally. CreditEase Fintech Investment Fund, launched in December 2015, is a venture fund investing in growth-stage fintech companies globally. The Fund has an equivalent of USD 1 billion in total committed capital.

LendIt: Election years can disrupt fintech, too (Housingwire), Rated: A

Congressman Patrick McHenry, a representative of North Carolina’s 10th congressional district and a member of the Republican Party, gave one of the first major speeches on the topic. Congressman McHenry has been a vocal proponent of fintech regulation overhaul and he discussed his priorities, beginning with the modernization of infrastructure underlying the IRS income verification form (4506T), which is used by lenders to make underwriting decisions (the form is currently manually handled by the IRS and takes 2- 8 business days for processing).

A counter-point to this speech was provided by Amias Gerety, who served in the U.S. Treasury during President Obama’s time in office. He outlined the ways in which the Treasury Department currently engages with emerging fintech companies through discussions, white papers and, eventually, changes in policy.

He addressed some of the popular requests of fintech companies including the demands for a “regulatory sandbox” for startups to innovate without the shackles of regulation.

Lastly, he discussed the shadow of the crisis on regulators’ minds as it relates to financial innovation, since many of the products that caused the 2008 recession were considered  “innovative” at the time. He encouraged companies to think about innovating across the whole spectrum of the customer value chain of acquisition, user experience, underwriting, funding and servicing / collections, since the last two stages of funding and servicing / collections tended to get overlooked during a growth cycle but tend to result in “immense bad behavior” during a downturn.

The third notable speech for the day was delivered by Thomas Curry, the Comptroller of Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. He highlighted the power of  “responsible innovation” by fintech companies to expand financial inclusion.

He confirmed that the OCC has the necessary authority and highlighted their capabilities, including “…experienced examiners who specialize in banking technology, have expert knowledge of payment systems, credit, and consumer protection, and know where companies can face pitfalls.”

He confirmed that the OCC has the necessary authority and highlighted their capabilities, including “…experienced examiners who specialize in banking technology, have expert knowledge of payment systems, credit, and consumer protection, and know where companies can face pitfalls.”

StreetShares Partners with Nor-Cal FDC to Serve California Veteran, Small Business Owners and Government Contractors (PR Newswire), Rated: A

As part of the statewide California bizWin™ and VetBizWin™ Initiatives, StreetShares has partnered with Nor-Cal FDC (Northern California Financial Development Corporation) to provide contract financing and small business lending solutions to California small and veteran-owned businesses.

As a Nor-Cal FDC premium partner, StreetShares will work with the Nor-Cal FDC Small Business Finance Support Team to assist small business and veteran business owners in obtaining funding needed to win new opportunities.

Qapital Raises $ 12M To Expand Its Fintech App Into More Areas (PYMNTS.com), Rated: A

Qapital, the FinTech startup, raised $12 million in venture funding to expand its app that enables users to make goals and save money to reach those goals.

With the app, users can integrate their checking, savings and credit card accounts, so in addition to setting financial goals, they can stay on top of their finances.

By including debit cards into the product, the report noted that it gives the startup a new revenue stream, because it can make money from the interchange fees.

United Kingdom

Zopa bags top consumer lender award (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

ZOPA reaffirmed its leading position in the peer-to-peer consumer space last night as it won the accolade of top consumer lending platform at LendIt’s awards in New York.

The world’s oldest P2P lender fended off competition from US consumer-finance heavyweights such as SoFi and Avant, bagging top scores on loan performance, volume, growth, and product diversity from a panel of 30 industry experts.

The new award caps off a bumper month for the platform, which posted record lending figures for February. It originated more than £81m of new loans last month – £24m more than the same month last year.

Forming new partnerships will be a key strategy going forward, according to Zopa’s chief product officer Andrew Lawson.

The P2P platform, which has so far focused exclusively on unsecured lending, is also looking to expand its range of loans and maturities. As Peer-to-Peer Finance News previously reported, this may include a move into the secured auto finance space.

Atom Bank raises $ 102M at $ 320M valuation for a mobile-only bank for millennials (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Atom Bank, a startup out of the U.K. that has built a mobile-only bank targeting consumers between the ages of 18 and 34, has raised another £83 million ($102 million) in funding led by BBVA, the Spanish bank and owner of Simple in the U.S. The funding gives Atom a post-money valuation of £261 million ($320 million), TechCrunch has confirmed with the company. BBVA also led Atom’s previous $128 million round in November 2015.

Robo-advice case study: Munnypot (Banking Technology), Rated: A

Munnypot looks like the archetypal disruptor. It is a sophisticated robo-advice service that allows consumers to manage their savings digitally. The platform makes straightforward and easy to understand financial advice available to everyone, at a fraction of the cost of most financial advisors or wealth managers.

First, from 2012, regulatory changes were introduced to provide much greater transparency to consumers, particularly around pricing. These changes have, however, made advice less affordable for people without large savings pots. This has contributed to the “advice gap” of 16 million people in the UK who could take advantage of financial advice if it were simpler and cheaper.

Second, the UK’s simplified tax rules similarly paved the way for providing advice to consumers on a range of more straightforward financial products.

Third, changing customer behaviour means most people are now comfortable with using technology for more and more purchases, whether via websites or apps.

Alternative lenders berate Chancellor for ineffective first budget (AltFi), Rated: A

Stuart Law, CEO and co-founder of secured business lending platform Assetz Capital, has berated Philip Hammond for delivering no news of any import for small businesses – “or indeed their lenders” – in his first budget as Chancellor.

Law said that Hammond has missed a chance to remove a “fatal flaw” from the Innovative Finance ISA tax wrapper, which allows investors to shelter peer-to-peer investments from income tax. The existing rules do not allow investors to spread their annual ISA allowance across multiple peer-to-peer platforms, which Law believes is making diversification “very difficult”.

Ex-ING Direct boss joins RateSetter board (Investor Daily), Rated: B

Peer-to-peer lender RateSetter has appointed former ING Direct chief executive Vaughn Richtor to its Australian board of directors.

European Union

PAYPAL FUNDS FINTECH PROF ROLE (Delano), Rated: AAA

The FNR Pearl chair in fintech will be jointly funded over five years by online payment giant PayPal and the National Research Fund (FNR), the government said in a press release following the signing of a memorandum of understanding on 6 March.

The chair will be established at the University of Luxembourg’s Interdisciplinary Center for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT).

Personetics to Present Its Cognitive Banking Applications at Fintech 2017 in Zurich, Switzerland (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Personetics, the leading provider of cognitive applications for the financial services sector, will present at Fintech 2017, Switzerland’s most influential fintech conference, which will take place in Zurich 9 March.

Personetics will be presenting a session entitled “Personalized Guidance: Turning Customer Data into a Delightful Customer Experience” at 10:50.

China

Zhong An plans to sell 5-10 percent stake ahead of IPO (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

Zhong An Online Property and Casualty Insurance plans to sell 5-10 percent of the company to a couple of strategic investors, to raise up to 10 billion yuan ($1.45 billion), ahead of a planned initial public offering in mainland China, according to four people with direct knowledge of the matter.

China’s first internet-only insurer, whose current major shareholders include two of China’s largest Internet companies – Alibaba Group’s Ant Financial affiliate with 16 percent and Tencent Holdings Ltd with 12 percent – is in early talks with potential investors, according to the sources who declined to be named.

China’s Biggest Blockchain Backer Launches Startup Accelerator (CoinDesk), Rated: A

A blockchain venture backed by Chinese conglomerate Wanxiang Group has launched a new startup accelerator.

The kick-off, which formally took place on 22nd February, comes soon after Wanxiang pledged to spend as much as $30bn on a smart cities initiative, set to be invested over a seven-year period. As part of that plan, Wanxiang, best known as the country’s biggest makers of automotive parts, said it would look to fund blockchain entrepreneurs.

The investors would be expected to commit at least 1 billion yuan each and the new funds would be used by Zhong An to expand its business and buy time before securing a green light from regulators for the IPO, one of the people said.

India

No misuse of Aadhaar biometrics, says UIDAI (The Indian Express), Rated: A

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which maintains the database of Aadhaar numbers, said on Sunday that there was no misuse of Aadhaar biometrics, which allegedly led to identity theft and financial loss.

Furthermore, with reference to the incident of misuse of biometrics reported in a newspaper, the UIDAI said it was an isolated case of an employee working with a bank’s business correspondent’s company making an attempt to misuse biometrics, which was detected by the authority’s internal security system and subsequently actions were initiated under the Aadhaar Act.

Asia

Ant Financial invests in Globe Telecom’s Mynt (Telecomasia.net), Rated: AAA

Alibaba’s Ant Financial is making its first foray into the Philippines via partnership with Ayala and an investment into Globe Telecom’s Fintech business unit Mynt.

Alibaba’s Ant Financial is making its first foray into the Philippines via partnership with Ayala and an investment into Globe Telecom’s Fintech business unit Mynt.

The flowering field of fintech (Infographic) (Tech in Asia), Rated: AAA

So, why are fintech firms so popular? What makes them better than other finance companies? One of the key reasons is that they have very stable and predictable business models, making people feel safe about their products and/or services. Investors are also attracted to businesses with predictable business models, as the risk is lower. Fintech companies are also low-cost yet deliver exceptional service.

 

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

July 20st 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments United States A very interesting risk that has not been clearly described so far: the risk that small SMB loans end up being regulated like personal loans. A fascinating read on politics and regulators. Goldman announcing their p2p lender will be live in the fall with $16bil in lending capital from depositors. Goldman […]

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

India

Singapore

China

  • The take away from Lendit China per Orchard and Lendit Organizer Jason Jones :
    • There continues to be strong interest from Chinese Wealth Management firms to invest in US Online Lending loans
    • Investor interest is focused on making strategic equity investments in all types of global FinTech firms within Online Lending
    • Chinese Marketplace Lenders continue to increase their focus on offering more diversified products to clients including wealth management, insurance, and other financial services
    • Implementing a robust operational infrastructure is widely understood as a necessity required to successfully invest in the US Online Lending industry
United States

Small-Biz Online Lenders Aim to Dodge Consumer-Loan ‘Nightmare’, (Bloomberg DNA), Rated: AAA

Online marketplace lenders would face significantly higher regulatory hurdles if most of their loans to small businesses were reclassified as consumer loans, as the Treasury Department has recommended, an industry representative and a legal expert told Bloomberg BNA.

Officials discussed the need for greater transparency and noted that small-business loans under $100,000 “share common characteristics with consumer loans, yet do not enjoy the same consumer protections.”

The industry is pushing hard to head off the suggestion.

“They’re very smart in being concerned about that,” said Richard Eckman, a partner at Pepper Hamilton LLP in Wilmington, Del. “There are a whole host of consumer laws that apply to loans that are for personal, family and household purposes; that’s sort of the definition of a consumer loan.”

The federal consumer protection law that ranks as the biggest concern of marketplace lenders such as CAN Capital, which cater exclusively to small businesses, is the Truth in Lending Act (TILA).

“TILA, in particular, is onerous,” Eckman, a specialist in marketplace-lending law, said in an e-mail.

On May 3, 16 members of the committee’s Republican majority and three of its minority Democrats, along with House Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew sounding themes that foreshadowed Sanz’s testimony. The Treasury Department at that time was preparing its report on marketplace lending, and the House members wrote that they wished “to raise concerns with recent comments by public officials that seem to indicate a preference to regulate lending to small businesses and consumers similarly.”

“[W]e believe it is important for the Department to carefully study and understand key distinctions between commercial and consumer lending markets,” the letter said. “Mistaken efforts to conflate these categories would restrict the availability of capital to small business owners.”

“There’s no reason why small businesses shouldn’t have the same protection as consumers,” Lauren Saunders, associate director of the nonprofit National Consumer Law Center, in Washington, told Bloomberg BNA.

“The research has shown that these small-business owners who borrow smaller loans, under $100,000, are not that sophisticated and at times they really don’t understand the fine print, the hidden terms and conditions that we see in the typical fintech loans to small businesses,” she said. “These contracts are very opaque. The fees and terms are hidden in a way that really makes it impossible for the borrower to do any kind of comparison shopping.”

Goldman’s Shot Across LendingClub’s Bow, (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

There wasn’t a ton to get excited about in Goldman Sachs’searnings report on Tuesday.

Sure, per-share earnings beat analysts’ estimates, but how excited can you get over beating an estimate that dropped like this?

However, there was a tantalizing detail or two offered on the conference call by Chief Financial Officer Harvey Schwartz about the firm’s intriguing efforts to tap into the Main Street customer base. Schwartz said that the bank would roll out its consumer lending platform this fall after surveying thousands of consumers on what they would look for in such a thing. The bank developed one product involving unsecured loans, Schwartz said as way of teaser, telling analysts to standby for more information in the fall.

This may not end up being a big enough business alone to return Goldman’s revenue to record highs, at least not in the short term. Rather, the intrigue lies in its potential to disrupt the disruptors — the online startups that have pioneered the brave new world of peer-to-peer or marketplace lending.

With 20,000 customers opening up new savings accounts on top of the $16 billion in deposits it acquired from General Electric’s online bank in the second quarter, Goldman theoretically should be able to fill in the gaps easily at times when investor demand gets skittish.

Will deposit accounts be the next wave of fintech innovation?, (DailyFintech), Rated: AAA

There’s one sector of finance that really doesn’t get a lot of airtime when it comes to fintech – deposits. Checking accounts, savings accounts, transaction accounts – while they’re the bread and butter of banking, they’ve been relatively untouched since they were first invented. You put money in, and, if you’re lucky, earn a little interest before you take the money out.

Is there an opportunity here for a fintech startup to slice away this part of a bank’s core business, by adding a little flavour to the whole deposit experience?

Serial fintech investor and entrepreneur Peter Thiel certainly thinks there are opportunity in deposits. In January of this year he invested €1M into a German fintech startup Deposit Solutions.

Deposit Solutions is the first open architecture platform for retail deposits in Europe. Among many things, it solves one of the central problems for account holders related to accessing great deposit products – it eliminates the need to switch banks. Instead, a saver requires just one master account with Deposit Solutions and can then pick and choose their deposit product of choice from the Deposit Solutions marketplace.

There are a number of other fintech startups playing in this space, either building the deposits piece from scratch or interfacing into an existing authorized deposit-taking institution. Digit,SmartyPig and Qapital are a notable few. With lending having taken most of the glory to date, opportunities here are getting thin on the ground. Maybe the humble bank account is the next big fintech play.

Bridging the Great Divide: Collaboration Considerations for Banks and Marketplace Lenders, (Lexology), Rated: A

Online Platforms as Chartered Banks

The increasingly close relationship between banks and marketplace-lending platforms, as well as the uncertainty surrounding the “rent-a-charter” model to avoid state usury limits described above, have led to speculation that marketplace lenders may ultimately obtain bank charters. A fundamental issue is whether the equity and institutional investment markets will provide a stable long-term source of funding for the industry. This issue has garnered attention in recent months as leading marketplace-lending platforms have experienced steep declines in their stock prices and as questions have been raised about how lending platforms interact with fund investors and about weak secondary-market trading of asset-backed securities. The question may acquire renewed urgency in light of the governance issues at a leading marketplace lender that recently made headlines, along with its disclosure that the DOJ is now investigating. [5]

An important prudential regulatory concern with acquisitions of bank charters by marketplace lenders is a desire to avoid making the marketplace-lending industry an attractive supplier of brokered deposits, which are an unstable source of capital and may be particularly risky where a bank has inadequate anti-money-laundering controls or is undercapitalized. Regulators also anticipate grappling with the activities of many lending platforms that may be incompatible with partner banks that have charters limiting their activities to those activities that are considered “incidental to the business of banking”—typically insurance and securities work. The edgy innovations of marketplace-lending platforms that use technology in creative ways to marry finance with social media offerings are a particular challenge in this regard.

Will Madden v Midland Disrupt Loan Sales and Platform Lending?, ( National Law Review), Rated: AAA

Although Madden v. Midland applies directly only to cases where a national bank is selling or assigning a loan, the policy underlying the decision to limit the exporting authority under the NBA might also be applied to a state bank’s rate exportation powers under Section 27 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act (the state bank equivalent to section 85 of the National Bank Act). Secondary market participants and marketplace lenders now wait for the decision from the District Court on remand.  If the court upholds the Delaware choice of law provision, market participants may manage the impact of the Madden v. Midlanddecision by electing a favorable choice of law provision in the underlying debt contract.  That at least will provide an option for continuing to work with national banks despite the Madden case.

Unfortunately, that solution will not work for buyers and sellers of existing loans, although presumably such parties are not too inconvenienced by a limit on the post-assignment interest that can be charged on a loan after substantial interest has already accrued, particularly if they have purchased the debt at a substantial discount.   Other lenders may continue to rely on the state banks’ ability to export interest rates.  In that situation, lenders should choose state banks whose state has a generous interest rate cap and is outside the Second Circuit.

The group impacted most by the Madden v. Midland decision appear to be marketplace lenders who acquire a loan shortly after origination and therefore have essentially all accruing interest at risk of challenge.  One alternative option  adopted by one on-line marketplace lender picking up on the “substantial interest” distinction in the Madden decision, is to require the bank loan originator to maintain an on-going economic interest in all loans after sale and receive certain payments on the loans only when borrowers made payments.

What remains following the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear Madden v. Midland is an outlier Second Circuit on the issue of the “valid-when-made” rule, and the blueprint for how to apply preemption under the National Bank Act as provided by the Solicitor General in its brief, a brief that as noted above clearly considers theMadden v. Midland decision to be wrong.  Unfortunately, until such time as the right case comes along, market participants will have to make adjustments to accommodate the decision as necessary to address its impact on their particular situation.

The Outlook for Fixed Income: Stagnant Prices, Tighter Money, (Enterprising Investor), Rated: AAA

The start of a new credit cycle means that income investors will have to adjust to stagnant bond prices, and new opportunities in credit markets from peer-to-peer lending will be tested by tighter monetary policy, according to David Schawel, CFA.

Returns for fixed-income investors consist of the coupon; the shortening of the bond, known as the roll; and price appreciation. Since the 1980s, falling interest rates have caused existing bonds to appreciate, as their prices increased to match the yields of bonds issued at lower interest rates. Schawel, a portfolio manager for New River Investments, thinks interest rates are nearing a lower bound.

“Most likely we’re not going to be in a 30-year bull market for interest rates falling again,” Schawel told Will Ortel during a recent Take 15 interview.

Schawel cautions fixed-income investors against assuming that bonds will continue to appreciate. Instead, the coupon and the roll will drive returns from bonds. With the roll becoming more important, investors need to pay close attention to the yield curve. Much of the return from bonds will come from the roll while the bond is on the steep part of the curve. Recently, the curve has flattened, reducing the yield premium, as the US Federal Reserve moved to tighten monetary policy.

Schawel sees the rise of marketplace or peer-to-peer lending as indicative of inefficiencies in yield.

30 Best Workplaces sin Finance and Insurance, (Fortune), Rated: B

#23: OnDeck Capital

# of work sites 3
U.S. employees 625
Global employees 638

United Kingdom

Fintech MarketInvoice Attracts m In First ‘P2P Lender’ Major Fundraise Post Brexit, (Forbes), Rated: AAA

MarketInvoice, a 100-strong firm based on the edge of The City in the confines of London’s Silicon Roundabout, has just announced a multi-million investment totalling £7.2 million (c.$9.5m) led by MCI.TechVentures Fund of MCI Capital, a listed Polish private equity group. Sylwester Janik, a senior partner of MCI Capital, a multi-stage private equity group based in Warsaw with nearly two decades of expertise of investing in digital economy companies, has at the same time joined MarketInvoice’s board.

To date the platform has provided £850m (c.$1.11bn at current exchange rate) worth of funding to UK businesses, and the firm is set on path to reach the £1bn mark before the end of 2016. At present the firm provides over £1.5m (c.$2m) per day in cash flow finance to UK businesses via its platform. At present MarketInvoice has a current market share of around 13% in its P2P alternative financing segment.

MarketInvoice, which has seem 100% year-on-year growth over the last three years, typically charges between 2%-3% on invoices handled for clients depending on the amount of the invoice. Businesses can select those invoices they want to finance, unlocking tied-up cash in 24 hours.

“In the wake of Brexit, we think the coming months present a big opportunity for MarketInvoice. Recent intervention by the Bank of England suggests that we might see significant reductions in bank lending.”

Funding Circle SME Income Fund Raises GBP14.5 Million In Placing, (London South East), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle SME Income Fund Ltd on Wednesday said it has raised GBP14.5 million via a share placing.

The London-listed closed-ended fund, set up to invest in loans originated through peer-to-peer lending marketplace Funding Circle, said it had issued 14.3 million shares at 101.53 pence per share.

Shares in Funding Circle SME were untraded on Wednesday, having last traded at 98.00p.

The new funds from the share placing will be used to back investment plans.

Can it really be “business as usual”, (Alt Fi), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle co-founder James Meekings said “the process of leaving the European Union will take two years and there will be no immediate change to Funding Circle’s day to day operations”.

A few weeks ago, AltFi Data cut its projection for 2016 UK origination by 14%, after the £840m originated in Q2 2016 became the first quarterly volume figure ever to fail to eclipse the sum originated in the preceding quarter.

Matthias Knecht quit Funding Circle Continental Europe at the end of June. Knecht was a member of Funding Circle’s global leadership team and a former co-founder of Zencap, a peer-to-peer lending outfit which Funding Circle acquired in October 2015. An article in Gründerszene suggested that a conflict had arisen between Knecht and Funding Circle CEO Samir Desai over the allocation of resources.

LendInvest, the UK’s largest marketplace for real estate loans, has also been making changes. In the immediate aftermath of the Leave vote, LendInvest tightened its lending criteria for loans worth more than £3m, adjusting the cap on LTVs for these loans to 65%. The company has also temporarily paused lending on new second charge applications.

Funding Circle CEO Samir Desai described 2015 as the year in which “it looked like we were turning water into wine”. He described 2016, by contrast, as a year for getting heads down, and for getting on with building business.

Lately the Wall Street Journal has been set to attack mode. Its coverage of the US marketplace lending sector has become almost exclusively cynical. The Times, The Telegraph and This is Money covered the recent insolvency and subsequent acquisition of the business lender FundingKnight. How many other news items in the history of the peer-to-peer lending industry have enjoyed that level of attention in the national press? Not many!

Ben McLannahan, US Banking Editor at the FT, aptly summed the whole thing up when he posted on Twitter saying “#LendingClub = have we hit the trough of disillusionment?” He was referring to something called the Gartner Hype Cycle, which is an attempt to chart the typical growth trajectory of disruptive technology companies.

UK firm claims largest ever P2P loan, (Finextra), Rated: A

UK-based Nucleus Commercial Finance claims it has made the largest ever P2P loan to date following a £14.5 million financing facility offered to UK steel stockholder Industrial Metal Services (IMS). The company has lent more than £400m to date and Shah claims that 90% of this has already been pad back with just £5,800 incurred in bad debts.

P2P lender launches new website, (Bridging and Commercial), Rated: A

The new BridgeCrowd website features a fully online view of the current live and historic loan book, a loan performance update system and an E-Wallet, where investors can place capital into loans and manage their account and interest.

The BridgeCrowd has launched a new website with added features following strong growth over the last 18 months.

Bridge Crowd offers 68% LTVs across residential owner occupied and buy-to-let properties.

Zopa names Ronen Benchetrit CTO, (Finextra), Rated: B

The UK’s oldest peer-to-peer lending service Zopa, has today announced that Ronen Benchetrit will become the company’s new Chief Technology Officer (CTO) in a strategic hire for the fintech business.

Most recently, Ronen served as CTO for leading online gaming operator PokerStars. In this role, Ronen was responsible for the provision of the areas of technology and for management of the company’s product roadmap, ensuring the quality, reliability and security of external and internal systems, networks and platforms.

India

LenDenClub Launches Automated P2P Lending Platform Adhering to Proposed RBI Guidelines, (PR Newswire), Rated: A

LenDenClub has launched its new version of P2P lending platform with features such as end-to-end automation of lender-borrower transaction cycle right from registration, document verification, credit analysis, transaction matching to report generation. An algorithmic-based program, built based on artificial intelligence, will be used for reviewing borrower’s creditworthiness. For the company, the upgradation of P2P platform will accomplish a major milestone and prepare them for payment and digital signature automation to bring 100% automation in lending process through right technology for borrower identification, data collection, digital signature usage, payment automation, etc.
The company had successfully raised seed funding recently.

Singapore

Overview of the Regulatory Framework for P2P Lending and Equity-based Crowdfunding in Singapore, ( P2P Banking), Rated: AAA

From the document published by the MAS on Lending-based Crowdfunding – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)[11], generally, the operation of P2P lending is restricted by MAS under the Securities and Futures Act (Cap. 289) (SFA) and the Financial Advisers Act (Cap. 110) (FFA).

Specifically, the P2P lending business needs to prepare and register a prospectus with MAS in accordance with Section 239(3) of the SFA. In addition, not only the registration of the prospectus but also the P2P lending platform need to follow the licensing requirements, particularly, the P2P lending business which fall within the scope provided by MAS needs to hold a Capital Market Services (CMS) license.

From the document, MAS states in paragraph 10 that “ …Platform operators should now ensure that the participants on their platforms are aware that each lender has to lend at least $100,000 if the borrower is to fall within the Promissory Note Exclusion. Offers of consolidated promissory notes commenced after the date of these FAQs must comply with the Prospectus Requirements” This means, that the P2P lending platforms, which previously used a single promissory note issued by the borrowers, need to apply for a license, if they still want to proceed their lending business; however, as provided in the MAS document, the removal of the Promissory Note Exclusion will be effected after the amendment of SFA.

This will affect many of existing P2P lending platforms such as MoolahSense and Capital Match which have the main function to help businesses to find loan from investors because some of P2P lending platforms are using a promissory note exemption without a Capital Market Services (CMS) license; however, MAS will make it easier for licensed P2P platforms. Therefore, a small offer exemption in accordance with the aforementioned law might be used by many P2P lending platforms.

China

Orchard Platform’s Jeremy Todd Shares Lang Di Fintech Experience Highlights, (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

  • There continues to be strong interest from Chinese Wealth Management firms to invest in US Online Lending loans
  • Investor interest is focused on making strategic equity investments in all types of global FinTech firms within Online Lending
  • Chinese Marketplace Lenders continue to increase their focus on offering more diversified products to clients including wealth management, insurance, and other financial services
  • Implementing a robust operational infrastructure is widely understood as a necessity required to successfully invest in the US Online Lending industry

Increased interest in US Online Lenders from Chinese investors and notable US-Chinese partnerships such as those between DriveWealth and CreditEase, Robinhood and Baidu, and Saxo Bank and Lufax — that further emphasize the importance of this series of events.

Author:

George Popescu
George Popescu