Monday August 6 2018, Daily News Digest

China alternative assets

News Comments Today’s main news: Barclays buys stake in MarketInvoice. N26, Revolut are coming to America. Zopa raises 44M GBP for new bank. China private equity funds suffer. Linked Finance ink 10M Euro in loans in Q2. Today’s main analysis: The states where payday lending charges almost 700 percent interest. Today’s thought-provoking articles: PeerIQ’s MPL Securitization Tracker. Debut of the […]

China alternative assets

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

Other

News Summary

United States

Will Europe’s fintech banks conquer North America? (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Revolut and N26 will be launching in the US soon, but what sort of market will they be entering? How are local banks adapting their offerings to suit younger users? And what will be the impact of the newly-announced bank charters for fintechs?

PeerIQ’s MPL Securitization Tracker for 2Q2018 (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

  • Twelve marketplace lending securitizations priced this quarter totaling $5.0 Bn, the highest level of quarterly issuance, representing 36% growth YoY.  To date, cumulative issuance equals $38.4 Bn across 126 deals.
  • We observed spreads widening and yields rising on new issuance. Weighted average all-in yields on consumer deals increased from 2.9% to 4.2% QoQ, and on student deals from 3.0% to 4.5% QoQ.
  • All deals issued this quarter except SoFi’s student loan passthrough securitizations were rated.   
  • Tranches continue to get upgraded. So far, ratings’ agencies have upgraded 51 consumer MPL tranches and 67 student MPL tranches that are outstanding.
  • Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, and Credit Suisse continue to top the issuance league tables with 54% of MPL ABS transaction volume.
  • Freedom Financial issued its inaugural deal and OnDeck returned to the market. SoFi issued over $2 Bn in student loan passthrough securitizations.
Source: PeerIQ

Debut of the OCC’s FinTech Charter + Supervisory Standards (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

The US economy added 157k jobs in July and the unemployment rate dropped to 3.9%. Wage growth came in strong at 2.7%, potentially fueling inflation down the road and keeping the Fed on its stated rate hike path.

OCC Asserts its Authority and is Open to Accepting SPNB Charters

Immediately following the report, Joseph Otting, Comptroller of the Currency, announced that the OCC would start accepting applications from “fintech companies that are engaged in the business of banking but do not take deposits.”

An SPNB can engage in a limited range of banking or fiduciary activities like credit card operations, taking deposits, paying checks, lending money, community development, or cash management activities. The policy is a significant development as companies with the Fintech charter would be able to perform banking activities like lending and payment processing nationally.

Who are the Likely Winners and Losers?

The long-term winner of the charter is the US consumer who will benefit from greater competition, innovation, and access to credit. Payments companies that seek to compete with Visa/Mastercard also stand to benefit. Lenders that qualify for the charter may also have a competitive advantage. Payments arms of firms like Google, Apple, Amazon and PayPal would fit the profile, as well as large non-bank lenders that can demonstrate sustainable profitability de-risked their business models. Fintechs that have liquidity, funding, or going-concern risks will struggle to obtain charters.

Less is more for OCC’s fintech financial inclusion plans (American Banker), Rated: A

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is threading a tricky needle.

It has affirmed that it plans to evaluate fintech charter applicants based on their fair lending efforts, but it’s pulled back on specifics for how that process might work. That has made some consumer groups nervous.

The OCC published an updated version of its licensing manual supplement for fintechs on July 31, in connection with an announcement that it’s begun accepting applications for fintech charters.

Fintech charter: Be wary of innovating into another crisis (The Hill), Rated: A

But before we allow fintech firms to bound over the regulatory mound, it’s important to take a hard look at why we regulate the financial services sector so thoroughly to begin with.

Many also claim that fintech will bank the unbanked and lead to financial inclusion. The only thing standing in the way of all of this change and disruption, many claim, is overbearing government regulation.

With OCC’s door officially open, will fintechs enter? (American Banker), Rated: A

Fintech companies now have the federal option they have long sought after the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency green-lighted firms to apply for a special-purpose bank charter. But winning OCC approval on charter bids will not be a walk in the park.

One day after the OCC announcement, some fintech firms signaled clear interest in the charter. But the agency’s decision also prompted a slew of additional questions, including whether firms would be able to meet the regulator’s tough criteria, and whether state regulators would continue to fight

Does a Bank Charter for Square Still Make Sense? CEO Jack Dorsey Thinks So (Bank Innovation), Rated: A

POS payments provider Square is still interested in pursuing a bank charter, but how? It may be more challenging given that the company will be paying more attention to its customer-facing prepaid products like Square Cash and its Cash Card, according to CEO Jack Dorsey in the company’s earnings call yesterday.

This map shows the states where payday loans charge nearly 700 percent interest (CNBC), Rated: AAA

Some short-term loans cost over 20 times more in interest than the average credit card. And yet one in 10 Americans have used them.

In the U.S. today, these loans are a $9 billion business. In the past two years, 11 percent of U.S. adults say they’ve taken out a payday loan, according to a recent survey of approximately 3,700 Americans that CNBC Make Itperformed in conjunction with Morning Consult.

Source: CNBC

This Rebrand Is Not Barking Up The Wrong Tree (Forbes), Rated: AAA

For 

$ 203.49 Million in Sales Expected for Elevate Credit Inc (ELVT) This Quarter (Fairfield Current), Rated: A

Equities analysts expect Elevate Credit Inc (NYSE:ELVT) to announce sales of $203.49 million for the current fiscal quarter, according to Zacks. Two analysts have made estimates for Elevate Credit’s earnings, with the lowest sales estimate coming in at $201.00 million and the highest estimate coming in at $205.97 million. Elevate Credit reported sales of $172.85 million in the same quarter last year, which indicates a positive year-over-year growth rate of 17.7%. The business is scheduled to announce its next earnings report on Monday, October 29th.

NCUA’s Proposed Payday Alternative Loans Unattractive to CUs: Trades (CU Times), Rated: A

A new payday alternative program proposed by the NCUA is unlikely to convince many more credit unions to offer short-term loans because the loan terms are too prescriptive, credit union trade groups said.

Why Real Estate Deals, Not Startups are the Big Success Story of Equity Crowdfunding (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

In the year after Title III went into effect, startups received only $38 million in equity crowdfunding, according to Bloomberg—an amount that amounted to “a rounding error” in the larger system.

Before the JOBS Act, there were three formidable barriers to widespread individual investment in commercial real estate.

  1. Limited access to deal flow
  2. Inconvenience
  3. High minimums

Online crowdfunding has eliminated all three barriers

To begin with, the process is far more transparent and accessible, with minimum investments dropping to as low as $10,000.

ICBA calls for a new FDIC moratorium on industrial loan charter applications (American Banker), Rated: A

Renewing longstanding opposition to industrial loan charters, the Independent Community Bankers of America urged the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. to impose a two-year moratorium on such applications.

The trade group also pressed the FDIC to reject an application from the student loan servicer Nelnet for an industrial loan charter.

Lenders One Names Michael Kuentz as Chief Executive Officer (Altisource), Rated: A

Lenders One Cooperative, a national alliance of independent  mortgage bankers, announced that Michael Kuentz has been promoted to the role of Chief Executive Officer of Lenders One by its Board of Directors. Mr. Kuentz previously held the title of President. In his new role, he will assume responsibility for Lenders One’s day-to-day operations and strategic execution as well as continue to lead and manage the cooperative’s sales effort.

United Kingdom

Barclays takes stake in SME lender MarketInvoice (Banking Tech), Rated: AAA

Barclays has taken a “significant” minority stake in UK-based SME lending platform MarketInvoice.

Details were not disclosed, because we live in the age of secrecy, but the bank says the deal is a key part of its plans to invest in new business models for growth, and MarketInvoice’s ambition to broaden its reach across the UK.

P2P lender Zopa raises £44m to fund new bank (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Zopa has raised £44m in a new funding round to aid its expansion into traditional banking as its traditional peer to peer business comes under pressure from regulators.

Wonga investors inject £10M so cash-strapped payday lender can fund claims (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Yesterday Sky News reported that those same two, Accel Partners and Balderton Capital, are among a group of Wonga investors that have agreed to inject a further £10M (~$13M) into the business to help fund compensation claims related to its past censured practices.

Can this new breed of robo-advisers help you take control of your money? (The Telegraph), Rated: A

Savers have historically been forced to choose between picking and managing their own investments, paying for financial advice, or, recently, handing their money over to a “robo adviser” to do it for them.

China

China private equity funds suffer wave of closures (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Chinese alternative asset managers have become the latest casualty of the country’s crackdown on debt and financial risk, with a record number of private equity and hedge funds dissolving in recent months as new regulations limit their fundraising.

In the first six months of this year, the Asset Management Association of China (Amac) — a government-controlled industry body — “lost contact” with 163 private fund institutions, more than 70 per cent of the total for which contact was lost for 2017.

Source: Financial Times

Chinese P2P chief Yao Kunjie makes the Forbes high achievers list while under investigation (SCMP), Rated: A

Yao Kunjie, 28, is the CEO of peer-to-peer lending platform Beimi Wallet and was named on the financial sector list on Thursday.

Forbes magazine puts out regional lists of high achievers born after January 1, 1988, in 20 sectors every year.

The announcement came just a week after Shanghai police said Yao had been detained on July 13 on suspicion of “illegally absorbing public funds”, without elaborating, in a statement last Saturday.

Qudian Tries to Distance Itself from Other P2P Lenders (Capital Watch), Rated: A

Qudian Inc. (NYSE: QD) defended its business model Friday, saying that it is not undergoing the same “[volatility] and uncertainty” suffered by China’s broader peer-to-peer industry.

The announcement sent the company’s stock up nearly 5 percent mid-afternoon to $7.59 per American depositary share.

Source: Capital Watch

China lends trillions to SMEs, farmers as part of inclusive finance push (Global Times), Rated: A

For example, banks’ balance of loans to farmers stood at 30.95 trillion yuan ($4.53 trillion) as of the end of 2017, up 48.2 percent from 2013. The balance of lending to small and micro-sized businesses stood at 34.74 trillion yuan in 2017, up 73.1 percent from 2013, according to Feng.

European Union

€10m loans mark record quarter for Linked Finance (Independent), Rated: AAA

Linked Finance, an Irish peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform, recorded its strongest quarter to date in the three months to the end of June, facilitating over €10.1m to Irish SMEs.

This followed on from a strong start to 2018, with total lending for the year now more than €18.7m, up 65pc on the same period in the previous year.

The increase in lending is down to both the volume and size of loans. The number of loans that went live on the platform rose by 39pc in the period to 335, with average loan size up 19pc to almost €56,000.

BANCO BNI EUROPA LAUNCHES EQUITY RELEASE IN SPAIN WITH ÓPTIMA MAYORES (Fintech.Finance), Rated: A

Banco BNI Europa launches equity release in Spain in partnership with Óptima Mayores, the Spain’s leading financial advisor specialized in this segment.

Altisource Names Justin Vedder as Chief Operating Officer of Origination Solutions (Altisource), Rated: B

Altisource Portfolio Solutions S.A. (“Altisource” or the “Company”) (NASDAQ: ASPS), a leading provider of services and technologies to the mortgage and real estate industries, today announced the appointment of Justin Vedder as Chief Operating Officer, Origination Solutions.

International

How Fintex Capital Enabled the $ 30M Banco BNI Europa Investment in Upgrade Loans (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Last month we learned about the new $30 million investment received by Upgrade from the Portuguese digital bank Banco BNI Europa.

In reality BNI Europa did not actually purchase Upgrade loans, they invested in a privately placed bond that was backed by Upgrade loans. This bond was issued by Fintex Capital.

India

Regulations Shrink India’s Peer-To-Peer Lending Industry (Bloomberg Quint), Rated: AAA

When the Reserve Bank of India first brought out a discussion paper on peer-to-peer lending in April 2016, it said that there were 30 such start-ups in the country. It then proceeded to fashion a set of rules for the nascent but fast growing sector and came out with regulations in October 2017. Key among them was a requirement that peer-to-peer lenders register with the RBI.

Nine months since, only five of these lenders are registered in the ‘NBFC-P2P’ category, according to RBI data available until June 30, 2018.

This includes:

  • Fairassets Technologies India Pvt. Ltd.
  • Fincquare Fintech Pvt. Ltd.
  • Bridge Fintech Solutions Pvt. Ltd.
  • Bigwin Infotech Pvt. Ltd.
  • OHMY Technologies Pvt. Ltd.

Cashkumar foresees huge potential in online lending for short-term credit (The Hindu Business Line), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending company Cashkumar, which offers short-term credit to borrowers, foresees huge potential to lend in the online space.

At present, the company services around 200 loans a month . It is targeting to service about 80 loans a day in the next six months, besides expanding operations to 20 cities by next year.

Asia

Japan’s Samurai Asset Finance Offers Loans Collateralized by Digital Assets (Bitcoin Exchange Guide), Rated: A

A Japanese firm listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange recently unveiled loans that can be collateralized by three digital assets, namely BitcoinBitcoin Cash and Ethereum. As of now, the maximum amount borrowable is capped at 300 million yen (approximately $2.7 million).

Currently, the loan limits range from a minimum of 20 million yen ($180,000) to a maximum of 300 million yen ($2.7 million). The default repayment period is twelve months, although there are provision for extensions. The interest rates for these loans start from 7% to 155 annually, inclusive of commissions and extensions charges. If a lender fails to repay the loan in time, they will liable to a delinquency charge of 20% per year.

Crypto for real estate (Business Times), Rated: A

WE believe, in time, all real estate assets will reside on the blockchain – this is the grand vision of real estate entrepreneurs Julian Kwan and Alice Chen. The married couple – who co-founded Singapore-based real estate crowdfunding platform InvestaCrowd – has created a new product: RealFuel,

IMDEX ICO (IMDX Token): Decentralized Exchange & Crypto Banking Platform? (Bitcoin Exchange Guide), Rated: B

It’s difficult to ascertain much information about the people behind IMDEX. The company appears to have some connection to a Korean company called Techton Soft that was established in 2016. The Techton Soft website indicates that the company specializes in investment trading solutions, peer-to-peer lending, artificial intelligence, and cryptocurrency exchange. The Techton site states that the company has 10 employees, making it a rather small operation, and lists a man named SangHyun Kim as the CEO.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday June 4 2018, Daily News Digest

Average segment revenue Qudian

News Comments Today’s main news: Yirendai announces earnings results. LendingCrowd goes over 3M GBP in loan originations in May. Starling seeks 80M GBP in funds. Transferwise partners with first European bank. Today’s main analysis: Is Qudian too risky? Today’s thought-provoking articles: The most well-funded tech startups in each U.S. state. Alipay isn’t just for the Chinese. International P2P lending volumes […]

Average segment revenue Qudian

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

Other

News Summary

United States

The United States Of Startups: The Most Well-Funded Tech Startup In Every US State (CB Insights) Rated: AAA

Using the CB Insights database, we identified the most-well funded VC-backed technology startups by state based on disclosed equity funding. We excluded funding from debt as well as lines of credit, and only considered companies that have raised at least $1M of equity funding since 2015 to date (5/23/18).

Source: CB Insights

Citi has announced a direction for a new digital bank (Business Insider) Rated: A

A digital-only bank can allow Citi to continue onboarding new account holders despite its shrinking physical presence.

And because Citi already has 10 million active mobile banking customers as of Q1 2018, which represents 25% year-over-year (YoY) growth, it’s likely that consumers with Citi accounts will continue to do their mobile banking through Citi, so it’s a good move for the firm to target another customer base by leveraging its card network and cobrand partnerships.

How Capital One sees digital identity as a business opportunity (American Banker) Rated: A

Capital One has taken a different tack, spending much of the past year building out a digital identity platform that it can potentially position as a service it would sell to businesses.

By buying the startup Confyrm and hiring its founder, consumer identity expert Andrew Nash, the bank is taking another step toward making a business out of addressing the industry’s digital identity needs, industry observers say.

Source: American Banker/Experian

Hottest Alternative Lending Options Available for Small Businesses (All Business) Rated: A

Here are some trending alternative lending options—one of them may be just right for your SME.

Revolving business line of credit-Individuals and corporations are eligible to take out revolving lines of credit; this type of credit line allows entrepreneurs to pay a commitment fee and then utilize funds on an as-needed basis.

Unsecured business loan-Secured business loans require collateral and unsecured business loans do not. If you’re an entrepreneur and would prefer not to borrow money without putting your home, auto, or business inventory (or something else along those lines) up as collateral, then seeking out an unsecured business loan from an alternative lender may be your most practical option.

Crowdfunding-This funding method involves raising capital via individual investors, friends, customers, and family. It’s about tapping into the collective efforts of a big group of people, mostly through crowdfunding platforms and social media networks.

Too broke to own a home? These startups will fund your American Dream (Fast Company) Rated: A

Loftium, a Seattle-based startup, will contribute to a buyer’s down payment in exchange for Airbnb income.

Loftium has so far closed on nearly 50 homes, says Yifan Zhang, cofounder and CEO.

Other startups are taking a similarly innovative approach to the staid, highly regulated housing market. HomeFundMe, for example, helps homeowners crowdsource down payment funds from family members, friends, and employers. Point, based in San Francisco, buys equity from existing homeowners, and then cashes out when they sell–a homeowner-friendly twist on home equity lines of credit (HELOCs).

Laurel Road, MoviePass Join Forces  (Broadway World) Rated: A

Laurel Road, an online lender and FDIC-insured bank, has announced an exclusive, first-of-its-kind partnership with MoviePass, the nation’s premier movie theater subscription service, designed to further amplify savings and value for its customers.

As part of the agreement, MoviePass customers who refinance their student loans with Laurel Road will receive a free annual membership to MoviePass.

How credit card issuers are prepping for the next downturn (American Banker) Rated: A

Is the next turn in the credit cycle right around the corner? Or is it still years away?

The answer has big ramifications for the $1 trillion credit card industry, which has enjoyed unusually strong profits in the post-crisis period, but typically suffers during recessions.

At an industry conference in New York, credit card industry executives said Thursday that they still see sunshine on the horizon. But they were also careful to make clear that they are taking steps to prepare for rainy days ahead.

2018 Rising Stars: Viral Shah (Housing Wire) Rated: B

Viral Shah is cofounder and head of capital markets at Better Mortgage, where he oversees financial product innovation, the mortgage marketplace and corporate nance. Shah’s experience includes consumer nance, capital markets, corporate development and strategy.

Shah led the acquisition and integration of the mortgage lender that Better Mortgage purchased in 2015, while concurrently running the $30 million Series A capital raise.

Shah built out the capital markets infrastructure for the company, obtaining multiple warehouse lines and establishing a loan marketplace representing $700 billion of annual demand and 70% of the mortgage market, including some of the largest GSEs, banks, hedge funds, REITS and asset managers.

PeerStreet’s Nia Patel Named One of HousingWire’s 2018 Rising Stars (Business Wire) Rated: B

PeerStreet, a marketplace for investing in real estate backed loans, is honored to announce that Nia Patel has been named to HousingWire’s 2018 Rising Stars list of young leaders to watch in the housing industry. HousingWire’s 2018 Rising Stars list recognizes talent that demonstrate leadership and innovation, inspiring not only those within their company, but also their communities and the industry at large.

United Kingdom

LendingCrowd Milestone: Celebrates Record Month For Loan Origination (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

LendingCrowd, one of the UK’s fastest-growing alternative finance lenders to the SME market, announced on Friday it is on course for continued expansion after completing loan deals totaling to more than £3 million during May, marking the p2p lending platform’s best month ever. The company also reported that despite the month having two bank holidays it also saw its deal volumes reach a fresh record and secured loans for 36 small business covering a wide range of sectors across Britain.

UK challenger bank Starling seeks £80m funding (Fintech Futures) Rated: AAA

UK challenger bank Starling is looking to raise £80 million in its latest quest for funding – and it has ended its relationship with TransferWise.

In addition to the cash injection, Starling is hiring a new international advisory firm, as it potentially hunts for action beyond the UK. Starling is already in Ireland.

Catch the budgeting bug: apps aimed at millennials (The Sunday Times) Rated: A

Chip promises to help you save “without feeling it”. You link the app to your current account (12 providers are signed up); it works out what you can afford and sends this money every few days to a savings account paying 1% interest. It’s free, regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and available for iOS and Android.

Plum uses Facebook Messenger to analyse your cashflow before banking money. You can invest it in peer-to-peer platform RateSetter and earn up to 3% interest (RateSetter is not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme). Plum is free and available for iOS and Android.

If you are self-employed or do freelance work, Coconut allows you to track your income and outgoings and any tax you owe.

In the red: the soaring cost of middle-class borrowing (The Times) Rated: A

This week the city regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), said charges for dipping into an unarranged overdraft, something 13 million people do each year, can be ten times higher than the cost of paying off the same amount on a payday loan.

While 19 million people use the planned overdraft that comes with their bank account, most don’t see this as debt and will also probably have paid charges.

UK financial watchdog calls for ‘radical overhaul’ of high-cost credit (Financial Times) Rated: A

The UK financial regulator called for a “radical” overhaul of rules surrounding bank overdrafts and rent-to-own businesses on Thursday, dismissing criticism that it was dragging its heels in its efforts to protect vulnerable customers.

The Financial Conduct Authority said forcing banks to give more transparent information about overdrafts would save customers more than £200m a year. The regulator said it would consider more fundamental changes in future, such as a ban on fixed fees and ending distinctions between unarranged and arranged borrowing costs.

When Tandem met Harrods: we had ‘sir’, but we didn’t have ‘dame’ (AltFi News) Rated: A

When Tandem’s banking plans went up in smoke last year, after a failed fundraise, few could have guessed that it would rise from the ashes on the wings of luxury department store Harrods’ banking arm.

But that is exactly what happened. The digital challenger completed the acquisition of Harrods Bank in January, giving it a banking licence, £80m of equity capital, £400m of deposits and a £375m mortgage loanbook. It has now launched a cashback credit card and fixed savings accounts – not to mention having signed up 100,000 customers.

In announcing that milestone earlier this week, Tandem revealed that its chief executive Ricky Knox (pictured, right-middle) had invited Harrods Bank’s 7,000 global customers to meet face-to-face in his office in the months following the acquisition.

Finance companies and retailers are experimenting with Slack (Tear Sheet) Rated: B

While no major bank has rolled out a Slack bot for customers (though they’ve done so on Facebook messenger or iMessage), challenger bank Revolut is testing its capabilities for business customers.

This week, the bank launched Revolut Connect, a feature that lets business account holders “talk” to companion apps they use frequently for crucial day-to-day functions like payroll and expense management.

China

Yirendai Announces Earnings Results (The Ledger Gazette) Rated: AAA

Yirendai (NYSE:YRD) issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, May 24th. The technology company reported $1.72 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.99 by $0.73, Briefing.com reports. The firm had revenue of $253.90 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $250.75 million. Yirendai had a net margin of 21.93% and a return on equity of 51.90%. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $5.81 earnings per share.

Qudian: The Risky Chinese Fintech Opportunity (Seeking Alpha) Rated: AAA

QD’s average loan size is small. Roughly speaking it ranges from $100-200 per customer. The average cash credit was $136, as listed in its IPO prospectus. QD considers that these small credits pose a favorable risk-reward profile because customers are likely always to pay back their debts. Also, since their credit is short term, its risk is lower compared to longer-term credit products.

Source: SEC filings, quote QD, and author’s elaboration
Source: SEC filings, quote QD, and author’s elaboration

China: WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

International Tuition Payment Platform Easy Transfer Receives Tens of Million Yuan in Series A Financing

This week, Easy Transfer announced that it has won tens of millions yuan in Series A financing, which was led by Zhen Fund and followed by IDG Capital. It is reported that this round of investment will be mainly used for product development, team-building and marketing.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority is Expected to License Virtual Banks by the End of this Year

On May 31st, Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) issued the revised “Virtual Bank Recognition Guidelines”. The president of the HKMA, CHAN Tak-Lam, said that some interested parties have begun to submit applications to the HKMA. HKMA will carefully and quickly assess the applications and is expected to license virtual banks by as early as the end of this year.

Consumer Finance Company Dauron Secures Tens of Million Yuan in Pre-A Round of Financing

Dauron, an online consumer finance company, announced that it had received tens of million yuan in Pre-A round of financing from Jingbei Investment and Wanrui Factoring.

European Union

Transferwise partners with first major European bank BPCE (City A.M.) Rated: AAA

Out with the old and in with the new: digital money transfer service Transferwise has partnered with Banques Populaires’ and Caisses d’Espargne (BPCE), France’s second largest bank, to integrate its API directly into BPCE’s banking apps.

Set to go live at the beginning of 2019, the partnership between Groupe BPCE, its international banking arm Natixis Payments and Transferwise will see the fintech’s international payments API power all payments made digitally by the group’s 15.1m retail customers at the mid-market exchange rate.

Transactions will also be set at Transferwise’s low-cost 0.5 per cent fee on most routes, and will serve over 60 international destinations. Currently over 3m people use the platform to transfer more than €2m (£1.75m) every month.

How European FIs Are Building Delightful Banking Experiences (Medici) Rated: A

BBVA was the first financial institution in Spain to launch ‘Online Onboarding’via mobile in 2016, which allows anyone to open an account in just a few minutes and start banking right away. This service uses a procedure that verifies a customer’s identity through a selfie and a video call.

The Estonian eID card system is one of the most advanced in the world and serves as the basis for all of the digital services that are available in the country. The system has been in service for 16 years already and represents a highly sophisticated digital access card for all of Estonia’s secure e-services.

Monzo uses a photo of the customer’s passport or DL for identification and matches it to a video selfie; N26 uses passport/ID proof + video chat-based ID verification (in Germany, specific nationalities are also required to check at the closest post office to show their ID); similar to N26, Fidor asks for passport/ID proof + a video chat for ID verification.

International

International P2P Lending Volumes May 2018 (P2P Banking) Rated: AAA

Source: P2P Banking

So you think Alipay is just for the Chinese? (Chris Skinners Blog) Rated: AAA

It all started with a very good sum-up of Ant Financial’s recent $150 billion by Huy Nguyen Trieu, CEO @ The Disruptive Group. Ant were valued at around $50 billion when I first started to focus upon them two years ago, so a tripling in value in two years is notable, especially as it would make them the tenth largest bank in the world by value.

Second point is that valuation of $150 billion. In another conversation on social media, someone questioned that valuation (coincidentally a former member of Standard Chartered, Axel Winter, Former Global Chief Architect & Technology Strategy Head).

Source: Chris Skinners Blog

How Banks Can Stay Relevant in a Changing World (Payments Journal) Rated: AAA

The idea that we don’t care about our finances is counterintuitive. Hot new fintech start-ups and challenger banks are racing to develop apps providing evermore detailed analytics. But to make an impact and deliver real value, Brkic argues that banks need to take a step back and get better at delivering simple services that make a big difference.

Take overdraft charges. A service that alerts the consumer when they are about to go overdrawn and comes up with a solution (such as transferring money from a savings account, or temporarily extending a planned overdraft) is useful because it instantly solves a problem before it arises. For those living pay check to pay check, an avoided overdraft charge is more immediately beneficial than knowing that 10% of income is spent on dining out.

Meet the new bank. Same as the old bank

Advanced algorithms that promote generic, impersonal user experiences should be avoided. To immunise against engineers’ disease, Hammersley contends that inherently human interactions, such as customer service chatbots, should not be left solely in the hands of engineers.

Accessible Data and Artificial Intelligence: Is this the Future of Fintech? (Payments Journal) Rated: A

For organizations faced with the rise in product liability and fraud losses, AI is progressively positioned as a key tech to help robotize instant fraud detection and maximize performance in the near future. In addition, overlooked factors that influence the effectiveness of access data will include:

  • Geographical variances in data
  • Varied risk across products, apps, and channels
  • Accuracy of fraud classification
  • Relatively occurrence of fraud compared to transactions

With the advancements of AI and Accessible Data, we can add in precious metals, international currencies, peer-to-peer lending, identity protection, e-Wallet security, cloud computing access and more into the global payment experience.

Cyber, battery, sports tech win big investments (Isreal 21c) Rated: B

Lending Express of Tel Aviv, San Francisco and New York City, an AI-powered business loan marketplace with more than 55,000 customers in the US and Australia, secured $2.7 million in seed financing.

Millennials and money (Gulf News) Rated: A

Millennials make up about one-fourth of the global population today and are the inheritors of one of the largest inter-generational wealth transfers seen in human history, holding $17 trillion (Dh62.44 trillion) or about 10 per cent of the world’s private wealth. Banks and financial institutions have the challenge of catering to a newer type of customer in a rapidly changing technological environment, blurring boundaries and creating new business paradigms.

For banks, merely building a digital version of a branch is not the answer if your customers have never been to one. As author and futurist Brett King says, a bank is no longer somewhere you go to, it is something you do. Banks that are able to provide anytime, anywhere banking, combining tech and touch intelligently, stand to win.

Australia

How this fintech startup chief facilitated $ 50 million in Australian business loans without stepping foot in the country (Smart Company) Rated: AAA

Business loan marketplace Lending Express launched in Australia in 2016, and since then it’s facilitated $50 million in small business loans. But it was only last month that co-founder and chief executive Eden Amirav first set foot on Australian soil.

Now the Israeli startup has secured $US2.8 million ($3.7 million) in funding, Amirav has plans to further improve the artificial intelligence-enabled platform, and to get his message to even more Aussies.

Using artificial intelligence and machine learning, Lending Express connects small businesses seeking loans with alternative lenders. The business owner fills in an application via the online platform, and Lending Express runs an algorithm, immediately identifying the lenders that would be most likely to approve the loan.

Upcoming IPOs this week (Motley Fool Australia) Rated: A

According to ASX Ltd (ASX: ASX) there is only one IPO this week. That share is:

Prospa Group Limited (ASX: PGL)

Its principal activity is online lending to small businesses.

It’s looking to raise $146.5 million and list on 6 June 2018.

Asia

Fintech in Iran: Challenges and opportunities (Tehran Times) Rated: AAA

According to statistics published by International World Stats (IWS) until December 31, 2017, there are 56,700,000 Internet users in Iran, which is 69.1% of the population.

The internet finance in Iran is now mostly PSP-based, which offers shops online services for accepting electronic payments by a variety of payment methods including credit card and bank-based payments.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday May 30 2018, Daily News Digest

refinancing

News Comments Today’s main news: GreenSky sets shares at $23 each, sold 38M. Elevate Credit doubles floor space. Tandem hits 100K clients. Lidya raises $6.9M in Africa. Today’s main analysis: PeerIQ recounts TransUnion Summit 2018. Today’s thought-provoking articles: An orthodontist racks up over $1M in student loans. CompareCards releases credit card fee report. The worst is over for Chinese microlenders. […]

refinancing

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

Other

News Summary

United States

Fintech GreenSky raises more than US$ 800mln in its IPO (Proactive Investors) Rated: AAA

The online lender priced its shares at US$23 each, raising a total of US$874mln in its first day of trading. The company sold 38 million shares, surpassing its expectation of 34 million shares.

Elevate Credit doubles space with ‘super floor’ in Addison office building (Dallas Business Journal) Rated: AAA

Elevate Credit Inc. will expand at Spectrum Center in Addison, doubling both the size of its footprint and the capacity for employees who can work in the office.

The fast-growing company is growing from 26,000 to 52,000 square feet in the 614,000-square-foot office complex.

VantageScore win, TransUnion Summit 2018 (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

The House passed the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act which reforms the Dodd-Frank Act and provides significant oversight relief to small banks. Below are some of the main provisions of this bill:

  1. One of the most notable shifts lost in the headlines is that the legislation requires Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to evaluate and consider alternative credit scores to FICO. The change introduces competition to the credit scoring market and is a big win for VantageScore.
  2. Regulatory Capital relief:
  3. The threshold for a Systematically Important Financial Institution has been raised to $250 Bn in assets from $50 Bn, which will exempt a number of regional banks. These banks will no longer be subject to onerous CCAR tests and reduce their compliance burdens. Banks with less than $10 Bn in assets are also exempt from the Volcker Rule – a win for Jeb Hensarling’s (R-TX) campaign to provide relief for community banks.
  4. Banks with less than $3 Bn in assets will have a lower frequency of regulatory exams, banks with less than $5 Bn in assets will have fewer reporting and compliance requirements, and all banks with less than $10 Bn in assets will have the same capital ratio.
  5. Lenders can now charge subprime borrowers higher rates for auto loans.

TransUnion Financial Services Summit 2018

Delinquencies in auto loans have picked up recently to 4.3%, with subprime auto doing worse. (The drop in auto performance can be attributed to longer auto loan terms, higher LTVs, lower used car re-sale prices, and the “Lyft effect”).

Source: TransUnion

If a loan is prepaid before the 12-months mark the originator loses money as the net interest margin is not enough to compensate for the origination and servicing expenses. Only 23% of prepaid loans are refinanced, and most consumers go for a longer tenor loan with a higher balance.

Source: TransUnion

Mike Meru Has $ 1 Million in Student Loans. How Did That Happen? (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Due to escalating tuition and easy credit, the U.S. has 101 people who owe at least $1 million in federal student loans, according to the Education Department. Five years ago, 14 people owed that much.

Silver Hill Funding’s Leslie Smith is Targeting the Underserved in the SBL Space (Commercial Observer) Rated: A

In March, Smith oversaw the formal launch of Commercial Direct, an online small-balance loan customization platform that’s a division of multibillion dollar real estate investment firm Silver Hill Funding, a subsidiary of Bayview Loan Servicing.

Commercial Direct’s lending strategy targets small business owners, entrepreneurs and investors who are relatively new to the commercial real estate arena or are looking to expand or diversify their portfolios. The platform finances commercial and residential condominiums, among many other asset classes, and closes loans in 30 days or fewer, according to Commercial Direct’s website.

With the backing of Silver Hill—which has funded more than 20,000 transactions since its founding—and Bayview Loan Servicing, the platform is off to a strong start.

Fintech adds another S.F. office (San Fransciso Business Journal) Rated: A

After snapping up a new headquarters last year, fintech company Affirm leased up 46,000 square feet in 550 Kearny St. in San Francisco with landlord Brickman.

The new space is around the corner from the company’s headquarters in 650 California St., where it leased 86,225 square feet.

Does Your Business Need More Space? A Lender Weighs In On Why And How To Expand (Forbes) Rated: A

In this post, I speak with Victoria Treyger of 

For Your Money, Which is Better: The Algorithm or the Adviser? (Kiplinger) Rated: A

The reality is, the rapid growth and early-stage adoption of financial technology (FinTech) indicates an industry disruption is underway. Algorithm-based, digital advisory technology has brought us the increasingly popular “robo-advisers,” which replace human advisers with software programmed to understand and advise on clients’ needs. Robo-adviser firms have witnessed triple-digit growth since 2013. Research firm Cerulli Associates reported they had about $60 billion in assets under management (AUM) at the end of 2016, and could amass an estimated $385 billion by 2021.

Are we in the Golden Age of Fintech? (Fintech TV), Rated: A

Dubbed the ‘Mayor of Fintech’, Ron Suber discusses the current fintech landscape, and what technology has him excited about the future.

Watch this video interview with Ron Suber.

Can your side gig fund retirement? (CU Insight) Rated: A

Almost 40% of respondents in a recent Betterment survey said they feel unprepared to save enough to maintain their lifestyle during retirement. As a result, they have become members of the growing gig economy by either supplementing their full-time job or relying solely on their independent work/temporary contracts.

According to “The Gig Economy and Future of Retirement” survey, 76% of those 55 and older were using earnings from a second job to save for retirement, as were 65% of people 35 to 54. In addition, 42% of gig workers under 35 say they’re moonlighting to help save for retirement.

Online lender Earnest gathered data from tens of thousands of loan applicants to learn just how much people are actually earning from their gig. They found 85% of people take home an average of $500 per month from their side hustles.

CompareCards Releases 2018 Credit Card Fee Report (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

CompareCards by LendingTree today released the findings of its studyon credit card fees that compared the fees of a representative sample of 200 credit cards that are in Americans’ wallets.

Source: Lending Tree

Highlights from CompareCards 2018 Credit Card Fee Report:

  • Two cards — both no-frills credit cards from credit unions — had only a single fee. One card in the survey had as many as nine fees.
  • Credit union-issued credit cards have 2.73 fees per card, lower than 4.48 fees for cards issued by banks.
  • The most common fee levied by issuers is the late payment fee: 99.5 percent of cards impose this fee, averaging $36.02.
  • The average balance transfer fee, among cards that allow them, is 3.46 percent.
  • The average cash advance fee is 3.99 percent.
  • Foreign transaction fees, overall, average 1.48 percent, including cards that have no fee. But if cards assess the fee, most of the time the fee is 3 percent of the purchase price.
  • When compared with smaller credit card issuers, larger credit card issuers assess higher cash advance fees (4.11 percent, versus 3.86 percent) and balance transfers fees (3.49 percent versus 3.42 percent), on average.
  • However, average foreign transaction fees are lower at larger credit card issuers (1.22 percent, versus 1.76 percent at smaller issuers).

RBC Wealth Management – U.S. launches new digital alternative investments platform (PR Newswire) Rated: B

RBC Wealth Management-U.S., one of the nation’s largest full-service wealth management firms, is taking some of the mystery and difficulty out of alternative investing with a new digital alternative investment platform for high-net worth clients.

Developed in partnership with Artivest, an award-winning alternative investment management and technology solutions provider, RBC Wealth Management’s cloud-based investment platform gives financial advisors and their clients access to leading private equity and hedge funds across sectors, stages and styles.

Five Firms Hit by ‘Crypto-Sweep’ in Alabama as Regulators Step up Operation (Bitcoin News) Rated: B

Cease and desist letters have been sent to three Los Angeles based companies. The second firm form California, Leverage, has advertised itself as a crypto lending platform offering to investors a variable, daily interest. This case is again about an unlicensed security, the ASC said.

5 Ways to Get ‘Free’ Money From Your Employer Without a Raise (Student Loan Hero) Rated: B

2. Use your company’s 401(k) matching program

Saving for the long term can be a challenge: 69% of millennials surveyed are not saving for retirement, according to online lender Earnest. Although it can be hard to think about setting aside money when you have to manage student loan payments, it can help with future financial goals — especially if your employer offers a match on retirement plans.

United Kingdom

Tandem reaches 100,000 clients, signs for Form3 paytech (Banking Tech), Rated: AAA

SMEs: a neglected opportunity for UK big banks (SME Magazine) Rated: AAA

Big banks are neglecting the SME market opportunity due to a variety of factors. One of the main problems is the onboarding process, where in many cases the ownership structure can be unclear, leading to difficulties around initiating relationships with SME businesses.

Second, the nature of the SME growth model makes it difficult for banks to determine the value of the business opportunity. This poses problems when it comes to granting credit facilities to SMEs, as they are seen as higher risk for conducting business with.

Third, banks follow bigger sources of revenue and SME profitability is lower than larger organisations.

Finally, existing legacy software systems prevent large banks from servicing SME customer demands which go beyond traditional offerings. For example, the desire to integrate P2P lending, blockchain, mobile wallets, and accounting and legal functionality all as one end-to-end service.

Why scaleups still shy away from debt and equity growth funding (Real Business) Rated: A

Some £2.9 billion was claimed in R&D tax credits during 2015-16, according to HMRC, with the average amount of relief claimed via the SME scheme increasing from £56,223 to £61,514.

Despite a dip in deal numbers in 2016, the crowdfunding boom returned. Beauhurst data claimed £8.27 billion was invested in 2017 – more than double the previous year.

Department store numbers fall by quarter (Drapers) Rated: B

A report by peer-to-peer lending platform Lendy found that the number of large department stores fell from 240 in 2009 to 180 in 2016. The total number of shops fell from 407,000 to 403,000 during the same period.

Lendy said department stores had been more negatively affected than the rest of the high street by online shopping, as the heavy debt burdens carried by their owners had hampered their own investment in ecommerce and store refurbishment.

China

Worst Is Past for Microlenders — Analysts (Caixin Global) Rated: AAA

Effects of a late-year regulatory crackdown on Chinese online lenders has most likely run its course by now, analysts said, even as shares of U.S.-listed companies continue to feel some lingering fallout.

Shares of online lenders Qudian Inc. and LexinFintech Holdings Ltd. have tumbled by 24% and 17% respectively since the firms released their first-quarter results a week ago, wiping out over $1.4 billion in combined market value. Yirendai Ltd., the first Chinese peer-to-peer (P2P) lender to list in the U.S., saw its shares fall by 4% a day after releasing its earnings results after trading on Thursday.

To curb excess in the 1 trillion yuan ($156 billion) unsecured short-term loan industry, regulators issued rules in early December that capped annual interest rates on loans at 36%, barred lenders from offering loans to borrowers with no source of income, and tightened scrutiny over funding sources.

Australia

Credible Lab CEO Stephen Dash likens ASX to ‘junior Nasdaq’ (Australian Financial Review) Rated: A

Credible Labs Inc founder and chief executive Stephen Dash said he had chosen an ASX listing for the company, which allows users to sort through US student loans, because a large number of the company’s early investors were based in Australia and Asia.

India

How the Fintech Industry is Drawing Young Talent in the Country (Entrepreneur) Rated: AAA

The fintech industry is creating new and exciting opportunities for the country’s workforce in such areas as payments, retail baking, peer-to-peer debt financing, personal finance, asset management, institutional investments, remittances, and financial research. However, the primary enabler for all these segments is data. The volume of data that is being generated and leveraged by the digital banking and financial services industry is massive and unprecedented. As a result, the demand for technically trained data scientists is growing rapidly among fintech companies. With an increasing number of people in the country consuming fintech products, data scientists are required to manage large, complex sets of data and organise them to facilitate faster and enhanced delivery of various services to consumers.

Acko Gets $ 12 mn funding from Amazon, others (Elets Online) Rate: A

Online insurance startup Acko General Insurance Co. has raised $12 million (around Rs 80 crore) in a new round of funding led by e-commerce giant Amazon, an official statement revealed.

The latest funding infusion that saw participation from Ashish Dhawan, angel investor and founder of private equity fund ChrysCapital and existing investor Catamaran Ventures, the family office of Infosys co-founder NR Narayana Murthy, takes Acko’s total external funding to nearly $42 million.

In recent times the online lender that has joined hands with cab aggregator Ola to offer in-ride insurance to riders is said to be exploring venturing into travel insurance and healthcare space.

Asia

Singapore Has Fintech Dreams, But It’s Short on Tech Talent (Bloomberg) Rated: A

Singapore’s goal of becoming a high-tech financial hub is running into real-world problems of labor supply and demand.

Technology startups in many countries are fighting to attract skilled workers like software engineers. Yet in the tiny city-state of Singapore, with a population of 5.6 million, the dearth of talent is particularly acute. The nation’s universities and polytechnic schools churn out what the government estimates are 400 graduates a year with the right qualifications, well short of plans to add 1,000 financial tech jobs annually, according to the Singapore Fintech Association.

Africa

Lidya Scores $ 6.9 Million in Series A Investment (Finovate), Rated: AAA

Nigeria-based digital bank Lidya landed a fresh round of funding this week. The bank pulled in a Series A round totaling $6.9 million, an amount that marks the round as one of Nigeria’s largest tech investments. Combined with the $1.25 million Lidya received last March, today’s round brings the bank’s total funding to $8.2 million.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday May 22 2018 Daily News Digest

GreenSky vs. LendingClub

News Comments Today’s main news: Kabbage to launch payment services. Funding Circle SME Income Fund limited force signal moves past key line. Zopa boosts TruFin results. DEPO launches to help lenders accept digital assets as collateral. Qudian stock drops 16.5%. Today’s main analysis: Deep dive into MFT 2018-2 vs. AVNT 2018-A (A MUST-READ). Today’s thought-provoking articles: Credit score improvement […]

GreenSky vs. LendingClub

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Other

News Summary

United States

Online lender Kabbage to launch payment services by year-end (Reuters) Rated: AAA

Kabbage Inc, a U.S. online lender for small businesses, plans to launch payment processing services by year-end, President Kathryn Petralia said on Monday, helping it to diversify and compete more directly with industry leaders PayPal Holdings Inc and Square Inc.

The Atlanta-based startup will offer tools to enable clients, mostly brick-and-mortar businesses, to accept card payments in-store and online, Petralia said in an interview.

Deal Deep Dive MFT 2018-2 vs AVNT 2018-A (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

This week we compare 2 very different MPL personal loan securitizations – Marlette’s MFT 2018-2 Prime deal and Avant’s AVNT 2018-A Near Prime deal.

Collateral Comparison 

AVNT 2018-A has lower average loan size by $6,435, shorter weighted average loan terms by 9 months and higher WAC by 16.28%. This is a reflection of the quality of borrowers that Avant and Marlette target. Marlette’s prime borrowers have higher weighted average FICO scores by 59 points than Avant’s near prime borrowers. The geographic distribution is quite similar between the two deals.

Source: PeerIQ, KBRA

Bond Characteristics and Pricing

The significantly higher WAC on AVNT 2018-A leads to a 14.8% pickup in excess spread. KBRA’s base case loss estimate is 7.4% higher on AVNT 2018-A, which leads to a 7.4% higher loss-adjusted excess spread on AVNT 2018-A.

Source: PeerIQ, KBRA

Capital Structure

AVNT 2018-A has 3.3% lower O/C which is compensated by 14.8% higher excess spread. The A tranches have similar CE in both deals but Marlette’s A is rated one notch higher.

Source: PeerIQ

Avant continues to benefit from tighter underwriting criteria (Asset Securitization Report) Rated: A

The introduction of tighter underwriting criteria continues to pay off for the online consumer lender Avant.

The company, which was founded in 2012 and is based in Chicago, was able to lower the credit enhancement, again, on its latest securitization, the $221.9 million Avant Loans Funding Trust 2018-A.

Kroll Bond Rating Agency assigned an A- to the $149 million senior tranche of notes to be issued, which benefit from 38.42% credit enhancement. That’s down from 41.8% on the comparable tranche of its prior transaction, completed last year.

LendingTree Study Finds More than Half of My LendingTree Users Improved Credit Scores in Majority of 50 Metros Analyzed (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

LendingTree today released its study on the top places with rising credit scores. With credit scores being a crucial component of personal financial stability and opportunity, LendingTree analysts decided to look at anonymized My LendingTree users who logged into their accounts in both the first quarter of 2017 and the first quarter of 2018 to determine the top metros for rising credit scores among the 50 largest in the United States.

Below are some of the key takeaways from the study.

  • JacksonvilleIndianapolisDenver and Tampa saw the highest rate of rising credit scores among the 50 biggest metros from Q1 2017 to Q1 2018.
  • Virginia Beach, Va.Los Angeles and Birmingham, Ala., had the lowest rate of rising credit scores, with 47 percent of Virginia Beach users raised their credit scores.
  • San Jose (Silicon Valley) saw the most dramatic rises in credit scores, with the highest rates of people who raised their score by more than 75 points and 100 points.
  • In the majority of the 50 metros analyzed, more than 50 percent of users improved their credit scores between Q1 2017 and Q1 2018.
  • About one in three increased their scores by over 20 points, and 3.5 percent were able to improve their scores by 100 points or more.
Source: Lending Tree
Source: Lending Tree

New Fintech IPO Offers Litmus Test for Online Lenders (Wall Street Journal) Rated: AAA

It wasn’t long ago that online lenders were ascendant. More than $3 billion in capital from investors as diverse as Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group Corp. and celebrity chef David Chang gushed into lending startups in 2015, according to Dow Jones VentureSource. Analysts at Morgan Stanley predicted that year that the nascent industry would account for 10% of all unsecured consumer and small-business loans by 2020.

Investors soured on the sector. Shares of LendingClub, which once had a market value of about $10 billion, are down 77% from their IPO price. Prosper’s valuation was slashed by more than two-thirds in a private fundraising round last year.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

GreenSky said in its IPO filings that it has facilitated more than $12 billion in loans to consumers for home-improvement projects and elective medical procedures.

Part of GreenSky’s advantage comes from its relatively low customer-acquisition costs. LendingClub’s biggest expense is sales and marketing, which last year rose to $229.9 million, equivalent to 40% of revenue.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

 

How to responsibly invest in bitcoin (Bankrate) Rated: A

Recently, Bank of America, Chase, and Citigroup joined Capital One and Discover in banning cardholders from using them to buy cryptocurrencies. Credit cards were one of the most popular payment methods because of their relatively low fees and instant transaction rates, and investors are having to look at other options to make their investments.

Source: Bankrate

You can borrow money from a family member or friend, or you can use a peer-to-peer lending platform like SoFi to leverage funds for Bitcoin investments. However, be cautious when borrowing money for an investment. Interest rates can eliminate any gains you get from the investment, and the risk of losing money in such a volatile market is high.

Is Mulvaney targeting fintech or nonbanks? (Respa News) Rated: A

The acting director also responded to a question about qualified mortgages which has left the industry scratching its head since. Was Mulvaney separating fintech marketplace lending from traditional mortgage lending, or was he drawing a line between depository mortgage and non-depository mortgages?

 

Banking overhaul heading for likely passage in Congress (Yahoo! Finance) Rated: A

Legislation that would ease banking regulations — and modify rules governing credit reports and some consumer loans — is headed for likely passage in Congress any day now.

The bill cleared the Senate in March with some bipartisan support and is expected to be voted on by House lawmakers this week, perhaps as early as Tuesday.

The measure rolls back some of the regulations imposed by the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010. That legislation came on the heels of the financial meltdown that rocked the U.S. economy a decade ago, when risky and unaffordable mortgages contributed to millions of homeowners losing their houses to foreclosure.

Main Street Banks’ New Lending Rivals: Hedge Funds and Private Equity (Wall Street Journal) Rated: A

Main Street banks are feeling squeezed by competition from new rivals: nonbanks like hedge funds and private-equity firms that are elbowing into business loans.

Growth in business lending has picked up recently—it was up 3.3% year over year as of May 9, according to Federal Reserve data released Friday, after falling below 1% earlier this year. But the growth rate is still far below where it’s been in recent years, when loans to businesses grew at a double-digit clip for much of 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Making technology the solution, not the problem, at small banks (American Banker) Rated: A

The board members of R Bank in Round Rock, Texas — who include the Hall of Fame fireballer Nolan Ryan, a co-founder of the bank — hold accounts there, and they, like most other patrons, knew its old technology made for clunky customer service.

So, says president and CEO Steve Stapp, he channeled those irksome experiences into board support for an investment in a systems overhaul at the $455 million-asset bank.

For community banks in highly competitive markets, service with a personal touch can be a differentiator to win and keep customers. But when legacy technology hampers the customer experience, all the cups of coffee in the world won’t help.

 

Vota turns your credit card transactions into recommendations, helps you spot fraud (Tech Crunch) Rated: A

Blippy, which was hyped up to a $46.2 million valuation back in 2010 before the world realized that almost nobody wanted a dedicated network for sharing and viewing each others’ purchases. Well, guess what? Someone’s trying a Blippy-like thing again — this time, in the form of a new app called Vota, which automatically records your credit card purchases and the places you visit so you can share them with friends or family, or view them privately for your own reference.

As a byproduct of this data collection, you may spot credit card fraud or other errant charges, too, or just get a handle on your spending.

Optimal Blue First-to-Market with Pipeline & Lock Management APIs (Business Wire) Rated: B

Optimal Blue is proud to recognize enterprise SaaS digital mortgage solution leader, Capsilon, as its first strategic partner to complete certification with the highly anticipated Pipeline & Lock Management APIs. By debuting these innovative system-to-system API interfaces in the mortgage industry, Optimal Blue has enabled Capsilon’s digital mortgage platform to fully support the creation, management, registration, and locking of first-lien mortgages instantaneously with Optimal Blue. As a result of this advanced integration, a completed application and pre-approval are done in half the time of the traditional back-and-forth processes, empowering loan officers to be more competitive in today’s purchase market and win more business from real estate agents.

Mastercard Unveils Fintech Initiative Aimed at Digital Banking (Banker & Tadesman) Rated: B

The company on Monday announced the creation of Accelerate, a new initiative to drive growth at scale for the fast-evolving fintech industry, reflecting the company’s ongoing commitment to this sector.

Designed to operate alongside its successful Start Path program, Accelerate will broaden Mastercard’s engagement with the payment fintech community including the next generation of digital banks.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle Sme Income Fund Limited Force Signal Moves Past Key Line  (Concordia Review) Rated: AAA

Checking on current RSI levels on shares of Funding Circle Sme Income Fund Limited (FCIF.L), the 14-day RSI is currently standing at 58.31, the 7-day is at 65.97, and the 3-day is resting at 83.22.

Funding Circle Sme Income Fund Limited (FCIF.L) currently has a 14-day Commodity Channel Index (CCI) of 148.41.

Shares of Funding Circle Sme Income Fund Limited (FCIF.L) have a 200-day moving average of 103.52. The 50-day is 104.93, and the 7-day is sitting at 104.82.

 

Zopa stake boosts TruFin annual results (AltFi News) Rated: AAA

TruFin, the AIM listed fintech lender and payments provider, has released its first set of annual results following on from its public listing back in February. The numbers show a 7.67 per cent uptick in its valuation of its stake in p2p lender Zopa in 2017.

TruFin, which says it used an external company to aid the valuation of Zopa, re-valued its holding upwards by £2.6m to £36.5m over the course of the year. The firm, which was spun out of hedge fund Arrowgrass’ fintech holdings, holds a c.15 per cent stake in Zopa bought by Arrowgrass in 2014 for £15m. TruFin was set up by Henry Kenner, one of the founders of Arrowgrass, who is also its CEO and chairman. The hedge fund itself was launched by a group of Deutsche Bank traders in the wake of the financial crisis, including Kenner.

UK watchdog says automated financial advice falls short (Rueters) Rated: A

Advice doled out online or via smartphone apps, referred to in the industry as “robo advice”, aims to cut costs for customers looking to save or invest. It also seeks to foster innovation and increase competition in financial services.

But the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said two reviews of the industry uncovered problems among early entrants.

Exclusive: Former ADS Securities exec Jamieson Blake joins specialty lender Basset and Gold (Leaprate) Rated: B

Following our exclusive report from earlier this month that Jamieson Blake, Head of Client Experience at the FCA regulated London based arm of ADS Securities, had resigned from the company, LeapRate has now learned that Mr. Blake has landed – at specialty lending and retail investment firm Basset and Gold, as Head of Relationship Management.

China

Why Qudian Inc Stock Dropped 16.5% Today (Motley Fool) Rated: AAA

Shares of Qudian (NYSE:QD) closed down 16.5% on Monday after the Chinese online lender announced earnings that fell short of expectations.

Qudian reported “diluted adjusted net income per share” of $0.16 but GAAP diluted net income per share of only $0.15 per share. Whichever yardstick you use, though, these numbers appear to be lower than the $0.17-per-share estimate quoted on Yahoo! Finance. Revenue, on the other hand, came in at $273.7 million, significantly above consensus expectations for $214.6 million.

European Union

European Company Helps Turning Cryptocurrency into Collateral (the Merkle) Rated: AAA

Following a similar model as traditional depository services, DEPO gives lenders the freedom to accept digital assets as loan collateral. The platform also allows borrowers to keep ownership of their digital asset during the entire loan period.  The platform also protects future financial gain of the asset for borrowers with its decentralized design.

By employing the DEPO platform, lenders will be able to accept cryptocurrency as collateral for loans. To be protected, lenders can request additional collateral, or a partial sale of the asset should the market become excessively volatile at any time during the loan period.

Matthias Setzer of PayU (Lend Academy) Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • The history of Naspers, the parent company of PayU.
  • What PayU does and the markets where it operates.
  • Why Matthias decided to leave PayPal after 12 years and move to PayU.
  • How PayU approaches going into a new international market.
  • The Naspers investment in Chinese giant Tencent and the PayU footprint in China.
  • Why the number one country PayU is focused on today is India.
  • Why they invested €110 million in Kreditech and how they are leveraging that partnership.
  • The point of sale lending product they have launched in India with Kreditech.
  • The biggest growth drivers for PayU over the next 12-18 months.

New Insight will change the way you think about data (Instantor Email) Rated: A

Today Instantor, the Swedish fintech company making financial decisions easy, announces Insight. A new product that will transform the way financial organisations assess risk for loan applicants. By using robust machine learning, Insight analyses more than 70 predictive features and insightful patterns in historical banking, and can be used to make better risk and opportunity decisions. Instead of having a risk team spending months testing risk models, Insight ́s intelligent features will build the most optimal risk model using the clients own data and can be up and running within a week.

Bricknode and Lendytech unite under Untie Group banner (Finextra) Rated: B

Untie Group used to be several companies, the largest of which were Bricknode and Lendytech. They had a common founder in Stefan Willebrand and used, at least to a degree, the same self developed software. Also a number of people have gone from one firm to the other over the years.

International

Decentralized Lending Promises Easy And Global Access To Credit, But Is It Too Good To Be True? (Forbes) Rated: AAA

Since the rise of cryptocurrencies, the term “decentralized” seems to be everywhere. Decentralization has been proposed in many industries as a way to heighten transparency and make transactions simpler. One field in particular which has shown great potential for the application of decentralization is money lending. As many might rightly ask, don’t we need banks who are willing to take the financial risk and approve loans? As it turns out, maybe we don’t.

For lenders, the use of smart contracts allows for much easier assessments of the counter-party’s trustworthiness. Something that would take traditional audits weeks, not to mention the costs of such a traditional audit. Validating transactions and follow-up can become fully automated. Collateral is automatically returned at the end of the loan period or liquidated if the loan is defaulted on, removing many of the time-consuming actions that come with it.

Automation, ‘platformisation’ tipped to take hold in banking (AltFi News) Rated: A

The report, entitled Whose customer are you? The reality of digital banking, shows that 73 per cent of bankers believe retail banking will be at least 80 per cent automated in the next two years. A further 78 per cent see ‘platformisation’ steering the market in the future.

71 per cent of respondents are focusing their digital investment budget on cyber security, up from 34 per cent last year. Yet a mere 17 per cent are thinking about the risks of third-party integrations under Open Banking.

Fin-tech changes the loan process: Meet new lending models (Bankless Times) Rated: A

The new FinTech lending model opens new opportunities to people who were not able to borrow from traditional banks and other financial institutions because of the poor credit history and other factors. Such loans are now available to the new groups of people who need an instant funding, for instance, small business owners, students etc. In particular, entrepreneurs got a chance to get a loan without collateral, which a while ago was a real obstacle for many business owners.

Millennials Choose FinTech

Millenials are the first generation to accept the real advantages of new technologies and ready to use them for their own convenience. When it comes to lending process, millennials no longer wish to visit bank branches personally, stand in lines, deal with unnecessary paperwork and wait for months to get the approval.

End of the Line…

Today we are already witnessing a drastic change in the lending model that existed for centuries. Consumers want to have a more flexible way to lend money but most importantly, they want this process to be quick. The FinTech industry already gave us this opportunity and hopefully, the following changes will be for the better.

 

Asia

Kieran Arasaratnam to Join Credify Founding Team as CFO (Digital Journal) Rated: B

Credify Inc., a pioneer in decentralised reputation systems, is pleased to announce that Kieran Arasaratnam is joining the founding team as Chief Financial Officer.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday March 19 2018, Daily News Digest

Monday March 19 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: Robinhood valuation tops $5B. MarketInvoice reaches 2B GBP milestone. Lendy reaches 20K investors. Senmiao Technology prices IPO at low end. Merchant Advance Capital closes $30M debt facility. Today’s main analysis: CLUB 2018-NP1 Deep Dive. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Helena, Montana wants to be tech talent destination. More SMEs plan to apply for finance. The third age of credit. Australian […]

Monday March 19 2018, Daily News Digest

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United States

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United States

Valuation for Robinhood, Maker of App That Offers Free Stock Trades, Tops $ 5 Billion (Wall Street Journal), Rated: AAA

Robinhood Markets Inc. is set to be valued at about $5.6 billion in a new funding round, according to people familiar with the matter, a fourfold increase in just one year that reflects the stock-trading app’s soaring popularity among millennials.

The Silicon Valley startup is in the final stages of securing around $350 million from a group of investors led by Russian firm DST Global, according to the people familiar with the fundraising.

Helena, Montana wants to be a new destination for engineers after landing a SoFi office (VentureBeat), Rated: AAA

With a population of slightly more than 31,000, Helena is one of the country’s smallest state capitals. It’s not surprising, given that the entire state of Montana is home to only 1 million people. In addition to being tiny, Helena is also incredibly remote. The closest large metropolitan areas are Salt Lake City and Seattle, which are both nearly 500 miles away.

Those qualities shouldn’t make Helena a candidate to house a large engineering team for one of Silicon Valley’s most valuable unicorns. However, SoFi, the online personal finance company focusing on student loans, mortgages, and personal loans, has multiple locations in the city that together house roughly 140 employees — many of them programmers and engineers, as I learned on a trip last month to Helena.

Amazon’s footprint grows, CLUB 2018-NP1 Deep Dive (Peer IQ), Rated: AAA

Amazon continued its foray into the lending sector this week by offering a a robo advisor. Amazon is partnering with banks where they lack a clear regulatory swim lane.

CLUB 2018-NP1

Source: Peer IQ

This is the largest near-prime deal that has been issued so far. The deal has 8,237 loans more than the CLUB 2017-NP2 deal and the average loan balance is $422 lower. The weighted average FICO on LC’s near-prime deals is 639, lower than that on AVNT 2017-B.

Source: Peer IQ

Kushners’ Cadre Startup Benefited From Misleading Rent Filings (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Cadre owned about 60 percent of three rent-regulated buildings in Queens sold by Kushner Cos. in April 2017. The $59 million price tag was an 80 percent premium over what they paid in January 2015, property records in New York show. It was the first known deal that Cadre, then a fledgling company, took from purchase to sale, and the high rate of return in a short time was touted as a proof-of-concept for its web-based investing platform.

Kushner Cos., Cadre’s operating partner at the properties, told the city the buildings had no rent-regulated tenants when applying for construction permits to update the buildings in 2015 but tax records filed later showed almost 100 such residents, according to a report by the Associated Press. The number of tenants fell precipitously prior to the buildings’ sale, the wire service reported.

 

U.S. Appeals Court Voids Obama-Era ‘Fiduciary Rule’(Financial Advisor), Rated A

A federal appeals court on Thursday voided the U.S. Department of Labor’s “fiduciary rule,” an Obama administration measure adopted in 2016 meant to curb conflicts of interest among providers of financial advice to Americans planning for retirement.

Study Finds Link Between Payday Loans, Poor Health (LendEDU), Rated: A

A new study has disclosed that almost 40 percent of people seeking short-term, high-interest loans from lenders such as payday loan companies are likely to report their health as either fair or poor.

Short-term loans have grown from a $10 billion industry in 1998 to $48 billion in 2011, reported The Guardian. Interest is extremely high on these loans—up to 600 percent per year—and the funds, typically utilized by low-income borrowers, are used for necessities including car repairs, food, and rent, according to the study.

Short-term loans have grown from a $10 billion industry in 1998 to $48 billion in 2011, reported The Guardian.

How Citizens Bank is reaching millennials (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Citizens Bank is selling millennials a comfortable, enjoyable life of travel, adventure and everything short of avocado toast in an effort to grow its student loan refinancing business.

At the end of 2017, Citizens’ student loan book was valued at $8.1 billion, according to the company. It’s a space which startups have forged a path, with CommonBond funding $1.5 billion loans since it was founded in 2012, and the value of SoFi’s student loan originations at $14 billion. Still, banks have unique advantages when it comes to the student loan refinance market, like a strong resource base to invest in marketing, and a book of business based on deposit products that lowers their costs.

Goldman Sachs launches in-house incubator (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Goldman Sachs has launched an in-house incubator to allow its employees to bring innovative ideas and solutions to life, and to Goldman.

GS Accelerate is accepting applications for “ideas that can deliver best-in-class solutions for our clients, take Goldman Sachs into new business areas, manage risk and tackle inefficiencies in our operations,” according to an executive memo sent to staff Thursday and shared with Tearsheet. Goldman declined to comment further.

Developing The Application of Anti-fraud Technology to Enhance Financial Risk Management (Lendit), Rated: A

With the maturity of the underlying technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchain, the manual driven anti-fraud method will be closely integrated with artificial intelligence driven anti-fraud method by incorporating the online and offline scenarios, constantly and quickly generating a surge in innovative strategies from the previous unidirectional and inefficient strategy.

The current application of anti-fraud technology is a rule engine driven approach, that is, it can detect the problems when the frauds are triggered but cannot predict and warn in the early stage. By accumulating and studying the data of fraudulent activities and developing the new cyber technology, the application of anti-fraud technology is expected to be turn from passive investigation into active pre-warning to build up the first firewall of anti-fraud. Adding intervention techniques out of the rule engine, such as neural network technology, will help to improve the pre-warning mechanism.

Bank Fintech Partnership More Than Just a Good Idea (Lendit), Rated: A

Bank customers demand highly functioning and seamless digital experiences.  They expect easy loan application processes that minimize data entry and turn around decision and funding in session-time.  They expect configurable communications, inbound and outbound, via the channel of their choosing and on the cadence of their choosing.  They expect to conduct every possible interaction, including account opening, without being require to walk into a branch.  They crave AI-driven advice and AI-fueled interaction channels.  With mobile payment processes, remote deposit capture, 24/7 access and service, and high degrees of security all to boot.

While it is possible to develop these capabilities in house, the best solutions already exist, developed by fintech providers who are ready to partner with the bank.

Blake Cohen of SALT Lending (Lending Academy), Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • How Blake first got involved with blockchain and bitcoin.
  • The conversation that led to the founding of SALT Lending.
  • The outcome of his conversations with banks around accepting bitcoin as collateral.
  • How they discovered there would be demand for their proposed lending service.
  • Why they decided to sell discounted memberships instead of doing an ICO.
  • Why anybody who is holding cryptocurrency instantly understands their value proposition.
  • How much membership tokens, known as SALT tokens, cost.
  • The total amount of loan demand they have received to date.
  • How the process works when taking out a loan.
  • The loan products they are offering today.
  • How their margin calls work.
  • Why they do no credit checks on their borrowers.
  • How loans are getting funded today and their plans for the future here.
  • How the volatility in the price of cryptocurrencies has impacted their business.
  • The vision for the future of SALT lending.

Best Online Checking Accounts (Benzinga), Rated: A

Online checking accounts are different from regular checking accounts at your bank/credit union and the number one reason they’re different is that they’re from banks that forgo a traditional branch structure. Ally Bank is a great example of this type of online-only option.

Best for no monthly fees: Capital One 360 Online Checking Account
Best for hIgh APY: Consumers Credit Union Free Rewards Checking
Best for no deposit minimum: Ally Interest Checking
Best business online checking account: EverBank Business Checking

Lendio announces South Charlotte franchise (Bankless Times), Rated: B

Small business loan marketplace Lendio this week opened a franchise in Charlotte, North Carolina. Through the Lendio franchise program, Chris Cronk will help local businesses in the community apply for loans, review their options and secure funding.

OnDeck Names Diamond Janitorial Services as Small Business Of the Month (PR Newwire), Rated: B

OnDeck (NYSE: ONDK), the leader in online lending to small business, today announced that Diamond Janitorial Services has been selected as the OnDeck Small Business of the Month for March, 2018.

 

Government Lifts Prohibition on Payday Lending Chain’s Partnership With National Banks (WSJ), Rated: B

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has lifted a prohibition on partnerships between payday loan chain ACE Cash Express Inc. and national banks, as the agency’s Trump-appointed head, Joseph Otting, is encouraging financial institutions to offer more small-dollar consumer loans.

The OCC rescinded a 2002 consent order that restricted ACE’s ability to offer payday loans funded by nationally chartered banks.

Private equity firms buying real estate data and software provider EDR for $ 205 million (Housingwire), Rated: B

Two prominent private equity firms are buying EDR, a provider of real estate data and software-as-a-service, for $205 million, the companies announced earlier this week.

The buyers for EDR, which provides property due-diligence and risk management technology and information, are Silver Lake and Battery Ventures.

United Kingdom

MarketInvoice reaches £2b milestone (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Business finance company MarketInvoice has today reached the landmark milestone of having advanced £2b worth of invoice finance and business loans to UK companies.

The first £1b was achieved after 5 years of trading and the second £1b took just 14 months to reach. During this brief time, two new products were launched (confidential invoice discounting and business loans). These helped MarketInvoice provide funding worth £714.2m to business in 2017 up from £410.4m in 2016 (up 74%).

Lendy Announces 20,000 Investor Milestone & Repays Five Loans in February 2018 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Lendy announced this week it has attracted its 20,000th investor to its peer-to-peer lending platform. This news comes just days after the online lender announced it repaid five loans in February 2018.

According to P2P Finance News, the lender reported that about 7,000 new investors have joined its platform during the past year, with growth in the under 40 age group. Lendy also revealed that investors have secured more than £37 million in interest since its platform’s launch in 2012, with over  £373 million in total has been lent through the platform.

More SMEs planning to apply for finance, research shows (London School of Business & Finance), Rated: AAA

A study from market research agency BDRC has shown that the number of SMEs planning to apply for finance increased in 2017, rising from 10% in the first quarter to 14% in the last three months of the year.  

The company’s SME Finance Monitor surveyed 132,000 businesses and also found that more SMEs are becoming aware of peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, with more than 30% being aware of this type of finance in the final quarter of 2017.

The research showed an increase in awareness of P2P lending combined with crowdfunding, with 46% being aware of these types of finance, up from 36% at the start of last year.

Nearly half (48%) of larger businesses with 50-249 employees were found to be aware of P2P lending, compared to 32% of solo operations and 31% of smaller businesses with fewer than ten employees.

Get ready for UK fintech’s Big IPO Year (AltFiNews), Rated: A

Funding Circle, one of the most notable UK ‘unicorns’ (a tech firm with a valuation north of £1bn), is the latest firm to make headlines for a soon-expected IPO. It also recently enlisted Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to help with the process, according to media reports. Many other notable digital lending platforms such as Zopa and LendInvest as well as banking challengers such as Monzo have also dropped hints that they aspire to move into public spheres eventually, if not soon.

Peer-to-peer lender offers rare secured retail bond paying 5.4pc (The Telegraph), Rated: A

peer-to-peer lender is launching a secured retail bond paying 5.375pc in interest annually, until it matures in 2023. The company, LendInvest, is a service that allows individuals to loan their money to finance property projects.

IF Isas: a bold way to build your capital (Money Week), Rated: A

This time last year, for example, none of the big three peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms – Zopa, RateSetter, and Funding Circle – had IF Isas available. But the situation has improved, and now more than 30 platforms offer them.

More than 75% of those surveyed by specialist researcher AltFi Data shortly before Christmas said they weren’t aware of the products.

If you want to lend to consumers, you could try RateSetter, which offers up to 4.9% a year over five years. A far riskier option is FundingSecure. This platform offers 12% or more on sub-prime asset-backed lending – P2P pawnbroking, effectively.

On the lending to business side, Funding Circle offers 7.2%, but is currently only open to existing customers. Assetz Capital offers from 3.75% to 15% over various terms. Crowdstacker offers up to 7%. The UK Bond Network allows you to invest from £5,000 in individual corporate bonds from listed and unlisted businesses, returning an average of 11.1%. And if you prefer to invest in renewable-energy projects, Abundance Investments offers up to 15%.

China

Micro-cap Chinese fintech Senmiao Technology prices $ 12 million IPO at $ 4 low end (Nasdaq), Rated: AAA

Senmiao Technology, an early-stage Chinese marketplace for peer-to-peer lending, raised $12 million by offering 3.0 million shares at $4.00, the low end of the range of $4.00 to $4.50.

At $4.00, the company commands an IPO market cap of $102 million and an enterprise value of $90 million. During fiscal 2017, it booked $0.2 million in revenue and a net loss of $0.7 million.

China: WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Ant Financial Buys Shares in Telenor Microfinance Bank

On March 13, Pakistan’s Telenor Group announced a strategic partnership with China’s Ant Financial Services Group. According to the agreement, Ant Financial will acquire 45% of Telenor Microcredit Bank, at the value of US $184.5 million. According to the agreement, Ant Financial will acquire 45% of Telenor Microcredit Bank, at the value of US $184.5 million.  

JD Finance Starts a New 13 Billion-Yuan Fundraising

On March 13, JD Financial announced that the group has initiated a new 13 billion yuan fundraising round. The new funding raised will be mainly utilized for financial licenses acquisition, technology research and marketing. It is said that CICC and COFCO shall lead this investment with a share of 10-billion-yuan. The leading investors will sign the agreements with JD Finance by the end of March and close their investment by the end of April.

Statistics shows that the valuation of JD Finance has reached 120-billion-yuan before this planned investment and is expected to reach between 165 and 190-billion-yuan after that.

 

 

Weekly Review (Investors Business Daily), Rated: A

China-based online lender Qudian (QD) reported $229.2 million in revenue and diluted EPS of 26 cents. ADT posted a surprise adjusted loss of 6 cents a share on 6% sales growth to $1.11 billion. On a GAAP basis, the home security company earned 99 cents a share.

European Union

Real estate crowdfunding in Finland: the drivers of campaign success and the industry development (Theseus.fi), Rated: B

The objectives of the study were to examine the phenomenon of real estate crowdfunding in Finland, to explain the success or failure of RECF campaigns, to understand the drivers behind industry development and to assess its future potential. The data was collected from the two main sources: interviews with the experts and the information from the websites of the crowdfunding platforms.

International

The Third Age of credit (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Today, buoyed by a plethora of technologies and a golden age for abundant data, creditis undergoing its most radical change yet. But it is being pulled in many directions by competing forces, each with their own vision for the future.

The last year has witnessed a Cambrian explosion in credit innovation, unveiling hundreds of possibilities for the future of credit. Unlike the last two ages, credit of the future will be personal, predictive, self-correcting and universal.

What does a new world of credit look like?

Thousands of startups are all finding new ways to apply this same concept of statistical modeling. WeLab in Hong Kong and Kreditech in Germany, for example, use up to 20,000 points of alternative data to process loans (WeLab has provided $28 billion in credit in four years). mPesa and Branch in Kenya provide developing-world credit using mobile data, Lendabledoes so using psychographic data and Koradoes this on blockchain. Young peer-to-peer lending startups like Funding CircleLending Club and Lufax have originated more than $100 billion in loans using algorithmic underwriting.

Victory Park Capital partners IFC on fintech fund for emerging markets (Finextra), Rated: A

Victory Park Capital (“VPC”), a leading investment firm focused on providing flexible debt and opportunistic equity solutions worldwide, announced today that it has launched a new fund together with the International Finance Corporation (“IFC”), a member of the World Bank Group.

The new fund will invest in financial technology companies in emerging markets. The partnership aims to improve access to debt capital for financial technology companies that lend to small businesses and consumers in emerging markets.

Accountants Look to Artificial Intelligence As Clients Get More Demanding (Sanvada), Rated: A

Accountancy firms to be particular are busy investing in AI and automation initiatives to help staffs with mundane tasks. The need is so open in some situations that businesses fail to deliver their mandate to customers.

In the research, close to 50 percent of the accountants said they would like to automate number crunching, diary management and the most time consuming of all: data entry. On the same note, three quarter showed great attraction to AI, to have it assist time-consuming responsibilities and automate involving tasks with recurring patterns.

Accounting firms have been in the front line of using cloud computing and Sage report stated that 67 percent of respondents now link their success to the use of cloud tech.

Finastra named provider of best payments solution by Global Finance (Vested for Finastra Email), Rated: B

Finastra has been named ‘best payment solutions provider’ by Global Finance, as part of the publication’s Best Treasury & Cash Management Banks and Providers for 2018, announced in the March issue of the magazine.

Finastra received the award based on its best-of-breed payments and financial messaging solutions that enable financial institutions and their business customers to manage cash, process payments, exchange information and transfer funds cost-effectively, securely and reliably within and across national boundaries.

Australia

SMEs shun banks, turn to fintechs (Financial Standard), Rated: AAA

The proportion of SMEs planning to use banks dropped from 38% to 24% between 2014 and 2018, the Scottish Pacific SME Growth Index shows. It is recalculated every six months.

About half (47.6%) of the 1253 small-to-medium business leaders who had not used non-banking lending options in the last 12 months said they are interested in using alternative financing in the future.

Of the SMEs that used alternative working capital options in 2017, the most popular was debtor finance (77%), followed by merchant cash advances (23%), peer-to-peer lending (10%), crowdfunding (9%) and other online lending (5%).

9 in 10 SMEs say cash flow problems prevented revenue growth (Finder), Rated: A

A new report released this week has revealed the changing state of cash flow, finance and growth for Australian small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The SME Growth Index, released by working capital provider Scottish Pacific, found that one in five (21.1%) SMEs were unable to take on new work because of cash flow restrictions, and 9 in 10 (92.7%) SMEs said that cash flow restrictions actually prevented them from generating more revenue.

Small business revenue is heavily influenced by the business’ cash flow. Of the 1,253 small business respondents to the Index, only 7.3% said that improved cash flow would not have led to more revenue. The restrictions on revenue due to cash flow has cost the Australian economy $229.8 billion.

FinTech Australia Points to Report that Highlights Growth in Fintech Lenders as Traditional Finance Declines (Crowdfind Insider), Rated: A

FinTech Australia, is highlighting a report this week that points to the decline in traditional fince options (IE Banks) and the ongoing rise in SMEs using Fintech platforms to address their capital needs.

The report is courtesy of the Scottish Pacific SME Growth Index, released every six months, which is based on interviews with 1,253 SMEs across Australia with annual revenues of up to $5 million.

For SMEs with plans to invest in expansion over the next 6 months, 24% say they will fund growth by borrowing from their main relationship bank – continuing a downward trend, and well short of the high of 38% who nominated this option to fund growth in the first round of the Index in September 2014. More than one in five SMEs (22%) plan to use alternatives to their main bank to fund upcoming growth, with 91% relying on their own funds. Of the SMEs that used alternative working capital options in 2017, their funding choices were: debtor finance (used by 77%), merchant cash advances (23%), P2P lending (10%), crowdfunding (9%) and other online lending (5%).

Gen Y advisers shy away from the big banks (Financial Review), Rated: B

Data from consumer information company Adviser Ratings provided exclusively to The Australian Financial Review reveals in the last two years, the non-aligned sector – or what was previously termed the independent space – has seen it attract 70 per cent of all news advisers, compared with 40 per cent previously.

There has also been a 32 per cent increase in the number of Australian Financial Services Licenses (AFSLs) granted by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. This equates to 400 new licenses in two years. Total adviser numbers have grown 10 per cent, up to 24,777 from 22,612 over that period.

India

Is RBI sleeping over Faircent’s P2P ad that promises huge returns? (MoneyLife), Rated: AAA

An overhyped, front page advertisements in a leading economic daily by Faircent.com, which claims it is India’s largest peer-to-peer (P2P) lending website, is luring people promising returns that are safer than the risky ’Sensex’ — almost like a Ponzi scheme. Shockingly, the company’s business and its puffery does not seem to attract the attention or supervision of any regulator. Not even the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), whose governor recently lamented that his organisation does not have adequate powers over banks — especially public sector banks. So what about finance companies that are regulated by it? The Faircent.com advertisement would give you a clue. The last line of the advertisement, in its fine print carries a disclaimer saying, the “Reserve Bank of India (RBI) should not be held responsible for these claims or promises”.

Movers And Shakers Of The Week [12–17 March 2018] (Inc 42), Rated: B

Online financial services marketplace BankBazaar has appointed Aparna Maheshas the Chief Marketing Officer.

P2P lending company Faircent has roped in Vikas Prasad and Mayank Bishnoi on board its leadership team.  Vikas has joined Faircent as Head – Planning, Processes, and Control, while Mayank has taken over as Head – Customer Experience.

Asia

Genie: the broadest Asian business loans exchange platform (Global Coin Report), Rated: A

The Genie ICO recently hit its soft cap of $5 million, with another $20 million in the pipeline. They had achieved about $2.5million through crowd sale; with the $3million underwritten amount, the current token purchase crosses the soft cap of $5million.

 

The ICO, which started a few weeks ago, finalized on March, 1st. Tokens were for sale at a rate of 0.0025 ETH, with a fundraising goal of 5,000,000 USD that was already met.

INTERVIEW-Indonesian banks will see “more than 12 pct” loan growth in 2018- regulator (Reuters), Rated: A

Indonesian banks will see “more than 12 percent” loan growth in 2018 thanks to a recovering global economy and a pickup in commodity prices, the country’s financial regulator said.

Loan growth in Indonesia has fallen below 10 percent since the start of 2016, compared with more than 20 percent during the commodity boom years before that.

Canada

Merchant Advance Capital Closes $ 30 Million Debt Facility (deBanked), Rated: AAA

Canadian Merchant Advance Capital closed a $30 million debt facility from Comvest Credit Partners today.

“This is giving us significant runway,” Merchant Advance Capital CEO David Gens told deBanked. “For the next 12 months in particular, we’ve got great visibility as far as where our incremental capital is going to come from. This will allow us to focus less on fundraising and more on just building the business.”

Founded in 2010, Merchant Advance Capital offers several small business financing products including fixed term loans and business lines of credit.

Royal Bank of Canada Explores Blockchain to Automate Credit Scores (CoinDesk), Rated: A

The Royal Bank of Canada may be interested in putting credit scores on a blockchain.

In a patent application released Thursday, the bank outlines a platform built on a blockchain that would automatically generate credit ratings using a borrower’s historical and predictive data. The application as described proposes a system that would utilize more data sources than existing credit rating systems, improving the loan process while creating an immutable record.

If a loan application is submitted, the system would automatically determine what sort of loan and creditor would be appropriate before generating a unique smart contract that contains the terms of the loan.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday March 7 2018, Daily News Digest

marketplace lending categories

News Comments Today’s main news: Citigroup may open a national digital bank. Marcus to open in UK, Goldman recruiting engineers. Robo.Cash posts 2017 results. Tera Funding to hedge P2P project finance risk. Today’s main analysis: Preparing taxes for LendingClub, Prosper investments. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Why institutional investors turn to marketplace loans. Branches are still disappearing despite Chase’s investment. Credit card […]

marketplace lending categories

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United States

Citigroup moving toward ‘national digital bank’ (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Citigroup Inc is laying the foundation, through a growing network of mobile banking tools, to support the launch of a national digital consumer bank sometime within the next three years, its chief financial officer said on Tuesday.

Citigroup, the fourth-biggest U.S. bank by assets, had fewer than 700 U.S. branches at year-end compared with more than 4,000 at the three biggest banks, JPMorgan Chase & Co, Bank of America Corp and Wells Fargo & Co.

Citigroup, Kabbage Form Consortium on Fintech Cybersecurity (WSJ), Rated: A

Four financial companies including Citigroup Inc.C -0.48% and online lender Kabbage Inc. said Tuesday they have formed a consortium to address fintech firms’ cybersecurity risks, a sign of the industry’s growing links to traditional banks and insurers.

 

Why institutional investors are turning to marketplace loans (LendingClub), Rated: AAA

Greenwich Associates, an unaffiliated research company, conducted a study to better understand how marketplace lending is perceived and the current state of adoption within the institutional investing community.

Study Finding #1: Higher yields drive investment.

Sixty-seven percent of institutional investors cited the higher yield that marketplace loans tend to offer as their primary reason for investing.

Study Finding #2: Different investors use the asset for different things.

Because marketplace loans can be used for many different reasons, one of the first questions that investors may face when considering marketplace loans is how to categorize them. For over two-thirds of surveyed institutional investors currently invested in MPL (see chart below), they fall in the category of structured products, putting them alongside ABS and collateralized loan obligations (CLOs). Almost half of current investors reported viewing them as short-duration instruments and one-third as high-yield bonds.

Almost 40% of institutional investors who are not yet invested in marketplace loans said they didn’t know how to characterize them.

Study Finding #3: The path to institutional adoption will be driven by a few key catalysts.

Since mid-2017, however, each new issuance was rated by at least one rating agency, removing this obstacle and further broadening exposure to the asset class.

Investors deeply value data and analytics, which are key to understanding the credit profile of borrowers on marketplace lending platforms.

While the secondary market for marketplace loans is illiquid, there is a more active secondary market for the securitized offerings.

Study Finding #4: Marketplace lending is here to stay.

A majority of current investors, 52%, believe that marketplace lending will be a significant player in the financial system in the next 10 years. This is another meaningful vote of confidence in the industry.

New phase of growth and development for ‘Peer-to-Peer’ lending (IBS Intelligence), Rated: A

Among the investors participating in a new Greenwich Associates study, 30% of institutions not currently investing in marketplace loans (MPL) are watching the space or conducting research and due diligence on the asset class—a level of interest that suggests future institutional involvement is on the horizon.

The first marketplace loans were securitised in September 2013, and the trend has accelerated rapidly since then. Cumulative issuance now stands at $28.2 billion, with $4.4 billion issued in Q4 2017.

LendingClub and Prosper Tax Information for 2018 (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Note that investors who invest through a retirement account do not have to worry about tax reporting. Here at Lend Academy we believe there is a strong case for investing in marketplace lending through a product like an IRA.

Copied below is how LendingClub summarizes the tax treatment of investing in loans on the platform:

Generally, gains and losses from recoveries, sales or charge-offs related to LendingClub Notes are reported for tax purposes as capital gains or losses, rather than ordinary gains or losses. Generally, LendingClub Notes are considered capital assets because they are owned for the purposes of investment (similar to a stock or a bond). Generally, realized capital losses are first offset against realized capital gains. For individuals, any excess capital losses can be deducted against ordinary income up to $3,000 ($1,500 if married filing separately). Capital losses in excess of this limit may be carried forward to later years to reduce capital gains or ordinary income until the capital losses are fully utilized.

Source: Lend Academy

I had $12.21 in proceeds (recoveries) from loans that were charged off which is offset by the cost basis of charged off loans, $204.33. This resulted in a net loss of $192.12.  On my 1099-B outlining long-term transactions I had proceeds of $109.64 with a cost basis of charged off loans of $1,469.02 resulting in a net loss of $1,359.39. The short and long-term transactions roll up on the 1099-B summary shared above (middle box). Ignoring taxes, I earned a profit of about $500 on my LendingClub account for the year.

Source: Lend Academy

Filing Taxes for a Prosper Account

Below is my 1099-OID which includes the net interest of $840.62 I received for the year.

Source: Lend Academy

My losses totaled $834.71 which means I earned a net return of around $100 for the year.

How would regulators react to Amazon-JPM checking partnership? (American Banker), Rated: A

The negotiations between Amazon and big banks like JPMorgan Chase and Capital One to offer a checking-account-like product pose significant questions for regulators about the e-commerce giant pushing further into the banking space.

Who owns the customer?

If the bank “owns the customer,” then “the rules governing banks protect the consumer,” said Karen Shaw Petrou, managing partner of Washington-based financial services consultant, Federal Financial Analytics. “If the bank doesn’t own the customer, then the rules — not just the consumer protection rules but the safety and soundness rules — are both different.”

What is Amazon’s role in the accounts?

If JPMorgan is “contracting with Amazon to do the marketing and customer intake, in that case, Amazon is subject to the regulation for those activities,” similar to other bank partnerships, said Brian Knight, director of the program on financial regulation and a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

Who, if anyone, would regulate Amazon?

Another tricky question is which agency would regulate the partnership depending on how it is structured. For example, if Amazon were to act as a vendor to the bank, the e-commerce company would fall under a wide range of bank regulations involving partnerships and data security. However, if JPMorgan were to be a vendor to Amazon, those regulators would have limited influence over the deal.

Branches are still going away, despite Chase’s flashy investment (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Earlier this year JPMorgan Chase announced it’s investing $20 billion in 400 new branches and last week at the company’s Investor Day CFO Marianne Lake said 75 percent of its deposit growth comes from customers that visit its branches. Research published last month by Novantas shows 60 percent of Americans would still prefer opening a checking account at a branch than on digital channels and a September report by Deloitte similarly found 56 percent of people prefer to open bank accounts in branches (based on a survey of 3,000 consumers who had opened a deposit wealth management or consumer loan between January 2016 and May 2017).

JPMorgan Chase may be opening hundreds of new branches, but that hardly suggests every bank will follow.

Source: Tearsheet

Legacy vendors have been losing revenue
Global financial services and ATM producer NCR has been watching revenue fall over the past year where ATM sales and software licenses are concerned as revenue from services and cloud has shown a slight uptick. Diebold Nixdorf, another manufacturer of connected commerce and self-service products in the banking and retail industries, reported a 9.6 percent decline in revenue from banking sector services to $3.4 billion from 2016 to 2017.

Reimagining Lending Risk Management for the Digital Era (Lend Academy), Rated: A

As of February 2018, US bank lending of various kinds – auto loans, commercial credit, mortgages, credit cards or small business lending – constituted $11.7 Trillion, representing around 60% of US GDP and 70% of commercial banking assets.

A tale of two startups with ‘superstore’ ambitions: Robinhood and Cadre (TechCrunch), Rated: A

“If you think about Amazon, they took the book model, built brand equity, trust, credibility and now they are a superstore for any retail product,” Cadre’s co-founder and CEO Ryan Williams told attendees at an industry event in San Francisco last week. “We’re doing the same for the investments world.”

Robinhood’s co-founder and CEO, Vlad Tenev, speaking at the same event later in the evening, had much the same messaging. “Five years from now,” Tenev told the crowd, Robinhood will be a “full service financial institution” with every product one can find at a “local bank branch and more.”

‘PIN on glass’ is still a novel concept for U.S. retailers (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Though common in Europe, chip cards with PIN numbers still haven’t caught on in the U.S. But a mobile chip-and-PIN terminal could nudge more retailers to get on board.

TransUnion Introduces New IDVision Alerts to Mitigate Rise of More Sophisticated, Emerging Risks (Nasdaq), Rated: A

A new TransUnion (NYSE:TRU) analysis found that the growth in outstanding balances of suspected synthetic fraud in the credit card market is slowing in large part due to recently focused efforts by issuers to prevent such instances of fraud.

Outstanding suspected synthetic fraud balances rose 5.2% between Q4 2016 ($276.01 million) and Q4 2017 ($290.37 million). This was a far smaller percentage rise than what was observed the previous year when such balances rose 68.5% between Q4 2015 ($163.77 million) and Q4 2016. Despite the slowing of fraud balance growth in the credit card space, TransUnion found that the incidence of such fraud on credit applications remains similar to last year, moving from 0.59% at the end of 2016 to 0.60% in 2017.

While the growth of synthetic fraud in the credit card market is slowing due to proactive measures being taken by issuers, outstanding balances of suspected synthetic fraud identities increased 6.6% to $885.42 million in Q4 2017, up from $830.25 million in Q4 2016 for auto loans, credit cards, personal loans and retail cards combined.

TransUnion today introduced 25 new IDVision Alerts and data enhancements to its current collection of alerts, including new alerts for possible synthetic fraud, new or recently created identities and social security numbers that may be compromised. In total, TransUnion IDVision Alerts now provide more than 65 notifications to businesses about high risk, suspicious identities and other potentially fraudulent activities.

 

Varo Money Helps Americans With High-Yield Savings Accounts & SMS Alerts (Varo Email), Rated: A

Mobile banking startup Many Americans Are Struggling to Achieve Good Financial Health

A recent survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults age 18+, conducted by Propeller Insights on behalf of Varo Money, determined that 85 percent of American adults sometimes feel stressed out about money, and a full 30 percent feel stressed out about money constantly.

  • About 1 in 5 Americans (19 percent) are living paycheck to paycheck
  • More than two-thirds of Americans (69 percent) report having had to dip into their savings to make it to the next payday at least once in the past two years
  • 55 percent of millennials have dipped into their savings in the past few months
  • About a third (31 percent) of millennials understand what their finances will look like from month to month only “somewhat” or “not at all”

Helping Customers to Make More from Their Money

Varo’s 1.25% APY Savings Accounts have no fees or minimum balances and offer a rate that is more than 60x the average rate offered by traditional banks. According to Varo’s two new features are part of its continued expansion of features and focus on financial health for Varo customers:

  • 1.25% APY High-Yield Savings Account: All Varo customers can easily open an online savings account with a few taps through the Varo app and receive a rate of 1.25% APY. Customers can access funds 24/7 and easily transfer money from their checking into savings. There are no fees or minimum balances required.
  • SMS Alerts: Customers can receive notifications based on aggregated financial activity across all linked accounts that let them know how they’re doing on income, saving, and if they are at risk of overspending so they can stay on top of their money effortlessly. Standard text messaging and/or data rates from the wireless service provider may apply.

Startup, Rentlender Revolutionizes the Rental Market, Offering Finance Options for Renters (PR Newswire), Rated: A

According to a Harvard University housing report, over 110 million Americans, or about 36 percent of households, now live in rental units — an increase of 9 million renters over the past decade — the largest 10-year gain on record.

Unfortunately, other records are being smashed too: the number of cost-burdened renters — that is, households paying more than 30% of their income on housing — jumped to 21.3 million. And a record 11.4 million Americans are spending more than half their income on rent. The news is even worse for New Yorkers, who last year spent 65.2%, or two-thirds of their total income, on rent2.

With upfront rental deposits and fees at move-in costing over $3,000 (more if you live in New York City, where comparable costs typically top $20,000); there has never been a greater need for finance options for renters.

Beginning today, New York City-based startup Rentlender is partnering with Upstart to provide modern financing solutions for renters.

Renters must meet a minimum set of requirements to qualify for a loan including having a minimum credit score of 620 and a maximum debt-to-income ratio of 45%.  All loans are originated by Cross River Bank, an FDIC insured New Jersey state chartered commercial bank, and lending terms and fees are as follows:

  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $50,0003
  • Loan duration: 3 or 5 years
  • Annual percentage rate: 7.436.25% to 29.99%4
  • Origination fee: 0% – 8% of loan amount
  • No prepayment fee

Renters can use these loans to ease the burden of renting in a number of ways:

  • Upfront costs – Pay first month, last month, security deposit and broker fees
  • Individual Months of Rent – Finance one or two months rent
  • A Full Year’s Rent – Finance a full year’s rent in addition to up-front costs

The loan application process is Powered by Upstart and provides renters with a fast, easy and paperless application process:

  1. Check Your Rate –  With a quick form, renters can see the loan options for which they qualify.
  2. Submit an Application – Complete the application online and indicate the bank account where funds should be sent.
  3. Accept Your Loan – Upon approval, log in and digitally sign loan documents. Funds can be available as quickly as the next business day.

Crowdfunding enters the New York City real estate scene (Born2Invest), Rated: A

These two problems are big hurdles for investors, but StraightUp is offering a solution to these woes. Crowdfund Insider notes that it is a new real estate crowdfunding platform that provides backers and investors an “unbeatable opportunity” on properties in New York City.

Capital markets tech firm Capitolis snagged $ 29 million in VC (New York Business Journal), Rated: A

Who gets: Capitolis, a New York-based technology provider for the capital markets, secured new funding.

Amount raised: $20 million in series A financing, plus $9 million in seed funding.

Credible Appoints Jobe Danganan as General Counsel and Corporate Secretary (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Credible, the consumer finance marketplace that helps consumers save money and make smarter financial decisions, today announced that it has appointed Jobe Danganan as general counsel and corporate secretary, effective immediately.

GDS Link to Exhibit at LendIt Fintech USA 2018 (PRWeb), Rated: B

GDS Link, a global provider of credit risk management solutions and consulting for multiple verticals within the financial services industry including marketplace lending for both consumer and small business, point of sale retail finance, alternative financial services, credit card, auto and leasing, will be attending LendIt Fintech USA 2018, April 9-11 at the Moscone West in San Francisco.

Upgrade Inc. Named a 2018 ‘Best Place to Work in the Bay Area’ (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Upgrade, Inc. (), a consumer credit platform that combines personal loans with tools that help consumers understand and monitor their credit, announced that it has been named a ‘Best Place to Work in the Bay Area’ finalist in the small company category by the San Francisco Business Times and Silicon Valley Business Journal.

United Kingdom

Goldman Sachs is recruiting at least 6 people for the UK launch of its online lender Marcus (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Goldman Sachs is recruiting engineers in London to help build and launch its online lender, Marcus, in the UK.

Credit Card Customers Prepare for Debt Crackdown (Market Oracle), Rated: AAA

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has, as of this month, given credit card providers six months to adhere to the new rules that tackle the issues surrounding persistent debt*.

From September 2018, credit card providers must review the last 18-month history of a borrower’s repayment records, if they are in persistent debt, and assess whether they are subject to the new rules.

Source: Market Oracle

Investors flock to Assetz Capital IFISA (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

ASSETZ Capital has had almost 3,000 investors start the process of setting up an Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA), with those who have already started investing putting an average of nearly £12,000 into the product.

Business borrowers should think outside the bank (Insider.co.uk), Rated: A

SMEs are the backbone of the Scottish economy, making up 99% of the business population and accounting for more than half of all private sector employment.

The unemployment rate in Scotland rose to 4.5% in the final three months of last year, slightly higher than the rate of 4.4% for the UK as a whole, but there are grounds for optimism. Independent forecasts suggest that growth in the Scottish economy will be slightly higher than last year.

According to research from the British Business Bank , published on 20 February, net bank lending remained “relatively flat” in 2017, while P2P business lending volumes rose by 51% to almost £1.8 billion.

Why SME banking may spawn the industry’s next big winners (Euromoney), Rated: A

Small businesses, which account for more than 99% of private businesses in the UK and in aggregate contribute more than half of turnover and employment, are particularly poorly served by big banks.

The big five high street lenders are built for serving either retail customers or medium-size and larger companies with collateral to back three-year and longer term loans that the banks like to hawk to companies that do not really need them as a way to sell associated risk management.

Small businesses want short-term, flexible working capital with no punishing fees for low usage or early repayment. This is expensive for banks to underwrite – especially for new startups and sole traders lacking several years’ worth of financial history – and to administer. Few small businesses want the interest-rate hedging and FX facilities that banks like to bundle up with term loans for medium-size and larger corporate customers.

The market is at last now producing non-bank competitors looking to provide the right kinds of services and products for small businesses – ones that give these challengers a shot at the £2 billion of annual revenue the British Bankers Association suggests SMEs now pay for financial services.

Wealth Wizards launches AI robo system (FT Adviser), Rated: A

Wealth Wizards, the robo-adviser majority owned by LV, has launched an artificial intelligence service which will learn how advisers serve their clients and replicate that house view.

China

Chinese IPOs In US Continue To Disappoint Investors (China Money Network), Rated: AAA

Industry watchers foresee a 25% to 30% increase in the the number of Chinese IPOs in the U.S. in 2018, versus 2017. That’s a significant gain given that the number of Chinese IPOs in the U.S. in 2017 was more than double the number in 2016.

Peer-to-peer lending company Qudian Inc. raised more than a billion dollars when it went public on the New York Stock Exchange in last October. Today the stock is down just over 50%, according to data from Dealogic, a loss of more than US$500 million for investors.

The average PE ratio for profitable Chinese companies listing in the U.S. reportedly rose to 50 in 2017, versus 31 a year earlier, driven in part by the marketing efforts of the three banks behinds most of the IPOs, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse AG, and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Another problem has been the Chinese government’s crack down on online consumer lending. This has hurt the businesses of financial technology companies, which made up the largest group of IPOs in 2017.

European Union

Online Lender Robo.Cash Posts 2017 Stats (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Robo.cash outlined the results of its first year in operation on the European P2P lending market: 2,000 investors from the EU and Switzerland invested over €3M in the issue of 330,000 short-term PDL-loans in Kazakhstan and Spain. The average inflow of investments is €240,000 with 150 new investors joining the platform monthly.Robo.Cash views the results and platform dynamics as proving the growing demand for complex automated solutions in the global alternative fintech.

The European investors financed 330 thousand short-term PDL-loans (Financial IT), Rated: A

The European P2P-platform Robo.cash was launched in Latvia on February 21, 2017. It has achieved to attract over €3 million and 2.000 investors from 29 European countries (the EU and Switzerland) in one year. The average inflow of investments is €240 000 with 150 new investors joining the platform monthly.

International

The Pro-Growth Magic of Inflation Anchoring: Eco Research Wrap (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Credit-constrained industries grow faster in countries with well-anchored inflation expectations, based on an IMF analysis of data covering 22 manufacturing industries for 36 advanced and emerging-market economies between 1990 and 2014. It seems to be the anchoring – not the level – that matters for growth. So while most advanced economies angle for 2 percent, there’s nothing magical about that number.

Killing zombies

The share of global zombie firms – low-productivity companies that struggle to meet their interest payments – has more than tripled in the past two decades, climbing to 2 percent of companies in 2016 from 0.6 percent in 1996. Early, incomplete data for 2017 indicate that the may finally be disappearing, suggesting that climbing interest rates are making it harder for the laggard firms to hang on.

Websites for Bitcoin (BTC) Borrowing and Lending (Hade Platform), Rated: A

1) Bitbond

They have more than 100,000 happy borrowers and investors. The peer to peer Bitcoin borrowing community has offered loans to more than 2500 borrowers. The loan application process is simple, and the loans can be received within one hour. Investors receive up to 13% interest on the loans they give, with some investors having a history of loaning to more than 100 borrowers. The duration of the loans, which are generally to help finance small businesses, range from 6 months to 3 years. Bitbond has users from more than 120 countries, and has an investment volume above $1million.

2) Btcpop

With a large user base above 20,000, from more than 60 countries, Btcpop holds a volume above $1million.

3) BTCjam

BTCjam has more than 100,000 users from more than 200 countries. The website supports peer to peer lending and has a volume of more than $13 Million BTC in their holding.

Australia

RateSetter CEO: Comprehensive credit reporting and open banking to help Australia play catch-up (mozo), Rated: AAA

For many Australians hearing the words ‘credit history’ may well elicit a shudder down their spine – especially if they’re looking at taking out a finance option such as a personal loan, credit card or home loan. But in just under four months that could well change, with the impending implementation of mandatory Comprehensive Credit Reporting (CCR).

From July 1, the big four banks will be required to have at least 50% of their credit data – both positive and negative – available to be shared, which Daniel Foggo, Australian CEO of peer-to-peer lender RateSetter, suggests will help Australia catch up to the rest of the world.

Promontory says AI for banking compliance ‘a long game’ (Financial Review), Rated: A

The inaugural chairman of the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority says it will take “massive investment” before regulators let banks use artificial intelligence to meet their multimillion-dollar compliance obligations.

While AI is being used to deliver personalised banking experiences to customers via “chatbots” and helping bank staff make more customer-centric decisions, the technology which Promontory thinks has the capacity to cut sky-high compliance costs is still a work in progress.

The company is combining its regulatory prowess with IBM’s artificial intelligence technology known as “Watson” to cut costs, but also to improve accuracy for regulators.

Verrency, a global Australian payments platform and fintech marketplace, has been accepted into the latest fintech cohort of Silicon Valley-based technology accelerator Plug and Play Tech Center.
India

Women are Looking at Alternative Forms of Investments and Tech is Here to Help (Entrepreneur), Rated: AAA

More and more women are taking charge of their financial decisions and moving beyond the usual investment routes and looking at P2P lending, mutual funds as options.

Rajat Gandhi, Founder and CEO, Faircent, believes that gone are the days when women investors looked only at traditional tools of investments as part of their financial planning. “These ambitious go-getters are increasingly ditching the traditional tools of savings and investments and exploring the relatively new and more lucrative forms of investments,” said Gandhi.

At Faircent, 14% of the lenders registered are women and they account for 21% of the total amount disbursed through the platform.

“Female lenders on our platform are earning an average NAR of approx. 20% p.a proving that women tend to invest wisely; know how to take calculated risks, can meticulously diversify their investment portfolio across different borrowers and hence, end up enjoying better returns,” asserted Gandhi.

Meanwhile, Keerti Kumar Jain, founder and CEO, of Anytime Loan, shared the following statistics from their platform regarding female lenders.

Blockchain: a new technology or a new kind of enterprise? (YourStory), Rated: A

Let us imagine a new kind of enterprise that is designed to create value through a self-regulating method that is both decentralised and auto-incentivising. This is in direct contrast to the conventional top-down hierarchical, command and control enterprise.

We will do this in a two-step process.

First, we set up an initial monetary policy (“the white paper”) in the form of a finite number of digital tokens that represents the overall value of the enterprise. This also creates the requisite economic scarcity to start with that is essential to this approach.

Second, we set up clear encodable rules for how the participants who generate value in the enterprise will “earn” in tokens. This incentivises the participants to “do the right thing” to generate value for the enterprise, which in turn increases the value of the tokens.

Distributed ledgers

One basic requirement for setting up such an enterprise, is the use of a transparent immutable Distributed Ledger to establish trust between all participants of the enterprise.

Examples of the new kind of enterprise

A Distributed P2P Lending Network in which Lenders and Borrowers are joined by a network of Verifiers, Hosting providers and Developers, all incentivised to build, maintain and use the distributed lending platform that is hosted on a blockchain technology.

Asia

Tera Funding sets out to hedge risks of P2P project finance (The Korea Herald), Rated: AAA

The high return — often at above 10 percent — that the instrument promises to the lenders, triggered a rush into the sector, and roughly a third of loans on P2P platforms went into project financing as of September.

As such, the default rate of the average local project financing P2P platform operators is relatively higher at 1.7 percent, over threefold that of other P2P platforms, according to an estimate by the Financial Services Commission.

The returns are roughly estimated 8-15 percent of investment per a year, without tax deducted, depending on the level of risk.

Fintech lenders hit back at OJK (The Jakarta Post), Rated: A

Indonesia’s financial technology (fintech) players were in shock when they found out that their main regulator, the Financial Services Authority (OJK), had some disconcerting views about their businesses despite having a relatively close relationship.

Executives of peer-to-peer (P2P) lending fintech firms on Tuesday voiced their concerns about a controversial statement from OJK chairman W…

Funding for RedDoorz, Hotelogix, and 23Mofang (Tech in Asia), Rated: A

Online lender Finova Capital secures US$6 million Sequoia Capital backing (India). The startup provides loans to small businesses in India’s tier-2 cities and rural areas. Finova will use the funding for technology development and hiring talent. Sequoia India made its investment in two tranches, the first taking place late last year.

Paytm Mall in talks with SoftBank to raise US$600 million (India).

Canada

Katipult Named Finalist For Most Promising Partnership Award at Lendit Fintech Industry Awards (Crowfund Insider), Rated: B

Canadian fintech Katipult announced last week it has been nominated, alongside Polymath Inc., for the Most Promising Partnership Award at the second annual Lendit Fintech Industry awards in April. According to Katipult, the partnership will be competing against some of the world’s finance and fintech giants including partnerships involving Goldman Sachs, Macquarie Group, Swedbank, and Lending Club.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday January 18 2018, Daily News Digest

mobile banking user growth

News Comments Today’s main news: Marcus passes the $2B loan origination mark. Varo Money secures $45M in Round B. Funding Circle’s fund announces Citibank deal. Qudian enters budget auto financing. PeerStreet intros 30-day notes. Today’s main analysis: Investing in Mintos’ secondary market. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Mobile banking is more important than ever. Credit score changes would force banks to help […]

mobile banking user growth

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

India

APAC

News Summary

United States

Goldman Sachs’ Online Lending Platform Marcus Has Originated Over $ 2 Billion in Loans, Deposits Rise to Over $ 5 Billion (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Meeting a prediction from this past June set by Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, online lending platform Marcus topped $2 billion in loan originations. Additionally, Marcus reported online deposits of over $5 billion. Deposits and consumer lending have now been combined under a single brand, thus, in reality, creating a challenger bank for the future.

Overall, Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) reported net revenues of $32.07 billion and net earnings of $4.29 billion for the year ended December 31, 2017.

Diluted earnings per common share were $9.01 compared with $16.29 for the year ended December 31, 2016. Goldman reported a Q4 loss of $5.51 per share. The results were impacted by a tax related expense of $4.4 billion. Without this expense, Goldman said earnings per share would have been $5.68.

Varo Money Closes $ 45M Series B Financing Round (Varo Money Email), Rated: AAA

Mobile banking is more important than ever (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

As we’ve seen for the past few quarters, mobile banking is continuing to rise, but the rate of growth is decelerating as offerings mature.

  • JPMorgan Chase 

    How a 23-year-old Max Levchin got Peter Thiel to invest in PayPal in under 24 hours (Business Insider), Rated: A

    Levchin told Shontell, “I saw [Thiel’s] name on the pinboard, wandered into a class that was taught by him, which turned out to be more like seminar with six people in the room. So it was a very small group of people. One: I couldn’t sleep because it would be obvious, but two, he was actually pretty interesting. So I stayed awake and chatted him up afterwards.”

    That turned out to be a good move. Here’s Levchin:

    “In the inimitable Peter Thiel fashion, we basically spend about 20 minutes talking after his lecture, and he said, ‘Well, what are you doing in Silicon Valley?’ I said, ‘I just got here two weeks ago. Probably gonna start a company.’ He said, ‘Oh, great. We should meet for breakfast.’

    “We met the next day. He said, ‘All right, so what companies are you thinking of starting?’ I had two ideas that I was concurrently thinking about. I described No. 1., No. 2. He said, ‘No. 1 is better; you should do that.’ ‘OK.’ ‘I’d like to invest.’ It was less than 24 hours later. Peter was a committed investor in my new project.”

    Credit score changes would saddle banks with risk to help nonbanks (American Banker), Rated: AAA

    Recently, the Federal Housing Finance Agency has been evaluating whether to allow originators that sell loans to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to use something other than the currently mandated FICO model. Specifically, the FHFA is evaluating whether originators can also use the VantageScore model offered by a company owned by the three credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

    VantageScore contends that its model will provide credit scores on more than 30 million additional consumers and make 7.6 million of these scores eligible for a loan sold to Fannie or Freddie because of the model’s supposed ability to more accurately assess blemished and dormant credit histories and accommodate thin credit files that most often effect younger consumers. VantageScore also argues that, since the model consolidates data from all three credit bureaus, it eliminates scoring differences caused by data discrepancies. The result, the company maintains, will be expanded home ownership, a more vibrant housing market, more consistent underwriting and faster economic growth.

    The major proponents of the alternative credit scoring model are large nonbank originators and credit reporting firms — companies that make their living from the quantity of loans they originate, not the quality. Their business models shield them from ongoing credit risk and require ever-increasing volumes to achieve scale economies. In short, nonbank originators generally don’t eat their own cooking — either in the form of loans or in the form of securities backed by the loans they originate. Therefore, they have everything to gain from this FHFA change, and very little to lose.

    PeerStreet Announces New Investment Product “30-Day Notes” (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

    On Wednesday, PeerStreet announced the launch of its new investment product, 30-Day Note, to provide increased liquidity for accredited investors at 30-day terms. According to the online lender, the 30-Day Notes product was launched quietly in October as a pilot program, is now offered monthly.

    Axial Members Surpass $ 25 Billion in Closed Middle Market Deals (Axial Email), Rated: A

    Axial, the deal network for the middle market, today announced its members have closed more than $25 billion in deals on 2,000-plus M&A and growth capital transactions since Axial’s launch in 2010. To facilitate these closed transactions, Axial arranged more than 2.1 million private member-to-member deal connections. Nearly one-third (650) of the total transactions closed in 2017.

    In 2017, the revenues of businesses that privately transacted using the Axial deal network ranged from $2.9 million to $610 million, with EBITDA ranging from negative $19 million to $223 million. Top sectors of deal flow activity include Business Services, SaaS, Healthcare IT, Distribution & Logistics, and Manufacturing. Notably, 24% of all growth capital transactions attempted in 2017 were in the Technology sector, more than doubling year-over-year from 10% in 2016.

    Worthy Peer Capital Receives SEC Qualification for 5% Money Market Alternative (Worthy Financial Email), Rated: A

    Worthy Financial, Inc., a modern personal finance company that delivers alternative investment products and digital savings solutions to a wide-range of retail investors, is pleased to announce that its subsidiary Worthy Peer Capital, Inc. has been qualified by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), under Regulation A+, to bring a new liquid peer-debt product to the entire investing ecosystem.

    The new Worthy Bond offers all investors – including non-accredited investors – a 5% fixed return. Although the bonds have a 36 month term, they can be cashed in at any time for those with imminent liquidity needs, thereby serving more as an alternative to traditional money market products. Bonds may be purchased at .

    Democrats Add Momentum to G.O.P. Push to Loosen Banking Rules (The New York Times), Rated: A

    But unlike the $1.5 trillion tax overhaul, which passed along party lines, the effort to loosen the post-crisis rules is somewhat bipartisan. A group of Senate Democrats has joined Republicans to support legislation that would mark the first major revision of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, a signature accomplishment of President Barack Obama that has been deemed “a disaster” by President Trump.

    The bill would allow hundreds of smaller banks to avoid certain elements of federal oversight, including stress tests, which measure a bank’s ability to withstand a severe economic downturn. Under current law, banks with assets of $50 billion or more are considered “systemically important financial institutions” and therefore governed by stricter rules. The bill would raise that threshold to institutions with assets of $250 billion or more, leaving fewer than 10 big banks in the United States subject to the stricter oversight.

    Banks with assets of $50 billion to $100 billion would be immediately freed from those requirements. Financial institutions with $100 billion to $250 billion in assets, such as BB&T and American Express, would no longer be subject to tougher rules after 18 months, although the Federal Reserve would retain the authority to periodically conduct stress tests on those firms.

     

    The One Big Reason It’s So Hard to Refinance Your Student Loans (Money), Rated: A

    More than half of borrowers who applied for refinancing in 2017 were turned down, according on a report released Wednesday by LendEDU, a student loan marketplace that tracked 32,000 applications to eight refinance companies.

    Using data from users of the LendEDU marketplace, the report found that 58% of 2017 refinance applicants were ultimately rejected. And those who passed muster had very high FICO credit scores—the average approved applicant had a score of 764. Nationally, the average credit scoreis 700 out of 850; anything above 720 qualifies as excellent.

    Refinancing companies are currently advertising fixed interest rates that start at about 3.5%. Yet the average on refinanced loans in 2017 was 5.56%, LendEDU found.

    Source: Money

    Bill Gates made these 15 predictions in 1999 — and it’s scary how accurate he was (Business Insider), Rated: A

    Gates’ prediction: “People will carry around small devices that allow them to constantly stay in touch and do electronic business from wherever they are. They will be able to check the news, see flights they have booked, get information from financial markets, and do just about anything else on these devices.”

    No. 3: Instant payments and financing online 

    Gates’ prediction: “Automated price comparison services will be developed, allowing people to see prices across multiple websites, making it effortless to find the cheapest product for all industries.”

    The Top Ten Fintech Predictions for 2018 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

    10. Resurgence of Peer to Peer Lending and the Emergence of A New Asset Class

    We’ve seen coin-backed lending such as Salt Lending. There will be many more platforms that will attempt to solve solvency and liquidity issues with lending in fiat currency backed by coins.

    9. Alternative Internet

    The cost of a simple PayPal transaction might go up dramatically because it was routed through Comcast’s fiber. You may have to pay an additional $3.99 a month for an “Online Banking” package if you want to do online banking…

    8. Banks will rule again

    Most of the online platforms (payments or lending) plus secondary markets are at the mercy of banks. Without a bank charter, you are simply limited on growth.

    6. Baby Boomer Financial, Inc.

    The youngest baby boomers are approaching retirement age. The baby boomer generation is about 75 million people (on par with Millennials) in the US and represents a vast amount of wealth in this country. They want to transact, invest, bank and most importantly transfer their wealth in a responsible way. I predict that there will be Fintech startups specifically addressing the needs of this generation of folks.

    4. Mass Adoption of Zero Latency Payment Clearance/Credit.

    Over the past few decades, we went from a cash society and in-person / in-branch interviews to “same-day” ACH (direct deposit) and next day loan funding. I predict that in 2018, we will see instant credit approval and funding.

    3.  Social Networks Venture Into Credit.

    I am making another prediction that Facebook or Snapchat will venture into extending credit.

    2. Vertical Integration.

    WeWork will get into the Working Capital lending business. And dare I say Indeed, Monster, and LinkedIn, will start lending money based on your resume and activities within your professional connections?!

    BlackRock makes impact a necessity for companies (ImpactAlpha), Rated: A

    Larry Fink flips social impact from a luxury to a necessity for every company. The chief executive of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager with $6 trillion under management, served notice on corporate CEOs their companies “must benefit all of their stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, customers, and the communities in which they operate.” Fink made his point as clearly as possible: “To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society.”

    Would a bank payday loan be any safer? (Daily Journal of Commerce), Rated: A

    Thanks to a recent regulatory change, it now may be possible for banks to offer small, short-term loans that could be a lot less dangerous for borrowers. Whether banks will actually do so remains to be seen.

    Standard Chartered creates fintech investment unit (Fintech Futures), Rated: B

    Standard Chartered has established a new business unit, SC Ventures, to invest in fintechs and other start-ups.

    Christopher Blake Joins Cross River Bank Loan Team (Long Island Press), Rated: B

    Veteran loan officer Christopher Blake joined Cross River Bank, where he’ll serve clients in Long Island, Queens and Brooklyn in the lender’s Commercial and Multi-Family Real Estate division, the company announced Tuesday.

    Freefly has teamed up with three fantastic financing partners (Freefly), Rated: B

    AFFIRM FINANCING

    Ideal for individuals looking to finance their Freefly purchases.

    SCL EQUIPMENT FINANCE

    A flexible lender designed for U.S. business, sole proprietors, and independent contractors.

    GLOBAL FINANCE

    A creative lender with options for businesses in the U.S. and many countries across the globe.

    United Kingdom

    Funding Circle’s fund unveils Citibank deal (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

    FUNDING Circle’s listed fund has inked a deal with Citibank, whereby the financial institution indirectly channels £50m to small businesses through the peer-to-peer lending platform.

    The transaction was announced by the Funding Circle SME Income Fund (FCIF) on Wednesday.

    Under a rather complicated structured finance deal, Citibank’s London branch will advance a senior, floating rate loan of £50m through two Irish special purpose vehicles. The facility matures in December 2026.

    Funding Circle SME Income Fund Limited (London South East), Rated: A

    The Board is pleased to announce that the Company has entered into a formal agreement with Citibank, N.A. London Branch (“Citibank London”) to establish a funding transaction to make loans to ?UK small businesses through the Funding Circle platform?. The transaction will serve to support the Company’s target dividend yield of 6-7% per annum.

    Under the terms of the agreement Citibank London will provide �50 million of funding into the transaction, by entering into a senior, floating rate loan. The Company will contribute a portfolio of existing UK small business loans at par, and in return shall receive ?approximately �50 million of cash to be deployed in accordance with its investment policy, and junior notes.

    Fintech firms struggling to get a foothold with established lenders (The Irish Times), Rated: A

    Banks and other financial institutions remain extremely wary of working with fintech firms, particularly in Ireland where few are willing to give start-ups the endorsement they need to help secure business elsewhere.

    Andrew Patrick White, founder and chief executive of FundApps, a regtech firm that provides compliance and regulation monitoring services to asset managers and hedge funds, said many financial institutions were afraid of fintech solutions because of a fear that they would be used to replace staff.

    “Your grandmother probably has more sophisticated apps on her iPad than many banks have inhouse,” Mr White added.

    Your morning briefing (PaymentsSource), Rated: A

    ‘All-in-one’ cards get another shotCurve has debuted a card in the U.K. that allows consumers to switch a card used to fund a payment after they have left the store. Through the card’s “back in time” feature, card preferences can be changed for up to two weeks, a system the company is selling as a financial management tool. Curve, which is being offered for free with a $60 premium option with more rewards, works like a regular card and is usable anyplace that accepts Mastercard. While all-in-one cards have struggled to gain traction over the years, more than 100,000 people signed up during the card’s testing phase and spent more than $120 million, according to a release.

    OnePlus’ fraud hit: Electronic equipment company OnePlus became the latest to get hit with card fraud, with consumers reporting unauthorized transactions and the company disabling credit card payments but still allowing PayPal transactions. The company is doing a complete audit of its systems and is looking for alternative payment options.

    When we asked, which, if any, Isas have you used over the 2017/18 tax year, nearly a third (32%) said they’d only used a Stocks and Shares Isa.

    This was followed by nearly a quarter (24%) who’ve only used a Cash Isa, and 17% who use a mixture of different Isas.

    This decline in Cash Isa savings is likely to be attributed to poor cash savings rates and the introduction of the personal savings allowance in April 2017.

    Interestingly, Innovative Finance Isas – used for peer-to-peer lending – don’t appear to have taken off, with just 3% of those who voted in our poll only using this savings vehicle.

    Source: Moneywise

    Name Change for Funding Knight as GLI Finance Updates to Sancus Funding (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

    As part of an ongoing strategic update, GLI Finance has renamed peer to peer lending platform FundingKnight to Sancus Funding Limited with immediate effect. GLI Finance, an AIM listed company, has also transferred ownership to Sancus BMS Group Limited.

    China

    Qudian is Moving into Budget Auto Financing (CapitalWatch), Rated: AAA

    The newly listed peer-to-peer lending company in China, Qudian (NYSE: QD), has moved into auto-purchase financing, a new business initiative called “Dabai Auto,” according to the company.

    Launched in late November 2017, Dabai Auto is currently targeting Qudian’s existing high quality users, who have been approved with credit lines, but have not actively transacted in small cash installments. The company also announced that it plans to spend around RMB 100 million ($15.5 million) to promote Dabai Auto through online and offline channels. The offline channels would include Qudian user engagement and delivery centers that are located in the shopping districts of over 100 cities across China.

    HNA-owned P2P lending platform doing business normally, executive says (Global Times), Rated: A

    Payments of investment products on jbh.com, an online peer-to-peer (P2P) platform owned by HNA Group, remain normal and there have not been any capital losses since the platform was set up three years ago, an executive of the company said on Wednesday.

    Payments for all maturing investment products on jbh.com are being made as normal, sina.com.cn reported Wednesday, citing Xia Aobi, president of jbh.com.

    International

    Funding Circle and Lufax: Two High Profile IPOs for 2018 (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

    Neither IPO is a surprise as both companies have indicated their intentions before. But we now have a clearer indication on the timing. First off the rank will likely be Lufax. The South China Morning Post reported that Lufax is planning to do their IPO in Hong Kong in April at a possible valuation of US$60 billion. This would be more than three times the valuation of their previous funding round in 2016.

    The Funding Circle news actually broke just before the New Year with this article from Sky News. They reported that the company was preparing to hire advisors in the first steps towards an IPO. They are supposedly going to interview investment bankers this quarter with a possible listing in London in late fall which would put us in the latter part of the third quarter.

    A successful Funding Circle IPO, one where the valuation rises after it goes public will be very good for the marketplace lending industry in both the UK and the US. We have had little good news here in the last couple of years when it comes to the public markets and I would very much like to see a success story here.

    Investing on the Mintos Secondary Market – Hint One (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

    On the Mintos p2p lending marketplace the majority of investors invest on the primary market into loans, either manually or via autoinvest. But for the 29% of investors that do invest on the secondary market picking loans presents them with a huge choice of about 125,000 offers (no typo, really 125K loan parts on offer!).

    Source: P2P-Banking

    For the shown loans there is a very high probability that they will miss the payment and therefore run an additional 60 days until they are repaid under the buyback guarantee. If that happens the remaining actual loan duration would be 62 or 63 days and the impact of the 0.1% discount on the YTM would be much smaller. The resulting YTM would be somewhere around 11 to 13%. So they would not be a good buy and there are much better offers on the secondary market.

    Source: P2P-Banking

    With two weeks remaining the effective YTM for a buyer is not 36% but rather around 12%. Again there are offers with better YTMs on the secondary market.

    Chinese tech groups undermine banks’ dominance of finance (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

    The recent refusal by US regulators to sign off on Ant Financial’s $1.2bn acquisition of Dallas-based money transfer firm MoneyGram International does not signal the end of the Alibaba-affiliated payments group’s US financial ambitions.

    On one level, the scuppered deal suggests that Chinese companies, whether state-owned or otherwise, will have an ever harder time winning approval for US acquisitions. The move also confirms that the Americans now believe that the definition of national security — their basis for scrutinising overseas deals — embraces anything related to information and data.

    But Ant Financial’s attempted US play also shows how much technology is undermining the dominance of traditional global titans, especially in the financial sphere. It is especially noteworthy that many of the upstart challengers to banks and other legacy companies increasingly either have a Chinese face or Chinese capital behind them. That, in turn, underscores how some Chinese players have leapfrogged into prominence across the world.

    Blockchain is revolutionizing the loan industry – a look at Valorem… (Global Crypto Press), Rated: A

    Smart contracts are providing the solution to the trust issues that are usually the main concerns in the micro loan industry.  Whether it be student loans, cars, or any other kind of micro lending – blockchain technology provides what’s needed to move away from the banks, and towards a peer to peer lending model.

    Volerem Foundation is building the infrastructure to facilitate exactly this.

    India

    Govt should think of new ways to boost sectors like P2P lending: LenDenClub (India Info Online), Rated: A

    Additionally, we also expect the government should think of new ways to boost sectors like P2P lending. Eg.- Enable tax exemption for the lenders on P2P lending platforms, under section 80C. This will result in raising the trust bar and credibility, leading to more and more people investing in such platforms. It will also bring in a good enough capital infusion in the P2P lending space.

    Introducing Syndicates for India (Angel.co), Rated: A

    Today, we are announcing Syndicates for India, a new way for investors in India to invest alongside experienced angels and VC funds that invest in India’s vibrant tech ecosystem.

    To date, over 1,800 startups have raised more than $700M through Syndicates on the AngelList platform, receiving more than $6B in follow-on funding.

    APAC

    Gov’t urged to increase ceiling for individual investment in P2P lenders (Yonhap News Agency), Rated: AAA

    A business lobby of peer to peer (P2P) finance firms said Thursday it has asked financial regulators to raise the annual ceiling on individual investment in P2P lenders.

    The Korea P2P Finance Association has asked the Financial Services Commission (FSC) to increase the limit to 100 million won (US$93,632) per year from the current 10 million won, an association official said.

    ZorroSign Among Top 25 FinTech Companies (PR Newswire), Rated: B

    ZorroSign, Inc., today announced the company has been recognized among the top 25 FinTech companies in Asia-Pacific (APAC) by CIO Outlook. The honor spotlights organizations that are fundamentally disrupting the way companies in the global finance sector do business. ZorroSign offers unique secure eSignature, end-to-end Digital Transaction Management, and post-execution fraud protection solution. With security being on top of mind for financial services providers, ZorroSign Document 4n6 (Forensics) Token technology offers a major advantage to its customers.

    Authors:

    George Popescu
    Allen Taylor

Thursday January 11 2018, Daily News Digest

consumer loan mpl abs

News Comments Today’s main news: Vanguard’s robo-advisor passes $100B AUM. YieldStreet raises $113M. RateSetter, Funding Circle join FSB funding platform. Funding Circle looks at Autumn for flotation. ETHLend launches secondary blockchain partnership. Modalku hits $7.4M in total crowdfunding. Today’s main analysis: KBRA 2017 consumer loan marketplace lending year in review and 2018 outlook. Today’s thought-provoking articles: LendingTree survey: Survey takers […]

consumer loan mpl abs

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

APAC

Canada

 

News Summary

United States

Vanguard’s Digital Advice Platform Is First to Pass $ 100B in AUM (Investopedia), Rated: AAA

Vanguard reached another milestone that should keep competing robo-advisors on their toes: it is the first firm to have a digital advice platform to surpass the $100 billion mark in terms of assets under management. And that comes with Vanguard having launched the service in 2015, just three years ago.

According to Stokes, 90% of the platform’s $101 billion in assets under management as of the end of 2017 are from existing clients. Vanguard’s assets under management beat those of Charles Schwab, which has $25 billion in assets under management for its Intelligent Portfolios, Institutional Intelligent Portfolios and Intelligent Advisory services, as well as Betterment’s $10 billion in assets, noted FinancialPlanning.

KBRA Releases 2017 Consumer Loan Marketplace Lending Year in Review and 2018 Outlook (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) released its 2017 Consumer Loan Marketplace Lending Year in Review and 2018 Outlook. The accompanying research report highlights the fact that 2017 was a notable year in the consumer loan marketplace lending (MPL) space in many respects. Total ABS issuance topped $7.8 billion in 2017, up from $4.6 billion in 2016, a year-over-year increase of 71%. SoFi led the way in 2017 in terms of number of ABS deals and total securitization volume, having completed six securitizations for $3.2 billion in total notes. Prosper completed three securitizations totaling $1.5 billion under their PMIT program followed by four deals from LendingClub’s prime and near prime shelves totaling $1.2 billion and three from Marlette’s MFT shelf totaling $919 million. Avant completed two securitizations totaling $480 million while Upstart issued its inaugural securitization in June 2017 followed by a subsequent deal in November. Investor demand strengthened with orders exceeded total deal size and a larger number of investors participated in the deals.

KBRA’s 2017 year in review and 2018 outlook provides:

  • KBRA’s outlook for 2018
  • Information behind the growth in the consumer MPL market
  • Detailed loan origination and ABS issuance volume by platform
  • Securitization performance and rating trends
  • Comparison of collateral characteristics, lending license arrangements platform servicing strategies and funding sources
  • Synopsis of legal and regulatory developments affecting the sector
  • Summary of significant equity raised by fintech companies

Read the full report here.

LendingTree Survey Reveals Optimistic Outlook for Personal Finances in 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

LendingTree recently conducted an online survey among 1,025 Americans to gauge financial expectations, concerns and overall sentiment regarding personal finances for 2018. According to the results, two out of three Americans have an optimistic outlook for the year ahead, with millennials being even more optimistic.

According to the survey, almost half of Americans (45%) feel that 2017 was at least somewhat better than 2016 in terms of personal finances. Approximately one third (34%) earned more in 2017 than they did in 2016, 24 percent put more into savings in 2017 compared to 2016, and 21 percent improved their score over the past 12 months. However, only 16 percent reduced their total credit card debt, making debt reduction a priority in the year ahead.

Additional positive expectations for 2018 include:

  • 46% expect income to increase
  • 28% expect to pay off credit card debt
  • 35% plan to make and/or stick to a budget in 2018
  • 35% also expect to improve their credit score
  • 18% expect to save for a down payment on a house
  • 27% plan to build an emergency fund
  • 26% expect to save for a savings/purchase goal

To view the rest of the survey results, visit 

Spike in delinquency rate mars outlook for personal loans (American Banker), Rated: A

U.S. consumers are falling further behind on loans commonly used to consolidate debt, the latest sign that monthly payment burdens have become unsustainable for more households.

In the third quarter of 2017, 1.9% of all bank-issued personal loans were at least 30 days delinquent, according to data released Tuesday by the American Bankers Association. That was a notable jump from the second quarter, when the delinquency rate was 1.52%.

YieldStreet Raises $ 113 Million Financing Round to Disrupt Alternative Investing (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

YieldStreet, the alternative investment platform working to change the way wealth is created, today announced that it has closed a $113 million financing round. The round includes $12.8 million of Series A equity financing co-led by Greycroft and Raine Ventures, as well as a revolving credit facility of $100 million from a New York based family office (the “Family Office”). Additional equity investors include Saturn Ventures, Expansion Venture Capital, the Family Office and FJ Labs.

The equity capital will help enable YieldStreet to accelerate the transformation of wealth creation by investing in further product innovation and growing its loyal community of investors. The raise comes as YieldStreet reached a tipping point in 2017, almost tripling prior year originations and surpassing $250 million raised by retail investors at the end of the year.

Alan Patricof, co-founder of Greycroft and one of the pioneers of modern private equity as the founder of Apax Partners, will join the YieldStreet advisory board. Ian Sigalow of Greycroft, Gordon Rubenstein of Raine Ventures and a representative from the Family Office will join YieldStreet’s board.

It’s Time to Talk About Alternative Assets (ThinkAdvisor), Rated: A

While many high-net-worth investors get advice from friends, family and sources on the internet, the majority — 72% — rely on financial professionals such as their advisors for investment information, according to research by Millennium Trust. In fact, financial professionals are over three times more relied on and trusted than the next trusted investment source: 51% of HNW investors trust financial professionals more than competing sources, including family, which is the most trusted source for only 13% of investors.

When advisors discuss potential investments with clients, they often focus on traditional options like stocks, bonds and mutual funds. As our research shows, however, many HNW investors are interested in alternative investments, such as hedge funds, private equity, real estate, commodities, marketplace lending and crowdfunding.

For example, 63% are moderately or extremely interested in investing in real estate and 46% report the same level of interest in private equity. But when it comes to discussing those investments with their broker or advisor, the numbers are significantly lower: Just 25% have discussed residential rental properties, 20% commercial rental properties, 23% real estate investment trusts, and 27% real estate limited partnerships, whereas 38% have discussed private equity.

Ryan Feit, CEO of SeedInvest, Updates on 2017 Progress & Crowdcube Partnership (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

SeedInvest is one of the most selective investment crowdfunding platforms in the US.

Today, SeedInvest is a full stack platform allowing companies the ability to sell securities under each of these exemptions.

How were your numbers for 2017? Can you share some top line detail?

Ryan Feit: We had another record year at SeedInvest.  We invested around $50 million into startups during 2017 (more than in our prior four years combined).  By our calculations we did at least twice as much investment volume as the next largest US-based equity crowdfunding platform that is open to all investors.

During 2017, what were some of the highlights for SeedInvest?

Ryan Feit: Here are a few additional highlights for 2017:

  • HelloMD completed the largest Regulation CF Side-by-Side round fundraise in history, raising $3 million.
  • Knightscope completed the largest pure Equity Crowdfunding round in history, raising $20 million.
  • We launched Auto Invest to help investors easily diversify in up to 25 startups and so far, 470 investors have made 3,300 auto investments into startups.
  • We launched LIVE Fundraising at events around the world and through our partnerships with LAUNCH Festival/Scale and
  • TechCrunch Disrupt, $10 million was raised from 5,800 people on SeedInvest.
  • SeedInvest had 14,000 startups apply to raise capital (vs. 1,500 in 2015).
  • SeedInvest had 2.5 million site visitors (vs. 400k in 2015).
  • SeedInvest processed 20,000 investments (vs. just 275 in 2015!).

Petal Card Raises $ 13M Led by Thiel’s VC Firm (Bank Innovation), Rated: A

Petal, the card designed to serve the credit invisible, has raised $13 million in funding that it will use to double its employees as the young startup tries to meet the demand of its growing user-base.

The Series A funding round was led by Peter Thiel’s VC firm, Valar Ventures.

U.S. News & World Report Names LendingPoint One of 2017’s Best Personal Loan Companies (BusinessWire), Rated: A

LendingPoint, the company working to revolutionize access to consumer credit, was named one of nation’s six best personal loan companies by U.S. News & World Report.

The media company evaluated personal loan companies in five key areas, reviewing data on eligibility, loan terms, fees, repayment methods and additional features. LendingPoint was cited as 2017’s top lender for people with fair to good credit, who have merit-based qualifications beyond FICO scores that make them worthy loan candidates.

Alkami raises $ 70 million for mobile banking software (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Plano-based Alkami has developed a white label service that credit unions and banks use across digital platforms.

And Alkami’s 4.5 million users have generated enough revenue for the company to justify a $70 million Series D round, led by General Atlantic, with participation from MissionOG. Existing investors include S3 Ventures and Argonaut Private Equity.

Chase Partners with AutoFi to Deliver Digital Car-Buying for Dealerships across the Country (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Chase announced today a partnership with AutoFi, a financial technology company that helps customers select and finance vehicles through their automotive dealers’ website and reduce the time it takes to complete the sale. Chase is the first national bank on the AutoFi platform.

The AutoFi digital retailing platform connects dealers with buyers and lenders. Chase will deliver financing terms online through the AutoFi platform, often within seconds.

Nearly half of consumers want to purchase and finance vehicles online, Chase’s research has found.

CECL compliance dragging small banks toward automation (American Banker), Rated: A

Like many small-to-midsize banks, Bank Independent in Sheffield, Ala., calculated its monthly allowance for loan and lease losses the hard way: setting aside a week every month to complete a largely manual, Excel-based model.

Download Your Guide to LendItFintech USA (LendIt), Rated: B

Discover who attends, why you should attend, andmore.

Ascentium Capital Exceeds $ 1 Billion in Funded Volume During Fiscal Year 2017 (Ascentium Capital), Rated: B

Ascentium Capital LLC, the nation’s largest private-independent finance company, announced it surpassed $1 billion in annual funded volume for the first time in the organization’s history.

 

Real estate investing startup Cadre partners with Goldman Sachs (Reuters), Rated: A

New York-based real estate investment company Cadre has partnered with Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) to allow the bank’s private wealth management clients to invest through the startup’s platform.

Goldman Sachs clients have committed to investing $250 million in properties through Cadre’s platform so far, the companies said on Wednesday.

Better Saves Homeowners $ 2.7 Million in Mortgage Refinancing Costs in 2017 (Better Email), Rated: A

PeerStreet: A Group Of Surfers Out To Revolutionize Real Estate Investing (Benzinga), Rated: A

PeerStreet is an investment platform that enables accredited investors to easily invest in high-yield, short term, real estate backed loans. PeerStreet sources its loans from non-bank lenders across the nation. They underwrite both the lenders and the loans using advanced algorithms, big-data analytics, manual processes and on-the-ground due diligence to filter and select high quality loans.

Who are your investors, if any?

Our investors include: Andreessen Horowitz, Felicis Ventures, Rembrandt Venture Partners, Montage Ventures, ThomVest, The Kaiser Family Foundation, Colchis Capital, Toba Capital, Le Frak, and many notable individual investors including Dr. Michael Burry, Adam Nash, Ron Suber, D. A. Wallach, etc.

Is there anything else Benzinga should know about your company?

PeerStreet is entrenched in the financial technology and lending industries at large. PeerStreet has been named by American Banker as one of the “Best Places to Work in Financial Technology” in 2018 and one of the “10 Best Startups in Los Angeles” in 2017 by Zippia. PeerStreet is a member of the Marketplace Lending Association and has partnerships with over 150 private residential real estate lenders in over 30 states.

Q&A With Chief Investment Officer Chris Fraley (RealtyMogul), Rated: A

Q: How do you intend to translate your experience from Rockwood Capital to your role at RealtyMogul?

In 2018, I see RealtyMogul expanding the size of its investment transactions, something I have direct experience in managing and find very exciting. I believe RealtyMogul is entering its third phase of growth as a business, evidenced by its recent acquisition of Serendipity Apartments this past September. Due to the ability to invest larger amounts of equity, we were able to maintain a majority, controlling interest in a $24M apartment community. While providing opportunities in preferred equity, mezzanine debt and smaller, passive limited partner interests will still be a critical aspect of our business, I’m hopeful that our real estate team’s substantial institutional background will help us acquire and successfully manage properties with larger transaction values.

Q: Do you think RealtyMogul will impact the traditional institutional investing model?

Absolutely. The institutional world is already starting to sign on to the concept of direct investing because the typical closed end fund model is broken, inefficient and fraught with possibility of misalignment of interests.

Surprisingly, most institutional investors do not want to invest in value add real estate investments in the bottom of a cycle until there is clear evidence of a market recovery. This was evident in the last downturn by the paucity of institutional allocations to value add strategies in the 2008-2012 timeframe. When the market starts to recover, institutional investors should start to make allocations. This may take a year or two. They lock up allocations with 3-4 year investment periods, oftentimes at the peak of cycle. Now is a perfect example of this disconnect.

Direct investment platforms allow investors to move in and out of market more efficiently and avoid an extra layer of fees to the investor. I believe this is the future of our industry and RealtyMogul is poised to lead.

RealtyMogul Hires New Chief People Officer (RealtyMogul), Rated: B

RealtyMogul, a unique commercial real estate private markets investing platform, today announced the addition of Soley Van Lokeren as Chief People Officer.

Stressing About When And How To Pay Your Debts? Pefin’s AI Assistant Is Here To Help (Benzinga), Rated: A

Pefin is the world’s first Artificial Intelligence (AI) financial advisor. The platform provides intelligent, unbiased and personalized financial planning and advice. Pefin’s mission is to look after the financial best interests of users in a way that embraces the unique individuality of their lives.

The platform offers:

  • 1. Long-term Financial Planning services, including a complete Financial Plan
  • 2. Financial Advice, including savings and debt management strategies
  • 3. Investment Advice and Portfolio Management Services
  • 4. Real-time monitoring, updates, and curated financial literacy content for each user

Tech advances force advisers to adjust — or else (ROI-NJ), Rated: A

There’s a machine-versus-human calculus that’s going on in the world of money management.

It may not yet be that more financial advice is provided by machines than humans, but to say the industry is on that path isn’t hyperbole. Investors themselves — particularly those of a younger demographic — have shown they are willing to trust a robot for advice.

John Babcock, president of Peapack-Gladstone Bank’s private wealth management division, sides with the humans, but understands automation is quickly changing the face of his business.

ProShares and VanEck are withdrawing their requests for bitcoin ETFs (Business Insider), Rated: A

Two financial services giants — ProShares and VanEck — are withdrawing requests to the Securities and Exchange Commission to list bitcoin ETFs.

 

US Banks Rely on Fintech Firms to Overcome Legacy Systems (Payments Journal), Rated: A

Legacy systems are preventing nearly two thirds (64%) of US commercial banks from developing Fintech applications, research commissioned by Fintech provider Fraedom has revealed.

Interestingly, 82% of the respondents that highlighted this concern were shareholders. Over half of those polled also noted a lack of expertise within banks as an important concern (56%), just ahead of limited resources (53%).

Commercial banks outsourcing services to a Fintech provider is clearly a trend on the rise, with only 22% of US banks revealing that they do not outsource any payment services compared to 30% of their UK counterparts.

How a Fintech Startup Aims to Take the Fear Out of Investing (Wharton), Rated: A

Riskalyze CEO Aaron Klein talks to former Wharton visiting professor Vinay Nair about his startup’s business model and path to growth.

Nair: Can you give us a sense of what your Risk Number model is and why advisors are attracted to it?

Klein: We built the technology on top of the academic framework that won the Nobel Prize for economics in 2002 — Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky’s work on prospect theory. We had a team of academics do a deep dive into the methodology and they said, ‘On the one hand, there are a lot of novel things in what you’ve done. On the other hand, a lot of what you’ve done is taken stuff that we’ve been working on in the labs for 15 years to 20 years and figured out a way to make it commercially viable and understandable by the average human.’

Listen to the podcast here.

Can taking out a loan be a good experience? (WGN Radio), Rated: A

Kabbage has enough experience with small businesses to say providing loans to small businesses can make for a good experience. John Parise is the Head of Customer and Partner Marketing and has been following company journeys for years now. His way of making loans a positive experience is by offering flexibility.

Listen to the podcast.

Fintech Startup Apruve Partners With MSTS For Credit Card Alternative (Benzinga), Rated: B

B2B fintech companies MSTS and Apruve announced Wednesday a payment process obviating the need to leverage capital and resources to provide credit and payment terms.

The new service enables automated instant credit approval, buyer onboarding, billing, customer service and collections services while allowing business clients to eschew the high transaction fees of credit cards.

4 of the 5 Biggest IPOs in 2017 Bombed. Here’s Who Won (Madison), Rated: B

The number of companies going public in 2017 surged 52% over the year ago period, hitting 160 deals, with the proceeds from the IPOs reaching $35.6 billion, double the amount in 2016, according to an analysis by Renaissance Capital.

5. Qudian (down 47.8%)

United Kingdom

RateSetter and Funding Circle added to FSB Funding Platform (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER, Funding Circle and Assetz Capital are some of the peer-to-peer lenders that have been included on the Federation of Small Businesses’ (FSB) new business funding platform.

The FSB Funding Platform, developed by Finpoint, matches potential borrowers with more than 100 lenders through the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

FSB launches AI-led business finance aggregator (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE FEDERATION of Small Businesses (FSB) has launched a new business finance aggregator that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to match potential borrowers with more than 100 lenders.

The trade body unveiled the FSB Funding Platform on Wednesday, after it was trialled on FSB members in three UK regions.

The new platform has been developed for the FSB by Finpoint and is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Funding Circle eyes autumn flotation, report claims (The Digital Banking Club), Rated: AAA

UK peer-to-peer lender Funding Circle is set to hire investment advisers as part of preparations to float on the London Stock Exchange.

UK Businesses Enter 2018 Vulnerable to Economic Shocks (CL News), Rated: A

These are unpredictable times for the UK economy. The great financial crisis remains fresh in the memory of business owners and its effects are still being seen in the form of relatively low wages growth and lagging productivity. Meanwhile, the ongoing talks on Britain’s future relationship with the European Union are a reminder that the future too is uncertain. Against this backdrop, a significant number of Britain’s SMEs are acutely vulnerable to any downturn in trade, according to a survey by the business lender, Nucleus Commercial Finance.

Small business owners were more or less evenly split on the question of whether the UK should remain in Europe, but as the survey indicates, the possibility that current trade talks will lead to a poor outcome is now a major concern,  trumping both the possibility of another major financial crash or the threat of digital attack by hackers.

And almost half of the businesses taking part in the survey said they are financially exposed to any event that impacts on trade, with 47% admitting they wouldn’t last a month on the basis of their current cash reserves. 30% said they wouldn’t last two weeks.

After 2017’s European Brexodus companies want to know the UK is open for business (Verdict), Rated: A

The first Morgan McKinley London employment monitor of the new year has revealed a 37 percent decrease in jobs available year-on-year while there are 30 percent fewer people seeking jobs in the capital.

Month-on-month there was a 52 percent decrease in jobs available, while the number of people seeking jobs in London fell by 40 percent.

China

WeChat shows messaging is the future of financial services ‘platforms’ (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

WeChat could be the next big broker-dealer among high-net-worth Chinese investors.

Its parent company, Tencent, now has a license that allows it to sell mutual funds on WeChat and give the popular messaging app’s 980 million users more options to help boost funds sold on the platform. It also gives Tencent more sway in deciding which financial products third-party companies can sell on its different platforms.

WeChat is showing that messaging channels, at least in China, are where people like making financial transactions.

European Union

Berlin-based FinTech startup Penta accuses TransferWise to have stolen its debit card branding (EU Startups), Rated: A

The London-based FinTech giant TransferWise just announced its borderless current account, which enables users to spend money in a choice of up to 28 foreign currrencies with a debit card. Tranferwise’s choice of a neon green colour for its first debit card was met with anger by Berlin-based SME challenger bank Penta, which turned to Twitter to express its anger at the striking resemblance to its own neon green card.

Looking at the two card designs, you’ll notice that it’s really just about the colour, and chances are high, that TransferWise picked the similar colour “by accident”.

International

Crypto P2P lender ETHLend launches secondary blockchain partnership (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

CRYPTO-BACKED peer-to-peer lending platform ETHLend has partnered with a technology provider to help record and store transactions more securely.

ETHLend, founded by Finland-based Stani Kulechov, is a P2P lending platform funding business and personal loans in the Ethereum digital currency.

Central banks are experimenting with blockchain technology — here’s why (Business Insider), Rated: A

So, blockchain can be quite resilient, it can also be a way to create greater transparency into central banking, more credibility because of the rules a blockchain-based system enforces.

Blockchain based BABB Kicks Off Initial Coin Offering to Create the “World Bank for the Micro Economy” (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

BABB, a banking platform based on Blockchain based in London, is launching its initial coin offering (ICO) on January 15th with a pre-sale. The general token sale of BAX will commence immediately following the pre-sale seeking to raise a hard cap of USD $20 million. Once their app is live, BAX will be used to pay for services, fees and licensing costs; so if an individual or business wants to use a BABB account, they will use BAX to pay for it. BAX tokens can also be used for other services.

The money raised by the ICO will be used for BABB to deliver: a smartphone app with bank account capability and international money transfer functionality; a European banking license in the appropriate jurisdiction for their go-to market strategy; and a partnership with a leading retail or central bank in an emerging market, to open corridors for international transactions.

Finova’s FNVA to Become the First Equity-linked Token (BTCManager), Rated: A

Finova Financial is growing as a trusted online lender enabling people to access affordable loans quickly. The platform is recognized as part of the “Fintech 100 list of the world’s leading financial technology innovators for 2016.”

Finova’s FNVA tokens are unique because these tokens are linked with a share of equity in Finova Financial itself. Also, it utilizes the ERC-20 Ethereum token standard that will be traded on cryptocurrency exchanges that are SEC approved and has the backing of assets of a US corporation. Therefore, the token sale is like a hybrid between an ICO and IPO.

These tokens will soon be available through FrontFundr investment platform.

The token price structure of the sale is displayed below, where the price will increase over time. A total of $18.5 million worth of tokens will be sold, on a sliding scale between $0.75 and $1.56 as the supply of FNVA increases.

 

Source: BTCManager
Australia/New Zealand

Auswide Bank sells stake in MoneyPlace, only two years after investing in online lender (The Courier Mail), Rated: AAA

BUNDABERG-based bank Auswide is offloading its 62 per cent stake in online lender MoneyPlace only two years after making an investment to “take a position” in the hi-tech sector.

Mom and pop investors fleeing property rental business (Scoop), Rated: A

Increasing numbers of mom and pop landlords are contemplating giving up on property investment and exploring alternative investments due to reasons such as the increasing pressure they feel from what can be a capital-intensive investment, changes to the legal environment (such as the Healthy Homes Guarantee Act 2017) and fears of how methamphetamine contamination could ruin their retirement planning.

CEO of New Zealand’s largest peer-to-peer mortgage lender Southern Cross Partners, Luke Jackson, says a string of inquiries about alternative investment options that don’t stray too far from property have been received by his team in recent weeks.

India

Existing NBFC cannot operate as peer-to-peer lender (IIFL), Rated: AAA

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) notified that existing non-banking financial companies cannot operate as peer-to-peer lenders. Further, new applicants for peer-to-peer lending license will need to provide the list of promoters and the source of funds for the minimum capital requirement of Rs20mn, the regulator said.

RBI further clarified that electronic platforms that assist only banks, non-banking financial companies and other regulated financial institutions to identify borrowers for lending will not be classified as peer-to-peer lending platforms. Only electronic platforms that also cater to retail lenders can register separately as such platforms, the central bank said.

The future of online financial advice and mutual funds (hubbis), Rated: A

Kunal Bajaj points out India is a large country without sufficient financial advisors to serve the population’s needs. With most people simply finding a financial advisor close to their home or place of employment, financial advice in India is primarily limited by geography which is not an ideal situation. As an added problem, many people find that their advisor has persuaded them into choosing a product which did not meet their needs. “Clearfunds eliminates this issue by delivering a bespoke solution for each customer which uses our internet platform.” Bajaj explains.

Traditional financial advisors try to channel every client into one of 21 possible portfolios (0-100 Debt-Equity or 100-0 Equity-Debt, in five-percent steps) or outcomes, often through first impressions or physical factors. With an online financial advisor, this is not possible, and therefore more work is put into finding out more about the person themselves and their individual requirements by asking periodic psychometric questions about the stability of their employment and income stream.

Bajaj has seen Clearfunds go from strength to strength in the 12 months since the platform has been online. “We have customers across 400 cities and around $10 million in assets under management.” He says. “Betterment and WealthFront took over a year to gather their first $10 million in the USA but now they both have billions in assets. Nutmeg has been in business for 7 years and has around 40,000 accounts and a billion dollars of assets under management.”

APAC

Indonesia P2P Startup Modalku Milestone: Hits $ 74 Million in Total Crowdfunded MSME Loans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Modalku, an Indonesia-based peer-to-peer lending fintech startup, successfully surpassed $74 million (Rp 1 trillion) in total crowdfunded MSME loans.

Canada

Mike Novogratz is planning a crypto version of Goldman Sachs (Business Insider), Rated: A

In a statement out Tuesday, Novogratz said he is looking to raise $200 million for Galaxy Digital LP, a “best-in-class, full service, institutional quality merchant banking business” for the crypto market. Novogratz also plans to list the company on TSX Venture Exchange, a Canada-based exchange for small cap companies.

The new bank will be born out of Canadian-based First Coin Capital, which Novogratz plans to buy and then merge with Bradmer Pharmaceuticals. Its main businesses will include trading, advisory services, asset management, and private equity-like investing.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday December 22 2017, Daily News Digest

LendingClub charge offs

News Comments Today’s main news: DV01 finishes year with $7.9B in consumer unsecured bonds. PayPal invests in Raisin. Affirm CEO affirms its product is a personal loan. LexinFintech share price surges. The state of P2P lending in New Zealand. InvestUp considers cryptocurrency investing. Today’s main analysis: Why bitcoin is a threat to LendingClub. Today’s thought-provoking articles: High-tech lenders go after […]

LendingClub charge offs

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

Cayman

News Summary

United States

High-tech lenders target the decades-old store credit card (Reuters), Rated: AAA

The once-hot online lending industry has been battered by scandal and losses since last year, but one of the oldest forms of lending – store credit – is increasingly attracting tech companies aiming to supplant a retailer’s credit card.

One such lender, San Francisco startup Affirm, is attracting investment and large customers by using a new approach to underwriting that allows it to approve more borrowers than traditional store credit cards.

Max Levchin, Affirm’s founder who also co-founded one of the earliest digital payments companies, PayPal, boasts that Affirm approves 126 percent more borrowers than Synchrony Financial, the largest issuer of private-label credit cards.

Startup Affirm CEO Clarifies that Product Is a Personal Loan – Not a Credit Card (LendEDU), Rated: AAA

Consumers looking for a personal loan option have another one to consider in Affirm, which is a startup from PayPal co-founder Max Levchin. With Affirm, consumers can access a loan, a form of credit, to buy items at a store, which was originally interpreted to be similar to how a credit card works.

But Levchin has pointed out there are important differences between an Affirm loan and credit cards.

Who Uses Affirm?

Generation X and Millennials are the customers who most frequently use Affirm. Younger consumers have seen how carrying high credit card balances affected their older relatives, and they are less likely to want to have much credit card debt.

The annual percentage rate can be steep, going from as low as 10 percent to as high as 30 percent. But, unlike credit cards, the interest isn’t compounded.

Why Bitcoin Frenzy Is Terrible News For LendingClub (SeekingAlpha), Rated: AAA

LendingClub (LC) has had plenty of troubles over the years. Back in 2015, you could throw a dart at a list of financial stocks and hit a double if you held it through today. LC stock, by contrast, has destroyed shareholder value since its IPO. Even the recent Trump financials rally did next to nothing for LC stock, and now shares are back to near new all-time lows after a downbeat earnings report:

Source: SeekingAlpha

In a booming economy, the G-rated loans did so badly that they jacked up interest rates almost 3% on consumers while also reducing expected returns by more than 3%. This suggests that the G-rated loans were fully 6% short of expectations. This speaks to massive problems with the company’s underwriting, and leaves you to wonder just how badly internet-originated subprime loans will fare when a recession hits and the unemployment rate goes up again.

Source: SeekingAlpha

Bitcoin Losses Ahead?

If you are someone with a low income and a challenging financial position, you have an almost no-lose proposition (if ethics don’t get in the way). You borrow money on a credit card or from LendingClub, “invest” it in Bitcoin or Ethereum, and then hope it keeps going to the moon. If it does, you make many multiples of your interest expense, and have hit the lottery.

Now if the trade goes bad, and Bitcoin plummets, what is your debtor going to do? Since there is little consequence to defaulting on unsecured debt (and LendingClub has a reputation for being a lax debt collector), you simply stop paying on the note. The borrower has a win/win situation – essentially the lender is financing purchase of lottery tickets. I don’t know about you, but I’d need a much higher interest rate than even the 15 or 20% you might get off a low-end LendingClub note to justify that risk.

Source: SeekingAlpha

DV01 to Finish 2017 With $ 7.9 Billion in Consumer Unsecured Bonds (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

dv01, the data management, reporting, and analytics platform that offers institutional investors transparency and insight into lending markets, announced on Thursday it is set to close 2017 with $7.9 billion of consumer unsecured bonds. This news comes just a few months after the company launched its Cashflows for Securitizations feature.

The company revealed that it has launched a redesigned Securitizations homepage to celebrate the $7.9 billion of consumer unsecured bonds.

SoFi Vs. Earnest Student Loan Product Comparison (StudentLoans.net), Rated: AAA

SoFi offers their clients an option. You can choose variable refinancing rates which currently range 2.75 to 6.84 percent if you enroll in the company’s autopay option. Fixed rates range from 3.25 to 7.24 percent.

Earnest offers their clients both variable and fixed rate options. For the variable option, the rates currently start at 2.57 percent APR while fixed rates start at 3.35 percent APR with their autopay options.

Both SoFi and Earnest do not have a maximum within their loan amounts, but the amount a client owes will affect the interest rates that are offered.

Repayment Options

SoFi offers a number of repayment options for their refinancing product. This includes flexible rates, terms, and an ability to set automatic payments that drop your rate by 0.25 percent. Repayment terms range from 5 to 20 years.

Earnest refinance loans offers the flexibility in the way of terms that range from 5 to 20 years. With their loans, you will be able to increase payments, pay lump sums, provide bi-weekly payments, skip a payment to pay later, and offers an interest break for those who set up automated payments.

American Financial Exchange (AFX) Announces Two-Year Anniversary Highlights (PR Newswire), Rated: A

American Financial Exchange (AFX), an electronic interbank lending market focused on U.S. small and mid-sized banks, announced today the second anniversary of its electronic trading platform. AFX facilitates the determination of Ameribor®, a transaction-based interest rate benchmark for small- to mid-sized banks via its electronic trading platform.

Since opening, more than $100 billion cumulative has been successful transacted. Recently, daily volumes have averaged approximately $350 million with several days of volume highs over $500 million principal traded.

Is Peer to Peer Lending the Best Option for Small Company Financing? (Newswire), Rated: A

If your small company needs a borrowing arrangement but does not have a credit rating that benefits instant endorsement from the banking institutions, you need to sign up for an alternative solution of capital such as peer to peer lending.

Rather than signing up to a recognized traditional bank for a financial loan, you create a proposal to be lent from people who, (if they are interested in your offer), sign up for the loan request in amounts as low as $25.

Unsecured business loans and where to get the best ones if you have bad credit (Las Vegas Informer), Rated: A

Kabbage

Kabbage offers loans that go between $2000 and $150,000, and the APR goes between 24% and 99%. They ask for no minimum credit score but you need to have been in business for at least one year in order to qualify, and have annual revenue of over $50,000.

Fundbox

With Funbox you’re looking at a loan amount of $1000 that can go all the way up to $100,000. The APR goes between 15% and 59%, and they also cater to the needs of people with bad personal credit.

OnDeck

With OnDeck you’re looking at loans that go up to $100,000 and an APR that can go from 14% to 40%. Unlike the other two, here you need good personal credit and also you need to be good at managing your cash flow. You will need a personal credit score of at least 600, not to mention an annual revenue of at least $100,000.

LendingClub

At LendingClub you can get a loan of up to $100,000, from a minimum of $5,000, with an APR that goes between 9.8% and 35.7%.

New Real Estate Investing Resource Platform is Changing the Landscape (Benzinga), Rated: A

Think Realty is a membership-based resource platform developed exclusively for real estate investors. Since launching in 2016, investors across the nation and around the globe have signed up at ThinkRealty.com to become Think Realty Members, with an 81 percent increase in membership in the past six months.

Think Realty’s reach continues to expand with its national talk radio show, Think Realty Radio, which will begin airing January 1, 2018 on Wall Street Radio. Think Realty is presenting four national conferences for investors in 2018, beginning with the Think Realty Conference & Expo in Dallas, Texas, February 24 and 25. The other locations are Baltimore, Maryland, April 14 and 15; Irvine, California, July 14 and 15; and Atlanta, Georgia, September 22 and 23.

The 10 biggest real estate tech deals of 2017 (The Real Deal), Rated: A

WeWork is now worth $20 billion. Compass is valued at $2.2 billion following a December funding round. Have you heard of Placester? Well, investors think it’s worth $202 million. The Jared Kushner-backed real estate crowdfunding startup Cadre now has a $800 million price tag.

  • 1) WeWork, $4.4 billion fundraising round
  • 2 & 3) Compass, $100M and $450M fundraising rounds
  • 4) Cadre, $65 million fundraising round
  • 5) Placester, $50 million fundraising round
  • 6) Common, $40 million fundraising round
  • 7) HomeLight, $40 million fundraising round
  • 8) Roofstock, $35 million fundraising round
  • 9) Knock, $32.5 million fundraising round
  • 10) Opcity, $28.77 million fundraising round

Congress: Hands off new rule protecting families from payday lenders (Herald Sun), Rated: A

Ignoring the voices of families and communities who have worked for many years for relief from the harms of predatory payday lending, a handful of members of Congress have introduced legislation that would nullify the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s national rule to rein in payday-lending abuses. Their legislation uses Congressional Review Act authority to repeal the rule and prevent the Consumer Bureau from issuing a similar rule in the future, giving predatory payday and car title lenders a free pass.

Why Amazon won’t buy a bank in 2018 (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Forget the speculation about Amazon buying a bank next year. But don’t count it out from adding banking to its near endless line of offerings.

For Amazon, providing financial services is just a means to an end: making more money by selling more things. Other retailers are still its main competition — not banks.

Why banks want to collaborate now on open banking standards (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Every U.S. banker is watching their European counterparts react to the looming Payment Services Directive, or PSD2, which will come into effect in 2018. When that happens, banks will lose their monopoly on customer data as merchants and retailers like Amazon will be allowed to retrieve customer account data from the banks (with customers’ permission).

Now, U.S. banks want to get ahead of their own regulators when it comes to creating data exchange standards. It can take 18 to 36 months to get a framework in place, Courbe said, but banks know they need to start exchanging data with other companies today.

LendingTree Adopts the RevJet Marketing Creative Platform (Sys-Con Media), Rated: A

RevJet, the first smart marketing creative platform, today announced that LendingTree has adopted RevJet’s system for producing, approving, personalizing, serving and automatically optimizing all formats of digital ad creative. Using RevJet to take a methodical approach to experimentation, LendingTree is able to deliver a higher volume of leads to their business partners while optimizing for revenue.

 

United Kingdom

December’s Lending Impact and Borrower Stories (Funding Circle), Rated: AAA

Whatever the season, small businesses work harder on any given day than Mr Claus on Christmas Eve. To celebrate their hard work and determination, we’ve created our very own Christmas Carol, looking at the past, present and future of small businesses. We begin with the small business past, looking at the history of small businesses, and how they adapted during the industrial revolution. Next up, dive into the small business present and learn about the impact they have on today’s world and the trends that have helped them along the way. Finally, discover what the landscape might look like for businesses in years to come in our small business future.

In our latest case study video, meet David, founder of The Creative Whisky Company.

Peer to Peer Robo-Lending Platform InvestUp Sizes Up Cryptocurrency Investing (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

FCA authorised crowdfunding aggregation platform InvestUp may be going crypto. The UK based Fintech has so far focused on the peer to peer lending space but management is currently looking at adding algorithm driven cryptocurrency investing.

InvestUp shares that 2017 has been another good year for P2P lending having delivered, on average, 10.74% to investors.

Protecting the future of peer-to-peer lending (Gov.uk), Rated: A

Today the peer-to-peer lending industry was given a boost of confidence as the government began legislating to clarify that no business borrowing through a peer-to-peer platform needs to be regulated as a ‘deposit taker’ (often referred to as a ‘banking licence’) unless that is their core business. The legislation will ensure that the industry can continue to thrive and innovate while still benefiting from the UK’s high quality regulatory standards.

The Committee on Exiting Europe Publishes Sector Reports Including Document on Fintech (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The Exiting the European Union Committee, appointed by the House of Commons to examine the process of the Department for Exiting the European Union , released a grouping of documents from the Department today. As one may expect, the slew of reports addressed certain aspects regarding ramifications of the UK’s departure from Europe.

The Fintech Sector Report highlights the current regulatory regime in the EU and how cross border transactions take place between continental Europe and the UK. The document describes Fintech as covering four different categories:

  • Investment, advice (including Robo-Advisors) and  neo or challenger banks
  • Regtech for compaliance
  • Payments including digital currencies such as Bitcoin
  • Alternative finance including crowdfunding and peer to peer lending

Read the full UK Fintech Report here.

Bank of England approves Tandem’s Harrods Bank takeover (AltFi), Rated: A

Tandem can now end the year on a high note after the Bank of England today gave regulatory approval for the challenger’s purchase of Harrods Bank.

The deal will now give Tandem access to a full banking license and the 10,000 customers attached to Harrods Bank, as well as the bank’s mortgage and savings books. According to Tandem, the purchase will also come with a “significant capital injection”.

UBS and EPAM Win Best Use of IT Private Banking/Wealth Management for SmartWealth App at Banking Technology Awards (NASDAQ), Rated: B

EPAM Systems (NYSE:EPAM), a global provider of digital platform engineering and software development services, and UBS AG, the world’s largest wealth manager, have been awarded for Best Use of IT Private Banking/Wealth Management at the Banking Technology Awards held on December 13, 2017 in London.

China

Chinese online lender LexinFintech surges in U.S. market debut (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Chinese online lender LexinFintech Holdings Ltd’s (LX.O) shares surged in their U.S. market debut on Thursday, brushing aside worries related to Beijing’s recent crackdown on the booming micro-credit industry.

LexinFintech’s shares touched a session high of $14.88, a 53 percent jump from its IPO price that valued the Shenzhen-based company at $4.51 billion.

China online lending IPO meets tepid demand as fintech zeal wanes (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

LexinFintech, the latest Chinese online consumer lender to complete a US initial public offering, has met with muted investor demand amid concerns over Beijing’s regulatory clampdown on dubious lending practices.

Lexin scaled back its planned $500m IPO on Nasdaq to $109m, and final pricing was at the bottom end of the price range initially marketed to investors.

Qudian, which is backed by Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial, raised $900m on the New York Stock Exchange in October — the largest US IPO by a Chinese fintech group. After hitting that high point investor interest quickly slid: last month PPDAI raised $221m in a deal that priced below the initial price range.

Since their IPOs, both Qudian and PPDAI have faced allegations of issuing misleading financial disclosures. Qudian closed at 48 per cent below its IPO price on Thursday, while PPDAI was down 44 per cent.

Source: Financial Times

Is Qudian A Bargain Or A Falling Knife? (SeekingAlpha), Rated: A

QD’s stock price has taken a nosedive, plummeting from its $24 IPO price to $12.9 as of 12/19/2017. Given QD’s strong earnings and fast growth rates in the past, the current price may appear to be a great bargain. Is that true?

QD’s strong past operating performance is mainly driven by its online cash-loan business, which brings in 83.3% of its total revenue.

The regulations can be distilled into three key rules: (1) cap the interest rates at 36% (2) limit the leverage of cash-loan companies at 3 or lower, and (3) forbid commercial banks, insurance companies, P2P, etc from investing in cash loans. These rules will put QD’s extraordinary profits to an end, as discussed below.

  • Rule #1: The interest rate caps may turn QD’s strong profits into negative. While QD may have already compiled to the 36% interest cap by the time of its IPO, QD’s revenue will still take a nearly 1/3 cut, holding all else equal.
  • Rule #2: The leverage limit will bring QD’s entire cash-loan business to a halt. According to QD’s 3Q report (Qudian Inc. Reports Third Quarter 2017 Unaudited Financial Results), as of 09/30/2017, its capital structure consists of Liability: 11.18 billion; Mezzanine equity/convertible preferred shares: 5.94 billion;Total Shareholders’ deficit: 1.78 billion. However, the national regulation limits the maximum leverage at 3, or even at 1 according to some regional regulations (21jingji news). It is clear that with 1.78 billion shareholders’ deficit, QD has to raise literally billions of additional funds to satisfy this rule, which is “mission impossible” given the third rule as discussed below.
  • Rule #3: restricting the financing sources will shut the door for QD to raise additional capital.
QD PPDF
Market Cap 4,243 2,175
Total Transactions 3,938 3,231
Revenue 223 192
Net Income 100 83

Brett Diment: 2018 Will be China Fintech’s Breakout Year (FiNews), Rated: A

Fintech will increasingly be associated with Beijing, Shenzhen and Hangzhou in 2018 instead of Silicon Valley, Aberdeen Standard’s Brett Diment details in a contribution for finews.asia.

The Chinese online-payment industry already accounts for around half of global transactions. Alipay, operated by Alibaba’s financial arm, is the market leader.

But Tencent’s Tenpay has been catching up fast. Tenpay’s stroke of genius was to allow its users to send electronic hongbao – the red envelopes of money traditionally given as a Chinese New Year gift. Some 16 million online hongbao were sent in 2014 – rising to a billion in 2015. This helped Tenpay’s share of the online-payment market to reach around 40 percent in just three years.

The University of Hong Kong Online Fintech Course Now Open for Registration (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

The Fintech MOOC is a six-week online course on innovations in finance and is designed to provide a foundational understanding of the global changes impacting all financial services.

European Union

Mayo businesses raise almost €800,000 through Linked Finance (The Connaught Telegraph), Rated: A

LINKED Finance, Ireland’s leading peer-to-peer (P2P) lending company, has raised almost €800,000 for Mayo-based businesses.

Eighteen Mayo businesses, including Doherty for Men, Main Street, Castlebar, and Electric Escapes, based in Westport, have raised funds through Linked Finance’s online lending platform (www.linkedfinance.com) to facilitate business growth.

Electric Escapes has raised €50,000 over two separate funding rounds, facilitated through the platform.

PayPal backs fintech deposit marketplace Raisin (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Raisin has secured an undisclosed sum of investment from digital payments platform PayPal. The money will be used to accelerate the growth of Raisin across its core European geographies.

International

Blockchain is “no longer in proof of concept” phase (Global Trade Review), Rated: AAA

Sin has just helped launch the world’s first cross-border bancassurance distributed ledger technology (DLT) platform, working with China Life Insurance and Guangfa Bank in Macau.

In another sign that the technology may be fit for commercial purpose, SME lending platform ModulTrade has settled its first blockchain-based export transaction out of China.

This transaction was small –  just over US$1,000 – but again shows that the technology is beginning to be used outside of the laboratory.

The company teamed up with Rabobank to complete an inventory financing transaction on the blockchain that resulted in a real-time payment for farmers.

All payments were made in real time, using a Rabobank-backed digital dollar, pegged to the Aussie dollar. The digital dollar was issued and cleared by a central issuing and settlement institution.

BENCHMARKING DISTRIBUTED LEDGER TECHNOLOGY (All About Alpha), Rated: A

Two scholars affiliated with the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, in Great Britain, have prepared a fascinating overview of the present state of blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT).

  • The protocol layer of this ecosystem is only slowly maturing, and the limit of this maturation is one of the key challenges for the broader adoption of DLT;
  • Most users experiment with only small-scale, isolated layers, with live applications allowed only as “permissioned” layers;
  • There is an increasing focus on creating common standards of enterprise DLT frameworks that will allow for interoperability, but this effort to overcome fragmentation is itself fragmented into “a variety of consortia”;
  • Ethereum in particular has been tested at 57% of central banks, either via the public network or a permissioned version.

Nearly half of the surveyed DLT start-ups are in North America (47%). The second largest group by continent is that which hails from Europe (28%), then 19% (Asia Pacific).

But employment isn’t precisely aligned with the number of enterprises on each continent. A full 61% of employees working in this field are in North America, and only 13% are in Europe.

RCN ANNOUNCES DECENTRALAND PARTNERSHIP (Bitcoinist), Rated: A

Earlier this week, RCNannounced their new partnership with Decentraland, the blockchain-based virtual reality platform where users can acquire virtual land to create and monetize their content.

Under the new partnership, RCN will be able to integrate its credit protocol with the Decentraland platform. This will enable users who own plots of land, content, or businesses created in the 3D world to issue and receive loans.

The Top FinTech Trends of 2017 … were they? (The Finanser), Rated: B

Rise of InsurTech

True. I’ve seen a lot of InsurTech movement this year with a number of standout start-ups like BackmeupBrollyBuzzmoveCuvvaInmybagLuther and Neos.

Rise of RegTech

Yep, I’ve heard more about RegTech this year than ever before, although that’s unsurprising when most banks have at least two staff checking the work of each employee (Citibank has 40,000 compliance people!). Consultancy picks out 100 of the most innovative firms in this space.

Platforms, APIs and Open Banking are the key

I feel like I’ve been talking platforms all year and, with PSD2 and Open Banking coming into play in January 2018, it is certainly true that platforms, APIs and Open Banking have definitely been the theme of 2017.

China and emerging markets focus

Ah yes, I definitely think this year has been a big year for financial inclusion and discussions of Ant Financial and Tencent.

Australia/New Zealand

Banking without the banks: the state of peer-to-peer lending three years on (The Spinoff), Rated: AAA

In 2014, New Zealand was one of the first countries to legalise peer-to-peer lending.

For the latter, Snowball Effect and PledgeMe led the way with the FMA awarding its first equity crowdfunding licences to the two firms. For the former, the first licence for P2P lending was granted to Auckland-based platform Harmoney, which was founded by Neil Roberts that very same year.

To date, there are eight licensed P2P lending services currently operating in New Zealand with more than 20,000 investors currently registered with P2P lending intermediaries. When it comes to borrowers, there are more than 200,000 individuals currently registered with P2P services.

Source: The Spinoff

Since launching in September 2014, it’s lent more than $655 million via 37,000+ loans and paid more than $87 million interest in total. In the most recent financial year, Harmoney saw over more than 830,000 investments made in loans by almost 5,400 unique investors.

Source: The Spinoff
India

Want Good Financial Advice? Ask a Digital Lending Platform (BW Disrupt), Rated: A

The need for credit can come for a variety of reasons, and can be catered to by a vast plethora of different loan products.

Clearly, if you had to get good financial advice, AI-leveraging algorithms are a better bet than humans. So why not use the same technology to help individuals and SMEs find the right credit options for their needs?

Asia

NewsBTC Interviews the Crowd-genie Team (NewsBTC), Rated: A

NewsBTC: Why is licensing so important? How difficult is it to get in Singapore? 

Crowd-genie: Being registered and licensed are two different stories. As peer to peer lending platform involves enormous monetary transactions, a securities license is crucial for regulated lending activities.

NewsBTC: Can you please explanation of how reputations coin work?

Crowd-genie: For each repayment, from the borrower to lenders, we will incentivise on-time payment by adding CGCOIN “Credits” to the borrowers’ wallets. This will be a spendable asset that will be tracked separately in the Digital Passport. The more CGCOIN Credits earned, the higher their reputation, and that in turn, will increase their chances of getting higher investments from more lenders and/or a lower interest rate.

 

Source: NewsBTC
Cayman Islands

Robot to speak at Cayman Alternative Investment Summit (Cayman Compass), Rated: B

Sophia, the world’s first robot to be granted citizenship of a country, will be one of the speakers at the Cayman Alternative Investment Summit on Feb. 8 to 9, 2018, organizers announced Thursday.

At the Cayman Alternative Investment Summit, Sophia will be interviewed on stage by a representative from event sponsor KPMG.

Organizers say the robot’s appearance complements the theme of the investment conference, “Wired: the rise of alternative investments in a digital age,” which targets opportunities at the intersection of alternative investing and technology.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday December 21 2017, Daily News Digest

PBC interest rates

News Comments Today’s main news: SoftBank leads $120M funding round for Lemonade. Shareholders file class action against Qudian. RateSetter looks to cautious growth in car financing. LoanBook rakes in 650K GBP on Crowdcube. Prospa planning a 2018 IPO. Today’s main analysis: Muddy Waters goes cold on China Internet Nationwide Financial Services Inc. (CIFS). Today’s thought-provoking articles: Two big banks […]

PBC interest rates

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

Australia

India

Asia

Canada

News Summary

United States

SoftBank leads a $ 120 million round for insurance startup Lemonade (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

The SoftBank Group has finally made a good tech investment around real estate.

After investing $4.4 billion in what is essentially a bespoke office space rental business (WeWork) and another $450 million in Zillow for rich people (Compass), the gargantuan Japanese tech investor is leading a $120 million round of funding for Lemonade, a startup providing renters and homeowners insurance.

Additional investors in the round include previous backers Alphabet’s investment firm, GV, General Catalyst and Sequoia Capital.

Shareholder Class Action Filed Against Qudian Inc. – QD (GuruFocus), Rated: AAA

The law firm of Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, LLP announces that a shareholder class action lawsuit has been filed against Qudian Inc. (NYSE: QD) (“Qudian” or the “Company) on behalf of investors who purchased the Company’s securities between October 18, 2017 and November 20, 2017, inclusive (the “Class Period”).

Qudian shareholders may, no later than February 12, 2018, petition the Court to be appointed as a lead plaintiff representative of the class through Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, or other counsel, or may choose to do nothing and remain an absent class member.

Two Big Banks Set to Launch Their Own Online Lending Platforms (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

A little over a year ago Goldman Sachs launched their consumer lending platform Marcus as part of a digital strategy to move into the retail banking segment. They have since grown faster than any online lending platform with originations approaching $2 billion. Goldman Sachs now believes revenues from online loans will equal that of trading in the near future.

U.K. based Barclays has been increasing their footprint in the U.S. the last few years through the Barclaycard brand. They are now one of the top 10 credit card issuers in the US.  News broke last month that Barclays would be launching a digital bank in 2018 and rebranding from Barclaycard to Barclays in the US.

Pittsburgh based PNC Financial Services Group is one of the top 10 largest banks in the US with $371 billion in assets. They are looking to launch their online consumer lending product in new branches and through their mobile wallet product.

From On Fire To Under Fire: Marketplace Lending Enters 2018 Taking On Flak (ValueWalk), Rated: A

After a meteoric rise, marketplace lending has had its share of challenges and scrutiny, but the future should still be bright for such an industry on the forward edge of technology and consumer needs. Yet marketplace lending seems to be ending 2017 under an unwarranted attack from regulators and commentators determined to find similarities in marketplace lending to the subprime mortgage market in the years leading up to the financial crisis.

EquityMultiple CEO Charles Clinton Highlights Real Estate Opportunities & Disruption, Predictions for 2018 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

CEO Charles Clinton and CIO Marious Sjulsen co-founded EquityMultiple with a shared vision of transforming real estate investing through tech and by providing new access to private transactions while streamlining the investment process.

Erin: Please share EquityMultiple’s latest stats.

Charles: We’ve funded 32 investments to date and are expecting to hit around 100% year-over-year growth in dollars invested. For investments that have fully repaid or are currently cash-flowing to investors, we’re averaging around a net 9% annualized dividend.

Erin: What sets EquityMultiple apart from its industry peers? How will EquityMultiple continue to differentiate itself?

Charles: We’ve taken a different path from most of our direct competitors and I suspect that will continue. This started at the very beginning – rather than look for venture capital financing, we sought out a real estate firm to partner with and found that in Mission Capital, a national capital markets firm that has done over $70 billion of business in its 15-year history.

Erin: Earlier this year you stated that individuals made up 100% of EquityMultiple’s investments. Has institutional money entered into this investment flow?  Why or why not? What are your methods of tapping into new investors?

Charles: We are still 100% focused on individual investors by design. We feel that individual investors are the customers that we provide the most value to. For institutional investors, there often is no real accessibility issue for getting into commercial real estate. Individual investors, on the other hand, are significantly under-allocated into real estate by comparison.

Krawcheck expands Ellevest robo to three service levels with more human advice (InvestmentNews), Rated: A

Investors can access the robo-adviser by itself for 25 basis points (formerly 50 basis points), which includes algorithmic portfolio construction, tax minimization strategies, and now support from human advisers via email and text.

For 50 basis points and an account minimum of $50,000, investors can access Ellevest Premium, which includes the technology platform as well as personalized goals-based planning from an adviser with certified financial planner credentials.

Why Employers Need To Help Workers Deal With Income Volatility (Forbes), Rated: A

Roughly a quarter of American families suffer a major disruption to their income each year, according to the Urban Institute. Nearly one in five of those families suffer an income drop of 50% or more: a potentially catastrophic shock for low-income families.

But it’s not just these one-time shocks that affect families’ ability to plan and save — it’s the month-to-month fluctuations, as well. The JP Morgan Chase Institute foundthat, between 2012 and 2015, 55% of the bank’s customers regularly experienced more than a 30% change in income — up or down — from one month to the next.

BankMobile deploys AI, alternative data to lend to FICO-poor students (American Banker), Rated: A

BankMobile has become the first bank to start using online lending software developed by Upstart, which is designed to use artificial intelligence and alternative data to determine the creditworthiness of consumers with thin or no credit files.

BankMobile, the digital-only subsidiary of Customers Bank in Wyomissing, Pa., which is due to be spun off and merged with Flagship Community Bank in mid-2018, is planning to use the software to offer its first credit product to the students it reaches through relationships with 800 universities.

 

Merrill Lynch Fined $ 1.4M Over Supervisory Failures (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: A

Finra has fined Merrill Lynch $1.4 million for alleged supervisory failures related to extended settlement transactions, the industry’s self-regulator says in a press release.

From April 2013 through June 2015, the wirehouse allegedly didn’t collect enough margin to offset credit, market and exposure risk presented by the longer time period between trades and settlements inherent in such trades, Finra says.

‘Banks can’t attract the talent they want or need’ (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Banks have always proclaimed themselves as technology companies with banking licenses. But culturally, banks are still banks: conservative. Innovation teams can only innovate so much before someone in legal or compliance tells them no; they can only move so fast before someone tells them to slow down.

In this installment of Confessions, in which we trade anonymity in exchange for honesty, we spoke with an analyst at a startup attached to a large bank about internal innovation, attracting strong talent and why alternative bank service companies should get serious about becoming or partnering with a bank.

10 who had a rough year in 2017 (American Banker), Rated: A

Move over Wells Fargo, another prominent financial firm has taken your place as the poster child for bad behavior.

Equifax, the credit reporting agency whose primary responsibility is to protect consumers’ personal information, became public enemy No. 1 this year when it revealed that thieves hacked into its database and stole the personal information — birth dates, credit card data, Social Security numbers — of some 145 million consumers.

Runway Growth Credit Fund Successfully Closes $ 275 Million Equity Offering with Increased Investment from Oaktree Funds (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Runway Growth Credit Fund Inc. (“Runway Growth Credit”), a provider of term debt to fast-growing companies seeking an alternative to raising equity, today announced the successful closing of its $275 million initial equity capital raise with an increased commitment to $139 million from OCM Growth Holdings, LLC, an entity owned by certain investment funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management, L.P. (“Oaktree”), along with commitments from other investors.

Investors Commit 0 Million to tZERO ICO (Coindesk), Rated: A

As reported by CoinDesk, the first leg of the sale – in which the firm is selling Simple Agreements for Future Equity (SAFEs) that will later be redeemed for tokens by accredited investors – began yesterday, albeit a bit laterthan planned. Hiccups aside, Byrne told CoinDesk the sale ultimately attracted a big crowd – some 2,000 accredited investors.

As such, he indicated the company may move to shorten the initial two-month timeframe for the token sale.

Some of the offers, he said, were as high as $5 million or more for single token allocations.

OCC’s Otting sees future for fintech charter, CRA reform (American Banker), Rated: A

Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting said in a press conference Wednesday morning that there is a place in the banking world for some kind of fintech charter, though the exact parameters of such a charter are still unclear and have to be worked out.

“I’m not sure what it looks like, and how it’s funded, but I do think there’s a space there that a technology solution can solve,” Otting said when asked whether he sees a future for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s nascent fintech charter.

BLACKSTONE LOOKS AT THE SECONDARY PRIVATE EQUITY MARKET (All About Alpha), Rated: A

An October paper put out by Strategic Partners Fund Solutions, of Blackstone, argues that (despite risks and drawbacks) investing in the secondary private equity market  can still be a smart play, offering “accelerated returns with lower volatility, lower loss rates, and greater downside protection” than the primary market.

How the digital community is supporting small business (Rapid Growth Media), Rated: A

The 2016 Small Business Credit Survey, published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, reports that startups are more likely than their mature counterparts to be undergoing growth and planning to add jobs. The report shows 70 percent of startup applicants are in need of funding to support this growth, versus 60 percent of mature applicants. Additionally, in 2016, 52 percent of startups applied for financing.

The Credit Survey highlights that only “31 percent of startup applicants were approved for the full amount of financing sought”.

Debt crowdfunding: Peer-to-Peer lending

Lending Tree was a revolutionary option for individuals to secure financing when they simply wanted to compare options or if they may not have been bankable. Kiva, for example, allows lenders to contribute small amounts, sometimes as little as $25, to help fund requests.

As of October 2017, Kiva reports funding over 1M loans resulting in $1 billion being lent.

Equity crowdfunding

Now, instead of searching for affluent individuals looking to invest in a business, entrepreneurs can turn to sites like MicroVentures. MicroVentures is a public, online venture capital investment bank. Investors have the opportunity to invest as little as $100, which opens up the market to a much larger pool of potential investors. This option is best suited for established companies with strong historical performance and larger financial needs. Since their launch in 2011, MicroVentures reports facilitating over 160 investments, resulting in over $100M in capital investment to date.

Mayor Kasim Reed Announces Bank on Atlanta Initiative (AJC.com), Rated: B

Bank on Atlanta, a financial access program that will focus on providing free or low-cost banking products, along with financial education and financial counseling, to unbanked and underbanked residents in the city of Atlanta has been created.

Research shows that relying on alternative financial service providers such as check-cashing or payday lending establishments makes it hard for residents to rise out of poverty in our city.

9 Holiday Gift Cards That Give You Something for Nothing (TheStreet), Rated: A

Online student loan marketplace LendEDU.com studied the most sought-after gift cards and listed them in descending order: Amazon (AMZN – Get Report) , Walmart (WMT – Get Report) , Target (TGT – Get Report, Best Buy (BBY – Get Report) , and Subway. But these cards sold for only 2% to 5% less than face value, compared with 1-800-Flowers (FLWS – Get Report) , H&M or Dress Barn gift cards which offered, on average, 30% off face value on their sites. Even Dunkin’ Donuts (DNKN – Get Report) and Godiva mark down their gift cards by 25%.

RealtyMogul Hires New Chief People Officer (BusinessWire), Rated: B

RealtyMogul, a unique commercial real estate private markets investing platform, today announced the addition of Soley Van Lokeren as Chief People Officer.

Credit Karma adds Gannesh Bharadhwaj as General Manager, Credit Cards (Credit Karma), Rated: B

Credit Karma, the leading personal finance technology company in North America, today announced it has appointed Gannesh Bharadhwaj as general manager of credit cards. Previously president of Renew Financial, Bharadhwaj brings a strong background in financial institutions as Credit Karma remains focused on using innovative technology to bridge the gap between banks and consumers.

The Small Business Benefits of Being Charitable (Business2Community), Rated: B

Entrepreneurs can make charity a part of their approach to business, and in a variety of ways. A survey by Funding Circle revealed some interesting figures, as reported by Joshua Sophy last December for smallbiztrends.com.

  • Of 1,400 small business owners polled, 52 percent said they were donating or had already donated to charity.
  • 46 percent planned to donate “up to $1,000.”
  • 44 percent preferred to donate cash.
United Kingdom

RateSetter plans ‘cautious growth’ in car finance market (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER is planning to grow its motor finance division to take advantage of the huge opportunities it sees in the market.

The peer-to-peer lender entered the consumer hire purchase industry in May when it acquired Vehicle Credit Limited out of its parent company’s administration as part of its wholesale lending “interventions”. Vehicle Credit Limited has now been integrated into the group as part of RateSetter Motor Finance.

Chip, the chatbot savings app, raises over £1M in crowdfunding with plans to apply for a banking license (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Chip, the chatbot app that plugs into your bank account and lets you automatically save for a rainy day, has raised nearly £1.1 million on equity crowdfunding platform Crowdcube.

The fund raise, which is part of a larger £2.4 million funding round, forms part of plans for the London-based startup to apply for a banking license so that it has more flexibility regarding the kinds of products it can offer in the future. The app currently claims 30,000 active users “who are collectively saving millions a month”.

China

Muddy Waters Is Short China Internet Nationwide Fncl Srvcs Inc (CIFS) (ValueWalk), Rated: AAA

We conclude that China Internet Financial Services Inc. (NASDAQ:CIFS) is a King Zero – just another worthless China fraud, says Muddy Waters Research.

  • Every one of the purported borrowers to which CIFS disclosed having made loans (accounting for 84.2% of loan balances) appears to be a sham counterparty.  (The purported borrowers of the remaining 15.8% of reported loan balances were not disclosed; however, we strongly suspect that most – if not all – of these loans and associated income are also fabrications.)
  • CIFS’s recently announced “big data” company purchase also appears to be a lie.
  • 47.3% of CIFS’s reported 2016 net income purportedly was generated by its Kashgar subsidiary; however, that subsidiary existed for only two days in 2016.
  • CIFS is too good to be true – claiming to turn a seeming commoditized business model into an overnight juggernaut with purported gross margins over 97% and net margins over 70%.
Source: ValueWalk

Read “The Farce Awakens: CIFS” in full here.

China Ripe for Auto Finance Boom as Consumer Penetration Rate Rises (Auto Finance News), Rated: AAA

Since 2009, China has surpassed the United States as the largest market for new-vehicle sales, according to Deloitte Consulting LLC. And now, auto finance is starting to catch up.

For many years, the Chinese automotive market has been propped up by government incentives like tax breaks, which encouraged customers to purchase cars. So far, this incentive has led to more than 2 million cars being sold a month, with growth running up 15% last year, the Wall Street Journal reported in March. But as the tax breaks are expected to wind down, auto lenders have a greater opportunity to step in and capture marketshare in China, where penetration rates remain lower than other developed nations.

In the U.S., for instance, 84% of new cars in the U.S. were financed in 2014 compared with 20% in China, according to Experian. The Chinese auto finance rate rose to 38% in 2016, and is expected to rise steadily in the next few years; reaching an estimated 55% in 2021, according to ReportLinker.

Debtors in China are placed on a blacklist that prohibits them from flying, buying train tickets, and staying at luxury hotels (Business Insider), Rated: A

China maintains a public blacklist of debtors that effectively restricts their movements and their spending habits.

The country’s highest court publishes the names and ID numbers of “dishonest people” on its website and restricts those people from flying domestically, using high-speed trains, or enrolling their children at expensive private schools.

Defaulters are also prevented from staying at hotels with three-stars or more. They also face tougher exams if they want to join the civil service, and are charged higher fees for booking cars. The bans work by linking to a person’s ID number. Some people used their passport when travelling to circumvent the ban, but that loophole now appears to be closed.

European Union

Spanish Marketplace Lending Platform LoanBook Secures £650,000 Funding Target on Crowdcube (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

LoanBook, a Spanish marketplace lending platform, has successfully secured its initial £650,000 funding target from more than 200 investors through equity crowdfunding platform Crowdcube. Founded in 2013, LoanBook claims to be Spain’s largest marketplace lending platform, with a 4-year track record of working capital lending to Spanish SMEs and 40% market share.

Two Additional Ways to Improve API Security for Fintech startups (Finextra), Rate: AAA

It’s simple: the probability of being under cyber attack is 100%.

With high probability and high impact, the risk is very high that API’s in the PSD2 era will enable a New Normal in Bank Robberies. Not IF, rather WHEN and WHO.

1. Consider new AI-based approaches in vulnerability scanning.

2. Know what’s under the hood

Think of the Infineon-developed RSA Library version v1.02.013, which lead to Estonia having to reissue over 750,000 certificates, part of their National ID scheme. Or the 2014 GnuTLC bugwhich allowed a Man-in-the-Middle attack due wrong behavior during a TLS handshake.

My advice is to keep track of all dependencies and track vulnerabilities in all underlying components. OWASP has a project calledDependency-Check aimed to do just that.

5 hugely successful Nordic entrepreneurs share their advice to young people (Business Insider), Rated: A

iZettle CEO Jacob de Geer says you should team up with peers – and experiment.

“Apart from getting the business started, is to experiment with whatever idea you have. Most of your trials will fail, but one in 100 will work. If you view problem solving as a way of increasing the value of the company that you are building, then you are off to a good start.”

Klarna co-founder Sebastian Siemiatkowski thinks it’s important to have a holistic approach to problem solving.

When I advise young entrepreneurs, I tell them, “It’s not about figuring out the best business ideas, and it’s not about solving problems theoretically, but it’s about testing your ideas. It’s about coming up with an idea, and then trying it and learning from it.”

A small fintech company surges 250% after launching a blockchain-focused business unit (Business Insider), Rated: A

Australia

Online lender Prospa joins the 2018 IPO pipeline (Financial Review), Rated: AAA

Investment bankers lining up for a stronger 2018 pipeline of initial public offerings have online business lender Prospa in their sights.

Street Talk understands a handful of banks have pitched their wares to Prospa’s chief executives Greg Moshal and Beau Bertoli in recent weeks ahead of a planned run at the local bourse some time next year.

India

“Five best alternative investment strategies to consider in 2018” (Business Today), Rated: AAA

Alternative investing is as much a mindset, as it is about specific investments. Here are some alternative investments approaches culled from our members around the world that are applicable to any investment decisions.

Invest in markets or assets that your analysis leads you to believe will do well; don’t invest in a product just because it’s likely to (or, worse, has in the past) “outperform the market”.

Understand that returns are one-dimensional, risk is multi-dimensional

You should constantly revisit your assumptions of the return drivers of the investment (much more so than its price performance), in case they change and you need to rethink your investment.

When we’re asked to define alternatives, we often end up saying “well, anything that’s not traditional”. Actually that’s not quite such a lame definition; alternative investment practitioners know that the best opportunities are usually those that are yet well known or exploited, and hence the field of “alternative investment” is one populated by investment ideas that may not be immediately obvious.

Diversification is the only free lunch – make sure you are diversified

Alternative asset classes: P2P lending emerges as viable option in India (Financial Express), Rated: A

India has a unique problem of too much money chasing too few customers. So at one end, we have traditional salaried class getting loan offers and at the other end, people are left at the mercy of hawkish money lenders ever-more resembling Shakespeare’s Shylock. Clearly, P2P lending and borrowing is the disruption that was waiting to happen as banks and NBFCs have successfully struggled at twin accounts of making credit affordable and accessible in a credit-hungry nation.

Regulations helped fintech mature in 2017; yet 2018 may prove challenging for cos to navigate (Economic Times), Rated: A

If 2016 saw demonetisation change India’s fintech ecosystem forever, this year will be remembered for the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) multiple regulations aimed at organising the sector. Recognition of peer-to-peer lending startups, revised guidelines for digital wallets, finalising charges for digital payments—the second half of the year saw it all, setting the template for a more mature yet challenging 2018.

Meet The Top 20 Finalists Of The 5th Edition Of Wharton India Startup Challenge (Inc42), Rated: B

The 22nd Wharton India Economic Forum (WIEF) has announced the finalists of the Yes Bank – Wharton India Startup challenge.

Perpule: Perpule’s 1Pay is a self -checkout app for express checkouts and easy payments in Perpule’s partnered stores like Hypercity, Spar etc.

Capzest: Capzest is a digital lending platform focused on providing unsecured credit to individuals for income generation purposes. It secures partnerships with income generation service platforms and provides short term capital to their various stakeholders. It was founded in October 2015 in Mumbai by Rohan Adlakha andSayantan Sarkar.

Luharia Technologies Pvt. Ltd: Based in Hyderabad, Luharia Technologies owns and operates peer-to-peer platforms for businesses and individuals. Founded by ISB alumni Keerthi Kumar Jain, Luharia’s flagship solution is Vote4Edu, which is an online peer-to-peer lending platform for K-12 education loans. The company also runs Vote4Cash, a P2P marketplace where borrowers can avail cash loans. Machine Bank, an infrastructure ecommerce platform, and P2P lending platform SMEBank are also owned by Luharia Group.

Asia

Cyberattack brings a cryptocurrency exchange to its knees (Business Insider), Rated: A

A South Korea-based cryptocurrency exchange was brought to its knees by a cybersecurity attack.

Yapian, the operator of crypto-exchange Youbit, halted trading of cryptocurrencies on its venue Tuesday and filed for bankruptcy after a hack, according to reporting by The Wall Street Journal.

The Journal reported the exchange had 17% of its digital currency holdings stolen.

How to get a personal loan without a credit score? (Asianet Newsable), Rated: B

Your credit score reflects how well you have treated your credit in the past. It is one of the most important factors that lenders consider while evaluating a loan or credit card application. But what if you don’t have a credit score?

  1. NBFCs

If your bank has rejected your personal loan application, approach NBFCs. Since they usually target customers with low or no credit score, they are more flexible with credit scores than banks.

  1. Peer to Peer Lending

Since P2P platforms connect borrowers and investors online, they run with lower overheads and resultantly offer services cheaper than what traditional financial institutions have to offer. There are over 40 peer-to-peer lending platforms in India that are helping a large section of people who have been failed to qualify for loans from banks.

Canada

RATEHUB REPORTS GENERATIONAL DIVIDE WHEN IT COMES TO TRUST IN FINTECH (Betakit), Rated: A

A RateHub report examining FinTech trends in 2017 found that there is a generational divide when it comes to trust in the emerging technology.

Nearly twice as many millennials (44 percent) and Generation Xers (42 percent) said they trust robo-advisors, compared to baby boomers (23 percent).

Forty-seven percent of millennials and forty-eight percent of Gen Xers trust marketplace lenders, compared to 23 percent of boomers.

Online banking and contactless payments were the two most trusted FinTech offerings this year, capturing the trust of 85 percent and 62 percent of Canadians on average.

Access the full report here.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor