Wednesday July 25 2018, Daily News Digest

Lending Club IPO

News Comments Today’s main news: Square, eBay partner on businesss loans. BNP Paribas launches UK fund for SME lending. Crowdstacker seeking 800K GBP on Seedrs. PPDAI to boost tech investment. Alipay, WeBank competition heats up. Today’s main analysis: The good news and bad news about Lending Club. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Americans are splurging on personal loans. How irresponsible mortgage lenders […]

Lending Club IPO

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

Other

News Summary

United States

eBay & Square Partner on Business Loans (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

eBay (Nasdaq:EBAY)  and Square Capital (NYSE:SQ) have signed an agreement to provide up to $100,000 in credit to sellers – in as little as one day. The partnership is not only a streamlined offering of financing for small businesses that use eBay but also a whack at traditional banks which are mostly unable to match such a speedy lending agreement.

Scott Cutler, Senior Vice President, Americas at eBay, says that eBay is committed to helping their sellers and providing credit in partnership with Square simply makes sense.

For example, if you have $30,000 CC debt and good credit you can get a 3-year payoff at about 6% and a 5 year at about 7%. That is a big improvement over a typical rate of 17.5% on purchases and an amazing 23.5% on cash advances. So you take out the $30,000 loan, pay off your credit cards and save thousands in interest while you are at it. In addition, your CC is now zero and you can start using it again.

Source: Seeking Alpha

They came to market via an IPO late in 2014 and were an immediate hit rising over 50% their first day. They were immediately valued at over $9 billion. Today they are at less than $2 billion, a drop of almost 80%.

And finally here is LC’s chart since the IPO. Talk about ugly.

Source: Seeking Alpha

Americans are splurging on personal loans thanks to fintech startups (Quartz) Rated: AAA

The stock of personal loans outstanding has grown to about $120 billion as of March, according to TransUnion data. That compares with $71.9 billion a decade ago—worth around $90 billion adjusted for inflation—when the subprime mortgage crisis crescendoed. About 17 million Americans have this type of debt which, unlike mortgages and automobile loans, isn’t collateralized by an asset.

Source: Quartz

Upstart financial technology companies like Lending Club, Prosper, and Avant account for about a third of this lending, up from less than 1% in 2010.

Source: Quartz

How Irresponsible Mortgage Lenders Created A Second Housing Bubble (Seeking Alpha) Rated: AAA

Rents Are Falling, But Prices Are Surging

I believe the culprit is a new crop of lenders who are outside of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac regulations on FICO scores and DTI. For example, San Francisco lender Social Finance (SoFi) is offering up to 3 million dollar loans with 10 percent down and “flexible DTI.

Source: Seeking Alpha
Source: Seeking Alpha

Firms like SoFi are the engine driving the madness in the California housing market. Here’s what Michael Tannenbaum, former Vice President of SoFi, had to say about their loans in 2016, “Sixty-five percent of the business we do is first-time home buyers; it’s a big deal we’re opening up to the jumbo first-time market.” A year later, he was gone. Other gems from the San Francisco Chronicle article – SoFi’s average loan at the time was $800,000 and two-thirds were in California. I shudder to think what their average loan size and DTI is now. Also, in addition to not being big fans of debt to income ratios, SoFi isn’t big on using other traditional measures like FICO scores to evaluate borrowers. In 2016, they declared their company a “FICO Free Zone” in a press release. Said a former business development associate, “The volume of applications coming in was crazy.” Other sources reported on the wild sex culture at the firm. As for their underwriting practices? As long as housing prices went up, they were more or less irrelevant. But, if prices go down, SoFi and their backers stand to lose a lot of money.

A Conversation with Figure’s Mike Cagney (Financial Revolutionist) Rated: A

Mike Cagney’s return to fintech’s center stage had been foreshadowed by a handful of reports suggesting that his new company would be focused on the origination of real estate-related assets and that, somehow, blockchain would figure into the mix. But Cagney, who played a foundational role in building SoFi into one of fintech’s biggest success stories before his departure, isn’t the type of entrepreneur who thinks small and nichey. With his new company, Figure, and the blockchain protocol it has built, Provenance, Cagney and his team of 80 professionals are taking aim at the gigantic world of institutional capital markets transactions. Why? Because that’s one place where the vig (i.e., rent-seeking) still sloshes around in copious amounts. But unlike SoFi, which is taking aim at banks, Cagney is now fixing his gaze on the administrators, trustees, custodians and other intermediaries who take a cut out of each securitization and other types of deals. On the eve of the first transaction to be put on Provenance (a HELOC), The FR’s Gregg Schoenberg sat down with Cagney to learn more about his plans and how blockchain is central to his mission.

Could Fintech & Blockchain Lending Further Drive The Housing Market Boom? (Forbes) Rated: A

Those who do not have the scores to secure loans from traditional lenders now have alternatives particularly in the form of P2P lenders. These platforms pool together money from interested investors and loan them out to borrowers.

They also have a much quicker turnaround compared to what customers might experience with banks and other large lenders. While these services started out only to fund smaller personal loans, some like LendingClub have grown and expanded to allow larger-value loans like mortgages to be made on the platform.

Blockchain-based lenders have built upon this crowdfunding concept and enhanced it with blockchain’s capabilities with smart contracts and tokenization. While initial efforts as espoused by the likes of 

Employer-focused PFM company gets $ 40 million (Business Insider) Rated: A

US-based personal finance management (PFM) company Even has raised a $40 million Series B funding round led by Keith Rabois of Khoshla Ventures, and including Valar Ventures, Allen & Company, Harrison Metal, Ron Conway, and Silicon Valley Bank.

Source: Business Insider

Even integrates with attendance, payroll, and banking systems to help consumers improve their financial health. Its features include Instapay, which enables users to request the money they have earned before their actual payday, and it uses AI to give users an “okay to spend” amount, so they don’t get surprised by sudden expenses. Additionally, it offers an automatic savings feature, similar to other PFM companies including Acorns and Cleo.

Fintech Startup LoanSnap Raises $ 8m in Series A Financing (Finsmes) Rated: A

LoanSnap, a San Francisco, CA-based developer of technology that protects people against dumb loans, raised $8m in Series A financing.

The round was led by True Ventures with participation from Baseline Ventures, Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, Core Innovation Partners, Joe Montana’s Liquid 2 Ventures, OVO Fund, Transmedia Ventures, and angel investors.

BlockFi Raises $ 52.5M for Cryptoasset-backed Loans (Business Wire) Rated: AAA

BlockFi, the leading cryptoasset to USD lender, announced today it has raised $52.5M to expand operations. Galaxy Digital Ventures LLC, a digital currency and blockchain technology investment firm founded by Mike Novogratz led the deal. This marks the industry’s first institutional investment in cryptoasset backed loans. BlockFi’s existing investors, which include ConsenSys Ventures and PJC, also participated in the funding round.

  • BlockFi planning rapid expansion of cryptoasset-to-USD lending platform
  • BlockFi partners with Galaxy Digital Lending LLC on loan purchasing facility and receives equity investment from Galaxy Digital Ventures LLC
  • Marks first institutional investment in cryptoasset backed loans

Credit Card Payoff App Tally Raises $ 25 Million (Cheddar) Rated: A

Tally, an automated debt-managing app, has raised $25 million in Series B funding with the goal of expanding its reach and finding new ways to alleviate consumers’ financial anxiety, Cheddar has learned.

Southern States Multifamily Portfolio Sells, Exceeding Targeted Returns for ArborCrowd Investors (The Daily Times) Rated: A

ArborCrowd (the “Company”) today announced its Southern States Multifamily Portfolio (SSMP) investment has been realized ahead of schedule, outpacing targeted return estimates. One of the properties in the portfolio is located in Mississippi and sold in late 2017. The two remaining properties, located in Alabama, recently sold. The aggregate portfolio sales price was $25.85 million, generating an internal rate of return (IRR) of over 29% for ArborCrowd investors.

The transaction marks the first of ArborCrowd’s six deals to complete its investment cycle, and its success is a great sign of the long-term viability of the Company’s growing platform. The SSMP investment opportunity was quickly oversubscribed when ArborCrowd presented the deal on its platform in February 2017, raising over $2.1 million in just 5 days. The over 29% IRR generated by the sale of the portfolio far exceeded the targeted 17% to 20% IRR projected by ArborCrowd at the time of the offering.

Lendio Reports Q2 Results: 90% Year-Over-Year Revenue Growth (Lendio) Rated: A

Lendio, the nation’s leading marketplace for small business loans, today announced record growth across all areas of its business, including 90 percent year-over-year quarterly revenue growth. To date, Lendio has helped facilitate more than $900 million in financing to over 45,000 small businesses across the U.S. and Canada through its marketplace of more than 75 small business lenders. The growth milestone comes after an 80 percent increase in loans funded through the Lendio platform in the last year.

From July 2017 to June 2018, Lendio facilitated nearly $400 million in loans to more than 22,000 small businesses. The average initial loan size among Lendio’s small business customers grew to nearly $35,000. The top five industries funded through Lendio’s marketplace include construction, retail, restaurants, health care and information media.

GM Maven CEO: Peer-To-Peer Auto Lending Will Be A Large Market (Bloomberg) Rated: A

Julia Steyn, Maven CEO, on their new peer-to-peer lending program for GM car owners, and the progress Maven is making in the shared economy.


Whitepages Pro Unveils Pro Insight, a Global Identity Review Solution Powered by Machine Learning (Global Newswire) Rated: A

Whitepages Pro, a global leader in digital identity verification, today announced Whitepages Pro Insight, a new and improved manual review solution designed to help businesses assess the identity risk of their customers, approve good transactions, and investigate fraud on a global scale. As the only global identity review solution that provides six ways to search, it enables users to balance accuracy and efficiency through direct workflow integrations, machine learning-informed insight, and robust analytics.

Within Pro Insight, users are first presented with Identity Review, a comprehensive interface that verifies and cross-checks both digital and traditional identity attributes (name, email, phone, primary and secondary addresses, and IP) to verify the identity behind a transaction. The solution analyzes and presents the relationships between the five core identity attributes in several intuitive ways:

  • Confidence Score – An overall measure of the risk associated with a transaction that cross-references the five core identity attributes. The Confidence Score is powered by machine learning insights from billions of transactional patterns across the Whitepages Pro Identity Network and the 70+ data signals of the Identity Check API.
  • Positive and negative signals – A concise list of primary factors that influence a given Confidence Score.
  • Results columns – A detailed list of matches, mismatches, and invalid inputs based on the links between a transaction’s identity elements. Users can click on specific attributes to further investigate associated people, historical data, and more.
  • Distance Map – A visual representation of geographical distances between phone, primary address, secondary address, and IP address.

Center For The New Middle Class: Non-Prime Consumers Spending More Responsibly On Vacation (Payment Week) Rated: A

Non-prime consumers are significantly less likely to be taking to the road for vacation this summer, opting for staycations instead, and spending far less on vacations if they take one, a new study released today from Elevate’s 

Source: The Center for the New Middle Class

Key findings from the CNMC survey conducted in June include:

  • The non-prime are 29% less likely to take a vacation
  • The non-prime are 22% more likely to “staycation”
  • If they do take a vacation, the non-prime spend half as much
  • The non-prime are 2x as likely to have turned down a vacation due to financial constraints
  • The non-prime are 61% more likely to borrow money for a vacation
  • Non-prime spend 18% less per child on summer entertainment
  • Those with children were more likely to take vacations and borrow money to cover costs

The research also indicated that across both credit segments, summer community resource utilization (i.e. pools, parks, libraries, etc.) was relatively high, with more than 85% in both segments using these facilities. Summer entertainment expenses per child were also very similar between the prime and non-prime groups.

Read the full report here.

United Kingdom

P2P Lender Crowdstacker Now Seeking £800,000 Through Seedrs Funding Round (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

Crowdstacker, a UK-based peer-to-peer lending platform, is now seeking £800,000through its equity crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs. Founded in 2014, Crowdstacker describes itself as an award-winning FCA regulated online alternative investment platform that provides ISA eligible P2P loans, bonds, and loan notes.

BNP Paribas launches UK fund for SME lending (FinTech Futures) Rated: AAA

BNP Paribas Asset Management will launch BNP Paribas UK SME Debt Fund 1, offering clients access to the UK SME lending market.

The asset management arm of the bank’s new fund will invest in senior loans to SMEs with an annual turnover of less than £50 million through its BNPP AM’s SME Alternative Financing platform.

The platform uses proprietary big data technology, which pairs with the bank’s balance sheet and infrastructure.

Podcast 159: Christoph Rieche of iwoca (Lend Academy) Rated: A

Christoph Rieche is the CEO and Co-Founder of iwoca, a small business lender based in London with operations also in Germany and Poland. The name iwoca stands for instant working capital so they have leveraged technology in order to provide capital to small businesses quickly and efficiently.

In this podcast you will learn:

  • Why Christoph decided to start iwoca.
  • The segment of the small business market they focus on.
  • What is behind the continued decline in overall small business loan volumes.
  • The loan product offered by iwoca.
  • The typical size of their credit lines.
  • The kinds of businesses applying for credit at iwoca.
  • How their underwriting works and level of automation they use.

Navigating through the P2P property maze (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

Landbay investors can expect returns of around 3.54 per cent on its fixed-rate product, or 3.18 per cent with its tracker-rate option, by investing in loans secured by UK property.

The Peer-to-Peer Finance Association member launched its IFISA in February last year, meaning that Landbay customers can also benefit from tax-free earnings on their investments.

LandlordInvest’s investors have earned average annual returns of 11.3 per cent to date, secured by residential or commercial property, with the option of an IFISA wrapper

London Proptech Firm Goodlord Forms New Open Banking Partnership With TrueLayer (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: B

Goodlord, a UK-based proptech platform, has formed a new open banking partnership with TrueLayer. Founded in 2014, Goodlord reports that its cloud-based platform is trusted by hundreds of agencies across the UK. The company has created a one-stop-shop by providing access to a dynamic suite of specialized services, including insurance, e-signing, referencing, and e-payments.

Starling Bank takes on Monzo with daring debit card design (FinTech Futures) Rated: B

UK digital challenger Starling Bank is upping its design game with the launch of a new teal-coloured vertical debit card as it plays catch up with Monzo.

The new card has all customer details, including name, card number and expiry date, on the back – and it’s rolling them out this week.

The card is inspired by the blue-green tones of the plumage of the starling bird. It is also one of the initial group of 16 original “web colours” formulated in 1987 to display web pages, reflecting Starling’s digital heritage.

China

PPDai to boost technology investment (Shine) Rated: AAA

PPDai, China’s first online peer-to-peer lending platform listed in the US, said today it would increase its registered capital to 1 billion yuan (US$149 million) and expand its artificial intelligence applications to hedge risks and improve investor confidence amid concerns over P2P lending.

The Shanghai-based company, which has about 71 million users ,employs AI, Big Data and blockchain to fight against risk and fraud.

Alipay and WeBank competition heats up as China reins in leverage (Financial Times) Rated: AAA

Alipay and WeBank are set up perfectly to take advantage of new priorities from Chinese policymakers to increase the flow of capital to small companies and households, their approach is different as WeBank looks to use bank partnerships to make capital connections.

Alipay uses scale, data and technology capabilities to compete with banks for deposits and funds its borrowing through the ABS market.

Alipay and WeBank plan to list their finance arms soon which will continue to put pressure on the rivalry as well as the broader financial market in China.

Zennon Kapron on what’s next for Chinese fintech (China Economic Review) Rated: A

Analysing these questions is all part of the day job for Zennon Kapron, the head of fintech research and consulting firm Kapronasia. In this interview with China Economic Review, Kapron gives his take on some of the market’s recent developments, and explains why China’s fintech industry is such an exciting space to watch.

CER: How worried should we be about the recent panic surrounding China’s small P2P lending platforms?

ZK: The fact that P2P lending platforms are failing is not surprising. Many of these platforms had inadequate internal operational processes, poor lending practices, and in some cases, were just complete scams. What will be interesting to see is if retail investors will still want to put new money on these platforms. I get the impression at the moment that many investors are just trying to get their money out. Even if the P2P industry manages to right itself, it may find that all the investors are gone.

China’s P2P Online Lending Dominoes Continue to Fall (Ciaxin) Rated: A

Another domino in China’s peer-to-peer lending industry fell.

Beijing-based iqianbang.com was the latest online P2P lending platform to close down. The company announced a “benign exit” last Friday night, citing “deteriorating online lending environment and drying up liquidity.”

Investors in several P2P platforms, including iqianbang.com, gathered Monday at a local Beijing police station to report the loss of money to police.

Chinese P2P Lender’s Controller Disappears After Sponsoring Portugal (Yicai Global) Rated: A

Zheng Yansen, the controller of peer-to-peer lender Guangzhou Leader Internet Financial Information Service has disappeared, the firm announced yesterday.

It also acknowledged that ‘some of its projects are delayed’ and said it will set up a work group as soon as possible to inventory its assets and businesses, request borrowers to repay loans earlier than scheduled, and liquidate collateral as quickly as possible.

European Union

FinLeap Partners With Fabrick to Launch Financial Management Startup for Small Businesses (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

FinLeap, the fintech start-up platform behind Germany’s SolarisBank, announced on Monday it has teamed up with Italian open banking platform Fabrick to launch a new financial management startup specifically for small businesses. According to FinLeap, the startup, called Beesy, will simplify accounting, tax and banking services for micro-enterprises and freelancers.

As soon as Beesy is launched, FinLeap added it will provide more details about the services and how they work.

Rabobank’s novel approach to protecting customer data (American Banker) Rated: A

Take Dutch-based Rabobank, for example, which now converts customer data to the Latin names of flowers and animals in order to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation that sensitive client information be disguised.

At the heart of all these regulations is the mandate that companies must make sure no one can access customer data who shouldn’t, and that every effort is made to protect that data from breaches. Storing customer data in the clear — not encrypted, anonymized, or pseudonymized — is not acceptable, to regulators or anyone else.

Source: American Banker
International

MoneyGram And Visa Team To Deliver Real-Time Global P2P (PYMNTS) Rated: A

MoneyGram and Visa announced today (July 24) that they have partnered to deliver real-time digital disbursements to MoneyGram customers using Visa’s push payments platform, Visa Direct.

Launching in October in two key markets, Mexico and the Philippines, MoneyGram will expand its options in which receivers from those markets may receive and use funds instantly  via their bank-issued Visa-branded debit card or Visa-branded prepaid card  and senders may choose the option by which to send those funds. The partnership leverages the trust that consumers globally have in the MoneyGram and Visa brands, as well as the ability for receivers to access funds 24/7/365 without having to visit an agent location to pick up cash.

Australia

Property Connect enters technology agreement with Clearmatch to market new lending products (Small Caps) Rated: A

Realty services group Property Connect Holdings (ASX: PCH) has entered into a minimum five-year licence agreement to use a technology platform powered by marketplace treasury company Clearmatch, in the development and marketing of its own lending products designed to ease property market transactions.

The binding heads of agreement allows Property Connect to use the SocietyOne platform owned by Clearmatch to develop products focused on the emerging project development finance and residential mortgage sectors within the private peer-to-peer lending market.

India

P2P lending platform Monexo partners with Cube Wealth for new-clientele (Business Standard) Rated: B

Peer-to-Peer (P2P) lender, has partnered with to provide clients with an alternative avenue for investments. The app-based firm’s user-base of 350,000 customers will have an option of placing a portion of their investments onto Monexo’s platform.

The market space is only three years old and until last October operated without any regulatory oversight. While there are 3,000 lenders in China with a total lending book of $500 million, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is said to have approved licenses to around eight firms.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday March 22 2018, Daily News Digest

Thursday March 22 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: LendingTree launches free credit monitoring. Paytm gets into P2P lending. EquityMultiple stops promoting Reg D 506c offerings. Trusted Quid customer info stolen in data breach. PPDai grows revenue as stock rises. Today’s main analysis: Why China Rapid Finance’s ownership structure is important. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Are Amazon, Costco, and Target inching into wealth management? Open banking […]

Thursday March 22 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

Other

News Summary

United States

LendingTree Launches Free Credit Monitoring Service (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

LendingTree, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, today announced the launch of a free credit monitoring service within the My LendingTree platform. In partnership with TransUnion, LendingTree monitors users’ credit profiles daily and sends alerts of any changes or potential suspicious activity within 30 minutes of the credit report being updated.

Real Estate Investment Platform EquityMultiple Gives up on Reg D 506c (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

No longer will EquityMultiple publicly promote its real estate offerings online and elsewhere. Previously, EquityMultiple has leveraged Reg D 506c – a new securities exemption created by the JOBS Act of 2012. This rule allowed issuers and platforms to promote offerings on the internet – via social media and elsewhere  – in contrast to old Reg D (506b) that was barred from any advertising. And why on earth would EquityMultiple not want to promote unique and compelling investment opportunities? Because of the broken nature regarding the general solicitation rule.

Amazon in wealth management? What about Costco or Target? (Financial Planning), Rated: AAA

With Amazon inching closer to financial services, industry observers say its a worthy exercise to think about other potential retail competitors.

“People may roll their eyes in the land of wealth management and financial services, but it’s no longer a place for just banks. They don’t own it anymore,” said Doug Fritz, CEO and founder of F2 Strategy, a technology and marketing consulting firm to the wealth management industry based in the San Francisco Bay area.

Costco seems like the most obvious candidate to get into the wealth management space, said Fritz.

Incumbents such as Charles Schwab have already boxed in robos with products and are not being shy about advertising them, he adds.

5 Savvy Ways To Invest $ 10,000 In 2018 (Forbes), Rated: A

Online Real Estate Investing

Poll of SMBs Reveal Plans to Make Tech Investments Amid Strong Sales Growth (WWD), Rated: A

In a recent poll of small- to medium-sized businesses, financial and technology firm Kabbage Inc. found high expectations for sales growth this year as well as plans to make investments aimed at automation.

Kabbage, which offers lines of credit of up to $250,000 and cites retail as its top vertical, said more than 67 percent of the brick-and-mortar retailers polled expect revenue growth of over 20 percent this year. More than 73 percent of the online retailer respondents expect the same. The survey was based on responses from 800 businesses.

Regarding automation technology, nearly 44 percent of physical store retailers have plans to make investments in this area compared with 60 percent of online retailers. With cyber security and similar fraud prevention technologies, about 44 percent of both online and physical store retailers have plans to make investments in these solutions.

 

 

 

Hundreds of Start-Ups Tell Investors: Diversify, or Keep Your Money (New York Times), Rated: A

The American venture capital industry, which invested $84 billion in more than 8,000 companies last year, has long faced little to no impetus to alter its demographics. Venture firms are usually small private companies made up of former tech executives or financial types, who are mostly male and white. And because venture firms operate with long-term horizons — their funds generally invest over a 10-year period — the industry’s pace of change is often glacial.

In 2016, 11 percent of venture capital firms’ investment partners were women, according to a survey by the National Venture Capital Association and Deloitte. The survey found no black investment partners at venture firms, while 2 percent of investment partners were Latino.

Buyers acquire taste for deposit-rich banks (American Banker), Rated: A

Total loans at banks with less than $10 billion in assets rose by nearly 17% between 2012 and 2017, surpassing the roughly 5% increase in deposits over that time, according to data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

 

NYDFS sends survey request to online lenders (National Law Review), Rated: B

The New York Department of Financial Services has sent a letter directed to businesses that the DFS “understands…may be involved in online lending in the State of New York” and that asks recipients to complete a “New York Marketplace Lending Survey” that they can access online.

The letter states that the DFS is conducting the survey to gather information for a public report that it is required to issue by July 1, 2018 and which must include information about online lenders operating in New York and their business practices, including lending practices, interest rates and costs charged, and consumer complaints and investigations about the industry.

United Kingdom

Open Banking prompts UK fintechs to reassess collaboration partners (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

A report from accountancy firm EY, released on Thursday, found that 59 per cent of UK fintech firms see Open Banking as an opportunity to review their collaboration strategies.

The survey of 31 UK fintech firms also found that 74 per cent of respondents believe that new competitors such as tech firms will become increasingly important over time.

The new data rules, which mandate high street banks to share anonymised customer data with approved third parties, came into effect in January 2018. Peer-to-peer lenders such as Zopa and Lending Works have already announced their plans to capitalise on the new initiative.

94 per cent of fintech firms said they were focused on enhancing their current products and services and 81 per cent said they are planning to use Open Banking to build new services.

Early Returns From Open Banking Show a Mixed Picture (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Banks have not really stepped into the new world until recently as HSBC has stated they will be set to go live with a product by early May, RaboBank is creating a mobile ecosystem and RBS has explained they are working on solutions which includes a stand alone digital bank.

Digital banks Monzo and Starling Bank have already established themselves as early leaders in the market with their open APIs. Both have created financial marketplaces to allow for easy integration and access to different banking services.

Payday lender Trusted Quid admits 66,000 customers details were stolen in data breach (The Sun), Rated: AAA

Details of 66,000 customers including phone numbers, dates of birth, addresses, loan details, employment status and bank account information, were all taken from the website.

In a statement the company said: “There has been a theft of data from unauthorised access to the Trusted Quid website.”

“The incident relates to data directly entered by people applying for a loan only on the Trusted Quid website between 1 July 2016 and 17 February 2018.”

Trusted Quid say they have made three previous attempts to contact customers affected by the data breach.

 

Feature: Is London cooling? (Mortgage Strategy), Rated: A

Research from online estate agent HouseSimple in January showed only 387 properties for sale in zones 1–2 below the magic £300,000 level, rising to just 1,235 in zone 3. For homes valued at £300,001–£500,000, there were just 7,687 in zones 1-3 that were eligible for a stamp duty cut.

BUSINESS SHOWCASE : LOANBIT (Irish Tech News), Rated: A

LoanBit is a multi-currency platform that supports everything from fiat currencies to the latest cryptocurrencies. It allows you to send money in an encrypted format and secure it with state-of-the art security measures.

LoanBit offers an armor of a protection for the lenders. It safeguards the interests of the lenders in the community by covering up to 75% of the loan.

With LoanBit you can:

  • Keep money in a multi-currency wallet,
  • Trade on the integrated exchange,
  • Invest money in cryptocurrencies, and
  • Get a loan in the currency of your choice

ISAs 2018: Innovative Finance Isa can offer rates from 5 to 10 per cent (Express), Rated: A

The Innovative Finance Isa, or Ifisa, was announced by the Government in April 2016, giving ordinary savers the opportunity to invest in growing British businesses free of tax through the growing peer-to-peer (P2P) lending market, sometimes called crowdlending.

Landbay targets 3.54 per cent, Zopa aims for 4.6 per cent a year, Ratesetter offers between3and 6 per cent and Money&Co an average of 8.6 per cent.At the riskier end of the scale the RebuildingSociety is aiming for 9.7 per cent.
China

Is Ping An China’s Most Valuable Insurer or a Tech-Investing Fad? (The Wall Street Journal), Rated: AAA

The $100 billion question for the world’s second-largest insurer: is it an insurance firm or is it a technology firm?

Shares of China’s Ping An Insurance—the biggest insurer by market value after Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway—have more than doubled in the past year, far outpacing peers. The increase in its market capitalization—of more than $100 billion—is partly due to the fast growth of its life- and health-insurance business. The value of new business last year grew 33% from 2016.

Shares Rise as PPDai Reports Revenue Growth, Stock Buyback (Capital Watch), Rated: AAA

PPDai Group Inc., an online peer-to-peer lending platform in China, reported today that its operating revenues for the fourth quarter increased more than 85 percent compared with a year earlier.

The Shanghai-based company, which completed its initial public offering in November, said during the quarter, it had a net loss attributable to ordinary shareholders of $200.4 million, or 89 cents per American depositary share. That was in contrast to income of $2.8 million a year earlier. Revenue for the three months ended Dec. 31 was $140.2 million, up from $75.7 million in the year-earlier period.

Why China Rapid Finance Limited’s (NYSE:XRF) Ownership Structure Is Important (Simply Wall St News), Rated: AAA

I am going to take a deep dive into China Rapid Finance Limited’s (NYSE:XRF) most recent ownership structure, not a frequent subject of discussion among individual investors. When it comes to ownership structure of a company, the impact has been observed in both the long-and short-term performance of shares. The same amount of capital coming from an activist institution and a passive mutual fund has different implications on corporate governance, which is a decisive factor for a long-term investor. It also impacts the trading environment of company shares, which is more of a concern for short-term investors. Therefore, I will take a look at XRF’s shareholders in more detail.

Source Simple Wall Strett

Institutional Ownership

In XRF’s case, institutional ownership stands at 18.79%, significant enough to cause considerable price moves in the case of large institutional transactions, especially when there is a low level of public shares available on the market to trade.

Insider Ownership

Another important group of shareholders are company insiders. Insider ownership has to do more with how the company is managed and less to do with the direct impact of the magnitude of shares trading on the market.

General Public Ownership

The general public holds a substantial 42.76% stake in XRF, making it a highly popular stock among retail investors.

Private Equity Ownership

Private equity firms hold a 16.12% stake in XRF.

Private Company Ownership

Potential investors in XRF should also look at another important group of investors: private companies, with a stake of 5.44%, who are primarily invested because of strategic and capital gain interests.

China toughens supervision on third party payment (xinhuane), Rated: B

Agricultural Bank of China announced in a recent notice that it would cut off the payment channel for Internet finance businesses such as peer-to-peer lending, the Xinhua-run Economic Information Daily reported.

The move followed a series of penalties levied at banks and online payment companies, which analysts said were aimed at curbing risks arising from direct clearance agreements between them.

European Union

 

Danish online lender basisbank to implement Fico Blaze Advisor (Finextra), Rated: B

With FICO Blaze Advisor decision rules management system, Basisbank risk analysts will be able to quickly make changes to credit strategies for unsecured consumer loans and point-of-sale financing in order to increase profitability and reduce the risk of loans going unpaid. Basisbank receives more than 75 percent of its credit applications from mobile devices.

International

How digital banks are raising the bar for customer experience (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Challenger bank N26 raised $160 million in Series C funding this week to fuel its expansion to the U.S., and other markets, later this year. Revolut, another U.K. challenger, has been planning a U.S. launch this year too and Monzo is rumored to follow.

Digital-only challenger banks have changed customer expectations, including customer service and how customers want to use financial products. Big banks are taking notice, with companies developing sub-brands to hook younger, digital-savvy customers or others — the most recent of which is rumored to be the Royal Bank of Scotland.

For Monzo, which just crossed 500,000 current account holders, the absence of physical branches doesn’t mean a lack of interaction with customers. Monzo’s approach is to release early versions of products to a group of customers and get customer feedback from within the app and through an online forum. It’s an approach that gives customers a sense of ownership and excitement about the brand. For Monzo’s marketplace beta, it sought out feedback from 3,000 customers.

India

Digital payments player paytm wants slice of P2P lending (The Economic Times), Rated:AAA

Paytm, the country’s largest digital payments company, is trying to enter the lending space and is seeking a licence from RBI to become a peer-to-peer lending platform.

According to documents sourced by ET from the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, the company moved a board resolution on February 7 saying it intends to “carry on the business of non-banking financial company — peer-to-peer”.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday August 24 2017, Daily News Digest

corporate bond credit spreads

News Comments Today’s main news: Walmart getting closer to a deal with Afffirm. AutoFi raises $10M. Zopa reports diminishing losses, rising revenues for 2016. Landbay closes 2.4M GBP round on Seedrs. USAmeriBank goes live on Finastra. Today’s main analysis: After shallow sell-off, corporate credit spreads stabilize. Today’s thought-provoking articles: A call for more considered critiques of P2P lending. What’s behind […]

corporate bond credit spreads

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

Walmart reportedly closes in on pilot deal to offer Affirm loans (Retail Dive), Rated: AAA

Walmart reportedly is closing in on an agreement with loan services startup Affirm for a pilot program under which Affirm would offer the retailer’s customers installment loans for purchases, sources familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal.The pilot could start as early as this fall.

Why are retailers so enamored with Affirm? Giving customers the option to take out an installment loan to finance a purchase gives customers more choices, making it more likely that they actually will make the purchase. Millenials and other younger demographioc consumers are often loathe to carry mountains of personal debt that way previous generations have.

However, it also has to do with the inflexible and sometimes excessive terms of store credit cards, which generally charge higher interest rates than the lowest portion of Affirm’s rate range. Still interest revenue and late fees from store cred cards contribute a significant amount of money to retailers’ bottom lines, making it difficult for them to commit to giving their customers more financing choices.

Overall though, retailers, banks and credit card companies are all starting to understand that at a time of massive change in how and where people shop, they need to make it easier for shoppers to close the deal. Mastercard may recognize this as well as Walmart does. The card network aligned with Verifone late last year to begin offering instant installment financing at the point of sale.

You can now buy 0 pants with a subprime loan (The Outline), Rated: A

Affirm may be a relatively new company, but the service it offers isn’t particularly innovative: It’s taking the concept of layaway, a type of no-interest payment plan that became popular during the Great Depression that lets you pay for things in fixed installments and take them home once you’ve paid for it in full, and twisting it for millennials.  Unlike layaway, Affirm delivers your purchases instantly — but the cost of instant gratification is interest rates as high as 30 percent.  The service is basically a cross between credit cards and layaway, combining the worst aspects of both.

Once your Affirm loan is approved, you can choose to pay it off in 3, 6, or 12 months, and interest rates range from 10 to 30 percent. The average customer takes out a $750 loan with a 21-percent interest rate and pays it back in nine months. Compared to credit cards, which have an average APR of 17 percent, and personal loans that typically have interest rates ranging from 5 to 36 percent, Affirm isn’t a particularly good deal.


Wal-Mart Stores To Exacerbate Synchrony Financial Woes With Affirm Deal (Baystreet), Rated: A

Affirm and Walmart have been in discussion about the possibility of teaming up since last year. Talks appear to have picked pace this year as the retailer continues to explore ways of giving customers access to a wide range of financing options to boost sales and shrug off competition posed by e-commerce platforms.

However, the move would also spell trouble for Synchrony Financial (NYSE:SYF) which is the retailer’s exclusive U.S card issuer.

The fact that Affirm offers loans could significantly reduce the number of people who apply for Synchrony credit cards.

After shallow sell-off, corporate credit spreads stabilize (Morningstar), Rated: AAA

Credit spreads in the corporate bond market stabilized last week after a brief sell-off the prior week pushed spreads higher. The average spread of the Morningstar Corporate Bond Index (our proxy for the investment-grade bond market) tightened 2 basis points to +113, and the average credit spread of the BankAmerica Merrill Lynch High Yield Master Index tightened 2 basis points to +398.

Earlier this month, British American Tobacco (BBB, stable) decided to issue $17.25 billion worth of bonds to fund its acquisition of Reynolds Tobacco. This transaction is the second-largest corporate bond deal Page 3 of 22 Morningstar Corporate Credit Research Highlights | 21 August 2017 | See Important Disclosures at the end of this report. Page 3 of 22 Page 3 of 22 Page 3 of 22 Page 3 of 22 Page 3 of 22 Page 3 of 22 Page 3 of 22 issued this year, surpassed only by AT&T’s (BBB/UR-) $22.5 billion transaction, which itself was the third-largest corporate bond deal in history. The proceeds from the AT&T transaction will be used as the final installment for the permanent financing of its pending acquisition of Time Warner (rating: BBB+/UR-). In addition, McCormick & Co. (A+/UR-) had issued $2.5 billion of new bonds two weeks ago to finance its acquisition of Reckitt Benckiser’s food division.

Through the week ended Wednesday, Aug. 16, investors pulled $2.3 billion of assets out of the highyield market. Among the open-end funds, investors withdrew $1.0 billion of funds, and across the highyield exchange-traded funds, there was $1.3 billion of net units redeemed.

AutoFi Raises $ 10 Million Series A To Make It Easier To Get A Car Loan (Forbes), Rated: AAA

AutoFi has raised $10 million in its quest to make it easier to take out a car loan.

The San Francisco-based financial technology company said on Thursday it has completed a Series A funding round, with investors including Crosslink Capital, Ford Motor Credit Company and Lerer Hippeau Ventures.

AutoFi makes a white-label technology platform that allows car dealers to offer faster, online financing to customers. It recently partnered with Ford Motor Credit and is in the midst of launching at select Ford and Lincoln dealerships.

How TD Ameritrade tackles security in Facebook Messenger chatbot (Financial-Planning), Rated: A

A common refrain in financial services these days is that companies need to go where customers are, not wait for people to come to a banking app or brokerage website.

TD Ameritrade is following that advice with a Facebook Messenger chatbot that will give customers instant updates on their portfolios and trades. The bot, unveiled Tuesday, will require the unit of Toronto-Dominion Bank to work through the privacy and security issues financial firms face whenever they communicate with customers via third-party platforms such as Messenger and Amazon’s Alexa.

The Future of Simple (Simple.com), Rated: A

Over the last few years, we have been focused on rebuilding Simple’s technology on our new partner bank, Compass. Our focus on infrastructure and supporting customer growth means we haven’t been fully invested in building new technology that helps people feel confident that they’re doing money right. We have not made good on our promise to change an industry that is failing them.

We have been focused on growth instead of innovation. We have been acting like a bank instead of a technology company. And that changes today.

Today, we are recommitting to being a technology company that is completely focused on product. We are re-designing our team so that everything we do is in support of this focus. We will be ruthlessly dedicated to identifying customer problems and building products that solve them.

SuperMoney’s Auto Loan Offer Engine Will Change the Way You Buy A Car (Supermoney), Rated: A

After debuting its personal loan offer engine at Finovate in April 2017, SuperMoney today unveiled an automotive focused loan offer engine where its lending partners compete in real-time with customized auto loan offers.

The new auto loan offer engine allows borrowers to submit a single, easy, online application and receive multiple auto loan offers back. The tool makes apples to apples comparisons easy when shopping for the best auto financing rates, fees, and terms.

Only 31.6% of car buyers negotiate the interest rate on their loan

A recent survey by the Federal Reserve reported that 76.1% of car buyers negotiated the purchase price with the seller, but only 31.6% negotiated the interest rate on their loan. It gets worse. 27.1% of car buyers considered the monthly payment on their auto loan as the most important factor, but only 6.1% considered the interest rate on the loan as the most important factor (source).

 

 

Lending as a service (LaaS) and why it matters (CIO), Rated: A

Banks today are turning away more loan applicants than in recent memory thanks to stricter regulations and lingering memories of the recent financial crisis. Younger entrepreneurs who have little or no credit history often find themselves rejected from these financing options.

Even when they are accepted, the loan process can be arduous and needlessly complicated, taking longer than business owners can afford. Applications take several visits to the bank, credit checks, records requests and weeks’ worth of back-and-forth communications just to reach the underwriting phase.

The major catalyst for this new lending paradigm has been the rapid pace of online technology innovation over the last decade. Improvements in cloud infrastructure and artificial intelligence systems enable fintech companies to create reliable evaluation and matching systems for loans. Companies can now examine a potential borrower’s financial records in minutes instead of weeks. Thanks to this compressed timeline, approval can now happen in as little as one day.

Instead of multiple meetings with bank lenders over the course of many weeks to compare options, users can often be approved in under a day by a reputable LaaS company.

LaaS platforms such as Ezbob promise to approve a business loan for companies and deliver funds in under thirty minutes. The company’s algorithm examines more than credit scores, evaluating company financials and records to quickly distribute capital to those that require it most.

New Report on Fintech from the World Economic Forum (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Today, the World Economic Forum released a report titled, Beyond Fintech: A Pragmatic Assessment Of Disruptive Potential In Financial Services, that was the result of those and many other discussions they had with leaders from around the world. The report aims to answer the question about whether fintech companies will really change the financial landscape.

Below are some of the key findings from the report:

  • Fintech start-ups have so far fallen short of their ambitions to upend the competitive landscape in finance, driving innovation but struggling to capture market share in mature markets.
  • What fintechs have done is define the direction and speed of innovation across most areas of financial services; they have also set new and higher bars for user experience.
  • Large technology firms like Amazon and Google may represent the largest competitive threat to financial institutions, as their AI and cloud computing services become more central to the sector, and customer data rises in importance.
  • Models of financial services innovation around the world are diverging, benefitting local firms and making it harder to co-ordinate a regulatory response.

Douugh Rises to Challenge with AI-Powered Banking (Paybefore), Rated: A

Banking challenger Douugh has unveiled its artificial intelligence (AI)-powered financial platform, guided by “Sophie”—a 24/7 personal assistant for finances, reports Paybefore sister publication Banking Technology.

Douugh plans to use Sophie to help consumers make better financial decisions by:

  • Connecting a user’s existing bank accounts and credit cards, Sophie will collate, organize and inform on spending habits all in one place;
  • Using Sophie as their own personal banker to perform transactional tasks—such as paying and splitting bills, requesting money, saving, tracking and management of spending and savings goals;
  • Integrating with Alexa and Siri for voice activation.

Rebundling financial services is aspiration of startup Douugh (American Banker), Rated: A

“You are 0% of the way to your retirement goal! You have plenty of time, keep up the good work.”

This message I recently received from the Wela app reminded me to kick my retirement saving efforts into gear. It’s an example of the kind of personalized financial advice many banks and fintechs are trying to provide right now, often with artificial intelligence engines analyzing customers’ account data, predicting future trends and making recommendations.

Based in San Francisco, Douugh strives to use artificial intelligence to help the 25-to-35-year-old set reduce their credit card and student loan debt and make better spending and saving decisions.

Ripple- Just As Good If Not Better (Investing.com), Rated: A

If you could buy a wristwatch that is the same quality as a Rolex or a Cartier for $350, would you wear it?

A company called Filippo Loreti aims to deliver just that. The level of support that the young company is receiving from alternative investors is truly inspiring.

Thanks to the power of the Internet this watchmaker has already raised $6 million in two rounds of funding making it one of the most successful crowdfunding projects in history.

Smart Solutions for Smart Cities (JD Supra), Rated: B

Property “consumers” will be able to compare real-time information on a wide range of variables affecting property assets – for example, energy efficiency, connectivity and traffic noise.  Banks will no longer be the only source of funds, with fast availability of internet peer-to-peer lending speeding up the time taken to put a deal together.

Blockchain or distributed ledger technology raises a number of opportunities in this field, from mortgage valuations, to rental and service charge payment systems. Smart contracts will replace the traditional approach to conveyancing – the main incentives being that the technology will expedite the process, reduce fraud and offer total transparency.

SCORE: Dos and don’ts for crowdfunding small businesses (PostBulletin), Rated: B

To help make a rewards-based crowdfunding effort successful, Dargie offers these dos and don’ts:

Do:

  • Understand the differences between rewards-based crowdfunding, equity crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending.
  • Pick the right platform for your rewards-based campaign.
  • Follow through on your promises. Watchdog groups and state and federal consumer protection bureaus have begun to shift their attention to deceptive crowdfunding campaigns.

Don’t:

  • Fail to manage the expectations of your campaign’s backers.
  • Launch a campaign without the liability protection of a properly formed business entity.
  • Forget about taxes.

“When We Decided to Sell the Company, it Became Apparent that RealtyShares Was the Right Choice” (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Last month, Real estate crowdfunding platform RealtyShares announced it acquired technology-first, marketplace platform Acquire Real Estate.

Now, less than 30-days later, Director of Business Development at RealtyShares and former CEO of Acquire, Josh Klimkiewicz, is sharing more details about the acquisition.

“The mission doesn’t end here. I will join the RealtyShares team as the director of commercial business development to lead that channel as RealtyShares continues to scale. In my new role, I will concentrate on building long-term relationships between RealtyShares and real estate owners across the country.”

Wealth Management vs. Financial Advice: They’re Not the Same (Kiplinger), Rated: B

Wealth management is one of the terms that is most overused, and it’s often misunderstood. But it’s actually pretty straightforward. Wealth management takes things up a notch, with an adviser or advisory team providing a full range of services for the client in three distinct ways.

  1. Investment consulting
  2. Advanced planning
    • Wealth enhancement: This is the use of strategies to deal with cash-flow issues and liquidity concerns, mitigate taxes and maximize growth.
    • Wealth transfer: Advisers look for the most efficient ways to pass your wealth on to your heirs in a way that lets your beneficiaries keep most or all of the money.
    • Wealth protection: For those who are subject to a lot of liabilities, there are strategies that can help protect hard-earned savings and avoid any blind spots.
    • Charitable giving: With proper planning, donating to a charity or charities can be a win-win, maximizing support for a favorite cause while making the most of certain tax advantages.
  3. Relationship management

How to Win an Argument (Mental Floss), Rated: B

To persuasively drive your point home, follow the tips below, provided by online lender CashNetUSA’s SavingSpot blog and spotted by Entrepreneur.

United Kingdom

Zopa Reports Diminishing Loss as Revenues Rise for 2016 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Zopa, the first peer to peer lender to set up shop in the UK, has filed its annual accounts for 2016, and according to their numbers business is looking better.

Top line revenue improved by 61% jumping to £33.2 million for 2016. The operating loss stood at £5.9 million for the year, an improvement over the £8.9 million from year prior.

A call for more considered critiques of P2P lending (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Between RateSetter’s wholesale lending saga and subsequent withdrawal from the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association, Zopa’s heightened loss expectations, and Funding Circlesignalling an end to manual investment, industry detractors are hardly short of fuel for their fires.

And yet we continue to endure spurious headlines that seem to be born of a broad desire to bash P2P, on the basis of seemingly anything.

Anyway. The latest episode of this kind comes courtesy of The Financial Times, which reported on Monday that peer-to-peer lending websites are “struggling to attract UK customers who want to borrow money”.

Source: AltFi

Landbay Closes £2.4M Crowdfunding Round on Seedrs (Finsmes), Rated: AAA

Landbay, a London, UK-based buy-to-let mortgage lender, has closed a £2.4m crowdfunding round.

The funds were raised via Seedrs.

The company, which has raised approx. £7m to date via the crowdfunding platform, intends to use the funds to continue to expand operations and launch new products.

IFAs still most influential source of financial advice (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

INDEPENDENT financial advisers (IFAs) are the most trusted source of external investment advice, but investors are still more likely to trust their own judgement, new research claims.

A survey by property finance firm Minerva Lending found that almost three quarters (72 per cent) of active investors prefer to take the advice of an IFA. However, the vast majority of active investors (77 per cent) said that they would rather trust their own judgement. Three in five (60 per cent) said that they would be more likely to trust word of mouth.

The survey also found that investors still prefer traditional investment advice over newer fintech solutions. Only 12 per cent of the investors surveyed said that they would trust a robo-adviser to offer financial guidance, and just 22 per cent would trust a standalone piece of software.

Should more banks form partnerships with alternative lenders? (Bridging and Commercial), Rated: A

More banks should be forming partnerships with alternative lenders, one business finance provider has stated.

In the bank referral scheme, the UK’s biggest banks pass on the details of SMEs that have been turned down for loans to three SME finance platforms, which then share their details with alternative finance providers.

Almost £4m of funding was accessed by 230 SMEs under the matchmaking scheme.

Chirag Shah, CEO of Nucleus Commercial Finance, felt there were clear benefits to the collaboration between banks and alternative lenders, but also urged for transparency.

Debunking the peer-to-peer lending myths (City A.M.), Rated: A

So let’s look at some of the common arguments raised and try to filter out the fact from the fiction.

P2P will suffer in an economic downturn

Yet the oldest UK platform Zopa – which launched in 2005 – managed to survive during the financial collapse of 2008.

Admittedly the default rates jumped to 4.2 per cent from 0.4 per cent the year before, but figures from Zopa show that investors were still able to earn a four per cent annual return during the financial crash, compared to six per cent in 2007.

P2P platform Landbay commissioned an independent report in 2015 to find out how it would perform in poor economic conditions.

While the loss rate on Landbay’s loans is 0.03 per cent in normal economic conditions, the loss rate was estimated to hit 0.48 per cent if times got tough – that is, if GDP was down 3.5 per cent, unemployment rose to nine per cent, and UK house prices fell by 20 per cent. So even if the economy shrinks, investors would not have lost money.

An interest rate rise will kill the P2P industry

But Lucy Bott, head of customer operations at RateSetter, points out that interest rates on P2P platforms are not set by the banks, but by the supply of and demand for money.

P2P is for young people

He points to a report from Nesta, which found that more than half of P2P lending investors are aged 55 and over, while a third of lenders are aged 35 to 54, and just 12 per cent of investors are under 35.

P2P Lending Sites Not Quite Wooing UK Customers (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Among 1,100 British consumers polled by consultancy firm EY, only 7 percent indicated they had used such a service to borrow money this year. A separate poll of 1,050 Brits by Blumberg Capital revealed just 4 percent of them had utilized alternative lending platforms over the previous year, according to the Financial Times.

Where FinTech firms worldwide attracted $20 billion in investments over the first half of 2016, that number dropped to just $12 billion during the first six months of 2017.

The lower funding amounts could be attributed to banks having joined the peer-to-peer lending landscape, creating their own technologies or joining forces with startups to stay current, thus broadening the competitive field.

China

Fintech in China: What’s Behind the Boom? (Brink News), Rated: AAA

The country makes some of the world’s largest investments in the sector, and it has adopted fintech technologies faster than anywhere else. Companies such as Alipay, Lufax and ZhongAn Insurance have made their names across the globe by using fintech to develop some of the most disruptive business models. These players have enjoyed the fruits of fintech’s unprecedented growth by filling the gaps in China’s structurally imbalanced financial system in an open regulatory environment.

We believe the development of fintech in China has reached an inflection point. From this point, technology will be the key driver of value-chain disruption in an increasingly data-driven industry.

For example, it took four years for peer-to-peer transaction volume to exceed $5 billion in the U.S., while it took only two years in China. Lufax, a Chinese peer-to-peer lending platform founded in 2011, reached an annual loan origination amount of 9 billion yuan in just two years, compared to five years for Lending Club, the biggest peer-to-peer lending company in the U.S.

A global block chain summit was spot inspected, caused shock on ICO market (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

Recently, the Market Supervision Bureau of Shanghai Pudong New District has raided a global block chain summit that is suspected of false propaganda. According to the investigation, 35 companies set up booth to promote technology and financial products on the spot, and nearly 2,000 people attended the summit. The organizer is a Shanghai-based software technology company. The company referred to “bitcoin” technology and has developed a digital cryptocurrency ETP (entropy) on its own, which was traded on its platform.

On the spot, Law enforcement officials ordered the meeting to be halted immediately and interviewed with the parties involved. And in the same day, this news triggered a nearly 200% shock in the value of related tokens on some trading platforms, reflecting the growing risk of the ICO market. Now the company is still under investigation for alleged violations.

European Union

Klarna co-founder seeks to spur European tech giving (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

In the US, technology magnates from Microsoft’s Bill Gates to Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg have started a long line of high-profile, high-minded initiatives often aimed at combating disease and helping the poor.

But in Europe, where many of the unicorns — start-ups valued at more than $1bn — are of a more recent vintage, many founders are still thinking of how to make money rather than spend it.

Two years ago, Mr Adalberth had become bored with what he describes as “the constant chasing of the next goal or achievement” at Klarna. So he stepped aside from the group and its relentless attempt to conquer the digital payment world by becoming a bank and attracting Visa in as an investor.

Instead, Mr Adalberth became one of the first of the recent crop of European tech founders to think about giving away money. The result is Norrsken Foundation, which has a triple-pronged approach aimed at encouraging social entrepreneurship. His venture is risky but is likely to be closely watched by the growing ranks of multi-millionaire European founders to see if it can provide some kind of blueprint. “There is a trend in the US to give something back. This trend has come to Sweden and maybe Europe as well,” he says.

Rabobank constructs physical model to understand IT architecture (Finextra), Rated: A

Rabobank has built a 3D model of its own organisation and supporting IT systems to help visualise improvements that can be made as it embarks on its digital transformation programme.

As a banking co-operative operating at both local and regional levels, the Dutch bank runs a complex network of independent IT platforms often performing the same functions depending on local practices.

International

USAmeriBank live on Finastra hosted payments hub (Finextra), Rated: AAA

USAmeriBank selected Finastra’s hosted solution in order to have the flexibility to quickly add new payments rails and services, future-proofing its technology investment, while improving customer service and increasing straight-through processing.

In addition to quick time-to-market and ease of implementation, another benefit of using a hosted solution is a reduction of maintenance effort and total cost of ownership, as the technology and business services are maintained by Finastra.

In the coming months, the bank plans to add US ACH, and eventually real-time payments components, completing the bank’s journey to a fully-outsourced payment processing model.

AI Is the New UI – Exclusive Interview With Jake Tyler, CEO of Finn.AI (Let’s Talk Payments), Rated: A

 

LTP: Give us a high-level paragraph pitch for your company.

JT: The Finn Virtual Banking Assistant is a personal banking and financial management assistant, powered by artificial intelligence.

Finn delivers a personal banker within a customer’s favorite channels, including Facebook Messenger, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, SMS, iOS and Android apps, and web chat. We believe that AI is the new UI.

LTP: In a sentence or two, what specific problems are you solving today?

JT: We help banks connect with customers where they already are (in major instant messaging and voice platforms), adapt to a new paradigm of consumer expectations set by Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook where deep personalization and simple conversational interfaces are the norm, and reduce costs by augmenting human customer care agents with AI.

LTP: What are the biggest challenges you face when building with AI and ML, being nascent technologies? How have you overcome, or are you overcoming, those challenges?

JT: The biggest challenge is data, both quantity and quality. We address this by going deep in one core vertical – banking. We have a large, pre-existing data model in this domain that grows daily as consumers use our assistant. As new banks adopt Finn they are able to leverage this data model to deploy a high-quality assistant with proven features much faster than they would otherwise be able to do.

India

RBI to harmonise NBFC regulations (India Times), Rated: AAA

There is scope for harmonisation of regulations covering non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) and the Reserve Bank is moving in that direction, Deputy Governor N S Vishwanathan said today.

He also said there is a need to create some new types of NBFCs to cater to the needs of the growing economy.

Guernsey consultation to update regs governing ‘non-regulated’ financial businesses (International Investment), Rated: A

The 103-page Lending, Credit & Finance Consultation Paper  is aimed jointly at enabling Guernsey to accommodate the growing number of “innovative, often digitally-enabled, financial services which don’t neatly fit into the boxes marked banking, insurance, investment or fiduciary covered by current laws”, as well as to better protect Guernsey consumers and investors, “particularly those who are less financially able, from unscrupulous lending practises”, the GFSC says, in a summary of the LC&FCP‘s contents.

The proposed legislation would replace this existing NRFSB Law.

To read and download the consultation paper, click here.

Asia

He also said there is a need to create some new types of NBFCs to cater to the needs of the growing economy.

Read more at:

The future of banking in Southeast Asia is in Cryptocurrency (Hero Email), Rated: B

There are an estimated two (2) billion people in the world who remain unbanked and underbanked. That’s roughly a quarter of the entire planet’s population who have little to no direct access to financial services most commonly found in banks and formal lending institutions.

In Southeast Asia, approximately only twenty-seven (27%) of the entire region are financially included, leaving the rest with little to no defense in times of economic crises.

Hero will build a blockchain-based credit algorithm and lending platform. Hero will be launching its own cryptocurrency coin called Hero Token through an upcoming token sale.

The majority of populations who suffer from financial exclusion live in emerging countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia and their neighbors in Southeast Asia. A notable fact about this region [SEA] is that it is the fastest growing Internet region in the world and is also the fourth largest.

Backed by an award winning group of experts, the organization started operating in the Philippines in 2015 as PawnHero, offering collateralized loans using an online platform, and since then has been helping thousands of Filipinos obtain access to affordable credit.

There will also be a ‘pre-sale’ wherein people can buy tokens prior to the actual token sale and get bonuses. During the pre-sale, Hero will offer 80% of all tokens to be created for purchase by the public in the Hero Initial Coin Offering under the ticker symbol Hero. The remaining 20% of all Hero tokens will be distributed to early believers, advisors and founders.

To participate in the Hero token sale people can send the following currencies – Ethereum (ETH), ETH Classic, BitCoin (BTC), Ripple, LiteCoin, and Waves from a wallet they directly control to the Hero wallet. Aside from these, extra tokens will be offered to those who commit early. Bounties are provided when the crowdsale ends. All payments received for Hero tokens in connection with this token sale will be held in escrow in a multi-signature address, with a multi-key structure.

For more information go to .

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday May 16 2017, Daily News Digest

corporate bond credit spreads

News Comments Today’s main news: KBRA rates Prosper’s Series 2017-1. SoFi’s bid to become bank pulls FDIC into fintech fray. LendInvest joins Home Builders Federation. Monzo puts API dev on back burner. PBOC sets up new China fintech committee. N26 launches savings accounts with Raisin. Today’s main analysis: Asset volatility diminishing and approaching new lows. Today’s thought-provoking articles: The future […]

corporate bond credit spreads

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

Asia

Canada

South America

News Summary

United States

KBRA Rates Prosper Marketplace Issuance Trust, Series 2017-1 (KBRA Email), Rated: AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to three classes of notes issued by Prosper Marketplace Lending Issuance Trust 2017-1 (“PMIT 2017-1”). This is a $450.5 million consumer loan ABS transaction that is expected to close on May 24, 2017.

This transaction represents the sixth securitization collateralized by unsecured consumer loans originated through the online marketplace lending platform operated by Prosper Funding LLC (“Prosper” or the “Company”).

Get the full report.

Volatility in the asset markets has been steadily declining and is nearing new lows. One factor helping to suppress volatility is the lack of many surprises in the first-quarter earnings season, which passed with results generally within the range of expectations. From an economic point of view, while GDP was weak in the first quarter, it is expected to rebound in the second quarter.

Following the French presidential election and the general lessening of international tensions, corporate credit spreads have tightened and asset volatility has declined toward its lowest levels.

Source: Morningstar

The average corporate credit spread of the Morningstar Corporate Bond Index (our proxy for the investment-grade bond market) tightened 3 basis points last week to +117, a new low for the year. The last time the index was at this level was September 2014. From a longer-term perspective, the average spread of the Morningstar Corporate Bond Index has been lower less than one fourth of the time since the end of 1999. In the high-yield market, the Bank of America Merrill Lynch High Yield Master Index tightened 5 basis points to +377. The tightening was led by the energy sector, which declined 10 basis points as oil prices continued to rise. Since the end of 1999, the average spread of the high-yield index has been tighter only 17% of the time.

Source: Morningstar

The Future of Lending is Now with Latest TransUnion Prama Offerings (NASDAQ), Rated: AAA

As TransUnion (NYSE:TRU) data from the end of March 2017 suggest, the consumer credit market is as complex as ever. Mortgage delinquency rates: continuing to drop. Auto loan delinquency rates: rising. Personal loan market: growing, but slowing. Access to credit cards: highest since 2005.

Maneuvering through this ever-changing credit landscape is difficult for lenders of all sizes, ranging from credit unions to regional banks to the largest financial institutions. To help navigate through this complex maze, TransUnion today introduced the newest modules in its PramaSMenvironmentBenchmarking and Data Extract.

Prama Benchmarking provides advanced data analytics and visualization capabilities specific to the auto loan, credit card, mortgage and personal loan markets—to deliver relevant insights for each line of business. Lenders will now be able to measure their performance across numerous metrics and filters, and compare it to the industry and their peers.  This information can be used to improve how financial services companies segment, target, acquire, cross-sell and retain customers. The Data Extract module provides self-service access to query against 100 percent of TransUnion depersonalized archive credit data, allowing customers to receive faster delivery of data to support their own analytics—in their own environment with their preferred tools.

Measuring Business Performance Against Peers

Benchmarking provides performance data on metrics such as delinquencies, charge-offs, bankruptcy, average balance and utilization. It offers views of market share in terms of number of accounts, total limit or total balance. The module also lets lenders analyze depersonalized data using dimensions such as APR, origination vintage, credit tier, state or MSA region, account status and consumer credit age.

For instance, a regional bank in Western Pennsylvania interested in growing its credit card portfolio is now able to observe five years of its own data versus other similar banks in their region.

Extracting Data Faster – From a Month or More to Hours

A traditional archive request process – from customer order to product delivery – typically takes 30 days or more. This includes time spent defining and iterating on the customer’s data requirements. “With Data Extract, the process will take less than 24 hours – an enormous time savings,” said Gomez.

With Data Extract, customers gain the following advantages:

  • Self-service – On-demand, point-and-click access to query TU depersonalized archive credit data.
  • Speed – Secure overnight delivery of the dataset.
  • Confidence – Quick access to depersonalized data to support a customer’s own analytics, so they can make faster decisions with more confidence.
  • Control – Create queries according to their data requirements, avoiding the back and forth that is often typical of an archive request process.
  • Flexibility – Quickly obtain depersonalized data for use within their own analytics environment and processes.

SoFi’s bid to become an industrial bank pulls FDIC into fintech fray (American Banker), Rated: AAA

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has so far managed to stay out of the growing battle over how the U.S. fintech sector should be regulated, but that appears likely to end as one of the nation’s largest online lenders announced plans to apply for a specialty banking charter soon.

Social Finance Inc., the San Francisco-based consumer lender known as SoFi, hopes to secure an industrial bank charter. That state-issued charter used to be a popular way to organize a bank, and was commonly used by companies that are not primarily in the financial services industry.

SoFi COO: We have measures in place, extra authentication for our consumers (MSN), Rated: AAA

Joanne Bradford, SoFi COO, weighs in on how companies are protecting themselves on the heels of a worldwide cyberattack, mortgages, student loans and refinancing.

Watch the video segment here.

SoFi: We Will be the First Unbank – Bank (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

SoFi Chief Operating Officer Joanne Bradford was back visiting with CNBC today. Bradford addressed several topics including the recent cyber attack that has public and private entities running for cover around the world. SoFi has not been impacted by the digital attack and Bradford was quite confident that SoFi is better prepared for any malicious attempts to infiltrate SoFi due to their single point of access (unlike traditional banks).

Asked if the Fintech industry is more, or less, vulnerable than traditional types, Bradford explained;

“We are less vulnerable. You only come to SoFi at SoFi.com. We don’t have branches which helps make it more efficient. Less points of vulnerability…but for the consumer it is more about speed and ease of use. Getting things done quickly on your mobile device.”

How to Predict If a Borrower Will Pay You Back (NY Mag), Rated: AAA

Recently, three economists—Oded Netzer and Alain Lemaire, both of Columbia, and Michal Herzenstein of the University of Delaware—looked for ways to predict the likelihood of whether a borrower would pay back a loan. The scholars used data from Prosper, a peer-to-peer lending site. Potential borrowers write a brief description of why they need a loan and why they are likely to make good on it, and potential lenders decide whether to provide them the money. Overall, about 13 percent of borrowers defaulted on their loan.

It turns out the language that potential borrowers use is a strong predictor of their probability of paying back. And it is an important indicator even if you control for other relevant information lenders were able to obtain about those potential borrowers, including credit ratings and income.

Listed below are ten phrases the researchers found that are commonly used when applying for a loan. Five of them positively correlate with paying back the loan. Five of them negatively correlate with paying back the loan. In other words, five tend to be used by people you can trust, five by people you cannot.

Here are the phrases used in loan applications by people most likely to pay them back: debt-free, lower interest rate, after-tax, minimum payment, graduate.

And here are the phrases used by those least likely to pay back their loans: God, promise, will pay, thank you, hospital.

Now, let’s consider language that suggests someone is unlikely to pay their loans. Generally, if someone tells you he will pay you back, he will not pay you back. The more assertive the promise, the more likely he will break it. If someone writes “I promise I will pay back, so help me God,” he is among the least likely to pay you back. Appealing to your mercy—explaining that he needs the money because he has a relative in the “hospital”—also means he is unlikely to pay you back. In fact, mentioning any family member—a husband, wife, son, daughter, mother or father—is a sign someone will not be paying back. Another word that indicates default is “explain,” meaning if people are trying to explain why they are going to be able to pay back a loan, they likely won’t.

Misys rolls AI strategy into trade monitoring software (Misys), Rated: A

Misys has stepped up to the artificial intelligence (AI) plate, today unveiling Misys FusionCapital Detect. The component helps financial institutions spot booking errors, anomalies and unusual activity, accelerating trade validations and reducing exceptions with machine learning.

FusionCapital Detect behaves as a smart personal assistant for validation teams, red flagging probable mistakes that are otherwise time consuming to identify. Users can catch errors that existing tools on the market let through, reducing operational risk and preventing manual mistakes that lead to decisions being made on the wrong profit and loss information and incorrect end-of-day reports.

Being able to validate transactions at T+0 has become crucial in today’s pressurised regulatory environment, including under:

  • The European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR): which makes it necessary to identify errors as soon as possible in order to confirm trades within 24 to 48 hours.
  • The Fundamental Review of the Trading Book (FRTB): which requires daily risk reports – unidentified trade errors will invalidate these reports, breaching compliance.

OpenInvest Secures $ 3.25 Million in Seed Funding Led by Andreessen Horowitz (PR Newswire), Rated: A

OpenInvest (www.openinvest.co), a social impact investing platform for retail investors, announced today that it raised $3.25 million in seed funding. The round was led by Andreessen Horowitz with participation from Abstract Ventures, Wireframe Ventures and SV2. OpenInvest is an accessible online financial advisor that empowers investors to fully align their investments with their values, and then take action to more meaningfully engage companies and drive social change.

According to a recent Morgan Stanley survey, 84 percent of millennials want the companies they invest in to align with their values. OpenInvest meets this opportunity with an innovative platform that allows consumers to invest with their hearts, without having to compromise financial returns. The company’s investment screens include climate change, fossil fuels, weapons manufacturers, gender equality, LGBTQ workplace treatment, deforestation, tobacco, companies funding the Dakota Access Pipeline, and companies supporting President Trump, which can be freely mixed and matched to construct a personalized portfolio. Investors can further customize by including or excluding individual companies, while their portfolio auto-rebalances to maintain diversification and broad tracking of the market.

Lemonade sweetens U.S. insurance rollout plans with California license (Reuters), Rated: A

Lemonade Inc, a tech-driven insurance startup that promises renters and homeowners insurance in as little as 90 seconds and payment of claims in 3 minutes, has won approval from California regulators to sell policies in the state, the company said.

The insurer’s foray into California, the most populous U.S. state, comes amid the company’s push to become licensed nationwide, less than a year after launching in New York. Last month, Lemonade, which sells policies directly to consumers through its website and smartphone app, expanded into Illinois.

Green Dot Hits, OnDeck Misses, And First Data Looks Ahead (PYMNTS), Rated: A

First Data’s New Friends

First Data CEO, Frank Bisignano, noted in the wake of First Data’s earnings release this week that the company remains on track to meet its guidance for 2017 and that he is “confident that the current weakness is transitory.”

First Data will be instrumental in helping drive Alipay expansion into the U.S. market, focusing on firms that use First Data’s Clover platform.

By the numbers, First Data reported adjusted earnings per share of $0.28 and revenue of $1.7 billion.

Credit and retail processing in North America were up 1 percent, and the business, globally, gained 2 percent. Accounts on file, again for North America, grew by 7 percent.

The deal will give Alipay scale roughly equivalent to Apple Pay’s in terms of presence, at around 4.5 million U.S. sites.

OnDeck’s Falling Figures

Reflecting the changes, the company lowered its full-year net revenue outlook to a range of $342 million to $352 million. It previously had forecast $377 million to $387 million.

Annual costs are also slated for a big cut — by around $25 million. Those cuts will be achieved by lowering headcount. About 27 percent of the staff will be cut back from levels at the end of 2016.

By the numbers, losses clocked in at $0.11 per share, slightly more than the $0.10 loss analysts were looking for. Gross revenue rose 48.4 percent to $92.89 million on higher net interest income, beating analysts’ estimates of $90.38 million.

Green Dot Beats the Streets (In a Big Way)

The company posted adjusted earnings per share of $1, which was $0.16 better than analysts were forecasting. Revenue clocked in at $253 million, was up 11 percent year over year and was higher than the roughly $234 million that had been forecasted.

Guidance for the full year was also ticking up — just about in line with the magnitude of the beat, with revenue to range from $830 million to $845 million (both ends of the range were taken up by $15 million). Earnings per share are slated to come in between $1.89 and $1.94, which compares with the consensus of $1.92 as of Wednesday morning.

Green Dot is making pre-paid cards look easy, OnDeck is demonstrating how marketplace lending (or marketplace anything) is really, really hard — and First Data is greatly looking forward to next quarter, when it can report smoother sailing.

US Government Awards $ 2.25 Million to Blockchain Research Projects (Coindesk), Rated: A

The US government has awarded research contracts to three startups working with blockchain worth a total of about $2.25m.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) quietly revealed the grants last week as part of its Small Business Innovation Research initiative.

Who got funded: DHS said that it parceled out a total of $9.7m between 12 companies, three of which are working with the tech. According to a release, each firm got about $750,000 to fund their research.

Here are the companies that got funds for their blockchain-related initiatives:

  • BlockCypher: The startup has been awarded a grant for its “blockchain platform for multiple blockchains, applications and analytics. BlockCypher was the recipient of a $600,000 DHS grant last summer.
  • Digital Bazaar: According to DHS, the company is working on a “verifiable claims project” that utilizes “fit-for-purpose distributed ledgers”. Like BlockCypher, Digital Bazaar was given a DHS grant in 2016.
  • Evernym: This Utah-based business will use the funds to support its research into “decentralized key management using blockchain”, according to DHS.

Lendio is Now Offering Small Business Loans Within Minutes (Military-Technologies), Rated: A

The team at Lendio is pleased to announce that they are now offering small business loans within minutes.

In addition to providing small business owners loans as quickly as possible, Lendio also features a business loan marketplace that lets people find the financing tools they need to help run their business.

Oportun, Inc. (SEC), Rated: A

Opportun has filed for ABS with the SEC.

My Experience Refinancing Student Loans from Pharmacy School (Pharmacy Times), Rated: A

In 2015, I graduated with over $150,000 in student loans from pharmacy school. At the time, it felt like an insurmountable amount of money to pay back, especially considering I took a substantial pay cut to complete a 1-year residency after graduating. The monthly payments were extremely high and to make matters more confusing, I had multiple loan providers between my private and federal loans, with some in my name and some in my parent’s name. The interest rates on these loans varied from 6.5% to 8%.

After finishing my residency, I knew I had to take a close look at my financial situation and make a plan to aggressively start paying off these loans. After extensive research, I decided to refinance my student loans through Social Finance, Inc (SoFI), an institution that offers a number of different loan types through a “nontraditional” approach.

Refinancing through SoFI will save me over $15,000 in cumulative payments over a 10-year term by lowering my interest rate to 5%.

If you’re refinancing with a longer repayment period (10 to 20 years) and prefer stability, a fixed rate may be the better option. Personally, I chose a variable rate loan because the interest rate was significantly lower than the fixed rate loan, and I plan to pay off my student loans long before the end of my 10-year term.

RealtyShares Names Industry Vet to BOD (Commercial Property Executive), Rated: A

Edward Forst, the former president & CEO of Cushman & Wakefield, has become the newest member of RealtyShares’ board of directors.

With Cushman & Wakefield, Forst oversaw 16,000 real estate professionals in 60 countries.

How Can I Pay for Fertility Treatment? (LendingClub), Rated: B

To begin, you’ll want to determine how you’re going to pay for fertility treatment and related care such as medications, genetic testing and egg freezing services.

The good news is that fertility financing is available so that cost does not have to be a barrier to treatment and your dream of becoming a parent.

The flexible payment plans include:

  • One loan for comprehensive fertility care for up to three services: IVF treatment, medication, genetic testing or egg freezing
  • No upfront payments
  • Fixed rates starting as low as 3.99% APR*
  • Manageable monthly payments for a range of budgets
  • Payment sent directly to your providers in one to three business days, so you can start treatment without delay or pressure to distribute funds correctly

How to Invest in Debt (Michael Pellegrino Email), Rated: B

Get a free sample chapter. Password: debt-investor.

United Kingdom

LendInvest joins the Home Builders Federation (Property Reporter), Rated: AAA

Specialist mortgage lender, LendInvest, has announced that it has joined the Home Builders Federation, in a move aimed at supporting property developers to build more homes of every type.

The Home Builders Federation is the representative body of the private sector home building industry in England and Wales and its members are responsible for 80% of housing output each year. The organisation currently supports the LendInvest Property Development Academy, a non-profit, two-day course delivered in five key cities across the UK and intended to create a new generation of property entrepreneurs.

Monzo puts API development on the back burner (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Digital bank Monzo is putting its API developer plans on ice as it faces up to the challenge of launching current accounts for its 190,000 customers.

The news will be a blow to the 2000 people on the bank’s developer Slack channel who have invested time in building integration to the Monzo API.
In the two years since it launched its first hackathon encouraging developers to build products using the API, the bank now counts some 100 personal projects integrating with the toolkit. Despite these efforts, Monzo will not allow developers to publish their current applications.

Peer-to-peer lending rises as Moneywise users seek higher returns (Moneywise), Rated: A

Nearly half (48%) of Moneywise.co.uk readers use peer-to-peer (P2P) lending in a bid to earn higher returns on savings, our latest poll results reveal.

This is an increase from 39% of Moneywise users who said they used P2P lending in August 2016, and 33% who said the same when we asked in February 2016.

The number of Moneywise users aware of P2P has also risen. Just 4% said they’d never heard of P2P lending in our most recent poll, compared to 6% who hadn’t heard of it last August, and 9% who hadn’t heard of it last February.

Seedrs: Andy Murray Invests in Three UK Entrepreneurs, Den, Morpher & Landbay (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Tennis star and Seedrs advisor Andy Murray has invested in three early-stage UK businesses. The Seedrs listed companies include Den, Morpher and Landbay. Murray’s Seedrs originated portfolio now stands at over 20 companies, according to the platform.

Landbay is back on Seedrs once again. The property rental crowdfunding platform has crowdfunded successfully multiple times on Seedrs.  Landbay was one of the very first peer-to-peer platforms to be granted full authorisation by the FCA at the end of 2016. Landbay has raised £2.3 million overfunding to 157% in the round.

Robo Advice – 5 Key Factors to Success (EValue), Rated: A

1 – Engaging the consumer

Currently, a real need exists to increase consumers’ engagement with their financial life and enable easy access to robust financial advice for all. However, for many consumers, the breadth of choice available, when it comes to making financial planning decisions, only serves to create confusion and adds to the complexity often resulting in no decisions being made at all.

2 – Realistic expectation of range and level of returns

This means that not only should the overall forecasts be realistic but each individual scenario, which makes up the forecast, should also be sensible and capable of occurring. Suggesting a potential outcome which, in reality, is impossible is obviously not particularly helpful to consumers when it comes to making investment decisions.

3 – Risk Suitability Assessment

In the UK, it is clear that robo advice needs to meet the same suitability standard as traditional advice. Therefore, any risk suitability tool must be rigorous and robust in order to ensure an accurate measurement of a consumer’s tolerance to risk and capacity for loss.

4 – Personal Advice Given

As everybody’s situation is different, in order for a robo advice proposition to be successful it must be able to provide appropriate personal advice which not only reflects a consumer’s individuality and specific objectives but is also not detrimental to their other financial needs.

5 – Fully automated with appropriate compliance reviews

By automating the advice process so that it can be delivered remotely and driven by the consumer, costs will be cut sharply as a result. At the same time, consistent quality and thorough documentation generated by the process will provide a full and reliable digital paper trail to ensure regulatory compliance.

Robo Advice market eyes pensions, insurance and mortgages (AltFi), Rated: B

The automated financial advice market is set for a decade of strong growth, according to a new report by consultancy Deloitte, which suggests the underlying disruptive technology will spread into more niches than its current wealth management segment.

To date, automated advice has been most prevalent in wealth management – called robo advice – but this is just the tip of the iceberg. In its latest research into the space, entitled The next frontier: The future of automated financial advice in the UK, Deloitte says the UK offers a rich opportunity for automated advice with up to 15 million consumers willing to pay for it.

China

PBOC sets up new committee to oversee China’s burgeoning fintech industry (SCMP), Rated: AAA

China’s central bank said on Monday it has set up a committee to oversee financial technology, reflecting an attempt to bring regulation up to speed with a fast-growing industry that could bring cross-sector financial risks.

The People’s Bank of China said on its website it will gauge the impact of fintech on monetary policy, financial markets, financial stability, payment and clearing.

It will also beef up the use of new technology, such as big data, artificial intelligence, and cloud computing to enhance its capabilities in protecting against and resolving cross-market financial risks, it said in the statement.

P2P Industry News (Xing Ping She Email), Rated: A

People’s Bank of China is going to set up FinTech Committee
Recently, People’s Bank of China (PBC) announced to set up FinTech Committee, aiming at reinforcing the planning and coordination of fintech. PBC is going to do deep research on the influence of fintech on monetary policies, financial market, finance stability, payment and settlement etc. And it also encourages finance sector to use high-tech, such as big data, AI and cloud computing, as regulatory method to improve the ability for identifying, preventing and solving financial risks.

BNP Paribas Group Investigates for Financial Innovation in Asia
On May 5th, executives from security services department of BNP Paribas visited JadeValue, China’s first fintech incubator, to investigate for financial innovation in Asian market. Xeenho Wallet, as one of the incubated enterprise of JadeValue, and a typical example of Chinese modern fintech company, communicated with the European professional financial survey team, and achieved initial intent of cooperation on exchange of P2P industry news.
Xeenho is one of the first P2P funds platforms in China. Based on big data and robo-advice, Xeenho’s risk-control management keeps the Zero Bad Debt in the industry.

European Union

N26 launches savings accounts with Raisin (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

N26 is launching yet another feature to build a modern retail bank for European customers. This time, the company is partnering with Raisin, a German startup also known as WeltSparen. In just a few taps, you’ll be able to open a savings account for money you don’t need.

All your deposits are guaranteed up to €100,000 per bank by the National Deposit Guarantee Scheme as part of the European Union.

N26 is only launching this feature in Germany for now, but Raisin accepts customers from other countries. So you can expect to see this feature in other countries later this year. Similarly, if you don’t want to have your money stuck on a savings account, N26 will launch overnight savings later this year.

Raisin has built an API in order to facilitate the N26 integration.

Rabobank enters digital identity market (Finextra), Rated: A

Rabobank has partnered with Norway’s Signicat to provide a digital identity hub for businesses looking to onboard new customers and sign legally-binding contracts online.

The joint Digital Identity Service Provider (DISP) offers a range of online login, identity, signature and data archiving services under the banner of Rabo eBusiness. Rabobank says it will initially market the programme to energy, telecom and insurance companies, healthcare institutions and financial services providers.
International

Top 10 FinTech Companies Disrupting Banking (Disruptor Daily), Rated: A

Banking and payment financial technology have grown exponentially in just the past few years thanks to tech like blockchain, artificial intelligence, and big data. These crossovers are making for faster, safer processes and lower prices for individuals and businesses alike.

Wyre boasts transfer speeds under 6 hours internationally, significantly faster than the traditional SWIFT or bank wire transfer networks.

Xendit is a payment processing infrastructure provider that covers the southeastern Asia region. Among the services offered through Xendit are bank transfers, card processing, and escrow services.

Xero offers accounting professionals and small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) with more than 600,000 customers a cloud-based accounting software.

N26 allows UK customers to open accounts in minutes, perform withdrawals at any ATM, and pay with the N26 MasterCard.

Beyond making in-person and mobile payments more secure, Circle is also working to reduce the cost of in-person and international payments as well as the time intensity of global payments.

Simple unifies accounts under one card and splits the net interest margin from lending across all of the partner banks in its network to help simplify the customer experience.

Earnest is using data science, design, and software automation to allow their clients to manage their existing finances and debts while opening up new opportunities for well-behaved clients to see better interest rates and more options.

Featurespace has developed and deployed artificial intelligence and machine learning solutions for financial service providers in more than 180 countries.

InstaMed has changed the healthcare payments industry through the use of their easily-integrated, private cloud computing network.

India

i2iFunding plans to increase loans disbursal to Rs 200 Cr in 2 yrs (India Times), Rated: AAA

Peer to Peer (P2P) lending platform i2iFunding said today that it planned to increase the loans disbursed on its platform to Rs 200 crore over the next two years. It currently disburses loans worth Rs 60-70 lakhs a month.

Having strengthened its risk processes, the company is now keen to expand operations, he said. The company also expects business to pick up the RBI issues regulatory guidelines for the sector.

Five Points to Keep in Mind When Investing in P2P Lending (BW Disrupt), Rated: A

But while there has been a major change in the appetite for risk among Indians, P2P lending requires an investor to be thoroughly aware and educated on how to make informed choices when opting for P2P lending. P2P lending is globally growing at a CAGR of 48%. In India, the industry is expected to touch $5 billion by 2020-2021. It’s here to stay and the faster a smart investor understands, learns, and makes the most of it, higher the returns.

  1. Build a Diversified Portfolio
  2. Small Ticket-size, More Loans – One of the biggest advantage of P2P lending is that the average ticket size can be as low as Rs. 1000/-. So invest small amounts in large numbers. And by that we don’t mean putting Rs. 2,50,000/- across 10 loans of Rs. 25,000/- each but to aim for 50 loans of Rs. 5,000/- each.
  3. Compounding Benefit – P2P lending is the only, unique asset class in which investors begin to receive returns – principal as well as interest – through EMI from the very next month of making the investment.
  4. Realistic Expectations, Long-term horizon – Before investing in P2P lending, it is advisable to choose a lending platform after considering the track record of the leadership and their risk management team.
  5. Informed Choices – Before investing in P2P lending, it is advisable to choose a lending platform after considering the track record of the leadership and their risk management team.
Asia

Fintech start-up 4xLabs raises US$ 1.5m in new funding (Straits Times), Rated: AAA

Singapore fintech start-up 4xLabs has raised US$1.5 million (S$2.1 million) in its latest funding round.

The round saw follow-up investment from Dymon Asia Ventures, as well as participation from new investors such as Malaysia-based OSK Ventures International.

4xLabs aims to increase transparency in the market for travellers and money changers with its cloud-based services.

The firm, set up in 2011, offers two platforms: Get4x, a currency exchange-rate aggregator platform for travellers, and Biz4x, a platform that helps money changers better manage their businesses.

Canada

Toronto Financial Services Alliance Says Strengthening Fintech Ecosystem Must Be a Priority (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The Toronto Financial Services Alliance (TFSA) says Canada’s financial service relevance is at risk unless the Fintech ecosystem is improved.

TFSA has published a report specifically on this subject. Entitled, “Seizing the Opportunity: Building the Toronto Region into a Global Fintech Leader,” the report states that the Toronto/Kitchener-Waterloo corridor today benefits from a strong core of financial institutions, top-tier research facilities, a strong talent base and relatively low business operating costs compared with other global Fintech ecosystems.

The report sets out six key areas to target:

  • Collaboration: Closer and more frequent engagement among Fintech startups, well-established financial institutions and the venture capital community.
  • Capital: Improved access to sophisticated seed-level and local later-stage capital for Canadian Fintechs.
  • Regulation: Reduced regulatory burden on emerging Fintech companies, and modernized regulatory frameworks to attract foreign investment and further reflect changing business models, technologies and priorities.
  • Research: Encouraged commercialization of research for financial services to further establish the region as a global leader.
  • Talent: Creation of opportunities and conditions that will attract top talent with experience growing and scaling fintech companies.
  • Awareness: Raising of the region’s profile on the global stage as a Fintech hub.

Power Financial invests C$ 50 million in ‘robo-adviser’ Wealthsimple (Reuters), Rated: A

Power Financial Corp has invested C$50 million ($37 million) in “robo-adviser” Wealthsimple, bringing its total investment in the 2-year-old financial technology company to C$100 million, they said on Thursday.

Toronto-based Wealthsimple provides automated investment advice to consumers and helps manage personalized portfolios based on responses to an online questionnaire about investment goals. It entered the U.S. market at the end of January.

The company said it now has more than 30,000 clients in Canada and the United States, up from 20,000 in late January, investing more than C$1 billion in exchange-traded funds.

South America

Goldman Sachs Sees Big Potential for Fintech in Brazil (NYT), Rated: AAA

Brazil is experiencing a wave of growth in financial technology that will most likely eat into the market share of the country’s huge and long untouchable banks, a new report from Goldman Sachs says.

Entitled “Fintech Brazil’s Moment,” the 45-page research report estimates that the more than 200 financial technology companies in Brazil should generate a potential revenue pool of about $24 billion over the next 10 years. Payments, lending and personal finance are three promising segments, as is insurance, the report found.

The Goldman Sachs economists cited what they called “an oligopolistic market structure” in Brazil where the top five banks, excluding development banks, hold 84 percent of total loans. In retail branch banking, the top five banks have 90 percent of branches. That is up from 71 percent in 2007, the report said, observing that “the market has become more concentrated since the financial crisis” of 2008.

By contrast, in the United States, the top five banks hold just about 20 percent of all branches. In India, that figure is slightly over 30 percent, and in Turkey it is just under 30 percent.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor