The Rise of Unregistered Securities

crowdcheck

The SEC issued a white paper titled “Capital Raising in the USA: An Analysis of the Market for Unregistered Securities Offerings, 2009‐2017.” This white paper presents some pretty interesting numbers. Capital formation through unregistered securities exceeds that from registered securities; 2017 saw unregistered securities raise over $3 trillion versus registered offerings’ $1.5 trillion. Also, according to […]

The post The Rise of Unregistered Securities appeared first on Lending Times.

crowdcheck

The SEC issued a white paper titled “Capital Raising in the USA: An Analysis of the Market for
Unregistered Securities Offerings, 2009‐2017
.” This white paper presents some pretty interesting numbers. Capital formation through unregistered securities exceeds that from registered securities; 2017 saw unregistered securities raise over $3 trillion versus registered offerings’ $1.5 trillion. Also, according to the report, the JOBS Act has had a booster effect on the ecosystem. This is evident by the hundreds of crowdfunding websites launched since its passing. Regulations CF, A+, and D have unshackled entrepreneurs and democratized fundraising. But a critical part of investing in unregistered securities is the due diligence behind whether the companies seeking the funding are genuine or not. CrowdCheck, incorporated in 2012, aims to verify the credibility of companies seeking such investments.

In a chat with CEO and Founder Sara Hanks, we uncovered how CrowdCheck has become the go-to player for due-diligence, compliance, and disclosure.

The Problem With Unregistered Securities

Hanks understood the need for building the trust layer between online investor and issuer since investors will buy shares in unknown companies online. Moreover, there is a list of legal requirements that a capital raising company and an investor need to meet to ensure everything is above board and handled according to these regulations.

CrowdCheck specializes in online capital raising. It serves the entrepreneur, the crowdfunding platform, and the investor in ensuring that the transaction is handled according to current laws and all necessary approvals are in place. From handling drafting and disclosures for Reg D, A+, and CF to filing the relevant notices, CrowdCheck is a one-stop shop. The company has executed 40 Reg A+, 50 Reg D, and about 450 Reg CF offerings.

The Relevant Regulations

Regulation A+

This regulation allows companies to generate income under two tiers representing two different types of investments.

  • Tier 1 – A company is permitted to offer a maximum of $20 million in any one year. The issuing company must also provide an offering circular, which must be filed with the SEC and subject to a vetting process by the commission and securities regulators relevant to the offering. Companies issuing under Tier 1 are not required to produce reports frequently. Instead, they are only required to issue a report on the final status of the offering.
  • Tier 2 – A company can offer up to $50 million in any one-year period. Though an offering circular is required and is subject to review and vetting by the SEC, it doesn’t have to be qualified by any state securities regulators. Companies issuing under Tier 2 must produce continual reports on the offering as well as its final status.

The offering can be marketed to both accredited and non-accredited investors.

Regulation CF Crowdfunding

The company must be incorporated in the US.

  • Allows only $1 million in fundraising.
  • An investor is limited in the amount to be invested in crowdfunding securities in any one-year period. If either the annual income or net worth of the investor is less than $100,000, the investor is limited to the greater of $2,000 or 5% of the lesser of the annual income or net worth. If greater, limited to 10% of the lesser of annual income or net worth, to a maximum of $100,000.

Regulation D

Rules under 506(b)

  • The company cannot use advertising to market securities.
  • No maximum fundraising limit.
  • Securities can be sold to an unlimited number of accredited investors and up to 35 non-accredited investors.

Rules under 506(c)

A company can generally advertise the offering and still be deemed to be in compliance with the exemption requirements if:

  • All the investors are accredited investors.
  • The company should review various documents like tax returns, W-2s, bank and brokerage statements, credit reports, etc. to verify that investors are accredited investors.
  • Companies that comply with the above requirements do not have to register their securities offering with the SEC.

Insights from CrowdCheck

Suitability

  • Reg CF is most suitable for complete startups. It is a cost effective way of raising capital due to the low threshold and regulatory requirements for fund raising. CrowdCheck offers complete services for this segment for just $5000.
  • The investee company needs to decide if it is happy with hundreds of shareholders or would just like to focus on a few accredited investors. Reg A+ is thus suited for companies looking to IPO in a few years.
  • Reg A+ is slightly more expensive than Reg D due to the requirement of SEC compliance. CrowdCheck offers a complete Reg A+ package for $60,000 whereas Reg D fees range from $25,000 to $40,000.

Platforms

There are multiple platforms available in the market, but the entrepreneur needs to choose carefully. Some specialize in a particular industry or particular regulation funding. Hanks believes StartEngine, Wefunder, Seed Invest, Next Seed, Micro Ventures, and Net Capital are the market leaders in the space.

Crowdfunding success is difficult to measure as startups usually have a low minimum threshold. Sites like Kickstarter are different from Wefunder as they do not provide any financial interest in the company being funded.

Numbers (as of Mid- 2018)

  • Reg CF has seen 960 offerings with 390 completed. Many of them are still under process.
  • The average amount raised via Reg CF is $236,000.
  • Reg A+ has seen 325 filings and 232 have qualified to raise funding.
  • Reg A+ has helped companies raise $1.1 billion, and 108 fundraisings are completed with the average fundraising around $10 million.

Conclusion

Hanks has 30 years in the corporate and securities field. Prior to CrowdCheck, she was general counsel of the bipartisan congressional oversight panel for TARP. The company has a core team of 19 people out of which six are full-time employees in core management, and others are paid consultants having backgrounds in securities law and finance.

As investors become more comfortable with online crowdfunding, the quality of companies looking to raise capital has improved. Many startups are skipping VC money to test crowdfunding. CrowdCheck acts as an important “check” to ensure the sanctity of the process. The entire ecosystem, from entrepreneurs to investors to platforms, depend on their validation for making online capital raising work.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

The post The Rise of Unregistered Securities appeared first on Lending Times.

Thursday December 6 2018, Daily News Digest

Consumer Spending

News Comments Today’s main news: Zopa gets banking license. SoFi cuts mortgage business jobs. KBRA assigns preliminary ratings to CLUB Credit Trust 2018-P3. Money360 surpasses $1B in loan originations and closings. SoftBank is biggest startup story in 2018. Today’s main analysis: Rate hikes pause in 2019. LendingTree Debt Report November 2019. Today’s thought-provoking articles: LendingTree Debt Report November 2019. October was biggest […]

Consumer Spending

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

International

Southeast Asia

Other

News Summary

United States

SoFi Cutting Jobs in Their Mortgage Business (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Late Friday Bloomberg reported that SoFi was cutting 7% of its staff, or around 100 jobs, in the company’s mortgage department. This is due to a change in strategy as to how they underwrite mortgage loans. Rather than underwrite loans themselves, as they have done since launching their mortgage business back in 2014, they will outsource the underwriting to a partner.

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to Consumer Loan Underlying Bond (CLUB) Credit Trust 2018-P3 (AP News), Rated: AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to three classes of notes issued by Consumer Loan Underlying Bond (CLUB) Credit Trust 2018-P3 (“CLUB 2018-P3”). This is a $272.40 million consumer loan ABS transaction that is expected to close December 13, 2018.

The transaction has initial credit enhancement levels of 30.87%, 22.80% and 9.70% for the Class A, Class B, and Class C notes, respectively. Credit enhancement is comprised of overcollateralization, subordination of the junior note classes, a cash reserve account and excess spread.

This transaction is LendingClub Corporation’s eighth rated sponsored securitization, fourth of 2018 and the fifth sponsored securitization consisting of prime unsecured consumer loans facilitated by LendingClub’s proprietary technology platform supporting an online marketplace that connects borrowers and investors by offering a variety of loan products originated by issuing banks through the platform, www.lendingclub.com.

Money360 Milestone: Surpasses $ 1 billion in Loans Originated & Closed (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Real estate marketplace lender Money360 announced on Monday it has surpassed $1 billion in loans originated and closed since inception. The announcement comes just 11 months after the lending platform revealed it had hit $500 million.

Rate Hikes Pause in 2019; Performance of Credit Card Borrowers with Personal Loans (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

US Q3 GDP showed 3.5% annualized growth, well above potential growth of 2%. Growth slowed from the blistering 4.2% pace in Q2 due to rising inventories and lower consumer spending:

Source: WSJ, PeerIQ
Source: VantageScore, PeerIQ

LendingTree Debt Report November 2018 (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

Nine months into 2018, Americans had a cumulative $3.93 trillion in non-mortgage debt. About a quarter of that debt is credit cards and other revolving debt, while the remainder is for car payments, student loans and other fixed-rate loans such as personal loans.

In just five years, Americans will have increased their debt by $1 trillion. Consumer debt eclipsed the $3 trillion mark in 2013. By comparison, the previous $1 trillion milestone — from $2 trillion to $3 trillion of consumer debt — took more than 10 years.

43.5% of Purchase Borrowers Received Mortgage Rates Under 5% Last Week (LendingTree), Rated: A

For the week ending Dec. 2, 2018, the share of borrowers with rates under 5% was the highest in two months, which may lend some support to a weakening housing market.

Source: LendingTree
Source: LendingTree

LendingTree’s State Migration Study Finds Americans Are Moving South (GuruFocus), Rated: A

LendingTree today released its State Migration Study on where Americans are interested in moving. The study looked at where people moving out of state are going and discovered that of the 12.1 percent of homebuyers across the country who change states, most plan to head south.

Florida is the No. 1 destination. Florida was the top new destination for 15 of the 50 states.

Texas residents love the Lone Star State. Texas had the highest percentage of residents looking to move within state lines — 93.4 percent of purchase mortgage requests from individuals in Texas were for properties in the same state.

Source: LendingTree

October was Biggest Month for Reg CF Since May 2016 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

October was a big month for Reg CF campaigns, according to the StartEngine Index. In fact, October booked the most money raised using the crowdfunding exemption since the rule became actionable in May of 2016.

According to StartEngine, $10.9 million in funding was raised. Until October came along, this past July held the top spot at $10.7 million. The Index indicates that Reg CF has now raised $151.7 million since inception. The Food & Beverage industry remains the most popular sector to use Reg CF followed by Tech.

Source: Crowdfund Insider

Fintechs’ Take On Installment Payments Explodes Online (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Installment payments have been around for seemingly forever but a new crop of fintechs are offering it with a twist: the ability to pay off smaller purchases in installment payments that in many cases are interest-free.

And it appears to be resonating with scores of U.S. consumers judging from the brisk business installment payment services like QuadPay.com enjoyed during the kick off to holiday shopping season this past Thanksgiving weekend. David Sykes, chief operating officer at QuadPay.com said 35% of online Black Friday sales for one large merchant customer came via QuadPay. On average Sykes said its service accounts for around 20% of all the online transaction from its roughly 500 e-commerce partners.

QuadPay.com makes money via the merchant, getting a cut of the sales generated by its service. That enables it to offer interest-free loans to consumers wanting to purchase everything from Uggs to underwear. Sykes said the average value of the orders on the platform is $150. QuadPay takes 25% of that on day one and then spreads out the remaining payments every two weeks. Because the average installment payment is around $37 there isn’t too much risk of customers defaulting on the loan.  To prevent default it won’t let a customer use the service again if they were ever late with a payment. The executive noted QuadPay approves 92% of all applicants.

How the largest US financial institutions rank on offering the mobile banking features customers value most (Business Insider), Rated: A

In Business Insider Intelligence’s second annual Mobile Banking Competitive Edge study, 64% of mobile banking users said that they would research a bank’s mobile banking capabilities before opening an account with them. And 61% said that they would switch banks if their bank offered a poor mobile banking experience.

Source: Business Insider

Why Wealthfront is offering free financial planning (Financial Planning), Rated: A

Wealthfront is offering its planning services for free, effectively unbundling its software, and giving millions of Americans access to a financial roadmap.

The second largest independent robo is betting the firm can steer users into fee-based accounts after they interact with its software to come up with a financial plan. The freemium software uses the firm’s automated advice engine, Path, according to the firm.

Credit Karma’s Kenneth Lin on building a billion dollar brand (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Building a great service is hard but not impossible. But building a great service and making it available for free — that’s really hard.

Credit Karma seems to have figured out a way to do both. The company, with 85 million members in the U.S. and Canada, continues to roll out free, innovative financial products to its user base. It all began 11 years ago with a simple premise: to provide users with free access to their credit scores. From there, the company has rolled out a bunch of new products, including ID monitoring, tax preparation, a financial chatbot, auto finance, and unclaimed money.

Betterment launches tool to optimize cash savings (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Automated investment advisor, Betterment is rolling out “Two-Way Sweep”, a tool that can automatically “sweep” excess money from customers’ bank accounts into a Betterment account optimized to provide better returns for cash.

What’s behind this new product: Studies show that only one in three millennials is investing in the stock market. That means they’re holding a high percentage of cash. In fact, Betterment sees 30 percent of customers with cash balances of $20,000 on average. This excess in savings earns little to no interest. Betterment’s Two-Way Sweep is intended to take the hesitation out of deploying more money into investments by automating the process.

CommonBond Acquires NextGenVest to Help Reach Generation Z (Lend Academy), Rated: A

CommonBond, best known as a leading provider of online student loans, has made its second acquisition, NextGenVest, an artificial intelligence powered advice platform for Generation Z. NextGenVest helps high school and college students in New York, Chicago and Philadelphia with their college financial needs through a combination of human “money mentors” and AI-powered suggestions delivered entirely through text messages.

OppLoans Named a Best Workplace by Glassdoor for the Second Year in a Row (GlobeNewswire), Rated: A

Chicago-based fintech firm OppLoans has been honored with a Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Award, recognizing the best places to work in 2019. This marks the second year in a row that the personal lender has been named to this prestigious list in the Small & Medium Business category. The Employees’ Choice Awards program, now in its 11th year, is based solely on the input of employees, who elect to provide feedback on their jobs, work environments and companies on Glassdoor, one of the world’s largest job and recruiting sites.

Backstage Capital-Backed CapWay Moves to Atlanta As It Expands Its Digital Banking Offerings (Hypepotamus), Rated: A

According to 2017 statistics from the FDIC, 16 percent of households in Mississippi are unbanked, choosing instead to use “predatory services” like corner store check cashing in their neighborhoods.

Allen founded her first startup, an app development shop, while still in college. After moving to Silicon Valley, Allen realized it wasn’t just rural communities that were underserved by banks. Inner city areas across the country, most of which are home to majority Hispanic and African-American populations, are also affected. An FDIC survey found that more than 15 million adults in the U.S. go unbanked.

In 2016, Allen founded CapWay with co-founder and fellow Mississippian Timothy Lampkin. The mobile-first platform is aimed at younger generations (think older millennials and Gen Z) in those unbanked communities to help them break out of the predatory economy cycle.

Finicity Announces Partnership with Princeton Mortgage for Effortless Digital Mortgage Origination (Benzinga), Rated: B

Finicity, a provider of real-time financial data aggregation and insights, announced today it is working with mortgage banker Princeton Mortgage to automate borrower asset verification for lenders. The agreement will provide Princeton Mortgage loan officers and borrowers with a faster, simpler loan origination experience that reduces both paper chase and headache.

NBKC Bank fintech accelerator participant wins $ 1M (Biz Journals), Rated: B

Onward Financial Inc., a member of the first cohort in NBKC Bank’s Fountain City Fintech accelerator program, won a $1 million award from the Communities Thrive Challenge, which is put on by The Rockefeller Foundation and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

United Kingdom

P2P Lender Zopa Granted a Banking License in the UK (LendIt Fintech), Rated: AAA

Back in 2005 Zopa quietly launched their P2P lending platform in the UK, the world’s first. It was the start of a lending revolution that has moved on to all corners of the globe. Today, a new chapter begins as the company announced that regulators have approved Zopa’s banking license. With that Zopa achieves another first: becoming the world’s first combined peer to peer lending platform and digital bank.

Zopa Says it Will Redefine Banking (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Zopa explained that this is called the “mobilisation’ phase” as regulators put some restrictions in place. A full licence will be granted once it meets the conditions set by the regulators.

Zopa said it will begin its new service next year. The digital bank will include options such as a fixed term savings product protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), credit card and a money management app.

Pointing to a statement by the FCA that just “40% of UK adults have confidence in the financial services industry,” Zopa sees opportunity in becoming a digital bank unencumbered by green-screen legacy tech and unnecessary brick and mortar branches.

Zopa explained it would redefine banking with the following services:

  • Giving customers a fair deal as standard – with no catches like sign-up offers that aren’t available to existing customers or hidden fees and charges.
  • Making sure money management is simple and a real person is available to discuss
  • Going beyond ‘good enough’

Zopa: Bank launch won’t impact P2P rates (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

ZOPA has insisted its peer-to-peer lending rates will not be dictated by the savings products on offer when its bank launched.

It currently offers target returns of 4.5 per cent on its Zopa Core product and 5.2 per cent on Zopa Plus.

Thomas Cook to slip out of FTSE 250 index in quarterly review (The Guardian), Rated: A

Other companies expected to be promoted to the FTSE 250 are peer-to-peer lending platform Funding Circle, the retirement housebuilder McCarthy & Stone and the investment trusts Smithson and Woodford Patient Capital.

Funding the future of the UK PLC (Business Leader), Rated: A

Looking at 2017, we saw some encouraging trends and one of them is in terms of diversity and choice. We saw peer-to-peer lending grow at over 50%. It’s obviously coming from a smaller base as it’s a reasonably new form of lending, but 50% growth is a very strong outcome.

Tandem’s Journey Card strives to better users’ credit scores (Alt Fi), Rated: A

Tandem Bank has announced its Journey Card has assisted nearly three-quarters (72 per cent) of its users to first-time credit or is helping individuals with poor credit history get back on track.

Due to the higher risk users it targets, the credit card carries a reasonably expensive representative APR of 24.9 per cent.

Tandem says it hopes to help the 43 per cent of Journey Card holders who have poor credit history, some of whom have defaulted with other providers.

CrowdProperty Provides Performance Metrics Disclosing Lending Returns Using Brismo Methodolgy (Crowfund Insider), Rated: A

Peer to peer property lender CrowdProperty is now disclosing their performance metrics using Brismo’s (formerly known as AltFi) standardized reporting methodology. CrowdPropert states that it is the first property development platform to incorporate the Brismo process which is described as an independent standard.

UK housebuilders back new online property listing start-up (Financial Times), Rated: A

Some of the UK’s largest housebuilders are backing a new property portal that will launch next year in the latest attempt to challenge the two dominant market leaders, Rightmove and Zoopla.

Barratt Developments, Bovis, Persimmon and Redrow have signed up to list their homes with the start-up Rummage4Property, as have Countrywide and about 30 other estate agency groups.

ARBUTHNOT BACKS MBI TEAM WITH £2 MILLION FACILITY (Arbuthnot Latham), Rated: A

Arbuthnot Commercial Asset Based Lending (ABL) has supported a highly experienced Management Buy In (MBI) team, led by Paul Hampton, with a £2m invoice discounting facility to support Premier House Investment’s acquisition of Ralph Coleman International Ltd (RCI) and provide ongoing working capital, paving the way for the company’s exciting expansion plans.

KAMBO expands its reach with two native apps (Life Pulse Health), Rated: A

KAMBO is expanding beyond desktops to become accessible on our most coveted devices, our smartphones. With the introduction of two native apps, KAMBO’s lending platform will become one of the most flexible and diverse of its kind.

The KAMBO app is now available on iOS and Android, making it the first crypto-lending platform to have an app in the App store.

LendInvest Joins Ingard’s Buy to Let Panel (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Ingard, a compliance network, brokerage, and lending packager specialist, announced on Tuesday online lending platform LendInvest has joined its buy to let panel. According to Ingard, members may now access the lender’s buy to let range direct by registering through LendInvest’s online portal

China

Ping An GammaLab Wins Global AI Machine Reading Comprehension Competition (Markets Insider), Rated: AAA

Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China, Ltd. (hereafter “Ping An” or the “Group”) is pleased to announce that OneConnect, a subsidiary of the Group, ranked first in one of the world’s most authoritative machine-reading comprehension challenges — the Stanford Question Answering Dataset 2.0 (SQuAD). GammaLab Institute of Artificial Intelligence (GammaLab), owned by OneConnect, scored 83.435, close to the human performance level of 86.831, way ahead of other companies in the challenge.

Another scenario is internet arbitration in universal financial inclusion. Small loan companies tend to turn to online arbitration, which is expensive and takes time to resolve, under the current peer-to-peer lending market. With the reading comprehension skill of GammaLab, the arbitrator will finish a case quicker, reducing the cost for arbitration.

International

International P2P Lending Volumes November 2018 (P2P Banking), Rated: AAA

Mintosleads ahead of Zopa and Ratesetter. The total volume for the reported marketplaces in the table adds up to 473 million Euro.

I removed Unilend, as the platform has closed and the company has gone into receivership.

Source: P2P Banking

CORELOGIC LAUNCHES NEW AUTOMATED VALUATION SOLUTION TO HELP STREAMLINE MORTGAGE LOAN ORIGINATIONS (CoreLogic), Rated: A

CoreLogic, a global property information, analytics and data-enabled solutions provider, announced today the introduction of its Total Home Value for Originations AVM solution.

The new Total Home Value for Originations solution is specifically calibrated and packaged to improve efficiencies when performing property valuations during the purchase and refinance loan underwriting process.

Becoming a Digital Leader: 5 Customized Fintech Strategies That Work (Cutomer Think), Rated: A

According to EY study, fintech startups have raised $41.7 billion in the first half of 2018 across the globe. So, what fintech strategies need to be implemented to transform the consumer experience on the market?

  • Consumers first
  • Rebuilding trust
  • Lack of credibility
  • Partnership instead of competition
  • Improving the quality of lives

Nasdaq buys Canadian alternative data provider Quandl (Finextra), Rated: B

Nasdaq has acquired Quandl, a Toronto-based provider of alternative and core financial data. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Australia

Crypto Lending Services Coming to Australian Markets (NewsBTC), Rated: AAA

Helio Lending is the first independent crypto lending company to launch on Australian shores according to reports.

The company claims to be in the position to offer 50% more spending power to clients than they would have by holding on to their crypto assets.

Lakeba Invests in Lodex to Become Latest Capital Equity Partner (CryptoTechNews), Rated: A

Lodex, Australia’s first auction-style loans and deposits marketplace leader, today announced it has secured capital investment from Lakeba Group, an established Australian technology innovator.

India

India catches up with China, records 2nd highest fintech adoption rate: Here’s all you need to know (Financial Express), Rated: AAA

India is finally catching up with its neighbour and biggest competitor China. The country now has the second highest fintech adoption rate of 52%, only behind China’s 69%, which also throws a huge opportunity for India to not only make best out of financial services sector but also to disrupt it.

Southeast Asia

How Japan’s SoftBank and Its $ 100 Billion Vision Fund Became the Biggest Startup Story of 2018 (Inc.), Rated: AAA

UberWeWorkSaudi Arabia. The biggest startup stories in 2018 shared one long and influential thread: Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, its $100 billion tech investment fund, and founder Masayoshi Son.

The Vision Fund is backed by several prominent investors, including Apple and the government of Abu Dhabi, but its largest financial partner is Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund. The country’s government, under crown prince and de facto ruler Mohammed bin Salman, contributed 45 percent of the $100 billion, and in October announced plans to put another $45 billion into a second Vision Fund.

P2P lending can plug Southeast Asia’s US$ 175B business finance gap (Yahoo! News), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending has emerged as a popular alternative financing option for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Southeast Asia. In 2016, P2P lending generated US$115.01 million, which accounted for more than half of total market share of Southeast Asia’s alternative financing market. In an evolving financing landscape, P2P lending complements the services banks provide and support the region in realising its growth and development potential. The very fact that investment in the region’s startups tripled from US$2.52 billion in 2016 to US$7.86 billion in 2017 is a testament of the vast potential in Southeast Asia’s FinTech startups.

Businesses, largely SMEs, benefited from such platforms too. According to a Deloitte report, SMEs contribute to 40% of Southeast Asia’s gross domestic product (GDP) and hiring 70% of the region’s workforce. Despite the importance of SMEs regionally, support is generally lacking, especially in terms of financing. This is due to strict banking regulations imposed after the 2008 global financial crisis, which have made banks and most financial institutions increasingly risk-averse. This is evidenced by McKinsey Global Institute’s report stating that 39 million Southeast Asian SMEs (or 51%) lack access to credit.

Malaysia may issue more equity crowdfunding, P2P lending licences in 2019 (Asia Asset Management), Rated: AAA

Malaysia’s securities regulator may license more operators of equity crowdfunding (ECF) and peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms next year, after current operators raised more than 200 million ringgit (US$48.25 million) for small firms since the industry was legislated in 2015, according to its chairman.

Singapore’s Milieu Insight raises US$ 730K to enhance market research platforms (e27), Rated: A

Singapore- and Thailand-based marketing software startup Milieu Insight has announced that it has raised S$1 million (US$730,000) from a group of private investors including former Rippledot Capital Director, Ravi Ravulaparthi.

Korean Fintech Startup HonestFund Attracts $ 12 Million Series B Investment (PR Newswire), Rated: A

HonestFund (CEO: Sanghoon Seo) has announced that the company, one of the largest marketplace lending players in South Korea, has successfully raised $12 million Series B investment.

Investment was led by Korea’s leading VCs and investment companies, such as Dunamu & Partners, MurexPartners, KB Investment, TL Asset Management, Bass Investment and HB Investment. This brings HonestFund’s total investment to $21 million, making it one of the most valuable Fintech companies in South Korea.

Canada

How experimental tech drives TD Bank’s mobile app (American Banker), Rated: AAA

While many banks have sought to employ experimental technologies when dealing with customers, including predictive virtual assistants, geolocation and advanced data analytics, few have brought all those pieces together to the degree used by TD Bank.

The bank has used such technologies live in production and won significant customer adoption, with its mobile app becoming No. 1 in the finance category in Canada for both iOS and Android. Mobile customers use the app 17 times a month on average, a figure that is growing.

OnDeck to merge Canadian operations with Evolocity Financial Group (Seeking Alpha), Rated: A

OnDeck (NYSE:ONDK) will combine its Canadian lending operations with Evolocity Financial Group, a private, Montreal-based online small business lender, to create OnDeck Canada.

Africa

Peer-to-Peer Lending as a Means of Propelling Startup Growth (Modern Ghana), Rated: AAA

Capital is the livewire of any business, especially for startups and established small businesses. Hence, they are always seeking for some additional funding that is too small for an angel investor to get a return for their effort. Banks also think it’s not worth their time. That’s where peer-to-peer (P2P) lending is working to fill that lending gap. This model may be a solution for many small businesses that are struggling with just tapping smaller funding amounts.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Connecting Small Dollar Lenders With Borrowers Through a Mobile App

Hundy small dollar lending

After the Great Recession from 2007-2009, income growth nearly flattened for the average American while prices have been continuously rising. Almost half of America is unable to raise $400 for an emergency. With payday loans turning out to be predatory debt traps, it is almost impossible to raise a small loan for a short period […]

Hundy small dollar lending

After the Great Recession from 2007-2009, income growth nearly flattened for the average American while prices have been continuously rising. Almost half of America is unable to raise $400 for an emergency. With payday loans turning out to be predatory debt traps, it is almost impossible to raise a small loan for a short period of time.

Realizing the fact that almost two thirds of the country is under a non-prime credit risk, Hundy wanted to reduce the grievances of the new middle class. The idea was to build a true peer-to-peer lending marketplace which would serve as a platform for raising loans of up to a few hundred dollars at a low interest rate. The platform is open to everyone and is easy to access. It is a friendly, convenient, and transparent way to borrow money from peers.

The mobile application is a community-based model which facilitates interaction between the borrower and lender. The company’s long term goal is to build a network where people can borrow, save and invest, all at the same place.

Focused on small dollar loans in the marketplace lending market, Hundy is based out of San Francisco. The mobile native platform was launched in 2016 and focuses on providing loans to the underserved at a fair price. It has raised over $400,000 in a friends and family round. In a conversation, Pete Budlong, the founder and CEO of the company, discussed how instability has become the new normal after 10 years of recession and how Hundy addresses this issue.

How Hundy Works

Getting a loan over the Hundy application is a very simple process. Users sign up using Facebook. After signing up, they sign agreements and link bank accounts. After a credit approval process, their profile is ready and they can start applying for loans. The company offers the option of hard and soft credit pulls so as not to adversely affect the user’s credit score.

On getting credit approval, users can immediately request their first loan of up to $100. However, if not approved automatically, they’ll get approved based upon their participation in the community over time. Once approved and a request for a loan has been made, the user’s application is processed within minutes and the loan amount transferred into their bank account by the next business day.

Loan payments, along with a repayment fee, will be withdrawn from the user’s bank account on the selected date of repayment, which can be up to four weeks after the date of loan issuance. If the user can’t pay off the loan on time, there is an option to convert the loan into a 60-day installment loan with no penalty. Every time a loan is paid off, the borrower’s credit limit will go up until it reaches the maximum of $250. The borrower is updated throughout the process via e-mails and text messages, making all transactions over the platform transparent and fair.

The company has originated over 1,000 loans and has an APR of 180% as compared to 350% for traditional payday lenders. Its main competitor in the online space is LendUp, and it competes with payday lenders in the offline market.

Hundy’s Reach and Market Stats

Currently holding a full lending license in California, Hundy is planning to expand its services to other states in the US. The app will be launched in Texas and Florida by the end of this year. The mobile application was ranked as high as 89 in the app store under the finance category with about 70K registered installs. Around 60,000 downloads are wait-listed. This is a massive reach considering that the company is not engaged in any kind of advertising activity. Another co-founder of the company, Ram Hegde has been operating a developer team in India, and a team of two in the US is helping Pete with the marketing.

The community currently has a monthly growth rate of 30%, which is doubling every two to three months. Most of its traffic, about 95%, comes from iOS devices.

Hundy’s Future Plans

The company’s goals are structured into three milestones. The first leg constitutes the launch of the social feed, which is already finished. Almost one-third of Hundy’s borrowers participate on this social feed. The second leg accounts for a non-profit lending product. The company made a formal announcement for the non-profit product at the Money 20/20 startup academy. The third leg involves for-profit crowdfunding, and the company aims to accomplish this by the end of this year.

As of now, the company is not looking to raise money but to originate borrowers. Once the application manages to strengthen its hold on the borrower side, it will focus on engaging lenders. The aim is to build a community-based lending platform where borrowers and lenders can directly interact with each other. These communications between various stakeholders also help create a database for developing machine learning- and artificial intelligence-driven algorithms for the platform. Currently, the company is serving accredited investors through a Reg D exemption but will soon leverage Reg CF and Reg A+ for allowing unaccredited investors to pool their money for loaning to potential borrowers.

Conclusion

People find it difficult to take out small loans at a reasonable rate of interest. The Hundy application proves to be a great platform in such scenarios, offering short-term loans at a fair price. It is aiming to provide affordable loans, not just in California but all across the US, by building a community where borrowers and lenders can communicate directly with each other through the app.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Tuesday December 26 2017, Daily News Digest

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News Comments Today’s main news: 3 Reg CF portals no longer FINRA-approved. Zopa launching a bank. LexinFintech completes $108M IPO. European banks prep for PSD2. Australia releases second MPL survey. Today’s main analysis: PeerIQ’s MPL Loan Performance Monitor. Today’s thought-provoking articles: 2017 was a wild ride for alternative lending. Is Congress expanding credit for the poor or enabling high-interest rates? Megatrends […]

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News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

Australia

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

The Wild Ride In Alternative Financing In 2017 (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

But as 2017 pulled into the station, it became clear that a decade-long era in financial services was officially drawing to a close, other than this transitional year between what was and what’s next.

It became clear that Act I of digital era financial services was drawing to a close – and that Act II is getting warmed up backstage.

The CFPB

The CFPB has spent a year generating surprising questions – with even more surprising answers.

Moreover, there was some thought that the federal courts might render much of the discussion moot, by ruling the CFPB’s independent structure rendered it unconstitutional in the CFPB v. PHH case.

That ruling was thrown out by a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit court of appeals, and a final ruling is still awaited.

The Congressional Review Act (And The Fate Of The Old Rules)

The 20-year-old law, which had only been used once before 2017, has been used 15 times since January of last year to undo Obama-era rules.

The law was effectively used to bounce the CFPB’s arbitration rule from going into effect. That rule would have made it illegal for financial services companies to insert mandatory arbitration clauses into consumer contracts, thus forcing consumers to surrender their right to form class-action lawsuits.

A similar maneuver was attempted to block controversial rules the CFPB passed regarding the regulation of prepaid cards. The House approved the CRA resolution, but the bill was unable to garner majority support in the Senate. That means going forward, prepaid cards that offer overdraft protection will be regulated as though they are credit cards, as opposed to debit cards.

The Future Of Innovation Instead Of Regulation

Affirm, founded by PayPal’s Max Levchin, built a POS financing product dedicated to offering consumers an honest, transparent way to pay for items on installment.

Affirm’s mission to expand consumer access to honest financing will rev into high gear next year, on the heels of a $200 million capital raise on an estimated $1.6 billion valuation, and now with the ability for any consumer to take advantage of its credit option at any merchant.

LendUp wants to calibrate financial services to what it calls “the new average consumer” or the “emerging middle class.”

EVEN’s new partnership with Walmart is a new tool to help smooth the income volatility for its workers by allowing them to be paid in real time for the hours they have already worked, instead of having to wait for the traditional payday.

“This isn’t that people just don’t have the money to pay their bills in general, but that they are forced to make bad decisions because the money they have already earned by working is not available to them at the right time,” EVEN CEO Jon Schlossberg told Karen Webster. “That adds up to a $100 billion industry a year in payday loans and late fees. That’s crazy; we can fix that and we should fix that.”

So EVEN – now with Walmart as a partner – is fixing it, both by giving customers access to their funds early, but also by providing access to financial management software so they can better control their money.

What’s Next

Perhaps in 2018, they will even find ways to write studies that use terms properly and do not directly contradict the research of other regulators.

Millennials, she noted, tend to enter the credit system with a bang once they start having families.

MPL Loan Performance Monitor (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

This week, we introduce our redesigned MPL Loan Performance Monitor where we track the delinquency rates, cumulative losses, and transition matrices on public marketplace lending data that is comprised of loans originated by LendingClub and Prosper.

Source: PeerIQ
Source: PeerIQ

Is Congress expanding credit for the poor or enabling payday lenders? (Salon), Rated: AAA

Ken Rees has made a fortune selling loans with triple-digit interest rates to borrowers with poor credit history or no credit history.

But in 2008, federal regulators ordered First Delaware to stop working with payday lenders — including ThinkCash — so Rees changed his company’s name to Think Finance and started striking deals with Native American tribes, which, as sovereign entities, are also exempt from state usury laws. Think Finance filed a still-pending lawsuit claiming Think Finance used the tribes as a front to make deceptive loans. Think Finance denies the charges and Rees started a new company, Elevate Credit, which operates from the same building in Fort Worth, Texas. Elevate deals in online installment loans, a cousin to payday loans, and partners with a Kentucky-based bank to offer lines of credit with effective annual interest rates much higher than would otherwise be allowed in some states.

Sponsors say the Protecting Consumers Access to Credit Act facilitates bank partnerships by ensuring third parties like debt buyers and rapidly growing financial technology firms can buy, and collect on, loans originated by federally regulated banks regardless of state laws governing interest rates. These partnerships can help make credit available to those left out of the traditional banking system, primarily low-income individuals, backers say.

“The bill covers every flavor of online lending,” said Adam Levitin, a consumer law professor at Georgetown University. “Some members of Congress have gotten snookered that they are fostering innovation, but a loan is just a loan whether you do it online or not.”

But now more payday-style lenders are moving online and donning the friendly face of a tech startup. Some, like LendUp, a lender charging more than 200 percent on some loans and counting Google Ventures among its investors, have attracted mainstream support. Like many high-interest online lenders, LendUp says it is “a better alternative to payday loans” because they use alternative data sources to determine interest rates but consumer advocates say the product, a high-interest loan that can quickly lead to a cycle of debt, is essentially the same thing.

Elevate said in an email it is committed to lowering rates further, and said its loan terms are more transparent and it doesn’t charge expensive fees associated with payday lenders.

Elevate’s installment loan called RISE is licensed in 17 states that don’t impose interest-rate caps and charges annual interest rates as high as 299 percent. Elevate says repeat borrowers can eventually qualify for interest rates as low as 36 percent on subsequent loans.

Fifteen states and the District of Columbia impose interest-rate caps, most around 36 percent, to protect consumers from high-interest loans.

This article originally appeared on publicintegrity.org.

Three Reg CF Crowdfunding Portals are No Longer FINRA Approved (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Ufunding was the first to depart FINRAs list of approved platforms. In hindsight it is a wonder the platform was ever approved. The action by FINRA took place a little over a year ago as “potential for fraud” was evident on Ufunding as was “an almost complete failure to follow disclosure and filing requirements.”

DreamFunded Marketplace has hit the exit. We are not certain exactly why DreamFunded left but, if one speculates, it is most likely due to the fact real estate investing is better suited for Reg A+ and Reg D crowdfunding rules which allow issuers to raise more money.

The other former CF platform is Crowdboarders out of Texas. Crowdboarders appears to have pivoted to more of a promotional platform.

After the tech wake-up call… (Banking Exchange), Rated: A

Not long ago, Indiana’s Peoples Bank SB had a business prospect come in who had a loan with Kabbage, the online lender, at 20%. “We reviewed their credit, and we got them into the bank at close to 5%,” says Benjamin Bochnowski, president and CEO at the $914.2 million-assets bank.

With credit that was worthy of a rate like that, the bank asked the customer why it had gone to Kabbage in the first place—and been willing to pay nearly 15 percentage points more for credit. Simple, the new customer responded. Kabbage was easy to use and delivered the proceeds of the loan quickly.

Camilo Concha of LendingUSA (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • The founding story of LendingUSA.
  • The different verticals they operate in today.
  • How their point of sale lending process works.
  • The typical terms on these loans.
  • A profile of the typical borrower who uses LendingUSA.
  • How they do marketing outreach to the merchants offering their loans.
  • The different revenue streams they have.
  • The scale that LendingUSA is at today.
  • How their loan performance has been to date.
  • Why LendingUSA is not competing as much on price as other consumer lenders.
  • Their overall approval rate for loan applications.
  • How they approach fraud prevention.
  • Who is providing the capital for these loans.
  • Where they are on the path to profitability.
  • Why the marketplace lending challenges of 2016 did not impact LendingUSA that much.
  • Why their cost of customer acquisition is going down.
  • Their biggest challenge in getting their business to where it is today.
  • Camilo’s long term vision for LendingUSA.

P2Binvestor CEO Krista Morgan on Marketplace Lending: What to Expect in 2018 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

P2Binvestor CEO Krista Morgan founded P2Binvestor in 2012 with a mission to help growing businesses succeed. Morgan is not only CEO of a fast growing Fintech, she is also the cohost of the podcast “Women Who Startup Radio”, an ardent mentor to other women entrepreneurs who speaks regularly on business finance, fundraising, and scaling a startup.

I recently connected with Morgan via email to learn her 2018 predictions for the Marketplace Lending sector and more specifically, her predictions for P2Binvestor. Her observations follow:

  • More focus will be placed on business models and profitability
  • Platform mergers and shut downs will occur as equity investors remain on the sidelines
  • Capital will start to look for shorter duration assets
  • The conversation about diversity will continue

When asked what PB2i has in store for 2018, Morgan targeted the platform’s growth in four areas:

  • More bank partnerships
  • Tech focused on portfolio monitoring
  • Tighter credit standards

Modo Creates A Payments Data Highway Between The World’s Largest Financial Institutions (Benzinga), Rated: A

Bruce Parker, Modo CEO: Modo creates interoperability in the payments industry by conducting the exchange of data between systems via our translation utility service. Modo allows clients to bring together capabilities from around the payments and commerce industry by directly solving for interoperability between different payment systems.

We’re doing this for some of the biggest names in the payments game: Bank of America Corp BACVeriFone Systems Inc PAY, FIS, Klarna, and Alliance Data Systems CorporationADS, and are proud to say that list is growing.

Who are your customers?

Banks, networks, payments providers and their partners.

PayPal CEO Dan Schulman talks Fintech on Capitol Hill with Georgetown’s Chris Brummer (MENAFN), Rated: A

Other topics touched on during the interview with Mr. Brummer included how fintech can and should improve financial inclusion—and the continued need to eradicate banking deserts—as well as the necessity to better coordinate and launch public-private partnerships. Despite PayPal’s notable profile and 210 million users, it operates in a $100 trillion industry with approximately 1% market share—and there are still nearly 2 billion people around the world who live outside financial mainstream.

Getting Smart About Thin File Student Grads and Their Credit Card Worth (PaymentsJournal), Rated: A

The CARD Act of 2009 disrupted student credit card marketing with a means test and parental approval for certain types of accounts.  The market, which used capture about 12% of total card consumer spend now only contributes a fraction.

The American Banker covered an interesting story about how BankMobile, a digitial only bank with 800 university partners, is attempting to build a model based on academic history and how they maintained their student bank accounts.

3 Real Estate Investing Trends That Gained Steam in 2017 (Realty Biz), Rated: A

In 2016, the real estate crowdfunding industry produced 3.5 billion dollars in a market that has largely gone unnoticed. It’s anticipated by 2025 that the industry is going to be valued at more than 300 billion. Three trends emerged in 2017 that can help the informed investor understand the best approach to this dynamic and explosive industry.

  1. Investors Move Toward Institutional Capital
  2. Non-Accredited Investors Gain Steam
  3. Consolidation allows for the emergence of new players

Can real estate crowdfunding help the homelessness crisis? (Curbed), Rated: A

In addition to commercial space and two market-rate residential lofts, the two-story Jolene’s complex will also contain an 11-room SRO, or single-room occupancy, a dorm-like living arrangement where each resident gets their own 100-square-foot bedroom and access to shared common space. Six of the room will be given to working homeless Portlanders, as part of a partnership with the Street Roots non-profit, while the other five will be rented out to the general population for $425 a month.

After seeing that 90 percent of the participants in Fair-Haired Dumbbell were from Portland, they experimented with a slightly different form of crowdfunding that allowed anybody in Oregon making $70,000 a year or more to invest $3,000 or more in the project (technically, it’s taking advantage of Rule 504 of Regulation D, qualified by the SEC and the Oregon Secretary of State).

EquityStat Brings Portfolio Management To The Cloud (Benzinga), Rated: A

What does your company do? What unique problem does it solve?

Karl Swierenga, founder: EquityStat is an online investment portfolio manager. It allows investors to track and manage their stocks, mutual funds and ETFs, online in the cloud. Many investors own a combination of stocks, bonds, mutual funds and ETFs.

Who are your customers?

Our customers are individual investors who own mutual funds, stocks, bonds and ETFs.

FindBob Closes $ 1.26M USD Seed Round (Business Insider), Rated: A

FindBob () announced today that its seed round is closed at over $1.25 million USD. Grinnell Mutual led the investment.

The capital will allow FindBob to grow its sales and marketing teams, expand into additional U.S. markets and execute on its multi-generational product roadmap.

FindBob champions better transition behavior among financial professionals and their firms in order to perpetuate and protect their most precious asset: their book of business. By allowing company principals to take control of their futures on a secure digital channel, FindBob helps them safely discover opportunities to buy, sell, merge, partner or address succession and to be confident in their plan for the business they worked so hard for.

Fintechs that flamed out or faded in 2017 (American Banker), Rated: A

Source: American Banker
Source: American Banker

Fintech Outlook For 2018: US Banks Look To AI (The National Law Review), Rated: B

With 2017 at a close, US banks have set out their 2018 FinTech new year resolutions. According to American Banker, US banks are likely to focus their FinTech investment in 4 major areas in 2018:

  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning
  • Open banking
  • Cybersecurity and biometrics
  • Commercial banking innovation

Anyone invest in p2p lending? (blind), Rated: B

Just found out that I can earn annual returns of 6-12% by investing in p2p lending platforms like lendingclub and prosper. Way more than the measly 1.3% I get from my savings account.

Lendio Announces New Franchise in Rochester, New York (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Lendio, an online lending marketplace for small business loans, announced on Thursday the opening of a new Lendio franchise in the Rochester area.

LendingTree,Inc. (NASDAQ:TREE) Files An 8-K Departure of Directors or Certain Officers (Market Exclusive), Rated: B

On December 19, 2017, our Board of Directors and Nikul Patel mutually agreed to change Mr. Patel’s position to Chief Strategy Officer, effective January 1, 2018. He currently serves as Chief Product and Strategy Officer, a position he held since November 2016.

United Kingdom

Zopa to launch a bank (Monzo), Rated: AAA

It’s why we’re applying to launch our own next-generation bank. We’ve listened, and we’re confident that we can deliver the bank that will be the best place for your money.  

Leading comparison websites have removed potentially misleading information from their sites after a Moneywise investigation found peer-to-peer (P2P) investment products included in the same best buy tables as high street savings products.

Moneywise looked at the UK’s leading product comparison websites and found issues with the four sites which offer P2P comparisons – Go Compare, Love Money, Money.co.uk and MoneySuperMarket.

A helping hand for small businesses (Money Week), Rated: A

A decade after the credit crunch, too many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK still feel their potential is being hampered by a lack of access to appropriate financing. The government’s Industrial Strategy report, published at the end of November, identified financing issues as a clear problem for SMEs that are looking to grow; surveys of sentiment continue to reveal frustration.

Research from Hitachi Capital Business Finance shows that two-thirds of SMEs with growth plans for the year ahead fear that their expansion plans could be derailed if they cannot secure appropriate finance. A third of SMEs applying for finance aren’t securing enough funding to underpin their investment plans, according to similar research from Close Brothers Group; a quarter of SMEs think funding is still too dear.

New rules clarify P2P business borrowers are not deposit takers (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

In an announcement titled ‘protecting the future of P2P lending’, the Treasury said that no P2P business borrower needs to be regulated as a ‘deposit taker’ – often referred to as a ‘banking licence’ – unless that is their core business.

This clarification will be added to the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Carrying on Regulated Activities by Way of Business) Order 2001.

10 business trends to look out for in the coming year (inside.co.uk), Rated: B

“I think we will see a strong increase in the number of Scottish businesses sourcing peer to peer lending, which matches borrowers directly with lenders, in 2018,” Hardie said. “Companies such as the Lending Crowd are currently the business world’s best kept secret, but their ability to deliver speedy transactions with attractive terms are firmly establishing them as strong alternatives to the banks.”

“A European directive being implemented in January 2018 will ban businesses from charging customers extra for making payments using a debit or credit card in the EU,” said Lynne Walker, head of business advisory at Johnston Carmichael.

China

China’s LexinFintech Completes $ 108M Listing As Sixth Chinese Fintech IPO In US (China Money Network), Rated: AAA

LexinFintech Holdings Ltd. (NASDAQ:LX), a Chinese online lender previously known as Fenqile backed by investors including Matrix Partners and JD.com Inc., has completed a listing on the NASDAQ to raise US$108 million.

Chinese online lender LexinFintech surges in US market debut (China Economic Review), Rated: A

Chinese online lender LexinFintech Holdings Ltd’s shares surged in their US market debut on Thursday, as investors brushed aside worries about Beijing’s recent crackdown on China’s booming microlending industry.

LexinFintech’s shares jumped 53% from its IPO price, which valued the Shenzhen-based company at $4.5 billion, to reach a high of $14.88.

China IPOs In New York Rebound To 16 In 2017, Online Lender Lexin Aces Nasdaq (Forbes), Rated: A

The 16 Chinese companies in 2017 raised $3.7 billion or about 8 percent of the total $35.6 billion raised by 160 IPOs.

Chinese tech titans Tencent and Alibaba are behind some of this pick-up, as they backed recent new listers including Chinese search engine Sogou, e-book company China Literature, microlender Qudian and logistics company Best.

Squeezing in its IPO before the year, Chinese online lender LexinFintech Holdings listed on Nasdaq on Dec. 21, raising $120 million and trading upward on its opening day by 19.4 percent.

Fintech Pioneer Sees Money in the Masses (Caixin), Rated: A

China’s booming fintech sector will see growth come from small business loans, wealth management tools for the “affluent masses,” and technology that helps you sift through thousands of insurance products in minutes, according to Tang Ning, founder and CEO of financial conglomerate CreditEase.

As of September, the company’s wealth management business oversaw assets worth $20 billion for nearly 50,000 high net-worth customers in China. It also manages $1 billion through a venture fund, which is among the ten most active venture capital investors in global fintech companies, according to data provider CB Insights.

Caixin: What are the most promising fintech trends over the next decade?

Tang Ning: We see small business lending being a key area of growth. In the past 10 years, creative lending models have done a good job at serving individuals, but there is much more to be done for small businesses.

We also see the emergence of insurance tech.

How are Chinese investors’ needs changing?

We are seeing the Chinese wealth management industry go through profound changes. It is moving from fixed-income investments to equity investment, from short-term speculation to long-term investment, from China-focused investment to global opportunities, from investing into single products, single opportunity to comprehensive risk management and comprehensive asset allocation, from managing this generation’s wealth to thinking about succession planning and inheritance.

Chinese peer-to-peer lender Golden Bull sets terms for $ 9 million US IPO (NASDAQ), Rated: A

The Shanghai, China-based company plans to raise $9 million by offering 2 million shares at a price range of $4.00 to $4.50. At the midpoint of the proposed range, Golden Bull would command a market value of $64 million.

European Union

Europe’s banks brace for a huge overhaul that throws open the doors to their data (CNBC), Rated: AAA

On January 8, banks operating in the European Union will be forced to open up their customer data to third party firms — that is, when customers give consent.

Banks will be required to build application programming interfaces (APIs) — sets of code that give third parties secure access to their back-end data.

Spain’s BBVA, Denmark’s Saxo Bank, Nordic lender Nordea and Ireland’s Ulster Bank have already published open developer portals ahead of the EU legislation.

HSBC has also made early moves toward meeting the incoming rules. In October, the bank launched a beta version of an app that lets customers see all of their bank accounts — including those from competitors — on one screen.

Several small lenders set up with the aim of competing with larger institutions are hoping to take advantage of the move toward a more open data infrastructure. U.K. firms Starling and Monzo, for instance, are want to make banking more like a “marketplace,” by connecting consumers with a number of products and services — including those from other providers — within their apps.

How PSD2 will make personal lending more competitive (IT ProPortal), Rated: A

Today, banks sell few unsecured personal loans to new customers – of seven of the UKs tier one banks only two offer personal loans to new customers – instead focusing on the needs and data of their own clients. The establishing credit risk and difficulties of pricing accurately has simply made it too complex to be competitive.

Also, although many peer-to-peer lending sites now have better protection for consumers as the industry became regulated by the FCA in April 2014, it can be argued this protection is greater for savers and lenders than it is for those borrowing and that the industry is still high-risk when compared with traditional routes.

This could all be about to change with the introduction of the intertwined The Second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) and open banking regulation.

First, XS2A will significantly improve the customer experience for loan applicants.

Hive Project buzzing after ICO (Bankless Times), Rated: A

After securing $8.95 million (BTC 2,087) from 2,234 participants through an ICO in August, Hive Project has released a demo version of their platform and completed an eight-market deal.

Hive Project uses distributed ledger technology to grant every issued invoice a unique fingerprint.

“In the Russian market alone there are  5.67 million SMEs with a combined turnover of €700 billion,” Mr. Soklic said.

Australia

ASIC releases second marketplace lending survey (Lexology), Rated: AAA

ASIC has released its second survey on the marketplace lending industry, which indicates steady growth in both borrowing and lending activity in the market since the last report.

Key findings from the report are outlined below:

  • there are three new marketplace lending platforms in the industry;
  • with $300 million in loans written to consumers and SMEs, there was a doubling of activity in relation to the number of borrowers and total amount borrowed since 2015-16;
  • the average reported default rate across the respondents was 2.2%;
  • there are an additional 4,187 retail investors since 2016, representing $12 million of extra investment in the industry; and
  • loan origination fees remained the primary source of revenue for marketplace lending providers.

The True Threat to Aussie Banks (Money Morning), Rated: A

The updated code of practice brings a number of changes. Most are simple consumer protections. Making it easier to cancel credit cards online, for example, and preventing banks from soliciting customers for credit limit increases.

India

Digital payments, P2P lending among key mega-trends of the year gone by (The Hindu Business Line), Rated: AAA

It was a great year for digitalisation and digital payments in the country.

Besides reducing the merchant discount rate for debit card transactions, the Centre announced a subsidy on transactions up to ₹2,000 via debit cards to expand the digital payment ecosystem.

P2P lending boost

Also, 2017 was a milestone year for the peer-to-peer (P2P) lending industry, as the RBI issued some guidelines in October.

Other defining changes

In April 2017, five associate banks of State Bank of India and Bharatiya Mahila Bank were merged into SBI, catapulting the latter into the league of top 50 global banks.

In May, the much talked about NPA ordinance giving greater power to the RBI to handle the bad loan crisis came about.

The other key decision of the RBI this year to improve transparency in the system was the move to make it mandatory for the banks to disclose in their balance sheets the extent of divergences between the gross NPAs in their book and those determined in RBI inspection. Private sector lenders such as Axis Bank, YES Bank and ICICI Bank were found to have under-reported their bad loan assets in recent years, prompting the central bank to take this decision.

How retail lending is set to scale up in 2018 (Financial Express), Rated: A

Major factors like steady decline in lending rates, strong focus and performance on growth and credit metrics in retail lending, investor interest in the segment, P2P regulation formalising the new category, increased focus on digitisation and path-breaking initiatives towards affordable housing are helping set a strong base for retail lending. Some of the big trends I see in the New Year are:

Consumer lending

Contrary to the slowdown in credit offtake by the corporate sector, retail credit segment has registered a strong growth of around 20% this calendar year.

Mobile: India today has more than 300 million smartphone users, removing geographical constraints of access to financial products. New venture investments will drive experiments in alternate lending.

Growth in MSME lending

With around 55 million MSME units employing over 80 million people, this sector contributes about 8% to the national GDP. Around 90% of these units are classified as micro businesses.

Growth in affordable housing segment

With home loan to GDP ratio of just 9%, the Indian housing finance sector remains relatively under-penetrated when compared to its Asian peers like China (20%), Thailand (17%), and Malaysia (34%).

The P2P Lending Segment will Drive the Next Phase of Growth of the Indian Fintech industry (BW Disrupt), Rated: A

With the much-awaited legitimacy, the sector is only at growth radar and trust in the segment is developing at a much faster pace. With more and more people moving towards online payments and transactions, the P2P lending space will witness a remarkable rise in the number of borrowers as well as investors. The growth will not only arrive from the urban India but also from Tier II and Tier III cities, leading the country towards the national goal of financial inclusion.

As predicted by NASSCOM, the Indian fintech space is expected to reach $2.4 billion by 2020, 2018 will act as a major contributor towards this direction.

How can P2P lending disrupt MSME sector in India? (MENAFN), Rated: A

There are more than 5 crore MSMEs in India and their contribution to the Indian economy is quite significant. The Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises are creating massive employability i.e. up to 12 crore people which is close to 33% of Indias manufacturing output. But still MSMEs suffer from an incredible capital shortage that amounts to Rs. 32 trillion as per the International Finance Corporation.

Fintech start-ups tap small-town users (Business Standard), Rated: A

Paynear, a start-up, has more users in small towns than in the metros. The Hyderabad-based firm, which provides a platform to traders for accepting digital payments, has seen a surge in growth from small towns. Of its 50,000 merchants, two-thirds are in small towns.

Funding Galore: Indian Startup Funding Of The Week [18-23 Dec] (Inc42), Rated: B

This week 19 Indian startups raised about $41 Mn in funding altogether in the Indian startup ecosystem.

Peel-Works: The consumer focussed SaaS and big data analytics startup raised an undisclosed amount in Series B funding led by Mumbai-based Unilever Ventures and Amazon Internet Services.

Faircent: Gurugram-based P2P lending startup Faircent raised $3.9 Mn (INR 25 Cr) in a Series B round of funding.

Asia

Financial inclusion is in your hands (National Multimedia), Rated: AAA

Aside from offering new innovative financial services to their existing customers, the use of Fintech also allows banks to serve potential |customers – those considered “underbanked” and “unbanked” – who in the past did not have access to financial services due to costs, lack of credit or access. The ability for the banks to serve everyone is known as “financial inclusion.” According to the World Bank, around 2 billion people don’t use |formal financial services and over 50 per cent of adults in the poorest households are unbanked.

A report from Thailand’s Ministry of Finance in 2016 shows that 56 per cent of Thais received micro finance from special financial institutions and less than 9 per cent from commercial banks. Clearly, most Thais often turn to non-bank providers for small sums of money.

The K Plus Shop is an example of fintech for financial inclusion from KBank. It is a mobile application designed to be a one-stop solution for micro businesses such as small shops and street vendors. The app is a point of sale, sales tracking, sales reports and PR tool combined into one app that anyone can download and use free of charge on any smartphone – iOS or Android. With K Plus Shop, the vendor can receive QR payment from any customer using K Plus, other mobile banking or e-Wallet applications via the standard QR for PromptPay, as well as from WeChat Pay and Alipay.

FintruX partners with blockchain data exchange DataWallet (Cryptoninjas), Rated: A

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday August 18 2017, Daily News Digest

Europe private equity real estate

News Comments Today’s main news: iFunding insolvent, SEC issues subpoena. DreamFunded now offers Reg CF investment opportunities. MarketInvoice integrates with Veritas. Raisin passes 4B Euro mark. Today’s main analysis: China Rapid Finance reports unaudited Q2 results. European real estate investment up post-Brexit. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Community banks refuse to step down on ILC battle. How Swift makes renminbi payment frictionless. Small lenders […]

Europe private equity real estate

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

Australia

  • Small lenders offer biggest savings on $1M property loans. AT: “There could be any number of reasons for this. One is that large lenders have massive overhead expenses and therefore are forced to charge higher interest rates and fees. Smaller lenders can use technology and agile business practices to cut costs.”

India

Asia

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News Summary

United States

iFunding Insolvent, SEC Issues Subpoena as Investor Jazco Looks to Step In (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

iFunding, a real estate crowdfunding platform, is insolvent according to several sources.

In recent days, information has cropped up that investors have been left holding the remains of the company that included properties with an estimated value of $20 million. One individual estimated the number of impacted investors at 400 individuals. These Investors are now looking at options to salvage what they can from the crowdfunding platform.

Crowdfund Insider has been told the SEC did issue a subpoena at some point regarding the operational questions regarding iFunding. Specific details have not been made available but one individual suggested it had to do with the platform operating as a Broker Dealer without having the appropriate license.

DreamFunded Now Offers Real Estate Investments Using Reg CF (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

DreamFunded Real Estate has launched its first real estate investment opportunity under Reg CF. DreamFunded is a FINRA approved crowdfunding platform that may offer securities the newest crowdfunding exemption. This iteration of crowdfunding allows any investor access to these opportunities – not just wealthier, accredited types. DreamFunded is one of only two real estate crowdfunding platforms using Reg CF.

In ILC fight, community banks will not stand down (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Commentators who say we should do away with that historic separation should be aware that the community banking industry will once again fight tooth and nail against such a move. We fiercely and successfully opposed Walmart’s 2006 bid. More than a decade later, the core principle remains the same.

Allowing nonbank corporate conglomerates to own banks not only violates the U.S. policy of maintaining the separation of banking and commerce. It also jeopardizes the impartial allocation of credit, creates egregious conflicts of interest, and results in a dangerous concentration of commercial and economic power. It also extends the federal safety net to commercial interests, which is counter to the principles upon which the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was created.

The Independent Community Bankers of America’s main objection to the SoFi application for federal deposit insurance is that the ILC charter would allow the fintech company to avoid the legal prohibitions and restrictions under the Bank Holding Company Act (BHCA).

iPayment, Inc. Introduces New Business Unit: iPayment Capital (PR Newswire), Rated: A

iPayment, Inc., a trusted provider of payment and processing solutions for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), introduces iPayment Capital, a new business unit focused exclusively on merchant cash advance services.

iPayment Capital will formally launch this fall with a focus on iPayment’s more than 137,000 SMB customers. Adding merchant cash advance as a direct offering, the Company will significantly streamline the process for its customers, offering a simplified application, expedited reviews and approvals, and a seamless re-payment process.

The Company recently hired Mr. Tomo Matsuo as Senior Vice President to lead this important initiative. Mr. Matsuo spent over six years with Bizfi, a premier fintech company combining aggregation, funding and a participation marketplace on a single platform for small businesses, where he held several senior level positions including Chief Operating Officer.

Morgan Stanley Advisor Charged with Insider Dealing (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: A

Morgan Stanley financial advisor Michael Siva is among seven people charged with making about $5 million trading on illegal leaks made by a former Bank of America employee, Bloomberg writes.

Daniel Rivas, a former employee at Bank of America’s capital-markets technology group, allegedly passed dozens of tips about unannounced deals to two friends, including his girlfriend’s father, James Moodhe, an assistant controller at a brokerage that prosecutors didn’t identify, according to the news service.

Moodhe allegedly passed the tips on to Morgan Stanley’s Siva, whose trades on the leaked deals allegedly made his clients more than $880,000 and $8,000 for himself, Bloomberg writes.

10 bold predictions about the financial advice industry’s future (Investment News), Rated: A

“In 10 years, we’ll be in the midst of the largest wealth transfer in history, as more than $30 trillion is passed to millennials.”

Lowell Putnam, co-founder and CEO, Quovo

“Clients are going to want more technology that they can touch. I think there’s going to be more of a collaborative piece to planning.”

Rose Price, financial planner, VLP Financial Advisors

“The emerging influence and affluence of women — specific to income, education, entrepreneurship and wealth — will further demand comprehensive planning and financial independence.”

Sameer Somal, chief financial officer, Blue Ocean Global Wealth

“As the Gen X and millennial generations become more empowered to take charge of their financial future, they will demand advice in an ‘instant’ … whether through an app, online digitally or virtually with an adviser.”

Julia Carlson, CEO and wealth adviser, Financial Freedom Wealth Management Group

“There will be commoditization of financial planning advice in the same way we’ve seen in investment management in the past, that’s going to offer the opportunity for further specialization.”

Nicholas Crow, president, Motley Fool Wealth Management

Here’s what an uptick in the US IPO market could mean for fintechs (Business Insider), Rated: A

Initial public offerings (IPOs) have been 

Crowdfunded real-estate investments: 3 ways to do it (MarketWatch), Rated: A

In fact, investment crowdfunding (excluding community fundraising tools like Kickstarter) could top $300 billion annually by 2025, according to CFX Markets.

A typical crowdfunded real-estate project raises anywhere from $50,000 to $3 million from individual investors; the total project size can range up to $30 million or higher. For a $10,000 investment, return expectations range from $700 to $1,200 for a one-year debt investment to $5,000 to $15,000 for a longer-term (over three to five years) equity investment.

Equity crowdfunding

Pros

• Lower barrier to entry: For as little as $5,000, individuals can invest in large, commercial real-estate projects and enjoy the benefits of real estate: strong returns, a low degree of correlation with public markets and historically lower volatility.

• High yield potential: As equity investors, individuals can share in uncapped gains.

Cons

• Risk remains: These investments do carry risk, and some investors may not know how to evaluate risk factors, such as local economy volatility, or potential for higher-than-expected construction costs.

• Lack of liquidity: Many of these investments entail a hold period of up to five years. No prominent secondary markets have emerged yet.

• It’s early: While many platforms tout positive aggregate return figures, it’s inevitable that some projects won’t go well.

Syndicated debt crowdfunding

Pros

• Less risky than an equity investment: Debt investors are entitled to repayment before equity investors earn a return, so these investments carry less risk.

• Extra diligence: The loans upon which these investments are based were originated by professional real-estate lenders, who often have a physical presence and expertise in the markets where they issue loans.

• Short hold period: Relatively short terms (typically under two years) allow investor to reinvest sooner, and reduces liquidity risk.

Cons

• Less upside than an equity stake: Though debt investments are generally more secure, they carry less upside, as the investor’s yield is limited to the interest rate of the loan.

• A middleman: The experienced real estate lender is an additional layer of diligence, but it’s also another party between the investor and the original loan. This typically means a net annual percentage return of 0.5% to 1% lower than platform-issued debt offerings (see below).

Platform-issued (‘pre-filled’) debt crowdfunding

Pros

• Less risky: Debt investors are the first to be repaid, and the investment is secured by the underlying property.

• Short hold period: The individual typically recoups their money in six months to two years.

• One less middleman: With the platform acting as the lender, one less party takes a fee.

Cons

• Less upside than equity, for the same reason that syndicated debt does.

• Less diligence: Unlike syndication, the only loan underwriting is done by the platform (acting as lender). Some platforms practice conservative underwriting, but the companies themselves may have limited operating histories and minimal experience in all the markets where they issue loans.

KeyBank Partners with Billtrust to Deliver Best-in-Class, Automated Accounts Receivable Solution (PR Newswire), Rated: A

KeyBank (NYSE: KEY) announced today its strategic partnership with and equity investment in Billtrust, a pioneer of payment cycle management solutions. This collaboration, along with the launch of KeyTotal AR™, marks the most recent in a series of partnerships with emerging fintech providers, affirming Key’s commitment to bringing innovative solutions to market. Terms of the investment were not disclosed.

The KeyTotal AR™ platform allows KeyBank’s corporate clients to improve operational efficiency during the invoice-to-cash process using electronic invoicing and payments in a flexible, cloud-based solution. Powered by Billtrust’s Quantum Payment Cycle Management solution, the platform accelerates cash flow by automating invoice delivery and payment and cash application. Merging this innovation with KeyBank’s broad range of accounts receivable (AR) capabilities has created one of the highest-level product suites available in the market today.

Top 5 Emerging Fintech Hubs in The U.S. (Bank Innovation), Rated: A

Atlanta

Atlanta has enjoyed a position as a hub for financial services, if not necessarily fintech, for quite a while. The city, which is presently playing host to a number of fintech startups, incumbents, and technology accelerators (including the Techstars Atlanta Program) is the place to be for payments companies, to the point where some have nicknamed areas of the hub things like “Transaction Alley.”

For the older guard of digital payments, companies NCR and WorldPay are both currently headquartered here, and of course, it’s the birthplace of the Atlanta Automated ClearingHouse, or ACH.

Startups like First Performance Global are innovating the authorization side of payments, using data analytics, social media, and automation to make sure its businesses stay competitive.

Austin

The city is home to older fintech residents like banking technology provider Kasasa, mobile trendsetter Malauzai, and digital banking solutions provider Q2 Holdings.

Now, Austin is headquarters to newer entrants like Draft, which is using the venture funding it received from Plug and Play and Envestnet Yodlee in order to build insights based on data analytics to help financial advisors avoid poor portfolio performances and to further build trust with clients. Companies like Self Lender are focusing attention on the under-banked, using digital savings plans to help users build up the credit they are missing from lack of access to more traditional financial products. Other startups like Able are focusing on the increasingly competitive small business lending market, aiming to fund SMBs at all stages with help from friends and family.

Miami

Take for example the startup Waleteros, a banking app geared specifically to serve the underbanked U.S. Hispanic customer.

Then there’s ClassWallet, an app geared specifically to help schools. This virtual wallet streamlines the process of payments and reimbursements for teachers and schools alike.

Catering to Miami’s entrepreneur demography is a startup like InvestReady, formerly known as Accredify. This company uses API integration to allow crowdfunding portals to verify investors, thus simplifying the tedious compliance and verification process. The company, which was founded in 2014, has to date raised $120K in funding.

Omaha-Lincoln, Neb.

D3 Technology in Omaha has become a stalwart in the mobile banking scene, helping institutions replace their aging, first-generation mobile apps with data-driven solutions and modern UX’s. Lincoln’s Hip Pocket is a financial wellness tool that allows users to save money with a swipe.

Washington D.C.

Some companies like Wealthminder are using digitized financial planning tools and investment recommendations fueled by data analytics to help its users to achieve longer term financial goals, such as funding college, buying a home, or retirement.

Startups like FS Card are busy re-designing credit, offering new options for small dollar loan customers to move towards more traditional (more affordable) credit products. Others, like StreetShares are enabling “social finance” for small businesses, allowing like-minded investors to fund small businesses through auctions (businesses pitch themselves through a simple mobile application, and investors compete to fund; the lowest bids are consolidated into one single loan with a low interest rate).

Recent FinTech Partnerships Bode Well for GH Capital (KFM BFM), Rated: A

Using aggregators also allow retailers to instantly offer multiple payment methods to the customers leading to a higher conversion rate. That’s why we see digital payment processing companies like Wirecard AG (WRCDF) expanding at a quick rate. The company registered a transaction volume growthof ~34% during the first quarter of 2017.

GH Capital Inc (GHHC), a gateway provider for online banking electronics payments, can also benefitfrom this trend. The company already entered in several partnerships with multiple payment processors. It recently partnered with Allied Wallet and has taken a 23% equity stake in VMoney.

GH Capital is involved in the provision of IPO services for small corporations.

BFS Capital Appoints Michael Marrache as CEO (BusinessWire), Rated: B

BFS Capital Inc., a small business financing company, announced that it has appointed Michael Marrache as Chief Executive Officer to succeed outgoing CEO and co-founder Marc Glazer. Named President in September 2016, Marrache previously served for more than three years as the company’s Chief Operating Officer. He also will join the company’s Board of Directors. Marc Glazer will continue to serve as Chairman of the BFS Capital Board.

Washington Capital Partners Rewrites the Rules of Flip-to-Rent Real Estate Investing (Press Release Rocket), Rated: B

Today, Washington Capital Partners (WCP), a hard money lender operating in the Washington D.C., Virginia, and Maryland areas, announced their new Flip-to-Rent Hybrid Loan product. This 3-year hard money loan allows fix and flip investors to immediately roll their property into a long-term rental loan.

United Kingdom

Fintech lender MarketInvoice to tap 400,000 strong customer base (AltFi), Rated: AAA

MarketInvoice continues on its mission to extend its services to a broader range of businesses. The invoice finance platform, which recently launched a new longer term funding line (MarketInvoice Pro), has forged a strategic alliance with credit management specialists Veritas Commercial Services.

Veritas is a leading credit management firm with a digital sales ledger platform called VeritasVirtual. Its customers use this platform to monitor the status of outstanding payments. The MarketInvoice platform has now been seamlessly integrated into VeritasVirtual, offering small business users access to MarketInvoice Pro – a funding line which is secured against their outstanding invoices.

China

China Rapid Finance Reports Unaudited Second Quarter 2017 Financial Results (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

China Rapid Finance Limited (“China Rapid Finance” or the “Company”) (NYSE: XRF) today reported its unaudited financial results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2017. The Company will hold a conference call on August 17, 2017 at 8:00 am Eastern Time (8:00 pm Beijing Time) to discuss the financial results for the second quarter of 2017. Dial-in details are provided at the end of this release.

Second Quarter 2017 Financial Highlights

  • Total gross billings on transaction and service fees[1] grew by 59% year over year to $24.5 million, or 46% over the previous quarter.
  • Gross billings from consumption loans exceeded gross billings from lifestyle loans, marking an important milestone. Gross billings from consumption loans increased by 642% year over year to $13.2 million, or 97% over the previous quarter. Gross billings from consumption loans represented 54% of total gross billings as compared with 12% in the prior year period, and 40% in the previous quarter. Gross billings from lifestyle loans were $11.3 million as compared with $13.7 million in the prior year period, or $10 million in the previous quarter. Gross billings from lifestyle loans were 46% of total gross billings, as compared with 88% in the prior year period, and 60% in the previous quarter.
  • Net revenue increased by 9% year over year to $15.2 million (after netting off customer acquisition incentives of $8.1 million) from $13.9 million (after netting off customer acquisition incentives of $0.6 million) in the prior year period, and 45% over the previous quarter from $10.5 million (after netting off customer acquisition incentives of $5.3 million) in the previous quarter.

Second Quarter 2017 Operating Highlights

  • Number of new borrowers added in the second quarter of 2017 was 760 thousand, increasing 39% over the previous quarter. As of June 30, 2017, the Company had 2.7 million unique borrowers.
  • Total number of loans facilitated grew by 354% year over year to 5.1 million, or on average 55 thousand loans facilitated per day. Total number of loans facilitated since inception reached 20 million.
  • Total loan volume facilitated increased by 244% year over year to $720.7 million. Consumption loans facilitated increased by 431% year over year to $637.5 million, with lifestyle loans facilitated totaling $83.2 million, as compared with $89.7 million in the prior year period.
  • Average cumulative loan volume per borrower of the Q4 2015 cohort increased to approximately $1,550 in their 18th month on our marketplace from approximately $1,300 in the 15th month. Average cumulative loan volume per borrower of the Q1 2016 cohort increased to approximately $1,340 in their 15th month on our marketplace from approximately $1,099 in the 12th month.
  • Repeat borrowers on the Company’s marketplace accounted for 72% of the total borrowers as of June 30, 2017.

Sohu’s Fox Fintech Group Approved to Obtain First Internet Micro-credit License Issued by Ningbo City Government (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Recently, the Finance Office of Ningbo City Government approved a subsidiary of Fox Financial Technology Group Limited (“Fox Fintech Group” or “the Company”), an affiliate of Sohu.com Limited (NASDAQ: SOHU), to obtain the city’s first internet micro-credit license. This is a milestone that shows Ningbo City Government’s positive stance towards leading internet companies to set up fintech-related businesses in the city.

European Union

Savings Marketplace Raisin Passes the €4 Billion Mark Faster than Any Wealth Management Fintech (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Headquartered in Germany, Pan-European savings marketplace Raisin reports that in less than 4 years its customers have invested more than €4 billion in the platform’s savings products. As a result, Raisin is the leading marketplace for investments in Europe and one of the fastest growing Fintechs in the world.

Founded in 2013 as the first marketplace for investments in Europe, Raisin is now about twice the size of its next largest competitor.

Source: Crowdfund Insider

European real estate investment up on Brexit (Pensions&Investments), Rated: AAA

The immediate impact of 2016’s Brexit vote on private equity real estate investing in the second half of the year carried over into 2017, with reciprocal effects in mainland Europe. The first half of 2017 saw 201 deals closed, down from 315 and 302 in the first six months of 2016 and 2015, respectively. Continental Europe saw about 500 deals close between January and June 2017, as compared to about 400 halfway through 2016 and about 300 at 2015’s midpoint.

Source: Pensions&Investments
International

How Swift makes renminbi payment frictionless (The Asset), Rated: AAA

Swifts’s gpi enables banks to make cross-border renminbi payments to Chinese companies. By collaborating with China’s Cross-border Interbank Payment System they aim to make renminbi payments as fast as possible, Michael Moon, head of payments markets for Asia-Pacific at Swift, tells The Asset.

A recent Swift report shows that the renminbi only ranked sixth as a share of total global payments by volume.

Malaysia and Germany are the two countries which have had the highest growth in renminbi utilization for the past three years. For the first six months of 2017, Malaysia and Germany have seen a 551% and 436% growth respectively, compared to the same period in 2014.

SONM Advisory Board Onboards Digital Economist Paolo Tasca (Finance Magnates), Rated: B

Supercomputer Organized by Network Mining (SONM) has made an announcement regarding digital economist Paolo Tasca having joined the company’s board of advisors.

Tasca is the founder of the Centre for Blockchain Technologies at the University College London (UCL) and currently holds the role of Executive Director there. Prior to this position, Tasca acted as Lead Economist for digital currencies and peer-to-peer lending at Deutsche Bundesbank, which is located in Frankfurt, Germany.

Australia

Small lenders offer biggest savings on $ 1m property loans (Financial Review), Rated: AAA

Small lenders are offering the lowest rates on $1 million mortgages, with some products potentially lowering repayments by $500 a month, or $200,000 over a 30-year term.

The loan sizes have crept up as the median price of a property in Sydney hit $1.15m and about $850,000 in Melbourne.

Loans.com.au, an online lender, and Mortgage House Advantage offer the lowest variable, principal and interest rate for an owner-occupier of 3.64 per cent, or monthly repayments of about $4569.  That compares to an average rate of 4.27 per cent, a difference of 53 basis points, $362 a month or $130,000 over a 30-year term.

Australian Unity has a top rate for interest-only, owner occupiers of 3.79 per cent, or $3158 in monthly repayments. There is a $600 application fee. The average basic variable rate in the category is 4.73 per cent, a difference of 94 basis points, $551 a month or more than $198,000 over a 30-year loan.

Loans.com.au offers owner occupier, interest-only loans at 3.89 per cent, or $4711 in monthly repayments. That compares to an average rate of 4.53 per cent, a difference of 64 basis points, or $374 a month, or more than $134,000 over 30 years.

India

Online lending startup KNAB Finance raises funds from InCred, others (VC Circle), Rated: A

KNAB Finance Advisors Pvt. Ltd, a fin-tech firm that provides unsecured working capital loans to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), has raised a little over Rs 2.5 crore in two funding rounds, a top company executive told VCCircle.

Non-banking financial company (NBFC) InCred, and over a dozen individual investors including Mindtree executive chairman Krishnakumar Natarajan and Sharjah Islamic Bank’s senior vice president Ravi Bhardwaj invested in the company.

The startup extends loans with an average ticket size of Rs 6 lakh, and it has disbursed Rs 10 crore worth of loans so far. It also offers short-term loans, allowing customers to close them within a month.

Asia

The potential impact of AI on trade finance (The Asset), Rated: A

HSBC announced that it was working with IBM to create a cognitive intelligence solution aimed at extracting key data from trade documents before entering the bank’s formal system. The bank typically processes over US$500 billion worth of trade documentation for customers and must manually review an estimated 100 million pages of documents annually.

In Singapore, financial technology firm Silent Eight has alternatively proposed using AI solutions to support bank analysts and investigators with their fight against AML violations and terrorism financing.

Africa

8 Zambian startups graduate from BongoHive accelerator (Disrupt Africa), Rated: A

The eight startups taking part in the programme were gaming startups LudoHuband Gamers Entertainment Meet (GEM), food startup InspireMe Trading, development and design startup Orbitrix Programming Solutions, flowers company Unforgettable Moments, real estate crowdfunding startup LCB Moguls, agri-tech startup eMsika, and interior design company Kreate Interiors.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday August 7 2017, Daily News Digest

LendingClub

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

LendingClub

News Comments

United States

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China

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International

Australia/New Zealand

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Asia

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Barbados

News Summary

United States

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Thomson Reuters Eikon, image made by James Brumley

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WSFS is partnering with LendKey.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are some questions to ask yourself to get started:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

China

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

European Union

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

International

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

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

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

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

Mueller bullets out intrinsic challenges to the existing regulatory ecosystem:

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

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

Read the full report here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Brave New Coin

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

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

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

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

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

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

Australia/New Zealand

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

India

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

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

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

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

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

Asia

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

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

  1. Expansion of licensing exemptions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Africa

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

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

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

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

Barbados

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

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

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

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

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday June 26 2017, Daily News Digest

banks stress test

News Comments Today’s main news: LendingClub on its latest securitization. Atom Bank gets 30M GBP from UK government. Yoyo raises 12M GBP. ArchOver, Escalate partner. Stripe enters 6 new markets. TD Bank opens new branch in British Columbia. Today’s main analysis: Banks pass stress test. Today’s thought-provoking articles: OCC advises fintechs, MPLs. Congressman launches alt lending investigation. BNP Paribas startup camp the […]

banks stress test

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

Asia

Middle East

Canada

News Summary

United States

LendingClub Closes First Self-Sponsored Securitization to Expand Investor Access (LendingClub), Rated: AAA

LendingClub (NYSE:LC), America’s largest online marketplace connecting borrowers and investors, today closed its inaugural self-sponsored securitization deal. The Consumer Loan Underlying Bond (CLUB) NP Credit Trust 2017-NP1 (CLUB 2017-NP1) issued $279.4 million in notes backed by consumer loan assets facilitated through the LendingClub platform. The transaction marks the start of LendingClub’s securitization program as Sponsor, Servicer and Administrator. LendingClub expects to sponsor programmatic securitizations and to use the CLUB structure for future transactions. This is the fifth securitization backed by consumer loan assets facilitated through the LendingClub platform and the third rated securitization of such assets overall.

LendingClub anticipates that programmatic use of the CLUB structure could provide institutional ABS investors with consistent access to securitized assets facilitated through its platform, standardization, consistency, and a more efficient means of financing for the long-term. The transaction was rated by Kroll and includes $162.4 million of Class A notes rated “A- (sf)”, $41.2 million of Class B notes rated “BBB (sf)” and $75.7 million of Class C notes rated “BB (sf)” backed by approximately $337 million of collateral. Each tranche of notes was oversubscribed by a diverse set of investors, most of whom were new to investing in assets facilitated by LendingClub. Citi and JP Morgan acted as lead underwriters. BNP and Jefferies acted as co-managers.

“I’m very pleased with our execution. We’re broadening our platform to tap into a large and liquid ABS market and with this deal we’ve reached 20 new investors, including insurance companies and large asset managers who are looking for new ways to access the platform,” said Patrick Dunne, Chief Capital Officer of LendingClub. “This transaction also demonstrates a capital markets financing alternative for the portfolios of our existing investors, which may provide better pricing transparency and enhanced liquidity.”

Bank Stress Tests Pass, True Lender Contest in CO, GS Marcus hits $ 1 Bn (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

This week, major banks passed their Comprehensive Capital Adequacy Review (CCAR):

Source: Bloomberg, Federal Reserve, PeerIQ

One bank that has recently entered the lending market, GS Bank, reports they have achieved a $1 Bn lending milestone and remain on track to generate $2 Bn in loans by year-end – amongst the fastest growth rates we have seen across the PeerIQ data & analytics platform.

In the wake of emerging bank competition in the prime & super-prime category, non-banks are applying a few strategies:

  • Focus on underserved credit segments where traditional banks outside of a few specialists will not compete (e.g., Fair Square Financial, Loan Depot, various non-QM lenders)
  • Compete on brand and service, rather than rate, by offering a better customer experience and integrated product mix to a targeted customer segment. (e.g., SoFi)
  • Lending-as-a-Service models that enable banks and credit unions to compete with licensed technology (e.g., Upstart, Avant, LendKey)

On the securitization front, three deals from non-bank lenders priced this week including Springleaf ($650 MM), Lendmark ($350 MM), and Marlette ($323 MM).

OCC Offers Advice on Fintechs, Marketplace Lenders (Lexology), Rated: AAA

Defining a third-party relationship as “any business arrangement between the bank and another entity, by contract or otherwise,” the OCC explained that it can include activities that involve outsourced products and services; use of outside consultants, networking arrangements, merchant payment processing services, and services provided by affiliates and subsidiaries; joint ventures; and other business arrangements in which a bank has an ongoing third-party relationship or may have responsibility for the associated records.

Whether or not a fintech company arrangement can be considered a critical activity depends on a number of factors, such as whether significant bank functions (payments, clearing, settlements and custody, for example) are involved or other activities that could have a major impact on bank operations if the bank has to find an alternative third party or if the outsourced activities have to be brought in-house.

The bulletin also clarified that no requirement exists that a third party must meet the bank’s lending criteria in order to establish a relationship.

Banks must also establish appropriate processes and systems to effectively monitor and control the risks inherent within the marketplace lending relationships, the OCC said, from adequate loan underwriting guidelines to cover credit risk management to ensuring the marketplace lender has adequate compliance management processes in place to satisfy compliance risk management concerns.

To read Bulletin 2017-21, click here.

Congressman Cleaver Launches Investigation into Fintech Lending (House.gov), Rated: AAA

Today, U.S. Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II launched an investigation into small business FinTech lending, including online companies that offer payday loan-like products for small businesses and individual consumers.

In a letter from Congressman Cleaver to the Chief Executive Officers of several rapidly emerging FinTech small business lenders, the executives were asked to share information about their company products, fees, and methods when it comes to disclosures and potentially discriminatory practices. The letters were sent to Lending Club, Biz2Credit, Fora Financial, Prosper, and Lend Up. Companies are expected to respond by August 10, 2017.

How To Fix And Flip A Property While Wearing Your Bathrobe (Forbes), Rated: A

In the first quarter of 2017, according to ATTOM Data Solutions, there were 43,615 single family homes and condos flipped. These types of transactions accounted for 6.7% of all homes sold in Q1. Across all markets, flippers averaged a $64,284 gross profit, according to ATTOM.

This other way to invest has to do with another statistic in ATTOM’s report: “Flippers” borrowed an astounding $3.5B in Q1 to facilitate property acquisition and repairs. What’s not widely known is that a majority of this capital comes not from banks, but from private investors.”

  • The platforms source projects from real estate flippers through digital and boots-on-ground marketing.
  • Each platform has underwriting criteria that helps to determine which projects will be selected for funding. Our firm requires the flipper to have completed at least three projects in the last 12 months.
  • If everything checks out, the platform will fund the project and secure a first-position mortgage on the house.
  • Most platforms are “pre-funding” the loan, meaning they’re using their own capital to originate the loan.
  • For your investment, you can earn anywhere between 7-12% annualized return.

However, there are still some limitations.

  • Accredited investors only
  • Startup risk
  • Lack of control

Online Lender Accused Of Linking With Tribe To Get Immunity (Law360), Rated: AAA

A group of Virginia residents filed a proposed class action in federal court Thursday alleging that an internet lending company engaged in a “rent-a-tribe scheme” to allow it to charge illegally high interest rates on its loans while attempting to use a Michigan tribe’s sovereign immunity as a shield from suit.

Lula Williams and four other plaintiffs claimed in their complaint that Big Picture Loans LLC purported to be owned and operated by the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians.

CHOICE Act Helps Sharing Economy and FinTech, but a Senate Bill May Harm It (CEI.org), Rated: A

The U.S Senate should get to work on passing portions of the CHOICE Act, particularly regarding the sharing economy and FinTech. It should also shelve legislation that would harm those sectors.

One example of the latter is a terrible bill from Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Diane Feinstein (D-CA) that would shove any “issuer, redeemer or cashier” of a “digital currency” into the same anti-money laundering regulations as those that govern the big banks. This bill is called the Combating Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Counterfeiting Act of 2017.

Small Business Financial Stability: What is the Role of Mission-Based Lenders? (Huffington Post), Rated: A

Small business ownership’s promise of long-term asset generation is not without tradeoffs. Unexpected shortfalls in revenues or increases in expenses can be devastating to a young business, and recent research by the JPMorgan Chase Institute reveals that small businesses operate with tenuous cash reserves to cover these costs. In fact, the typical small business could only cover expenses for 27 days in the case of a financial emergency. For businesses in low-wage industries, that time window drops to 19 days.

Business cash flow volatility often has consequences for household finances. Most small business owners (76%) respondto cash flow challenges by using personal funds. This could mean drawing from personal savings, foregoing a personal salary or maxing out credit utilization limits, which can damage one’s credit score and impact opportunities to secure future sources of financing. (The majority of small business owners use personal credit scores to apply for business capital.) Accion and Opportunity Fund borrowers generally re-invest business profits into the business rather than the household – 55% of study respondents experienced an increase in business profits in the previous six months but only 30% increased their household savings over the same period.

Often, small business owners find themselves in a cycle of debt after taking out a high-cost loan. In fact, approximately one in four small business loan applicants cite refinancing existing debt as their main reason for applying. Recognizing this trend in their own applicant pool, Opportunity Fund analyzed alternative loan contracts for 104 small business owners seeking relief from high-cost loan debt. Their analysis found that the average loan imposed an annual percentage rate (APR) of 94%. Further, the average monthly loan payment for business owners was nearly double their net income.

What is the role of mission-based lenders?

  • Lending innovation: alternative finance products fulfill an important demand—to keep the doors open in the case of a pressing financial need. Mission-based small business lenders must better meet that immediate need before entrepreneurs turn to costlier options.
  • Financial advising: Among those who participated in Accion and Opportunity Fund’s study, just over a half (54%) used a business financial plan. This illustrates the imperative of increased investment in financial advising that better equips business owners to plan for and manage financial emergencies while building long-term stability.
  • Education: The financial landscape is convoluted and ever-changing, and entrepreneurs need support in navigating their options. Accion publishes 90+ online resources per year to help business owners build their business and financial skills. Opportunity Finance Network’s Venturize campaign, which helps small business owners understand their financing options, generated over 73 million impressions in its first year.
  • Leadership: Advancing responsible lending practices is not just a moral imperative. It’s also a business imperative to ensure client satisfaction and business survival.

Robo-advice and payments are counterrevolutionary, but not fintech lending (AltFi), Rated: A

Worse: because it can easily be adopted by incumbents, robo may not just be un-revolutionary but actively counterrevolutionary, claims a new report by Silicon Valley think tank the Christensen Institute.

Payments is put in the same boat, noting it requires close cooperation with powerful businesses who control important infrastructure. And cooperation means large chunks of fees collected from merchants must be shared.

The report reserves higher praise for the marketplace lending which, it claims, has enormous potential and could even undermine banking majors’ ability to set interest rates.

Nevada Imposes Fiduciary Obligations on Broker-Dealers and Investment Advisers (National Law Review), Rated: A

Broker-dealers and investment advisers with clients in Nevada should review the fiduciary obligations contained in new amendments to the Nevada financial planner statute that go into effect on July 1, 2017.

As a result of the June 2017 Amendments, broker-dealers, investment advisers, and their representatives will now be classified as “financial planners” for purposes of the Nevada Securities Act and will become subject to the following provisions of the financial planner law:

  • Duties—A financial planner has the duty of a fiduciary toward a client. Accordingly, a financial planner shall disclose to a client, at the time advice is given, any gain the financial planner may receive, such as profit or commission, if the advice is followed.
  • Liability—If loss results from following a financial planner’s advice under any of the following circumstances, the client may recover from the financial planner in a civil action the amount of the economic loss and all costs of litigation and attorney fees.[2] The circumstances giving rise to liability are that the financial planner (1) violated any element of his or her fiduciary duty;[3] (2) was grossly negligent in selecting the course of action advised, in light of all of the client’s circumstances known to the financial planner; or (3) violated any law of Nevada in recommending the investment or service.

However, there are still some uncertainties that arise from this determination by Nevada to apply a statute intended for financial planners to broker-dealers and investment advisers. These include the following:

  • Duties—The June 2017 Amendments could be read to create a continuing fiduciary duty after delivering a financial plan. Registered investment advisers now deliver the plan and state that delivery ends the relationship (i.e., no continuing duty).

  • Delivery of Compensation Information—Delivery timing may be slightly off from Form ADV delivery. Form ADV is delivered to a client at or before the opening of the account, while the June 2017 Amendments call for delivery at the time advice is given.

  • Point of Sale Disclosure—It is not clear if the point of sale disclosure of compensation is intended to be different from the level of disclosure currently provided. In this regard, use of the term “gain” can be viewed as involving a different calculation than fees charged.

  • Broader Inquiry—The obligation under the June 2017 Amendments to “keep currently informed, concerning the client’s financial circumstances and the client’s present and anticipated obligations and goals for his or her family” arguably is a greater burden than is currently required.

Reg CF Portal Pivot: DreamFunded Abandons Startups for Real Estate Crowdfunding (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

DreamFunded, a FINRA approved Reg CF portal, has pivoted from its original model of providing access to capital for early stage companies. Today, instead of the next cool startup gracing the pages of DreamFunded there are single family homes up for investment.

Currently, they are in the legal process of getting our 1st Title III real estate debt deal approved, which expects to go live on July 5th, 2017.

Edward Jones Tops Internet Search Ranking (Barrons), Rated: B

The 15,000-advisor firm is dominating its rivals when it comes to pulling those searchers to its sites, InvestmentNews reports, citing a new study from Hearsay Systems and Moz.

Edward Jones spends nearly half of its media investment on digital marketing, Olsen tells the publication. Most of that is geared to the local digital space. Each advisor and branch has a custom microsite—a separate site outside the main company homepage.

Morgan Stanley ranked second in overall click share percentage. It also came out on top in paid searches, or ads. Wells Fargo Advisors and Fidelity Investments came in second and third on that list.

Lendy Expands: Appoints Three New Senior Hires to Team (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Peer-to-peer lending platform Lendy recently announced it has appointed three new senior hires to its growing team. Shane Lewin was named compliance officer, while Shaun Reynolds was appointed development finance support manager, and Pamela Guillamon was appointed international marketing manager.

United Kingdom

Atom Bank gets £30 million from the government as Philip Hammond pledges investment boost (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Startup bank Atom has received a £30 million funding boost from the state-owned British Business Bank (BBB).

British Business Bank Investments, the commercial arm of the BBB, announced it has agreed a £30 million Tier 2 capital facility with Atom, a digital-only bank founded in 2014. The facility, effectively a loan to Atom, will allow the Durham-based bank to lend out more money to small businesses.Startup bank Atom has received a £30 million funding boost from the state-owned British Business Bank (BBB).

Yoyo raises £12m as fintech defies Brexit fears (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Yoyo Wallet, the fast-growing British mobile payments app, has raised £12m from investors including the German retailer Metro Group and fund manager Neil Woodford to finance its expansion in Europe and the US.

Yoyo, which recently passed the milestone of processing more than 1m monthly payments for its 400,000 registered users, has grown rapidly since its creation four years ago as a mobile app to pay for goods in university student unions.

The app is used to handle payments in 1,700 outlets, including over 60 UK and Irish universities; the canteens of several big companies such as JPMorgan Chase; and retailers such as Caffè Nero and Planet Organic.

The latest fundraising, which takes the total Yoyo has raised in three rounds to over £20m, will be used to finance the company’s expansion in the US.

ArchOver partners with Escalate (Bridging & Commercial), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending platform ArchOver has become the first UK lender to partner with commercial dispute resolution service Escalate.

The partnership will increase ArchOver’s ability to provide loans for the SME market, as well as helping borrowers collect disputed payments and enhancing security for lenders.

Escalate will enable ArchOver to recoup any disputed assets being used as security for loans over the ArchOver platforms.

WiseAlpha Set to Complete Crowdcube Round With More Than £1.1 Million in Funding (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

WiseAlpha, a UK online lending platform that gives everyday investors access to high yield institutional bond and loan investments, is set to close its equity crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube with more than £1.1 million secured from nearly 1,000 investors.

The new ISA that pays 6.1% interest on your money – everything you need to know (Mirror), Rated: A

The average interest on a cash ISA is running at 0.4% according to recent figures.

So the news that a new ISA is paying 6.1% is bound to make people’s ears prick up.

Customers can put as much as £20,000 into a Zopa innovative finance ISA.

There are two rates on offer – a “Core” deal paying 3.9% returns and a “Plus” offering that pays 6.1%.

So far this year just 0.08% of loans have defaulted, although in the worst years of the credit crunch as many as 4.21% did.

Most of the time, fewer than 2% of loans actually default.

Investec Wealth launches ‘robo advice’ platform offering active management (AltFi), Rated: A

Investec Wealth & Investment has launched a new online investment platform called Click & Invest, aimed at competing in the fast growing ‘robo advice’ market.

The firm, which is one of the larger wealth management firms and part of the wider Investec group, has more than £32.5bn of client funds under management.  Its new platform aims to differentiation from the majority of robo-platforms “by going beyond algorithms and offering an actively managed investment strategy”, selecting from over 300 actively managed funds.

Individuals are not charged for setting up and creating a portfolio, commission, transferring in, withdrawing money or closing an account. Fees for Click & Invest are 0.65 per cent on the first £100,000 invested, 0.50 per cent on the, £10,000 invested and 0.35 per cent on any amounts invested over £250,000.

Fintech LendInvest’s growth slows due to ‘challenging’ property market and investment (Business Insider), Rated: A

Online mortgage marketplace LendInvest saw revenue growth slow and profits dive last year as it invested for growth and dealt with “challenging” market conditions.

Accounts seen by Business Insider show LendInvest’s revenue grew from £18.6 million to £22.1 million in the year to March 2017. That’s a significant slowdown on the prior year when revenues jumped to £18.6 million from £7.2 million in 2015.

The company made a loss of £1 million in the year to March 2017, down from a pre-tax profit of £2.4 million in 2016. Operating profits shrunk from £3.3 million to £52,000.

Linked Finance talking to AIB about lending deal (Independent.ie), Rated: A

Irish online lending company Linked Finance is in talks with AIB and other major Irish banks about future collaborations, its founder said.

Serial investor Peter O’Mahony, who founded the peer-to-peer lending platform, said the firm had been approached by AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank.

Talks with all three banks are still at an early stage, but O’Mahony said there were a number of possibilities for collaboration.

China

Tencent and Bank of China jointly set up a joint financial and technical laboratory (01Caijing), Rating: AAA

Recently, the “Bank of China – Tencent Financial Technology Joint Laboratory” was established. Bank of China and Tencent Group will focus on cloud computing, large data, block chain and artificial intelligence and other aspects of deep cooperation, build Pratt & Whitney Finance , cloud finance, smart finance and technology finance.

Credit Insurance Meets Fintech: Hong Kong’s Atradius Launches New Digital Platform (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Hong Kong-based credit insurance provider Atradius announced on Thursday the launch of its new digital fintech platform, Atrium. The company describes the portal as an innovative tool that provides customers and distribution partners with real-time data to better understand buyers, credit limits, and risks a company poses.

Chinese acquirers face tougher due diligence (Financial Times), Rated: A

A regulatory probe announced by China into the “systemic risk” of some of its biggest overseas acquirers is both welcome and troubling. Welcome because Beijing is raising a red flag over corporations long known for high leverage and opaque operations. Troubling because it creates big uncertainties, both for the future of Chinese outbound investment and for the several notable US and European brands snapped up in recent years.

The companies included so far in what is being called a “fact-checking” initiative are Dalian Wanda, the property-to-entertainment company, Fosun International, the consumer group, HNA, a diversified conglomerate, and Anbang, an unlisted insurer. Together, these four have bought $56bn-worth of companies in the past five years.

DCM Ventures leads $ 10m Series A in Chinese real estate crowdfunding platform (Deal Street Asia), Rated: A

DCM Ventures has led a $10-million Series A round in Duocaitou, a crowdfunding platform for accommodation industry, according to a company announcement.

Shunwei Capital, which is co-founded by Xiaomi’s chief executive Lei Jun, also joined this round.

To date, it claims total fundraising on the platform has reached RMB4.6 billion ($670 million) from more than 10,000 individual investors.

WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Jiangsu Suning Bank Co., Ltd., a private online bank backed by Suning Commerce Group Co., Ltd., officially launched last Friday.

Like many of its peers, Suning Bank aims to create an online-to-offline bank driven by technology and taking advantage of its 1,576 offline direct-sale stores and thousands of franchise stores to offer payment and banking services to customers. Suning Commerce and Jiangsu Sunrain Solar Energy contributed CNY 1.2 billion and CNY 944 million to the new bank, holding a 30% and 23.6% interest respectively, and the total valuation of the bank exceeded CNY 4 billion.

On June 12th 2017, in presence of the Prime Ministers of both countries, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between China’s National Internet Finance Association (NIFA) and Luxembourg House of Financial Technology (LHoFT), providing a framework to intensify the cooperation between both countries in the area of digitalization of financial services.

Shenzhen Futian district has announced that it is forming a Fintech advisory committee to conduct industrial policy research, giving advice on investment promotion and gather input on regulation issues and industry trends. The committee will include 30 experts and representatives from various sections of the fintech industry.

Additionally, Futian district and Shenzhen Stock exchange also announced the launch of the first FinTech Index in China, which provides a benchmark to track the performance of companies engaged in financial technologies. The index includes all technologies applied to financial services as blockchain, digital payment and P2P online payment. It is based on May 26, 2017, and the base points are 3000.

On June 14, China Asset Management Co., Ltd. (China AMC) and Microsoft Research Asia jointly announced that the two sides will carry out strategic and cooperative research on the application of artificial intelligence in financial services and promote the intelligent transformation of the asset management industry.

On June 14, the Shenzhen Internet Finance Association, Hong Kong’s Internet Professional Association (iProA) and Singapore’s FinLab announced the establishment of the Shenzhen-Singapore-Hong Kong Fintech Hubs Federation.

China’s biggest dairy firm, Yili Industrial Group plans to invest CNY 300 million to set up a small-loans lender in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

Personal credit card issued by the “letter” or will be established (iFeng), Rated: A

Phoenix WEMONEY news on the evening of June 22, Phoenix WEMONEY was informed that the personal credit card issued by the suspension, a number of third-party institutions or will initiate the establishment of “letter of the Union.”

April 20, the central bank credit management bureau director Wan Cunzhi in the “personal information protection and credit management” international seminar, for the first time announced, including sesame credit, Tencent letter, including the first batch of eight pilot personal credit card Of the credit business without a qualified.

Should You Worry About Baidu’s Fintech Move? (Madison.com), Rated: A

About 160 million people in China took out 1.2 trillion yuan ($180 billion) in online loans last year, according to iResearch. The firm sees that figure growing at an annual rate of 50% over the next three years.

iResearch reports that the average overdue rate ranges from 10% to 20%, and is the “main factor that prevents online lending from becoming a mainstream channel in China’s financial industry.”

Baidu’s Financial Services Group (FSG), which was officially formed a year ago, had 25 billion yuan ($3.7 billion) in assets at the end of its last quarter, which accounted for 12% of its total assets.

Fitch believes that Baidu’s credit risk is higher than Alibaba and Tencent’s, since those two companies are more profitable and have stronger cash flows.

But even if Moody’s downgrades Baidu’s debt from A3 to Baa1, or Fitch cuts its current rating from A to A-, the bonds would still be well within “investment grade” parameters.

European Union

BNP Paribas to Setup a 1,000-Startups Campus in Paris, France (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

There are nowadays gazillions of accelerators, incubators and startup labs, but no one comes close to Station F. Here is why:

  • The sheer size of the campus: 34,000 square meters, 310 meters long (the size of the Eiffel tower!), 1,000 startups, 3,000 startup workstations, and a total capacity to host 9,000 people. The building also houses 8 event spaces and many recreational areas, including a tennis court. More than 250 million euros are invested in its construction.
  • More than 17 big brand incubators. Next to BNP Paribas, HEC Business School, Facebook, China-based Serrinnov, online retail group Vente-Privé, VC firm Daphni, industrial group Thalès, South-Korea’s Naver, and more than a dozen other companies from all sectors will run their innovation lab or startup accelerator from Station F to benefit from the emulation and the synergies that the space offers.

For its Station F program, BNP has chosen to partner with a global partner, Plug and Play, a Silicon Valley-headquartered innovation platform with 22 locations around the world. Plug and Play prides itself with a track record of more than 2,000 backed or accelerated startups, including well-known brands like DropBox and SoundHound, and Fintechs like PayPal and Lending Club. Plug and Play invests in over 100 companies every year and connect startups to corporations.

The partnership between BNP Paribas and Station F will extend beyond hosting the accelerator. BNP Paribas will also become a reference bank for the startups and digital workers of Station F. Depending on their needs, these young companies will be able to draw on the wide range of services of the group which covers the whole spectrum from corporate finance and private equity to mobile personal finance.

Stripe refocuses European effort with 6 new markets and expanded payments platform (VentureBeat), Rated: AAA

Stripe has announced a handful of tidbits that underscore the fast-growing fintech startup’s aspirations in Europe.

Thus far, Stripe has only been fully available to businesses in the U.K., Ireland, Denmark, France, Spain, Norway, Finland, and Sweden. But as of this week, another six markets have been added to the mix: Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Austria, Belgium, and Luxembourg.

Sarego, a New Crowdfunding Platform for Real Estate, Starts with Large Housing Project in Vienna (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

German real estate crowdfunding platform Sarego that uses platform technology from CrowdDesk, private investors may now invest in the first real estate project on the platform. The project  is for the development company Vermehrt GmbH who is crowdfunding one million euros for the energy-efficient renovation and modernization of Gründerzeit-old building in Vienna.

International

FinTech VC Funding Slowing (Forbes), Rated: AAA

US VC funding for Fintech was down by 13% to at $6.2 billion in 2016, much of this attributed to poor performance of lending platforms and a contraction of investment as VCs re-examine where the money is going to be made in FinTech moving forward. It was noted that there were virtually no new entrant digital banks in the US.

The UK attracted $834 million of investment in 2016, down by 38%, mainly attributed to Brexit, though a bumper venture round following the referendum delivered 8 of the top 20 deals attracting $368 million.

New digital challenger banks Atom and Monzo jointly attracted over $150 million in the first half of 2017 highlighting some of the differences between US and UK FinTech when it comes to lending platforms and digital banks.

FinTechs across the payments space continue to grow and MortgageTech / RealEstateTech is emerging and is being watched closely.

Though later stage valuations have appeared to come down, they still look high, and “flat” appears to be the new “up”.

Of the many attributes that VCs look for in startups: market, product fit, disruption and innovation, the key one critical to success is talent:  the founder / CxO and team:

  • Repeat entrepreneur?
  • Domain expertise?
  • Do strategy within a complex highly regulated ecosystem?
  • Marry strategy with detail and execution?
  • Recruit outstanding people that follow?

EY Fintech Adoption Index: China Leads the Pack. USA is Just Average (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

EY has published the “Fintech Adoption Index 2017” that grades the various markets where EY operates so just about most of the developed world. When you think about the giant internet firms in China, and the ubiquity of mobile internet, it just makes sense that China leads the way.

 

Australia/New Zealand

ASIC permanently bans former AMP Financial Planning adviser from financial services (Leaprate.com), Rated: A

ASIC announced that has permanently banned Perth man, David Fong, from providing financial services and engaging in credit activities after it was found that he acted dishonestly in the course of providing financial services and failed to comply with the ‘best interests’ duty.

ASIC decided to ban Mr Fong permanently after finding that he:

  • engaged in dishonest conduct relating to client records and applications for financial products;
  • provided advice to clients that did not comply with the best interests duty, was not appropriate and did not leave them in a better position having received the advice.
Asia

Itochu partners with Sinar Mas on Indonesian fintech (AltFi), Rated: B

Itochu, Japan’s second-largest trading company, has bought a US$50 million stake in an Indonesian P2P lending company as it views Indonesia’s weak financial infrastructure as a fertile harvest for fintech credit services, Nikkei Asian Review reports.

Middle East

A deeper look at the Middle East’s FinTech market (ITP.net), Rated: A

Despite a record-setting 2015 year that saw total global funding to Fintech companies reach $46.7bn, 2016 saw a decline in Fintech investment by 47.2%.

The quarterly report noted that despite VC investments slowing down in the second half of 2016, the year concluded with $2bn invested in Q416 across 200 deals. As a result, VC funding to Fintech companies reached a record of $13.6bn in 2016, up from the $12.6bn reported the year before.

KPMG also highlighted that corporate VC investment in Fintech rose for the seventh year in a row, reaching 145 deals and a total of $8.5bn in 2016.

Canada

TD opens new branch in Richmond, B.C. at Gilbert and Lansdowne (Newswire), Rated: AAA

TD opened a new concept branch in Richmond’s Cadence by Cressey community that marries environmental sustainability and legendary customer service in a uniquely inviting space. The branch, at the corner of Gilbert Road and Lansdowne Road in Richmond, is conveniently located in the new Cadence community which is walkable and close to the waterfront and Richmond’s Olympic Oval.

More comfort, convenience and sustainable attributes include:

  • An inviting, open concept feel encourages collaboration and conversation so customers can get the meaningful, personalized advice they need. When customers come into the branch, there is a mural of the Lansdowne Park Race Track circa 1928.
  • Energy-efficient design sustainably-sourced finishes help reduce the branches environmental footprint and reinforce our commitment to the environment.
  • A customer lounge offers a comfortable space to gather or wait for an appointment with access to tea and coffee.
  • Free Wi-Fi access for customers to use while they wait or to use during an appointment.
  • Digital displays throughout the branch offer customers access to current information, advice and tips to help manage their finances while they wait to see a customer service representative.
  • Sustainable interior elements like responsibly sourced wood finishes, recycled materials and low-energy LED lighting.
  • A flexible, scalable design allows the branch to easily grow and adapt along with the needs of the community.

The branch is also designed to be a full-service advice centre with employees to meet all its customers’ financial needs in multiple languages, including English, Mandarin and Cantonese.

As part of TD ‘s extended hours, the branch is open seven days a week – 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, Monday through Wednesday; 9:00 am to 8:00 pm Thursday and Friday; 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday; and 11:00 am to 4 pm on Sunday.

Fintech Sandbox expands to Canada (Finextra), Rated: A

Today Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) and Boston-based FinTech Sandbox, signed an historic memorandum of understanding (MOU) to collaborate and expand the FinTech Sandbox model into Canada, starting in Ontario.

FinTech Sandbox will open its program in Ontario, which will provide quality data products from 32 industry-leading partners, to qualified start-ups in Ontario.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor