Wednesday January 17 2018, Daily News Digest

European alt SME lending

News Comments Today’s main news: Wells Fargo is closing branches left and right. Repeal  of payday lending rule under consideration. Moody’s assigns provisional ratings to SoFi Professional Loan Program 2018-A-LLC. RateSetter leads in personal loans. Curve launches. Victory Park Capital looks overseas. Today’s main analysis: How Lendix blazes a trail in SME lending. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Why regulation is crucial. Wells […]

European alt SME lending

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United States

Wells Fargo is getting more aggressive with branch closures (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Wells Fargo is charging toward its goal to cut over 800 branches by the end of 2020, it said in a presentation of its fourth quarter earnings on Friday.

 

Wells, which has been struggling to cut costs while it continues getting hit with legal fees following its various scandals, expects to save $4 billion as a result of the plan.
Source: Tearsheet

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau considering repeal of payday lending rule (NBC News), Rated: AAA

The bureau, which came under control of the Trump administration late last year, said in a statement Tuesday that it plans to take a second look at the payday lending rules. While the bureau did not submit a proposal to repeal the rules outright, the statement opens the door for the bureau to start the process of revising or even repealing the regulations. The bureau also said it would grant waivers to companies as the first sets of regulations going into effect later this year.

Moody’s assigns provisional ratings to SoFi Professional Loan Program 2018-A LLC (Moody’s), Rated: AAA

Moody’s Investors Service has assigned provisional ratings of (P)Aaa (sf) to Class A-1 Notes, the Class A-2A Notes and the Class A-2B Notes to be issued by SoFi Professional Loan Program 2018-A LLC (SoFi 2018-A). The collateral underlying the transaction consists of SoFi’s private student loans, which are loans the government does not guarantee. Our cumulative net loss expectation for SoFi 2018-A’s loan pool is approximately 2.0%.

Issuer: SoFi Professional Loan Program 2018-A LLC

  • $55,000,000 Floating Rate Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Class A-1 Notes, Assigned (P)Aaa (sf)
  • $358,500,000 Fixed Rate Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Class A-2A Notes, Assigned (P)Aaa (sf)
  • $236,800,000 Fixed Rate Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Class A-2B Notes, Assigned (P)Aaa (sf)

Magilla Loans Platform Surpasses $ 4.5B Loan Origination Milestone (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Magilla Loans, a search engine for loans that connects borrowers to banks without requesting personal information, announced it has surpassed $4.5 billion in aggregated loans from top banks across the U.S. The Magilla platform provides business owners with access to multiple financing options, including access to business, home and real estate loans.

UpLift Closes Financings of $ 90M (FINSMES), Rated: A

UpLift, a Sunnyvale, CA-based travel financing company, closed financings of $90m.

The company received:
– a $75m credit facility in partnership with funds managed by affiliates of Fortress Investment Group, and
– a $15m equity round which includes participation from previous investors including PAR Capital with Draper Nexus, Highgate Ventures, and former Expedia CEO Erik Blachford.

NextCapital does $ 30-million VC round with a staggering objective that’s taking shape first with John Hancock (RIABiz), Rated: A

The shoot-the-moon robo strategy of NextCapital Advisers Inc. is looking up now that John Hancock Financial Services Inc. has come out of pilot and State Street Global Advisors became a partner in going after RIAs.

The Chicago-based digital advisor, founded in 2013, announced it more than doubled its backing with $30 million of venture round led this time led by Oak HC/FT of Greenwich, Conn. See: NextCapital raises $16 million as its founder goes where Financial Engines’ 401(k) robo strategy didn’t.

All told, the firm has raised $54 million: Six million dollars in August 2014, $18 million in 2015 and, just recently, this $30-million round.

Borrowers in the Lone Star State Can Now Get a Better Mortgage (Digital Journal), Rated: A

Better Mortgage, a digital mortgage company focused on improving access to home financing for a new generation of homeowners, is now available to Texas homebuyers. Better will now be able to serve more than half of Americans who are looking to own or currently own a home. In 2017, Better expanded its footprint in major real estate markets around the country, with Texas being the latest licensed states.

Texas is Better’s 14th market. In 2018, they expect to continue their expansion, focusing on geographies that help first-time homebuyers invest in their communities by putting down roots.

Gary Lieberman of Laurel Road (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • The history of Darien Rowayton Bank.
  • Why Gary decided to buy this small community bank in 2010.
  • How the bank has grown since Gary took it over.
  • How student loan refinancing first got on his radar decades ago.
  • When DRB originated their first student loan.
  • The advantages of being a bank and a fintech platform.
  • Some of the affiliate partnerships DRB has.
  • Other verticals where DRB has offerings today.
  • Why DRB rebranded to Laurel Road in 2017.
  • The scale they are at today with student loan refinancing.
  • Their approach to securitization.
  • How their loans have been performing to date.
  • The profile of their typical borrower.
  • How they market their offerings.
  • What the future holds for Laurel Road.

Refinancing Student Loans Gets Mixed Report (247WallSt), Rated: A

More than 45 million Americans have borrowed $1.45 trillion in student loans to help pay for their post-secondary educations. Repaying those loans can be tough, especially if the loan amount is high and pay for the first job after graduation is low.

Student loan marketplace and refinancing website LendEDU has just released its second annual report on the state of the student loan refinancing market. Here are several highlights from the report:

  • Average credit score of an approved refinance applicant is 764.
  • Just over 58% of 2017 applications are denied.
  • The average interest rate on a refinanced loan is 5.56%. The average rate rose 74 basis points year over year from 4.82% in 2016.
  • The average size of a refinance loan was $66,453. The 2017 average was more than 23% higher year over year.
  • Less than half of approved applicants actually end up refinancing their loans. In 2016, just over 33% of all applicants completed the loan process.

Reliamax’s Michael VanErdewyk: ‘We’re seeing a move towards more private student loans’ (Tearsheet), Rated: A

With all the excitement around online lending, there are still some spaces that have a long growth runway. One of the most persuasive growth opportunities is private student lending. Macroeconomic and policy changes are contributing to the growth thesis but so too are the number of local lending institutions that want to move into this asset class.

Rising costs of higher education
The cost of education continues to increase and the number of kids in school isn’t declining. So, it’s a big opportunity. Really, we have to talk about the cost of education. The cost of higher education in the U.S. today costs over $400 billion a year. About 25 percent of that is free money (grants and scholarships). Another 25 percent is federal student loans. The remainder — about $200 billion a year — is really family contributions.

The focus on private student loans
If you look at the total outstanding student debt, there’s about $1.4 trillion in federal student loans and $100 billion in private student loans, comprising only about 7 percent of total outstanding student debt.

CreditVest starts crowdfunding advisory firm (BizJournals.com), Rated: B

Jon Mauro founded Realty Mentors with Andrea Humphrey, who is president and owner of CreditVest, to focus on individual investors who want to participate in commercial real estate crowdfunding.

Zelle is now running TV ads (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Zelle is spending “tens of millions” of dollars on a television ad campaign featuring spoken word artist Daveed Diggs.

Early Warning, the bank-owned consortium behind the peer-to-peer payments platform, aired the first ad Saturday during the National Football League’s divisional round of playoff games and will continue to run them alongside unifying cultural events like the Grammy Awards, the NBA All-Star Game and the Super Bowl pre-game show. They’ll also run during popular shows on Bravo, Comedy Central, The Discovery Channel, ESPN and MTV.

Zelle is trying to build some brand recognition for itself among its target audience, mobile users, in an effort to compete with Venmo.

An investing platform founded by a 25-year-old went free — and now it’s facing a backlash from its rivals (Business Insider), Rated: A

M1, which was founded by CEO Brian Barnes when he was 25, originally charged users 25 to 40 basis points to use its platform, which allows users to buy fractional stocks and invest in pre-built portfolios. In December, it decided to go free, and make money strictly on the backend, by selling flow to trading firms and lending out non-invested funds sitting in users’ accounts to banks. The company also plans to offer margin trading to its users.

Since going free in December, M1 has seen daily inflows hit as high as $1 million, and a 10-fold increase in the number of new accounts each day.

Still,  M1’s robo rivals aren’t convinced the strategy will work for the small company.

Tipalti Launches Payables Automation Partner Program (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Tipalti, the leading global payables automation platform, today announced the launch of its Partner Program, which will offer accounting firms, financial institutions, system integrators, ERP resellers/VARs, consultants, and partners who work with the office of the CFO, the ability for their clients to leverage Tipalti’s software to eliminate the friction, risk, and time spent on manual accounts payable operations.

Key Features of Tipalti’s Partner Program:

  • Training and support for partners as they assist their clients
  • Option to pass exclusive savings on to their clients
  • Option to receive income stream through revenue-sharing
  • Low-impact engagement with minimal investment by partner

STOCKHOLDER INSPECTION RIGHTS SURVIVE CHALLENGE IN DELAWARE (AllAboutAlpha), Rated: A

On December 29, 2017, the last business day of the expiring year, the Delaware Chancery Court, in a memorandum of opinion by Vice Chancellor Slights, upheld stockholders’ statutory books-and-records inspection rights against a defendant corporation that sought to invoke and considerably to widen the scope of the Delaware Supreme Court’s Corwin decision of 2015.

The significance of this is that Delaware, some impressions to the contrary, is not a corporate-management-always-wins state. It was not so before the Corwin decision, nor did that decision make it so.  That ought to be good news for activist investors and their counsel. There may be alpha, or at least leverage toward alpha, lurking in the right to inspect books and records.

United Kingdom

RateSetter leading the way for personal loans (RateCity), Rated: AAA

Interest rates for personal loans listed on RateCity range from as low as 3.57 per cent to as high as 48.00 per cent.

The average personal loan interest rate was 11.89 per cent at the end of December, according to an analysis of the dozens of lenders listed on RateCity.

RateSetter, a peer-to-peer lender, has a one-year unsecured personal loan with an advertised rate of 3.57 per cent and a comparison rate of 3.92 per cent.

Curve, the fintech that connects all your cards to a single card and app, gets full consumer launch (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Curve, the London fintech startup that offers a platform that lets you consolidate all your bank cards into a single Curve card and app to make it easier to manage your spending, is finally launching to U.K. consumers. Up until now, the service remained in beta and was only officially available to business users.

In a call with Curve founder and CEO Shachar Bialick, he described the consumer launch as a major milestone for the company, noting that 50,000 people have signed up to its waitlist, in addition to the 100,000 or so users who joined Curve in its beta phase. It’s free to join, although a premium version of the Curve card is also available for £50 that offers additional perks.

How P2P could be a financial lifeline for UK landowners (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: A

A recent study of 172 farms by the Prince’s Farm Resilience Programme found that just 16% made a profit from their farming activities over the period assessed. The analysis found that instead many farms are now reliant on alternative income streams to turn a profit, such as tourism, renewable energy and selling their products directly to consumers.

But moving into alternative areas of business requires capital. And – with the average farm in the study making a loss of more than £20,000 from its farming activities – it may be capital that landowners require to invest in their business to prevent a loss.

Folk2Folk champions local lending because we believe in creating financially and socially sustainable communities by matching local businesses with local lenders.

Robo advice platform citing AI and machine learning raises £562k on Crowdcube (AltFi), Rated: A

Marketsflow, a new digital wealth management platform closed its fully funded investment round via equity crowdfunding.

Initially looking to raise £210k, the fundraise has seen more than £562k of commitments from nearly 800 investors giving Marketsflow a pre-money valuation of £2.4m.

What we learned about fintech from some of the biggest brains at Clifford Chance (Legal Cheek), Rated: A

What kind of financial technology has come across your desk at Clifford Chance, then? (Here comes the educational bit.) Chapman identified four technologies driving change:

Marketplace lending: crowdfunding or peer to peer lending, with the potential for “disintermediation” of the financial institution that used act as middleman for loans.
Big data and AI: you might just have seen it in the newspapers. But it’s closer than you think: if you’ve applied for a credit card, according to Chapman, chances are that a machine took part of the decision on whether or not to approve you.
Mobile payments: forget branches, even internet banking on a web browser is old hat. Some banks, indeed, exist only as apps (I instantly thought of my Revolut app, which started out offering as a slick currency exchange platform, but is now offering credit).
Blockchain and distributed ledger: different things, but often used in combination. These are “the pieces of technology that underpin the Bitcoin phenomenon”. It’s not just media hype, either: Clifford Chance is “seeing a lot of work in this space”.

5 Top Alternative Investments in the UK (What Investment), Rated: B

1. Crowdfunding

Rather than rely on venture capital trusts and angel investors, many new businesses are using crowdfunding to get off the ground. In fact, UK platforms such as CrowdCube and Angels Den have raised over £72 million from investors this year.

5. Peer-to-peer lending

Peer-to-peer lending allows you to loan money to people through online platforms, without a bank. These agreements are arranged through peer-to-peer lending platforms such as Zopa, Prosper and Lending Works. These peer-to-peer companies are typically FCA regulated and they organise credit and ID checks as well as set interest rates, collect payments and pay your returns.

After PSD2 and GDPR, what Wayfinding Signs will guide visitors through an Open Bank? (LinkedIn), Rated: A

When branch banking was the mainstream method of service distribution in financial services, both a bank’s customers and potential business partners could follow clear signs that directed them where to go and who to contact. The first sign that a bank sent its customers and potential business partners was the geographic location of a bank branch.

One in four very-low income households are struggling to pay bills or debt, with 10 per cent spending more than a quarter of their salary on credit card repayments, a report has found.

Data from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) showed one-sixth of the poorest households in Britain were in arrears on repayments and bills.

A further 10 per cent were spending at least a quarter of their monthly income on unsecured debts, such as credit cards and payday loans.

China

‘Freedom at a Price’: Why Regulation Is Crucial to Fintech’s Future (Wharton), Rated: AAA

In recent years, financial technology, or fintech, has dramatically expanded financial inclusion in China and elsewhere in Asia. Small and midsized businesses that have been underserved by banks now have access to capital, as fintech enterprises use the internet and mobile technology to reach those borrowers; leverage data analytics to build credible and innovative risk profiles to gauge creditworthiness, and are able to scale their reach exponentially with 24/7 customer windows and without the baggage of fixed-cost overheads that typically shackle traditional banks. Not surprisingly, the unmet needs of the underserved have provided huge market potential for fintechs.

Credit China FinTech, which is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange as Chong Sing Holdings FinTech Group Ltd., or CSF, provides third party payments, online investment, technology-enabled lending, and traditional loans and financing services. Today, it has more than 51 million users who generated transactions worth RMB 868 billion ($130 billion) in the first half of 2017.

At the same time, both have proved massively popular in China which accounts for roughly half of the world’s digital payments and three-quarters of global, online P2P lending volume, according to Pricewaterhouse Coopers.

For one, default rates are higher than anticipated on peer-to-peer lending platforms. Also, instead of being disrupted by the fintechs, traditional banks have entered the peer-to-peer lending space to become the dominant players, he added.

China regulator says fintech must serve real economy (Finextra), Rated: A

Jiang Yang, vice chairman of China’s Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) was speaking at the Asian Financial Forum to an audience of fintech entrepreneurs. The development of fintechs should benefit the real economy and not “a small group of people”, he said in comments reported by the Nikkei Financial Review.

European Union

Lendix Raises €200 Million Institutional Financing to Trailblaze European Alternative SME Finance (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The European Investment Bank Group (EIB), CNP Assurances, Eiffel IM, Groupama, Zencap AM, Matmut and Decaux Frères Investissements are among the first investors joining to finance Lendix’s latest investment vehicle to fund unsecured loans to SMEs in France, Spain and Italy. New institutional investors from banks and asset management firms in Spain and Italy are joining. As of now, €120 million of the planned €200 million are already committed and the first loans from this fund will start rolling out as soon as February.

Source: Crowdfund Insider

As of December 2017, Lendix originated a cumulated worth of €143 million of SME loans, a 90% increase from 2016.

Online Lender Robo.Cash Shares Insight into Investor Activity (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Peer to peer lender Robo.cash has shared a “financial portrait of a Robo.cash investor.”

According to their results, investors from a younger age group, 18-24 years old, usually deposit circa €200 at a time and rarely withdrew  any funds. The maximum funding size is characteristic of the older age groups: the average deposit of investors of 35-44 years old is equal to €879 and for those who are older than 45 years old is €838.

Millennials of 25-34 years of age invest about €679 on average making frequent deposits in comparison to the younger age group.

Approaching energy crowdfunding with eyes wide open (YourIS.com), Rated: A

youris.com met Sissy Windisch, from the German company Green Crowding, who published a guide for new small investors, to allow them to make the best decisions. The document was released under the EU project CrowdFundRES.

This is a different kind of crowdfunding, unlike what platforms such as Kickstarter do?
With Kickstarter you donate money, so a comic book for example can be published, or you just want an artist to keep on creating art. Instead, the type of crowdfunding we are interested in is debt-based, which means that you get your money back plus interest. If you finance a solar roof on a school for five years, you get 3% every year and at the end of five years you get your money back.

Could you tell us more about debt-based crowdfunding?
Debt-based funding is already one of the largest types of crowdfunding. I would say one of the biggest areas in terms of funding volume at the moment is real estate. I think for 2016 alone the funding was estimated at around 3.5 billion dollars.

Why can’t the traditional financial institutions, such as banks or investment firms, offer these services?
What we’ve often seen, particularly for renewables, is that banks and other traditional financial institutions often look for large projects to invest in. They prefer investing in one 50-million wind park than in 500 small photovoltaic installations.

Swaper Offers One-Click Portfolio Investing (Benzinga), Rated: B

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

Swaper CEO Peteris Kisis: Swaper is a loan marketplace offering an easy investing in pre-funded consumer loans originated by its parent company Wandoo Finance Group in Poland, Georgia, Spain, Denmark and Russia. All investments offered on our marketplace start from 12 percent annual interest and are BuyBack guaranteed, meaning Swaper will compensate investors both for the invested principal and accrued interest in case the borrower is late with payments.

International

Top backer of US subprime lenders eyes overseas opportunities (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Victory Park Capital, a Chicago-based investment firm, has been a vital source of debt capital for a string of online lenders, including Avant, Elevate and LendUp, all of which focus on borrowers in the subprime segment. Total commitments and investments come to about $6.5bn from more than 90 deals, mostly in the US.

The firm, which was founded 10 years ago, is seeking to add to a portfolio including zip Money in Australia, Kreditech in Germany and Oakam in the UK.

(The Merkle), Rated: A

Vitalik Buterin, the creator of the Ethereum Network, recently proposed a new method for decentralized fundraising called the “DAICO”. Incorporating elements of Decentralized Autonomous Organizations, or DAOs, the new model is designed to minimize the complexity and risk associated with ICOs.

Buterin outlined the new model in a post on the Ethereum Research Forum entitled “Explanation of DAICOs”. In the exposition, the Russian-Canadian programmer outlines a new model that integrates characteristics of DAOs into ICOs to create a new model he refers to as the “DAICO”.

Source: The Merkle
Asia

New Crypto Exchange and 1000 Percent Revenue Growth Could Make KPAY The Crypto Stock To Own In 2018 (Baystreet), Rated: AAA

The little-known Indonesian digital payments company KinerjaPay (KPAY) reported another blowout quarter in December with sales that topped the previous 3 month period by a whopping 1,100%!

Revenue and User-Base Growing Parabolically? +1100% in Q3

KinerjaPay is a digital payments platform in Indonesia and South Asia, and the company ha been growing at an astronomical rate in the last year. In the third fiscal quarter of 2017 ended September 30, 2017, the company posted quarterly transactional revenue of $1.76 million, an 1,183% increase over $149K in the second quarter.

User growth is accelerating as the company brings on more partners for digital payments and bill pay capabilities in a region of the world where a fraction of people have a bank account or credit/debit card. The rate at which KinerjaPay is adding customers grew 58% in the 3rd quarter; the company reported 10,962 new users compared to 6,904 new users in the same quarter of last year, demonstrating just how fast they’re adding users for a small emerging company.

Asian stocks bounce back, with Hang Seng closing at a record (MarketWatch), Rated: A

Asian equity markets on Tuesday found their footing after some initial softness, leaving Hong Kong’s benchmark at a record closing high.

The Hang Seng rose 1.8% to 31,904.75, topping the previous high set on Oct. 30, 2007.

Japanese stocks rebounded from Monday’s selloff, with a weaker yen helping the country’s exporters. The dollar gained 0.2% to ¥110.7200, pushing the Nikkei to finish up 1% at a fresh 26-year high.

Africa

Fintech startups took nearly a third of all African venture funding in 2017 (Quartz), Rated: AAA

Almost a third of funding raised by African startups in 2017 was in the fintech sector as investors bet on consumers turning to more formal financial services in a region where just 17% of the population have banking accounts. Venture funding for African startups jumped by 51% to $195 million in 2017, according to a report from Disrupt Africa.

The success of mobile money technology like M-Pesa in Kenya and across East Africa has long shown the potential for other underserved markets. M-Pesa’s success is likely also behind for the increasing presence of mobile networks in the African financial sector and the convergence of the two sectors (pdf page 11).

Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya remained the countries with highest funding raised, consistent with their record from previous years.

Canada

Still a market for short-term loans (Edmonton Journal), Rated: A

Payday loan licences in Alberta have fallen by more than one-quarter, to 165 from 230, and industry officials predict even more payday loan stores will be shuttering their doors this year.

Before then, rules around payday loans in Alberta allowed for the second-highest interest rates in Canada, with lenders being allowed to charge up to $23 for every $100 borrowed, up to a maximum of $1,500. Now, the rate is $15 per $100 — touted to be the lowest in Canada — and borrowers are allowed to repay the the loans in instalments over two months. Lenders are also no longer allowed to penalize customers for paying back loans early and must restrict the number of times a lender can make preauthorized withdrawals.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday November 7 2017, Daily News Digest

fintech credit

News Comments Today’s main news: Review of OnDeck Q3 earnings. Wealthfront to be first robo to offer a mutual fund. ArchOver goes over 50M GBP lending milestone. Hexindai rises 27% on first day. NOT coming soon: Ant Financial IPO. EU to create Europe-wide crowdfunding framework. Ripio closes $37M ICO. Today’s main analysis: Marketplace lenders balance growth, quality. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Will […]

fintech credit

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United States

OnDeck Q3 2017 Earnings Results Review (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

With their latest financial results released today, the firm reiterated their plans to achieve GAAP profitability in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Originations in the quarter grew to $531 million, up 14% from the prior quarter. They also reported that operating expenses were at the lowest level in more than two years.

Revenue increased to $83.7 million, up 8% over the prior year period. Not surprisingly, loans sold or designated for sale continued to fall and represented just 1.3% of term loan originations. Other Revenue increased $0.7 million from the previous quarter to $3.4 million which reflected increased revenue from OnDeck-as-a-Service. Compared to the third quarter of 2016, the company improved bottom line performance by $12 million.

Source: Lend Academy

Online lender OnDeck posts surprise third-quarter loss (Reuters), Rated: A

Online lender OnDeck Capital Inc(ONDK.N) reported an unexpected third-quarter loss on Monday after the effects of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma offset higher interest income and lower expenses, and its shares fell nearly 4 percent.

Chief Executive Officer Noah Breslow said on a call with analysts that the company had increased its loss reserves by $3.5 million after the hurricanes hit some of its small-business clients in August and September.

Wealthfront set to be the first robo to offer its own mutual fund (FinancialPlanning), Rated: AAA

Now Wealthfront wants to return the favor, filing with the SEC on Wednesday for a mutual fund offering of its own. If approved, it would make Wealthfront the first major independent robo to offer its own fund.

Dubbed the Wealthfront Risk Parity Fund, the derivatives fund will invest in global developed and emerging market equities, global developed and emerging markets fixed income, real estate investment trusts and commodities, according to the filing.

The fund will carry a 51-basis point expense ratio. It will be made available to Wealthfront investors with no contribution limitations and to institutional investors with a $5 million investment minimum.

Marketplace lenders balance growth and quality (Banking Exchange), Rated: AAA

Fintech lenders now account for nearly a third of the personal unsecured loan market, from nearly 0% in 2010. The new players appear poised to not only continue building share there, but to begin gaining share in other credit types.

Rapid growth in personal loans

Wirth says TransUnion records indicate that there are over 100 fintech consumer lenders in the U.S. now—way beyond the usual companies mentioned in this area—and that new firms with new models continue to enter the market.

Source: TransUnion LLC. All rights reserved

TransUnion studied over 40 million personal loans originated by banks, credit unions, traditional finance companies, and fintech consumer lenders from 2014 to 2016. Among the findings of the research was that in spite of the perception that fintech personal loan borrowers skew towards the young end of the demographic spectrum, this is not the case. In fact, among the four categories of lenders, consumers 18-29 accounted for the smallest portion of borrowers from fintech lenders.

Source: TransUnion LLC. All rights reserved

Reviewing quality and return

A surprise for some in the TransUnion research is the fintechs’ choice of credit strata. Many see fintech consumer lenders chiefly as subprime creditors, but it turns out that six out of ten fintech personal loans are made to prime or near-prime borrowers. The latest figures indicate that 10% of fintech personal loan originations are subprime borrowers, while among all lenders the total is 14%.

Source: TransUnion LLC. All rights reserved

Using the risk-return methodology outlined above, TransUnion computes that the first-year effective portfolio risk-returns rank as follows: traditional finance companies, 11.5%; fintech lenders, 8.7%; banks, 6.7%; and credit unions, 6.3%.

Fintech will change more in the next 5 years than it has in the last 30 (CNBC), Rated: AAA

Today, Schulman said the person-to-person payment business is valued between $35 billion and $40 billion. In five years, its projected value is estimated to reach $335 billion.

Similarly, “online digital payments today are about $3 trillion,” the CEO said. “By 2020, three years from now, it’s supposed to be over $8 trillion. And we’re a leader in that market right now with 218 million people using the platform, so we just got to keep delivering on what customers want, merchants want and to stay that market leaders.”

PayPal CEO: Fintech will change more in the next 5 years than it has in the last 30 from CNBC.

Affirm Launches New Way to Pay For Holiday Travel (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Affirm, Inc., the company started by serial entrepreneur Max Levchin to provide fair and honest financial products, today introduced Travel with Affirm in time for the end-of-year holiday season. Travel with Affirm lets consumers book their travel plans, including airfare, hotel rooms, luxury suites, and more while splitting their purchases into manageable monthly payments. Charter partners in Travel with Affirm include Expedia, offering flight-and-hotel packages; CheapAir, offering low prices on airfare and more; and Suiteness, for those that want to treat themselves to an exclusive, luxury hotel suite.

According to a recent study conducted by Affirm, Inc. of 1,000 U.S. adults about holiday shopping habits, 61% of respondents said that holiday spending is a source of family strife. Over a third (34%) said they are worried about how they are going to cover their holiday spending costs this year.

Therefore, it’s not surprising that, according to another recent study conducted by Affirm of over 1,600 people, two of the top three reasons consumers use deferred interest products is for vacation and travel expenses along with holiday shopping. 67 percent of respondents also believe that some credit products are designed to purposefully cheat consumers.

“We know how tough traveling during the holiday season can be,” said Kyle Killion, co-founder and chief of product at Suiteness. “So, partnering with Affirm to offer as low as 0% APR on hotel suites with the ability to easily pay over time allows our customers to enjoy the holidays while knowing exactly what the final cost for their suite will be.”

In 2016 alone, U.S. consumers paid over $94 billion in fees. That doesn’t even include the $70.4 billion in interest fees credit card issuers made.

The simplest way to book travel
Using Travel with Affirm is quick and easy. All it takes is five pieces of personal information for a real-time credit decision. And then it’s up to the consumer to select the monthly payment plan—3, 6, or 12 months—that fits their budget.

Any U.S. resident 18 years or older (19 years old in Alabama or a ward of the state in Nebraska) is eligible to use Affirm.

And, paying Affirm bills is equally straightforward. After making their purchase, the consumer receives timely e-mail and SMS reminders on when their next payment is due. Alternatively, they can set up Autopay for recurring automatic payments.

“Credit cards are broken,” said Levchin. “If all Americans used Affirm instead of traditional revolving lines of credit, we could save people $90 billion a year in fees alone.”

CommonLoan Marketplace Milestone: Over $ 680 Million in Loans Processed (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Commercial real estate lending platform CommLoan announced on Monday it has successfully processed more than $680 million in loans since its launch in 2014.

Impact Housing REIT Makes Top 14 Non-Accredited Real Estate Crowdfunding Sites (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Impact Housing REIT, LLC (ImpactHousing.com), today is pleased to announce that it has made The Real Estate Crowdfunding Review’s 2017-2018 Top 14 Nonaccredited Real Estate Crowdfunding Sites, receiving Industry Honors for Most Experienced Sponsors, and Most Socially Conscious, the only award given in the category.

Real Estate Issuers Need Online, Alternative Investing Processes to Thrive (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Blaine McLaughlin, chief operating officer of VIA Folio, says it’s time for real estate issuers to move away from the traditional capital raising process and use online brokerage technology. McLaughlin, who recently spoke at the IPA Vision 2017 Conference, said investors have embraced technology in every other aspect of their lives, so real estate issuers must now meet them on their own terms.

The additional benefits of using an online, alternative investing process include:

  • Meeting advisors and investors on their own turf. More advisors are using alternative investments to diversify client portfolios and differentiate their business.
  • Reaching accredited and non-accredited investors. Issuers that choose to raise capital under the JOBS Act have more flexibility when marketing to investors.
  • Offering different ways to invest. Advisors consider many factors, including security type, before making investment decisions. Issuers that use Folio’s online brokerage technology can choose to offer publicly registered or private securities, including Reg A+, Reg D, S-11 and small-cap Reg A+ IPOs.
  • Lowering investment minimums. For real estate securities issuers, high investment minimums are a necessary evil to keep expenses down. An online brokerage process – where subscription, closing, price reporting, statements and other services are done online – reduces administrative expenses, in turn enabling lower investment minimums.

CFX Markets Raises $ 2.17M Seed/Series A Funding (FINSMES), Rated: A

CFX Markets, a Chicago, IL-based secondary market trading platform for alternative assets, closed a $2.17M Seed/Series A funding round.

The round was led by West Loop Ventures, with participation from M25 Group, Origami Capital Partners, Harvard Business School Angels of Chicago, SixThirty Ventures, and angel investors David Schwartz of Waterton Capital and David Krell, founder of ISE.

Why banks are sub-branding new customer offerings (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Marcus by Goldman Sachs, for example, touts itself as the startup inside Goldman Sachs that built an entirely digital personal loan product for consumers — a new set of customers for the 148-year-old company. Two weeks ago JPMorgan Chase introduced Finn, an app for people who would rather skip the branches for completely mobile checking and savings accounts with personal finance tools. Last week, Wells Fargo announced a similar offering called Greenhouse, a standalone mobile banking app with digital-only accounts and personal finance features.

For large legacy institutions, it’s hard to make changes and scale them both across the company and the consumer base. For banks, it’s much easier to create and brand an entirely new experience, which is partly why they’re launching things like Marcus, Finn and Greenhouse. Doing so also ends up being a sort of innovation showcase for their peers and prospective employees.

“A sub-brand allows us a sandbox to rapidly innovate and learn from consumer preferences and behaviors, while maintaining the core Chase brand which our customers know and love,” she said.

Goldman Sachs plans rebranding of online consumer bank (American Banker), Rated: A

Last year Goldman Sachs found a warmer, fuzzier way to connect with the U.S. public, and now it’s doubling down on that approach.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs is the brand name for the Wall Street bank’s one-year-old digital consumer-lending business. The name is a reference to Marcus Goldman, who founded the company in 1869.

Digital investments give small banks deeper borrower pool (American Banker), Rated: A

With fewer customers showing up in branches for coffee and local gossip, some community banks are digitally transforming themselves to bring Main Street to people’s homes.

In July, SourceMedia Research surveyed 304 chief information officers from banks, credit unions and other financial institutions with assets ranging from less than $100 million to more than $10 billion, and nearly 70% said they planned to spend more on technology in 2017.

“Community banks don’t just compete against banks in their immediate community. We now compete with every bank, whether it be bricks-and-mortar or internet-based, credit unions, payment processors, credit card companies, investment houses, fintechs, peer-to-peer payments, you name it,” said Ryan James, Surety’s CEO.

Crawford noted customers have increased expectations when it comes to lending, in large part due to experiences with online lenders that tend to offer quick decisions and digital-first experiences.

Source: American Banker

Big banks target Venmo (CB Insights Email), Rated: A

Venmo, now owned by PayPal and acquired for a reported $26.2M, is certainly one of the best tech M&A transactions ever.

PayPal recently extended the “pay with Venmo” capability to 2 million online retailers with a focus on enabling e-commerce via mobile.

ReliaMax Selected to Service and Insure MetaBank’s Additional $ 73 Million Private Student Loan Portfolio (BusinessWire), Rated: A

ReliaMax, the leading private student lending platform for banks, credit unions and alternative lenders, announced today that the company is now servicing and insuring an additional $73 million in private student loans for MetaBank, the bank subsidiary of Meta Financial Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:CASH). In December 2016, ReliaMax was selected to service and insure MetaBank’s initial $151 million private student loan portfolio acquisition.

AI-driven finance app Douugh partners Choice Financial for checking account (Finextra), Rated: A

San Francisco-based fintech startup Douugh has teamed up with community bank Choice Financial to launch an app-based checking account and debit card that will lean heavily on AI to help users better manage their money.

Choice has also made an investment in Douugh, which has raised $2.5 million to date and is the brainchild of Andy Taylor, who previously founded Australia’s largest P2P lending platform, SocietyOne.

FinTech is the New Imperative that Lending Companies Need to Embrace (CIOReview), Rated: A

In today’s fast-paced life, where customers are short of patience and starved of time, an old-school retail lending organization doesn’t really make a compelling survival case. In the last couple of years, however, retail lending has witnessed a sudden surge in interest. Well, the reasons are a no-brainer; it is the optimization of financial technology that has worked as a catalyst and led to welcome changes in the landscape. Technology has enabled banks to get rid of sluggish loan management process, curbing the costs and delay predicament that has impeded the growth of many retail lending processes.

eMoney Advisor Announces Expanded Business Development Organization (Business Insider), Rated: B

eMoney Advisor (eMoney) announced today the hiring of Jeffrey Schwantz as SVP, Head of Enterprise Sales and Shannon Porro as VP, Strategic Partnerships. These two new roles report to eMoney’s Head of Business Development, Stephen Langlois, who joined the company in May.  The additions reflect eMoney’s commitment to expanding its presence with larger financial institutions and to better support its customers’ needs as the company evolves its planning-led wealth management platform to enable enhanced growth, profitability and risk management of its diverse customer base. Approximately 60 percent of eMoney’s nearly 50,000 users are affiliated with individual advisors while the remaining 40 percent are affiliated with firms, larger financial institutions and enterprises.

CFTC Commissioner Quintenz Names Margo Bailey Special Counsel (MondoVisione), Rated: B

Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Commissioner Brian Quintenz announced today that Margo Bailey will serve as his Special Counsel.

Prior to joining Commissioner Quintenz’s office, Bailey worked as Counsel at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) where she reviewed the derivatives activities of national banks and supported the OCC’s Fintech initiative.

United Kingdom

ArchOver surpasses £50 million lending milestone (Finextra), Rated: AAA

ArchOver, the peer-to-peer (P2P) business lending platform, has facilitated over £50 million of lending with no losses or late payments.

The ArchOver platform produces average yields of 7.3% per annum, and comes with multiple security measures built in to protect investors.

PropTech Lending: High Tech vs. Old-School Underwriting (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Interestingly, it seems property lenders are disproportionately wary of the pitfalls in automating credit underwriting – more so than their colleagues in SME and consumer lending verticals, it seems. And rightly so.

Within SME and consumer loans, many sophisticated tech lenders principally rely on automated systems to perform their credit assessments. Many use a statistical approach; intelligent systems first gather borrower data, then smart algorithms interpret those to assess credit integrity and price the loans. Where the underlying loans are large in number and small in size, there is safety in numbers: the statistical approach is supported by the granularity and homogeneity of the underlying asset class. More often than not, the alternative approach – to manually underwrite each loan – is somewhere between too costly and impossible.

  • Limited digital availability of data is, and will remain, a key handicap for property lenders looking to scale with enhanced tech.
  • Portfolio risk tolerance is substantially lower for property lenders thanwithin consumer or SME lending. Consequently, a property lender’s attitude to resolving the tension between tech (to reach scale) and manual underwriting (to keep loan books robust) will remain different.
  • Even if all relevant data was digitally available, and even if property loan amounts were smaller, real estate assets cannot be classified in the way consumers can. A statistical approach to credit underwriting will miss important nuances and hence remains risky.

Could the rate rise boost returns for peer-to-peer lender Zopa? (AltFi), Rated: A

The Monetary Policy Committee has raised interest rates for the first time in ten years, from 0.25 per cent to 0.5 per cent.

More so than any other peer-to-peer lender, Zopa has been wrestling with the base rate, which was cut to its all-time low of 0.25 per cent in August 2016.

It opted for the latter course, several times dropping its interest rates, and so too its target returns for investors. In fact, Zopa has doubled down on that strategy in recent months, pledging in August to cut back on its riskiest loans, with losses growing beyond expectation.

Small businesses turn to alternative finance to fund growth (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

A poll of 1,000 small business owners by payments company Worldpay found 52 per cent are concerned that traditional routes to finance, including bank loans, might not be available at the same levels in the coming year.

Nearly a third (30 per cent) have already encountered difficulties securing funding through these traditional channels.

Meanwhile, 40 per cent of younger business owners claimed the growth of alternative finance options has made them less reliant on banks for funding.

Robo-advice responsibility (Lexology), Rated: B

The FCA identified two particular regulatory reasons why it considers that robo-advice presents a big opportunity:

  • since the FCA has a competition objective, they see that robo-advice can drive innovation, delivering economy and efficiency and reaching underserved consumers;
  • the final report of the Financial Advice Market Review which was published in 2016 and concluded that steps needed to be taken to make the provision of advice and guidance to the mass market more cost-effective as well as addressing consumers’ lack of confidence when making financial decisions.
China

Hexindai prices $ 50 million best-efforts IPO at $ 10 midpoint; up 27% on first day (NASDAQ), Rated: AAA

Hexindai, a Chinese marketplace for peer-to-peer lending, raised $50 million by offering 5 million ADSs at $10. The company had planned to offer 2.7 million to 8.9 million ADSs at a range of $9 to $11 in a min-max, best-efforts IPO. On Friday, Hexindai began trading on the Nasdaq under the symbol HX. The stock ended its first day at $12.66 (+27%) but traded down to $11.23 (-11%) on Monday.

Jack Ma says no Ant Financial IPO anytime soon (Tech in Asia), Rated: AAA

Speaking in front of media on Saturday, the billionaire Alibaba founder said that there’s no timeline for when Ant Financial will list, and they will only consider the IPO route – ie: the possibility of going ahead with it – two years later, reports Yicai.

“Regarding Ant Financial going public, we don’t have a time yet and we don’t know whether it will be in China, Hong Kong, or in the USA,” said Ma. “We will not really think about it in the next 12 or 18 months because there’s huge potential in inclusive financing and other tech-related opportunities. We will probably think about it two years later, but not now.”

Online Lender Fincera Announces 2 For 1 Stock Split (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Fincera (OTCQB:YUANF) , a China based peer to peer online lender targeting small and medium-sized businesses and individuals in China, has announced that its Board of Directors has approved a 2 for 1 stock split of the Fincera’s outstanding shares of common stock in the form of a 100% stock dividend payable on or about November 8 , 2017 to shareholders of record on November 1 , 2017. Stockholders will receive one additional share for each share held on that date .

Chinese police to step up crackdown on financial crime (Reuters), Rated: A

Chinese police will intensity a crackdown on financial crime to safeguard national security and fend off financial risks, the public security ministry said in an online statement on Tuesday.

The ministry said it will focus on crimes involving illegal fundraising, the online finance industry, securities and futures markets, and financial institutions.

Is Technology About to Decimate White-Collar Work? (Technology Review), Rated: B

Lee pointed to several of the investments made by his company, Sinovation Ventures, as clear signs of how routine office work is already being transformed by AI. For example, Lee has backed Smart Finance Group, a company that uses machine learning to determine a person’s eligibility for a payday loan. Sinovation has also invested in companies that automate customer service, training, and other routine office services.

Lee identified four distinct but nonsequential waves of AI. The first wave is being fueled by the availability of large quantities of labeled data. This has given big Internet companies, both in China and in the U.S., an advantage in building their businesses and cementing AI expertise.

The second wave—which is more relevant to the kind of workplace disruption Lee sees coming—is based on the availability of company data, especially in industries such as law and accounting.

A third wave relies on companies generating data through new products or apps, or by paying for it to be created.

European Union

The European Commission Hopes to Scale Crowdfunding by Creating a European-Wide Framework (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The European Commission has published an Inception Impact Assessment that pitches a legislative proposal for an EU framework for crowdfunding including peer to peer lending. The initiative is accepting feedback from interested parties until November 27, 2017. The expectation is the Commission will create a framework that is supportive of the policy for a Capital Market Union the heart of the mission of the EC. Thjs new framework is expected by Q1 of 2018.

Overall, the main policy objectives are as follows:

  • Enable platforms to scale cross-border: creating the required conditions such as licensing regimes that can be used across the EU without requiring further authorization in each EU country.
  • Provide platforms with a proportionate and effective risk management framework: cross-border activity requires a high level of trust.
International

Ripio Closes $ 37 Million ICO for Ethereum Lending Network (Coindesk), Rated: AAA

Blockchain startup Ripio has raised $37 million in an initial coin offering (ICO).

The RCN whitepaper indicates that 42.5 percent of the tokens would be dedicated to a pre-sale maximum, with 8.5 percent set aside for a public sale minimum. The remaining 49 percent were reserved for operational needs, such as incentives, marketing and expenses.

Millenials get finance advice from bots! (iAfrica.com), Rated: A

Forrester surveyed online adults in 20 markets to determine their need for and perception of financial services. The resulting report, “Millennials Want Financial Advice, With or Without Humans”, shows that Millennials:

  • Want financial advice: Results from the study showed that in Europe, 32% of online adults between the ages of 18 and 37 say they “rely on financial advice from professionals,” compared with 29% of older generations.
  • Are not afraid to share personal information in order to get the advice: At least two thirds of US Millennials were willing to share personal data in order to get improved service from their financial institution.
  • Are not confident in the current advice they are receiving: Only 38% of US Millennials are confident that a bank or credit union will offer them valuable financial advice, compared with 46% of their older counterparts. Moreover, just over two-thirds of US Millennials say, they don’t know who to approach in order to get reliable financial advice, compared with less than a third of older generations.

While 26% of US adults say they prefer to use mobile devices to access financial services and advice, almost half (46%) of Millennials say they would rather use their mobile phone for this.

China and Australia sign agreement on fintech cooperation (OpenGovAsia), Rated: B

The China Securities Regulatory Commission (‘CSRC’) and Australian Securities and Investments Commission (‘ASIC’) have entered into an agreement yesterday to promote innovation in financial services in their respective markets.

China is Australia’s largest two-way trading partner in goods and services (valued at AU$155.2 billion in 2016, up 3.7% on the previous year). China is also Australia’s largest export market (AU$93 billion in 2016) and Australia’s largest source of imports (AU$62.1 billion in 2016).

India

Top 10 Trends to Look Out in Fin-Tech Industry for Year 2018 (BW Disrupt), Rated: AAA

  1. ATMs will start disappearing
  2. Credit decisions will go beyond looking at CIBIL scores for individuals and SMEs – Credit providers will start leveraging other forms of digitized data to evaluate ability and willingness to pay of the borrower.
  3. Chat and payments platforms will start integrating
  4. Payments and lending platforms will start integrating – Payment platforms will see thin margins in their payments business and will start building or partnering with lending platforms. For lending platforms, a payment platform is a cheaper customer acquisition avenue and also a source for credit assessment data.
  5. Fraud Prevention solutions will start emerging
  6. Wealth platforms will go direct to consumer
  7. New themes will emerge in Insurtech
  8. Large institutions will consolidate credit: While I don’t predict the death of P2P lending entirely, as interest rates keep reducing and costs of capital for larger institutions keep reducing, it is difficult to see P2P lenders getting any scale. The only advantage that P2P lenders have is information asymmetry but with newer methods to collect data on the borrower, I see that advantage diminishing gradually.
  9. Regtech solutions becoming mature
  10. Greater localization of bots – Over 30 startups are working on bots for the fintech sector in India.

Why India’s Improved World Bank Ranking Will Boost Its Startups (Forbes), Rated: A

Following India’s meteoric rise to crack the top 100 in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report, the country’s startup community is confident of attracting more foreign investments across sectors and emerging as a highly preferred investment destination in the region.

This year, India has improved its performance in six of those areas — specifically, there’s been a marked improvement in getting an electricity connection to start a new business, resolving insolvency, obtaining bank credit and tax reforms.

Rajat Gandhi, founder of P2P lending platform Faircent, said: “The ranking is a shot in the arm for the government, which has eased the way for fintechs to do business. It has become simpler for startups like mine to approach regulators for business. Moreover, this will boost the confidence of investors and allow more capital to come our way.” Prateek Mehta, cofounder of investment platform Upwardly.in agreed: “We are moving towards an entrepreneur-rich economy, so raising funds and scaling operations should be easier. With reforms like GST, the burden of compliance is greatly reduced, especially in cross-state businesses, which can simplify the operations of a startup. Compliance can be made even easier in the first three years of a startup.”

Wilful defaulters cannot bid for their companies: SBI chief (India Times), Rated: A

State Bank of India (SBI) chairman Rajnish Kumar on Monday said that promoters of defaulting companies are within their rights to bid for their businesses which are on the block following insolvency proceedings. However, wilful defaulters or those borrowers who have diverted funds will not find any place in the bidding process, he said.

Asia

Singapore’s Central Bank Chief Has a Warning for Fintech Investors (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

While technological innovations such as blockchain and the area of big data analytics can result in powerful applications, people should be wary of some peer-to-peer lending platforms and the rapidly rising values of cryptocurrencies, Menon said in an interview with Bloomberg News late last month.

One potential area of concern for Menon is some examples of P2P lending, in which platforms connect investors with borrowers, and make money from charging both parties a fee.

Still, high-profile cases of malfeasance such as Ezubo — dubbed China’s biggest Ponzi scheme — have brought to light instances of how they can be used to defraud investors. In China, almost 4,000 P2P platforms have closed or run into difficulties since 2011, according to Yingcan Group, which tracks the data.

Another area of concern is in the use of big data, where increasing use of mobile phones, social media and the internet has given companies unprecedented access to customer data.

The MAS has set aside about $165 million for a five-year plan to nurture fintech and is spearheading Project Ubin, a blockchain-based project to facilitate cross-border payments. Last week, the regulator unveiled a so-called transformation map for financial services that aims to create 4,000 new jobs annually in the industry — a quarter of that in fintech alone.

Read a transcript of Ravi Menon’s comments on fintech

Kinerjapay Preparing to Launch Peer to Peer Lending Service (PR Newswire), Rated: A

KinerjaPay Corp., (OTCQB: KPAY), a digital payment and ecommerce platform (“KinerjaPay” or the “Company”), announced today that it is preparing to launch a peer-to-peer lending application to provide Indonesia’s largely underserved consumer sector with access to credit.

Indonesia’s Financial Services Authority estimates the country’s demand for consumer and small business financing at approximately US$125 billion. Domestic financial institutions are able to address an estimated US$50 billion, leaving a financing gap of about US$75 billion which is not being served by financial institutions.

KinerjaPay’s P2P application will offer loans in the range of $100 to $10,000 to individuals, and $5,000 to $500,000 to businesses over fixed periods of 12 to 60 months. The interest rate charged for borrowed funds falls between 8% and 18%, depending on the loan grade or creditworthiness of the borrowing entity. The Company will receive a fee of 1% of the amount of borrower payments received within 15 days of the due date of the loan.

Securities Commission Malaysia: Equity Crowdfunding, P2P Lending & DLT Gaining Traction as it Embraces Digital Innovation (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

According to SC, the equity crowdfunding and peer to peer financing platforms have funded 450 campaigns, raising a total of RM 50 million  (USD $11.8 million) to meet the financing needs of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

For equity crowdfunding in particular, more than 70% of the issuers have women or youth as founders, with 40% of the investors under the age of 35.

Canada

Report aims to enhance fintech innovation and competition (Investment Executive), Rated: A

Canadian investors should receive clear, upfront fee disclosure, and securities regulators should be working with robo-advisors to help facilitate the development of cheap alternatives to traditional advice, according to a draft report from the Competition Bureau.

On Monday, the federal agency released the draft report on its market study concerning technology‑led innovation in the Canadian financial services (fintech) sector in a variety of market segments, including payments, crowdfunding, and investment advice.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday September 27 2017, Daily News Digest

small business alternative loan originations

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi’s lawsuits not affecting brand. Zopa to reopen to investors. Funding Circle revenue hits 50M GBP. CFPB sues over illegal online lending in Canada, Malta. Today’s main analysis: Why Square is entering the banking business. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Prosper loses unicorn status. Banks tell Equifax to get it together. Job loss concerns amid digital disruption […]

small business alternative loan originations

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

International

India

Asia

Canada

News Summary

United States

SoFi’s lawsuits don’t seem to be affecting its brand (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

The resignation of the company’s co-founder and former CEO, Mike Cagney, amid lawsuits from employees stemming from sexual harassment allegations and other workplace issues has thrown into question whether the brand can continue to be known as a “different kind of finance company,” as it markets itself. But despite the bad news so far, the damage to the company’s standing seems to have been contained — the result of being in the shadow of bigger scandals in Silicon Valley and the company’s actions in the aftermath of the scandal.

Based on online sentiment expressed on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, blogs, forums and news sites between Aug. 12 and Sept. 23 (when the news of lawsuits first emerged), 71 percent of categorized mentions of the brand were positive, according to social media analytics firm Brandwatch. While sentiment dips Sept. 12-16 (reaching the level of 86 percent negative on Sept. 16, coinciding with Cagney’s resignation), feelings quickly rebound by Sept. 19, showing a certain resilience despite the negative press.

In addition, the quick timing of Cagney’s resignation reduced the effects of the negative news, said Crenshaw.

“I guess I don’t really care as it pertains to my loan,” said Alex Nocella, 27, a SoFi customer since 2013. “It damages my view with the way they’re operating their business, but it doesn’t change the relationship I have with them. It wouldn’t stop me from getting another loan with them.”

In addition, he said, the company was proactive about informing customers of Cagney’s resignation prior to the news becoming public by giving them a heads-up on the customer-only Facebook group.

Source: Tearsheet

Why Square Is Entering the Bank Business (Market Realist), Rated: AAA

Square Capital has distributed more than $1.8 billion in loans to over 140,000 merchants since its inception in 2014. In 2Q17, Square Capital loan volumes rose at 68% year-over-year to $318 million.

In the business of supplying alternative financing to merchant customers, Square competes with PayPal (PYPL), Amazon (AMZN), and LendingClub (LC). PayPal says it has distributed $3.0 billion in small business loans through its credit arm, while Amazon says it has supplied more than $2.5 billion in credit to its merchant clients.

Why Square Is Pursuing a Bank Charter

Square is pursuing its application for a bank charter because it’s seeking more independence in its financial services business. Square Capital head Jacqueline Reses told the Wall Street Journal, “As we scale, it’s becoming increasingly important that we have direct relationships with regulators.”

While a partnership with Celtic Bank has helped Square Capital grow, Square prefers running a financial services operation that it controls. The US (SPY) small business alternative lending market is forecast to originate $52 billion in loans by 2020 compared to $5.0 billion in 2015, according to BI (Business Insider) Intelligence.

 Why Square Opted for an Industrial Bank Model 

Square (SQ) is seeking an industrial bank license rather than a traditional bank license. Why? In deciding to go for an industrial bank license as opposed to a traditional bank license, Square chose the easy way out.

Source: Market Realist

How SFS Could Change Square Capital

Square has applied for an industrial bank charter so that it can take its lending business to a higher level and potentially unlock more growth.

However, Square intends to keep its consumer-facing financial services separate from its main bank unit.

Through Square Cash, Square is targeting the multibillion-dollar P2P (peer-to-peer) payments market. According to Forrester Research, global P2P transactions will reach $17 billion by 2019. According to Javelin Strategy and Research, the number of Americans using the P2P payment service will increase to 126 million by 2020 from 69 million in 2016.
$1 trillion alternative financing market

SFS, to be capitalized with $56 million in cash, will provide credit and offer deposit account services to merchants. The Polsky Center estimates that US (SPY) alternative loan volume rose to $34.5 billion in 2016 from $28.3 billion in 2015. Globally, the alternative financing market is forecast to grow to $1.0 trillion in the coming decade.

Square’s bank CEO will be Lewis Goodwin, an executive who recently joined the company from Green Dot (GDOT). Goodwin was CEO and president of Green Dot for several years.

Green Dot is a provider of prepaid debit card services. In 2016, Goodwin’s last full year as the company’s head, Green Dot’s revenue grew to $718.8 million from $694.7 million in the prior year.

Prosper raises $ 50 million but loses unicorn status (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

In another sign that the US marketplace lending industry has successfully 

Source: Business Insider

Banks To Equifax: Get It Together (Or Else) (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

Equifax has been the Bad News Bears of financial services lately. First there was the massive data breach that sent the personal information of most of the U.S. adult population to the dark web for exploitation. Then there was the fake phishing site to which the credit rating agency accidentally referred a bunch of recently breached people, as they could not distinguish their own site from a cloned version of it. Thankfully, that site was actually set up by a security researcher to illustrate a flaw, not a real cybercriminal – but still, it hasn’t been a good fortnight for Equifax.

And now the banks – i.e. the lenders who supply credit rating agencies like Equifax with the data they need to feed their scoring model – are making loudly discontented noises in Equifax’s direction.

“If there’s only two players, then they have less ability to play them against one another” in negotiating prices for credit reports, Thomas said.

But the willingness of lenders to support Equifax is damaged by the firm’s handling of the hack so far, which has failed to impress anyone.

U.S. CFPB suing over alleged illegal online payday loan business (Biv.com), Rated: AAA

The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is seeking the BC Supreme Court’s help to compel a group of former employees of a Langley company that allegedly ran an illegal online payday loan business through a web of affiliated companies in Canada and Malta.

The U.S., on behalf of the bureau, filed a petition in BC Supreme Court on September 8, naming Roo Chang, Annie Wang, Juila Zhu, May Chan, Doug Patton, Andrew Hung, Michelle Duncan and the Bank of Montreal as respondents.

The petition is related to a lawsuit filed by the bureau in New York in July 2015 over alleged violations of the Consumer Financial Protection Act “by using a series of interrelated Canadian and Maltese companies … to operate an illegal online payday lending business targeting U.S. consumers in all fifty states.”

The Second Annual Online Lending Policy Summit in Washington (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Yesterday, I attended the second annual Online Lending Policy Summit in Washington DC. It was headlined by the Acting head of the OCC, Keith Noreika, Congressman Greg Meeks (D-NY), Congressman Tom Emmer (R-MN) and William Isaac, the former head of the FDIC.

William Isaac was the head of the FDIC under President Reagan and he painted a stark picture of the US today where 60% of the population cannot get a bank loan. He said that we have to do better and figure out a way to lend to a broader cross section of the population.

I found Congressman Meeks to be the most engaging speaker of the day. His enthusiasm for financial innovation was infectious. He said that fintech should focus more on being an enabler than a disruptor. We need to enable more access to credit through partnerships with traditional financial institutions. He brought up the idea that fintech platforms could partner with black-owned banks that are struggling to keep up with the technological changes happening today.

Top 10 Jungle Releases Top 10 Small Business Loan Award to OnDeck Capital (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Digital media powerhouse Top 10 Jungle has just released its Top 10 Small Business Loan Reviews for 2017 and has given the top spot to New York City-based OnDeck Capital.

Acting Comptroller Noreika Comments On Madden “Fix,” Other OCC Initiatives (The National Law Review), Rated: A

In Madden, the Second Circuit ruled that a nonbank that purchases loans from a national bank could not charge the same rate of interest on the loan that Section 85 of the National Bank Act allows the national bank to charge.  Yesterday, at the Online Lending Policy Summit in Washington, D.C., Acting OCC Comptroller Keith Noreika advocated a Madden “fix” as an example of an action Congress could take “to reduce burden and promote economic growth.”  Mr. Noreika stated that the OCC supports proposed legislation that would codify the “valid when made rule” and provide that a loan that is made at a valid interest rate remains valid at that rate after it is transferred.

Mr. Noreika also was asked whether, as we have previously suggested, the OCC would address the risk posed by the theory that a bank making loans is not the “true lender” if a nonbank marketing and servicing agent acquires the “predominant economic interest” in the loans.  Unfortunately, Mr. Noreika stated that “true lender” guidance might be unnecessary at this time due to prior guidance issued during the tenures of former Comptrollers Hawke and Duggan.

With regard to the OCC’s special purpose national bank (SPNB) charter proposal, Acting Comptroller Noreika stated that the OCC is continuing to consider the proposal and intends to defend its authority to grant an SNPB charter to a nondepository company in the lawsuits filed by the NY Department of Financial Services and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors.

Mr. Noreika also indicated that the OCC intends to revisit its guidance on deposit advance products, observing that its views on such products are not necessarily consistent with those of the CFPB.

First-of-its-Kind Online Subscription-based Golf Club Upgrade and Instant Financing Program Powered by Klarna (PR Newswire), Rated: A

An innovative new online golf club upgrade and financing program, developed by TaylorMade Golf (www.taylormadegolf.com) in collaboration with Klarna (www.klarna.com), provides golfers access to the newest and most advanced equipment as soon as it is released.

In the first five months since its inception, the program has experienced significant success, with a 30 percent overall lift in conversions and a five percent increase in average order value.

‘The Turn’ is a first-of-its-kind upgrade program for purchasing golf clubs. It is named for when golfers finish the ninth hole of a round of golf and then ‘turn’ for home. The program allows TaylorMade Golf fans to finance their purchases over 18 or 30 months on the TaylorMade Golf website, and keep or exchange their clubs for the latest models toward the end of the payment period. If a customer chooses to upgrade, payments on the existing clubs will stop and payments on the new clubs will begin.

The program is powered by Klarna, a global leader in providing instant financing solutions to e-tailers and customers. Customers opt-in to the program by applying for financing at the point of checkout through a simple, instant credit approval process that provides them with an open line of credit that may be used wherever Klarna is accepted.

ArborCrowd Announces $ 40.8 Million Multifamily Real Estate Deal (Crowdfund Insider

Commercial real estate crowdfunding platform ArborCrowd announced on Tuesday it is now offering a $40.8 million multifamily real estate deal to investors. The property, Quarry Station Apartments, is located in San Antonio, Texas.

Deloitte says it was hacked (American Banker), Rated: A

Another hack: Deloitte said Monday it suffered a cyberattack. But the hacker accessed data affecting only a “very few” of the big accounting firm’s clients and “no disruption has occurred to client businesses, to Deloitte’s ability to continue to serve clients, or to consumers,” the firm said.

ReliaMax Acquires Assets of FUTR Corporation (BusinessWire), Rated: A

ReliaMax, the complete private student lending solutions provider for banks, credit unions, schools and alternative lenders, today announced it has acquired the assets of FUTR Corporation, a San Francisco- and Texas-based private student loan servicing provider. The acquisition brings over 40 new lenders and $55 million in borrower servicing to The ReliaMax Solution, the only fully-integrated private student loan solution that includes borrower acquisition, origination, servicing, insurance, and capital markets/portfolio liquidity support.

Fidelity Axes Suit Over High-Cost Investments, Robo-Adviser Fees (BNA.com), Rated: A

The participants’ claim that Fidelity breached its fiduciary duties by selecting and hiring Financial Engines—an online financial advice provider commonly known as a robo-adviser—also fails, Burroughs wrote. The allegations were premised on the notion that Fidelity, rather than the plan sponsor Delta, hired and selected Financial Engines, but the plan’s language contradicts this premise, Burroughs concluded, granting Fidelity’s motion to dismiss.

LEND360 Partners with LendingTree to Award a $ 10,000 Prize to Winner of the LEND360 Startup Innovators Program (PRWeb), Rated: B

LEND360 announces LendingTree, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, will award a $10,000 prize to the winner of the LEND360 Startup Innovators Program, an on-site competition where fintech startups will present cutting-edge solutions that are propelling the online lending ecosystem forward.

Startups in the fintech space will pitch solutions on the LEND360 Innovation Floor Spotlight Stage. Each company will have approximately five minutes to make their pitch followed by a brief Q&A session. All LEND360 attendees are invited to attend.

Members of the LEND360 Investor Advisory Board will judge all presentations and attendees will submit their choice via our conference app. The winner will be announced on Friday morning, October 13, and will have the opportunity to pitch their solution on the mainstage.

Check Into Cash founder pulls ads from NFL games, denounces league as ‘unpatriotic’ (Times Free Press), Rated: B

But after NFL players and coaches challenged President Donald Trump and many took a knee during the national anthem played before their games over the weekend, Jones said he is through sponsoring the wardrobes or advertising on stations that air the National Football League.

“Our companies will not condone unpatriotic behavior!” said Jones, CEO of the payday lending chain Check Into Cash and owner of Hardwick Clothes — America’s oldest suit maker.

Envestnet to buy FolioDynamix for $ 195 mln (PE Hub), Rated: B

Envestnet (NYSE: ENV), a leading provider of intelligent systems for wealth management and financial wellness, today announced that it will acquire FolioDynamix, a provider of integrated wealth management technology solutions.

How Do You Refinance Your Student Loans? It’s Actually So Much Easier Than You Think (Bustle), Rated: B

In February, Forbes reported that the total student loan debt had reached $1.13 trillionspread out across almost 45 million borrowers in the United States.

According to SoFi’s own refinancing calculator, people who refinance with SoFi save on average almost $23,000 total, or $288 a month — not an insignificant chunk of change. (Other lenders boast similar returns.) “If you’re paying an 8 or 9 percent [interest rate], and you can refi down to 4 percent, and you can lower the term — take it from 15 years to 10 years — you’ve cut the interest rate, you’ve cut the length, you would have been paying double the interest for a longer period of time,” Bradford explains.

By combining your all federal and private loans into one new private loan, you lose out on certain protections that come with federal loans, like income-based repayment or student loan forgiveness, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Research by LendEDU found that 57 percent of applicants qualify, so there’s little excuse not to at least try. And according to Student Loan Hero, across the top six student loan refinancers, it takes on average less than 20 minutes total to check your rates and apply online (or even on an app).

United Kingdom

P2P lender Zopa set to reopen to new investors (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Zopa, the UK’s first peer-to-peer lender, is aiming to reopen to new investors by the end of this year following a long-running imbalance between those who want to lend money via the platform, and those who want to borrow.

Zopa’s website offers annualised projected returns of up to 4.5 per cent to those prepared to lend money to individuals via its platform for five years. However, high demand meant Zopa stopped taking new client money last December. After re-opening temporarily, it stopped again in March, and started a waiting list which has details of 15,000 potential investors waiting to lend.

Andrew Lawson, Zopa’s chief product officer, said the company was growing its book of new loans at 50 per cent year-on-year but was finding it harder to lure appropriate borrowers due to declining credit quality and fierce competition among peer-to peer lenders.

The platform’s existing investors have also been hit by long delays after a surge in demand for Zopa’s Innovative Finance Isa, which allows peer-to-peer loans to be held within the popular tax-free wrapper.

Funding Circle hits £50 million in revenue as CEO restates IPO ambitions (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Online small business lender Funding Circle lifted the lid on business performance on Wednesday, showing revenue passed £50 million for the first time last year.

  • Revenue rose 59% to £50.9 million;
  • Operating expenses rose by 43% to £103.1 million;
  • Losses dipped by 3% to £35.7 million thanks partly to a foreign exchange boost;
  • £1 billion lent last year;
  • Loans outstanding rose by 61% to £1.37 billion;

Graham Wellesley hits back at critics (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

Earlier this year, a series of media reports highlighted a report from auditor BDO which stated that Wellesley & Co was “dependent on raising further capital to continue to operate for 12 months”. This statement referred to the firm’s performance as at December 2015.

However, Graham Wellesley told Peer2Peer Finance News that these reports were misleading as they referred to the firm’s mini-bonds only, and not its peer-to-peer lending platform.

LendInvest and NACFB launch broker development finance course (Financial Reporter), Rated: A

LendInvest has launched its first property development course for brokers, in partnership with the NACFB.

Aimed at providing brokers with a better understanding of how to add more value to clients that require development finance, the courses outline in detail what it takes to make sure small-scale developments run smoothly.

Can you trust the bonds that pay 8.5%? We run the rule over five deals wooing savers with juicy rates (This is Money), Rated: B

QuidCycle — 6.1 per cent

QuidCycle is a so-called peer-to-peer lending company, which brings together borrowers and savers.

There is just one bond available now, paying 6.1 per cent for five years. You must invest at least £500 and your money isn’t accessible until the fixed term expires.

THE RISKS: The worry is that the borrower won’t be able to make repayments. QuidCycle has a Provision Fund, a pot of money set aside in case borrowers can’t pay.

Your money is spread across at least five borrowers to limit your risk exposure, and there’s an option to lend a maximum of £100 to any single borrower.

Former Swift chief Campos joins Scottish financial technology vendor ID Co (Finextra), Rated: B

A leading UK financial technology company has strengthened its position in the market with the appointment of new chairperson, Lazaro Campos, and chief technology officer, Scott Leckie.

The Edinburgh headquartered business, established in 2010, has won some major clients in the UK and North America. These include a large UK retail bank, Prosper Marketplace, Marlette Funding, OakNorth Bank, eMoneyUnion, and Fair Finance. Over the last 12-months alone, the volume of transactions facilitated by the company has grown by 15% month over month.

New chairperson Lazaro Campos brings over 30-years C-level experience in banking technology, having previously served as a non-executive director of The ID Co. from 2014. He is also co-founder of innovation ecosystem company FinTechStage, member of the advisory board of financial services company Payoneer and Senior Advisor to management consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton. Elsewhere Lazaro served at SWIFT, the global banking network, in various executive roles and was its CEO from 2007 until 2012.

International

Avalon is Inviting Investments in Its Initial Coin Offering to Reshape The Trends of Online Lending (Digital Journal), Rated: A

Avalon Capital Group, Inc. has announced that it is inviting investors from around the world to make investments in its initial coin offering. With a well-established base of research, development and operations, the company is introducing cryptocurrency and initial coin offerings as a new way of transaction for its valued customers. In addition, the rising private investment company is backed by HSBC bank with 4,000,000 USD investment already.

This blockchain based crypto lending model will open new possibilities of lending money online safely and easily. Furthermore, this decentralized peer to peer lending platform will enable anyone to lend and borrow money is a safe and secure environment online.

India

How Fintech Players can Help Banks Bridge the Gap in SME Lending in India (BW Disrupt), Rated: A

The SME business opportunity in India can be seen in possibly every sector – financial services, telecom, education, automobiles, media, food, real estate and so on. SME businesses are the biggest contributor to the economy of any country and the same goes with India. After agriculture, small business in India is the second largest employer of human resources. Also, in recent years, this sector has been weaving some of the most inspiring business success stories. In fact, MSMEs were found to account for 46% of the industrial production and 95% of the total industrial units.

From inefficacy of measures in credit flows (such as credit scoring for SMEs) to information asymmetry faced by banks and financial institutions, there are plentiful challenges that have impacted the contribution and performance of small and medium enterprises in the Indian economy. More than 80% MSME entrepreneurs are forced to resort to other unorganized avenues of financing to obtain credit assistance.

Fintech lenders can change that.

P2P Lending – A twist or a stick? (India Times), Rated: A

Although still in its infancy as a market, P2P lending firms in the US and UK in 2010 generated cumulative lending of USD 1.5m and this increased to USD 7bn in 2015 so unprecedented rise in the demand. In the US alone, in 2015, P2P platforms issued approximately $6bn in loans and based on our global analysis, this is expected to grow to $150bn by 2025 (25 times or 2400% over 10 years).

The estimated P2P lending to be generated in India over the next 5 years is pegged at circa USD 4bn (160 times the current lending size). Still this is way too low compared to China where there are circa more than 2000 P2P lending firms with a lending book size north of circa USD15bn indicating the potential to grow exponentially in India.

What are the risks involved in P2P lending?

1. Weak underwriting process resulting in bankruptcy of the P2P firm due to poorly executed business model resulting in granting loans to scrupulous borrowers with poor credit history

4. Data privacy laws could be breached if the platform firms disclose the names of the borrowers and lenders in their website.

5. If KYC and AML checks are not carried out robustly, the platform firms could be used for money laundering and routing illegal sources of funding.

Our perspectives

1. Platform based lending will invariably gain huge momentum over the next 3-5 years due to competitive interest rates and ease of making finance available.

2. Secured lending may have a better preference from a risk averse investor stand point due to the fact that this business has progressed very well since the past 5 years and there are established RBI regulations governing this type of lending.

4. Over a period of time, if unsecured P2P lending is well established like in the developed markets (e.g. Funding Circle in the UK), banks and institutional investors will potentially look to buy blocks of P2P loans to add to their portfolios.

Kae Capital backs consumer lending startup CrediFiable (VC Circle), Rated: A

Online consumer lending platform CrediFiable, which is operated by Bengaluru-based OneFiable Technologies Pvt. Ltd, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Kae Capital, the startup said in a statement.

Asia

Job loss concerns raised amid digital disruption in Indonesia (Straits Times), Rated: AAA

Disruptive innovation in digital technology is on the horizon, with bankers and toll road operators beginning to replace manual jobs with digital machines, raising concerns that millions of jobs in the finance and service sectors will be replaced.

Meanwhile, banks are opening fewer physical branches, putting more money into developing digital banking and digital offices.

State lender Bank Mandiri, the largest bank in terms of assets, has announced that it plans to open only 100 branches this year, far fewer than the annual plan of 400 to 600. Such a move will lead to a reduction in the number of new recruits taken on.

Other lenders joining the digital wave include private lender BTPN, which spent 1.3 trillion rupiah (S$131 million) on developing a digital platform, dubbed Jenius, over the past three years, while DBS Indonesia launched Digiland, an entirely paperless and signature-free banking experience.

Southeast Asia’s fintechs: Target the underbanked (Euromoney.com), Rated: A

But southeast Asia isn’t China. While Ant Financial knows China like the back of its hand, and vice versa, the company recognizes the limits in its abilities outside the country. Because of that, Ant Financial and Alipay’s work in southeast Asia is done through local partners.

It’s the Facebooks and Googles of the world that really keep the banks up at night, not the explicit fintech companies, says Yew.

CIMB says more than 90% of its total banking transactions are done through digital and self-service channels at this point.

Aquaculture investment platform GrowPal wins G-Startup Indonesia 2017 (e27), Rated: B

Global startup competition G-Startup Worldwide announced aquaculture investment platform GrowPal as the first-place winner of G-Startup Indonesia 2017.

GrowPal is a P2P lending platform that aims to help freshwater fishermen raise funding for their business.

Canada

Fear of financial loss limits investors’ opportunities (Investment Executive), Rated: A

Specifically, 72% of investors surveyed said they feel financially secure in the current economic climate and 68% said they are comfortable taking risks to get ahead. However, if investors were forced to choose between safety and performance, 83% would choose safety.

76% of investors surveyed believe that some fund managers charge high fees for just tracking an index, which investors say they can also do and at a lower cost.

Another area in which investors could benefit from good advice is alternative investment strategies that go beyond stocks and bonds. Although many investors are open to alternative investments, the Natixis study suggests a lack of education in this area may be a roadblock. For example, 71% of investors believe alternative investing is too complex and 65% say these investments are riskier than traditional asset classes.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday September 18 2017, Daily News Digest

LendingClub

News Comments Today’s main news: 400K UK consumers may have been affected by Equifax breach. Independent Community Bankers of America letter opposing ILCs. RateSetter launches consumer hire-purchase product. Klarna partners with Wacom. Google enters digital payments in India. Payday type loans come to e-tailers in India. Today’s main analysis: Analysis of SoFi deal SCLP 2017-5 and Lending Club deal CLUB 2017-P1. […]

LendingClub

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

Asia

Africa

News Summary

United States

Independent Community Bankers of America Letter (ICBA), Rated: AAA

As you may be aware, ICBA recently filed a comment letter with the FDIC objecting to the deposit insurance application of SoFi Bank, an industrial loan corporation to be chartered by the state of Utah. In our letter, we urged FDIC, for safety and soundness reasons and to maintain the separation of banking and commerce, to not only deny SoFi Bank’s application but also impose a moratorium on ILC deposit insurance applications. Furthermore, we said that Congress should close the ILC loophole because it not only threatens the financial system but creates an uneven playing field for community banks.

The news that Square also intends to apply to the FDIC for deposit insurance as an industrial loan corporation has significantly increased our concerns and made it even more urgent that the FDIC immediately impose a moratorium on approving deposit insurance applications for ILCs. As we noted in our SoFi Bank letter, the ILC charter is nothing more than a loophole in the law to circumvent the legal prohibitions and restrictions under the Bank Holding Company Act.

SoFi Bank and Square are applying as ILCs and not as commercial banks because their parent companies and their affiliates do not want to be subject to the legal restrictions and supervision attendant to the BHCA. Square, for instance, already owns a point-of-sale hardware appliance business and a food delivery service and therefore could not own a commercial bank without divesting its commercial activities. For safety and soundness 2 reasons and to maintain the separation of banking and commerce, the FDIC should deny SoFi Bank’s application and impose a moratorium for at least two years on future ILC deposit insurance applications, including any application by Square. 

Read the entire letter here.

Did Lending Just Change for Good? (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Bank lending regulations have rarely been thought of as dynamic or exciting but last night’s ruling by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to allow a lender to begin using alternative data in their underwriting could herald the beginning of a new era in lending and how banks work.

Why is this significant?

US banks have traditionally been guided by three key pieces of legislation, the Truth in Lending Act of 1968, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974 and the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977.  These three acts were created before the era of personal computers yet still guide bank lending today.  Since the rise of marketplace lending, which began in 2006, where borrowers go through a platform and investors fund those loans, it is becoming increasingly apparent that many of these regulations are in need of updating.

In an overly simplistic interpretation (and I am not an attorney), the regulator is giving an online consumer lender the right to underwrite loans using ‘alternative data’ which before was not in line with how the Equal Opportunity Act is interpreted by lenders.  It is not clear what data will be allowed but in a CNBC interview, Upstart co-founder Paul Gu suggested that SAT scores, college grades and even college majors are data points which are helpful in predicting loan defaults. 

So assuming the change stands, what is next?

As alternative lenders have more scope to use alternative data, machine learning complex data analysis is opening up an entirely new space for investors.  Gone are the days where banks only competed against each other with marketplace lenders now allowing investors to allocate capital in a similar way to banks, choosing loans to fund based on their own ideas and risk profile.   For now, this is mostly impacting consumer credit, but in the years to come, look for marketplace lending to impact all areas of lending as investors get more comfortable investing in this space regulations start to adapt.

Scandal costs Sofi chance to become a bank, says ex-SEC head (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

SoFi’s application to become a bank has almost no chance of approval in the wake of a sex scandal that forced out its chief executive, says a close adviser and former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

But last week’s departure of Mike Cagney, the co-founder, chairman and chief executive, has effectively killed the application, said Arthur Levitt, a former chairman of the SEC, who began advising the company two years ago.

“This departure of Mike makes that a very questionable attainment,” Mr Levitt said, referring to the charter.

He noted that the FDIC had turned down this type of application “many times” before.

Equity podcast: SoFi loses its CEO, big rounds for unicorns, and will this VC buy the iPhone X? (TechCrunch), Rated: A

We turned first to SoFi, a consumer-finance unicorn that has raised more than a billion in equity, and over $2 billion in total. The company is now down a CEO after allegations of misconduct brought censure upon its CEO, Michael Cagney, and the company’s culture.

Listen to the podcast here.

Fat cat frat boys ape the worst of banking and tech (Financial Times), Rated: A

The article also described employee concerns about lending practices and alleged that investors had been misled over a 2012 financing.

SoFi complained in a public blog about “inaccuracies” in the Times report, but focused on defending its lending practices.

If the allegations are true, SoFi and LendingClub have many of banking’s worst attributes with Silicon Valley’s warts layered on top.

Meanwhile, the allegations of doctored loans and conflicts of interest at LendingClub were reminiscent of some of the excesses of the bankers who fed the subprime mortgage market.

Goldman Sachs thinks fintech has as much potential as trading (Quartz), Rated: AAA

Goldman Sachs has been pilloried for lackluster results from its trading division (paywall), so this week the bank gave investors a peek into its plans (pdf) for making more money. Surprisingly, the Wall Street powerhouse thinks it can generate as much revenue from online consumer loans—a market targeted by many fintech startups—as from buying and selling securities.

Specifically, Goldman thinks it can make $1 billion in extra revenue from its consumer lending business over the next three years, as much as it expects for its trading operations. Combined with new lending for the wealthy and companies, the bank expects to bring in $2 billion in additional sales from loans. Goldman co-chief operating officer Harvey Schwartz said it’s one of the fastest-growing lending platforms ever launched, even though he says the bank is taking its time with the nascent business. The bank’s digital consumer-lending arm called Marcus is expected to have lent out $2 billion by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, big banks have access to cheaper funds than peer-to-peer lenders like Lending Club or Zopa. With consumer deposits and the billions of dollars they routinely borrow in credit markets, banks can undercut the loan rates offered by smaller companies.

That said, Schwartz acknowledged that consumer lending isn’t immune to economic downturns, and analysts cited by Bloomberg were skeptical about Goldman jumping into a market outside its core expertise.

Source: Quartz

The Bank of Google or Amazon? Don’t count on it (American Banker), Rated: AAA

It might seem like it is only a matter of time before the tech giants knock on banking’s door. In fact, a recent World Economic Forum report posited that big tech companies present a greater challenge to banks than fintech startups. The report notes that regulators will accept a more “oligopolistic distribution of financial services products by tech firms.” Already, the fintech providers Social Finance and Square have applied for FDIC-insured banking charters, just as the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency continues work to develop its limited-purpose fintech charter. Are the largest tech firms next in line?

Incumbents still hold the upper hand. The risk of an Amazon or Google or Apple dominating the traditional banking sector is nowhere near a slam dunk.

In every scenario, the tech giants would need to persuade regulators to grant them some kind of charter access in order to effectively compete and level the playing field on funding costs. This would involve easing traditional limits on commercial firms owning banks, and potentially navigating opposition from members of Congress.

But more fundamentally, tech giants have had mixed experiences in rolling out financial services such as Google Wallet and Apple Pay. And despite the reported consumer skepticism of legacy institutions, banks still continue to maintain a high volume of customer relationships.

SoFi CEO Resigns; Goldman & Mosaic Ink Deal; SoFi & Lending Club Deal Analysis (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

In the fallout of the Equifax breach, the leading credit bureaus are dealing with an overwhelming volume of credit freeze requests from consumers. While it is still too early to tell, it seems that the genie is out of the bottle. The breach is sparking additional focus on FinTech innovation to protect consumers (e.g., digital identity verification, disposable card numbers, etc.).

Beyond the headlines, SoFi’s growth engine continues. In Q2 2017 alone, SoFi funded $3.1 Bn in loans with $134 Mn in revenue and $61.6 Mn in adjusted EBITDA. Revenue and adjusted EBITDA were up 67% and 60% year over year respectively.  The news of Cagney’s resignation coincided with SoFi marketing its latest personal loan deal which priced this Friday. Interest in SCLP 2017-5 was initially strong, however the bond priced somewhat wider than guidance.

SoFi’s Latest Consumer Lending Deal: SCLP 2017-5

After Mike Cagney’s resignation on Friday, the lead underwriter re-launched SCLP 2017-5. Since guidance was released before the critical NY Times article on Tuesday, we have a close (but imperfect) control to study the consequences of management upheaval on deal execution.

ABS investors reacted negatively to the news; the bonds priced 10 to 15 bps wider than guidance on Monday.

Source: PeerIQ, Company Filings, S&P, Kroll Bond Rating Agency

LendingClub’s Self-Sponsored Prime Consumer Deal: CLUB 2017-P1

This is the second self-sponsored deal from LendingClub, and it follows the success of CLUB 2017-NP1. LendingClub expects to alternate between prime and near-prime securitizations at least once a year going forward. Of the $363 Mn outstanding, approximately $100 Mn came from LendingClub’s balance sheet (a shift from prior management’s business practice); the remaining loans were contributed from investors.

The CLUB 2017-NP1 and CLUB 2017-P1 deals total to approximately $628 Mn in loans, yet LendingClub has facilitated almost $29 Bn in loans on its platform as of Q2 2017 making it a small part of LendingClub by dollars loaned but a meaningful portion of EBITDA.

Source: PeerIQ, Company Filings, Kroll Bond Ratings Agency

The FinTech Investor Podcast Series: Interview With Ron Suber (SoundCloud), Rated: A

DiversyFund Sells Pre-IPO Shares in Accredited Offer (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

DiversyFund, a real estate crowdfunding marketplace, is selling pre-IPO shares in a Series A crowdfunding round through a Reg D 506(c) offering.

The Form D filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) indicated that Diversyfund had sold $200,000 of a $6 million funding round as of August 31st. Minimum investments of $100,000 are being accepted from accredited investors only.

Misha Esipov of Nova Credit (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • How talking with international students at Stanford led to the idea for Nova Credit.
  • The big problem that Nova Credit is trying to solve.
  • How they began their journey in trying to solve this problem.
  • Details of their Credit Passport product, the international credit report.
  • How they were able to convince international credit bureaus to share their data.
  • Why the big three U.S. credit bureaus have not developed an international credit report.
  • How Nova Credit is able to standardize data from very different countries.
  • Nova Credit’s business model and their similarity to a traditional credit bureau.
  • How they can report back credit data to international bureaus.
  • The other vertical they focus on beyond lending.
  • The kinds of lending platforms they are working with today.
  • The progress they have made since LendIt USA 2017.
  • When they first started making revenue.
  • Who has been backing Nova Credit.
  • What is on their road map for the next 6-12 months.
  • How they view expanding into new markets to help immigrants other countries.

The SoFi Sex Scandal Highlights How Hard It Is For Women In Fintech (Fast Company), Rated: A

Fintech has become a major force over the decade since the financial crisis, with $12.8 billion in venture capital flowing into the sector in 2016 alone. But of the nearly 500 deals that took place in the U.S. last year, less than a dozen went to companies founded by women.

“It’s lonely to be a woman in fintech, especially as a CEO,” says Rachel Mayer, cofounder and CEO of Trigger, an automated tool for investing alerts.

At Anthemis, based in London, 56% of employees are women, a remarkably equitable gender breakdown that is consistent at every level.

Former banking executive Sallie Krawcheck is following a similar playbook with her female-focused investing service, Ellevest. Since founding the company three years ago she has raised over $50 million in venture funding.

A survey of U.K.-based fintech firms published last week revealed that women represented just 3 in 10 employees. Of fintech board directors globally, just 8% are women.

Good news for fintech seen in CFPB’s ‘no-action’ move (American Banker), Rated: A

In an interview Friday, Upstart co-founder and CEO Dave Girouard explained why the fintech applied for the letter and how it works.

Is it fair to think of a no-action letter as a stay-out-of-jail-free card?

DAVE GIROUARD: We’re careful about not trying to interpret it in any way that is different than what the CFPB says it is. The letter makes it clear that they have reviewed what we do and how we do what we do and that they don’t find issue with it.

How do you feel about the agreement?

We’re pleased that the CFPB recognized the consumer advantage of alternative data and machine learning, the fact that it could make affordable credit more broadly available to more people.

So it’s not just about Upstart for sure — it’s the acceptance of these more modern techniques because they can and will benefit consumers broadly over time.

Sharestates Appoints New Chief Operating Officer, Adds SOC 2 Type 2 Certification (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Sharestates, an online real estate crowdfunding marketplace, has announced that Nicole Joseph has joined the executive team as the new Chief Operating Officer.

The new hire is accompanied by the completion of the company’s SOC 2 Type 2 Certification, which affirms that Sharestates now meets the security requirements and parameters for storing information on the cloud as laid out by The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA).

ReliaMax Announces New Whole Loan Portfolio Placement Service (BusinessWire), Rated: A

ReliaMax®, the complete private student lending solutions provider for banks, credit unions and alternative lenders, today announced at the 23rd Annual ABS East 2017 Conference a new whole loan trading service, ReliaMax Portfolio Placement, as an extension of its existing capital markets and liquidity programs. The ReliaMax Portfolio Placement service will facilitate qualified existing private student whole loan portfolios for sellers and buyers.

The ReliaMax Portfolio Placement service provides unique value to the private student lending marketplace in multiple ways including insurance, default prevention, credit analysis, and servicing. Some benefits include:

  • State-of-the-art servicing through ReliaMax helps buyers maximize the value of their portfolio, providing compliance and regulatory support and staffing to manage student loan-specific servicing requirements.
  • Loan insurance through ReliaMax Surety Company covers 100% principal and interest and mitigates risks, reduces defaults, and provides better cash flow.
  • Portfolio review and credit analysis provides guidance around the price at which the portfolio might transact.

ReliaMax has been involved in many third-party portfolio transactions. For example, in December 2106, MetaBank acquired a $151 million student loan portfolio which ReliaMax Surety Company now insures. The transaction also included the conversion of the portfolio servicing onto the ReliaMax Platform. Over the last three years, ReliaMax has provided insurance and/or servicing on 12 portfolio placement transactions.

The Top Small Business Funders By Revenue (deBanked), Rated: A

Square $1,700,000,000 $1,267,000,000 Went public November 2015
OnDeck $291,300,000 $254,700,000 Went public December 2014
Kabbage $171,800,000 $97,500,000 Received $1.25B+ valuation in Aug 2017

Lendio Partners with Ocrolus to Automate Bank Statement Analysis (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Lendio, the nation’s leading marketplace for small business loans,today announced a partnership with Ocrolus, the emerging leader in bank statement review automation. The PerfectAudit API, powered by Ocrolus, analyzes uploaded bank statements with 99+% accuracy, replacing manual review with automation. Ocrolus technology allows lenders, for the first time, to review every potential borrower’s bank statement data automatically, regardless of whether or not the borrower provides sensitive bank login credentials.

In April, Lendio became the first lending marketplace to integrate with Ocrolus, whose clients include banks, alternative lenders, accounting firms, law firms, and government entities. The PerfectAudit API gives Lendio the ability to systematically combat bank statement fraud and conduct a hyper-accurate review for every potential borrower.

Outsiders and Insiders Are Behind the Fintech Revolution (JD Supra), Rated: A

From peer-to-peer lending to online banking, the fintech industry is a rapidly growing area for technology investment. In the first quarter of 2017 alone, U.S. venture capital-backed fintech start-ups raised $1.1 billion across 90 deals, according to CBInsights Global Fintech Report. The only region to outdo the U.S. during this same period was Asia, which reported for the same group investment of $2.7 billion across 226 deals.

There exists a wide range of technologies that fall under the definition of fintech, and each is seeing significant growth. One such technology is artificial intelligence, which, according to the PricewaterhouseCoopers 2017 Global Fintech Report, 30 percent of large financial institutions are investing in. For example, another factoid from a separate PricewaterhouseCoopers report, projects that, by 2020, AI will automate a considerable amount of underwriting.

Mobile payments are another rapidly growing area of fintech, with TechCrunch reporting that there will be an estimated $60 billion worth of payments made on mobile platforms in 2017. The site also predicts that, by 2020, 90 percent of smartphone users will have made a mobile payment, which serves to underscore just how commonplace this fintech will be within a very short time.

AON: ALTERNATIVE RISK PREMIA VIABLE FOR MANY (AllAboutAlpha), Rated: A

A new report from Aon discusses the contemporary market for alternative risk premia: where it is, how it got here; where it may be headed.

The authors, Matthew Towsey and Chris Walvoord, begin with some very basic considerations of what ‘risk premia’ are. They are, on the one hand, the payments one receives for taking on a risk that others do not wish to hold (providing insurance), or they are on the other the winnings one pockets on strategies that take advantage of market anomalies.

A Q&A With NerdWallet CEO Tim Chen: ‘We’re Making An Impact’ (Benzinga), Rated: B

How does NerdWallet create its content and recommendations? Do data and algorithms play a role in your platform? I’m curious about the company from a fintech perspective.

It’s actually a mixture of both — algorithms and incredibly smart, financially savvy humans power our recommendations, reviews and expert advice.

The company seems to simplify financial information for everyday consumers. Do you think NerdWallet has helped to democratize the space?

That’s the goal! I truly believe that a person that has spent no time at all thinking about personal finance and can’t afford a financial advisor, should be able to make the same quality of choice as the most financially savvy person in the country

SDIRA TV Offers New Strategies Amidst Massive Equifax Hack (PR Web), Rated: A

Experts deliver new alternative investment advice and resources for individuals being impacted by the giant 2017 Equifax data breach. This includes all new episodes of SDIRA TV with national finance experts and investment advisors, as well as a side by side comparison white paper on retirement investing options.

Deeper concerns have surfaced as it was discovered three Equifax executives sold off substantial amounts of personally held stock before making the breach known.

20 Places You Can Raise Funding for Your Business (TechBullion), Rated: B

  1. Crowdfunding

There are several platforms where you can create your crowdfunding campaign. Examples include KickstarterIndiegogoand Go Get Funding.

  1. Peer-to-Peer Lending

Peer-to-peer lending involves a group of people coming together to lend money to each other. You can look for an entrepreneur peer who is willing to fund ideas similar to yours.

  1. Online Lending

There are several online lending service providers. Good examples are Kabbageand OnDeck.These online lenders will process your application within hours as opposed to traditional lenders.

 

My Take On Real Estate Crowdfunding (ValueWalk), Rated: B

Many of these platforms seem to market to investors, showcasing high dividend yields in the 8% – 10%/year range.

I read the following two articles in my research:

In general, those are new untested platforms, which may or may not do well for you over time. These investments have not been time tested during a recession. In addition, I do not understand very well how investment assets are segregated in those platforms, and how things would work out if a project you invested in fails miserably.

As Financial Processes Go Digital, Detroit Looks To Siphon Talent From New York, Chicago (Benzinga), Rated: B

He’s talking about fintech, which has leveled the playing field for non-New Yorks to flourish in financial services. Inspired by emerging tech trends, Raznick and Benzinga are taking stakes in Michigan’s future by spearheading the new Detroit Fintech Association.

The nonprofit trade organization will enhance the community’s exposure, connect startups with national leaders and mentors, support talent recruitment and magnify the Detroit voice in U.S. regulatory discussions. The DFA also aims to improve financial literacy in the city through work with Detroit high schools and higher education institutions.

FHA Loan Originations Expected to Generate Servicing Portfolio Growth Leading to Servicers Taking on Greater Non-Performing Loans and REO (Marketwired), Rated: A

Altisource Portfolio Solutions S.A. (“Altisource”) (NASDAQ: ASPS), a provider of real estate, mortgage and technology services, today issued the results of its inaugural Default Servicing Survey, a survey of over 200 mortgage default servicing professionals. According to the study, nearly three-quarters (71 percent) of servicing professionals surveyed predicted FHA/VA loan volumes would increase within their organizations in the next 12 to 24 months; 41 percent believed FHA loans will offer their organizations the most portfolio growth over the same time period.

According to the U.S. Department for Housing and Urban Development, FHA loans accounted for over 17 percent of newly originated mortgages in 20161 and currently constitute 35 percent of all loans delinquent for 30 or more days2. As the issuance of FHA loans grows, so does the potential increase in volume of default assets. Thus, it is not surprising that 93 percent of servicing professionals surveyed stated that foreclosure/trustee and Claims Without Conveyance of Title (CWCOT) capabilities are important factors to consider when evaluating a vendor to manage growing default portfolios.

Servicing Professionals Cite Challenges Stemming from Costs of FHA Conveyance and Managing CWCOT Programs

Servicing professionals (29 percent) cited remitting fees, costs and financial obligations associated with FHA conveyance as the greatest challenge for effective CWCOT programs. For servicing professionals working with third-party vendors to manage CWCOT portfolios, 15 percent said overall vendor management is a challenge associated with managing CWCOT programs while another 15 percent pointed to timeline delays and increased costs due to attorney oversight; 11 percent cited not having enough in-house personnel on staff to effectively manage the program.

Third-Party Expertise and Central Coordination are Critical to Successful CWCOT Program Administration

In order to overcome the financial, regulatory and oversight challenges associated with their vendors’ CWCOT programs, servicers must carefully evaluate their third-party vendor strategy to ensure vendors possess the right expertise and resources to execute the program. Most servicing professionals surveyed (97 percent) said they are exploring options including a single-vendor approach to help achieve their objectives; 91 percent identified FHA asset management experience as an important criterion for vendors. When specifically evaluating single vendors, 72 percent of servicing professionals surveyed said consistency and efficiency in managing REO properties is a very important consideration; 69 percent also pointed to compliance management.

United Kingdom

Equifax says as many as 400,000 UK consumers may be affected by data breach (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Equifax, the US credit-reporting company at the heart of a cyber-security scandal, has admitted that as many as 400,000 UK consumers may have had their personal information stolen.

The company said that while its UK systems were not affected by the massive cyber raid that targeted information for as many as 143m Americans, UK customer data “may potentially have been accessed”, because it was stored on US systems between 2011 and 2016.

If Equifax’s forecast is borne out, the data breach will be the biggest in UK cyber history, bypassing that of payday lender Wonga, which affected more than 250,000 customers.

RateSetter launches consumer hire-purchase product (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER has launched a hire-purchase (HP) product for individuals looking to buy vehicles.

Consumers will be able to borrow up to £25,000, but the peer-to-peer lender expects the agreements typically to be around £6,000. The terms range between 12 and 60 months, with APRs going from 19.9 per cent to 49.9 per cent depending on the customer’s creditworthiness.

Assetz Capital Reports “Development Funding Boom” with 175% Increase (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Peer to peer lender Assetz Capital is reporting it has seen a year-on-year increase of 175% in the number of property development projects funded around the UK. The online lender says this rise comes following sustained growth in the funding pool for property developments, as investors hunt for a piece of the development market.

There are two new types of Isa – should you switch to them? (The Telegraph), Rated: A

But as new types of Isa have emerged and new rules have been introduced, the situation has become more complicated.

And some Isa features – notably “flexibility”, which allows account holders to make withdrawals and then pay the money back in during the same tax year while keeping the tax benefits – have not been introduced by all providers, which has further muddied the waters.

A Help to Buy Isa, a type of cash Isa, is also an option. First-time buyers can deposit £1,200 in the first month and £200 a month thereafter to put towards a home purchase. The Government then tops up savers’ money by 25pc.

However, you can’t pay into a normal cash Isa and Help to Buy Isa in the same year, unless you choose a provider that allows you to split the cash. Nationwide and Aldermore both offer this option; they pay 2pc and 1.75pc respectively.

Lifetime Isas 

The Lifetime Isa is the newest addition to the Isa family.

Consumers between the ages of 18 and 40 can use the accounts to save towards their first home or retirement. Up to £4,000 can be put away each year into either a cash Lisa or a stocks and shares version. Eligible savers can continue to contribute until the age of 50.

Hargreaves Lansdown, Britain’s biggest fund shop, and rivals including AJ Bell, The Share Centre and Nutmeg, an online wealth manager, offer investment Lisas.

Innovative Finance Isas 

These Isas shield peer-to-peer investments, which allow consumers to offer unsecured loans to individuals and businesses through online platforms such as Zopa and Ratesetter, and certain “crowdfunding” investments, from tax.

Lending Works was the first to offer the new Isa, paying the same return as the firm’s existing accounts.

Zopa allows existing customers to sell their loans and buy them back within the Isa. They can also transfer their Isas with other providers to Zopa.

Networks are the new corporations (Inside Bitcoins), Rated: A

There are a lot more people in the world that can collectively lend micro loans on a regular basis than there are corporations that can regularly distribute loans above the value of a thousand dollars.

“A network of independent lenders committed to distributing micro loans could potentially rival long established financial organisations in terms of the combined value of peer to peer loans serviced to borrowers on a world wide scale” says Richard Ochieze, Managing Director at Ledgermark, LTD.

The case for Digital Collateral

The internet makes non repayment of loans a marvellously simple task for borrowers and as such; organisations like the Funding Circle, a peer to peer lending firm, are left wide open to have the profits of their retail investors depleted due to this lingering risk.

Traditional financial institutions have been able to maintain a fortress of checks and balances such as strict collateral requirements for both business and personal loans in order to provide themselves with a means of recourse should a borrower fail to repay his debt.

In this digital age in which peer to peer transactions are becoming the norm, this same form of protection must be made available to the average individual who wishes to loan his money out to borrowers in return for profit.

However, the question must be asked: how can a borrower pledge his house or farm as collateral via an online loans application?

Prior to the invention of the Blockchain such an asset did not exist and now that it does, the door has been opened to allow individuals based anywhere in the world to distribute and/or become the recipient of a secured micro-loan.

Can a robot help you invest for retirement? (AOL), Rated: A

Robo-adviser Wealth Wizards, for example, typically charges £65 for advice on investments of up to £30,000, and 0.30%, or £300, for guidance on what to do with a £100,000 retirement savings pot.

A typical financial adviser, meanwhile, charges about £580 for telling you how to invest a £200-a-month pension contribution, or between £1,000 and £2,000 for at-retirement advice on your £100,000 pot, according to figures from UK adviser network Unbiased.

JustGiving targeted by criminals for money laundering (BBC), Rated: B

Fundraising website JustGiving has said criminals are attempting to use its site to launder money.

The website told the BBC it had shut down nearly 100 of its appeal pages in the past 18 months because it believed they were fraudulent.

When discovered, no payments were processed, he said.

China

China will step up supervision of overseas investment risks – insurance regulator (Reuters), Rated: A

China will strengthen its supervision of overseas investment risks and capital flows from insurance funds, the insurance regulator said on Monday, adding that it will urge companies to improve their risk monitoring systems.

The China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) will step up supervision over the use of insurance funds, with focus on “chaos” such as irrational stock market fundraising and overseas acquisitions, said Guo Jing, vice head of the finance and accounting department of the CIRC.

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

Shanghai-based BTCC is the largest and first domestic bitcoin exchange in China. On September 14th, BTCC announced that it would immediately stop new user registration and close operation in China on September 30th.

The 2nd China Fintech Conference (2017) will be held on September 17th, 2017 in Beijing.
IDC Financial Insights announced the 2017 Fintech Rankings and Real Results at Finovate Fall New York 2017. This year, 4 Chinese companies won the honor to be named in the 2017 IDC Fintech Rankings. They are Ping An Technology (38), Hundsun Technologies Inc. (54), Pactera Technology International, Ltd. (55) and ECCOM Network System, Ltd. (64).
Last week, China’s financial and educational regulators announced to ban online lenders from offering loans to college students, and encouraged commercial banks to offer micro-credit products for the campus market. As a response to the call, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) has launched its own student loan product Rong e Loan this week.
European Union

Order not going to “Pending” with Klarna (Drupal), Rated: A

Project:  SOFORT Banking for Ubercart
Version:  7.x-3.1

Sofort has been bought by Klarna. Although everything should function as normal according to Klarna, since the switch the order is not going into “pending” after checkout — order status is “in checkout”.

commented 

This is a good place trying to get this sorted. My questions are:

  • Is this a new shop or one that runs for a while and worked OK before?
  • From the screenshot it looks like Sofort sends notifications pretty often, is that true?
  • The expectation is that the first of those notifications should switch the status to pending and confirming that to Sofort so that they know you got it and then they wouldn’t notify you again, right?

commented 

That’s exactly why this is failing. The Ubercart payment module wants to write into its table the value Aus sofort-Überweisung wird Klarna into the field method.

You should notify Sofort AG about this problem and I will do the same.

International

Klarna partners with global technology company Wacom (Klarna), Rated: AAA

Today we are proud to announce a new partnership with global technology company Wacom® that further accelerates Klarna’s expansion in the U.S. Wacom is now bringing our simple retail financing solution to the world of creative interface technology and software.

Financing a purchase over time has historically been optimized for brick and mortar stores. But the online equivalent can often be an ordeal, with redirects, lengthy forms and unclear information. Our process only requires a few fields of information, and lets consumers know instantly if they qualify for the financing solution.

How Incumbents Can Take on FinTech Challengers (LendIt), Rated: A

Digital technology has changed financial services. It has facilitated innovation, increased competition and made the mobile customer experience the key differentiator.

This embodies a strategic threat with McKinsey estimating that legacy financial institutions will see profits decline by up to 60% by 2025 if they fail to evolve, a figure which should be motivating incumbents to look outside of traditional practices for growth and sustainability.

Millennials and digital natives have turned away from traditional banks in search of mobile alternatives. They are drawn to the best products and experience, and banks with the right level of service can win over this large market. Mobile-only banks like N26 are leading the way.

SME lending also offers a significant opportunity for growth. The European Commission’s SME Performance Review estimated just under 23 million small and medium enterprises generated €3.9 trillion in value add and employed 90 million people in 2016-2016, and McKinsey has identified a $350 billion untapped lending opportunity within this sector.

One path is acquisition, which banks like BBVA have followed by acquiring companies like Finland’s Holvi and neobank Simple. This is an expensive option complicated by having to find a company with the right fit for the business.

Given the technology available, a cleaner option would be to build a digital banking spinoff which can operate like a FinTech.

Meridian Proposes to Bring Peer to Peer Lending into the Age of the Blockchain (Crypto Insider), Rated: A

The far reaching nature of the internet has allowed the myriad of local economies that exist in the world to become merged into one, global, interwoven marketplace.

Despite this, it is still incredibly difficult for people to get a loan from an international organisation – without offering some form of collateral and/or proving credit worthiness.

The average size of deposit needed to get a mortgage is 62% of annual income, and in London, it’s 131%.

As a result, only 20% of 25-year-olds own their home today compared with 46% 20 years ago – less than half.

If you have a bad (or no) credit history, it is virtually impossible to borrow from a mainstream lender.

Banks and building societies advertise temptingly low rates, but they only need to apply to 51% of successful applicants, so almost half of all borrowers pay a different rate – probably higher.

Director of Ledgermark LTD, Richard Ochieze, explains:

An alternative should be offered to people who are being let down by the traditional banking system. We believe that the Meridian system can do a lot to alleviate some of the problems that exist in today’s online lending market.

The Meridian service offers users the opportunity to procure a loan of up to one Bitcoin at a time.

To qualify for a loan users must pledge a certain amount of Meridian tokens as collateral.

Meridian tokens can be purchased during the ICO on 12 October 2017 and will then become tradable on all alternative currency exchanges.

India

Google gets into digital payments fray in India (Banking Technology), Rated: AAA

Google is expected to launch a mobile payments app in India next week, according to several news reports. Google Tez, which means “fast” in Hindi is the anticipated name of the payments service, which Indian news outlet The Ken says is “largely fashioned on the company’s global product – Android Pay“.

As TechCrunch notes, “this is a big deal because Google hasn’t made a big push into payments outside of the US.”

ICICI plans payday-type loans in pact with e-tailers (India Times), Rated: AAA

In a first of its kind for India, ICICI Bank will partner with e-commercefirms to provide automated payday loan-type credit to customers at the bottom of the digital pyramid. Unlike other software-based loans, the digital credit planned by the bank will be available to non-customers and new-to-credit borrowers.

Speaking to TOI, Anup Bagchi, executive director, ICICI Bank, said that the bank would price these loans similar to credit card advances. In the West, payday loans are advances that fund the low-income individuals to make up for cash shortfalls until their salary. The difference in the ICICI Bank loan is that for the first month, the buyer will get free credit for up to 45 days. It is only if they do not pay on the due date that borrowers will be charged interest at close to credit card rates.

The bank will lend to new-to-credit customers based on their track record with the e-commerce provider.

Here’s why RBI wants to regulate online P2P lending (VC Circle), Rated: A

“The RBI is concerned that this can go big and get out of control,” says Harish.

Faircent—which is backed by financial institutions like JM Financial, venture fund Aarin Capital and Mohandas Pai-promoted 3one4 Capital—is seen as the largest online P2P lender in India. Other names include Lendbox, Rupaiya Exchange and LenDen Club.

There are typically three models through which such lenders operate, says Aditya Kumar, founder and chief executive officer at Qbera.com, an online lender that began operations in February this year and claims to have a Rs 10 crore loan book. “While there are at least 30-40 P2P players, who connect lenders to borrowers, 15-20 do marketplace lending (where money is raised from banks and other financial institutions) and then there are loan aggregators who have been around for longer,” says Kumar.

While Kumar says the total P2P lending market size would be around Rs 25 crore, Rajat Gandhi, founder and CEO at Faircent, puts the figure at Rs 50-70 crore on an annualised basis.

Figures available with Peer2Peer Finance Association (P2PFA) suggest that the global P2P lending market saw cumulative lending of £8.5 billion during the first quarter of 2017, against £5.8 billion three quarters before. In the same period, the number of lenders grew by a fifth from 1.5 lakh to just over 1.8 lakh.

How to boost your retirement income with P2P Lending (India Times), Rated: A

The discourse around P2P lending has always been centered around what it means for borrowers and the advantages they can derive. However, what gets missed is that P2P lending has the potential to be a great source of investment for the lenders contributing to their retirement fund.

P2P lending is an investment delivering multiple benefits when building a retirement plan:

1. Add Lending to your Portfolio Mix: The adage that talks of not putting all your eggs in one basket still holds true. An investor should not limit his portfolio to only a few asset class, but focus on investing across investment opportunities so that market fluctuations do not have a huge negative impact on their retirement funds.

2. Steady and high returns not Linked to Stock Markets: P2P lending adds to building such a diversified investment portfolio while delivering returns that are not merely comparable, but often preferable to returns from other investment instruments such as mutual funds, stocks, and SIPs.

Lenders on Faircent.com are earning gross returns to the tune of 18% to 24% per annum on an average by building a diversified loans portfolio.

3. Income Generation & Power of Compounding: Another reason that P2P investment does well is because investors can compound their earnings. Lenders are earning back part of their investment, both principal and return, every month.

Asia

Get Me My Wedding Present: How We Run a Micro-Lending Business in Cambodia (Cointelegraph), Rated: AAA

MicroMoney co-founder and CEO Anton Dzyatkovsky on attracting new customers, recruitment issues and risks in greenfield countries.

Now that we’ve opened new offices in Myanmar, Thailand and Sri-Lanka, our decision to start with Cambodia can be seen as a definitive step which enabled us to embrace the largest community of unbanked people in the region, bringing the advantages of Blockchain as the key technology for global financial inclusion.

Cambodia is all about banks

For us as Europeans, the first surprise was the population’s absolute trust in local banks.

The US dollar is as used in Cambodia as the local currency is, and the exchange rate has remained stable for over 20 years. State regulators do not exercise particular pressure on the financial industry, and by the time we stepped into the game, 50 organizations had been involved in the consumer loan industry, each with an average capital of $1.5 mln and an ARPU of $5,000.

30-day overdue loans in Cambodia account for only 0.9 percent of the total, so the PAR ratio (portfolio at risk) is quite profitable (according to the local Central Bank).

Our Cambodian lessons

  • A growing share of the middle class due to the growth of GDP. For instance, Cambodian GDP grew six percent in 2016.
  • A market capable of generating cheap leads. We discovered all Cambodians belonging to the target audience have at least one active Facebook account, and for them Facebook often equals Internet in general: every national mobile operator provides free access to Facebook.
  • Dormant or non-existent competition. in Cambodia there were no paperless lending services without an escrow of land or real estate property.
  • Eager audience in need of a product. when we were checking out the market, we found only five percent of the population had a credit record. According to McKinsey, the number of ‘unbanked’ people in Asian region overall ranges from 65 to 80 percent of the adult population.
  • Collaboration at the local level. It helped us understand local customers and comply with local regulations (in this case you must be ready to assign 51 percent of your newly established company to a local partner).

Peer lending for small businesses (The Star), Rated: A

Funding Societies, which started in Singapore in 2015, is one of the first peer-to-peer (P2P) financing companies to open its doors here in Malaysia in February this year. It is also present in Indonesia.

Wong, who learned about alternative financing while studying at Harvard Business School, says P2P is well-suited for the Malaysian and South-East Asian markets where there is a big gap in SME financing. He estimates financing needs for small businesses in Malaysia to be at RM80bil.

According to Research and Markets, the global P2P lending market was valued at US$26bil in 2015 and is projected to reach US$460bil by 2022, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 51.5% from 2016 to 2022.

Funding Societies has made it to the Fintech 250 list, which is recognised and regulated by Securities Commission Malaysia, to provide financing to SMEs. The company also provides flexible investment opportunities with rigorous risk assessment and returns of up to 14% per year for investors, says Wong.

So far, the company has done more than 800 deals and disbursed more than RM180mil in financing to SMEs in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.

Default rate in the region is low at about 2%.

Bank approves online accounts in foreign currencies (Taipei Times), Rated: A

Taiwanese could soon be able to open bank accounts denominated in foreign currencies on the Internet after the central bank on Thursday gave its go-ahead to the plan.

Local banks could seek approval for the new accounts by the end of this year, or 60 days after the introduction of the new regulations, the central bank said in a statement.

Taishin, the banking arm of Taishin Financial Holding Co (台新金控) and the nation’s largest online lender by the number of accounts, told reporters that it aims to be the first applicant when the notification period begins.

Africa

Outsurance buys CoreShares stake as it launches robo-adviser (BusinessDay), Rated: AAA

Outsurance is to acquire a 25% stake in passive investment manager CoreShares, as the insurance company’s robo-adviser, Outvest, goes live.

The acquisition complemented Outvest, an online, automated advice business, the companies said in a statement on Monday.

In SA, financial advisers, to more effectively service their clients, are predominantly using these platforms, although there are platforms available to retail investors.

 

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday May 31st, Daily News Digest

Wednesday May 31st, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: Behind the scenes as Orchard platform struggles, Earnest Prices $175 million Securitization, Peer-to-peer lender Wellesley & Co. pauses origination, RateSetter raises funds as it prepares to list, China Minsheng Investment leads $262m pre-IPO Today’s main analysis : LendingClub Files Presentation in Advance of Annual Shareholders Meeting, Parallels to the High Yield Bond Market, Today’s thought-provoking articles: Blackrock’s Consumer […]

Wednesday May 31st, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

Korea

Australia

India

Singapore

News Summary

United States

Victory Park Capital sells Funding Circle US and Upstart loans, (Peer2Peer), Rated: AAA

The London-listed investment trust said that the loans sold represented 3.65 per cent and 1.48 per cent respectively of the company’s net asset value (NAV) as of 31 March. The firm said it will retain its non-performing Funding Circle US and Upstart loans, which represented 0.68 per cent and 0.21 per cent respectively of NAV as of 31 March 2017.

VPC announced in November 2016 that it was winding down its P2P lending portfolio, after losses triggered substantial writedowns.

Taking into account the loan sales, the company’s balance sheet investments accounted for 63 per cent of the NAV as of 31 March 2017, as compared to 17 per cent for the marketplace loans.

“The company expects to re-invest substantially all of the sale proceeds into balance sheet investments, as well as other strategic uses,” it said in a stock exchange announcement on Friday.

Fintech has peaked, claims Morgan Stanley report, (Alt Fi News), Rated:AAA

In a pessimistic new report, researchers from Morgan Stanley have concluded that while fintech companies style themselves as disruptors they will do more to strengthen than undermine incumbents in the long term.

“Only five disruptors have survived as standalone entities out of over 450 fintech firms launched during the dotcom era,” the report said.

Fintech has been most promising in areas lacking infrastructure and where established players have been weakest. This was particularly true of blockchain and robo-advice.

However, these trends are reversing as major financial institutions have started building their own robo-advisors and acquiring blockchain startups.

“Independent start-ups in the robo-advisor space will struggle to be profitable given the high cost of acquisition and intensifying competition.

“We think however that established financial advisors, banks, insurers, etc. will keep automating parts of their value chain…to improve the infrastructure for established incumbents.”

“Marketplace lenders are poised to grow at a… moderate pace leveraging traditional institutions as primary sources of capital; in essence serving as a more efficient customer acquisition and servicing channel for traditional lenders.

“We remain bullish on the potential for marketplace lenders to take share, as they benefit from regulatory arbitrage and changing consumer behavior.”

Behind the Scenes at Orchard Platform, a Struggle to Innovatete, (NY Times), Rated: AAA

“We’re launching a full marketplace from scratch,” Mr. Burton said a few months later, at Orchard’s Flatiron district office, and we “hope everyone shows up.” But they didn’t.

More than a year after Mr. Burton revealed his big plans, Orchard has completed just a scattering of transactions. Over that time, it burned through more than $5 million in legal fees and other expenses.

Next month, hoping to add momentum, Orchard plans to unveil a scaled-back version of the platform, eight months later than first planned.

But regardless of the company’s fate, its struggles thus far reveal just how hard it can be for a new entrant — even one with successful founders, a promising service and big-name investors — to break into a highly regulated industry.

Seeking financial expertise, Orchard recruited a few Wall Street veterans from Merrill Lynch and Bear Stearns. In late spring of last year, Mr. Burton had more than a dozen roadshow meetings with executives from the largest loan platforms, including Lending Club, Prosper Marketplace and Social Finance.

He hoped to charge them monthly fees of $2,500 to $5,000 to participate. Orchard also offered them the ability to be its “data partners,” so Orchard could standardize their data for trading purposes — which Mr. Burton called “the big heavy lift.”

Orchard also enlisted the help of Meredith Cross, a lawyer at WilmerHale and the former head of corporate finance at the Securities and Exchange Commission, as it met with Wall Street regulators.

But in July, S.E.C. officials told Orchard that they would consider loans being traded as securities, potentially imposing a tougher level of oversight. That made some lenders nervous about participating. Some lenders were also concerned about exposing investors they had cultivated to loans from competitors.

“We do not have a current need for a trading platform,” said Ryan Rosett, a chief executive of Credibly, which offers small-business loans. “Our capital markets team has the ability to sell our loans directly to a pool of institutional investors.”

Orchard was also fighting a separate headwind. The broader market for online loans was being buffeted by higher consumer loan defaults and investor fears. Some online lenders cut staff members, and others shut down as loan growth dried up.

As Orchard X struggled to get going, he said, legal documents for trades had “ballooned to 150 pages from a 20-page contract,” leaving him exasperated. “I’m a tech guy!” he said.

As it moves forward, Orchard has played down the regulatory issue, proceeding without an explicit formal S.E.C. ruling on whether the loans are securities. It is a potentially risky move, but one the company believes will work in part because it has dropped its goal of legal standardization, cutting the need for lending platforms to agree on regulation issues. The S.E.C. declined to comment.

In January, Orchard X arranged its first sale of about $30 million in loans from an ailing platform, a small-business lender called CAN Capital. The auction took a lengthy four weeks to complete. But Orchard X did receive a fee of 0.5 percent of the sale price.

Looking back, Mr. Burton said on April 4, Orchard should not have tried to persuade lenders to join the trading platform all at once. Having raised $30 million in 2015, Orchard plans to announce next month that it has raised an additional $20 million or more and to formally roll out its revised Orchard X transaction platform.

LendingClub Files Presentation in Advance of Annual Shareholders Meeting, (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The file can be found here.

LendingClub (NYSE:LC) has filed a new form with the SEC (DEF 14A) in advance of the annual shareholders meeting which is scheduled to take place on June 6, 2017. The addition to the Annual Meeting Proxy Statement, a standard filing, includes a presentation on the company asking shareholders to support Director nominees, executive compensation and ratification of the auditor.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the filing is the synopsis of the events in 2016 that led to the departure of founding CEO Renaud Laplanche and the ensuing aftershocks that pummeled the online lender.

Law firm-issued collections letters continue to pose high risks, (Pepper Hamilton), Rated: AAA

The CFPB has pursued lawsuits, as well as formal enforcement actions, concerning misrepresentations of attorney involvement in debt collection-related communications.

On April 17, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) filed a lawsuit in Ohio district court against the Weltman, Weinburg & Reis law firm (WWR), alleging violations of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) stemming from the firm’s issuance of debt collection demand letters. The CFPB’s allegations against WWR closely resemble the FDCPA allegations that were considered by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in Jones v. Dufek, 830 F.3d 523 (D.C. Cir. 2016). Dufek also concerned a debt collection letter that was sent by an attorney acting as a debt collector and not as legal counsel. On March 20, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the Dufek plaintiff’s petition for a writ of certiorari to review the Court of Appeals’ decision in favor of the defendant attorney/collector. Notwithstanding Dufek, however, debt collectors and first-party creditors are well-advised to be extremely diligent when using law firms as debt collectors.

In actuality, the CFPB’s complaint alleges that “no attorney had assessed any consumer-specific information . . . [a]nd no attorney had made any individual determination that the consumer owed the debt, that a specific letter should be sent to the consumer, that a consumer should receive a [collections] call, or that the account was a candidate for litigation.” Thus, according to the CFPB, the subject letters contained numerous misrepresentations that violated both the FDCPA and the prohibitions of the Consumer Financial Protection Act against unfair, deceptive or abusive acts or practices.

The specific deficiencies cited in the CFPB’s complaint against WWR include the fact that subject letters were printed on law firm letterhead, which prominently included the phrase “ATTORNEYS AT LAW” (in bold type and in all caps) and included the law firm’s name in the signature line.

In determining whether the Dufek letter violated the FDCPA as a false, deceptive or misleading representation, the Court of Appeals noted, as a threshold matter, that “if an attorney is acting only as a debt collector and has not formed a legal opinion about the case, he or she cannot send a letter [stating or implying] otherwise” without misleading the recipient/debtor..

Misrepresentations regarding attorney involvement in collections letters and other communications continue to be a “hot button” issue with the CFPB. The collections letters targeted in the CFPB’s lawsuit against WWR are distinguishable from the letter at issue in Dufek in that the Dufek letter included a disclaimer regarding the attorney’s review of the underlying account. Yet, the CFPB’s complaint against WWR can be read as implying that the use of attorney letterhead and the inclusion of the law firm’s name in the signature line were per se improper.

Earnest Prices $ 175 million Securitization of Refinanced Student Loans; Achieves AA (High) Rating by DBRS, (Market Wired), Rated: A

SAN FRANCISCO, CA–(Marketwired – May 24, 2017) – Earnest today announced the close of the $175 million Earnest 2017-A transaction backed by refinanced student loans. The offering received an AA (high) rating on the senior notes by DBRS which is now only one notch below the highest attainable rating of AAA. The transaction was three-times oversubscribed and traded at the tight end of market guidance.

Earnest has now completed five securitizations of refinanced student loans since February 2016 for a total value of over $877 million. In 15 months, the company has increased its rating on the senior notes from A to AA (high), a progression that often takes several years. This speaks to the quality of the underlying collateral and the advancement Earnest has made as a programmatic issuer in the capital markets.

“This marks another strong securitization for Earnest, providing us the opportunity to welcome new investors and continue building our capital markets program. We’re thrilled at the appetite and investor confidence in our offerings,” said Louis Beryl, CEO and co-founder of Earnest.

Elastic line of credit surpasses $ 200 million in outstanding loans, (Email), Rated: A

More than $680 million funded and 155,000 customers served since 2013 validates need for expanded access to credit in the U.S.

FORT WORTH, TX – May 31, 2017 – Elevate Credit, Inc. (“Elevate”), a leading tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, today announced the Elastic product has surpassed $200 million in total principal outstandings, with more than 120,000 open accounts.

Elastic, a bank-issued line of credit offered by Republic Bank & Trust Company (“Republic Bank”), has loaned over $680 million dollars to more than 155,000 customers, since its launch in 2013. The $200 million in total principal outstandings includes the 10% of outstandings Republic Bank retains. Elastic passed the $100 million in outstandings mark in May 2016.

About Elevate
Elevate (NYSE: ELVT) has originated $4 billion in non-prime credit to more than 1.6 million consumers to date. Its responsible, tech-enabled online credit solutions provide immediate relief to customers today and help them build a brighter financial future. The company is committed to rewarding borrowers’ good financial behavior with features like interest rates that can go down over time, free financial training and free credit monitoring. Elevate’s suite of groundbreaking credit products includes RISE, Elastic and Sunny. For more information, please visit .

Interest Rates on Connext™ Private Student Loans Decrease as Federal Student Loan Rates are Set to Rise, (Email), Rated: A

ReliaMax®, the complete private student lending solutions provider, today announced that the banks and alternative lenders participating in the Connext® Private Student Loan program will lower the interest rates on those loans. EffectiveJune 1, 2017, the lowest rates for variable- and fixed-interest rate Connext® loans for undergraduate and graduate programs will be reduced to 2.87 percent APR* and 5.40 percent APR*, respectively, and the borrower will not be charged an origination fee.

Federal student loan interest rates on new loans are scheduled to increase on July 1 for the 2017-2018 school year. These interest rates are adjusted each year based on the annual Treasury Department auction plus a set percentage amount added for each type of loan program. According to 

Blackrock’s Consumer ABS ETF and Parallels to the High Yield Bond Market, (PeerIQ Email), Rated: AAA

Shares of Lending Club and OnDeck surged last Monday 3.9% and 9.5% respectively, on reporting from the

MPOWER Financing Secures Add-on Investment from 1776 Ventures, (Email), Rated: A

MPOWER Financing (www.mpowerfinancing.com) announced today that 1776 Ventures (www.1776.vc) has doubled-down its investment in the company with an additional $500,000 investment ahead of MPOWER’s planned Series B for this summer. 1776 Ventures is an investment fund focused on seed-stage investments seeking to transform complex industries. In addition to being seed and Series A round investors, their partners have also served as a mentor and close advisor to MPOWER Financing.
MPOWER Financing is an innovative fintech company and provider of educational loans to high-promise international students who do not fit the traditional credit criteria of banks or lenders.

SoFi and JetBlue Help Customers Managing Student Loans Earn Reward Travel, (PR News Wire), Rated: B

Through the partnership, JetBlue’s TrueBlue members who refinance their student loans with SoFi will now earn 1 TrueBlue® point for every $2 they refinance through the lender, up to 50,000 points. With average monthly savings of $288*, refinancing student loans with SoFi frees up extra money that members can use to pursue travel plans, save and invest for the future, or buy a home.