Wednesday June 20 2018, Daily News Digest

Banks with most closures

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi Money has launched. Lendio Employee Contribution Program funds 2,800 loans through Kiva. Goldman funds Yirendai. Nubank opens 1.5M digital accounts. Today’s main analysis: UK banks are closing branches faster. Today’s thought-provoking articles: How Goldman Sachs is transitioning into a consumer-facing bank. Europe’s IPO market is heating up. SoftBank yanks startups from Renren. The rise of […]

Banks with most closures

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

Brazil

News Summary

United States

Are you ready to ditch your bank? SoFi is betting its future on it (Fast Company) Rated: AAA

At first glance, SoFi’s banking app, which launches in beta today, is no different from the existing options on the market. It comes with a debit card, enables peer-to-peer payments, and accepts mobile check deposits. The interface, like that of many banking apps, is dominated by a blue-and-white color scheme. But in the details, there is a hint of SoFi’s bigger ambitions. SoFi Money, as the product is known, sets the stage for the fintech company to become both a financial hub and lucrative recommendation engine for its 500,000-plus members.

Source: Fast Company

Goldman Will Pay Big Money for Cash — Yes, Even Your Measly Savings (The Street) Rated: AAA

The Wall Street investment bank is trying to transform itself into a broader financial-services company like bigger rivals Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. So a couple years ago, Goldman expanded beyond its traditional clientele — elite corporations, big investors and the super-rich — to provide retail banking through a new website called Marcus. The company now offers both personal loans and savings accounts, with a minimum deposit of just $1. So, ordinary people can apply.

But here’s why you should take a look now: Since New York-based Goldman is trying to build up the business rapidly, it’s offering some of the highest rates on savings deposits in the U.S. – currently 1.7%. That compares with near-zero rates at the biggest retail banks, including Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup Inc. and Wells Fargo & Co.

Lendio Employee Contribution Program Funds 2,800 Loans in 78 Countries Through Kiva (ABC6) Rated: AAA

Lendio announced today that Lendio Gives, its employee contribution and employer matching program, has provided more than $70,000 in microloans to 2,800 underserved entrepreneurs in 78 countries through Kiva. In May, Lendio ranked 6th among Kiva’s Internal Business Groups for total fundings, with over 300 new loans funded.

5 Best and Fast Small-Business Loans (Entrepreneur) Rated: A

Also, find out how much you can actually afford to borrow by calculating your Debt Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR). To figure out your DSCR, you simply divide your net operating income by your total debt service. With some lenders, you can get away with a 1.0 ratio; however, most lenders prefer a DSCR that shows your annual net operating income is higher than your total debt, such as a DSCR of 1.35 and above.

Finastra acquires Malauzai (Payment Journal) Rated: A

Finastra has acquired Malauzai, a provider of mobile and Internet banking solutions for community financial institutions. The deal reflects Finastra’s commitment to the US retail and business banking sectors by further enabling digital transformation for community banks and credit unions across the country.

The acquisition is built on an already successful and proven partnership between Finastra and Malauzai, which saw the latter’s digital solution integrated into Finastra’s Fusion Phoenix core banking system.

Fees Not Hidden, LendingCorp Says In Challenge To FTC Suit (Law 360) Rated: A

LendingClub Corp. asked a California federal judge Monday to toss a Federal Trade Commission suit claiming the online lender falsely promises consumers their loans come with “no hidden fees,” arguing that its origination fee is noted on its website in at least three places.

The San Francisco-based company asserts in its motion to dismiss that an origination fee, deducted when loan funds are initially disbursed, is not hidden, and the FTC knows it.

5 Companies to Watch as Tech Takes Aim at the Finance Industry (PR Newswire) Rated: A

The $8.5 trillion U.S. financial services industry is going through a dramatic transformation, with incumbents fending off upstart fintech companies that promise to disrupt their old ways of doing business.

#1 Paypal (NASDAQ: PYPL)- PayPal processed approximately $49 billion in mobile payment volume in the first quarter, which is up 52 percent from a year earlier. Mobile payments actually account for 37 percent of Paypal’s entire payment volume.

#2 QPAGOS (QPAG)-QPAGOS (QPAG) is upending this dynamic industry, with what some like to call small “super-banks” deposited on street corners, in supermarkets, or an endless number of other convenient locations.

#4 Alibaba (NYSE: BABA)-Alibaba is quickly becoming one of the world’s hottest companies thanks to its innovative approach to technology.

Fintech entrepreneurs show why finance masters are not just for bankers (Financial Times) Rated: A

Some of the world’s most successful companies have been formed by founders quitting university to nurture their start-ups, not least the Harvard dropouts Bill Gates, of Microsoft, and Mark Zuckerberg, of Facebook.

But a small yet significant number of students on masters in finance degrees do the opposite, enrolling to improve their core finance knowledge.

Maximilian Voigt applied for a place on the masters degree in financial economics at Saïd Business School at Oxford university shortly after co-founding Gründermaschine, an incubator for early stage fintech ventures in Frankfurt.

New Credit Card Startup Lands $ 50 Million From PayPal Mafia And Other Investors (Forbes) Rated: A

Brex, a San Francisco company that offers a corporate credit card for startups, has launched its first product and raised $50 million in new investment, bringing its total funding to $57 million. PayPal founders Max Levchin and Peter Thiel contributed to the Series B financing round, in addition to fintech venture capital firm Ribbit Capital, early Facebook investor Yuri Milner and former Visa CEO Carl Pascarella.

The startup has a new model for determining whether companies are creditworthy. Instead of focusing on founders’ personal credit history or a company’s expected profits, it looks at the amount of money a startup has in its bank account, and it sets a credit limit that’s typically 10% of that total.

People are getting loans to pay for their vacations (Market Watch) Rated: A

Affirm charges interest, but presents that total as a flat fee at the beginning of the payment process, which was more comforting than putting the big purchases on a credit card, she said.

The fee varies depending on the customer’s creditworthiness and the time period during which they plan to pay.

Phillips isn’t alone. In recent years, companies have increasingly allowed travelers to book airfare, hotels and amusement-park tickets, with the promise they’ll pay later.

LendingTree Reveals How Your Neighbors Are Utilizing Equity in Their Homes (Lending Tree) Rated: A

Home improvement tops the list of uses for home equity loans. The most common use was home improvement, at 43 percent of home equity loan requests.
Real estate investors borrow the most. Borrowers who were looking to invest in another property had the highest property values and requested loan amounts. For property investments, borrowers requested an average of $103,625.
For non-property investments, which likely include small businesses, borrowers requested $80,241.
Just over 1 percent of requests were to fund retirement. Not surprisingly, this cohort had the highest average age of 63 — 12 years above the next highest average age.
A small share accessed their home equity for emergency expenses. This group had the lowest loan amount requested of $35,747 and kept their LTV low at 51 percent.
Debt consolidators push the limits on LTV. Borrowers looking to consolidate debt had the highest LTV of 74 percent.

Klarna Launches First U.S. Out-of-Home Marketing Campaign (Klarna Email) Rated: B

Klarna is mounting its first out-of-home marketing campaign in the U.S. in three-cities. Elements of the campaign will appear in San Francisco, New York City and Columbus, Ohio, beginning the week of June 18.

White Oak Commercial Finance Adds John Merille as Director of Originations (Markets Insider) Rated: B

White Oak Commercial Finance (“WOCF”) announced today the addition of John Merille as Senior Vice President and Director of Originations.

MoneyLion Appoints Jon Stevenson as New Head of Wealth Management and Banking (Business Wire) Rated: B

MoneyLion Inc., the financial operating system revolutionizing the way Americans save, invest, borrow, and build their credit, announced today that Jon Stevenson has joined the company as the new Head of Wealth Management and Banking.

In this role, Stevenson is responsible for developing simplified, accessible solutions that address the financial challenges faced by millions of Americans every day. He will help MoneyLion Plus members create investment plans that align with their unique circumstances and goals – services traditionally reserved for high-net-worth individuals through their Financial Advisor.

United Kingdom

LendInvest ups proc fees for NACFB registered brokers (Mortgage Strategy) Rated: AAA

Specialist lender LendInvest is upping procurement fees for NACFB registered brokers.

The lender currently offers 1 per cent proc fee as standard for bridging deals but is increasing this to 1.2 per cent exclusively for NACFB registered brokers.

LendInvest currently partners with the NACFB to run property development academies for brokers.

UK banks are increasingly closing branches (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

Here are some key statistics about branch closures:

  • Branch closures are accelerating. In 2016, 630 bank branches and building societies closed. This number increased nearly 40% to 879 in 2017. Meanwhile, 670 branches have already been closed or are due to close by the end of June, suggesting that this number will probably far higher this year.
  • Most branches have closed in Scotland. Not all regions in the UK have seen the same level of closures, and Scotland is currently leading the way with 368 closed branches, followed by the Southeast and Southwest, with 361 and 327, respectively. Northern Ireland, on the other hand, has only seen 44 branches close, so far. The trend toward closing branches probably depends in part on demand from customers, so branches in rural areas or with an older demographic may be more likely to stay open.
Source: Business Insider

The Starling Bank roadmap: What’s next for 2018? (Starling Bank) Rated: A

This means that more Starling customers will now be able to use their smartphone and wearable devices as a fast and secure way to pay almost anywhere that contactless payments are accepted and without ever having to get their card from their wallet.

Plus new customers on Android will be able to add their sparkling new Starling debit card to their Google Pay wallet straight from our app meaning that, like our iOS customers, you can start spending within minutes of opening your account!

Lending Standards Board to extend remit to P2P (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

THE LENDING Standards Board (LSB) has revealed plans to extend its Standards of Lending Practice to the peer-to-peer lending and invoice finance sectors next year.

The voluntary standards came into effect in 2017 for loans, credit cards, overdrafts and charge cards.

UK Fintech Plum Returns to Seedrs: Now Seeking £850,000 in Funding (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Less than a year after securing nearly £925,000 through its first equity crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs, Plum, an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot for personal finance, has returned to the funding portal, seeking an additional £850,000 in funding.

China

Yirendai Obtains Institutional Funding from Goldman Sachs (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

Yirendai Ltd. (NYSE: YRD) (“Yirendai” or the “Company”) announced today that Goldman Sachs, a leading global investment banking firm, has provided the Company with RMB 324 million of funding for a term of 3 years.

Hexindai Reports Unaudited Fourth Quarter and Fiscal Year 2018 Financial Results (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

Fourth Quarter of Fiscal Year 2018 Operational Highlights

  • Total loan volume facilitated (1was US$418.4 million (RMB2.7 billion) during the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2018, an increase of 236.7% from the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2017.
  • Gross billing amount (net of VAT)(2was US$31.8 million during the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2018, an increase of 231.1% from the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2017.
  • Gross billing ratio (net of VAT)(3) for credit loans was 7.6% during the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2018, a decrease from 8.1% during the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2017.
  • Number of borrowers (4) was 33,322 during the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2018, an increase of 285.2% from the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2017.
  • Number of investors (5) was 62,039 during the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2018, an increase of 103.2% from the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2017.

LexinFintech sees installment payments boosting China’s domestic consumption (Shine) Rated: A

Installment payments are helping to power China’s domestic consumption and sales of online lender LexinFintech Holdings Ltd’s installment finance platform Fenqile surged 220 percent during an e-commerce shopping festival.

Fenqile, translated as “Instalment Pleasure” in Chinese, lets consumers buy electronic equipment like mobile phones and consumer accessories such as handbags on credit and repay the loan in installments.

Sales of Shenzhen-based LexinFintech’s Fenqile surged 220 percent during the annual 618 e-commerce shopping festival on Monday, a major mid-year shopping event initiated by e-commerce giant JD.com.

European Union

Europe’s IPO market heats up, and unicorns are getting in line (CNBC) Rated: AAA

So far this year, 27 IPOs totaling $32.5 billion have been launched in Europe, eclipsing the 57 listings worth $8.28 billion last year, according to dealroom.co, an Amsterdam firm that tracks fast-growing companies. The big difference this year is not the number of listings, which has been fairly steady in recent years, but the size of the valuations of the companies. “There is a clear emergence of unicorns after a few years of increasing investment in the venture capital sector,” said Gilles Babinet, a French serial entrepreneur.

Swedish digital payments firm Izettle should have been the next head-turner for investors, but PayPal swooped in with an offer of $2.2 billion — twice the IPO value.

Building the digital investment bank of the future – Interview with Simona Vaitkune, CEO of Fast Invest (EU Startups) Rated: A

Fast Invest is a European P2P lending investment facilitator platform specialising in low-risk, medium-high return investment opportunities. With one successful ICO crowdsale behind and one currently ongoing, the company is now embarking on a blockchain enabled global expansion. Fast Invest is headquartered in London, with offices in Milan and Warsaw, and already employs a team of about 50 people.

We recently had the opportunity to talk with the founder and CEO, Simona Vaitkune, about the Fast Invest story so far and projects ahead.

Online lender Fellow Finance expands to Sweden (Finextra) Rated: A

Fellow Finance launches a new channel for personal financing to Swedish customers and simultaneously an opportunity for its investors to start investing in Swedish consumer loans.

From the launch Fellow Finance will offer its services for individual borrowers and plans to introduce a business loan option for companies in the future.
International

SoftBank Finally Finds A Bargain (Forbes) Rated: AAA

SoftBank continues to make waves by underwriting the valuations of a growing number of turbocharged “unicorns” carrying private values north of $10 billion. It recently bought 15% of Uber at a $48 billion valuation. In partnership with GM, it paid $2.25 billion for a 19.6% stake in Cruise Automation. Masayoshi Son’s conglomerate is also 

20 Best Cryptocurrency Lending & Fiat Loan Blockchain Platforms To Use (Bitcoin Exchange) Rated: A

So cryptocurrency loan platforms solve the liquidity problem that the market has at this moment. But let’s check some of the most popular and known lending coins.

BeeLend-BeeLend is able to connect borrowers and lenders in different countries.

BitBond-In a similar way to BeeLend, Bitbond connects borrowers and lenders on a peer-to-peer basis, allowing users to borrow up to $25,000 dollars.

Bitfinex-This is another platform that works as an exchange but supports fiat and crypto lending.

BlockFiBlocFi, is located in New York and offers users the possibility to borrow money against their BTC and ETH holding in 35 different US states.

Celcius-Born as an ICO that raised over $50 million dollars, it facilitates lending fiat currencies for cryptocurrency holdings as collateral.

Coincheck-The Japanese-based company has been lending cryptocurrencies since a very long time.

India

The rise of P2P lending platforms (Business Line) Rated: AAA

On the other side is 31-year-old Arpit Sabharwal, a Mumbai-based businessman, and lender on P2P platform Faircent. Arpit’s portfolio stands at 4 lakh and returns have been around 17 to 19 per cent. He is now re-allocating some of his mutual fund portfolio to the peer-to-peer lending platform.

But these platforms are not really risk-free. According to officials, the average default rate is in the range of 5-6 per cent.

According to industry insiders, there has been a near 15-20 per cent growth in loan applications and disbursements (across these platforms) on a month-on-month basis in the last one year.

While bigger players such as Faircent are said to be disbursing close to 2 crore a month, others like i2i Funding.com have been disbursing close to 60 lakh to 1 crore on a monthly basis.

Peer-to-peer lending claims its first victims (The Ken) Rated: A

Some of the biggest lenders on peer-to-peer lending marketplaces are staring at defaults from 20% all the way up to 50%. And RBI’s recent regulations are not going to fully fix it

IndiaMoneyMart Launches Loan Help Hotline for Borrowers Trapped in Payday Loan Debt (PR Newswire) Rated: A

Mumbai-headquartered IndiaMoneyMart has launched a Helpline for Loan applicants who are stressed and stuck in payday loan debt trap. Borrowers are welcome to reach out on +91-9082646766 between 11am to 4pm from Monday to Friday.

Latin America

Brazil’s Nubank storms to 1.5m digital account openings (Fintech Futures) Rated: AAA

Brazil-based challenger Nubank has got 1.5 million customers signed up for its digital savings account (“NuConta”) over the last six months.

As reported in October, Nubank started to offer these accounts in addition to its credit card business. The move was designed to provide access to billpay, account-to-account transfers, and the ability to earn more in interest than is available with a regular savings account.

According to the bank, it has transacted around BRL 4 billion ($1 million) in its digital account so far, with over four million credit card customers on its books.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday May 15 2018, Daily News Digest

McKinsey Asia Personal Financial Services Survey Customers and Digital only Banks

News Comments Today’s main news: Prosper loan originations up 27% year-over-year, over $2B co-sponsored securitizations closed. Funding Circle launches new borrower referral incentive. Renren investors seek to block asset sales. PayMate acquires Z2P Technologies. Today’s main analysis: Singapore’s biggest bank vs. China’s tech giants. Today’s thought-provoking articles: 80% of startup money goes to three states. The Sharestates story: $1B […]

McKinsey Asia Personal Financial Services Survey Customers and Digital only Banks

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Other

News Summary

United States

Prosper Loan Originations up 27% Year-over-Year; Over $ 2 Billion of Co-Sponsored Securitizations Closed (Business Wire) Rated: AAA

Prosper today reported financial results for the first quarter of 2018. Loan originations increased 27% year-over-year to $744 million, driven by strong demand for the company’s personal loan product and stable funding.

Financial highlights include:

  • Total Net Revenue, which includes the non-cash impact related to warrants to purchase preferred stock, was flat year-over-year at $30.5 million in Q1 2018 compared to $30.8 million in Q1 2017.
  • Core Revenue(1), which excludes the non-cash impact related to warrants to purchase preferred stock, increased $11.6 million or 34% year-over-year to $45.7 million in Q1 2018 compared to $34.2 million in Q1 2017.
  • Net Loss decreased by $12.6 million to ($11.4) million in Q1 2018 compared to a Net Loss of ($24.0) million in Q1 2017.
  • Adjusted EBITDA(1) increased $13.6 million to $4.5 million in Q1 2018 compared to ($9.0) million in Q1 2017, the fourth consecutive quarter of positive Adjusted EBITDA(1) generated by Prosper.
Key Operating and Financial Metrics (Unaudited)
(in thousands)
Three Months Ended March 31,
2018 2017
Loan Originations $ 744,127 $ 585,590
Transaction Fees, Net 31,354 26,869
Servicing Fees, Net 7,184 6,154
Total Net Revenue 30,450 30,845
Core Revenue (1) 45,729 34,152
Net Loss (11,401 ) (24,021 )
Adjusted EBITDA(1) 4,520 (9,039 )

80% of start-up money goes to three states — here’s what one visionary is doing to help spread the wealth (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

Baird: And the microfinance industry is — $30 billion a year around the world is lent in $500 chunks to small businesses, near a 100% repayment rate.

Microfinance is a tool. All investing is a tool. Every microfinance bank, every bank is neither good nor bad, they’re amoral. It’s just what are people trying to do with it. I’ve seen microfinance banks that act in extractive ways and their primary goal is extract as much profit out of poor communities as possible. I’ve seen payday lenders do the same thing. I’ve also seen microfinance banks that are very good and say, “Our core goal is building wealth for the community and we’ve structured our business in a way that works for us.”

One percent of start-up investment goes to African-Americans. Two percent of start-up investment goes to women. There are a lot of people who are overlooked.  So roughly 80% of start-up investment goes to three states: New York, Massachusetts, California. If you’re in Ohio or Florida or Nairobi or Mumbai, it’s really hard to get your idea into the system.

The Story of Sharestates: From Startup to $ 1 Billion in 3 Years (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

Now, just over a year later, they have announced they recently crossed the $1 billion mark in originations. The company did so in just over 3 years, having officially launched in February 2015, just before LendIt USA that year. They are the second company in the real estate crowdfunding space to do so and are on our list as one of the ten options available for accredited investors in the marketplace lending space.

Originations in the lending space is only one metric. Any lending company’s survival depends on the quality of the loans they are making. According to the Sharestates’ website, investors have earned an average 10.54 percent annualized return. They also report 0% loss of principal for their investors. As of last year when we checked in the company was profitable which sets them up for continued success going forward. We’ve seen very few companies in the marketplace lending space broadly achieve this goal.

BuildDirect Partners With Affirm (Globe Newswire) Rated: A

BuildDirect, the first technology platform for the home improvement industry, today announced its partnership with Affirm Inc., a financial technology company that provides transparent payment alternatives to traditional credit. Now, U.S.-based BuildDirect customers have easy access to flexible and transparent financing options to pay for home improvement and renovation materials over time. At the point of sale, shoppers will see exactly how much they’ll pay in fixed monthly installments over the term they choose.

Banks struggle to combat the cyber crime bad guys (Financial Times) Rated: A

Digital banking has been a big positive for the financial services industry, though it has opened companies to greater cyber risk; cyber criminals now have a lot more entry points when it comes to getting access to funds illicitly; banks have increased their spending on defense but it isn’t enough as they also need to construct better, more secure systems; the CEO of Standard Chartered writes in the FT that banks can better utilize the data they collect, design tech better and work more closely with governments to catch bad actors.

Blockchains Could Be the Answer to Fairer Lending Systems (Nasdaq) Rated: A

The advancement of blockchain technology, this is poised to change. Through the technology, anyone anywhere in the world can raise financing from peers without having to rely on the traditional credit scores and the often heavily bureaucratic conventional mortgage processes.

Blockchain solutions such as Homelend  are making it possible for borrowers to directly reach lenders without depending on any intermediary and with no paperwork. The whole process is safeguarded by smart contracts to ensure that all parties in the deal adhere to their part of the bargain. According to Aneeza Haleem , a senior account manager at Cognizant Technology Solutions, blockchain-powered peer-to-peer mortgage financing significantly reduces the costs involved in the mortgage process.

Will Wells Fargo hurt Zelle by improving on it? (Payments Source) Rated: A

The irony of the explosive growth of mobile P2P is this: As consumers get more comfortable with paying one another through mobile devices, they’re thinking of P2P less as a service that one should find within a bank’s app.

This is a problem for Early Warning’s Zelle, the bank-run P2P network whose main selling point is its integration with banks. It’s a sharp contrast to rivals such as Venmo, which styled itself on a social media app; and Facebook and Apple, which took their own messaging platforms and blended P2P payments into the interface.

Capital One buys digital identity start-up Confyrm (Fintech Futures) Rated: A

Capital One has acquired San Francisco-based digital identity start-up Confyrm as it seeks to capture the market for consumer identity services.

Financial details were not disclosed, but as part of the deal Andrew Nash, founder and CEO of Confyrm, has become managing vice-president of Capital One’s consumer identity services. No word on what happens to the rest of the staff.

Confyrm was founded five years ago and offers help against online fraud.

Where Bank of America uses AI, and where its worries lie (American Banker) Rated: A

Bank of America spends $3 billion developing and buying technology every year, and about three times that on keeping its existing IT infrastructure going, says David Reilly, global banking and markets technology chief information officer.

As you might expect, some of that goes to artificial intelligence technology. The bank does not disclose how much.

An old-school fraud analytics program might see a customer using a card in a place they have never used a card before and block the transaction.

AI can do better.

The one area where banks and fintechs want more regulation (American Banker) Rated: A

Banks, fintech firms and data aggregators are asking regulators to provide more clarity on how to handle consumer data and who is responsible for leaks when it is shared between firms — a request that’s seemingly a reversal from the deregulatory approach the industry often takes.

The potential liability stemming from consumer data has become a critical concern for the financial industry as more data aggregators and fintech firms rapidly enter the space, seeking access to customers’ bank account information in order to offer loans and other products.

Could US Post Offices Become Banks? Here’s How The Plan Would Work (10 News) Rated: A

Now, there are a couple different ways Congress could build banking into the U.S. Postal Service. The first approach would just cover the basics.

That means offering low-dollar checking accounts and debit cards to low-income earners. That would at least offer basic financial services to all Americans, regardless of wealth. And it probably wouldn’t be too tough politically because the big banks typically aren’t interested in these customers.

But Gillibrand’s proposal would go further, allowing the postal service to also make loans of up to $1,000 with a super low interest rate around 2 percent, even to the poorest Americans. Because many of those loans would be at risk of not being paid back, some experts say the interest rate will have to be higher, maybe 25 percent. But that would still be a lot lower than rates from payday lenders, which often have people pay back three or four times what they borrowed.

Citizens Financial To Launch Online Consumer Bank (PYMNTS) Rated: A

Citizens Financial Group announced on Monday (May 14) plans to launch Citizens Access, a nationwide direct-to-consumer online bank.

In a press release, Citizens Financial said the digital platform will offer FDIC-insured deposits products aimed at serving people who want to save and want the flexibility of an online banking service. The company said it will provide digital deposit services at attractive rates and lower costs to help consumers save more for the future. The platform will be launched in the third quarter and will be available throughout the U.S.

 

Now Is the Time to Refinance Student Loans (Pharmacy Times) Rated: B

Refinancing your student loans from pharmacy school can potentially save you a significant amount of money while providing the convenience of making one payment a month. Keep in mind refinancing may not be for everyone. Individuals with a poor credit history, low salary from a pharmacy residency or fellowship, or those who want to keep the provisions in federal loans may want to closely consider their options before jumping right into refinancing their loans.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle launches new borrower referral incentive (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

FUNDING Circle is offering £1,500 in Amazon vouchers to anyone who refers a business that takes out a loan of £25,000 or more with the peer-to-peer lending platform.

The UK’s third-largest lender to small businesses said the borrowers may need the cash to grow, refurbish, buy stock or equipment, hire more staff or simply boost their cash flow.

HMRC updates crypto investors on tax confusion (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

However, a HMRC representative has told Peer2Peer Finance News that the tax office will deal with cryptocurrency related tax bills “on a case-by-case basis”.

The 2017-18 tax year saw huge volatility across the cryptocurrency sector, with Bitcoin reaching a high of £13,840 in mid-December before ending the tax year at approximately £4,750 per coin. This has led to confusion among retail investors regarding their tax liability, particularly if they sold out of the market at a high, then reinvested the profits only to see any gains wiped out.

Frederic Nze of Oakam (Lend Academy) Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • What was the catalyst that led to the founding of Oakam.
  • The loan products that Oakam offers.
  • The difference between small dollar loans in the US and the UK.
  • How Oakam is able to find their customers.
  • What percentage of their customers apply for a loan on a smartphone.
  • Why they still have physical stores where people can apply for loans in person.
  • How they have refined their underwriting models over the years.
  • How they are dealing with increased fraud via their online channels.
  • The interest rates they charge.
  • How their customers are able to reduce these rates for future loans.

Technology not size is key to banking success (Financial Times) Rated: A

Antony Jenkins, former CEO of Barclays and now head of 10x Future Technologies, writes in the FT that technology is key to the battle with banks; having technology that is more nimble and focused on the customer will help to better position challengers; UK challengers banks have found it hard to compete against the big names, even with recent consolidation; understanding what the customer needs most and allowing them to access services anytime and anywhere is what firms should focus on.

Fintech most popular sector for HNW investors (Investment International) Rated: B

Capitama’s current registered investors have a total annual investment capacity of £7.6bn. Of this total capacity, investors have expressed an annual investment capacity of £5bn into private equity opportunities, with £2.3bn total annual investment in Debt and Income opportunities. The interest of the registered investors in Philanthropic and Social Impact opportunities currently stands at £300m per year. This is an additional theme on Capitama given the rise in interest in these organisations from wealthy individuals and organisations.

69% of Capitama investors are interested in fintech investment opportunities and 67% want to see software and technology deals. Of the nine different investment types available on Capitama, Growth funding is the most popular, with 83% of Capitama registered Investors interested in this area, followed by Early stage investments (72%), Buy-outs (63%), and Real Estate (47%).

 

 

China

Renren Investors Seek to Block Asset Sales to Chief, SoftBank (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

A group of Renren Inc. investors are trying to block the private sale of company-owned assets to a consortium that includes its own top executive and major shareholder SoftBank Group Corp.

Renren announced the complex deal in April, which it said was necessary to address concerns that the SEC might deem it an investment company — forcing its delisting if it failed to obtain relevant licenses.

The letter accused management of trying to transfer the assets at values equal to or lower than their book value, neglecting their duty to smaller shareholders and misrepresenting certain financial statements. For example, it says the shares in SoFi — one of America’s biggest student loan refinancers — are being sold at a valuation of $269 million when they could be worth double that amount.

US online lending model is unproven, Eisman of The Big Short fame says in Hong Kong (South China Morning Post) Rated: AAA

Steven Eisman, famous for successfully shorting the US subprime market before the onset of the 2008 financial crisis, has said the online lending business model used in the United States is unsustainable, and that losses from Canadian mortgages could widen.

The one pocket of financial market anomaly in the US was online lending, where, he said, the underwriting of peer-to-peer credit was unproven, as selling a loan to investors such as hedge funds and other financial institutions was an unsustainable business model.

“The problem [with P2P lending] is that selling a loan [online] is not the same as selling a book. You buy a book on Amazon and that’s the end of the transaction. When you make a loan, that’s the beginning of a relationship. The question is how you manage that relationship,” said Eisman.

Soft Chinese Tech IPOs Test Next Wave of Listings (Wall Street Journal) Rated: A

More than a dozen technology companies from China are rushing to go public abroad, in an enticing opportunity for investors but one that has generated poor returns recently.

Shares of most Asian tech companies that have listed in New York and Hong Kong since the start of 2017 have notched lackluster performances, with the bulk trading below their initial public offering prices after strong early gains.

European Union

Bondora Go & Grow – Bondora Rolling Out New Product (P2P Banking) Rated: AAA

Go & Grow is designed for the passive investors as hands off p2p lending. One of the main advantages is that Bondora says it is tax optimised.

The Bondora Go & Grow product features a target interest rate of 6.75% which will accrue daily. It runs completly on autoinvest. The investor just needs to join it and pay money into the Go & Grow account (or transfer it from the normal Bondora account). The Go & Grow account promises daily liquidity. There is a 1 EUR withdrawal fee making small withdrawals expensive but for portfolios of 1000 EUR or more and usual investment horizons this fee is negligible.

Three Year Old Fintech Mintos is Profitable (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Latvian Fintech Mintos is reporting a profit in its brief three year old history. According to the company, the global online marketplace for loans has seen their revenue increase more than four-fold in 2017 to € 2.1 million generating a net profit for the year of € 197,000. Mintos says it has experienced significant growth, making it the “peer-to-peer lending market leader for continental Europe” with a 38% market share.

In aggregate, Mintos has topped € 660 million in investments by investors and the company expects the amount of loans funded to reach EUR 1 billion before the end of this year. As of May 2018, Mintos claims more than 58,000 investors using the platform and this number is expected to surpass 100,000 at some point in 2017. Currently, investors may expect an average 12.1% rate of return.

International

The 30 most valuable VC-backed companies in the world (Pitch Book) Rated: AAA

Ridehailing giants Uber and Didi Chuxing, based in San Francisco and Beijing, respectively, lead the list of most valuable private companies around the globe. And moving down the rankings, the pattern set at the top continues. A total of five of the companies are in the ridehailing industry, and 26 of the 30 are based in either the US or China.

 

Source: Pitch Book

What is Libra Credit: Digital Assets as the Future for International Credit (Coin Central) Rated: AAA

Libra Credit is offering a decentralized lending Ethereum-based ecosystem that helps users get open access to credit anywhere and anytime.

As long as a user has digital assets, they will be able to borrow money from Libra Credit by using those digital assets as collateral. Additionally, these users will be able to build an international credit history – a concept that Libra Credit and its partners plan to push to be recognized globally.

Source: Coin Central

Libra Credit plans to charge a fixed 8% annual interest rate charged by Libra Credit, which is party enabled by its partnerships with traditional finance institutions. The rate is competitive with that of other peer-to-peer lending platforms such as Lending Club and Salt, but isn’t tied to the availability of a peer match.

Source: Coin Central

How Misbehaving Australian Banks Are Causing Global Pain (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

Australia’s four biggest banks — Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac Banking Corp.National Australia Bank Ltd. and Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. — have been plagued by a string of scandals. The accusations run the gamut from giving misleading financial advice to trying to manipulate a benchmark interest rate. Simmering public resentment — stoked by a sense banks were gouging fees to fuel record profits and executive pay — boiled over last year when Commonwealth Bank was sued for systemically breaching anti-money laundering rules.

The government has announced tough new penalties for corporate wrongdoing and beefed up the regulator’s powers; analysts have trimmed earnings forecasts and speculate future legislation could force the biggest banks to sell off advice businesses.  All this comes at a time when bank profits are under pressure from a slowing housing market, rising costs and increased competition. Most of the banks are trying to simplify their operations and sell non-core operations.

Citi Inks $ 100 Million Trade Finance Deal With Asian Development Bank (PYMNTS) Rated: A

Global financial institution Citi is expanding its existing partnership with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to share risk in trade finance transactions, reports in The Financial said Friday (May 11).

The ADB’s Trade Finance Program reached a deal worth $100 million with Citi that sees the financial institutions (FIs) sharing risk on trade finance transactions in an effort to bolster support for trade and access to finance across Asia.

 

Australia/New Zealand

FINNIES 2018: Here are all the finalists for Australia’s fintech industry awards (Business Insider) Rated: A

89 companies and individuals were chosen for Australia’s only industry-backed fintech awards, from a record field of more than 200 entries.

Excellence in Business Lending
● Finstro
● Prospa
● Spotcap Australia
● The Invoice Market – tim
● Trade Ledger

Excellence in Consumer Lending
● HashChing
● MoneyMe
● MoneyPlace
● RateSetter Australia
● SocietyOne

Robot financial adviser granted FMA exemption (Radio New Zealand News) Rated: A

The country has its first robot financial adviser after KiwiWealth was given an exemption by the Financial Markets Authority from the current law which requires humans to give financial and investment advice.

But Mr Bishop said it would still have human advisors offer detailed advice and have control of the robot.

India

PayMate Acquires Digital Lending Platform Z2P Technologies to Benefit SMEs (BW Disrupt) Rated: AAA

PayMate, an early pioneer in India’s payments industry and a leading player in electronic Business-to-Business (B2B) payments space, announced today the acquisition of Z2P (Zaitech Technology Pvt. Ltd.), a digital lending platform which provides hassle-free and real-time credit using social and banking data along with proprietary analytics and AI.

The acquisition is expected to be completed by May 2018 and it follows the announcement in February of this year by PayMate of its B2B partnership agreement with Visa.

As a result of the acquisition, PayMate acquires an innovative and proven lending solution in Z2P, which when combined with PayMate’s proprietary B2B payments platform will revolutionize the way businesses manage their payment operations, cashflow, and access to growth capital. PayMate plans to partner with banks and NBFCs to improve the flow of credit to SMEs.

Canada

Last week, Power Financial CEO Jeff Orr told reporters he plans to invest more money in fintech startups as the company looks to find technologies that can be incorporated into its business model and avoid disruptions that have hurt other sectors.

Widely known on the Street for its empire of financial advisers and investment products, Power Financial has spent $320-million in the fintech sector – with more than half the funds being allocated toward online robo-adviser Wealthsimple.

Asia

Singapore’s Biggest Bank Takes on China Giants in Fintech Battle (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

 

Almost 55% of customers say they would consider branchless digital-only bank

Source Bloomberg

Gupta credits his early recognition of the threat to his early days in Citigroup’s transaction banking division, unusual for a bank CEO, who tend to hail from the retail or investment banking arms of their institutions. That background taught him both the nuts and bolts of banking and the importance of technology, Gupta said. He also dabbled briefly but unsuccessfully in the startup world, when he quit Citigroup in 2001 to found an Internet portal in India, around the time the dotcom bubble was bursting.

Latin America

Morgan Stanley Goes After Brazilian FinTech Market (PYMNTS) Rated: AAA

Bloomberg, citing four people with direct knowledge of the matter, reported that Morgan Stanley purchased $14 million in local subordinated bonds from online consumer lender Geru Tecnologia e Servicos. The Geru bonds, which the company issued in December of 2017, have a four-year maturity and pay about 11.2 percent each year, noted the report.

The company is also reportedly in talks with international investors about raising $50 million via an equity round that QMS Capital is handling. QMS has a 10 percent stake in Geru. General Atlantic could also be an investor in the round of fundraising, noted the report.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday May 14 2018, Daily News Digest

Kabbage KABB 2017-1

News Comments Today’s main news: LendingTree to acquire Ovation Credit Services. Revolut to enter America. Flender delays UK launch. UK challenger banks test location-based P2P payments. Ant Financial raises $10B led by Carlyle Group. Today’s main analysis: KABB 2017-1 deep dive. Today’s thought-provoking articles: How the FTC knew LendingClub was allegedly hiding fees. Elevate’s Q2 earnings estimates. UK customers trust banks, […]

Kabbage KABB 2017-1

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Other

News Summary

United States

LendingTree, Inc. Announces Agreement to Acquire Ovation Credit Services (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

LendingTree, Inc. (NASDAQ:  TREE) announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Ovation Credit Services, Inc., a provider of credit services with a strong customer service reputation. Ovation Credit Services utilizes a proprietary software application that facilitates the credit repair process and is integrated directly with certain credit bureaus while educating consumers on credit improvement via ongoing outreach with Ovation case advisors.

Europe’s New Fintech Unicorn, Revolut, Heads to America (Newsday) Rated: AAA

The London-based fintech start-up allows users to buy and trade cryptocurrencies, making it a direct competitor to the U.S.-based Robinhood. Revolut also sees itself as a disruptor of the traditional banking industry, as it offers checking accounts, peer-to-peer payments, and international money transfers, says Chad West, the company’s chief marketing officer.

FTC Doesn’t Hide Action Over LendingClub’s Allegedly Hidden Fees (Lexology) Rated: AAA

The FTC noted that the site did feature a small green dot (known as a tooltip) with a white question mark inside, which appeared next to the term “APR.” If a consumer clicked on the tooltip, a pop-up bubble appeared with a disclosure that read: “APR stands for Annual Percentage Rate and is a measure of the total cost of credit as an annual rate. The APR is comprised of the annual interest you pay at a rate of 6.99%—which is ultimately paid each month to the investors who enable your loan—and a one-time origination fee of 3.5% ($350.00) that is collected out of your loan proceeds.”

The complaint reminds lenders of the continued importance of accuracy and completeness in advertising and other marketing in order to avoid UDAAP claims, including under Section 5 of the FTC Act.

KABB 2017-1 Deep Dive (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

The battle for transaction fee interchange revenue is heating up. Amazon is now encouraging smaller retailers to use its own payment processing system – Amazon Pay – in lieu of credit cards or PayPal.Amazon is willing to offer the payments at a discounted rate in exchange for growing market share and gain additional data insights from merchants.

FinTech Earnings – LendingClub and OnDeck

The market has responded well to LC’s earnings and the stock price has surged 17% post earnings.

Source: LendingClub

OnDeck’s stock price has enjoyed a 10% rise since earnings.

Source: OnDeck

Deal Deep Dive KABB 2017-1 Additional Notes

Kabbage is issuing $60 Mn in additional notes under the expandable option on its $550 Mn KABB 2017-1 deal. The additional notes classes A to D have balances of $44.4 Mn, $9.5 Mn, $3.2 Mn, and $2.9 Mn respectively. KBRA has rated the tranches A, BBB, BB, and B respectively. Kabbage issued $525 Mn in bonds originally on the KABB 2017-1 deal, and subsequently issued $25 Mn in additional notes.

KABB 2017-1 is passing all its triggers and has a weighted average yield of 42.9% and a 3-month average DQ percentage of 9.7%. The bonds are locked out from receiving principal for 36 months since issuance and the additional cashflow is used to purchase receivables that keep the weighted average receivables yield for the entire pool above 38% and individually yield at least 19%.

Source: PeerIQ, KBRA
Source: PeerIQ, KBRA

Q2 2018 Earnings Estimate for Elevate Credit (NYSE:ELVT) Issued By Jefferies Group (Macon Daily) Rated: AAA

Jefferies Group lifted their Q2 2018 earnings per share estimates for shares of Elevate Credit in a report released on Tuesday, May 1st, according to Zacks Investment Research. Jefferies Group analyst J. Hecht now forecasts that the company will earn $0.19 per share for the quarter, up from their previous estimate of $0.18. Jefferies Group also issued estimates for Elevate Credit’s FY2018 earnings at $0.83 EPS, Q1 2019 earnings at $0.37 EPS and FY2019 earnings at $1.09 EPS.

Source: Macon Daily

Renaud Laplanche: the sailor who revolutionised banking (Money Week) Rated: A

“Soft spoken and unfailingly polite”, as Forbes noted in 2015, Laplanche claimed, with some justification, to be “transforming” the banking industry – bypassing banks to link would-be borrowers with lenders online. He swiftly established his outfit as the market leader, originating some $20bn in loans and winning copious “disruptive innovator” awards. Then came the shipwreck.

He is now focused on “what can I learn from it, what can I do better. Upgrade has been part of that.” Last year, Upgrade raised $60m – “the biggest ever series A funding round for a US fintech start-up”, backed by “many of Lending Club’s original investors”. The market is now more crowded than ever, notes the Lending Times, and “margins have shrunk”. Still, many reckon that if anyone can steer a clear course it’s “the guy credited with creating the industry in the first place”.

 

 

 

PayPal CEO: A Cashless Society Is Possible as Mobile Payments Take Over (The Street) Rated: A

The world is rapidly digitizing. You look at every industry, whether it’s media publishing or entertainment and you are now seeing different value propositions being driven by software and mobile connectivity. Financial services is no different. I think you are going to see more changes in the financial services industry in the next five or 10 years than maybe we have seen in the last 25 or 30 years.

The world is rapidly digitizing. People are writing many less checks than they ever have before. Peer to peer lending, which once involved giving cash to a friend to split a bill at a restaurant, that’s now happening digitally.

The Most Well-Funded Tech Startup In Every US State (CB Insights), Rated: A

In our latest map of the most well-funded American tech startup in each state, some companies with the deepest pockets were found in Florida (Magic Leap, $1.89B), Virginia (OneWeb, $2.2B), Utah (Domo, $698M), and Illinois (Avant, $655M).

Source: CB Insights

Congress Votes to Erase Auto Loan Anti-Discrimination Rule (LendEDU) Rated: A

Under the authority granted by the Congressional Review Act, the House of Representatives passed a measure on May 8 to roll back an Obama-era rule on auto lending practices issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). It should be noted that the rollback pertains to a set of administrative guidelines issued by the CFPB, not a law ratified by Congress.

The House vote was 234-175, reversing a 2013 rule established by the CFPB to stop auto lenders from charging higher fees to borrowers based on their religion, sex, race, or age. The vote follows a Senate vote in April to also repeal this measure. It will now go to President Donald Trump’s desk for his approval.

Virginia Attorney General Files Suit Against Online Lender Alleging Predatory Lending (JD Supra) Rated: B

The complaint alleges that the lender, one of the largest online lenders in Virginia, operated without a Virginia license, and misled borrowers about its licensure status in another state in order to avoid Virginia’s 12% interest rate usury cap.  Virginia Code § 6.2-303.  Specifically, the complaint alleges that the installment loan agreements’ Utah choice-of-law provisions are void, and that Virginia law, including Virginia’s usury cap, applies to the loans.  The VA Attorney General also alleges that the lender attempted to collect on loans from borrowers who were in bankruptcy and entitled to protection from debt collection.

United Kingdom

Ireland’s Flender pushes back UK launch (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

IRISH peer-to-peer lending platform Flender has pushed back its UK launch to focus on becoming the “dominant platform” in its home country first.

UK banks are trying out location-based P2P payments (Tearsheet) Rated: AAA

On Friday, Revolut introduced a feature called “Near Me” which lets its customers find other Revolut customers using the same feature and send them money without knowing their contact details. On Monday, Monzo rolled out a capability called “Nearby Friends.”

The use cases for location-based peer-to-peer payments among consumers may not be compelling enough for providers to consider it, said Paygility Advisors partner Deborah Baxley.

Q&A With Simon Taylor, 11:FS Co-Founder (Forbes) Rated: A

However, last month’s announcement that London FinTech Revolut is now a so-called unicorn with a $1.7 billion valuation and TransferWise working with the Bank of England and launching a ‘borderless’ card that drastically slashes transaction costs, the future for the city may be companies such as these.

Another fellow London FinTech 11:FS is also making waves offering a range of FinTech services, not least being able to ‘make a challenger bank in 12 weeks’. Here company Co-Founder Simon Taylor speaks exclusively to Forbes about what these moves and also on Swedish company iZettle’s recent IPO announcement.

 

 

A new study shows UK customers trust banks but don’t engage with them (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

UK banks were trusted by 40% of consumers in 2017, up from 29% in 2015, according to a study from Accenture. This makes banks only 3% less trusted than retailers, and ahead of insurers, independent advisers, and tech companies.

Source: Business Insider

Additionally, customer satisfaction was up 5% from 65% in 2015 to 70% in 2017, suggesting banks have been doing something right in terms of customer experience in the recent years. This also brings banks ahead of life insurers and pension providers, as well as on the same level as motor insurers and home insurers, when it comes to customer satisfaction.

 

P2P lenders benefit as BoE keeps interest rates low (AltFi News) Rated: A

The Bank of England’s decision to keep the interest rates at 0.5 per cent should at least make peer-to-peer lenders smile. People are tempted to look for alternative and riskier ways to increase the value of their savings, as inflation continues to hover above BoE’s target of two per cent and traditional savings accounts offer barely any interest at all.

Mike Allan, the director of operations at LendingCrowd, said that the historically lax monetary policy created an opening for P2P lending to take off.

Why commercial property could be the new buy-to-let and how to invest for better returns (This is Money) Rated: A

Over the past five or six years, investing in property through peer-to-peer and crowdfunding platforms has grown enormously in popularity. There are now lots of platforms to choose from and each offers a slightly different proposition.

Both peer-to-peer and crowdfunding platforms have different approaches, in that some allow you to put money in and spread it across a number of properties, or a portfolio run by them.

 

 

China

Jack Ma’s Ant Snags Carlyle for $ 10 Billion Funding, Sources Say (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

Ant Financial, the Chinese payments giant controlled by Jack Ma, is expected to close a fundraising of at least $10 billion in the next few days, attracting Carlyle Group and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board as first-time investors, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Hangzhou-based company is said to be valued at about $150 billion in this round, the people said, requesting not to be named because the matter is private. The funding will be mostly used for overseas expansion, the people said.

PBOC Bans Unauthorized APP to Access Credit Rating System (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

Recently, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), China’s central bank, issued a document named, “Notice on Further Strengthening the Management of Credit Information Security” (Yinfa [2018] No. 102) (hereinafter referred to as “Document No. 102”), to further strengthen the management and security of credit information database. According to Document No. 102, credit reporting agencies and access agencies are strictly forbidden to query credit report without authorization, and unauthorized APP accessing to credit reporting systems is strictly prohibited. In addition, it is required to establish a leading group for credit information security work and make clear that the person in charge of the credit management work shall take the primary responsibility for related issue.

China’s online lenders reel from government clampdown (Nikkei Asian Review) Rated: A

Of 66 peer-to-peer lending platforms surveyed by FTCR, 10 said they might close because of difficulties in meeting new compliance standards and in controlling an increase in bad loans. Among the platforms, which match lenders with borrowers online, more than 40% of those in second- and third-tier cities said business had fallen in the first quarter compared with the end of last year.

P2P lending in China had grown rapidly, extending 2.8 trillion yuan ($443.3 billion) in 2017, equivalent to 20.7% of the amount lent by banks.

Antisocial networking (Breaking Views) Rated: A

A Chinese social network is finding new ways to lose friends. Renren has irked investors over plans to sell some of its assets, notably a stake in U.S. online lender SoFi, to a firm partly controlled by its chief executive.

Renren has been irritating shareholders for years. Since its initial public offering in New York in 2011 valuing it at close to $6 billion, the company has failed to live up to the hype of being China’s answer to Facebook. It is now worth just $600 million.

This latest episode also isn’t the first time boss Joe Chen has been accused of trying to enrich himself at the expense of shareholders. A non-binding 2015 bid to take Renren private for $1.4 billion never came to fruition, and the SoFi stake was a topic of dispute then, too.

European Union

Banco BNI Europa invests €15m in auto financing start-up Lendrock (Fintech Futures) Rated: AAA

Portuguese Banco BNI Europa will invest up to €15 million in Spain-based Lendrock’s online financing platform that specialises in near prime consumer auto financing.

The bank says the Iberian partnership begins with the acquisition of part of the existing loan portfolio, offering exposure to Lendrock’s loans and setting the stage for the acquisition of monthly origination volumes.

iZettle: From Swedish Fintech Success To Europe’s Biggest Fintech IPO (Forbes) Rated: AAA

Swedish fintech iZettle announced last week that they intend on selling shares and launching an IPO in order to raise SKr2bn by listing on Nasdaq Stockholm. With plans to increase revenue by 40 per cent a year, iZettle aims to also break even by 2020.

With JPMorgan and Carnegie on their side as joint global co-ordinators, iZettle would like to walk away with at least SKr10bn ($1.1 billion) by the end of this month or June.

 

International

The Top 100 Venture Capitalists (CB Insights), Rated: A

For the third year in a row, CB Insights partnered with The New York Times to provide an algorithmically-driven view into the question of who are the top VCs. Not swayed by narrative or a storied history in venture capital, the NYT-CBI rankings provide a current view into the best venture capitalists in the world at an individual and firm level.

Some of the top movers in 2018 include:

  • Steve Anderson of Baseline Ventures who moved from 10th place to 2nd due in part to a consistent knack for investing early in winners.  His stellar track record saw another success in recently public ecommerce company Stitch Fix.
  • And Rob Hayes of First Round Capital saw the most significant jump going from 85th to 7th for leading investments in Uberand Square.

First-time appearances on the ranking include Shawn Carolan of Menlo Ventures (investor in Roku), Meyer Malka of Ribbit Capital (investor in Credit Karma), and Albert Wenger of Union Square Ventures (investor in MongoDB).

Tech firms will be regulated like banks in future (The Finanser) Rated: A

First, we have become addicted to technology. We live our lives staring at our devices rather than talking to each other or watching where we are going.

Second is privacy. Facebook and other internet giants are abusing our privacy rights in order to generate ad revenues, as demonstrated by Cambridge Analytica, but they’re not the only one.

Third is that the power of these firms is too much. When six firms – Google (Alphabet), Amazon, Facebook, Tencent, Alibaba and Baidu – have almost all the information on all the citizens of the world held digitally, it creates a backlash and a fear.

 

Bitbond’s Loan Transfers Using Bitcoin Are Becoming More Popular (BTC Manager) Rated: A

Global peer to peer marketplace for small loans, Bitbond, allows clients the option to transfer their loans by using bitcoin. The bitcoin startup has seen its popularity grow, with the startup managing around $1 million in loans per month for 100 clients.

The revelation was made in an interview by Reuters TV with Bitbond’s German founder Radoslav Albrecht. He said the rationale behind the move is that it will help reduce the foreign exchange cost for clients.

The Benzinga Global Fintech Award Finalists For The Best Under-Banked Or Emerging Market Solution (Benzinga) Rated: B

The finalists for the Best Under-banked or Emerging Market Solution category are:

Airfox
Braviant Holdings
CreditStacks
Elevate Credit
Experian MicroAnalytics
Finn.ai
Humaniq
ID Finance
LenddoEFL
MoneyLion
Oakam
Self Lender, Inc.
Teller

Australia/New Zealand

Three disruptive forces driving Aussie neobanks like volt, as fintech startups get serious (Australian Financial Review) Rated: AAA

In a significant milestone for the local fintech scene, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority said last week volt bank would become the first recipient of a “restricted license” under its new regime, created after the federal government indicated it wants to see more competition in banking.

Here come the robots: First digital financial advice gets green light (NZ Herald) Rated: A

Already under pressure from reputational challenges, New Zealand’s human financial advisor workforce will now have to go head to head with computer-generated advice.

KiwiSaver provider Kiwi Wealth has today received the green light to be the first to offer personalised digital financial advice and will launch the service to its KiwiSaver members next month.

Kiwi Wealth, which is owned by the Government, ACC and the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, and is a sister company to Kiwibank, is the first to gain an exemption from the Financial Markets Authority.

India

Deifying big data (Business Line) Rated: A

The fusion of big data with artificial intelligence is creating this beast called ‘data capitalism’

The world is shifting from finance to data-capitalism. The man with data is the king. Data-rich markets will destroy the existing order, money will no longer be in its pre-eminent position, labour markets will be uprooted and millions of jobs endangered, firms thrown out of business, and so on.

From solving habitual tasks to affordable interior designs – your startup fix to start the week (Your Story) Rated: A

The rules of investment have changed over the years, and peer-to-peer lending is being viewed as an investment avenue that is expected to give returns to the tune of 18-22 percent, according to industry estimates. Bengaluru-based Finzy is trying to tap on to just that. Amit More’s background in finance had him excited about the credit opportunity in India. He teamed up with Abhinanadan Sangam, and the duo chose to set shop in the ripe Indian digital lending market. Finzy was incorporated in October 2016 with Bridge FinTech Solutions Pvt Ltd as the parent company.

Asia

Keeping Loan Sharks Away From Indonesia’s Fintech Archipelago (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

Indonesia is planning to tighten regulation of its vibrant financial technology sector, imposing new rules on companies which it hopes will stand at the forefront of efforts to extend services to more of the country’s 260 million people.

Peer-to-peer lending jumped 38 percent in the first two months of 2018 from a year earlier, hitting 3.5 trillion rupiah, and OJK director Eko Ariantoro said in March that regulators “don’t want these developing fintechs to become loan shark-like businesses.”

Asia news roundup: Didi responds to passenger killing, Flipkart founder exits, and more (Tech In Asia) Rated: B

Julo raises US$5 million in series A (Indonesia). The peer-to-peer lending startup received the funding in a round led by Skystar Capital and East Ventures. Participating investors included Convergence Ventures, Provident Capital, and Central Capital Ventura, among others.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday January 12 2018, Daily News Digest

bitcoin debt

News Comments Today’s main news: More LendingClub-IEG drama.Black Fish raises $145M.Moneygram partners with Ripple.Kreditech expands into India with Mambu. Today’s main analysis: JP Morgan Chase’s investments into digital technology.Is Yirendai undervalued? Today’s thought-provoking articles: Investors go into debt to buy bitcoin.Small business financing trends.How open banking could change how people manage money.Banks, trade finance, and […]

bitcoin debt

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

APAC

Africa

News Summary

United States

Lending Club has a bitcoin pivoting suitor (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Lending Club has all kinds of problems: a history of profit warnings, faint traces of scandal after a management upheaval almost two years ago, and a share price still more than 80 per cent adrift from its peak.

Add to that list: a bizarre, crypto-fuelled activist campaign waged by a Las Vegas-based payday lender called Paul Mathieson, who told authorities in his native Australia that he fled to America in 2008 because he feared being killed by a mobster.

Mathieson’s case for change at Lending Club, laid out in a letter to the company’s board on 2 January, is not a terrible one, on the face of it. He argues that the cost structure at the loss-making company, a pioneer in peer-to-peer lending, is “excessive,” noting fancy headquarters in San Francisco and “hundreds” of “excess” developers. He says that the board should consider a pivot to using its own balance sheet to lend, rather than acting as a broker, taking fees for matching borrowers with lenders. Underwriting has been sloppy, he says, resulting in sub-par returns to investors.

Mathieson is offering 13 shares in his own penny-stock company, IEG Holdings, for every share in Lending Club. At the time of the offer on Monday morning, that was a premium of 19 cents, or about 5 per cent.

Source: Financial Times

SeeThruEquity Issues Update on IEG Holdings Corporation (Bay Street), Rated: A

IEG Holdings Corporation (OTCQB: IEGH) provides online unsecured consumer loans under the brand name “Mr. Amazing Loans” via its website, www.mramazingloans.com, in 20 US states. The company offers $5,000 and $10,000 personal loans over a five-year term at rates ranging from 19.9% to 29.9% APR. IEG Holdings plans future expansion to a total of 25 US states, which would cover 240mn people and represent approximately 75% of the US population.

Since 2013, IEGH has obtained additional state lending licenses, and they are licensed and originating direct consumer loans in 20 states including: Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin. The Company was founded in 2010 and is headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada.

IEG Holdings Plans to Create its own IEGH Crypto/Blockchain Currency Backed by Gold Metal and SEC Registration as a Security

IEGH announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Investment Evolution Crypto, LLC (“Crypto”), is negotiating to purchase a gold project with gold metal in the ground and prospecting licenses. IEG Holdings plans to utilize a gold resource to investigate creating, through Crypto, and a joint venture with Investment Evolution Corporation, also a wholly owned subsidiary of IEG Holdings, its own gold metal-backed crypto/blockchain currency, and potentially offer loans and accept loan repayments in its own crypto/blockchain currency.

IEGH increases loan originations

The company stated that it provided $960,000 in new consumer loans through its online property mramazingloans.com, from the October 2017 to December 2017 period. This represented a 12.3% increase over its July to September 2017 operating period, during which the company’s new loan originations were $855,000.

Desperate to get into bitcoin, investors slip into debt (CNBC), Rated: AAA

Roughly 18 percent of people who buy bitcoin use a credit card to do so, according to a new survey by loan marketplace LendEDU. Of those, 20 percent have not paid off their balance. The phrase “buy bitcoin with credit” has been trending on Google for weeks.

Another problem with going into debt for cryptocurrencies is that people will have to pay back their debt before they see sufficient returns, said Erika Safran, founder of Safran Wealth Advisors. That may require tapping other resources, potentially creating further financial trouble.

Credit card debt from CNBC.

Small Business Financing Trends To Stay Abreast Of (CXO Today), Rated: AAA

  • Traditional bank loan rejections are notoriously high in all markets
  • Small Business Administration (and equivalent agencies) are nefarious for overextending the time-to-credit tolerances of small businesses
  • Volatility of markets, and exposure of almost all markets to disruption by startups could pose urgent cash needs for businesses, which are generally not considered for loan applications by traditional lenders.

Online Lending And Its Deepening Hold Over The Small Business Finance Market

In 2014, a Federal Reserve (US) survey concluded that one in five small business owners opted for loans from online lenders. Since then, the proliferation of online lending platforms has been on the surge, to the extent that traditional brick and mortar lending institutions have also had to move base to the online domain. In the coming years, multiple factors will result in the success and sustainability of online lending platforms. These include:

  • Growing confidence among small business owners to trust online lending platforms
  • Availability of cheaper, quicker, and more convenient loans
  • Options to truly personalize and customize the loan repayment terms to suit the business’ interests

The Call for Transparency in the Online Lending Market

Though the online lending market has been growing year on year, this doesn’t detract from the concerns around lack of transparency in the way some of these platforms operate. Some of the key concerns are around undisclosed APRs and hidden fees. In fact, some online lenders have been castigated for charging significantly high rates of interests from borrowers, often with service quality issues post-approval. Thankfully, there’s already some progress towards bringing a degree of regulation in place for online lending platforms to be at par with traditional lending regulations.

JPMorgan Chase Competitive Strategy Teardown: How The Bank Stacks Up On Fintech & Innovation (CB Insights), Rated: AAA

JPMorgan is making a bigger push into payments technology as digital banking becomes a strategic priority.

In 2016, the bank spent $9.5B on technology and Dimon has committed $300M alone to improve JPMorgan’s technology for its asset management products. Relative to its peer group, JPM claims the highest number of mobile banking customers and its Chase Mobile app currently sports a 4.7 (out of 5) rating in the App Store.

Earnings call analysis – Barclays, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley talking up digitization

  • JPM discussed continued digital consumer banking growth, which grew 6% in Q3’17.
  • Bank of America spent portions of its Q1’17 and Q3’17 talking about digital banking initiatives and technology investment. Specifically, CEO Brian Moynihan mentioned the bank spent $2.25B on technology initiatives in the first three quarters of 2017. The bank also now sees mobile devices account for 1 of every 5 deposit transactions.
  • On Morgan Stanley’s Q3’17 earnings call, Morgan Stanley CFO Jonathan Pruzan mentioned the bank is beta testing new customer-facing digital products it plans to launch, potentially in the robo-advisory space. Specifically, Pruzan noted: “When we think about our wealth business, it’s a business that’s built on scale. And it’s built on the fact that people with wealth want personal advice. So it’s going to be both a mix of technology and digital with the personal element of the advice channel. And we think that’s the winning formula going forward.”

Based on the data, JPMorgan ranks ahead of most bulge bracket banks when it comes to overall fintech investment since 2013, but behind its peers Goldman Sachs and Citi.

Online Marketplace Lender Nav Facilitated More Than 20,000 Small Business credit Approvals in 2017 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Nav, a small business marketplace lending platform, announced this week it has facilitated more than 20,000 small business credit approvals in 2017.

The company currently has more than 327,000 entrepreneurs now using its platform to manage their data and access capital.

Bono’s Fund Makes Its First Fintech Investment, Backing Acorns (Bloomberg), Rated: A

The Rise Fund, a private investment firm co-founded by the U2 lead singer, is making its first known bet on a fintech business by backing Acorns Grow Inc., said people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the details are private.

Georgia Company Acquires S.D. Fintech Startup LoanHero (San Diego Business Journal), Rated: A

LoanHero, one of San Diego’s few financial technology startups, has been acquired by Georgia-based company LendingPoint.

Terms of the deal, announced Jan. 11, were not disclosed.

Small-dollar lender Oportun to open 20 offices in Florida (American Banker), Rated: A

Oportun, a community development financial institution that provides small loans to individuals with little or no credit history, is planning to open 20 lending offices in Florida.

The Redwood City, Calif.-based lender said this week that it has already opened four offices in Miami and Hialeah and that it expects to add 16 more in the Sunshine State, primarily in South Florida, by the end of the year.

6 Key Trends in Fintech to Watch in 2018 (Lend Academy), Rated: A

  1. Convergence of Software and Financial Products  One of the important lessons that Square taught the market is that bundles of software solutions (loyalty, POS, analytics, scheduling and many others) and lending are essential drivers in advancing growth of payment processing.
  2. InsureTech
  3. The Power of the Machines  Companies like LendingClub are using machines to discover new relationships and patterns to introduce more tailored financial offers to their customers.
  4. Emerging Economies  Many growing companies in Africa, Asia, and Latin America are developing and adopting financial solutions, often faster and with more innovation than in developed economies.
  5. Wealth Management
  6. Rise of Crypto and Blockchain

Google Pay brings payment tools under a single brand (Tearsheet), Rated: A

The Internet giant is finally putting its many payments capabilities — Google Wallet, Android Pay and Pay with Google — under a single name, Google Pay, after lagging for years behind Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.

Ladder Secures $ 30M Series B Led by RRE Ventures (coverager), Rated: A

CA-based life insurance MGA Ladder announced it has raised $30M in a Series B round led by RRE Ventures, with participation from Thomvest Ventures, as well as Ladder’s existing investors: Canaan Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Nyca Partners . Ladder launched its fully-digital life insurance solution in California on January 10, 2017, and has since expanded to nearly every state across the country.

Fifth Third regains top CRA grade, an entree to M&A (American Banker), Rated: A

Fifth Third Bancorp has received top marks from the Federal Reserve on its most recent Community Reinvestment Act examination as expected.

Fifth Third announced the results on Wednesday, saying in a press release that the Fed gave it an “outstanding” rating on its most recent exam. The Cincinnati company had said in a regulatory filing last month that it expected to ace the test, which covered the period between Jan. 1, 2014, and June 30, 2016.

A Beginner’s Guide to Applying for College Loans (Student Loan Hero), Rated: A

Student loan debt statistics show that more than 70 percent of students graduating from four-year colleges have debt, so you aren’t alone if you need to borrow to cover educational costs.

Step 1: Understand your options

  • Federal loans for students
  • Federal loans for parents
  • Private loans for students
  • Private loans for parents
Source: Federal Student Aid

Step 7: Determine if you’ll need to apply for private loans

  • Family contributions if parents or other family members are willing and able to pay
  • Savings
  • Scholarships or grants from community groups or other sources
  • Parent PLUS Loans
  • Private student loans

Step 8: Learn how to apply for private student loans

Because there are many private student loan lenders, it’s a good idea to shop around. You should consider:

  • Loan eligibility requirements: What do you need to qualify?
  • Loan terms: How long do you have to repay the loan?
  • Repayment terms: When do you need to start repaying, and is there a prepayment penalty?
  • Fees: Is there a cost to apply for the loan or a loan origination fee?
  • Interest rates: Is the rate fixed or variable? How much will you pay to borrow?

You can visit our private student loan marketplace to find private student loan lenders offering loans to parents and students.

Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!

LENDER RATES (APR) ELIGIBLE DEGREES
CHECK OUT THE TESTIMONIALS AND OUR IN-DEPTH REVIEWS!
2.58% – 7.25% Undergrad
& Graduate
VISIT SOFI
2.57% – 6.39% Undergrad
& Graduate
VISIT EARNEST
2.76% – 7.25% Undergrad
& Graduate
VISIT COMMONBOND
2.99% – 5.15% Undergrad
& Graduate
VISIT LAUREL ROAD
2.74% – 7.26% Undergrad
& Graduate
VISIT LENDKEY
3.11% – 8.46% Undergrad
& Graduate

 

 

Roostify adds tech veteran Adnan Habib as vice president of engineering (Housingwire), Rated: B

Roostify announced Thursday that it hired Adnan Habib as the company’s new vice president of engineering.

In this role, Habib will lead Roostify’s growing product delivery team and will be responsible for making improvements to the Roostify’s digital lending platform.

Roofstock Appoints Suresh Srinivasan as Chief Marketing Officer (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Roofstock (www.roofstock.com), the leading online marketplace for buying and selling leased single-family rental homes, today announced the strategic hire of Suresh Srinivasan as chief marketing officer. Srinivasan has 20 years’ experience leading marketing, product, and e-commerce functions at Fortune 500 and high-growth tech startups. Most recently serving as the SVP of Marketing for Xome, Srinivasan brings a deep understanding of the fast-growing real estate technology sector to Roofstock where he will be responsible for accelerating growth of Roofstock’s marketplace for single-family rental homes and developing the company’s partnership network.

United Kingdom

An invisible banking reform that ‘could fundamentally change how we manage our money’ is days away (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Regulators in Europe and the UK are ordering banks and credit card companies to share customer data with other companies if their customers agree. The companies will also be able to carry out payments on a customers’ behalf.

Open Banking forces lenders to offer a digital “fire hose” of data that any third party can use to get standardised access — provided the startup is registered with the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the customer agrees to share their data. They won’t have to negotiate deals with banks, just plug into their digital systems and go.

The aim of Opening Banking is to give customers greater control over their data and to encourage account switching.

An investigation by the UK Competition and Markets Authority in 2015 found just 3% of customers switched their banks in the last year, meaning many were left with accounts that were not right for them.

 

ThinCats Says 2018 is Poised for Growth in SME Lending (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

ThinCats says 2018 is poised for growth. The online lender reports that December was a record month booking £12 million of funding listed on the platform followed the biggest-ever ThinCats-listed loan of £6.7 million to the Chelsea Yacht & Boat Company at the end of September.

Loan Store Reveals to Reduce Interest Rates on Instant Cash Loans for the UK People (MENAFN), Rated: A

Loan Store is the responsible lending hub that reveals to reduce the interest rates on instant cash loans for the UK people.

Hennery Dicosta, a senior adviser of Loan Store, has offered the complete details about this announcement. This is what he said- In a recent scenario, people usually try to borrow a small loan amount. That is why we have decided to provide the loans for bad credit people with no guarantor and no fees on an instant decision to resolve their short term emergencies. We never charge any processing fee and we are now providing these loans on quite low rates of interest. Besides, we do not judge the creditworthiness of the borrowers with their credit rating and give an instant decision on their loan request.

Crowdstacker joins the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2P Finance News), Rated: B

CROWDSTACKER has joined the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2PFA), becoming the self-regulated trade body’s eighth member.

The business lending P2P platform will be represented by chief executive Karteek Patel.

China

3 Growth Stocks at Deep-Value Prices (The Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

With that in mind, we asked three Motley Fool investors to each profile a company that has a low valuation now compared to its earnings-growth potential. They identified Yirendai (NYSE:YRD)Criteo S.A.(NASDAQ:CRTO), and Changyou.com (NASDAQ:CYOU) as strong contenders trading at attractive discounts.

China’s first P2P online lending platform

The Chinese P2P lending market blossomed in the late 2000s, catering to  customers who were underserved by traditional banks, and is worth about $60 billion today.

Analysts expect Yirendai’s revenue and earnings to rise 74% and 14% respectively this year, followed by 43% revenue growth and 41% earnings growth next year. Yet the stock trades at just 14 times earnings, compared to an industry average of 26 for credit service providers. Based on those numbers, Yirendai looks likely an undervalued growth stock.

But there are some obvious reasons why investors are discounting it.

First, Yirendai is a subprime lender. Just 1.7% of its loans were rated as prime “Grade A” last quarter. Another 8.7% were Grade B, and 14.1% were Grade C — but 75.5% were rated Grade D. Yirendai collects higher fees from lower rated borrowers, but its business could collapse if its delinquency rates rise.

The company only discloses delinquency rates for loans past due by 15 to 89 days, and that rate came in at a low 1.8% last quarter. But it doesn’t report any data on loans delinquent for over 90 days.

Chinese finance platform Black Fish raises $ 145m from Gobi, Lightspeed, others (Deal Street Asia), Rated: AAA

Black Fish, a consumer finance platform based in China’s Nanjing region, has received $145 million in a series A round from a cluster of firms  including Lightspeed China Partners and Shanghai and Kuala Lumpur based Gobi Partners.

Others who participated in the round include Morningside Venture Capital, JAFCO Asia, Fullcent Capital and Zhang Tao, founder of Dianping.com.

At this point, the average annual growth rate of consumer finance is 16.4 percent.

China’s Renren Is Poised To Unlock Value From Its Investment Portfolio And Grow With Blockchain (Seeking Alpha), Rated: A

Renren holds a significant investment portfolio that is easily worth $12 per share.  This value will likely be realized in the near term due to multiple catalysts.

The company has started to get involved with blockchain-related businesses, which potentially turns them into a “blockchain play”.

This situation leads to an asymmetrical payoff structure in which there is very little downside and significant upside. My target price is $18.

Renren was an early VC investor in Sofi, taking part in its seed round of financing as well as a later follow-on round. They currently hold a 13% stake in SoFi, having sold 14.1% of their holdings (representing 2% of SoFi) in April 2017 for $92 million.

Source: Seeking Alpha

Dianrong Signs Strategic Agreement with Dalian Finance Development Bureau & Dalian Finance Industry Investment Group (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Dianrong and the Dalian Finance Development Bureau and Dalian Finance Industry Investment Group (DFIIG) recently signed a strategic cooperation agreement to drive financial innovation in Dalian and across China. According to the agreement, Dianrong will develop a series of specific projects in partnership with the Dalian government, including:

  • Assist the Dalian Finance Development Bureau in creating a financial technology (fintech) cloud platform to provide fintech capabilities for small loan and guarantee companies, and other small and medium-sized financial institutions in the region and at large. Tools and services will include sophisticated fraud detection, big-data risk management tools, payment channel integration, and compliance reporting. The fintech cloud platform will also provide regulators with easier monitoring of local lending activities and trends in an ongoing and comprehensive way, helping them provide timely policy guidance and support on risk management.
  • Work with DFIIG to establish a special Internet finance investment fund for Dalian. The fund will focus on investment in fintech projects and startups with the potential to strengthen Dalian’s new economy and financial services industry.
  • Develop a supply-chain trading platform in Dalian utilizing advanced fintech and blockchain capabilities to help more small and medium-sized suppliers secure needed funding. Last year, Dianrong created the first blockchain platform for supply-chain finance with FoxConn Group, a global leader in consumer electronics.

Shanghai tightens financial sector supervision (Ecns), Rated: B

Shanghai is one of China’s largest financial markets by market trading volume. In 2017, its trading volume was 1,438 trillion yuan ($220.9 trillion).

Shanghai has already launched a campaign against fraud and illegal behavior in financial consumer markets, such as internet-based peer-to-peer lending, cash loans to college students, and pay-day loans.

European Union

Rocket Internet CEO says ready to pounce with cash pile (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Germany’s Rocket Internet needs to hold on to its mountain of cash so it can compete with rivals from the United States and China and pounce when investment opportunities arise, the chief executive said in an interview.

CAUTIOUS MARKET

Rocket is invested in more than 100 start-ups, including in financial and property tech, logistics and travel sites, with its stakes in the five biggest of them potentially worth more than 1 billion euros to Rocket, according to Berenberg bank.

International

MoneyGram Signs Deal to Work With Currency Startup Ripple (WSJ), Rated: AAA

MoneyGram International Inc. MGI +2.63% signed on to run a pilot program testing XRP, a digital currency created by San Francisco startup Ripple, in its payments network, the companies said Thursday.

The Dallas-based company agreed to test XRP as a tool for reducing money-transfer costs and settlement times.

How Banks Can Use Trade Finance Services and Data to Increase Share of Wallet (Traxpay), Rated: AAA

While global trade presents tremendous growth opportunities, businesses of all sizes are none-the-less finding it difficult to access much needed credit, resulting in a global trade finance gap. According to an Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) 2017 Trade Finance Gaps, Growth, And Jobs Survey, that gap was $1.5 trillion in 2016.

Non-financial institution competitors are aggressively targeting this market, using innovations such as blockchain to develop products and tools that not only replace outdated paper and manual-based processes, but also deliver unprecedented levels of cybersecurity that are critical in today’s digital transaction space. The same ADB survey revealed more than $13 billion in venture capital was invested in FinTech trade finance in 2016 alone.

The recent Simmons & Simmons Hyperfinance studyof the world’s leading trade banks found that only 7% believe they are at the forefront of digital innovation in spite of the fact that 80% of innovation leaders report digitally-driven products and services introduced over the past three years have expanded revenue growth. This illustrates the reality that financial institutions recognize the importance of developing a digital strategy, but few are moving aggressively enough to take advantage of these new technologies.

PRINCIPLES, ESG, AND CREDIT RISK (All About Alpha), Rated: AAA

The question before the house right now, though, is: what about the credit rating agencies? The question comes in three parts: there are the global CRAs; the smaller/regional CRAs in most of the world, and regional CRAs in the special case of China.

First, the global CRAs [there are just two of them, Moody’s and S&P] are making “strong efforts” to incorporate an understanding of ESG issues. They are hiring staff with ESG backgrounds, equipping their existing analysts with the relevant expertise, and drawing on third party providers.

Then there is China. Its CRAs include Dagong Global, China Chengxin, and Golden Credit Ratings. The idea of integrating ESG into their analyses is thus far limited to the issue of green bonds, that is, bonds issued for the development of brownfield sites. Government policy in China encourages green bonds and the CRAs have responded. The resulting assessments are focused on the “E,” not so much the “S” or the “G.” And their environmental assessments rely on measuring the impact of the project the bond aims to finance.

  • Research very generally supports the hypothesis that there exists a causal link between ESG factors and the credit worthiness of a borrower;
  • Academic research in limited in that it is too exclusively content to measure credit risk by credit ratings, rather than testing the ratings themselves against alternative measures;
  • But some research does employ the spread of credit default swaps as an independent measure of risk;
  • Anecdotal observation indicates a clear link between G and defaults, although the linkage between E and S and defaults is more difficult to pin down;
  • There is much evidence in the linkage of ESG to macroeconomic factors and potential growth, which in turn are important to sovereign risk in particular.

ABS braces for more auto deals after strong start to year (IFR), Rated: A

The asset-backed bond market is braced for a slew of new issues next week, with deal flow expected to be dominated by auto issuers including BMW and Mercedes.

Just two issuers sold deals this week – GM Financial and Consumer Portfolio Services – and both auto trades were met with strong demand from investors. One banker on the GM deal said the deal was over-subscribed across the capital stack.

The biggest tightening though was seen on the smallest and lower rated tranches. The 3.58-year Class B, rated Aa3/AA by Moody’s and Fitch, priced at 30bp over interpolated swaps versus guidance of 35-40bp and whispers of 45bp area.

The 3.58-year Class C, rated A1/A, priced at 50bp over interpolated swaps versus guidance of 55-60bp and whispers of 65bp area.

FROM BANKING TO BITCOIN, FINTECH IS POISED TO CHANGE THE WORLD (Tech Genix), Rated: A

Currently, it represents only 1 percent of the global financial industry. By comparison, digital media accounts for 40 percent while eCommerce accounts for around 10 percent.

Source: Tech Genix

To give you a perspective, venture capitalists invested more than $13 billion across 840 different fintech holdings in 2016, according to a report by KPMG. This is 7 percent more than they invested in 2015.

According to the McKinsey report, five areas will see high growth over the next decade. They are consumer finance, mortgage, lending, retail payment, and wealth management.

Online payments

PayPal handled $1.73 billion worth of transactions in the first quarter of 2017 alone, representing a 30 percent increase year-on-year.

Borrowing and lending

However, the delinquency rates have been increasingover the last few years. These rates have increased from 0.56 percent in January 2015 to 0.75 percent in December of the same year.

Overstock.com’s 2017 Highlights: Innovation, Expansion, and Recognition (Business Insider), Rated: A

Overstock’s blockchain-focused subsidiary, Medici Ventures, named its board of directors in 2017, and also saw a number of its portfolio companies continue to use blockchain to revolutionize industries including capital markets, money and banking, property registry, voting, identity, and underlying blockchain technology, including:

  • tZERO, the world’s first SEC approved, blockchain-based alternative trading system, launched its initial coin offering (ICO), which attracted over 10,000 subscribers and raised $100M in commitments in the first 12 hours of its pre-sale. A significant portion of the tZERO security tokens issued will be available to accredited investors in the public sale beginning in January, 2018.
  • DeSoto Inc., a joint venture between Overstock.com founder and CEO Patrick Byrne and world-renowned economist Hernando de Soto, was created to develop a global property registry system to surface the property rights of billions of people in the developing world.
  • Bitt, a Barbados-based financial technology company using blockchain to create central banking tools and mobile money applications, named Rawdon Adams, son of former Barbadian Prime Minister Tom Adams, as its CEO. Bitt also fully launched its new mMoney digital payment product, bringing to market a blockchain-based mobile wallet that allows users to participate in digital transactions on their smartphones without the need for a traditional bank account, helping to foster financial inclusion in the region.
  • South-American based Ripio (formally known as BitPagos), participated in an ICO that raised $37M to fund its Ethereum-based peer-to-peer lending platform, Ripio Credit Network.
  • Belgium-based SettleMint launched a token sale for its DataBroker DAO, a peer-to-peer marketplace created to provide Internet of Things (IoT) sensor-owners with a clear path to data monetization, and data consumers with a decentralized marketplace in order to buy IoT sensor data. SettleMint also signed an agreement with The Islamic Research and Training Institute, the research arm of the Islamic Development Bank Group, to work with local partner Ateon on developing blockchain-based financial products that can be used to support development and inclusion in IsDB member countries.

Global lender selects Aussie fintech, Trade Ledger, as worldwide technology partner (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Zürich-based lender, TradePlus24, has selected Australian deep tech startup, Trade Ledger, as its global technology partner to roll out its new trade insurance wrapped lending product across their European lending network, and enter the Australian market.

Bankers fear they will get Amazon-ed in tech disruption (Financial Times), Rated: A

According to IDC, only about a quarter of US bank technology budgets is spent on digital transformation, as opposed to business as usual. They expect this to grow to nearer 40 per cent in 2020.

Secondly, this spending could substantially boost banks’ productivity, and profits.

Banks will drive up the cost of customer acquisition for start-ups who will increasingly struggle unless they build network effects and scale very quickly. Roboadvisers and peer-to-peer lenders will be on heightened alert. Some start-ups will need to rethink their plans to disrupt and look to form partnerships instead.

Changes in financial regulation, such as a lighter touch fintech charter being examined in the US or the second payment services directive in Europe, could potentially make this more likely. The tech giants have the brands, customer reach, digital processes and flair to develop good products, and to take swift advantage of any regulatory changes.

Karma token trading opens after successful million ICO campaign (Crypto Ninjas), Rated: B

India

German Online Lender Kreditech Heads to India (Bank Innovation), Rated: AAA

German online lender Kreditech is making its way to India, Bank Innovation has learned.

For this expedition, the fintech has teamed up with SaaS banking platform Mambu for providing short-term lending products specifically tailored to local consumers.

Kreditech selects Mambu’s SaaS banking engine for its passage to India (Finextra), Rated: A

Kreditech currently operates in Europe and Latin America and will expand into India in early 2018, together with its partner PayU, a global online payments provider and Mambu client in Latin America.

The loan product is expected to go live in the first quarter of 2018, all data will be hosted by AWS India.

NiYO Solutions Raises $ 13.2M in Series A Funding (FINSSMES), Rated: A

NiYO Solutions Inc., a Bangalore, India-based fintech startup for salaried employees, raised $13.2m (85 crore) in Series A funding.

APAC

Myanmar takes small steps towards providing greater liquidity for SMEs (Myanmar Times), Rated: AAA

A rising number of start-ups as well as small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are emerging in Myanmar as business opportunities rise. However, many companies fail to achieve their full potential and contribute substantially to the economy because capital assistance is lacking in the country.

A rising number of start-ups as well as small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are emerging in Myanmar as business opportunities rise. However, many companies fail to achieve their full potential and contribute substantially to the economy because capital assistance is lacking in the country.

Currently, local banks extend loans at interest rates ranging between 8.5 percent and 13pc. The local banks began offering SME loans at8.5pc interest in 2015. Since then, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and KfW Development Bank from Germany have also launched SME loans.

P2P lending

To get around the financial constraints, borrowing from family members and peers is common.

In fact, a rising number of businesses have resorted to P2P lending for funds to build up their businesses. Without any guarantees of success though, many entrepreneurs ultimately end up in debt. Others fall prey to fraud. Last year, The Myanmar Times reported at least three cases of fraud involving fake promises of repayments with up to 30pc interest.

Cloud Lending Solutions Recognized as a Top 25 FinTech Company of 2017 (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Cloud Lending Solutions was recognized as a “Top 25 FinTech Company for 2017” by APAC CIO Outlook Magazine. A panel of industrial experts and executives collaborated with the editorial board to curate the list with an aim to provide clarity into the ideal FinTech partners.

Africa

Local digital currency eyes real estate disruption (ITWeb), Rated: AAA

Cape Town-based fintech company, Wealth Migrate, has launched a global   – WEALTHE Coin.

According to Wealth Migrate, while almost half of the world’s wealth is held in real estate, fewer than 13% of people have access or the resources to invest in and  from this lucrative market.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday January 8 2018, Daily News Digest

marketplace banking

News Comments Today’s main news: Texas regulator sends cease & desist order to BitConnect. UK wins race for tech investment. Tencent licensed to sell mutual funds to WeChat users. Wishfin to raise $50M. FINTQ goes beyond lending. Today’s main analysis: Strategies banks, credit unions must implement this year (a must-read). Today’s thought-provoking articles: How the tech giants are going […]

marketplace banking

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

APAC

News Summary

United States

Securities Regulator Issues C&D to UK Based Cryptocurrency Marketplace BitConnect & Planned ICO (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The Texas State Securities Boardhas issued an Emergency Cease and Desist Order targeting BiConnect, a UK based cryptocurrency platform. BitConnect is planning a new initial coin offering (ICO) later this month and Texas is stating the tokens are unregistered securities.

The Texas regulators say BitConnecthas placed 9.4 million of the coins into the online cryptocurrency marketplace, representing a market value of $4.1 billion as of Jan. 3 and expects to issue a maximum of 28 million coins.

The tech giants are coming for your customers (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Lost in all this was an inescapable fact: Big tech firms like Amazon don’t need a charter to disrupt the banking industry. Indeed, they are already changing it.

Amazon has done more than $1 billion in small-business lending since it first started offering loans. In 2017, it launched Amazon Cash, which effectively allows it to take cash deposits from customers via ubiquitous convenience stores like 7-Eleven and Sheetz. Other tech firms, including Apple and Samsung, offer their own payment apps.

If banks effectively end up as utilities to larger tech firms, they will lose out. McKinsey forecasts manufacturing will produce only 35% of profits in finance, a return on equity of 4.4%. Distribution, meanwhile, will produce 65% of profits, with a return on equity of 20%.

It’s not clear what tech giants have in store next, but they will likely push the limits of traditional finance. It’s not hard to imagine the Bank of Alexa, enabling customers to move money and pay bills just by shouting at the Amazon Echo in their living rooms.

The year of digital is upon us (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

With that, these are our top 10 market structure trends to watch in 2018:

MiFID II soft launches

You’re probably thinking, “It’s not a soft launch—MiFID II is the law of the land now!” That is technically true, of course. And for better or worse, even though the SEC has provided U.S. firms with “no-action relief” from some European rules, Europe’s regulators don’t have the no-action relief lever that U.S. regulators became so fond of using as they implemented Dodd-Frank. However, MiFID II is so wide-reaching and impactful, it is unreasonable to think European regulators can or will crack down on imperfect compliance as the year gets underway.

Active investing is still huge, but passive keeps growing

However, Greenwich Associates research in 2017 found that most portfolio managers see 40% of assets in passive as the limit, compared to today’s 22%—that is a huge opportunity for growth.

Alternative data becomes less alternative

Ninety percent of investors using alternative data today tell Greenwich Associates they’ve see a positive return on their investment.

And while the alpha to be captured via alternative data is set to grow, the sheer quantity of data available to drive investment decisions is growing exponentially faster.

Data matters more than trading

But even in these and other cases where some data is made public, individual market participants can only find real value when also examining trades that failed, RFQs that were lost and orders that never left the blotter. Even equity exchanges will need to up their game, as the Consolidated Audit Trail (CAT) reporting requirements finally become a reality and MiFID II makes the market more transparent than ever before. Selling data is great, but helping clients to understand what it really means to them is even better. Inject the growing focus on indices (following several notable acquisitions in 2017) as passive investing grows, and things really start to get interesting.

Wealth management comes out of retirement

Robo-advisors are an opportunity, not a threat.

The move to fee-based accounts couldn’t have come at a better time, with this never-ending bull market generating wealth for investors that, in turn, generate fees for their managers. However, if the market decides to correct, as baby boomers pull out more money than millennials put in, this party might not last forever.

Podcast 133: Rosemary Kelley of Kroll Bond Rating Agency (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • How KBRA got started and how their focus has evolved.
  • When marketplace lending first got on Rosemary’s radar.
  • What made KBRA comfortable enough to be able to provide their first rating in the space.
  • How KBRA has become the leader in rating unsecured consumer lending deals.
  • What has been driving the growth of securitization in marketplace lending.
  • What does the tightening of spreads tell us about investor appetite.
  • How platforms creating their own shelf has changed how these deals get done.
  • Why the deals that have breached their triggers have not tempered investor demand.
  • Some best practices for a platform doing their first securitization.
  • What leads to KBRA deciding to upgrade a deal.
  • Rosemary’s thoughts on the macro environment and how it will impact consumer credit.
  • What platforms can do to mitigate a slow down in securitization markets.
  • What Rosemary thinks about the competitive environment in marketplace lending.

Roostify’s Rajesh Bhat: ‘We’re still in the first quarter of the online mortgage game’ (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Why did you enter the digital mortgage space?
That first year, we spent the entire year looking for a home to buy and it was an entirely painful and traumatic experience. Born out of that was the idea behind Roostify. That’s where we began building out the solution we have today.

Why are mortgages so hard to digitize?
The eligibility aspect is complex. Once eligibility is determined, the fulfillment process is equally complex — if not more. Those two things coupled with the fact that on a normal year over half the mortgages issued have a real estate transaction integrally tied to the mortgage transaction make it very complex.

Where are we in the evolution of the digital mortgage?
If this is a four quarter game, we’re still in the first quarter. The evolution has been, and will continue to be, driven by the consumer. Banks recognize that consumers are willing to do certain tasks themselves to drive this process. Companies are launching now that really understand the consumer pain points and they’re delivering to that as opposed to banks’ pain points.

YieldStreet brings new opportunities to smaller investors (Bankless Times), Rated: A

Rather than cut a $20,000 check to access one opportunity, what if you could use that amount to diversify across 30 deals? Mr. Mehere asked himself that question back in 2014 when consumer P2Ps, small business financing platforms and real estate companies were gaining footholds online.

YieldStreet launched in April 2015 with 80 investments across various asset classes. The idea has proven attractive to retail investors, from whom they have raised $240 million.

They have returned more than 100,000 individual payments and in excess of $80 million in principal and interest to investors. 15 of the original 80 investments have fully matured without a loss.

Wells Fargo’s 2017 Silver Lining Is Drop in CFPB Complaints (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Complaints lodged against the lender with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau through Dec. 15 dropped 18 percent from the same period of 2016, the steepest decline among major banks, federal figures show. Still, it remained first among that group in total complaints.

Source: Bloomberg

Seven of the 10 biggest banks by U.S. deposits experienced a drop in CFPB complaints compared with the 2016 period, including Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Bank of America Corp.

10 Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About Personal Loans (Quicken Loans), Rated: A

You might have a million questions running through your head. Luckily, we reached out to the experts at RocketLoans to answer these 10 frequently asked questions about personal loans.

What Is a Personal Loan?

Also known as an “unsecured loan,” a personal loan isn’t backed by collateral like a mortgage or car loan.

What Is a Personal Loan with Collateral?

If you don’t have a credit score that’s between the 600 and 700+ range that most personal lenders look for, some lenders might offer you a secured personal loan, also known as a collateral loan.

How Much Can I Borrow and How Long Can I Borrow?

Depending on the lender and your personal financial situation, personal loans can average between $5,000 and $15,000, with a maximum of $35,000 and terms between 24 and 60 months.

What Is an Origination Fee, and How Much Is It?

An origination fee can range from 1% to 6% depending on the lender and, like your interest rate, is based on your credit and length of the loan. Like the interest rate, the higher the credit score, the lower the origination fee.

Chord of Confidence: Making Real Estate Agents Look Like Rock Stars (RISMedia), Rated: A

Quicken Loans is the largest online mortgage lender and the second-largest retail mortgage lender in the United States, according to Inside Mortgage Finance.

Putting Agents at the Center of the Transaction
To make the mortgage process better for consumers, Quicken Loans executives turned their attention to working hand-in-hand with real estate agents, their most powerful ally, says Tom Dempsey, divisional vice president of Business Development with Quicken Loans.

The centerpiece of this effort: MyQL Agent Insight, a custom back-end platform that increases loan visibility by letting agents see exactly where their client stands in the loan approval process.

Service, Technology Part of a Broader Culture
What exactly makes Quicken Loans different from its competitors? It starts with the company’s culture of service and the many “ISMs,” or ideals, the company strives to work and live by, Dempsey says.

Some of the standout ISMs include “Do the right thing,” “Every second counts,” and “Simplicity is genius.”

Q-text
A texting service that allows agents to receive text updates on the status of their clients’ loans, keeping agents up-to-date on each step in the process while they’re on-the-go.

Elevating the Consumer Experience
Quicken Loans has evolved in its 33-year history as a direct lender.

In its first full year of operation, Rocket Mortgage funded more than $7 billion of the record $96 billion in total closed loan volume in 2016 for Quicken Loans.

Rocket Mortgage clients have gone from application to closing in as little as eight days on refinance loans, and 16 days on the purchase side, according to internal data. In contrast, the industry’s average closing time on new purchase loans is about 45 days.

President of the Jason Mitchell Group at My Home Group Real Estate in Scottsdale, Ariz., Mitchell has closed more than 900 transactions and over $215 million in sales volume since 2012. More than 65 percent of that business came from clients who used Quicken Loans, Mitchell says.

Source: RISMedia

FormFree’s AccountChek Asset Report Meets Underwriting Guidelines for VA Loans (PR Newswire), Rated: A

FormFree today announced that asset reports generated by its AccountChek® automated asset verification service meet all underwriting guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for loans guaranteed by its Loan Guaranty Service. The announcement follows the VA’s December 29, 2017 release of Circular 26-17-43, which was issued in response to increasing lender interest in automated verification of borrower assets for VA loans.

AccountChek eliminates the burden of gathering asset documents for loans by letting consumers easily and securely transmit their online banking, retirement and investment account data for automated analysis. In just minutes, AccountChek delivers asset data to lenders in a standardized report along with a ReIssueKey that enables secure and streamlined sharing with the secondary market. The result is an easier, safer and more accurate process that closes loans up to 20 days faster, provides a better borrower experience and circumvents a host of common “hiccups” that plague manual asset verification.

4 Best Investments To Make In 2018 (Forbes), Rated: A

#1: The Stock Market

One company I always suggest is Betterment. With Betterment, your money can be invested in ETFs and they don’t charge a fee for managing these for you. Plus, they actually pick the ETFs you invest in based on your appetite for risk, investing goals, and other factors.

Plus, there are a multitude of other “robo-advisors” to choose from.

#2: Peer-to-Peer Lending

A second place to stash some of your excess cash this year is in peer-to-peer lending platforms like Lending Club and Prosper. With these companies, you’re able to loan money to individuals in small increments as if you were the bank. The best part is, you get to earn a pretty decent rate of return – usually upward of 6% or more.

#3: Real Estate

One option I’m really excited about is a company called Fundrise. Fundriseoffers an investing scenario similar to the one above. They buy commercial properties and allow investors to invest small sums of money. Obviously, this is yet another hands-off investment. You may own part of a commercial real estate project, but you don’t even see or deal with the property itself.

Like Lending Club, Fundrise requires an upfront sum of around $1,000 to get started.

Fundrise claims its returns have averaged between 8.76% up to 12.42% over the last five years.

Payday Loan Mogul Trades Ferrari-Racing Life for Prison Term (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Scott Tucker says he’s a pioneering self-made man who, without a college degree, founded successful businesses in a variety of fields and contributed billions of dollars to the U.S. economy. A judge says he’s an unrepentant fraud and sentenced him to almost 17 years in prison.

Jurors found the men guilty of collecting unlawful debts, using misleading contracts and falsely stating that the businesses were owned and operated by Native American tribes. That bogus claim helped them get around state laws that prohibited the business practices, the U.S. said. The scam ran from 1997 to 2013, Castel said.

From 2008 to 2012 alone, Tucker victimized 4.65 million people, according to prosecutors, collecting $1.3 billion in illegal interest payments as some people paid a total of almost $1,000 to settle a $300 loan.

Ad Valorem! The Future of Niche Reserve Based Value Investing and Lending is Here (Huffington Post), Rated: A

Valorem Foundation, the community peer-to-peer platform for multi-party transactions, is launching soon. It is a new blockchain-based platform that allows users to exchange value via smart contracts. Once on the platform, users can borrow, lend, invest, transfer, and exchange money between each other, creating a trust-based platform that removes the need for 3rd-party services or external vendors.

One of Valorem’s products, the Microloan, has been quite successful because of the platform’s risk distribution system and foundation on smart contract-based functionality. Its feature of spreading loan default risk over multiple people forces people in the Valorem community to make smarter choices about buying products like cars, student loans, and insurance.

Marine Corps Vet Earns OnDeck Small Business Spotlight (Guru Focus), Rated: B

OnDeck (NYSE: ONDK), the leader in online lending to small business, today announced that digital agency Majestyk Apps, led by Marine Corps veteran Donald Coolidge, has been selected as the OnDeck Small Business of the Month for January 2018.

United Kingdom

UK shrugs off Brexit worries by winning race for technology investment (Express.co.uk), Rated: AAA

Venture capital funding in UK technology firms was nearly £3billion, more than double the amount invested in Germany and France combined.

London technology drew the most. Its £2.45billion was more than the other top 10 cities put together, according to funding database Pitchbook for London & Partners figures.

Fintech, or financial technology, attracted £1.34billion in venture capital funding, with TransferWise and Funding Circle investment, while artificial intelligence companies raised a record £488million, more than double 2016.

Brexit cynics were wrong about London’s fintech companies (Quartz), Rated: A

Below the surface there are reasons to be concerned, but the data so far looks positive. UK companies raised $7.7 billion last year, more than double that of 2016, according to Dealroom. Fintech companies raked in $2.9 billion, the biggest share. TransferWise raised £211 million ($286 million) while Funding Circle took in £81.9 million, according to lobby group London & Partners.

Source: Quartz

Attitudes across Europe are diverging. While the UK is the No. 1 destination for investment, entrepreneurs in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg (Benelux) are substantially more positive about the future of Europe’s tech scene than their peers in Britain: 70% of the former are more optimistic than they were 12 months ago, compared with 42% in the UK and Ireland, according to a survey by venture capital firm Atomico.

Olivier Goy, founder of crowd-lending platform Lendix, says he’s even more positive about France’s potential than he was after the poll.

A risky P2P opportunity for 2018 (MoneyWeek), Rated: A

Returns from investing directly in the biggest platforms, including Zopa, Ratesetter and Funding Circle, averaged 5.4% including losses from defaults, according to analytics firm AltFi Data.

For example, P2PGI moved from a premium of 15% to a discount of 15% – ie, the share price now trades at 15% below the net asset value (NAV) of the fund’s investments.

Funding Circle’s SME Income fund trades at a small premium (around 2%) to NAV, and has delivered returns equivalent to a 5.6% yield on the current share price.

As for bonds, Lendinvest – a property lending platform – issued the first listed retail bond from a P2P platform, raising £50m at a yield of 5.25%. This was well received and is now trading at a small premium of 2%.

China

Tencent gets a licence to sell mutual funds to WeChat’s 1 billion users in China (SCMP), Rated: AAA

The Shenzhen Bureau of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, the nation’s top securities watchdog, has given Tencent subsidiary Tengan Funds Sales (Shenzhen) the licence to sell funds directly.

Before gaining the licence, the tech giant was only able to act as a platform for fund houses and third-party fund sales companies to sell their products through qian.qq.com, its online wealth managing platform and its popular instant messaging tool, WeChat. Qian.qq.com is for users to access the service on PC, while a similar service on WeChat is for mobile users.

Also on Thursday, the tech giant launched the promotion of a new service that will allow users to pay their credit card bills via using the money-market funds available on Licaitong, or WeChat’s wealth management app.

Users will avoid having to pay a 0.1 per cent charge on a credit card payment of more than 5,000 yuan (US$770) monthly. Tencent is also offering users cash incentives, capped at 88.88 yuan, for those who use the promotal service until February.

Chinese social network’s stock jumps 47% after it says it’s raising money through cryptocurrency (CNBC), Rated: A

The share price of Chinese social network Renren has almost doubled after the company said it was raising money through a digital currency sale.

The company, headquartered in China and listed on the New York Stock Exchange, saw its stock climb 47.39 percent to $18.32 a share by the close of the U.S. trading session Wednesday.

Renren is looking to raise funds through an initial coin offering (ICO), according to a white paper released Tuesday.

WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On January 2, 2018, the Shenzhen Securities Regulatory Bureau issued this year’s first fund sales license to internet giant Tencent Holdings, or more specifically Teng An Information Technology (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd.

The Nansha District Government Affairs Service Center in Guangzhou introduced “WeChat Police Certified” face recognition technology and issued China’s first WeChat ID card on December 26, 2017.

According to Bloomberg News, insiders said some loans on HNA’s P2P platform Jbh.com have been faced with deferred payment since last November. Jbh.com offers products like fixed income, P2P lending, insurance and funds on its app.

European Union

20 of Europe’s hottest fintech start-ups to watch in 2018 (The Finanser), Rated: AAA

Advanon is an online platform for invoice-financing SMEs. The platform enables SMEs to better manage their cash flows and focus on their core business. Founded in 2015 by Philip Kornmann, Phil Lojacono and Stijn Pieper, Advanon has raised $3.9m in funding so far, including a $3.5m Series A round from Btov Partners, VI Partners and Swisscom Ventures.


Circle is a P2P payments platform founded by Sean Neville and Jeremy Allaire. Using the technology – available as an app on iOS and Android devices or even through a Circle app for iMessage – users can send and receive P2P payments with native euro support. Circle also claims to be the first and only cross-border payments platform in the world to make it possible to beam cash from an app into a US bank account at no cost.

Founded by Marc Murphy, Fenergo offers solutions for client life-cycle management, anti-money laundering, regulatory compliance and client data management.

A fast-growing fintech company, ID Finance specialises in online lending in emerging and growing markets.

Regarded as one of Europe’s most valuable fintech firms, Klarnaprovides online payment services for e-commerce sites in order to eliminate the risk for buyer and seller.

Monzo has more than 20,000 current-account holders and the start-up bank has amassed something of a cult-like following in the UK, with almost 500,000 people using its distinctive hot coral cards and thousands more on the waiting list. It was founded in 2015 by Gary Dolman, Tom Blomfield, Jason Bates, Jonas Huckestein and Paul Rippon. Stripe, the payments company founded by Irish brothers Patrick and John Collison in San Francisco, joined Goodwater Capital and investor Michael Moritz (through his charitable investment vehicles) in a recent £71m investment round, joining existing investors Eileen Burbidge’s Passion Capital as well as Orange Digital Ventures and Joshua Kushner’s Thrive Capital in the round.

Founded in 2015 by Nikolay Storonsky and Vlad Yatsenko, Revolut is an app-based banking alternative with a multi-currency card.

TransferMate was founded in 2010 to reduce international payments costs for business customers and has since developed a wide regulatory footprint in Europe. So far, more than $10bn has been sent to more than 100 countries over the TransferMate platform.

TransferWise was founded in 2011 by Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Käärmann, and provides international money transfer.

Wefox, also known as FinanceFox, is a next-generation insurance app built entirely on the Salesforce platform.

Younited Credit wants to build the biggest crowd-lending platform in continental Europe. Currently live in Spain, France and Italy, consumers can borrow between $1,200 and $48,000 without the need to talk to a bank. So far, it has managed more than $600m in loans. Founded by Charles Egly, Geoffroy Guigou and Thomas Beylot, Younited recently raised $47.8m in a Series F funding round led by Zencap Asset Management.

International

33 Strategies Banks and Credit Unions Must Implement in 2018 (The Financial Brand), Rated: AAA

Below are the top 10 trends identified in the Digital Banking Report entitled, “2018 Retail Banking Trends and Predictions,” sponsored by Kony, Inc.. The comprehensive 106-page report is now available here.

1. Improve the Consumer Experience

2. Expand Use of Data and Analytics

Immediate Strategies:

  1. Break down the barriers within your organization that perpetuate data silos. Only after silos are eliminated can advanced analytics be the most effective.
  2. Establish a data analytics function or partner with an outside organization to provide help in improving the actionability of your data.
  3. Replace timed marketing ‘programs’ with ongoing marketing ‘processes,’ leveraging real-time data to take advantage of immediate opportunities.
  4. Test the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) beyond risk and fraud analysis, including offer generation and bundling of services.

4. Embrace Open Banking

Immediate Strategies:

  1. Review existing data privacy mandates and potential changes, determining the risk/benefit appetite for new marketplace opportunities.
  2. Explore data-sharing possibility with fintech and non-financial services firms to be prepared for imminent changes.
  3. Build an API strategy for both third-party data access and potential service offerings outside traditional banking ecosystem.

5. Build Fintech Partnerships

Immediate Strategies:

  1. Foster a top-down culture of innovation, testing and understanding the digital consumer.
  2. Investigate partnerships and/or collaboration with fintech firms for products and processes not currently possible within the banking organization.
  3. Replace all or a portion of legacy systems, integrating new technologies while embracing an agile IT culture. This action step has been put on the back burner for years which is hurting many organizations.
  4. Consider having an online lender power the organization’s online loan application, to using an online lender’s credit model to better underwrite and service bank loan applications.

Marketplace Lending News Roundup – January 6 (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Funding Circle poised for £1bn float from Peer2Peer Finance News – We begin the year with news that Funding Circle is preparing to go public, possibly in Q3.

The Tech Majors are coming? Really? from AltFi – Interesting take from David Stevenson on why Amazon and Google may not come to dominate finance.

How Blockchain Will Revolutionize Invoice-Backed Financing from Let’s Talk Payments – We’re going to hear a lot about blockchain disrupting industries in 2018, here is a take on invoice finance.

Can blockchain technology revive peer-to-peer lending? from American Banker – Blockchain has given rise to a new breed of online lending platforms. Penny Crosman delves into this phenomenon.

VPC continues shift away from P2P with sale of Prosper loans from P2P Finance News – The publicly traded Victory Park fund in the UK has divested its portfolio of Prosper loans.

Finastra bolsters global capital markets team (Asset Servicing Times), Rated: B

Finastra has appointed Pedro Porfirio as global head of capital markets.

Pedro will be responsible for driving the growth of Finastra’s capital markets business line, focusing on treasury, capital markets, and investment management.

Australia/New Zealand

Would you take money advice from a computer? (NZ Herald), Rated: A

Kiwis are set to start getting financial “robo-advice” this year — a move tipped to help those on lower incomes but which some are warning comes with risks.

Investment watchdog the Financial Markets Authority is expected to open applications for exemptions to provide digital advice around KiwiSaver, insurance and mortgages early this year.

Research by the FMA has found most of those who get financial advice in New Zealand have assets of more than $200,000, raising concerns that people with lower incomes and assets are missing out.

India

Consumer loans marketplace Wishfin looks to raise up to $ 50m (Deal Street Asia), Rated: AAA

Online marketplace for consumer loans and other financial products Wishfin will raise up to $50 million in its next round of funding as it looks to make acquisitions in niche segments, a top company official said.

The company claims to have 9 million customers and $3 billion worth of disbursals to date.

Plan to save in 2018? Refer to these new age investment options (siasat.com), Rated: B

The quick returns that one gets through investments in cryptocurrencies have caught everyone’s attention.

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending in India currently gives a net return of 18-22 percent to lenders.

People are becoming investors and expanding investment portfolio by investing small ticket size in different startups. Venture Catalysts, India’s first integrated incubator, emerging as largest investor of the year with closing 33 investment in this year.

APAC

PLDT’s fintech unit going beyond lending (Inquirer.net), Rated: AAA

FINTQ, the financial technology (fintech) arm of PLDT and Smart’s Voyager Innovations, disbursed more than P12 billion in new loans through its digital lending platform, Lendr, last year or nearly a third higher than the year-ago level.

With more than the P12 billion disbursed last year, total disbursement has reached about P27 billion since Lendr came to market in 2015, Villanueva said.

With Fintech, Pakistan set to dismantle barriers to branchless banking (Tribune), Rated: A

In an effort to promote fintech, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) – the telecom regulator – has decided to award Third Party Service Providers’ licences by June or July 2018, which will pave way for inter-operability between cellular mobile operators and ramp up financial inclusion all over the country.

At present, Telenor’s Easypaisa, Jazz’s Mobicash and United Bank Limited’s Omni are providing mobile-based branchless banking services. However, their customers cannot transfer money from one service to another.

The new platform will help dismantle existing barriers that prevent digital wallets (branchless bank account-holders) from sending money to different bank accounts. Users will be able to make transactions from wallet to wallet or wallet to the bank account.

Fintech firm Avaloq’s chairman streamlines his role to focus on China expansion and possible listing (SCMP), Rated: B

The chairman of Switzerland-based financial technology company Avaloq will focus on expanding business in China and Asia as well as preparing for a possible stock exchange listing, after handing over his chief executive duties.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday October 4 2017, Daily News Digest

ICO funding by month

News Comments Today’s main news: Elevate customers save more than $2B. Overstock launches SEC-compliant ICO alternative. RateSetter trims secondary market fees. PeerStreet funds over $500M in loans with zero investor losses. Qudian leads 2 IPO launches totaling $869. Kabbage on the road to $161M raise. Today’s main analysis: International P2P lending volumes. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Renren’s Joe Chen’s sneaky SoFi share grab. Hedge […]

ICO funding by month

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

Asia

Caribbean

News Summary

United States

Elevate Customers Save More Than $ 2 Billion Thanks to Advanced Tech-Enabled Underwriting (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Elevate Credit, Inc. (“Elevate” or “the company”), a leading tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, today announced their customers have saved more than $2 billion, versus what they would have paid for payday loans. $613 million of these cumulative savings were incurred in the first half of 2017 alone.

Joe Chen’s Sneaky SoFi Share Snatch (Forbes), Rated: AAA

But in Silicon Valley Renren’s founder and CEO, Joseph “Joe” Chen, is no outcast. He is a well-connected guru and mentor who sits on the boards of companies in which Renren has invested, like LendingHome, Fundrise, and Motif Investing. Chen also sits on the board of Social Finance, known as SoFi, which has been under fire due to a mounting sexual harassment scandal that recently saw Mike Cagney resign as SoFi’s CEO and chairman.

Chen is cooking up a deal that will allow shareholders of Renren who are “qualified purchasers” and “accredited investors,” to exchange their shares in the company for ownership in a spinoff entity consisting of its investment portfolio, including Renren’s stake in SoFi. Other shareholders who do not qualify would instead get a cash payment reviewed by a special committee of Renren’s board.

Under the spinout plan, Chen, who owns 31% of Renren’s stock, SoftBank, which owns 39% of Renren, and DCM, which owns 8.6%, will likely increase their SoFi holdings. Most of the shareholders owning the remaining 20% of Renren would lose their exposure to SoFi given that they appear to largely be individual retail investors, Securities & Exchange Commission filings show. This would leave them with a yet-to-be determined dividend, and a holding in a declining, money-losing Chinese internet company.

Renren still has its stake in SoFi, which together with some other Renren investments is worth more than Renren’s market capitalization of $630 million.

Overstock.com launches SEC-compliant ICO alternative (Bankless Times), Rated: AAA

Online retail giant Overstock.com is currently not only offering custom jewelry or discount mattresses but has been delving into cryptocurrency through Overstock.com, its subsidiary focused on Blockchain ventures.

In their Overstock.com, they are now in a joint venture together with RenGen and Argon Group to launch an Automated Trading System (ATS) for trading tokens issued via ICOs.

According to reports, $2 billion has been raised in token sales this year alone.

Hedge Funds Flip ICOs, Leaving Other Investors Holding the Bag (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Hedge funds are proving to be first among equals when it comes to digital token sales by technology startups, receiving preferential discounts and terms and then often cashing out. While legal, the maneuver is drawing comparisons to some of the eyebrow-raising practices that took place during the IPO heyday of the 1990s, when many preferred investors would quickly resell shares for big profits.

“It’s not healthy for the ecosystem, and it’s pretty abusive,” said Kyle Samani, a managing partner at Austin, Texas-based Multicoin Capital, which invests in ICOs. “They are getting a discount because they are a big name, and they think it’s going to draw the retail investor. It’s the greater fools theory –- I’ll buy it if there’s someone who’s more of a fool than me.”

Source: Bloomberg

Startups often announce, with much fanfare, that such-and-such funds and big-name investors have participated in the presale. What isn’t as well publicized is that the early investors — and, possibly, even the startup’s founders — can often cash out right after the ICO.

Source: Bloomberg

More than 80 percent of ICOs are doing presales, according to Lex Sokolin, global director of fintech strategy at Autonomous NEXT.

PeerStreet funds over half a billion in loans, maintains zero losses to investors (PeerStreet Email), Rated: AAA

PeerStreet, the real estate investing platform for real estate debt, has just hit the milestone of having funded half a billion in loans and with zero losses to investors since the company launched in 2015.

Platforms in the P2P and crowdfunding space are seeing increasing competition and scrutiny, but PeerStreet has continued to offer investors access to quality loans and high yields, earning the public testimonial of some high-profile users, such as 

Kabbage is Raising $ 161 Million (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Online SME lender Kabbage is raising $161 million, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Fintech firm filed the Form D last week indicating it had already received $80,573,040 with the same amount remaining to be raised.

Atlanta fintech ‘unicorn’ Kabbage raising $ 161 million (Biz Journals), Rated: B

Kabbage, which is mulling an IPO, has raised about $80 million on the planned raise, according to a Securities & Exchange Commission filing. The fintech, valued at more than $1 billion, announced a $250 million investment from SoftBank last year.

Kabbage’s Petralia Talks Big Tech, Fintech and Lending (deBanked), Rated: A

It’s only been a few weeks since the blockbuster announcement that SoftBank is investing $250 million into Kabbage, which thrust the small business lender into the spotlight for a few reasons, not the least of which was the more than $1 billion valuation that has been speculated for Kabbage.

This valuation, of course, is in stark contrast to that of OnDeck, which also lends to small businesses.

“All of our bank partnerships are technology integrations where our technology sits in their systems. They use our technology to deliver the customer experience. And I think what SoftBank saw in us was that potential. Whatever the valuation was I can assure you it was a result of a lot of due diligence on the part of SoftBank,” she said.

Rethinking Credit Scores in the Age of Fintech (Huffington Post), Rated: AAA

What value do the three big ratings bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, provide today in our emerging digital economy?

Increasingly in a world where payments may involve a peer to peer exchange, a global transfer, and more and more often a mobile phone transaction, the definition of good credit is going to change and widen.

Today, Experian maintains credit information on 215 million American consumers [Experian]. That’s over two-thirds of the total U.S. population [U.S. Census]. Roughly half of the population in the US has a FICO credit score that is less than 650, meaning that nearly half of people in the US cannot get credit from banks today.

The Equifax debacle turned up the volume on the call for change. We’re about to see more innovative ways of looking at credit, most of them built by mobile-first fintech companies.

Companies like PayPalKabbageSmartBizSquare, and others have stepped in to look at new ways to determine creditworthiness. Rather than depend solely on a single score like FICO, they are looking at a more holistic picture of a credit applicant.

SoFi, another lending startup, is using AI to analyze data from sources other than credit card information. And ShoCard, a blockchain-identity management system (IMS), teamed up with Creditinfo to let a customer claim their identity and manage who it gets shared with.

Chad Swenson of Lantern Credit believes your credit should be under your control. “Companies,” he says, “now have the ability to work with multiple alternative data streams outside of the traditional data delivered from the bureaus.”

Evan Singer, CEO of SmartBiz, a company devoted to helping small businesses secure loans, says that other metrics like your bank rating (how you use your bank rather than your credit) is another important piece of the puzzle often ignored.

CrowdStreet Debuts First Direct Commercial Real Estate Investing Platform for Financial Advisors (CrowdStreet), Rated: A

CrowdStreet, provider of the leading commercial real estate investment platform for investor acquisition and relationship management, today announced several enhancements to its flagship Sponsor Direct white-label software platform designed to address the needs of modern investment firms. With these new features, Sponsor Direct is now the only software offering that combines support for financial advisor accounts with a suite of tools specifically developed to help them engage, communicate with and service their investors. Hines Securities Inc. is the first firm to leverage these new capabilities, relying on Sponsor Direct to provide easy-to-use online real estate capital fundraising functionality to financial advisors.

CrowdStreet’s proven software solutions currently support more than 53,000 investors, managing more than 1,000 offerings and $3.7 billion in invested capital. Since its launch, the CrowdStreet software platform has been used to raise more than $260 million and distribute more than $684 million to investors.

New Yorkers pay the second highest ATM fees in the country (NY Daily News), Rated: A

ATM fees have reached an 11-year record high, and New Yorkers are paying the second highest rates, says Bankrate’s annual Checking Account Survey for 2017.

The national average ATM fee is $4.69, equaling the average ATM surcharge of $2.97 plus the average out-of-network fee your main bank charges of $1.72.

Cities whose fees top over $5 include Pittsburgh ($5.19), New York ($5.14), Washington, D.C. ($5.11), Cleveland ($5.11) and Atlanta ($5.05).

Even the lowest fees still don’t drop below $4 with Milwaukee at $4.19 and Dallas at $4.07.

Overall, ATM withdrawal fees have risen by 55% over the last ten years and there is little to curb this growth.

1031 Crowdfunding Moves Up Rankings to #4 Among Top Real Estate Crowdfunding Sites (PR Newswire), Rated: A

1031 Crowdfunding, LLC announced today that the Company moved up in the rankings for the 2017-2018 Top 100+ Real Estate Crowdfunding Sites to #4 overall and maintained its position as #1 ranked Real Estate Crowdfunding site for 1031 Exchanges.

The Real-Estate Crowdfunding Review conducted in-depth research of over 100 real estate crowdfunding sites to form the reviews and rankings provided in the Top 100+ Real Estate Crowdfunding Sites. Site features most highly-valued included: pre-funding, low investor fees, low investors minimums, bankruptcy protection, velocity, positive investor feedback, co-investment by the company, and venture capital funding in the company.

Top 100+ Real Estate Crowdfunding Sites (The Real Estate Crowdfunding Review), Rated: A

13 sites in the former top 25 have fallen completely out of the rankings due to abandoning their business model or challenges. 5 sites have improved tremendously with substantially increased volume, and a few of these that were lower ranked have leaped up the charts as well.

Tier 1: Best of the Best

These sites have it all: High transparency, co-investment,  pre-funding, high-volume, average to low fees, excellent bankruptcy protection, strong administration and customer service, and strong financial backing.

None. No site has all these features yet, but we hope that will change by the time of our next review.

Tier 2: All-Stars

These sites are all extremely strong in the majority of the fundamentals that are most important to investors.

Tier 4: Up-And-Coming + On-probation

There are 2 types of sites in this category. The 1st are up-and-coming sites that may not be as polished as competitors but have some sort of promise or potential for the future. The 2nd are sites that did well in last year’s rankings, but since then have had substantial investor complaints, decreasing volume or other challenges.

Justice Department gives big banks green light on real-time payments (American Banker), Rated: A

Following an antitrust review that lasted almost a year, the Department of Justice has greenlighted a real-time payments network being developed jointly by the nation’s largest banks.

The government’s approval may boost the prospects of a system that is being built by The Clearing House, the payments firm co-owned by JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and a host of other banks.

Fintech players assess post-disruption environment (Banking Exchange), Rated: A

Has the state of consumer credit changed post-crisis? Lending Club Chief Executive Scott Sanborn said he believes that the “new normal” in consumer lending is riskier.

Wages are stagnant, Sanborn said, and a greater portion of many consumers’ income now goes toward repayment of debt. Credit cards, student loans, and auto loans are among the major drains on the consumer wallet today, he noted.

A common use of marketplace lenders’ credit is debt consolidation loans, undertaken by consumers to bring down their overall borrowing rates.

Lending Club is not alone among nonbank digital lenders in going beyond traditional credit criteria. A co-panelist with Sanborn, Sarah Friar, chief financial officer at Square, said that her company—which recently applied for an industrial bank charter in Utah—doesn’t use FICO ratings at all. Friar said Square—which began as a payments mechanism and has expanded into small business credit—looks at financial accounts, number of employees, and status versus other players, among other factors.

Spending Within Their Means: Some Cities Do It Better Than Others (Business Insider), Rated: A

LendingTree®, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, has released the findings of its study on how well residents in the top 50 U.S. metropolitan areas are spending within their means – or aren’t.

Among the 50 ranked metro areas, residents are, on average, using 30 percent of their revolving credit lines — such as credit cards and home equity lines of credit, or HELOCs. They also have mortgage balances averaging 79 percent of their annual income and non-housing debt balances averaging 44 percent of annual income, and have had five credit inquiries in the last two years.

Greenville, SC takes the top score, despite having the second-lowest average income among the 50 cities ranked at $65,503 per household.

Source: LendingTree

Rank

Metro

Spending Within Their Means Score

Inquiries (last 2 years)

Revolving Credit Utilization

Non-Housing Debt % of Income

Mortgage Debt % of Income

1

Greenville, SC

71

4.0

27.6%

47.3%

61.6%

2

Greensboro, NC

65

3.8

28.9%

48.5%

63.9%

3

Kansas City, MO

64

5.9

28.4%

42.8%

65.0%

4

Buffalo, NY

64

4.0

29.0%

50.5%

55.2%

5

Charlotte, NC

64

3.8

28.2%

43.2%

84.9%

6

Milwaukee, WI

64

7.1

28.4%

39.7%

65.8%

7

San Francisco, CA

63

3.9

28.9%

28.4%

109.1%

8

Boston, MA

62

4.6

29.0%

35.7%

86.9%

9

New York, NY

62

4.4

30.5%

34.7%

77.6%

10

Raleigh, NC

61

3.8

27.6%

45.2%

85.6%

11

Pittsburgh, PA

60

5.1

28.0%

51.2%

49.3%

12

Nashville, TN

59

4.4

27.8%

43.9%

80.4%

13

Hartford, CT

58

5.5

30.0%

38.1%

76.8%

14

Oklahoma City, OK

58

6.0

28.3%

47.8%

60.7%

15

Portland

56

3.5

30.0%

40.2%

90.8%

16

Grand Rapids, MI

56

6.8

29.4%

43.3%

59.8%

17

Detroit, MI

56

5.9

30.1%

41.0%

65.0%

18

Louisville, KY

56

6.8

28.3%

43.0%

68.4%

19

Washington, DC

55

4.0

30.1%

37.1%

102.8%

20

Richmond, VA

55

4.0

29.8%

41.2%

87.5%

21

Denver, CO

55

3.1

29.2%

39.9%

108.0%

22

St. Louis, MO

53

7.7

29.0%

42.8%

67.0%

23

Philadelphia, PA

53

5.6

28.9%

43.0%

79.4%

24

Minneapolis, MN

53

4.3

30.5%

39.5%

83.6%

25

Birmingham, AL

53

5.6

29.2%

47.3%

62.5%

26

Cincinnati, OH

53

5.7

29.1%

44.9%

68.0%

27

Cleveland, OH

52

6.6

28.9%

49.4%

58.9%

28

Austin, TX

52

4.9

30.0%

42.5%

78.2%

29

Dallas – Fort Worth, TX

52

5.1

29.5%

44.3%

69.9%

30

Indianapolis, IN

51

6.6

28.4%

46.1%

68.3%

31

Atlanta, GA

51

4.3

29.2%

45.0%

81.2%

32

Columbus, OH

49

6.2

30.6%

45.9%

57.4%

33

Salt Lake City, UT

48

4.2

30.2%

39.7%

98.2%

34

Chicago, IL

46

7.2

30.1%

39.5%

80.1%

35

Seattle, WA

46

4.6

30.6%

37.6%

98.7%

36

Memphis, TN

45

5.1

29.7%

51.2%

64.9%

37

New Orleans, LA

43

4.2

30.8%

50.8%

66.9%

38

Miami, FL

43

4.1

29.0%

48.7%

89.5%

39

Harrisburg, PA

42

6.2

29.1%

47.8%

70.1%

40

Sacramento, CA

42

4.4

32.0%

38.5%

103.2%

41

San Diego, CA

41

4.3

32.8%

37.2%

118.2%

42

Los Angeles, CA

39

4.6

32.0%

38.6%

108.3%

43

Houston, TX

39

5.3

31.4%

46.8%

70.3%

44

Tampa, FL

38

4.2

29.9%

51.6%

80.7%

45

Virginia Beach, VA

36

3.8

33.2%

46.8%

95.4%

46

Orlando, FL

31

4.3

30.7%

51.0%

82.1%

47

Jacksonville, FL

25

4.1

32.3%

51.8%

87.9%

48

Phoenix, AZ

25

5.1

30.4%

48.1%

102.7%

49

Las Vegas, NV

20

5.1

31.8%

50.6%

96.6%

50

San Antonio, TX

19

7.3

32.1%

54.7%

72.2%

Goldman Sachs Explores a New World: Trading Bitcoin (WSJ), Rated: B

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. GS 0.40% is weighing a new trading operation dedicated to bitcoin and other digital currencies, the first blue-chip Wall Street firm preparing to deal directly in this burgeoning yet controversial market, according to people familiar with the matter.

Goldman’s effort is in its early stages and may not proceed, the people said.

United Kingdom

RateSetter streamlines secondary market fees (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER has announced that it is simplifying the way investors can access their money, with one single “transfer fee” when selling loans on the secondary market.

Lenders are currently charged two fees when selling out existing RateSetter loans, but from 2 November this is being streamlined into a single charge. The fee will be a percentage of the capital being withdrawn, and will be fixed for each market.

P2P Finance News

LendInvest urges government to back SME builders (Mortgage Solutions), Rated: AAA

Property finance platform LendInvest has called on government to do more to support small builders after discussing the subject with a group of influential MPs.

The event follows the publication of a report by LendInvest earlier this year on the challenges faced by property SMEs. These include constrained access to finance and distorted policy around regulation, taxation and access to land.

At the time of the report LendInvest said only 12.5% of new homes built today are constructed by small builders, down from 37.5% before 1990.

A canary in the P2P coal mine? (Financial Times), Rated: A

How are British “peer-to-peer” lenders doing?

Employee lenders are one of the fastest-growing areas of UK fintech (Financial Times), Rated: A

Online lenders that are repaid from people’s salaries have raised more than £175m in recent months, marking out the nascent sector as one of the hottest areas of the UK financial technology market.

Legal & General, the insurer, will on Wednesday announce that it is leading the latest £40m investment in SalaryFinance, which provides loans to employees of 50 groups in the UK and plans to expand in the US.

Founded by three former executives from Google, PA Consulting and Royal Bank of Scotland, SalaryFinance combines with companies to offer their employees loans at lower rates than credit cards or payday lenders.

The company has an unusually low default rate of 0.5 per cent because of the security of deducting repayments directly from a borrower’s salary, and the extra information it gains about its customers by tapping into their employer’s payroll systems.

Fintech awareness is surprisingly low in the UK (Business Insider), Rated: A

Despite the high number of UK consumers who use financial products and the extent of financial services penetration in the country — 91% of people across the UK have a current account, and 67% use contactless payments at least once a month — awareness of fintech services in the UK remains low, according to a 

Source: Business Insider

Luton is still the best place for buy-to-let investors (What Mortgage), Rated: B

According to the latest Buy-to-Let Index from online mortgage lender LendInvest, Luton has managed to hold on to the top spot as the best place for buy-to-let investment.

Luton has seen a 4.51% increase in rental price growth and an average yield of 4.51%.

China

Chinese Lender Qudian Leads 2 IPO Launches Totaling $ 869M (Law360), Rated: AAA

Chinese online lender Qudian Inc. launched an estimated $769 million initial public offering on Tuesday, adding to a growing IPO pipeline along with private equity-backed medical device company OptiNose Inc., which set terms on a projected $100 million offering.

Beijing-based Qudian plans to offer 37.5 million Class A shares priced between $19 and $22, raising $768.8 million if shares price at midrange. Qudian, represented by Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, is directly offering 35.6 million shares in the IPO while various existing shareholders are selling 1.9….

European Union

Robo.cash Founder Sergey Sedov Comments on Recent Milestone (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Robo.cash, an automated P2P lending platform that includes a buyback guarantee, recently celebrated its own steady growth during 2017 Q2, noting that its total amount of investments now exceeds €1.8 million. In addition, nearly €400,000 in loans were added in August alone, while the  average invested amount per investor gained 2.2% to the previous month at €3,270 in August. More than 900 investors have joined the platform in the first six months of operation.

The Ultimate List of LendIt Europe 2017 Speakers to Follow on Twitter (LendIt), Rated: B

If you follow them, we guarantee that your news feed will be filled with industry news, trends, thoughts, opinions and more!

Source: LendIt

 

International

International P2P Lending Volumes September 2017 (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

This month I added Raize, a marketplace in Portugal.

Source: P2P-banking

GoldMint Partnership Signals Strategic Advancement (NASDAQ), Rated: A

GoldMint, a blockchain-based startup that helps gold owners profit from digital assets backed 100 percent by physical gold, recently announced an innovative collaboration with the mineral production company Eurasia Mining .

Through this agreement, GoldMint is establishing a method for applying blockchain-based technology to the development of resource industry projects.

India

GET YOUR FINANCES RIGHT (Daily Pioneer), Rated: A

Last year, State Bank of India (SBI) announced that the ceiling limit for its foreign educational loans would be raised from Rs 30 lakh to Rs 1.5 crore.

According to statistics, about45 per cent of international students in US alone comprise of Chinese or Indian students.

Here’s a quick look at the financial loan options other than SBI:

  • The Indian Government has installed the portal ‘Vidya Lakshmi’ that allows students to check out various loan options and fund providers. Loans are provided in four slabs — Below Rs 4 lakhs, between Rs 4 lakhs and Rs 7.5 lakhs; and above Rs 7.5 lakhs with differing interest rates for each slab.
  • Credila, an HDFC Ltd. Company, India’s first dedicated educational loan company, offers loan approvals before you secure admission. You can get loans up to Rs 2.5 crores.
  • Prodigy Finance offers competitive loans which does not need a co-signer or collateral. Students can start repaying six months after graduation, and there are no penalties for early repayment. You can also avail of their $10,000 scholarships, which is being given away this year to mark their decade of business.
  • GyanDhan, India’s first educational loans marketplace, offers 100 per cent financing for top B-Schools and engineering schools. They offer loans with collateral starting as low as 9.1 per cent.
  • Avanse Educational Loan covers 100 per cent of study abroad expenses on a floating interest of 12 per cent to 17 per cent.
  • Nationalised banks are offering a comparatively lower rate of interest between 9 per cent to 13 per cent on an average.
Asia

Seasoned Japanese startup puts fintech on the map with $ 500m IPO (Tech in Asia), Rated: AAA

Money Forward, a well-established financial tech startup, has launched its IPO, marking a watershed moment for Japan’s burgeoning fintech scene.

The firm, started in 2012, is now worth US$505 million after listing on the Mothers Index Futures section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, which is designed for high-growth and emerging stocks.

The IPO raised approximately US$25 million.

MENA

Payday Loan Ranger Is Helping People Cover Gaps In Between Their Paychecks (MENAFN.com), Rated: A

Payday Loan Ranger is a loan service that specializes in providing loans from $50 to $1000.

Payday Loan Ranger’s popularity rises from the fact that it completely simplifies the process and never makes it as hectic and difficult as similar services. Their entire service is reduced down to three simple steps, applying online, searching for the best lenders, and then receiving the cash as early in the first 24 hours.

With over 2,000,000 applications already processed, it has become one of the most popular services used for such transactions and continues to rise in usage as it seems people are truly in need of such a novel service.

Caribbean

Why Bitcoin Will Not Solve the Caribbean’s Financial Inclusion Woes (CircleID), Rated: AAA

The issue of financial exclusion can be summarized into two categories: unbanked and underbanked. Unbanked individuals do not have an account at a regulated financial institution, while underbanked individuals have accounts, but frequently use alternative or unregulated financial services.

Unbanked individuals are faced with a heavy economic burden when conducting even the most basic financial transactions. For example, cashing a cheque can cost the average person with full-time employment as much as USD$20,000 over his/her lifetime. Western Union, as an example, charges as much as USD$42 to send a USD$500 remittance to Barbados. ‘Underground’ alternative financial service providers levy as much as USD$10 on every USD$100 transferred.

Another reason for unbanked individuals is attitudinal and behavioral; they really do not trust banks. This sentiment may not be all that unfounded, as a number of the banks across the Caribbean region have been reducing the teller services that unbanked individuals are familiar with and prefer, forcing more (non-technical) customers to online channels, regularly increasing service fees, and even worse, looking to divest their retail operations in favor of corporate banking and wealth management business units.

To obtain Bitcoin, you must already be “economically included” — both in terms of Internet and financial access.

Predatory businesses are convenient where the unbanked live. Rural areas like Trelawny, Jamaica or Mayaro, Trinidad are home to large swathes of unbanked households. Traditional banks don’t see a viable business cases for locating a branch or satellite office in such districts. This means that check cashing and money changing businesses that charge exorbitant rates are the only real means of conducting transactions. Kenya’s M-PESA succeeded because it leveraged an existing network of agents and vendors.

Globally, mobile banking is overtaking branch-centered activity more and more — for example, in Norway, 91% of the population use online banking channels. The explosion of fintech companies that are ‘unbundling’ traditional banking functions, added to the maturity of the first generation of Internet banking solutions, are hastening this trend. Consequently, the amalgamation of omni-channel banking, fintech platforms, and open APIs are obscuring the lines between traditional and alternative finance.

Moreover, besides remittances, financial inclusion also includes micro-credit, micro-insurance, cooperatives, peer-to-peer lending, rural/agricultural credit, mobile money, mobile vouchers, and a number of other alternative financial services. Financial inclusion is multi-faceted, and Bitcoin has yet to distinguish itself in any of the aforementioned categories.

The Caribbean region has serious online trust issues. In 2016, OAS and IDB published a report titled, ‘Cybersecurity: Are We Ready in Latin America and the Caribbean?’ Researchers conducted assessments of 13 Caribbean nations, including Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, and Trinidad & Tobago. The methodological framework covered ‘Culture & Society’, and one of the key findings was the extremely low levels of online trust in the region. Caribbean people do not trust that their online activities aren’t being monitored, they do not trust their service providers, they do not trust social networks, they do not trust their search engine provider, they do not trust companies to keep their personal data safe and secure, and most relevant — they do not trust online and mobile banking platforms.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor