Friday May 11 2018, Daily News Digest

Volume of homes flipped with loans

News Comments Today’s main news: Robinhood raises $363M. Americans on pace to amass $4T in consumer debt by end of year. Zopa to boost regulatory clout. Reserve Bank of India regulations create P2P lending road blocks. How China struggles to create a credit scoring system. Today’s main analysis: LendingClub earnings overreaction. LendingTree Personal Loan Offers Report for April 2018. Today’s […]

Volume of homes flipped with loans

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United States

United Kingdom

International

Other

News Summary

United States

Robinhood Aims to Rival Coinbase in Crypto With $ 363 Million Funding Round (Fortune) Rated: AAA

Robinhood, the free stock trading app, has raised $363 million in a new investment round valuing the company at $5.6 billion.

The Series D round, announced Thursday, makes Robinhood the second most valuable private fintech startup in the U.S. after Stripe, the online payments company.

Inside SoFi’s (expensive) customer acquisition push (Tear Sheet) Rated: AAA

SoFi, which recently confirmed it had 500,000 members, is on a customer acquisition push.

The company, which initially offered student loan refinancing for high-earning top-tier graduates and has since expanded its offerings, differentiates with VIP-style “member” benefits.

It’s a customer-for-life strategy other digital banking upstarts are pursuing. Luvleen Sidhu, CEO of BankMobile, recently told Tearsheet that a “customer for life” strategy is underpinned by the reality that “every customer is a potential customer,” with product offerings tailored for different life stages. SoFi has been known to pay a high price to gain customers; last year, it reportedly acquired customers at $756 apiece. The non-financial member services are valued at $795 per customer, according to the company.

Hey Future SoFi Money Member (SoFo Money Email), Rated: A

Higher interest (1.09% for May—21x the national checking account average of 0.05%!)

  • Reimbursed ATM fees worldwide (up to 6 per month)
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No overdraft fees or account fees whatsoever!
  • Easy-to-use mobile app
  • SoFi Money Visa Debit Card
  • Mobile check deposit
  • Free checks
  • Top notch customer support
  • Send money to friends and family with easy P2P at no cost
  • Bill pay
  • Direct deposit
  • PLUS access to SoFi membership including complimentary career coaching and member events when you set up direct deposit

Did we mention that if you sign up for an account and set up direct deposit you’ll get $200?

LendingClub: Earnings Overreaction (Seeking Alpha) Rated: AAA

Such a strong reaction to LendingClub hasn’t happened in years. The company is still down 20% year to date, and more than 40% in the last twelve months. LendingClub has struggled to find its footing ever since the ouster of its CEO, Renaud Laplanche, after controversy over the parking of LendingClub notes in a related third-party firm. More recently, in the wake of Wells Fargo’s (WFC) fake-account scandal, the FTC has also charged LendingClub with charging improper fees to borrowers, sending the stock to new all-time lows of $2.57.

Source: Seeking Alpha

But with this earnings quarter – the first time in a long time that LendingClub has rallied to earnings news (in Q4, LendingClub dropped 9% after missing revenue estimates; the quarter before that, it tanked 17% for doing the same). What’s interesting is that even in this quarter, LendingClub continued a three-quarter streak of missing analysts’ revenue expectations.

How Wall Street, Silicon Valley institutionalized home flipping (Curbed) Rated: AAA

As the housing market has gone from recovering to roaring over the last five years, home flipping has also increased.

Source: Curbed

According to data provided by ATTOM Data Solutions, a real estate data provider, some 138,410 flippers invested $56 billion in home flipping in 2017, 34.8 percent of which was financed as opposed to executed in all cash. Prior to the housing bust, the same type of easy credit that infected the traditional mortgage market was also present in home flipping. At the peak of the housing bubble in 2005, more than $100 billion worth of homes were flipped by 287,929 investors, and 66 percent of those home flips were financed with loans.

Source: Curbed

Turn the Post Office Into a Bank? First Check Japan (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

Koizumi won his fight, his party crushing all opposition in a landslide, and his plan was set in motion, though the process has taken more than a decade. The company’s initial public offering in 2015 was the world’s biggest in that year. The government still owns most of Japan Post Holdings Co., and periodically sells off shares, with the goal of eventually reducing its stake to only a third from more than half now. But privatization hasn’t shrunk Japan’s postal bank itself, which remains one of the largest and most important in the world:

Source: Bloomberg

The problem was that Japan’s postal bank didn’t just take deposits — it also lent money, including to so-called zombie companies, or inefficient enterprises that survive due to below-market-rate loans.

Bond Fund Inflows, Dollar Rally and Buyback Surge (INTL FCStone Email), Rated: AAA

Source: INTL FCStone

U.S. equity ETFs have lost $35 billion since the Nasdaq index peaked in mid-March. This is the longest stretch of ETF outflows I can remember since the end of the great financial crisis. Inflows into bond funds accelerated to $16 billion over the same time. Jumping from stock to bond funds at the first sign of volatility was a logical reaction when bond yields were falling to record lows amidst the deflationary fears of the beginning of 2016.

It makes a lot less sense when corporate earnings are soaring, when deficit-related treasury issuance is exploding, and when the New York Fed underlying inflation gauge is clocking above 3%. Last but not least, the equity selloff was in large part driven by a bond market rout that pushed 10-year yields above the economically meaningless but psychologically symbolic 3% level.

Read the full report here.

The Real Estate Lending Merger That Shook Mt. Olympus (Digital Journal) Rated: A

Zeus CrowdFunding, Zeus Hard Money and Zeus Mortgage Bank—made the switch to monotheism. The three successful businesses are now united under a single brand: ZeusLending.com.

Zeus Founder and Chief Acceleration Officer Steven Kaufman claims to have consolidated all three financing businesses into a single organization to better serve the community of real estate buyers and investors who rely upon fast, no-hassle loans to conduct timely transactions.

Federal student loans are about to get more expensive. What you need to know (CNBC) Rated: A

Although the Department of Education hasn’t formally announced the new rates, this year’s bump is likely to be higher than expected, said Mark Kantrowitz, a student loan expert.

Americans On Pace to Amass a Collective $ 4 Trillion in Consumer Debt by the End of 2018 (Benzinga) Rated: AAA

LendingTree today released its first Consumer Debt Outlook for May 2018. Americans are on pace to amass a collective $4 trillion in consumer debt by the end of 2018. Collectively, Americans owe more than 26 percent of their income on consumer debt, up from 22 percent in 2010.

Incomes growing, but consumer borrowing growing faster
Overall, the percentage of total non-housing debt, at 26 percent of Disposable Personal Income, is now even higher than during the credit boom in the mid-2000s.

Source: Lending Tree

 

LendingTree Personal Loan Offers Report – April 2018 (Lending Tree) Rated: AAA

Excellent credit (760+ score): Offered APRs to consumers with a credit score of 760+ averaged 7.35% in April.

  • The average best APR offered to all borrowers with credit scores of 760 or above was 7.35%, a decrease of 7 basis points from the prior month and 2 basis points from the same period one year ago.
  • At $22,774, the average loan amounts offered with the best APRs to all borrowers with a score of 760, up 0.57% ($130) from last month, and over 17.86% ($4,067) from the same period one year ago.
  • The top 10% of offers, presented to borrowers with the best profiles within this group, had offered APRs of 4.87% on average, and loan amounts of $33,931. A borrower with this APR and loan amount would save $2,877 by consolidating debt with a 10% APR over a three-year term.
Source: Lending Tree

Real Estate Crowdfunding: MG Capital Migrates Investment Opportunity Online (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Recently, CI had a chance to catch up with Eric Malley, founder & CEO of MG Capital Management during the Crypto Invest Summit in Los Angeles. While not quite there yet, Malley is interested in the potential of blockchain.  He is looking at the options of how crypto and property can make sense for both investor and issuer.

RealtyMogul’s MogulREIT I Closes $ 4.9 Million Investments in Two Retail Shopping Centers (Citizen Tribune) Rated: B

MogulREIT I, as part of its diversified income strategy, recently completed two preferred equity investments in community-based retail centers. Community-based retail centers are centrally located within their respective population centers and focus on durable tenancy that serves the needs of the working community, thereby being less susceptible to internet retailing. The transactions include a $3 million preferred equity investment in a retail center in Waterbury, CT, consisting of three multi-tenant strips with 17 suites across 50.5 acres and a $1.9 million preferred equity investment in a retail center comprised of two lots with over 27,000 square feet located in Orange County, CA. CoStar reports that within a one-mile radius of the property, average household income is over $116,000.

Goldman Sachs, Apple Team Up on New Credit Card (Wall Street Journal) Rated: A

Apple Inc. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. are preparing to launch a new joint credit card, a move that would deepen the technology giant’s push into its customers’ wallets and mark the Wall Street firm’s first foray into plastic.

The planned card would carry the Apple Pay brand and could launch early next year, people familiar with the matter said. Apple will replace its longstanding rewards-card partnership with Barclays PLC, the people said.

Guaranteed Rate Continues Record-Breaking Streak through April (Blobe Newswire) Rated: A

Guaranteed Rate, one of the nation’s largest retail mortgage lenders, reached $3 billion in total locked loan volume for the month of April and eclipsed records previously broken in March. In a highly-competitive housing market, the retail mortgage lender showed it’s the home purchase expert by achieving the following records: 9,387 in total locked units, $2.5 billion in locked purchase volume and 8,041 in locked purchase units.

 

Why Nationwide is ditching retail banking (Tear Sheet) Rated: A

Nationwide is shutting down its retail bank, returning to its historical core business lines including insurance and retirement; part of this plan is to invest more resources in reaching the fee-only adviser community.

The move to wind down banking operations was a strategic decision to focus on trust operations that support  retirement plans, a company spokesman said. Gaining scale and becoming competitive in retail banking would have required a “significant investment.”

Digital Lending 2.0 — A New Era (LinkedIn) Rated: A

We are now seeing an evolution of the online lending model: version 2.0. This version looks in many ways like a traditional bank, albeit a much lighter and digital one, with multi-product platforms and a variety of custom offerings for consumers. With non-traditional models like Barclays and Goldman Sachs entering the market, online lenders are either partnering up or learning from the players they sought to disrupt. In digital lending 2.0, it will be important to take an open collaborative approach, broaden offerings and deepen customer relationships through more customized solutions.

Marketplace Lending Update #3: Kabbage Heads to Court (The National Law Review) Rated: A

A recently filed California lawsuit raises the stakes in the ongoing challenge to the “bank origination model.” The lawsuit, Barnabas Clothing, Inc. v. Kabbage, Inc., was filed on March 22, 2018 in Superior Court in Los Angeles and recently removed to the federal court.1 Barnabas alleges violations of state usury, false advertising, and unfair competition laws, and asserts two federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (“RICO”) Act claims. Barnabas seeks to certify a class on behalf of all California-based Kabbage borrowers and requests various relief, including that the court void the Kabbage loans.

You can do more than you think with bad credit (Inquirer Business) Rated: B

CreditCards.com, the average FICO credit score was 699 in 2016, which is just a step above fair credit. About 30 percent of Americans have poor credit, making it difficult for them to function in the financial world.

Get Creative with Loans

  • Peer to Peer LendingSince 2005, peer to peer (P2) lending has been a staple for those seeking funding with bad credit. Rather than going through an institution, you apply for and receive funds over a member-funded platform.

 

United Kingdom

Zopa to boost regulatory clout ahead of Brexit (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

ZOPA is recruiting staff to bolster its regulatory expertise and influence ahead of industry changes and developments such as Brexit.

The peer-to-peer lender is advertising for a public and regulatory affairs officer who will be responsible for building relationships with key regulatory and political stakeholders and industry bodies.

 

Nearly Half of Aspiring Property Developers Say Economic Growth Will Have the Greatest Effect on House Prices in the Next Five Years (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

According to LendInvest, when asked what will have the biggest effect on house prices in the next five years, nearly half (40%) of those surveyed viewed national economic growth as having the greatest impact. Only a quarter of respondents (24%) reportedly believe political developments, such as further elections and impending Brexit, will affect house price growth the most. And a shortage in supply of housing is the biggest concern affecting house prices for only a fifth (20%) of those surveyed, while 16% of aspiring developers cited the construction of new infrastructure such as the new HS2 and Crossrail lines as the key influencing factor.

 

Goldman Sachs has invested in a UK startup that tells you when to switch mortgages (Business Insider) Rated: A

Goldman Sachs has led a £13.6 million funding round into UK startup Trussle, a company that helps people get mortgages online and tells them when to switch to better deals.

Goldman Sachs Principal Strategic Investments and Propel Venture Partners led the Series B investment into Trussle, which was announced on Wednesday.

Virgin Money offer highlights testing times for challenger banks (Financial Times) Rated: A

CYBG recently made a takeover approach of rival Virgin Money as challenger banks look for solutions in what has become a tough market; challenger banks are dealing with increased competition by digital entrants, not to mention the big four UK banks, rising funding costs and bigger rivals in the mortgage market; M&A activity among challengers is increasing as companies look to consolidate and digitize to compete.

 

 

Credit Kudos a bureau hero in open banking roll-out race (Fintech Futures) Rated: B

Credit Kudos has got connected with banks in the UK, becoming the “first credit bureau to offer open banking services to lenders and individuals”.

According to the credit bureau, borrowers can now use its services to verify income and demonstrate creditworthiness using their financial history data.

The company has now launched connections with Lloyds, Halifax, Bank of Scotland, Royal Bank of Scotland, NatWest, Ulster Bank, Allied Irish Bank, Danske Bank, and HSBC.

Mortgages shine in Castlight Financial’s open banking pilot (Fintech Futures) Rated: B

Glasgow-based Castlight Financial is partnering with Paradigm Mortgage Services and Foundation Home Loans to launch a pilot of its affordability tool powered by open banking technology.

Called Affordability Passport, Castlight says it allows brokers to process mortgages in under ten minutes.

China

China Struggles to Establish Credit Scoring System (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

China’s government has tried for many years to establish a credit system that rivals the U.S. and Europe, but has found it a struggle to get there.

In 2015 China’s Central Bank contracted eight companies, including affiliates of TencentPing Anand Alibaba, to help build a credit system that could rival what other developed economies use. The experiment up until today has not fared well as lenders and e-commerce firms continue to use their own proprietary systems to determine risk of the borrower.

One of the main drivers behind the failure is companies were reluctant to share the data they collected. Also, conflicts of interest arose as users could be rewarded by using certain companies to drive their score up.

International

Splitit is financing purchases for debit cardholders (Tear Sheet) Rated: AAA

Splitit, a competitor to lending companies like Affirm and Klarna, is bringing its point-of-sale financing product to debit card users in the U.S. and Europe, targeting fashion and jewelry websites in particular, like Vestiaire Collective and Philip Stein.

Unlike its competitors, however, the company is focused on making the retail industry better for everyone involved — banks, processors, consumers and merchants — rather than displacing credit cards, said Gil Don, CEO of Splitit.

It might be decades before credit cards disappear, but different industries are already seeking ways to sidestep the fees that come with today’s credit card payments.

Getline ICO (GET Token): Blockchain Credit Scoring & Lending? (Bitcoin Exchange Guide) Rated: A

The GetLine network is a peer-to-peer lending platform that is built on the Ethereum blockchain. By leveraging distributed ledger technology, the objective of this project is to disrupt the lending sector, which is currently valued at a whopping $1 trillion. Therefore, transactions will be processed instantly thanks to the direct connection between lenders and borrowers. Moreover, the platform will rely on an advanced credit risk prediction mechanism, making the entire lending process safer and accessible to lenders and borrowers respectively.

 

India

RBI regulations create roadblocks for peer-to-peer lending companies (Business Standard) Rated: AAA

Is non-bank lending a form of access to credit for those in need or an investment asset class for the well-to-do? That is the question that India’s central bank perhaps grappled with while framing the regulations for the nascent peer-to-peer (P2P) lending companies.

While the regulations were put up only in November last year, a handful of companies have exited business and many others have changed tack after looking at the guidelines.

Asia

DBS Bank rolls out Singapore’s first in-app digital financial advisor that’s called ‘Your Financial GPS’ – (Business Insider) Rated: A

DBS Bank recently announced a new in-app holistic digital financial advisor which it called “Your Financial GPS”  – said to be the first of its kind in Singapore.

If you’re a DBS/POSB Bank member and have recently used your iBanking or digibank app, you might have noticed the new feature already available on the app’s main page.

Indonesia: Skystar-backed P2P lender Julo raises $ 5m Series A round (Deal Street Asia) Rated: A

Indonesian peer-to-peer (P2P) lending startup Julo has raised $5 million in a Series A funding round led by Skystar Capital and East Ventures.

Other investors that joined the round include Gobi Partners, Convergence Ventures, Provident Capital, Central Capital Ventura, Heyokha Brothers and other strategic investors, Julo announced on Thursday.

The new round of funding comes only a year after Julo raised an undisclosed amount in a seed round, also led by Skystar Capital.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday May 7 2018, Daily News Digest

Morgan Stanley collateral comparison

News Comments Today’s main news: Square funded $339M to SMBs in Q1. RateSetter joins Finsure, LoanKit panels. WeLab to become licensed virtual bank. CredoLab nabs $1M investment. Today’s main analysis: MSRP 2018-SC1 resecuritization deep dive. Today’s thought-provoking articles: CommonBond highlights desire for student loan help from employers. Contrasting OnDeck with peers. Financial inclusion in the rich world. P2P lending, MPL unicorns […]

Morgan Stanley collateral comparison

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

Asia

Other

News Summary

United States

Square Funded $ 339M to SMBs in Q1 (deBanked) Ranked: AAA

Square’s small business funding arm, Square Capital, made over 50,000 business loans for a total of $339 million in Q1, according to the company’s latest earnings report. That figure is a 35% increase year-over-year and puts them on pace to break last year’s $1.177B total. OnDeck, by comparison, who is arguably their top rival, made $2.11B in business loans last year.

MSRP 2018-SC1 Resecuritization Deep Dive (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

A recent Bloomberg article discussed ratings on and the performance of MPL ABS. According to the article, ratings agencies that provide lower loss estimates on ABS transactions tend to do the most business, in part due to the “issuer paid” model. While there is no way to verify “ratings shopping” behavior, we do believe there are a few observations to share to balance the discussion.

Overall loss estimates have tended to lower with successive deals as ratings agencies gain access to longer performance histories. The securitization structures have also been extremely robust – we have seen about 10% of outstanding balance breaching triggers so far.

Deal Deep Dive MSRP 2018-SC1

Morgan Stanley is resecuritizing a portion of the residual tranche of SCLP 2015-1 (SoFi’s first consumer loan ABS) via MSRP 2018-SC1. SCLP 2015-1 had an original collateral pool of $252 Mn and issued $189 Mn in Class A notes. Today $96 Mn of that pool and $51 Mn of the A notes are outstanding. MS is issuing $37 Mn in a Class B bond with an initial CE of 11.2% that is rated BBB by Kroll.

Realized losses on SCLP 2015-1 are at 5.31%, 1.26% below KBRA’s initial estimates. KBRA is also lowering its total cumulative loss estimate on SCLP 2015-1 from 8.5% to 8.0%.

Source: PeerIQ, KBRA
Source: PeerIQ, KBRA

New Study From CommonBond Highlights Desire for Help with Student Loans from Employers (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

The market for student loans has continued to climb. According to data from CommonBond, 44 million Americans currently owe $1.4 trillion in student debt with the average student loan debt in 2016 coming in at $37,172.

Source: Lend Academy; Commonbond

CommonBond’s study included 1,500 workers and 500 human resource executives. Their key findings as provided in their press release are copied below

  • Almost 75 percent of all workers have taken out loans to fund their own education, while 21 percent of workers expect to take out a loan for a child or other family member’s education in the next five years.
  • For employees with student debt, student loan repayment is the most-requested financial wellness benefit; however, human resources teams rank student loan repayment as their third priority.
  • Seventy-one percent of human resources executives see their benefits offering as innovative, compared with 50 percent of employees.
  • Seventy-eight percent of employees with current or future student loan debt want their employer to offer this benefit, and 65 percent of employees over age 55 in these categories want the same.
Source: Lend Academy; Commonbond

 

Contrasting OnDeck Capital (NYSE:ONDK) & Its Peers (Macon Daily) Rated: AAA

OnDeck Capital (NYSE: ONDK) is one of 29 public companies in the “Nondepository credit institutions” industry, but how does it contrast to its competitors? We will compare OnDeck Capital to related companies based on the strength of its valuation, risk, analyst recommendations, dividends, institutional ownership, profitability and earnings.

OnDeck Capital’s competitors have higher revenue and earnings than OnDeck Capital. OnDeck Capital is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than its competitors, indicating that it is currently more affordable than other companies in its industry.

Lending Club (LC) Set to Announce Quarterly Earnings on Tuesday (The Lincolnian Online) Rated: B

Lending Club (NYSE:LC) will be issuing its quarterly earnings data after the market closes on Tuesday, May 8th. Analysts expect the company to announce earnings of ($0.01) per share for the quarter.

Elevate: Providing Responsible Credit to Non Prime Lenders (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

While interest rates may be high, this is necessary to manage the overall portfolio risk. Elevate’s default rate is pegged at around 23% – which is quite a bit higher than a prime credit provider. The online lender recently announced their Q1 results and there services are booming. Elevate more than quadrupled year-over-year net income with 24% revenue growth and new customer growth of 32%. So they must be doing something right.

Better Mortgage Hires Former OnDeck Chief Financial Officer (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Better Mortgage, a digital mortgage company working to improve access to home financing through transparency, honest guidance and zero commissions, today announced that it has hired Howard Katzenberg as Chief Financial Officer.

Student Loan Genius Raises $ 4.7 Million in New Funding (Finovate) Rated: A

Xconomy is reporting that Austin, Texas-based Student Loan Genius has raised $4.7 million in funding. The news was seconded by Austin Business Journal, which added that 11 investors have participated in the round. Both reports – as well as a third from AmericanInno, are based at least in part on a SEC Form D filing, which suggests that the $4.7 million was part of a larger $5.8 million fundraising initiative. As reported, the new capital more than doubles Student Loan Genius’ total equity funding to more than $7 million.

Federal Court Dismisses “Speculative” And “Attenuated” Lawsuit By The Conference Of State Bank Supervisors Over Proposed OCC Fintech Charter (Mondaq) Rated: A

On Monday, a federal district court judge in the District of Columbia issued an order dismissing a lawsuit brought by the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) regarding a proposal of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) to issue federal charters to certain Fintech firms. In dismissing the case, US District Court Judge Dabney L. Friedrich held the CSBS did not have standing to sue because the OCC had not yet officially decided to issue charters to Fintech companies. Judge Friedrich explained that the CSBS lacks standing to bring the suit because the harms it alleges are “contingent on whether the OCC charters” a Fintech company, and “[s]everal contingent and speculative events must occur before the OCC” issues such a charter.

Banks are using open source to collaborate, not compete (Tear Sheet) Rated: A

On the consumer side, product and marketing teams in banks in the Zelle network currently face new challenges as their partnership is crucial to their success. And on the backend, when banks began paying attention to blockchain technology (the original bitcoin blockchain was a breakthrough of open-source development), the largest companies including JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo joined industry consortia working on open-source blockchains.

Commercial loan slump chips away at bankers’ reluctance to automate (American Banker) Rated: A

Loan executives at the $5.1 billion-asset bank wanted commercial clients’ information in one place, where anyone within the organization could access it — especially from the road on their mobile phones.

In a report aptly titled “The Productivity Crisis in Commercial Lending,” David O’Connell, a senior analyst at Aite Group, found that at 78% of the banks he surveyed, lenders spent at least 30% of their time on noncore job responsibilities. At 46% of those institutions, lenders spent at least 40% of their time on those noncore functions.

 

Banks say they aren’t profitable enough for tech giants to bother with their business (Quartz) Rated: A

We’re-not-profitable-enough-to-bother-with is an unusual defense, which is why it caught my attention amid the usual distractions at these sorts of conferences (texts, emails, the snack table). The banker cited return on equity, which is a measure of profitability, as proof. FactSet calculates this measure by dividing net income by a trailing two fiscal-period average of total shareholder equity:

Source: Quartz

Granted, tax cuts and deregulation in the US will make banks there more profitable than before. But Amazon is making so much money selling cloud computing to the financial industry (charging them by the second) that taking deposits or writing mortgages wouldn’t seem worth the hassle by comparison.

United Kingdom

P2P lender joins Finsure and LoanKit panels (The Adviser) Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lender RateSetter has joined the panel of Finsure and LoanKit, giving accredited brokers access to its personal and green loan solutions.

As of this month (1 May), more than 1,400 brokers accredited with aggregators Finsure and LoanKit will be able to offer their clients personal loans and green loan products from the growing retail lender.

Financial inclusion in the rich world (The Enconomist) Rated: AAA

A report published in March 2017 by a House of Lords committee estimated that 1.7m adult British residents have no bank account; 40% of the working-age population have less than £100 ($140) in cash savings; and 31% show signs of financial distress.

In Britain such lenders include pawnbrokers, offering an APR of between 25% and 101% for a secured loan; doorstep lenders such as Provident, the biggest, which will charge an APR of 1,558% for a 13-week loan; “payday lenders” such as Wonga, which offer similar rates for a loan to be repaid after 1-35 days in one lump sum; and “rent-to-own” lenders, such as BrightHouse, which offer finance for purchases to be repaid in installments.

Are we seeing the beginning of the end for retail banking? (CL News) Rated: A

At the beginning of this week, the first waves splashed up on the shore as the Royal Bank of Scotland announced the closure of 162 branches throughout the UK, with the loss of 800 jobs. The full list is here if you would like to see if your town is affected.

The robot revolution gathers pace (Money Week) Rated: B

The first wave started a decade ago with the rise of online stockbroking platforms, which brought down dealing costs and sparked a wave of DIY investing. Then came the rise of robo-advisers – a rather daft term to describe what are in effect online wealth managers or advisers.

Now a second wave of new entrants has hit the market. Some big players have launched their own robo products, chief among them being private banks such as UBS and Investec – trusted brands with a great investment pedigree. They tend to focus on wealthier clients, however. Investec has a minimum investment of £10,000, while for UBS it’s £15,000. Another big player is IG and its Smart Portfolio, which has lower fees and a minimum investment of £500 per portfolio. Alongside these sit smaller companies such as Moneybox, Wealthify and Moola. The latest platform, Exo, launched just this week.

China

WeLab joins fintech race to become Hong Kong’s first licensed virtual bank (South China Morning Post) Rated: AAA

WeLab, Hong Kong’s home-grown fintech unicorn, is poised to be among the first batch of companies to apply for a virtual banking license from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, according to its co-founders.

In the coming weeks, the HKMA is due to issue guidelines for virtual banking regulation based on a consultation in February.

CreditEase becomes Milken Institute’s first Asian Strategic Partner (PR Newswire) Rated: A

Tang Ning, founder and CEO of CreditEase, attended the 21st Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles as both a strategic partner and a speaker, and said on the global capital market panel that driven by technology, the middle class and the high-net-worth individuals, a strong new economic growth can be seen in China these years, adding that China is now entering a new era.

European Union

Taaleri to buy Finnish robo-advisor wealth management firm Evervest (Banking Business Review) Rated: A

Taaleri Wealth Management has agreed to acquire Finnish robo-advisor wealth management firm, Evervest, for an undisclosed sum.

 

The acquisition will add Taaleri with functioning digital platform, which will help to extend service offering for customers.

Subject to approval by the Finnish Financial Supervisory Authority, the deal is expected to complete in the first half of this year.

Will ‘buy now, pay later’ change the in-store customer experience? (Econsultancy) Rated: A

I’m going to preface this by saying that this is something we as a business are working on at the moment at Klarna, so I may be biased. But we’re not the only ones experimenting with new bricks-and-mortar payment solutions – the industry is striving to align in-store with online.

International

The 27 fintech unicorns from around the world (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

CB Insights, which tracks the venture capital industry, recently provided a list of what it believes are all the fintech unicorns in the world — venture capital-backed, private businesses worth over $1 billion.

27. Funding Circle — $1 billion

Why it’s hot: Over £3 billion has been lent across the platform and the company is tipped for a blockbuster European float later this year.

27. Kabbage — $1 billion

Why it’s hot: The company has written over $4 billion-worth of loans and has partnered with Spanish bank Santander.

27. 51 Credit — $1 billion

Why it’s hot: 51 Credit provides risk management and credit advisory services to over 20 major banks working in China, including Citibank and Standard Chartered.

17. Tuandaiwang — $1.4 billion

Why it’s hot: The company has helped individuals and companies borrow $11.4 billion and helped lenders make $335 million in returns.

HQ: Dongguan.

14. Affirm — $1.8 billion

Why it’s hot: The company works with over 1,200 retailers in the US and its technology helps retailers increase average order sizes by 51%. Morgan Stanley and Singapore’s GIC are both investors.

13. NuBank — $1-2 billion

Why it’s hot: The bank has 3 million customers and has raised money from Sequoia Capital, Goldman Sachs, Tiger Global, and more.

HQ: Sao Paulo.

11. Avant — $1.9 billion

Why it’s hot: The company has lent over $1 billion and is backed by the likes of Tiger Global, KKR, and Jefferies.

8. Klarna — $2.5 billion

Why it’s hot: The company processes 800,000 transactions a day and has been used by 60 million people globally. Sequoia Capital, the Silicon Valley fund that backed PayPal, is an investor.

6. GreenSky — $3.6 billion

Why it’s hot: Steven McLaughlin, a former Goldman Sachs banker whose firm advised GreenSky on a funding deal, told Bloomberg in 2016 that GreenSky “is the single best fintech company created in the last 10 years, by far.”

4. SoFi — $4.5 billion

Why it’s hot: Like Zenefits, SoFi struggled with a slew of setbacks in 2017. Allegations of sexual misconduct and loan misstatements forced out founder Mike Cagney. Former Twitter CFO and ex-Goldman banker Anthony Noto is now leading a turnaround of the business.

1. Lu.com — $18.5 billion

Why it’s hot: Lu.com, also known as Lufax, is one of China’s largest online lenders and is tipped for an IPO this year.

WhizCoin ICO (WZC Token): Legit Crypto Lending Rewards? (Bitcoin Exchange Guide) Rated: A

Whizcoin is the latest entrant to the world of digital currencies. The project aims to create the biggest lending program in the world which offers exclusive bonuses as well as passive income on a daily basis for its holders. To realize this goal, Whizcoin has already established a token buyback mechanism that runs on a transparent profit distribution model, and thus enables members to increase the value of their digital coins. All transactions are secured by cryptographic encryption, a feature that also regulates the mining of new Whizcoin.

Unlike other digital currencies, Whizcoin does not require exceptional tech savvy from its users. To trade in Whizcoin, all an investor needs is a mobile or computer with a dependable internet connection.

 

 

 

Australia

Winners from banking Royal Commission (The Bull) Rated: A

The Royal Commission will surely slow the big banks down by adding extra compliance and costs, at a time when they need to be more nimble and aggressive to combat the fintech threat (and benefit from financial technology).
Peer-to-peer lending stocks could benefit if more borrowers look to bypass the banks, but most on ASX are too small and speculative for portfolio investors. Big fintech payment providers, such as Afterpay Touch Group, are a better bet but look fully valued after recent price gains.

Australian Banks Expected To Start Hiking Mortgage Lending Rates (Compare Dinkum) Rated: A

ME, the online lender has decided to raise the interest rate on its variable rate mortgages because it says funding costs have risen. ME is not the first bank to do this, nevertheless the lender hiked its standard variable rate for owner-occupier, principal and interest borrowers. Jamie McPhee CEO of the online lender said higher funding costs and increased regulatory compliance were the main reasons behind its decision to hike rates.

Funding costs are rising

Mr MchPee says over the last few months the bank has seen funding costs steadily rise in response to US interest rates that have been passed on to short term Australian interest rates. Simultaneously, regulatory requirements and industry reforms means that compliance costs are rising as well. ME’s decision follows on the heels of Suncorp which raised its rates in March and also cited higher funding costs as the reason behind its decision.

India

Money lending made easy (News Today) Rated: A

The online trading market has been booming at the moment and money lending has taken various forms. Monexo Fintech Pvt Ltd is one such online peer-to-peer lending company and News Today met up with its founder-CEO, Mukesh Bubna here for an exclusive chat.

Q) Being an online firm, technology must play a big part in your business. Do explain. 
A) Our system is 100 per cent online. A typical transaction has many stages. The normal way is cumbersome. There is the problem of being unserviced and second, you do not know how they will use your document. In our platform, your documents come from you to our system directly. There are no print-outs taken and even in our office, there is no printer. Everything is done instantly. With technology, privacy has gone up, speed will go up too.

Asia

Singapore Fintech CredoLab Secures $ 1 Million Investment from Global Venture Firm Walden International (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

CredoLab, a Singapore-based fintech provider of mobile-based alternative credit scoring solutions for banks, consumer finance companies, and retailers, announced on Thursday it secured a $1 million investment from established global venture capital firm Walden International. Established in 2016, CredoLab is headquartered in Singapore was previously backed by regional fintech venture capital firm Fintonia Group, and FORUM.

Beenext-backed Indonesian P2P lender Amartha targets to raise Series B round by June (Deal Street Asia) Rated: A

Indonesian peer-to-peer lending platform Amartha has revealed that it is currently in talks with investors to raise a series B round of funding which is expected to be closed in the second quarter of this year.

 

OJK Urges Sharia Finance to Optimize Fintech (Tempo) Rated: B

The Financial Service Authority (OJK) chief Wimboh Santoso encourages the sharia finance industry to continue expanding businesses using the latest technology. One way is by optimizing the utilization of financial technology or fintech.

Africa

Crypto-to-Cash Lending is Growing Quite Popular These Days (Nigeria Today) Rated: AAA

A new business model has formed recently called crypto-to-cash lending and this new financial sector is growing exponentially. The phenomenon follows the modern rise in recent years of peer-to-peer lending offered by financial giants like the Lending Club. Right now there are a few operations that are attempting to break the mold when it comes to this type of lending with projects such as Unchained Capital and Salt Lending taking the lead.

Then there is a new startup called Nexo that plans to provide crypto-infused instant credit to borrowers without the need for credit checks. VCs like the Techcrunch founder Michael Arrington, and others recently pumped $50Mn into Nexo and the company has a security partnership with Bitgo. Nexo believes it will be the first firm to provide instant crypto-backed loans as it states on its website.

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

Thursday August 10 2017, Daily News Digest

Lending Club

News Comments Today’s main news: NSR Invest, LendingRobot merge: Now the largest alt lending robo-advisor.LendInvest makes London Stock Exchange debut.Big banks losing ground to China’s fintech giants. Today’s main analysis: Q2 update from LendingClub CIO.MarketInvoice loanbook snapshot. Today’s thought-provoking articles: LendingClub’s surprise comeback.Sanborn looks ahead.Personal financial management apps fold as banks work them into their […]

Lending Club

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

NSR Invest and LendingRobot merge to become the largest robo-advisor in the alternative lending space (LendingRobot Email), Rated: AAA

NSR Invest and LendingRobot, two of the largest specialized Registered Investment Advisors in the alternative lending space, announced today that the companies have merged to create the leading independent advisory platform for alternative lending. Lend Core LLC, the parent company of NSR Invest, acquired Algorithmic, Inc. and all its assets, including the LendingRobot website and technology.

The joint team will combine its knowledge in the industry, investment algorithms, machine learning and blockchain technologies with the goal of providing steady investment returns to more than 8000 clients.

The websites, operating, and trading systems of NSRinvest.com and LendingRobot.com will continue to function separately in the short term. In the immediate future, the company is focusing its newfound strength on the LendingRobot Series.

Q2 2017: An Update from Our CIO (LendingClub), Rated: AAA

Projected investor returns are also largely unchanged from the first quarter and continue to range from approximately 4% to 9% (see below).

A few factors that influence returns on the platform1 are listed below:

  • Economic Backdrop. The American economy remains robust but growth continues to be relatively modest. The unemployment rate has changed little over the past year, measuring at 4.4% as of July 2017. Meanwhile, GDP increased by 2.6% in the second quarter of 2017.
  • Borrower Performance. Recent vintage performance continues to come in broadly in line with our expectations. As mentioned above, we continue to see lower delinquency rates across most grades and terms than in loans issued in the second and third quarters of 2016, which we attribute to changes made in 2016.
  • Interest Rates. The overall interest rate environment remains low, though the Federal Reserve raised its Target Rate by 25 bps in June 2017. After announcing its latest rate increase, the Federal Open Market Committee signaled its willingness to raise rates further, as it “expects that economic conditions will evolve in a manner that will warrant gradual increases in the Federal Funds Rate.” Interest rates on the LendingClub platform are not changing at this time.
Source: LendingClub

Lending Club makes a surprise comeback (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

In Q1 2017, US alt lender Lending Club published disappointing results, which showed a flat performance and seemingly vague turnaround plans, sparking concerns that it could be headed for a dead end. However, the company has now reported its second-highest quarterly revenue to date for Q2 of this year, with analysts pointing outthat it appears back on a growth trajectory.

In Q1 2017, US alt lender Lending Club published disappointing results, which showed a flat performance and seemingly vague turnaround plans, sparking concerns that it could be headed for a dead end. However, the company has now reported its second-highest quarterly revenue to date for Q2 of this year, with analysts pointing outthat it appears back on a growth trajectory.

LendingClub CEO Sanborn ‘Looking Ahead’ After Scandal (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

LendingClub Corp (NYSE:LC) Stock Soars As Banks Prove To Be Hypocrites (BNL Finance), Rated: A

Importantly, peer to peer lending is the fastest growing industry in lending, and while there are a lot of players in the game, LendingClub is one of the largest. On many occasions over the last year, BNL Finance has told members that banks would come back and that LC stock losses were overdone.

With that said, LendingClub stock has rallied 26% over the last three sessions.

PFM apps are folding as banks work them into their own apps (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Last week,  Level Money, the money management app owned by Capital One Financial, said it will shut down on Sept. 1. Also last week, Prosper Marketplace said it would discontinue the Prosper Daily app and urged customers to bring their PFM needs to Clarity Money. Earlier last month, SoFi said it would nix the services by Zenbanx, just six months after it acquired the online banking company, and would use its technology and personnel for its own online bank.

PFM has never been a prominent feature of consumer bank accounts. For most of banks’ existence people had to balance their own checkbooks based on debits and credits. That’s changing now as banks realize the importance of personal financial management for continued customer engagement. And they’re starting to implement PFM features into their offerings to provide more complete banking experiences. As it is today, PFM is usually a separate entity found in entirely different apps like Clarity Money, Moven or Mint.

For example, one of the biggest nuisances of PFM historically has been the lack of good financial data. Customers using an app would have to hand over their online banking credentials so the third party financial app could access their banking data to be able to provide users with their financial snapshot. The data that appeared on the home screen of their online banking wasn’t always in sync with what they would see in their PFM app.

Chinese Stock That Rallied 4,555% Could Get the Boot From the Nasdaq (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Wins Finance Holdings Inc., the Chinese loan guarantor that couldn’t explain a 4,555 percent surge in its stock, is set to be delisted from the Nasdaq Stock Market, which cited violations of exchange rules related to its shareholder base.

Nasdaq said Wins doesn’t meet regulations requiring it to have at least 300 shareholders who own 100 shares. The exchange’s decision was also based on “the making of alleged misrepresentations by the company relating to the 300 round-lot shareholder requirement,” as well as public interest concerns, Wins said in a statement Wednesday.

Source: Bloomberg Markets

Installment Loan Provider Earns Top Rating from TopConsumerReviews.com (PR Web), Rated: A

TopConsumerReviews.com recently awarded their highest five-star rating to Lending Club, an industry leader among companies offering Installment Loans.

“For Installment Loans ranging from $1000 to $40,000, Lending Club provides incredible customer service with fair interest rates and fees,” according to Brian Dolezal, of TopConsumerReviews.com, LLC.

StreetShares raises $ 10.3m for “Shark Tank meets eBay” approach to P2P lending (Banking Technology), Rated: A

Alternative lending platform StreetShares raised $10.3 million in a venture round this week, writes Finovate(Banking Technology‘s sister company).

The funds come from an undisclosed investor and bring the Virginia-based company’s total funding to almost $20 million since it was founded in 2013.

Real Estate Crowdfunding Platforms Work to Find a Niche (National Real Estate Investor), Rated: A

However, as crowdfunding marketplaces are getting bigger and more investors are coming onboard, the power to raise equity through this marketplace is growing, says Tore Steen, co-founder and CEO of CrowdStreet Inc. Initially, many sponsors have been looking to raise $1 million to $2 million as a supplement to their existing base of investors. Those levels are now moving to $3 million to $5 million. CrowdStreet’s largest equity raise on a single offering to date was close to $8 million.

Although it remains a fragmented niche that is difficult to quantify, research firm Massolution had estimated the size of the global real estate crowdfunding industry at $3.5 billion in 2016.

RealtyMogul emerged as one of the early players in real estate crowdfunding. Since the firm launched in 2013, it has raised more than $280 million in equity through its online real estate investing marketplace.

Currently, CrowdStreet has more than 25,000 registered investors on its marketplace. In addition, among its active investors, over 55 percent are repeat investors.

Crowdfunding firms such as RealtyMogul are also fueling growth with online “eREITs” that allow them to target a bigger pool of non-accredited investors. Currently, RealtyMogul has 135,000 registered users on its platform, including both accredited and non-accredited investors.

How David Zalik Skipped High School On His Way To Becoming A Billionaire (Forbes), Rated: A

With that I become the first public witness to the long, irregularly shaped basement office where GreenSky, America’s third-most-valuable fintech company (after Stripe and SoFi), has been incubating in obscurity for the past decade. And it’s Zalik who holds the golden ticket: Last September, GreenSky raised $50 million at a $3.6 billion valuation. The 43-year-old cofounder and CEO still owns more than half of the company, shooting him well into the billionaire ranks.

GreenSky’s real magic, however, is something you can’t see: a model that transfers much of the risk, as well as the work, to other parties–and profits from both sides of each deal. Those 17,000 contractors not only market the loans to homeowners but also pay GreenSky, on average, 6% of the loan amount.

From Illinois’ woes to the state of credit: Jamie Dimon lets loose (Crain’s Chicago Business), Rated: A

Obviously you’re a believer in online lending, given JPMorgan’s relationship with small-business lender OnDeck. Tell me how you see online lending going.

What the real issue in peer-to-peer lending is that the borrower will need the money in good times and bad, but the lender will not lend the money in good times and bad. The second there’s a recession, they’ll pull back. That’s exactly what you saw in February of last year when all of a sudden people were pulling back in giving money to the peer-to-peer lenders, who couldn’t then make loans. And they all got crushed. Some have been quite bright. So I think Chicago-based Avant has been quite bright, and they kind of anticipated this, and they created permanent capital. There are multiple ways to create permanent capital. Securitizations kind of work. But they don’t work in tough times. They disappear. Bank relationships work. There are ways to fix the problem. But that is an issue: Can you sustain your business model through the cycle? I think some of them will succeed.

Would you ever see banks getting directly into online consumer lending?

Remember, there is nothing online lenders can do that we can’t. ling With Insurance Companies Less Miserable

5 fintech trends disrupting retail banking (and how banks can fight back) (The Financial Brand), Rated: A

  1. Quick money transfer apps – Millennials have come to expect such an experience. Many banks and credit unions are starting to realize this, but they’re a little behind the eight ball.
  2. Chatbots and Messenger-Based Payments – Soon, you’ll be able to pay for that used TV you found on Craigslist by texting the seller directly from your phone’s messenger app, including Apple which turned on the Messagespayments functionality in June 2017.
  3. Forget the Card, Pay With Mobile Devices – On its own, this doesn’t seem like much of a Trojan horse for banks, but as more people shift behaviors so too will the expectations of banking customers. And with the global mobile payments market estimated to hit $3.4 trillion by 2022, it’s worth monitoring in relation to banking customers.
  4. Smart Budgeting and Personal Finance Management
  5. Digital Currencies That Don’t Require Central Banks

Fintech expert Maule to join British digital banking startup (American Banker), Rated: A

Fintech expert Sam Maule has been hired by nascent digital banking firm 11:FS to head up its expansion in North America.

Marketplace Lending Abs Fund Form D (Weekly Register), Rated: B

The New Jersey-based Marketplace Lending Abs Fund, Lp filed Form D for $2.75 million offering. This is a new filing. The Limited Partnership raised $2.75 million. The offering is still open. The total offering amount was $2.75 million. This form was filed on 2017-08-09.

Online Lending Policy Institute to Host Second Annual Summit in Washington, D.C. (Markets Insider), Rated: B

The Online Lending Policy Institute (OLPI), the leading voice for policy analysis, in-depth research, and education for the online lending industry, today announced it will host its Second Annual Summit on Sept. 25 at The Renaissance Hotel in Washington D.C.

Capital One VP Joins veteran-focused fintech firm (American Banker), Rated: B

A former Capital One executive has moved to StreetShares, an online lending and investing platform.

Heather Tuason, formerly senior vice president of small business at Capital One, is now the fintech startup’s chief product officer, it announced Tuesday.

EquityBuild Announces Master Class Webinar on Five Years to Wealth Through the Brand New Model (Benzinga), Rated: B

EquityBuild announces a new master class on the Power of Five, highlighting their new five-year investment model.

Here is the upcoming webinar master class to attend August 14, 2017:

EquityBuild Power of Five Master Class – Find out how this unique model changing the way investors view real estate. Join us for this special event here.

Labor Department delays fiduciary rule implementation date (Reuters), Rated: B

The U.S. Department of Labor will give wealth management companies more time to get in line with the new “fiduciary rule,” a regulation that requires financial advisers to put retirees’ interests ahead of their own, the regulator said on Wednesday.

Securities brokerages like Morgan Stanley and Bank of America Corp’s Merrill Lynch now have until July 1, 2019, to present retirement savers with new contracts that spell out the fees brokers make on certain investment products or transition them into accounts that charge a flat fee based on assets.

United Kingdom

LendInvest makes London Stock Exchange debut with £50m raise (Finextra), Rated: AAA

LendInvest, the UK’s leading online platform for property lending and investing, today listed a £50 million retail bond on the London Stock Exchange’s Order book for Retail Bonds (ORB).

The process to raise LendInvest’s first retail bond was closed early and oversubscribed, thanks to strong demand from retail and institutional investors. About half of the proceeds raised came from major financial institutions including several multi-billion pound asset managers, two global insurance businesses and a major UK state pension fund.

The bond pays a fixed annual coupon of 5.25% for five years, and is secured against a portfolio of property loans and guaranteed by LendInvest. From today, the bond trades under the LSE ticker LIV1.

P2P Lending: MarketInvoice Loanbook Snapshot (LinkedIn), Rated: AAA

MarketInvoice, founded in 2010, is the largest UK online P2P lending firm specialising in invoice discounting and invoice factoring. Selective invoice discounting is a facility that allows businesses to sell individual invoices at a discount in order to unlock immediate funding which can be an attractive solution for SMEs periodically strained with cashflow. In early 2017 the platform launched an additional product in the form of MarketInvoice Pro, an invoice factoring product that essentially is a debt facility which businesses can draw on backed by the business’s sales ledger.

Source: Sukhwinder Shoker

MarketInvoice celebrated its strongest origination quarter in 2017Q2 with £161.9m in invoices traded and a healthy 25.3% increase from the previous quarter. Annualised invoice origination growth (2013-2016) for the platform stands at 82.6% and, whilst encouraging, it is clear to see from the oscillation in monthly advanced funding that to-date annualised return performance has been highly influenced by seasonality trends.

Source: Sukhwinder Shoker

Invoice terms exceeding 60 days formed 28.3% of origination in 2016Q2, however, this has significantly increased to 58.2% of 2017Q2 origination.

Invoice originations have shifted away from riskier price grades since the introduction of Market Invoice Pro and this is welcome news for investors.

Meet Finimize: The fintech startup that turned a popular newsletter into a financial planning platform (Tech World), Rated: A

Rofagha quickly realised that the banks couldn’t help him, a financial advisor was unreachable with his income, and the rise of the robo-advisor hadn’t really taken off yet.

Then there is one of his favourite statistics: “86 percent of millennials save each month but they keep more than 50 percent of their assets in cash, because there is no suitable way for them to get financial advice.” This was his lightbulb moment.

Now Rofagha has launched the next phase, a financial planning platform called Finimize MyLife, which is currently in beta and has a waiting list of more than 24,000 people.

The Finimize MyLife platform is free to use and helps users create a financial plan by answering a few questions about their financial position, setting goals and then selecting from a range of options, be that opening an ISA or investing with a partner like Nutmeg or Moneyfarm.

The next steps for Rofagha will be to invest in data science so that the platform can make more tailored product recommendations for users, once it has built out its data set.

WiseAlpha opens up corporate bond market for investors (AltFi), Rated: A

Online lending platform WiseAlpha is adding corporate bond and loan investments to its platform.

Retail investors can now access Tesco’s £300m institutional bond that has a 4.8 per cent return.

Users can buy the debt for as little as  £100 and cash in their bonds via the secondary market on the platform. The grocers bond matures in 2042.

Six of the best alternative income ideas (IG.com), Rated: A

Looking at the ten years to the end of May 2017, inflation as measured by the Retail Price Index (RPI) rose 31.8%, while anyone receiving the Bank of England (BoE) base rate would have made a total return of 13.2%. In other words, cash in a bank account has lost 18.6% of its real value over ten years.

Over several years, the Investment Trust sector has seen huge growth in alternative income products, and here we list six products from sectors that investors may want to consider for inclusion in their investment allocations.

MARKET INSIGHT: OLD MONEY, NEW METHOD (Campden FB), Rated: A

Marketplace or ‘peer-to-peer’ lending can be attractive for family office investors for several reasons:

  • attractive absolute and relative returns compared to other fixed interest instruments
  • ability to create some granular/diverse portfolios through investment in loan parts
  • transparent credit process and loan pricing
  • ability to match maturity profile to desired outcomes

At present, the lack of a uniform set of standards places some obstacles for investors willing to invest across multiple marketplace lenders. The data structure, terminology, and methodologies differ greatly from platform to platform. However, good platforms are able to clearly demonstrate how loans are underwritten, an expected loss rate and basis for making investment decisions.

How can family offices engage with marketplace lenders?

Firstly, investors need to consider the asset class and risk profile they wish to invest in.

Secondly, investors need to consider how active they wish to be—in its truest form marketplace lender allow absolute discretion to bid on individual loans at whatever size suits.

Glint is a stealthy London fintech startup that promises to turn gold into a ‘new global currency’ (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Glint, a stealthy London fintech startup that promises a new “global currency,” has raised £3.1 million from a plethora of individual backers in the financial services and asset management space, alongside early-stage investor Bray Capital.

However, I understand that Glint will offer a frictionless way to both store and spend your money in gold, including at the point of sale, just like a regular local currency.

Railsbank, a new fintech startup from founder of Currencycloud, raises $ 1.2M led by Firestartr (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Railsbank, a relatively new fintech startup co-founded by CEO Nigel Verdon, who previously founded money exchange and payments platform Currencycloud, has raised $1.2 million in a funding round led by seed investment firm Firestartr.

The company, yet to see its full launch and over a year in the making, offers what it describes as an open banking and compliance platform aimed at other companies, including other fintechs, that have global banking requirements that need to be accessed programatically via an API.

China

China targets mobile payments oligopoly with clearing mandate (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

China’s central bank has ordered online payment groups to operate through a centralised clearing house, a move likely to undercut the dominance of Ant Financial and Tencent by forcing them to share valuable transaction data with competitors.

China is the world leader in mobile payments, with transaction volumes rising nearly fivefold last year to Rmb59tn ($8.8tn), according to iResearch. They are now widely used for everything from high-street shopping to peer-to-peer lending.

Now the People’s Bank of China is requiring all third-party payment companies to channel payments through a new clearing house by next June, according to a document sent to payment companies on August 4 and seen by the Financial Times.

Ant Financial, the financial services affiliate of Alibaba Group, is the market leader in mobile payments, with its Alipay unit processing 54 per cent share of all transactions in the first quarter of the year, according to iResearch. WeChat Pay, linked to Tencent’s mobile messaging app, held a 40 per cent share.

Big banks on notice that they’re losing ground to China’s fintech giants (SCMP), Rated: AAA

“JPMorgan every year, as we speak, processes through our QuickPay 94 million payments,” she said, “But Tencent, the Chinese company, over Chinese New Year, in five days processed 46 billion payments. Basically that means 800 million payments per hour.

“Visa has a maximum capacity of processing 25,000 payments per second. But Alipay can process 50,000 payments, twice as much, per second.”

The rise of online payments through non-bank services, exemplified by Alipay and WeChat Pay – which falls under the Tenpay umbrella – in China, has caused another banking giant, Goldman Sachs, to stand up and take notice too.

The firm recently published a report, led by Mancy Sun, which reveals the value of third-party payments in China grew more than 74 times from 2010 to 2016, from US$155 billion to a staggering US$11.4 trillion.

Of that total, 56 per cent took the form of peer-to-peer transfers while about 16 per cent was consumption-related. Furthermore, payments made via third-party payment companies comprised 40 per cent of all retail sales, a figure that is still growing.

Top3 Chinese block chain asset trading platform (the second-tier platforms) (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

First of all, how to define the Chinese second-tier platforms? We refer to the following three factors:

  1. It has been established for a long time, and there is little risk of failure for the company after a long-term market test and trials.
  2. Popular and profitable.
  3. It belong to the major currencies which are the top of the list. And it has certain dominance in a few currencies.

So, the TOP3 Chinese second-tier platforms are finally selected as:

BTC
Online date: May 2013
Website: btc38.com
Registered capital: 10 million
Office address: Shenzhen

CDC CloudCoin
Online date: April 2014
Website: yunbi.com
Registered capital: 10 million
Office address: Beijing

CHBTC
Online date: early 2013
Website:chbtc.com
Registered capital: 10 million
Office address: Zhongshan city, Guangdong province

China Commercial Credit Enters Share Exchange Agreement with Sorghum Investment Holdings Limited (Markets Insider), Rated: A

China Commercial Credit, Inc. (NasdaqCM: CCCR) (“CCCR” or the “Company”), a microfinance company providing financial services to small-to-medium enterprises (“SMEs”), farmers and individuals in Jiangsu Province, today announced that, it has entered into a share exchange agreement (the “Share Exchange Agreement”) by and through its Board of Directors and majority shareholder dated August 9, 2017 with the equity holders of Sorghum Investment Holdings Limited (“Sorghum”), an Internet platform specializing in providing peer-to-peer lending services to individuals and small business owners in China. Pursuant to the Exchange Agreement, the Company has agreed to acquire all of the issued and outstanding equity interests of Sorghum in exchange for 152,586,795 shares of the Company’s Common Stock (the “Acquisition”). Upon completion of the Acquisition, the Company will own 100% of Sorghum, and will be a financial services group operating in both smart financing as well as microfinance sectors in China.

Sina Corp Establishes $ 500M Online Finance Fund To Back Chinese FinTech Firms (China Money Network), Rated: A

Chinese Internet portal Sina Corp said it would establish an Online Finance Fund with a target fundraising size of US$500 million to invest in Chinese fintech companies.

Fintech is one of the most important opportunities in the next three to five years, Chao said during the call. The company believes that it can leverage its own online traffic, data, and microblog services Weibo to attract users and create a strong new brand.

Sina will focus on the business categories where it can obtain its own operating license, such as micro-lending. The company is currently offering micro-lending to users via a partnership with other financial firms, but it is in the process to get its own license.

LendIt Lang Di Fintech Names Omega One PitchIt Competition Winner (PR Newswire), Rated: B

LendIt, the world’s largest show in lending and fintech, named Omega One the winner of its Lang Di Fintech PitchIt competition in Shanghai on July 16. Out of eight PitchIt finalists (and hundreds of applicants) at China’s largest fintech conference, Omega One, an automated trade execution platform, was chosen as the winner for its innovation in the cryptocurrency markets.

As the winner, Omega One received a RMB 1 million investment from JadeValue and co-working space for six months. The company also received two tickets to LendIt USA 2018 as well as round trip airfare and full accommodations for the duration of the conference. The LendIt team will also curate meetings with fintech companies and investors during Omega One’s trip to the U.S.

Lang Di Fintech was held in Shanghai on July 15 – 16, 2017.

European Union

FinTech Group Counts on BearingPoint RegTech (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Management and technology consultancy BearingPoint, a leading provider of Risk and Regulatory Technology (RiskTech/RegTech), announced that FinTech Group AG, one of the leading providers of innovative financial technologies in Europe, included BearingPoint’s regulatory reporting solution ABACUS/DaVinci in its product portfolio.

International

Fintech startup brings blockchain and cryptocurrencies to invoice finance (GT Review), Rated: A

New fintech startup Populous is introducing smart contracts, blockchain technology and digital tokens to the invoice financing space.

Having raised more than US$10mn in crowdfunding in just five days, the company has now started piloting its new platform, which lets firms and individuals sell or buy invoices globally.

Australia

Locked out of property market? Five better places for Millennials to put money (The Sydney Morning Herald), Rated: A

Below are five better places to put your money as a young Australian in 2017.

Another investment opportunity emerging with the rise of fintech is peer-to-peer (P2P) or marketplace lending.

You input a few details into an online form, such as your preferred credit grade, loan term, and maximum amount you wish to invest in any one loan. The algorithm then does the rest on your behalf, and some lenders claim returns as high as 12 per cent per annum.

Women in Finance finalists revealed (TheAdviser), Rated: B

Online lender Prospa received nods in three categories — Alison Binskin, head of operations, made the cut for Fintech Leader of the Year, Lauren Davidson received recognition for Human Relations Professional of the Year and Anna Fitzgerald for Public Relations/Communications Professional of the Year.

India

Just Rent, Don’t Buy (Business Today), Rated: AAA

India has many consumer-lending companies, but there are very few consumer-leasing firms that borrow, convert the money into assets and lease them. RentoMojo does just that and says it has discovered the playbook fairly early, which could be used across categories and not just furniture.

There is one weakness in this model – it is capital intensive, and assets have to be bought before they can be leased.

Adukia, who looks after internal finances, says that the company has lines of credit with banks, non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) and high net-worth individuals (HNIs).

There has been no independent study on the market size of the consumer-leasing business, but the company claims it is about $10-12 billion. To stay on top of this market in terms of affordability, RentoMojo does not deal with middlemen and buys directly from manufacturers, says Nain. “We also act like a quasi-bank that takes a call on the creditworthiness of its customers [to protect our revenues].”

Is our banking industry facing existential crisis from fintech boom? (The Jakarta Post), Rated: A

Recent developments in the rise of Robo-advisers and investments in digital and P2P lending platforms, however, appear to support arguments on the contrary. Already we are seeing Alibaba dominating the payment scene in China while similar local companies like Go-Pay in Indonesia is also rapidly evolving into a commendable competitor of the banks in the payments scheme locally.

The level of threat does not go unnoticed within the banking professionals’ sphere. Based on a survey by PWC, about 81 percent of the banking and fintech players in Indonesia would see a degree of disruption in the way the banks are doing business, with which roughly 50 percent of them observe potential significant disruptions.

On the payment and settlements front, we have also seen how fintech has exposed the inefficiencies in the banks’ existing business processes. For example, in the cross-border interbank payment, the current average transaction costs for sending remittances abroad through bank average around 10.99 percent of the nominal amount globally, according to a report by World Bank. This is highly efficient and perhaps one of the catalysts for online remittance companies like TransferWise to exist.

Another study estimates suggest that mortgage borrowers in the US and European market could potentially save $480 to $960 per loan and banks would be able to reduce costs in the range of $3billion to $11billion by lowering processing costs in the mortgage origination process. Such figure further highlights the inefficiency in the banks’ current operating structure. The figure would likely be more substantial on the percentage basis if similar survey is conducted in Indonesia.

Asia

Globe Telecom’s Fuse to Provide Loans Powered by Mambu (Markets Insider), Rated: AAA

Mambu, the SaaS banking engine, today announced it will be powering the consumer and business lending products of Fuse, the lending arm of Filipino financial technology firm Mynt, by September 2017.

Mynt is increasing access to  financial services through mobile money, micro-loans and technology by leveraging the mobile and store networks of its partners and parent company in a country with 113% mobile penetration but only 31% banking penetration.

Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), which account for 99.6% percent of total registered companies in the country, as well as individuals face significant difficulty in accessing credit from incumbents due to stringent credit decisioning, limited authentication documentation and lack of collateral.

Singaporean fintech hub Lattice80 to launch office in India (Tech Wire Asia), Rated: A

LATTICE80, Singapore’s fintech hub will be opening an India branch at the end of September, as reported by Bloombergmarking the company’s first step in expanding their global operations.

The fintech hub is planning to open offices in world’s financial capitals, especially London, New York and cities in the Middle East.

MODALKU has become the first and only peer-to-peer (P2P) lending company to attain membership at the International Association of Credit Portfolio Managers (IACPM), a forum where financial institutions share and discuss best practices for credit risk management.

Modalku co-founder and CEO Reynold Wijaya stated that his team is focused on attaining international, even global standards.standards.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday July 19 2017, Daily News Digest

UK financial services

News Comments Today’s main news: Goldman’s traders have worst first half of Blankfein’s reign. RateSetter hit hard by struggling loans. RateSetter offers investors free sell out option. LandlordInvest hits 1M GBP lending milestone. Revolut offers free personal accounts for Europeans. Today’s main analysis: Goldman has worst first half in Blankfein era. Today’s thought-provoking articles: 35 institutional investors raise stakes in Yirendai. A […]

UK financial services

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

Africa

News Summary

United States

Goldman’s Traders Turn In Worst First Half of Blankfein’s Reign (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. traders turned in their worst first-half performance since Lloyd Blankfein rose from that business to become chief executive officer in 2006.

Investment-banking revenue fell 3 percent to $1.73 billion from a year earlier, better than the $1.59 billion prediction. Investment management as well as the Investing and Lending business also surpassed expectations.

35 INSTITUTIONAL INVESTORS ARE RAISING STAKES IN YIRENDAI LTD. (YRD) (Post Analyst), Rated: AAA

(NYSE:YRD) enjoyed a 74.75% run-up in share price since hitting record low of $18.3. The stock managed 3.53% rise and now stands at $31.98 as of July 17, 2017.

Institutional investors currently hold around $143 million or 7.7% in YRD stock.

Yirendai Ltd. 13F Filings

At the end of Mar reporting period, 35 institutional holders increased their position in Yirendai Ltd. (NYSE:YRD) by some 1,343,454 shares, 22 decreased positions by 2,144,331 and 5 held positions by 1,150,551. That puts total institutional holdings at 4,638,336 shares, according to SEC filings. The stock grabbed 21 new institutional investments totaling 973,854 shares while 12 institutional investors sold out their entire positions totaling 1,445,115 shares.

For Millennials, It’s Hip To Have A Traditional Bank (PYMNTS), Rated: A

In a survey held from the end of June into early July and conducted by SurveyMonkey, the web-based survey firm queried more than 1,000 adults above the age of 18, 290 of which were defined as 18- to 34-year-olds: millennials.

Among the findings in the How We Will Pay study: 83 percent of respondents wanted to be able to use an ever-burgeoning roster of new devices to conduct commerce. But, interestingly, when it came to actually transacting, 77 percent of those surveyed said trust remained a key factor when deciding who they want enabling those transactions.

People tend to trust the banks, financial institutions and bank card networks where payments relationships are already in place and already are known to consumers, according to the data.

Most Americans, at 63 percent, have used peer-to-peer payments, said SurveyMonkey. PayPal claimed the lion’s share there at about 80 percent across all demographics. Venmo remains a distant second, at 11 percent, with even greater adoption among millennials at 30 percent. Peer use also mattered to those surveyed, as 28 percent of millennials used the platform because their friends and family members did.

Eighty percent of surveyed millennials wanted the option to visit a brick-and-mortar bank branch based near their towns. In fact, the banks without a tangible footprint in a millennial-centric town lose out, as members of that demographic claimed they would be less likely to open an account with a bank were it not to have a physical branch nearby, said SurveyMonkey.

A new fintech startup wants to democratize trust funds (Business Insider), Rated: A

Now, app-only fintech Tomorrow, which launched services across the US this week, wants to help this group access inheritance products: In the US, 74% of millennials don’t have a will, and 50% of millennial households would struggle to pay their bills without their primary wage earner, according to studies Tomorrow cites. The company’s raised $2.6 million in Seed funding from backers including Plug and Play, Allianz Life, and Curious Capital. It’s now available for iPhone, and will release an Android version later.

Tomorrow aims to show that 

Urban FT Acquires iParse To Bridge The Mobile Banking Gap (PYMNTS), Rated: A

When it comes to mobile banking, there’s often a massive gap between the consumer’s experience with a big bank and with a smaller regional operator or credit union. The big banks have embraced mobile as a critical part of their overall delivery experience — with custom mobile banking apps, proprietary mobile wallets, biometric-authentication, cardless ATMs and more.

But when it comes to the smaller players serving more local populations, the well of mobile innovation can run dry rather quickly and for many reasons.

“A staggering statistic I came across recently really gave me pause. A full 42 percent of credit unions still don’t have mobile banking apps — and it’s not because they don’t want them or don’t think they need them,” Steggall remarked, “but because they don’t have the ability or the resources to do the technical integrations, and they can’t justify the cost.”

While Urban FT’s new products with iParse are for smaller FIs, Steggall told Webster the company also sees a profitable future working with existing payments processors in the market today. Steggall said the iParse solution will help those players — including larger processors already offering their own mobile banking services — better serve their smaller bank and credit union partners.

4 Tips for Developing a Product Around an Unknown Concept (Entrepreneur.com), Rated: A

Being an innovator always comes with the huge challenge of educating potential investors, developers and end users on the significance of a totally new product or service. When bitcoin hit the market, its leaders struggled to answer the same question: “Why is this necessary?”

When you’re building something new, your mistakes form the blueprints future entrepreneurs will study. If you’re a trailblazer in a novel space, here are four ways to forge ahead.

1. Don’t sell — educate.

YieldStreet, an online alternative investments platform, created YieldStreet University, which combines video content, infographics and other visuals to help simplify complex concepts about alternative investing for its customers.

2. Slow your roll.

Faster isn’t always better. When you’re dealing with an unknown concept, speed kills the sales process. If your service or product is new to the market, resist the temptation to immediately convert cold traffic. First, take time to make sure your clients or customers understand what they’re working with and how to utilize your product or service to its fullest potential.

3. Be open about swings and misses.

Honesty builds trust. One study from Label Insight showed 73 percent of participants were willing pay more for more transparent brands.

4. Focus on your mission, not personas.

Don’t concern yourself with selling to anyone in Box X or Box Y. If you do, you’ll end up tailoring your product to suit demographics instead of your vision. Identify your mission and purpose, and sell that.

Recent IPO Movers of the Week (July 10-14, 2017) (Money Morning), Rated: B

China Rapid Finance Ltd. (NYSE: XRF) soared 20.6% for the week. The online consumer-lending marketplace announced on Monday that it had reached the 20 million-loan milestone on its platform.

United Kingdom

Peer-to-peer lender Ratesetter hit by £80m of struggling loans (The Guardian), Rated: AAA

The peer-to-peer lender Ratesetter has been hit by £80m of struggling loans in the first major setback for the nascent online lending sector.

The company said it would use its own funds to prevent losses being taken by its 50,000 users, who are mostly small investors using the website in order to lend their savings to other individuals and benefit from higher interest rates than are available at high street banks.

The company admitted that it had made £36m of loans to a company called Vehicle Trading Group Limited (VTG), a motor finance holding company that then fell into administration because it had taken on too much debt.

It also loaned a further £12m to an advertising company called Adpod, which during 2015 became 50% owned by VTG. The website admits that the loans, of which £8.5m are still outstanding, should not have cleared its own credit policy.

RateSetter gives investors option to sell out free due to wholesale “interventions” (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER is giving all its lenders an option to sell out of their investment free of charges, as part of its wind-down of exposure to its wholesale lending portfolio.

The peer-to-peer platform wrote to investors on Tuesday to outline “interventions” it has made on three former wholesale lending partners.

LandlordInvest reaches £1m lending milestone (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

BUY-TO-LET peer-to-peer platform LandlordInvest has passed the £1m lending milestone.

The property lender, which launched in December 2016, has amassed 700 investors and completed six loans over the past seven months.

A vision for a transformed, world-leading industry (The City UK), Rated: AAA

TheCityUK and PwC’s Strategy& have developed a vision for the future of the industry, drawing on extensive engagement with leaders across the industry and a rigorous fact-based assessment. By 2025:

1) The industry will have transformed itself to be highly digitised, innovative and customer-centric. It will be a leader in cyber security, using data in a secure and sophisticated way. This will be alongside new technologies, to drive forward significant improvements in the way services are delivered. Firms will be consistently and relentlessly doing what is right for their customers.

2) London will still be one of the most important and attractive international centres for financial services and global business, retaining the full ecosystem of financial and related professional services. It will continue to play an important domestic role and be a leading FinTech centre that keeps the UK at the forefront of financial innovation.

3) Regional and national financial centres will have become more important within the UK industry. There must be a strong supply of local talent with the relevant skills, competitive costs and high productivity. Banking, insurance and asset management centres outside of London will continue to develop, hosting more headquarters of major companies. While other regional and national hubs will focus on enhancing specialist roles which serve both UK and global markets.

Access the full report here.

The peer-to-peer lending model involves a fair bit of intervention in the market (FT Alphaville), Rated: A

While Funding Circle (and Zopa, for the most part) allow the losses from loans to fall onto lenders, Ratesetter has built a loss reserve to protect investors from bad debts. This “Provision Fund” is funded by taking a fee when a loan is extended and, in times of stress, can be topped up by diverting interest payments and capital away from investors. This means lenders on Ratesetter need to pay attention to the risk in the overall loan book, rather than any individual borrower.

At the moment, the Provision Fund has a 119 per cent coverage ratio, so there is enough money in the fund — if you include expected future fees — to cover losses 1.19 times higher than currently expected. Ratesetter’s target ratio is 125 per cent to 150 per cent.

The important thing here is that the Provision Fund currently has £12.9m in cash and £8.9m of expected future income, versus £18.2m of expected losses. If Ratesetter had let £12m of bad debts suddenly wash into the fund, it would have resulted in a big knock to its coverage ratio. We don’t know what that would do to investor confidence, but it’s fair to say it wouldn’t have helped.

OFF3R Report Says Equity Crowdfunding Defies Brexit Uncertainty in First 6 Months (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

OFF3R is out with a report today on the status of equity crowdfunding in the UK. According to their numbers, the UK investment crowdfunding sector is booming. In fact the OFF3R Index states that UK crowdfunding platforms raised a record £130 million during the first half of 2017.

Additionally, the report states that March of 2017 was a record breaking month as well. Over £40 million was raised with several large crowdfunding rounds on the big three platforms; CrowdcubeSeedrs and SyndicateRoom.

Retail Banking IT – giving customers what they want (IT ProPortal), Rated: A

Peru Consulting asked 1000 consumers and 100 Senior IT Leaders in the banking sector.  The results, published in our report – Retail Banking IT: Turn to Face the Change – offer a startling insight into the scale and speed of change and the challenges faced by traditional banking’s IT leaders.

For example, when asked about the specifics of banking transactions using mobile phones, nearly two thirds (63%) of consumers in the 18-44 age group stated this was important to them, while only 14% of the 55-64 age group felt the same.

More generally, the next 12 months holds little comfort for the retail banks when it comes to customer loyalty, with 38% of 18-24 year olds and 41% of 25-34 year olds set to change the bank that provides their main account.

We asked the Senior IT Leaders why they though their customers would be likely to switch banks. Strangely, while 64% recognised that challenger banks are taking their market share, less than 5% recognised that customers might be tempted by new technology such as mobile apps. Given the strength of the GAFA companies and fintechs, this is a dangerous blind spot for the traditional banks.

Guru Appointed to Head Up Comparison Site (Fintech Finance), Rated: B

CONSUMER credit comparison site MoneyGuru.com has appointed an experienced channel director to lead its rapid expansion after a successful launch period.

The site has signalled its intention to disrupt the big four in the comparison market by appointing expert Deborah Vickers who has helped some of the biggest names in the market with optimisation and product development.

Deborah, 35, from Northwich brings 13 years of experience in technology and IT to the role, many of these within the financial services sector. She started her career at industry leader MoneySupermarket.com as a service desk manager before working her way up to IT delivery manager during her eight year tenure.

China

China Is Leapfrogging U.S. In Payments Technology, Ex-Ambassador Max Baucus Says (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Former U.S. Ambassador to China Max Baucus on Saturday lauded China’s can-do spirit and cited the country’s rush to online payments as an area where the country was overtaking the United States.

Baucus was speaking at an annual LendIt fintech conference held in Shanghai that attracted more than 2,000 participants.

“Apple Pay is trying to be an accepted mode of payment in the United States but it is catching up very slowly,” he said. “It’s disadvantaged, I think, compared with China and other Asian countries’ emerging payment systems. Why? Because established legacy institutions such as banks and credit card companies, while still useful, will soon be overtaken by the new innovative technology being developed here and in other Asian countries.”

China’s Internet Sector Grows Up (Institutional Investor), Rated: A

Leading investors who specialize in financial technologies and are taking stakes in new technology startups in the country say China is no longer an innovation laggard and in fact is taking a commanding lead in specific areas.

Take online payments. Two Chinese Internet giants, Alibaba Group Holding and Tencent Holdings, already hold strong leads over their U.S. counterparts in this area. Alipay, for instance, is Alibaba’s online escrow payment system that now counts more than 630 million users globally, of which 450 million are in China. Tencent’s messaging app, WeChat, boasts 900 million users, and its WeChat Pay service has about 600 million active users. Both Alipay and WeChat Pay allow their users to make transactions all over the world using their mobile phones, notes Jones, adding that at present not a single U.S. rival can offer a similar global product.

Lufax international platform starts up in Singapore (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

On 17th July, Ping An Insurance announced the affiliate Lufax started a international business platform, Lu International Financial Asset Exchange in Singapore. Lu International was known to have got the capital market service licence(CMS) approved by MAS. It is also the first Chinese fintech company  to have a CMS in Singapore, and will start for operation in the third quarter of 2017.

Lu International was registered in Singapore in January 2017, after licensed it will provide a series of wealth management services including securities trading, asset management and custody for investors with overseas bank accounts or assets.

Lu International aim to provide pure online banking services for the Asian middle class, and the investment amount will be among $10 thousand to $1 million,according to Gregory D Gibb, the CEO of LufaxHoldingLtd. The initial product line of Lu International is relatively simple, mainly including monetary fund, fixed income products, bond fund, REITs fund and ETF.

European Union

Revolut Introduces Free Personal Euro Accounts Following $ 66 Million Raise (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Just days after announcing it secured $66 million through its Series B funding round, digital challenger bank Revolutintroduced free personal euro accounts. The company revealed this new feature enables all its customers, across 42 European countries, to open a free Euro account straight from their smartphone in as little as 60 seconds.

Getting Paid to Run Up Debt (Handelsblatt.com), Rated: AAA

It used to be clear: borrowing cost money. But now Smava, a Berlin-based fintech, has broken new ground by offering loans at a negative rate of interest. In other words, paying consumers to borrow. “Anyone borrowing €1,000 ($1150) will only pay back €994,” says Smava boss Alexander Artopé. That translates to a cool -0.4 percent.

Unsurprisingly, there’s a catch: The largest amount a Smava consumer can borrow at these enviable terms is €1,000, and each person is restricted to a single loan.

Citi to set up a ‘major new trading operation’ in German city after Brexit (Business Insider), Rated: A

American banking giant Citi is set to become the latest major financial firm to choose Frankfurt for its post-Brexit EU hub, reports late on Monday suggested.

Financial centres across the EU — including Frankfurt, Paris, Dublin, and Luxembourg — are battling to attract financial services work moving out of London as a result of Brexit as a result of expected legal changes that will make operating in the EU out of London tricky.

Frankfurt is emerging as a popular destination for many international firms choosing a post-Brexit base. Three Japanese lenders, Daiwa, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, and Nomura, have all confirmed in recent weeks that they will set up new post-Brexit bases in Frankfurt.

Cyprus fintech startup Capital.com raises $ 25 million (Tech.eu), Rated: A

Cyprian fintech startup Capital.com has raised $25 million from Larnabel Enterprises and VP Capital and launched its mobile trading app.

The Capital.com app allows investors to trade financial products and receive updates from its patent-pending Smart Feed with news, analysis, and research based on user behaviour. The app, the company claims, uses AI to detect common trading biases and patterns.

International

What The SoftBank Vision Fund Means For Tech Investing (CB Insights), Rated: AAA

The SoftBank Vision Fund, first announced in October 2016, has now closed at least $93B of a target $100B to invest in global technology companies – making it the largest tech investment fund in history.

$100B is an unprecedented sum for a single fund, totaling almost exactly the same amount that all VC-backed companies received in 2016 ($100.8B across 8,372 deals globally, per CB Insights data). Yet the fund’s massive size is raising concerns among some investors, who fear that an influx of high-dollar rounds could overinflate the market and prolong exits while crowding out competing investors.

With both Saudi Arabia and the UAE — which have contributed a combined $60M of sovereign capital to the fund — counting on the Vision Fund’s investments to diversify their national economies, the stakes are high. Other high-profile investors are also placing bets with the Vision Fund: The Vision Fund has closed contributions of $1B or less from Apple, Qualcomm, Sharp, Foxconn, and Larry Ellison’s family office. (SoftBank’s own $25B rounds out the $93B secured so far.)

Australia/New Zealand

Cyber-attacks significant threat but RBNZ says no need for prescriptive requirements (NBR), Rated: AAA

Cyber-attack poses a significant threat to the global financial system but the Reserve Bank has decided not to introduce more prescriptive requirements at this stage due to the swiftly changing nature of both the threats and the technology, said Reserve Bank head of prudential supervision Toby Fiennes.

Fiennes said the central bank did not believe prescriptive regulations would appreciably improve the outcome, when the technology and threat landscape are both changing so rapidly.

VicSuper has launched a digital advice suite called Beeline to strengthen member engagement.

The digital advice service would act as an online coach to provide members with access to financial advice 24 hours a day, seven days a week, free of cost to members, with the fund saying it would provide super advice at scale.

Areas of financial advice would include additional contributions and investment asset allocation in their superannuation. The service would also provide general advice to members on retirement adequacy and budgeting goals.

Surging investor confidence in clean energy drives record $ 2 billion investment from CEFC (Mozo), Rated: B

The CEFC assisted in a number of clean energy projects in 2016-17 including the establishment of a green loan marketplacewith peer-to-peer lender RateSetter, 500 new energy efficient homes for low income families in New South Wales and ten large-scale solar projects in regional Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.

India

RentoMojo raises $ 10 mn from Bain Capital Ventures, Renaud Laplanche (The Hindu Business Line), Rated: AAA

RentoMojo, a consumer product leasing start-up, has raised $10 million (over Rs. 64 crore) from Bain Capital Ventures and Renaud Laplanche.

The series B funding also saw participation from existing investors, Accel Partners and IDG Ventures, Rentomojo said in a statement today.

The funds raised will be used to further strengthen the product, finish building a stellar leadership team, and expand into new categories and geographies, it added.

Asia

Indonesia: P2P app Julo raises seed funding from Skystar Capital, others (Deal Street Asia), Rated: AAA

Indonesian peer-to-peer (P2P) lending startup Julo has raised an undisclosed amount of investment in a seed round led by Skystar Capital, along with East Ventures, Convergence Ventures, according to an announcement. A few notable angel investors also participated in the round.

Julo is focussed on financial inclusion in Indonesia by helping over 100 million people obtain loans for their various personal use.

Loan applicants can carry out the process from their phones through Julo’s app, where they submit pictures of personal documents and then receive their loan within 24 hours upon successful verification.

How Singapore-based P2P lending platform Crowd Genie aims to help underbanked SMEs grow (e27), Rated: A

One of the recipients of the CMS is Singapore-based P2P lending platform Crowd Genie. Like many of its ilk, Crowd Genie was founded by entrepreneurs who saw that certain traditional financial services were rigid and could not serve certain profiles of clients.

Ideally, the profile of borrowers would be SMEs turning over about S$1 million (US$731,000) to S$5 million (US$3.66 million) in revenue yearly, and would have had a bank loan and a corporate bank account; they would also have to be in operation for about two to four years, and need a short-term funding gap that the banks are not able to extend.

In place of just traditional financial metrics, Mehra and his co-director Bikash Saha, who has experience in a credit rating agency and retail banking, leverage a hybrid of machine-based learning algorithms combined with hands-on groundwork to assess the credit risk profile of potential borrowers.

Part of the reason Crowd Genie is still heavily reliant on human input is that its machine-learning algorithm is currently a work-in-progress. Accurate data analytics can only be achieved once there are enough actionable data points.

Mehra says the next review of the algorithm will take place at the end of the year, when Crowd Genie has accumulated about 300 – 400 cases.

Currently, institutional investors are qualified to be lenders on Crowd Genie; retail investors are barred.

Africa

Will robots narrow the financial advice gap? (Biz Community), Rated: A

Interestingly, however, a study by international investment house, Legg Mason, personal interaction is still important for these younger investors – 53% of participants in this group indicated that technology can never truly replace personal customer service. This was particularly relevant when it came to retirement and tax planning, but was of less importance when it came to tracking the stock market.

Furthermore, humans can remove irrelevant data from their memory, which allows for increased learning. Robots, however, store all data, which begs the question around the long-term competency of robo-advice.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor