FICO For Microcredit Lending

Scorista

Established in Russia in 2014, Scorista was born out of the need for a reliable risk-scoring model for Russian lenders. Leveraging the skills of famed Russian programmers, Scorista has created the go-to risk management solution for lenders operating in the sub-prime short-term lending segment. How Scorista Began Maria Veikhman, a business management, IT, and risk […]

Scorista

Established in Russia in 2014, Scorista was born out of the need for a reliable risk-scoring model for Russian lenders. Leveraging the skills of famed Russian programmers, Scorista has created the go-to risk management solution for lenders operating in the sub-prime short-term lending segment.

How Scorista Began

Maria Veikhman, a business management, IT, and risk management specialist is the founder and CEO of Scorista. It took off when a few lenders in Russia realized the dearth of reliable risk managers in the market and asked Veikhman to create a risk-scoring model for their lending businesses. Scorista was born as a disruptive innovation to automate the area of credit assessment and provide clients with an instant credit decision. They believe they can help lenders achieve the desired KPIs in a very short span of time with a guarantee of results.

What gave impetus to the company was the dearth of risk management solutions for short-term lenders and payday lenders. They only have access to the FICO score, which is not a very bankable option for payday lenders.

More On Scorista

Scorista offers a broad variety of products ranging from credit assessment to underwriting plans, verification plans, individual scoring, and variable kits, which facilitate scoring and dossiers that legally provide access to complete information about the borrowers. Its prime spot is borrowers looking for less than $5k for less than 12 months. According to Veikhman, Scorista has a 93% forecast accuracy rate. This is much higher than anything available for the segment currently.

This performance has led to profitable growth with offices in China and clients in Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Spain, and Latvia. It has just launched its services in the United States. More than 142 lenders are currently using the Scorista platform, and it is processing over 500,000 applications every month. According to its website, Scorista has helped its partners earn an additional $145 million.

The company has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Life.SREDA.

Scorista’s Business Model

Scorista’s business model is transactional-based. In Russia, Scorista charges an estimated $1K for every credit decision depending on the volume of applications. Credit lenders are provided with credit decisions instantly so that they can further approve or deny a loan. When the borrower files a loan application with the lender, the lender communicates the borrower file through an API or web interface. Its system receives the application, evaluates the same with its scoring algorithm, and provides a credit decision for approval or denial of the loan. In cases where the scoring algorithm depicts that the borrower can’t repay the loan, Scorista works out different models to predict the amount that the borrower can pay. So if a borrower is rejected for a $2,000 loan for a 3-month period, Scorista will additionally provide that he is a good bet for $1,000 for a 1-month period.

Scorista has developed artificial intelligence and machine learning-powered proprietary algorithms for its scoring systems. It keeps fine tuning its algorithms to ensure optimum performance. It is focusing only on its specialization of short-term micro-borrowers to ensure highest efficiency rates in the segment.

Competitive Advantage

The money-back guarantee is Scorista’s USP. Scorista is ready to refund the fees to its clients if they are not satisfied with its services. Others in the industry are generic players looking to cover the entire market rather than specializing in any one segment. In the name of alternative data, many peers focus exclusively on the social media footprint. However, research shows that decision-making based on social networking is not very reliable as the quality and quantity of information available on borrowers is circumspect. Moreover, about 40% of borrowers do not have extractable social media information available.

Scorista has also introduced Mindscore, a psychometric scoring method that uses a social networking profile and psychometrics to score borrowers. It helps in predicting repayment ability, and the default rate of the applicant.

According to Veikhman, using alternative data in the credit model is dependent on the country. Credit bureaus across Russia have a lot of data on borrowers, and, as such, alternative data is not able to add a lot of weight. But there are no reliable credit bureaus in China so a lot of e-commerce data from Alipay, Wechat, and other social media is put to use. The company is also using mobile data in some cases and incorporates details like the workplace of the borrower to make a credit decision.

The Russian and Chinese branches of Scorista have launched a white label product for mobile applications for lenders. It facilitates fast issuance requiring the borrower to download the application and then submit information to the lender. Scorista performs the function of scoring and the lender can directly issue money through the application, credit card, debit card, or bank account.

Integration

Scorista mainly integrates with short-term lenders and specializes in facilitating short-term loans. Although banks have a broad line of products, Scorista can work with banks that deal in short-term loans apart from full-term loans.

The sub-prime segment that Scorista specializes in is growing across the world. The global economy is not getting better, and many economists agree that it is in the last legs of the growth phase. The last recession was in 2008-09, so considering a cycle of 10 years, we are looking at a recession sooner rather than later. Also exacerbating the trend is the fact that the number of people drawing a lower than average income is increasing in every nation across the world.

Borrowers with low credit scores can improve their credit ratings by following a regular, structured repayment schedule. This will enable them to have access to better loans and banking products with lower rates of interest. Scorista,, with its credit models, helps borrowers gain that access to credit at the right time for the right amount.

Scorista’s Future Goals

Scorista is looking to expand across global markets. It is looking for partners in multiple countries to expand its offering. It is also looking to onboard well-connected financial investors who can help introduce them to their lending networks.

Scorista wants to establish itself as the FICO score for the sub-prime borrower segment. Its key differentiator is its specialization in only short-term microlending and its money back guarantee. The company has been able to build a solid business and is on the precipice of breaking into the big leagues.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Wednesday March 7 2018, Daily News Digest

marketplace lending categories

News Comments Today’s main news: Citigroup may open a national digital bank. Marcus to open in UK, Goldman recruiting engineers. Robo.Cash posts 2017 results. Tera Funding to hedge P2P project finance risk. Today’s main analysis: Preparing taxes for LendingClub, Prosper investments. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Why institutional investors turn to marketplace loans. Branches are still disappearing despite Chase’s investment. Credit card […]

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News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

Canada

News Summary

United States

Citigroup moving toward ‘national digital bank’ (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Citigroup Inc is laying the foundation, through a growing network of mobile banking tools, to support the launch of a national digital consumer bank sometime within the next three years, its chief financial officer said on Tuesday.

Citigroup, the fourth-biggest U.S. bank by assets, had fewer than 700 U.S. branches at year-end compared with more than 4,000 at the three biggest banks, JPMorgan Chase & Co, Bank of America Corp and Wells Fargo & Co.

Citigroup, Kabbage Form Consortium on Fintech Cybersecurity (WSJ), Rated: A

Four financial companies including Citigroup Inc.C -0.48% and online lender Kabbage Inc. said Tuesday they have formed a consortium to address fintech firms’ cybersecurity risks, a sign of the industry’s growing links to traditional banks and insurers.

 

Why institutional investors are turning to marketplace loans (LendingClub), Rated: AAA

Greenwich Associates, an unaffiliated research company, conducted a study to better understand how marketplace lending is perceived and the current state of adoption within the institutional investing community.

Study Finding #1: Higher yields drive investment.

Sixty-seven percent of institutional investors cited the higher yield that marketplace loans tend to offer as their primary reason for investing.

Study Finding #2: Different investors use the asset for different things.

Because marketplace loans can be used for many different reasons, one of the first questions that investors may face when considering marketplace loans is how to categorize them. For over two-thirds of surveyed institutional investors currently invested in MPL (see chart below), they fall in the category of structured products, putting them alongside ABS and collateralized loan obligations (CLOs). Almost half of current investors reported viewing them as short-duration instruments and one-third as high-yield bonds.

Almost 40% of institutional investors who are not yet invested in marketplace loans said they didn’t know how to characterize them.

Study Finding #3: The path to institutional adoption will be driven by a few key catalysts.

Since mid-2017, however, each new issuance was rated by at least one rating agency, removing this obstacle and further broadening exposure to the asset class.

Investors deeply value data and analytics, which are key to understanding the credit profile of borrowers on marketplace lending platforms.

While the secondary market for marketplace loans is illiquid, there is a more active secondary market for the securitized offerings.

Study Finding #4: Marketplace lending is here to stay.

A majority of current investors, 52%, believe that marketplace lending will be a significant player in the financial system in the next 10 years. This is another meaningful vote of confidence in the industry.

New phase of growth and development for ‘Peer-to-Peer’ lending (IBS Intelligence), Rated: A

Among the investors participating in a new Greenwich Associates study, 30% of institutions not currently investing in marketplace loans (MPL) are watching the space or conducting research and due diligence on the asset class—a level of interest that suggests future institutional involvement is on the horizon.

The first marketplace loans were securitised in September 2013, and the trend has accelerated rapidly since then. Cumulative issuance now stands at $28.2 billion, with $4.4 billion issued in Q4 2017.

LendingClub and Prosper Tax Information for 2018 (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Note that investors who invest through a retirement account do not have to worry about tax reporting. Here at Lend Academy we believe there is a strong case for investing in marketplace lending through a product like an IRA.

Copied below is how LendingClub summarizes the tax treatment of investing in loans on the platform:

Generally, gains and losses from recoveries, sales or charge-offs related to LendingClub Notes are reported for tax purposes as capital gains or losses, rather than ordinary gains or losses. Generally, LendingClub Notes are considered capital assets because they are owned for the purposes of investment (similar to a stock or a bond). Generally, realized capital losses are first offset against realized capital gains. For individuals, any excess capital losses can be deducted against ordinary income up to $3,000 ($1,500 if married filing separately). Capital losses in excess of this limit may be carried forward to later years to reduce capital gains or ordinary income until the capital losses are fully utilized.

Source: Lend Academy

I had $12.21 in proceeds (recoveries) from loans that were charged off which is offset by the cost basis of charged off loans, $204.33. This resulted in a net loss of $192.12.  On my 1099-B outlining long-term transactions I had proceeds of $109.64 with a cost basis of charged off loans of $1,469.02 resulting in a net loss of $1,359.39. The short and long-term transactions roll up on the 1099-B summary shared above (middle box). Ignoring taxes, I earned a profit of about $500 on my LendingClub account for the year.

Source: Lend Academy

Filing Taxes for a Prosper Account

Below is my 1099-OID which includes the net interest of $840.62 I received for the year.

Source: Lend Academy

My losses totaled $834.71 which means I earned a net return of around $100 for the year.

How would regulators react to Amazon-JPM checking partnership? (American Banker), Rated: A

The negotiations between Amazon and big banks like JPMorgan Chase and Capital One to offer a checking-account-like product pose significant questions for regulators about the e-commerce giant pushing further into the banking space.

Who owns the customer?

If the bank “owns the customer,” then “the rules governing banks protect the consumer,” said Karen Shaw Petrou, managing partner of Washington-based financial services consultant, Federal Financial Analytics. “If the bank doesn’t own the customer, then the rules — not just the consumer protection rules but the safety and soundness rules — are both different.”

What is Amazon’s role in the accounts?

If JPMorgan is “contracting with Amazon to do the marketing and customer intake, in that case, Amazon is subject to the regulation for those activities,” similar to other bank partnerships, said Brian Knight, director of the program on financial regulation and a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

Who, if anyone, would regulate Amazon?

Another tricky question is which agency would regulate the partnership depending on how it is structured. For example, if Amazon were to act as a vendor to the bank, the e-commerce company would fall under a wide range of bank regulations involving partnerships and data security. However, if JPMorgan were to be a vendor to Amazon, those regulators would have limited influence over the deal.

Branches are still going away, despite Chase’s flashy investment (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Earlier this year JPMorgan Chase announced it’s investing $20 billion in 400 new branches and last week at the company’s Investor Day CFO Marianne Lake said 75 percent of its deposit growth comes from customers that visit its branches. Research published last month by Novantas shows 60 percent of Americans would still prefer opening a checking account at a branch than on digital channels and a September report by Deloitte similarly found 56 percent of people prefer to open bank accounts in branches (based on a survey of 3,000 consumers who had opened a deposit wealth management or consumer loan between January 2016 and May 2017).

JPMorgan Chase may be opening hundreds of new branches, but that hardly suggests every bank will follow.

Source: Tearsheet

Legacy vendors have been losing revenue
Global financial services and ATM producer NCR has been watching revenue fall over the past year where ATM sales and software licenses are concerned as revenue from services and cloud has shown a slight uptick. Diebold Nixdorf, another manufacturer of connected commerce and self-service products in the banking and retail industries, reported a 9.6 percent decline in revenue from banking sector services to $3.4 billion from 2016 to 2017.

Reimagining Lending Risk Management for the Digital Era (Lend Academy), Rated: A

As of February 2018, US bank lending of various kinds – auto loans, commercial credit, mortgages, credit cards or small business lending – constituted $11.7 Trillion, representing around 60% of US GDP and 70% of commercial banking assets.

A tale of two startups with ‘superstore’ ambitions: Robinhood and Cadre (TechCrunch), Rated: A

“If you think about Amazon, they took the book model, built brand equity, trust, credibility and now they are a superstore for any retail product,” Cadre’s co-founder and CEO Ryan Williams told attendees at an industry event in San Francisco last week. “We’re doing the same for the investments world.”

Robinhood’s co-founder and CEO, Vlad Tenev, speaking at the same event later in the evening, had much the same messaging. “Five years from now,” Tenev told the crowd, Robinhood will be a “full service financial institution” with every product one can find at a “local bank branch and more.”

‘PIN on glass’ is still a novel concept for U.S. retailers (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Though common in Europe, chip cards with PIN numbers still haven’t caught on in the U.S. But a mobile chip-and-PIN terminal could nudge more retailers to get on board.

TransUnion Introduces New IDVision Alerts to Mitigate Rise of More Sophisticated, Emerging Risks (Nasdaq), Rated: A

A new TransUnion (NYSE:TRU) analysis found that the growth in outstanding balances of suspected synthetic fraud in the credit card market is slowing in large part due to recently focused efforts by issuers to prevent such instances of fraud.

Outstanding suspected synthetic fraud balances rose 5.2% between Q4 2016 ($276.01 million) and Q4 2017 ($290.37 million). This was a far smaller percentage rise than what was observed the previous year when such balances rose 68.5% between Q4 2015 ($163.77 million) and Q4 2016. Despite the slowing of fraud balance growth in the credit card space, TransUnion found that the incidence of such fraud on credit applications remains similar to last year, moving from 0.59% at the end of 2016 to 0.60% in 2017.

While the growth of synthetic fraud in the credit card market is slowing due to proactive measures being taken by issuers, outstanding balances of suspected synthetic fraud identities increased 6.6% to $885.42 million in Q4 2017, up from $830.25 million in Q4 2016 for auto loans, credit cards, personal loans and retail cards combined.

TransUnion today introduced 25 new IDVision Alerts and data enhancements to its current collection of alerts, including new alerts for possible synthetic fraud, new or recently created identities and social security numbers that may be compromised. In total, TransUnion IDVision Alerts now provide more than 65 notifications to businesses about high risk, suspicious identities and other potentially fraudulent activities.

 

Varo Money Helps Americans With High-Yield Savings Accounts & SMS Alerts (Varo Email), Rated: A

Mobile banking startup Many Americans Are Struggling to Achieve Good Financial Health

A recent survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults age 18+, conducted by Propeller Insights on behalf of Varo Money, determined that 85 percent of American adults sometimes feel stressed out about money, and a full 30 percent feel stressed out about money constantly.

  • About 1 in 5 Americans (19 percent) are living paycheck to paycheck
  • More than two-thirds of Americans (69 percent) report having had to dip into their savings to make it to the next payday at least once in the past two years
  • 55 percent of millennials have dipped into their savings in the past few months
  • About a third (31 percent) of millennials understand what their finances will look like from month to month only “somewhat” or “not at all”

Helping Customers to Make More from Their Money

Varo’s 1.25% APY Savings Accounts have no fees or minimum balances and offer a rate that is more than 60x the average rate offered by traditional banks. According to Varo’s two new features are part of its continued expansion of features and focus on financial health for Varo customers:

  • 1.25% APY High-Yield Savings Account: All Varo customers can easily open an online savings account with a few taps through the Varo app and receive a rate of 1.25% APY. Customers can access funds 24/7 and easily transfer money from their checking into savings. There are no fees or minimum balances required.
  • SMS Alerts: Customers can receive notifications based on aggregated financial activity across all linked accounts that let them know how they’re doing on income, saving, and if they are at risk of overspending so they can stay on top of their money effortlessly. Standard text messaging and/or data rates from the wireless service provider may apply.

Startup, Rentlender Revolutionizes the Rental Market, Offering Finance Options for Renters (PR Newswire), Rated: A

According to a Harvard University housing report, over 110 million Americans, or about 36 percent of households, now live in rental units — an increase of 9 million renters over the past decade — the largest 10-year gain on record.

Unfortunately, other records are being smashed too: the number of cost-burdened renters — that is, households paying more than 30% of their income on housing — jumped to 21.3 million. And a record 11.4 million Americans are spending more than half their income on rent. The news is even worse for New Yorkers, who last year spent 65.2%, or two-thirds of their total income, on rent2.

With upfront rental deposits and fees at move-in costing over $3,000 (more if you live in New York City, where comparable costs typically top $20,000); there has never been a greater need for finance options for renters.

Beginning today, New York City-based startup Rentlender is partnering with Upstart to provide modern financing solutions for renters.

Renters must meet a minimum set of requirements to qualify for a loan including having a minimum credit score of 620 and a maximum debt-to-income ratio of 45%.  All loans are originated by Cross River Bank, an FDIC insured New Jersey state chartered commercial bank, and lending terms and fees are as follows:

  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $50,0003
  • Loan duration: 3 or 5 years
  • Annual percentage rate: 7.436.25% to 29.99%4
  • Origination fee: 0% – 8% of loan amount
  • No prepayment fee

Renters can use these loans to ease the burden of renting in a number of ways:

  • Upfront costs – Pay first month, last month, security deposit and broker fees
  • Individual Months of Rent – Finance one or two months rent
  • A Full Year’s Rent – Finance a full year’s rent in addition to up-front costs

The loan application process is Powered by Upstart and provides renters with a fast, easy and paperless application process:

  1. Check Your Rate –  With a quick form, renters can see the loan options for which they qualify.
  2. Submit an Application – Complete the application online and indicate the bank account where funds should be sent.
  3. Accept Your Loan – Upon approval, log in and digitally sign loan documents. Funds can be available as quickly as the next business day.

Crowdfunding enters the New York City real estate scene (Born2Invest), Rated: A

These two problems are big hurdles for investors, but StraightUp is offering a solution to these woes. Crowdfund Insider notes that it is a new real estate crowdfunding platform that provides backers and investors an “unbeatable opportunity” on properties in New York City.

Capital markets tech firm Capitolis snagged $ 29 million in VC (New York Business Journal), Rated: A

Who gets: Capitolis, a New York-based technology provider for the capital markets, secured new funding.

Amount raised: $20 million in series A financing, plus $9 million in seed funding.

Credible Appoints Jobe Danganan as General Counsel and Corporate Secretary (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Credible, the consumer finance marketplace that helps consumers save money and make smarter financial decisions, today announced that it has appointed Jobe Danganan as general counsel and corporate secretary, effective immediately.

GDS Link to Exhibit at LendIt Fintech USA 2018 (PRWeb), Rated: B

GDS Link, a global provider of credit risk management solutions and consulting for multiple verticals within the financial services industry including marketplace lending for both consumer and small business, point of sale retail finance, alternative financial services, credit card, auto and leasing, will be attending LendIt Fintech USA 2018, April 9-11 at the Moscone West in San Francisco.

Upgrade Inc. Named a 2018 ‘Best Place to Work in the Bay Area’ (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Upgrade, Inc. (), a consumer credit platform that combines personal loans with tools that help consumers understand and monitor their credit, announced that it has been named a ‘Best Place to Work in the Bay Area’ finalist in the small company category by the San Francisco Business Times and Silicon Valley Business Journal.

United Kingdom

Goldman Sachs is recruiting at least 6 people for the UK launch of its online lender Marcus (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Goldman Sachs is recruiting engineers in London to help build and launch its online lender, Marcus, in the UK.

Credit Card Customers Prepare for Debt Crackdown (Market Oracle), Rated: AAA

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has, as of this month, given credit card providers six months to adhere to the new rules that tackle the issues surrounding persistent debt*.

From September 2018, credit card providers must review the last 18-month history of a borrower’s repayment records, if they are in persistent debt, and assess whether they are subject to the new rules.

Source: Market Oracle

Investors flock to Assetz Capital IFISA (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

ASSETZ Capital has had almost 3,000 investors start the process of setting up an Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA), with those who have already started investing putting an average of nearly £12,000 into the product.

Business borrowers should think outside the bank (Insider.co.uk), Rated: A

SMEs are the backbone of the Scottish economy, making up 99% of the business population and accounting for more than half of all private sector employment.

The unemployment rate in Scotland rose to 4.5% in the final three months of last year, slightly higher than the rate of 4.4% for the UK as a whole, but there are grounds for optimism. Independent forecasts suggest that growth in the Scottish economy will be slightly higher than last year.

According to research from the British Business Bank , published on 20 February, net bank lending remained “relatively flat” in 2017, while P2P business lending volumes rose by 51% to almost £1.8 billion.

Why SME banking may spawn the industry’s next big winners (Euromoney), Rated: A

Small businesses, which account for more than 99% of private businesses in the UK and in aggregate contribute more than half of turnover and employment, are particularly poorly served by big banks.

The big five high street lenders are built for serving either retail customers or medium-size and larger companies with collateral to back three-year and longer term loans that the banks like to hawk to companies that do not really need them as a way to sell associated risk management.

Small businesses want short-term, flexible working capital with no punishing fees for low usage or early repayment. This is expensive for banks to underwrite – especially for new startups and sole traders lacking several years’ worth of financial history – and to administer. Few small businesses want the interest-rate hedging and FX facilities that banks like to bundle up with term loans for medium-size and larger corporate customers.

The market is at last now producing non-bank competitors looking to provide the right kinds of services and products for small businesses – ones that give these challengers a shot at the £2 billion of annual revenue the British Bankers Association suggests SMEs now pay for financial services.

Wealth Wizards launches AI robo system (FT Adviser), Rated: A

Wealth Wizards, the robo-adviser majority owned by LV, has launched an artificial intelligence service which will learn how advisers serve their clients and replicate that house view.

China

Chinese IPOs In US Continue To Disappoint Investors (China Money Network), Rated: AAA

Industry watchers foresee a 25% to 30% increase in the the number of Chinese IPOs in the U.S. in 2018, versus 2017. That’s a significant gain given that the number of Chinese IPOs in the U.S. in 2017 was more than double the number in 2016.

Peer-to-peer lending company Qudian Inc. raised more than a billion dollars when it went public on the New York Stock Exchange in last October. Today the stock is down just over 50%, according to data from Dealogic, a loss of more than US$500 million for investors.

The average PE ratio for profitable Chinese companies listing in the U.S. reportedly rose to 50 in 2017, versus 31 a year earlier, driven in part by the marketing efforts of the three banks behinds most of the IPOs, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse AG, and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Another problem has been the Chinese government’s crack down on online consumer lending. This has hurt the businesses of financial technology companies, which made up the largest group of IPOs in 2017.

European Union

Online Lender Robo.Cash Posts 2017 Stats (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Robo.cash outlined the results of its first year in operation on the European P2P lending market: 2,000 investors from the EU and Switzerland invested over €3M in the issue of 330,000 short-term PDL-loans in Kazakhstan and Spain. The average inflow of investments is €240,000 with 150 new investors joining the platform monthly.Robo.Cash views the results and platform dynamics as proving the growing demand for complex automated solutions in the global alternative fintech.

The European investors financed 330 thousand short-term PDL-loans (Financial IT), Rated: A

The European P2P-platform Robo.cash was launched in Latvia on February 21, 2017. It has achieved to attract over €3 million and 2.000 investors from 29 European countries (the EU and Switzerland) in one year. The average inflow of investments is €240 000 with 150 new investors joining the platform monthly.

International

The Pro-Growth Magic of Inflation Anchoring: Eco Research Wrap (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Credit-constrained industries grow faster in countries with well-anchored inflation expectations, based on an IMF analysis of data covering 22 manufacturing industries for 36 advanced and emerging-market economies between 1990 and 2014. It seems to be the anchoring – not the level – that matters for growth. So while most advanced economies angle for 2 percent, there’s nothing magical about that number.

Killing zombies

The share of global zombie firms – low-productivity companies that struggle to meet their interest payments – has more than tripled in the past two decades, climbing to 2 percent of companies in 2016 from 0.6 percent in 1996. Early, incomplete data for 2017 indicate that the may finally be disappearing, suggesting that climbing interest rates are making it harder for the laggard firms to hang on.

Websites for Bitcoin (BTC) Borrowing and Lending (Hade Platform), Rated: A

1) Bitbond

They have more than 100,000 happy borrowers and investors. The peer to peer Bitcoin borrowing community has offered loans to more than 2500 borrowers. The loan application process is simple, and the loans can be received within one hour. Investors receive up to 13% interest on the loans they give, with some investors having a history of loaning to more than 100 borrowers. The duration of the loans, which are generally to help finance small businesses, range from 6 months to 3 years. Bitbond has users from more than 120 countries, and has an investment volume above $1million.

2) Btcpop

With a large user base above 20,000, from more than 60 countries, Btcpop holds a volume above $1million.

3) BTCjam

BTCjam has more than 100,000 users from more than 200 countries. The website supports peer to peer lending and has a volume of more than $13 Million BTC in their holding.

Australia

RateSetter CEO: Comprehensive credit reporting and open banking to help Australia play catch-up (mozo), Rated: AAA

For many Australians hearing the words ‘credit history’ may well elicit a shudder down their spine – especially if they’re looking at taking out a finance option such as a personal loan, credit card or home loan. But in just under four months that could well change, with the impending implementation of mandatory Comprehensive Credit Reporting (CCR).

From July 1, the big four banks will be required to have at least 50% of their credit data – both positive and negative – available to be shared, which Daniel Foggo, Australian CEO of peer-to-peer lender RateSetter, suggests will help Australia catch up to the rest of the world.

Promontory says AI for banking compliance ‘a long game’ (Financial Review), Rated: A

The inaugural chairman of the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority says it will take “massive investment” before regulators let banks use artificial intelligence to meet their multimillion-dollar compliance obligations.

While AI is being used to deliver personalised banking experiences to customers via “chatbots” and helping bank staff make more customer-centric decisions, the technology which Promontory thinks has the capacity to cut sky-high compliance costs is still a work in progress.

The company is combining its regulatory prowess with IBM’s artificial intelligence technology known as “Watson” to cut costs, but also to improve accuracy for regulators.

Verrency, a global Australian payments platform and fintech marketplace, has been accepted into the latest fintech cohort of Silicon Valley-based technology accelerator Plug and Play Tech Center.
India

Women are Looking at Alternative Forms of Investments and Tech is Here to Help (Entrepreneur), Rated: AAA

More and more women are taking charge of their financial decisions and moving beyond the usual investment routes and looking at P2P lending, mutual funds as options.

Rajat Gandhi, Founder and CEO, Faircent, believes that gone are the days when women investors looked only at traditional tools of investments as part of their financial planning. “These ambitious go-getters are increasingly ditching the traditional tools of savings and investments and exploring the relatively new and more lucrative forms of investments,” said Gandhi.

At Faircent, 14% of the lenders registered are women and they account for 21% of the total amount disbursed through the platform.

“Female lenders on our platform are earning an average NAR of approx. 20% p.a proving that women tend to invest wisely; know how to take calculated risks, can meticulously diversify their investment portfolio across different borrowers and hence, end up enjoying better returns,” asserted Gandhi.

Meanwhile, Keerti Kumar Jain, founder and CEO, of Anytime Loan, shared the following statistics from their platform regarding female lenders.

Blockchain: a new technology or a new kind of enterprise? (YourStory), Rated: A

Let us imagine a new kind of enterprise that is designed to create value through a self-regulating method that is both decentralised and auto-incentivising. This is in direct contrast to the conventional top-down hierarchical, command and control enterprise.

We will do this in a two-step process.

First, we set up an initial monetary policy (“the white paper”) in the form of a finite number of digital tokens that represents the overall value of the enterprise. This also creates the requisite economic scarcity to start with that is essential to this approach.

Second, we set up clear encodable rules for how the participants who generate value in the enterprise will “earn” in tokens. This incentivises the participants to “do the right thing” to generate value for the enterprise, which in turn increases the value of the tokens.

Distributed ledgers

One basic requirement for setting up such an enterprise, is the use of a transparent immutable Distributed Ledger to establish trust between all participants of the enterprise.

Examples of the new kind of enterprise

A Distributed P2P Lending Network in which Lenders and Borrowers are joined by a network of Verifiers, Hosting providers and Developers, all incentivised to build, maintain and use the distributed lending platform that is hosted on a blockchain technology.

Asia

Tera Funding sets out to hedge risks of P2P project finance (The Korea Herald), Rated: AAA

The high return — often at above 10 percent — that the instrument promises to the lenders, triggered a rush into the sector, and roughly a third of loans on P2P platforms went into project financing as of September.

As such, the default rate of the average local project financing P2P platform operators is relatively higher at 1.7 percent, over threefold that of other P2P platforms, according to an estimate by the Financial Services Commission.

The returns are roughly estimated 8-15 percent of investment per a year, without tax deducted, depending on the level of risk.

Fintech lenders hit back at OJK (The Jakarta Post), Rated: A

Indonesia’s financial technology (fintech) players were in shock when they found out that their main regulator, the Financial Services Authority (OJK), had some disconcerting views about their businesses despite having a relatively close relationship.

Executives of peer-to-peer (P2P) lending fintech firms on Tuesday voiced their concerns about a controversial statement from OJK chairman W…

Funding for RedDoorz, Hotelogix, and 23Mofang (Tech in Asia), Rated: A

Online lender Finova Capital secures US$6 million Sequoia Capital backing (India). The startup provides loans to small businesses in India’s tier-2 cities and rural areas. Finova will use the funding for technology development and hiring talent. Sequoia India made its investment in two tranches, the first taking place late last year.

Paytm Mall in talks with SoftBank to raise US$600 million (India).

Canada

Katipult Named Finalist For Most Promising Partnership Award at Lendit Fintech Industry Awards (Crowfund Insider), Rated: B

Canadian fintech Katipult announced last week it has been nominated, alongside Polymath Inc., for the Most Promising Partnership Award at the second annual Lendit Fintech Industry awards in April. According to Katipult, the partnership will be competing against some of the world’s finance and fintech giants including partnerships involving Goldman Sachs, Macquarie Group, Swedbank, and Lending Club.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Demystifying Securitization

growth of securitization

Mortgage Backed Securities (“MBS”), Collateralized Debt Obligations (“CDOs), Collateralized Loan Obligations (“CLO’s), Asset-backed Commercial Paper (“ABSCP”) and other types of securitized products are largely responsible for the Subprime Crises in 2008. These financial instruments created massive financial losses and large-scale damage to the economy overall. A great deal of negative press followed demonizing certain industry […]

growth of securitization

Mortgage Backed Securities (“MBS”), Collateralized Debt Obligations (“CDOs), Collateralized Loan Obligations (“CLO’s), Asset-backed Commercial Paper (“ABSCP”) and other types of securitized products are largely responsible for the Subprime Crises in 2008. These financial instruments created massive financial losses and large-scale damage to the economy overall. A great deal of negative press followed demonizing certain industry participants and the use of financial engineering. Best-selling books like Too Big to Fail and The Big Short along with countless congressional testimonies drew even more attention to the subject.

With all the media attention came a fair amount of misinformation. For decades now, securitizations funded large consumer purchases including automobiles and homes. It also fueled the credit card industry and the expansion of consumer credit. Securitizations fund the small to large businesses and countless other aspects of the United States and world economy. Yet, for many it is a relatively new phenomenon that they may not completely understand, or even mistrust.

More recently, internet lenders brought an entirely new buzz to the securitization market. Their more customer-centric model to lending resulted in explosive growth. So much so, the original peer-to-peer funding model was largely replaced by the efficiency of the securitization market. According to Bloomberg/Peer IQ, total securitization of marketplace loans is now close to $90 billion, up from less than $50 million at the end of 2013.

What is Securitization?

Securitizations, or, more specifically, asset-backed securities (“ABS”), are pools of loans such as residential and commercial mortgages, auto loans, consumer loans, leases, trade receivables, or other assets packaged in security form. The loan pools often separate into different securities with varying levels of risk and return.  Lower risk, lower interest tranches receive the loan payments first, with the holders of the higher-risk securities receiving payments thereafter. The securities sell as new issues and subsequently may trade in the secondary securities market. Public offerings of ABS require registration with the SEC.

Securitization is like secured lending in many ways. Secured lenders require borrowers to pledge specific assets as collateral for a loan. Cash flows from the borrower and the assets pledged as collateral back the loan in the case of default. In a similar way, the loan pool in the securitization trust acts as collateral for a security. In a securitization of secured loans, assets that collateralize the loans in the pool also flow through the trust in case of a loan loss and subsequent liquidation. The holder of the security has a rightful claim to the cash flows of the loan pool including principal and interest payments, loan sales and recoveries from any defaults.

Essentially, securitization is the process of taking a group of homogeneous assets and transforming them into a security. The assets are pooled together and repackaged into a single security, which is then sold to investors. The security entitles them to the incoming cash flows and other economic benefits generated by the asset pool.

A Simplified Overview of the Securitization Process

From FDIC.gov website

How did Securitization Begin?

The modern history of securitization began in 1970s when Government Sponsored Enterprises (“GSE’s) including the Government National Mortgage Association (“Ginnie Mae”), the Federal National Mortgage Association (“Fannie Mae”) and the Federal Home Loan Corporation (“Freddie Mac”) issued the first residential mortgage-backed securities. These first issuers pooled residential mortgage loans and used them as collateral for securities. The market was significantly expanded by the Emergency Home Finance Act of 1970, which authorized Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to buy and sell mortgages insured or guaranteed by the federal government. Along with credit enhancement of the government guarantee came an entire industry of creating newly issued bonds and trading securities in the secondary market. By 1977, Bank of America issued the first non-government sponsored security in the form of a private label (non-government backed) residential mortgage pass-through bond.

Securitization evolved over the decades, as different methods and products developed from the process. A critical component was the Tax Reform Act of 1986. The Tax Reform Act eliminated the double taxation of income earned at the corporate level by issuers and dividends paid to securities holders. It also allows for Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduits (“REMICs” or “Conduits”). A REMIC is an important distinction for balance sheet lenders as they were now permitted to structure a security offering as a sale of assets. The ability to package assets off-balance sheet offered regulatory capital relief for lenders and greatly increased capital available to fund growing consumer loan demand. Mortgage securitizations then led to new types of asset securitization including auto loans, credit card receivables and others. As the United States paved the way other advanced countries soon followed with their own ABS.

By the 1990s the securitization market exploded. New rules in the United States by the SEC along with REMIC legislation made the process more efficient. Global consumer culture clamoring for access to credit paired with the expansive growth of institutional managed money seeking new investment opportunities was the perfect combination. Consumer credit was now available to purchase everything from houses and cars to consumer electronics and higher education.

The need for business credit also expanded during this time. The 1990s saw the introduction of commercial mortgages backed securities (“CMBS”), collateralized loan obligations (“CLOs”), Franchise ABS, Equipment Leasing Securitizations and other structures designed to finance business.

Growth of Securitization (1970–2008)

Source: *Securitization and Fractional Reserve Banking Nov 12, 2009 Nikolay Gertchev

What are the Benefits of Securitization?

For the Issuer, Securitization is Cost Efficient. It allows a company to issue low cost senior debt independent of the company’s rating and fund itself less expensively than it could on an unsecured basis. The strategic use of securitization enables a company to grow its business and earnings without additional equity capital and/or enhance return on equity. These benefits derive primarily from the capital efficiency of securitization. Depending on the structure, securitized assets can be supported with less equity capital than on balance sheet assets primarily due to the transfer of asset-related risks to investors.

Securitization Transfers Asset-Related Risks. Firms that specialize in originating new loans and have difficulty funding existing loans may use securitization to access more liquid capital markets for funding loan production. In doing so, the originator or finance company also transfers risk. These risks generally include interest rate risk, basis risk, liquidity risk, prepayment risk and credit risk. While in some transactions the issuer may retain most of the economic credit risk associated with securitized assets, the credit risk of certain asset types may be small compared with these other risks. In addition, securitization can create opportunities for more efficient management of the asset ability duration mismatch generally associated with the funding of long-term loans, for example, with shorter term bank deposits.

Diversification for Investors. Investors seek diversification of investments for the benefit of their overall portfolio. Securitizations offer unique investment opportunities and attractive risk-return profiles compared to other asset classes such as government and corporate bonds. Securitization also allows the structuring of securities with differing maturity and credit risk profiles from a single pool of assets that appeal to a broad range of investors.

Risk Sharing and Liquidity. Securitized products allow institutional investors opportunities to participate in consumer and corporate assets that cannot be found elsewhere. With securitization, investors may invest in various consumer and business loans without having to develop in-house origination and servicing capabilities required to procure loans, collect payments and managed defaults and liquidations. In this way, investors benefit from the sourcing and servicing expertise of originators freeing money for more efficient capital deployment. Finally, the conversion of basically illiquid banking assets into tradeable capital market instruments often gives investors the opportunity to sell securities in the secondary market and obtain liquidity.

Securitization Provides Market Driven Pricing Discipline. Securitization can provide a market driven pricing discipline by highlighting the market price for risks transferred to investors and, thereby, providing pricing benchmarks to judge the profitability of a business.

How do the Regulators Look at Securitization Post-Crises?

Despite a major setback in 2008, securitization continues to be the primary alternative to bank financing. Securitizations transfers trillions of investment dollars into the economy. The regulatory authorities in the United States recognize the systematic importance of the capital markets to the real economy. In a report to Congress in 2010 by the Federal Reserve (“The Fed”), the Fed states, “the securitization markets are an important link in the chain of entities providing credit to U.S. households and businesses, and state and local governments. When properly structured, securitization provides economic benefits that can lower the cost of credit.” That exact phrase was reiterated in 2014 in a joint agency report by the US Treasury, SEC, OCC, HUD, The Fed, FHFA and FDIC regarding risk retention for securitizations.

Comments like this from the regulatory bodies lead most people to believe that securitization is here to stay. Transforming illiquid typical bank assets into tradable securities, is an important way to channel cash to borrowers and fund economic growth. While new regulation calls for increased scrutiny of deals it recognizes the importance securitization plays to the overall economy. New measures such as better documentation and risk retention are now in place. The rules call for issuers to retain and economic interest or so-called “skin-in-the-game” on deals they bring to market. This makes for a better alignment of interest, stronger transactions and increased transparency. In that way we are better than ever before.

Author:

Written by Phil Toth, managing director at Oberon Securities  

Lending Times Survey Results

digital lending services

Lending-Times recently conducted a survey of our readers to find out more about the types of lending services they offer and how they relate to their customers. The following are the results of the survey. What type of lending services do you provide? (select all that apply) The majority of readers (55.88%) are in the […]

digital lending services

Lending-Times recently conducted a survey of our readers to find out more about the types of lending services they offer and how they relate to their customers. The following are the results of the survey.

What type of lending services do you provide? (select all that apply)

The majority of readers (55.88%) are in the consumer loan business followed by 36.76% involved in business lending. 17.65% are in mortgage lending while 16.18% are in student lending 10.29% are involved in auto lending. Another 25% identify as alternative lenders, a broad category of lending that includes many types of non-bank loans. Because readers could choose more than one category for this question, the survey results do not add up to 100%.

What is your role within the organization?

The largest percentage of survey takers (25%) fall into the digital sales, marketing, and acquisition category. 11.76% fall into risk, fraud, and compliance occupations, and another 10.29% consider themselves a part of product and technology. The majority, 52.94%, chose “other.”

How do you verify the identity of your borrowers?

When it comes to identifying borrower identities, 37.31% said they do so through data bureau checks. Digital identity verification checks are used by 32.84% of those who took our survey, and 23.88% said they verify borrower identities with a manual review of identity documents. Only 5.97% said “other.”

How do you collect supporting documents for underwriting (for example, utility bills for proof of address, W2s for proof of income, etc.)?

Regarding underwriting practices, 69.74% of survey takers said they collect documents through electronic capture and upload, 25% by email, and 5.26% have borrowers deliver to a physical location. No respondents said they receive documents by fax.

Do you think your current process for onboarding new applicants could be improved?

A simple yes or no response on this question revealed that 93.24% of survey takers believe their new applicant onboarding processes can be improved while only 6.58% responded in the negative.

What stage of the digital transformation journey is your organization at today?

Almost half, 42.11%, of survey respondents said they are a fully digital organization, and the same percentage said they are on track to becoming a fully digital lender. Those just starting out represent 19.74% of our readership who said they are working on a full-digital strategy and evaluating vendors. None of the respondents said they have no plans to become a fully digital lender.

What do you think are the main barriers to offering fully digital lending services? (select all that apply)?

The majority of survey takers (53.42%) said the biggest barrier to offering fully digital lending service is mitigating risk while avoid loan application abondonment. Another 52.05% said meeting compliance without compromising the user experience is the main barrier. Almost one-third of survey takeres (27.40%) said they lack the skills, resources, and budget to offer fully digital lending services. Respondents who said they do not see the value of shifting their loan origination practices to digital channels registered at 9.59%, and those unsure of where to begin came in at 5.48%.

Rank on a scale from 1-5, the value of each benefit in the digital lending process (1 being very valuable, 5 being not valuable).

Our readers seem to value regulatory compliance more than any other digital lending benefit. Risk mitigation followed closely behind followed by improvements in operational efficiency. Cycle time and user experience pulled up the rear.

Do you feel your lending user experience is a competitive differentiator?

84% of survey takers said the user experience on their lending platforms are a key competitive differentiator while 16% said it wasn’t.

If you already offer digital loans, which of the following options do you provide?

Among survey takers, the digital lending options provided the most include desktop/laptop (52.11%), mobile-optimized website (50.70%), and native app (15.49%). Over one-third (39.44%) said they offer all three options.

Authors:

Allen Taylor

The Return of Non-Prime Mortgage Loans

Altisource

Altisource was launched in 1999 and has its headquarters in Luxembourg. In 2009, it was listed under the ticker (NASDAQ: ASPS) it was a spinoff from Ocwen Financial Corp (NASDAQ: OCN); a mortgage loan servicing and asset management company and today its equity market cap stands at just under $500 million. Chart below shows ASPS […]

Altisource

Altisource was launched in 1999 and has its headquarters in Luxembourg. In 2009, it was listed under the ticker (NASDAQ: ASPS) it was a spinoff from Ocwen Financial Corp (NASDAQ: OCN); a mortgage loan servicing and asset management company and today its equity market cap stands at just under $500 million.

Chart below shows ASPS performance for the last two years:

Source: Yahoo! Finance

The company has over 10,000 employees on its payroll and since its inception has acquired Investability, RentRange LLC, CastleLine, and Equator. It offers plethora of products ranging from real estate and mortgage portfolio management, asset recovery, and customer relationship management to securitization, loan origination, insurance etc. It is a one-stop shop and serves over 250 lenders.

Justin Vedder, vice president, national sales for origination solutions, has a strong background in operations, strategic sales and sales management. Prior to this, he held high profile positions in various organizations like CastleLine Holdings, The Prieston Group to name a few. Vedder shared his thoughts with Lending-Times on Altisource and the current tailwinds in the non-prime mortgage ecosystem.

Return of High-Risk Mortgage

Non-prime mortgage securities were once a popular choice among lenders. It offered attractive returns but it all changed when housing market came crashing down in 2008. But in the last year or so, the high-risk mortgage has made a return and the sector is slated to originate about $100 billion this year, though the number is minuscule if compared to $2.2 trillion mortgage market. With an increase in lending volume as well as interest rates, higher yields are expected in the coming future and favorable regulatory environment is another reason why investors are again cautiously optimistic about the future prospects of the industry.

Post-2008, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) came hard on faulty loans and companies who falsified the loan documents. Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act piled on additional mortgage industry regulations to protect consumers. Regulation Z of the Federal Truth in Lending Act provides the backbone of mortgage industry regulations, covering topics such as mortgage disclosures, servicing and appraisal requirements.

Prior to 2008, person earning $30,000 a year with a “D” credit rating, not sustainable income and with no down payment could buy a home, the underwriting process was that easy but it all changed after the 2008 financial crisis. Now, the borrower should atleast have a “B” credit rating, regular sustainable income with proofs, two year job history and 20% down payment and numerous amount of paperwork including tax returns, pay stubs, banks statements, W-2 and much more. With the advent of fintech companies, underwriting has become much more automated and companies are using various technologies like AI to make sure borrowers are genuine. And because of these changes, delinquency rate for 90 days or more including loans foreclosure was 2.2 percent in February 2017. All these changes have made the whole lending ecosystem much more secure than before.

Post-2008, approval rates have gone down significantly as lenders are much more circumspect. Therefore customers with low fico score, self-employed, and retired find it difficult to get loans even though they might have lots of savings and investments. Self employed has always find it tough when it comes to mortgages because they write off far more than the W-2 employees, hence they find it difficult to show the required proof of income through tax returns. Hence, high percentage of self-income individuals, even though they have required prerequisite to qualify for mortgages, struggle to get loans. Because the underwriting and loan processing is more comprehensive than before, the non-prime mortgage sector has the opportunity to tap into the self-employed category.

Requirements and Risk level

Disclosures required from applicants are much more wide-ranging and LTV is now decided by a multi-factor approach to ensure the ability to pay. Recently CFPB introduced “Quality Mortgage” Rule; lenders will use this rule as underwriting standards. Some of its key features are:

  • A borrower may not have a debt-to-income ratio of greater than 43 percent,
  • Fees and points may not exceed 3 percent of the loan amount,
  • Lenders must verify a borrower’s income
  • No mortgages greater than thirty years and no interest only or negative amortization loans.

In 2014, CFPB issued stricter rules for lenders to decide whether the borrower is qualified or not for the mortgages. The “ability to repay” rule, requires the lender to consider more than just the initial interest rate in determining whether the prospective borrower can pay off the loan or not. This rule will make it difficult for the borrowers to qualify for the ARM (Adjustable-rate Mortgage), since lenders will be using higher rates than initial rate available on the loan.

All these additional requirements, along with careful evaluation of collateral, validation of project, income and bank statements, has been the reason why risk level on sub-prime mortgages has gone down considerably and why it is once again becoming popular.

Altisource Products

  • Trelix – Post-2008 era has been tough for the mortgage industry in terms of regulations, and it has become hard to keep track of all regulatory changes and whether every loan is as per regulatory standards or not. Also lack of trained staff has resulted in a high manufacturing cost per loan. Altisource’s Trelix offers “end-to-end licensed underwriting and loan processing services”. This gives a competitive edge to its clients as it manages risk while lowering the cost. Trelix offers host of customized services- processing, underwriting, quality control, loan due diligence etc.
  • CastleLine Insurance Services – This robust risk management and insurance solution is specifically designed for the mortgage banking industry. It helps the clients to safeguard against the losses arising from loan manufacturing defects, underwriting errors, misrepresentations, and borrower, seller, and employee fraud. This is a game-changer as it helps in increasing mortgage quality and reduces funding costs.

Company Numbers

Over the years, Altisource has carved its niche in a highly competitive mortgage industry and has a strong network of on-boarded lenders. Though company as whole has been flourishing but its underwriting business has been on the rise and so far has done over $15 million in volume and its other key business CastleLine insurance business has insured over $15 billion worth of loans.
Industry outlook

The industry will continue to grow but it is expected to evolve over a period of time in terms of process automation. The practice of individually reviewing each loan application is cumbersome and error-prone; therefore by leveraging other credit enhancers like insurance and third party guarantee, the industry can accelerate the process and will also provide a much-needed safety net to the mortgage providers.

Future Plans

The company wants to create an enabling environment so that the mortgage providers can go deep and tap into the non-prime lenders market. Right now the trading environment in the secondary market is non-formal as a lot of work is done using nonpublic information or via emails and the company is on track to change the whole landscape of the sub-prime mortgage industry with the help of its next-generation product line and expertise.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Monday May 22 2017, Daily News Digest

cumulative net trigger loss

News Comments Today’s main news: DBRS confirms SoFi professional loan program 2016-B LLC.  Bond buyers return to online lenders. RateSetter acquires Vehicle Trading Group. Linked Finance receives full FCA authorization. Australian banks have paid $60M in forced refunds. StashAway raises $2.2M. Today’s main analysis: Prosper Marketplace Issuance Trust PMIT 2017-1. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Bond buyers return to online lenders. China, […]

cumulative net trigger loss

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

Canada

Barbados

News Summary

United States

DBRS Confirms SoFi Professional Loan Program 2016-B LLC (DBRS), Rated: AAA

DBRS, Inc. (DBRS) has today reviewed and confirmed the four outstanding publicly rated classes from SoFi Professional Loan Program 2016-B LLC. All four classes were confirmed because performance trends are such that credit enhancement levels are sufficient to cover DBRS’s expected losses at their current respective rating levels.

RATINGS

Issuer Debt Rated Rating Action Rating Trend Notes Published Issued
SoFi Professional Loan Program 2016-B LLC Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Notes, Class A-1 Confirmed AAA (sf) May 19, 2017 US
SoFi Professional Loan Program 2016-B LLC Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Notes, Class A-2A Confirmed AAA (sf) May 19, 2017 US
SoFi Professional Loan Program 2016-B LLC Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Notes, Class A-2B Confirmed AAA (sf) May 19, 2017 US
SoFi Professional Loan Program 2016-B LLC Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Notes, Class B Confirmed A (high) (sf) May 19, 2017  US

Weekly Industry Update: Prosper Marketplace Issuance Trust (PMIT 2017-1) (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Prosper priced its first unsecured consumer deal of 2017 on May 19th, representing the sixth deal consisting of Prosper collateral, and the first deal backed by Prosper’s consortium of institutional investors. The deal was structured by Credit Suisse and co-led by Jefferies.

The Consortium appears on track to deliver the $5 Bn loan purchasing commitment to Prosper as evidenced by i) size of the deal size ($470.8 Mn), ii) average age of the portfolio (two months), and speed to marketing th deal. The deal generates incremental revenue for Prosper which holds unrestricted cash and cash equivalents of $22.3 MM.

We note that Kroll has added 4.5% points for base case loss range reflecting the somewhat higher path of losses on CHAI 2016-PM1 than initially expected. (CHAI 2016 PM-1 has a revised base case loss range of 12 to 14% from 10.61% initially). 

 The deal’s excess spread is substantially tighter, reflecting higher coupons, improved market conditions, and stronger investor appetite for MPL ABS bonds. The attractive excess spread of ~10% implies a significant return for residual tranche investors assuming base case loss estimates are borne out.

Improved Predictive Risk Model PMI-7 

Prosper made a significant change in the in the credit underwriting by switching from Experian to TransUnion, the dominant credit bureau in the FinTech sector. The switch to TransUnion affords Prosper access to trended bureau data, more diverse credit attributes, and alternative data. Trended data provides lenders with a longitudinal view rather than merely a snapshot into a borrower’s credit behavior.

Prosper rolled out a new proprietary credit risk model PMI-7 on December 20th based on the TransUnion dataset. Although the trended bureau data is a significant long-term enhancement, it will take some time for Prosper to re-calibrate models based on new performance data. Investors and Prosper will be monitoring the vintage performance from PMI-7 closely to assess the smoothness of the transition.

Source: PeerIQ

Bond investors in the deal benefit from credit enhancement consisting of over-collateralization, subordination, reserve accounts, and excess spread. For PMIT 2017-1, the A, B, and C tranche has a total credit enhancement of 43.9%, 31.1%, and 10.4%.

Pricing Tighter

The Prosper deal priced tighter than a recent LendingClub prime deal ARCT 2017-1, in part due to the much higher initial credit enhancement in PMIT as compared to other recent deals.

We observe a parallel shift in the credit curve: For instance, PMIT 2017-1 A (A-rated) has about 44% credit enhancement and 0.8 year WAL; ARCT 2017-1 A (BBB-rated) has about 29% credit enhancement with a similar WAL. PMIT 2017-1 A was priced 95 basis points tighter than the senior class in ARCT 2017-A.

Walking down to lower junior tranches, PMIT 2017-1 C (B-rated) was priced about 40 basis points wider than ARCT 2017-1 B (BB- -rated). The steepening in the pricing curve again reflects demand for senior rather than equity-like risk profile.

Trigger Talk

We continue to observe a pattern of higher CNL triggers in recent deals, reflecting conservative outlook from market participants. Exhibit 4 shows several cumulative net loss (CNL) trigger profiles in recent personal loan ABS deals. Here, we summarize the cumulative loss trigger profiles from recent deals and contextualize the CNL triggers of the new Prosper deal with those of CHAI 2015-PM1.

All Is Forgiven? The Bond Buyers Return To Online Lenders (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

After the rather spectacular fireworks display that Lending Club had going on this time last year, it was not great surprise when the bond buyers who had been snapping up P2P marketplace debt suddenly got a case of cold feet and starting fleeing those marketplace lending platforms.

Since April of this year, over $2 billion in securities backed by loans have either been sold or are being prepared for an imminent sale, according to credit-rating firms and people familiar with the matter.

That is some much needed good news for the segment, as it represents more than was issued in the entire second quarter of 2016, according to data tracker PeerIQ.

And it seems to be a continuation of recent activity that saw $3 billion in bonds backed by online loans that were issued in the first quarter of 2017, double the amount from the same period a year earlier.

Bonds backed by online loans is a small part of the securitization market — as of 2016, $7.8 billion of bonds backed by online loans were issued, compared with $191 billion in total issuance of asset-backed securities, according to S&P Global Ratings.

New Fed Mortgage rolls out the “Fast Track Mortgage” (PRWeb), Rated: A

NewFed Mortgage Corp., a multi-state residential mortgage lender is excited to announce their “Fast Track Mortgage” loan origination technology integration with BeSmartee, an online mortgage automation company based in Huntington Beach, California. This smart technology platform utilizes intuitive artificial intelligence targeting the specific needs and qualification of borrowers.

Fast Track is an online self- serve platform offering mortgage shoppers the convenience of 24/7 access to obtain a personalized rate and cost quote with the option to continue to apply and obtain a conditional loan approval in less than 15 minutes. Fast Track streamlines the application process by allowing the borrower online to pull their own credit report, calculate costs, obtain loan disclosures on the spot and receive an automated loan approval and along with the option to order their home appraisal. The ease of Fast Track Technology allows borrower to send documents right through their specially created account.

Nuance Strengthens Biometrics Security Portfolio and Attacks Fraud with Advanced, Multi-Modal Offering (NASDAQ), Rated: A

Nuance Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ:NUAN) today took a major step towards reducing the risk of consumer fraud by announcing a new suite of biometric security solutions, driven by the latest in artificial intelligence (AI) innovations.  The new Nuance Security Suite includes not only the company’s award-winning voice biometrics technology, but also new advances in facial and behavioral biometrics that combine to provide advanced protection against fraud, across customer service channels.

Applying deep neural networks (DNN) as well as advanced algorithms to detect synthetic speech attacks, and integrating facial and behavioral biometrics means the Nuance Security Suite takes fraud prevention to new levels.  By combining a range of physical, behavioral, and digital characteristics to provide secure authentication and more accurately detect fraud across multiple channels – from the phone to the Web, mobile apps and more – Nuance’s new Security Suite allows enterprises to attack fraud head-on, while at the same time offering an improved customer experience.

With its latest Security Suite, Nuance can equip an organization with one or more of the following options to fight fraud, improve security and boost the customer experience:

  • Voice biometrics – authenticates the customer when they say a predetermined phrase like “My voice is my password,” or during the course of normal conversation with an agent to determine if the customer is indeed who they say they are.
  • Facial biometrics – utilizes the camera on a smart phone to verify the person in real time.
  • Behavioral biometrics – tracks how users interact with Web and mobile applications, (e.g. scrolling, mousing, or tapping), creating a pattern against which to compare.
  • Additional biometric modalities – In addition to offering support for voice, facial, and behavioral biometrics, the Nuance Security Suite can also accept plug-ins for other emerging authentication technologies such as retinal scans.

The mortgage search goes digital (American Banker), Rated: A

Interest rates on the rise and a lower inventory of homes on the market are tightening access to the housing market. At the same time, nonbank, online-only lenders have boomed, accounting for 73% of loans originated, according to the Federal Housing Authority.

This trend is likely to continue in the coming years. And members of the digital-native Millennial generation, who rely on online search to find home loans–and everything else–are taking over as the primary home-purchasing segment of the population–Millennials accounted for 84% of closed home loans in January 2017, according to the Ellie Mae Millennial Tracker™ report. In this environment, an effective organic local search strategy is no longer just beneficial for traditional mortgage lenders; it’s existential.

Of 5,849 loan officers whose online presence Yext studied across the online ecosystem (including sites like Google, Facebook, Bing, Yelp, and many others), 64% of their business listings contained incorrect addresses, 42% had phone number errors, and 46% had errors in business names. 9.25% of loan officer listings were duplicates, and 57.8% of loan officers studied had no online presence at all.

CFPB Explores Ways to Assess the Availability of Credit for Small Business (CFPB), Rated: A

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau today launched an inquiry into ways to gather and use new and existing information to identify the financing needs of small businesses, especially those owned by women and minorities. Small businesses typically need access to credit to take advantage of growth opportunities, yet public information on this lending market is inconsistent and incomplete. The Request for Information asks for public feedback to help the Bureau better understand how to bridge this information gap. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act requires the CFPB to collect data about small business lending to help identify needs and opportunities in the market and to facilitate enforcement of fair lending laws.

500 Startups Creates Pooled Investment Fund for Fintech (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

500 Startups has filed a Form D 506(c) for a pooled investment fund targeting Fintech. The 500 Fintech LP is seeking $25 million according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Silicon Valley based operation has committed over $350 million in early stage investments. Over 1,800 companies have benefited from both funding and support around the world since the global seed fund was launched in 2010.  Some of the better known investments include Twilio, Credit Karma, Maker Bot and more.

TSB offers online consumer lending (The Mountain Press), Rated: A

PIGEON FORGE — Tennessee State Bank is excited to announce online consumer lending, powered by Lending Club, the world’s largest online credit marketplace, is now available.

These loans range from $1,000 to $40,000, are unsecured (which means no collateral is required), and can be used to eliminate high interest debt, kick-off a home improvement project, or make a major purchase.

JPMorgan formally quits R3 (LinkedIn), Rated: A

Not subscribing to a consortium like R3 is not the same as banks not leveraging blockchain/DL. Here is a link to an excerpt from a report we did on a bankers perspective (former head of digital banking at Deutsche Bank) on blockchain which may provide some insights:

At the same time, Ripple is posting amssive gains, overtaking Etherium on market cap:

First Federal Lakewood invests in Boston startup Numerated Growth Technologies (Cleveland Business), Rated: B

The mutual bank, with $1.6 billion in assets, has announced an investment partnership with Boston’s Numerated Growth Technologies Inc., a fintech (the term ascribed to programs and technology that support financial services) startup spun out of Boston-based mutual Eastern Bank own in-house fintech accelerator, Eastern Labs.

Numerated’s platform focuses on small-dollar loans, allowing the loan process to be managed in real-time — reportedly conducting the process in as quick as five minutes, according to the firm — in addition to automating marketing to existing and prospective bank customers, which helps feed the loan pipeline as fewer consumers visit brick-and-mortar bank branches.

Nicki Minaj Is Starting An ‘Official Charity’ To Pay Off Student Loans (Huffington Post), Rated: B

Last weekend, hip-hop living legend Nicki Minaj made waveswhen she decided ― seemingly spontaneously ― to start making tuition and student payments for straight-A students who reached out to her via Twitter.

Most notably, Minaj announced that she was in the process of launching an “official charity for Student Loans/Tuition Payments,” meaning kids who are having trouble paying their way through school could soon get some much-needed help.

United Kingdom

HSBC tech chief on digital challenger banks: ‘We are building similar stuff ourselves’ (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

One of HSBC’s most senior technology executives says that the big bank is not far behind digital-only challenger banks when it comes to consumers offerings.

Raman Bhatia, HSBC’s head of digital for retail banking and wealth management in the UK and Europe, told Business Insider that while startups enjoy a technological advantage, HSBC is working hard to catch up.

Bhatia pointed to HSBC’s SmartSave app as an example of how the bank is keeping pace with digital rivals. The app helps people automatically put money into savings based on pre-set rules. It evolved from Nudge, an internally developed and trialled savings app HSBC worked on last year. SmartSave was trialled with around 2,000 HSBC customers in December.

Assetz Capital reaches quarter of a billion lending milestone (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

ASSETZ Capital announced that it has now lent £250m to UK businesses.

The peer-to-peer lender said it has provided up to £25m of secured loans a month since its launch in 2013, with more than £55m lent so far this year.

Stuart Law (pictured), chief executive of Assetz Capital, said investors have earned more than £21m with actual rates of between 3.75 per cent and 18 per cent.

Sub-prime vehicle finance provider bought out of administration (AM Online), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending company RateSetter has acquired sub-prime vehicle finance provider Vehicle Trading Group out of administration.

The Leicester-based operation has now been sold to RateSetter, which is planning to rebrand the business, but Insider Media reported that the deal “will not impact its day-to-day operations”.

Linked Finance receives full authorisation from UK regulator (The Irish Times), Rated: AAA

Linked Finance, a peer-to-peer lending platform, has received full authorisation by the UK’s financial conduct authority to enter the UK lending market.

Figures from the first quarter of 2017 show that the company’s Irish platform increased lending activity by more than 326 per cent on the same period a year earlier.

Since its launch in 2013, Linked Finance has facilitated more than 870 loans and more than €25 million in funding for Irish small to medium enterprises.

Deloitte Launches Enhanced Digital Banking Offering (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Deloitte today announced the launch of its enhanced Digital Bank offering to further accelerate a bank’s digital transformation. Based on the Salesforce Intelligent Customer Success Platform and utilizing the Salesforce Financial Services Cloud, Digital Bank helps banks create exceptional experiences by providing tailored banking capabilities with accelerated implementation and realization of value.

Digital Bank’s capabilities and potential benefits include:

  • Augmented Salesforce Platform with many technologies, fintech solutions and AppExchange partners, as well as personalized channel engagement through automated marketing using Salesforce Marketing Cloud
  • Ability to expand relationships by having full visibility into bank relationships across business units
  • Established customer trust through multifactor secured cloud banking platforms and improved onboarding for customers through a fully mobile process enabled by many technologies
  • Increased speed and agility to meet customer needs, as well as the regulatory needs of the banking industry, using predictive analytics based on account behavior to recommend next best offers and next best actions
  • Accelerated implementation allowing banks to generate ROI faster, including linking newly created accounts in Salesforce to a blockchain secured digital identity

The job creation contradiction in fintech (AltFi), Rated: A

It got me thinking about the broader impact of fintech lenders in the UK, especially those built to fund businesses. Companies like Funding Circle – the country’s largest marketplace lender for SMEs – regularly reference their impact on job creation in corporate updates. The logic is that the loans that Funding Circle and other platforms like it facilitate help small businesses to grow, and so too to hire more staff.

Leading US firm OnDeck released a report in late 2015 analysing the economic impact of the first $3bn lent through the platform. The report found that OnDeck loans had powered $11bn in business activity, creating 74,000 jobs across the country. Similarly, Funding Circle published findings last summer suggesting that its lending had supported the creation of 40,000 jobs in the UK since 2010, boosting the economy by £2.7bn.

In this way, they are unquestionably killing jobs, as well as creating them – but nobody ever talks about that.

Barely a month goes by without news of a fresh round of bank branch closures. In March, for example, we learnt that RBS and NatWest would be cutting 158 branches and 400 jobs across the country.

Welsh start-ups can become unicorns with a $ 1bn plus valuation (Wales Online), Rated: A

As a result, Improbable has become one of the few UK start-ups to achieve the so-called ‘unicorn’ status, namely having a valuation of over $1bn.

Since then, their numbers have grown to nearly 200 firms globally and that are collectively valued at £523bn. The most valuable is Uber, the online taxi company that, in only four years, has reached a valuation of over £50bn.

A recent article in Forbes Magazine suggested that investors, with few places to put their money during an era of near zero interest rates, are fuelling the growth in unicorns as they look for better returns.

Property is top pick less than a year after funds gated (FT Adviser), Rated: A

According to research from peer-to-peer lending platform Kuflink, conducted in the first week of May, nearly a third of UK investors are planning to direct their attention to traditional asset classes such as property over the course of the financial year.

This comes after some of the largest property funds in the UK temporarily stopped investors from cashing-in their money last summer when thousands of people panicked after the European Union referendum and pulled out of the asset class.

The Kuflink survey, which questioned 1,100 investors across the UK, also found that Brexit and the snap election have impacted UK investment decisions more than any other political event in their lifetime.

Almost 40 per cent of investors are taking a more cautious approach by favouring ‘safe-haven’ asset classes, while 38 per cent are waiting until after the 8 June election to make any further investment decisions.

China

WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, also known as the Belt and Road Initiative, was held in Beijing on May 14-15.

On May 12, the State Council Information Office of China announced that China has reached a series of agreements with U.S. related to agriculture, investment, energy and especially in financial service area.

Key points of the Initial Agreements of the China – US Economic Cooperation 100-Day Plan in financial service area:

  1. By July 16, 2017, China is to allow wholly foreign-owned financial services firms to provide credit rating services in China, and to begin the licensing process for credit investigation.
  2. The People’s Bank of China and The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) are to work towards a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) concerning the cooperation and the exchange of information related to the oversight of cross-border clearing organizations.
  3. By July 16, 2017, China is to issue further necessary guidelines and allow wholly U.S.-owned suppliers of electronic payment services (EPS) to begin the licensing process.

The hotly anticipated initial public offering of Alibaba’s finance arm, Ant Financial, has reportedly been delayed until at least the end of 2018 because of the need to secure regulatory approval and to focus on building the business.

E-commerce giant Alibaba Group and affiliated online payment service Alipay are aiming to use facial recognition technology to help retirees simplify pension authentication. Shenzhen is chosen to be the first pilot city.

The Peoples Bank of China (PBOC), the country’s central bank, announced that it has set up a Fintech committee to enhance research, planning and coordination of work on financial technology.

Happigo Home Shopping Co. Ltd., a leading Chinese multichannel e-retailer, announced that the company had the local government approval to build a small loan company.

The new micro-credit company will be named “Happy Tongbao”, which has about RMB 300 million in registered capital. It will focus on online micro-credit and expects to start its business in Hunan Province, lending to merchants in desperate need of a loan, then gradually expand to the entire Chinese market. Entrusted loans, bill business, financial advisory and other online business models is said to be covered in its future development.

To reduce lending risks, Happigo said it had developed a cloud system for tracking merchants on its online shopping platform to help it keep a record of the business of would-be borrowers’ cash flow.

IFRM: A Risk Control Model keeping No Bad Debt! (Xing Ping She Email), Rated: A

IFRM ( Internal Financal Risk Management) is a unique method created by Xeenho, focusing on the operation modes of platforms. In the IFRM Solution, the risks of P2P lenders are evaluated through three indicators: FOW (qualitative indication system), TOS (quantitative indication system) ,O2O Due Diligence, and Big Data Supervision. By using the model, Xeenho has been keeping the Zero Bad Debt since 2014 with a business volume up to $400M.

FOW ——qualitative indication system
FOW means Forbidden, Observation and Warning. FOW detects and prevents P2P fraud, if a platform is categorized as Forbidden, Observation or Warning then it won’t proceed to the next step.

TOS ——quantitative indication system
TOS means Transparency, Operation and Safety. TOS thoroughly evaluates a platform, from its basic information to its UX, and the risk is ranked thereafter.

O2O ——due diligence from online to offline
O2O means making due diligence from online to offline, in order to ensure a platform that passed FOW and TOS is as good as it seemed to be.

Big Data——Analytics & Observation System
This dynamic surveillance system continuously over watches the performance of a platform, and adjusts the rating accordingly.

The Business Model of Xeenho
European Union

Alternative Lending Index Unveils European Cross-Border Lending Opportunities (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Twino, one of the leading Baltic lending marketplace, has produced in conjunction with KPMG Baltics a report called Alternative Lending Index which assesses the potential of alternative finance in 23 European countries based on a set of economic credit data. While the report does not pretend to exhaust the analysis of the drivers and hurdles of alternative finance across Europe, it presents a very useful snapshot of the Pan-European credit landscape that should help support international strategies.

The first platform to tackle cross-border lending was Estonian pioneer Bondora in 2009. Since then, and particularly in the past two years, international lending marketplaces have mushroomed in the Baltics. There are now more than a dozen of them, with a strong dominance of consumer lending platforms. Leaders such as Mintos and Twino have long passed the €100 million mark in cumulated loan funding. They currently grow at a rate of between €10 to €20 million worth of new loans funded a month. If you operate a lending marketplace in the UK, France or Germany you should know these platforms because they are targeting your smartest investors:

Together, these platforms have funded over €500 million in cumulated loan volume – which would make the Baltics, if it were a single country, the 4th largest online alternative lending market in Europe after the UK, France, and Germany.

Together, these platforms have funded over €500 million in cumulated loan volume – which would make the Baltics, if it were a single country, the 4th largest online alternative lending market in Europe after the UK, France, and Germany.

The ALI ranks 23 European countries. It concludes that countries with the highest gaps and inefficiencies in traditional lending, hence the highest potential for alternative lending in Europe are, in that order:

  • Hungary, Slovenia, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Greece and Ireland.

Conversely, the countries where the existing sources of financing available to households and corporate borrowers are sufficient and the potential for the development of alternative lending is therefore considered low, leaving little room for alternative lenders are:

  • France, Germany, Netherlands, Austria, Finland and Sweden.

Read the full report.

International

US Anniversary and the (Possible) Regulation of Crowdfunding in Ireland (Lexology), Rated: AAA

The US has just celebrated the first anniversary of its regulated crowdfunding regime, known as “Regulation Crowdfunding”. It was by all accounts a very happy anniversary for many US start-ups, as Regulation Crowdfunding reportedly raised $40 million in its first year. US advisory and education firm, Crowdfund Capital Advisors report that the average successful crowdfunding campaign raised around $282,000 from around 312 investors. Regulation Crowdfunding allows companies to raise up to $1,070,000 over a 12-month period.

An unregulated environment brings with it its own set of benefits and drawbacks:

  • On the positive side, the absence of a regulatory framework means there are no restrictions on who can invest, or on the amounts that can be raised or invested. In contrast, the Regulation Crowdfunding regime in the US has strict limits on the amount which a person may invest through crowdfunding each year. These limits are determined by an individual’s annual income and net worth.
  • On the negative side, the lack of regulation means that many investor-protection mechanisms are simply not available. For example, the Central Bank’s codes of conduct and client asset rules do not apply to crowdfunding platforms.

The Department of Finance (the “Department”) and the SME State Bodies Group have issued a public consultation paper on the possible ‘Regulation of Crowdfunding in Ireland’. They are considering how to facilitate the development of crowdfunding in Ireland for the benefit of the economy while also ensuring adequate protection for small investors and consumers.

The objective of this consultation is to invite the views of interested parties on whether a regulatory regime would be appropriate for the crowdfunding sector.

Breaking Banks: Small-business fintech around the globe (American Banker), Rated: A

How do we get money to small businesses that make the economy work for most people around the world? What kind of systems do we need to create? And how do we make them flexible so multiple cultures can utilize them?


A ‘paradigm shift’ is taking place in financial technology (Business Insider), Rated: A

Venture capital firms, which poured $117 billion into fintech startups from 2012 to 2016, have been pulling back on their investments.

Financial technology companies experienced a surge in funding from 2012 to 2015, during which time venture capital firms poured $92 billion into the space.

In 2016, global venture capital investment in fintech companies dipped to $25 billion, from $47 billion in 2015.

According to Morgan Stanley, there are a number of factors that will push legacy financial firms to step up their investments in fintech companies. The most obvious factor is the fear of disruption.

Deregulation is another trigger. If the Trump administration follows through on its promises of Wall Street deregulation, then incumbent firms won’t have to spend as much cash on regulatory compliance. That would free up money for fintech investment initiatives. Legacy firms’ focus on lowering cost also provides an incentive to invest in fintech.

Online Financial Advice Lacks The Human Touch (iexpats.com), Rated: B

Robo-advisers can do more or less the same job, but without the human touch and the expensive fees that go with it.

Now, anyone can find financial advice 24/7 as long as they have an internet connection, cash to invest and a smartphone or other gadget to access the web.

The recommendations that come out of the robo-advice process should be similar to those suggested by a human adviser.

Some would argue robo-advisers are less likely to make mistakes, but if a consumer keys the wrong information the ‘rubbish in, rubbish out’ rules applies.

Australia/New Zealand

Big banks pay $ 60m in advice refunds (Financial Standard), Rated: AAA

AMP, ANZ, CBA, NAB and Westpac have to-date repaid $60 million out of an estimated $204 million for charging clients for financial advice that was not provided.

On a per-institution basis, AMP has paid $3.8 million out of an estimated $4.4 million; ANZ paid $43 million out of an estimated $52 million; CBA paid $5.8 million out of an estimated $105 million; NAB paid $4.4 million out fan estimated $5 million; and Westpac has paid its estimated total compensation of $2.6 million in full.

Robo adviser to get access to Westpac’s Panorama platform (Financial Review), Rated: AAA

Small-balance investors that financial advisers usually avoid will now get a chance to use BT Panorama, Westpac’s $500 million integrated banking and wealth operating system, after the bank inked a deal with Barry Lambert-backed robo adviser Ignition Wealth.

Currently the platform has about $110 billion under administration and 800 advisers are using it.

Via Ignition Wealth, which rich lister Mr Lambert took a minority stake in in 2016, customers can go fully advised, use a hybrid model where they control their investments with an adviser, or go fully DIY. Fees slide up and down depending on how it’s used.

Ignition Wealth has announced it is partnering with BT Panorama to offer its digital advice solution to accountants, advisers, and investors using the BT Panorama platform.

The digital advice provider said its 360 advice offering would offer a post-Future of Financial Advice (FOFA) compliant solution for accountants and financial industry professionals who did not hold an Australian financial services licence (AFSL) but were looking to source financial advice for their clients in a post-FOFA environment.

Advisers, accountants, and investors using BT Panorama would have access to digital and full service financial advice powered by Ignition Wealth from Q3 of 2017.

DIY investors reject advice, says ASX study (ifa), Rated: A

The main reason some Australian investors do not use financial advice is because they prefer “to be in control” and are not convinced that advice adds value, recent research from the ASX has shown.

According to the 2017 ASX Australian Investor Study report, which looked at the behaviour and attitudes of 4,000 Australian investors, around 60 per cent of all investors use some form of professional financial advice.

For those not using advice, 90 per cent said it is because they “prefer to be in control”, while 56 per cent said they were “not convinced advice adds value”. Close to 40 per cent said advice was “too expensive” while around 30 per cent said their “investment is too small to need advice”.

Borrowers could save more than $ 3000 a year by switching to an online lender (News.com.au), Rated: A

AUSSIE borrowers could save up to $3184 a year by switching to an online lender, but unfamiliarity and lack of face-to-face customer service are keeping them away, according to Mozo.

The financial comparison website examined 504 home loans from 89 providers, finding nearly two thirds of the best-value home loans on the market are from online lenders, which were 0.7 per cent cheaper on average than the big four for a typical 25-year, $350,000 loan.

Online lenders iMortgage, loans.com.au and UBank scored the highest marks in Mozo’s Experts Choice Awards, while Homestar was named Non-Bank Home Lender of the Year.

But according to a survey of 1000 consumers, Australians are less likely to apply for a home loan online than other financial products despite the huge savings on offer. Australians are twice as likely to purchase car insurance online versus a home loan.

The biggest barrier for applying for a home loan online was lack of familiarity with online lenders, with 56 per cent of respondents saying they simply don’t know enough about them, while 43 per cent said they would prefer to discuss their needs face-to-face with a mortgage expert.

More men than women would consider applying for a home loan online. Of those who said they would, half were aged between 25-44.

OnDeck business loans help franchise businesses get on with it (Professional Planner), Rated: B

Small business loan specialist OnDeck announced a partnership with the Franchise Council of Australia (FCA), the peak body for the franchise sector in Australia. The agreement underscores OnDeck’s go-to-market approach for its joint flagship product with partner MYOB – ‘MYOB Loans Powered by OnDeck’.

By partnering with the FCA, OnDeck aims to reach the thriving $146 billion franchise sector as a supplier of choice for small business loans, which can be approved online in as fast as one business day with minimal paperwork. OnDeck aims to fill a serious gap in the market for franchise owners by satisfying more of their unsecured lending requirements that go beyond equipment financing to renovation, relocation and working capital needs.

India

Fintechs to drive financial inclusion or will banks save the day? (India Times), Rated: AAA

Disintermediation of the lending value chain – Banks would traditionally source, acquire, underwrite, onboard, collect and service customers. Most would do some parts well, and a few parts not so well. This is increasingly now being solved by the entry of new ‘customer owning’ entities into the game, who will acquire, owners of data who can underwrite, and the lenders who can lend and collect. This makes partnerships key.

Alternate data – Lending to the bottom of the pyramid and micro SMEs has always been the problem to solve for financial institutions, due to lack of documented income and collateral. Non-traditional data promises to come in and provide an alternative.

However, most such data algorithms do not seem to be working out. Many fintechs across India, Africa etc, are running NPAs upwards of 8-10%, including some of the flagbearers of the phenomenon, but that is not out in the public domain, and typically shoved under the carpet. The main reason for this is that the algorithms are raw and untested. They have not run their credit cycles yet.
Payments – Payments as an innovation is done. It’s commodity now. Fintechs who continue to invest in incremental experiences will find it difficult to scale. The trend to watch for will be digital ecosystems. What I mean is digital marketplaces, the likes of Ping-an and Alipay, serving the integrated needs of the digital consumer a.k.a the millennials, enabled through digital payments and leveraging financial services cross-sell sitting on top of all of this, as the revenue driver.

Fintech firm Telr gets $ 3 million funding (The Hindu), Rated: A

Financial technology start-up Telr said that it had received an investment worth $3 million from Innovations East fund as part of its series-B funding round.

Telr, which is a payment gateway aggregator of multiple payment methods such as cards and online banking, has operations in West Asia, South East-Asia and India.

The Rainmakers (Business Today), Rated: A

Year ago, Captain Pankaj Kumar, owner of a New Delhi-based shipping solutions company, was looking to raise Rs 20 lakh. He approached banks for a loan, but soon realised it would be anything but smooth sailing. Then, his former banker suggested that he approach CoinTribe, a Gurgaon-based online lending platform that connects creditworthy micro and small enterprises (the company helps individuals as well) with potential lenders such as banks and non-banking financial companies (NBFCs). This time, paperwork was minimal, and the entire process moved fast.

Then, his former banker suggested that he approach CoinTribe, a Gurgaon-based online lending platform that connects creditworthy micro and small enterprises (the company helps individuals as well) with potential lenders such as banks and non-banking financial companies (NBFCs). This time, paperwork was minimal, and the entire process moved fast.

At present, the company caters to small businesses with Rs1-50 crore turnover; anything below that is treated as a micro business. The ticket size varies from Rs5-30 lakh (the company also offers unsecured loans starting from Rs20,000 to cement dealers, for shorter tenure) with interest rate pegged at 18-20 per cent. So far, it has helped disburse close to Rs170 crore loans, servicing over 500 customers and 250-odd dealers through its marketplace.

Harnessing the power of data, CoinTribe has come up with a three-step screening process that ascertains an applicant’s identity, analyses its ability to repay and gauges its intent to pay. To determine a borrower’s identity, the company checks all available online data and social media footprint. To analyse any given applicant’s ability to pay, it has identified 180 sub-industries and places the potential client in the right category to run it past all relevant data points.

Asia

Singapore Fintech Startup StashAway Raises US $ 2.2 Million in Series A (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

According to TechinAsia, StashAway, a Fintech startup based in Singapore focused on providing wealth management, announced it had secured US $2.15 million in funding for its Series A round.

StashAway is a software solution for individual investors to manage their investment portfolio.

Why should security professionals pay attention to the rise of fintech? (MIS Asia), Rated: A

The rise of financial technology (fintech) may result in increased cybersecurity threats and attacks, said Chia Hock Lai, President, Singapore Fintech Association, at the Computerworld Singapore Security Summit 2017.

He highlighted the five areas of fintech that introduce cybersecurity risks:

  1. According to a report by Accenture and CB Insights, global investments in fintech rose from 2012 to 2016 to reach US23 billion.
  2. More than a third (34 percent) of banks globally said they are open to collaborating with a fintech company, according to a study IDC did on behalf of SAP last year.
  3. According to the World Bank Group, only 50 percent of adults in ASEAN have bank accounts. The availability of mobile or peer-to-peer payments from fintech startups will thus enable more underserved to access financial services, said Lai.
  4. “[Gartner predicts that] in the next four years, the number of IoT devices [that will be in use in the consumer sector] will reach 13.5 billion,” said Lai. With every device generating data, machine learning will be required to analyse the large amounts of data generated to churn meaningful insights.
  5. According to Aite Group, banks will increase their investment on blockchain over the next few years to reach US$400 million in 2019.
Canada

futureshare Launches to Help Canadian Homeowners Unlock Their Real Estate Wealth (Marketwired), Rated: A

There is more than $2.9 trillion in unmortgaged real estate equity in Canada (CREA), and today fintech platform futureshare launches to help Canadians unlock that real estate wealth without taking on new debt. The company was founded in 2016 as an alternative to home equity loans, home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) and reverse mortgages and gives homeowners a lump sum free of ongoing payments and interest rates in exchange for a percentage of the home’s appreciation, which can be paid out without penalty at any time or once the property is sold. futureshare’s online platform is the first of its kind in Canada and is now live in beta and accepting online applications for homes within Ontario with plans to launch in Alberta, Manitoba and British Columbia by the end of 2017.

The average Canadian owes $1.67 for every dollar in income (StatsCan), and futureshare is designed to help homeowners access the equity tied up in their home without adding to their ongoing debt burden. Unlike a reverse mortgage or HELOC, futureshare doesn’t require homeowners to have perfect credit scores or to fall within a specific income bracket, and it doesn’t increase monthly payments. A homeowner’s eligibility is based primarily on their home value and whether they have at least 25 per cent equity ownership in their home. Homeowners will be able to access on average up to 10-20 per cent of their home equity using futureshare’s platform, and unlike a loan, there’s no ongoing payments or interest rates.

Barbados

COMPANY AIMING TO PUT IDLE MONEY TO USE (Barbados Advocate), Rated: A

SOME of the $3 billion sitting idle at commercial banks in Barbados will soon be better utilised so as to earn higher returns for depositors and to help grow this country’s economy.

Those funds will be utilised under a new facility known as Peer-to-Peer lending, which was officially launched by finance company Carilend on Thursday night, at the Limegrove Lifestyle Centre, Holetown, St. James.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

How Small Business Can Manage Their Client Risk

small business manage risk

One of the main reasons why small businesses fail is due to poor credit risk management. There is a good reason why banks and lenders give priority to risk management. They understand that if you are clearly aware of your customers’ creditworthiness and the local political and economic climate that may affect a customer’s ability […]

small business manage risk

One of the main reasons why small businesses fail is due to poor credit risk management. There is a good reason why banks and lenders give priority to risk management. They understand that if you are clearly aware of your customers’ creditworthiness and the local political and economic climate that may affect a customer’s ability to pay, protecting your receivables gets easier. The rule of thumb in credit risk management is to act and not to react. Most small businesses react to credit issues and that is why they fail to achieve their full potential.

Although credit risk management is not as straightforward, having the right discipline and making use of a few pro tips can help achieve your goals without the risk of incurring a loss. Here are a couple of tips that will help you improve your insight into credit risk as well as enable you to take the most appropriate measures to maximize the risk/return profile.

Check the credit record of new customers thoroughly

Just because a new client walks in with a fine cut suit does not mean you should ignore his credit record altogether. This is a mistake made by most small businesses. Other times, the need to look into the credit record of a new client is ignored all together. Needless to say, this is the worst mistake you can make as a business owner/manager.

As aforementioned, when you understand the creditworthiness of a client, you will be able to predict his ability to pay. Finding local and foreign corporate information can be hard more so for the emerging markets. The best way forward is to rely on the services of local consulting firms to assist you with the background check.

Establish credit limits

Source: where the credit record is impressive, when dealing with new customers, you have to establish credit limits. This is for the simple reason that you use the first sale to start building a customer relationship. When setting up credit limits, you can use tools like credit-agency reports, bank reports as well as audited financial statements. These will give you a great view of the customer’s financial history, borrowing capacity, level of debt as well as cash flow, profitability and liquidity.

Set clear credit terms

The last thing you want is to lose a case in court against a debtor. This happens when the credit terms of the sale agreement are not clear. A good sales agreement should be well-worded and have comprehensive terms of credit. This will help reduce the risk of disputes as well as improve chances of your getting paid on time and in full.

Pay for political and/or credit risk insurance

Source: business formation, it will be wise to think about credit and political risk insurance. This will keep your business from collapsing in case of non-payment. There are numerous insurance products that have been tailored to protect your small business against contract cancellation, non-payment, expropriation, breach of contract, political violence, currency restrictions and so much more. Make sure the cover you take is comprehensive and that the fee is cost-effective.

Don’t focus only on the new customers

It is human nature to assume that the long-term business relationships are solid and stable and built on trust. The truth, however, is that approximately 80% of bad debts involve the relationships that are years old. Credit risk management should not be treated as a one-time process. You have to constantly evaluate credit risk for all customers, suppliers and vendors. Keep an eye on trends in business credit profiles which signal imminent trouble.

Don’t ignore your colleagues

Source: best credit professionals are not in the credit department. They are in the support, sales, customer service and the executive suite. For example, sales calls can help the sales team know that a current customer is downsizing or the executive officer may hear that a certain customer is having trouble with loan payment. Trusting your colleagues means you have more ears on the ground. The information they bring to the table will help evaluate the credit risk in a more effective manner.

Business fraud should be taken seriously

In an effort to build more relationships with customers, most small businesses overlook signs that a deal may be too good to be true. You must always apply consistent risk management practices to all customer relationships. Every red flag should be investigated. Pay more attention to customers with murky business histories, absurd terms, and unusual references. Put everything on hold until you evaluate the credit risk.

Review and monitor covenants

Source:

Covenants are basically the conditions that are agreed to by borrowers as part of the loan term in commercial loans. These may also be applied in sales. When you monitor these covenants closely and effectively, you will be able to get early signs of loan deterioration or non-payment.

Have regular update of customer key financial data

How often do you review customer report and financial data? If you take too long to do this, you might not notice when the finances of a customer are being depleted. To be able to build a better client relationship and improve credit risk management, you must have the current state of affairs of your customers. The timelier their profit & loss and balance sheet information is, the more likely the ratio analysis will signal deterioration of financial performance.

Closing the doors and going home is the only way to eliminate risk. So long as you are running a business, you will always have to deal with risks. The best you can do is to manage these risks. You have to invest in the right technologies, tools, processes and consulting firms in order to effectively manage credit risk. When you are able to manage credit risk in a cost-effective manner, you will be striking the right balance between risk and reward. The more you learn about credit risk management and the more meticulous and disciplined you are the more effective you will be in running a profitable business.

Author:

Maggie Martin
Ph.D. in Cell Biology
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Using Machine Learning for Risk Management in Online Lending

online lending

The financial services industry has entered into an arms race fuelled by machine learning and AI. Artificial Intelligence is an umbrella term for computers able to execute on a higher level of human mental functioning. Machine Learning is part of that AI; it allows the computer to learn from its functioning without being explicitly programmed. […]

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The financial services industry has entered into an arms race fuelled by machine learning and AI. Artificial Intelligence is an umbrella term for computers able to execute on a higher level of human mental functioning. Machine Learning is part of that AI; it allows the computer to learn from its functioning without being explicitly programmed. The machines will get better at their jobs without humans needing to code that improvement.

AI has wide-ranging applications across the business spectrum, but nowhere is it being exploited with as much zeal as in FinTech. According to CB Insight reports, more than $5 billion has been raised by AI start-ups globally in 2016. This dwarfs the over $3 billion raised in 2015. CrowdProcess is a young data science startup from Lisbon with a new take on machine learning and transparency.

The Genesis of CrowdProcess

CrowdProcess was founded in 2013 by Pedro Fonseca, Jaoa Menano, and Samuel Hopkins.

Fonseca, head of data science and CEO, started his career in FinTech at the age of 25. He also co-founded ODMLX, one of the largest open data organizations in Lisbon. Menano, co-founder and CFO, has technical expertise in data science and worked with Fidelidade, an insurance company in Portugal as project manager. Hopkins, CTO and co-founder, is proficient in machine-learning. He has worked at three different start-ups performing different roles as an application programmer, system administrator, and applied data scientist.

CrowdProcess’s headquarters are located in Lisbon and New York. The company has raised $1million in seed capital funded by Seed Camp, Rising Ventures, Kima Ventures and Frontline Ventures. It is currently in a new round with 50% of capital already committed by investors.

How CrowdProcess Taps Into AI Innovation

CrowdProcess offers a SaaS analytics and data decisioning model for the credit space. They help develop, deploy, and monitor credit scoring models. Using AI and machine learning, they can reduce default rates by almost 30% or improve acceptance rates by over 10%. Its USP is the ability to operate without black boxes.

A black box is a system where the inner components, or logic, is not available for inspection. Due to its existence in machine learning models, it hinders the process of regulation. Adverse Action regulation requires the lender to inform the borrower that an adverse action has been initiated on their credit application, and why. This provides more transparency throughout the process.

James, its flagship solution, is a one-stop shop for credit risk management. Lenders gain access to James around the clock. To ensure reliability and avoide vulnerabilities, it is fully secure and highly encrypted. James’ cloud infrastructure is scalable, and its potential can be enlarged to accommodate hockey stick growth.

James’ features include:

  • Scorecard: Traditional scorecards have been augmented with a random decision factor, gradient boosting, and neural networks.
  • Validate: It provides precautionary alerts according to the model`s metrics and access to data necessary for validation. James has an edge over other solutions in the market, which may not enable regulators to validate.
  • Deployment: James has superiority with regards to the timeline of deployment. The model can be run automatically or in conjunction with other models. So a 6-month integration time is essentially reduced to zero and the company can compare multiple models in parallel.
  • Monitoring: James monitors its own performance in real-time. The system not gives out early warnings and helps ensure data sets are used appropriately. When a material change occurs, the software is tweaked accordingly.

CrowdProcess charges a fixed fee, but its flexible depending on the volume. The company invests a lot on UI and UX removing the need for hiring coders and engineers. A financial analyst with sound knowledge of credit models will be able to use the model without any external support or requirement to code. This young startup has been able to snap established clients like Evo Banco (owned by Apollo Global Management, a bank in Spain) and Cofidis (a consumer financing house, in Paris).

The Value of Machine Learning

In order to help customers know the real value of its model and smooth out the onboarding process, CrowdProcess has launched a 1-day onboarding workshop known as Jumpstart. Customer data is cross–validated with the company´s predictive analysis. Through this back testing, customers are guided toward the proposed benefits of saving time and money in preference to traditional predictive machine learning models. CrowdProcess has undertaken 15 jumpstarts that have resulted in 100% positive outcomes and has beaten existing models.

James has the ability to outperform incumbent models in this sector. Realizing the potential, CrowdProcess is on an aggressive sales roadshow in the U.S. Its USP is not only the ability to offer a better model, but a solution which is transparent and will not turn out to be a regulatory nightmare for its clients. The Portuguese company has major tailwinds and has the chance to capitalize on this massive market.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Tuesday November 22, 2016 Daily News Digest

sme overdrafts uk

News Comments Today’s main news: Prodigy Finance funding foreign MBA students at U.S. colleges. Today’s main analysis : UK banks shift overdraft lending toward big businesses. Today’s thought-provoking articles: FinTech ideas banks are stealing. Credit rating agency questions rise of lending algorithms. Ways to mitigate P2P lending risk. United States Foreign MBA students get college loans through Prodigy […]

sme overdrafts uk

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

Australia

China

India

Asia

International

News Summary

United States

Prodigy Finance Is Putting International Applicants Into Top-Ranked MBA Programs In The US (BusinessBecause), Rated: AAA

After several years working for Deloitte, Abhirath started looking at funding options to study an MBA abroad. But most local banks were unwilling to lend internationally and offered only high-interest loans, riddled with clauses and extra costs.

Instead, Abhirath applied for an international post-graduate loan from community lender, Prodigy Finance.

Prodigy Finance’s borderless, peer-to-peer lending model gives international students access to the loans they need to study abroad.

In September, Abhirath, along with Vyom Vats, was chosen for Prodigy Finance’s inaugural scholarship program. They both received $20,000 in additional funding.

Crowdsourced-Debt Financing is Growing (ValueWalk), Rated: A

The consumer online lending market is experiencing difficulty, with increasing delinquency and default. When questions were raised regarding the lack of due diligence in online loans, they were initially dismissed. What could go wrong? Now two years later the answer is clear as defaults are leading to business closures. Business lending for asset-based revolving lines of credit, however, has taken a different path.

Part of causation for the defaults is due to the race to grow, a trend that has reversed recently. Avant cut its monthly lending target in half while Circlebank Lending stopped making new loans entirely, Bloomberg reported. Shakeups have occurred in the C-Suite.  LendingClub CEO Renaud Laplanche resigned in May amid questions regarding faltering loans and Prosper Marketplace CEO Aaron Vermut recently resigned as it cut 25% of its staff, reported a $35 million second quarter loss and closed its secondary market for loans.

Krista Morgan, CEO of P2Binvestor, an online platform providing business lending for emerging companies businesses seeking revolving lines of credit, has taken a different approach.

The two-year-old company, which just received $7.7 million in a second round of angel financing, conducts due diligence on each loan and has skin in the game, investing alongside other investors.

The online lender currently works only with a small group of accredited investors connected to the firm, but plans to expand to offer the investment to a wider range of accredited investors shortly.  Investors can gain exposure to a large $10 million line of credit by only accepting as little as $1,000 of the risk exposure.

Crowd Valley at Cornell’s Fintech Hackathon in New York City (GrowVC Group), Rated: A

From Friday the 11th to 13th of November, Crowd Valley (a Grow VC Group company) joined professionals from EY, Capital One, Addepar and CoVenture as well as students from institutions such as Cornell, NYU Stern and Columbia for Cornell’s annual Fintech Hackathon held at their Cornell Tech location in New York City. The focus of the event was to promote the innovation of applications and technology for two verticals: Financial Inclusion and Anti Money Laundering (AML).

OnDeck To Present At The J.P. Morgan 2016 Fintech & Specialty Finance Forum (PR Newswire), Rated: B

OnDeck® (NYSE: ONDK), the leader in online lending for small business, announced today that Noah Breslow, Chief Executive Officer, and Howard Katzenberg, Chief Financial Officer, are scheduled to present at the J.P. Morgan 2016 Fintech & Specialty Finance Forum in New York on November 30, 2016 beginning at 12:30 p.m. E.T.

United Kingdom

Conrad Ford argues that UK SMEs are still under pressure as banks shift overdraft lending in favour of large businesses (Asset Finance International), Rated: AAA

SMEs remain under pressure as banks continue to shift overdraft lending away from them in favour of large businesses.

There has been a 37% fall in the value of overdrafts provided to SMEs over the last five years from £19 billion to £12 billion* (see graph), whilst overdrafts given to large businesses have increased by 25% over the same period from £19 billion to £24 billion.

SMEs, especially those within the retail and leisure sectors, can find the lead up to Christmas very challenging if they do not have access to overdrafts. This is because firms increase spending in order to stock up ahead of the crucial Christmas trading period but customers often delay invoice payments until the New Year.

Furthermore, salaries tend to be brought forward so staff can be paid before Christmas and overdrafts are often used to cover this cost.

SMEs face growing pressure and difficult choices as the value of overdrafts available to them continues to fall.

AU10TIX Announces Partnership With Startupbootcamp Fintech Accelerator Program (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

AU10TIX, a fully owned subsidiary of ICTS International N.V, announced on Monday it has formed a new partnership with the Startupbootcamp Fintech Accelerator Program as a way to help support fintech startups.

European Union

Weekly industry news roundup – November 21, 2016 (Bondora), Rated: AAA

The Hindu Business Line reported on data released from the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association which shared data indicating that worldwide P2P lending has grown from £2.2 million in 2012 to £4.4 billion in 2015.

For our German readership, Huffington Post released an article which details how P2P platform are the best alternatives for investors looking for higher investment returns and borrowers looking for cheaper credit options than current banking system offers them.

Sweden’s Klarna buys talent from troubled German fintech startup Cookies (Tech.eu), Rated: A

Swedish payment service provider Klarna has agreed to take on the team behind the insolvent Berlin fintech startup Cookies.

While the terms of the acquisition by Klarna were not disclosed, Swedish media reports that the sum is likely low and that it was essentially an “acquihire.”

Australia

Credit rating agency questions the rise of lending algorithms (Australian Financial Review), Rated: AAA

The increased use of algorithms to write consumer loans has been met with scepticism by rating agency experts who doubt the ability of computers to fully assess credit risk.

Speaking at the Australian Securitisation Forum, Moody’s US-based managing director Jim Ahern told the audience algorithms “work until they don’t” when it comes to approving loans.

Algorithms, he said, are only informed by past and recent data and may be unhelpful if there are meaningful changes in the environment.

We need plans for when robots are in driver’s seat (Australian Financial Review), Rated: A

Financial services companies, including technology-oriented fintech start-ups, are emerging to challenge the roles of banks and the large financial institutions. Fintechs are rapidly transforming and disrupting the marketplace by providing digital or “robo-advice” using highly sophisticated algorithms operating on mobile and web-based environments.

However, the rapid pace of ICT development — with A.T. Kearney predicting robo-advisers in the US will manage investment assets worth $2 trillion by 2020 — makes it critical that we plan for a world where technology is in the driver’s seat.

The ASIC position does not go as far as the one adopted by the EU, which provides an explicit “right to explain” and “right to challenge” on decisions made by algorithms. Nor does the ASIC guidance place an explicit onus on the algorithmic provider to explain, in simple terms, the logic behind an algorithmic decision. This might be intentional since algorithms may involve highly complex code and technical considerations well beyond the skill set expected from an average financial services adviser.

China

Mainland Chinese banks lag global rivals in digital investment, says McKinsey (South China Morning Post), Rated: AAA

Mainland Chinese banks are lagging far behind their global rivals in investing in the digital technology needed to compete in a challenging industry landscape with evolving client demand and fierce competition from fintech companies, an industry report said on Monday.

Many mainland banks devote less than 1 to 3 per cent of their income to technology and digitalisation, while leading global banks on average invested 17 to 20 per cent of pre-tax income to embrace the digital era, McKinsey & Company said in a banking report.

Han Feng, an associate partner at McKinsey, said the digital era for China’s banking industry has arrived.

India

P2P lending: the real benefits and ways to mitigate risk (YourStory), Rated: A

A few critical steps, if followed diligently by the P2P platform, can help minimise this risk for lenders. Traditional data like bank statements, salary slips, ITR etc. supported by digital data, online transaction data, and mobile and social data should be carefully evaluated and studied to understand the borrower’s ability, stability, and intention to repay the loan taken.

The CIBIL of the borrower is a must for the platform to be able to evaluate past performance. The identity verification process (physical or through technology) has to be done to eliminate fraudulent applications.

P2P lending platforms should allow lenders to diversify across many loans by factionalising an individual borrower. Diversification is a crucial step lenders must take to mitigate risk. As a lender, you need to check if the platform gives you a diversity of borrowers for investment. It’s always better to spread your  investment across a minimum of 100 loans of different types and risk grades viz. city, risk/returns, loan purpose, gender, caste/community, tenure, loan amount, etc.

Check how strong the risk team is. Who runs the risk department? If required, please speak/write to the CRO. Ideally, the risk team should be of people with a strong track record in risk management and practice. The data science team within the organisation should be responsible and producing analytical work to improve the quality of the decision-making. In India today, not many P2P lending players publish data and statistics about loan purpose, returns, and default ratio on their website. However, serious, long-term players will, because they realise that it’s critical to do so to bring transparency in the system and build lender confidence.

The agreement between the lender and the borrower is “I owe you”  and one can rest assured that the lender has the right to collect what is due to him at any point in the future when say, the country is out of recession or overcomes the impact of a natural disaster. The P2P platform should keep in touch with the borrower and get regular updates on his/her status. Having said that, India’s story looks very positive for the next 10 years.

Asia

Fintech ideas that banks are already stealing (The Middle Ground), Rated: AAA

On the one hand, some forms of Fintech – such as credit card comparison sites and home loan comparison sites – are mostly on the side of the banks. They make most of their money by directing the customers to the banks (more on this below). The banks, of course, tolerate them because they bring in customers.

On the other hand, some forms of Fintech threaten to replace entire segments of the banking business. The P2P lending websites, such as Capital Match and MoolahSense, could well replace banks in the area of small business loans. Most notably, Fintech companies such as Nutmeg have begun to pose a serious threat to the notion of private banking, by replacing the traditional relationship officer or private banker with online wealth management.

Recent developments though, suggest that big banks are taking a third alternative.

And now, Goldman Sachs has become the first bank to launch a P2P lending service. While Fintech lovers often claim that banks lack the innovation and flexibility to match Fintech counterparts, they seem to be forgetting that money is a sort of superpower. The cost of setting up a P2P lending website is peanuts to a bank, and they even have the sheer capital to guarantee loans that go bad.

If a bank launches a P2P site that’s also backed with its own guarantees, it will draw customers from smaller Fintech companies. And unlike those smaller companies, the bank can afford to fail repeatedly.

HSBC is already testing a transaction platform that uses blockchain technology. One of the underlying drivers of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, blockchain is (among other things) a method of verifying transactions.

With blockchain technology, multiple unrelated sources witness the transaction; and it’s not possible for any one party to fabricate it. Think of it as handing money to someone in a dark alley, versus handing money to someone in a well-lit area with 200 witnesses. The latter is fairer and safer.

Fintech sites are filling in many of the problems with traditional banking, but they might be a little overconfident regarding their edge. They might do well to remember second-mover advantage, and that what they’ve build over a decade the banks can pay enough to imitate within the year.

Fintech companies need to pursue that one great quality that banks can’t buy and copy – customer service, and a good relationship with their users. Because if there’s one thing banks – or anyone – can ever own, it’s good service.

Here are the Ten Fintech Firms that Singapore Just Gave S$ 1.15 Million (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

As part of the first annual Fintech Festival, Singapore gifted S$1.15 million to ten different Fintech firms.

The 10 awardees are:

Award         Company Name Prize
ABS Global FinTech Award1 BioCatch S$150,000
MAS FinTech Awards (Singapore Open)2 1st place – fastacash Pte Ltd S$250,000
2nd place – M-DAQ Pte Ltd S$100,000
3rd place – Pole Star Space Applications Ltd S$50,000
MAS FinTech Awards (Singapore SME)3 1st place – Tookitaki S$150,000
2nd place – Turnkey Lender Pte Ltd S$100,000
3rd place – Funding Societies Pte Ltd S$50,000
MAS FinTech Awards (Singapore Founder)4 1st place – CashRun S$150,000
2nd place – Aimazing S$100,000
3rd place – FinChat Technology S$50,000
International

Capgemini launches global fintech initiative (Econotimes), Rated: A

Capgemini, a global leader in consulting, technology and outsourcing, announced that it is launching its global fintech initiative in order to fast-track fintech engagements with its global financial services clients.

The fintech initiative by Capgemini, is aimed to extend beyond the traditional incubator concept to encompass connection, curation, incubation, and investment stages. The initiative will elevate the company as an active participant in the process of validating and evolving the core value propositions of participating companies in collaboration with clients. It will also address challenges in integrating external innovation by bridging gaps in adoption including tech integration, data management, process changes, among others.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

There were some problems with a real Wall Street casino

People who enjoy having opinions about the financial system also tend to enjoy comparing trading — or, um, central banking — to gambling. While we’re sceptical of those types of views, this week’s rundown of legal troubles faced by one broker-dealer-affiliated gaming business almost seemed bankish.

CG Technology — formerly known as Cantor Gaming, and an affiliate of Cantor Fitzgerald — is paying $22.5 million in a non-prosecution agreement, with $16.5 million going to US attorneys’ offices in Brooklyn and Nevada and another $6 million going to the Treasury Department. It wraps up an investigation into the gaming company that’s been going on for years. (The WSJ has a good rundown of the history here and here.)

Continue reading: There were some problems with a real Wall Street casino

People who enjoy having opinions about the financial system also tend to enjoy comparing trading — or, um, central banking — to gambling. While we’re sceptical of those types of views, this week’s rundown of legal troubles faced by one broker-dealer-affiliated gaming business almost seemed bankish.

CG Technology — formerly known as Cantor Gaming, and an affiliate of Cantor Fitzgerald — is paying $22.5 million in a non-prosecution agreement, with $16.5 million going to US attorneys’ offices in Brooklyn and Nevada and another $6 million going to the Treasury Department. It wraps up an investigation into the gaming company that’s been going on for years. (The WSJ has a good rundown of the history here and here.)

Continue reading: There were some problems with a real Wall Street casino