Thursday January 11 2018, Daily News Digest

consumer loan mpl abs

News Comments Today’s main news: Vanguard’s robo-advisor passes $100B AUM. YieldStreet raises $113M. RateSetter, Funding Circle join FSB funding platform. Funding Circle looks at Autumn for flotation. ETHLend launches secondary blockchain partnership. Modalku hits $7.4M in total crowdfunding. Today’s main analysis: KBRA 2017 consumer loan marketplace lending year in review and 2018 outlook. Today’s thought-provoking articles: LendingTree survey: Survey takers […]

consumer loan mpl abs

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News Summary

United States

Vanguard’s Digital Advice Platform Is First to Pass $ 100B in AUM (Investopedia), Rated: AAA

Vanguard reached another milestone that should keep competing robo-advisors on their toes: it is the first firm to have a digital advice platform to surpass the $100 billion mark in terms of assets under management. And that comes with Vanguard having launched the service in 2015, just three years ago.

According to Stokes, 90% of the platform’s $101 billion in assets under management as of the end of 2017 are from existing clients. Vanguard’s assets under management beat those of Charles Schwab, which has $25 billion in assets under management for its Intelligent Portfolios, Institutional Intelligent Portfolios and Intelligent Advisory services, as well as Betterment’s $10 billion in assets, noted FinancialPlanning.

KBRA Releases 2017 Consumer Loan Marketplace Lending Year in Review and 2018 Outlook (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) released its 2017 Consumer Loan Marketplace Lending Year in Review and 2018 Outlook. The accompanying research report highlights the fact that 2017 was a notable year in the consumer loan marketplace lending (MPL) space in many respects. Total ABS issuance topped $7.8 billion in 2017, up from $4.6 billion in 2016, a year-over-year increase of 71%. SoFi led the way in 2017 in terms of number of ABS deals and total securitization volume, having completed six securitizations for $3.2 billion in total notes. Prosper completed three securitizations totaling $1.5 billion under their PMIT program followed by four deals from LendingClub’s prime and near prime shelves totaling $1.2 billion and three from Marlette’s MFT shelf totaling $919 million. Avant completed two securitizations totaling $480 million while Upstart issued its inaugural securitization in June 2017 followed by a subsequent deal in November. Investor demand strengthened with orders exceeded total deal size and a larger number of investors participated in the deals.

KBRA’s 2017 year in review and 2018 outlook provides:

  • KBRA’s outlook for 2018
  • Information behind the growth in the consumer MPL market
  • Detailed loan origination and ABS issuance volume by platform
  • Securitization performance and rating trends
  • Comparison of collateral characteristics, lending license arrangements platform servicing strategies and funding sources
  • Synopsis of legal and regulatory developments affecting the sector
  • Summary of significant equity raised by fintech companies

Read the full report here.

LendingTree Survey Reveals Optimistic Outlook for Personal Finances in 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

LendingTree recently conducted an online survey among 1,025 Americans to gauge financial expectations, concerns and overall sentiment regarding personal finances for 2018. According to the results, two out of three Americans have an optimistic outlook for the year ahead, with millennials being even more optimistic.

According to the survey, almost half of Americans (45%) feel that 2017 was at least somewhat better than 2016 in terms of personal finances. Approximately one third (34%) earned more in 2017 than they did in 2016, 24 percent put more into savings in 2017 compared to 2016, and 21 percent improved their score over the past 12 months. However, only 16 percent reduced their total credit card debt, making debt reduction a priority in the year ahead.

Additional positive expectations for 2018 include:

  • 46% expect income to increase
  • 28% expect to pay off credit card debt
  • 35% plan to make and/or stick to a budget in 2018
  • 35% also expect to improve their credit score
  • 18% expect to save for a down payment on a house
  • 27% plan to build an emergency fund
  • 26% expect to save for a savings/purchase goal

To view the rest of the survey results, visit 

Spike in delinquency rate mars outlook for personal loans (American Banker), Rated: A

U.S. consumers are falling further behind on loans commonly used to consolidate debt, the latest sign that monthly payment burdens have become unsustainable for more households.

In the third quarter of 2017, 1.9% of all bank-issued personal loans were at least 30 days delinquent, according to data released Tuesday by the American Bankers Association. That was a notable jump from the second quarter, when the delinquency rate was 1.52%.

YieldStreet Raises $ 113 Million Financing Round to Disrupt Alternative Investing (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

YieldStreet, the alternative investment platform working to change the way wealth is created, today announced that it has closed a $113 million financing round. The round includes $12.8 million of Series A equity financing co-led by Greycroft and Raine Ventures, as well as a revolving credit facility of $100 million from a New York based family office (the “Family Office”). Additional equity investors include Saturn Ventures, Expansion Venture Capital, the Family Office and FJ Labs.

The equity capital will help enable YieldStreet to accelerate the transformation of wealth creation by investing in further product innovation and growing its loyal community of investors. The raise comes as YieldStreet reached a tipping point in 2017, almost tripling prior year originations and surpassing $250 million raised by retail investors at the end of the year.

Alan Patricof, co-founder of Greycroft and one of the pioneers of modern private equity as the founder of Apax Partners, will join the YieldStreet advisory board. Ian Sigalow of Greycroft, Gordon Rubenstein of Raine Ventures and a representative from the Family Office will join YieldStreet’s board.

It’s Time to Talk About Alternative Assets (ThinkAdvisor), Rated: A

While many high-net-worth investors get advice from friends, family and sources on the internet, the majority — 72% — rely on financial professionals such as their advisors for investment information, according to research by Millennium Trust. In fact, financial professionals are over three times more relied on and trusted than the next trusted investment source: 51% of HNW investors trust financial professionals more than competing sources, including family, which is the most trusted source for only 13% of investors.

When advisors discuss potential investments with clients, they often focus on traditional options like stocks, bonds and mutual funds. As our research shows, however, many HNW investors are interested in alternative investments, such as hedge funds, private equity, real estate, commodities, marketplace lending and crowdfunding.

For example, 63% are moderately or extremely interested in investing in real estate and 46% report the same level of interest in private equity. But when it comes to discussing those investments with their broker or advisor, the numbers are significantly lower: Just 25% have discussed residential rental properties, 20% commercial rental properties, 23% real estate investment trusts, and 27% real estate limited partnerships, whereas 38% have discussed private equity.

Ryan Feit, CEO of SeedInvest, Updates on 2017 Progress & Crowdcube Partnership (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

SeedInvest is one of the most selective investment crowdfunding platforms in the US.

Today, SeedInvest is a full stack platform allowing companies the ability to sell securities under each of these exemptions.

How were your numbers for 2017? Can you share some top line detail?

Ryan Feit: We had another record year at SeedInvest.  We invested around $50 million into startups during 2017 (more than in our prior four years combined).  By our calculations we did at least twice as much investment volume as the next largest US-based equity crowdfunding platform that is open to all investors.

During 2017, what were some of the highlights for SeedInvest?

Ryan Feit: Here are a few additional highlights for 2017:

  • HelloMD completed the largest Regulation CF Side-by-Side round fundraise in history, raising $3 million.
  • Knightscope completed the largest pure Equity Crowdfunding round in history, raising $20 million.
  • We launched Auto Invest to help investors easily diversify in up to 25 startups and so far, 470 investors have made 3,300 auto investments into startups.
  • We launched LIVE Fundraising at events around the world and through our partnerships with LAUNCH Festival/Scale and
  • TechCrunch Disrupt, $10 million was raised from 5,800 people on SeedInvest.
  • SeedInvest had 14,000 startups apply to raise capital (vs. 1,500 in 2015).
  • SeedInvest had 2.5 million site visitors (vs. 400k in 2015).
  • SeedInvest processed 20,000 investments (vs. just 275 in 2015!).

Petal Card Raises $ 13M Led by Thiel’s VC Firm (Bank Innovation), Rated: A

Petal, the card designed to serve the credit invisible, has raised $13 million in funding that it will use to double its employees as the young startup tries to meet the demand of its growing user-base.

The Series A funding round was led by Peter Thiel’s VC firm, Valar Ventures.

U.S. News & World Report Names LendingPoint One of 2017’s Best Personal Loan Companies (BusinessWire), Rated: A

LendingPoint, the company working to revolutionize access to consumer credit, was named one of nation’s six best personal loan companies by U.S. News & World Report.

The media company evaluated personal loan companies in five key areas, reviewing data on eligibility, loan terms, fees, repayment methods and additional features. LendingPoint was cited as 2017’s top lender for people with fair to good credit, who have merit-based qualifications beyond FICO scores that make them worthy loan candidates.

Alkami raises $ 70 million for mobile banking software (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Plano-based Alkami has developed a white label service that credit unions and banks use across digital platforms.

And Alkami’s 4.5 million users have generated enough revenue for the company to justify a $70 million Series D round, led by General Atlantic, with participation from MissionOG. Existing investors include S3 Ventures and Argonaut Private Equity.

Chase Partners with AutoFi to Deliver Digital Car-Buying for Dealerships across the Country (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Chase announced today a partnership with AutoFi, a financial technology company that helps customers select and finance vehicles through their automotive dealers’ website and reduce the time it takes to complete the sale. Chase is the first national bank on the AutoFi platform.

The AutoFi digital retailing platform connects dealers with buyers and lenders. Chase will deliver financing terms online through the AutoFi platform, often within seconds.

Nearly half of consumers want to purchase and finance vehicles online, Chase’s research has found.

CECL compliance dragging small banks toward automation (American Banker), Rated: A

Like many small-to-midsize banks, Bank Independent in Sheffield, Ala., calculated its monthly allowance for loan and lease losses the hard way: setting aside a week every month to complete a largely manual, Excel-based model.

Download Your Guide to LendItFintech USA (LendIt), Rated: B

Discover who attends, why you should attend, andmore.

Ascentium Capital Exceeds $ 1 Billion in Funded Volume During Fiscal Year 2017 (Ascentium Capital), Rated: B

Ascentium Capital LLC, the nation’s largest private-independent finance company, announced it surpassed $1 billion in annual funded volume for the first time in the organization’s history.

 

Real estate investing startup Cadre partners with Goldman Sachs (Reuters), Rated: A

New York-based real estate investment company Cadre has partnered with Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) to allow the bank’s private wealth management clients to invest through the startup’s platform.

Goldman Sachs clients have committed to investing $250 million in properties through Cadre’s platform so far, the companies said on Wednesday.

Better Saves Homeowners $ 2.7 Million in Mortgage Refinancing Costs in 2017 (Better Email), Rated: A

PeerStreet: A Group Of Surfers Out To Revolutionize Real Estate Investing (Benzinga), Rated: A

PeerStreet is an investment platform that enables accredited investors to easily invest in high-yield, short term, real estate backed loans. PeerStreet sources its loans from non-bank lenders across the nation. They underwrite both the lenders and the loans using advanced algorithms, big-data analytics, manual processes and on-the-ground due diligence to filter and select high quality loans.

Who are your investors, if any?

Our investors include: Andreessen Horowitz, Felicis Ventures, Rembrandt Venture Partners, Montage Ventures, ThomVest, The Kaiser Family Foundation, Colchis Capital, Toba Capital, Le Frak, and many notable individual investors including Dr. Michael Burry, Adam Nash, Ron Suber, D. A. Wallach, etc.

Is there anything else Benzinga should know about your company?

PeerStreet is entrenched in the financial technology and lending industries at large. PeerStreet has been named by American Banker as one of the “Best Places to Work in Financial Technology” in 2018 and one of the “10 Best Startups in Los Angeles” in 2017 by Zippia. PeerStreet is a member of the Marketplace Lending Association and has partnerships with over 150 private residential real estate lenders in over 30 states.

Q&A With Chief Investment Officer Chris Fraley (RealtyMogul), Rated: A

Q: How do you intend to translate your experience from Rockwood Capital to your role at RealtyMogul?

In 2018, I see RealtyMogul expanding the size of its investment transactions, something I have direct experience in managing and find very exciting. I believe RealtyMogul is entering its third phase of growth as a business, evidenced by its recent acquisition of Serendipity Apartments this past September. Due to the ability to invest larger amounts of equity, we were able to maintain a majority, controlling interest in a $24M apartment community. While providing opportunities in preferred equity, mezzanine debt and smaller, passive limited partner interests will still be a critical aspect of our business, I’m hopeful that our real estate team’s substantial institutional background will help us acquire and successfully manage properties with larger transaction values.

Q: Do you think RealtyMogul will impact the traditional institutional investing model?

Absolutely. The institutional world is already starting to sign on to the concept of direct investing because the typical closed end fund model is broken, inefficient and fraught with possibility of misalignment of interests.

Surprisingly, most institutional investors do not want to invest in value add real estate investments in the bottom of a cycle until there is clear evidence of a market recovery. This was evident in the last downturn by the paucity of institutional allocations to value add strategies in the 2008-2012 timeframe. When the market starts to recover, institutional investors should start to make allocations. This may take a year or two. They lock up allocations with 3-4 year investment periods, oftentimes at the peak of cycle. Now is a perfect example of this disconnect.

Direct investment platforms allow investors to move in and out of market more efficiently and avoid an extra layer of fees to the investor. I believe this is the future of our industry and RealtyMogul is poised to lead.

RealtyMogul Hires New Chief People Officer (RealtyMogul), Rated: B

RealtyMogul, a unique commercial real estate private markets investing platform, today announced the addition of Soley Van Lokeren as Chief People Officer.

Stressing About When And How To Pay Your Debts? Pefin’s AI Assistant Is Here To Help (Benzinga), Rated: A

Pefin is the world’s first Artificial Intelligence (AI) financial advisor. The platform provides intelligent, unbiased and personalized financial planning and advice. Pefin’s mission is to look after the financial best interests of users in a way that embraces the unique individuality of their lives.

The platform offers:

  • 1. Long-term Financial Planning services, including a complete Financial Plan
  • 2. Financial Advice, including savings and debt management strategies
  • 3. Investment Advice and Portfolio Management Services
  • 4. Real-time monitoring, updates, and curated financial literacy content for each user

Tech advances force advisers to adjust — or else (ROI-NJ), Rated: A

There’s a machine-versus-human calculus that’s going on in the world of money management.

It may not yet be that more financial advice is provided by machines than humans, but to say the industry is on that path isn’t hyperbole. Investors themselves — particularly those of a younger demographic — have shown they are willing to trust a robot for advice.

John Babcock, president of Peapack-Gladstone Bank’s private wealth management division, sides with the humans, but understands automation is quickly changing the face of his business.

ProShares and VanEck are withdrawing their requests for bitcoin ETFs (Business Insider), Rated: A

Two financial services giants — ProShares and VanEck — are withdrawing requests to the Securities and Exchange Commission to list bitcoin ETFs.

 

US Banks Rely on Fintech Firms to Overcome Legacy Systems (Payments Journal), Rated: A

Legacy systems are preventing nearly two thirds (64%) of US commercial banks from developing Fintech applications, research commissioned by Fintech provider Fraedom has revealed.

Interestingly, 82% of the respondents that highlighted this concern were shareholders. Over half of those polled also noted a lack of expertise within banks as an important concern (56%), just ahead of limited resources (53%).

Commercial banks outsourcing services to a Fintech provider is clearly a trend on the rise, with only 22% of US banks revealing that they do not outsource any payment services compared to 30% of their UK counterparts.

How a Fintech Startup Aims to Take the Fear Out of Investing (Wharton), Rated: A

Riskalyze CEO Aaron Klein talks to former Wharton visiting professor Vinay Nair about his startup’s business model and path to growth.

Nair: Can you give us a sense of what your Risk Number model is and why advisors are attracted to it?

Klein: We built the technology on top of the academic framework that won the Nobel Prize for economics in 2002 — Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky’s work on prospect theory. We had a team of academics do a deep dive into the methodology and they said, ‘On the one hand, there are a lot of novel things in what you’ve done. On the other hand, a lot of what you’ve done is taken stuff that we’ve been working on in the labs for 15 years to 20 years and figured out a way to make it commercially viable and understandable by the average human.’

Listen to the podcast here.

Can taking out a loan be a good experience? (WGN Radio), Rated: A

Kabbage has enough experience with small businesses to say providing loans to small businesses can make for a good experience. John Parise is the Head of Customer and Partner Marketing and has been following company journeys for years now. His way of making loans a positive experience is by offering flexibility.

Listen to the podcast.

Fintech Startup Apruve Partners With MSTS For Credit Card Alternative (Benzinga), Rated: B

B2B fintech companies MSTS and Apruve announced Wednesday a payment process obviating the need to leverage capital and resources to provide credit and payment terms.

The new service enables automated instant credit approval, buyer onboarding, billing, customer service and collections services while allowing business clients to eschew the high transaction fees of credit cards.

4 of the 5 Biggest IPOs in 2017 Bombed. Here’s Who Won (Madison), Rated: B

The number of companies going public in 2017 surged 52% over the year ago period, hitting 160 deals, with the proceeds from the IPOs reaching $35.6 billion, double the amount in 2016, according to an analysis by Renaissance Capital.

5. Qudian (down 47.8%)

United Kingdom

RateSetter and Funding Circle added to FSB Funding Platform (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER, Funding Circle and Assetz Capital are some of the peer-to-peer lenders that have been included on the Federation of Small Businesses’ (FSB) new business funding platform.

The FSB Funding Platform, developed by Finpoint, matches potential borrowers with more than 100 lenders through the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

FSB launches AI-led business finance aggregator (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE FEDERATION of Small Businesses (FSB) has launched a new business finance aggregator that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to match potential borrowers with more than 100 lenders.

The trade body unveiled the FSB Funding Platform on Wednesday, after it was trialled on FSB members in three UK regions.

The new platform has been developed for the FSB by Finpoint and is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Funding Circle eyes autumn flotation, report claims (The Digital Banking Club), Rated: AAA

UK peer-to-peer lender Funding Circle is set to hire investment advisers as part of preparations to float on the London Stock Exchange.

UK Businesses Enter 2018 Vulnerable to Economic Shocks (CL News), Rated: A

These are unpredictable times for the UK economy. The great financial crisis remains fresh in the memory of business owners and its effects are still being seen in the form of relatively low wages growth and lagging productivity. Meanwhile, the ongoing talks on Britain’s future relationship with the European Union are a reminder that the future too is uncertain. Against this backdrop, a significant number of Britain’s SMEs are acutely vulnerable to any downturn in trade, according to a survey by the business lender, Nucleus Commercial Finance.

Small business owners were more or less evenly split on the question of whether the UK should remain in Europe, but as the survey indicates, the possibility that current trade talks will lead to a poor outcome is now a major concern,  trumping both the possibility of another major financial crash or the threat of digital attack by hackers.

And almost half of the businesses taking part in the survey said they are financially exposed to any event that impacts on trade, with 47% admitting they wouldn’t last a month on the basis of their current cash reserves. 30% said they wouldn’t last two weeks.

After 2017’s European Brexodus companies want to know the UK is open for business (Verdict), Rated: A

The first Morgan McKinley London employment monitor of the new year has revealed a 37 percent decrease in jobs available year-on-year while there are 30 percent fewer people seeking jobs in the capital.

Month-on-month there was a 52 percent decrease in jobs available, while the number of people seeking jobs in London fell by 40 percent.

China

WeChat shows messaging is the future of financial services ‘platforms’ (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

WeChat could be the next big broker-dealer among high-net-worth Chinese investors.

Its parent company, Tencent, now has a license that allows it to sell mutual funds on WeChat and give the popular messaging app’s 980 million users more options to help boost funds sold on the platform. It also gives Tencent more sway in deciding which financial products third-party companies can sell on its different platforms.

WeChat is showing that messaging channels, at least in China, are where people like making financial transactions.

European Union

Berlin-based FinTech startup Penta accuses TransferWise to have stolen its debit card branding (EU Startups), Rated: A

The London-based FinTech giant TransferWise just announced its borderless current account, which enables users to spend money in a choice of up to 28 foreign currrencies with a debit card. Tranferwise’s choice of a neon green colour for its first debit card was met with anger by Berlin-based SME challenger bank Penta, which turned to Twitter to express its anger at the striking resemblance to its own neon green card.

Looking at the two card designs, you’ll notice that it’s really just about the colour, and chances are high, that TransferWise picked the similar colour “by accident”.

International

Crypto P2P lender ETHLend launches secondary blockchain partnership (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

CRYPTO-BACKED peer-to-peer lending platform ETHLend has partnered with a technology provider to help record and store transactions more securely.

ETHLend, founded by Finland-based Stani Kulechov, is a P2P lending platform funding business and personal loans in the Ethereum digital currency.

Central banks are experimenting with blockchain technology — here’s why (Business Insider), Rated: A

So, blockchain can be quite resilient, it can also be a way to create greater transparency into central banking, more credibility because of the rules a blockchain-based system enforces.

Blockchain based BABB Kicks Off Initial Coin Offering to Create the “World Bank for the Micro Economy” (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

BABB, a banking platform based on Blockchain based in London, is launching its initial coin offering (ICO) on January 15th with a pre-sale. The general token sale of BAX will commence immediately following the pre-sale seeking to raise a hard cap of USD $20 million. Once their app is live, BAX will be used to pay for services, fees and licensing costs; so if an individual or business wants to use a BABB account, they will use BAX to pay for it. BAX tokens can also be used for other services.

The money raised by the ICO will be used for BABB to deliver: a smartphone app with bank account capability and international money transfer functionality; a European banking license in the appropriate jurisdiction for their go-to market strategy; and a partnership with a leading retail or central bank in an emerging market, to open corridors for international transactions.

Finova’s FNVA to Become the First Equity-linked Token (BTCManager), Rated: A

Finova Financial is growing as a trusted online lender enabling people to access affordable loans quickly. The platform is recognized as part of the “Fintech 100 list of the world’s leading financial technology innovators for 2016.”

Finova’s FNVA tokens are unique because these tokens are linked with a share of equity in Finova Financial itself. Also, it utilizes the ERC-20 Ethereum token standard that will be traded on cryptocurrency exchanges that are SEC approved and has the backing of assets of a US corporation. Therefore, the token sale is like a hybrid between an ICO and IPO.

These tokens will soon be available through FrontFundr investment platform.

The token price structure of the sale is displayed below, where the price will increase over time. A total of $18.5 million worth of tokens will be sold, on a sliding scale between $0.75 and $1.56 as the supply of FNVA increases.

 

Source: BTCManager
Australia/New Zealand

Auswide Bank sells stake in MoneyPlace, only two years after investing in online lender (The Courier Mail), Rated: AAA

BUNDABERG-based bank Auswide is offloading its 62 per cent stake in online lender MoneyPlace only two years after making an investment to “take a position” in the hi-tech sector.

Mom and pop investors fleeing property rental business (Scoop), Rated: A

Increasing numbers of mom and pop landlords are contemplating giving up on property investment and exploring alternative investments due to reasons such as the increasing pressure they feel from what can be a capital-intensive investment, changes to the legal environment (such as the Healthy Homes Guarantee Act 2017) and fears of how methamphetamine contamination could ruin their retirement planning.

CEO of New Zealand’s largest peer-to-peer mortgage lender Southern Cross Partners, Luke Jackson, says a string of inquiries about alternative investment options that don’t stray too far from property have been received by his team in recent weeks.

India

Existing NBFC cannot operate as peer-to-peer lender (IIFL), Rated: AAA

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) notified that existing non-banking financial companies cannot operate as peer-to-peer lenders. Further, new applicants for peer-to-peer lending license will need to provide the list of promoters and the source of funds for the minimum capital requirement of Rs20mn, the regulator said.

RBI further clarified that electronic platforms that assist only banks, non-banking financial companies and other regulated financial institutions to identify borrowers for lending will not be classified as peer-to-peer lending platforms. Only electronic platforms that also cater to retail lenders can register separately as such platforms, the central bank said.

The future of online financial advice and mutual funds (hubbis), Rated: A

Kunal Bajaj points out India is a large country without sufficient financial advisors to serve the population’s needs. With most people simply finding a financial advisor close to their home or place of employment, financial advice in India is primarily limited by geography which is not an ideal situation. As an added problem, many people find that their advisor has persuaded them into choosing a product which did not meet their needs. “Clearfunds eliminates this issue by delivering a bespoke solution for each customer which uses our internet platform.” Bajaj explains.

Traditional financial advisors try to channel every client into one of 21 possible portfolios (0-100 Debt-Equity or 100-0 Equity-Debt, in five-percent steps) or outcomes, often through first impressions or physical factors. With an online financial advisor, this is not possible, and therefore more work is put into finding out more about the person themselves and their individual requirements by asking periodic psychometric questions about the stability of their employment and income stream.

Bajaj has seen Clearfunds go from strength to strength in the 12 months since the platform has been online. “We have customers across 400 cities and around $10 million in assets under management.” He says. “Betterment and WealthFront took over a year to gather their first $10 million in the USA but now they both have billions in assets. Nutmeg has been in business for 7 years and has around 40,000 accounts and a billion dollars of assets under management.”

APAC

Indonesia P2P Startup Modalku Milestone: Hits $ 74 Million in Total Crowdfunded MSME Loans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Modalku, an Indonesia-based peer-to-peer lending fintech startup, successfully surpassed $74 million (Rp 1 trillion) in total crowdfunded MSME loans.

Canada

Mike Novogratz is planning a crypto version of Goldman Sachs (Business Insider), Rated: A

In a statement out Tuesday, Novogratz said he is looking to raise $200 million for Galaxy Digital LP, a “best-in-class, full service, institutional quality merchant banking business” for the crypto market. Novogratz also plans to list the company on TSX Venture Exchange, a Canada-based exchange for small cap companies.

The new bank will be born out of Canadian-based First Coin Capital, which Novogratz plans to buy and then merge with Bradmer Pharmaceuticals. Its main businesses will include trading, advisory services, asset management, and private equity-like investing.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday August 28 2017, Daily News Digest

artificial intelligence

News Comments Today’s main news: Blend lands $100M investment. Funding Circle achieves ISA manager status. Hive raises over $8M. Innovate UK invests 700K GBP in Paybase. China Life, Baidu launch $1B internet fund. Klarna’s profits increase 138 percent. Today’s main analysis: Bank of America Merrill Lynch to implement AI. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Congresswoman asks FDIC to hold public hearing on […]

artificial intelligence

News Comments

United StatesFlipkart, Amazon pose new competition for fintech lenders.

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

Canada

News Summary

United States

LendingClub Hit with Lawsuit (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

LendingClub (NYSE:LC) has been hit with a lawsuit that names former CEO Renaud Laplanche alongside current and former board members and former CFO Carrie Dolan. The complaint, filed in the Court of Chancery in Delaware, states;

“Throughout the period December 11, 2014 and continuing through May 9, 2016 (the “Relevant Period”), the Individual Defendants breached their fiduciary duties to LendingClub by failing to institute adequate internal controls regarding financial disclosures, related party transactions, and data integrity and security, all while causing LendingClub to represent in the Registration Statement and a series of subsequent filings that such controls were sufficient.”

The suit has been filed by two shareholders; Kelvin Farley and Jay Fink.

Waters Calls on FDIC to Hold Public Hearing on SoFi’s Application for Bank Charter (House.gov), Rated: AAA

Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Committee on Financial Services, sent a letter to Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Chairman Martin Gruenberg, calling for the FDIC to hold at least one public hearing on Social Financial, Inc.’s (SoFi) application to establish an Industrial Loan Company (ILC).

In the letter, Ranking Member Waters states that changes in the financial services industry and financial regulation necessitate a public hearing to examine the policy and legal implications of granting federal deposit insurance to ILCs generally, as well as to obtain greater input on the unique risks posed by granting it to a financial technology (fintech) company like SoFi.

I am writing to request that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) hold at least one public hearing on Social Finance, Incorporated’s (“SoFi”) application to establish an industrial loan company (“ILC”) to provide FDIC-insured Negotiable Order of Withdrawal (“NOW”) accounts and credit card products. As you know, because de novo ILC formations have been affected by regulatory and statutory moratoria for several years, the FDIC has not approved a deposit insurance application for a new ILC charter for some time. Since the enactment of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank Act”), changes in the financial regulatory regime and financial services industry justify a public hearing to examine the policy and legal implications of granting Federal deposit insurance to ILCs generally, as well as to obtain greater input on the unique risks posed by granting it to a financial technology (“fintech”) company like SoFi, a number of which I will discuss in more detail below.

Appropriate regulatory oversight of any ILC is an essential prerequisite to approving any application for deposit insurance backed by taxpayers. The FDIC has previously acknowledged the importance of strong oversight of any insured bank and its parent company when discussing oversight of ILCs.[1] In reaction to a number of concerns previously raised on the regulation of ILCs, the FDIC even went so far as imposing several moratoria on its ability to approve ILC applications for deposit insurance in 2006 and 2007 to, in the words of former FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair in testimony before the House Financial Services Committee, “allow the FDIC to carefully weigh the safety and soundness concerns that have been raised regarding commercially-owned ILCs. At the same time… the moratorium provides an opportunity for Congress to consider the important public policy issues regarding the ownership of ILCs by commercial companies.”[2]

While some experts have touted the possibility that fintech firms can help promote financial inclusion, others have underscored the challenges posed for our current regulatory regime to oversee these types of companies and have underscored the need for policymakers to carefully evaluate the consequences of allowing them access to deposit insurance and the Federal Reserve discount window.[11] Thus, Federal regulators have taken a varying degree of actions focused on fintech companies and services. For example, while the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”), under its “Responsible Innovation” initiative, has proposed a Special Purpose National Bank Charter for fintech companies (“fintech charter”)[12] questions have been raised about whether the benefits to consumers for this new charter will be widely and fairly shared, and whether there is adequate legal authority, let alone a clearly defined and modern regulatory framework, for such a fintech charter.[13] Indeed, a lawsuit has been filed by state banking regulators challenging the OCC’s authority.[14] As should be the case with the OCC and its proposal to use its authority to federally charter fintech companies, the FDIC should thoroughly consider the implications of offering access to the deposit insurance fund for ILCs that will result in expanding the type of institutions to it, like fintech firms. Fintech firms, whose operations cross state and international boundaries, and may exist entirely online, were undoubtedly beyond original congressional intent in permitting ILCs to access deposit insurance and it is appropriate for stakeholders to weigh in on whether it is appropriate for these firms to have this access without proper oversight of their parent companies.

The chartering of a fintech company as an ILC also raises a number of consumer protection concerns that the FDIC should consider. For example, the California Reinvestment Coalition (“CRC”) has opposed SoFi’s application on the basis of concerns with the institution’s Community Reinvestment Act (“CRA”) plan, as well as its intended approach to financial inclusion, fair lending, and consumer protection.[17] CRC notes that SoFi’s business model targets “students from elite universities that have strong earnings and wealth potential,” and offers products and services “designed to exclude working class households.” CRC also notes that SoFi’s CRA plan is grossly inadequate, considering that: (1) SoFi’s assessment area will be limited to areas in Utah, but the company will accept deposits and operate nationally; (2) SoFi’s current core products are not designed to serve the “convenience and needs” of low- and moderate-income (“LMI”) communities in which the bank would operate,[18] but rather are focused on serving SoFi’s members; and (3) SoFi’s CRA plan does not encompass measurable commitments to lending, investments, and services for LMI communities.

The full letter is here.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch has become the latest bank to implement AI (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML) has 

Bo Brustkern and Emmanuel Marot (Lend Academy), Rated: A

On this episode of the Lend Academy Podcast I brought together both CEOs to talk about this merger; what it means for their respective customers as well as the industry as a whole.

In this podcast you will learn:

  • The original idea that led to the founding of both companies.
  • The strengths of both companies and why they are a complementary fit.
  • Why they decided to come together and merge companies now.
  • The scale and profitability of the combined company.
  • The unique aspects of the LendingRobot Series investment offering.
  • The platforms that the LendingRobot Series invests on.
  • The different funds that make up the Lending Robot Series.
  • The choices for non-accredited investors on the combined platform.
  • Their value proposition today for investors.
  • Who the target customer is today for the combined company.
  • How the two brands will operate going forward.
  • What the combined company will look like in 12 months time.
  • Where marketplace lending is going in the future.

LendKey, Earnest Alter Student Loan Refinancing Rates (LendEDU), Rated: A

Two student loan refinancing companies, LendKey and Earnest, have changed their student loan refinancing interest rates in recent weeks, according to LendEDU.

Effective August 10th, LendKey’s variable interest rate range for their student loan refinance product was altered slightly. LendKey, a leading lending partner of both banks and credit unions, now offers a variable rate range between 2.67 and 6.31 percent for student loan refinancing.

This new variable rates for LendKey mark an increase on both the low and high ends of the range. Previously, the online lending partner offered a variable interest rate range between 2.52 and 6.16 percent since June.

Online Mortgage Lender Blend Lands $ 100 Million Investment Led by Greylock (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Blend has landed a significant funding round to the tune of $100 million. The funding was led by Greylock Partners with participation by Emergence Capital. Existing investors joined in the round as well.

Wells Fargo, U.S. Bancorp Turn to Startup to Speed Up Mortgage Applications (WSJ), Rated: A

Wells Fargo & Co. and U.S. Bancorp have signed deals with mortgage-software startup Blend Labs Inc. to move more of their loan applications online.

Ethereum-Based Invoice Finance Platform Hive Raises Over US$ 8 Million (Coin Journal), Rated: A

The Hive Project, which intends to build the world’s first cryptocurrency-based invoice financing platform, has raised 2,087 BTC, or over US$8.9 million, from 2,234 investors through its initial coin offering (ICO).

Using invoice finance, the business “sells” its outstanding invoices at a small discount to a financier. The business immediately receives up to 85% of the value of the invoice instead of having to wait the usual 30 to 90 days to get paid by customers.

Hive uses the Ethereum blockchain and smart contracts to assign a unique fingerprint to every invoice issued. These invoices are then tokenized and published on a blockchain, and made available as a shared source of liquidity for factoring and invoice financing.

Debate on Regulatory Reform (PeerIQ), Rated: A

JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon in his annual letter would agree that the banking system is safer and stronger today. Nevertheless, Mr. Dimon believes that economic growth and lending is below potential. For instance, JPM estimates $1 Tn in loans could have been generated in recent years generating an additional 50 bps in annual GDP growth thru regulatory reform.

The specific regulatory reform areas Mr. Dimon identified include:

  • Simplification of the annual stress-testing process
  • Release or enable banks to deploy excess capital towards small business loans, lower middle market, and near-prime mortgages
  • Rationalization of supplementary leverage ratios and operational risk capital
  • National servicing standards for the mortgage servicing market
  • Federal Housing Administration (FHA) reform
  • Complete securitization standards to encourage private capital and reduce exposure to taxpayers

Role for 3rd party risk infrastructure to strengthen markets

Large banks are increasingly playing the role of financial intermediaries that connect non-banks to the capital markets. Banks are providing liquidity facilities (“lending to the lenders”) and capital-light securitization programs. Although Yellen is right that lending continues to grow, critically, the nexus of credit formation–including for a majority of personal loans, auto loans, student re-fi loans, and even mortgages–now takes place between a consumer and a non-bank.

Under this new landscape, the soft underbelly of the credit markets has shifted from bank wholesale funding to non-bank wholesale funding. And when investor confidence seizes, the transmission mechanism connecting policy to the real economy can break down. Spreads widen, funding costs increase, and markets freeze exactly when policymakers seek to ease financial conditions.

Q&A with Head of Alternative Lending at Fintech Marqeta (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Recently, Crowdfund Insider published an article about Marqeta signing a partnership with Visa on payments and loans. The marriage is designed boost innovations in commercial and consumer payments and online lending. Visa also made a strategic investment in Marqeta at that time to the tune of $25 million. Total investments in Marqeta now stand at over $70 million.

Isn’t this just all about borrowers getting a better interest rate [and investors earning more]?

Candace: Lenders are looking to increase renewals (repeat borrowers are easier to sell than new borrowers), beat out the stackers (top of wallet, top of mind) and decrease risk (new data on spending reduces risk for future loans). On the heels of 2016, these have become as important as the interest rate for the lender.

For the borrower, speed to funds has become increasingly important, and distributing loan funds to a  card allows a way to immediately spend the funds without waiting for the funds to be deposited into the borrower’s bank account.

If Credit Cards drop their rates then they can become competitive. For Visa to partner with Marqeta – isn’t it just how the debt is carried? For the consumer / business, they are indifferent?

Candace: The rates apply to the underlying loan per the agreement between the lender and the borrower, not to a prepaid card that is used to assist with making purchases. The prepaid card bears no interest charge. The terms for the loan (from which the loan proceeds are distributed to the card) continues as agreed upon between the lender and the borrower. That debt does not change.

How Riskalyze Won The Hearts Of Financial Advisors And Upgraded The Advice Industry (Benzinga), Rated: A

Ahead of Riskalyze CEO Aaron Klein’s speaking engagement at the Benzinga Fintech Summit in San Francisco, Benzinga caught up with him to learn more about how the company is upgrading financial advice.

BZ: How did you go about identifying this need for financial advisors? What kind of research did you do?

What’s interesting is that we invented a new space. There was no risk-alignment platform that helped advisors do that. There were questionnaire products that answered half the question, there were a few portfolio analysis tools that would answer the other half, but we invented the concept of the risk number. We can help advisors pinpoint the client’s risk number and then we score portfolios using that number.

Klein: I’ll talk about the two different sides of the coin. A lot of the innovation was figuring out those sides of the coin and bridging the two together. On the one hand, we took some concepts that had really never made it out of academia and into everyday use. They’re centered around the economic framework called prospect theory, which won the Nobel Prize for economics in 2002. We took prospect theory and built a bunch of proprietary technology on top of it to understand how to move up and down a client’s personal financial spectrum to understand when they prefer risk and when they prefer certainty.

Once we do that, we built a mathematical formula behind the scenes that lets advisors turn that into the client’s risk number. That’s how the client-side works.

On the flip side, we need to match that up with a portfolio. So, the inputs for that piece of the technology are largely market data. We effectively take daily pricing data for nearly a quarter-million securities — every U.S. stock, ETF, mutual fund, variable-annuity sub accounts, SMA third-party money managers, proprietary non-traded strategies, all kinds of different products. We take all the data for those, we have new data streaming into our systems every night on those securities.

 

This Week In Retail: Funding, Finance And Tech (PYMNTS), Rated: A

This week in retail, we’ve seen news coming in from multiple sides, including that of Apple’s projected increase in smartwatch salesU.K. online lender Prodigy’s funding news for expansion into the U,S.,  Walmart’s two new partnership announcements, and the news that the CFPB is ordering American Express to pay out money to those hurt by unfair practices.

American Express is in the hot seat this week as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) ordered the credit card company to pay out a very large amount to consumers in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It’s being confirmed that over a 10-year period, American Express  provided inferior card offerings to people in those territories than what was being offered in the U.S.

Here are the numbers:

  • $240 million | Amount Prodigy Finance raised in its venture capital equity funding round
  • $96 million | Amount CFPB ordered American Express to pay out to affected Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands consumers
  • $200 | Starting point for potential Walmart installment loans

5 Trends That are Changing the Millennial Economy (Huffington Post), Rated: A

According to statistics from the U.S. census bureau, Millennials make up about 83 million of the nation’s current population. The unique experiences of the Millennials will shape the way we buy and sell, forcing companies and businesses to adjust their business strategy for decades to come.

For example, a growing number of Millennials are choosing to live with their parents. They have been reluctant to buy items such as cars, music, and luxury goods. Luxuries that used to be important for previous generations are not as important for Millennials. They are reshaping the real estate market and are responsible for the growth of the sharing economy.

A recent survey of Interns conducted by Goldman Sachs in 2013, found out that 30% of millennials do not intend to purchase a car in the future. 25% said they will only buy one if there is a need for it, otherwise they are indifferent. Another 25% said buying a car is important but not a big priority. 15% said purchasing a car is extremely important. And the last 5% do not feel strongly about it.

recent report shows that student loans have increased by 84% over ten years with an average student having a loan balance of $29,000.

How to choose and switch to a better bank for you (WPXI), Rated: B

Online banks are now offering much higher rates on savings accounts — significantly higher than the current rates at traditional, bigger banks. So with that in mind, why not just move your savings to take advantage of the bigger return?

To give you some context, online bank ally recently increased the rates on its savings accounts to 1.15% — while the rate on a regular savings account at Bank of America currently sits at only 0.01%.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle receives ISA manager status (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

FUNDING Circle has received ISA manager status from the HMRC, Peer2Peer Finance News can reveal.

Approval was granted in July, less than two months after the platform won full FCA authorisation.

However, the platform has no immediate plans to launch its IFISA product, telling customers earlier this week that it intended to roll out the tax-free investment wrapper “before the end of the tax year.”

How Funding Circle is helping small businesses face the challenges of Brexit (Prospect Magazine), Rated: A

Fast forward to today, we’ve originated over £3.2 billion worth of loans through the platform. In the UK, that lending has helped create about 60 thousand jobs, and the £2.5 billion of loans has created about £5 billion of GDP or gross economic value added, according to an independent survey by the Centre for Economics Business Research.

In fact, we think we make up about 2 per cent of the total money that’s going to gross-lending small businesses. And if you actually look at the money going into the economy, we make up about a third of net new lending— which is the preferred Bank of England measure. We did about 300 million versus 600 million in the entire banking system in the first half of this year.

Say a small business decides to come to you: what is it they’re getting that they don’t get with a bank?

We turn around loan applications specifically within 24 hours. We are better in that we give better service; everyone can find an account manager.

We’re cheaper, in that our prices are very, very competitive, and often we’re often providing cheaper loans than businesses would be able to get at the bank. We also don’t have the overheads that banks have.

We all know that Brexit is going to shake up the financial sector. What can Funding Circle do to help businesses rise to the challenge?

Net lending by banks fell by 220 million in Q4 last year. Ours actually rose to 167 million.

On top of that, we’ve also had large insurance companies like Aegon, which is a big Dutch insurer, commit to fund £160 million in year one, but actually committed over a four-year period to purchase our loans. The fact a large foreign insurer would want to do that shows that actually, despite Brexit, there’s a vote of confidence in the UK economy, particularly in small business.

FinTech startup Paybase gets £700,000 from Innovate UK (UK Tech), Rated: AAA

London-based FinTech startup Paybase has received a grant of almost £700,000 from innovation agency Innovate UK.

Expected to launch later this year, Paybase has developed an ‘end-to-end solution for payments, compliance and risk’, which can be accessed through a unified API.

Why P2P is still the crowd despite passive lending (AltFi), Rated: A

There’s been much collective gnashing of teeth over the last few months at the evolution of peer to peer lending, as practised by ZopaRatesetter and most latterly Funding Circle. The big bone of contention has been a shift amongst all three – with FC falling into line just a matter of days ago – to a passive lending model. This means that lenders on said platforms now lend passively to a full slice of borrowers rather than picking their borrowers individually. To the critics this implies that the traditional peer to peer (P2P) model is slowly dying out. If you’re not lending to your peers, don’t you just sound like any other finance business such as a bank?

I’m not convinced by this criticism. Collectively a crowd – many peers – are still lending to another crowd, but just in a format that looks closer to a passive, collective fund basis rather than one on one. There is no bank balance sheet lurking around and the ‘crowd’ still sets the rate at which it’s happy to lend. Credit scoring has always been a feature of all the platforms, whether they be ‘pure’ P2P or passive P2P. Someone, somewhere at the centre of the online marketplace needs to set the lending criteria and make decisions about who to lend to.

What about peer to peer? (Library of Things), Rated: A

In this week’s bonus episode co-founder Emma looks at the sharing economy, peer to peer lending, and explains why Library of Things have chosen to operate from a physical space.

Listen to the podcast here.

How Risky Is Borrowing Money Online Through Peer-to-peer Lending (FX Daily Report), Rated: B

It is almost true that borrowing money from traditional financial institutions is a thing of the past.

It has been observed that P2P online lending platforms are not the source of the problem or the risk. However, it seems to be the ease with which loans are available that causes the problems.

Online P2P lenders also offer student loans. It is very important to realize that student loans these days are available everywhere. But what is ultimately the truth is that the loans are burdensome. Any student that avails of such a P2Ponline student loan emerges as a graduate burdened with a heavy debt.

If an individual wants to apply for a P2P online loan, it is best to start with checking credit reports. It is a good idea to fix any errors that may be found on these reports. Otherwise, the interest rates may be hiked up. It is also a good idea to do some research prior to applying for the loan. It is worthwhile to find out as to which lender offers a lower rate of interest even if they fall outside the ring of online P2P lenders. Never decide on which loan to pick up by looking at the monthly amount to be paid. The total amount that you are going to repay and the time period of the repayment are the more important factors to be considered. This gives the total cost of the loan.

China

Big banks strike partnerships with technology companies as part of fintech wave (South China Morning Post), Rated: AAA

Bank of Communications, the nation’s fifth biggest lender, joined with Suning Holdings and its financial affiliate Suning Finance as strategic partners last week, the latest of the big five banks to ally with internet firms.

So far, all big-five banks, accounting for more than one-third of China’s banking assets, have allied with technology giants.

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China allied with e-commerce major JD.com for cooperation in sectors including fintech, retail financing, corporate credit and asset management. Agricultural Bank of China agreed to work together with dominant search engine operator Baidu. Bank of China and Tencent Holdings jointly set up a fintech lab, focusing on cloud computing, big data, block chain and artificial intelligence.

Earlier this month, mid-sized Industrial Bank and JD.com’s financial affiliate JD Finance launched a debit card in Beijing and most cities in affluent Zhejiang province.

China Life and Baidu to launch $ 1 billion internet fund (Reuters), Rated: AAA

China Life Insurance Group Co and Baidu Inc will form a 7 billion yuan ($1 billion) private equity fund, targeting internet and other technology investments, China Life’s listed arm said on Thursday.

The Baidu Fund Partnership will be capitalized by China Life through a special partnership, which will contribute up to 5.6 billion yuan, China Life Insurance Co Ltd said in a Hong Kong Stock Exchange statement.

Baidu, the Chinese language internet search provider, will contribute as much as 1.4 billion yuan.

Ant Financial’s “TechFin” vs JD Finance’s “FinTech” (ASEAN Today), Rated: A

Alibaba’s Ant Financial Services Group and JD Finance are at loggerheads in the Chinese, and increasingly, global e-commerce scene. In 2015, JD Finance recommended the use of “FinTech.” In December 2016, Ma Yun coined the ”TechFin” as a rebuttal, and as a show of thought leadership.

Ant Financial’s unveiling of “TechFin” shows the firm’s focus on building technology rather than financial products.

Critics believe there is not much difference between TechFin and FinTech. Critics believe Ant Financial coined TechFin to gain a foothold from the conceptual standpoint; a counteroffensive to JD Finance’s aggressive marketing of FinTech. This is inevitable considering “FinTech” as a term already achieved credibility within the finance and other related industries.

Ant Financial and JD Finance are more complementary than competitive

Onlookers see Ant Financial and JD Finance as longstanding rivals. JD.com’s recent sale of JD Finance for US$2.1 billion in cash was seen part of a deal to spin off its burgeoning finance arm and raise its game against Ant Financial.

Ant Financial focuses on the traditional model of the Internet while JD Finance focuses on product innovation, for a start. Each business model has its advantages.

Ant Financial also seeks to leverage on Ant Check Later (花呗), a virtual credit card, to open up a whole new road map for credit distribution in Internet finance. In contrast, JD Finance aims to boost user’s consumption through its products. Its Jingxiaodai (京小贷) appeals to merchants who need fuss-free and almost instant access to credit.

European Union

Klarna just posted some impressive half-year figures — profits soar by 138 percent (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

The Swedish e-invoicing giant posted 2,05 billion Swedish crowns ($254,2m) in revenue for the first two quarters of 2017. Meanwhile, operating profits jumped to 228 million ($28m) from last year’s 96 million ($11,9m), reports tech site Di Digital.

Yesterday, Breakit reported that the company is teaming up with Stripeto boost growth in the U.S.

Credit Suisse Eyes 2018 Launch for Blockchain Loans Platform (Coindesk), Rated: AAA

A group of banks led by Credit Suisse is eyeing the launch of a commercial platform for blockchain-based syndicated loans, according to reports.

The group involved finished the second phase of their testing in March.

Using smart contracts to reduce those turnaround times could increase the market’s appeal to potential lenders and investors, according to Aidoo.

Worldcore Payment Institution Announces ICO (Coin Idol), Rated: A

Worldcore announces an Initial Coin Offering (ICO), as part of their wider expansion plans.

The company envisions to become a worldwide reference for the financial tomorrow, by integrating its successful payment solution into the blockchain sector of economy.

Worldcore ICO starts on October 14 of 2017. In total, a maximum supply of one billion WRC tokens at $0.10 USD each, will be available for purchase.

Corlytics named by Allen & Overy in its regtech programme (Finextra), Rated: B

Magic Circle law firm, Allen & Overy, has named Corlytics as one of the eight companies selected to move into its Fuse programme. Fuse is a newly launched innovation space where its lawyers and technology firms team up to develop legal, regulatory and deal-related improvements.

International

Ten Fintech Conferences to Attend This Fall (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

FinovateFall

When: Sept 11-14, 2017
Where: New York City Hilton Midtown
Link:  /> Discount code: F17FALLLAT

LendIt Europe 2017

When: Oct 9-10, 2017
Where: London
Link:  /> Discount code: LENDACADEMYVIP

American Banker’s Digital Lending & Investing

When: November 2-3, 2017
Where: New York, NY
Link: 

AltFi Global Summit

When: November 7, 2017
Where: Amsterdam
Link: 

Marketplace Lending & Alternative Financing Summit 2017

When: December 3-5, 2017
Where: Dana Point, CA
Link: 

This event is put on by the Opal Group and is the only west coast event this fall. This is its second year and while I did not attend last year I heard it was a good event with a focus on the investor side of marketplace lending.

Digital Banking – Old Wine in New Bottle? (Fintech Weekly), Rated: A

There was a time when digital banking was perceived as synonymous with online banking and mobile banking. Financial services industry, along with other sectors, is experiencing an explosion of digitization thanks to smartphones, tablets and access to affordable high-speed internet. The number of smart phone users is expected to equal the number of bank accounts in near future as all mobile users link their bank accounts to their smart phone and get onboard with mobile-based digital wallets and savings platform.

Given this, it is imperative to take a fresh look at whether digital banking means the same as it did a decade ago – both for banks as well as customers – especially since there does not seem to be a consensus on the definition of ‘digital banking’.

Customers today do not have the patience to navigate through multiple screens. They do not want to fill the same KYC details over and over for each product. Presenting paperwork at the branch to support an online application is a big no-no. They expect to resume the application they started on Smart phone on their home computer and may want to talk to the customer care executive on phone while doing that. They do not want to be bothered with cold calls and random sales pitches; they prefer to see only personalized and contextual cross-sell offers with direct purchase links. In short, digital customer today wants one-touch, one-click, personalized and integrated user experience across channels.

On the flip side, while customers enjoy the convenience of digital banking for routine tasks, they also want to continue using the branch when they need some face time with a seamless switch between digital and personal interaction. They do not want to forego the privilege of walking into the local branch despite being able to do all their banking via the web or smartphone.

Australia/New Zealand

Fintech startup shares $ 7m of investment (NZ Adviser), Rated: AAA

Since its launch in June, fintech startup Ilumony has reported more than $7 million in financial investments. Of the $7 million, it has charged no fees for advice on $1 million worth of customer KiwiSaver money.

India

Fintech lenders have new competition: Flipkart and Amazon (The-Ken), Rated: AAA

Though Flipkart launched in 2007, it was only in 2013 that e-commerce really took off in India. That was the year Amazon entered India through a marketplace model, and Flipkart too launched its own marketplace model.

From selling smartphones, books, and apparel to customers, the two of them now started offering warehouses, packaging, and logistics to sellers.

No Flipkart or Amazon for EzCred; this startup wants to pursue offline shoppers (India Times), Rated: A

When ecommerce companies like Flipkart and Amazon wanted to expand to the nooks and corners of the country, they borrowed the idea and recently started offering “No cost EMI” option on selected products. Taking a step further, you now have many fintech companies that have lined up on ecommerce platforms to offer loans to consumers.

Launched in January 2017, EzCred is an alternate lending startup which offers loans to consumers who walk into shop at offline stores.

“Offline is a much larger play than online. A majority of transactions are still done offline,” says Maheshwari.

The startup now has plans to roll out an app for customers to enable them to apply for loans directly. The platform has a credit assessment system which enables the startup to assess the borrowers’ repayment capabilities. This involves various data sources like the borrowers’ CIBIL score, bank statements, information provided by customers, which are then matched with the credit policy of EzCred.

India’s draft data protection law to hinge on user consent; will be ready only next year (Factor Daily), Rated: A

A draft data protection law, which is at the core of the Indian government’s stance that Aadhaar does not violate citizen privacy, will have user consent as its mainstay with a few exceptions.

The draft legislation is expected to be ready in about a year.

This was revealed in interviews with a member of the committee set up by the government to come up with the draft framework — B N Srikrishna, a former Supreme Court judge who is heading it, and a second person with knowledge of the committee’s thinking.

P2P lenders may be allowed to operate offline (The Hindu BusinessLine), Rated: A

In a bid to impart vibrancy to the fledgling peer-to-peer (P2P) lending space and also further the cause of financial inclusion, the Reserve Bank of India is believed to be looking at allowing players in the sector to have an offline presence besides an online one.

On-the-ground presence may help the platforms reach out to those who are currently not being served by banks/non-banking finance companies and also help break the vice-like grip of money lenders on local lending, especially in rural areas and small towns.

Asia

Why e-commerce firms could replace banks as the region’s leading lenders (Southeast Asia Globe), Rated: A

Peer to peer lending (P2P lending) first entered the wider public’s consciousness when it rose from the ashes of the global financial crisis in 2007. By cutting out traditional intermediaries, such as banks, the lending platforms, were able to offer borrowers lower interest rates and lenders higher returns. They were populist alternatives to the casino capitalism that had brought Wall Street to its knees.

According to a 2015 report by Deloitte, in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand there exists “a clear disparity between what SMEs want and expect from banks and what the banks can deliver”. In Indonesia, the report found as few as 6% of SMEs were able to access bank loans.

Recent statistics from the Asian Development Bank show that the situation is similar in Myanmar, which the bank says suffers from a $2 billion shortage in available credit, a shortfall that Brad Jones, CEO of Wave Money, attributes to the country’s excessively cautious banking regulations.

According to data from Singapore-based venture capital fund Dymon Asia Ventures, less than 0.1% of loans in the region currently originate from P2P lending sources, compared with 10% in China and 2-3% in the UK and US. There is, therefore, sufficient growth potential for the Southeast Asian P2P lending market.

Peer-to-peer lending bears risk of bad debt (The Jakarta Post), Rated: A

Despite the rising trend of peer-to-peer (P2P) lending in Indonesia, an economist believes that online-based businesses have increased risk of bad debt if the lenders ignore the importance of supervision.

The credit application mechanism in P2P lending is risky. There is no integrated costumer blacklist data-base like in the banking industry, said Samuel Aset Manajemen economist Lana Soelistianingsih said in Jakarta on Friday.

Moreover, she said P2P lending offered annual interest rates of up to 18.5 percent to investors, adding that such aggressive offers could increase the risk of business failure.

Canada

FLINKS PARTNERS WITH MERCHANT ADVANCE CAPITAL (Betakit), Rated: B

Flinks, a financial API for banks and credit unions, announced a partnership with Merchant Advance Capital, an online lender for small and medium-sized businesses.

Merchant Advance Capital partnered with Flinks to reduce loan approval time for its customers. Flinks will allow Merchant Advance Capital to connect its app directly with customers’ banks, allowing the company to validate account ownership, account balances, and transaction histories.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor