Friday January 12 2018, Daily News Digest

bitcoin debt

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

bitcoin debt

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United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

APAC

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News Summary

United States

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Financial Times

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

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

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

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

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

IEGH increases loan originations

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

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

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

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

Credit card debt from CNBC.

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

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

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

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

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

The Call for Transparency in the Online Lending Market

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Step 1: Understand your options

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

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

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

Step 8: Learn how to apply for private student loans

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

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

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

Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

United Kingdom

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

China

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

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

China’s first P2P online lending platform

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Seeking Alpha

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

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

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

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

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

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

European Union

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

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

CAUTIOUS MARKET

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

International

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Tech Genix

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

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

Online payments

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

Borrowing and lending

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

India

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

APAC

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

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

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

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

P2P lending

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

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

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

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

Africa

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

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

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

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday July 14 2017, Daily News Digest

Visa revenues

News Comments Today’s main news: DBRS assigns provisional ratings to SoFi Professional Loan Program 2017-D. IEG Holdings cites slim margins, weak underwriting as reasons for LendingClub offer. Bank execs say UK sets the standard for fintech regulation. Rocket Internet sells stake in Lendico. Today’s main analysis: Visa’s international expansion. Today’s thought-provoking articles: DBRS Student Loan ABS report (a […]

Visa revenues

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Israel

India

Latin America

Canada

News Summary

United States

DBRS Assigns Provisional Ratings to SoFi Professional Loan Program 2017-D (DBRS), Rated: AAA

DBRS, Inc. (DBRS) has today assigned provisional ratings to the following classes of notes issued by SoFi Professional Loan Program 2017-D (SoFi 2017-D):

— $245,000,000 Class A-1FX Notes at AAA (sf)
— $266,000,000 Class A-2FX Notes at AAA (sf)
— $40,000,000 Class B-FX Notes at AA (sf)

DBRS Student Loan ABS report (DBRS), Rated: AAA

In this commentary, DBRS provides the following:
— A review of Q1 2017 student loan ABS performance and H1 2017 student loan ABS issuance.
— An outlook for future student loan ABS issuance and the trends expected in H2 2017.
— Analysis and highlights of student loan collateral performance.

Download the full report here.

IEG Holdings Highlights the Urgency of LendingClub Correcting its Flawed, Slim Margin “Broker” Business Model and Weak Underwriting Standards (Sys-Con), Rated: AAA

IEG Holdings yesterday announced the commencement of a tender offer to exchange four shares of IEG Holdings’ common stock for each share of LendingClub common stock, up to an aggregate of 40,345,603 shares of LendingClub common stock, representing approximately 9.99% of LendingClub’s outstanding shares as of April 28, 2017, validly tendered and not properly withdrawn in the offer.

IEG Holdings Corporation (OTCQB: IEGH) (“IEG Holdings”) cautions shareholders of LendingClub Corporation (“LendingClub”) against dismissing IEG Holdings’ tender offer. IEG Holdings believes that the LendingClub board of directors should be held accountable by its shareholders for continuing to pursue a flawed, slim margin “broker” business model. IEG Holdings urges LendingClub to enter into negotiations with IEG Holdings, rather than simply dismissing the tender offer.

FLAWED, SLIM MARGIN, LOSS-MAKING BUSINESS MODEL

Despite brokering more than $26 billion of loans since inception, LendingClub still reported a loss of $29.8 million for Q1 2017 and loss of $146.0 million for the 2016 full year. Transitioning to a balance sheet lender likely would significantly increase gross margins, without a significant change in customer acquisition costs.

WEAK UNDERWRITING STANDARDS

A recent media report by Bloomberg indicates that:

  • LendingClub only verified income about a third of the time for one of the most popular loans it made in 2016, and
  • If LendingClub finds errors in a loan application, it may still approve the loan.

LACK OF COMPANY-OWNED STATE LENDING LICENSES

LendingClub doesn’t hold individual state lending licenses and instead utilizes the services of a Utah-based bank. This raises regulatory risks around issues such as the potential breaking of individual state interest rate caps and compliance.

POOR STOCK MARKET PERFORMANCE AND ZERO DIVIDENDS TO SHAREHOLDERS

LendingClub’s share price has decreased 79% since its initial public offering in December 2014, dropping from $25.74 in December 2014 to $5.39 yesterday, after reaching a low of $3.51 in May 2016. In addition, LendingClub has never paid, and has no reported intention to pay, a dividend to shareholders.

IEG Holdings’ Reasons for the Offer

IEG Holdings believes that changing LendingClub’s business model to a balance sheet lender model would enable the company to generate significantly higher gross margins, provide significantly higher long duration cash flow from customers, build increased customer goodwill with customers and enable increased customer refinancing. The longer duration cash flow would provide more flexibility in reducing lending volumes during periods when underwriting risk levels are rising, as the company would be less dependent on brokering new loan deals every day to provide revenue.

  • IEG Holdings intends to encourage LendingClub to undertake substantial costs cuts by terminating excess employees, achieving substantial cuts in advertising/marketing costs and other significant cost cutting measures;
  • IEG Holdings intends to encourage LendingClub to transform its broker business model with low gross margins and high volumes to focus on high gross margin unsecured loans to near prime clients with strong underwriting, company owned individual state licenses and retention of loans on its balance sheet to secure long duration cash flow from longer term loans; and
  • The acquisition of LendingClub shares would be substantially net asset per share accretive for IEG Holdings stockholders and substantially increase shareholder equity.

New partnership turns PayPal into Apple App Store payment option (Banking Tech), Rated: A

This week the company announced a partnership with Apple to allow shoppers pay for their purchases at the App Store using PayPal. The feature will be available for users of a variety of Apple devices including iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Apple Watch, and iPod.In addition to the App Store, PayPal will be a payment option for a variety of Apple services including Apple Music, iTunes, and iBooks.

Finicity and JP Morgan Chase pair for data share (Banking Tech), Rated: A

Data aggregation provider Finicity has signed an agreement with JP Morgan Chase to let the bank’s customers choose data to share with apps.

The companies will use a direct API to allow Chase customers to share information with the apps and services that Finicity supports. According to the firms, this tokenised access will eliminate the need for customers to share their Chase credentials with third-party apps.

Paypal Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:PYPL): Beginning of Market Dominance (Library for Smart Investors), Rated: A

Paypal Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:PYPL) is getting investors attention after the stock touched fresh highs amid a new partnership with Apple.

The stock is up over 43% since the start of the year.

In the first quarter, PayPal saw a jump of 10.3% in monthly active users on year-over-year basis. The total number of transactions also increased by 22.5% in the period.

In the first quarter, Venmo processed $6.8 billion in total payments, a 100% growth on year-over-year basis. Venmo is slated to grow more as the company expands to small businesses.

WEALTHTECH — THE DIGITIZATION OF WEALTH MANAGEMENT (FT Partners), Rated: A

WealthTech companies are targeting inefficiencies that span the entire wealth management value chain, from client prospecting to investing to portfolio management and reporting. Benefits include more efficient workflows, improved client experiences and greater transparency. Regardless of their value proposition, WealthTech companies are seeking to improve overall wealth management and investing.

This report highlights a number of key trends within the broader WealthTech industry such as…

  • Growing number of advisors joining the independent channel
  • Incumbent financial institutions are entering the robo-advice space
  • Increased demand for alternative investments
  • Financial planning trending towards goal-based approaches
  • Higher levels of active risk management
  • Commoditization of portfolio management software is leading to expanded offerings
  • RIA custodians evolving into more holistic roles

Download the full report here.

Wells Fargo trims auto loans as market cools, risk overhaul kicks in (Reuters), Rated: A

Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N) is scaling back and remolding its auto lending business in response to growing stress in the market, as well as a bank-wide push for more centralized risk controls.

Wells, which was the No. 2 U.S. provider of auto loans less than a year ago, has already cut quarterly originations by nearly 30 percent over the nine months leading into March 31, according to a May 11 company presentation. It has also begun consolidating the collections operation in a move that people familiar with the business say could eliminate hundreds of jobs, after a new head of auto finance took the reins in April.

5 Fintech Startups Under the Radar (Bank Innovation), Rated: A

Spotme

This New York City-based startup facilitates micro-loans between borrowers and lenders, allowing users to set up pretty much all the parameters of a loan themselves: users can control the amount, the interest rate, the payback period, and the way they are reimbursed for the loan themselves.

Ledger

Ledger might be able to help out there: this San Francisco-based startup allows users to “open tabs with friends,” boiling down a transaction to just 3 clicks. By connecting with a user’s financial accounts (protected by “military-grade” cybersecurity, according to the company), users are able to aggregate all of their transactions in one place, as well as receive notification about when transactions are due.

Wallio

More and more companies are striving to solve the main problem when it comes to personal finance management services: how do you make a user actually take the financial advice that is being offered?

Wallio starts off the week by giving a user an allocated amount of money they can spend for that week, on whatever the user wants (expenses and savings are already factored into this amount). If a user underspends, great: Wallio will allow that user to put that money towards a goal. If a user overspends, Wallio will simply allocate less money for the user to spend next week.

Samwise

This robo-investing startup allows users to turn their existing brokerage account into an autonomous investing account using machine learning algorithms.

OnePebble

Invest, and make a difference in the world at the same time: that’s the dream of OnePebble, an online investment broker/dealer that puts each investment toward companies “doing good in the world.”

3 Investing Trends to Keep on Your Radar (Morningstar), Rated: A

Trend: Passive products continue to gain assets.

This is the trend shaping the investment management industry today. Asset flows to passive products, both traditional index mutual funds and exchange-traded funds, began in earnest following disappointing active-fund performance during the financial crisis.

Trend: New ways to hire–and pay for–financial advice. 

Robo-advisors provide automated advice for a low annual fee as low as 0.25% or even less. Meanwhile, mutual fund companies and brokerage firms may provide advice for customers who have amassed sufficient assets at the firm. For example, Vanguard Personal Advisor Service charges 0.30% and is available to investors with at least $50,000 in assets at the firm. (The service combines human financial advisors with robo-advisor technology.)

What to watch out for: The profusion of different business models means that the business of selecting an advisor is more complicated than ever. Robo-advisor fees might look like a screaming buy relative to the fees that a full-service human advisor charges, but the robo won’t be able to give you advice on nonportfolio matters like whether to pay off your mortgage or purchase long-term care insurance.

Trend: An increased emphasis on behavioral factors that can affect investor outcomes.

What’s to like: Many robo-advisors have also embedded behaviorial research into their services.

What to watch out for: Behavioral finance is trendy right now, and with any trend comes the opportunity for gimmickry. Beware of advisors who are using behavioral finance as their main hook to snag clients; high-quality advisors have been employing behavioral finance into their practices for years.

US Tax Professionals Tackles the Tax implications of Crowdfunding (Digital Journal), Rated: A

It’s important to understand that all the income a person receives, regardless of the source, is considered taxable income in the eyes of the IRS. That includes crowdfunding dollars.

Even if the campaign only raised the projected $15,000 and no gifts were offered, the money would still be considered taxable income and need to be reported as such on a tax return.

Generally, crowdfunding revenues are included in income as long as they are not:

  • Loans that must be repaid;
  • Capital contributed to an entity in exchange for an equity interest in the entity; or
  • Gifts made out of detached generosity and without any “quid pro quo.” However, a voluntary transfer without a “quid pro quo” isn’t necessarily a gift for federal income tax purposes.

Morgan Stanley digital chief: AI to help advisers, not ‘cyborg bots’ (Financial-Planning), Rated: A

Advisers tasked with processing a “mountain of information” will get a reprieve through artificial intelligence, according to Morgan Stanley Wealth Management’s chief digital officer.

“What we want to do is, with one click of a button, they can take action on that research report to all their clients within minutes, not hours, not phone calls,” Hassan said. “That’s the promise of what we’re trying to build.”

Rival firms have shown they’re headed down a similar path. Like Morgan’s planned offering, the UBS-SigFig service will save advisers’ time through automated messaging to clients on important dates, according to Richard Steinmeier, the head of the UBS Wealth Advice Center.

Congress Should Use Congressional Review Act to Strike Down Ill-Advised Arbitration Rule (Daily Signal), Rated: B

Cutting through the hyperbole that the arbitration rule protects consumers from “unfairness” that would deny them “their day in court,” this rule is in fact highly anti-consumer and harmful to innovation.

This regulation could have particularly harmful effects on FinTech innovations, such as peer-to-peer lending.”

How much money do Arizonans spend playing the lottery? Less than most Americans (AZ Central), Rated: B

Arizonans on average shelled out $100.85 per capita on lottery tickets in 2015, according to the study by LendEDU, based on preliminary data for state government finances collected by the Census Bureau. For Americans overall, the per-capita figure was $206.69.

United Kingdom

UK setting the bar for fintech regulation, bank execs say (SNL.com), Rated: AAA

U.K. authorities have created a world-leading regulatory environment for the burgeoning fintech industry that is being emulated elsewhere, according to bankers.

The Financial Conduct Authority’s “sandbox,” a program launched in 2015 to let companies test innovative ideas under close regulatory supervision, has been particularly helpful, she said.

Meanwhile, initiatives such as FCA-organized hackathons — or “TechSprints” as it prefers to call them — have been particularly appreciated by the industry, according to Sophie Guibaud, vice president of European expansion at Fidor Bank AG, a German online lender that was bought by Groupe BPCE in 2016. These events invite market participants to come up with technological solutions to certain problems, such as financial issues faced by people with mental health problems.

The U.K. is home to more fintech companies valued at more than $1 billion than the rest of Europe put together, according to an April 2017 report by technology investment bank GP Bullhound. Three U.K.-based companies, Funding Circle, Paysafe and Transferwise, have crossed that threshold, and GP Bullhound said that it does not expect London to relinquish its lead, due to its prominence in international financial services.

Comparison site GoCompare invests in mortgage robo-adviser (AltFi), Rated: A

Financial comparison site GoCompare is hoping to transform the UK’s mortgage application process by investing in MortgageGym, a digital mortgage robo-adviser.

Users can complete a free application within 15 minutes on MortgageGym and receive matches within 60 seconds, as well as robo advice and access to live advisers. The website will use automated algorithms to match applicants with the best mortgage providers.

The House Crowd hits £50m via mix of P2P and crowdfunding (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE HOUSE CROWD has hit the £50m funding target it set out to achieve in October last year.

The Manchester-based property platform started targeting institutional money at the end of last year to achieve its first £50m of funds channelled to property and buy-to-let borrowers, through both its peer-to-peer side and its crowdfunding arm.

The firm raised over £15m in the six months to early 2017, while a loan it closed last month added another £600,000.

Fintech CurrencyCloud tapped up investors months before Google raise (Business Insider), Rated: A

CurrencyCloud, which provides a platform to process international payments, raised £9.5 million from its existing investors in December 2016. The company had £10.5 million in the bank at the end of the month, accounts show, suggesting the platform had around £1 million left at the time of the fundraising.

The volume of payments jumped by 110% to 1.5 million but net revenue from currency transactions increased by just 10% to £3.2 million. Meanwhile, administrative expenses rose by 54% to £13.9 million as CurrencyCloud invested in “recruiting staff, developing our technology infrastructure and operations services, and moving to new office premises.”

P2P fund share issues boost investment trust sector (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

FUNDRAISINGS by Honeycomb and the Funding Circle SME Income Fund (FCIF) helped push share issues to record levels in the investment trust sector for the first half of 2017.

Secondary issuances raised £3.3bn in the first six months of the year, trade body the Association of Investment Companies has revealed, up from £1.8bn at the same time in 2016.

FCIF raised £142m in conversion shares in April, the largest total in the specialist debt sector, while the Honeycomb investment trust raised £105m through a ordinary share issue.

Alternative Credit funds drive record cash raise (AltFi), Rated: A

Assets in investment trusts have hit an all time high thanks in part to a huge swathe of secondary issuance in closed-ended funds’ shares.

In the first half of 2017, the most poplar area of the investment trust market was Infrastructure – in terms secondary issuance – raising £1.2bn. This was followed by Alternative Credit at  £514m. Funding Circle SME Income raised the largest total in the sector securing £142m via its C share issue, followed by Honeycomb Investment Trust (£105m).

China

The number of Online Financial platforms in China Exceed 19,000, ranking the first place of the world. (Xing Ping She), Rated: AAA

According to data from National Institution of Internet Financial Risk Analysis &Technology,there are more than 19,000 online financial platforms across China, including over 6000 online lending platforms, nearly 3500 online assets managers, and 800 crowdfunding platforms. The total cumulative volume of internet loans, crowdfunding and internet payment have reached to 70 trillion RMB (US$ 10.33 trillion). Zhou Hongren, director of the National Committee of Internet Finance Professional Technology, claimed that, “No matter in terms of quantity or scale, China has already become the largest international finance marketplace around the world.”

European Union

Rocket Internet Sells Stake in Lendico Startup (Handelsblatt), Rated: AAA

Incubator firm Rocket Internet has sold its majority stake in peer-to-peer lender Lendico to Arrowgrass, Handelsblatt has learned, as the British hedge fund acquired complete ownership of the Berlin startup.

The partners to the transaction agreed to keep the purchase price confidential. Rocket Internet, which specializes in helping online startups get off the ground, most recently valued its 50-percent-plus stake in Lendico at €140 million ($159 million).

Funding Circle Germany Takes a Fresh Start (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Germany is a huge SME and VSME (very small business) credit market. But it is not as mature a market for online marketplace lending as the UK, the US, or even the Netherlands. This partly explains why Funding Circle Germany’s early loan book underperformed. Now the platform is starting afresh to match its market’s reality.

With offices and business in Germany, the Netherlands and Spain, Zencap had originated €35 million in loans to 500 SMEs at the time of its acquisition. Its operations were very small in comparison with the more than $1.5 billion originated by Funding Circle in the US and the UK at the time (meanwhile Funding Circle passed the $3 billion mark).

The second reason for starting afresh, was a need to revisit the credit model. Since January, the new German team has been busy recalibrating and restarting the German operations.

Loan origination resumed at previous level in the first half of 2017 and is expected to grow again in the second half of this year.

Spanish Fintech Industry Comes into its Own (Finance Magnates), Rated: A

The Spanish fintech ecosystem has been a steadily growing force over the past few years, swelling from just fifty financial technology startups in 2013 to well over three hundred in 2017. This rapid surge is only going to continue with this number estimated to hit four hundred companies by 2018.

In terms of the value of the operations, this sector passed rose from just €35 million in 2014 to €206 million in 2016, justifying a 600 percent growth in just two years.

According to the Spanish Association for Fintech and Insurtech (Asociación Española de Fintech e Insurtech – Aefi), companies operating in this space in Spain are going to create a total of 10,000 jobs in 2017 alone.

While the value offintech operations in Spain is increasing, two areas that constitute the most focus are the crowdfactoring or invoice factoring crowdfunding platforms – these saw a total of €120 milion euros in 2016, that concentrate most of the operations domestically, followed by crowdfunding with €43.5 million and crowdlending or p2p lending with €42 million.

International

Visa Expands Its Footprint in Europe (Market Realist), Rated: AAA

In May 2017, Visa announced that in order to give consumers more control and make transactions transparent, the company will create digital card management experiences for its partners. Visa’s partners include financial institutions. Since the new offerings will lead to more transparency, Visa expects to see volume growth in fiscal 3Q17. Market analysts expect Visa to report revenues of $4.36 billion in fiscal 3Q17—a decline of 2.7%.

 

What Can Visa Expect from Russia, China, Japan, and India?

In fiscal 2Q17, there was growth in Visa’s cross-border business due to Russia’s developed economy. Visa implemented ~1,600 point-of-sale terminals. As a result, payment volumes are expected to grow in fiscal 3Q17.

Management thinks that obtaining a domestic license in China is a time-consuming process. Visa is expected to witness lower revenues and payment volumes from China due to discontinued dual branded cards.

Management has a positive outlook on Japan’s economy due to digitization. Japan’s government has become more inclined to use digital and electronic payments.

In fiscal 3Q17, India could be a major contributor to payment volume growth.

Visa has delivered a return on equity of 16.2% on trailing 12-months basis. Other consumer financial peers (XLF) have delivered the following return on equity on a trailing 12-month basis:

  • American Express (AXP) – 25.1%
  • MasterCard (MA) – 75%Discover Financial Services (DFS) – 21.10%

Visa Expects to Benefit from Its European Business

Visa’s (V) acquisition of Visa Europe allowed the company to enhance its global reach. The main agenda behind the acquisition was to bring innovation to the European market. Visa had been working closely with its partners and clients. The company also plans to create new services and products.

Israel

THE SURPRISING COUNTRY LEADING THE FINTECH REVOLUTION (Ozy.com), Rated: AAA

The country that gave the world smart drip irrigation and the Epilady has also been an early and enthusiastic adopter of financial technology, as in mobile banking apps, digital wallets, online lending and other services that manage moola. In fact, a survey of selected industrialized countries shows that:

As for the specifics, 50 percent of Israeli adults use mobile banking apps at least once a month. In the U.S., it was 38 percent; the U.K., 37 percent; in France, 35 percent; and in Germany, a surprisingly anemic 28 percent.

The five largest banks in Israel control more than 90 percent of the market, and as Sandra Octaviani, research lead for fintech at the University of Utah’s Center for Innovation in Banking and Financial Services, notes, traditional banks tend to serve low-risk, highly profitable clients, which creates an opportunity for nimbler fintech firms to swoop in and serve the underserved.

India

RBI wary of first loan default guarantee cover (India Times), Rated: AAA

The Reserve Bank of India is learnt to be wary of peerto-peer lending platforms offering any FLDG, or first loan default guarantee, cover to institutional lenders for any lending they do through these technology startups, said sources familiar with the discussions.

While various lending entities are keen on exploring this space as a cheap source of customers, they often look for a security cover against loans going bad. Experts say such guarantees or covers might go against the intentions of the central bank.

SME Lending Based on Payment History is the Next Big Wave in Fintech (BW Disrupt), Rated: A

ftCash aims to empower micro-merchants and entrepreneurs with the power of electronic payments and loans with zero upfront cost and no monthly rentals. Merchants are able to offer their customers multiple payment methods including credit cards, debit cards, net banking, mobile wallets, PayPal and more.

Nonethless, credit lending is the next big wave of Indian fintech. Lodha explains, “SME Lending based on payment history will be next big wave in fintech. On an active basis, it allows a lender to decide the paying ability of a merchant/business and the recollection of these loans can be done from the payment platform itself. The combination of the payments data along with GST data provides deeper insights into a business. We at ftcash are heavily invested in this idea and believe there is a great potential for scale here.”

Latin America

Venture fund for Latino entrepreneurs, fintech in Mexico  (ImpactAlpha), Rated: AAA

Financial technology, or fintech, startups offering digital payment, remittances and lending services, could capture 30% of Mexico’s banking market within 10 years, according to Finnovista, a fintech accelerator. Six in 10 Mexicans are unbanked. Financial exclusion is a problem but “also an opportunity,” Francisco Meré, the director of Bankaool, one of the first online-only banks in Mexico, told the Financial Times[paywall]. “The cost of engaging a customer through technology is a fraction of using a branch.” Clip has grown to become one of Mexico’s largest digital payment providers (Accion sold its stake in February). Kubo Financieroprovides peer-to-peer lending; Albo, mobile-based banking; and Kueski, a digital micro-lender — all have secured venture backing. More than 150 fintech, or financial technology, firms now operate in Mexico, giving Mexico 35% of fintech companies serving the under- and un-banked in Latin America.

AFLUENTA INCORPORATES THE MEXICAN INVESTMENT FUND IGNIA TO ITS PRESTIGIOUS LIST OF SHAREHOLDERS (AltFi), Rated: A

Afluenta (www.afluenta.com), a leading online credit platform for the people of Latin America, announced the addition of Mexican venture capital fund IGNIA to its group of shareholders. IGNIA is a venture capital fund specializing in investments in entrepreneurial companies with great potential for growth, whose services meet the needs of the emerging middle class.

In Mexico, where local credit to the private sector is below 35% of GDP, compared to 68% in Brazil, Afluenta aims to revolutionize the market with its human approach to credit and investment.

Afluenta connects borrowers with investors who can be individuals or companies, eliminating intermediaries such as traditional financial institutions. Its technology allows investors to receive competitive returns on their contributions in a simple, fast and efficient way, while applicants obtain loans faster, without bureaucracy and at a lower interest rate than in a bank.

Canada

Katipult CEO finalist for the prestigious EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2017 (Digital Journal), Rated: A

Brock Murray, CEO of Katipult, a SaaS company that enables firms to design, setup, and manage an investment crowdfunding, Peer to Peer lending, or investor management platform, has been named a finalist in Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year in the Emerging Technology category in Prairies.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday July 14 2017, Daily News Digest

Visa revenues

News Comments Today’s main news: DBRS assigns provisional ratings to SoFi Professional Loan Program 2017-D. IEG Holdings cites slim margins, weak underwriting as reasons for LendingClub offer. Bank execs say UK sets the standard for fintech regulation. Rocket Internet sells stake in Lendico. Today’s main analysis: Visa’s international expansion. Today’s thought-provoking articles: DBRS Student Loan ABS report (a […]

Visa revenues

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Israel

India

Latin America

Canada

News Summary

United States

DBRS Assigns Provisional Ratings to SoFi Professional Loan Program 2017-D (DBRS), Rated: AAA

DBRS, Inc. (DBRS) has today assigned provisional ratings to the following classes of notes issued by SoFi Professional Loan Program 2017-D (SoFi 2017-D):

— $245,000,000 Class A-1FX Notes at AAA (sf)
— $266,000,000 Class A-2FX Notes at AAA (sf)
— $40,000,000 Class B-FX Notes at AA (sf)

DBRS Student Loan ABS report (DBRS), Rated: AAA

In this commentary, DBRS provides the following:
— A review of Q1 2017 student loan ABS performance and H1 2017 student loan ABS issuance.
— An outlook for future student loan ABS issuance and the trends expected in H2 2017.
— Analysis and highlights of student loan collateral performance.

Download the full report here.

IEG Holdings Highlights the Urgency of LendingClub Correcting its Flawed, Slim Margin “Broker” Business Model and Weak Underwriting Standards (Sys-Con), Rated: AAA

IEG Holdings yesterday announced the commencement of a tender offer to exchange four shares of IEG Holdings’ common stock for each share of LendingClub common stock, up to an aggregate of 40,345,603 shares of LendingClub common stock, representing approximately 9.99% of LendingClub’s outstanding shares as of April 28, 2017, validly tendered and not properly withdrawn in the offer.

IEG Holdings Corporation (OTCQB: IEGH) (“IEG Holdings”) cautions shareholders of LendingClub Corporation (“LendingClub”) against dismissing IEG Holdings’ tender offer. IEG Holdings believes that the LendingClub board of directors should be held accountable by its shareholders for continuing to pursue a flawed, slim margin “broker” business model. IEG Holdings urges LendingClub to enter into negotiations with IEG Holdings, rather than simply dismissing the tender offer.

FLAWED, SLIM MARGIN, LOSS-MAKING BUSINESS MODEL

Despite brokering more than $26 billion of loans since inception, LendingClub still reported a loss of $29.8 million for Q1 2017 and loss of $146.0 million for the 2016 full year. Transitioning to a balance sheet lender likely would significantly increase gross margins, without a significant change in customer acquisition costs.

WEAK UNDERWRITING STANDARDS

A recent media report by Bloomberg indicates that:

  • LendingClub only verified income about a third of the time for one of the most popular loans it made in 2016, and
  • If LendingClub finds errors in a loan application, it may still approve the loan.

LACK OF COMPANY-OWNED STATE LENDING LICENSES

LendingClub doesn’t hold individual state lending licenses and instead utilizes the services of a Utah-based bank. This raises regulatory risks around issues such as the potential breaking of individual state interest rate caps and compliance.

POOR STOCK MARKET PERFORMANCE AND ZERO DIVIDENDS TO SHAREHOLDERS

LendingClub’s share price has decreased 79% since its initial public offering in December 2014, dropping from $25.74 in December 2014 to $5.39 yesterday, after reaching a low of $3.51 in May 2016. In addition, LendingClub has never paid, and has no reported intention to pay, a dividend to shareholders.

IEG Holdings’ Reasons for the Offer

IEG Holdings believes that changing LendingClub’s business model to a balance sheet lender model would enable the company to generate significantly higher gross margins, provide significantly higher long duration cash flow from customers, build increased customer goodwill with customers and enable increased customer refinancing. The longer duration cash flow would provide more flexibility in reducing lending volumes during periods when underwriting risk levels are rising, as the company would be less dependent on brokering new loan deals every day to provide revenue.

  • IEG Holdings intends to encourage LendingClub to undertake substantial costs cuts by terminating excess employees, achieving substantial cuts in advertising/marketing costs and other significant cost cutting measures;
  • IEG Holdings intends to encourage LendingClub to transform its broker business model with low gross margins and high volumes to focus on high gross margin unsecured loans to near prime clients with strong underwriting, company owned individual state licenses and retention of loans on its balance sheet to secure long duration cash flow from longer term loans; and
  • The acquisition of LendingClub shares would be substantially net asset per share accretive for IEG Holdings stockholders and substantially increase shareholder equity.

New partnership turns PayPal into Apple App Store payment option (Banking Tech), Rated: A

This week the company announced a partnership with Apple to allow shoppers pay for their purchases at the App Store using PayPal. The feature will be available for users of a variety of Apple devices including iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Apple Watch, and iPod.In addition to the App Store, PayPal will be a payment option for a variety of Apple services including Apple Music, iTunes, and iBooks.

Finicity and JP Morgan Chase pair for data share (Banking Tech), Rated: A

Data aggregation provider Finicity has signed an agreement with JP Morgan Chase to let the bank’s customers choose data to share with apps.

The companies will use a direct API to allow Chase customers to share information with the apps and services that Finicity supports. According to the firms, this tokenised access will eliminate the need for customers to share their Chase credentials with third-party apps.

Paypal Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:PYPL): Beginning of Market Dominance (Library for Smart Investors), Rated: A

Paypal Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:PYPL) is getting investors attention after the stock touched fresh highs amid a new partnership with Apple.

The stock is up over 43% since the start of the year.

In the first quarter, PayPal saw a jump of 10.3% in monthly active users on year-over-year basis. The total number of transactions also increased by 22.5% in the period.

In the first quarter, Venmo processed $6.8 billion in total payments, a 100% growth on year-over-year basis. Venmo is slated to grow more as the company expands to small businesses.

WEALTHTECH — THE DIGITIZATION OF WEALTH MANAGEMENT (FT Partners), Rated: A

WealthTech companies are targeting inefficiencies that span the entire wealth management value chain, from client prospecting to investing to portfolio management and reporting. Benefits include more efficient workflows, improved client experiences and greater transparency. Regardless of their value proposition, WealthTech companies are seeking to improve overall wealth management and investing.

This report highlights a number of key trends within the broader WealthTech industry such as…

  • Growing number of advisors joining the independent channel
  • Incumbent financial institutions are entering the robo-advice space
  • Increased demand for alternative investments
  • Financial planning trending towards goal-based approaches
  • Higher levels of active risk management
  • Commoditization of portfolio management software is leading to expanded offerings
  • RIA custodians evolving into more holistic roles

Download the full report here.

Wells Fargo trims auto loans as market cools, risk overhaul kicks in (Reuters), Rated: A

Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N) is scaling back and remolding its auto lending business in response to growing stress in the market, as well as a bank-wide push for more centralized risk controls.

Wells, which was the No. 2 U.S. provider of auto loans less than a year ago, has already cut quarterly originations by nearly 30 percent over the nine months leading into March 31, according to a May 11 company presentation. It has also begun consolidating the collections operation in a move that people familiar with the business say could eliminate hundreds of jobs, after a new head of auto finance took the reins in April.

5 Fintech Startups Under the Radar (Bank Innovation), Rated: A

Spotme

This New York City-based startup facilitates micro-loans between borrowers and lenders, allowing users to set up pretty much all the parameters of a loan themselves: users can control the amount, the interest rate, the payback period, and the way they are reimbursed for the loan themselves.

Ledger

Ledger might be able to help out there: this San Francisco-based startup allows users to “open tabs with friends,” boiling down a transaction to just 3 clicks. By connecting with a user’s financial accounts (protected by “military-grade” cybersecurity, according to the company), users are able to aggregate all of their transactions in one place, as well as receive notification about when transactions are due.

Wallio

More and more companies are striving to solve the main problem when it comes to personal finance management services: how do you make a user actually take the financial advice that is being offered?

Wallio starts off the week by giving a user an allocated amount of money they can spend for that week, on whatever the user wants (expenses and savings are already factored into this amount). If a user underspends, great: Wallio will allow that user to put that money towards a goal. If a user overspends, Wallio will simply allocate less money for the user to spend next week.

Samwise

This robo-investing startup allows users to turn their existing brokerage account into an autonomous investing account using machine learning algorithms.

OnePebble

Invest, and make a difference in the world at the same time: that’s the dream of OnePebble, an online investment broker/dealer that puts each investment toward companies “doing good in the world.”

3 Investing Trends to Keep on Your Radar (Morningstar), Rated: A

Trend: Passive products continue to gain assets.

This is the trend shaping the investment management industry today. Asset flows to passive products, both traditional index mutual funds and exchange-traded funds, began in earnest following disappointing active-fund performance during the financial crisis.

Trend: New ways to hire–and pay for–financial advice. 

Robo-advisors provide automated advice for a low annual fee as low as 0.25% or even less. Meanwhile, mutual fund companies and brokerage firms may provide advice for customers who have amassed sufficient assets at the firm. For example, Vanguard Personal Advisor Service charges 0.30% and is available to investors with at least $50,000 in assets at the firm. (The service combines human financial advisors with robo-advisor technology.)

What to watch out for: The profusion of different business models means that the business of selecting an advisor is more complicated than ever. Robo-advisor fees might look like a screaming buy relative to the fees that a full-service human advisor charges, but the robo won’t be able to give you advice on nonportfolio matters like whether to pay off your mortgage or purchase long-term care insurance.

Trend: An increased emphasis on behavioral factors that can affect investor outcomes.

What’s to like: Many robo-advisors have also embedded behaviorial research into their services.

What to watch out for: Behavioral finance is trendy right now, and with any trend comes the opportunity for gimmickry. Beware of advisors who are using behavioral finance as their main hook to snag clients; high-quality advisors have been employing behavioral finance into their practices for years.

US Tax Professionals Tackles the Tax implications of Crowdfunding (Digital Journal), Rated: A

It’s important to understand that all the income a person receives, regardless of the source, is considered taxable income in the eyes of the IRS. That includes crowdfunding dollars.

Even if the campaign only raised the projected $15,000 and no gifts were offered, the money would still be considered taxable income and need to be reported as such on a tax return.

Generally, crowdfunding revenues are included in income as long as they are not:

  • Loans that must be repaid;
  • Capital contributed to an entity in exchange for an equity interest in the entity; or
  • Gifts made out of detached generosity and without any “quid pro quo.” However, a voluntary transfer without a “quid pro quo” isn’t necessarily a gift for federal income tax purposes.

Morgan Stanley digital chief: AI to help advisers, not ‘cyborg bots’ (Financial-Planning), Rated: A

Advisers tasked with processing a “mountain of information” will get a reprieve through artificial intelligence, according to Morgan Stanley Wealth Management’s chief digital officer.

“What we want to do is, with one click of a button, they can take action on that research report to all their clients within minutes, not hours, not phone calls,” Hassan said. “That’s the promise of what we’re trying to build.”

Rival firms have shown they’re headed down a similar path. Like Morgan’s planned offering, the UBS-SigFig service will save advisers’ time through automated messaging to clients on important dates, according to Richard Steinmeier, the head of the UBS Wealth Advice Center.

Congress Should Use Congressional Review Act to Strike Down Ill-Advised Arbitration Rule (Daily Signal), Rated: B

Cutting through the hyperbole that the arbitration rule protects consumers from “unfairness” that would deny them “their day in court,” this rule is in fact highly anti-consumer and harmful to innovation.

This regulation could have particularly harmful effects on FinTech innovations, such as peer-to-peer lending.”

How much money do Arizonans spend playing the lottery? Less than most Americans (AZ Central), Rated: B

Arizonans on average shelled out $100.85 per capita on lottery tickets in 2015, according to the study by LendEDU, based on preliminary data for state government finances collected by the Census Bureau. For Americans overall, the per-capita figure was $206.69.

United Kingdom

UK setting the bar for fintech regulation, bank execs say (SNL.com), Rated: AAA

U.K. authorities have created a world-leading regulatory environment for the burgeoning fintech industry that is being emulated elsewhere, according to bankers.

The Financial Conduct Authority’s “sandbox,” a program launched in 2015 to let companies test innovative ideas under close regulatory supervision, has been particularly helpful, she said.

Meanwhile, initiatives such as FCA-organized hackathons — or “TechSprints” as it prefers to call them — have been particularly appreciated by the industry, according to Sophie Guibaud, vice president of European expansion at Fidor Bank AG, a German online lender that was bought by Groupe BPCE in 2016. These events invite market participants to come up with technological solutions to certain problems, such as financial issues faced by people with mental health problems.

The U.K. is home to more fintech companies valued at more than $1 billion than the rest of Europe put together, according to an April 2017 report by technology investment bank GP Bullhound. Three U.K.-based companies, Funding Circle, Paysafe and Transferwise, have crossed that threshold, and GP Bullhound said that it does not expect London to relinquish its lead, due to its prominence in international financial services.

Comparison site GoCompare invests in mortgage robo-adviser (AltFi), Rated: A

Financial comparison site GoCompare is hoping to transform the UK’s mortgage application process by investing in MortgageGym, a digital mortgage robo-adviser.

Users can complete a free application within 15 minutes on MortgageGym and receive matches within 60 seconds, as well as robo advice and access to live advisers. The website will use automated algorithms to match applicants with the best mortgage providers.

The House Crowd hits £50m via mix of P2P and crowdfunding (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE HOUSE CROWD has hit the £50m funding target it set out to achieve in October last year.

The Manchester-based property platform started targeting institutional money at the end of last year to achieve its first £50m of funds channelled to property and buy-to-let borrowers, through both its peer-to-peer side and its crowdfunding arm.

The firm raised over £15m in the six months to early 2017, while a loan it closed last month added another £600,000.

Fintech CurrencyCloud tapped up investors months before Google raise (Business Insider), Rated: A

CurrencyCloud, which provides a platform to process international payments, raised £9.5 million from its existing investors in December 2016. The company had £10.5 million in the bank at the end of the month, accounts show, suggesting the platform had around £1 million left at the time of the fundraising.

The volume of payments jumped by 110% to 1.5 million but net revenue from currency transactions increased by just 10% to £3.2 million. Meanwhile, administrative expenses rose by 54% to £13.9 million as CurrencyCloud invested in “recruiting staff, developing our technology infrastructure and operations services, and moving to new office premises.”

P2P fund share issues boost investment trust sector (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

FUNDRAISINGS by Honeycomb and the Funding Circle SME Income Fund (FCIF) helped push share issues to record levels in the investment trust sector for the first half of 2017.

Secondary issuances raised £3.3bn in the first six months of the year, trade body the Association of Investment Companies has revealed, up from £1.8bn at the same time in 2016.

FCIF raised £142m in conversion shares in April, the largest total in the specialist debt sector, while the Honeycomb investment trust raised £105m through a ordinary share issue.

Alternative Credit funds drive record cash raise (AltFi), Rated: A

Assets in investment trusts have hit an all time high thanks in part to a huge swathe of secondary issuance in closed-ended funds’ shares.

In the first half of 2017, the most poplar area of the investment trust market was Infrastructure – in terms secondary issuance – raising £1.2bn. This was followed by Alternative Credit at  £514m. Funding Circle SME Income raised the largest total in the sector securing £142m via its C share issue, followed by Honeycomb Investment Trust (£105m).

China

The number of Online Financial platforms in China Exceed 19,000, ranking the first place of the world. (Xing Ping She), Rated: AAA

According to data from National Institution of Internet Financial Risk Analysis &Technology,there are more than 19,000 online financial platforms across China, including over 6000 online lending platforms, nearly 3500 online assets managers, and 800 crowdfunding platforms. The total cumulative volume of internet loans, crowdfunding and internet payment have reached to 70 trillion RMB (US$ 10.33 trillion). Zhou Hongren, director of the National Committee of Internet Finance Professional Technology, claimed that, “No matter in terms of quantity or scale, China has already become the largest international finance marketplace around the world.”

European Union

Rocket Internet Sells Stake in Lendico Startup (Handelsblatt), Rated: AAA

Incubator firm Rocket Internet has sold its majority stake in peer-to-peer lender Lendico to Arrowgrass, Handelsblatt has learned, as the British hedge fund acquired complete ownership of the Berlin startup.

The partners to the transaction agreed to keep the purchase price confidential. Rocket Internet, which specializes in helping online startups get off the ground, most recently valued its 50-percent-plus stake in Lendico at €140 million ($159 million).

Funding Circle Germany Takes a Fresh Start (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Germany is a huge SME and VSME (very small business) credit market. But it is not as mature a market for online marketplace lending as the UK, the US, or even the Netherlands. This partly explains why Funding Circle Germany’s early loan book underperformed. Now the platform is starting afresh to match its market’s reality.

With offices and business in Germany, the Netherlands and Spain, Zencap had originated €35 million in loans to 500 SMEs at the time of its acquisition. Its operations were very small in comparison with the more than $1.5 billion originated by Funding Circle in the US and the UK at the time (meanwhile Funding Circle passed the $3 billion mark).

The second reason for starting afresh, was a need to revisit the credit model. Since January, the new German team has been busy recalibrating and restarting the German operations.

Loan origination resumed at previous level in the first half of 2017 and is expected to grow again in the second half of this year.

Spanish Fintech Industry Comes into its Own (Finance Magnates), Rated: A

The Spanish fintech ecosystem has been a steadily growing force over the past few years, swelling from just fifty financial technology startups in 2013 to well over three hundred in 2017. This rapid surge is only going to continue with this number estimated to hit four hundred companies by 2018.

In terms of the value of the operations, this sector passed rose from just €35 million in 2014 to €206 million in 2016, justifying a 600 percent growth in just two years.

According to the Spanish Association for Fintech and Insurtech (Asociación Española de Fintech e Insurtech – Aefi), companies operating in this space in Spain are going to create a total of 10,000 jobs in 2017 alone.

While the value offintech operations in Spain is increasing, two areas that constitute the most focus are the crowdfactoring or invoice factoring crowdfunding platforms – these saw a total of €120 milion euros in 2016, that concentrate most of the operations domestically, followed by crowdfunding with €43.5 million and crowdlending or p2p lending with €42 million.

International

Visa Expands Its Footprint in Europe (Market Realist), Rated: AAA

In May 2017, Visa announced that in order to give consumers more control and make transactions transparent, the company will create digital card management experiences for its partners. Visa’s partners include financial institutions. Since the new offerings will lead to more transparency, Visa expects to see volume growth in fiscal 3Q17. Market analysts expect Visa to report revenues of $4.36 billion in fiscal 3Q17—a decline of 2.7%.

 

What Can Visa Expect from Russia, China, Japan, and India?

In fiscal 2Q17, there was growth in Visa’s cross-border business due to Russia’s developed economy. Visa implemented ~1,600 point-of-sale terminals. As a result, payment volumes are expected to grow in fiscal 3Q17.

Management thinks that obtaining a domestic license in China is a time-consuming process. Visa is expected to witness lower revenues and payment volumes from China due to discontinued dual branded cards.

Management has a positive outlook on Japan’s economy due to digitization. Japan’s government has become more inclined to use digital and electronic payments.

In fiscal 3Q17, India could be a major contributor to payment volume growth.

Visa has delivered a return on equity of 16.2% on trailing 12-months basis. Other consumer financial peers (XLF) have delivered the following return on equity on a trailing 12-month basis:

  • American Express (AXP) – 25.1%
  • MasterCard (MA) – 75%Discover Financial Services (DFS) – 21.10%

Visa Expects to Benefit from Its European Business

Visa’s (V) acquisition of Visa Europe allowed the company to enhance its global reach. The main agenda behind the acquisition was to bring innovation to the European market. Visa had been working closely with its partners and clients. The company also plans to create new services and products.

Israel

THE SURPRISING COUNTRY LEADING THE FINTECH REVOLUTION (Ozy.com), Rated: AAA

The country that gave the world smart drip irrigation and the Epilady has also been an early and enthusiastic adopter of financial technology, as in mobile banking apps, digital wallets, online lending and other services that manage moola. In fact, a survey of selected industrialized countries shows that:

As for the specifics, 50 percent of Israeli adults use mobile banking apps at least once a month. In the U.S., it was 38 percent; the U.K., 37 percent; in France, 35 percent; and in Germany, a surprisingly anemic 28 percent.

The five largest banks in Israel control more than 90 percent of the market, and as Sandra Octaviani, research lead for fintech at the University of Utah’s Center for Innovation in Banking and Financial Services, notes, traditional banks tend to serve low-risk, highly profitable clients, which creates an opportunity for nimbler fintech firms to swoop in and serve the underserved.

India

RBI wary of first loan default guarantee cover (India Times), Rated: AAA

The Reserve Bank of India is learnt to be wary of peerto-peer lending platforms offering any FLDG, or first loan default guarantee, cover to institutional lenders for any lending they do through these technology startups, said sources familiar with the discussions.

While various lending entities are keen on exploring this space as a cheap source of customers, they often look for a security cover against loans going bad. Experts say such guarantees or covers might go against the intentions of the central bank.

SME Lending Based on Payment History is the Next Big Wave in Fintech (BW Disrupt), Rated: A

ftCash aims to empower micro-merchants and entrepreneurs with the power of electronic payments and loans with zero upfront cost and no monthly rentals. Merchants are able to offer their customers multiple payment methods including credit cards, debit cards, net banking, mobile wallets, PayPal and more.

Nonethless, credit lending is the next big wave of Indian fintech. Lodha explains, “SME Lending based on payment history will be next big wave in fintech. On an active basis, it allows a lender to decide the paying ability of a merchant/business and the recollection of these loans can be done from the payment platform itself. The combination of the payments data along with GST data provides deeper insights into a business. We at ftcash are heavily invested in this idea and believe there is a great potential for scale here.”

Latin America

Venture fund for Latino entrepreneurs, fintech in Mexico  (ImpactAlpha), Rated: AAA

Financial technology, or fintech, startups offering digital payment, remittances and lending services, could capture 30% of Mexico’s banking market within 10 years, according to Finnovista, a fintech accelerator. Six in 10 Mexicans are unbanked. Financial exclusion is a problem but “also an opportunity,” Francisco Meré, the director of Bankaool, one of the first online-only banks in Mexico, told the Financial Times[paywall]. “The cost of engaging a customer through technology is a fraction of using a branch.” Clip has grown to become one of Mexico’s largest digital payment providers (Accion sold its stake in February). Kubo Financieroprovides peer-to-peer lending; Albo, mobile-based banking; and Kueski, a digital micro-lender — all have secured venture backing. More than 150 fintech, or financial technology, firms now operate in Mexico, giving Mexico 35% of fintech companies serving the under- and un-banked in Latin America.

AFLUENTA INCORPORATES THE MEXICAN INVESTMENT FUND IGNIA TO ITS PRESTIGIOUS LIST OF SHAREHOLDERS (AltFi), Rated: A

Afluenta (www.afluenta.com), a leading online credit platform for the people of Latin America, announced the addition of Mexican venture capital fund IGNIA to its group of shareholders. IGNIA is a venture capital fund specializing in investments in entrepreneurial companies with great potential for growth, whose services meet the needs of the emerging middle class.

In Mexico, where local credit to the private sector is below 35% of GDP, compared to 68% in Brazil, Afluenta aims to revolutionize the market with its human approach to credit and investment.

Afluenta connects borrowers with investors who can be individuals or companies, eliminating intermediaries such as traditional financial institutions. Its technology allows investors to receive competitive returns on their contributions in a simple, fast and efficient way, while applicants obtain loans faster, without bureaucracy and at a lower interest rate than in a bank.

Canada

Katipult CEO finalist for the prestigious EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2017 (Digital Journal), Rated: A

Brock Murray, CEO of Katipult, a SaaS company that enables firms to design, setup, and manage an investment crowdfunding, Peer to Peer lending, or investor management platform, has been named a finalist in Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year in the Emerging Technology category in Prairies.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Rocket Internet would like to see your business idea

great_2048x1152

Rocket Internet, the Berlin-based clone factory that made its name copying other people’s business ideas in new markets, is looking for Europe’s “most promising start-ups, scale-ups and tech for social impact companies” and would like to hear from you.

Continue reading: Rocket Internet would like to see your business idea

great_2048x1152

Rocket Internet, the Berlin-based clone factory that made its name copying other people’s business ideas in new markets, is looking for Europe’s “most promising start-ups, scale-ups and tech for social impact companies” and would like to hear from you.

Continue reading: Rocket Internet would like to see your business idea

July 27th 2016, Daily News Digest

July 27th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today we have a very long US section, I guess we are compensating for yesterday. Quite a few very interesting pieces of info. And a fun Chinese section as well. Do note the fund raises in P2p in China despite the overall doom and gloom feeling. Reminder 1 USD  = 6.67 RMB United […]

July 27th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments

  • Today we have a very long US section, I guess we are compensating for yesterday. Quite a few very interesting pieces of info.
  • And a fun Chinese section as well. Do note the fund raises in P2p in China despite the overall doom and gloom feeling. Reminder 1 USD  = 6.67 RMB

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

China

News Summary

United States

Elevate Announces 5 Million Expanded Credit Facility from Victory Park Capital, (Business Wire), Rated: AAA

Comment:  Elevate was planning an IPO early 2016. See below.

Elevate, a provider of innovative online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, today announced it has increased its credit facility with Victory Park Capital (VPC), a privately held registered investment advisor dedicated to alternative investing, by an additional $100 million to a total of $545 million. The company will use the additional capital to support the rapid growth of its credit products in the U.S. and U.K. and for further investment in its suite of online credit solutions.

Despite market turmoil in the online lending space over the past few months, Elevate has continued to benefit from high consumer demand for its products and has experienced year-over-year loan portfolio growth of more than 80% since Q1 2015,” said Ken Rees, CEO of Elevate. “We believe that more responsible non-prime credit products like RISE, Elastic and Sunny are making a positive difference in the lives of our customers who often struggle with limited financial options. This expanded credit facility with Victory Park Capital will help us continue to serve this growing consumer need.”

Old article, context relevant: This Should Be The First Tech IPO of 2016, (Fortune), Rated: AAA

Comment: article published January 11 2016.

Elevate Credit has improving financials, but regulatory risks.
Elevate Credit, a Texas-based provider of online credit solutions to non-prime consumers, on Monday said that it plans to offer 3.6 million shares at between $20 and $22 per share. It’s the first company to set an IPO range so far this year, and likely will attempt to price before the end of January.

Elevate was formed in 2014 as a spin-out from Think Finance, which had been founded in 2001 to provide analytics and tech services to “lenders looking to meet the needs of Americans underserved by today’s traditional banking system.” Elevate represented Think’s branded consumer lending products group, including Rise(installment loans in the U.S.), Elastic (open-end lines of credit in the U.S.) and Sunny (installment loans in the UK). It is led by former Think Finance CEO Ken Rees, who previously founded CashWorks, which was bought by GE Money Services in 2004.

The company reports a $20 million net loss on $300 million in revenue for the first nine months of 2015, compared to a $44 million net loss on $180 million in revenue for the year-earlier period. Elevate also today disclosed preliminary fourth quarter data, showing that it broke even on around $134 million in revenue. This compares to an $11 million net loss on $94 million in revenue for the fourth quarter of 2014.

The numbers are promising, but Elevate will have to answer two major questions before its IPO.

The first revolves around Victory Park Management, a private equity affiliate that is the sole source of debt financing for all Rise and Sunny loans. There is no indication that VPM is in any sort of trouble―and it recently amended its credit facility with Elevate in order to accommodate increased loan volume—but investors may balk at backing a financial services business that relies so heavily on a single debt provider.

Second, Elevate may need to get some investors comfortable with a tech-enabled business model that shares certain elements of brick-and-mortar payday lending. In particular, Elevate charges very high interest rates in certain markets. For example, the APR on a Riseloan in Idaho can total 365%. Same for a Rise loan in Elevate’s home state of Texas. The company says it is different from payday lenders in that its loans don’t contain balloon payments and that repayment can help borrowers improve their credit scores. At the same time, however, its listed IPO risk factors includes promised new rules on payday lending from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The company also says that the introduction of new rate caps by state legislatures could “make it difficult or impossible to offer [Rise] at acceptable margins.”

IPO on horizon, subprime lending startup Elevate adds 5M in credit from Victory Park Capital, (Tech Crunch), Rated: AAA

Elevate’s niche right now is providing loans to borrowers with creditscores between 575 and 625. As the company expands, it wants to provide loans to customers with even lower credit-scores.

Ken Rees, CEO of Elevate, is quick to note that 65 percent of Americans are underserved as a result of their low credit-scores. With additional lending data, it might just be possible to underwrite loans with confidence for these underserved customers. Previously, customers of Elevate would have been forced to take title or payday loans.

“20 percent of all title loans result in the customer losing their car,” noted Rees.

Elevate’s revenue run rate is hovering around $500 million even while average customer APR has been falling. The company has seen an 80 percent growth in loans outstanding over the last year, while charge-off rates have decreased from 17-20 percent in early 2014 to 10-15 percent today. Charge-off rates monitor loans that a company feels it can’t collect.

Rees’ previous company, Think Finance, backed by Sequoia and TCV, got itself into legal troubles last year and was accused of racketeering and the collection of unlawful debt.

Elevate rewards borrowers for watching financial literacy videos with better interest rates on products like RISE that are targeted at financial progression. The company also offers free credit monitoring. The average weighted APR for RISE is a hefty 160 percent, but it’s relatively tame next to a traditional 500 percent APR payday loan. RISE loans drop by 50 percent APR after 24 months, and fall to a fixed 36 percent APR by 36 months.

Over 65 percent of Elevate borrowers have experienced a rate reduction. All of these lending practices have improved customer retention for the company, 60 percent of Elevate borrowers who payoff their loan will get another. Typically these new loans will be granted at even lower interest rates.

Prosper Said to Pitch Fund That Would Buy Its Online Loans, (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Prosper Marketplace Inc. is setting up a private fund that will purchase consumer loans arranged through its online platform, providing another source of capital to fuel growth after other investors pulled back.

Executives at the closely held company are meeting with potential clients this week to pitch the Prosper Capital Consumer Credit Fund, according to a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified discussing confidential talks. The fund’s managers are targeting returns of 6 percent to 8 percent.

The goal is “sustainable and attractive risk-adjusted returns,” according to a presentation obtained by Bloomberg. The fund will buy a cross-section of “unsecured consumer loans originated through the Prosper marketplace on a passive basis.”

LendingClub, for instance, has run investment vehicles for several years similar to the one being started by Prosper. And Social Finance Inc., an online lender that gained popularity by refinancing student debt, started a hedge fund this year to buy its loans and potentially those of competitors.

The Prosper fund plans to start buying loans for clients as soon as September and could manage as much as $1 billion over time, according to the person. The fund won’t use leverage or charge investors performance or management fees, though loans in the portfolio will still be subject to Prosper’s standard servicing fees of 1 percent. The minimum investment is $250,000 and Prosper expects it to be attractive to family offices, high-net-worth individuals and foundations, the person said.

A similar fund managed by a LendingClub unit has had a rough ride this year. Returns slumped. The company disclosed that it had improperly allocated some loans to the portfolio. And by mid-June, clients had asked to pull out $442 million — or 58 percent — of the fund’s assets, forcing managers to limit withdrawals, according to a letter sent to investors. In response, LendingClub has said it overhauled the fund’s governance.

The new Prosper fund will allow quarterly resumptions of up to 5 percent of net asset value, according to the presentation.

Goldman Sachs: The Newest Online Lender, (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

The emphasis it has placed on this initiative, and the speed with which it has been accomplished, demonstrate that it is a priority for Goldman Sachs.

 

(Source: GS report)

Harit Talwar would head up the project. His last position was at Discover , where he ran the U.S. cards division. Unusually, Talwar was hired as a full partner, giving some idea of how seriously Goldman took the Mosaic initiative. Abhinav Anand, head of Analytics, also came from Discover, where he was in charge of the risk division.

Boe Hartman, formerly of Barclay’s credit card division, was Chief Technology Officer. David Stark, formerly of Citigroup’s credit card division, was Chief Risk Officer, in charge of the underwriting. These men worked for traditional banks.

However, Darin Cline, head of operations, was formerly head of operations at Lending Club. And Greg Berry, Chief Architect, used to work for OnDeck. These officers had experience with the new online lenders. Goldman wanted the best of both breeds as it put its own product together.

The benefits of sticky capital: steady growth

When you are a lender, you need funds to lend, and when you want to grow as an online lender, you need a source of funds that won’t dry up when the credit market contracts a few points. This is one of the problems Lending Club has faced recently. Its originate-to-distribute model, plus its meteoric growth (until recently), meant that it was heavily dependent on institutional funding. But it turns out that institutional funding flees quickly when credit markets turn slightly less rosy. The impacts of a recent, fairly small, capital drought have ramified into internal mismanagement, crippled growth, and a share price collapse for Lending Club.

The benefits of cheap capital: profit (with a regulatory wrinkle)

Those same depositors also provide just about the cheapest capital there is. The average interest rate on a Lending Club loan is 12.8% and 14.6% at Prosper. With a cost of capital at 1.05%, comparable rates would give GS Bank a fat interest margin of 11.75-13.55% (not counting allowances for losses).

In its “New Shadow Banking” report, Goldman’s researchers estimated a TAM for the consumer loans business at $258B, with an average ROA of 2.2%. That is $5.67B of profits up for grabs, and you can bet that Goldman intends to own a big piece of it. Every percentage point of that amount would add about one additional percentage point to the bank’s 2015 net income.

How to build your own bank, (Tradestreaming), Rated: AAA

Large financial institutions are opening up their APIs.
Exposing the tech underbelly of the finance industry is leading to an increasingly collaborative partnership environment.

BBVA offers an API marketplace for its European and US business units. In the US, the bank’s Compass unity provides connectivity for pre-authorized users to access key account data. It also offers an open security hookup that application developers can integrate to have BBVA clients authorize access to BBVA account information in their name. In Europe, the APIs go further, providing data on card purchases, identify verification, and money transfers.

In August 2015, technology industry bank SVB acquired a fintech startup, Standard Treasury. The startup had raised a couple of million dollars and was working on developing APIs for banking and that activity, the technology, and the team that developed it, was brought in-house at SVB.

Some banks have created APIs for just a select group of partners. They’re not necessarily interested in opening them widely for general use. Instead, they’re a quick and easy way to get vetted entities on their platforms. Barclays’ Developer Network (BDN) is the UK bank’s offering for approved firms to build applications using bank data and infrastructure. Barclays uses BDN in conjunction with the 13-week accelerator it runs together with Techstars. Participating startups in 4 locations (London, New York, Cape Town and Tel Aviv) get access to BDN in addition to working with decision makers at the bank and a group of mentors.

RBS has taken a similar approach to Barclays. The RBS API was made available as part of the Open Bank Project, an open source API and app store for banks. RBS uses its API as part of hackathons the bank sponsors.

Fidelity officially launches retail robo-adviser, (Investment News), Rated: A

Comment: What is happening in the robo-advisor space is very relevant to the p2p lending space.

Boston-based fund company Fidelity Investments on Wednesday officially launched its retail robo-adviser, Fidelity Go, after months of testing it out with about 1,000 users. Geode Capital Management, a Boston-based investment firm that has acted as a sub-adviser for Fidelity products for 13 years, will invest, monitor and manage Fidelity Go portfolios. The account minimum is $5,000, and clients are charged 35 to 40 basis points.

The company is focusing on younger, emerging and digitally-savvy investors with the platform, and has worked with this target audience to develop the robo.

Fidelity is also working on an institutional platform, which will be an integrated experience for investment advisers, bankers and broker-dealers, a spokesman said. More details will be available by the end of the year, he said.

How One Community Bank Closed Its Branches And Went Fully Digital, (The Financial Brand), Rated: A

A few years ago, Radius Bank had six branches. Today it has only one. How did they pull off this massive transition from brick-and-mortar to virtual?

An Amalgamation of Partnerships Solves the Fintech/Product Puzzle.

With traditional marketing media, it is difficult to accurately measure account acquisition, so the bank made the shift to go 100% digital in late 2014, bringing all consumer/retail marketing in-house. Now, instead of airing a commercial on television, Radius uses YouTube in conjunction with the Google Display Network. Billboards have been replaced with banner ads across the internet.

The mortgage industry (finally) moves online, (Tradestreaming), Rated: AAA

75 percent of home buyers would use online mortgages if they knew they could speak with someone when needed.
“I was frustrated by how offline, opaque and inefficient the mortgage application experience was,” said Rajesh Bhat of Roostify.

Roostify offers originators the technology to build a consumer-facing one-stop shop for the mortgage process with the ability to integrate additional products through an API.

Some of the newer players, like LendingHome or LandBay, try to replace current originators. Both are peer-to-peer home lenders. Sindeo and Blend Labs help customers through their mortgage applications by providing information or streamlining data collection and processing. SoFi, known more as a student loan provider, is now also active in the mortgage market, offering online applications for mortgages.

Quicken Loan’s Rocket Mortgage — which promised that home buyers could get approved for a mortgage in 8 minutes — was a big catalyst for that process.

Crowdlending platform uses Bitcoin, (Springwise), Rated: A

BTCJam is a lending platform that deals in Bitcoin to facilitate international P2P lending.

Founded in 2012 with the aim of providing affordable credit, the system boasts 19,905 loans funded, USD 24 million borrowed in over 200 countries to date, with 24 loans currently fundraising.

Although recent reports claim the business is withdrawing from trading in the US leaving uncertainty amongst many American users, BTCJam continues to service its customers worldwide.

Another Bone of Contention Between Political Parties: Student Loan Debt, (Real Money), Rated: A

In 2013, the amount of money student loan borrowers owed the federal government crossed the $1 trillion threshold for the first time, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. For the class of 2016, the average student graduated with $37,172 in loan debt.

Five of the top lenders in this space include Sallie Mae (SLM) , Action Alerts PLUS holding Wells Fargo (WFC) , Discover (DFS) , Citizens Bank and SoFi — which acts as an online loan marketplace.

“The federal government should not be in the business of originating student loans. In order to bring down college costs and give students access to a multitude of financing options, private-sector participation in student financing should be restored,” the party’s official platform stated.

That stance is a repudiation of the 2010 federal legislation that scaled back the role of private lenders providing student loans. The banks now act as middlemen, collecting fees and keeping records while students go through federal channels to secure the loans.

However, the federal government has also taken steps to provide relief for borrowers in recent years as the interest rate on federal loans for undergraduate students dropped to 3.76% in 2016 from 4.29% in 2015. The government also adjusted the maximum Pell grant amount for inflation to $5,815 from $5,775 last year. Pell grants are used by nearly 8 million lower-income students in the country.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton recently released her campaign’s college financing plan. The main tenets of her plan aim to allow students from families making up to $125,000 annually to go to school without having to incur any debt. Another tenet states that all community colleges will offer free tuition.

Kabbage enlists Marketo for marketing, (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Marketo, Inc. (NASDAQ: MKTO), the leading provider of engagement marketing software and solutions, today announced that Kabbage Inc., a disruptive financial technology platform that provides businesses with access to working capital, is leveraging the Marketo platform to improve email open rates and cut down on campaign production time.

Up until October 2015, Kabbage, relied on a different marketing automation provider and a number of other tools to manually engineer communications with potential customers. As the company grew, the team needed to consolidate and integrate these tools with its existing CRM for better alignment between marketing and sales. In this way, the team hoped to strike the right cadence of communication with its customers, serving them with a premiere customer experience, at any time and from virtually any device.

Kabbage chose Marketo for its ability to track the return-on-investment of email campaigns and also for its proven track record of security in highly regulated industries such as financial services and healthcare. Since implementing Marketo, Kabbage has seen email open rates and click-to-open rates jump more than 10 percent compared to campaigns deployed via the company’s previous marketing automation system. The marketing team attributes this success to the speed and ease-of-use of the Marketo platform, saving on average 2-3 hours in day-to-day production time.

OnDeck Capital’s Hidden Margin Of Safety, (Seeking Alpha), Rated: A

This article explores how GAAP accounting is obscuring the earnings power of ONDK.

ONDK is optically profit-less, but has the potential to ramp up earnings substantially if it slows down its expansion.

While this is not what the company will or should do, it’s a helpful illustration of another source of margin of safety in the stock.

This is ignoring the substantial opportunity ahead of the company and the value creation over the longer-term.

Credibly Interview: Innovative Online Lending Is Changing The Industry, (Nasdaq), Rated: A

After the bust of the first Internet bubble, folks did not go back to using fax machines. The fact is, what the lending industry has done in terms of creating a far superior user experience — following on how gaming, social, travel, and virtually every other industry has moved online — has created an opportunity to get more capital to the folks who need it and lowering people’s cost of funds along the way.

[Another myth I see] is the demise of innovative lending. But I just want to spend a second talking about what I mean by “innovative lending.” We as an industry have been challenged in coming up with what we should be calling ourselves. “Peer-to-peer,” in the early days, captured the essence of what the models were about in many ways, but that quickly evolved to perhaps institutional-to-peer. “Marketplace” implies that there’s a pure marketplace that’s operating, matching up borrowers and lenders in a hands-off kind of way. But that also implies a singular source of financing; that the financing for those individual loans comes from “the marketplace.”

I talk a lot about the importance of having diversified sources of funding available to you regardless of how you originate assets.

we all know that small businesses represent roughly 60% of GDP and roughly 60% of our labor force — and during the short time we’re sitting here today, our industry will probably do more of that to the tune of $10 million to $20 million. There’s a significant social benefit that we’re helping to create, and none of what we’re reading about in the press is going to change any of that.

MPL Policy Summit to be Held on September 13th in Washington DC, (Business Wire), Rated: AAA

Spearkers :

Thomas J. Curry, Comptroller of the Currency

Congressman Patrick McHenry, (R, NC-10th), House Financial Services Committee.

Goldman Sachs Gets Closer To Taking On The Marketplace Lenders, (PYMNTS), Rated: A

When asked by a JPM analyst if the firm was considering the “case for buying something? … So you get to a critical mass more quickly?” Schwartz neatly shot that idea down.

“This particular effort, when we looked at it, we really felt like it was best designed from scratch. The reason for that is we are kind of uniquely positioned. It allows us to leverage our technology skills and our risk skills … if you look at the competitive landscape, there are benefits that online lending platforms provide to consumers, and there are benefits for large commercial providers of credit … we are really looking to bridge the gap between those strengths and offer consumers, the best we can, a really thoughtful, differentiated product.”

Goldman purchased $15 billion in consumer accounts from GE Bank during Q2. He noted the two efforts were separate — Goldman Sachs isn’t becoming Goldman Sachs Savings & Loan — but connected insofar as they both buttress and diversify the Goldman brand.

“We view those as separate. Having said that, the acquisition went well, adding in excess of $15 billion of deposits to the firm … We have had in excess of 20,000 consumers open up new accounts with us. We have had very significant growth in a short period of time. It really speaks to the brand strength.”

It also remains to be seen if Republicans will win the election in November and reinstate Glass-Steagall as is a plank of their party platform. Such a regulatory change could statutorily bar Goldman from entering into these types of retail functions because it is an investment bank.

United Kingdom

Dear Mr. Bailey, “The Peer-to-Peer Lending Sector Has Embraced a Level of Transparency Which is Unrivaled in Financial Services”, ( Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The letter is embedded here.

The UK Peer to Peer Finance Association has released a letter addressed to Andrew Bailey, Chief Executive of the FCA, buttressing their position regarding the recent dialogue with the House of Commons’ Treasury Select Committee.

This past June, Andrew Tyrie, MP, Chairman of the Committee, expressed concern regarding the risk of peer to peer lending. In an open letter to Bailey (then Deputy Governor of the Bank of England for Prudential Regulation) the Committee expressed its concern “to ensure that the FCA is paying due attention to the risks – and the opportunities – afforded by the growth of peer-to-peer lending”.

Today Farnish is responding to oral evidence presented by Bailey last week to the House of Commons Committee.

In her response, Farnish asserted that peer to peer lending platforms “exist solely because they create value to consumers on both sides of the platform: investors are able to earn fair predictable risk-adjusted net returns that can outperform other investment products, whilst borrowers can access fast and flexible finance.”  Farnish asked that Bailey and the FCA “would start from first principles, based on risks and benefits to consumers.”

Farnish assured Bailey, and others, the sector “accepts its responsibility for ensuring that those investing in peer-to-peer products understand the nature of their investment, and appreciate the degree of risk incurred.”

European Union

Rocket Internet to Develop Banking Services With FinTech Group, (Wall Street Journal), Rated: AAA

FinTech Group is developing a digital bank for Rocket Internet using the banking license of FinTech subsidiary Bank biw as a first step of a comprehensive partnership of the two companies. Rocket and FinTech Group plan to develop joint banking business models at an EU level.

China

Chinese P2Ps plagued by flaky guarantees, ( FT # Fintech), Rated: AAA

China’s peer-to-peer lending industry is experiencing breakneck growth. Yet the industry is yet to deal with the “rigid repayment” problem – the perception afflicting the Chinese fixed-income universe that default is impossible.

A fintech conference in Shanghai last week, known as LendIt, attracted standing-room-only crowds. A conference staffer called the scene on the first day “chaos” and tightened entry restrictions on the second day to prevent un-registered guests from sneaking in.

Loans outstanding from

P2P platform focused on property collateral mortgage Hepan Finance received RMB 66M Series A Investment, (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Founded in 2013, Hepan Finance is a P2P platform focused on providing operating capital to small businesses in the Shanghai area. Prior to launching the lending platform, the company’s experience, and expertise was primarily in value assessment and foreclosure of real estate properties. This experience has transferred to the P2P platform’s ability to confidently control risk and deal with collateral assets after default. On the investor side, the platform offers a 12% return for its 12-month wealth management product, which recently decreased from a 15% return in early 2016. The 1-month short-term product provides a 7.2% return. According to its website, Hepan has managed RMB 2.4 billion in investments and has over 220,000 registered investors.

Hepan’s recent Series A Investment was led by Chinese VC firm ZCZB Capital. According to its website, ZCZB Capital focuses on providing fast, small loans (under RMB 5 million) to startups in a variety of industries. Prior to this injection of funding, Hepan had shrunk in borrowing and only made loans against high-end properties. It was stated that the new funds would be used in recruiting, engineering upgrades and offline promotions.

Online finance marketplace Caogen Investment received RMB 1B Series B Investment from a state-owned fund, (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Founded in 2013, Caogen Investment is an open lending platform focused on providing operating capital to small businesses. More flexible than other P2P platforms, Caogen accepts property, equipment, material and even products as collateral. The platform now works with suppliers and distributors in over a dozen industries including fishery, furniture, hard rock mining and energy. On the investor side, returns range from 6.5% to 12% with terms ranging from 31 to 365 days. According to its website, Caogen has managed RMB 34 billion and has 6 million registered users.

P2P platform focused on banker’s acceptance-secured business loans Yinpiao.com received RMB 120M in funding from SOE, (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Banker’s acceptance (BA) bills are a promise of future payment guaranteed by a bank. These are often traded on the secondary markets. P2P platform Yinpiao.com relies on BA assets to back online investment products. The platform not only sells BA before maturity but also originates loans secured by BA. Before launching Yinpiao.com in 2014, the platform’s finance team had over seven years of experience in trading BA and handled over RMB 50 billion each year. On the investor side, the platform provides an average return of 8.8% with terms varying from 7 to 180 days. According to its website, Yinpiao.com investors purchased 6 billion wealth management from August 2014 to June 2016.

Investing RMB 120 million in Yinpiao.com, Huayu Economic Development Ltd. is a state-owned corporation that controls 26 companies in nuclear power, munition technology, aerospace, and mining. Aside from the funding, Huayu may introduce Yinpiao.com to high-quality borrowers from multiple supply chains in the industrial sector.

P2P platform focused on supply chain financing Ziben Online raised RMB 200M in funding from four strategic investors, (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Ziben Online (ZO) provides short-term capital to small businesses in certain supply chains. ZO typically works with large corporations by providing loans to their suppliers.

Author:

George Popescu

July 22nd 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments United States A very interesting read. A great forward facing article showing how bank’s VC arms invest, what they invest in and what to expect. What bank’s VC arms invest in is a great indicator and instigator of what will happen in a few years. An interesting article about a Rocket Internet alumni […]

News Comments

United States

European Union

  • A must read ! N26, a fintech company in Germany, got a banking license. N26 said the license will let it offer savings, investment, credit and insurance products from partners. N26 said it plans to offer new services, including the ability for consumers to split expenses like restaurant bills directly from their phones, and that it plans to generate more revenue from credit card transactions and commissions from partners.

United Kingdom

Hong Kong

India

 

United States

Banks push the envelope of innovation, but not alone, (Tradestreaming), Rated: AAA

Looking at bank CVCs only provides part of the picture on future trends, as banks can swallow and incorporate innovative private companies through private equity arms or through mergers and acquisitions.

bank VC investment by category

h.Ds will be written about millennials and generations to come: Their mobility — geographic, in the job market, in the way they communicate, purchase and do business — is already established as one of their pivotal traits.

Banks are capitalizing on this mobility and reacting to it.

Banks can’t innovate alone. Saddled with legacy systems, heavy regulations and cumbersome workflows, banks just can’t move as fast as startups. But startups, in turn, need the banks…The future is about partnerships.

BBVA, for example, launched Innova Challenge, an initiative that promotes open and collaborative culture between the bank and developers, with the aim of including a larger community in creative and technological development. BBVA opened its platform to the developer community through an API. Citi also opened up its APIs to developers through its Citi Mobile Challenge.

“Many fintechs have succeeded but today they are still operating only at the edges of banking,” explains the Santander Group in a recently published white paper about the future of fintech, titled Fintech 2.0. “To help engineer more fundamental improvements to the banking industry, they must now be invited inside, to contribute to reinventing our industry’s core infrastructure and processes. That can succeed only as a collaborative endeavor, with banks and fintechs working together as partners.”

Funny enough, Deutsche Bank also recently published a white paper under the same title and a similar theme though focused on payments.

If you can’t beat ’em join ’em: Fintech and banks collaborate in online lending, (TradeStreaming), Rated: AAA

One company trying to fit into the circle around banks is Spotcap. Founded in 2014 by Toby Trebel and Jens Woloszczak, Spotcap provides lines of credit to SMBs in Spain, Australia, and the Netherlands. Incubated and backed by Rocket Internet, the Berlin-based online lender uses both technology and experience to determine an SMB’s creditworthiness; Internally-developed algorithms and smart contracts combined with a human review board determine if an SMB qualifies for a credit line.

Spotcap has only been in the Netherlands for 15 months and is still small, only underwriting $50m in the first half of 2016. Although it’s a drop in the bucket of the regional lending market, Spotcap has grown 500% year over year and has less that a 1% default rate since it started lending in the Netherlands.

What makes Spotcap different from other online lenders is its approach to incumbent financial institutions. Currently, 25% of Spotcap’s loan book is in piggyback loans with banks — where two or more lenders underwrite a loan together. For example, an SMB needs a $1 million loan, but a bank feels the maximum secured loan they can offer is $750k. The bank then contacts an unsecured lender like Spotcap, which evaluates if the SMB qualifies for the remaining $250k. If so, the bank packages the two separate loans, and the SMB pays both the bank and the unsecured lender. Banks win with piggybacked loans since they gain a new customer while staying in their lending comfort zone, and also make more money.

Unless the Armageddon or zombie apocalypse happens anytime soon, banks will likely remain the backbone of finance. Spotcap, and other innovators like it, have an opportunity to work closely with bank partners.

 Amazon Tiptoes Into Banking Business Through Student Loans, (Wall Street Journal), Rated: AAA

The online retailer has entered into a partnership with San Francisco lender Wells Fargo& Co. in which the bank’s student-lending arm will offer interest-rate discounts to select Amazon shoppers.  The discount will be offered both to students who want loans to attend college and those who want to refinance existing loans.  The offer also represents the latest effort among private student lenders to stand out by discounting in an increasingly competitive market. Many offer discounts to customers who set up recurring payments to pay back their loans automatically or for loan refinancings by graduates who are members of professional associations.

Wells Fargo, the largest U.S. bank by market value and the second-largest private student lender by origination volume, will shave a half a percentage point off the interest rate on student loans it extends to applicants who are members of Amazon’s Prime Student. The subscription-based service charges $49 a year, half the cost of Amazon Prime, and offers free two-day shipping and unlimited instant streaming of movies, among other perks.

Wells Fargo and Amazon have been in discussions for more than a year about the partnership, which is set to be announced and made available Thursday.

The companies aren’t compensating each other for what Wells Fargo describes as a multiyear agreement that will reach millions of potential borrowers.

Private student lending, which plummeted during the recession, is rising again. Five of the largest private student lenders, including SLM Corp., better known as Sallie Mae, Wells Fargo and Discover Financial Services Inc., distributed $6.46 billion in loans between July 2015 and March 2016, up 7% from the same period a year earlier–and the fifth consecutive year of increases, according to data released this month by MeasureOne, a San Francisco firm that tracks the market.

The discount could give Wells Fargo a competitive advantage to other lenders. Its interest rates are close to the interest-rate ranges Discover and Citizens Financial Group, which has been rapidly expanding into student loans over the last couple of years, charge. A half-percentage-point discount could make its loans more affordable than competitors for some borrowers.

Blackstone’s assets under management hit record high of 6bn, (Financial Times), Rated: A

Blackstone, the world’s biggest alternative investment manager, expanded its empire to record size in the second quarter as assets under its management surpassed $350bn for the first time.

Blackstone’s economic net income — a measure of earnings which includes unrealized gains on investments such as buyouts and real estate — was $520m in the three months ended in June, increasing only 2 per cent on the same period last year, the group said in results on Thursday.

But its total assets under management rose to $356bn, a 7 percent increase on the year and a new record for the group, which broke the $300bn barrier in April last year. Assets on which Blackstone earns fees for managing them rose to $266bn.

Blackstone funds have received over $130bn of net inflows since the beginning of 2015.

Blackstone’s buyout unit reported a 2.5 percent increase in the value of its stakes in private and public companies during the quarter, suggesting that the big private equity groups have begun to recover from the volatility of the year’s first half.

Blackstone’s credit investing arm posted gross returns of 9.7 per cent as its funds benefited from a rebound in debt markets in recent months, especially in loans tied to energy companies, as oil prices have increased.

Mr Schwarzman and chief operating officer Tony James both emphasized repeatedly that they “only need” to buy a few assets every year, insulating their performance, they say, from economic trends and market volatility.

European Union

Fintech Startup N26 Is Awarded Full German Banking License, (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

N26, a Berlin startup that offers financial services directly to consumers, said Thursday it’s received a German banking license that will let it offer a fuller range of products across Europe.
The company, whose mobile app lets European consumers maintain an account, transfer money and pay by MasterCard from their smartphones, said in a statement it’s now licensed as a bank by the European Central Bank and Germany’s BaFin financial supervisory authority. The startup, which changed its name from Number26, said the license will let it offer savings, investment, credit and insurance products from partners.

N26 said it plans to offer new services, including the ability for consumers to split expenses like restaurant bills directly from their phones, and that it plans to generate more revenue from credit card transactions and commissions from partners.

The Berlin startup counts the Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel among its investors, and in June landed a $40 million investment round led by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-Shing’s Horizon Ventures. The U.K.’s TransferWise Ltd., which offers a digital service for money wiring, also counts Thiel and billionaire Richard Branson as investors. And so-called robo-advisor Betterment LLC secured $100 million in funding this year, led by Sweden’s Investment AB Kinnevik.

United Kingdom

New FCA boss “pretty worried” about P2P, ( Alt Fi News), Rated: AAA

Under questioning from Chris Philp (MP for Croydon South), Bailey confessed that he is “pretty worried” about certain aspects of the UK’s P2P market. Bailey says that peer-to-peer lending investments are at the asset management end of the investment spectrum, the opposite end to bank deposits. But Bailey believes that the platforms’ marketing efforts do not always reflect that positioning. “I am pretty worried about some of the things that are said about these funds when they’re sold to people,” he said. “Some of the things that you read is that they get very near, but not quite there, to promising capital certainty”.

At yesterday’s meeting, Philp said that peer-to-peer lenders have an incentivisation mismatch, in that their fees are tied to transactional volume, but without taking any balance sheet risk. Philp said that this is exactly what happened with the “origination and syndication of sub-prime loans in the US in the run up to 2008”. Philp later put a question to Bailey: “Why not require the platforms to co-invest let’s say 10% of the loan value on their own balance sheet, either pari-passu or even the first loss piece? If their own money was on the line, alongside that of consumers’, that would concentrate their minds when it came to making good credit decisions”.

Footage from the treasury select committee meeting is available here. Philp’s questioning about crowdfunding begins at around 15:27:00.

Re-setting Ratesetter’s provision fund, (FT Alphaville), Rated: AAA

Is 22 per cent a big number?

That’s how much Ratesetter increased its expected future losses on Thursday, “partly to reflect greater economic uncertainty due to external events”. The online lender, which is one of the UK’s top three, added £3m to the £13.9m of expected claims on its provision fund, which serves as protection against defaults for its retail investors.

Those “external events” are presumably a reference to Brexit, but skeptical readers might also remember the higher than expected defaults on its 2014 cohort of loans. At the start of that year, Ratesetter had expected a 2.07 per cent default rate. So far, defaults on the 2014 cohort of loans have reached 2.915 per cent. It’s also worth noting that last month Ratesetter brought on board a new chief risk officer, Cyrille Sallé de Chou, who joined from Lloyd’s.

The provision fund is paid for in part by an upfront borrower payment and in part by payments spread over the lifetime of the loan. Until now those future payments were not included in the calculation of the current value of the fund, now it is.

“The value of this contractual future income is over £6 million. We have reduced this to £4 million to take into account the fact that some of this income will not be received due to borrowers paying back loans early or defaulting,” said Ratesetter in a blogpost. (Data from Ratesetter’s website suggests a higher number of £4.9m in future fees.)

Without that extra money, it appears that Ratesetter’s expected losses would have been bigger than the provisions in the fund. With the extra money, Ratesetter has around £22m to protect against £17.3m in forecast losses from £612m lent out. The company expects a 2.8 per cent default rate, up from 2.3 per cent.

If at any time, in the opinion of RateSetter, the Provision Fund does not have sufficient funds to cover current or expected borrower default (a “Negative Position”), and RateSetter reasonably believes the Negative Position is not capable of being rectified through the ordinary course of business, RateSetter may declare a “Resolution Event”. If a Resolution Event is declared, we will notify you, along with any other RateSetter Customers entitled to protection from the Provision Fund (the “Eligible Lenders”).

Star fund of funds manager Craig: Why I am buying alternative credit funds but avoiding P2P, ( Alt Fi ), Rated: AAA

The likes of the £100m Hadrian’s Wall and £150m Honey Comb investment trust are preferable as fixed income alternatives over P2P focused trusts, according to Old Mutual Global Investors’ Paul Craig.

Craig, who runs Old Mutual’s Cirilium range of multi-asset fund of funds which total about £3bn of assets under management, is a fan of the sector. The Cirilium range includes the Old Mutual Cirilium Balanced, Old Mutual Cirilium Dynamic, Old Mutual Cirilium Moderate Old Mutual Cirilium Strategic Income and Old Mutual Cirilium Conservative funds.

The manager has one of the best records of any fund of funds managers since the aftermath of the financial crisis within the Investment Association’s various multi-asset sectors. Craig launched the range back in 2008 and they were originally called the Henderson Cirilium funds having been subsequently sold to Old Mutual Global Investors in 2014 by Henderson.

He owns stakes in three alternative credit funds across the Cirilium range. They are all closed-ended trusts listed on the London Stock Exchange. These are SQN Asset Finance, Honey Comb, and most recently, Hadrian’s Wall – which is the only new investment trust to have floated this year.

Hadrian’s Wall is targeting a yield of 6 per cent and a total return of 7-8 per cent by offering exposure to loans to UK SMEs secured by underlying assets and collateral. Loans target mid-market sized firms with annual revenue between £1m-25m.

“Hadrian’s wall is a prime example. For us as multi-managers we can look at all the new issues that come to market and we don’t need to pigeonhole as to whether it is P2P or direct lending or whatever.We buy on the merits.”

“We have been somewhat absent from the P2P space not because we think it is a bad investment class but more that it is such a new class that it is not tried and tested and we just do not know how the rating will react in less certain times. The beauty of the likes of  Hadrian’s Wall versus P2P is that there is a bit more granularity and because we are running diversified portfolios we are quite happy to take that concentration of credit risk within the portfolio because we don’t need the additional diversification within the portfolio.”

“The granularity of these portfolios makes it easier to calculate the net asset value (NAV)  of these portfolios, Craig says, which he thinks will equal less discount sensitivity than from the likes of Hadrian’s Wall compared to P2P-focused trusts. Also, while it is hard to know what will happen with interest rates, as long as Hadrian’s Wall are able to make loans to good quality businesses, and that they are able to repay, then we can expect a return of close to 10 per cent per annum. For us that is very attractive because it is providing us with a return that is not dissimilar to equity but with far less risk than equity and very little in the way of interest rate risk.”

Stuart Lunn: The developing market for SME finance, ( Scotsman), Rated: A

Since launching in 2014, Lending Crowd has facilitated loans totalling £6 million to scores of borrowers and have over 2,000 investors signed up to our platform. Deals range in size from £20,000 right up to over £1m – last year we teamed up with Diet Chef to complete one of the biggest ever peer-to-business deals seen in the UK in a £1.5m debt finance transaction.

Hong Kong

Development and Regulation of P2P Lending and Equity-based Crowdfunding in Hongkong, (P2p Banking), Rated: A

1. The recent development of online alternative finance

In order to maintain the role of international financial center, the financial authority of Hong Kong has been aware of issues relating to Fintech industry[1]. On November 13th, 2015, Stored Value Facilities Payment Systems, such as online stored payment business as PayPal, is allowed to operate by non-bank[2]. This is a milestone for Hong Kong including non-bank of operating business highly relevant to conventional bank.

2. Relevant industry background

On one hand, from viewpoints of investors, the deposit rates of savings are from 0%~0.001%[4]. Even the deposit rates of fixed deposit of 12 months are from 0.15%~0.2%[5]. Additionally, inflation rates are around 4% continuously in 2013 and 2014[6], which means the real interest rate may be negative in Hong Kong. Accordingly, there are strong incentives for investors to vitalize their capital.

On the other hand, from viewpoints of borrowers, there are two fundraising channels for loans, including banks (Licensed Banks, Restricted License Banks, Deposit-taking Companies) and Money Lenders. Since the financial authority restricted the mortgage market of banks to prevent a real-estate bubble, it is difficult for borrowers to get the loan amount they need from banks by mortgage. As a result, they turn to Money Lenders as an alternative opportunity. Although the interest rates of Money Lender are generally higher than banks, compared with banks which normally take 1-6 weeks for examining procedure, the process of Money Lender is more simplified[7].

The market scale of Money Lenders in Hong Kong is approximately 30.5 billion HKD (3.9 billion USD) and 6.6 billion HKD (852 million USD) in mortgage market in 2013[8]. And the top 10 Money Lenders share 53.9% of this market[9]. Though peer-to-peer platforms in Hong Kong are still at an initial stage, with strength of technology, they can provide relatively lower interest rates and attract more investors by Internet.

On May 7th, 2014, the financial authority[10], has issued a notice[11] regarding risks and legal compliance of crowdfunding since crowdfunding has become a widespread idea and business model in Hong Kong. The Chief Executive Officer, Securities and Futures Commission has also indicated “Parties seeking to engage in crowd-funding activities should be aware that a breach of the relevant laws could lead to serious consequences including criminal liability[12].”

Accordingly, a company operating or advertising as a lending business, such as peer-to-peer lending, may need a license in Hong Kong.

India

How fast should P2P lending grow?, ( The Economic Times), Rated: AAA

Is P2P lending in India is growing fast enough or can we grow faster? Or should we grow at breakneck speeds seen in sectors like transportation that propelled the likes of Ola and Uber into stratosphere?

The Indian P2P space, in fact continues to grow steadily and see good traction. While there are no official figures, if one has to extrapolate our figures, we have grown eight times in the last six months in our loan disbursals. In fact, this is true for the entire Fintech space. In 2015 the space exploded, but it has not shown signs of weakening. According to a Tracxn and Blume Ventures report about $103 million was raised across 22 rounds in 2015 in the Fintech space. About halfway through the year, 2016 has seen $68million being raised and if this trend continues, this year would be better than last year. Compared to 2013 when only $4 million was raised and 2014 when $18 million was raised, the sector has grown leaps and bounds. The report states that the big boys of the investing world, including the likes of Sequoia Capital, Accion, Apsada Investments, SAIF Partners, and Walden International are the most active investors in Alternative Lending in India.

P2P sector in India is still at a very early stage when compared to a country like the US and the UK.

An Economic Times report points out that for the first time since March 2011, the country’s consumer durables sector witnessed three months of consecutive double-digit growth during the festival season last year. Banks grew their personal loan portfolio by 17.3% year-on-year in August 2015 compared with 12.8% a year ago.

Another aspect of P2P loan is the borrowings made to start a business. The government’s key focus around Make in India and Startup India has meant people’s entrepreneurial ambitions have been spurred and most now dream of having their own business.

In India things are very different and I see very little chance of [cases like Lending Club or Lufax] happening. [Comment: I strongly disagree. India is a large country, not extremely centralized, where it is very hard to enforce regulation and with $1bil people, a large majority of whom are not sophisticated in finance.  I expect that India will be 2nd only behind China in the amount of fraud expected in the p2p lending sector. ]

The burgeoning equity crowdfunding and P2P lending space in India, (Your Story), Rated: A

The crowdfunding industry has witnessed a massive growth globally.

total funding volume in crowdfunding

According to the discussion paper published by RBI the proposed regulation includes:

Permitted activity

  • The role of the platform would be limited to bringing the borrower and lender together without the lending and borrowing getting reflected on its balance sheet.
  • The platforms will be prohibited from giving any assured return either directly or indirectly.
  • It will also be mandated that funds will have to necessarily move directly from the lender’s bank account to the borrower’s bank account to obviate the threat of money laundering.
  • The guidelines would also prohibit the platforms being used for any cross-border transaction in view of FEMA provisions relating to transactions between residents and non-residents.

Prudent requirements:

  • The companies must have a minimum capital of Rs 2 crore.
  • The platforms may have to adhere to a leverage ratio so that they do not expand indiscriminately.
  • Considering lenders may include uninformed individuals, prudential limits on maximum contribution by a lender to a borrower/segment of activity could also be specified.

Governance requirements

  • A reasonable proportion of board members having financial sector background could be suggested.
  • The guidelines may also require the P2P lender to have a brick-and-mortar place of business in India.

Customer interface

  • The current regulations applicable to other NBFCs will be made applicable to the P2P platforms in regard to loan recovery practice.
  • The platforms will have to guarantee confidentiality of customer data.

Author:

George Popescu
George Popescu