Wednesday April 18 2018, Daily News Digest

Wednesday April 18 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: Elevate, Mastercard collaborate on credit card for the New Middle Class. Funding Circle opens IFISA to new investors. Ant Financial’s $150B valuation. Funding Societies raises $25M. Today’s main analysis: Marketplace lending securitization tracker Q1 2018 (A MUST-READ). Why PPDAI is a buy. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Interview with Kabbage’s CEO. Cities with highest share of cash-out […]

Wednesday April 18 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

Other

News Summary

United States

Elevate to Collaborate with Mastercard on Credit Card Product for the ‘New Middle Class’ (News Channel 10) Rated: AAA

Elevate Credit, Inc. (“Elevate”), a leading tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, today announced an agreement to collaborate with Mastercard on the development of a new credit product to expand financial opportunities for the approximately 160 million Americans with low or no credit scores.

Elevate is committed to advancing growth and economic opportunity for these households that it has dubbed the “New Middle Class.”

Marketplace Lending Securitization Tracker Q1 2018 (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Seven marketplace lending securitizations priced this quarter totaling $4.3 Bn, the 2nd highest level of quarterly issuance, representing 34% growth YoY. To date, cumulative issuance equals $33.4 Bn across 114 deals.

We observed an unprecedented 21 months of non-stop issuance. Markets remain in a “risk-on” mode and MPL investor appetite continues to grow.

Spreads tightened this quarter, amidst rising rates and increased
volatility, and we saw deals price at record tights. Average spreads at
issuance are tighter in the consumer and student spaces across credit tranches. New issue spreads in the Consumer MPL space on As were tighter by 27 bps and those on Cs were tighter by 107 bps on average. New issue spreads in the Student MPL space were also tighter across the stack, with the Cs seeing a nearly 100bp tightening on average.

SoFi issued the largest consumer and student deals ever seen in the MPL space. SoFi continues to increase deal sizes every quarter with a billion-dollar student deal in 1Q18.

View the full report here.

Inside a Kabbagehead (Banking Exchange) Rated: AAA

Frohwein noted that there are multiple ways that companies can fail when trying to expand their offerings.

1. Trying too long a stretch.

By way of example, Frohwein pointed out that Prosper Marketplace, which offers three- or five-year personal and business loans, tried an expansion in 2016 called Prosper Daily.

2. Cheaping out on brand promotion.

Another error is failing to spend money on the company’s brand. Interestingly, given that the fintech fraternity is a crowd attuned to social media, Frohwein urged listeners to invest real money in their brands. (@KabbageInc, the corporate Twitter handle, has 23,400 followers, while @KabbageRob, Frohwein’s own account, has fewer than 2,000 followers.)

3. Developing customer knowledge.

Frohwein said that all those data connections referred to earlier give Kabbage a strong idea of what its customers look like. Few online lenders have that depth of customer knowledge, he said.

 

How JPMorgan’s CIO decides which startups to partner with, invest in, to buy (Business Insider) Rated: A

Here’s Beer:

“In some cases, we saw in the fintech ecosystem that one of their challenges is the size, scale and complexity of a company like JPMorgan Chase. If you’re trying to build out something in the wholesale payment ecosystem, you’re talking about 200 regulators, $5 trillion dollars we process a day, over 120 currencies and countries. There are multiple layers of complexities considering anti-money laundering rules, fraud requirements and new sanctions. How do you understand that complexity if I’m a startup in the payment space in wholesale?”

These companies could later wind up with an investment from JPMorgan if all goes well.

Here’s why banks need to prioritize digital platforms (Business Insider) Rated: A

With bank earnings season upon us we have seen a continued growth among mobile users at some of the biggest banks; JPMorgan Chase saw active mobile customers jump 13 percent and Wells Fargo saw total active digital users jump 3 percent; mobile banking has become a priority for all banks as the focus has shifted from just offering mobile to increasing engagement on mobile.

99,000 Investors and $ 5.8B in Commercial Properties Now on CrowdStreet (PR Newswire) Rated: A

With a steady focus and at an accelerated pace, CrowdStreet is moving the fundraising component of the $15-trillion commercial and multifamily real estate business online, helping real estate developers and operators raise capital and acquire new investors online, and helping high-net-worth investors build wealth through online real estate investing.

With more than 99,000 investors now on its platform, CrowdStreet is one of the largest platforms for online real estate investing.

LendUp and Nonprofit EARN Launch Cross-Sector Partnership to Combat America’s Savings Crisis (Lendup) Rated: A

LendUp, a fast-growing financial services firm for the emerging middle class, and EARN, a national nonprofit empowering low-income Americans to take charge of their financial lives through savings, today announced a partnership to offer LendUp customers, who represent the nearly half of Americans with subprime credit scores, the opportunity to begin saving with EARN’s SaverLife program.

LendingTree Ranks Cities With the Highest Share of Cash-Out Refinance Borrowers (Lending Tree) Rated: AAA

LendingTree analyzed mortgage requests and offers for refinance borrowers between March 1, 2017 and March 1, 2018, based on the location of the property to be mortgaged. The city rankings are generated from the percentage of total refinance mortgage funded that included a cash-out portion of the loan.

Cities with the highest share of cash-out borrowers

#1 Albany, N.Y.

Share of refinance mortgages funded with cash-out portion: 73% Average loan amount: $166,504

#2 Portland, Ore.

Share of refinance mortgages funded with cash-out portion: 72% Average loan amount: $266,152

#3 Cape Coral, Fla.

Share of refinance mortgages funded with cash-out portion: 72% Average loan amount: $162,975

Source: Lending Tree

What You Need to Know About Peerform Peer Lending Loans (Student Loan Hero) Rated: A

With Peerform, an affiliate company of Versara Lending, you can apply for personal loans via an online platform that connects you with individuals or businesses willing to loan you the money.

You can then use the cash to make home improvements, start a business, buy a new car, or consolidate your credit card debt.

The peer lending company offers unsecured, fixed-rate loans to people with a range of credit scores. Read on to learn the pros and cons of borrowing from Peerform.

 

This fintech partnership could serve as template for small banks (American Banker) Rated: A

New Resource Bank in San Francisco is working with a fintech firm to reach underserved small-business clients.

The $349 million-asset company has been offering asset-based loans to companies with at least $1 million in annual revenue through a partnership with P2Binvestor in Denver, known as P2Bi, since late 2017.

Family Offices: Beware of These Startup Investing Pitfalls (Wealth Mangement) Rated: A

According to PitchBook Data, family offices did $100.6 billion in deals in 2016, compared with $25.1 billion in 2011. These family offices are seeking opportunities that offer better returns than the public market and, therefore, investing in startup companies through longer-term private equity deals.

What Family Offices Get Wrong When They Try to Invest in Startups Alone

In emerging markets, family offices can face a number of challenges when they try to invest in startups.

Most family offices don’t possess specialized knowledge of startups, because the startup ecosystems in emerging markets are very different from the traditional business climate that family offices are used to. Because of limited experience and exposure, they may not always have a comprehensive list of questions or resources at their disposal that would aid them in the decision-making process or to evaluate a deal.

Best Oregon Mortgage Lenders of 2018 (Nerd Wallet) Rated: B

United Kingdom

Funding Circle opens IFISA to new investors (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

FUNDING Circle has opened its Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) to new investors.

The peer-to-peer business lending platform opened its IFISA to existing users last November but has now said that the tax wrapper, offering projected returns of 7.2 per cent, is open to the wider public.

Mid-sized P2P platforms taking bigger market share (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

The peer-to-peer investor’s 2018 Direct Lending Report found direct lenders – which include P2P platforms – facilitated more than £4.5bn of lending in 2017, with the ‘big four’ – Zopa, Funding Circle, RateSetter and LendInvest – making up two thirds.

But loanbook growth at the biggest lenders was up just six per cent last year, while mid-sized lenders saw their lending grow 50 per cent to £1.6bn, according to the report.

The report also looked at the performance of P2P and alternative finance-focused investment trusts, finding that if you had invested the same amount in the main funds – P2P Global Investment, Ranger Direct Lending, VPC Specialty Lending, SQN Secured Income Fund and Honeycomb – last year, you would be down 1.69 per cent.

P2P Lender ArchOver Bridges Finance Gap with New Research & Development Advance (Crowdfud Insider) Rated: A

ArchOver, the UK P2P business lending platform, aims to bridge the funding gap to enable businesses to continue to grow while waiting for their R&D tax claim to be repaid. ArchOver’s Research & Development Advance (RDA) service is reportedly the first provided by a P2P lender funding advances upward of £100,000.

According to ArchOver, only 1.67 percent of national income is currently being spent on R&D compared to an average of over 2 percent across the EU. Government initiatives have been put in place to encourage further investment in innovation in the UK. Under the current system, UK businesses can claim cash repayments of up to 33 percent of their R&D expenditure, but it can take up to six months to receive payment from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). ArchOver aims to help qualifying companies to bridge this gap, and connect them with the money they need to invest in the products and services of the future.

 

Update: Landbay is Set to Close Latest Seedrs Funding Round After Securing More Than £1.6 Million (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

UK-based peer-to-peer lender Landbay is set to close its latest equity crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs later this evening with more than £1.6 million from nearly 285 investors. The funding round was launched last month and quickly secured its initial £1.25 million funding target.

All funds from the latest funding round will be used for lender’s growth, which are:

  • Technology – 50%.
  • Marketing & Brand Development – 25%.
  • General Operating Expenses – 25%.

 

More awareness of Open Banking benefits needed (London School of Business and Finance) Rated: A

The study surveyed 2,000 UK consumers and identified some of the barriers that Open Banking will need to address in order for the initiative to be adopted on a wide scale.

Implications

Security was found to be one of the main issues for UK consumers, with 69% citing this as a top reason for being against the idea of Open Banking, whilst more than 45% cited security issues such as data breaches and identity theft as the main implications of the initiative.

Seedrs: £500 Million in Crowdfunding by 2021 (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Seedrs has raised more than £330 million for smaller firms so far but according to CEO Jeff Kelisky they expect growth to ramp up rapidly by 2021. While 2017 was their best year ever, Seedrs is just getting started.

He expects that before 2020 deals will get larger. In 2017, twenty four crowdfunding offerings were over £1 million. Some of these deals are starting to approach the € 5 million hurdle. In the UK, the European directive on doing a prospectus at € 5 million has become a regulatory speed bump of sorts for crowdfunding platforms. But raising that limit to € 10 million, or perhaps € 20 million, is currently under discussion.

Two tribes: fintech versus traditional banking (CLNews) Rated: A

Quietly though, another part of Britain’s finance sector is leading the world and it’s starting to disrupt the traditional financial companies in the UK.

Fintech describes the marriage of finance and technology within one company. The first big growth sector in fintech was the peer to peer marketplace originally launched by Zopa in the UK. Peer to peer finance allows those who have savings who want a better return than they’d get from their bank in interest the opportunity to lend money to those who need quick access to money.

 

China

Ant Financial’s $ 150bn valuation belies glaring risks for investors (Financial Times) Rated: AAA

Ant Financial’s $150bn valuation belies glaring risks for investors. Alibaba founder Jack Ma and his trusty advisers have pulled off a coup in gaining a $150bn valuation for Ant Financial ahead of a mooted listing next year. It is easy to see how the pitch to investors went.

Chinese P2P Players Yirendai And Hexindai On Making It In China’s Lending Industry (Forbes) Rated: AAA

Yihan Fang: The P2P lending industry is in a different stage now, it went from being very wild to heavy regulation, and after that it will be a more rational industry. Yirendai is in compliance with regulations, implementing minor modifications along the way. Compliance was always the highest priority, and from day one we had a very good business model and didn’t change it along the way. We have high quality customers. We have a good business platform and have used a bank as custodian since 2015, even before the regulations came out. Yirendai also strives for transparency. Regulations are good, because the industry has been quite chaotic since other companies don’t do the same things as we did.

Johnson Zhang: Hexindai has had no negative impact of regulation. The new regulations are focused on petty loans. We don’t touch the petty loans market so we have no impact. In this market, all of the borrowers lack the capacity to repay loans, they just borrow more money to repay existing loans. Unlike these other firms, we offer loans in the range of 20,000 to 200,000 RMB to middle class consumers with a stable income. These are borrowers who are upgrading their social class for a better life. The second part of the regulations restricts financial institutions like banks from providing funds to fintech companies, but we do not rely on any financial institutions. All of our fund sourcing is from individuals. Our company is part of the Beijing Internet Finance Association, which alerts us to upcoming regulations. The China Banking Regulatory Commission governs the P2P industry. Government registration for P2P companies is mandatory this year. Those that fail the process will be shut down. The number of competitors will become smaller.

China Looks to Implement Credit Scoring System Without Giving Top Players too Much Power (Financial Times) Rated: A

China has been looking to create a credit scoring system seen in many developed economies like the U.S. and the U.K.; initially asking 8 top companies to be involved, though they found it hard to form as companies were unwilling to share proprietary data with competitors; the PBoC is now tasked with having a industry wide system that does not favor giants like Alibaba and Tencent.

PPDAI Group: China’s ‘Lending Club’ Is In A Buy Range Now (Seeking Alpha) Rated: AAA

  • Net loss was RMB 507.1 million (US$77.90 million) for the fourth quarter of 2017, compared with a profit of RMB 266.0 million in the same period of 2016. More specifically, the loss was due to:
    • Net interest income/(expense) and loan provision losses for the fourth quarter of 2017 was an expense of RMB 13.2 million (US$2.0 million), compared to an income of RMB 3.6 million in the same period of 2016. This was primarily due to a one-time provision of RMB 107.7 million (US$16.3 million) for expected discretionary payments to investors in investment programs protected by the investor reserve funds caused by the increase in delinquency rates.
    • Other income recorded a loss of RMB 694.8 million (US$106.8 million)for the fourth quarter of 2017, compared with income of RMB 124.7 million in the same period of 2016. The loss was caused mainly by an expense of RMB 271.9 million (US$41.8 million) related to the quality assurance fund and an expense of RMB 460.4 million (US$70.8 million) from a fair value change of financial guarantee derivatives due to increased credit risks across the industry which led to upward adjustments to the company’s expected default rate for loans protected by the quality assurance fund and underlying loans in investment programs protected by the investor reserve funds.
Source: Seeking Alpha

Indeed, when we look at the delinquency rate by balance at each quarter, there was a significant jump in every delinquency bucket at 2017 Q4:

As of 15-29 days 30-59 days 60-89 days 90-119 days 120-149 days 150-179 days
March 31, 2015 0.79% 1.75% 1.10% 1.01% 0.87% 0.67%
June 30, 2015 0.88% 1.06% 0.67% 0.54% 0.89% 0.67%
September 30, 2015 0.67% 0.89% 0.61% 0.54% 0.44% 0.35%
December 31, 2015 0.80% 0.93% 0.51% 0.49% 0.39% 0.32%
March 31, 2016 0.62% 0.93% 0.72% 0.61% 0.48% 0.32%
June 30, 2016 0.82% 1.01% 0.63% 0.43% 0.47% 0.44%
September 30, 2016 0.83% 1.11% 0.80% 0.63% 0.49% 0.39%
December 31, 2016 0.63% 0.91% 0.75% 0.79% 0.69% 0.57%
March 31, 2017 0.57% 0.95% 0.79% 0.59% 0.54% 0.51%
June 30, 2017 0.86% 1.11% 0.79% 0.51% 0.55% 0.52%
September 30, 2017 0.89% 1.40% 1.15% 1.02% 0.79% 0.60%
December 31, 2017 2.27% 2.21% 1.72% 1.63% 1.36% 1.20%
 Source: PPDF’s Q4 ER release
European Union

Homelend ICO (HMD Token): Blockchain Mortgage Crowdfunding? (Bitcoin Exchange Guide) Rated: A

Homelend is a mortgage crowdfunding platform built on blockchain technology.

What is Homelend?

Yes, just like we have P2P lending platforms for smaller loans and offers, we now have lending platforms for larger loans – like home mortgages.

The goal of Homelend is to disrupt the $31 trillion global real estate lending market. As of April 2018, Homelend is still preparing to launch. They’ve published a whitepaper online and appear to be preparing for a token sale in the near future.

Spotcap Opens Fintech Fellowship Applications (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: B

Spotcap, an SME focused online lender based in Berlin, announced on Tuesday it has opened applications for its Fintech Fellowship. According to the lending platform, this program offers a £8,000 award to a postgraduate student studying a fintech related course at a UK university. Applications will be open for four months and close on August 1st.

International

HOLD ICO: Cryptocurrency Lending & Investing For Instant Cash? (Bitcoin Exchange Guide) Rated: A

HOLD provides members with unique P2P lending and borrowing capabilities. The platform allows users to leverage their existing cryptocurrency holdings for instant cash advances from other willing users. Through their mobile app and prepaid card, they enable online and offline purchases with over 45 million retailers worldwide and over 3 million ATMs.

BitcoinEthereum, and Litecoin can be used as collateral for cash advances at a competitive rate of 8%, not requiring a good credit history and without geographic restrictions.

HOLD cardholders earn HOLD tokens every time they use their card. On almost all purchases, the HOLD platform will provide a 1% cashback in HOLD tokens, directly into the user’s wallet. The platform will progressively match provided liquidity with cash advances, producing lucrative and low-risk returns of up to 7.5% p.a. for lenders, representing a lucrative money-making opportunity.

Australia

 

Mortgage trust sector has nearly doubled over the past year (Australian Financial Review) Rated: AAA

The size of the mortgage trust sector has nearly doubled over the past year but the quality of underlying loans are healthy with low arrears, research group SQM Research says.

Source: SQM Research

Australian millennials have taken to robo financial advice (Business Insider) Rated: B

In Australia, robo-advice has gained significant recognition among the Australian online share investor population, with 22% saying they are familiar with these services.

Only in the US, where the bulk of innovation in robo-advice is taking place, is familiarity with robo-advice significantly higher (39%).

India

Mumbai-based P2P Lending Platform PaisaDukan Raises $ 650K Through Angel Funding Route (Indian Web2) Rated: A

PaisaDukan.com a P2P Lending marketplace solely owned by Mumbai based FinTech start-up BigWin Infotech, today announced a secured seed funding of USD 650K through Angel funding rout. The fund will be used for marketplace platform and mobile app development.

 

Asia

Homegrown P2P lending platform Funding Societies raised US$ 25m (Singapore Business Review) Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform Funding Societies has raised US$25m in its oversubscribed Series B funding round, which was led by Softbank Ventures Korea, along with Sequoia India, Alpha JWC Ventures (Indonesia), and Golden Gate Ventures. Qualgro and LINE Ventures also participated.

Its Series B funding round was led by Softbank Ventures Korea and Sequoia India.

Ex-law firm boss fined $ 10,000 for failing to report suspicious deal (The Strait Times) Rated: A

The former director of a Singapore law firm decided to find out more about a “high net worth client” who was buying a house in Sentosa Cove – and discovered she was linked to one of China’s biggest Ponzi schemes involving $10.8 billion.

Kang Bee Leng, 56, failed to notify the authorities that a sum of almost $5.5 million involved in the purchase could have been benefits of criminal activities.

Kang, who was a managing director of Sterling Law Corporation during the offence but has since left the firm, was fined $10,000 on Tuesday (April 17) after pleading guilty to the offence last month.

MENA

Why unbanked Egypt is ripe for a FinTech revolution (ZDNet) Rated: A

World Bank data reveals that the Middle East has the lowest level of bank-account penetration in the world, averaging 14 percent of adults, in line with the in-country figure for Egypt.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday March 10 2017, Daily News Digest

delinquency rates in u.s.

News Comments Today’s main news: China’s tech giants are pouring billions into U.S. startups. Zopa puts investors on waiting list. RateSetter investors embrace provision fund rules. Latvia breaks RE dev crowdfunding record. Ping An Bank to provide third-party depository service to P2P lenders. Carilend to open first P2P lending platform in Caribbean. Today’s main analysis: Marketplace Lending 2.0. How Brexit could […]

delinquency rates in u.s.

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

  • Zopa introduces investor waiting list. GP:” Perhaps another way of doing this would be to have a waiting dollar list, not a waiting investor list: each investor can invest $x per month, depending on platform needs. This way you don’t lose clients who see no activity for some time and you take a token of their participation to have them commit and stay committed. ” AT: “Regulated growth is the best kind of growth.”
  • RateSetter investors embrace new provision fund rules. GP:” A very interesting change. We should evaluate these changes in depth.”

European Union

  • How Brexit could help Berlin take London’s fintech crown. AT: “I have to say, though I’m a firm believer that it will take a lot of mojo to overtake the UK as the world’s leader in P2P lending and fintech, there is a compelling argument that Berlin’s growth could be fueld by U.S. and Asian companies choosing Germany over the UK to gain access to European markets post-Brexit. Howevr, they’ll still need a presence in the UK if they want access to the UK market. Whether business interests lean toward Berlin over London in the aggregate and over the long haul, however, remain to be seen.”
  • Latvia’s largest crowdfunded RE dev project.
  • Fellow Finance P2P lending review.

China

Asia

Caribbean

  • Bid to change loan services. AT: “Barbados need no longer be known only for good music and sunny beaches. Fintech has reached so many new shores.”

News Summary

 

United States

China’s tech giants are pouring billions into US start-ups (CNBC), Rated: AAA

Joe Chen, CEO of Chinese social networking service Renren, first met SoFi CEO Mike Cagney in Palo Alto in 2011 and, over coffee, decided to invest in the fast-growth, disruptive online finance start-up. That initial $4 million investment helped SoFi get its start and led to two more financings within three years, with Renren contributing a major chunk of some $230 million raised.

Similarly to Renren, China’s tech titans Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent are leading a surge of Chinese investment in cutting-edge U.S. technology start-ups with bold ambitions to expand their footprint, attract top talent and gain an edge in innovation.

Collectively known as the BAT, China’s giant technology companies that dominate search, e-commerce and mobile messaging in their home market are going global. The United States is their primary shopping place to diversify and build out their brands.

China’s four largest internet companies — the BAT plus e-commerce company JD.com — have invested $5.6 billion in 48 U.S. tech deals over the past two years, according to CBI Insights data.

Last year Chinese investors put a record $45.6 billion in U.S. companies, triple the amount for 2015, according to research group Rhodium Group in New York City.

Besides its groundbreaking investment in SoFi, Renren has invested in a series of U.S. fintech start-ups, leading a $31 million lead investment in crowdfunding real estate site Fundrise in 2014 and leading a $40 million investment in U.S.-based stock-trading outfit Motif in 2015.

For the founders of U.S. tech start-ups, getting cozy with Chinese acquirers and investors can make good business sense. With a Chinese investor, their business gains a competitive edge in the exceedingly difficult-to-penetrate China market. Getting funds from China’s leading tech companies can help U.S. companies gain an entry point to China, an immediate on-the-ground presence and strategic insights such as how to best customize products for the local Chinese market.

Why ‘challenger banks’ haven’t taken off in the US (Tradestreaming), Rated: AAA

Digital banks, big in the U.K., have a trust problem in the States.

That model hasn’t really caught on in the U.S., though, where startups are mostly building technology-based solutions for payments, investing and lending – anything that doesn’t require opening a bank account with an unknown entity. Building that type of business profitably is hard: the cost of customer acquisition is high and complying with complex financial regulations can be a big undertaking.

BankMobile, a rare U.S. success story, offers a compelling case study. With about 2 million accounts since its 2015 launch, it has grown so quickly Customers is selling it to Flagship Community Bank in Clearwater, Florida. (The Durbin Amendment of the Dodd-Frank Act requires companies with more than $10 billion in assets cap their interchange fees at 44 cents, and Customers’ asset size is just below that. BankMobile’s revenue comes mostly from interchange fees on debit cards.) The $175 million deal is expected to close before the end of the third quarter.

Luvleen Sidhu, president and chief strategy officer, said one of the main reasons BankMobile has been so successful is it is acquiring new customers at a low cost – about $10 per account, she specified, compared to the roughly $300 she said it generally costs to acquire a customer returns come out to “maybe $85 a year” in revenue.

U.S. startups are joining banks, not challenging them.

However, it will take more than a better customer experience enabled by technology to motivate customers to open an account or switch from their current bank, despite their general dissatisfaction with the current financial system, Khan said. These new experiences need to focus more on customer behavior – something banks get but startups need to work on more. What will ultimately make a digital bank stand out from legacy banks that are improving digitally is the way it handles data.

That’s why it’s important to remember a tech giant like Facebook or Amazon could get into banking services before a digital bank even takes off, Khan said. If it’s a competition for customer trust, the tech company could beat out all the banks.

Marketplace Lending 2.0 (Deloitte), Rated: AAA

But 12 months later, we see a picture that is much bigger in scope than just MPL-bank convergence. Marketplace lending is an integral piece of a larger fintech puzzle that is transforming the financial services industry.  We expect that asset classes such as small business, student, and unsecured consumer will move almost completely to digital platforms in the medium term, while other asset classes, such as residential mortgages and auto lending will get there more slowly.

Further out, we see a technology platform-enabled lending environment moving from a predictive to a prescriptive analytics stage.

Download the report here.

Six ways Goldman Sachs’ online lender, Marcus, strives for an edge (American Banker), Rated: AAA

  1. It’s tackling a pain point for consumers: credit card debt.
  2. It’s kicking it old school with direct mail.
  3. It’s borrowing culture and office design strategies from startups.
  4. It’s light on fees.
  5. It’s turned off automated voice response.
  6. It lets people defer payments. This isn’t for everyone necessarily, but those who make 12 consecutive payments on time earn a pass. They can contact the bank to defer one payment with no fees or extra interest, so a 32 -month loan becomes a 33-month loan.

What Crowdfunding and ‘Democratizing Capital’ Could Mean for Minority Entrepreneurs (Equities.com), Rated: A

The digital crowdfunding trend in America started in 2003 when ArtistShare launched as the world’s first donation crowdfunding platform for creative artists. Crowdfunding has surely stimulated the national and global economy over the years, but equity crowdfunding is a federally regulated tool with the ability to shift power from large, robust institutions to the individual entrepreneur and investor.

Equity crowdfunding acts as a catalyst for individuals to collectively combat institutional discrimination along with the very real wealth and unemployment disparity between races in the country. While organizing a crowdfunding campaign strategy is complex in nature, leaders across the country are working hard to make this crowdfunding easier and more accessible to everyone.

Below are a few leaders making a difference in the minority community:

  • Dar’shun Kendrick at Minority Access to Capital– Securities lawyer with a focus on helping minorities access capital the legal way.
  • Maureen L. Murat, Crowdie Advisors– Future lawyer with a passion for immigration and securities law helping entrepreneurs raise capital via equity crowdfunding.
  • Kendrick Nguyen and Paul Menchov at Republic– Equity crowdfunding platform highlighting minority, female, and impact investing offerings.
  • Devin Thorpe, Champion of Social Good– Journalist, author, and avid speaker on a mission to solve some of the world’s biggest problems before 2045 by championing the work of change agents who will do it.
  • Lynn Da, Buy The Block– Advocate for minority investment education and access to real estate crowdfunding investments. Platform set to launch April, 2017.
  • StartingFive Partners and General Catalyst Partners, FundLatinos – These two groups came together to develop this donation crowdfunding platform to bring together with the vision to build the tools, technology and partnerships needed to foster a trusted environment for Latinos to raise money for personal and community causes that matter.
  • Charlie Jackson, CEO at Texas Diversity Fund– Equity crowdfunding platform with a focus on encouraging diversity in entrepreneurship.

Backed Secures First Institutional Debt Capital (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Backed, the online lending platform that has digitized co-signing of personal loans, today announced it has finalized its debt financing deal with Israel’s largest financial institution, Harel Insurance and Finance. Harel has also participated in Backed’s extended seed round, and has become a lead equity investor. Backed and Harel are setting up an independent special purpose funding vehicle for financing its growing loan portfolio.

Backed was founded with the mission of helping individuals with thin or no credit history gain access to fair loans. Its unique co-signing mechanism is fully digitized, and allows the Backer (co-signer) to keep track of the loan progress and to step in to cover missing payments if necessary. Backing is designed to help borrowers and Backers avoid defaults, rather than impose added risk on the co-signers. Simultaneously, the co-signing model allows Backed to offer competitive returns to its investors, with reduced risk due to its co-signing mechanism.

LendingHome Launches One-Stop Online Mortgage for Digital Natives, by Digital Natives (VentureBeat), Rated: A

LendingHome’s online mortgage is the first to prioritize the customer experience by putting control over the process into the hands of the homebuyer. While the first wave of digital lenders brought the old-school paper mortgage application online, retrofitting it to be accessed via the Internet, much of the process is still controlled by the lender offline and is opaque and confusing for the homebuyer. In contrast, LendingHome has created the next-generation digital mortgage that gives homebuyers confidence and control over the process with a dynamic, interactive online experience. It also offers a faster, simpler, and more transparent mortgage process than the outdated paper-laden methods still used by many lenders.

It gives homebuyers confidence and control over the process with a range of loan options, innovative features, and trustworthy resources to choose from. It includes the ability to:

  • Select the right loan for your needs anywhere, anytime: Borrowers can select from a range of loan products at competitive rates. Using LendingHome’s Trade Points tool, they can configure the loan that’s best for their needs without wasting time going back and forth with a loan officer.
  • Lock your rate with the click of a button: Online rate lock allows borrowers to capture available rates in real time without the worry of missing out because the market moved.
  • Get guidance right when you need it: An educational hub offers advice on complex topics like debt-to-income and loan types. Extensive in-product tips and education are available exactly at the time they’re needed to help throughout the application process. While it’s easy to complete the mortgage process online, LendingHome has personalized loan specialists available to talk to borrowers via phone or chat when needed.
  • Know what to expect and do at every step: A personalized dashboard lets borrowers know exactly what documentation they’ll need to provide, without the headache of fielding last-minute piecemeal requests via email and phone. A Milestone Tracker lets them know exactly where they stand in the mortgage process and what comes next.
  • Stay on the same page with your real estate agent: A Loan Tracker tool enables borrowers to seamlessly share the progress of their loan with their real estate agent or partner.

LendingHome’s home financing solution is available at www.lendinghome.com/home-loans to homebuyers in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, and Washington, with more states to be added in the coming months.

There are 15.8 million homebuyers — many of whom are tech savvy — expected to enter the market from 2015 to 2025, according to research from the book. Today, forty-seven percent of homebuyers are first-time buyers, and half (50 percent) are under the age of 36. They have a median age of 33 and nearly six in 10 are Millennials (56 percent) per a recent survey by Zillow Group. Per the same survey, the majority of homebuyers, 87 percent, use online resources to search, shop and purchase their home.

Fueled by Rocket Mortgage, Detroit-Based Quicken Loans Achieves Record-Breaking Year (PR Newswire), Rated: A

One year after Quicken Loans’ Rocket Mortgage Super Bowl ad ignited a nationwide conversation about the power of the American homebuyer, the largest FinTech lender funded $7 billion of its record $96 billion in total closed loan volume in 2016 through Rocket Mortgage. In just 11 months Rocket Mortgage’s closed volume alone would already rank as a top-30 national mortgage lender, among the nearly 50,000 banks, credit unions, brokers and mortgage companies in the United States.

Monroe Capital Corporation BDC Announces Fourth Quarter Financial Results (NASDAQ), Rated: A

Monroe Capital Corporation (Nasdaq:MRCC) (“Monroe”) today announced its financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2016.  The Board of Directors of Monroe also declared its first quarter dividend of $0.35 per share, payable on March 31, 2017 to stockholders of record on March 17, 2017.

Fourth Quarter 2016 Financial Highlights

  • Net investment income of $5.4 million, or $0.32 per share
  • Adjusted Net Investment Income (a non-GAAP measure described below) of $5.8 million, or $0.35 per share
  • Net increase in net assets resulting from operations of $7.5 million, or $0.45 per share
  • Net asset value (“NAV”) of $240.9 million, or $14.52 per share
  • Paid quarterly dividend of $0.35 per share on December 31, 2016

5 female founders shaping the future of fintech (Built in NYC), Rated: A

Alexa Van Tobel launched LearnVest in 2009 with the mission of making financial planning affordable and accessible.

Sallie Krawcheck, a former titan of finance at companies like Citigroup and Bank of America, launched Ellevest in 2016 with the mission of closing the gender investment gap. The robo-advisor works to help women secure their financial futures by taking women’s unique life attributes — such as longer lifespans, different salary curves and more frequent career breaks — into consideration.

A former McKinsey consultant, Jennifer Fitzgerald cofounded PolicyGenius to fill a  gap in the insurance industry.

Vicki Zhou, who previously held roles at Citigroup, SFC Associates and Archipelago Capital Management, launched the company in 2013 with Herbert Moore. WiseBanyan’s platform provides users with tailor-made financial plans by recommending and managing an assortment of bonds and stocks, which users can then track, add to or withdraw from.

Orchard Platform is a marketplace lending platform that helps institutional investors, investment managers and loan originators connect and transact. Angela Ceresnie co-founded the company in 2013 with Matt Burton, David Snitkof, Jonathan Kelfer and Phill Rosen.

Want to start a mortgage company? loanDepot CEO updates thoughts on barriers to entry (Housingwire), Rated: B

Hsieh said last year that regulation was a barrier to entry into the business. People are eye-balling entering the mortgage industry because of $9 billion of untapped potential market share, Hsieh said at the time.

Now a year later, Hsieh added to it, stating technology is now a new barrier to entry — no longer just capital and regulatory obstacles.

And there’s data to back his claim. The Mortgage Bankers Association forecasts$1.63 trillion in total mortgage originations in 2017. So it’s true that more people want in, but greater investment in technology is becoming an ever-increasing necessity.

Citi names Piazza permanent head of fintech unit (American Banker), Rated: B

Citigroup on Thursday announced that Yolande Piazza will serve as the permanent head of its fintech unit.

Piazza had been serving in that role on an interim basis since August, when the previous chief executive of Citi FinTech, Heather Cox, left for a role with USAA.

Kabbage, Arcadia price pair of MPL deals (Global Capital), Rated: B

Sole lead Guggenheim increased the deal size of the Kabbage offering from $500m to $525m before pricing on Wednesday.

The $388.8m ‘A’ notes were priced at 275bp over swaps, while the $83.3m ‘B’ notes were priced at 400bp over swaps. The $27.7m ‘C’ notes and the $25m ‘D’ …

East Bay real estate investor crowdfunds purchase of San Jose tech park (Biz Journals), Rated: B

The Hellyer Oaks Technology Park in San Jose has been acquired by Walnut Creek-based Vertical Ventures, but the sale was funded partially by a real estate crowdfunding tool called CrowdStreet.

United Kingdom

UK’s biggest peer-to-peer lender introduces investor waiting list (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Zopa, the oldest and largest peer-to-peer lending platform in the UK, has introduced a waiting list for new investors on the platform. The new setup applies to both institutional and individual investors, and follows on from the “platform limit” which was introduced in December.

The newly introduced waiting list is an attempt to place a greater weight of emphasis on existing investors, by moderating the on-boarding of new customers. Zopa doesn’t yet know how long the waiting list will be, but says that it will try to manage it such that it’s never too long.

Of course, this wouldn’t be an issue at all if originations were outstripping investments. It would appear that Zopa is overweight investment at the moment.

RateSetter’s investors embrace new provision fund rules (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER’S investors have widely endorsed changes introduced to the provision fund, as hardly any of them have used the one-month window to withdraw their funds without an exit fee.

The peer-to-peer finance firm updated its lender terms in early February, one month ahead of changes to its provision fund to address concerns that it was “too binary”.

The average amount invested has now ticked up to over £22,000 – a 0.6 per cent month-on-month increase that also confirms investors feel comfortable with the platform’s strategy.

European Union

How Brexit could help Berlin take London’s fintech crown (MarkeWatch), Rated: AAA

When it comes to Brexit’s winners and losers, Berlin looks set to snag a few victories — especially the city’s growing financial-technology sector.

A rolling billboard (“Keep calm and move to Berlin”) is one of the stunts that have ruffled British feathers.

But Berlin’s gains might not come from a Brexit-driven exodus — that is, from U.K.-based technology companies abandoning their homeland. Instead, its fintech scene will benefit from U.S. and Asian businesses actively choosing Berlin, and not London, as their EU base.

That at least is the prediction from Stefan Franzke, CEO at Berlin Partner, a business development agency. He estimates that Berlin is home to roughly 80 to 100 fintechs and expects that number to double by late 2018.

To be sure, Londoners have played down the Brexit threat to the U.K. capital’s fintech crown.

At the same time, Germany is already catching up, by some measures. Funding inflows for the country’s fintech sector totaled $421 million in last year’s first three quarters, topping the U.K.’s $375 million, as shown in the chart above from accounting giant EY.

But London’s fintech scene is going to be hard to overtake, given advantages like the U.K. capital being a top financial hub and the English language serving as the business world’s lingua franca nowadays.

Latvia’s largest crowdfunded RE dev project – 950,000 euros fully funded in less than 24 hours. (Crowdestate Email), Rated: AAA

A residential real estate project located at Saules Aleja 2A in Riga, Latvia was fully funded on Crowdestate.eu crowdfunding platform. This was the single largest crowdfunding campaign in Latvia for a real estate development. The project is managed by Crowdestate and advised by a leading Estonian residential developer Hepsor OÜ.

The development project will include the purchase of a land plot and the construction of a residential building next to a park and a beautiful pond in the highly sought after Agenskalns neighborhood. In less than 24 hours, 769 investors from 23 countries all over the world participated in funding this project, reaching the record breaking amount of 950 000 euros.

The investment opportunity offers an IRR of 20.46% per annum.

On crowdestate.eu platform anyone can be an investor, with the minimum investment starting from 100 euros. The largest amount invested into the Saules Aleja 2A project was 30 000 euros and the average investment per investor was 1 297 euros.

Fellow Finance P2P Lending – My Portfolio and Strategy (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

Fellow Finance is a p2p lending marketplace in Finland. It started 2013 with loans to Finnish consumers, and later added Polish consumer loans and loans to Finnish SME’s. Since launch more than 100 million EUR in loans were funded.

I currently invest only in Finnish consumer loans and concentrate on 3 and 4 star loans for which the market rates are currently 13% and 15%. The Finnish consumer loans are covered by a buyback guarantee of 70%, meaning in case they are 90 days overdue, they will be sold for 70% of outstanding principal to a collection agency.

The market rates do fluctate sometimes at +/- 1%, and I felt it necessary to tweak the rate of my allocator then to keep it bidding (at the best possible rate). Fellow Finance is one of the very few platforms, where investors can configure the autoinvest to buy on the secondary market, but I have not used that.

Overall the website – which is available in english language – is good, only sometimes a tad slow to respond.

 

China

WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Last week, the National People’s Congress (NPC)and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the country’s top legislative and political advisory body, opened the 2017 sessions in Beijing.

And this year, “Fintech” was once again named as the top keywords of “Two Sessions”:

(15 Top Keywords of 2017: artificial intelligence, virtual reality, Internet+, sharing economy, blockchain, Fintech, content industry, Internet healthcare, automatic drive, platform era, innovation, institutional improvement for internet, information safety, digital economy and smart city)

Ping An Bank is planning to provide third party depository service for P2P online lending platforms.

Here are some main points of the measures:

  • Actual controllers of P2P online lending platforms must be government, large state-owned enterprises, main-board listed companies, small and medium enterprise board listed companies, or financial institutions with licenses from China Banking Regulatory Commission, China Securities Regulatory Commission, China Insurance Regulatory Commission or Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security;
  • Platforms must be in operation for more than a year without any negative press reports, and monthly turnover should exceed 100 million yuan;
  • Platforms should market their depository cooperation with Ping An Bank truly and objectively;

On March 2nd, Wanda Group and China UnionPay officially announced a strategic co-operation. The two sides will develop cutting-edge financial technology to promote the application of intelligent transaction and smart service in commercial scenarios.

On March 2nd, Fintech platform Xiaoying Financial secured 1 billion yuan in Series B funding. The new investors include Suzhou Goldmantis Group, the Industrial Fund of Jinke Entertainment, Shanghai Urban Real Estate Holdings Company, Bo Nian Kang Health Management Group and more.

On March 2nd, prepaid card company Jiangsu Ruixiang announced it had ceased cooperation with more than 50 Lotte Mart stores in Jiangsu provinces.

Asia

Dubai Regulator Signs FinTech Pact with Singapore’s Central Bank (Cryptocoins News), Rated: A

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) have signed a cooperation agreement to develop and nurture Fintech innovations and entrepreneurs in both countries.
Dubai is certain to benefit from the agreement with Singapore, the latter arguably established as Asia’s and one of the world’s leading Fintech hubs.
Notably, the two authorities will also collaborate on projects that explore the possibility of technologies such as blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT), digital and mobile payments, big data and more.

P2P lending changes the finance game (Manila Bulletin), Rated: B

First to be introduced and gained traction in the United States and Europe, this method called peer-to-peer or ‘person-to-person’ (P2P) lending paves the way to democratize the lending while keeping it credible and very secure.

There are less requirements needed compared to the traditional money-lending process. What attracts the borrowers are the low interest rates and the minimal requirements, while the convenience and safety attracts the lenders.

Caribbean

Bid to change loan services (Nation News), Rated: AAA

Carilend Ltd officially launched its peer-to-peer (P2P) lending website last week, introducing a process that matches lenders (who can lend from $2 500 up in $25 increments) directly with borrowers (who can borrow from $2 500 to $50 000 in $25 increments, subject to credit referencing and scoring).

Carilend officials said theirs was the first P2P lending site in the Caribbean “aiming to bring together borrowers and lenders to give a better deal and a better experience to both”.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

July 29th 2016, Daily News Digest

July 29th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today we have a lot of articles about banks and how banks are surfing successfully on the FinTech wave. The bank articles are mostly in the US section but the Australia section has an interesting article as well. Note the 1st article from Bloomberg and the 7th and 8th articles.  In the India […]

July 29th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments

  • Today we have a lot of articles about banks and how banks are surfing successfully on the FinTech wave. The bank articles are mostly in the US section but the Australia section has an interesting article as well. Note the 1st article from Bloomberg and the 7th and 8th articles.
  •  In the India section, you will find an article of quotes from P2P lenders in India which are worth a quick read. And in the UK section a very interesting article, the 1st one, just talking about the profitability of Zopa and Funding Circle, but the real interesting piece are the profitability of LendInvest and RateSetter which are not in the title. And a 2nd article that is also very clear and well thought out.

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

India

Australia

 

United States

Big Banks Turn Silicon Valley Competition Into Profit, (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

It’s not that the upstarts — often called fintech — are failing to gain traction. Internet ventures pitching loans to cash-strapped consumers, small businesses and home buyers, for instance, have posted spectacular growth in recent years. It’s just that banks have a huge lead in lending and are watching the startups closely. As borrowers embrace new services, traditional firms are riding along.

Here are five examples:

LendingClub’s Backers

In May, LendingClub broke out its sales to banks: Community banks and other old fashioned lenders snapped up about 34 percent of the $2.8 billion of loans it arranged in the first quarter, up from an average of about 25 percent during 2015.

Some of LendingClub’s biggest loan buyers have bolstered their war chests or operations with financing from banks. Colchis Income Advisors entered into a credit agreement with Bawag PSK of Austria, according to regulatory filings. Arcadia Funds arranged for two of its Cirrix partnerships to borrow from Silicon Valley Bank. And MW Eaglewood lined up financing for its main LendingClub fund from Capital One Financial Corp. in 2012. Spokesmen for the funds and banks declined to comment or didn’t respond to messages.

Chasing Entrepreneurs

Small businesses can thank internet ventures for simplifying loan applications, speeding decisions and providing much-needed credit when many traditional banks were pulling back in the wake of 2008’s financial crisis. Nonbanks now provide about one-quarter of the $800 billion in loans outstanding to the sector, according to research by QED Investors and Oliver Wyman. But the interest rates aren’t always low.

For a time, banks were content backing the loans. Goldman Sachs was among firms that entrusted more than $300 million years ago to fund lending by On Deck Capital Inc., one of the largest providers of small business loans over the internet.

Now, established lenders are taking a more active role. JPMorgan announced a deal in December, letting it access On Deck’s proprietary credit-scoring system to quickly evaluate applicants before using its own balance sheet to make loans. On Deck, in turn, gets a foothold in the burgeoning “fintech as a service” market. But the arrangement has done little to stop a 49 percent slide in the company’s stock this year.

More recently, established lenders have announced their own online lending portals for entrepreneurs.

Wells Fargo & Co. said in May that its new “fast decision” platform will help it reach a goal of providing $100 billion in new loans to small businesses by 2019. AmEx, which already provides more than $200 billion of funding to entrepreneurs for business purchases on their credit cards, expects a new online-loan portal will let it handle even more of their spending.

Mortgage Apps

Fintech ventures starred in Super Bowl ads this year, with Quicken Loans toutingRocket Mortgage, a platform letting users apply for home loans on smartphones.

The tidal wave is benefiting banks, too. Behind the scenes, many of the upstarts get support from traditional banks. Detroit-based Quicken, for example, raised $1.25 billion for itself and its parent company last year in a bond sale underwritten by JPMorgan and Credit Suisse Group AG. It also used lines of credit from banks to help close $80 billion in home loans that year.

[Comment: 4th was Blockchain, not very relevant to our readers here]

Robo-Advisers

Top Wall Street firms, seeking stable fee income, are now developing their own robotic arms. Bank of America Corp. will unveil an automated investment prototype this year after assigning dozens of employees to the project in November, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg at the time. Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo also have said they would build or buy a robo-adviser.

US consumer agency seeks to overhaul debt collection industry, (CNBC), Rated: AAA

“Today we are considering proposals that would drastically overhaul the debt collection market,” said Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray in a statement. “This is about bringing better accuracy and accountability to a market that desperately needs it.”

According to a summary, the proposal would make sure collectors “substantiate the debt before contacting consumers,” by confirming their identities and the amount owed, as well as checking for any payments made after a default. Consumers frequently file complaints at the agency about receiving calls for debts that do not exist.

In an attempt to “limit excessive contact,” the proposal would cap agencies’ calls to debtors to six attempts each week. It would also create a 30-day waiting period after a person dies for contacting survivors.

Agencies would have to communicate specific information to consumers, such as when outstanding debt is too old for a lawsuit. They would also have to make it easier to both dispute or pay a debt through tear-off coupons on the bottoms of collection notices.

Roughly 13 percent of consumers have a debt currently in third-party collection, with an average amount of $1,300, data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York shows.

In a survey released alongside its proposal, the CFPB found more than three-quarters of the country’s 3,994 debt collection firms are small, with less than 100 employees. Larger firms pull in about two-thirds of the industry’s $12.18 billion total revenue.

The agency also found credit card, student loan and automobile debts in collection typically have balances of $2,000 or more.

Cloudvirga Raises $ 7.5 M to Automate the Entire Mortgage Process, (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Cloudvirga, the company developing the cloud-based intelligent Mortgage Platform® (iMP) designed to streamline the mortgage process, today announced it has raised $7.5M in its series A funding sponsored by Dallas Capital with participation from Upfront Ventures and Tribeca Angels.

“Increased regulations stemming from the subprime mortgage crisis have made the entire process more labor intensive and time consuming than ever, and those are the pain points we’re alleviating with iMP,”

Come Together – Finding Common Ground in Small Business Lending Associations, (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

So where do we go from here? Advancing the marketplace lending industry’s efforts to create a more transparent and efficient financial system is critical as the industry matures.

The good news is that small businesses today – even those with lackluster or thin credit history – can choose from a dynamic set of loan products including term loans (both traditional and short-term), business lines of credit, loans for startup companies, equipment purpose loans, various SBA loans, accounts receivable financing, merchant cash advances, and peer-to-peer loans. This is a far cry from where we were in 2008-2010, when (according to the Huffington Post) more than 170,000 small businesses shut down.

At Lendio, we’re convinced that there needs to be a single, industry unifier – and we feel the SMART Box is headed in that direction. Lendio will now participate in the 90-day engagement period and I’m asking all those who offer loan products throughout the Lendio platform to consider doing so as well.

How Much Lower Will Your Student Loan Rate Be With a Cosigner?, (Wall Street Journal), Rated: AAA

Undergraduates who qualified for private student loans with a cosigner–often a parent–were offered average interest rates of 5.37% versus 7.46% without a cosigner, according to Credible.com, a student-loan marketplace. Rates for graduate students were also discounted to 4.59% on average with a cosigner compared to 6.22% without one.

The figures from Credible.com are based on five lenders’ responses and offers—which included a mix of fixed and variable interest rates—to nearly 8,000 applicants who shopped for student loans on the site over a 12-month period through early June. The lenders include Citizens Financial Group—which is quickly gaining market share in the private student loan market—as well as online lenders CommonBond and College Ave Student Loans.

Approval rates fall dramatically without cosigners. Fifty-one percent of undergraduates shopping for loans on Credible.com received offers compared with 20% of those without a cosigner. Similarly, 56% of graduate students–who lenders have historically viewed as relatively safer borrowers–received offers with a cosigner versus 45% without.

In some cases, it can be cheaper for parents to join their children on a private student loan as opposed to signing up for a parent-only loan from the federal government. The 5.37% average rate undergraduates received with a cosigner on private student loans is nearly one percentage point cheaper than the interest rate on the federal Plus loan for parents that charges 6.31% for the upcoming academic year. Private lenders also don’t charge origination fees, while the Plus loan currently has a roughly 4.3% upfront charge.

Think twice before you co-sign on a student loan, (CNBC), Rated: AAA

But co-signing is risky. It ties you to that debt, meaning you could be responsible for the entire amount outstanding if the primary borrowercan’t — or won’t — pay up. Nearly 40 percent of co-signers found themselves on the hook for at least part of the bill, according to a June survey from CreditCards.com, and 28 percent saw a drop in their credit score from the primary borrower’s bad credit habits.

How Ayasdi’s machine learning is giving banks an analytical advantage, (Tradestreaming), Rated: AAA

“The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.” Banks are increasingly using machine learning to power part of their operations, but the adoption of these new technologies is not uniform.

Top data scientists are employed by financial institutions and working with programming tools like SPCC and R, they filter and analyze huge data sets in order to perform analytical tasks. “No human being can wrap his head around that amount of data,” said Daniel Druker, CMO of Ayasdi, a machine learning company that partners with financial institutions, like Citi and Credit Suisse. Instead, using machine learning algorithms, a computer can surface insights and recommendations from those data sets, while the quants examine and take actions based on those learnings.

According to McKinsey’s 2015 Global Banking Report, banks that have replaced older statistical-modeling approaches to credit risk with machine learning techniques have experienced up to 20 percent increases in cash collections from outstanding loans.

Out of over 20 banks that work with Ayasdi, Drucker said, 100% are either already operating in this stage or actively exploring implementing such technology.

The highest level of machine learning application is the fully automating business processes. Take a life insurer, for example. When a customer applies for a policy, he might be asked to fill out a 40-page long form and get a physical examination. That information is then sent back to the company for approval. The entire process can take over a month to complete.

According to McKinsey, some European banks using these techniques report 10 percent increases in sales of new products, 20 percent savings in capital expenditures, and 20 percent declines in customer churn.

CB Insights has identified 41 companies providing machine learning solutions in the financial industry. Together with the explosion of general applications of  AI, deals and investments in AI companies reached record levels in 2016. Since the beginning of 2016, over 15 fintech AI companies have closed investment rounds.

How Digital Investments Are Changing the Face of Banking, (The financial Brand), Rated: AAA

Investment in digital banking is driving increased customer acquisition, cross-selling and satisfaction while decreasing branch traffic and related costs.

This is confirmed by the J.D. Power research that showed that there is an immediate lift in overall satisfaction when customers use mobile banking (+27 points on a 1,000-point scale), and this impact increases even more when banks provide their mobile banking customers with a highly satisfying experience (+82). According to J.D. Power, “The outlook for Big Banks remains positive, driven by their (big banks) ability to invest in customer-centric innovations (e.g., digital channels, analytics, and branch transformation), as well as their success in growing customer segments.”

Recent disclosures of mobile banking use by the big banks provides a glimpse of the impact of digital investment on mobile use. Of the three largest U.S. banks, JPMorgan Chase leads the way with nearly 25 million active mobile customers as of the second quarter. That was up 18% compared with the same period last year. Bank of America had the second most active mobile users, with 20.2 million monthly active app users, with Wells Fargo reporting 18 million active users.

 

United Kingdom

Britain’s 2 biggest peer-to-peer lenders lost £50 million in the last decade

The two platforms have facilitated almost £3 billion of loans between them but Funding Circle, founded in 2010, has never made a profit, while Zopa, founded in 2005, made a small profit 2 years running, totalling less than £60,000.

Here’s the breakdown of Zopa and Funding Circle’s financial performance, as per accounts filed with Companies House:

  • Zopa: losses between 2005 and 2014 total £21.79 million, according to accounts filed with Companies House, on cumulative revenues of £25.84 million. The platform made a small profit in in 2011 and 2012, totalling £58,648.
  • Funding Circle: cumulative net loss of £28.71 million on total revenues of £20.89 million, according to accounts covering 2010 to 2014. The company has yet to make a profit.

These losses have been funded by investment from venture capitalists: $273 million (£208.1 million) for Funding Circle and at least $56.6 million (£43 million) for Zopa, according to Crunchbase.

Funding Circle, which offers loans to small businesses, declined to comment on its losses when contacted by BI but pointed to comments CEO Samir Desai made to BI last year when we reported the company’s latest financial results. Desai said at the time:

“If you actually look at the core business of doing loans in the UK — strip away the technology investment and all the other extra stuff we’re doing — the business is already profitable in the UK and is moving that way in the US as well. A lot of the investment we’re doing is investing in creating a global business.”

Zopa’s CEO Jaidev Janardana told BI in an emailed statement:

“We have demonstrated that our business model is profitable with two consecutive profitable years in 2011 and 2012. Since then our investors and the business have placed more value on investing in our growth. In doing so we have been able to double our loan volumes last year, deliver positive returns for our customers at the same time investing in talent, technology, and our office.

“This all means we are in the best position to deliver on our strategic plan for continued growth and profitability long-term. Looking forward, I’m glad to say that we expect to be EBIDTA positive in Q4 2016 and profitable in 2017.”

Christian Faes, CEO of the UK’s fourth largest marketplace lender LendInvest, told BI he thinks that loss-making platforms will face increased pressure to turn a profit to “prove that they can.” Remember, the growth that Zopa and Funding Circle are chasing could be disappearing.

LendInvest, which lets investors put money into short-term mortgages for people looking to renovate then sell properties, made a pre-tax profit of £3.1 million in 2015 and £1.1 million in 2014.

A spokesperson for RateSetter told BI: “We have recorded a profit for two consecutive financial years, proving that our model works and is sustainable. We are now investing to scale up, broaden, and deepen our market while continuing to deliver maximum value for investors.”

Is the dream of peer-to-peer lending beginning to fade?, (Thersa), Rated: AAA

Why is this a problem? Because unlike banks, which can make money on captive and repeat business in current accounts, credit cards and remortgages, P2P lenders need to continuously find and process new borrowers in order to earn commission. Should the sluggish times continue, the danger is that P2P lenders may soon be tempted to shoot for riskier borrowers in order to maintain their rate of growth. Remember that these platforms have investors of their own to placate and appease, many of whom will be pushing for decisive action to keep transaction volumes on an upward trajectory.

Finally, there is the question of where the money flows to on these platforms. Nesta and Cambridge University’s research is unequivocal: peer-to-peer lending has helped many thousands of people and businesses access loans in the face of rejection from high street banks. Yet only 20 percent of borrowers using P2P consumer lending platforms are women, and only a quarter earn less than £25k (note that the median wage of workers in the UK is  £27.5k). Although the makeup of borrowers using P2P platforms may simply reflect lending patterns across the financial industry, it challenges the theory that fintech innovations are inherently more inclusive.

The point of raising these red flags is not to pour cold water on the P2P lending phenomenon. Many of these platforms promise users a brilliant customer experience, faster decision making, more choice and – for some – better rates on loans than they can find elsewhere. Indeed, one of the greatest impacts P2P lenders have had is in changing the practices of long-standing incumbents. Take Wells Fargo, which recently launched a rapid turnaround system for small business loans, partly to match the responsiveness of P2P startups. These innovations should linger on even if P2P platforms fade away, and suggests the sector could catalyse positive transformation in financial services without needing to achieve a dominant position in the loans market.

No, this is not to dismiss the real achievements of P2P platforms. Rather, it is a plea to be pragmatic and realistic about what P2P lending – and all forms of fintech for that matter – can ultimately achieve without a more significant structural change in the nature of the financial industry. John Kay, in his brilliantly detailed new book Other People’s Money, rightly reminds us of the fundamental functions of finance: to enable people to save for the future, receive and send money, manage everyday risks, and borrow to invest in a real economy that truly creates value for others.

Ablrate & Access Commercial Finance Tout Origination Partnership, (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Asset-backed peer to peer lender Ablrate has released information on an origination partnership with Access Commercial Finance based in Leeds. The arrangement is said to have generated over £2.5 million of loans so far this year. Ablrate launched as a niche P2P lender focusing on aircraft finance but has since branched out into capital equipment and property. Ablrate’s arrangement with Access is thus driving platform growth. Ablrate also offers a secondary market for investors in their loans.

The origination partnership is said to have resulted in sizeable deals for a range of sectors, including an £800,000 funding boost for a previously mothballed Eco Park, near Newcastle. The deal is expected to grow by £1.4 million. The waste management plant in Blaydon suffered following the collapse of Lehman Bros in 2013. The £800,000 in finance  raised through Ablrate and Access is expected to get the plant fully operational by October creating at least 30 jobs.

European Union

BBVA Plans New Management Revamp as Chairman Pushes Digital Bank, (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA is preparing its second management reorganization in 14 months as Chairman Francisco Gonzalez streamlines Spain’s second-biggest lender and accelerates its push into digital banking.

BBVA is pushing to offer more products and services online and via mobile phones as Gonzalez predicts few banks will survive competition from technology companies such as Google Inc. or Facebook Inc.

Vicente Rodero, current head of Country Networks, a unit created last year to boost the results of the group’s lenders in various countries, is set to leave his post. Chief Financial Officer Jaime Saenz de Tejada and Javier Rodriguez Soler, head of strategy and M&A, will be given additional responsibilities.

India

Fintech firms to take profit-first approach, say panellists at VCCircle summit

India’s fintech startups will also learn more from China, owing to similar demographic opportunities and challenges, unlike other industries that primarily learnt from the US, the panellists said. While there are no successful models yet, companies are experimenting with different models that include marketplace, bidding process and intermediary, they added.

Adhil Shetty, founder and CEO of Bankbazaar, said the popularity of the company is that its website received 90 lakh visitors in the month of March alone. Hence, it won’t be an extended arm as the platform offers products from partnering financial services companies as well standalone products.

Gaurav Hinduja, co-founder of Capital Float, which operates a hybrid model by lending online through its non-banking finance company, said these data sets will reduce the time taken from application to disbursal to 10 minutes. He added that social data can be used for verification as well as help in recoveries.

Rajat Gandhi of Gurgaon-based Faircent, which operates a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform facilitating borrowers and lenders through a bidding process, said that credit score would continue to be main criteria for disbursal of loans while data from social media can only be a value-add.

Vaddadi also said that fintech companies are increasing focus on customer acquisition, but added that this will not be done by burning cash.

The panellists also said that chances of default by borrowers are lower for fintech companies as these firms monitor the business performance of the borrower through analytics that can give out an early warning. Vaddadi said his firm has a 0.16% default rate.  [Comment: I do not believe this is true unless the fintechs really download the business’s information regularly and reliably. I am not aware of any company who really does this well. ]

Australia

Global banks: Is fintech a threat or an opportunity?, (Financial Review), Rated: AAA

UBS banking analysts surveyed 27,914 customers of more than 210 banks in 24 countries, along with 61 management teams from banks around the world. Local UBS banking analyst Jonathan Mott along with analysts in London, New York and Tokyo.

The survey found that a growing number of Australians are considering trying fintech services in the next 12 months: 15 per cent of Australian respondents said they will use a fintech money transfer business; 14 per cent said they will use a mobile payment fintech; 9 per cent will use peer-to-peer lending; and 9 per cent said they are likely to use a “robo adviser” for digital financial advice.

According to the management survey, 38 per cent of banks have a fintech partnership and this is expected to rise to 51 per cent over the next 12 months. The report said that in developed markets, bank returns on equity could be lifted from an average of 9.8 per cent to 10.2 per cent, as global cost to income ratios fall.

The survey found a high level of satisfaction from customers in the US and Britain using P2P lending which pointed to the threat to banks being real.
Australia’s largest P2P lender, SocietyOne, said this week it had appointed DDB Group to lift brand awareness through a TV, online, radio and print advertising campaign after the company, which is being led by former Westpac senior executive Jason Yetton, raised a further $25 million in equity in May.

UBS also predicted “the use of robo-advisers looks likely to grow exponentially” by between 70 and 150 per cent over the next year.

Cyber security is an area of concern, with 35 per cent of the customer respondents indicating a lack of trust in security as an explanation for not using fintech mobile payment services.

Author:

George Popescu