Thursday November 7 2019, Weekly News Digest

Lending Club

News Comments Today’s main news: Prosper launches HELOCs with BBVA. LendingClub beats profit estimates. Pennsylvania fines SoFi subsidiary $110,000. Kabbage partners with GoDaddy. Zopa makes banking debut. RateSetter rolls out investor self-certification. Today’s main analysis: LendingClub Q3 earnings. International P2P lending volumes. Today’s thought-provoking articles: The hot stuff at Money 2020. China’s slowing economy. International […]

The post Thursday November 7 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Lending Club

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

Other

News Summary

United States

Prosper Officially Launches HELOCs with First Bank Partner BBVA (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

It was last November when we first heard that Prosper had plans to expand their offerings from personal loans into HELOCs.  In 2018 David Kimball noted that they would be partnering with banks on the new product and loans would be available both directly through Prosper.com and also as a white-labeled offering. Now we know their first bank partner is BBVA.

LendingClub beats profit estimates on higher fees, loans (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Online lending pioneer LendingClub Corp (LC.N) beat analysts’ estimates for third-quarter profit on Tuesday and forecast current-quarter largely above estimates, sending its shares up 4% in after-hours trading.

Transaction fees jumped 17% at the company, which helps connect customers looking for loans to individuals or institutional investors, such as banks, through its online marketplace.

Loan originations soared 16% to $3.35 billion in the third quarter, with total revenue rising 11% to $204.9 million.

LendingClub Q3 2019 Earnings Results Review (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Revenue also topped records at $204.9 million, up 11% year over year. Losses narrowed to a GAAP net loss of just $400,000 compared to the prior year period where they lost $22.8 million. Adjusted net income came in at $8 million, up from a loss of $7.3 million in the prior year period.

Source: Lending Club

Pennsylvania regulators hit SoFi with enforcement action (American Banker), Rated: AAA

A subsidiary of Social Finance Inc. has agreed to pay a $110,000 fine in Pennsylvania after operating as a mortgage servicer for nearly a year without the required state licensing.

SoFi Lending Corp. is one of several mortgage companies that has been hit recently with enforcement actions in Pennsylvania after a change in state law in December 2017.

The new law required mortgage servicers that were operating in Pennsylvania to be licensed. Companies had until June 30, 2018, to apply without being penalized for unlicensed activity.

SoFi vs. Prosper: Which Personal Loan Lender Is Right for You? (credible), Rated: A

SoFi and Prosper are two companies that offer personal loans with competitive interest rates and no prepayment penalties. However, there are some major differences between the companies that could affect your decision on which one to choose.

Money 2020 Highlights, Jobs Report, Markets Doubt Fed (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

What’s Hot and What’s Not at Money 2020?

Attendance was at record levels. Here’s our view on the areas attracting the most attention at Money 2020:

  • Lending-as-a-Service: lenders that enable non-banks, banks and credit unions originate loans (e.g., loan origination software, digital experience, bank workflow software, etc.). Examples: Better, nCino, Happy Money (backed by CUNA Mutual), Alchemy, Splash Financial, Blend, Roostify
  • International Lending: Non-banks expanding access to credit, particularly in the LatAm markets. Examples: CrediJusto (Mexico SME), Addi (Colombia POS), Nova Credit
  • Underwriting infrastructure: Reducing OPEX or fraud risk thru automation. Examples: Ocrolus, Feedzai

The healthy Friday jobs report supports the ‘wait and see’ Fed view (although it is a backward looking indicator). The report indicated growth in employment of 128K in October and a tick-up in unemployment to 3.6%.

Source: WSJ, Labor Department, PeerIQ

Kabbage partners with GoDaddy to offer capital to entrepreneurs and SMBs (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

The partnership: Kabbage’s online lending platform is now available to GoDaddy’s U.S. customers to access a business line of credit in minutes.

  • Customers can access flexible lines of credit of up to $250,000 in minutes after filling out a short application.
  • Existing GoDaddy customers can get $100 off their first month’s fees
  • “We know that a lack of capital for marketing and other core activities remains a major roadblock to accelerate growth. Our partnership with Kabbage is key in our ongoing mission to empower our customers and provide them with the resources they need to fuel their business needs,” said Melissa Schneider, GoDaddy’s vice president of global marketing operations.

Ron Suber Shares Perspective on Fintech (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Ron Suber is one of the better-known names in the Fintech sector. Originally, Suber’s role as the President of the marketplace lending platform Prosper Marketplace brought Suber’s name to prominence as the Fintech emerged as an early leader in the US online lending market. Since departing Prosper’s management team several years ago, Suber has been associated with multiple Fintech’s as an investor, advisor or, perhaps, a board member. Today, Suber has invested in more than a dozen Fintech companies

Real estate crowdfunding startup CrowdStreet turns to its customers to raise $ 12M round (GeekWire), Rated: A

CrowdStreet, a Portland-based commercial real estate crowdfunding startup, has raised a big new funding round, with a twist. Instead of relying solely on venture capital investors, the startup turned to its own community of real estate investors and developers to raise the bulk of the money for its Series C round.

The result: CrowdStreet this morning announced it has raised $12 million, primarily from the users of its platform, bringing lifetime funding to $25 million.

CrowdStreet lands $ 12M in financing, hires execs (The Real Deal), Rated: B

Robert Stiles, former chief financial officer at LendingHome, joined as CFO/COO. Londa Quisling was named chief technology officer, after serving as chief product officer at Treehouse. And John Havens, previously of BNY Mellon, joined as vice president of capital markets.

Inside Affirm’s ID Verification And Fraud Prevention Techniques (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Many consumers do not have funds readily on hand to make big purchases like electronics or furniture and prefer turning to instant loan apps like Affirm, a point-of-sale installment lender established in 2013, rather than going into debt with a bank or credit card provider. Customers may feel thankful to be able to pay off a purchase over a year, but not at the cost of losing their identities to fraudsters or scammers.

Max Levchin backs digital banking startup built to reward savers (Finextra), Rated: A

A new digital banking platform promising to help reward people for positive financial behaviour has closed a $3.5 million seed round led by Accomplice Ventures and Walkabout Ventures nd joined by PayPal founder Max Levchin’s startup studio.

According to Moody Analytics, an average person under the age of 35 saves -1.8% of their income. HMBradley is promising to tackle this by increasing awareness and rewarding people for saving more.

LA is fast becoming a fintech hub as HMBradley launches another West Coast challenger bank (TechCrunch), Rated: B

Add HMBradley to the list of Los Angeles-based startups looking to shake up the world of high finance typically dominated by East Coast giants with names like JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs.

Building A Challenger Bank That Actually Challenges Traditional Banking (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Minus the CEOs at the top-10 largest banks in the U.S., whose main concern is probably figuring how to deal with their trillions of dollars’ worth of assets, nearly the entirety of bank CEOs outside that tier have one primary concern, according to Bruhnke: How do they grow deposits? Meanwhile, he noted, bank customers also have a singular desire: How do they make the most money on the funds they have deposited?

How Goldman Sachs plans to boost its reputation with online bank Marcus (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Goldman Sachs’ upstart digital consumer bank, Marcus by Goldman Sachs, will help boost the reputation of its parent company, one of its leaders told Yahoo Finance recently.

The OCC Fintech Charter Is Down, but Maybe Not Out (Lexology), Rated: A

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) recently faced another setback in its attempt to issue a special purpose national bank charter tailored to fintech companies (fintech charter). A federal district court in New York held that the OCC does not have the authority to grant charters to companies that do not accept deposits. The ruling is a blow to the OCC’s efforts to provide new avenues for innovation in financial services. The fintech charter would allow fintech companies, which do not accept deposits like traditional banks, to benefit from the same preemption of state laws and licensing requirements as national banks.

Troubled Fintech Charter: How More Delays Impact Competitive Situation (The Financial Brand), Rated: A

The other is Varo, which initially considered going for an OCC special purpose charter but then decided to apply for a full-service charter. Varo has preliminary approval from OCC and awaits approval of its FDIC deposit insurance application. Below, we look at how Lending Club, the online marketplace consumer loan platform, is exploring chartering options.

Crypto APIs Launches Trading APIs, Allowing Users to Leverage Multiple Crypto Exchange Accounts (Cryptovest), Rated: A

The Trading APIs service provides one Unified API that has integrated multiple crypto exchanges. Thus, users will now be able to link multiple exchange accounts to their profile, collect data and execute their portfolio management trades from a single point.

Crypto APIs is used by thousands of developers to create products like Crypto exchanges, Crypto wallets, Trading bots, Crypto PSP, Arbitrage solutions, Crypto Lending solutions and many more.

Brex And Bank Of The West Team On Co-Branded Credit Card (Forbes), Rated: A

Brex, the fintech credit card startup, is teaming up with Bank of the West, the subsidiary of BNP Paribas, to roll out a co-branded credit card. It marks the first co-branded credit card to come out of Brex which caters to startups and entrepreneurs.

Washington flexes its muscles on small-business lending (American Banker), Rated: A

In one instance, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency angered borrower advocates by siding in court with a high-cost business lender. In the other, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau signaled its intention to move forward with a small-business lending rule that has languished for nine years amid sharp disagreements over its proper scope.

USA Continues to be a Top Location for Fintech Events (Fintech News), Rated: A

On the global fintech scene, the US has been amongst the top leaders, accounting for 57% of the fintech market in 2018, according to a Mordor Intelligence research.

Fintech continues its momentum this year, with investment in US fintech companies surging to US$12.7 billion in the first half of 2019. That represents a 60% increase in value of deals and signals a trend of larger deals in already the world’s biggest and most active fintech market, according to data from Accenture.

Legitimate Shoppers Take Advantage of Deals, Outpacing Seasonal Growth in Fraudsters (Riskified Email), Rated: A

A new report from 

Elevate Credit to Attend the Stephens 2019 Investment Conference (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Elevate Credit, Inc. (NYSE: ELVT) today announced that its Interim Chief Executive Officer, Jason Harvison, and Chief Financial Officer, Chris Lutes, will attend the Stephens 2019 Nashville Investment Conference on November 14th at the Omni Nashville Hotel. Mr. Harvison and Mr. Lutes will be available for 1×1 meetings with investors.

Michigan AG sues online tribal lender (Lexology), Rated: B

On October 31, the Michigan attorney general announced it filed a lawsuit against an online lender alleging the lender violated the CFPA and Michigan…

United Kingdom

Peer-to-peer lender Zopa makes banking debut as pressure mounts (City A.M.), Rated: AAA

Zopa, one of the UK’s three largest names in peer-to-peer lending, is to launch its first foray into banking after receiving partial authorisation last year.

RateSetter begins roll-out of investor self-certification (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER has begun asking its customers to confirm their investor status ahead of the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) new marketing and disclosure rules that come into effect on 9 December.

iwoca hits £1bn lending milestone as headcount soars (AltFi), Rated: A

UK business lender nearly doubled its lending last year to £330m, helping the startup announce it has now reached a cumulative lending milestone of over £1bn.

The news comes as iwoca’s headcount has jumped 50% in the last 12 months, boosted further by the £10m BCR grant which the company secured in August to further expand its customer base.

China

China has a steady hand on its slowing economy, but can it prevent a crash landing? (SCMP), Rated: AAA

Year-on-year growth has fallen by 0.2 percentage points per quarter this year, from 6.4 per cent in the first quarter to 6.2 per cent in the second quarter and to 6 per cent in the most recent quarter.

China to Transform Remaining P2P Platforms (Finews.Asia), Rated: A

Recent data showed that the number of online P2P platforms plummeted to just 427 – a 59 percent drop compared to 2018-end. The total outstanding loan value and the number of borrowers also dropped correspondingly by 49 percent and 55 percent, respectively.

China is making rapid inroads towards reducing peer-to-peer lending risk to meet the 2020 target deadline but expects to keep alive the few remaining with strong fintech expertise and shareholder support.

China warned to avoid P2P lending mistakes in blockchain push (Tech in Asia), Rated: A

China has been warned to avoid the same mistakes with blockchain that it made with its peer-to-peer lending, as the government vowed a “thorough revamping” of the controversial lending platforms as part of a continuing battle against financial risk amid the domestic economic slowdown and the trade war with the US.

Chinese fintech players want to do a Xiaomi in lending. Caution: regulatory glare ahead (India Times), Rated: A

From adopting unique business models to routing investments through Singapore, Chinese lenders are trying every trick in the book to win the Indian fintech-lending space. But getting money to India, deploying it, and dealing with stringent KYC norms is easier said than done.

Asset management arbitration cases in China (Vantage Asia), Rated: A

The wave of closures of P2P platforms in China in the summer of 2018 garnered national attention. The latest blacklist for P2P lending published by “P2PEYE.COM” ( shows that as of the end of March 2019, the number of problematic P2P platforms reached 5,388.

European Union

Marks & Spencer Buy Now, Pay Later Option (The National Law Review), Rated: AAA

Klarna, a popular BNPL provider used by over 4,000 UK retailers, offers three types of BNPL service:

  1. delayed payment up to 30 days after purchase. This incurs no interest or fees, providing the payment is made within the timeframe.
  2. instalment options whereby the purchaser can pay in three equal, interest-free payments every 30 days.
  3. flexible financing, which spreads the cost of larger purchases into manageable monthly payments. The term for this repayment option ranges from six to 36 months.

Upcoming maintenance affecting ability to view orders (Klarna), Rated: A

On Wednesday 6th November at 05:00 CEST, we will perform an important technical maintenance which will prevent customers from seeing some order details within the Klarna app for a short time. We expect this maintenance to take approximately 15 minutes, after which time full details of orders will become accessible again.

LendIt Fintech Europe 2019 Slide Presentations Now Live (LendIt), Rated: AAA

Below, you can find the presentations from keynote speakers at the event, as well as the different track presentations.

Lending Innovations

More presentations here.

International

Beijing may cull a stateside unicorn stampede (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Chinese firms have raised just $3 billion from American exchanges so far this year, less than a third of the 2018 total. In the last week of October, however, half a dozen companies filed for initial public offerings in New York, bringing the total backlog of Chinese floats to 24, according to data from Refinitiv. Rising trade uncertainties, tougher listing requirements on the NASDAQ and an upcoming U.S. presidential election have sparked fears that 2020 may prove even more volatile for debutants.

International P2P Lending Volumes October 2019 (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

Mintos leads ahead of Zopa and Ratesetter. The total volume for the reported marketplaces in the table adds up to 703 million Euro.

Milestones in cumulative volume lent crossed this month:

Asia

P2P lending platform Validus expands into Vietnam (Business Times), Rated: AAA

SMEs make up 97 per cent of Vietnam’s enterprises, but only account for 22 per cent of total bank lending. To meet a US$21 billion SME financing gap in the country, Validus Vietnam will partner corporates to provide SME growth financing to their vendors and subcontractors.

How South Korea’s PeopleFund Is Shaking Up P2P Lending (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Joey Kim, chief executive officer at PeopleFund, discusses what his company does, the growth drivers for his company, his latest funding round, P2P lending in South Korea, regulation, the possibility of consolidation in the industry and how the Korean economic headwinds are impacting his business. He speaks exclusively on “Bloomberg Daybreak: Asia.”

Vietnam’s IT Sector: 5 Industries to Watch (Vietnam Briefing), Rated: A

Vietnam’s fintech industry is expected to reach US$7.8 billion in revenue by 2020. A rising middle class, growing internet usage, and a young population present a great combination for the fintech sector to thrive. An estimated 120 companies and brands cover a wide range of services, from digital payments to wealth management and blockchain.

Fintech help banks broaden customer base (The Jakarta Post), Rated: A

Instead of competing against each other, banks and financial technology (fintech) companies are joining hands and combining their resources to tap into the country’s growing financial services market.In an effort to keep up-to-date with recent technology and stay relevant amid the latest changes in financial services, many banks have signed partnership deals or bought into nimble start-ups as an alternative to building costly technology projects.For the banks, the logic behind a partnership with fintech companies is simple: It gives them the opportunity to reach a wider customer base, unlock their technological capabilities without having to buy one of their own and penetrate the country’s unbanked population — all without having to spend too much money.“We are partnering with 12 fintech companies from peer-to-peer [P2P] lending and payment apps to SME [small, middle, enterprise]…

Latin America

Preview of LendIt Fintech’s inaugural LatAm conference (LendIt), Rated: AAA

Temenos’ report tags financial inclusion as LatAm bankers’ priority (IBS Intelligence), Rated: A

Temenos has concluded the LatAm results for its annual retail banking survey, conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). The survey titled ‘A whole new world: How technology is driving the evolution of intelligent banking in Latin America’ stated that 35% of retail bankers prioritize investments in digital technologies along with cost-cutting or margin improvement for furthering their financial inclusion goal.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday November 7 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Wednesday May 30 2018, Daily News Digest

refinancing

News Comments Today’s main news: GreenSky sets shares at $23 each, sold 38M. Elevate Credit doubles floor space. Tandem hits 100K clients. Lidya raises $6.9M in Africa. Today’s main analysis: PeerIQ recounts TransUnion Summit 2018. Today’s thought-provoking articles: An orthodontist racks up over $1M in student loans. CompareCards releases credit card fee report. The worst is over for Chinese microlenders. […]

refinancing

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

Other

News Summary

United States

Fintech GreenSky raises more than US$ 800mln in its IPO (Proactive Investors) Rated: AAA

The online lender priced its shares at US$23 each, raising a total of US$874mln in its first day of trading. The company sold 38 million shares, surpassing its expectation of 34 million shares.

Elevate Credit doubles space with ‘super floor’ in Addison office building (Dallas Business Journal) Rated: AAA

Elevate Credit Inc. will expand at Spectrum Center in Addison, doubling both the size of its footprint and the capacity for employees who can work in the office.

The fast-growing company is growing from 26,000 to 52,000 square feet in the 614,000-square-foot office complex.

VantageScore win, TransUnion Summit 2018 (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

The House passed the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act which reforms the Dodd-Frank Act and provides significant oversight relief to small banks. Below are some of the main provisions of this bill:

  1. One of the most notable shifts lost in the headlines is that the legislation requires Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to evaluate and consider alternative credit scores to FICO. The change introduces competition to the credit scoring market and is a big win for VantageScore.
  2. Regulatory Capital relief:
  3. The threshold for a Systematically Important Financial Institution has been raised to $250 Bn in assets from $50 Bn, which will exempt a number of regional banks. These banks will no longer be subject to onerous CCAR tests and reduce their compliance burdens. Banks with less than $10 Bn in assets are also exempt from the Volcker Rule – a win for Jeb Hensarling’s (R-TX) campaign to provide relief for community banks.
  4. Banks with less than $3 Bn in assets will have a lower frequency of regulatory exams, banks with less than $5 Bn in assets will have fewer reporting and compliance requirements, and all banks with less than $10 Bn in assets will have the same capital ratio.
  5. Lenders can now charge subprime borrowers higher rates for auto loans.

TransUnion Financial Services Summit 2018

Delinquencies in auto loans have picked up recently to 4.3%, with subprime auto doing worse. (The drop in auto performance can be attributed to longer auto loan terms, higher LTVs, lower used car re-sale prices, and the “Lyft effect”).

Source: TransUnion

If a loan is prepaid before the 12-months mark the originator loses money as the net interest margin is not enough to compensate for the origination and servicing expenses. Only 23% of prepaid loans are refinanced, and most consumers go for a longer tenor loan with a higher balance.

Source: TransUnion

Mike Meru Has $ 1 Million in Student Loans. How Did That Happen? (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Due to escalating tuition and easy credit, the U.S. has 101 people who owe at least $1 million in federal student loans, according to the Education Department. Five years ago, 14 people owed that much.

Silver Hill Funding’s Leslie Smith is Targeting the Underserved in the SBL Space (Commercial Observer) Rated: A

In March, Smith oversaw the formal launch of Commercial Direct, an online small-balance loan customization platform that’s a division of multibillion dollar real estate investment firm Silver Hill Funding, a subsidiary of Bayview Loan Servicing.

Commercial Direct’s lending strategy targets small business owners, entrepreneurs and investors who are relatively new to the commercial real estate arena or are looking to expand or diversify their portfolios. The platform finances commercial and residential condominiums, among many other asset classes, and closes loans in 30 days or fewer, according to Commercial Direct’s website.

With the backing of Silver Hill—which has funded more than 20,000 transactions since its founding—and Bayview Loan Servicing, the platform is off to a strong start.

Fintech adds another S.F. office (San Fransciso Business Journal) Rated: A

After snapping up a new headquarters last year, fintech company Affirm leased up 46,000 square feet in 550 Kearny St. in San Francisco with landlord Brickman.

The new space is around the corner from the company’s headquarters in 650 California St., where it leased 86,225 square feet.

Does Your Business Need More Space? A Lender Weighs In On Why And How To Expand (Forbes) Rated: A

In this post, I speak with Victoria Treyger of 

For Your Money, Which is Better: The Algorithm or the Adviser? (Kiplinger) Rated: A

The reality is, the rapid growth and early-stage adoption of financial technology (FinTech) indicates an industry disruption is underway. Algorithm-based, digital advisory technology has brought us the increasingly popular “robo-advisers,” which replace human advisers with software programmed to understand and advise on clients’ needs. Robo-adviser firms have witnessed triple-digit growth since 2013. Research firm Cerulli Associates reported they had about $60 billion in assets under management (AUM) at the end of 2016, and could amass an estimated $385 billion by 2021.

Are we in the Golden Age of Fintech? (Fintech TV), Rated: A

Dubbed the ‘Mayor of Fintech’, Ron Suber discusses the current fintech landscape, and what technology has him excited about the future.

Watch this video interview with Ron Suber.

Can your side gig fund retirement? (CU Insight) Rated: A

Almost 40% of respondents in a recent Betterment survey said they feel unprepared to save enough to maintain their lifestyle during retirement. As a result, they have become members of the growing gig economy by either supplementing their full-time job or relying solely on their independent work/temporary contracts.

According to “The Gig Economy and Future of Retirement” survey, 76% of those 55 and older were using earnings from a second job to save for retirement, as were 65% of people 35 to 54. In addition, 42% of gig workers under 35 say they’re moonlighting to help save for retirement.

Online lender Earnest gathered data from tens of thousands of loan applicants to learn just how much people are actually earning from their gig. They found 85% of people take home an average of $500 per month from their side hustles.

CompareCards Releases 2018 Credit Card Fee Report (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

CompareCards by LendingTree today released the findings of its studyon credit card fees that compared the fees of a representative sample of 200 credit cards that are in Americans’ wallets.

Source: Lending Tree

Highlights from CompareCards 2018 Credit Card Fee Report:

  • Two cards — both no-frills credit cards from credit unions — had only a single fee. One card in the survey had as many as nine fees.
  • Credit union-issued credit cards have 2.73 fees per card, lower than 4.48 fees for cards issued by banks.
  • The most common fee levied by issuers is the late payment fee: 99.5 percent of cards impose this fee, averaging $36.02.
  • The average balance transfer fee, among cards that allow them, is 3.46 percent.
  • The average cash advance fee is 3.99 percent.
  • Foreign transaction fees, overall, average 1.48 percent, including cards that have no fee. But if cards assess the fee, most of the time the fee is 3 percent of the purchase price.
  • When compared with smaller credit card issuers, larger credit card issuers assess higher cash advance fees (4.11 percent, versus 3.86 percent) and balance transfers fees (3.49 percent versus 3.42 percent), on average.
  • However, average foreign transaction fees are lower at larger credit card issuers (1.22 percent, versus 1.76 percent at smaller issuers).

RBC Wealth Management – U.S. launches new digital alternative investments platform (PR Newswire) Rated: B

RBC Wealth Management-U.S., one of the nation’s largest full-service wealth management firms, is taking some of the mystery and difficulty out of alternative investing with a new digital alternative investment platform for high-net worth clients.

Developed in partnership with Artivest, an award-winning alternative investment management and technology solutions provider, RBC Wealth Management’s cloud-based investment platform gives financial advisors and their clients access to leading private equity and hedge funds across sectors, stages and styles.

Five Firms Hit by ‘Crypto-Sweep’ in Alabama as Regulators Step up Operation (Bitcoin News) Rated: B

Cease and desist letters have been sent to three Los Angeles based companies. The second firm form California, Leverage, has advertised itself as a crypto lending platform offering to investors a variable, daily interest. This case is again about an unlicensed security, the ASC said.

5 Ways to Get ‘Free’ Money From Your Employer Without a Raise (Student Loan Hero) Rated: B

2. Use your company’s 401(k) matching program

Saving for the long term can be a challenge: 69% of millennials surveyed are not saving for retirement, according to online lender Earnest. Although it can be hard to think about setting aside money when you have to manage student loan payments, it can help with future financial goals — especially if your employer offers a match on retirement plans.

United Kingdom

Tandem reaches 100,000 clients, signs for Form3 paytech (Banking Tech), Rated: AAA

SMEs: a neglected opportunity for UK big banks (SME Magazine) Rated: AAA

Big banks are neglecting the SME market opportunity due to a variety of factors. One of the main problems is the onboarding process, where in many cases the ownership structure can be unclear, leading to difficulties around initiating relationships with SME businesses.

Second, the nature of the SME growth model makes it difficult for banks to determine the value of the business opportunity. This poses problems when it comes to granting credit facilities to SMEs, as they are seen as higher risk for conducting business with.

Third, banks follow bigger sources of revenue and SME profitability is lower than larger organisations.

Finally, existing legacy software systems prevent large banks from servicing SME customer demands which go beyond traditional offerings. For example, the desire to integrate P2P lending, blockchain, mobile wallets, and accounting and legal functionality all as one end-to-end service.

Why scaleups still shy away from debt and equity growth funding (Real Business) Rated: A

Some £2.9 billion was claimed in R&D tax credits during 2015-16, according to HMRC, with the average amount of relief claimed via the SME scheme increasing from £56,223 to £61,514.

Despite a dip in deal numbers in 2016, the crowdfunding boom returned. Beauhurst data claimed £8.27 billion was invested in 2017 – more than double the previous year.

Department store numbers fall by quarter (Drapers) Rated: B

A report by peer-to-peer lending platform Lendy found that the number of large department stores fell from 240 in 2009 to 180 in 2016. The total number of shops fell from 407,000 to 403,000 during the same period.

Lendy said department stores had been more negatively affected than the rest of the high street by online shopping, as the heavy debt burdens carried by their owners had hampered their own investment in ecommerce and store refurbishment.

China

Worst Is Past for Microlenders — Analysts (Caixin Global) Rated: AAA

Effects of a late-year regulatory crackdown on Chinese online lenders has most likely run its course by now, analysts said, even as shares of U.S.-listed companies continue to feel some lingering fallout.

Shares of online lenders Qudian Inc. and LexinFintech Holdings Ltd. have tumbled by 24% and 17% respectively since the firms released their first-quarter results a week ago, wiping out over $1.4 billion in combined market value. Yirendai Ltd., the first Chinese peer-to-peer (P2P) lender to list in the U.S., saw its shares fall by 4% a day after releasing its earnings results after trading on Thursday.

To curb excess in the 1 trillion yuan ($156 billion) unsecured short-term loan industry, regulators issued rules in early December that capped annual interest rates on loans at 36%, barred lenders from offering loans to borrowers with no source of income, and tightened scrutiny over funding sources.

Australia

Credible Lab CEO Stephen Dash likens ASX to ‘junior Nasdaq’ (Australian Financial Review) Rated: A

Credible Labs Inc founder and chief executive Stephen Dash said he had chosen an ASX listing for the company, which allows users to sort through US student loans, because a large number of the company’s early investors were based in Australia and Asia.

India

How the Fintech Industry is Drawing Young Talent in the Country (Entrepreneur) Rated: AAA

The fintech industry is creating new and exciting opportunities for the country’s workforce in such areas as payments, retail baking, peer-to-peer debt financing, personal finance, asset management, institutional investments, remittances, and financial research. However, the primary enabler for all these segments is data. The volume of data that is being generated and leveraged by the digital banking and financial services industry is massive and unprecedented. As a result, the demand for technically trained data scientists is growing rapidly among fintech companies. With an increasing number of people in the country consuming fintech products, data scientists are required to manage large, complex sets of data and organise them to facilitate faster and enhanced delivery of various services to consumers.

Acko Gets $ 12 mn funding from Amazon, others (Elets Online) Rate: A

Online insurance startup Acko General Insurance Co. has raised $12 million (around Rs 80 crore) in a new round of funding led by e-commerce giant Amazon, an official statement revealed.

The latest funding infusion that saw participation from Ashish Dhawan, angel investor and founder of private equity fund ChrysCapital and existing investor Catamaran Ventures, the family office of Infosys co-founder NR Narayana Murthy, takes Acko’s total external funding to nearly $42 million.

In recent times the online lender that has joined hands with cab aggregator Ola to offer in-ride insurance to riders is said to be exploring venturing into travel insurance and healthcare space.

Asia

Singapore Has Fintech Dreams, But It’s Short on Tech Talent (Bloomberg) Rated: A

Singapore’s goal of becoming a high-tech financial hub is running into real-world problems of labor supply and demand.

Technology startups in many countries are fighting to attract skilled workers like software engineers. Yet in the tiny city-state of Singapore, with a population of 5.6 million, the dearth of talent is particularly acute. The nation’s universities and polytechnic schools churn out what the government estimates are 400 graduates a year with the right qualifications, well short of plans to add 1,000 financial tech jobs annually, according to the Singapore Fintech Association.

Africa

Lidya Scores $ 6.9 Million in Series A Investment (Finovate), Rated: AAA

Nigeria-based digital bank Lidya landed a fresh round of funding this week. The bank pulled in a Series A round totaling $6.9 million, an amount that marks the round as one of Nigeria’s largest tech investments. Combined with the $1.25 million Lidya received last March, today’s round brings the bank’s total funding to $8.2 million.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday March 27 2018, Daily News Digest

bankruptcy

News Comments Today’s main news: Ron Suber joins MoneyLion board. Prosper reports full year results. Orca launches P2P investment platform. Santander, Ripple partner on money transfer app. Cash Suvidha raises $1M. China opens payment market to foreign companies. Today’s main analysis: The cost of bankruptcy. Today’s thought-provoking articles: LendingTree studies the cost of bankruptcy. Liwwa creates big impact in MENA. The lowdown […]

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United States

Ron Suber Joins Board of Fintech MoneyLion (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Ron Suber, President Emeritus of Prosper and a prominent Fintech advocate, has joined the board of directors of MoneyLion.

Prosper Reports Full Year Results (Business Wire), Rated: AAA

Prosper today reported full year results for 2017. Loan originations and transaction fee revenue were up 31% and 37% year-over-year to $2.9 billion and $130 million, respectively. Prosper also generated cash from operations for three consecutive quarters, starting in Q2 2017.

Source: Prosper

Summary of Key 2017 Financial Highlights:

  • Surpassed $11 billion in cumulative personal loan originations through the platform since inception
  • Increased loan originations 31% and transaction fee revenue 37% year-over-year
  • Net loss of $115 million included $89 million of non-cash charges related to warrants to purchase preferred stock that were issued to a consortium of investors and a third party in connection with a settlement agreement
  • Adjusted EBITDA(1) of $5 million increased $43 million year-over-year
  • Generated cash from operations for three consecutive quarters, starting in Q2 2017
  • Closed $50 million Series G funding, ending 2017 with approximately $100 million of liquidity

Citigroup to Again Be a Nationwide Bank, but in Digital Form (Wall Street Journal), Rated: AAA

After years of Citigroup Inc. shrinking its U.S. retail banking franchise to focus on affluent customers and a handful of big cities, the global bank is ready to become a national player once again.

This time, however, it doesn’t plan on gobbling up rivals or opening any new branches. Instead, Citigroup says it will use an expanded mobile app to fully serve new customers.

LendingTree Study: The Cost of Bankruptcy (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

LendingTree today released the findings of its study on the cost of bankruptcy. The findings show that while a prior bankruptcy can make it more expensive to borrow, it’s certainly not impossible to qualify for credit. If borrowers wait to apply for new loans even just a few years after bankruptcy, they may find rates that aren’t too far off from what other borrowers are being offered.

Key findings:

  • Forty-three percent of people with a bankruptcy on their credit file have a credit score of 640 or higher within a year of the bankruptcy. Within two years of bankruptcy, 65 percent have a credit score above 640.
  • A typical $15,000 auto loan incurs an extra $2,171 in borrowing costs for those seeking offers less than a year after bankruptcy, but just $799 for those who wait at least two years after bankruptcy.
  • Borrowers who have a 3-year-old bankruptcy and apply for a mortgage see an offered APR that is 19 basis points higher than those without a bankruptcy. The higher the APR, the higher borrowing costs will be.
  • Mortgage borrowers with scores between 720 and 739 three years after bankruptcy were offered similar APRs to those without bankruptcy, indicating a strong credit score can counteract the effects of a prior bankruptcy.

With Marcus, Goldman Sachs takes on consumer banking (Bankrate), Rated: A

Despite becoming a bank holding company, Goldman’s business remained focused on corporations and the wealthy. That changed a few years ago as it began plotting new strategies, says Omer Ismail, chief commercial officer for Marcus. The Wall Street Journal recently published an in-depth account of the creation of Marcus, including juicy tidbits like conversations over lunch in the Hamptons.

Goldman decided to tackle the unsecured personal loan space first.

Marcus has found its particular angle in making its loans highly customizable. Rather than setting traditional loan terms, like three years or five years, it asks you how much you can afford to pay each month in addition to asking you how much you need to borrow. So, you might end up with a 31-month installment loan, which is not a conventional loan term.

Rod Buscher of Blinker (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • How Rod first made a name for himself in the car business.
  • The idea behind Blinker and why Rod decided to start the company.
  • How the buying and selling process works at Blinker.
  • The patents they have received to help identify any car in the U.S.
  • How they are able to make a safe environment for conducting a car transaction.
  • The percentage of car buyers at Blinker who opt for financing instead of paying cash.
  • How their financing process works.
  • The limits on the kinds of cars they finance.
  • The data they are using to make an underwriting decision.
  • The spectrum of the different credit profiles of their car buyers.
  • How they are getting the word out to find these buyers and sellers.
  • How they are funding their loans today.
  • Their move into auto refinancing and how they have built this business.
  • How they approach licensing in the states they operate.
  • The total number of transactions that have taken place on Blinker to date.
  • The other services they are providing to Blinker customers.
  • Rod’s vision for the future of Blinker.

Synthetic Identity Fraud: The Perfect Crime (Lendit), Rated: AAA

Synthetic identity fraud usually involves creating an entirely new identity composed of information with no ties to a known consumer. This identity is then used to apply for credit and services. Synthetic identities are one of the most difficult fraud threats institutions face today and their prevalence has exploded over the past several years. Synthetic identity fraud is arguably the perfect crime because there is no consumer victim.

Put yourself in the shoes of a fraudster. As you consider your many nefarious options for committing a crime and getting away with it, you decide that the best crime is one where there is no clear victim. Sure, robbing a bank using a synthetic identity victimizes the enterprise, its shareholders, its employees and taxes its customers. However, no one individual is intentionally, directly hurt. Therefore, the non-existent victim does not alert authorities and the fact that a crime has been committed is lost to history. There is a “credit loss” and the debtholder is impossible to locate. The debt is written off, or sold, and the fraud is perpetuated yet again. Like I said, the perfect crime.

Candex Raises $ 3.5M in Seed Funding (Finsmes), Rated: A

Candex, a San Francisco, CA-based fintech startup, raised $3.5m in seed funding.

Backers included Edenred Capital Partners, Partech Ventures, Advisors.Fund, Camp One Ventures, NFX, Tekton Ventures, Big Sur Ventures and fintech angel Mark Goines.

Hawaii is state with highest average debt-to-income ratio, study says (Pacific Business News), Rated: A

The average borrower in Hawaii spends 36.2 percent of their monthly paycheck on credit card, student loan, and housing payments, according to a study by Credible.com, making Hawaii the state with the highest average debt-to-income ratio.

According to the online lender marketplace, the average monthly credit card payment for a Hawaii resident is $238, the average monthly student loan payment is $385, and the average monthly housing payment is $1,091, for a total of $1,714.

With average annual income in Hawaii at $56,889, the state’s average debt-to-income ratio is 43 percent more than residents of Michigan, the state with the lowest debt-to-income ratio.

On average, Michigan residents in the dataset spent 25.3 percent of their monthly income on credit card, student loan and housing payments.

Nationwide, the study found the average American in the dataset paid $207 on credit card debt, $370 on student loans and $906 on housing each month, while taking home an average salary of $60,671.

Transparency Can Help Position a Fund for Growth (Lendit), Rated: A

When fund managers choose  experienced service providers, including custodians, auditors, accountants, attorneys and administrators, they can increase transparency in the fund, which can in turn promote investor confidence. Service providers can be much more than just an added expense;  they can be  valuable partners that can help position the fund for success.

United Kingdom

Orca Launches Investment Platform to Drive Mainstream Adoption of P2P Investing (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Orca, an independent data, research and analysis provider targeting the the UK peer-to-peer (P2P) lending market, has launched its premier investment platform. The new platform will allow investors to easily diversify across multiple P2P lending platforms from a single P2P investment portfolio.

Orca seeks to provide their new service to the retail investor market.

Total cumulative lending is £13 billion since the asset class was created in 2005. Orca’s secondary service, Orca Analytics, has 2016 to 2017 growth at 18%, with £4 billion lent in 2017 alone. The estimated customer-base stands at approximately 200,000-250,000 retail investors.

The Orca Investment Platform Features include exposure to both consumer, business and property lenders. Investors may expect a return of 5% net of Orca’s cut which is a 0.65% fee.

UK digital bank that beat peers to an annual profit ‘will go into’ China — eventually (CNBC), Rated: A

OakNorth, a start-up bank based in London, recorded a pre-tax profit of £10.6 million ($15 million) in 2017 and is considered to be the first U.K. digital-orientated bank to reach such a milestone.

Khosla said his firm is already in “open conversations” with multiple countries about its global expansion plans, including the U.S., Canada, Spain, Italy, Germany, Singapore, South Africa and Australia. The company has already established offices in some of those countries, he added.

OakNorth is expanding abroad by licensing its technology platform, ACORN, to banks in other countries. The platform uses big data and machine learning to optimize credit for small-to-medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

OakNorth offers loans between £500 and £30 million to SMEs. It was granted a banking license by U.K. regulators in 2015.

‘No firm views’ on IPO

OakNorth is currently valued at $1.4 billion, which puts it in the ranks of the U.K.’s “unicorn” companies — firms valued at $1 billion or more.

It raised a total of £244 million last year in a combination of investments — the “largest U.K. fintech financing to date,” according CEO Khosla. Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC took a 10 percent equity stake in the firm.

Look to the Innovative Finance Isa for market-beating returns on your tax- free savings (City a.m.), Rated: A

IFISAs are also a way for investors to do something interesting with their savings. For example, Oaksmore has recently launched an Isa which allows investors to capitalise on historic renovation.

This particular IFISA, specialising in historical building renovation, offers a tax-free return of up to 7.5 per cent each year.

Another lender trying to do some- thing different is Folk2Folk, a peer-to- peer platform for rural and local businesses. It is offering an IFISA which gives lenders the opportunity to earn 6.5 per cent interest a year, while supporting British businesses within their local area.

China

China opens its payments market to foreign companies (The Paypers), Rated: AAA

China has decided to open up its payments market, allowing companies to apply for a payments license.

The People’s Bank of China said in a statement that foreign players who apply for payment licenses will receive the same treatment as local companies.

Applicants must set up local units, establish payment infrastructure — including disaster recovery systems — and store client information domestically, the central bank added.

European Union

Banco BNI Europa launches online account opening system through videoconference (Fintech Finance), Rated: AAA

Banco BNI Europa launched an online account opening process through videoconference. This new process also introduces an innovative system of documents signature with a qualified digital certificate and is available for Portuguese citizens who want to open an individual current account. The process is simple, fast and intuitive, without the usual bureaucracies associated with account opening.

This product is offered in partnership with DigitalSign, a Portuguese Certifying Entity specialized in the issuance of qualified digital certificates, registered in the National Security Office as an accredited entity. The partnership with Digital Sign allows, in addition to the online account opening, the issue of a digital certificate, with similar strength to a physical signature, which may be used by the client in the context of other contractual relations with the Bank.

International

Santander is set to launch an international money transfer app with Ripple (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Santander is on track to launch an international money transfer app in partnership with fintech startup Ripple in the next few months, the bank’s UK CEO has confirmed.

Nathan Bostock told the International Fintech conference in London on Thursday: “This spring, if not one beats us to it, we will be the first large retail bank to carry out cross-border payments at scale with blockchain technology.”

 

Peoples Trust Company selects Finastra to fulfill end-to-end lending vision (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Peoples Trust Company of Saint Albans has selected Finastra to provide a single, end-to-end lending solution for commercial and consumer lending. Using Finastra’s Total Lending solution, which packages the power of the Fusion LaserPro, Fusion DecisionPro and Fusion CreditQuest products, the bank will be able to manage its lending process from origination through to booking and thus increase efficiency and customer service.

FintruX raises $ 25 million in their token sale to build P2P lending platform for small businesses and startups (Tech Startups), Rated: A

FintruXNetwork is a global P2P lending blockchain-based ecosystem,  powered by Ethereum. FintruX Network aims to connect borrowers, lenders, and rated service agencies. FintruX facilitates marketplace lending in a true peer-to-peer network to ease the cash-flow issues of small businesses and startups. The startup announced today it has successfully raised over 22,000 ETH  ($25 million) in token sale from contributors around the world. The proceeds of the sale will be used to build an Ethereum-based platform that will fundamentally enhance the P2P loan experience for small businesses and startups.

 

 

 

India

Lending platform Cash Suvidha raises $ 1 million in pre-series A (Financial Express), Rated: AAA

Delhi-based fintech startup, Cash Suvidha, has raised $1 million in its pre-series A round of investment from Initia Holdings Ltd., Vipin Agarwal, Partner in India Industrial Growth Fund and others. The company plans to use the newly secured funds to increase customer base and to further strengthen its technological infrastructure.

The company claims to receive 15,000 loan applications every month and disbursement of loans in another 2 working days. The company has raised a total of $5.2 million and claims to have disbursed over Rs 152 crore.

Further, Cash Suvidha has disbursed loans to over 35,000 borrowers with an average ticket size between Rs 20,000 – Rs 5,00,000.

SBI To Create Blockchain-Based Exchange For Recovering NPA’s (Inc42), Rated: A

Reportedly, India’s largest public sector bank, State Bank of India is looking to create a blockchain-based exchange for Non-Performing Assets (NPA’s).

To be launched in association with 30 banks, this platform will assist the banks in data-driven price discovery.

SBI is said to have assets over $460 Bn and offers services in areas such as retail, corporate banking, financing, and insurance. The Indian banks are said to have to battle with NPA’s worth $210 Bn of which $30 Bn resides with SBI alone.

Digital lending venture success secrets for the new-age CIOs (CIOL), Rated: AAA

Velocity

Broadly, there are three types of software systems that enterprises employ. These include:

a)Systems that help in running a business process

b)Those that help companies to grow their businesses

c)Systems that transform businesses

In the year 2013, China reported an eight-fold rise in the total number of borrowers that touched 1,49,300. The growth continued through 2014, with total borrowers reaching 630,000 by the year’s end.

Quality

Traditionally, lenders considered credit score as the key parameter in defining a borrower’s creditworthiness. In case of digital lending, a borrower’s risk profile is defined based on aspects such as Aadhaar for identification, salary slips for working professionals, and the applicant’s financial behavioral patterns determined based on information curated from online sources such as social media channels.

User Experience

Boston Consulting Group estimates that by 2020, 48% of India’s internet users will be rural and of that, 21% will be women.

Asia

Facing regulatory bar at home, QARASoft robo adviser heads overseas (Korean Herald), Rated: A

QARASoft’s now-defunct platform, called “QARA,” connected individual asset managers with funds pooled — or borrowed — from peer-to-peer investors, in part by making use of the venture firm’s artificial intelligence-powered robo adviser.

The “decentralized” platform collected some 100 retail investor loans in the first two weeks. But they were retrieved after the Financial Supervisory Service banned its operation, despite a patent earned the previous year for the pooling scheme of the fund and the platform’s three-year operation of its beta version.

The service will primarily target retail investors in overseas markets in the United States, the United Kingdom and Singapore, and the English version will be launched prior to a Korean version.

Continuous learning for SME executives (The Star Online), Rated: B

SMALL business executives who took part in the AmBank BizRACE gained a new perspective in managing their operations, allowing them to bring the business further.

The top 15 finalists in the programme recently completed two, out of four, executive development programmes at Menara AmBank.

Peoplender Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Kristine Ng, a participant in the programme, said she was inspired with a new structure for her business after the first day itself. Ng recalled one of the trainers talking about constraints that one would face in growing businesses – if it doesn’t fit the business model, then change must occur.

 

MENA

Creating big impact with a small help (Khaleej Times), Rated: AAA

According to the World Bank, 63 per cent of Mena SMEs do not have access to capital.

In Jordan, SMEs represent 97 per cent of companies and create 70 per cent of new jobs in the kingdom, according to Oxford Business Group, Jordan: Finding Financing for SMEs.

Liwwa is a peer-to-peer lending platform in the Mena region that provides SMEs with trade and asset financing. Liwwa’s target audience is divided into borrowers and investors, also referred to as lenders. To date, liwwa has maintained a solid portfolio and delivered annual returns of 10.6 per cent.

The liwwa index delivered 9.45 per cent over the last 12 months, which is attractive.

Liwwa has raised $5.55 million from investors and $6 million in debt to date. Their investors include Silicon Badia, Bank Al Etihad, DASH Ventures and Mena Venture Investments. Their debt partners include Bank Al Etihad, Capital Bank, Arab Bank and the Dutch Good Growth Fund.

Source Khaleej Times

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday February 26 2018, Daily News Digest

bank accounts

News Comments Today’s main news: Revolut breaks even, prepares for global expansion. RateSetter finances divorces. Which Isas pay 6% or more. Half of all employers offer financial advice. CoAssets increases revenue by 471% in half a year. Today’s main analysis: Do Americans really want a bank branch? Today’s thought-provoking articles: Ron Suber, Godfather of Fintech. Unscrupulous banks fueled the rise […]

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United States

How Helping Your Employees Improve Their Credit Helps Your Bottom Line (Forbes), Rated: AAA

One possible cause of an employee’s poor attitude is that he or she has looming debts or is attempting to climb out of a credit score canyon. Workers facing these challenges are often unable to completely focus on their job responsibilities. It’s no surprise that constant stress over meeting financial obligations leads to a loss of focus and time dedicated to work obligations. And because employees work for paychecks that go toward their debts, it makes sense that they begin to associate the two.

Defeating Debt-Fatigue

About 

Giving the middle class credit: New bill a step in right direction (The Hill), Rated: A

Consumers need access to credit, and bank-fintech partnerships are one way to meet their needs. Indeed, bank-fintech partnerships are good for both consumers and banks.

As I noted, consumers benefit because banks can use fintech to deliver safer, more transparent, lower-cost and more convenient financial products and services over the internet and mobile devices.

Banks benefit because fintech companies can leverage big data and technology, offering the infrastructure banks need to serve and welcome more people into the financial system.

An excellent example of community banks using fintech to compete with the Wall Street banks is Radius Bank, a $1-billion asset institution in Boston, which according to news reports is establishing “long-term relationships” with fintech providers, and is finding them to be “mutually beneficial.”

Ron Suber, the Godfather of Fintech (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

In this podcast you will learn:

  • Ron’s background and how he became interested in marketplace lending.
  • Why he saw a big opportunity for Prosper back in 2012.
  • What was behind Ron’s decision to leave Prosper last year.
  • What rewirement means to Ron and why it is important.
  • How the typical work week looks today for Ron.
  • Highlights of some of the trips he has taken recently.
  • What it was like doing the road show for the Credible IPO in Australia.
  • Details of the meeting Ron recently had with the Australian Treasurer.
  • What Ron is doing at Prosper these days.
  • Knowing what he knows now, what he would have done differently at Prosper.
  • What the marketplace lending industry still needs to improve upon today.
  • What inning the industry is in today.
  • What Ron looks for when he considers a new investment.
  • Why he pulled the trigger on some of his recent investments.
  • Ron’s view on Marcus and its impact on the online lending space.
  • What area of fintech Ron is most excited about today.
  • How he is able to maintain so many connections in fintech.
  • What is next for Ron Suber.

 

Chris Larsen Of Ripple (XRP) @Google (ValueWalk), Rated: A

Fed Minutes (PeerIQ), Rated: A

The Fed released the minutes of the January FOMC meeting and provided a bullish outlook to the economy with upside risks due to tax reform. The committee indicated that they were on track to raise interest rates in the March meeting, and market participants are expecting 3 rate hikes in 2018.

Meritize Raises $ 6.8M in Seed Funding (Finsmes), Rated: A

Meritize, a Frisco, Texas-based student lending platform, raised $6.8M in seed funding.

Colchis Capital, Chicago Ventures and Cube Financial Holdings led the investment round with participation from ECMC, College Loan Corporation, University Ventures, City Light Capital, PC Squared and Meritize management.

LendingPoint Co-founder Weighs in on Lending Club’s Earnings Report (deBanked), Rated: B

“In my view, [Lending Club’s] underlying problem is that they don’t have alignment of interest between their stakeholders,” Tavares said. “At LendingPoint, we have a different approach. We look at it really as a balance sheet model, which means that we put everything on our books. We use our own equity. We leverage other investors’ capital, but we’re not an origination platform…Lending Club’s model primarily is that they have to continue feeding the beast, so to speak, in order to continue making their revenues. They don’t have inventory to continue generating assets or to monetize going forward. That’s a significant shortcoming in their model,” he said.

Bay Area Man’s Opportunity Fund Giving Small Businesses A Leg Up (CBS Local), Rated: A

About 8,000 small business loans are denied every day in this country, according to the U.S. Federal Reserve. It’s a story Alicia Villanueva knows all too well.

So in 1992, Weaver founded Opportunity Fund, launched with a consortium of 15 banks. But although the San Jose-based non-profit works with traditional lenders, its business practices are a bit different. Weaver says Opportunity Fund delves into an applicant’s financial picture and character.  And since it lends to people with bad or non-existent credit, a granted loan comes with an automatic offer of hands-on financial management support, and a hefty dose of financial responsibility.

Today, Opportunity Fund loans about $5 to $7 million a month to small business owners in California and 13 other states. The money comes from business and private donations. An average loan can range from $2,600 to $250,000. Under Weaver’s leadership, 6,200 businesses have received loans.

Opportunity Fund, along with other partners like Lending Club, is set to expand into other parts of the U.S. later this year.

A Look at CUneXus’ Strong Growth in 2017 (Finovate), Rated: A

Lending automation company CUneXus published some impressive growth stats today. Here’s a quick overview of a few of the California-based company’s success metrics:

  • Grew from 45 FI clients to 72 over the course of one year, from 2016 to 2017, a 60% year-over-year increase
  • Reaches more than 6.5 million potential end consumers across the U.S.
  • Averaging more than $6 million in new loan requests per day
  • Generated more than 140,000 loans totaling more than $2.5 billion with its 1-click borrowing solution

These and other FI clients have reported that CUneXus has helped contribute to their own success, including:

  • Loan processing times cut in half
  • A 110% increase in pre-approved lending activity
  • A 135% spike in funded loan amounts

3 Ways Technology is Bringing in New Real Estate Investors (Realty Biz News), Rated: A

Today, in addition to teaming up with development companies, many investors are using technology solutions to research options remotely. Here are the three trending ways technology is revolutionizing how new investors step into the real estate market space.

Mobile apps like Vacation Rentals by Owner (VRBO) and Airbnb have become popular and more people are now looking to invest in such short-term rentals.

Big data is now a critical offering for the public, and the real estate niche is looking for ways of gathering and presenting the information for driving purchase behavior.

Following the success of the customer-centric applications, it’s clear to see that the industry holds a huge potential if technology is leveraged to bring in new investors. Real estate is the largest global economy asset with figures hinting at $217 trillion – surpassing the world’s GDP of $80 trillion! This is a clear indicator that there is a huge potential for financial freedom creating entrepreneurs looking to tap into the real estate market.

New York Federal Reserve: Fintech Has Improved the Mortgage Lending Market (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The New York Federal Reserve has published a staff report pertaining to “The Role of Technology in Mortgage Lending”.

While still relatively small, this segment of onlien lending has grown annually by 30% from $34 billion of total originations in 2010 or 2% of the market, to $161 billion in 2016 or 8% of the market.

The Fed research finds that Fintech lenders reduce mortgage processing time by about 10 days, or 20% of the average processing time.

Additionally, default rates tank by a whopping 25% indicating the credit process is superior to the antiquated analog method of traditional banks.

 

 

Do the Majority of Americans Really ‘Want’ to Use a Branch? (The Financial Brand), Rated: AAA

According to research conducted by Novantas, 60% of Americans said they would rather open a new checking account in person at a bank branch than on a phone, tablet or desktop computer. Reinforcing this finding is the reality that most consumers still only use digital channels for the most basic banking functions, such as checking account balances and transferring funds. For more complicated issues, like problems with an account or advice, most consumers prefer human contact.

The reliance on branches in North America is almost double other countries, where better digital offerings have been introduced. In fact, according to Novantas, 75% of consumers in Australia report visiting the branch less than once per month, or even less! The UK is very similar while, interestingly, only about half of US consumers exhibit the same behavior.


The banking industry has seen the closure of 1,700 branches in the 12 months ending in June 2017 – the largest one-year decline on record. Capital One Financial Corp. has cut 32% of its branches from mid-2012 to mid-2017, while SunTrust Banks Inc. cut 22% and Regions Financial Corp. has cut 12%.

U.S. Bank Offers New Online Tool to Help Consumers Get Fast, Convenient Car Loan Approvals (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Working with financial technology startup AutoGravity, U.S Bank created a new platform on USBank.com that provides a simplified, streamlined loan application process for users that typically takes just minutes to receive a loan decision.

Car buyers using the new U.S. Bank tool simply:

1) Pick their car and select a dealership online

2) Apply for a pre-approval for a U.S. Bank loan online

3) Close the loan at the dealership and drive off in their new car

When Weak Bank Lending Is a Good Sign (WSJ), Rated: A

Total commercial and industrial loans extended by U.S. banks were up just 1% from a year earlier on Feb. 7, according to weekly Federal Reserve data. For the month of January, C&I loans were down an annualized 10.8% compared to December, according to calculations by Keefe, Bruyette and Woods.

Asked how demand for loans has changed over the past three months from large and medium-sized firms, 84% said it was “about the same” or “somewhat stronger,” while just 16% said it was “moderately weaker.” For small firms with annual sales of less than $50 million, 88% of bankers said loan demand was about the same or better, while only 12% said it was weaker.

Financial incumbents are starting to care about financial education (Tearsheet), Rated: A

On Wednesday, Greenlight Financial Technology — the creator of a smart debit card for kids, teens, and college students — closed $16 million in a Series A funding round. Its investors went beyond your traditional venture capital firm, including a disparate coalition of  financial services bigwigs like SunTrust Bank and Ally Financial as well as the Amazon Alexa Fund, among other VCs. Greenlight, whose mission is to help strengthen financial literacy among kids and give parents a platform to raise “financially smart kids,” will use the new funds to develop its products.

That coalition of Greenlight partners signals a renewed understanding of the reality of most Americans’ financial lives — 57 percent of Americans are financially unhealthy according to the Center for Financial Services Innovation — by legacy financial services companies coming to terms with the fact that they need to be in the business of financial health in order to keep customer relationships in tact over the long term.

Don’t be THAT credit union. Offer short-term loans to your members. (CUInsight), Rated: B

CashPlease is an innovative new short-term, small-dollar loan solution that allows credit unions to implement a consumer loan product efficiently and compliantly.  Here’s how:

  • No additional loan officers or other additional staff needed
  • Underwriting technology that is automated and proven
  • Assistance with compliance best practices
  • Data-driven marketing to educate consumers about the availability of lower-cost loans

ATTORNEY GENERAL HERRING OBTAINS FULL RESTITUTION FOR CUSTOMERS OF ONLINE LENDER (Virginia.gov), Rated: A

Attorney General Mark Herring announced today that his office has reached a settlement with eight affiliated online lenders and debt collectors to resolve allegations that the companies offered unlawful open-ended credit plan loans and engaged in unlawful debt collection practices including contacting borrowers’ employers and implementing wage garnishments. As a result of the settlement, borrowers will receive nearly $150,000 in restitution and forgiven debt.

The settlement includes the following key terms relating to loans made by the lenders during the period from January 2015 through June 19, 2017:

  • The Lenders agree to refund all interest and fees paid by consumers in excess of 12% of the loan amount, totaling approximately $85,000;
  • The Lenders agree to forgive all outstanding remaining debt of Virginia consumers, totaling over $63,000;
  • The Lenders agree to a permanent injunction against consumer lending activity in Virginia;
  • The Debt Collectors agree to a permanent injunction against all debt collection activity in Virginia;
  • The Lenders agree to pay $10,000 in civil penalties and $10,000 in attorneys’ fees;
  • The Debt Collectors agree to pay $75,000 in civil penalties and $10,000 in attorneys’ fees.

The companies include six lenders (Field Asset Service Team, LLC; VIM Holdings, LLC; MR Capital Group, LLC; Nascent Holdings, LLC; B Financial, LLC; and DTS Capital, LLC, collectively “the Lenders”) and two debt collectors (Bradley Goldberg & Miller, LLC and U Solutions Group, LLC, “the Debt Collectors”) that acted in concert to provide and collect open-end credit plan loans made over the Internet to Virginia consumers.

The Lenders offered open-end credit plan loans and imposed “service fees” as high as $160 per month. The Debt Collectors then emailed consumers in an effort to collect on these loans and contacted the consumers’ employers to implement wage assignments and collect money directly from the consumers’ paychecks.

CFPB Drops Lawsuit Against Payday Lender (JD Supra), Rated: B

The CFPB has dropped a recent lawsuit against a payday lender accused of charging up to 950% interest.

The case is CFPB v. Golden Valley Lending, Inc., et al., Case No. 17-cv-02521 (District of Kansas).

United Kingdom

Difficult divorce? RateSetter can help (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

The ‘big three’ peer-to-peer lender has been offering a family finance product for a number of months, whereby individuals can apply for a loan to pay for their divorce litigation.

The P2P platform offers personal loans ranging from £500 to £35,000, with terms between one year and five years, according to its website. Borrower rates range from 3.9 per cent to 29.9 per cent.

Unscrupulous banks have fuelled rise of alternative lenders (RealBusiness), Rated: AAA

Now it emerges that one bank was actively working against small businesses in its greed-fuelled quest for profits and bonuses. RBS has been exposed for making up fees, imposing punishingly high interest rates, acquiring equity and property from failed businesses – and pocketing huge bonuses off the back of it.

As a result, it is alternative lenders that are now the go-to for independent businesses in need of assistance when it comes to growth. Take, for example, the business cash advance, which is sometimes referred to as a merchant cash advance. This funding can be from as little as £500 up to £300,000 and is advanced to the business against future credit and debit card turnover.

These Isas pay 6% and more – but should you invest? (Which?), Rated: AAA

Last week, Ratesetter launched an Isa paying a top rate of 5.8%, while yesterday (24 February), Easyjet founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou launched an tax-free account aiming to pay 4.05% per year.

Other innovative finance Isas are currently paying returns as high as 16% a year.

Zopa is currently paying between 4% and 4.6%. Zopa primarily lends to individuals, Ratesetter lends to both individuals and businesses whereas Funding Circle lends exclusively to small businesses. The latter’s innovative finance Isa is only available to existing customers, but is projecting an annual return of 7.5%.

EasyMoney launches Innovative Finance ISA (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

EASYMONEY, part of Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou’s ‘easy’ family of brands, has launched in the UK with an Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) offering a target rate of 4.05 per cent a year.

Jacob Rothschild-backed firm plans £100m float (Professional Adviser), Rated: A

Augmentum Fintech, which is preparing to float next month, has unveiled plans to issue a target of 100 million ordinary shares at a price of £1 each, with a maximum issue size of 125 million shares.

FCA seeks feedback on its ideas for a global sandbox (Mondaq), Rated: A

The FCA’s new webpage contains its ideas for a global sandbox [14.02.02]. Its current sandbox only allows firms to test their ideas in the UK.

It highlights three areas:

  • addressing “pre-identified challenges” in areas known for “regulatory problems that cross jurisdictional boundaries” e.g. AML and KYC on-boarding.;
  • enabling firms wishing to expand in different markets to “bring their ideas to market more quickly and easily, creating more effective competition.” The FCA asks for firms who could benefit from testing out their ideas in a number of markets to get in touch; and
  • policy and regulatory challenges – the FCA suggests the sandbox could be used to convene “joint events and papers on emerging trends and challenges” using the experiences of the range of firms and regulators taking part to develop “consistent approaches”.

Brexit to shut the door on lengthy London house price boom (Euronews), Rated: A

British inflation will outstrip gains in house prices this year and next, particularly in the capital, as uncertainty over Brexit and weak consumer spending power hits demand, a Reuters poll found on Friday.

Next year, house prices will rise 0.9 percent in London and 2.0 nationally, still both below the 2.1 percent expected inflation rate. In 2020, London prices will increase 2.0 percent and by 2.3 percent nationally.

“Quite simply, with loan-to-income ratios for first time buyers sitting at around four times, average salaries of 33,000 pounds ($46,000), and your average flat in London costing over 500,000 pounds, it’s extremely difficult to see how London can be viewed as anything but very expensive,” LendInvest’s Lockhart said.

China

Hang Seng Bank deploys fintech to simplify mobile banking, mulls use of facial recognition at ATMs (SCMP), Rated: A

Hang Seng Bank plans to expand the use of fintech to mobile banking services and is also toying with the idea of incorporating facial recognition, after initial success with iPhone X, to allow customers to withdraw cash from its ATMs across the city, according to its chief executive.

The global facial recognition market is forecast to be worth US$6.5 billion by 2021, up from US$2.3 billion in 2016, according to estimates from research company Technavio.

European Union

Klarna Bank AB appoints Niklas Savander to Board of Directors (LeapRate), Rated: B

Klarna Bank AB has announce the appointment of Niklas Savander to the Board of Directors with effect from Thursday 22nd of February 2018. Niklas Savander will replace Niklas Adalberth.

International

Digital banking start-up Revolut breaks even as it prepares global expansion (CNBC), Rated: AAA

Revolut said Monday that it had broken even for the first time in December, and that its monthly transaction volume surged to $1.5 billion, an increase of over 700 percent in the last 12 months.

The start-up has signed up a total of 1.5 million users to its mobile app, up 50 percent from a figure it achieved in November.

Cryptocurrency A Risk Factor, Bank Of America Says In Annual SEC Filing (International Business Times), Rated: A

The 10-K filing referred to cryptocurrencies, without naming any specific one, three times under a subsection titled “Risk Factors” and described three different ways in which they could pose problems for the bank’s business.

The first reference was under geopolitical risks, with the bank talking about international money-laundering.

The third reference was along similar lines, with BoA saying: “The widespread adoption of new technologies, including internet services, cryptocurrencies and payment systems, could require substantial expenditures to modify or adapt our existing products and services as we grow and develop our internet banking and mobile banking channel strategies in addition to remote connectivity solutions,” adding it “might not be successful in developing or introducing” competing products at lower prices.

 

Australia

SPOTCAP AWARDS SCHOLARSHIP TO ASPIRING FINTECH ENTREPRENEUR (Global Banking & Finance), Rated: A

Spotcap today announced Vishal Uppal as the winner ofthe Fintech Scholarship 2017. The first of its kind in Australia, the scholarship awards one aspiring graduate with an interest in fintech $10,000 towards the cost of their tuition.

India

Guide to smart banking: Why P2P lending is an ‘interest’ing idea (Business Line), Rated: AAA

P2P lending, on the other hand, is a completely tech-driven investment, which gives a net annualised return of 18-22 per cent to lenders, who start earning their principal and interest back from the very first month. The returns are higher because you can lend directly to the borrower and the intermediary costs are drastically reduced.

A majority of investors on these platforms are salaried professionals aged between 20 and 35 years looking for additional sources of income.

On Faircent.com lenders can invest as low as 750 per loan size or choose tech-enabled processes like auto-invest to save time. These features are a major attraction for millennials and, in fact, according to the last Research and Analytics report on P2P lending published by Faircent.com, 64 per cent of lenders are below 35 years of age.

Retirement plan: How real estate investment can help millennials secure their future (Financial Express), Rated: A

A growing number of millennials are also opting for investments into commercial real estate, as opposed to investments into residential properties made by their parents.

Commercial real estate: better yields for better financial security

Leases on these properties are usually taken out for multiple years by blue-chip companies, thus ensuring that steady rental income is assured for a specific duration of time. With India’s rise as a prominent international business destination, the sector is also witnessing remarkable growth; the country’s 537 million square feet of rent-generating commercial real estate inventory is currently estimated to be worth nearly $70 billion.

How technology is enabling millennials to make high-value real estate investments

The investments can start as low as Rs 5 lakh, making the entire process extremely affordable for millennial buyers whilst also allowing them to make multiple investments to diversify their portfolio, increase rental incomes, and minimise risk. Average rental returns to the tune of 7%-8% are quite common, while the overall returns can be as high as 22%.

India is projected to become the youngest country in the world by 2020, with a median age of 29.

Movers And Shakers Of The Week [19-24 Feb 2018] (Inc42), Rated: B

BigWin Infotech, a government recognized fintech startup has appointed Suneel Mohnot a the Director on its board.

BigWin Infotech is a self-funded startup who has recently forayed into P2P lending business through its solely owned market place PaisaDukan.com post revised RBI guidelines for NBFC-P2P and one of the strong contenders for NBFC-P2P license.

APAC

CoAssets Reports Half-Year Results With 471% Increase In Revenue (AsiaOne), Rated: AAA

CoAssets Limited (“CoAssets” or the “Group”) (ASX: CA8), a leading crowdfunding platform and Fintech lender specialising in facilitating funding for businesses reported its financial and operating results for the half year ended 31 December 2017, together with an update on the Group’s growth and capital strategy to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) on 22 February 2018.

Total reported revenue increased by 471% from S$446,040 in 2016 to S$2,547,554 in 2017. Group’s profits in year 2017 was S$2,046,013, from a loss of S$3,899,325 in 2016. This increase in profits was due to business activities as well as investment gains. Operating expenses decreased from S$3,570,287 in 2016 to S$2,577,013 in 2017. This represents about S$1million or 28% in cost savings. Registered investor base reached 433,805 as at 31 December 2017. This represents an 88.17% increase from 30 June 2017.

Singapore — CoAssets Pte Ltd (“CAPL”)

After receiving the Capital Market Services (CMS) licence from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) in June 2017, the company crowdfunded more than S$5.11million worth of deals from 1 July 2017 to 31 December 2017.

Singapore — CoAssets International Pte Ltd (“CAI”)

The company disbursed more than S$6.65million worth of loans over the last 6-months, with its loan book growing to more than S$16.21million as at 31 December 2017.

China — CoAssets China

This represents the Group’s fastest growing market, achieving remarkable growth in registered user base of more than 117% (from 173,000 to more than 375,000 members) from 1 July 2017 to 31 December 2017. The CoAssets platform in China funded more than RMB28.15million (S$5.94million) worth of crowdfunding projects over the last 6-months in 2017.

Hong Kong — Fintech Pte Ltd

In April 2017, the Group acquired Fintech Pte Ltd, an online corporate cash management platform called “PiggieBank ” in Hong Kong.  Since then, PiggieBank has successfully managed funds flow of more than S$21. 39million as at 9 February 2018.

Hong Kong — Brighten Finance Limited (“BFL”)

As at 31 December 2017, BFL’s loan book was worth HK$36.91million (S$6.27million).

EF, KoinWorks Serve Online Loans for Courses (netral english), Rated: A

English First, an English Education Institute signed a joint venture with KoinWorks – a Indonesian Peer to Peer Lending Platform – that serves investments and online loans without collateral for various productive loans.

Africa

Blockchain and financial services disruption (Punch), Rated: AAA

Key areas of the financial services that are most likely to be affected by blockchain include transfers, payment and lending. We have seen different start-ups such as OneFi, Inspire, Upstart, and Funding Circle, playing critical roles in peer- to -peer lending and services to individuals.

The closest we have seen so far is what VoguePay, a leading online payment start-up, has done.

It recently launched a multi-currency payment platform to enable businesses to send and receive payment from local and international customers, allowing merchants to accept payment in dollars, Euros, Rands, Cedis, Naira and Bitcoin payment.

The average Nigerian bank pays about five per cent interest rate on fixed deposits while requesting for two-digit interest rates on loans from customers. Economically, this does not make much sense because the margin is too wide when compared to what they offer for holding customers’ fund. Many people are tired of the highly monopolistic nature of banking.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday February 6 2018, Daily News Digest

paypal active customers

News Comments Today’s main news: Zopa reveals where the 3B GBP loanbook gets you. Revolut now operates in the Nordics. MatchMove, Rubique partner on loan payouts, disbursements. Behalf nabs $150M in debt capital. Today’s main analysis: PayPal has another solid quarter of growth. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Why SoFi wants to be a neobank. LendingClub wants to get customers off the […]

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News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Other

News Summary

United States

What is a neobank, and why does SoFi want to be one? (Bankrate), Rated: AAA

The company, Social Finance (often shortened to SoFi), is set to launch its SoFi Money business in the next few months. With this new product line, the company adds its name to the growing list of so-called “neobanks,” alongside firms like Chime, Simple and Varo Money. If you’re interested, there’s a waiting list for SoFi Money.

However, up until now neobanks have tended to stick to narrowly focused product lines, offering only checking or savings accounts. They have also needed to partner with specialty banks to ensure deposits are covered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC).

Should you become a customer, your debit card would say SoFi Money and you’d use the SoFi app to check your balance and call customer service when you have a problem, but your money would be on deposit at WSFS Financial.

LendingClub: Getting Borrowers Off The Credit Hamster Wheel (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

Allocca first observed the problem in the late 1990s, when he began to sense a disconnect between the bank’s stated vision and mission to help customers succeed financially — and the actual help and services that were being offered, from credit cards to overdraft fees.

An October 2017 study by PYMNTS and Unifund dubbed these consumers “financial invisibles,” having no (or little) access to further credit when they need it. These consumers live paycheck to paycheck, and the ends just aren’t meeting up. They feel like they could never set aside $300 a month to square away their credit card debt.

Allocca said they can — and they do — and if they get into the habit of setting aside those $300-a-month payments once the debt has been erased, the savings start to build up.

According to the Financial Invisibles Report, even 40 percent of the population that claims not to worry about money still lives paycheck to paycheck, and that’s true across demographics.

LendingClub (LC) Set to Announce Earnings on Monday (Week Herald), Rated: B

LendingClub (NYSE:LC) will be posting its quarterly earnings results after the market closes on Monday, February 12th.

PayPal sees another solid quarter of growth (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

PayPal, which Wednesday, had another quarter of strong growth across metrics.

  • Total payment volume: The firm’s total payment volume (TPV) increased to $131 billion in the quarter, up 29% from the $99 billion it posted in Q4 2016, and a 15% sequential increase. That volume 
    Source: Business Insider

    NYC-Based Behalf Secures $ 150 Million in Debt Capital (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

    Behalf, a provider of working capital solutions for small and medium-sized businesses, announced today that it has secured $150 million in debt financing led by a private investment fund managed by Soros Fund Management LLC. Viola Credit also participated in the Debt Financing. An equity investment in Behalf was also made by Viola Credit and a private investment fund managed by Soros Fund Management LLC.

    Credit card issuers block bitcoin purchases (Bankrate), Rated: A

    Nearly all of the nation’s largest financial institutions have blocked consumers from being able to buy the volatile cryptocurrency with a credit cardJPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup recently banned credit purchases of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, following Capital One and Discover.

    LendEDU, a student loan marketplace, surveyed nearly 700 bitcoin investors in December and asked how they paid for their investment.

    A third used a debit card, and another 19 percent set up an ACH transfer, which is what you’d expect—people tend to fund for their investment portfolio with cash.

    Another 18 percent, though, said they used a credit card. More than a fifth of those respondents said they carried credit card balance as a result of their purchase. Even more troubling, seven out of ten of those who went into debt believed the profit they’d earn from their bitcoin investment would compensate for interest payments.

    Hard Lessons From the Federal Student-Loan Program’s Coming $ 36 Billion Shortfall (WSJ), Rated: AAA

    U.S. officials have long maintained the federal government would make a profit on its $1.4 trillion student loan portfolio or at least break even, but two recent reports suggest just the opposite will be the case. Government lending to college and graduate students could soon become an immense drain on federal coffers, worsening an already deteriorating U.S. budget picture.

    The Education Department’s inspector general, an agency watchdog, in a reportreleased last week said the profitability of the U.S. federal student lending program is being squeezed because millions of Americans who borrowed heavily in recent years—including many graduate students—are flocking into a program to have substantial portions of their debts forgiven. Students who borrowed in the fiscal year ended Sep. 30, 2015, and enrolled in such “income-driven repayment” plans, for example, are expected to pay back $11.5 billion less than they took to pay tuition and other schooling costs.

    The prospect of taxpayer losses on student loans increases the chances that Congress will make major changes to the program, such as eliminating debt-forgiveness options or placing new dollar limits on how much individuals can borrow.

    REWIREMENT IS NOT AN ALTERNATIVE TO RETIREMENT, BUT A PHASE OF GLOBAL EXPLORATION THAT CAN HAPPEN AT ANY AGE (Ron Suber), Rated: AAA

    ON DAY 231-237,

    While hiking through a forest in Patagonia, wading over volcanic ash for miles, kayaking around fjords amongst glaciers and jumping off cliffs into roaring rapids I found the space to contemplate more on three of the most common topics of conversation.

    FEAR

    Few know that fear drove me to withdraw from the Prosper deal just days before we were going to invest with Sequoia in January of 2013.

    The fear of failure, fear of change, fear of losing, fear of the unknown; all drove me to say no to the Prosper opportunity that I wanted and had worked so hard on with my business partners.

    Overcoming that fear changed the trajectory of my life and helped shape my own investment philosophy (and the strategy of using an Investment Thesis).

    APPEARANCE

    Things aren’t always as they seem in nature, business, people and life. Keep staring, stay curious but remain open.

    ADAPTING

    Adapting is the ability to adjust and modify one’s self to new conditions and new circumstances, and it’s a proficiency we should nurture as our surroundings change ever more rapidly.

    Matt Hollender of NetCredit (Lend Academy), Rated: A

    In this podcast you will learn:

    • The history of Enova and how they have evolved over time.
    • What was appealing to Matt about taking the helm at NetCredit.
    • Where NetCredit fits in the overall picture at Enova.
    • Who the near prime consumer is they are targeting.
    • The range of loan terms that NetCredit offers.
    • While they don’t have a cutoff by FICO score for who they will serve.
    • How their underwriting process works.
    • The channels they use to find these customers.
    • How they are improving the financial lives of their customers.
    • How their unique bank partnership works and how it allows them to expand their reach.
    • The balance they strike between automation and human intervention in credit decisions.
    • How NetCredit differentiates themselves from their competitors.
    • How they are funding these loans.
    • The scale they are at today.
    • How their MyRightFit tool works during the loan application process.
    • The percentage of their customers that come to them on mobile.
    • What the future holds for NetCredit.

    How Millennial Shoppers Make Purchase Decisions Today (Free Biz Mag), Rated: A

    Millennials have become the most in-demand consumer group among online retailers. Experts estimate they already spend over $1 trillion annually. Savvy eCommerce executives are studying Millennials to understand how to better speak to (and sell to) this growing and highly influential audience. This article discusses:

    1. Actionable tips for improving relationships with Millennial customers
    2. Mistakes many companies make when speaking to Millennials
    3. Factors that make Millennials loyal to certain brands

    Pace of Small Business Investment Remains Strong (PayNet), Rated: A

    Small business investment continued to register gains at the end of 2017 as delinquencies and defaults remained at low levels according to the latest small business credit trends from PayNet, the leading provider of small business credit data and analysis. However, some warning signs in financial health are starting to emerge.

    The December 2017 Thomson Reuters/PayNet Small Business Lending Index (SBLI) decreased 1% to 136.5 from 138.5 (revised) in November 2017. Compared to December 2016, the SBLI increased 2%.

    Construction increased +7%, Transportation +13%, and Administrative and Waste Services +5% on a three-month rolling basis compared to three months ago.

    Weaknesses are primarily in the services sector with declines in Information Services (-8%), Professional Services (-3%), and Health Care (-2%) on a three-month rolling basis compared to three months ago.

    New Product Alleviates Mortgage Lending Compliance Risk and Worry (PR Newswire), Rated: A

    Financial institution executives in charge of mortgage lending compliance training now have a solution to stay ahead of employee training, certification and licensing requirements with the launch of Compliance Keeper 2.0 by OnCourse Learning Financial Services.

    The new product alleviates mortgage lending compliance issues regularly plaguing compliance officers, such as tracking loan officers’ completed pre-licensing and continuing education courses, compliance report generation, and assessing company risk and liability.

    Mortgage lending compliance made easy
    Compliance Keeper 2.0 empowers financial services compliance departments to administer, schedule, communicate, report and customize employee training programs to ensure compliance and success.

    Additional benefits of the new product are:

    • Mitigation of risk, and time and money savings on audit preparation.
    • Ability to meet state and national regulatory compliance requirements on time.
    • Automatic notifications that alert managers and employees to training and compliance deadlines.
    • Review of all company license information in one dashboard.
    • Actionable insight into employee certification needs.
    • Continuity of training across departments and/or branches.

    Fluz Fluz Blockchain Cashback Platform Aims to Enter and Reshape US Consumer Market (Insider Monkey), Rated: A

    However, one of the most important areas that blockchain technology can and will disrupt in the near future is financial services. Put simply, the technology represents a shared database that contains entries that are incorruptible and immovable and have to be confirmed in order to be added and each entry is logically linked to the previous one. This makes it perfectly suitable for international money transfers, so it’s unsurprising that 90% of major North American and European banks are exploring the use of this technology, according to an Accenture survey.

    According to a PwC report, 77% of financial institutions expect to adopt blockchain technology as soon as 2020.

    Fluz Fluz currently has over 40,000 active users in Colombia, where it launched in January 2017 built by the serial Ecommerce entrepreneurs Maurice Harary and Stefan Krautwald. The company sells instantly usable gift cards from over 200 merchants. Whenever a purchase is made using this card, network participants earn cashable rewards called Fluz, which are stored in mobile wallets. Fluz points can be exchanged for other cryptocurrencies or fiat money.

    Verifundr Moved to Next Phase Reports APT Systems (GlobeNewswire), Rated: A

    APT SYSTEMS, INC. (OTC Pink: APTY), a fully reporting public company in the Fintech sector, is pleased to announce that it has formally engaged the services of Difitek, Inc. to build the Verifundr escrow and payment platform. We look to Difitek to provide us with a modern framework, architecture and bank grade security features.

     

    The Worst Law Schools If You Ever Want To Pay Off Your Student Loans (Above the Law), Rated: B

    Worst Law School Salary-To-Debt Ratio
    School Avg Salary Avg Debt Salary-To-Debt Ratio
    Florida Coastal $84,664 $158,427 0.5x
    Charlotte School of Law $84,285 $154,802 0.5x
    Saint Thomas $96,356 $175,075 0.5x
    Barry University $86,908 $156,228 0.6x
    Appalachian School of Law $84,366  $143,724  0.6x
    Thomas Jefferson School of Law $101,173 $169,951  0.6x
    Roger Williams School of Law $94,557 $157,494  0.6x
    Elon University $87,680 $145,610  0.6x
    Texas A&M $90,665 $149,042  0.6x
    Arizona Summit f/k/a Phoenix School of Law $96,115  $155,697  0.6x
    United Kingdom

    Zopa reveals where a £3bn loanbook gets you (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

    ZOPA investors have funded enough car purchases to fill a traffic queue stretching from London to New Delhi, the platform claims.

    The peer-to-peer lender, which reached £3bn of loans last week, has been disclosing where the funds have ended up.

    Its loanbook has helped get 147,000 cars on the road, the platform revealed in a blog post on its website on Friday.

    Zorin Finance reaches £300m of lending (AltFi), Rated: A

    Zorin Finance, the alternative property lending specialist, has passed £300m of loans funded.

    Five UK FinTechs Leading The Charge In FinTech Fortnight (Forbes), Rated: A

    Today marks the start of FinTech Fortnight, a two-week celebration of the UK’s rapidly-growing FinTech sector.

    Revolut is a mobile-only digital banking app which launched its first UK current accounts in 2017.

    Founded in 2007, FreeAgent provides cloud-based accounting software, specifically for freelancers, micro businesses and accountancy practices.

    Bud is a London start-up that is trying to introduce “tailor-made banking”, by bundling a person’s various financial services, from a credit card with one bank, to a current account with another, into one platform.

    Funding Circle connects investors who wish to lend money directly to small and medium-sized enterprises via its peer-to-peer, alternative financing platform. Since its launch in 2010, investors on the platform have lent more than £3.2bn to UK firms, which has helped more than 33,000 companies access financing.

    Digital-only bank Monzo, began life as a start-up offering a pre-paid debit card.

    Current account customers slapped with an average of £152 in fees last year – here’s how to check what you paid (This is Money), Rated: A

    Plum has launched a Fee Fighter tool you can use to check how much you have handed over in fees yourself.

    Current account customers handed over an average of £152 each in banking fees last year, effectively putting an end to the myth of free banking.

    Given there are around 65 million active current accounts in the UK, this means the banks could have made nearly £10 billion in fees, according to the figures from savings app Plum.

    The research, which looked at 11,217 current accounts, showed that only 7 per cent (770 users) paid no bank fees at all.

    Over half (57 per cent) of the £152 average annual cost to current account customers came from using an overdraft and 56 per cent of account holders, or 6,276 people, used their overdraft, dipping in to the red at least once in the year.

    The next largest slice of the £152 average fee (at 27 per cent) was made up of monthly account charges or unspecified fees – which can include the cost of payments made or bounced by the bank that take you beyond your limit that are are commonly known as paid and unpaid item or transaction fees.

    These payments typically cost between £5 and £10 each.

    Source: This is Money

    R5-SHCH Connect goes live with eight Chinese banks (Finextra), Rated: A

    Theresa May today announced the launch of R5-SHCH Connect, a new service which links banks in China with London’s foreign exchange (FX) market.

    Using R5-SHCH Connect domestic banks in China now have access to the London FX market, recognised as the leading centre for global FX trading. The new service is a partnership between London’s R5 and the Shanghai Clearing House, announced by UK Chancellor Philip Hammond in December as part of the 9th UK China Economic Dialogue.

    European Union

    Red-hot fintech startup Revolut is taking on the Nordics (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

    Stockholm’s hot fintech scene is about to get hotter as Revolut – one of recent years’ biggest fintech sensations – arrives in the Swedish capital to launch its Nordic expansion.

    Since 2015, the startup has acquired some 1,3 million users around the world, making it one of the world’s fastest-growing fintech startups.

    The company, which recently added all the Scandinavian currencies among its basket of 130 global currencies, is now officially live in all the Nordic countries.

    Dutch fintech firm Ohpen raises €25 million to expand into new markets (Tech.eu), Rated: A

    SaaS-based core banking software Ohpen has raised €25 million in a Series C round led by private equity firm Amerborgh.

    Amsterdam’s Ohpen develops software tools used in the financial sector to digitalise services and for moving customers to the cloud. The new funds will be invested in growth and expanding into new markets.

    Finance chiefs warn on Big Tech’s shift to banking (Financial Times), Rated: A

    Europe’s introduction this year of “open banking” regulation, which forces lenders to provide access to accounts of customers who authorise it, has left senior bankers worrying that tech groups will cherry-pick the best parts of their business.

    Francisco González, executive chairman of Spanish bank BBVA, has warned that groups such as Facebook and Amazon in the US, and Alibaba and Tencent in China will “replace many banks”. He called on a global body such as the G20 to take action, saying “authorities [need] to bring order to this massive change” that could “pose risks to financial stability”.

    France regulator AMF clarifies its expectations for crowdfunding (LeapRate), Rated: B

    The crowdfunding regulatory framework, which was established in 2014 and updated in 2016, set up different statuses for intermediaries in relation to the marketed products:

    • crowdfunding investment advisors for investments in equity, bonds and “minibons” (interest-bearing notes). They are supervised by the AMF;
    • crowdlending intermediaries for donations or loans – with or without interest. These professionals fall under the jurisdiction of the ACPR.

     

    International

    16 Fintech Startups Deliver $ 12 Billion Financing to Consumers and SMEs in 32 countries (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

    The conference gathered more than 2,500 delegates from more than 50 countries from the five continents at the old French stock exchange in Paris, France. Alternative finance was one of the many topics addressed – the event spans Fintech and Insurtech and topics ranging from cryptocurrencies and blockchain to Artificial Intelligence and to Regtech.

    • They’re young: The 16 firms are on average 5.5 years old (with the oldest being 12 years old, the youngest not even 2),
    • Very international: They serve on average 4 different countries and together, with much overlap, cover 32 countries on the five continents.
    • Getting big: They have helped finance nearly €9.5 billion ($12 billion) worth of loans, bonds, and private equity for consumers and SMEs.
    • Well-funded: They raised on average $30 million in private equity for themselves

    Panelists Davis Barons, CEO of Creamfinance, Poland; Boris Batin, CEO of ID Finance, Spain; and Mark Ruddock, CEO of 4finance, Latvia, may be the best-kept secrets of global alternative finance. Founded respectively in 2012, 2012, and 2008, these companies have originated loan volumes measured in the €100s of million, and even, in the case of 4Finance, in billions of euros.

    Revolutionize Your Finance Industry Business With FinTech Mobile Apps (Finextra), Rated: A

    With the increased use of mobiles and digital revolution, every business has been disrupted, and financial services are no exception to this. There has been a drastic change in the way people are now accessing financial products and services. Customers are now looking out for FinServes that offer mobile apps and wearable technology to uninsured millennials. Insurance companies associating with FinTechs is on a rise and FinServes are increasingly leveraging new technologies to enhance customer experience. All insurance related process platforms ranging from claims, underwriting, distribution, and brokerage are being automated in innovative ways.

    According to a survey, FinTech is expected to be customer-focus by nearly 75% respondents out the 432 respondents surveyed. About 84% respondents expect that in the next five years, FinTech mobile applications will show the largest growth in usage.

    • Accept the changing market scenario 
    • Invest in technology: You need to implement innovative technology by investing in ventures to sideline your competitors in the FinServe industry.
    • Work in partnership: You need to collaborate with partners beyond the FinServe industry who have experience and can come up with new ways to generate value.
    • Analyse your success goals: So, plan your goals for the future by cautiously investing in digital technologies that are easy to implement and considering the opportunities available for improving business models.

    Challenges faced by InsurTech

    • IT security concerns: The security challenges of the IT industry make it a challenge for customers to enter the FinTech environment with complete reliability.
    • Frictions in customer journey: With the introduction of FinTech, customer expectations have reached a whole new level. However, they still experience a lot of friction throughout their journey as their very high expectations are still not met.
    • New and different business models: As the traditional insurance industry remained unchanged for over a century, the change in business models is not easily acceptable. Failure to meet user’s rapidly changing needs with time creates a challenge for FinTech adoption.
    Australia

    Why property buyers need to know about tax deductions (Domain), Rated: AAA

    According to a recent survey by online lender State Custodians, 61 per cent of respondents don’t know that mortgage interest payments on an investment property are tax deductible.

    A property is said to be negatively geared when expenses exceed rental income, and this net loss can be applied against other income, including salary or business income, to reduce your tax bill.

    Only 23 per cent of people under 35 know interest repayments are tax deductible compared with 44 percent of people aged 35 and over.

    The Australian Tax Office explains what expenses are deductible, but crunching the numbers based on a hypothetical property purchase can help put it into perspective.

    Source: Domain.com.au
    India

    Startup CXOs welcome boost to digital infra, ask for redressal of angel tax (money control), Rated: A

    Even as the government failed to address the issues of angel tax and crowdfunding of startups in Budget 2018, India’s young ventures have welcomed the move to encourage financial-tech sector and healthcare.

    Bhavin Patel, Founder & CEO, LenDenClub: 

    “The government’s step of introducing LTCG tax of 10 percent on capital gains over Rs. 1 lakh could push investors to go to other fixed income avenues like P2P Lending. The policy will encourage investors to consider P2P lending as an alternate platform to invest and earn profitable returns. The reduction in the Corporate tax to 25 percent also appears as some relief to MSMEs like us.

    The efforts towards creating the right environment for Fintech companies to grow in India will bring in promising growth prospects for P2P lending platforms.”

    Satyam Kumar- CEO and CO-Founder, Loantap: 

    “We are happy that Finance Minister has acknowledged voice from Fintech Industry seeking soft touch approach to regulation and making a strong case for Fintech participation in supporting SME/ MSME growth. Fintech as a segment has been signalled out in this budget with a very clear objective of credit push to the last mile. We see it as strong government backing for the way fintech industry is shaping in India.”

    Asia

    MatchMove and Rubique to Disrupt Loan Payouts and Disbursements (Payments Journal), Rated: AAA

    MatchMove India today announced its partnership with Rubique, India’s leading marketplace for financial services, to transform the current way of paying and disbursing funds to multiple recipients. Rubique’s platform provides a wide range of loan products and end-to-end loan fulfilments to individuals and Small and Medium Enterprises (or SMEs) through its wide network of retailers and distributors.

    The globally proven MatchMove Bank Wallet Operating System enables Rubique to pay commissions, incentives and cashbacks to its retailers and distributors securely with just one click.

    India’s lending market is expected to be valued at US$3 trillion by 2026 and this presents a huge opportunity for Rubique.

    To date, Rubique has processed approximately 100,000 applications, disbursed US$345 million worth of loans and signed up about 65,000 cards across 80 financial institutions. Rubique’s business has seen a fourfold increase year-on-year and it plans to increase its footprint from 27 to 100 cities next year.​

    Cayman

    FINTECH POISED TO TRANSFORM FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY (Cayman27), Rated: AAA

    Traditional financial services accounts for around 55% of Cayman’s economy, but emerging technologies – blockchain being one example – are poised to change the industry forever.

    Fintech, a mash-up of finance and technology, is a word we are likely to hear more often in years to come. In the not-so-distant past, Fintech referred to the back-end computer technology used by banks or trading firms. Over the last decade Fintech has evolved to describe a broad variety of technological interventions into personal and commercial finance, and it’s garnering a lot of investment.

    Authors:

    George Popescu
    Allen Taylor

2018 Predictions for MPL, SMB Lending, and Other Alternatives

Lending Club

In just over a decade, alternative lending has evolved from a niche fintech play into a hundred billion dollar industry. 2017 was somewhat of a bumpy ride. Growing competition, shrinking bottom lines, stringent regulations, and traditional banks’ willingness to take on alt-lending using their financial muscle were the key trends that emerged last year. It […]

Lending Club

In just over a decade, alternative lending has evolved from a niche fintech play into a hundred billion dollar industry. 2017 was somewhat of a bumpy ride. Growing competition, shrinking bottom lines, stringent regulations, and traditional banks’ willingness to take on alt-lending using their financial muscle were the key trends that emerged last year. It is difficult to be sure what 2018 will bring, but here is what experts and pundits are predicting.

Marketplace Lending

Ron Suber (Founder and former president, Prosper & chairman of the board, Credible) believes the marketplace lending industry has finally grown up. Companies will focus more on cash flow, profitability, and EBITDA. He encouraged online lenders to look for a lower cost of capital if they want to compete with the like of Marcus. He is also predicting the entrance of big technology companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google.

Peter Renton (Lend Academy) believes five of the top 25 banks will launch their own platforms. He also believes Congress will pass a Madden fix and the IRS will modernize with its own API. One startling prediction he makes that one of the top online lenders (Lending Club, SoFi, Prosper, OnDeck, or Avant) will be acquired, and he believes a major platform will be hit by a cyber attack. Like everyone else, he believes the tech giants will solidify their positions in alternative lending, and more interestingly, he says messaging apps will integrate with online lending platforms.

Krista Morgan (CEO, P2Binvestor) makes predictions for MPL sector:

  • Companies will shift their focus on business models and unit profitability as hiring and spending decrease.
  • Mergers and shutdowns will continue as equity investors remain absent. She thinks it will be a tough year.
  • Investors believe the market is set for a correction; therefore, they will be looking at short duration assets for deploying their capital. Platforms will have to shift their focus to product development.
  • 2018 will be the year of increased diversity.

Adam Stettner (Founder and CEO, Reliant Funding) predicts a year of instability. He also believes market variables will counterbalance themselves this year. The Fed is expected to increase interest rates, which will have a ripple effect in terms of rates for various types of loans. If unemployment levels remain low, it will lead to wage inflation. So the order of the day for alternative finance and small business funding companies will be adaptability, he says.

Additionally, Stettner sees a year of increased fraud, and companies will have to invest in identification tools and fraud detection techniques.

Two more predictions he points to are increased consolidation as companies overextend themselves and more disruption from big business names entering the space.

The Motley Fool is predicting a Lending Club stock price turnaround.

Juan Tavares (LendingPoint) predicts balance sheet lenders will take over, there will be more collaboration, and payments and credit will intersect more.

Small Business Lending

Trevor Dryer (Co-founder and CEO, Mirador) made predictions on small business lending:

  • Banks will continue to increase small business lending and alternative lenders will struggle.
  • Crowdfunding got a boost last year when Title III of The Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act) was implemented, opening the gates for crowdfunding. Dryer believes this sector will thrive in 2018.
  • Alternative lending has removed physical barriers that makes the lending process faster and more convenient. Alternative lending will continue to be more inclusive and encourage more people to start businesses.
  • Legislative barriers will continue to fall.
  • Alternative lenders will focus on experience and relationship building. Companies able to streamline and automate the application processes will thrive.

Alternative Lending in India

Rajesh Gupta (Founder and CEO, Cash Suvidha) made the following predictions for the Indian alternative lending market.

  • A significant increase in alternative lending market share.
  • Favorable regulations, cash benefits, ease of usage, and increased internet and smartphone penetration.
  • Investors and venture capitalists will remain optimistic about the Indian alternative lending industry since it is the second most funded segment in Indian fintech.

“2018 will witness a transformation in the Indian financial landscape, all thanks to alternative lending,” he writes.

Traditional Financial Services and Alternative Investing

Kevin McPartland (Greenwich Associates) says 2018 will be the year of digital. He believes product-agnostic investing will be huge, and passive investing will gain on active investing. 2018 will also be the year that alternative data goes mainstream, he believes while data will be more important than trading. He also believes wealth management will “come out of retirement” and, finally, a ton of innovation in the financial markets as banks focus on crypto.

Chris Skinner (The Finanser Blog) writes a lot about banking’s reaction to alternative lending. He believes 2018 will be the year of artificial intelligence for banks and that banks will continue to drive digital technology deeper into their core systems. Not surprisingly, he also predicts that banks will develop more proof-of-concept operations for distributed ledger technology. Finally, he predicts the banks will develop an Enterprise Data Architecture this year to clean up their fragmented systems.

Alexander Prokhorov (FinSight Ventures) made some general predictions for fintech that apply just as well to alternative lending:

  • Software will converge with financial products in the U.S. and Europe
  • Insurtech will be more prominent
  • Artificial intelligence will transform financial services
  • There will be a lot of innovation in emerging economies such as Africa, Latin America, and Asia
  • Wealth management will pick up speed
  • Crypo assets and blockchain will take center stage for retail investing

Mitek believes 2018 will be the year of the cyber criminal and predicts there will be 150 million attempts to set up fraud accounts this year.

Don Steinbrugge, CFA (Founder and CEO, Agecroft Partners) is predicting a banner year for the hedge fund industry. He believes hedge fund assets will reach an all-time high for the 10th straight year. He also believes there will be an increase in hedge funds shutting down. And there will be an increase in cryptocurrency funds. Strategies that will gain assets, he believes, include:

  • Asia long/short equity
  • Reinsurance
  • Those that blur the lines between private equity and hedge funds

The Lending-Times Prediction

Allen Taylor (Editor, Lending-Times) believes more U.S. platforms will open the doors to non-accredited investors. Blockchain will feature more prominently in alternative lending with more platforms focused on crypto-lending including a prominent alternative lender adding cryptocurrency to its list of core services. He also believes increased specialization will lead to platforms targeting specific industries, regions/states, and other narrow target markets.

Conclusion

2018 will surely see the alternative lending industry enter a consolidation phase to withstand the changes in market dynamics, and companies best able to cope with these headwinds would emerge bigger and stronger.

Authors:

Written by Heena Dhir and Allen Taylor.

Allen Taylor

Friday January 5 2018, Daily News Digest

small business lending

News Comments Today’s main news: Wealthfront gets backing from Tiger Global. Funding Circle partners with Kansas bank. Elevate customers see rise in credit scores. NextCapital raises $30M for digital advice platform. London tops tech funding. HMT Treasury says P2P lending not deposit-taking. Yields lower in Euro zone as MiFID II begins. Today’s main analysis: FT Partners’ CEO monthly alt lending market […]

small business lending

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United Kingdom

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International

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

An investing startup that grew by $ 100 million in a single day just got some big name backing (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Wealthfront, a robo-adviser with more than $9 billion under its management, announced Thursday that Tiger Global, the New York investment firm, would lead a $75 million fundraising round.

Wealthfront plans to use the new capital to enhance its Path platform, which allows users to view all of their financial accounts.

“Path’s appeal to young people propelled our growth such that people under 45 now represent 85% of our clients,” Wealthfront cofounder Andy Rachleff said in a statement.

FT Partners’ CEO Monthly Alternative Lending Market Analysis  (FT Partners), Rated: AAA

As FT Partners wraps up 2017 and looks forward to 2018, we are extremely proud of our accomplishments. Celebrating over 16 years in business, we executed a record number of deals, significantly expanded our team, continued our global expansion and won a number of industry awards during the past twelve months. We are confident that 2018 will be another successful year for the Firm and we are incredibly thankful to our clients and friends across the industry.

In case you missed it, we recently published our latest in-depth, 200+ page industry report: “

Source: FT Partners

Read the full report here.

Business-Loan Growth Fell Off a Cliff in 2017 and No One Can Figure Out Why (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Business-loan growth fell to its lowest levels since the aftermath of the financial crisis in the final weeks of 2017, a puzzling development that could weigh on bank earnings later this month.

Bank loans to companies grew 1.1% from a year earlier as of Dec. 20, up slightly from a 0.8% rate the prior week, according to Federal Reserve data. That Dec. 13 level was the lowest since spring 2011, when banks were just starting to lend to companies again after the financial crisis.

The readings likely cement 2017 as the worst year for this type of lending in recent history. The average weekly rate of business-loan growth was 2.7% for 2017 through Dec. 20, compared with 9.3% in 2016 and double-digit growth in the two years before that.

Looking at 2018: A Discussion with Ron Suber (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

“[People] from the banking industry from the tech industry. We have grown up,” said Suber. “We had some people that were great from the early days but were not good for long term growth. There has bee a major turnover in the leadership at many of these companies. My call is that companies are focusing on cash flow, profitability and EBITDA for the first time. Earnings on GAAP basis … I think that is great for the industry. You are seeing companies generate cash. [In the past] Prosper did $400 million in month and it lost money. Now it is doing, say $200 million a month and it is making money. They are being run to be profitable businesses. That is the takeaway from 2017.”

Suber says that today, Prosper makes money every quarter. They have $100 million on the balance sheet and it gets higher every month.

“We are seeing lots of money coming in from Asia to buy loans now. More than ever,” added Suber.

LendingClub, a reporting company, has had a tough two years as its stock has tanked while Wall Street looked elsewhere for growth.

ELEVATE ANNOUNCES BOOST IN CUSTOMER FINANCIAL HEALTH (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

More than 140,000 customers of Elevate’s RISE product have seen an improvement in their credit scores. Additionally, more than 35,000 RISE customers are now eligible to receive at least a 50 percent reduction in their APR and more than 13,000 customers are eligible to receive RISE’s lowest rate.

More than 160 million Americans are either non-prime or “credit invisibles,” without any credit score. These customers account for almost two-thirds of the U.S. population, yet are significantly underserved by the traditional financial industry.

RISE loans are originally priced to risk. Customers are eligible to receive 50 percent off of their rate on subsequent loans after 24 months of payments, eventually achieving a further reduction to 36 percent. Today, more than 35,000 customers have received or are eligible to receive a 50 percent rate reduction and more than 13,000 customers are eligible for an APR of 36 percent.

About the Data

Elevate worked with a major credit bureau to which it reports, gathering anonymized data on RISE customers. Elevate reviewed credit scores of customers from the customer acquisition point up to two quarters after loan completion.

The number of customers who have reached the necessary number of payments to receive a rate reduction was calculated by tabulating the number of accounts at the number of payments necessary.

  • 24 months of payments are required to receive 50 percent off of the customer’s original APR
  • 36 months of payments are required to reach 36 percent

NextCapital Raises $ 30M for its Digital Financial Advice Platform (ChicagoINNO), Rated: AAA

NextCapital officially announced Thursday that it has raised $30 million in new funding to grow its enterprise digital advice platform.

The Series C round brings the company’s total funding to more than $52 million. The round was led by Oak HC/FT, and included additional investments by Manulife Financial, Transamerica Ventures, Vermont Seed Capital Fund and Route 66 Ventures.

FSOC Annual Report on Financial Stability Highlights Marketplace Lending (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Last month the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) released their annual report. This 165-page report highlights potential risks to our financial system by looking at new developments and providing recommendations to improve financial stability.

Section 4.14 of this year’s report deals with new financial products and there is an entire section on marketplace lending. Here is their conclusion about our space:

Although marketplace lending has the potential to reduce costs and expand access to credit, the extent to which these benefits have been realized thus far is unclear. Furthermore, the marketplace lending model has not been tested through a full credit cycle. There are risks that misalignment of incentives could exist on these platforms.

Can blockchain technology revive peer-to-peer lending? (American Banker), Rated: A

The original premise of online peer-to-peer lending platforms was simple and democratic: A single mom from Kalamazoo, Mich., could post her story explaining why she needed $5,000 to pay off her credit card, and a retired electrician in Illinois could read it, decide to fund her loan and receive interest far exceeding what he could get on his savings account.

LendingClub and others that proffered this people-helping-people model quickly found they needed to make changes.

 

Unbanked vs. Underbanked: Who they are and how they differ (MicroBilt), Rated: A

Slightly more than two-thirds of households in America frequently make use of traditional banking services, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. But that leaves 33 percent of people in the U.S. who don’t, a significant percentage by any measure.

Unbanked

As the title implies, unbanked Americans are those who don’t make use of any banking services whatsoever. This includes debit cards and checking accounts, as well as savings accounts. In 2015 – the most recent year for which data is available – the unbanked represented 7 percent of U.S. households, translating to approximately 23 million individuals, including children, the FDIC reported. The percentage of unbanked households in the U.S. is down slightly from 2013, when it was 7.7 percent.

Families have a plethora of rationales for why they opt to go without banking services, but it’s usually due to what they do not have in terms of savings. Nearly 57 percent of unbanked households cite this as their prime reason, according to the FDIC report.

Underbanked

Around 20 percent of Americans are underbanked, according to the FDIC, which means they have either a checking or savings account, though rarely both. Households are also usually given the underbanked distinction if they’ve used alternative financing options during the previous year, such as money orders or rent-to-own services. Around 67 million Americans are underbanked, or the equivalent of 24.5 million households, based on 2015 figures from the most up to date FDIC survey.

As far as demographics are concerned, millennials are among the most likely to be underbanked, with 31 percent of them under the age of 24, according to federal figures.

‘We don’t need to stay in the student market’: How BankMobile wants to grow its offering and replicate its model (Tearsheet), Rated: A

BankMobile, the digital-only bank that offers checking accounts to students, wants to start offering them credit.

The three-year-old Customers Bank subsidiary launched a personal loan product for its customers at the end of December, but that was just the first of a suite of credit products the bank plans to roll out this year as part of its “customer-for-life” strategy, according to Luvleen Sidhu, president and chief strategy officer.

BankMobile has 1.8 million customers to date and has opened about 300,000 new accounts each year in the student demographic through its university partnerships.

Why are you expanding into credit now?
We’re just looking at our demographic. Many in our current customer base are living paycheck to paycheck — that’s why personal loans make sense.

How do you plan to expand your products after the personal loan?
We have a lot of products to introduce on the credit side: credit cards in the second quarter, student refinancing in the second quarter, auto loans and home equity by the second half of next year.

You’re partnering with Upstart on credit products. What are the advantages of that approach?
In the longterm you could say it’s more expensive to partner but those costs outweigh the fact that we get to market much faster.

How has competition changed since BankMobile launched?
It’s accelerated. Challenger banks and Neobanks like Moven, GoBank, Simple and Varo continue to flourish and grow. Digital banks like Ally, USAA and Captial One 360 have really done a push in 2017 attracting millennials, tweaking their product, tone, messaging, branding to make sure they start penetrating that segment. Traditional banks are finally realizing the branch based customer acquisition model is not sufficient.

Banks compete for tech talent by helping on student loans (American Banker), Rated: A

Banks spend not only a lot of time thinking about how to attract millennial customers, but also how to get millennials to work for them.

Though banks might be hard-pressed to offer similar wages — average starting salaries at Uber, Pinterest, and Airbnb are all over $220,000, according to Paysa — they can offer something most tech companies don’t: a student loan repayment benefit plan.

Inside Citizens Bank’s branch redesign strategy (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Banking giants like Citi and Capital One with much more money and resources at hand have been making branches look more like lounges, coffee shops or museums as they figure out what to do with them with less foot traffic, but in 2018, smaller institutions could start to make a move on their plans.

The Providence, Rhode Island bank is transforming its branches into digitally-connected community centers, Johnson said.

Citizens currently has 1,200 branches, and the bank is in the second year of a 10-year plan to reduce its branch footprint as lease expiries take effect. It’s replacing paper pamphlets with digital tools, like a digital retirement checkup platform customers can use while meeting with bankers. The bank can also project digital content onto the walls of a meeting room — a nod to the digital-first habits of some younger customers. Citizens is on an ambitious track to reduce its retail footprint by as much as 50 percent — a “do more with less” approach that over the long term that will save occupancy costs, CEO Bruce Van Saun said in an earnings call last year.

How banks use behavioral economics to win over customers (American Banker), Rated: A

When a major international bank was looking to improve the response rates for its credit card mailers in 2017, rather than changing the graphics or upgrading the paper stock, it turned to a firm that could offer guidance on how consumers make decisions.

It was trying to tap into the insights of behavioral economics, a discipline that uses psychological observations about human behavior to analyze and predict how people will act.

A Fight Over the Credit Score Lenders Use for Your Mortgage (WWJ), Rated: A

Banks and rival lenders are butting heads over the credit scores used to decide millions of mortgage requests by U.S. home buyers.

Now, a federal agency is weighing whether to step into the fight, which revolves around a longtime requirement for lenders who sell mortgages to Fannie Mae FNMA -3.17% and Freddie Mac FMCC -3.31%to gauge most borrowers using FICO scores. The Federal Housing Finance Agency’s ultimate decision could have wide-reaching ramifications for the mortgage market and home buyers across the U.S.

Many nonbank lenders, which in some recent quarters have accounted for more than half of the mortgage dollars issued in the U.S., want the ability to use a credit score provided by a company owned by credit-reporting firms Equifax Inc., EFX +0.00% Experian EXPGY 0.23% PLC and TransUnion . TRU 0.80% These lenders argue the alternative score would open the mortgage market to a greater number of people and lead to more mortgage approvals, helping to boost home sales and the economy.

That is where VantageScore Solutions LLC, the scoring firm that Experian, Equifax and TransUnion launched in 2006, says it can step in.

The company says it can assign a credit score to about 30 million more consumers than FICO. Roughly 7.6 million of those consumers would potentially be eligible for a Fannie or Freddie mortgage, VantageScore says.

Envestnet Finalizes Acquisition of FolioDynamix for $ 195 Million (Finovate), Rated: A

Wealth management intelligence solutions company Envestnet has finalized its acquisition of Actua Corp’s FolioDynamix, a wealth tech solutions company, this week.

PropertyMetrics helps real estate investors create more accurate proformas (Realty Biz), Rated: A

With that in mind, a company called PropertyMetrics has built a web based platform that’s designed to help investors come up with a proforma that includes evaluation and analysis. With PropertyMetric’s software it’s possible to analyze any property in minutes, from any device. This means investors can quickly generate a quick cash flow proforma, perform a cash flow analysis and generate PDF reports from anywhere, in a matter of minutes.

10 favorite stocks for 2018 from top-ranked stock newsletter writers (MarketWatch), Rated: A

Michael Brush, Brush Up on Stocks

I also recently suggested Lending Club Corp. LC, +0.98% in part because of the huge buying by Chinese technology and internet expert Tianqiao Chen, who founded the online gaming company Shanda Interactive Entertainment years ago while he was in his 20s.

He owns around 20% of Lending Club, an online peer-to-peer lending platform. LendingClub recently tightened its lending standards, which hurt loan growth, so the company missed earnings estimates and guided down. But it still expects 15%-20% annual revenue growth over the next few years. This seems plausible given how many people with OK credit would like to refinance their credit card debt with loans. Lending Club estimates $300 billion to $350 billion in credit card debt could potentially be refinanced in this way.

An Online Lending Task Force is Coming to New York (deBanked), Rated: A

An online lending task force DFS study will be coming soon to New York, according to legislative records.

Chippewa Cree Tribe Settles BEH Gaming Ltd Lawsuit (PRWeb), Rated: B

Plain Green, LLC, the online resource for the short-term financial needs of underbanked and subprime consumers, today announces a successful settlement with BEH Gaming Ltd related to loans to the Chippewa Cree Tribe and Chippewa Cree Tribe Development Corporation. Plain Green’s settlement and payment of the debt to BEH releases the Chippewa Cree Tribe and Chippewa Cree Tribe Development Corporation from all liability. The settlement amount is under seal of court order.

The agreement settles a lawsuit filed by Florida-based BEH Gaming Ltd in 2014 (Case # DV-14-142 in the 12th Judicial District Court in Hill County, Montana) to repay loans to expand Northern Winz Hotel and Casino.

Portland ad agency lands $ 126M LendingTree account (Biz Journals), Rated: B

Advertising agency R2C inked a deal late last month to become the new media partner for LendingTree Inc.

LendingTree is an online loan marketplace for financial needs like auto loans, small business loans and credit cards headquartered in Charlotte, N.C. AdWeek reports that the company had a media budget of $126.5 million in 2016, and spent nearly $61 million during the first half of 2017, though R2C won’t manage LendingTree’s entire media budget.

Growing your business? These 3 financing mistakes can cost you big (News-Journal), Rated: B

1. Not understanding the true cost of your loan

When shopping for a business loan, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by fast-talking salespeople, endless strings of acronyms and confusing terms. If it’s unclear how much you’ll really pay for financing, that’s a good sign you should walk away, Hodges cautions.

2. Getting trapped in daily or weekly repayment cycles

Term loans are often the better option, Hodges says. They allow businesses to borrow a set amount of money for a specific purpose, like hiring new staff or stocking up on inventory. The funds are then paid back over a set amount of time, with consistent monthly payments and no surprise fees.

3. Not knowing what you deserve

After seeing countless small businesses get stuck with credit products they couldn’t afford or understand, a coalition of small business advocates, lenders and online credit marketplaces came together to launch the Small Business Borrowers’ Bill of Rights. As the first-ever gold standard for responsible business lending, the Bill of Rights outlines the rights and safeguards that small businesses should expect from finance providers.

3 Behaviors To Keep Credit in Good Standing (MicroBilt), Rated: B

Source: MicroBilt
United Kingdom

London was top destination for tech funding in 2017 (Reuters), Rated: AAA

London was the top city in Europe for technology investment last year, with more funding going into companies in the British capital than into firms based in Paris, Berlin and the next seven cities combined, data showed on Friday.

Tech firms in London attracted 2.45 billion pounds ($3.3 billion) in venture capital funding in 2017, about 80 percent of the 2.99 billion pounds invested in Britain as a whole, according to data compiled by funding database PitchBook for London & Partners.

Fintech, or financial technology, was the most popular segment for investors, attracting a record 1.34 billion pounds in venture capital, the data showed, led by major rounds for TransferWise, Funding Circle and Monzo.

London’s tech scene pulls in record £2.5bn in 2017 venture capital bonanza (City A.M.), Rated: AAA

London’s tech venture capital investment reached another all-time high in 2017 as firms raked in four times more cash than Paris, the nearest European rival.

Softbank’s $502m (£392m) investment in game development platform Improbable was the biggest single investment during the year, but it was London’s burgeoning fintech firms which led the way with a record haul of investments.

European cityLondon Total funding raised (£)

2.45bn

European cityParis Total funding raised (£)

564.97m

European cityBerlin Total funding raised (£)

456m

European cityStockholm Total funding raised (£)

360.27m

European cityMadrid Total funding raised (£)

65.38m

European cityAmsterdam Total funding raised (£)

212.18m

European cityDublin Total funding raised (£)

117.45m

European cityHelsinki Total funding raised (£)

56.98m

European cityCopenhagen Total funding raised (£)

40.23m

European cityLisbon Total funding raised (£)

2.43m

Treasury clarifies whether P2P lending constitutes deposit-taking (AltFi), Rated: AAA

HMT Treasury has passed an order confirming that straight-forward peer-to-peer lending does not constitute deposit-taking.

The order relates to the now-infamous “Dear CEO” letter, sent in March 2017, in which the FCA effectively ordered P2P platforms to cease and desist with all wholesale lending activities. The rationale was that a business borrowing money in order to lend that money on constitutes a form of deposit-taking. This was deemed illegal, per article 5, paragraph 1 of the regulated activities order.

How angel investors support UK start-ups (Growth Business), Rated: A

Investing in start-ups is becoming increasingly popular and accessible in the UK. The attractiveness of that market has come from two main factors: the success of a number UK start-ups built over the past two decades (ASOS, Just Eat, Zoopla, Funding Circle) which are showing the way for many more to come and the supportive policies implemented by the various governments over the same period to encourage investment in ventures.

These schemes have proven to be extremely popular with private investors who every year invest over £1.5 billion into high growth ventures under SEIS and EIS.

So how do you get started with investing in start-ups if you are new to this market?

Your first option is to invest through online equity crowdfunding platforms (ECF) such as Seedrs, Crowdcube and Syndicate Room, which showcase dozens of investment opportunities from start-ups looking to raise equity funding from the public. The advantage of ECF websites is that they are convenient and accessible to anyone with investment tickets starting at £10.

If you consider yourself to be a more sophisticated type of investor looking to build a portfolio of investments with tickets of more than £5,000 per company, then you should probably think about joining an angel syndicate.

A third option to get started is to invest through a start-up fund.

High numbers using expensive credit to buy basic household appliances (Ekklesia), Rated: A

Research found almost 60 per cent of people on a low income turn to more expensive forms of credit to purchase home appliances because they do not have the means to pay up front or access to affordable credit. Seventeen per cent say they used a credit card to make the purchase, 10 per cent used an overdraft and 10 per cent used a store card. More worryingly, significant numbers said that they used high cost credit to buy home appliances, with 13 per cent relying on hire-purchase and eight per cent saying that they used a payday loan.

Blockchain-based banking startup Babb names Paul Johnson as CIO (Finextra), Rated: B

Blockchain-based banking startup BABB (Bank Account Based Blockchain) has appointed banking technology veteran, Paul Johnson who previously lead one of the UK’s leading challenger banks, Aldermore, as CIO to spearhead the development of the world’s first decentralised bank.

European Union

Euro zone yields edge lower as MiFID II kicks in (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Germany’s 10-year government bond yield fell 2 basis points to 0.44 percent DE10YT=TWEB, off two-month highs hit on Tuesday after weekend comments from the European Central Bank’s Benoit Coeure that there was a “reasonable chance” ECB stimulus will not be extended this year.

Most core euro zone bond yields were down 1-4 bps on the day, with the gap between Italian and German 10-year bonds yields tightened to 160 basis points as Italian yields dropped as much as 6 bps to 2.03 percent. IT10YT=TWEB

Ireland meanwhile kicked off its annual funding drive by raising 4 billion euros with a syndicated 10-year bond, covering around a quarter of its issuance target just three days into the year.

P2P platform bosses offer cautious support for pan-EU licences (AltFi), Rated: A

“Opt-in passports” are the way forward, says Lendix co-founder Patrick de Nonneville.

The EU Commission is laying the groundwork for a licence that will allow European crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending platforms to operate across the bloc.

“We think it’s a great development that will be useful for us,” said Patrick de Nonneville, chief operating officer at French marketplace lender Lendix.

Raffael Johnen, CEO and co-founder of leading German marketplace lender auxmoney, offered his thoughts.

“Getting closer to a single digital market will further boost the creation of true European fintech champions.”

International

Online lender Funding Circle inks partnership with Kansas bank (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle, an online lender that operates in four countries, is partnering for the first time with a U.S. bank.

On Thursday, the 7-year-old company announced a deal with Intrust Bank in Wichita, Kan., under which it will sell $20 million worth of its small-business loans to the $5 billion-asset institution.

This Cryptocurrency Inventor Has Suddenly Become One of the World’s Richest Men (Money), Rated: A

Cryptocurrency has a new king. His name is Chris Larsen, and he’s the co-founder and former CEO of Ripple, which created the digital token known as XRP. He’s now one of the world’s richest billionaires, thanks to XRP’s incredible hot streak.

XRP, a cryptocurrency intended for international transactions, has had a meteoric rise this winter. Its value went from $0.25 a coin in mid-December to $3.16 as of Wednesday, according to Coinmarketcap. It’s currently the second biggest cryptocurrency behind Bitcoin.

Forbes reports that, as a result, Larsen almost instantly became worth $37.3 billion (based on XRP’s Monday exchange rate).

India

BCCL invests in fintech company FinREQ in an ads-for-equity deal (Medianama), Rated: AAA

Bennett, Coleman & Co Limited (BCCL), the publisher of the Times Of India and the parent of Times Internet, has acquired an undisclosed stake in online loan company FinREQ.

As such, it looks like the investment in FinREQ is an ads-for-equity deal.

FinREQ was founded in 2011 and has tie-ups tie-ups with nationalized, co-operative, foreign, private banks, NBFCs and Housing Finance Companies. The company provides a variety of loans ranging from overdrafts, import & export finance, supply chain financing, loans against property (LAP), loans against share, lease rental discounts and others.

Online lending platform EarlySalary raises $ 15.7 mn in Series B round (VC Circle), Rated: A

Pune-based Social Worth Technologies Pvt. Ltd, which runs online lending platform EarlySalary, has raised Rs 100 crore ($15.7 million) in a Series B funding round led by Eight Roads Ventures India, a company statement said.

Invest smart with these asset class investment options (ANI), Rated: B

Fixed Depositsinvestment in goldReal Estate and many other traditional options are losing grounds when trying to woo the new age investors.

A research from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies indicated that nearly three-quarters of millennials are saving for retirement and that we started doing so at an earlier age than previous generations.

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending in India currently gives a net return of 18-22 percent to lenders.

Asia

Commencement of Online Lending Service for Small Businesses That Leverages Accounting Big Data and AI Technology (Orix), Rated: A

ORIX Corporation (“ORIX”) and Yayoi Co., Ltd. (“Yayoi”) announced today that the ALTOA Online Lending Service, which leverages accounting big data and AI technology, will commence its operation through the jointly established entity, ALTOA, Inc. (“ALTOA”).

The ALTOA Online Lending Service is an online lending service that provides small amount, short-term loans for small businesses through a new credit model that leverages the credit know-how of ORIX, the accounting big data of Yayoi, and the AI technology of d.a.t. Inc., who is a partner in this venture.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday November 22 2017, Daily News Digest

delinquent credit cards

News Comments Today’s main news: Ron Suber shares lessons learned from his first 120 days in ‘rewirement’. Paytm invests in CreditMate. Faruqi & Faruqi law firm investigates Qudian. China clamps down on microlending. Australian alternative lenders make Fintech 100. Today’s main analysis: Americans having trouble paying off credit cards. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Alt lenders accuse banks of not following […]

delinquent credit cards

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

Canada

News Summary

United States

LESSONS FROM THE FIRST 120 DAYS OF REWIREMENT (Ron Suber), Rated: AAA

The first 120 days were filled with new languages, cultures, histories, beliefs, and people. I visited four foreign lands that were completely new to me, and no, New York and Silicon Valley were not on the itinerary.

Here are some lessons I’ve gained from the journey.

  • LESSON 1: Being first, ahead of your time and unique doesn’t guarantee success and longevity.
  • LESSON 3: The USA credit card and payments industry has a long way to go to catch up. No one (and I mean no one) swipes a credit card nor inserts a chip credit card in a machine and then signs a paper receipt in Australia and Singapore.
  • LESSON 4: There is still a huge opportunity to disrupt the currency exchange market. Upon arriving in Australia, I went to change US dollars to AU currently and was faced with: “No, you are not a customer” or “Yes, no problem” followed by a bad conversion rate and a 12% fee!
  • LESSON 8: New and old global giants are awakening to the FinTech Golden Age and responding accordingly, albeit slowly. Singapore is now a major global financial center that has come a long way very fast, and generally not focused on the short term.

The big successes are coming to those thinking long term (Bezos/Musk), the balance of power is shifting globally and the best is yet to come!!

P.S. Two young new FinTech companies to watch: Finch and Friendly Transfer. (No, I am not invested…yet)

US law firm launches investigation into star Chinese payday loan lender Qudian (SCMP), Rated: AAA

Qudian, the Chinese online payday loan platform, could be facing a rash of class-action lawsuits in the US after its share price tumbled drastically this week on the New York Stock Exchange, triggering concerns over the integrity of the firm.

New York-based law firm Faruqi & Faruqi, is now encouraging investors in Qudian to get in contact with it, as it is now “investigating potential claims against Qudian”, it said in a statement. Qudian was unavailable for comment.

Shares in the leading provider of online small consumer credit in China tumbled 5.28 per cent on Monday to close at US$20 in New York, 16.7 per cent down from its IPO price of US$24, and more than 40 per cent down from a historic intraday high of $35 reached on its trading debut on October 18.

Source: South China Morning Post

Americans are having trouble paying off their credit cards — and it could spell trouble for the economy (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

US credit-card debt recently surged to record highs, surpassing peaks seen before the 2008 financial crisis. Several large US banks and credit-card companies reported a rise in credit-card delinquency rates for August, the second consecutive monthly rise.

Source: New York Fed
Source: New York Fed

Fed funds is just 1% to 1.25% after four increases starting in December 2015, and yet many Americans pay credit-card rates well into the double digits.

Banks aren’t following CFPB data-sharing guidance, fintechs say (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Some fintechs are accusing financial institutions of not following either the spirit or letter of the data-sharing principles the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released in October.

One of fintechs’ primary accusations is that banks are selectively choosing fintechs to work with — leaving the rest out in the cold. Though the CFPB data-sharing principles do not spell out that banks should work with everyone equally, the spirit of the document suggests financial institutions should work with all trusted third parties.

Capital One has signed agreements with five fintechs and data aggregators—Clarity Money, Intuit, Abacus, Xero and Expensify—since introducing its data-sharing application programming interface in February. It says more are in the pipeline.

Banks have too many conflicting requirements

Another issue cited by fintechs is that it’s tough dealing with each bank’s different set of standards and requirements.

“Some of those standards may be in conflict,” Petralia said. “It can take years to comply with a bank’s requirements and it probably eliminates access to newer startups, to smaller businesses that don’t have a lot of cash sitting on their balance sheet, to support that kind of long lead time for legal requirements.”

Early Stage Investing vs. Real Estate Investing: Similarities and Differences (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Both venture capital (VC) investing and real estate investing involve some level of risk assessment, they both have the potential for big returns, and investors have the opportunity to help someone else reach a desired goal. Despite this common ground, there are some distinct differences.
Private Equity Investing
To realize returns on this type of investment, investors must understand the different stages of the startup cycle, how to evaluate a business plan, understand how to assess talent, technology, and business processes to determine whether a startup has the potential to succeed, and know how to judge market forces that could have an impact on the startup company.
Real Estate Investing
Real estate investments can be structured in many ways to benefit investors who are looking for specific types of returns. For instance, house flipping (Fund That Flip and Peerstreet) or commercial or multifamily flips (Sharestates and Patch of Land) offer short-term gains while rental properties (Roofstock and HomeUnion) offer long-term passive income. Commercial real estate investing (CrowdStreet and RealtyShares) may involve property development or long-term leasing with spans of three, five, ten years or more. New REITs (FundRise eREITs and MogulREIT) offer investors a way to invest in multiple properties or types of real estate through a single vehicle. Real estate funds or portfolios (AlphaFlow) also allow investors to diversify their debt investments through a single vehicle.
How to Evaluate an Early Stage or a Real Estate Crowdfunding Opportunity
Due diligence in real estate investing is also important. Basic criteria for evaluation include:

  • The platform – Does it have a strong financial position and available capital? Is the underwriting done in-house or outsourced? What is the background and experience of management team? What is their plan for insolvency, recouping losses, and managing risk?
  • Fees – Every investment involves opportunity cost. Is there an ongoing management fee, or does the investor pay a percentage based on returns or total portfolio size?
  • Borrowers – How does the platform assess borrower track record and credit? 
  • The investment – What is the developer’s business plan? What are the expected cashflows, expenses and projected returns? What is the loan-to-value before repairs and after repairs? Are investors in a first-lien position or second? Where is the property located?

CFPB, CashCall Spar Over Possible $ 287M In Restitution (Law360), Rated: A

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau squared off against CashCall Inc. and its affiliates in California federal court on Monday about whether it would be appropriate to make the online lender pay as much as $287 million for deceiving consumers, with the CFPB calling the company’s loans “financial snake oil” and CashCall saying its business was legitimate.

JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs Trial DLT for Equity Swaps (Coindesk), Rated: A

A group of major financial firms including JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs has trialed the exchange of equity swaps over a distributed ledger (DLT) system.

By carrying out trades across a network where all parties use the same valuation data and share the same books, in theory, payments can be processed nearly instantaneously and disputes over transactions will be less likely.

Small Business Saturday: Why Banks And Businesses Need To Start Playing Offense (Forbes), Rated: A

Similarly, while I do believe the banking industry has made strides in embracing technology over the past few years, the reality is that far too many bankers are still “playing defense” when it comes to fully integrating technology into every aspect of their business.

Finastra Universe introduces Sophia the humanoid robot (Finastra Email), Rated: B

I wanted to invite you attend Finastra Universe in New York on Tuesday, December 5thFinastra Universe is a one-day global executive event series focusing on fintech and the future of financial services.

The event will include panel and Q&A sessions, where Finastra experts and guest speakers will explore how financial firms can leverage new, more dynamic technologies within lending and other areas to improve internal efficiencies, deliver connected customer experiences and enhance business outcomes.

I’ve included a link to the full agenda Where: Marriott Marquis Times Square, 1535 Broadway, New York

When: Tuesday, December 5th, 2017
 
Click 

Financial tech is a big business. What Charlotte’s doing to become a larger player. (Charlotte Observer), Rated: B

More than 125 people attended the inaugural Southeast Fintech Venture Conference on Monday to hear presentations from investors, fintech success stories such as small-business lender Kabbage and new firms just getting off the ground, including some from Charlotte. Sponsors included investment firm Frontier Capital and asset manager Barings, which hosted the event at its new Tryon Street headquarters.

According to the National Venture Capital Association, Charlotte-area companies brought in about $393 million in venture capital investments in 2017, led by a $300 million round for payments company AvidXchange.

United Kingdom

Consumer credit – walking the regulatory tightrope (Lexology), Rated: AAA

Subprime and near prime lending have been subject to intense regulatory scrutiny during the aftermath of the financial crisis. The global economic crisis that took hold in 2007 has largely been attributed to the widespread practice of irresponsible lending to consumers, often with no means of repayment. In 2013, StepChange Debt Charity reported that the average payday loan debt of its clients was £1,657, whereas the same clients’ average net monthly income was a much lower £1,379.

Following the transition in regulatory regimes from the OFT to the FCA, a series of tougher measures have been introduced to move staunchly away from the lending practices which allowed firms such as payday lender Wonga to maintain a representative APR of 5,853% in 2013. The FCA has made it clear that it regards non-standard finance as a “high risk” activity and as such dedicates special resources to intensively monitoring businesses in this sector.

Almost half of SMEs have never checked their credit score (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: A

Nearly half of SMEs (44%) have never checked their credit score, according to the latest research from RateSetter’s business finance division.

RateSetter’s research also found that a further 6% of businesses had not checked their credit score within the last 12 months and only 18% had viewed their score within the last six months.

Never mind the Brexit: Alternative finance offers a route to prosperity (Startups.co.uk), Rated: A

It is a little over a decade since Northern Rock became the first UK bank in 150 years to fail because of a run on its deposits. For a brief moment it looked as if the entire global financial system might collapse overnight, with only government intervention and billions in bail-outs preventing a worst-case scenario.

According to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the number of small businesses that were successful in their attempt to get a loan fell from 90% in 2007, to 65% in 2011.

According to our latest research, just 43% of small business owners see trading conditions improving in the coming year. Meanwhile 52% of start-up business owners say they do not think banks will continue to lend at the same levels in 2018.

More than half of the 1,000 small business owners we surveyed say they are planning to grow or expand their business in 2018.

These alternatives to traditional forms of lending are proving particularly popular among the 96% of UK businesses that employ fewer than 10 people.  According to our research, 40% of start-ups and younger business owners say the growth of alternative finance options has made them less reliant on banks for funding.

Investment Committee: Arnaud Gandon, Heptagon Capital (Citywire), Rated: A

One area of credit we find attractive, however, is lending to small businesses in the UK and Europe. The opportunity set for companies such as Funding Circle is growing fast, due to the retreat of traditional banks in providing loans for smaller companies. During the last quarter, Funding Circle outstripped the major high street banks for net new loans. We see the company essentially as a technology platform enabling the efficient issue of small loans to thousands of companies. It has a solid management team and is looking to expand its successful business model to other geographies.

Here’s what the UK’s fintech community is most concerned about over Brexit (Verdict), Rated: A

Fintech is now worth over £7bn to the UK economy every year and employs around 60,000 people, according to the Treasury office.

Marta Piekarska, director of ecosystems at Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger project, said she believes Brexit will impact fintech in the UK because it will make things harder for collaboration.

“About half of our developer workforce today are non-UK European nationals. Already it is hard to find great developer talent in the UK.  Obviously, if freedom of movement isn’t as easy and non-UK EU nationals feel that it’s not really a nice environment to come to the UK to work, then we will have a problem.”

Open Banking: How can customer centricity drive innovation? (City A.M.), Rated: A

The Payments Services Directive (PSD2) is a major piece of UK/EU legislation that will ensure that all payment service providers (PSPs) that operate in the single market are subject to rigorous supervision and adhere to the appropriate transformative rules to create a fair, open-banking framework.

In practical terms, a customer will be able sign up for a loan, credit card or a mortgage by using a log-in that looks and feels a little bit like Facebook Connect and authorises the provider to see all of the customer’s financial transactions from the previous 36 months. The main gatekeepers and one of the leading innovators in this space are London-based FinTech company TrueLayer. As the go-between between a customer, their bank and the product or service provider, they ensure real-time, secure connectivity of the customer’s data.

Blockchain Based Building Platform BitRent Announces Token Sale (The Merkle), Rated: B

BitRent has given itself a mission: to make real estate investing easy, transparent and profitable all over the world. The platform uses a combination of techniques that will allow its users to control construction processes. These techniques include BIM open modeling and computer aided monitoring using RFID chips, to make investing in commercial and residential shared-equity construction more transparent and predictable. On the platform, investors can invest in real estate, without a minimum entry threshold. The online mode allows them to control construction processes and receive dividends when the construction has been completed. Moreover, users can receive data on free area or items of commercial property.

The BIM (Building Information Modeling) technology that the platform uses, allows all users of the platform to monitor a project at any stage.

The platform will release its RNT tokens, based on Ethereum. The token sale will start on the 1st of December 2017, 11:00 UTC and will last till March 1, 2018.

China

China clamps down on online micro lending; U.S.-listed shares plunge (Reuters), Rated: AAA

China took steps to rein in the rapidly growing and lightly regulated market for online micro-lenders in the government’s latest crackdown on internet finance, sending shares of U.S.-listed Chinese financial firms into a tailspin.

A top-level Chinese government body issued an urgent notice on Tuesday to provincial governments urging them to suspend regulatory approval for the setting up of new internet micro-lenders, sources who had seen the notice told Reuters.

The multi-department body, tasked by the central government to rein in risks in the internet finance sector, also told local regulators to restrict granting of new approvals for micro-loan firms to conduct lending across regions, according to the sources.

Shares Of Chinese Online Credit Providers Crash Over Crackdown Fears (NASDAQ), Rated: A

Shares of Qudian ( QD ), Yirendai ( YRD ) and other China-based providers of online credit plunged Tuesday on reports that China’s Internet Financial Risk Management Group had ordered a suspension of online small-loan approvals, but some stemmed their losses by session’s end and others even gained ground.

In addition to Qudian and Yirendai, also falling were China Rapid Finance ( XRF ) and PPDAI Group ( PPDF ).

U.S.-listed Chinese financial firms dive on regulatory action (Reuters), Rated: A

Shares in online lender Qudian (QD.N), whose shares only debuted last month, sank by as much as 20 percent in early trading.

Shares of China Commercial Credit Inc (CCCR.O) fell 6.4 percent, those in PPDAI Group (PPDF.N) some 17.8 percent. Jianpu Technology (JT.N), which also debuted just this month, fell 9.5 percent and China Rapid Finance (XRF.N) slipped 12.92 percent.

From Drone Hackers to Cyber Bodyguards, China Cyber Security a Growing Concern (China Money Network), Rated: A

Q: What major trends are you seeing in China’s cybersecurity market?

A: I think the major trend in China is similar to what is happening in the rest of Asia. The frequency and extent of cyber-attacks are increasing rapidly.

Q: What Chinese business sectors are most vulnerable, or need to do more to protect themselves?

A: Tech companies with lots of portals to its websites, especially like peer-to-peer lending, or any tech companies with valuable intellectual property are prime targets of cyber attacks.

Q: What should Chinese tech companies be doing to defend themselves, or at least reduce the damage done by cyber attacks?

A: Firstly, employee education is important. Over 90% of hacking is conducted through phishing and spear phishing. We have worked with a Chinese company with 20,000 employees, and we sent 20,000 emails to them with a link offering a chance to win iPhone. 30% of the staff clicked on the link, which actually is a quite regular percentage. In a real-life scenario, if 30% of your 9000 staff were to click, that’s 3000 cases of malware potentially downloaded into your systems. But after phishing training, finishing the exercises, the number was reduced to 5%.

Q: There are reports saying cyber security experts “cyber bodyguards” is one of the hottest jobs in China. What particular specialty expertise faces the greatest shortage?

The “cyber bodyguards” are in a booming industry, particular for providing preventative measures. Firstly, there are the penetration testers; also known as ethical hackers or white hat hackers. They replicate what a real hacker would do; not stealing any data or doing anything bad, but will scan systems for any gaps and weaknesses in the company’s defenses that may be exploitable during a cyber attack. They will then advise on remediation measures.

European Union

EBA weighs up risk and rewards of Fintech in new Discussion Paper (FinanceJobs.ie), Rated: AAA

The European Banking Authority takes a cautious and carefully balanced view in its deliberations on how it should approach FinTech in its latest Discussion Paper. In reviewing the FinTech landscape in Europe the EBA raises many more questions than it answers, concluding that it should undertake much more detailed follow-up work in a number of areas. But it does raising warning flags about possible unevenness in the playing fields offered by different jurisdictions, in the area of sandboxing and innovation hubs, for example.
Overall, the The European Banking Authority says, FinTech may increase competitiveness in the Single Market by lowering barriers to entry for newcomers while preserving fair competition and incentives to innovate.

The EBA says a significant increase in overall operational risk has been witnessed in the last few years, including higher conduct risk, increased cybersecurity issues and digital fraud issues, and increased outsourcing risk. ‘At the same time new or previously immaterial risks, such as the risk of mismanagement of personal data / lack of data privacy, seem to be amplified by the lack of expertise of human resources and the inadequacy of technology infrastructures.’

It points out that alternative lending platforms such as peer-to-peer lending can put pressure on the interest income from loans of existing credit institutions while new entrants offering commoditised products and services at lower costs, such as money transfers and brokerage, can reduce the fees and commission income of established players.

DreamQuark beefs up financial services through artificial intelligence (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Meet DreamQuark, a French startup that wants to help banks, insurance companies and asset management firms with all of their artificial intelligence needs. DreamQuark crunches your data, creates models based on machine learning and lets you apply those models on all past and future data points.

International

Robeco launches fintech investment fund (Finextra), Rated: A

Robeco has launched a Global Fintech Equities fund to give wholesale and retail investors exposure to companies that are transforming the financial sector.

The actively managed fund will invest in three distinct segments, labelled ‘today’s winners’, ‘fintech enablers’ and ‘challengers’. Today’s winners include companies that already have a competitive advantage in this space, fintech enablers provide the digital backbone for emerging companies, and challengers are the companies that have the breakout potential to stand out from the pack.

Following a successful pre-ICO, Etherecash has announced a public ICO that launched November 15th and will end December 19th. Focusing on the 2.5 billion unbanked, Etherecash looks to excel in both spending and sending, as well as providing a peer-to-peer lending platform, to enable those with little or no credit history the ability to access funds.

The ICO sale will auction off 144,000,000 tokens, which will help support ongoing development of the platform and can be purchased with Bitcoin or Ethereum. A bonus of 12% is available for participants in the first week, which goes to 3% in week four, and finally to 0% in week five.

The ICO has a soft cap of $15 million, which if not reached, will conclude the ICO as a failure with funds returned to the respective investors. The hard cap is set at $100 million. 40% of funds will be used for further core development; 25% in growth and marketing; 20% for legal, accounting, and advisory feeds; and the remaining 15% for admin and operational costs.

57% of internal frauds are carried out by senior and middle management, according to the whitepaper.

Australia/New Zealand

Aussie lenders make Fintech 100 list (TheAdviser), Rated: AAA

Ten Australian companies have been listed in KPMG’s Fintech 100 list, which identifies the top 50 fintech firms and an “emerging 50” list of companies “seeking to boldly push the envelope in financial services”.

Online SME lender Prospa was the highest ranked Australian company at number 24. It also placed second on the Australian Financial Review’s Fast 100 list after averaging a 239 per cent revenue growth since 2013–14 and holding $50 million in equity and debt funding in 2017.

US-based lender OnDeck, which broke into the Australian market in 2015, placed 28th in the ranking, up two places from last year’s report, while German fintech Spotcap (which also has operations in Australia) came in at number 32.

How I’m Saving a Week (or ,500 This Year) on My Home Loan (Mozo), Rated: A

Fast forward to three months ago, when I suddenly realised my rate of 4.27% was more than 60 basis points higher than the best on the market. I had become a victim of that time honoured tradition of banks fattening profit margins and it was time to do something about it.

I knew there were now stacks of lenders offering rates below 4.00%, and after comparing the best loans decided to go with an online lender to take advantage of their super low variable rate of 3.64%.

India

Paytm invests in online lending startup CreditMate (VC Circle), Rated: AAA

One97 Communication Ltd, which runs mobile wallet firm Paytm, said on Tuesday it has picked up a stake in Mumbai-based fintech startup CreditMate.

CreditMate helps two-wheeler dealers and financiers assess and approve vehicle loans to customers with no formal credit history, Paytm said in a statement.

8 ‘blockhain hacks’ which NITI Aayog, AWS, Microsoft, Accel, Coinbase believe are beneficial for society (YourStory), Rated: AAA

Anshul said that there is a lot of hype and misconceptions related to blockchain. He explained that outside of a small group of crypto-savvy investors and developers, blockchain is often synonymous with cryptocurrency, and erroneously so. Their goal with this hackathon was to give developers (with or without past blockchain experience) a chance to envision how the same distributed ledger technology that powers Bitcoin might be able to improve transparency, efficiency, and honesty in enterprise and government processes, particularly in regions of the world suffering from high corruption.

Anshul added that another objective of the event was to explore use cases for concepts like IndiaChain — a blockchain infrastructure for a Digital India, building on existing initiatives like Aadhar, the world’s largest biometric identity project with unique 12-digit IDs for 1.2 billion Indian residents.

Gif credit- Proffer

Here are eight hack projects recognised by the partners.

  • 1. SWASHchain: a battery SWApping and SHaring infrastructure verified on the blockchain
  • 2. AgroChain: tracking farm products from farmer to consumer
  • 3. chAIn: decentralised AI with Homomorphic Encryption to guarantee data privacy
  • 4. Betoken: decentralised Hedge Fund for social impact investing
  • 5. Open Complaint Network: crowdsourcing issues and rewards
  • 6. 0xSHG: zero-interest loans for rural microfinance – Hence the team believes that blockchains are a unique solution which address both issues by organising not just financial capital but also social capital. The team has created an Aadhar-linked capital-pooling network.

  • 7. SureFly: last-minute crowdfunded insurance for flight delays – Insurance premium is calculated as a function of the probability that a passenger will miss a flight which is in turn a function of flight time, insurance seeker’s distance from the airport, traffic on the roads, length of airport lines, etc.
  • 8. MyH2OBot for “Habit Economics”

Sharing economy: creating opportunities in the digital era (livemint), Rated: A

The rise of the sharing economy is commonly attributed to culture or ideology. It’s assumed that millennials don’t want to be trapped by houses, cars and other expensive belongings, for example, or that they believe sharing is good for the environment.

Research conducted by the BCG Henderson Institute (BHI) indicates that economics, not attitude, is driving the sharing economy.

Among respondents who use sharing services, 40% of Germans, 57% of Americans and 67% of Indians said that well-priced, convenient offers could convince them to abandon ownership altogether.

Aside from physical assets, investors have also poured $5.7 billion into peer-to-peer lending ventures.

Start-ups by no means have a lock on the sharing market, however. In fact, 55% of consumers in India said they would prefer dealing with established operators—the highest among the countries surveyed.

Asia

Banyuwangi Regent Anas Connects MSME with Fintech Startups (Netral News), Rate: A

Banyuwangi Regional Government will again partner with digital platform startups to develop the region.

After with Gojek ride-hailing service provider, there are several more similar companies that will be embraced. One of them is the startup of financial technology (fintech), especially for financing facilities to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME).

Canada

CANADIAN PAYMENTS INNOVATION FORUM SAYS COLLABORATION CONTINUES TO DRIVE FINTECH INNOVATION (Betakit), Rated: A

At the third annual Canadian Payments Innovation Forum in Toronto, over 100 payments and banking executives gathered to examine how FinTech is transforming the Canadian financial services industry, and what providers can do to prepare.

After launching with Samsung Pay earlier this year, Gamble indicated that ‘cash alternatives’ would continue to be a focus and something to watch in the market. Due to Interac’s smaller size (the company has about 250 employees), Gamble said they just don’t have the “bandwidth” to do everything themselves, so turning to partnerships is key.

“We strive to deliver alternatives to cash, and as a community, we’ve done an amazing job of delivering contactless capabilities at POS. Canadians moved more than $90 billion in etransfers this year, so our little country is significantly leading the space in P2P transfers.”

AI is already moving forward quickly in financial advice and management, and the use of financial technology, or fintech, seems to be growing among older Canadians.

“Our average client is 47 years old and our second largest demographic group is baby boomers,” says Randy Cass, CEO and founder of Nest Wealth, a Canadian financial robo-advisor that was founded in 2013.

“For retirement planning, the AI isn’t necessarily cutting the financial advisor out of the process. What we’re likely to see is AI helping the financial advisor to get faster and more comprehensive data analysis and provide more seamless client support,” Mr. Narvey says.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday October 17 2017, Daily News Digest

PeerIQ IMF

News Comments Today’s main news: RateSetter receives full FCA approval. PayPal’s market value eclipses American Express’s. Lending Club files 8-K entry into material definitive agreement. Some of Zopa’s loans are up for sale by P2PGI. Hexindai sets terms for U.S. IPO. PolicyBazaar becomes most-funded insurance aggregator worldwide. Today’s main analysis: Big bank earnings, IMF global growth forecast. Betterment vs. Wealthfront. Today’s […]

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United States

PayPal’s Market Value Eclipses AmEx, Nears Morgan Stanley, Goldman (WSJ), Rated: AAA

PayPal Holdings Inc. PYPL +0.04% vaulted over American ExpressCo. AXP -0.20% in terms of market value this week, punctuating a rally that has pushed up the payments company’s shares by nearly 75% since the start of 2017.

Its market capitalization stands at about $83 billion, nearly double the $47 billion value it had when it spun off from eBay Inc. a little over two years ago.

PayPal is even gaining ground on Wall Street titans. Its market value is now about $6 billion less than Morgan Stanley ’s and about $10 billion less than that of Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

PayPal, which reports earnings on Thursday, now trades at a multiple of about 32 times forward earnings, according to FactSet. So although its market value is about half that of Mastercard Inc. and about two-fifths that of Visa Inc., its earnings multiple is far dearer. Visa trades around 27 times forward earnings and Mastercard is around 29 times. AmEx, meanwhile, trades just shy of 15 times.

Ron Suber: We are in the Golden Age of Fintech (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

So what exactly is the “Golden Age of Fintech”?

Ron Suber: Innovation cycles take 50 years. PayPal started it in 1998, Lending Club and Prosper accelerated it in 2006 by giving people reasons to borrow and lend online … similar to how AOL and EBay gave people reasons to go on the World Wide Web in the early internet days. And now we are in the Golden Age of Fintech which is the middle 10 years of the 50 year innovation cycle.

How does this fit with the online lending space? Can early MPL/Online Lenders remain competitive? And what do they need to do to remain competitive?

Ron Suber: Yes, The keys (KPI’s = key performance indicators) continue to be:

A) Loan Performance

B) Equilibrium between capital and borrowers

C) Committed Long term, low cost of capital

D) Unique, diversified and low cost methods of acquiring borrowers

E) Increasing Life Time Value (LTV) with multiple loans and additional products

F) Platform efficiency, customer experience and profitability

G) Scale and Brand.

What is next for you? Was Lend360 really your final appearance as the “Godfather of Fintech”? Or is this the intermission before the next act?

Ron Suber: Lend360 was my last presentation in North America … I am heading back to Australia and Southeast Asia for the remainder of the year … then to Patagonia for a Q1 vacation and then onto Africa to do some teaching about lending and entrepreneurship with Opportunity International (OI). OI provides entrepreneurs around the world with access to loans, savings, insurance and training – tools that empower them to work their way out of poverty…..a hand up, not a handout.

[Editors Note: Ron has created his own “Rewirement” web site available here.

LendingClub Corporation (NYSE:LC) Files An 8-K Entry into a Material Definitive Agreement (Market Exclusive), Rated: AAA

On October 10, 2017, LendingClub Warehouse I LLC (“Warehouse”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of LendingClub Corporation (the “Company” or “Lending Club”), entered into a Warehouse Credit Agreement (the “Warehouse Agreement”) with certain lenders from time to time party thereto (the “Lenders”), a large commercial bank as administrative agent (the “Administrative Agent”), and a national banking association as the collateral trustee (in such capacity, the “Collateral Trustee”) and as paying agent. to the Warehouse Agreement, the Lenders agree to provide a $250 million secured revolving credit facility (the “Credit Facility”) to Warehouse, which Warehouse may draw upon from the Credit Facility closing date until the earlier of October 10, 2019 or another event that constitutes a “Commitment Terminate Date” under the Warehouse Agreement. Proceeds under the Credit Facility may only be used to purchase certain unsecured consumer loans from the Company and related rights and documents and pay fees and expenses related to the Credit Facility.

IMF Raises Global Growth Forecast, GS Enters Fix-and-Flip, Deep Dive on Big Bank Earnings (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

During an unusual period of global synchronized growth, the IMF raised its Global Growth Forecast for 2017 and 2018 by 10 bps to 3.6% and 3.7%, respectively. The IMF also named nine banks that will struggle to achieve profitability.

Source: IMF

In securitization news, Marlette Funding Trust 2017-3 is expected to close at the end of October with $298 Mn in loans. MFT 2017-3 is the fifth ABS from this platform and the fourth on the MFT shelf (the first was on Citi’s CHAI shelf).

In this week’s newsletter, PeerIQ dives into the earnings and loan loss provisions for the major money center banks.

The big money center banks released earnings this week to a mixed reception although YTD stock performance is strong. FICC trading revenues were down year-over-year across the board. ROE levels for the big banks remain mired in the low double-digit area or lower.

Source: PeerIQ, Company Information

Highlights:

JP Morgan

  • JP Morgan is currently the largest US Bank ranked by total US Deposits, which has grown 9% year over year.
  • JP Morgan credit card costs were up about $200 Mn year-on-year driven by the successful Sapphire launch, and higher net charge-offs.
  • Q3 2017 provision for credit losses was $1.5 Bn, up from $1.3 Bn in the prior year. Currently at 3.3%, credit card allowance to total loans rose every quarter this year.

Citigroup

  • Citi built approximately $500 Mn in card loan loss reserves this quarter:
    • $150 Mn from regular seasoning and volume growth.
    • $50 Mn from hurricanes and other natural disasters.
    • $300 Mn attributable to forward-looking NCL expectations.
  • Citi expects NCL rate on branded cards to increase 10 bps in 2018 to 295 bps.
  • Citi shifted away from rewards oriented products and more towards value products due to heavy competition in rewards products (see Chase Sapphire Reserve). These cards typically have non-yielding promotional balances in the near term.

Bank of America

  • Quarterly profit rose 13% year over year.
  • Provision for loan losses increased by nearly 15% quarter over quarter while allowance for loan losses decreased 1.7% over the same period.
  • Allowance for loan losses as a percentage of total loans decreased to 1.15% from 1.19% last quarter and from 1.29% last year.

Wells Fargo

  • Wells Fargo was the only reporting bank that had decreasing negative returns YTD and a ROE decline YOY.
  • Revenue fell 2% year over year, and Wells is the only reporting bank to have falling revenues.
Source: PeerIQ, Company Information

It Was a Busy Quarter for Deals in Fintech (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Traditional Wall Street firms are keeping financial technology humming as they set their sights on developing technologies of their own. The third-quarter saw the second highest financing deal count ever, with 412 total transactions, according to a report from investment bank FT Partners.

Still, some areas are hotter than others. Banking — which includes peer-to-peer lending — and payments reported the most deals in the period. The largest was Softbank Group Corp.’s $250 million investment in online lending startup Kabbage Inc. Payments startups Toast Inc. and Raise Marketplace Inc. were also in the top 10 deals with $101 million and $60 million investments, respectively.

Robo-Advisor Teardown: How Betterment And Wealthfront Stack Up (CB Insights), Rated: AAA

In the battle for assets under management (AUM), incumbent wealth management firms have faced significant pressure from insurgent robo-advisors, as investors have poured over $1.6B into robo-advisors across 151 investments since 2013.

The two largest of these robo-advisors, Betterment and Wealthfront, have collectively raised $405M in aggregate funding to date and have both voiced the long-term goal of going public. Nearly a decade after launch, Betterment and Wealthfront together manage approximately $15.9B of assets for over 495K client accounts.

Some of the key takeaways from our analysis include:

  • Betterment continues to outpace Wealthfront in client accounts. As of Q1’17, Betterment managed approximately 330K accounts, nearly 2X as many accounts as Wealthfront (at 165K accounts).
  • Wealthfront has a higher growth rate than Betterment. As of their respective filings in Q1’17 and Q2’17, Wealthfront had added 65K accounts, representing 65% growth, while Betterment added 52K accounts and grew 19%.
  • Betterment has raised more than 2X the amount of funding as Wealthfront. Betterment has raised $275M total as of its latest investment (a $70M Series E – II round in Q3’17), while Wealthfront has raised $129.5M as of its last funding (a $64M Series D in Q3’14).
  • Betterment has taken the lead over Wealthfront for total AUM since 2015.
  • Wealthfront has consistently had a higher AUM per client. Wealthfront clients average $40.9K per account, compared to Betterment’s account average of $27.4K.

CLIENT ACCOUNTS: WEALTHFRONT COULD SURPASS BETTERMENT IN 3 YEARS

An analysis of the data shows that while Betterment leads Wealthfront in number of client accounts today, Wealthfront’s higher growth rate suggests that Wealthfront could surpass Betterment within 3 years. Wealthfront added 65K accounts in H1’17, representing 65% growth, while Betterment added 52K accounts and grew only 19% over the same period.

Comparing average AUM per client, Wealthfront has consistently had a higher AUM per client ($40.9K invested per account, vs. Betterment’s average of $27.4K), and as it continues to add additional services like PATH and the portfolio line of credit, that average could grow over time.

Source: CB Insights

 

ASSETS UNDER MANAGEMENT (AUM): BETTERMENT GROWTH SLOWS

Betterment grew AUM by approximately 13% since their last filing, their slowest quarter for growth. Again, this comes on the heels of the backlash against changes in Betterment’s fee structure in Q1’17. In contrast, Wealthfront set a new record for AUM growth in Q2’17, adding approximately $1.76B in AUM since the previous quarter. This was Wealthfront’s largest quarterly dollar increase in AUM.

Source: CB Insights

Mortgage startups blur lines between old and new capital strategies (National Mortgage News), Rated: AAA

Marketplace lending is, in many respects, an evolution of the privately funded mortgage market, which has co-existed with mainstream lenders without posing much threat for years.

Technology used by marketplace lenders offers deeper insights and transparency into transactions, while more easily connecting investors and borrowers in disparate locations.

LendingHome has raised $110 million in venture capital since it was founded in 2013 and is looking for more. It’s done six bridge-loan securitizations totaling $183 million and has a marketplace lending vehicle where accredited investors can purchase fractional interests in loans.

This suggests that the legacy of fintech and marketplace lenders will not be defined by drawing lines between this new breed of lenders and mainstream incumbents, but rather by how those lines are blurred.

Source: National Mortgage News

Income&, while reaching out directly to investors, is working to serve retirees potentially more interested in accessing the mainstream mortgage market’s lower-risk cash-flows than taking on more risk in order to reach for yield the way marketplace lenders’ investor bases tend to.

The company structures the investments through a twist on traditional securitization.

SoFi Bails On Being A Bank (PYMNTS), Rated: A

“With SoFi’s leadership in transition, we’re withdrawing our application with the FDIC for now,” SoFi spokesman Jim Prosser said in a statement to Reuters. “A bank charter remains an attractive option when the time is right. This decision does not change our plans to make deposit accounts available through partner banks in the near future.”

Barclays CEO Says Bank Must Protect Payments Business From Apple, Amazon (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Barclays Plc will need to defend its advantages in the payments business from encroachment by technology companies including Amazon.com Inc. and Apple Inc., according to Chief Executive Officer Jes Staley.

LendingHome adds $ 450 million to ramp up originations (National Mortgage News), Rated: A

A fund LendingHome began setting up earlier this year raised $100 million in commitments and established a $300 million credit facility that brings its total potential assets to $400 million.

LendingHome Opportunity Fund II is committed to buying more than $1 billion in high-yield bridge loans over a two-year period, but the company also will continue to sell loans to other investors through other existing channels.

Pefin Leverages Artificial Intelligence To Provide A Comprehensive Set Of Financial Advisory Services (Superb Crew), Rated: A

Q: Catherine, what is Pefin?

A: Pefin understands a user’s complete financial situation, including their current spending patterns, their debt and investments and their goals. An interactive chat experience helps users plan for life events that matter to them- like buying a home, having kids, sending them to college, and retiring in comfort. Pefin then incorporates the economy, markets, social security rules, federal and state taxes and much more to craft a thorough financial plan tailored to each user, showing the affordability of their plans. It provides ongoing advice on how they can save to achieve their plans, when they should repay debt, and whether investing is appropriate. If it is, Pefin also offers investment advice and portfolio management services through its SEC regulated subsidiary, Pefin Advisors. Pefin does not require that users invest through its platform, but if they choose to do so, it tailors each portfolio to help users achieve their plans.

Source: Superb Crew

Q: Who are the primary users of Pefin and what are some of the key challenges you are helping them solve?

The typical human advisor charges between $2,000 – $,5000 for a one-time financial plan and being static, it is obsolete moments after it is created. Robo-Advisors, while affordable, are unable to offer a comprehensive financial plan, instead focusing on recommending a generic portfolio (one of 10 or so static investment portfolios), primarily based on a risk level the user picks. Pefin’s AI stays on top of 2-5 million data points per user and updates plans real-time, ensuring the advice users receive is current and anything but generic. And Pefin does all this, for $10 a month. As for investments, Pefin requires no minimum investment size, and fees are 0.25% of assets under management, with the first $5,000 managed for free.

Q: Can you give us more insights into your Artificial Intelligence powered solution?

The neural network understands these financial rules and relationships, and propagates them forward in time, up to 80 years depending on the age of the client. The network starts with a user’s current finances and projects how they change over time with market conditions, inflation, taxes, government rules, and their plans. For any given user, the network evaluates anywhere from 2-5 million data points, depending on the complexity of their financial situation and financial plans are available 24/7.

BlueVine Expands Reach With up to $ 130 Million in New Debt Financing, Business Credit Line With Monthly Payments (PR Newswire), Rated: A

BlueVine is expanding its reach in online business lending with new debt financing of up to $130 million and a new additional line of credit product that allows business owners to make monthly, instead of weekly, payments, over 12 months.

BlueVine secured major funding as the company rolls out a 12-month business line of credit based on monthly payments, a new offering that would make it easier for business owners to meet their everyday funding needs.

BlueVine introduced the new product in response to client requests for a longer-term business line of credit with monthly payment plans. The new financing underscores the fintech pioneer’s commitment to innovation based on customer needs.

The new product gives business owners 12 months to repay each withdrawal in full, meaning lower payments each month.

Fintech market moves beyond lending (Financial Times), Rated: A

Goldman Sachs, arguably the world’s leading investment bank, has not been the greatest success story of recent times. After all the challenges of the 2008 financial crisis and the post-crisis regulatory glut, its profitability has declined sharply.

Today its stock market valuation, though far stronger than most banks, puts it on a so-called price-to-book valuation of 1.1 times. That is to say, its shares are worth 10 per cent more than the value of its net assets.

Compare that with the market’s view of Lending Club, the upstart peer-to-peer lender. Despite a scandal last year founded in slipshod controls, and a fall in the group’s share price from a 2015 high of more than $25 to barely a fifth of that today, it is relatively far more valuable than the Wall Street titan, with a price-to-book multiple of 2.6 times.

All that has yet to follow is a re-rating of Goldman stock — from bank to fintech. Though with barely $1bn of Goldman’s near $1tn balance sheet so far devoted to online lending, it may have a while to wait.

In a sign that the fintech business is maturing into more sophisticated areas, “regtech” is among the fastest-growing areas, accounting for a chunk of applications to the Future of Fintech awards.

Community Banks Take A Swing At FinTech Collaboration (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Community banks are typically a better bet for small businesses in search of a loan, with approval rates higher than those at larger financial institutions. But the latest data on SMB lending in the U.S. suggests a shift is ahead.

Earlier this month, Biz2Credit released its monthly Small Business Lending Index and found that approval rates at large banks increased more than they did at smaller community banks. And while community banks’ SMB loan approval rates are still higher than those at large banks (49.1 percent compared to 24.8 percent, respectively), separate analysis from the Federal Reserve, also published earlier this month, concluded that community banks are beginning to reexamine how small businesses fit into their broader loan portfolios.

The Fed found that small business lending at community banks actually declined in 2016, while SMB lending at big banks increased over the same period.

SENATE DEMOCRATS CLAIM A TOP BANKING REGULATOR IS SERVING ILLEGALLY IN HIS POSITION (The Intercept), Rated: A

SIX SENATE DEMOCRATS have asked the Treasury Department’s inspector general to investigate whether Keith Noreika, head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, is illegally serving in office.

Noreika planned to serve temporarily until Joseph Otting, former CEO of OneWest Bank and Trump’s nominee for the OCC, was confirmed. But that hasn’t happened yet; Otting’s nomination has sat on the Senate calendar for over a month.

Special government employees are limited to 130 days of service over a 365-day period. The OCC contends that the number only refers to business days, meaning weekends can be taken off and Noreika still has until November to go. But “business days” appears nowhere in the statute.

No, Trello Didn’t “Fail To Build A Billion Dollar Business” (Medium), Rated: A

I’ve seen a lot of folks passing around that article about how Trello failed to build a billion dollar business. It’s stunningly obtuse.

The premise is that the software that was sold for a $400m acquisition was a failure because it wasn’t worth $1b.

When Fog Creek spun Trello off as its own entity, the amount of money they raised was $10m. That was the only money they ever raised, and it was all they needed to raise.

For almost anyone with a sincere connection to reality, a $400,000,000 exit is an amazing win.

The “Trello Failed” take is not only wrong…

Really, what is the issue with an exit that large, after a fundraise that small? I believe there’s a level of unicorn fetishism at play here that’s more than a little depressing. To think that on any level a company either reaches a billion dollars or has “failed” is to denigrate the work of entrepreneurs building amazing products and achieving amazing things.

I have no real interest in billion dollar companies. I’m interested in companies that serve their customers, build amazing products and make money. If they happen to reach a billion, that’s great. But getting to a billion is not a goal that keeps me up at night.

Companies Are Owning Less And Creating More Value (Forbes), Rated: A

Although our society and culture are slow to realize it, the assets of yesterday are quickly becoming the liabilities of today. This is true in business and in our individual lives as well.

Digital technology and digital assets, rather than physical things, are giving us options that are newer, faster, cheaper, and more convenient.  It appears that today, the less you own, the more have.

By owning less and relying on a network to share the load, they operate more profitably and scale rapidly and inexpensively, trouncing big, established, asset-heavy players.

So, what are we doing in a world where less (stuff) is becoming more (valuable) and access is trumping ownership?

  • First, we are lightening our balance sheets, both personal and corporate. People are carefully considering which assets they actually need to own, and what stuff actually creates more value than its cost of ownership.
  • Second, we are using our intangible assets, like skills, ideas, technology, and particularly relationships, to serve us in ways never before possible.
  • Third, we are identifying our own professional skills and differentiators for the gig economy.

Congress Should Fix Fintech Lending Model (Competitive Enterprise Institute), Rated: A

Originally announced for markup, the Protecting Consumers’ Access to Credit Act of 2017 never made it to a vote. Yet, this is one of the most important bills Congress can pass this session, as it provides a legislative fix to a damaging U.S. Court of Appeals ruling, Madden v. Midland Funding.

Nonbank Fintech lenders are not currently chartered at the federal level. Instead, each Fintech lender is required to charter in each the state in which it originates loans. Each state sets its own regulations with regards to interest rates. Such a patchwork of different regulations means that Fintech lenders often cannot lend to customers in other states at the same interest rates that they lend to their in-state clients. This puts Fintech lenders at a competitive disadvantage, as solely state-chartered firms cannot offer consistent products nationwide that can provide benefits from economies of scale.

Source: CEI.org

Fintech’s Achilles heel: Reaching low-income consumers (American Banker), Rated: A

Over the last decade, fintech companies have launched robo-advisers, digitized lending, improved fraud detection and created virtual currencies. In short, fintech firms have helped change our understanding of what is possible in financial services.

However, the fintech revolution has largely ignored the financial needs of the bottom third of the U.S. population. For instance, fintech companies have so far failed to successfully create an alternative to credit scores for the 51% of people with subprime scores. Secondly, fintech firms have yet to help move our national savings rate in a positive direction. Thirdly, the amount of money that lower-income households have left over every month after paying their expenses is still declining despite fintech apps’ promise to help people budget. According to data from the Pew Charitable Trusts, the typical low-income household had $1,500 of income left over after expenses in 2004. In 2014, they were $2,300 in the red after expenses.

One explanation: Consumer spending dictates the preponderance of innovation and investment, and spending by 5% of households with the highest income now directs one-fifth of gross domestic product.

AI can help people save more of their paycheck

Close to half of Americans have expenses that equal or exceed their income, making every month a financial balancing act.

A fintech company could use artificial intelligence to identify patterns in someone’s past family financial behavior — both successful and unsuccessful — to recommend an easy-to-follow budget, send reminders or prompts, and eventually, say, help someone consistently lower expenditures and increase savings. Digit, for instance, is one example of a fintech company paving the way to do just that. The digital service mines someone’s checking account data to determine what he or she can afford to save and then Digit automatically transfers that amount into someone’s savings account.

Improve government-issued benefit cards

Each month, 52.2 million Americans receive government benefits — and most of them receive the benefits on a payment card. Most of these payment cards lack associated mobile apps that could make it easier for someone to check balances, track spending or fund savings. The cards also fail to let someone pay utility or phone bills directly.

Peer-to-peer platforms that enable lending between friends and family

Twenty percent of Americans have a credit score below 600 and another 19.3% of Americans are considered to be “unscored” or “credit invisible.”

Pro-consumer auto and mortgage loan calculators

In 2014, auto loans (29%) and mortgages (28%) were the second and third largest debt categories in America. In a world where visiting two additional mortgage brokers (or getting two more quotes) could save someone over $24,000 over the lifetime of their loan, the lack of clarity and understanding when people are signing their loan documents is reprehensible.

Wall Street Veteran Joins PeerStreet To Lead Capital Markets Team (BusinessWire), Rated: B

PeerStreet, an award-winning platform for investing in real estate backed loans, is excited to announce the appointment of Louis Nees as Head of Capital Markets. He will be based in the firm’s headquarters in Los Angeles, California.

In this role, Nees is responsible for leading PeerStreet’s Capital Markets team, which plays a crucial part in interfacing with the growing number of investors seeking to invest in loans on PeerStreet. The company recently surpassed half a billion in cumulative loans funded, all with zero losses to investors, and monthly origination volumes now reach above $50 million.

With his deep Wall Street background, Nees will provide key guidance on multiple and varied capital sources for PeerStreet.

Centana Growth Partners Expands Investment Team with Senior Hires (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Centana Growth Partners (Centana), a unique growth equity firm focused on the future of financial services, today announced an expansion of its investment team with the hiring of Tom Davis, Principal, and Matthew Alfieri, Vice President. Mr. Davis and Mr. Alfieri join the firm after the successful close of its $250 million fund earlier this year.

Mr. Alfieri joins Centana from Goldman Sachs where he spent nine years, most recently as a Vice President with the Principal Strategic Investments team, where he invested in financial technology and enterprise technology companies.

Kansas AG’s office targeting student loan scammers (WIBW News Now), Rated: B

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt is joining the Federal Trade Commission and ten of his colleagues from other states in a coordinated crackdown against student loan scammers.

“The student loan market is the second largest debt market after mortgages,” said Schmidt. “There’s more than $1.4 trillion in outstanding student loan balances around the country.”

Around 42 million Americans have student loan debt.

United Kingdom

UK Peer-To-Peer Lender RateSetter Receives FCA Regulatory OK (The New York Times), Rated: AAA

British peer-to-peer lending platform RateSetter on Tuesday said it had received full regulatory authorisation from the country’s Financial Conduct Authority watchdog.

P2PGI puts portion of Zopa loans up for sale (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

PEER-TO-PEER investment trust P2P Global Investments (P2PGI) has appointed Deutsche Bank to sell off 31,153 Zopa loans in its portfolio in the latest securitisation activity in the sector.

The bank is offering the loans in three tranches worth £208.9m overall.

The average value is £7,488 with an average interest rate of 7.2 per cent and remaining term of 45.7 months, Deutsche Bank said.

Inflation hitting higher income households hardest (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

NEW analysis by investment and financial planning group Tilney has revealed that the wealthiest households have experienced a much higher rate of inflation over the last two decades than everyone else.

In its household inflation index report, Tilney calculated that the top 10 per cent of households – those with incomes above £78,500 a year – have seen overall inflation of 64 per cent since 1997. That’s compared to 50.7 per cent for typical households (those with incomes of £26,900 to £30,000 a year) and 53.8 per cent for the lowest income families (less than £10,400).

Inflation has grown sharply in recent months, hitting a higher-than-expected 2.9 per cent in August, making it ever more difficult to savers to find an inflation-beating return from conventional savings accounts, adding to the allure of the peer-to-peer lending market.

Payday P2P lender Welendus receives full FCA approval (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

WELENDUS, the peer-to-peer payday lender, has received full authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA.)

The milestone comes a year after the company was formed.

The platform, which wants to shake-up the payday lending market by offering more reasonable interest rates than its competitors, launched a crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs in January to raise £300,000, but closed that campaign two weeks ago and instead started a new one to raise £100,000.

Moneyfarm is changing the face of wealth management (City A.M.), Rated: A

Moneyfarm is one of the new kids on the block. Founders Giovanni Dapra and Paolo Galvani left behind their City careers to set it up in 2011. It’s an app-based digital wealth management platform, which expanded into the UK from Italy last year. Dapra, the firm’s chief executive, is on a mission.

Since moving to London, the business has doubled its user base, now managing £260m in assets across the UK and Italy.

As well as a partnership with Allianz Global Investors, and launching separate partnerships with Uberand Revolut, Moneyfarm is in the process of launching a pension product.

Fewer people are saving into a private pension plan than at any point for the past 60 years. Auto-enrolment has gone some of the way to curing this ill, yet still there is a reluctance to think ahead.

Collaboration brings benefits to business at every level, say bosses (The Yorkshire Post), Rated: A

One banking leader said that the rise of fintech and challenger banks had forced his and other large scale banks to collaborate more widely while all assembled agreed that universities and business leaders should work together more closely for the benefit of students as well as their respective organisations.

Pete Sumners, director of corporate structure finance at Clydesdale Yorkshire Bank, said that recent innovations in disruptive lending technology has meant that the banking sector at large had had to admit it did not have the technology to offer certain services and as such was forced to work with fintech companies: “In terms of banking, not just CYBG, collaboration has been forced on us by competition.

Simon Pilling, partner at Bond Dickinson, agreed that the rise of artificial intelligence had meant professional services had needed to change their business model but that there was still a need for skilled lawyers in all ends of the process.

Future of Fintech Awards shortlist 2017 (Financial Times), Rated: A

There are two categories; the Impact Award is for larger and more established fintech companies, which are starting to have an effect on the financial services industry, while the Innovation Award is for newer fintech companies that are bringing out novel solutions.

Impact Award

Funding Circle, a direct lending platform that connects investors to borrowers, is shortlisted for the second year running for our Impact Award. With valuation of more than $1bn it is one of the UK’s “unicorns” and the largest British online “peer-to-peer” company by cumulative amount lent. More than £3bn has now been lent through the platform, with £1.1bn of that in 2016.

THE JUDGES SAID:

“The company is big enough to be making an impact in small business lending now.”

Ant Financial Services, founded in 2014, is an affiliate of Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce company.

THE JUDGES SAID:

“This is clearly one of the most innovative and impactful fintech companies of the moment, changing the landscape completely.”

California based Ripple, founded in 2012, has grown to be one of the world’s biggest blockchain networks. It allows businesses to transfer money globally at low cost using its own cryptocurrency XRP.

THE JUDGES SAID:

“This is no longer a prototype. Ripple is actually sending blockchain payments through. Many of these are still test payments but it is further than a lot of others.”

EFL Global provides alternative credit scoring for people who have previously been outside the banking system.

THE JUDGES SAID:

“There were many credit scoring entries and we liked what many of these were doing in terms of giving more people access to finance. However, we particularly liked the way EFL went beyond traditional credit score information.”

Digital Reasoning uses cognitive computing techniques to detect rogue traders at financial services companies.

THE JUDGES SAID:

“We thought this idea was cool. Cutting rogue trader activity and fraud at banks is a serious issue with consequences beyond just the banks themselves.”

Innovation Award

Micro finance lending platform QCash Financial was founded by the Washington State Employee Credit Union as an alternative to expensive payday loans.

THE JUDGES SAID:

“We liked this because it was an alternative to payday lending and an instance of an established financial institution doing something innovative.”

Token is creating an open banking platform aimed at making it easier for people, businesses and financial institutions to move money around. Using digital identity and smart tokens it offers a way for people to give third parties access to their account details in a secure and simple way.

THE JUDGES SAID:

“This is solving the problem that PSD2 brings, where banks need to provide APIs to authorised third parties. Token simplifies the many APIs and is already integrating 10 banks into the system.

RSRCHXchange was founded in 2014 as a one-stop-shop for asset management firms to purchase research services from banks, brokers and boutique providers. It will be particularly useful in helping banks comply with the EU’s new Mifid II rules, which come into force at the start of 2018.

THE JUDGES SAID:

This is solving a problem that comes with Mifid II. A more sophisticated solution than others in the market.

Bricklane.com is an online property ISA allowing anyone to participate in the housing market with an initial investment of as little as £100.

THE JUDGES SAID:

“We liked this because it is creating a new product. The founders say the main competitor is cash, with most of their funds coming from people transferring their ISAs.”

Castlight Financial is aiming to prevent another credit crunch by providing a more accurate way to assess what a consumer can afford to borrow. It collects data in real time from customers’ banks accounts, including income and expenditure, and uses these to build a clear picture of a their monthly disposable income. People who may have previously been refused loans because banks had too little data about them may become eligible for credit. Castlight says it can also speed up the mortgage decision process from six weeks to 10 minutes.

THE JUDGES SAID:

“The idea of better credit scoring is attractive and it is significant that the company has made a profit from the first year and has not had to take any financing.”

SMEs are ignoring their credit score (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

ALMOST half (44 per cent) of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have never checked their credit score, new research from RateSetter Business Finance shows.

The study, released on Monday, found that a further six per cent have opted against checking their score in the last year, while less than one in five (18 per cent) have checked the score in the last six months.

The peer-to-peer lender pointed out that credit scores are an integral part of establishing whether a business has a decent record of repaying debt, and have a significant impact on their chances of getting further finance.

Epiphany appointed by Wonga to help with brand perception (Prolific North), Rated: B

Leeds search specialist Epiphany has been appointed to help improve the brand perception of payday loan company Wonga.

Epiphany will work in partnership with Wonga’s content agency, Cedar, on brand perception and delivering a customer-first multi-channel content strategy.  The agency will also be responsible for driving traffic and enquiries from organic search.

China

Chinese peer-to-peer marketplace Hexindai sets terms for $ 58 million min-max US IPO (NASDAQ), Rated: AAA

Hexindai, a Chinese marketplace for peer-to-peer lending, announced terms for its min-max US IPO on Monday. The offering is being made on a best-efforts, min-max basis and therefore will not be included in our IPO stats.

The Beijing, China-based company plans to raise at least $30,000,000 by offering a minimum of 2.7 million ADSs and a maximum of 8.9 million ADSs at a price range of $9 to $11. At the midpoint of the proposed range, Hexindai would command a fully diluted market value of $487 million.

European Union

Credimi: four asset management funds renovate and increase the commitment up to €72.5 million (Credimi Email), Rated: AAA

Barely a year after the launch, Credimi – the digital financing platform for SMEs that makes liquid the working capital in short time at low costs – has renewed the agreement with the four primary investment funds. They committed up to 72,5M€ to purchase the entire portfolio of commercial credits originated by the fintech platform.

Credimi is a fintech company officially authorized by the Bank of Italy to the public financing activity according to the dispositions contained in the new art.106 of the Banking Consolidated Law. The company will be able to provide funding to SMEs up to €300 million in the next months .

The four partners previously involved, Anima Sgr, Anthilia Capital Partner Sgr, BG Fund Management Luxembourg S.A. and Tikehau Capital, have decided to renew the agreement. Credimi is therefore reinforcing the attractiveness of its notes, which are the among the most profitable and diversified asset class among investments with a comparable risk profile.  In fact, the notes combine an average life of the underlying invoices of less than 3 months with a spread around 450 base points and credit losses of 0.3%.  Credimi finances hundreds of SMEs with average ticket of 20,000€, creating a low risk, diversified portfolio.

The portfolio subscribed by the four noteholders is untranched and pays a quarterly  coupon. Additionally, Credimi continues to keep a stake of around 5% (as fifth noteholder alongside with the other four) to have ‘skin in the game’. This is not requested by law as the note is untranched and is ensured by Credimi to the noteholders on a voluntary basis.

Since launch on the market, Credimi has achieved outstanding results, exceeding initial expectations: €40million of loans have been delivered to Italian SMEs and more than 2.000 invoices have been financed. The same strong  results have been obtained with the Supply Chain financing: by signing deals with corporations – such as Ariston Thermo, Jab group (Jimmy Choo and Bally), Pittarosso and few others – Credimi helps large enterprises to finance their suppliers at competitive prices and with an unmatched flexibility.

International

Lenddo and EFL Team Up to Lead Financial Inclusion Revolution (Lenddo Email), Rated: A

United by the common vision of providing financial inclusion for more than one billion new and underserved individuals across the globe, Lenddo and EFL will together provide a suite of credit scoring and identity verification products to more than 20 emerging markets.

Lenddo and EFL have individually facilitated over 5 million credit assessments since inception, allowing more than 50 financial institutions to disburse over $2 billion USD in credit to people with limited information. The combined company will work directly with banks, telcos, retailers, microfinance institutions and insurers to serve individuals and small businesses.

The first joint product offering goes live in Asia and Latin America today, with additional products and features scheduled for release in the coming months.

Australia

Australian banking doesn’t need Google to be competitive (Financial Review), Rated: A

A leading member of Australia’s fintech community has backed the view of veteran bankers that technology giants will be dissuaded from setting up shop in Australia and taking on the big four. But the disrupters see different reasons for Google’s absence.

SocietyOne CEO Jason Yetton said for the tech companies with the resources it wasn’t a question of whether they could disrupt the incumbents but whether they should do so.

In Australia there is a raft of smaller companies looking to carve out their own share of the financial services market including personal loans company Ratesetter, layby purchases Afterpay and online lender Zipmoney.

Tyro is a payments and technology company that also lends to small businesses. It also has Australia’s newest banking licence and is therefore subject to the same oversight as other authorised deposit taking institutions (ADIs).

Online Lender Prospa Forms New Partnership With Retail Marketplace MyDeal (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Prospa, an Australian online lender for small businesses, has formed a partnership with Gandel-backed retail marketplace MyDeal, which will allow retailers on its platform to apply for loans of up to $250,000.

Senvirtne and his MyDeal team will be receiving a 1-2% small commission for every loan that comes through the marketplace.

India

PolicyBazaar Raises $ 77M at a $ 500M Valuation (Coverager), Rated: AAA

Gurgaon-based PolicyBazaar announced it has raised $77M in a Series E round led by Wellington Management , with participation from IDG Ventures India and True North; to name two. The online insurance aggregator has raised a total of $146.6M since its inception in 2008 and is currently valued at $500M.

According to VCCiRCLE, the company plans to go public by the end of 2018 after breaking even in November 2016.

Source: Coverager

Micro-lending startup KrazyBee raises $ 8M, plans to enter payday-loan segment (YourStory), Rated: A

On Monday, Bengaluru-based micro-lending startup KrazyBee said it had raised $8 million in a Series A round led by Xiaomi Technologies and Chinese venture capital fund Shunwei Capital. The funding raised was a combination of equity and debt, with participation from Essel Group’s E-City Ventures and RK Group.

The funding announcement comes within a year of the firm raising $3 million pre-Series A round in January from Plum Ventures. Prior to this, KrazyBee had raised a seed round of $2 million in May 2016.

Until July this year, the company claimed they had disbursed 80,000 loans and processed close to 170,000 loan applications. As of October 2017, the company had disbursed close to 150,000 loans and processed above 200,000 loan applications.  The founder claims that of this number, 75,000 loans have already matured with steady settlement.

The average size of loans by KrazyBee is around Rs 15,000 with the maximum tenure being 12 months.

Lending and borrowing limits on peer-to-peer lending platforms (Livemint), Rated: B

Many lenders find P2P platforms attractive because of their potential for giving higher returns, compared to fixed and savings bank deposits. In fact, these platforms also market their services by comparing the returns from P2P lending with returns from mutual funds. It is important to note here that these platforms cannot guarantee any return.

Thus, the RBI imposed limits on how much can be lent and how much can be borrowed by individuals from these platforms—to limit the risk exposure of individuals.

If such a person was to take a personal loan from a bank, it would come at 16-17%. Through P2P lending they can get that loan at around 14%. Those with low credit scores typically go to other NBFCs, and get loans at 22-23%.

No borrower can have loans of more than Rs10 lakh, from all the P2P platforms combined; and no more than Rs50,000 from one lender. All loans through P2P platforms come with a payback period that cannot be more than 36 months.

APAC

Markel International Launches Fintech Insurance for Asian Market (Insurance Journal), Rated: A

Markel International, the specialist insurer, has unveiled a fintech policy offering comprehensive protection for businesses in the financial technology sector in Asia, having successfully launched it in the UK early last year.

Coverage also extends to the costs involved when sensitive documents or data are lost.

On top of the professional indemnity core cover, the policy offers protection for three additional perils to protect clients against their key exposures:

  • Directors’ and officers’ liability cover protects against claims of mismanagement, which could be brought by shareholders, employees, creditors or regulators.
  • Theft option covers the insured against the stealing of money or other financial instruments, through both electronic and non-electronic means, including through extortion. It will also cover the cost of rectifying computer systems following a theft.
  • Cyber liability and loss cover provides protection if the insured suffers a network security incident, such as a hack, denial of service attack, or a computer virus, and will also cover business interruption losses arising from such an incident. This section includes cover for the cost of rectifying computer systems following a network security incident.

Baker McKenzie snags top G+T partner (Australasian Lawyer), Rated: B

Baker McKenzie has snagged a top partner from Gilbert + Tobin.

In addition to his knowledge in DCM matters, McGrath brings to Baker McKenzie a practice that covers a wide range of areas, including securitisation, leveraged and general finance, peer-to-peer lending, insolvency and restructuring, blockchain, and smart contracts.

Africa

SA’s Retailer Pick n Pay Reaches 200 000 Money Transfer Users (Tech Financials), Rated: AAA

South Africa’s Pick n Pay announced on Tuesday that it has 200 000 registered money transfer customers as of 27 August 2017.

The largest online grocery business in Africa is in partnership with digital bank TymeDigital, a subsidiary of Commonwealth Bank, to deliver money transfer.

In line with its plans to launch a digital bank, TymeDigital was recently awarded a banking licence by the South African Reserve Bank, a first in 18 years.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday October 13 2017, Daily News Digest

China P2P

News Comments Today’s main news: Ron Suber delivers last keynote at Lend360. Kroll assigns preliminary ratings to Marlette Funding Trust 2017-3. Judge says he is likely to certify LendingClub lawsuit as class action. Lemonade rolls out open API. Zopa CEO struggles with perception that P2P lender is struggling. Reserve Bank of India issues KYC guidelines for prepaid payment instruments. State Bank of Mauritius, […]

China P2P

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

Africa

South America

 

News Summary

United States

The “Godfather of Fintech’s” Last US Keynote (FintechSauce), Rated: AAA

Ron Suber walked onto the LEND360 main stage to the theme song of Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather.

This was Ron’s last keynote in the US (until he makes a Jordan-like comeback, perhaps?), which attracted a standing room only crowd. His talk started off with the theme of consolidation, comparing FinTech to previous life-changing industries such as radio, tv and mobile phones.

Ron also shared his top tips for entrepreneurs and platforms:

  1. He suggested that the platforms know what makes them unique and to be able to pitch your company in two sentences or less.
  2. He also said that there is no “single solution.” There will always be ways to do things.
  3. Also, listen to consumers–they’re the ones that drive innovation.
  4. Focus. The need to focus as an entrepreneur is key to success.

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to Marlette Funding Trust 2017-3 (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to four classes of notes issued by Marlette Funding Trust 2017-3 (MFT 2017-3). This is a $297.8 million consumer loan ABS transaction that is expected to close on October 26, 2017. This transaction represents the fifth securitization collateralized by unsecured consumer loans originated by Cross River Bank, under the Marlette Best Egg Platform and sold to Marlette Funding, LLC (“Marlette”) or its affiliate.

The transaction has initial credit enhancement levels of 37.70% for the Class A Notes, 24.90% for the Class B Notes, 14.90% for the Class C Notes and 7.00% for the Class D Notes. Credit enhancement consists of overcollateralization, subordination (in the case of the Class A, Class B and Class C Notes) and a reserve account funded at closing.

LendingClub Investors Poised To Win Cert. Over Objections (Law360), Rated: AAA

A California federal judge Thursday said he will likely certify a class of LendingClub Corp. investors who allege the peer-to-peer lending company hid defects in its internal controls before and after its $1 billion initial public offering, over objections from both the company and investors pursuing separate state law claims.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup indicated he was “inclined to certify everything,” but seemed likely to trim the terms, telling LendingClub attorney Victoria Parker of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Sullivan LLP she’d “raised some good points” about….

Online Lending 2.0 by Renaud Laplanche (Field Services on Demand), Rated: AAA

Lemonade platform now “open to the world” with API (Banking Technology), Rated: AAA

“We’re opening up the Lemonade platform to the world!” says Shai Wininger, co-founder of Lemonade, a US-based insurtech firm.

The new Lemonade API supports quoting, policy creation and payment for homeowners, condo, and renters insurance policies in the company’s active markets  of New York, California, Texas, Illinois, New Jersey and Rhode Island. More regions will be added “in the near future”.

Lending Disrupted? Not Yet, Says Renaud Laplanche (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Renaud Laplanche, co-founder and CEO of Upgrade, and former co-founder and CEO of Lending Club tried to reignite the flame of the consumer lending sector by forecasting not only its continuing success, but further the emergence of major innovations.

The growth of online lending will re-accelerate in the next 15 months.

Credit card debt is currently growing at a 5% rate and represents $1.021 trillion. The total debt balance of US households totals $12.73 trillion.

The US is experiencing one of the longest economic growth run, yet still 20 months shorter than the growth run which preceded the great depression. Observers estimate at less than 30% the risk of recession.

When I asked Renaud Laplanche about his personal vision of the ideal product – the product he would like his company to deliver if there were no technological or other barrier, he said: “one click responsible credit.”

Goldman wants to help flip that house (CNBC), Rated: A

Now Goldman is getting into lending for real estate pros through its acquisition of Genesis Capital.

The deal, for undisclosed terms, gives Goldman a business that makes loans of $100,000 to $10 million at rates of 7 percent to 12 percent. It won’t lend to occupants, so that leaves real estate professionals who are renovating and looking to sell fairly quickly. Genesis made $1 billion of loans last year.

Affirm’s Plan To “AMP” Retailer Margins And Conversions (PYMNTS), Rated: A

You’ve heard the old story: If brick-and-mortar merchants watched 75 percent of their customers walk in their stores and then walk out without having purchased a single thing, sirens would be screaming. But that’s precisely the situation with online commerce – three out of every four consumers who load their cart, don’t buy what’s in that cart.

AMP is integrated with seven of the top email service providers that online merchants use to market to consumers. Thee integrations give online merchants a new way to nudge a consumer into making that purchase by offering the ability to pay in installments, using Affirm. Retailers using any of those email providers are able to drag and drop the Affirm “as low as” pricing offer into any of their email templates, and then use it as a mechanism to convert abandoned carts.

“We want to give retailers a new way to follow up,” Overstreet said. “Instead of just showing their consumer the same $400 loveseat that they decided not to buy a day or a week ago, the consumer gets a prompt letting them know they can buy that $400 loveseat for little as $35 a month.”

Should you add a loan to your shopping cart? (San Francisco Chronicle), Rated: A

Got your eye on a new living room set at Wayfair? Or maybe you’re booking your honeymoon on Expedia. Increasingly, shoppers at these sites and others are encountering payment options from third-party lending companies like Affirm, Bread, Klarna and Acima Credit.

Lyst, an online clothing store carrying brands such as Burberry, Marc Jacobs and J. Crew, offers loans through Klarna. And Walmart is considering checkout loans from Affirm for items above $200, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

While some retailers may offer zero-interest promotional rates, annual percentage rates from Affirm and Bread, for example, can be as high as 30%. A $345 handbag at Rebecca Minkoff will wind up costing you $385 if you pay for it with a 12-month loan from Affirm at an APR of 21% — the average rate for its borrowers, Affirm says.

HOW SHOPPING LOANS WORK

The process is similar to selecting a store credit card at checkout. The loan option might appear next to the purchase price or in your shopping cart. In the online experience, selecting the loan option will direct you to the lender’s website or a smartphone app. You enter a few pieces of personal information — typically your name, date of birth and last four digits of your Social Security Number, or in some cases, just your phone number.

If you’re approved, the lender displays multiple loans with varying interest rates, monthly payment amounts and terms. You pick a loan, sign the agreement and finish checking out. Just like using a store credit card, the whole process takes anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes.

From Weeks to Minutes: How Fintech Is Changing the Speed of Lending (Wharton), Rated: A

In this Knowledge@Wharton interview, Spencer Robinson, head of strategy for the company, explains what Kabbage has discovered that allows it to approve loans in minutes, versus what he says can often be a multi-week slog with traditional banks. 

Knowledge@Wharton: Your website notes that you’ve provided $3.5 billion in financing to some 100,000 businesses online, and you’re still not a household word, which, with those kinds of numbers, surprises me.

Spencer Robinson: Capital One really changed the way people looked at consumer credit finance. And that sort of mindset really helps lay the foundation for the types of things that we do.

Knowledge@Wharton: It’s interesting, the difference between you and a traditional lender. I’ve seen stories about Kabbage. One is about a small business owner who wanted to borrow $50,000 and they took their loan request to a bank. It took three weeks and the answer was “no.” And then they went to you and they got their $50,000 in six minutes. Why can’t banks do that? Why is it that you can do that?

Robinson: I would say banks can. A lot of times it’s a matter of getting out of your own way.

Robinson: Our APR average is right at about 39% to 40%.

Knowledge@Wharton: What is the highest amount that you lend?

Robinson: We’re at $150,000 now.

Listen to the podcast interview here.

If the rules are right, digital microlending could play role in subprime market (R Street), Rated: A

Credit unions frequently are the best available choice for those who have difficulty obtaining credit through traditional banks. But for some, digitally coordinated peer-to-peer lending agreements—inspired by microfinance arrangements for economically fragile communities internationally—also are proving to be an emerging option.

Peer-to-peer digital microlending has the potential to fill a portion of the gap by providing this cohort with small, short-term loans that typically range from $100 to $500.

One of the largest such peer-to-peer digital microlending platforms is the “R/ Borrow” section of reddit.com. This subreddit uses the reputational ecosystem within reddit to identify worthy borrowers, banning users who default or violate the terms of use. The subreddit facilitates the microloans and acts as a central database of transactions, coordinating more than $780,000 in loans in 2015.

If it can be properly scaled, peer-to-peer digital microlending could be a worthy option over payday loans for subprime borrowers.

More than 100 financial firms using Ripple blockchain software (American Banker), Rated: A

Ripple’s campaign to beat Swift at cross-border payments just got some new recruits.

The San Francisco startup announced several new customers of its enterprise blockchain software on Tuesday, bringing the total number of financial ….

ValueInsured Closes Financing Led by Global Reinsurer (PR Newswire), Rated: A

ValueInsured, the only provider of down payment protection, today announced the closing of $6.5M of funding led by an affiliate of Everest Re Group Ltd. and also Houston International Insurance Group (HIIG). The latest round of funding from Everest Re and HIIG builds on their existing partnerships with ValueInsured, which began in 2014 with an initial $6M seed round. This additional investment provides ValueInsured with the growth capital to continue its aggressive distribution partnership strategy, expanding channel presence and enhancing the features of the +Plus SM down payment protection program.

An API-Based Cure For Post-Purchase Blues? (PYMNTS), Rated: A

But many consumers could soon find an easier process for obtaining savings on such purchases, thanks to an API-based solution: Earny, an app-based bot born from a Mastercard API. Earny launched last year with the promise of offering consumers a more frictionless price protection process.

According to Vakrat, Earny’s inspiration started with a blazer purchased for $129 by co-founder Dori Yona. A few weeks later, Yona came down with a sudden case of sticker shock after shopping online and finding the same blazer available for roughly half the price.

Vakrat said he and Yona contacted the credit card company to see if Yona could receive a refund on the difference. The credit card company offered price protection, but Vakrat politely described the process of getting reimbursed for the difference as “inefficient.” While ultimately successful, it took two weeks for Yona to complete the process and receive his $65.

To develop a more efficient post-purchase refund process, the two co-founders entered Mastercard’s Masters of Code Hackathon. The result was the Earny app, which taps into Mastercard’s Simplify Commerce API. Earny uses APIs to authenticate users through their Gmail, Yahoo or Microsoft email providers, then scans their inboxes for eCommerce receipts and compares them to prices from approximately three dozen retailers – including Target, Costco and Overstock.com – checking for price drops. The service works by automating the price protection process, automatically refunding consumers for any detected price differences.

According to Mastercard’s research, U.S. consumers walk away from more than $50 billion in price drops every year because they were either unaware of better offers or because the refund process can be lengthy and require tedious paperwork.

Fed’s Bullard warns bank regulators are ‘complacent’ over fintech risks (Kitco), Rated: A

U.S. banking regulators must accelerate efforts to address the risks posed by fintech companies to the banking sector which could be “eviscerated” by these innovative new players, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said on Thursday.

In the lending sector alone, Goldman Sachs estimates that $11 billion of annual profit is at risk of leaving the banking system, according to research cited by the Fed.

Fintech’s Got 99 Problems And Diversity Is Definitely One (Forbes), Rated: A

Marketplace lending platform P2Binvestor announced today the launch of a first-of-its-kind bank partnership program with New Resource Bank in order to provide crowdsourced lines of credit to growing, mission-aligned businesses with a hunger for innovation.

Alongside transforming the lending structure for fintech companies, P2Binvestor’s attitude towards diversity in the workplace and moving away from traditional, yet stereotypical roles is second to none, headed up by CEO Krista Morgan.

Five Ways To Bounce Back From A Culture Catastrophe (Forbes), Rated: A

Corporate culture is a growing concern for boards and stockholders. One study shows that 92% of executives believe improving corporate culture would increase their firm’s value. That is an overwhelming majority, and yet so many companies with seemingly unlimited resources keep falling into the trap of poor culture.

A recent victim is SoFi, a privately held online lender. SoFi lost its CEO amid a storm of accusations including sexual harassment, verbal harassment and a culture of fear.

The CFPB’s Payday Lending Rule: An Opportunity in Disguise? (JD Supra), Rated: A

Editorial: Payday loan rules make sense (LJWorld), Rated: B

Kansas legislators should take steps to rein in the predatory lending practices some in the payday lending industry employ.

According to the state bank commissioner, payday loans in Kansas totaled more than $300 million in 2016. Interest rates and fees average an astounding 391 percent per year.

Under UCCC rules, payday loans are limited to $500 on loans that last seven to 30 days, and lenders cannot charge more than 15 percent of the amount borrowed. However, they can charge an additional 3 percent per month for loans that go past their maturity date. Lenders cannot make more than two loans to the same person at any one time, and they cannot make more than three loans to the same person within a 30-day period.

Editorial: Payday lending should be restricted (CJOnline), Rated: B

The average federal student loan carries an interest rate of around 5 percent. When you take out a loan for a car, you can expect to pay between 3 percent and 10 percent. The average interest rate for a credit card is a little more than 15 percent. But if you get a payday loan in Kansas, you’ll be slapped with an interest rate of 391 percent.

According to the Pew Charitable Trusts, payday borrowers are disproportionately likely to be low-income African Americans with lower average levels of education. Borrowers are 62 percent more likely to earn less than $40,000 per year, 82 percent more likely to have lower than a four-year degree and 105 percent more likely to be African American.

LendingClub Schedules Third Quarter 2017 Earnings Release and Conference Call (Business Insider), Rated: B

LendingClub (NYSE: LC), America’s largest online marketplace connecting borrowers and investors, announced that it will report earnings for the third quarter of 2017 on Tuesday, November 7, 2017, after market hours. LendingClub will host a conference call to discuss the third quarter financial results at 2:00 p.m. Pacific Time (5:00 p.m. Eastern Time) on the same day.

A live webcast of the call will be available at  under the Events & Presentations menu. To access the call please dial +1 (888) 317-6003 or outside the U.S. +1 (412) 317-6061 with conference ID 7584209 ten minutes prior to 2:00 p.m. Pacific Time (or 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time).

United Kingdom

Zopa CEO on lender freeze: Popular restaurants don’t ‘put on more tables, they take reservations’ (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

The CEO of peer-to-peer lending business Zopa has rejected claims the business is struggling to attract borrowers, saying the platform is still growing lending volumes by as much as 50%.

CEO Jaidev Janardana told Business Insider: “I do struggle a little bit with this thing that we’re struggling with borrowers. We have been growing [lending] by 45-50%. I don’t think there are other businesses that are growing at 50% year-on-year that would be looked at as struggling.”

Zopa has built up a waiting list of 15,000 people who want to lend over the platform. The company hopes to let some of them onto the platform towards the end of the year.

‘Consumer lending is always a cyclical business’

The Bank of England has been sounding the alarm on rising consumer credit levels and warned lenders in July not to “return to the punch bowl,” saying it is worried that lenders relaxing their lending criteria could lead to repeats of mistakes made during the financial crisis.

Orca’s New P2P Lending Investor Guide Makes a Splash: UK Surpasses £11B Cumulative Lending Mark (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Orca’s analytic service recorded a new milestone for the asset class this month – £11bn cumulatively lent, all-time in the UK. With over 200,000 active investors and 30% of market share attributed to institutional investment, UK P2P lending is maintaining its growth trajectory, set for a market value of £15bn by 2020. In 2017 year-to-date, £3.4bn has been invested across P2P lending platforms, which is over £100m more than the 2016 total lent figure, according to the Guide.

Source: Orca

Download the guide here.

Legal 500 2017: The region’s top performers in banking and finance (Manchester Evening News), Rated: A

Law firms across Greater Manchester continue to act for a host of well-known lenders and borrowers on a wide range of leveraged, real estate and corporate and asset finance transactions.

While this year’s tiers one and two remain the same as last time, Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP has moved up from tier four to tier three and gunnercooke LLP has moved from tier five to tier four.

TIER TWO – DWF has a ‘strong’ borrower practice whose experience spans corporate banking, acquisition finance, public sector finance, and peer-to-peer lending.

LendInvest Teams Up With UKPA to Launch Second Annual PropTech Influence List (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On Thursday, UK-based p2p lending platform LendInvest announced it has teamed up with the UK PropTech Association (UKPA) to release the second annual PropTech Influence List.

The deadline to vote is November 3rd. The list will be announced at 

Search is on for PropTech Influencers of the Year (Estate Agent Today), Rated: B

The LendInvest PropTech Influencer List  recognises the 25 people doing the most to develop the understanding, reach and benefit of PropTech in the property market.

Nominations are open to anyone working in or contributing to PropTech in the UK and overseas.

Last year’s winner was Estate Agent Today contributor James Dearsley, who this year becomes one of the judges in the competition.

IT portfolio – debt/alternatives to gilts (Citywire Money Forums), Rated: A

In terms of alternative uncorrelated debt what are the alternatives? I hold Investec local currency EM debt, Carador income and Funding Circle IT.

Can the gilt portion be modified to other sources of debt? I have considered SQN Asset, and P2P global (recent weaknesses) as a top up. Will these forms of debt hold up in a downturn? I’m not so sure against gilts/treasuries which are overvalued but possibly the only real diversifier (I also hold 7% in gold).

SONECT wins LendIt Europe PitchIt startup competition (Bankless Times), Rated: B

SONECT, a platform that can convert anyone or any shop into a virtual ATM, is the PitchIt winner at LendIt Europe.

China

China’s Online Lending  Consolidates As Market Grows (PIIE.com), Rated: AAA

China’s online peer-to-peer (P2P) lending industry is going through a welcome consolidation. Weak, noncompliant platforms are failing, but long overdue regulatory tightening and still excessive competition is likely to further winnow down the 2,000 platforms online today to a few hundred in the coming years. However, those that survive will compete in a much larger market that has grown quickly despite a minefield of new regulations and frequent failures.

This post expands and updates two earlier installments in this series: an introduction to Chinese P2P in part 1, including its earlier growing pains and the regulatory loopholes they used to grow. Part 2describes regulatory measures taken up to July 2016, especially the difficulties involved with regulation through local officials.

Source: PIIE

P2P loans outstanding in China at the end of September are up 63 percent from a year ago, to RMB 1.15 trillion (around $173 billion).

Source: PIIE
European Union

Linked Finance aims to increase level of peer-to-peer lending (RTE), Rated: AAA

Linked Finance has raised €2 million in equity as part of plans to expand its business.

Since launching in 2013, Linked Finance has lent €34.5m to Irish SMEs, more than a third of which has already been repaid, and agreed its 1,000th loan in September.

Source: RTE

RTÉ’s Business News Weekly Podcast – October 13 (RTE), Rated: A

On this week’s podcast: Peer-to-peer lending platform Linked Finance raises €2m to fund its expansion and why small and medium sized Irish companies stand to benefit from more favourable tax treatment for employee share incentive schemes announced in Tuesday’s budget.

Listen to the podcast here.

Big banks discuss how to adjust to a digital economy (Business Insider), Rated: A

During a panel discussion at 

Source: Business Insider

 

Zinbaustein “Wohnen Im Village 11” Hits €625K Goal, Starts Investor Waitlist (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Private investors may now participate in a new equity crowdfunding real estate round for a mortgage of residential buildings in Darmstadt / Frankfurt area of Germany.  “Wohnen Im Village 11” on zinsbaustein.de features ten semi-detached houses and one detached house.  Private investors can participate in the form of a subordinated loan from 500 euros to 10,000 euros with a maturity of approximately 18 months and receive an interest rate of 5.25 percent per year. There is a repayment option after 12 months, when construction and sales run according to schedule. To date, 625,000 euros have been raised from the crowd for the project; a waitlist has been started.

French fintech startup Manager.one raises €2 million (Tech.eu), Rated: B

Manager.one, a fintech startup based in Paris, has raised €2 million from angel investors for its online banking platform for entrepreneurs.

International

Finastra delivers next-generation payments technology on Microsoft Azure (Realwire), Rated: A

Finastra is bringing its next-generation payments solutions to the cloud via Microsoft Azure, Microsoft’s enterprise-ready trusted cloud platform. Banks will benefit from streamlined onboarding, as well as faster access to new products and upgrades. This alliance is an extension of Finastra’s cloud-based lending oversight solution that was previously launched on Azure in the US and Canadian markets in 2016. Since then, Finastra has broadened its relationship with Microsoft and is migrating its payments capabilities to Azure.

Worldcore: Bringing Banking to the Blockchain (BTCManager), Rated: A

Worldcore is an established online money transfer service, which has recently announced plans to expand its operation to create an online, blockchain-powered peer-to-peer lending platform. To this end, they have announced an ICO, which is currently scheduled to begin on October 14, 2017.

Jeff Woodward Joins Brickblock as CIO (BlockTribune), Rated: B

Brickblock, the investment platform connecting real-world assets and cryptocurrencies, has added experienced property investor and developer Jeff Woodward to its team as Chief Investment Officer (CIO).

In December, Brickblock will complete a world-first by selling an entire apartment building on the blockchain.

India

RBI announces strict KYC guidelines for prepaid payment (Jagran Josh), Rated: AAA

Africa

The SBM Group and SALT Technology Enter Exploratory Partnership to Collateralize Blockchain Assets (BlockchainNews), Rated: AAA

The State Bank of Mauritius, SBM Group and FinTech service provider SALT,  creators of the first Blockchain-backed loan platform, today announced that they have entered into an exploratory relationship to become the first to use Blockchain assets as collateral for lending services.

South America

Ripio Raises $ 31 Million in ICO Pre-sale (BlockTribune), Rated: AAA

Buenos Aires micro-lending startup Ripio has raised $31 million as part of an initial coin offering (ICO) pre-sale ahead of a new credit network launch. The public ICO will begin on October 24.

Investors in the pre-sale included Blacktower Capital, Blockchain Investors Consortium, and FBG Capital. According to the startup, participants were drawn from various parts of the world like Russia, South Korea and Canada.

Two FinTech Startups That Want to Reach Customers ‘Door-to-Door’ (Let’s Talk Payments), Rated: A

This year, the two largest contributions were made to Creditas, which received ~$18.87 million, mostly from IFC (the World Bank’s investment arm), and Avante – with ~$12.14 million received mostly of Fiinlab, innovation laboratory of the Mexican group Gentera, and the Vox Capital impact fund.

Avante, a FinTech startup that provides micro-loans, has already lent more than ~$31.45 million to 44,000 microentrepreneurs.

Creditas, an online lending platform that offers secured consumer loans to individuals with home and automobile as collateral, offers credit at lower rates using technology and data intelligence for efficiency. The startup is the second-largest Brazilian in funding, with a total of ~$28.3 million – only behind Nubank.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor