Thursday December 28 2017, Daily News Digest

china IPO

News Comments Today’s main news: VPC Specialty Lending Drops Prosper Loans.Best Egg to broaden services in 2018.Faircent raises $4M.RoboCash updates loan origination process.Tyro to launch new SME solutions. Today’s main analysis: China leads Asia’s IPO boom. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Can Lending Club grow by 20% in 2018?Blockchain could transform these major industries.APAC online lending is […]

china IPO

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China

  • China leads Asia in IPO boom. AT: Not really news, but it’s interesting to see where Chinese companies are going public. The big winner is the New York Stock Exchange. But Shanghai and NASDAQ are also looking good with Hong Kong hanging in there.”

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United States

Reversal of fortune (Breaking Views), Rated: AAA

Most new entrants have also found it hard to build scale. Lending Club’s top line may grow by 20 percent in 2018, according to Reuters data, but that will take it only to $800 million. Even online student lender Earnest, which largely avoided industry potholes, has struggled. In October it sold itself to old-school servicer Navient for $155 million – less than half its value in a 2015 funding round.

Best Egg Will Broaden to Financing Purchases in 2018 (Banking Innovation), Rated: AAA

Marketplace lender Best Egg will move towards financing consumer purchases, including homes, as it looks to expand in 2018, the company told Bank Innovation.

If I can know my monthly cost for Amazon Prime before I sign a contract, why can’t I know my monthly cost for a car payment before going to the dealership? If I can see movie options before I go to the theater, why can’t I see my financing options before I sign a 5-year loan contract? Being empowered with concrete choices would make both budgeting and buying a car that much easier and help to save hours on the financing process. So, using my personal experiences from childhood to fuel my passion, I co-founded AutoGravity in October of 2015.

Our goal at AutoGravity was to make car financing as easy as watching a movie on Netflix, streaming an album off Spotify or buying a book from Amazon. So, we demystified the process by making it accessible to everyone – empowering them through our app on their smartphone.

Tax cuts, softened regulatory tone likely to help banks in 2018 (Central Penn Business Journal), Rated: A

Financial institutions also could face challenges in the near future as a result of technology-driven competition and long-term impacts from the recently approved tax reforms.

Marsico expects banks to increase automation of certain support-center processes over the next year. Artificial intelligence, for example, could handle some of the work that goes into processing loans, as well as tasks like verifying the authenticity of checks submitted through mobile deposit apps.

One study predicts banks throughout the world will increase their tech budgets by 4.1 percent in 2018.

Consumers still not benefiting from bank overdraft programs (Consumer Affairs), Rated: A

Most consumers still don’t know they are not required to accept their bank’s overdraft protection service, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts’ latest consumer finance project.

Before the law was changed in 2010, banks automatically enrolled consumers in overdraft protection. If consumers made purchases that overdrew their accounts, the banks covered the expense and then assessed an overdraft fee, which often cost as much as $35.

Since the law changed, consumers must opt-in to this coverage — banks cannot automatically enroll them. Thaddeus King, officer of The Pew Charitable Trusts’ consumer finance project, says it’s clear consumers don’t understand that overdraft protection is not only costly, but unnecessary.

In September a survey found that an estimated eight million consumers have opted-in, primarily because they thought they had to. Two-thirds of consumers who agreed to pay the overdraft fees were unaware it was optional.

Banks actively headhunting, but they want specific skill (CNBC), Rated: B

The rising influence of digital and banking-specific technology — so-called fintech — is “really changing how banks themselves will organize their own recruitment functions,” O’Sullivan told CNBC.

United Kingdom

VPC Specialty Lending Sells Prosper Marketplace Loans (London South East), Rated: AAA

VPC Specialty Lending Investments PLC on Wednesday said it sold its Prosper marketplace loans and was able to immediately reinvest substantially all of the proceeds into new investments.

The loans sold represented around 4.1% of VPC’s net asset value as at the end of October, and it expects the hit to net asset value from the sale to be around 0.56%.

China

China bourses behind Asia’s lead in global IPO boom (Nikkei Asian Review), Rated: AAA

Asian companies raised $79.14 billion through initial public offerings as of Dec. 18, up 10% from 2016, data from Dealogic shows. The sum represents 42% of the global tally, which surged 41% on the year to $194.8 billion.

Shanghai, the world’s second largest economy saw a total of 409 companies tapping $31.61 billion from the market, up 30% compared with last year. Of the country’s total funds raised, 56% was from Shanghai, making it Asia’s top IPO destination.

Source: Nikkei Asian Review

Hong Kong saw total funds raised fall 34% to $14.08 billion this year, despite a 24% jump in volume.

Alibaba-backed online lender Qudian, for instance, saw its New York-listed shares tumble 55% after it debuted in October. Its peer LexinFintech Holdings, backed by JD.com, on Dec. 14 slashed its fundraising target by 76% to $120 million.

European Union

P2P Lender RoboCash Updates on 2017 Progress (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Latvia-based European peer to peer lender Robo.Cash, a young platform that is less than a year old, has provided an update on loan origination progress.  According to the P2P lender, RoboCash attracted € 2.5 million of investments in pay day lending (PDL) loans in 2017. Robo.Cash launched its platform in Latvia in February 2017.

Robo.cash said the current average sum of investments is € 2.900 per investor with over 1,500 investors from 28 EU-countries have joined Robo.cash in 10 months. The site says investors may be separated as follows:Germany (50,5%), Spain (7,2%), the Czech Republic (6,1%), Austria (4,6%), Latvia (3,9%), Portugal (3,6%), the United Kingdom (3,3%), Netherlands (2,7%), Lithuania (2,3%), Estonia (1,6%).

More retailers’ customers using Klarna’s buy-now, pay-later plan (The Columbus Dispatch), Rated: AAA

The Swedish e-commerce company signed 500 online retailers for its new service, which allows consumers to buy products now and pay for them later.

And the company’s North American operations signed on a new CEO, Jim Lofgren, replacing central Ohio native Brian Billingsley, who recently was named chief revenue officer for Dallas-based payment-service company Modo.

“We serve more than 70,000 merchants over 18 markets, and our data in the U.S. market is really very similar to other markets,” Lofgren said recently. “We’re making a very significant impact for our merchants.”

Brussels moves to boost Europe’s fintech sector (Financial Times), Rated: A

The European Commission is to present draft legislation early next year to remove administrative hurdles to the cross-border operation of crowdfunding sites and online peer-to-peer lending services. It says the initiative will ensure that EU companies can grow and compete.

European fintech successes include TransferWise, the Estonian-developed foreign exchange company, and France’s PayPlug, which makes it easier for sole traders to accept credit card payments.

LoanBook Shares Latest Milestone (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

LoanBook, a Spanish marketplace lending platform, having easily surpassed its initial £650,000 last week is, is heading toward the home stretch having raised over £721,200 for 6.40% equity with the help of more than 253 Crowdcubeinvestors. £340,000 of this investment sum comes from current shareholders, local Business Angels and Family Offices. Funding will be used to continue LoanBook’s platform growth and development.

Crowdfunding saves tumbling down French chateau (The Business Times), Rated: B

It’s a modern story of an ancient fairytale castle: a crowdfunding effort online has raised 1.6 million euros (S$2.55 million) to restore a chateau in western France.

Around 25,000 people from 115 countries have become shareholders in the chateau de La Mothe-Chandeniers which has turrets, a moat and an elderly owner who had not maintained it.

International

30 Big Industries Blockchain Could Transform (CB Insights), Rated: AAA

1. BANKING

Swiss bank UBS and UK-based Barclays are both experimenting with blockchain as a way to expedite back office functions and settlement, which some in the banking industry say could cut up to $20B in middleman costs.

2. PAYMENTS AND MONEY TRANSFERS

Abra, another blockchain-enabled mobile wallet and payments startup, was recently integrated into the payments ecosystem of American Express: through a new feature, customers will be able to fund their Abra wallets using an eligible American Express Card.

3. CYBERSECURITY

Other potential applications include using blockchain to provide massive scale data authentication: for example, using its blockchain-enabled KSI (Keyless Signature Infrastructure), cybersecurity startup Guardtime tags and verifies data transactions for cryptographic assurance of their integrity and authenticity.

11. STOCK TRADING

Partnerships with existing trading networks and exchanges will help blockchain take off in the space. Blockchain startup Chain (which is also mentioned below) is a leader on that front: the company helped orchestrate a live blockchain integration that successfully connected Nasdaq’s stock exchange and Citi’s banking infrastructure.

12. REAL ESTATE

Tech startup Ubitquity offers a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) blockchain platform for financial, title, and mortgage companies. The company is currently working with Land Records Bureau in Brazil, among other stealth clients, to input property information and record documents through the blockchain.

13. INSURANCE 

LenderBot is a micro-insurance proof of concept for the sharing economy that demonstrates the potential for blockchain applications and services in the industry. LenderBot, which allows people to enroll in customized micro-insurance by chatting through Facebook Messenger, enables blockchain to serve as the third-party in the contract between individuals as they exchange high-value items through the sharing economy.

28. CREDIT HISTORIES

Lenders minimize the risk posed by loans or lines of credit to small businesses by evaluating their histories using business credit reports. These third-party reports — issued companies such as Dun & Bradstreet — are inaccessible to the small business owners (beyond the basic profile information they provide to the credit bureau). This can make business owners feel like credit bureaus have all the power over loan terms, even though the credit bureau may be assessing outdated or inaccurate information to determine their reports.

Lumeno.us is one startup using blockchain technology to make business credit reports more accurate, transparent, and shareable. Lumeno.us normalizes semi-structured financial data using a proprietary application of collaborative tagging and advanced analytics. From there, it provides business owners the tools to share their data in order to get a loan, find trusted partners, or manage a portfolio or network.

30. CROWDFUNDING

Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), in which companies sell cryptocurrency-backed tokens in their companies in the same manner as a publicly-traded company sells stock, are another example of blockchain-powered crowdfunding — startups such as OpenLedgermake that possible. Individuals may soon invest in real estate using “crypto crowdfunding,” as well: Singapore-based Real Estate Asset Ledger (REAL) intends to use blockchain technology to inject greater liquidity and transparency into real estate investing.

How telepresence can revolutionize financial services industry (Born2Invest), Rated: A

Imagine, you are trying to make an investment somewhere in the World and you want to be face to face with your investment advisor without leaving your own office or room?

What is different about telepresence is that you can be telepresent through someone else instead of being even present through video conferencing or other methods.

I the financial sector, companies are using telepresence to connect their customers with their loan officers, investment advisors, and other employees to discuss all the requirements and provide solutions without actually the presence of the customer as well as the financial organization at the same place.

Australia/New Zealand

Challenger Bank Tyro to Launch New Financial Solutions for SME (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Australian fintech and challenger bank Tyro is set to launch a new set of financial solutions for small to medium enterprises (SMEs). Founded in 2001, Tyro describes itself as Australia’s largest independent EFTPOS provider, focusing on smaller to medium enterprises. The company states it is now has a license from APRA to offer banking products and deposits with its platform are government guaranteed. The company currently has 20,000 customers and has $42.2 billion in transaction.

Online Financing Down Under: A Rapidly Evolving Market (TG Daily), Rated: AAA

The research paints a clear picture of trends currently taking place in Australia and New Zealand, where $348.37 million and $267.77 million respectively has been issued through online financing options (through 2015). These statistics are notable since 2012, with a growth rate of 653% between 2013 – 2015.

Various small business loans lenders currently offer funding to Australian clients from $5,000-$400,000 (depending on the industry lender). Australian small business loans lenders such as prospa, Capify, Sail, and Spotcap dominate the market.

India

Online Peer-To-Peer Lending Startup Faircent Raises $ 4 Million (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Faircent raised $4 million (Rs 25 crore) in early-stage funding led a Belgium-based impact investor Incofin Investment Management, Rajat Gandhi, co-founder of Faircent, told BloombergQuint over the phone.

P2P lending marketplace platform launched (The Hindu Business Line), Rated: AAA

Rajiv Ranjan, a former Infoscion along with Ambar Kasliwal, a Mumbai-based Chartered Accountant, has launched a fully-owned P2P lending marketplace platform.

Called PaisaDukan.com, it is a part of BigWin Infotech, a government recognised start-up and it aims to start operations from January 2018, company officials said. The startup is among a few who have applied for an NBFC ((non-banking financial company)-peer-to-peer (P2P) licence after RBI’s revised guidelines.

Fin-tech gains from innovations, digital push (VC Circle), Rated: AAA

Private equity and venture capital firms, which sat on huge money piles and waited on the side lines looking for the right opportunities, caught on to the excitement and loosened their purse strings to record a four-fold jump in investments to $1.84 billion in 2017 from $447 million, showed provisional data from VCCEdge, the data and analysis platform of News Corp VCCircle.

While seed and angel investments accounted for 43% of the total number of deals at 32, growth- and late-stage deals, besides private transactions and venture debt accounted for the rest.

Besides, Paytm’s $1.4 billion infusion from Softbank, Policybazaar’s $77-million Series-E round, SME Lending platform Capital Float’s $45 million Series-C funding, MSwipe’s $41 million funding from UC-RNTand Eduardo Saverin’s B Capital, and Mobikwik’s $35 million round from Bajaj Finance also made the headlines during the year.

Source: VC Circle

RBL Bank to go stronger on fintech partnerships (Economic Times), Rated: A

While banks are fighting a bitter turf war with fintech startups to retain their share of business, private sector lender RBL Bank has seen value in strategic partnerships. The bank is growing its advances book by almost half annually, driven largely by partnerships with non-banking finance companies (NBFC) and tech startups.

While startups such as MoneyTap, BookMyShow are helping the bank acquire customers for its credit products, even its tie-up with one of the most prominent NBFCs Bajaj FinservBSE -0.14 % is helping the bank get customers who were never eligible for a credit card previously.

Rein in your exuberance as you step into 2018 (Business Standard), Rated: A

Investors need to position their personal finances in a manner that will enable them to gain from developments in the future.  Book profits in the mid- and small-cap space: Mid- and small-cap funds’ strong performance streak continued in 2017 (category average return: 47.19 per cent year-to-date). As valuations of growth stocks shot up, investors turned to value picks. …

Asia

Robo-advisory and its role in capital management (Fintech Innovation), Rated: AAA

Africa

Robots versus financial advisors (Moneyweb), Rated: A

With the advent of robo-advisors, where advice is provided at low- or no cost over the internet, questions are being raised as to the future of qualified financial advisors. Is my job becoming obsolete?

A qualified and trusted advisor is able to spot potentially poor financial decisions and gently advise against this course of action. A robo-advisor could never be such a friend in need.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday November 20 2017, Daily News Digest

credible

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi offers 6-month grace period for SoFi ReFi. Zopa to build Open Banking infrastructure. Faircent secures $4M funding round. Assetz Capital launches IFISA. Ping An make big bet on technology. Ant Financial partners with Standard Chartered. Today’s main analysis: Student loan borrowers prefer payments over iPhone X or bitcoin. Who are LendingClub borrowers? (A must-read market […]

credible

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United States

Behind the Investment Platform: The LendingClub Borrower (LendingClub), Rated: AAA

From 2007 through 2017, LendingClub has matched $31 billion investor dollars with 2 million borrowers’ loans.

Source: LendingClub

Today, outstanding credit card and personal loan balances in the U.S. are approximately $960 billion. Of that, two-thirds, or roughly $600 billion, represents interest-earning balances carried month-to-month —the overall addressable population. About half of the addressable population (more than $300 billion) currently meets LendingClub’s target credit profile—a market that we have only just begun to penetrate.

Read LendingClub’s Marketplace Insights report in full here.

Holiday Finance with Lending Club (ABC News), Rated: A

LendingClub Appoints Former Netflix Chief Talent Officer Patty McCord As New Board of Directors Member (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Online credit marketplace LendingClub Corporation (NYSE: LC), announced on Tuesday it has appointed Patty McCord as the newest member of its Board of Directors, effective December 13, 2017.

McCord spent 14 years creating the unique and high-performing culture at Netflix and as the video streaming giant’s Chief Talent Officer, she helped create the Netflix Culture deck and experimented and cultivated new ways to work.

SoFi Now Offering Six-Month Grace Period for Graduates Using SoFi ReFi (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On Tuesday, online lending platform SoFi announced it is now offering a six-month grace period for graduates using its newly launched SoFi ReFi program.

ABS investors could pull back from MPLs in 2018 as cycle set to turn (GlobalCapital), Rated: AAA

Interest in marketplace loan ABS from the buyside picked up in 2017, but some investors are now saying that they could sit things out in 2018 as credit concerns grow and a lack of data presents problems in the late stages of the credit cycle.

ABS volumes doubled from $3.4bn in 2016 to $7bn in 2017, with SoFi issuing more than $3bn in deals this year, according to data from JP Morgan. The introduction of multi-seller platforms from SoFi, Lending Club, Marlette Funding, Prosper Marketplace also drove liquidity for the sector, while new …

Fiserv teams with TransUnion for loan origination system (Banking Technology), Rated: A

Financial services company Fiserv and credit reporting agency and risk information provider TransUnion have joined forces, reports Julie Muhn at Finovate (Banking Technology‘s sister company).

Under the agreement, Fiserv will integrate TransUnion’s CreditVision Link to increase precision of scoring and risk modeling in its Automotive Loan Origination System.

Over 65% of students prefer student loan payments over iPhone X or Bitcoin for holidays (TechRepublic), Rated: AAA

LendEDU asked 1,000 people repaying student loans if they would prefer a popular holiday gift or a loan payment of equal value. And, despite the hype surrounding tech trends, they wanted loan payments more.

Source: LendEDU

Voice assistants like Google Home and Amazon Echo won’t change banking in 2018 (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Bankers agree voice will be the biggest and most important channel to their business after mobile, only this time, it won’t sneak up on them like mobile did. They’re looking at 2018 as a year to get their companies more involved with voice by adding features to their Alexa skills, creating an Alexa skill if they haven’t done so already or expanding Alexa capabilities to other parts of the organization. But for the most part, they’re looking for a clearer sense of how people even use Alexa.

In 2017, USAA, Ally Bank and U.S. Bank launched Alexa skills. Before this year, Capital One was the only bank with the feature, which it launched in 2016.

Upstart’s First SaaS Partner (LinkedIn), Rated: A

Earlier this year, we announced an initiative to bring the industry’s first Software as a Service (SaaS) lending platform to market, which we call “Powered by Upstart”. Now we’re excited to announce that BankMobile is the first bank to launch their personal loan program on the Upstart platform. Beginning today, BankMobile offers consumers in 43 states personal loans from $5,000 to $30,000, with no origination fees and interest rates starting at 5.99%.

Overcoming the Hurdles of Big Data Start-ups (Big Data), Rated: A

We are an early investor in the company ‘Kabbage” and Kabbage to me is a major disruption in the fund-lending and risk-analysis market. Established in 2009, Kabbage supported the emerging companies that were suffering the blow of a financial crisis. Banks were declining to lend money to small businesses and entrepreneurs had no access to capital to support their businesses. What aggravated the problem is that even if they did get access to money, the procedure for evaluating the risks of money lending were strictly based on scrutinizing the company’s financial background and fico scores instead of probing into the business. Deviating from the established model of risk analysis, Kabbage stepped into the market at a time of financial distress and operated on a completely different strategy. They would evaluate your UPA shipping data, ebay seller reviews, and other bits of information that are generated on different platforms and then assess credit card risks based on these factors and not just credit card fico scores. Kabbage started off by accumulating a ton of third party data which they ingested, analyzed and then created a solution. Over time, the company has gathered a substantial amount of primary data that they can use to tweak and refine their risk-analysis model. The company efficiently leveraged big data to provide an entire new service in the risk-analysis industry.

Anthemis Group’s Jillian Williams on tough times for personal finance apps (Tearsheet), Rated: A

It’s a space that started out with Mint ten years ago, with a new way to look at all of one’s finances in one place. The field has now grown to accommodate an ever-expanding number of direct-to-consumer PFM apps, including apps like Digit, Clarity Money, Penny and Qapital, and banks are now folding PFM capabilities into their mobile apps.

Banks have been folding in PFM features and competing apps are having trouble differentiating. Where do you see the PFM market right now?
A lot of PFM will continue to move to a business-to-business, or business-to-business-to-consumer model. Things [business-to-consumer PFMs] struggle with are being able to monetize and with customer acquisition.

What’s the problem with business-to-consumer PFM?
The market is really crowded and it’s hard to provide that extra value to really distinguish themselves from other platforms in the space.

Instant Loans at Checkout: helpful or hurtful? (MSN News Now), Rated: A

An $800 mattress for your bed. A $600 sofa for your living room. A vintage designer bag as a Christmas gift for your best friend.  They’re all pretty big purchases to buy online, but now you can get an instant loan for any of them right at checkout.

Ingle says the payment plans are different than credit card options. Companies like Affirm partner with certain retailers to offer the loans, which are installment loans with interest rates, and set payments are made over time.

India

Peer-to-peer lending platform Faircent gets $ 4m in Series B (Economic Times), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending platform Faircent has raised $4 million in a Series-B round led by Belgian impact investment fund Incofin and Muthoot Fincorp.

P2P platform Faircent raises Series B from Muthoot Fincorp, Incofin, others (Economic Times), Rated: A

In a statement Faircent said it will utilise the newly acquired funds towards strengthening the platform’s technology and creating greater awareness about P2P lending’s significance as a new and highly rewarding asset class.

Fintech Startups Seek to Shake Up Money Transfer Industry (WSJ), Rated: AAA

The race is on to become the top global app for international money transfers.

Fintech startups including WorldRemit Ltd., TransferWise Ltd. and Remitly Inc. are pulling ahead of the pack of the dozens of companies trying to disrupt the remittance industry, using the latest technology to send money internationally.

More than $600 billion is remitted world-wide every year, mostly by migrant workers from places like India, Mexico and the Philippines, who have traditionally had to deal with long lines and high fees to send money home.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Finvasia gets licence to operate as NBFC (The Tribune), Rated: A

Chandigarh-based Finvasia, a fintech company offering zero brokerage, has received the Certificate of Registration (CoR) from RBI to operate as a non-banking financial corporation (NBFC). This extension will allow the company to offer loan-based products to retail and corporates alike. The company plans to develop block chain technology based P2P (peer-to-peer) lending platform.

Canada

Fintech Select Announces Launch of Physical Bitcoins (GlobeNewswire), Rated: A

Fintech Select Ltd. (“Fintech Select” or the “Company”) (TSX-V:FTEC) is pleased to announce that it will be launching its physical Bitcoin product alongside its Selectcoin closed loop swipe card.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday September 7 2017, Daily News Digest

robo-advisors

News Comments Today’s main news: Square plans to apply for an ILC banking license. Laplanche boosts volumes at Upgrade. SoFi CEO pulls out of Goldman fintech conference due to recent sexual harassment allegations. RealtyMogul launches MogulREIT II. Today’s main analysis: Why broker-dealer robo-advisors miss the point. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Why broker-dealer robo-advisors miss the point. RateSetter says even a millionaire couldn’t […]

robo-advisors

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United States

Square to apply for industrial bank, inflaming ILC debate (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Payment processor Square is seeking an industrial loan company, according to several sources familiar with the matter, further sparking debate over whether fintech companies should be allowed to use the controversial charter.

“ICBA’s feeling about Square applying for an ILC is the same about SoFi,” said Camden Fine, the president and CEO of the Independent Community Bankers of America. “If these entities want to be banks, they should apply for banking charters and come under full and unified banking supervision.”

Square’s main purpose for the charter will be to extend its small-business lending business, the spokesperson said. Though it also intends to take deposits, which would provide some amount of funding for its on-balance-sheet loans, the lion share of the company’s loans would still be sold off to third parties.

Square also felt the ILC charter was best suited to its structure, as the company owns a point-of-sales hardware appliance business and even a food delivery service called Caviar.

Ousted Lending Club chief boosts volumes at new venture (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Renaud Laplanche, the former Lending Club chief ousted over a governance scandal last year, is stepping up lending at his new venture, determined to re-impose himself on the market for refinancing more than $1tn of credit card debt.

Mr Laplanche launched his firm, Upgrade, in April, having raised $60m in Series-A funding from a group of investors including Union Square Ventures, Ribbit Capital and CreditEase, China’s leading online lender. As at Lending Club, he is homing in on consumers struggling with big balances on credit cards — offering to swap a floating rate of, say, 17 per cent for a fixed rate about 5 percentage points less.

While Mr Laplanche declines to say how much business he has done so far, he has begun to boost volumes, responding to steady demand from consumers and also for high-quality assets from half a dozen core institutional investors. That new cadre of investors is unfazed by the scandal which erupted in May 2016, he said.

SoFi CEO Backs Out of Goldman Event Amid Sexual Harassment Probe (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Social Finance Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mike Cagney was supposed to take the stage at the Goldman Sachs FinTech Conference in New York City on Thursday, but he backed out amid a lawsuit and internal investigation at the firm.

Why broker-dealer robo advisors miss the fintech point (Financial-Planning), Rated: AAA

Over the past two years, there’s been a growing trend of broker-dealers announcing prospective launches of their own robo advisor solutions. From LPL developing a platform with BlackRock’s FutureAdvisor to Voya planning to launch a robo advisor, and Kestra Financial announcing it is working on a robo platform on the back of its acquisition of H. Beck, there’s been no shortage of announcements.

Launching a robo advisor does hold appeal among broker-dealers. Many of their reps are asking for it, either because it’s an easier way to handle smaller clients, or just to have a robo advisor option for millennial clients. Who wouldn’t want a button for the advisor’s website that young people can click to open up small accounts that will grow with time? And from the broker-dealer’s perspective, ideally, this helps them address the coming generational shift of assets from baby boomers down to millennials.

But for a broker-dealer that in the aggregate is losing 3% to 5% a year in asset outflows a decade from now, it’s a crisis, because a broker-dealer still has a multi-decade open-ended timeframe as an ongoing business entity. This is why we see broker-dealers, as well as RIA custodians, so obsessively beating the drum about advisors needing to focus more on younger clients. It’s not actually because advisors desperately need younger clients for our businesses to survive. It’s because they, the broker-dealers and RIA custodians, need us to get younger clients for them so their businesses survive and so they have younger clients after we’re gone and retired!

And so from the broker-dealer’s perspective, if millennials are pursuing robo advisor solutions, then the broker-dealer wants to roll out a robo advisor to get those younger clients and solve its own long-term generational issue. But here’s the problem with the strategy: robo advisors live and die by their ability to get clients online, and that’s not easy for anyone, especially a large base of independent registered representatives.

DOOMED TO FAIL

Betterment is just over $10 billion in total assets after six years. Wealthfront is just over $7 billion AUM in that same duration. Schwab made news for $15 billion dollars of assets, but has actually noted only a third of that total was new assets. Vanguard is now over $80 billion, but remember they had much of their assets already as well. Vanguard is direct-to-consumer through the Internet already; those in Vanguard’s Personal Advisor Services were predominantly existing Vanguard investors, simply upsold to human advice. Even Edelman online, which launched in early 2013, has accumulated barely 1,000 clients and just $62M of AUM after four years (and their average robo client is actually a baby boomer anyway.)

Source: Financial-Planning

VALUE IN EFFICIENCY
In other words, the real blocking point of robo advisors is the client acquisition cost — what it takes to market and get a young investor to invest on your platform. As the founding companies learned the hard way, this is not an “If you build it, they will come,” kind of asset-gathering opportunity. Instead, robos at best have been struggling to solve those client acquisition costs in the face of slowing growth rates, and many have been getting outright buried by those costs. That’s why robo advisor growth rates continue to slow down. Most of them have already sold, and most of the ones that are left aren’t even really focusing on a pure robo strategy anymore.

RealtyMogul.com Launches Second Real Estate Investment Trust, MogulREIT II, to Invest in Multifamily Apartment Buildings (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

RealtyMogul.com, the online marketplace for commercial real estate investing, today announced the launch of the company’s second real estate investment trust or “REIT,” MogulREIT II.

MogulREIT II aims to invest in multifamily apartment communities across the United States that have demonstrated consistently high occupancy and income levels across market cycles. MogulREIT II also plans to invest in multifamily properties that offer value add opportunities with appropriate risk-adjusted returns and potential for appreciation objectives.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Housing and Vacancy Homeownership Report, the U.S. apartment market has experienced a strong recovery, as evidenced by the steady drop in vacancies and an average annual effective rent growth of 3.9% per year, between 2010 and 2015.

MogulREIT II plans to only consist of properties that satisfy RealtyMogul’s rigorous zero-based underwriting process, which analyzes each potential deal from scratch through a combination of proprietary in-house analytics and underwriting. RealtyMogul also spends over $1 million annually for the use of third-party data and technology to vet each deal. The process is so intensive, fewer than 1% of the requests reviewed by RealtyMogul pass its high underwriting standards. Keep in mind there are risks to investing, including loss of capital, so one should evaluate the full offering materials.

RealtyMogul MogulREIT II Survey Data (RealtyMogul Email), Rated: A

Overview

RealtyMogul recently commissioned Harris Poll to conduct an online survey among over 2,000 U.S. adults to better understand the reasons people choose to rent over buying a house.

Americans have shifting priorities and owning a home might not be at the top of the list

  • Roughly 7 in 10 Americans (71%) believe the home buying process is overwhelming
  • 70% of Americans believe people these days will need to rent well into their 30’s in order to save enough money to buy a home
  • Over a third of Americans (35%) would prefer renting over owning a home to maintain a flexible lifestyle
  • Roughly a third of Americans (34%) would rather save their money to spend on traveling than to put it towards buying a home
  • A third of Americans (33%) would prefer to rent than own a home if it meant they could still afford small luxuries (e.g. eating out, fancy coffee, avocado toast) in their everyday life

Read the full survey results here.

LendingRobot CEO exits (Geekwire), Rated: A

Emmanuel Marot has left LendingRobot, the peer-to-peer lending company he co-founded in 2013. He served as CEO of the startup for the past four years, navigating LendingRobot through a merger with NSR Invest in August.

Marot isn’t sure what his next career move will be but remains General Manager of Zenvestment.com, according to LinkedIn.

Legislative Update 162 (Experian Email), Rated: A

Highlights this issue:

  • On September 7, the House Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit has scheduled a hearing to review “Legislative Proposals for a More Efficient Federal Financial Regulatory Regime.” The Subcommittee has not released the full agenda, but it is expected that the hearing will focus on several bills affecting consumer credit.
  • Congress continues to consider legislation that would repeal the CFPB’s Arbitration Rule using an expedited legislative process under the Congressional Review Act (CRA). The House of Representatives passed a resolution of disapproval on July 25. The Senate is expected to take up the measure upon their return from the August recess, although there is uncertainty when a vote will take place given other priorities that Congress must pass by September 30, which is the end of the US Fiscal Year.
  • On August 30, three Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) requesting that GAO further evaluate post-breach identity protection products used by government agencies.
  • Legislators in California continue to debate legislation that would enact a broadband privacy law in the state, similar to the one first issued by the FCC and then overturned by Congress. A.B. 375 would prohibit an internet service provider from using, disclosing, selling or permitting access to customer personal information.

Read the full report.

StartEngine Files to Raise $ 5 Million Reg A+ Crowdfunding Offer (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

StartEngine, one of the most activea investment crowdfunding platforms in the US, has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to raise up to $5 million in common equity at $5 per share.

The actual listing is not yet live on the StartEngine platform. The filing indicates that up to an additional 100,000 shares may be issued as “bonus shares”. There are no selling shareholders and the entire proceeds will go to the company. According to the filing, the minimum investment is $500.

Web site steered U.S. borrowers into bad, illegal payday loans: CFPB (Reuters), Rated: A

The bureau imposed a $100,000 fine on California company Zero Parallel LLC, which as a “lead aggregator” identifies potential borrowers and then sells their information. The action shows the agency has its eye on the online side of the industry, which crosses state lines and has grown in recent years. Potential borrowers fill out web forms and then are immediately sent to a lender’s site to take out the debt.

According to a CFPB statement, Zero Parallel sold applications to lenders it knew did not follow states’ usury laws, interest-rate restrictions and prohibitions on who can make the loans, and kept borrowers in the dark about risks and costs.

Zero Parallel simply sold leads to the highest bidders, according to the CFPB, and borrowers did not know they were taking out illegal loans.

Zero Parallel will pay the fine without admitting or denying the allegations, the CFPB said. The agency also said it had reached an agreement with Zero Parallel’s owner, Davit Gasparyan, to resolve similar charges filed last year against his previous company, T3Leads, with a $250,000 fine.

FINTECH Gains Traction as Businesses Embrace Alternative Banking and Financial Solutions (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Global Payout, Inc. (OTC: GOHE) makes payment solutions available to clients around the world, serving the needs of everything from commercial enterprises to government institutions. Its Global Reserve Platform is a web-based banking platform that includes everything domestic, foreign exchange, and international payment service providers need to conduct financial transactions. It handles online banking, compliance, mobile wallets, card management, biometric payments, authentication, merchant payment processing, bill payments and more, while also offering core and traditional banking products. Global Payout’s primary focus in this area is logistics, in addition to small to medium size companies, banking, and travel firms.

The CEO of Able Lending Responds to the Rumors (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Yesterday, the CEO of Able Lending, Will Davis, reached out to me to clear the air. Here is his unedited statement:

We believe this story originated by the fact that we’ve been in active discussions with a number of originators to acquire Able, and there’s a non-zero chance this story was placed in order to throw an interested party off the trail.

This anonymous source doesn’t seem to be anyone close to Able, because Able does not own a portfolio of loans (it originates and distributes loans to direct lenders, who then hold those loans on their balance sheet) and therefore has no portfolio to sell. In any event, we have no plans to go out of business and no plans to declare bankruptcy.

Passive Investments In CRE: Do They Really Exist? (Seeking Alpha), Rated: B

The wealth of new crowd-funding opportunities in CRE is just the latest addition to a long line of traditional equity funds, REITs and ETFs already offering investors the chance to invest without the high upfront cost traditionally associated with a direct CRE investment. It sounds easy, right? But how truly “passive” are these opportunities?

The only problem with passive investing in CRE? Pure 100 percent passive investing doesn’t exist.

United Kingdom

RateSetter: Even a millionaire could no longer live off savings interest (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

ROCK-BOTTOM interest rates are now challenging the convention that someone with £1m in savings could live off the interest, RateSetter claims.

The peer-to-peer platform’s latest savings tracker found on average UK adults think they would need an income of £26,140 per year to live comfortably, but £1m in an average savings account would pay just 0.14 per cent interest, equating to £12,500 each year.

£1m invested in a one-year bank bond with an average rate of 0.79 per cent would earn just £7,900, while the same amount could earn £45,000 in a RateSetter account earning 4.5 per cent interest.

Investors opting to put their £1m into FTSE 100-listed stocks would have earned £80,000 in interest over the 12 months to the end of August, the research found.

Funding Circle reveals new brand positioning and identity with ‘Made to do More’ campaign (The Drum), Rated: A

The challenge was to find an emotional positioning that resonated with Funding Circle customers while instilling trust and confidence as a financial services company. Rooster Punk helped Funding Circle to identify a common thread that connects small business owners, investors and the people who work at Funding Circle. Results revealed they share a uniquely driven yet positive attitude to work and life, a restless determination to succeed and the tenacity to get there. The agency called this ‘Made to do More’.

Rooster Punk’s founder, Paul Cash, commented: “Developing Funding Circle’s new position and identity had to go deeper than a product message around faster business loans. We set out with the ambition that we didn’t just want people to buy from Funding Circle, instead we wanted them to buy into them.

Meet the firm which hopes to solve the late payment problem (City A.M.), Rate: A

This warning comes from Tony Duggan, chief executive of fintech firm Crossflow Payments, a company which acts like a cog between corporations, their suppliers, and funding providers – ensuring that suppliers don’t have to wait for a month or more to get paid.

Duggan’s warning is not just a reference to Brexit, but centres on the introduction of new payment practice laws, which will make it a criminal offence for a corporation not to make public whether it is paying suppliers according to the terms of the contract.

The code looks to stamp out problems with late payments. Ultimately it aims to improve the cashflow of businesses – largely suppliers – by making sure they are paid by their corporate customers on time.

Crossflow is a no frills sort of business; it’s basically a B2B version of peer-to-peer lending, and one that is currently pretty unique in the UK arena.

Peer-to-peer lender Linked Finance marks 1,000th loan (RTE), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lending platform Linked Finance has funded its 1,000th loan for a small or medium sized company here.

Figures published by Linked, which facilitates loans from individuals directly to businesses outside the banking system, show €31m has now been borrowed through the platform.

The company, which was launched in 2013, also said that €2.5m in interest has already been repaid to Linked Finance lenders.

Marrying self organising teams and customer obsession – Interview with Andrew Lawson (Customer Think), Rated: A

Highlights from my conversation with Andrew:

  • Capital One was an early pioneer in big data, data driven decision making , customer centricity and human centred product design.
  • Back in 2014, a lot of banks were talking a lot about being customer centric but when you get inside the banks there was little evidence to back that up. [Ed: Have things changed?]
  • Customer obsession is very much behind the growth of peer-to-peer lending.
  • When Andrew joined Zopa in 2014 they were a team of around 50 people lending about £20mill per month.
  • Zopa was founded to “make money simple and fair”.
  • Zopa was awarded Superbrand status in the early part of 2017. The annual Superbrands’ league table is based on independent research to identify the UK’s strongest brands, as voted for by marketing experts and thousands of British consumers.
  • Zopa still thinks of itself as a start-up despite the fact that they have been going for 13 years now.
  • In that time Zopa have never spent any money on growing their brand and have grown organically and via word of month.
  • Zopa has won a bunch of customer service awards that celebrate and recognise their approach.
  • Zopa has recently moved to a system of self-organising teams and that is helping them to achieve more and deliver more on their customer promise.
  • In the first quarter of 2016 they delivered more than they had in the whole of 2015 with the same number of people.
  • Ultimately, it’s all about creating an environment where you find and allow great people to go and solve problems.
  • Andrew’s role is all about ensuring they have the right people in the right tribes solving the right problems. It’s not about him being able to come up with all the answers as that just doesn’t scale.
  • In terms of mistakes, initially they found that their tribes went too tribal and it was difficult seeing what was going on within the tribes. That was a problem particularly given the level of technical and strategic dependencies that exist between tribes.
  • On a day to basis, their teams work in a way that is akin to a modern agile environment and are able to pick the right model (1 week sprints, 2 week sprints, kanban etc) depending on their context and preferences.
  • As is the nature of agile working, they are constantly tweaking and looking for ways to improve.
  • Other challenges they have faced include the management of people from different backgrounds, skillsets and with different experiences.
  • Given that they are now 250 people in London, the next big challenge for them will be how do they move this system into a remote context.
  • The heart of their success has been in creating those relationships where there weren’t relationships before i.e. between business people and tech people. It’s easy when you sit next to them or are in the same office but more difficult when you are in different locations, time zones or even speaking different languages.
  • They embraced a lot of Spotify’s approach as there are lots of things written about them and by them on how they organise themselves (videos, talks, blog posts, slide shows etc). Google ‘Spotify and Tribes’ to find more.
  • Don’t make assumptions around customers needs. Go and ask then as you will almost certainly be wrong.


UK fintech investment rises in H1 (Finextra), Rated: A

More than a billion dollars was invested in British Fintech companies in the first half of this year, over a third more than the same period in 2016, according to trade body Innovate Finance.

Fintech employs over 60,000 people in the UK and contributes $9bn (c.£7bn) to the economy.

Two peer-to-peer lending platforms also received significant rounds of investment. London-based FundingCircle a marketplace which allows investors to lend directly to SMEs raised another £80m in equity funding. Venture capital group Accel led the funding round alongside investors such as Temasek from Singapore. The business lent £1.1bn in 2016. In June Zopa another peer-to-peer lender raised £32m from Indian investor Wadhawan Global Capital and European venture capital fund Northzone. The business plans to use the funding for the ambitious roll out of its own retail bank.

China

After regulators ban on coin fundraising, over 40 ICO platforms closed (Xing Ping She), Rated: AAA

Several platforms have taken steps after the central bank’s announcement of ban on ICO (initial issue of tokens). Up to September 5th, more than 40 platforms in China have taken measures to suspend the operation, registration or even permanently stop the service of ICO. Among them, ICOAGE, a well-known ICO platform, has launched a one-key withdrawal function. Meanwhile, ICOAGE’s official website says that it will actively negotiate with the project side, and even if the project does not accept the refund, ICOAGE will pay the relevant digital currency in advance to ensure the safety of investors. It is worth mentioning that, despite the regulation to stop the ICO, there still stages “the last madness” in the market, with some of tokens’ daily gains exceeding 30%.

China steps up financial regulation to address risks (China.org.cn), Rated: A

China’s ban on Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), a digital coin fundraising scheme, was only part of a broader campaign to curb the country’s financial risks.

In an announcement Monday, China’s central bank ordered a complete halt on new ICO offerings, in which technology start-ups issue their own digital coins, or “tokens,” to investors to access funds.

Similar to ICOs, peer-to-peer (P2P) lending served as an Internet-based alternative for companies and individuals to borrow money. As the P2P industry took off in recent years, it also made room for high-profile fraud, which prompted regulators to act fast.

European Union

Klarna’s newest investor could hold the key to ‘growing the company’s revenues manifold’ (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Klarna last week reported some impressive revenue growth, which, combined with a push into digital banking and recent deals with VISA and Stripe make its future prospects look rosy.

What could make Permira a strategic asset for Klarna, is its stake in Magento, one of the world’s biggest e-commerce platforms. The idea would be to integrate Klarna with Magento; a goal that Lundell says was in the works already before Permira’s entry.

Seeing that Magento runs some 15 percent of global e-commerce, getting visibility on the platform could open up a gigantic new market for Klarna and its CEO and cofounder Sebastian Siemiatkowski.

Mambu’s SaaS Banking Engine Helps N26 Transform Operations (Fintech Finance), Rated: A

Mambu announced that its innovative solution is being used by N26 to allow the Berlin-based mobile bank to integrate systems and quickly bring services to market in support of its growth strategy.

Before N26 was granted a full banking licence in July last year, it used the services of a partner bank and then migrated to its own platform in late 2016. Since then their customer base has grown by 500%, helping them reach the 500,000 customer mark in August 2017.

Mintos Reports Topping €300 Million Milestone in Online Lending (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Latvia based Mintos has reached a new milestone having now topped  €300 million in online loans since platform launch two years ago. Mintos reports that more than €200 million has been invested in 2017 alone, making Mintos a market leader in continental Europe claiming a 40% market share.

Mintos states that as of September 2017, approximately € 1 million is invested in loans through Mintos daily, which is three times more than just a year ago.

European Central Bank working on new fintech licensing guidelines (Independent), Rated: A

The European Central Bank is working on new licensing guidelines that would also cover financial technology firms, Daniele Nouy, the ECB’s top bank supervisor told a conference on Wednesday.

The fintech sector, though still relative small, has been stealing market share from traditional lenders in a variety of sectors from payments to lending, attracting investment $6.5bn (£4.9bn) in the first half of the year.

Wirecard Supports Fellow Finance’s Market Entry in Germany and Ensures a Completely Digital Credit Process (Business Insider), Rated: B

Wirecard supports the Finnish FinTech company Fellow Finance to enter and provide a digital infrastructure for the German financial market. Wirecard is supporting Fellow Finance by placing their German full banking licence at the Fellow Finance’s disposal and in addition enabling a completely digital credit process. For example, the identification of the borrower as well as the signature of the credit agreement are made fully electronically.

The market volume of German alternative online financial services grew enormously between 2013 and 2015. In peer-to-peer consumer lending alone, there was year-on-year growth of 95%.

International

Q2 2017 Fintech Insights (FT Partners), Rated: AAA

Source: FT Partners

Get the full report here.

Banking the Unbanked through AirFox ICO (Cryptocoins News), Rated: A

AirFox’s groundbreaking idea involves using a mix of micro-credit and advertising to facilitate to make mobile data plans accessible to the world’s poor and underprivileged.

AirFox will launch their initial coin offering (ICO) on September 19, 2017 at 10:00 am EST. The token on sale is called AirTokens (AIR) and the period of sale has been fixed at 31 days. There are plans afoot to sell a total of 1.5 billion AIR, out of which 1.05 billion (70 per cent) are on offer at the crowdsale. AirTokens are based on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain.

Laying out his vision Victor Santos, CEO and Co-founder of AirFox says, “Investors will be able to hold AirTokens that will be used by Lenders and Advertisers to sponsor the mobile internet of millions of users. There will be a market for buyers and sellers of AirTokens. Those who wish to take the AirTokens and lend micro-credit to users, will also be able to earn an interest using the data that we collect on the smartphone.”

AirFox raises $ 6.5M in token presale (CoinReport), Rated: A

AirFox, the firm utilizing advertising and blockchain technology to bring smartphone data and internet to 4 billion people in the developing world, has met the presale target of its token, AirToken (AIR), almost two weeks early, raising $6.5 million, according to an email CoinReport received from BIGfish Communications, AirFox’s PR firm.

India

Modalku Gets Audited to Gain Public Trust (Jakarta Globe), Rated: A

Mitrausaha Indonesia Group, also known as Modalku, a homegrown marketplace that provides peer-to-peer lending, received an “unqualified opinion” which is the best possible audit outcome  from public accounting firm Purwantono, Sungkoro & Surja, hoping it will help the company gain the public’s trust.

Purwantono, Sungkoro & Surja, a member of Ernst & Young, granted the company an “unqualified opinion” ranking after reviewing the company’s financial statements, income reports and other relevant comprehensive income statement, equity changes, cash flow datat and other information for the year ending Dec. 31. A ranking of this stature means the statements are deemed sound.

Credit scoring platform CreditVidya bags $ 5 mn from Matrix, Kalaari (VC Circle), Rated: A

Mumbai-based InfoCredit Services Pvt. Ltd, which operates credit scoring platform CreditVidya, has raised $5 million (Rs 32 crore) in a fresh round of funding led by Matrix Partners, the company said.

Existing investor Kalaari Capital, which had invested $2 million in June 2016, has also participated in the round. While Matrix put in Rs 23.81 crore, Kalaari accounted for the rest.

What is P2P lending and borrowing: All you want to know about Digital marketplace for loans (Financial Express), Rated: A

In layman’s terms, Peer-2-Peer (P2P) lending and borrowing is like a digital marketplace for loans. Hence usually it is known as ‘marketplace lending’ or often gets confused with crowd-funding. Instead of applying for a loan with a bank, NBFC, private finance company or any other loan institution, you can request a loan from regular people like you and me (therefore, the term Peer-2-Peer).

Most of these loans are unsecured for a large number of people who are underbanked or thinly banked.

The actual logistics of Peer-to-Peer can be a little more complicated in India, but some platfoms like ours allow the borrower to download the app, fill the application form and apply for the loan. As a borrower, you have to fill a quick online registration form and pay the upfront registration fee which is refundable. Then proprietary credit assessment is done and a brief commentary of why you want a loan is shared with the lenders. The app requires the loan applicant to submit bank statement, upload basic KYC documents like PAN card, Aadhaar card etc. The proprietary algorithm assigns the loan interest rate and tenure to post the loan on the marketplace for lenders to assess and invest.

MENA

Developing Asia accounts for large trade finance gap (The Asset), Rated: A

Businesses particularly the micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) continue to face challenges in accessing sufficient credit, resulting in a global trade finance gap of US$1.5 trillion in 2016.

Emerging economies continue to face the greatest shortfalls with developing Asia accounting for 40% of the global total in trade finance gap. The MSMEs have the biggest difficulties in accessing trade finance, representing 74% of the total rejections in 2016, compared with 57% in the previous year.

The cost of regulatory compliance can lead banks to exit client relationships as reflected by the 40% response in the 2016 survey and 45% in 2015, including the withdrawal of correspondent relationships.

Mideast fintech startup NOW Money fetches $ 1.46 mln (PE Hub), Rated: A

NOW Money has closed its bridge funding round with a total of US$1.46m.

In addition to the recent US Venture Capital investment, mentioned in a previous press release, this funding round includes $700,000 from Dubai-based Venture Capital firm, Myrisoph Capital. Other contributions have come from private investors and MENA-based women’s investor network WAIN.

WAIN is the first investor network for women in the MENA region. Its goal is to build an informed ecosystem of women investors who support women entrepreneurs in the Arab world.

Canada

IOU Financial Partners with Rubicon Global to Fund Recycling Ecosystem (Business Insider), Rated: A

IOU FINANCIAL INC. (“IOU” or “the Company”; TSX-V:IOU), a leading online lender to small businesses (IOUFinancial.com), is pleased to announce a strategic partnership with Rubicon Global.  IOU joined the RUBICONPro buying program to provide Rubicon’s network of independent haulers with fast, convenient and reliable, non-collateral funding solutions.

Where bank loans are not an alternative, an IOU term loan will help Rubicon’s haulers invest in equipment to take on more recycling volume and proudly join Rubicon’s expansion projects for a more sustainable world.  IOU loans will also be provided to Rubicon’s base of thousands of small businesses embracing recycling to contribute to a healthy planet.  IOU will also promote Rubicon’s innovative model to its thousands of existing and past borrowers.

Africa

Development of African ­crowdfunding platforms (DandC), Rated: AAA

Africanise crowdfunding means setting up local crowdfunding platforms with adapted technology for local investment. No bank account? Not a problem! Many African countries lack conventional money transfer infrastructure; bank accounts and credit cards still tend to be the exception, not the rule. To permit widespread participation in crowdfunding in such circumstances, mobile phone-based money transfer services (like the Kenyan financial service M-Pesa) are needed. The Indian crowdfunding platform Ketto () works with a courier service that collects cash payments.

Copying these approaches is not the way to move ahead in Africa, not least because of the lack of an adequate institutional and legal environment. First and foremost, SME financing  requires national crowdfunding platforms with traditional financing options (donation-, rewards- and lending-based). Minimum contributions must be small and payable in local currency.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Online Lending SaaS: Small Business Lending Keeping Up With the Times

online lending technology

D+H is a global payments and lending technology provider based out of Toronto serving nearly 8,000 financial institutions. With revenues of over $1.5 billion and 5,500 employees, it’s a bona fide giant in the financial technology industry. The company has realized the shift towards digital lending and mobile-first experience, recently launching Total Lending Small Business, […]

online lending technology

D+H is a global payments and lending technology provider based out of Toronto serving nearly 8,000 financial institutions. With revenues of over $1.5 billion and 5,500 employees, it’s a bona fide giant in the financial technology industry. The company has realized the shift towards digital lending and mobile-first experience, recently launching Total Lending Small Business, a mobile-first lending solution designed to boost traction for traditional lenders and improve the lending experience for small business owners across the United States.

Product Development

D+H hired David Boswell as head of its new lending products division. Under his supervision, they researched the banking sector for a year-and-a-half to spot opportunities for a new product. Before launching the solution, it was put through rigorous testing and, in March 2017, Total Lending Small Business kicked off. A cloud-based SaaS solution developed to target the small business space, banks and other lenders can use it to deploy an online loan application for small business owners in record time.

The solution is a lot quicker and more efficient than paper-based branch models and processes more loan applications with the same amount of resources. It is a pure win-win as there is revenue augmentation without additional costs.

Rather than try to find something new and exotic, D+H went back to the basics and tried to tackle the problem of borrower experience in the loan application process. Even though the solution is primarily all about elevating lender efficiency and borrower experience, the product offers much more. Since it is cloud-based, it will help lenders reduce overhead expenses such as office space and manpower while reducing the chance of human error. That will improve processing speed and customer satisfaction.

Features of Total Lending Small Business

Total Lending Small Business is an entirely online-based application available in both mobile and desktop versions. The USP is its interactive interface. Borrowers can have virtual conversations that develop questions, and answers, on the go. This allows for a hassle-free experience compared to other platforms that use a preset form for all borrowers.

The platform is particularly beneficial as small business owners sometimes don’t really understand the technical details associated with loan applications. Through live interaction, the platform is able to intuitively interact with each borrower. For now, D+H is sticking to the application process, but the company is expected to add other features to the platform that include uploading documents, upselling, and underwriting.

Buy or Build

Some banks are not large enough to develop their own platform or technology solution. Therefore, it makes sense for them to buy a specialist solution. D+H aims to target about 100 banks up to $20-30 billion in revenue.

Small business lending has proven to be an Achilles heel for banks. The financial crisis led banks to vacate this space as the risk was not consummate to returns. But with growing competition in other lending segments, banks have finally started taking the SMB lending space seriously again. They are either developing their own SMB lending solutions or are partnering with alternative lenders with a proven track record.

One association that has made waves in the lending space is the Chase/On-Deck partnership. On-Deck has turned into a tech provider while Chase Bank is leveraging its existing client base and balance sheet to penetrate the SMB lending market.

Over the years, SMB lending has evolved manifold, and a lot of non-traditional lenders are beginning to enter the space. This makes it pertinent for brick-and-mortar lenders to shore up their SMB customer bases by introducing lending systems commensurate with the technology currently prevalent in the market.

Mortgage Lending Solution

Mortgage lending solution is the principal business of D+H. The company got its start in the early 2000s when the internet gaining popular traction. The premier software is available as an SaaS deployed in the cloud or an on-premise platform. Its main targets are online mortgage businesses.

Solutions range from POS origination, processing, and compliance documentation. All these solutions are highly customized for the customer experience. Earlier, only 2% of mortgage applications were completed on mobile devices, but in last 2-3 years, that number has jumped to 20%. This significant increase in number is due to busy lifestyles and smartphones increasingly replacing desktops and laptops for private browsing.

While developing its SMB lending platform, D+H placed specific emphasis on this shifting trend.

Responding to the trend, D+H launched its second Mortgagebot solution. Mortgagebot LOS, a total lending mortgage solution, has signed over 200 customers in two months since its launch. Company executives believe the growing interest in a mobile-optimized experience will lead to greater demand for the product.

Next big thing: Smartphones

These days, more people rely heavily on their smartphones, yet lending companies don’t develop or design software tailor-made for them. D+H believes the introduction of smartphone solutions into the technology mix will completely change how lenders and borrowers interact. The company has been getting feedback from testing its solution on a real user base to ensure an intuitive customer experience.

Making a difference

Many players have entered the market with their white-label online lending platforms. TransUnion recently launched Find My Offer – “a set of configurable white-label web screens that support a lender’s consumer prequalification and digital prescreen initiatives.”

All of these online lending platforms have a similar set of features, and lenders depending on such platforms to boost growth will find themselves behind the curve. Such platforms are a commodity now, and compulsory for operating a lending business.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir

Enabling Banks to Thrive at Digital Lending in a Fintech World

Thrive platform for banks

Banks have loyal customers and the cheapest source of capital in the world. No alternative lender can compete with that. But what banks don’t typically have is the tech, automation, and know-how to get the same underwriting efficiencies that online lenders rely on daily. Thrive solves that problem for thousands of institutions equipped with capital […]

Thrive platform for banks

Banks have loyal customers and the cheapest source of capital in the world. No alternative lender can compete with that. But what banks don’t typically have is the tech, automation, and know-how to get the same underwriting efficiencies that online lenders rely on daily. Thrive solves that problem for thousands of institutions equipped with capital and customers but without fintech efficiencies.

Thrive was started in 2015 as a direct lender by co-founders Kunal Sehgal (CEO) and Ke Zhu (CTO).

“We started as a direct lender focused on prime credit,” Sehgal said. “The small business line of credit was our go-to market since it’s an under-represented product in the marketplace. We spent 6-9 months building the platform to be fully-automated end-to-end. On-deck issues began emerging. We got a bird’s eye view of the structural issues online lenders have and realized that, on the direct side, the ability to attract stable debt capital to lend is very difficult and the cost of customer acquisition has not come down in a meaningful way.”

That’s when Seghal and his team decided to pivot and move into the pure technology space.

Deploying to the Cloud

Since Thrive had no existing customer base, the pivot seemed natural. Thrive began to service loans through a cloud-based platform. From there, it was a natural progression to offering the solution to banks, who need it to compete with online lenders.

“We can push out to a bank in a short amount of time because there’s no onsite or custom coding,” Seghal said. “It’s very quick and efficient. Banks don’t have internal IT teams and don’t know how to build it themselves, so they haven’t.”

One bank customer signed a contract with Thrive in February and had the software up and running by April. Traditional solutions don’t have that kind of speed to deployment.

“This new digital acquisition channel for banks can underwrite a loan in under 20 minutes,” Seghal said. “The system is fully configured for every customer.” The bank maintains control over who to underwrite and what to underwrite. The pricing is transaction- or application-based. “We wanted banks to win, not just charge an arm and a leg up front and say goodbye.”

Not Just Your Ordinary SaaS Platform

Thrive is more than a software-as-a-service platform. Seghal said his company is building the banking infrastructure of the future.

“When the bank makes money, we make money,” he said. “We want to be in partnership with the bank long-term.”

Their first bank customer loved being able to service deals directly on the platform, from origination to servicing. In fact, they were so impressed with Thrive’s product that they invested in the company. Banks are generally conservative and don’t make early-stage investments, so that alone is a testament to Thrive’s innovation capacity.

“We raised close to $800K,” Seghal said, “and there was also personal investment. Our goal now is to scale the customer base, then we’ll have the strength to raise a bigger round.”

The Thrive team witnessed a lot of pent-up demand for their product, but a year-and-a-half ago was too early, Seghal said. Today, the timing is just right. The fact that many banks are partnering with fintech companies and alternative lenders is the evidence that Seghal needs to see the opportunity.

Thrive can drive the banking experience from origination to the ways and means a borrower will interact with payment. It gives a more modern feel to the traditional bank facilitating servicing and a dashboard interface that allows banks to directly monitor loans in real time.

“Because we can automate cashflow, we have a direct link to an originating loan service account,” Seghal said. “ It can be monitored on a daily basis. You can see which loans are performing, which should be more closely monitored, etc.”

Thrive also configures the technology to be modular. They can move to consumer lending, commercial real estate, middle market lending, and more, very easily because they have central components built in. The ultimate goal is to drive efficiently beneath the hood, providing the plumbing of the system. On the front end, the applicant sees the bank’s branding, powered and enabled by Thrive, integrated into the bank’s website.”

What Thrive’s Competition Can’t Do

The depth of the platform separates Thrive from their competitors. They believe they can offer end-to-end origination, services, full experience, and risk management capabilities that their competitors don’t have. By offering pure tech as a service, they are trying to position themselves at the forefront of the game. A few years ago, fintech wasn’t on the radar and small banks didn’t focus on it. Since then, it has become clear that in order to succeed banks need to embrace the young, agile fintech companies as partners to learn from instead of treating them like hostile competitors.

“It’s very clear why they need us,” Seghal said. “Technology can help them. It isn’t a threat.” Thrive isn’t dabbling in tech plus lending. Rather, they are 100% focused on technology and have what is a clear win for both bank and customer. “We’re making banks fintech-enabled so they can provide a better customer experience and drive organizational value through the efficiency gained from technology.”

Authors:

Written with Nicki Jacoby.

Allen Taylor

Leapfrogging Legacy Core Banking Systems

Mambu banking SaaS

What do you need if you are launching a lending or banking business? You need a way to manage transactions, pricing, payments, customers, and anything else that comes up. That means you need a reliable core system, but those traditionally are built for a specific bank. They are heavy, cumbersome systems that were time-consuming to […]

Mambu banking SaaS

What do you need if you are launching a lending or banking business? You need a way to manage transactions, pricing, payments, customers, and anything else that comes up. That means you need a reliable core system, but those traditionally are built for a specific bank. They are heavy, cumbersome systems that were time-consuming to install, configure, and run. It is difficult to change them because most legacy core banking systems take many months, or years, to set up. As the financial world moves faster with more services, channels, and scoring models, it needs an agile, API-friendly core system that can leap over the barriers and grow.

A Core Banking System is Like Bamboo

“Mambu” is the original Malaysian word for bamboo, the fastest growing plant in the world. If the conditions are right, it’s very difficult to stop bamboo from spreading and growing prolifically because the roots go under and over most barriers. Bamboo is versatile in what can be done with it and obtainable to anyone who can plant it. These characteristics are what a core banking system would need for the wireless economic reality most of the world moves in.

Mambu seemed like a good name choice for a name when Eugene Danilkis, Frederik Pfisterer, and Sofia Nunes started the company in 2010. They launched in 2011.

“We saw how fast tech was growing in other industries,” Danilkis said, “and saw a huge opportunity to build a SAAS in the financial space. It started with lending in emerging countries and evolved into business lending, leasing, and banking products.”

Mambu moved away from the legacy of core banking and desktop lending to offer a cloud-based SAAS platform that is versatile and obtainable.

“The same triggers are used to create different products and workflows,” Danilkis said. “So different customers can use Mambu in different ways. It’s basically a product that works the same way as an SME loan, consumer loan, or other complex structured deal. It sets up flows and data fields such as a lending piece, deposit/overdraft piece, manages customer data, tracks transactions, and more. And it’s all wrapped up in the API so the customer has access to all the data.”

The underpinning is the cloud infrastructure. Customers refer to the core engine to design service and essential data.

What Mambu Can and Will Do

Mambu is used in 40 countries now. Their main office is in Europe with regional offices in Miami and Singapore. There are two million active customer accounts with over three million clients served. The majority of 12 million euros funding was raised in their latest series B round last year.

“Now we have north of 3 quarter billion dollars from customers managed on the platform,” Danilkis said. “It’s building steadily. We’re looking for talent to help develop the product and interact with customers on products and sales.”

Typical customers are those who want to innovate around products. An established bank or lending company may want to bring a new product to market, but the need for new technology is holding them back. New businesses, or business units, may be interested in diversifying their product base.

“On the lending side, it came from the least attractive market segments,” Danilkis said, “Challenges came from microfinance. The rise of mobile tech and fintech made it easier to go after specific market segments who may have been poorly serviced before.”

The flexibility of the platform allows tailoring for specific customers and much more streamlined offerings. It enables clients to offer a better brand and user experience that attracts more customers and retains them. The client can build out a product that supports their business the way they want it to run and be flexible in terms of types of products, workflows, or support operations on specific products.

“We are transforming the old system.” Danilkis said. “In order to integrate around customers or credit scoring, the current tech is not good enough. We want to be more lean and stay competitive. We need to move quickly with changing technology and look away from the old tech.”

Author:

Written by Nicki Jacoby.

Tuesday May 9 2017, Daily News Digest

Lending Club

News Comments Today’s main news: OnDeck reports Q1 2017 results. dv01 partners with SoFi. Elevate Credit announces Q1 2017 results. SoFi lets employees sell 20% of vested stock. Crowd2Fund announces new venture debt product. Klarna, Trustly fight EBA on bar screen scraping. Today’s main analysis: LC may  have hit a dead end. The real returns for Prosper investors. Today’s thought-provoking articles: […]

Lending Club

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OnDeck Reports First Quarter 2017 Financial Results (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

OnDeck® (NYSE: ONDK) today announced first quarter 2017 financial results, additional planned cost savings, and a target to achieve GAAP profitability in the second half of 2017.

Loans Under Management increased to $1.2 billion, up 25% from the comparable prior year period, driven primarily by the growth of originations over the period.  In the first quarter of 2017, originations were $573 million, up 1% from the prior year period, primarily reflecting the impact of credit tightening implemented during the quarter.

Gross revenue increased to $92.9 million during the first quarter of 2017, up 48% from the comparable prior year period.  The increase in gross revenue was primarily driven by higher interest income, partially offset by lower gain on sale revenue. Interest income increased to $87.1 million during the quarter, up 63% from the comparable prior year period, and primarily reflected the growth of average loans, which increased 66% versus the comparable prior year period.  The Effective Interest Yield for the first quarter of 2017 was 33.9%, down from 34.5% in the comparable prior year period, primarily reflecting changes in portfolio mix over the period, partially offset by recent price increases.

Gain on sale was $1.5 million during the first quarter of 2017, down 79% from the comparable prior year period. The decline primarily reflected a lower Gain on Sale Rate during the quarter and the decision to reduce the amount of loans sold through OnDeck Marketplace.  OnDeck sold $42.0 million1 of loans through OnDeck Marketplace at a 3.5% Gain on Sale Rate during the first quarter of 2017, compared to $123.7 million1 of loans at a 5.7% Gain on Sale Rate in the first quarter of 2016.  Loans sold or designated as held for sale through OnDeck Marketplace represented 9.0% of term loan originations in the first quarter of 2017 compared to 25.9% of term loan originations in the comparable prior year period.  To optimize long-term financial performance, OnDeck plans to reduce the percentage of term loan originations sold through OnDeck Marketplace to less than 5% for the remainder of 2017.

Net revenue was $35.4 million during the first quarter of 2017, down 13% versus the comparable prior year period. The decline in net revenue reflected the reduction of OnDeck Marketplace sales, which led to lower gain on sale revenue, and higher provision expense in the first quarter of 2017 versus the prior year period.

Provision for loan losses during the first quarter of 2017 increased to $46.2 million, up from $25.4 million in the comparable prior year period.  The increase in provision expense primarily reflected a 20% increase in originations of loans designated as held for investment in the period and the comparatively lower original loss estimate for loans originated in the prior year period. The Provision Rate in the first quarter of 2017 was 8.7% compared to 5.8% in the prior year period, reflecting that the credit tightening in the first quarter of 2017 was not in effect for the full quarter and the previously mentioned lower loss estimates in the prior year period.  The Provision Rate decreased sequentially from 10.2% in the fourth quarter of 2016.  OnDeck expects the Provision Rate for the remainder of 2017, taken as a whole, to be approximately 7%.

The 15+ Day Delinquency Ratio increased to 7.8% in the first quarter of 2017 from 5.7% in the prior year period and from 6.6% in the fourth quarter of 2016 due primarily to the continued seasoning of the portfolio.  At the end of the first quarter of 2017, the average term loan age in OnDeck’s portfolio was 4.5 months, up from 3.3 months in the prior year period and 3.9 months in the fourth quarter of 2016.  The Net Charge-off rate increased to 14.9% in the first quarter of 2017 from 11.2% in the prior year period and increased sequentially from 14.2%.

The Cost of Funds Rate during the first quarter of 2017 increased to 5.9% from 5.5% in the prior year period primarily due to the increase in short-term rates.

Operating expense was $46.7 million during the first quarter of 2017, up 5% over the comparable prior year period.  Operating expense in the first quarter of 2017 was favorably impacted by the company’s previously announced cost rationalization plan which is expected to produce approximately $20 million of annual savings relative to its 2016 exit operating expense run rate.  Additionally, operating expense in the first quarter of 2016 benefited from a $1 million release in the reserve for unfunded loan commitments and a $1 million gain related to changes in foreign currency values.  Without these benefits, operating expense between the two periods would have been relatively flat.  The company is implementing an additional $25 million of operating expense run rate savings compared to OnDeck’s 2016 exit run rate, the majority of which will be implemented over the remainder of 2017.  The savings are focused on the company’s U.S. lending operations and will be achieved primarily through a workforce reduction to be implemented in the second quarter of 2017.  Combined with the company’s prior workforce reduction, total headcount at the end of the second quarter of 2017 is expected to be approximately 27% lower than December 31, 2016 levels, due to both involuntary terminations and actual and scheduled attrition.

GAAP net loss attributable to On Deck Capital, Inc. common stockholders was $11.1 million, or $0.15 per basic and diluted share, for the quarter, which compares to GAAP net loss attributable to On Deck Capital, Inc. common stockholders of $12.6 million, or $0.18 per basic and diluted share, in the comparable prior year period.

Adjusted EBITDA* was negative $5.2 million for the quarter, versus negative $7.3 million in the comparable prior year period.  Adjusted Net Loss* was $7.6 million, or $0.11 per basic and per diluted share for the quarter versus Adjusted Net Loss of $8.8 million, or $0.13 per basic and per diluted share, in the comparable prior year period.

Unpaid Principal Balance was $1.03 billion at the end of the first quarter, up 57% over the prior year period.  The increase primarily reflected originations growth over the year and OnDeck’s decision to retain more loans on its balance sheet in connection with reducing OnDeck Marketplace loan sales.

Total Funding Debt at the end of the first quarter of 2017 was $788 million, up 69% over the prior year period, which primarily  reflected the growth of Unpaid Principal Balance as well as the increased utilization of debt facilities during the period.  OnDeck continued to expand its funding capacity in 2017. During the first quarter of 2017, OnDeck extended the maturity date of its asset-backed revolving debt facility with Deutsche Bank to March 2019 and increased the facility’s borrowing capacity to approximately $214 million. During the first week of May 2017, OnDeck extended the maturity date of its asset-backed debt facility that finances OnDeck’s line of credit offering to May 2019, increased the facility’s borrowing capacity to $100 million, and decreased the funding costs by 200 basis points.

At the end of the first quarter of 2017, cash and cash equivalents were $73 million, as compared to $80 million at December 31, 2016.

Guidance for Second Quarter and Full Year 2017

Second Quarter 2017

  • Gross revenue between $85 million and $89 million.
  • Adjusted EBITDA between negative $3 million and positive $1 million.

Full Year 2017

  • Gross revenue between $342 million and $352 million.
  • Adjusted EBITDA between positive $5 million and $15 million.

Adjusted EBITDA guidance for the second quarter and full year 2017 includes an approximately $3.5 million charge to be recognized in the second quarter of 2017 associated with the planned workforce reduction.

On Deck Goes From Hot Tech Startup to Dull Lender (WSJ), Rated: AAA

The online lender said Monday that it would put a renewed focus on achieving profitability by slowing growth and cutting costs. Shares fell by nearly 7% in response. Fundamentally, investors are finally waking up to the fact that On Deck is more of a niche financial company than a revolutionary technology platform.

Loan originations may decline by a fifth next quarter, and total originations will be lower this year than last.

If these sound like the business objectives for an ordinary bank, that’s no coincidence. The company plans to sell less than 5% of its loans through its online marketplace this year, Chief Financial Officer Howard Katzenberg said, down from 18% in 2016 and 34% in 2015. Of the rest, some will be securitized, but most will be held on its balance sheet.

On Deck’s shares are down 79% from their initial public offering in December 2014. At 1.2 times book value, it is now valued like a financial company and roughly in line with the average bank. This still looks a bit rich because it has no profits.

Lending Club may have hit a dead end (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Despite the aftermath of a governance

Lending Club Keeps Pushing Its Comeback (PYMNTS.com), Rated: AAA

The last 12 months have undoubtedly been a difficult period for marketplace lending pioneer Lending Club.

But, as Q1 earnings hit last week, it seems clear that progress is happening — albeit at a fairly slow pace.

Retail investors also expanded, though more slightly — reaching 15 percent, up from 13 percent in the prior quarter.

Lending Club also announced $2 billion originations, surpassing $26 billion in total loans since inception almost ten years ago and 2 million total consumers served on its platform.

Moreover, investing in marketplace lending is not so profitable as it has been in the recent past, and returns to investors have dropped sharply.  Competition has forced down interest rates in the marketplaces to attract consumers with cheaper underwriting, and charge-offs have risen.

According to data from Orchard, a technology provider to the industry, total returns from an index of U.S. consumer loans came to 3.95 per cent last year, down from 8.71 per cent in 2014.

Lending Club’s stock performance has been flat over most of the last year, though it has lost roughly 60 percent of its stock value.

The firm has also seen a massive change-over in its staffing and leadership since its more scandalous days a year ago.  CEO Scott Sanborn cut and rehired 179 jobs and brought on a new CFO, COO, general counsel and chief capital officer.

Leading FinTech Analytics Platform dv01 Announces Reporting Partnership with SoFi (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

dv01, the reporting and analytics platform that brings transparency to lending markets, today announced a reporting partnership with SoFi, a modern finance company taking an unprecedented approach to lending and wealth management. Institutional investors who use dv01 to conduct analysis on consumer loans and bonds will now have access to all SoFi securitizations, including student and personal loans.

Under the first phase of the partnership, dv01 will receive securitization data directly from SoFi, which it will normalize, format, and roll up for monthly level reporting. The data, which includes 23 historical deals, will be available through the Securitization Explorer, dv01’s online reporting and analytics portal for consumer securitizations.

Investors who have been approved to view SoFi data will have 24/7 access to updated loan level performance and composition details, as well as a suite of reporting and analytics tools. dv01 will be responsible for updating deal collateral data monthly, so investors can continue to track the evolution of a pool over time, even after the deal has closed.

dv01 has provided similar reporting services for several other online lenders, overseeing an aggregate securitized collateral balance in excess of $7 billion. The company launched its dedicated Securitization Explorer tool in February, and since then has also announced its role as Loan Data Agent for the Prosper Marketplace loan purchase consortium led by Jefferies LLC, Soros Fund Management, Third Point LLC, and New Residential Investment Corp, a Fortress Investment Group REIT.

Elevate Credit Announces First Quarter 2017 Results (Stockhouse), Rated: AAA

Elevate Credit, Inc. (NYSE:ELVT) (“Elevate” or the “Company”) today announced results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2017.

First Quarter 2017 Financial Highlights

  • 20% year-over-year revenue growth: Revenues totaled $156.4 million, a 19.6% increase from $130.7 million for the prior-year period.
  • Nearly 40% year-over-year growth in loans receivable: Combined loans receivable – principal, were $444.5 million, a 38.6% increase from $320.7 million for the prior-year period.
  • Stable credit quality: Loan loss provision was 52.9% of revenues and within our targeted range of 45%-55%. The ending combined loan loss reserve, as a percentage of combined loans receivable, was 15.7%, slightly lower than the 16.3% we reported for the prior-year period.
  • Record low customer acquisition costs: The total number of new customer loans for the first quarter of 2017 was approximately 53,000 with an average customer acquisition cost of $198, compared to approximately 41,000 customer loans and an average customer acquisition cost of $235 for the prior-year period.
  • Positive net income: Net income of $1.7 million, or $0.06 per pro forma diluted share, which was based on a 2.5 to 1 stock split and all preferred stock converting into common stock upon the IPO but it excludes the 14.3 million common shares issued in the IPO since this happened after quarter end.
  • Continued improvement in Adjusted EBITDA margin: Adjusted EBITDA was $24.9 million and the resulting Adjusted EBITDA margin was 15.9%.

Financial Outlook

For the full year 2017, the Company expects total revenue of $680 million to $720 million, net income of $13 million to $19 million and Adjusted EBITDA of $95 million to $105 million.

With an IPO on the shelf, SoFi lets employees sell 20 percent of vested stock (CNBC), Rated: AAA

Online lender SoFi is letting employees cash out a portion of their holdings to give them liquidity as the company waits to go public.

Last month, SoFi employees and ex-employees were permitted to sell 20 percent of their vested options in a secondary share sale that totaled $336.5 million, according to sources familiar with the matter. The offering priced the shares at $16.30, said one source, who asked not to be named because the deal was confidential.

The real returns for Prosper Marketplace investors (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Yesterday we learnt that leading US marketplace lender Prosper has been misstating investor returns, due to a system error.

The system error did not affect the money received by investors, only the calculation of their annual return.

Prosper has recently been equipping itself to represent its performance more accurately. The firm signed a deal with analytics firm AltFi Data in March, thus opening itself up to third-party scrutiny.

AltFi Data’s returns methodology gives Prosper a net return of 48.8 per cent over 5 years (up to 28 February 2017), equivalent to an annualised compound rate of 8.3 per cent.
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Square is rolling out its first debit card (recode), Rated: A

Last month, Jack Dorsey teased the launch of a Square debit card. Today, the company started allowing some users of its Square Cash money-transfer service to order one of these cards for themselves.

The prepaid card isn’t linked to your bank account, but instead to the Square Cash app. That means you can only use it to spend money that you are holding in your Square Cash account.

A Square spokesperson said these signatures are screened before printing to prevent inappropriate words and drawings from making their way onto the cards. But there is obviously wiggle room to include your Twitter handle, if you want to be like Jack, or just a first name, too. The cardholder’s first and last names are printed on the back of the card.

Creating a deeper relationship with Square Cash customers might also open up other business opportunities in personal finance for the $7 billion payments company. Lending, anyone?

AI may just create the illusion of good credit decisions (American Banker), Rated: A

AI is also second only to blockchain technology as the most overused and overhyped term referring to technologies that are taking over banking and finance, particularly in credit decisions.

The reality is AI will make lending more consistent and efficient; however, it remains to be seen if it will make lending safer.

How will regulators ever know if the AI algorithms are performing in a nonbiased way? Humans are the programmers of the algorithms, and therefore human biases and tendencies cannot but leak into the overall decision process.

We know the saying “bad data in means bad data out.” AI should help to solve that challenge as it more accurately identifies the “bad” or not useful elements. However, the challenge with AI may not be with “bad data” but rather a lack of necessary data as the economic environment changes.

To this end, neural networks, which are self-learning and so complex that the humans who create them are unable to describe them, also present a number of problems. The foremost problem is: If you don’t know how the decision is made, you cannot be confident that the decision is being made correctly. Yes, you can judge by credit performance. But when a lender runs afoul of a regulation, the regulators won’t accept “We just don’t know how it works” as an excuse.

Affirm Looks To Launch Everyday-Use Virtual Cards (Bank Innovation), Rated: A

Affirm, the lending startup that provides loans at the POS, is looking into launching everyday-use virtual credit cards, Bank Innovation has learned.

The company, launched by a PayPal cofounder Max Levchin, provides point-of-sale loans that allow customers, particularly millennials, to finance purchases with participating merchants. Once approved, consumers receive a one-time use virtual card via Affirm’s app, which they can use for the purchase. Then, depending on individual consumers, Affirm splits the bill into monthly payments.

The Future of Fintech and the importance of payments to a SaaS business: WePay’s Week in Payments (Wepay), Rated: A

Scanning the news in the payments world this week was an interesting exercise because the two standout themes are very much aligned with what we do here at WePay and with the future of digital payments. The first theme is around the future of Fintech and where the nascent industry is headed and the second is around the huge impact of delivering payments as a an integrated part of a solution rather than as an afterthought.

David Dunn, of Braintree Europe, has a piece in ITProPortal about why payments are more than plumbing. It’s a good piece and makes a great case for integrating payments. He says that you can help your business by making it easier for your customers to get to a checkout and by making it easier to scale. We would argue that a SaaS business can go even further by using payments to better retain existing customers and help them grow, better adding new customers by scaling as Dunn mentions and also by optimizing revenue for the platform itself. The way to achieve these goals is via white-label payments.

Kabbage’s Next Growth Phase (deBanked), Rated: A

When you consider the recent milestones Kabbage has achieved it makes it difficult to think of the fintech lender as a startup. In recent weeks Kabbage surpassed a couple of major milestones comprised of extending $3 billion in funding to 100,000-plus small businesses. More than half of those loans were directed toward existing credit lines. Kabbage also recently priced a $525 million private securitization, which tips the company’s hand on strategy.

Kabbage is pursuing its growth plans all while performing a confidential search for a new chief technology officer, details for which are expected to unfold in the coming months.

At the LendIt USA 2017 event, Kabbage co-founder & CEO Rob Frohwein alluded to the online lender’s plans to reach new territories, details for which were scarce. Treyger shared, however, that Kabbage’s global growth plans are somewhat tied to the company’s pipeline of banking partnerships.

Kabbage already counts as partners household names including Santander, ScotiaBank, and ING, all of which license software from Kabbage. Meanwhile, as big banks are accessing smaller businesses, Kabbage’s growth blueprint includes serving larger ones.

How fintech startup Elsen helps anyone become a data whiz (Built in Boston), Rated: A

With less than $1 million in total funding, fintech startup Elsen may not have much by way of investments, but a recent partnership with Thomas Reuters should bring some star power to the burgeoning company.

Founded in 2013 by three Northeastern grads, Elsen is a platform-as-a-service company that enables anyone at large financial institutions to harness massive quantities of data for better decision making and problem solving.

Besides offering data storage to some of the largest vendors in the world, Elsen’s product uses machine learning and AI to speed up the testing of financial algorithms by way of backtesting, a process that sifts through historical financial data to see how an algorithm would perform at tasks like automatically picking stocks, for example.

Interim OCC chief should put fintech charter on ice (American Banker), Rated: A

One thing that Keith Noreika, the new acting head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, could tick off of his to-do list is to pause the OCC’s efforts to develop a fintech charter. Noreika should then take some time to assess whether the charter is developing in a way that best serves the public.

Former Comptroller Thomas Curry deserves major credit for getting the OCC to think about how to encourage innovation in the banking sector. The fintech charter is an important piece of this effort. Unfortunately, based on the most recent information put out by the OCC, it appears that the previous leadership wasn’t thinking sufficiently outside of the box. The charter is shaping up to needlessly mimic many of the requirements of traditional depository institutions, even though those requirements do not make sense in the nondepository context.

For example, requiring firms to get OCC permission to change business plans, and to convince the agency that the firm will not fail, are not necessary.

However, the OCC should not press pause on its response to the lawsuit filed by the Conference of State Bank Supervisors challenging the charter.

‘If you change the rules we’re going to disconnect you, fintech’ (American Banker), Rated: A

As one of the banking industry’s largest vendors, FIS says it might be well suited to help banks effectively navigate the world of fintech.

ANTHONY JABBOUR:  When Apple Pay came out, banks weren’t running to Apple Pay because they thought it would drive new streams of revenue for them. A lot of them did it because they were afraid the bank across the street would offer it and they would suffer by not offering it.

One thing we’re trying to do that’s a little different is, if we believe there’s value for our customers, we want to have the disruptor connect to the FIS network and have our banks connect to it from the FIS network, so we can leverage our banks’ negotiating power with the fintech.

What are some of the types of companies you’re thinking of—alternative lenders, PFM app providers, billing companies?

JABBOUR: Payments would be one. The banks that I speak to look at lending and they say banks lost the lending franchise and exclusivity and other companies popped up over the years and took a major portion of that. And they look at payments right now and they feel strongly they can’t lose the payments franchise.

Do you think that banks can take back market share in U.S. person-to-person payments with Zelle?

JABBOUR: We think that has a lot of potential. We offer Zelle to our clients. I believe we can create a capability for P-to-P for our banks that would be better than any fintech’s because we could make it real-time and it would be accessible from an ATM. I could send you money and you can go to an ATM with your mobile phone and withdraw the cash without having a bank account. We could also tie it with prepaid cards, so instead of me sending you $500, I could send you a $500 Home Depot gift card as a housewarming gift. It’s P-to-P, but it’s more thoughtful because we’re integrating it with prepaid.

What does it take for a payment platform to work? It takes brand recognition so people know it exists, and it needs ubiquity, it needs to work in every place you would want it to work. It’s never about the technology. I like with Zelle that banks said look we have to find a way to solve the brand issue, and if we all use the brand Zelle, that’s going to help. And I think it will.

I could see that argument, but you could argue that banks are late to this P-to-P payment party and that PayPal’s Venmo is the clear leader. Do you think the Zelle brand can win hearts and minds?

JABBOUR: Without question, banks are late to a number of capabilities. When you look at P-to-P, Venmo is the brand, it’s a verb. Whether or not banks can catch up with Venmo comes down to how compelling they make the offer, what else they can wrap around it, how much do they ultimately invest in it. What I know is, if they hadn’t pursued Zelle, they would have fallen further behind.

Crowdfunding: Now Anyone Can Own a Skyscraper! (Inside Indiana Business), Rated: A

Have you ever wanted to own a skyscraper? How about an entire apartment complex? Well, good news, now you can! And, you don’t have to meet “accredited investor” requirements. How? It’s called crowdfunding!

According to the University of Cambridge Judge Business School, in 2015 crowdfunding real estate transactions topped $1.2 billion; over three times the amount in 2014.

Research the Crowdfunding Platform: Currently, more than 125 crowdfunding platforms exist. According to Jason Best, a partner at Crowdfund Capital Advisors, you’ll want to consider comparing associated fees, the quality of property management, and the sustainability of the platform. As with any new industry, it’s safer to choose among the larger more-established companies such as Realty Mogul, Realty Shares, and iFunding, to name a few.

If you’re interested in learning more about this topic, I suggest you listen to podcast Episode #108, “Investing in Real Estate Via Crowdfunding Platforms,” on J. David Stein’s website, Money for the Rest of Us.

Listen to the podcast below:

Robot or human financial advice field is changing (VC Star), Rated: A

What if a visit to the financial adviser was more like an impromptu coffee grab than a dental checkup?

Instead of a boring annual visit, imagine a quick call from you adviser in which he makes a couple simple suggestions to keep your portfolio on track.

That’s the future, according to Michael Kitces, research director for Pinnacle Advisory Group in Columbia, Maryland. Speaking to financial advisers attending last month’s Morningstar Investment Conference in Chicago, Kitces tried to reassure them that investors, rather than turning their money over to automated investment platforms, will continue to pay for advice if it’s relevant and timely.

In a future aided by software tracking customer portfolios and everyday spending, advisers will already know their clients’ problems and will use more frequent chats to figure out fixes, he said.

Is Fintech creating Neo-Luddites demanding a “robot-tax”? (Daily Fintech), Rated: A

A (hypothetical) documentary titled “Software has been eating the world” about Microsoft, would have to cover the first decade (‘75-‘86) before the company went public and the stunning and difficult to replicate nowadays fact that about 12,000 Microsoft employees became millionaires, in addition to the 3 billionaires.

So, when Bill Gates spoke in February about the idea of “the robot that takes your job should pay taxes”, the world reacted.

Just recently, the city of San Francisco announced a change in its public policy framework that will make it the first city to implement a robot tax (Business Insider May 2, San Francisco is considering a once unthinkable measure to offset the threat of job-killing robots).

In financial services, there were no such issues raised when ATMs, online brokerage and e-banking transformed the financial industry.

In this second wave that follows the accelerated pace of tech innovation of other sectors, we all agree that we don’t want a world in which no bank submits candidacy for the Global Finance awards  Call For Entries: Digital Bank Awards 2017. Or a world that has an increased tax for the winner and those shortlisted in the Euromoney Best Digital bank awards: for 2016, Singapore’s DBS Bank, and the short list included BBVA, Citi, and ING.  Or a world that taxes more startups providing the “picks and shovels” for the future of Invisible Finance, like:

–       Cloud banking platforms offering Banking as a Service, like Mambu

–       Cloud based investment financial app stores, like Investcloud

–       AI chatbot technology providers like Kasisto

–       Self-Sovereign identity solutions, like Uport

–       Mortgage enterprise solutions providers like Roostify

The Fintech ecosystem is still relatively un-bundled and it would seem even more problematic to develop and apply a framework for a “robot tax” for the Fintech space.

Billionaire investor Draper to participate in blockchain token sale for first time (Reuters), Rated: B

Billionaire venture capitalist Tim Draper soon plans to take a step that even he, a long-time bitcoin aficionado, has eschewed to now: buying a new digital currency offered by a technology startup.

Draper, an early supporter of bitcoin and its underlying blockchain financial ledger technology, told Reuters in an interview he will for the first time participate in a so-called “initial coin offering” (ICO) of Tezos slated later this month.

Tezos, a new blockchain platform launched by a husband and wife team with extensive Wall Street and in hedge fund backgrounds, will launch the ICO on May 22. Draper will also invest in U.S.-based Dynamic Ledger Solutions Inc, the creator of Tezos, but did not disclose details.

Insight, JG Wentworth among top-rated on online marketplace (Mortgage Professional America), Rated: B

Insight Loans, JG Wentworth Home Lending and CBC National Bank have taken the top three spots in an annual ranking of mortgage lenders.

The league table from online loan marketplace LendingTree rates the lenders on its platform in three categories – mortgages, personal loans and auto finance – based on customer reviews.

CVC Credit Partners provides financing to support Wastewater Specialties, LLC (PE Hub), Rated: B

CVC Credit Partners (“CVC”) announced today that CVC’s U.S. Middle Market Private Debt business acted as Administrative Agent on a first lien senior secured debt facility provided to Wastewater Specialities, LLC (“WWS”). The proceeds were used to refinance existing debt and support future growth through equipment purchases.

United Kingdom

Crowd2Fund Announces New Venture Debt Product (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On Friday, crowdfunding platform Crowd2Fund announced the launch of its new venture debt product, which is targeted towards early stage businesses that have a short term requirement to access cash to facilitate growth. The funding portal noted that the interest rates for the product’s loans range from 10% to 15%, with a borrow time period of normally no more than 12-18 months.

Crowd2Fund also noted those businesses that are suitable for the venture debt will be able to increase their value during the loan duration.

MOBILE BIOMETRIC PAYMENT VOLUMES TO TRIPLE IN 2017 TO NEARLY 2BN (Juniper Research), Rated: A

A new study by Juniper Research has found that the number of mobile payments authenticated by biometrics will rise to nearly 2 billion this year, up from just over 600 million in 2016.

The new research – Mobile Payment Security: Biometric Authentication & Tokenisation 2017-2021 – found that while Apple Pay had provided the catalyst for initial growth, other leading wallets including Android Pay and Samsung Pay were increasingly offering biometric solutions for authentication.

Furthermore, the size of the opportunity has been boosted by the greater availability of fingerprint sensors. According to the new research, around 60% of smartphone models are expected to ship with such sensors this year, with many Chinese vendors incorporating them into mid-range models.

The research emphasised the increasing momentum behind alternative biometric solutions. It recognised Mastercard as an early leader in this space through its Identity Check Mobile capability, due to go live later this year. Informally known as “selfie pay”, this allows users to scan their fingerprints and/or take selfies to validate their identities and thereby make payments.

PwC appoints leaders for Analytics, AI, Cybersecurity and FinTech arms (Consultancy.uk), Rated: A

In a bid to expand its footprint in the rapidly growing digital and technology-led innovation space, PwC, one of the major players in the field, has in recent weeks appointed a number of new senior technology positions in the UK wing of their group.

In another appointment aimed at driving growth in technology and financial technology (FinTech), Zubin Randeria, a PwC partner for 23 years non-consecutively, was unveiled as the new lead for around 200 cyber security experts in the UK, as the firm continue to focus on advising companies how to resist digital threats; a key concern of modern business.

Mark Leaver, PwC’s head of Financial Services Consulting since 2015, will meanwhile expand his existing role to include the multi-billion pound FinTech market in his scope. The FinTech space is growing fast, with interest in services particularly high among younger tech savvy users, and on the back of the spike global investments in FinTech companies grew to $25 billion last year, according to data from KPMG.

Bank of England criticised for fintech faux pas (Financial News), Rated: A

The Bank of England has come under fire for working with a fintech startup that was fined $700,000 by a US regulator for breaking banking secrecy laws.

Players in the fintech field have accused the central bank of appearing not to have conducted proper due diligence when selecting its partners after it emerged that Ripple, the startup chosen by the Bank of England to help research new blockchain technology, was fined for “willfully violating” several requirements of the Bank Secrecy Act.

RESCUE DEAL FOR MOTOR FINANCE PROVIDER (Insider Media), Rated: A

A Leicester-headquartered vehicle finance provider has been acquired out of administration.

Vehicle Trading Group called in administrators from Grant Thornton on 2 May 2017.

The company provided finance via its subsidiaries Vehicle Stocking Ltd and Vehicle Credit Ltd, which have now been sold to RateSetter.

China

11 Of The Largest Companies In China Dominate Chinese Fintech (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Of the 1.4 billion people in China, only about 300 million are in the national credit bureau, which means that more than a billion people have no credit profile.  Hundreds of millions of Chinese “unbanked” consumers are middle class, have high discretionary income, and would be considered prime or super prime borrowers. On top of that, the large Chinese banks have no history in making consumer and small business loans and were never designed for that purpose (they make infrastructure and commercial real estate loans).

We are seeing the leading Chinese companies from a diverse set of industries muscle their way into the fintech sector.  This article highlights some of the key players that have made the horizontal jump into fintech.

Ant Financial Services Group is owned by Alibaba Group, the largest e-commerce firm in the world.  Ant Financial is focused on serving small and micro enterprises as well as consumers. Ant Financial is the largest fintech company in the world.

JD Finance Group operates seven lines of business: supply chain finance, consumer finance, crowdfunding, wealth management, payment services, insurance and securities trading. JingBaobei is their microlending platform and Baitiao is their crowdfunding platform.

Baidu Jinrong is focused on many different verticals under different brands including consumer finance (Baidu Umoney), wealth and fund management (8 Baidu), payments (Baidu Wallet) and financial asset transaction platform services.

Greenland Group (Stock Code: 337.HK) is one of the world’s largest publicly traded real estate development companies with more than 15 million clients. They are the largest Chinese developer in the US. Greenland Financial was formed in December 2015 and it includes three main business sectors: an online wealth management platform for individual investors; a professional asset allocation and wealth management service for middle-class clients; and a cloud platform to provide internet technology and data analysis services.

Wanda Internet Finance Group leverages Wanda’s offline commercial platform to form a business division comprising of four activities: data application, credit service, online lending and payment, and creating an innovative financial offline-to-online model.

Lufax Holdings is one of the world’s largest and most successful fintech firms.  It is owned by Chinese insurance giant Ping An Group. The business consists of three divisions: Shanghai Lujiazui International Financial Assets Commodity Exchange Co (Lufax), Shenzhen Qianhai Financial Asset Exchange Company Ltd (QEX), and Puhui Financial.  Lufax offers wealth management and insurance services to its 23 million registered users, QEX focuses on institutional business and cross-border business, and Puhui Financial provides loans to consumers and micro-businesses.

Zhong An is China’s first Internet-based insurance company utilizing Big Data analytics.

Tencent has recently created Tencent FiT (Financial Technology Group), which includes TenPay (payments), WeChat Pay, Mobile QQ Wallet, Tencent Credit Services, and Tencent Licaitong, its money market fund and wealth management platform.

Tencent also launched WeBank, the first online-only bank in China, a joint venture that also includes Shenzhen Baiyeyuan Investment and Shenzhen Li Ye Group.

SinaPay is a social payments solution. Weiquanbao is a social wallet focused on mobile payments. Weicaifu is their Internet financial services company with a focus on personal financial management.

Phoenix Finance is an online platform, established by Phoenix Satellite Television Holdings, to provide intelligent financial services for Chinese investors worldwide.

Ezubao P2P Lending Fraud Update: 26 on Trial (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Do you remember the Ezubao Ponzi scheme that ended in the single largest peer to peer lending fraud of all time? Investors, saw approximately 50 billion CNY or about USD $7.2 billion flushed down the tube. Reportedly 900,000 investors were impacted as an astounding 95% of the loans listed on the P2P lender’s site were said to be totally bogus.  Well process kicked off at the end of last year and according to a report from Xinhua, 26 Ezubao executives are now on trial. Proceedings are taking place in No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court in Beijing. Ezubao executives Anhui Yucheng and Yucheng Global and 10 company executives, including Yucheng chairman Ding Ning, have been charged with fraud.

European Union

Fintechs fight plan to bar screen scraping and protect European banks (CNBC), Rated: AAA

A coalition of 62 financial technology (fintech) firms including Klarna and Trustly and lobbying organizations such as the European Fintech Alliance (EFA) are fighting plans by the European Banking Authority (EBA) to ban screen scraping of customer data from online banking interfaces.

The screen scraping ban would come into force as part of the draft regulatory technical standards (RTS) rule under the European Union’s (EU) revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2) regulation.

Screen scraping is the process of collecting screen display data from one application and translating it so that another application can display it. This is normally done to capture data from a legacy application, such as an IBM mainframe computer for instance, in order to display it using a more modern user interface such as a PC or mobile. However, it can also be used to steal data or, depending on your point of view, legitimately gather business intelligence.

The EBA proposals are meeting fierce resistance from European fintechs that have signed a manifesto to fight the plan.

International

Introduction To P2P Lending Marketplace (Code Brahma), Rated: A

One of the biggest advantages of using an online P2P lending platform is that the loans are usually cheaper as the platforms operate with lower overheads and software powered automation. The P2P lenders charge money for the platform and doing credit checks for borrowers.

So, if a platform decides the unit note to be valued at $10 and an investor decides to invest $10,000 she’ll end up with 1000 notes to invest in borrowers.

One loan is typically funded by multiple investors. An investor willing to invest 1000 notes can choose to fund 10 different loans with 100 notes each or can mix and match the amount with loans.

According to a PwC report, the P2P lending platforms in the United States issued loans worth $ 5.5 Billion approximately. The global P2P market was estimated at $26.16 Billion in the year 2015. Transparency Market Research predicts the market to grow by CAGR of 48.2% year on year, reaching a whopping $897.85 Billion by the year 2024. Research and Markets expects the P2P market to grow at a CAGR of 53.06% between the years 2016 and 2020. Morgan Stanely predicts the market to be valued at $490 Billion by 2020.

Fintech vs Bank: Roles And Advantages Of Both Parties (ValueWalk), Rated: B

Globally, fintech funding was US$5.5 billion since 11 years ago and can be up to US$78.6 billion now.

According to TechinAsia, the reasons why consumers can adopt fintech are because of it is easy for them to set up an account, in fact, rates and fees that fintech offered are more attractive and cheap. On the other hand, fintech helps SMEs to acquire some funds.

Banks provide many services such as savings, loans, transfer of funds and much more. Some said that banks would disappear in the future. However, as long as bank dominates on lending, investing and deposits, they will sustain in the market. Banks basically will keep the customer’s information and will not easily give it to other parties. So the customer will feel more secure and safe doing the transaction with the bank.

India

Fintech Forging The Future For Cashless Economy (Techstory), Rated: AAA

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on November 8 that over 80% of our paper currency would be obsolete thereon, most of the country was left spell bound. While this was a move to discourage and partially halt the flow of counterfeit currency in a supposedly invisible economy, also crippling most industries and investors, there was one industrial sector that sat by the side and smirked – FinTech.

While the ripples of the move are still being felt every now and then, the financial climate is much more stable now than it was 5 months ago.

The first challenge, aided in part by the recent Demonetisation announcement, is that of making the population aware of the ease and comfort associated with online banking and cashless transactions. Not only does this involve an ideological shift, it also requires the population to cross a mental barrier – security.

Looking at it through this lens, it comes as no surprise that a report by Finextra Research Ltd. states that 69% of existing FinTech firms plan on raising their expenditures on content marketing. The scope of development for an online app of such a sort can be exponential, as has been witnessed by the growing popularity of Paytm!

In fact, certain projections point to a 30% decrease in banking employment over the next decade, as the concentration of delivering banking services in person decline with time.

While we have always been used to being dependent on our banking corporations to provide the chunk of capital services that we have always required, over time, it will be these fintech apps that will do the job, with banks holding safe, liquid assets and deposits. The borrowers and savers will now all be available on your smartphone.

While the landscape of lending and borrowing might change when it comes to user experience, the degree and scope of investments will only increase. However, the way we read and process it may change over time. As cryptocurrencies becomes easier to process and handle worldwide, other technologies supporting the development of transactions in such currencies will develop.

As innovation takes the lead while the scope of integration broadens, startups can create a real impact in society through different mediums like the P2P marketplace.

Take Kiva, for example, a wonderful peer-to-peer micro finance website that aims to alleviate poverty by allowing everyday people in developed nations to finance budding entrepreneurs in developing nations. Kiva allows you to make a loan to an entrepreneur across the globe for as little as $25. It is one of the world’s first online lending platform connecting online lenders to entrepreneurs across the globe.

PayActiv is another app that encourages better ways and modes of saving regularly, thereby increasing the independence of many of its users over time.

10 tips to get personal loans despite having low credit score or CIBIL score (Plunge Daily), Rated: B

Banks do not give unsecured loans like personal loans as easily as they do secured loans like home loan or auto loan. They take various parameters into consideration and not everyone can pass the stringent eligibility criteria. Credit score is where most applicants lose out on, especially when half of them have no idea what credit score is in the first place. Lenders are totally dependent on CIBIL (country’s biggest credit bureau) among others to understand customers’ past credit behavior and hence, credit worthiness.

Meanwhile, here are ways to get personal loans despite having low credit score:

  1. Approaching non-traditional or alternate lenders – Qbera offers one such personal loan product that is specifically designed for salaried employees above age 23 with high earning potentials. They offer emergency loans if your CIBIL score is 625 and above.
  2. Having a good salary at present
  3. Getting the help of spouse or other close family member or friend
  4. Applying with the same lender
  5. Applying to lenders that caters to people with low CIBIL Scores – Many online lenders understand that a low credit score doesn’t necessarily translate to low credit worthiness. There could be plenty of reasons for a less-than-ideal score due to technicalities.
  6. P2P lending for personal loans – Quite a popular lending trend in developed countries is peer-to-peer lending, it is not that common in India. Customers haven’t taken to it because the loan amount offered is small while the rates are high.
  7. Work on improving your credit score
  8. Mixing it up wisely – If you have taken more loans, please ensure that you have a wise mix of secured and unsecured loans rather than having only one kind.
  9. Paying taxes
  10. Getting loan against collateral
Canada

Home Capital suspends dividend, taps credit line, bolsters board (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Home Capital Group Inc on Monday suspended its dividend, tapped its credit line and added new directors, the latest attempts from Canada’s biggest non-bank lender to restore investor confidence and stem the flow of customer withdrawals.

The company also estimated that the balance in its high-interest savings accounts (HISA) halved in the past week and said it has withdrawn from its C$2 billion ($1.5 billion) credit line for the second time. Home Capital said the balance in its HISAs is expected to slump to about C$192 million on Monday, down 50 percent from a week ago.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday April 18 2017, Daily News Digest

funding mix non-bank lenders

News Comments Today’s main news: A comparison of funding & liquidity sources with lender maturity by PeerIQ. China Rapid Finance sets terms for U.S. IPO. China bank lending falls in March. Perfios raise $6.1M in Series A round. Abu Dhabi ranks as top fintech hub for MENA region. Today’s main analysis: Lenders test personalities to determine loan eligibility. Today’s […]

funding mix non-bank lenders

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

  • Blockchain can save banks tens of billions of dollars per year. GP:”There is a lot of speculatio and the technology is not mature enough yet. There are also still unclear business cases. In the US about 40% of professionals in finance are very familiar with blockchain according to latest surveys so it is not a familiarity problem. On the other side regulation is not there yet and is in fact the largest obstacle to blockchain adoption.” AT: “Blockchain is a technology is a lot of underused potential. It could make the banks competitive again, but it would take years to implement on a global scale to the point where it would be useful and effective in making the financial system of the world transparent, trustworthy, and effective. Getting every bank to adopt it would be a massive undertaking. All it’s going to take is one major bank using it and proving how it can improve banking services to include regaining customer trust. If bank services customers get behind it, the banks will have to.”
  • Pariti shows you your debts, offers to save money via P2P lending. AT: “This is a cool, and useful, development.”
  • Ex-Barclays CEO says Uber moments are happening in finance.

International

China

India

Asia

MENA

Africa

News Summary

United States

A Comparison of Funding & Liquidity Sources (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

The US Fed released their quarterly report covering “Quarterly Trends for Consolidated U.S. Banking Organizations”. The report shows that the ROE for the banking sector remains mired in the 7 to 9% range, below pre-crisis levels and the theoretical cost-of-capital for many banks.

Earnings season kicked off last week, with J.P. Morgan leading the trio of banks who released their first quarter earnings. In a positive sign, JPM booked lower loan loss provisions ($1.32 Bn) vs. prior year ($1.82 Bn) for the same quarter. Higher rates improved net interest margin by 11 bps to 2.33%.

Analysis of Funding Mix Across Leading Non-Bank Lenders

Soruce: PeerIQ
Source: PeerIQ
Although the funding mix might indicate that OneMain does not rely on warehouse finance, quite the opposite is true. OneMain also has eleven revolving conduit facilities with a maximum balance of $4.8 Bn in additional liquidity. The facilities represent a substantial liquidity backstop (from diverse counterparties with staggered maturities) should term ABS markets seize for a prolonged portion of time.
OneMain does not appear to be optimizing for a singular goal such as low-cost funding or maximizing ROE. All together, it appears that OneMain has implemented a financing strategy to deliver an attractive ROE (potentially high-teens or low twenties) while ensuring sufficient liquidity ballast to guard against disruptions in capital markets. For example, OneMain is also funding via $1 Bn of 8.25% senior notes issued in April last year rather than drawing on lower-cost liquidity available via warehouse finance.  OneMain is willing to take on somewhat higher financing costs in exchange for access to diverse and longer-term funding sources.
OnDeck
OnDeck’s financing strategy varies significantly from OneMain. OnDeck is unique in the peer group from their utilization of whole loan marketplace sales. We note that the usage of this liquidity channel continues to decline over time as gains-on-sales from whole loans decrease, and as investors demand more ‘skin-in-the-game.’
OnDeck also utilizes both securitization and credit facilities for their funding. Securitization makes up 24% of their loan funding, while their utilized credit facilities comprise 50% (although ONDK still has $287 MM undrawn).
OnDeck has the highest loan generation per unit of capital in the cohort. OnDeck is funding through the heavy usage of low-cost securitization and warehouse finance channels, and accordingly has the lowest funding cost in the peer group. However, we note OnDeck has more concentrated sources of funding channels that in turn rely on reliable execution and smooth functioning capital markets.
Enova
Enova employs all three debt financing tools—ABS, warehouse finance, and corporate debt—to fund origination. Enova had no facility borrowing amount reported as outstanding at the end of 2016.
Elevate
Elevate, as a young online lender measured by receivable and inception, does not have any securitization programs to date and limited diversity in warehouse finance. Elevate’s primary source of financing consists of credit facilities provided by Victory Park Capital. Of the four platforms, Elevate has the least diversity in funding sources. The peer analysis suggests that diversification into securitization channels could potentially lower cost of funds for Elevate.
Funding Cost by Financing Channel
As observed in Exhibit 3, securitizations can partially replace secured and unsecured debt in the capital structure with more favorable non­recourse funding. The overall funding costs are positively impacted by the increased usage of securitizations and credit facilities, as the deals are executed at interest rates significantly below the coupon associated with the unsecured debt.

Source: PeerIQ

Issuers that that take the long-view and develop a competitive advantage in financing & liquidity stand to slingshot past their competitors when the cycle turns.

P2P Lender China Rapid Finance Sets Terms for US IPO (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

China Rapid Finance, a peer-to-peer (P2P) lender based in Shanghai, China, announced that it has set the terms for its upcoming US IPO. The company plans to raise $105 million through the offering of 10 million shares priced between $9.50 to $11.50 a share. At $10.50 a share, China Rapid Finance would have a fully diluted market value of $586 million.

Founded in 2001, China Rapid Finance is a consumer lending marketplace that aims to serve China’s emerging middle class. Their target demographic are employed and well-educated Chinese individuals between the ages of 18 and 29, who live in urban cities, and who are avid mobile users. This demographic, known as EMMA (Emerging Middle class Mobile Active), is estimated to include over 500 million individuals.

Are you too neurotic? Lenders test personalities to determine loan eligibility (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

When no credit history is available, lenders in emerging markets are increasingly looking to personality tests to fill the gap. Psychometric data, or data acquired through personality tests, is now being used to determine if customers qualify for credit in countries like Turkey, Russia, Mexico and India. Some assessors look at traits like conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. For example, if someone ranks high on conscientiousness, they’re likelier to be better at saving, thus more secure financially.

The method has yet to go mainstream in the U.S. in part due to culture, regulations and the range of data already available to American lenders.

Still, psychometric data offers another option to assess consumers for whom insufficient data is available to generate a credit score. It’s a section of the population that’s gained more attention in the U.S., where over 25 million people are considered unscoreable by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Over 700 characteristics are organized; results are crunched along with repayment data into a number that represents a credit score.

The global unscoreable population is huge, including in India where over 70 percent of the 1.2 billion-strong population fall into this category, McCaffery said.

For the past few months, FICO, working with the Entrepreneurial Finance Lab, has been testing psychometric testing in Turkey, Russia and Mexico. While it’s too early to offer definitive assessments, FICO is optimistic about the model’s ability to deliver results.

Before launching psychometric data in the U.S., Taylor-Shoff said lenders would need to ensure compliance with regulations including those on consumer disclosure (e.g. being able to explain to someone why they were denied credit); fair lending (making sure the method doesn’t disadvantage a particular type of customer) and safety and soundness of the data. Operational considerations, including how lenders would use this method alongside traditional methods , would still need to be resolved too.

“U.S. consumers are not going to submit to a psychometric analysis by their lender,” said Zeydoon Munir, founder and CEO of RevolutionCredit, a startup that uses behavioral data garnered from quizzes and games, in addition to traditional data, to determine if customers qualify for certain credit products. “Who would do that?”

Fifth Third Bank Expands Partnership With Accion U.S. Network (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Fifth Third Bank announced on Thursday an investment and expanded partnership with nonprofit small business lender network, Accion U.S. Network, to support lending to underserved small businesses in Florida, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio.

This builds upon the bank’s five-year, $30 billion Community Commitment, which includes $10 billion for small business lending, product innovation and enhanced underwriting and fulfillment. Additionally, the Fifth Third Bank’s  commitment includes expanding technical assistance and support for alternative lending channels.

Fintech Report Card: March 2017 (Riskalyze), Rated: A

What happened: eMoney Advisor announced on March 23 the launch of eMoney for Enterprise, a division that will support users in the home offices of banks, large registered investment advisors, broker/dealers, insurance companies and other financial institutions.

What happened: The new product is likely to target individuals with less than $1 million to invest, a significantly larger market than Goldman Sachs’ current private wealth management service that caters to clients with at least $50 million. Their acquisition of Honest Dollar and the launch of a loan platform called Marcus suggest that this robo venture is part of a larger diversification strategy.

What happened: The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency pressed ahead with its plan to offer a specialty license to fintech firms, a move that would allow the industry to enter the federal banking system. Currently, fintech firms must apply for licenses in each state to do business, which can be a costly process. The new federal banking license would allow for one set of rules nationwide.

Why it matters: Thumbs up for allowing fintech firms to focus on innovation rather than paperwork. Removing the handcuffs of redundant licenses will surface relevant technology even faster, and I think we’ll see advisor confidence in fintech platforms continue to rise.

What happened: Morgan Stanley is continuing its technology surge after hiring Charles Schwab’s Naureen Hassan as Chief Digital Officer and appointing Jim Rosenthal to lead the development of the company’s digital services, which includes tentative plans for a self-directed robo platform.

What happened: Merrill Lynch is introducing new features to its website, such as a dashboard to track investments, real-time maps of the markets and interactive charts.

What happened: MIT and TD Bank hosted their first fintech hackathon, an event challenging 26 student teams to develop a fintech platform in under 36 hours. A team from Cornell University and their product called Switch, which they describe as a micro-loan and insurance broker, took home the $5,000 prize.

US robos move to ‘hybrid’ automated advice models (IFA), Rated: A

Adviser Intelligence founder and chief executive Jacqui Henderson said in a blog that some of the biggest US robo advisers are now adding humans to their advice services.

“Last month, the second largest robo in the US, Schwab, also combined its automated investment management technology with human advisers for its clients with at least $25,000 to invest.

“These moves by the biggest robos in the world are a sure admission that we are a long way off from a fully automated model becoming a reality.”

Oracle Powers DecisivEdge’s Lending/Leasing as a Service Product (Monitor Daily), Rated: B

DecisivEdge, a business consulting and technology services company, launched its lending and leasing as a service (LLaaS) product, powered by Oracle.

LLaaS is a simple, flexible, securely featured and cost-effective way for small and medium sized lenders to the leverage the capabilities of a solution.

Oracle Financial Services Lending and Leasing is at the core of DecisivEdge’s offering. It is hosted in a securely featured cloud and bundled with 24/7 monitoring, support and other value added services.

HEALTHCARE LENDER HCS RECEIVES FUNDS FROM ARES MANAGEMENT (Health Credit Services), Rated: B

Health Credit Services (HCS), a healthcare funding company created to bring quality-of-life care to more individuals, announces a new financing relationship with Ares Management, a leading global alternative asset manager.

The HCS team will leverage the Ares Management-provided financing to increase patient access to quality-of-life medical care nationwide. With loan approvals in seconds, budget-friendly installment loans ranging from 12 to 84 months and simple loan management, HCS solutions make healthcare financing easy and affordable.

Due to rising insurance deductibles and premiums, the typical American spends nearly 10 percent of their income on out-of-pocket healthcare expenses.

United Kingdom

Blockchain Can Save Banks Tens of Billions of Dollars a Year (Coin Telegraph), Rated: AAA

The Bank of England (BoE), one of the first central banks to form a research group dedicated to the development of Blockchain technology, still believes the Blockchain has the potential to save banks tens of billions of dollars in operating costs.

Researchers at BoE perceive the Blockchain as an immutable, transparent and secure technology which banks and financial institutions can utilize to handle operations in an autonomous ecosystem.

BoE along with other banks including the Reserve Bank of Australia and Bank of Korea envision a Blockchain-based platform wherein many banks can participate as members of the network and settle transactions and assets in a transparent ecosystem. By relying on a shared ledger, banks can easily eliminate any additional intermediaries that are contracted to process complex settlements.

Apart from collaborative projects, BoE recently showcased a proof of concept Blockchain platform with PwC, with the intent of demonstrating the potential and applicability of Blockchain technology in the finance industry.

Pariti app shows you your debts, offers to save you money via peer-to-peer lending (9to5Mac), Rated: A

Link Pariti to your bank accounts and credit cards, and it will show you the total costs of your debts. If peer-to-peer lending would offer a better deal, it then offers you the option of consolidating everything into a single loan at a lower rate. The company says that while credit cards typically charge interest rates in the 16-25% range, it can get the APR down to single digits.

Ex-Barclays CEO Antony Jenkins: We’re ‘beginning to see some Uber moments’ in finance (Business Insider), Rated: A

Former Barclays CEO Antony Jenkins believes the global financial system is beginning to undergo the “Uber moments” he predicted in the sector a year and a half ago.

Jenkins, who was CEO of Barclays from 2012 to 2015, forecast a series of Uber-style disruptions in the banking industry in late 2015. He said that advances in technology could shrink headcount at traditional big banks by as much as 50%, while profitability in some areas could collapse by over 60%.

Since being ousted at Barclays, Jenkins has set up his own fintech business: 10X Future Technologies. The startup has developed a new core banking platform, effectively a new operating system for banking to build products and services on top off. It aims to help banks cope with the “Uber” disruption by giving them a modern canvas to build upon.

International

Over 200 Fintech Startup Finalists to Celebrate Worldwide Fintech Innovation at the Benzinga Global Fintech Awards (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

Benzinga, a leading online financial media publication and data provider, announced today the finalists for the 2017 Benzinga Global Fintech Awards.

The Benzinga Global Fintech Awards is the largest fintech event focusing on the capital markets. In its third year, Benzinga has expanded the event’s purview to the global stage, bringing over 200 companies to New York City from countries including India, Israel, Poland, and Singapore.

The Benzinga Global Fintech Awards finalists, by category:

Best Use of Alternative Investments Platform, Tool, or App

  • BankerBay
  • CFX Markets
  • ClearVest Advisers, LLC
  • CoolMellon
  • Entrex
  • Equitise
  • Frictionless Healthcare Finance
  • Income&
  • Kettera Strategies
  • Mercury Capital Advisors
  • SAF Platform
  • Seedrs
  • Swaper
  • YieldStreet

Best Analysis Platform, Tool, or App

  • Alpha Hat
  • Artivest
  • BondCliQ
  • ChartYourTrade
  • F.A.S.T. Graphs
  • NewsHedge
  • Novus
  • Orchard Platform
  • Polly Portfolio
  • TradingView
  • Web Financial Group
  • Ycharts

Best Digital Mortgage or Real Estate Platform, Tool, or App

  • Brickvest
  • BRICKX
  • BuildFax
  • Cadre
  • Morty
  • Neat Capital
  • Neighborhood Pay Services
  • PeerStreet
  • Quicken Loans / Rocket Mortgage
  • RealtyMogul
  • RealtyShares
  • Unison Home Ownership Investors

Best Education & Personal Finance Platform, Tool, or App

  • BillGO
  • Clarity Money
  • Copper Street
  • Dream Forward 401(k)
  • FinTech Business School
  • MoneyLion
  • Shift
  • SmartAsset
  • TradeBench

Best Financial Advisor or Wealth Management Platform, Tool, or App

  • Advisor Engine
  • ALBRIDGE
  • Backstop Solutions Group
  • BaseVenture
  • CBOE Vest
  • FUNDBASE
  • LendingCalc
  • Mil Advisor
  • MyVest
  • ORION
  • RobustWealth
  • STRATIFI
  • Truelytics

Best Forex Platform, Tool, or App

  • Fortex
  • FXPRIMUS
  • FXStreet
  • Markets.com
  • MarketsFactory.com
  • MobyTrader
  • Remitly
  • TF Global Markets
  • uChange

Best InsurTech Platform, Tool, or App

  • Aclaimant
  • Bought By Many
  • Coverfy
  • CoverWallet
  • Embroker
  • FitSense
  • Insureon
  • League
  • Life.io
  • Neuroprofiler
  • Senteri
  • UnBrokerage
  • WeSavvy

Best Lending Platform, Tool, or App

  • Bizfi
  • Datanomers
  • Global Debt Registry
  • IdFinance
  • InterNex Capital
  • MYJAR
  • P2Binvestor
  • PayMe
  • Rubique
  • Stilt
  • Suretly
  • Think Money
  • TWINO

Best Proprietary Technology or APIs

  • Alpha Exchange
  • Connamara Systems
  • Dataminr
  • Finicity
  • Nomad COnnection
  • OpenFin
  • OptionsCity
  • Overbond
  • Push Payments
  • Quovo
  • Redtail Technology
  • Tradier
  • Xignite

Best RegTech Platform, Tool, or App

  • AQMetrics
  • AU10TIX
  • ComplyAdvantage
  • ComplySci
  • Neurensic
  • Qumram
  • Rippleshot
  • ThetaRay
  • Trulioo
  • Trunomi
  • Uniken

Best Research Platform, Tool, or App

  • AlphaSense
  • FinanceBoards
  • MackeyRMS
  • OptionMetrics
  • PitchBook
  • Slingshot Insights
  • Sqoop
  • Street Diligence
  • Virtual Cove

Best Robo Advisor

  • Betterment
  • Clinc
  • Exeria
  • Gravity Investments
  • Polaris Portfolios
  • Scalable Capital
  • Unicorn Bay
  • Vestwell
  • Ways2Wealth
  • Wealthfront
  • Wealthsimple
  • WiseBanyan

Best Trading Execution or Brokerage Platform

  • DriveWealth
  • Fidelity
  • FINVASIA
  • Lime Brokerage (Wedbush)
  • m1 Finance
  • OptionsHouse
  • SelfWealth
  • Sterling Trading Tech
  • StocksToTrade
  • T3 Live
  • TD Ameritrade (AMTD)

Best Trading Idea Platform, Tool, or App

  • ADVFN
  • Alpaca
  • BullBoard
  • Chaikin Analytics
  • Equities.com
  • iStockPicker
  • SharingAlpha
  • Stocks For The Week
  • TalkMarkets
  • Ticker.tv
  • TickerTags
  • Trade Ideas
  • Tradespoon
  • Trumid Financial
  • Vest Cycle
  • Vetr

Best Under-banked or Emerging Market Solution

  • Amplify
  • Billmo, LLC
  • Eastpesa Limited
  • Elevate
  • FarmDrive
  • Ovamba
  • PayActiv
  • Ping Express
  • WorldRemit

Best Use of Blockchain or Bitcoins

  • AlphaPoint
  • Blockchain
  • Brave New Coin
  • I/O Digital
  • Melonport
  • Netcoins
  • Paxos
  • Purse
  • Remitt
  • SecureKey Technologies

Finding Alpha

  • AlphaStreet
  • Cindicator
  • Croudify
  • DarcMatter
  • ExtractAlpha
  • Kavout
  • PortfolioEffect
  • Prattle
  • PureFunds
  • RelateTheNews
  • SavaNet
  • Tradagon
  • Visible Alpha

Institutional Innovators

  • Bond Price Validation
  • Bridge Financial Technology
  • ChartIQ
  • Cloud9 Technologies
  • Intro-act
  • Marstone, Inc.
  • Opportunity Network
  • Veriday

Investing In Millennials

  • Aspiration
  • EZMCOM Inc
  • GRAIN
  • Lean Financial
  • MATADOR
  • Payscape
  • SprinkleBit
  • STASH

Leveling the Playing Field

  • CALL LEVELS
  • Capitali.se
  • Click IPO Securities
  • DIY.Fund
  • EnergyFunders
  • finbox.io
  • IEX
  • OptaCredit Fintech Private Limited
  • trigger

Solving Problems Through Payments

  • Alipay
  • CHeckbook.io
  • disburze
  • PayKey
  • Payment Rails
  • RenovITe Technologies Inc
  • Sharepay
  • Soundpays
  • Spendesk
  • SWITCH Inc
  • Zebit
  • ZOOZ
China

China bank lending falls in March; other credit up (Marketwatch), Rated: AAA

Chinese banks scaled bank lending last month, though other forms of credit outside the traditional banking system rose sharply, official data showed.

Chinese financial institutions issued 1.02 trillion yuan ($148 billion) of new yuan loans in March, down from CNY1.17 trillion yuan in February, the People’s Bank of China said Friday.

Total social financing, a measure that includes nonbank credit such as trust products, stood at CNY2.12 trillion in March, up sharply from CNY1.15 trillion in February

Hong Kong’s Central Bank is Trialing a Digital Currency (CoinDesk), Rated: A

Hong Kong’s de facto central bank is developing a prototype digital currency.

The disclosure came in a Hong Kong legislative document published by the Legislative Council Panel on Financial Affair this week and dated 18th April.

India

Indian Fintech Startup Perfios Raises $ 6.1M in Series A (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Last week, Perfios, a fintech startup based in Bangalore (Bengaluru), India, announced it had raised approximately US $6.2 Million (400 Million INR) in its Series A round of funding. The funding is a sign of how much the fintech market has been steadily growing in India the last few years.

The report estimates that the fintech market in India will rise to over USD 2.4 billion by 2020.

The Series A was funded by Bessemer Venture Partners, a venture capital firmed based in New York.

Asia

P2P financing kicks off in Malaysia (The Edge Markets), Rated: AAA

The peer-to-peer (P2P) lending industry is off to an encouraging start. Funding Societies Malaysia, the first platform to launch, successfully raised RM320,000 for two term loan financing programmes within three weeks in March.

The loans will be used to fund the working capital of two companies – an electronics business and an automobile parts distribution business. Meanwhile, the platform aims to provide investors with an effective return of 22% and 24.91% respectively over a year.

Wong says the platform aims to seal another 80 to 100 deals in the next 12 months and raise RM10 million to RM20 million. This means investors can expect more deal flows, which will allow them to invest in a variety of companies.

Small countries like Singapore, Switzerland must cooperate in fintech: Swiss Finance Minister (Channel News Asia), Rated: A

Singapore and Switzerland are not competitors when it comes to the development of financial technology (fintech) and with both countries being small financial hubs, it is important to cooperate, said Swiss Finance Minister Ueli Maurer.

The minister also noted that Singapore’s fintech sector benefits from its close proximity to a big Asian market, and can act as a stepping stone into Asia for Swiss fintech start-ups. For Singapore firms looking to expand into Europe, Switzerland can similarly do the same.

Lattice80 is one of the organisations that the Swiss delegation is visiting during their time in Singapore. Launched in November 2016, more than 80 foreign and local fintech firms have taken up spaces at Lattice80, which is dubbed the world’s largest fintech hub by Singapore-based private investment group Marvelstone.

Bank Negara Malaysia’s FTEG calls participants for ‘Fintech Hacks’ initiative (EconoTimes), Rated: A

The Financial Technology Enabler Group (FTEG) that was established by Bank Negara Malaysia in June 2016, has launched an initiative ‘Fintech Hacks’ that identifies pain points in the delivery as well as consumption of financial services.

The Malaysian central bank has sought ideas from the public regarding the improvements to financial services sector by adopting innovation and technology.

MENA

Abu Dhabi ranks as the Top FinTech Hub for MENA Region (Emirates 24/7), Rated: AAA

Abu Dhabi with the Abu Dhabi Global Market, ADGM, has been ranked as the top FinTech Hub for the MENA region in the latest Global FinTech Hubs Review, “A Tale of 44 Cities”, by Deloitte in partnership with the Global FinTech Hubs Federation.

From the 44 cities, Abu Dhabi is ranked top FinTech hub in the MENA region. The Deloitte report reiterated that the launch of ADGM’s Regulatory Laboratory, RegLab, for FinTech startups, the only “live” Fintech regulatory regime in the MENA region with 11 Fintech players in its first batch of applications, as a “milestone success for Abu Dhabi and marked the openness and support by regulators and government towards innovation.”

Africa

Boost for crowdfunded businesses in South Africa (Times Live), Rated: AAA

In an alternative funding benchmarking report by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance‚ published last month‚ South Africa was identified as the potential leader in the growth of online and peer-to-peer lending models in Africa.

In 2015 South Africa represented 18% of the total African online alternative finance market‚ raising over $15-million. Kenya was the only African country ahead of it with $16.7-million raised.

The report also found that in Africa 90% of online alternative finance was originated from platforms headquartered outside of the continent.

Authors:
George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday March 2 2017, Daily News Digest

alternative lending

News Comments Today’s main news: Funding Circle raises $100M . Upstart Raises $32.5M. Lendio offers MPL franchise program. Proplend gains FCA approval.  Monexo to start 1 min loan approval process. Today’s main analysis: FT Partners’ CEO Monthly Alt Lending Market Analysis. Today’s thought-provoking articles: International P2p lending statistics. China to regulate P2P lending platforms. United States FC receives extra $100M from […]

alternative lending

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

China

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

Funding Circle Receives Additional $ 100 Million From CIM Through U.S. Business Multi-Year Agreement (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

SME lender Funding Circle announced on Wednesday that Community Investment Management (CIM), an investment firm focused on marketplace lending, will finance an additional $100 million in loans to businesses originated through Funding Circle in the U.S. According to the online lending platform, the multi-year agreement will allow it to provide further injection of capital into the country’s small business sector.

Since its launch in 2010, investors on Funding Circle, which includes 60,000 individuals, financial institutions, government, and the listed Funding Circle SME Income Fund, have helped more than 25,000 businesses globally access $3 billion in transparent and affordable financing.

Lendio Announces First-of-Its-Kind Marketplace Lending Franchise Program (Benzinga), Rated: AAA

Lendio, the nation’s leading marketplace for small business loans, today announced it is expanding the reach and availability of its small business lending options with the launch of a new franchise program.

The Lendio franchise program complements the company’s core value of helping small business owners fuel the American Dream. Through this program, franchise owners across the country can ease the financial hurdles for small businesses in their local community. Lendio franchisees get access to Lendio’s marketplace and technology, comprehensive training, branded marketing tools and national advertising, partnerships, and access to Lendio’s franchise support team to help coach small business owners through the lending process.

Lendio currently has franchisees in five territories, with significant interest in many others. Partners Kyle Bohrer and Bryan Gealy, in Erie, Pennsylvania, joined Lendio as the first franchise owners. Bohrer has been in the small/mid-sized business marketplace for over 10 years. Located in the Great Lakes region, Bohrer has been working on saving Erie small business owners money on their shipping.

FT Partners’ CEO Monthly Alternative Lending Market Analysis (March ’17) (FT Partners), Rated: AAA

Earlier this week, FT Partners announced one of the largest deals in 2017, Prosper’s $5 billion loan purchasing agreement with a consortium of investors that includes affiliates of Third Point, New Residential Investment and Soros, among others. This highly strategic transaction for Prosper aligns investor interest by including an equity structure tied to loan purchasing volumes. The transaction highlights FT Partners’ continued strong track record in advising on the most significant and complex deals across the FinTech ecosystem.

Introducing the First SaaS Lending Platform (Upstart Email), Rated: AAA

by Jeff Keltner, Head of Business Development, Upstart

Those that know my history at Google will understand why I’m excited to tell you about Powered by Upstart, a Software-as-a-Service offering derived from Upstart’s top-rated consumer lending platform. From rate requests through servicing and collections, this new service brings modern technology and data science to the entire lending lifecycle.

Our beginnings

Anna, Paul, and I founded Upstart to bring the best of Google to consumer lending. Upstart was the first platform to leverage modern data science and technology to power credit decisions, automate verification, and deliver a superior borrower experience. In 2014, we were first to launch next-day funding . As of today, more than 20% of our loans are fully automated and we expect this percentage to increase significantly through 2017. With more than 50,000 Upstart loans originated, we have the highest consumer ratings in the industry and have delivered industry-leading returns to loan investors. With Net Promoter Scores (NPS) in excess of 80, we’re excited about the impact we’re having.

Technology partner

FinTech is disrupting all areas of financial services. As a leading tech platform in marketplace lending, Upstart aims to partner with financial institutions rather than compete with them. Given the pace of change in lending, technology partnerships will be critical in the years to come, and Upstart aims to be a partner the industry can rely on.

But Powered by Upstart is not just software – it’s a turnkey solution that provides all necessary document review, verification phone calls, fraud analysis, and (optionally) customer service, loan servicing and collections.

Software-as-a-Service in lending

SaaS has grown exponentially in the last decade because of its obvious virtues: rather than buying, installing, configuring, hosting, and supporting software yourself, the software is delivered over the cloud. It’s more reliable and always up to date. Delivering cloud software can be challenging in any industry. Usability, reliability, and performance are the minimum to play, and effective change management is critical to success. As the team that delivered Google’s SaaS platform before it was called cloud, we understand these challenges.

Of course, the regulatory environment in lending raises the bar even higher. We’ve long demonstrated our commitment to trustful and compliant lending, and we’re likewise committed to delivering robust and compliant lending software. We’ll be at the LendIt show in New York City next week, so please come visit our booth to learn more about Powered by Upstart!

Klarna: Financing Better Customer Experiences (PYMNTS.com), Rated: A

Swedish payment processor Klarna has recently made news when it expanded the options and the channels that it makes its point of sale financing options available to.

Billingsley explained that in the case of GhostBed, the revolving credit product provided by Klarna helps turn a one-time mattress sale to its customers into a customer who comes back to purchase accessories.

According to Billingsley, that’s possible because it enables eligible consumers to make additional purchases with that same retailer without having to sign up for another loan or go through the financing process all over again for each subsequent transaction made.

Either the new purchases can be added to their existing credit account or they can simply use a different form of payment for the transaction.

Billingsley noted that the financing solution also works without any redirect to an external URL, so the consumer remains on the merchant site and within the brand experience when signing up.

Depending on the customer segment and even the merchant itself, utilizing Klarna’s full checkout solution isn’t exactly what they need. Which is why, Billingsley noted, the company is pushing its payment APIs, which allow merchants to add Klarna’s proprietary payment solutions directly into their existing checkout.

As for Klarna’s power users, the two biggest consumer populations are millennials and females in their mid-30s who are usually in charge of their family’s purchases.

Billingsley pointed out that many millennials today either don’t have a credit card or don’t like using one — their affinity for credit card brands and status is much different from previous generations. This makes millennials much more willing to use a payment option that allows them to break up payments over time for major purchases.

In the case of the young mother who manages her household’s income, also known as the Household CFO, she typically sees it as more convenient to make payments over time on a big purchase rather than putting a transaction on her debit or credit card.

Upstart Raises $ 32.5M (Upstart Email), Rated: A

It’s been three years since we launched the Upstart lending platform, and today we’re pleased to announce we’ve raised $32.5M to take our business to the next level. The funding round was lead by Rakuten, a global leader in internet services and global innovation headquartered in Japan, and by a large US-based asset manager. Existing investors Third Point Ventures, Khosla Ventures, and First Round Capital also participated. We’re particularly excited to have Oskar Mielczarek de la Miel, Oskar Miel, Managing Partner of the Rakuten FinTech Fund join Upstart’s Board of Directors.

With more than 50,000 loans originated, Upstart has the highest consumer ratings in the industry, has Net Promoter Scores (NPS) in excess of 80, and has delivered industry-leading returns to loan investors.

Prominent Fintech Investor & Prosper President Ron Suber Invests in Money360, Joins as Strategic Advisor (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Ron Suber, Prosper Marketplace President and prominent Fintech investor, has taken a stake in Money360 – a fast growing real estate investment marketplace.  Suber will also play an active role as a Strategic Advisor to Money360 to help boost platform growth.

Suber explained;

“I have been investing in the loans from Money 360 for my personal family office for many months. I have enjoyed the risk-adjusted returns, investment structure and liquidity options. Upon completing additional due diligence, I have decided to personally buy equity in the company and become a strategic advisor to the management team/Board of Directors. 

Labor Dept proposes delaying new rule for financial advisers (Reuters), Rated: A

The U.S. Labor Department has taken a first step toward possible derailment or dilution of its controversial rule on retirement advice as it begins to re-examine it at the directive of President Donald Trump, according to a notice made public on Wednesday.

The department proposed a 60-day delay of the fiduciary rule, which requires retirement advisers to put the interests of clients ahead of their own. It was slated to take effect on April 10, but Trump asked the department to review the rule one more time for its impact on investors.

The proposed delay should have a “calming” effect on the marketplace, which had been “hanging in limbo” ahead of the April 10 effective date, said Denise Valentine, a senior analyst with Aite Group, which advises the financial services industry on regulatory issues.

California Hedge Fund Association (CHFA) Announces Rebrand to California Alternative Investments Association (CalALTs) (PRWeb), Rated: A

The California Hedge Fund Association (CHFA) announced that it has adopted CalALTs as its new brand name. The 1,200 member organization, which focuses on fostering growth and advancing the development of California’s alternative investment community, rebranded in response to the strong demand from a broader group of alternative investment managers and a new focus on bringing together and serving a wide range of alternative investment managers across the state of California and beyond.

The alternative investment community in California currently includes over 1,000 firms with approximately $1 trillion in assets under management.

Monroe Capital Selected as the 2016 Lower Mid-Market Lender of the Year by Private Debt Investor (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Monroe Capital LLC was selected as the recipient of the 2016 Lower Mid-Market Lender of the Year Award in the Americas region by Private Debt Investor, a global independent publication based in London covering the private debt and private equity industries. This is the fourth consecutive year that Monroe has been recognized by the Private Debt Investor Awards as a leader in the Lower Mid-Market, Unitranche and Senior Lender categories.

Monroe Capital provides “one-stop” financing solutions for buyout, recapitalization, growth, and refinance transactions in the form of senior and junior loans and equity co-investments, supporting both private equity sponsored and non-sponsored transactions and privately owned businesses. The Private Debt Investor Awards recognize firms in three geographic regions: the Americas; Europe, Middle East and Africa; and Asia-Pacific. Winners were selected by eligible voters among the private debt, private equity and institutional investor communities.

United Kingdom

Proplend gains FCA approval (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

COMMERCIAL property peer-to-peer lender Proplend is the latest platform to receive full authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Brian Bartaby, chief executive of Proplend, said the firm would now apply for ISA manager status from HMRC but said it was unlikely to have an Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) ready this tax year.

The lowest risk is tranche A at zero to 50 per cent LTV, tranche B is 51 to 65 per cent LTV and tranche C is 66 to 75 per cent LTV.

Returns on the platform  currently range from five to 12 per cent and borrowers can access loans of between £250,000 to £5,000,000 for up to five years on an interest-only basis. The platform has funded £11.5m of loans so far and has recorded zero defaults.

LandBay, Proplend, & FundingSecure Named Top Three UK Property P2P Lending Platforms (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On Tuesday, 4thWay writer, Matthew Howard released his very own assessment on the top three property P2P lending platforms are in the UK. The three he selected were LandBay, Proplend, and FundingSecure.

In his selection, Howard ranked the lenders based on their features and opportunities each platform can provide. He selected LandBay as his first pick because the lender has done over £10 million in P2P loans.

Proplend was selected as Howard’s second pick. He chose the lender due to the lender’s interest rates are even in the lowest-risk “tranche A” range from 5.5% to 7%; more than £10 million has been lent through Proplend; and users may easily identify loans that are for just 50% or less of the property valuation.

FundingSecure was Howard’s third pick. His selection was based on the lender’s record of doing around £100 million in P2P lending, more than half being property loans; offers bridging and property development loans; uses the current valuation, even on development loans; interest rate lenders earn is 12% on all these loans; the minimum that may be lent on each loan is £25.

Fintech startup Yielders becomes first to receive Sharia Compliance Certification in UK (EconoTimes), Rated: A

UK-based fintech startup Yielders announced that it has successfully completed independent Sharia Certification that was conducted by UKIFC and overseen by prominent scholars in the fintech sector.

Britain wants you to be banker, but are you ready for the risk? (The Memo), Rated: A

Plans to bring the risk and returns of peer-to-peer lending into one of Britain’s most popular investment products might provide some welcome relief for entrepreneurs … and some sleepless nights for those taking the plunge.

Following up on a Budget pledge, the government has now published a consultation on including peer-to-peer lending in individual savings accounts (ISAs).

Some 23m people in the UK have ISAs, which make the return from your savings and investments completely (or mainly) tax-free. But 16m people opt to hold just the safer version, cash ISAs, which are tax-free savings accounts with banks, building societies and National Savings & Investments.

Meanwhile, UK households, who hold around 60% of their financial wealth in cash, have borne the brunt of the Bank of England’s low-interest-rate policy. Before the financial crisis, in mid-2007, you could get a return of over 6% a year from a best-buy cash ISA. Today, the best is little over 2%.

However, peer-to-peer lending is more risky than putting your savings in a bank.

This is borne out by a recent poll. peer-to-peer firm Wellesley found that 47% of people surveyed said they would increase their investment in peer-to-peer lending if it could be included in an ISA and 44% if it offered better interest rates than traditional banks.

Another survey, by Opinium in 2012, found 49% of the population would be open to peer-to-peer lending as an alternative to traditional banking.

Advisers’ Robo Face Off (FT Adviser), Rated: B

So last week’s revelation that almost 6,000 people have used LV’s full automated financial advice service since it was launched in summer 2015, maybe shouldn’t be greeted with too much concern by advisers.

Also LV said it was “unable” to reveal how many of the 6,000 customers who paid the £199 for a full statement of advice went on to pay £499 to execute the statement of advice.

That is as maybe, but if our trip to the world of Back to the Future is anything to go by, human beings will – unless they become robotic themselves – still need face-to-face advice.

European Union

International P2P Lending Statistics February 2017 (P2P Banking), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle continues to lead ahead of Zopa and Ratesetter. The total volume for the reported marketplaces adds up to 408 million Euro.

  • Funding Circle reaches 2 billion GBP in originations since launch
  • Fellow Finance crosses 100 million EUR since inception
  • Geldvoorelkaar hits 100 million EUR since inception

China

China looks to better regulate online P2P lending platforms (Technode), Rated: AAA

To help regulate the online P2P lending industry plagued by fraud and embezzlement, the China Banking Regulatory Commission published the Guidelines on Depositing and Managing Online Lending Capital (in Chinese, Guidelines for short) on February 24. In January this year, 1.8 million registered users were unable to withdraw their funds from platform operated by Qiyuan (short for 北京起源财富网络科技有限公司 or “Beijing Qiyuan Wealth Online Technology Limited” in English). The owner of the company, Fang Fan, embezzled the funds invested in the company’s eight different online lending platforms.

The Guidelines is the latest effort by the government to regulate the online P2P lending market which handled RMB 204 billion worth of transactions this February alone. It sets out three major basic principles regarding the safekeeping of the capital gained from P2P lending platforms. The first is that funds invested into the platforms by users must be deposited into commercial banks. The second stipulates that any transaction and reconciliation of the invested funds must be expressly approved and verified by both the debtor and creditor. Lastly, banks and online lending companies must carry out daily reconciliations and keep clear records of the transactions.

India

P2P market place Monexo to start 1 min loan approval process (India times), Rated: AAA

Lending marketplace Monexo has become the first peer-to-peer lending company in India to introduce a 1-minute loan approval process.

The company will leverage its proprietary, self-learning analytics platform as well as its tie-up with CRIF to access credit scores and other relevant financial data to aid in the loan disbursement decision making process, Monexo said in a release.

The borrowers can avail a loan of Rs 50,000 to Rs 5 lakh for tenure of 6 months to 60 months. There is no origination fee or prepayment fee. But the borrower must just pay a success fee of 2.5 per cent if the loan to him is approved and he decides to avail it.

The potential of blockchain technology to eliminate physical currency by ushering in virtual currencies like Bitcoin might be overstated, said Reserve Bank of India (RBI) deputy governor R. Gandhi.

While speaking about currencies, the central banker pointed out that to be effective, a currency needs to uphold concepts of confidence and anonymity at all times. However, after the initial rounds of usage, these concepts cannot be sustained in virtual currencies.

Talking about another major innovation in the financial technology space, marketplace lending or crowdfunding, the central banker noted that after the first few rounds of funding and successes, as a larger number of people get attracted to the concept, the system is likely to collapse. This makes marketplace lending unsustainable for a large number of people or amounts.

Asia

Tera Funding loans grow to top 100 bln won in 2 yrs (Yonhap News Agency), Rated: AAA

The chief of Tera Funding, a peer-to-peer (P2P) property financial service provider, said Thursday that the company’s accumulated loans have surpassed 100 billion won (US$87.6 million) since its launch two years ago.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Using Machine Learning for Risk Management in Online Lending

online lending

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

online lending

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

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

The Genesis of CrowdProcess

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

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

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

How CrowdProcess Taps Into AI Innovation

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

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

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

James’ features include:

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

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

The Value of Machine Learning

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

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

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.