Cryptocurrencies entered the mainstream in 2017. The million dollar fortunes made and 1,000% returns hogged the headlines. But behind all the hoopla is blockchain, the technology behind cryptocurrencies, quietly and steadily changing the business universe. The technology has myriad applications. Also called distributed ledger technology (DLT), it can reimagine entire industries in hitherto unknown ways. […]
Cryptocurrencies entered the mainstream in 2017. The million dollar fortunes made and 1,000% returns hogged the headlines. But behind all the hoopla is blockchain, the technology behind cryptocurrencies, quietly and steadily changing the business universe. The technology has myriad applications. Also called distributed ledger technology (DLT), it can reimagine entire industries in hitherto unknown ways. From issues of security to scalability and cost effectiveness, entrepreneurs are incorporating DLT to bring the benefits to the masses.
Similarly, alternative lending has changed how Americans borrow. Small business and consumer lending was hard hit when banks decamped en masse after the 2008-09 crisis. Online lending came to the fore with players like Lending Club, SoFi, OnDeck building multi-billion dollar lending platforms.
Almost 10 years since, alternative lending is growing but not at the speed which experts had imagined. Morgan Stanley had predicted Trillion Dollar funding via such platforms in the coming future. The sector is nowhere close to these figures. Aside from corporate governance issues, fraud and high default rates have been the true bane of the industry. IdentityMind, a RegTech company, reports that fraud caused 12% of losses in P2P online lending. That translates to almost 1.2% of total funding, which is also 2-3 times as compared to banks or retail cards.
Blockchain and Alternative Lending
Blockchain is an open, distributed ledger that records transactions between two parties in a verifiable and efficient manner. Putting digital assets (contracts, documents, financial data, etc.) on blockchain technology helps build a wall against unauthorized access and prevents fraud. Blockchain helps maintains transparency between entities; it could be between buyer and seller, business and employee, or customers and investor.
A World Economic Forum report predicts that, by 2025, 10% of GDP will be stored on blockchains. Amalgamating blockchain and alternative lending has not only a technical appeal but is business common sense. Online finance decentralized lending allows savers to directly fund borrowers; they took away the middlemen, traditional banks, who otherwise used to take the major benefit away from the transaction. Now, it is the alternative lending sectors’ turn to leverage the power of decentralization via blockchain.
The Benefits of a Decentralized Distributed Ledger
Currently, alternative lenders hold their complete data centrally, in either their own servers or on Amazon Web Services-type cloud structures. This is a honey pot for hackers. In 2017, an Equifax data breach collected 145.5 million users’ data. The breach was caused by a software flaw that allowed the hackers to take over the company’s website.
Lenders have access to extremely sensitive data such as bank account numbers, social security numbers, and other personal identification information. Losing control of that data can compromise the entire financial history of an individual or a business. Blockchain eliminates the risk by storing information on a decentralized ledger. So a massive data hack would never be possible because it will be practically impossible for the hackers to have access to each and every part of the distributed record.
A distributed ledger also provides transparency and allows that all transactions are recorded are on the blockchain in an immutable manner. Thus, backdating of contracts is not possible under any circumstance (Re: Lending Club backdating loans scandal). Corporate governance improves across the board, and investors and regulators can breathe easy knowing that the data they are seeing is the absolute truth.
Digital loans can be tokenized via blockchain and be constructed as a tradeable security. This, in effect, allows securitization for loans; so you don’t need to wait till you are a billion dollar fintech lender. Othera, a blockchain lending platform, is doing just that. It creates an online marketplace where lenders can tokenize their cashflow by putting the loan on the blockchain and selling it to investors.
Apart from this, blockchain technology is more user-friendly as it is open to the public with no authentication or permission issues. It is scalable and cost efficient for businesses to incorporate into their existing systems and allows for all stakeholders to easily extract relevant information about their transactions without risking the entire system’s database.
Digital identity verification
Identity theft is one of the biggest reasons for online lending fraud. That is exacerbated by the fact that the lender and the borrower usually never meet in real life. The old traditional way was to go through the lengthy and costly process of physical verification. But in the age of blockchain, by merging identity verification with decentralized blockchain principles, a tamper proof digital-id can be used as the digital signature for recording and validating all transactions.
How Blockchains Are Revolutionizing Lending
Alternate lending has seen many iterations and pivots since inception. From being a pure peer-to-peer platform, the sector has metamorphosed to one dominated by balance sheet lenders and institutional investors. Now, the era of Alt Lending 2.0 is emerging, which is going to be dominated by players who have co-opted blockchain as an integral part of their business processes.
Here is a brief description of some companies that are doing innovative work in the field.
The ERP giant is experimenting with blockchain on an enterprise level. One of its applications is focused on KYC. The distributed ledger solution is to store a customer’s ID and link it to their personal documents, which are not stored on the blockchain. Once the transaction is cleared, the link is established and the documents are accessed to prove identity and the onboarding process continues. In this, SAP provides a solution to KYC issues, with running proof of identity. Thus, there is a single source of truth for all parties.
WishFinance is a Singapore- and Honk Kong-focused lender to merchants and small businesses. It is keeping its entire loan portfolio on a public blockchain to push transparency for investors. The investors can evaluate the performance of a loan at anytime (the data is anonymized so no identifiable borrower information is shared).
SALT is reversing the model by allowing crytpocurrency holders to cash out without actually selling their crypto assets. It allows loans for Bitcoin. The borrower can redeem his crypto assets once the loan is paid.
Blockchain has the power to allow alternative lending companies to scale effortlessly and solve fraud and KYC issues haunting the industry. Lenders who are able to get their blockchain game right should see renewed investor interest and benefit from higher unit economics.
SAP’s website is asking us to “Imagine people, businesses, machines, and algorithms all communicating in a frictionless way—where data sharing is fast, open, yet completely secure for all parties.” That’s what the company is seeking to offer its customers with the incorporation of blockchain technology to its Leonardo IoT (Internet of Things) portfolio. The early […]
SAP’s website is asking us to “Imagine people, businesses, machines, and algorithms all communicating in a frictionless way—where data sharing is fast, open, yet completely secure for all parties.” That’s what the company is seeking to offer its customers with the incorporation of blockchain technology to its Leonardo IoT (Internet of Things) portfolio.
The early evidence shows that isn’t such an unimaginable thing at all. In the middle of last month, the company joined with the Alastria Consortium and the Blockchain in Trucking Alliance (BiTA) bringing 27 customers and partners with a total market value of $819B. The partnership is evidence that we can imagine a seamless future in the lending industry and beyond.
And what are the benefits that the members of these consortiums believe in so much?
Benefits of Blockchain
The blockchain, a true P2P network, will reduce alliance on some types of third-party intermediaries such as banks, lawyers, and brokers. The transactions not being limited by office hours, the blockchain can speed up process execution in multi-party scenarios. The fact that all of the information is viewable by all parties and cannot be altered promises to reduce fraud and create trust. The use of the distributed ledger technology (DLT) will provide quick ROI by helping businesses create leaner and more efficient processes, which will make them more profitable.
The distributed and encrypted nature of the blockchain makes it difficult to hack and promises greater IoT security. The blockchain is also programmable making it possible to trigger actions, events, and payments once conditions are met.
Our interview with Nadine Hoffman, innovation manager for SAP Financial Services, and Juergen Hofman, the company’s social manager for financial services, sheds a light on the benefits to business and industry and why SAP is a fitting company to grow these advances.
SAP’s Application of the Blockchain
While using the company’s hyperledger as a base structure, Nadine tells us that having encountered so many potential partners who want to add to the existing product has led the company to being what she terms as “tech agnostic.” She expands by saying, “We offer infrastructure to connect existing technology and advantage to combine with other technology, using machine learning to take the best of all worlds specifically for process and use.”
She says the DLT will help companies discern what the best technology is for their needs, with a focus on lending.
The full life cycle of lending is a slow and complex process because there are so many parties to cooperate with. Nadine tells us that onboarding can make it seamless with the use of the DLT. The blockchain customer owns their own data and is in charge of how and with whom it is shared, which leads to greater transparency. The ownership of a “single source of truth” will allow customers to reach real digitalization.
Juergen chose to focus on two examples of the benefits SAP has already seen, one in the area of bonded loans and the other as pertains to KYC (know your customer).
In the case with bonded loans, as SAP exhibited through its partnership with Deloitte, the bond comes with a bond and a loan aspect, but since it isn’t dealt across a stock exchange, it isn’t subject to DOC rules. Also, we once again see speed and efficiency as an upside. With the exchange and confirmation of information and requests for changes, the process of issuing bonded loans manually is more time consuming. What’s more, if a customer later wants to sell his or her share, banks might not be aware of it, which creates KYC issues.
The Deloitte blockchain solution creates a digital asset and different investors buy a piece of it. It serves as a marketplace, a shop window, and source of P2P transactions. The offering can be made to all of the peers in a network and to a specific network.
When it comes to KYC benefits, it’s really pretty simple. Juergen gives us this example: You walk into a bank you want to do business with. You have to provide them with all of your information. Then, you want to do business with another bank, and you have to do the same thing. The distributed ledger solution is to store a customer’s ID and link it to their personal documents, which are not stored on the blockchain. Once the transaction is cleared, the link is established and the documents are accessed to prove identity and the onboarding process continues. In this, SAP provides a solution to KYC issues, with running proof of identity.
In terms of regulation, Juergen says the data of a trade must be tamper proof, and the SAP DLT can be advantageous to those ends in that it records transactions as a “single source of truth,” which is tamper proof and contains info that is easier to access in real time.
SAP’s Blockchain Application Over Its Competitors
Nadine tells us that SAP has the edge over its competition because the company is active in 25 industries, not only in lending cases, but in all of its DLT cases. She reminds us that, quite often, the company is doing work that spans multiple industries. The SAP DLT breaks down former silos and gives a 360-degree view of a chain. Working across industry lines in this manner helps to create the ease with which parties from all industries can integrate.
Juergen underscores this, adding that, in the case with bonded loans, the company’s advantage is that it has strong capabilities with its other solutions.
Still, the technology being what it is, and the company’s tech-agnostic stance, means that there really is no competition. Yes, there are similar offerings from other large software companies, but there’s a lot of space in the market for more than one company to find the right footprint.
SAP Blockchain Performance Benchmarks
The technology is still evolving. It is not yet mature, which means we have no history of performance to report. Currently in the pilot phase, the technology will go live and be available soon.
When it does become available, SAP’s DLT will become so for everyone, and Juergen tells us that there won’t be a typical customer. From small firms to major banks, the broad range of companies in business with SAP, along with the global reach of the company, help to create a blockchain that will benefit fintech companies as well as traditional companies as the technology changes how everyone does business.
SAP’s Fit with the Direction of the Industry
Nadine assures us that SAP is pleased with its tech progress and that they have multiple use cases ongoing in every industry–public sector, telecom, and healthcare; and that every industry is working on blockchain topics but not limiting technology. Through the IoT, machine learning, and DLT, the company is furthering its investigation into and introduction of new products for customers.
Nadine also sees the advantage of the openness of the market. “There are a lot of players approaching lending, not only banks. Industries are creating their own banks and creating alternative lending markets. We’re investing in all of this.”
When asked what the company is looking for right now, she assures us that SAP is “very good” when it comes to the tech side. The hurdle to face now comes from the legal and regulatory side. That is on its way she tells us.
It seems only rational to think that we are going to get to the point where the blockchain is in place and well-functioning in accordance with the SAP vision. This is the latest and most adroit technology when it comes to the streamlining of data sharing and acquisition, and it’s just human nature to go down new avenues and do what comes next. We learn beyond what we had previously known and we use it to make our lives better and easier, and that’s what we’ll do with the blockchain.
Is there any reason to think that SAP won’t be one of the companies at the forefront of this application? Not at all. With the company’s vision, establishment in all industries, and existing IoT and DLT structures, they are a safe bet to be among the leaders paving the way into this seamless version of what’s next.
News Comments Main news: Jefferies-Loan Depot securitization breaks trigger; Lending Club’s fund 1st down-month; Funding Circle’s results; GLI’s results; Lufax signs banks for IPO. Main analysis: PeerIQ’s summary of last 9 months. Main thought provoking: The causes and effects of low rates, a must read Economist article; China’s number of p2p lenders will keep growing […]
Klarna onboards SAP’s product in 3 months. Interesting for 2 reasons: 2 large companies doing an accounting migration in 3 months is extremely impressive. And second, SAP now has an accounting solution for fintechs.
Comment: I am not an expert in securitization, nor in investment banking. But it looks to me that Jefferies’ made securitization have by far the highest probability ofbreaking triggers. This is very strange. See Circle Back and OnDeck’s. And now LoanDepot’s.
Online consumer loans made by LoanDepot Inc. are going bad faster than underwriters expected, threatening payments to investors who bought bonds backed by those debts less than a year ago.
Cumulative losses rose to 4.97 percent in September, breaching the 4.9 percent “trigger” in the $140 million securitization that Jefferies Group assembled last November and sold to investors that now include the Catholic Order of Foresters, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Bondholders in the riskiest portion of the deal who may see funds diverted couldn’t be identified because the offering is private.
LoanDepot, which for years has specialized in traditional mortgage banking, began making small consumer loans over the internet last year.
Jefferies has been a lead underwriter of other securitizations backed by loans made by online startups, and at least two of its deals, for CircleBack Lending Inc. and OnDeck Capital Inc., have also breached their triggers. Those include Marketplace Loan Trust 2015-CircleBack 1 and Marketplace Loan Trust 2015-OnDeck 3.
CircleBack Lending hired Jefferies to explore a sale, people familiar said in June, as funding for online-finance companies tightened amid concern about loan performance.
LoanDepot aborted a planned initial public offering last November and turned to other sources of funds, including a $150 million term debt financing completed in August. The company says it recorded 80 percent year-over-year average annual growth from its founding in 2010 to 2015, funding more than $70 billion of loans. Second-quarter fundings reached almost $10 billion in home, personal and home equity loans, the company said.
“Mark-to-market” from Q1’s ABS West to Q3 ABS East, (Peer IQ email), Rated: AAA
This past February, at ABS West, conversations centered on deteriorating collateral performance and liquidity concerns. A steady flow of negative headlines–Madden-Midland, negative ratings actions, San Bernadino, platform layoffs, and global slowdown concerns–weighed heavily on investor sentiment.
Two events marked the peak of investor apprehension:
In the bond market, the pricing of CHAI 2016-PM1 (PeerIQ analysis here) where Mezzanine bonds delivered greater returns than the whole loans themselves.
In the equity market, investor capitulation after the Lending Club May 9th disclosures.
Turning of the Tide
Global credit markets began to firm in April. Lending Club tightened DTI criteria, elevated the role of the capital markets function, and strengthened leadership on the board and executive team.
In May, the US Treasury report published “Opportunities and Challenges in Marketplace Lending”–a constructive regulatory development. Treasury acknowledged the role of securitization in funding growth, and consistent with the PeerIQ RFI, recommended the need for standardized reps & warranties, consistent reporting standards for loan origination data, loan securitization transparency, and consistent market-driven valuation standards.
SoFi achieved a AAA rating for an MPL bond and cracked open the MPL ABS investor market to global investors via its hands-on marketing approach.
PeerIQ observed that secondary ABS spreads continued to tighten despite volatility in the equity markets. PeerIQ also observed in the Q2 tracker that the combination of stricter underwriting, higher coupons, and tighter secondary ABS spreads meant the conditions for securitization were strong.
A LendingClub Corp. investment fund that’s struggled with withdrawals this year posted a negative return for August, the first decline in its five-year history, after overhauling how it values holdings and incurring losses on riskier debts.
The fund, overseeing about $700 million at the start of the month, had disclosed plans earlier in the summer to overhaul how it tracks assets. It enlisted outside valuation firm Duff & Phelps Corp. and shifted methodology to forecast how debts will perform individually, rather than in groups. August marked the first month under the new system, resulting in a one-time 0.95 percent reduction to returns, Sanborn wrote.
The LC Advisors Broad-Based Consumer Credit Fund ended the month down 0.49 percent, cutting this year’s net return to 1.24 percent, LendingClub Chief Executive Officer Scott Sanborn told stakeholders in a letter and report Friday.
In June, the investment vehicle was forced to limit redemptions after stakeholders asked to pull out $442 million, or 58 percent of assets under management.
But in the case of the August slump, key developments had already been signaled, with the largest hit coming from a one-time adjustment as the firm improved how it values holdings, Sanborn wrote in the letter.
In the future, “investors should expect more movement in fund returns month-over-month because the new methodology is more responsive to changes in each individual loan’s delinquency status,” he said.
The analysts forecast the global P2P lending market to grow at a CAGR of 53.06% during the period 2016-2020. To calculate the market size, Technavio considers the lending amount through P2P platforms in the Americas, Asia Pacific (APAC), and Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA).
Interest rates are persistently low. First we ask who or what is to blame. Then we look at one outcome: a looming pensions crisis.
On September 21st the Federal Reserve kept its target for overnight interest rates at 0.25-0.5% but indicated that, after raising the target for the first time in a decade last year, it hoped to raise it for a second time soon—possibly in December, after America’s presidential elections.
Earlier that day, the Bank of Japan (BoJ) said it was staying with its target of raising inflation to 2%. Indeed it went further. The bank said it would continue to buy bonds at a rate of around ¥80 trillion ($800 billion) a year, until inflation gets above 2% and stays there for a while. To help meet this “inflation-overshooting commitment”, the bank said ten-year-bond yields would remain at around zero.
The debt-laden are delighted with the persistence of a low-rate world. It costs much less to service their obligations. But savers are increasingly grumpy. Economists are simply baffled. In the 1980s and 1990s, the high real cost of borrowing (ie, after adjusting for inflation) was the puzzle. Today’s interest-rate mystery is more troubling and there is division over the reasons for it.
One side says it is simply the consequence of the policies pursued by the rich world’s central banks. The Fed, ECB, BoJ and Bank of England have kept overnight interest rates close to zero for much of the past decade. In addition, they have purchased vast quantities of government bonds with the express aim of driving down long-term interest rates.
It is hardly a mystery, on this view: central banks have rigged the money markets.
On the other side of the divide are those who argue that central banks are merely responding to underlying forces. In this view the real interest rate is decided by the balance of supply and demand for the pool of global savings. The fall in interest rates since the 1980s reflects a shift in this balance: the supply of savings has increased as demand for it has crashed.
This ongoing glut in savings is due to two factors in particular. The first is changing demography, mostly in the rich world but also in some emerging markets. Populations are aging. At the same time, the average working life has not changed much. So more money has to be squirreled away to pay for a longer retirement (see article).
A second, related, factor is the integration of China into the world economy. “A billion people with a 40% savings rate; that brings a lot more supply to the table,”
Aging is not the only long-run influence that has tilted the savings-investment scales. By skewing income to the high-saving rich, an increase in income inequality within countries has added to the saving glut. A fall in the relative price of capital goods means fewer savings are needed for a given level of investment. Both trends predate the fall in real interest rates, however, which suggests they did not play as significant a role as demography or China.
A related reason for more saving is fear. The severity of the Great Recession belied the relative economic stability that preceded it.
Consider the business of life-inssurance companies. They pledge to pay a stream of cash to policyholders, often for decades. This promise can be likened to issuing a bond. Insurance firms need to back up these promises. To do so they buy safe assets, such as government bonds.
The trouble is that the maturities on these bonds are shorter than the promises the insurers have made. In the jargon, there is a “duration mismatch”.
When bond yields fall, say because of central-bank purchases, the cost of the promises made by insurance companies goes up. The prices of their assets go up as well, but the liability side of the scales is generally weightier (see chart 4). And it gets heavier as interest rates fall. That creates a perverse effect. As bond prices rise (and yields fall), it increases the thirst for bonds. Low rates beget low rates.
If a growing bulge of middle-aged workers is behind the secular decline in real interest rates, then the downward pressure ought to attenuate as those workers move into retirement. Japan is further along this road than other rich countries. Yet its long-term real interest rates are firmly negative.
A concern is that as more people retire, and save less, there will be fewer buyers for government bonds, of which less than 10% are held outside Japan. Another of the Geneva Report’s authors, Takatoshi Ito of Columbia University, reckons there will be a sharp rise in Japanese bond yields within the next decade. There may be political pressure on the Bank of Japan to keep buying bonds to prevent this.
SAP announced today that Klarna, has become the first customer to go live with smart accounting for financial instruments (smart AFI), a new functionality based on the SAP® Bank Analyzer set of applications, 9.0 release. In just three months SAP implemented the solution including accounting rules configuration, data integration and a full setup of the SAP HANA® database environment, proving that up-leveling market and product growth does not have to be a long and arduous process.
The peer-to-peer lending group is set to post a full-year loss of £36m when it publishes its accounts on Tuesday, after expanding into Europe and the US ate into profits. However, revenues at the firm, which was founded in 2010 and has lent more than £1.5bn to small and mid-sized businesses, rose 140 per cent from £13m to £32m last year.
“We expect our UK business to be profitable in the fourth quarter of 2016 and to generate significant cashflow in 2017 to finance international operations” said chief executive Samir Desai.
In 2015 the company raised $150m (£116m) of new equity for the business and listed the first and only single platform investment trust – the £150m Funding Circle SME Income Fund – on the London Stock Exchange.
The Company losses for the period were GBP6.9m (June 2015 profit of GBP5.3m), impacted by GBP13m write downs in investments in underperforming or liquidated platforms following the strategic review;
Group organized with Three Pillars to improve operational focus and assist reporting our strategy;
Sancus BMS Group on a pro forma* like for like basis, increased consolidated revenues from GBP2.7 million in H1 2015 to GBP4.0 million in H1 2016. The period was notable for the consolidation of the Sancus group and its amalgamation with BMS and Platform Black to establish our specialty lending business.
Valuations in our prioritized platforms, The Credit Junction, LiftForward, Funding Options and Finexkap increased by GBP5.5m in aggregate. Investments in underperforming or liquidated platforms were written down by GBP13m. We have been very prudent in reorganizing this portfolio and we fully expect to see value of this portfolio build materially in future periods;
Amberton Asset Management remains de minimus and we expect to make progress on this pillar in the next 12-18 months;
As a consequence of the considerable restructuring in the period together with writedowns in Pillar Two, the Net Loss for the period on the GLI Measurement Basis** was GBP10.3m (H1 2015: Net Profit of GBP0.2m).
As a consequence of making early write-downs and recognizing losses in underperforming assets, together with raising capital and reorganizing Sancus BMS Group, the Companies’ balance sheet is significantly strengthened. Nonetheless, during the period the Company Net Asset Value “NAV” per share decreased from 42.73p to 37.07p;
Company debt to gross asset ratio is 30% (31 December 2015 33%)
Company Net Assets have increased in the period from GBP98.2m to GBP105.6m and;
The Company’s weighted-average cost of debt decreased from 8.6% (year to 31 December 2015) to 6.8% (period to 30 June 2016).
Post period end
Ordinary share placing raised GBP7.1m from Somerston Group in August 2016;
New wholly owned subsidiary, FinTech Ventures Limited (“FVL”), created to hold, initially, the four Prioritised FinTech platforms thereby enabling independent capital raises to support these investments.
Name change of GLI Alternative Finance Limited Plc to the SME Loan Fund (“SMEF”) on 1 September 2016.
The new channel on the Zoopla website includes a peer-to-peer lending solution, in partnership with Landbay, where anyone can invest from as little as £100 into buy-to-let mortgages, statistically the lowest risk form of peer-to-peer lending.
This addition to Financeit’s management team will help propel the Toronto-based company into its next stage of maturity as it continues to expand its market share in the point-of-sale financing industry.
With 20 years’ experience managing and leading finance teams in Canada and the United Kingdom, Hanning served as Capital One Canada’s Chief Financial Officer for nearly five years. Prior to becoming CFO, Hanning held various senior positions within the bank’s Canadian and United Kingdom operations over the previous 12 years. He started his career at Glenfield Hospital NHS Trust in Leicester, United Kingdom.
Hanning’s entry into Financeit comes on the heels of the company’s $339 million acquisition of TD Bank Group’s indirect home improvement financing assets in partnership with Concentra.
Beyond Bank Australia is continuing its expansion into the fintech sector, forming a significant partnership with the nation’s leader in marketplace lending, SocietyOne.
The agreement sees Beyond Bank tip in $1.5 million for an equity stake in SocietyOne as well as increasing its existing funding commitment in personal loans to $10 million. The arrangement was formalised on Friday, September 23.
SocietyOne now has ten mutual banks and credit unions among its 200 investor funders and is actively engaged with a number of other potential investors as it undergoes further expansion, targeting a 2-3 percent share of the $100 billion consumer finance market by 2021.
The 2016 Blue Book of Internet Finance, published on Friday, found 1,263 of the P2P platforms on the mainland up to the end of 2015 were problematic, which included cases of fraud or firms going out of business.
This total included 896 P2P platforms that got into problems in 2015, with more than half involved in fraudulent tricks that took advantage of loopholes in regulations, the report said.
“China’s slow economic growth has led to plunging business for small and medium-size companies; It increases the risk of loan defaults,” the report said, adding that the risk of financing usually rose after accumulating over a long period.
In one typical case of fraud, highlighted in the report, one P2P platform, Rong Zuan Dai, went online in November 2015 and published 37 financing projects that promised high interest rates to hundreds of investors. But after two weeks the website suddenly closed.
Of the current total, Guangdong province had the largest concentration of P2P platforms, with 18 per cent of the national total, the report said.
It estimates that the number of P2P platforms nationwide will continue to rise at a rate of 90 per cent over both of the next two years as the industry further consolidates, and could eventually reach 10,000.
The number of active users of P2P is also expected to surpass nine million in 2016.