Thursday October 10 2019, Weekly News Digest

Lend Academy

News Comments Today’s main news: Affirm debuts shopping app. Zopa profits tick upward. RateSetter recovering from loan scandal. PPDAI stock rises 7% with lift in institutional-funded loans. Oportun ends Nasdaq debut with 8% gain. Australia: RBA cuts interest rates, online lenders follow. Today’s main analysis: The Future of Finance: Marcus, Neobank, and fintech. (A MUST-READ) […]

The post Thursday October 10 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

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News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

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News Summary

United States

OnDeck Survey: Economy is Top Concern for Small Businesses Ahead of 2020 Election (New Kerala), Rated: AAA

OnDeck today announced the results of a national survey of U.S. small business owners that finds economic issues are the most important factors in determining their choice for president in 2020.

  • Economic concerns arise in several dimensions, including tax policy, job growth, support for small businesses, government spending and the overall economic climate. These issues were cited as the top concerns of more than 33% of those surveyed;
  • Immigration was an issue of interest for 11.3% of small business owners surveyed, ranking second behind the economy as a concern.
  • 57% of small businesses surveyed said they were either Very Optimistic or Somewhat Optimistic about the economic outlook for their businesses;
  • 93% of those surveyed said they plan to vote in the 2020 election.
  • 60% of small business owners surveyed said they already know who they plan to vote for in the 2020 presidential election.

Affirm debuted a new app encouraging customers to start their shopping journeys with it (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

The point-of-sale (POS) financing provider 

Source: Business Insider

Affirm ships new shopping and bill splitting app (Finextra), Rated: A

Affirm’s app also allows consumers to pay at any brick-and-mortar store that accepts Apple Pay or Google Pay, which is increasingly important as 24% of consumers want the flexibility to look online and shop in-store.

Those with Apple Pay or Google Pay enabled have also seen up to 14% of transactions driven in-store, making the Affirm app a rare omnichannel solution for customer acquisition.

Max Levchin On The Future-Present Of Everywhere POS Lending (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Since Affirm’s launch, the landscape in the POS space is radically different than it was when Affirm entered. It is, first and foremost, a much bigger and more populated space than it once was. Other startups have come to the field — AfterpayUplift and Sezzle for example — but also bigger and more established names in financial services. In the last 12 months alone SquareMastercardPayPal and Chase have all rolled out POS installment lending products or enhancements as the market continues to pick up popularity among consumers, particularly younger ones.

Latest Macro; latest from Marcus; Oportun goes IPO (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Q4 is off to a brisk start. The jobs report released this past Friday shows 114K in net new jobs (vs expectations of 120K), generally flat wages, and a drop in the unemployment rate to 3.5%.

On the one hand, the US economy is near ‘stall speed’ – around 1 to 1.5% growth rate.

Source: PeerIQ, The Daily Shot, Conference Board

House prices are expected to rise 5.8% over the next year due to low mortgage rates.

Two major financing announcements this week. FinTech lender, Oportun, led by CEO Raul Vazquez, ends its Nasdaq debut with an 8% gain. The debut is notable as it represents a positive shift in the sentiment to the reception of lenders to the IPO market.

My Quarterly Marketplace Lending Results – Q2 2019 (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

The upward trend in my returns continued in Q2, making it the fifth quarter in a row with increasing returns. My preliminary return for the 12 months ending June 30, 2019 is 6.20% (one investment is still not final), the best I have achieved since Q3 2017.

Source: Lend Academy

The Maybe-Dubious Rise of the Loans-for-Sneaker Business (GQ), Rated: AAA

Afterpay is one of a number of platforms that have sprouted up over the past couple years that are willing to float customers a couple hundred or thousand dollars to shop. In addition to it, there are Affirm, Sezzle, Klarna, and Quadpay. They are positioned as a more consumer-friendly option than credit cards, a whole host of services bent on—because this is 2019—disrupting the powers that be.

Globally, Afterpay, which launched in Australia, has over 4.6 million customers and 35,000 retail partners. In the U.S., where Afterpay only launched in May of last year, it has two million customers and is available at 6,500 retailers. Over three million people use Affirm, while another 500,000 have shopped with Sezzle.

Silicon Valley promises aside, Afterpay is, at best, a platform that allows you to take out what amounts to a small loan on an item. After an approval process—Afterpay does not check a credit score; others like Affirm do—the customer pays a fourth of the price upfront and the rest is paid off in three equal installments every two weeks.

Also new is the $1,500 limit, up from $500, that Afterpay raised after Hyde-McCormick proved himself a responsible shopper and the $87.50 payments currently due every two weeks.

What Happened to Borro? (deBanked), Rated: A

In 2013, Borro, an innovative online lending company that was poised to disrupt pawn shop lending forever, invited me to their stylish offices at 767 Third Avenue in Manhattan.

Borro made $50 million worth of such loans in 2013 and doubled that number in 2014.

Auto, home equity are soft spots in consumer lending (American Banker), Rated: A

In its quarterly report that tracks consumer delinquency trends, the American Bankers Association said that 30-day past-due rates ticked up in eight of 11 categories in the second quarter when compared with the first quarter, but stressed that delinquencies remain well below historic norms.

Finally! Maker Offers Multi-Collateral DAI Lending (Cryptovest), Rated: A

Maker DAO, the most active decentralized finance app on the Ethereum network, has announced a date for its long-awaited multi-collateral DAI generation. According to observers, November 18 may be the date MKR starts accepting other assets as collateral.

Multi-collateral DAI creation has the potential to be riskier in comparison to ETH-based models. Currently, Maker is deliberately over-collateralized at above 300%, with the minimum at 150%, due to the high volatility of crypto assets.

A $ 40 Billion Pile of Leveraged Loans Is Battered by Big Losses (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Loans tied to more than 50 companies have lost at least 10 percentage points of face value in just three months, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Some have dropped a lot more, with lenders lucky to get back just two-thirds of their investment if they tried to sell.

It’s hardly a full-blown apocalypse for the junk-rated leveraged loan market, which totals $1.2 trillion.

Energy is the hardest-hit sector on the list, with more than $12 billion of loans falling more than 10 cents on the dollar. Consumer and health care follow, comprising around $8 billion and $5 billion of loans outstanding, respectively.

Source: Bloomberg

Ruling cuts short debt collectors’ victory lap over CFPB proposal (American Banker), Rated: B

Under the CFPB’s May proposal, debt collectors could have unlimited contact with debtors through email and text messages, though consumers could opt out of such communications. Additionally, collectors could satisfy disclosure requirements with a hyperlink embedded in an email that takes consumers to a description about how they can dispute a debt.

The SEC is hiring a chief data officer (Business Insider), Rated: B

The Securities and Exchange Commission is hiring its first chief data officer, according to a job posting for the role.

Voyager Selects Celsius Network to Manage Certain Assets (AP News), Rated: B

Voyager Digital, LLC, a subsidiary of publicly-traded Voyager Digital (Canada) Ltd (Ticker VYGR.CN), an industry-leading best execution crypto asset broker, today announced a partnership with Celsius Network, in which Celsius will manage a portion of Voyager’s digital assets.

United Kingdom

Zopa’s P2P profits tick up but group losses widen due to heavy investment in bank (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

Zopa Group – which incorporates the P2P platform and upcoming digital bank – reported a pre-tax loss of £18.295m for the year ended 31 December 2018, compared to a pre-tax loss of £5.536m the previous year.

Zopa: nine in 10 shoppers confused by car finance options (Verdict), Rated: A

In a survey of 2,000 consumers, 47% of people who had recently bought a car with finance are unable to identify which type of finance deal they signed up for. Zopa estimates that the average car buyer could save up to £11,000 over the course of their lifetime by working out the best finance deal available.

Ratesetter recovering from loan scandal (The Times), Rated: AAA

One of Britain’s largest peer-to-peer lenders appears to be recovering from a toxic loan scandal after its latest results showed it edging towards breaking even.

Accounts for Ratesetter, which links 56,000 ordinary investors with consumer and business borrowers, show that pre-tax losses narrowed by 69 per cent in the year to March.

Wonga customers’ average compensation payout may be just £118 (The Guardian), Rated: A

Customers who were mis-sold loans by the collapsed payday lender Wonga are expected to receive less than 10% of what they are owed in compensation after administrators revealed that only £41m will be put aside for claimants.

Payday loan alternative Savvy secures £20 million funding facility (Finextra), Rated: A

Stockport and Wilmslow based fintech company Savvy.co.uk is to create 25 jobs after securing a £20 million investment.

The funding, from London-based Cairn Capital, will increase lending capacity for the company who provide an ethical alternative to pay-day loans.

MEET THE FRENCHMAN WHO WANTS TO SOLVE THE UK’S HOUSING CRISIS (Business Leader), Rated: A

WHY DID YOU START BLEND NETWORK?

I started working in the financial industry as an FX trader before moving to trading gold and copper, both much more inefficient markets than FX. I realised that the UK property market was a hugely inefficient market in the sense that lenders and borrowers are not meeting. On the one hand, you have very experienced property developers across the country who are trying to access funds to build homes but traditional lenders are no longer active in providing development finance.

Instead, we lend in places such as Coventry, East Anglia, Doncaster, Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland is a very good example of our strategic approach to lending. Last year, we did around 80-85% of our business in Northern Ireland.

Crowdfunding a start up options explained for businesses and investors (What Investment), Rated: A

Crowdfunding a start up brings to mind the statement ‘Nothing worth having comes easy’, never truer than in the case of launching a start-up. Getting a new business off the ground will often require capital. Something which a lot of people don’t know how to go about getting.

These are:

  • Reward based crowdfunding;
  • Equity based crowdfunding;
  • Debt based crowdfunding, and
  • Donation based crowdfunding.

Landlords wary of tax changes (Money International), Rated: A

Half of the 200 landlords approached agreed tax changes and tougher mortgage borrowing criteria have thwarted their plans to buy more properties, while 15% admitted they had been put off buying homes to rent.

A third who still wanted to invest are considering a switch from buy to let to peer-to-peer lending secured against property, while 8% have already done so.

China

PPDAI Stock Soars 7% on Increase in Institutionally-Funded Loans (Capital Watch), Rated: AAA

The stock in PPDAI Group Inc (NYSE: PPDF) closed 7% higher on Wednesday, at $2.83 per American depositary share, after it announced a positive trend in funding of loans by its institutional partners and increased loan origination volume.

For the third quarter, the Shanghai-based company, which operates an online consumer finance marketplace, said in a statement on Wednesday that the volume of loans facilitated by its institutional funding partners jumped to $2.64 billion, up 91% from the second quarter. Total loan origination volume was above PPDAI’s guidance, it said, as it reached $3.51 billion, up 14% from the previous quarter.

European Union

What we learned at this year’s LendIt Fintech Europe (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

At the conference, Business Insider Intelligence identified four emerging themes that we expect to set the tone for the space for the next year: further proliferation of partnerships between banks and fintechs, increased focus on digital banks’ sustainability, accelerated innovation and disruption from small- and medium-sized business (SMB) lenders, and more challenges ahead for the UK’s P2P lenders.

  • CYBG bank and price comparison site GoCompare recently partnered to offer an energy compare and switch service for all of CYBG’s B customers.
  • Barclays bank partnered with SMB finance fintech MarketInvoice last year to give Barclays’ SMB clients access to MarkeInvoice’s solutions. 
  • French Banking-as-a-Service platform Treezor was acquired by Société Générale last year, as the bank looked to enhance its ability to innovate and decrease time to market.
Source: Business Insider

Linked Finance launches ‘Beyond Brexit’ business loans (Bridging and Commercial), Rated: A

The new 18-month loan period will allow borrowers to access working capital facilities of up to €300,000 (approximately £265,194) in just 24 hours.

ID on track to double revenues as it eyes €300m+ of revenue within 2 years (Fintech Finance), Rated: A

ID Finance, the fintech operating in Europe and Latin America, saw revenue growth of over 100% in the first 9 months of 2019 and is on track to double its revenues to €90m revenue this year. The data science, credit scoring and digital finance company is now planning its first equity crowdfunding round via Crowdcube as it targets €300m+ of revenue within 2 years.

Binance Launches New Lending Program Phase (CoinCodex), Rated: A

The Binance cryptocurrency exchange has launched the latest phase of its relatively new lending program. For the program’s eighth installment, Binance is sticking with the model of short-term loans, as users only have to commit their crypto for 14 days.

International

A Guide to What’s Happening in the Fintech Revolution (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

These underbanked markets, led by countries in Asia and Africa, have inspired fintech innovation that’s leapfrogging the technology available in the developed world. Ant Financial Services Group’s Alipay and Tencent Holdings’ WeChat Pay in China, Paytm in India, and Safaricom’s M-Pesa in Kenya are some well-known examples.

Source: Bloomberg

Take Facebook Inc.’s plan to launch a digital currency called Libra in 2020. The social network’s gigantic reach—more than 2.4 billion active monthly users—could draw a much wider audience to Libra than has used previous cryptocurrencies. For instance, global remittances by migrants reached a record $689 billion last year, according to the World Bank.

Source: Bloomberg

San Francisco-based 500 Startups staked 43 such companies in the 12 months ended June 30.

Goldman’s $ 1.3B Marcus burn, Neobank £200MM loss; plus 14 short takes on top developments (Lex), Rated: AAA

Goldman is losing $1.3 billion on Marcus, trying to build a Fintech leader. Etrade is going to lose $75 million from cutting trading fees to $0 to keep up with Robinhood. Revolut is losing £35 million on £60 million in revenue, with another £140 million burned by Atom, Monzo, Tandem, and the rest.

Source FT Research and Future of Finance

Generally speaking, from a deposit point of view, these are still all small businesses at £1 billion in assets (e.g., Betterment manages $20 billion).

Source: ARK Invest and Future of Finance

The first is that the Robinhoods and Monzos of the world are 10x overpriced relative to the payments apps. I can sort of buy this — though money in motion is way easier to capture than money at rest. The second is that venture investors think a finance user is worth $1,500 in a digital bank.

Source: Future of Finance

Blockchain: the future of finance (Financier Worldwide), Rated: A

Recent examples of blockchain’s impact on financial markets go well beyond these initial applications or P2P lending or crowdfunding.

The first wave of applications in finance and banking is being driven by easily achievable gains in actively traded assets.

MasterCard incorporated a blockchain payment system providing vendors real time, lower cost settlements on cross-border transactions. Representing a consortium of more than 40 of the world’s largest banks, fintech firm R3 launched a payment system built on DLT platform Corda, to expedite intra-bank transfers.

St. Regis Aspen, a Colorado resort, is a partnership formed with a crowdfunding site, Indiegogo, that in lieu of a traditional IPO completed a private placement via DLT financing real estate. This sale of ‘tokens’ – fractional interests in the underlying property – raised $18m, compliant with securities laws.

Australia

Hot home loan rates starting with a 2 (mozo), Rated: AAA

The RBA has cut official interest rates for the third time this year, and already a handful of lenders have responded by slashing rates across their range of variable rate home loans. Right now, if your home loan doesn’t have a ‘2’ in front of it, you’re missing out.

loans.com.au jumps on October RBA home loan rate cut party (mozo), Rated: AAA

The online lender has announced its response to the 0.25% drop in the official cash rate though, with loans.com.au taking 0.15% off a number of variable rate home loan offers for both owner occupiers and investors.

The changes, which come into effect on October 17, will have an impact on a number of  loans.com.au home loan offers including:

• Essentials Variable loan – reduced by 0.15% with rates now as low as 3.04% (3.06% comparison rate*).

• Smart Home Loan – reduced by 0.15% with rates now as low as 2.88% (2.90% comparison rate*).

• ZIP Home Loan – reduced by 0.15% with rates now as low as 3.08% (3.10% comparison rate*).

• Offset Variable loan – reduced by 0.15% with rates now as low as 3.12% (3.14% comparison rate*).

OnDeck appoints Robbie Fidler as new national broker chief (IT Wire), Rated: B

Online SME lender OnDeck Australia has appointed experienced commercial lending operator Robbie Fidler as its national broker channel manager.

Asia

SPV 2030: Sharing of risks and reward (The Malaysian Reserve), Rated: A

The growth and success of peer-to-peer (P2P) lending is a testament of the viability of risk-sharing contracts, where the investors take on some risks (for higher return) from the ventures they are financing. This way, finance will be grounded in the real economy, which is another core principle of Islamic finance.

MENA

Beehive funds first SME in Bahrain (Arabian Business), Rated: AAA

Dubai-based Beehive, the region’s first regulated peer-to-peer lending platform, has funded its first SME in Bahrain.

Canada

BFS Capital Opens New Data Science and Engineering Hub in Toronto (Financial Post), Rated: B

BFS Capital, a leader in small business lending, has officially launched a data science and engineering hub in Toronto as the company accelerates its plans to develop best-in-class digital financial products for small businesses across the globe.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday October 10 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Webinar: Changes and Challenges Impacting Fintech Companies

Manatt

This past year, significant efforts have been made by the SEC, FINRA, state regulators and CSBS to streamline regulations and processes for all fintech companies. These ongoing changes have presented opportunities and challenges that impact the fintech community around the globe. Please join us for a 60-minute webinar, moderated by Manatt’s fintech leader Brian Korn, […]

The post Webinar: Changes and Challenges Impacting Fintech Companies appeared first on Lending Times.

Manatt

This past year, significant efforts have been made by the SEC, FINRA, state regulators and CSBS to streamline regulations and processes for all fintech companies. These ongoing changes have presented opportunities and challenges that impact the fintech community around the globe. Please join us for a 60-minute webinar, moderated by Manatt’s fintech leader Brian Korn, to gain insight to the following key topics:

  • Updates on the bank partnership model
  • The latest on charter options, including the OCC fintech charter and ILCs
  • The state and federal enforcement agenda, including rapidly growing FTC activity
  • SEC/FINRA Joint Statement on Custody and Customer Protection Rules for cryptocurrency and digital investments: Paradigm shift or more of the same?
  • State fintech regulatory sandboxes: What are they exactly, and will more states continue to opt in?
  • Deal terms: How the regulatory environment is driving investor and lender behavior for originators

If you can’t make our live program on September 19, click here.

The post Webinar: Changes and Challenges Impacting Fintech Companies appeared first on Lending Times.

Thursday July 18 2019, Weekly News Digest

Digital-only banks U.S.

News Comments Today’s main news: N26 raises $170M at $3.5B valuation for U.S. launch. OnDeck, Upserve partner on restaurant financing. Quicken Loans has best quarter in history. Curve raises $55M at $25M valuation. Lufax to bow out of P2P lending. Goldman funds Lendable. Today’s main analysis: Is America ready for challenger banks? (A MUST-READ) Today’s […]

The post Thursday July 18 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Digital-only banks U.S.

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

Other

News Summary

United States

Thiel-Backed Bank Valued at $ 3.5 Billion Amid U.S. Launch (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

A German smartphone bank backed by billionaires Peter Thiel and Li Ka-shing has raised new funds at a valuation of $3.5 billion, making the company one of Europe’s highest valued non-listed fintech firms.

N26 GmbH extended its Series D funding round by $170 million to a total $470 million, the Berlin-based company said on Thursday.

OnDeck And Upserve Partner To Speed Financing To Restaurants (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

OnDeck (ONDK) and Upserve today announced a partnership to provide Upserve’s restaurant customers with online financing options from OnDeck. Over 10,000 restaurants currently use Upserve’s restaurant management platform and Point of Sales (POS) software to manage relationships with more than 57 million active diners.

Quicken Loans Has Best Quarter in Company’s 34-Year History (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Detroit-based Quicken Loans, America’s largest mortgage lender, today announced that the second quarter of 2019 was the best in the 34-year-old company’s history.

The second quarter of the year was the first three times the company has originated more than $10 billion in a single month, with each month setting a new record for the highest closed loan volume – culminating in June being the best month in Quicken Loans history. In June, the company closed nearly $11 billion in mortgage volume, contributing to the $32 billionoriginated for the quarter.

Over 57% of Purchase Borrowers Received Mortgage Rates Under 4.25% Last Week (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

Mortgage Rate Distribution

  • For 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages, approximately 56.8% of purchase borrowers received offers of 4.25% or less. That is down from 60.1% of borrowers the previous week. A year ago, 0.07% of offers were under 4.25%.
  • Across all 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage purchase applications on LendingTree, 4.0% was the most common interest rate. This rate was offered to 15.4% of borrowers.
  • Of 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage refinance borrowers, 70.6% received offers of 4.25% or less, which is down from 72.8% the previous week. A year ago, no refinance offers were under 4.25%.
  • Across all 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage refinance applications, the most common interest rate was 4.0%, offered to 17.95% of borrowers.

Mortgage Rate Competition Index

  • Across all 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage purchase applications on LendingTree, the index was 0.99, down from 1.19 the previous week.
  • How big of a deal is it to get a mortgage APR that’s 0.99 percentage points lower than the competition? Over 30 years, that could translate to $47,073 in savings on a $300,000 loan (see Mortgage Savings Tracker graphic below).
  • The index was wider in the refinance market at 1.10, down from 1.35 the previous week. Refinance borrowers could have saved $52,554 by shopping for the lowest rate.

Rate Cuts; Digital Banks (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Source: PeerIQ, WSJ

Digital Banks – The Future of FinTech Lending?

FinTechs lenders meanwhile are white-labelling banking services to complete the customer product roadmap while awaiting a charter. SoFi Money, WSFS, Radius Bank and its deposit partnerships with FinTechs are great examples of this.

This week, Boston-based Radius Bank is looking to adopt the user-friendly style set forth by the aforementioned European banks.

European Challenger Banks Launch U.S. Invasion – Is America Ready? (The Financial Brand), Rated: AAA

At a time when U.S. consumers are increasingly becoming comfortable with branchless banking and alternative financial providers, is there room for alternative digital-only banks with zero name recognition? Recent announcements by Germany-based N26 and U.K.-based Monzo that they will be entering the highly competitive U.S. in the next few months will provide a good test of the viability of foreign-based banking competition.

N26 Invites 100,000 Wait-Listed U.S. Consumers To Open Accounts

According to N26, there will be a staged rollout beginning immediately, with the 100,000 people on the U.S. wait list being invited to sign up and have full access to the product.

Is Monzo the ‘Bank of the Future’?

Referring to itself as the “bank of the future,” Monzo has also begun marketing efforts in the U.S., hoping to disrupt the traditional banks and credit unions in a way similar to what they have done in the U.K. Valued at more than $1 billion, Monzo has a mobile-only customer base in the U.K. of 2.2 million customers.

Varo files application for bank charter that will differentiate it (Business Insider), Rated: A

Challenger bank Varo, which has raised $179 million from Warburg Pincus and TPG, just took a big step that might separate it from competitors like Chime and Monzo.

In the past year Varo has tripled its customer base and is expected to reach 750,000 registered customers this month, Walsh said.

Moven’s Plan B after buyout bid stalls: Expansion into lending (American Banker), Rated: A

Obstacles remain in Moven’s path to a charter in the U.S., even as its private-label banking offering expands across Africa and Asia.

JPMorgan Chase’s Dimon: Finn app was not a failure (bank innovation), Rated: A

Specifically, Dimon said the bank learned how to conduct digital account openings through Finn and that the process was shaved down to just a few minutes. CFO Jennifer Piepszak added that 25% of new account openings at Chase are now digital signups rather than through a bank branch. The bank reported it has opened 2 million accounts digitally.

The bank had pulled the plug on the digital-only offering in June, just a year after its launch, and rolled some of Finn’s most popular features into Chase’s main mobile banking app.

JPMorgan warns that lending income will fall in the second half (American Banker), Rated: A

The largest U.S. bank on Tuesday reported a drop in bond trading and cut its full-year outlook for net interest income — revenue from customers’ loan payments minus what the bank pays depositors — by $500 million. NII accounted for about half the New York-based company’s revenue last year.

Navient plans full-Earnest loan pool in $ 535.2M student-loan ABS (Asset Securitization Report), Rated: A

Navient Solution’s next securitization of private student-loan refinancing will involve only loans primarily issued to advanced-degree professionals by online lender Earnest – which Navient acquired in 2017.

The $535.2 million Navient Private Education Refi Loan Trust 2019-E will include two tranches of Class A notes with preliminary triple-A ratings from DBRS and S&P Global Ratings. The Class A-1 fixed-rate notes total $263 million, while the $228 million in Class A-2 notes will be divided into fixed- and variable-rate tranches.

Technology’s Inescapable Impact on Real Estate Investments – (MarketCurrents Wealth Management), Rated: A

Research-driven, professional investments in real estate have traditionally been reserved for family offices and institutional investors. Now, a swathe of new technology platforms and consumer products are revolutionizing the industry, opening up access and shifting valuations.

Millennials say real estate investing is one of the best ways to build wealth (Business Insider), Rated: A

According to a new survey from Bankrate, over one-third of millennials say real estate is the best way to invest money they won’t need for at least 10 years, more than the share of millennials surveyed who prefer stocks, savings accounts and certificates of deposit (CDs), gold, bonds, and cryptocurrency.

Real Estate Investing in a “1-Click” World (Propmodo), Rated: A

The plain truth is that there will never been such a thing as “Amazon 1-Click for real estate.” The end-to-end logistics solution for buying and managing property has not yet been perfected. Whilst there are a lot of great technology solutions being developed for the property industry they typically tackle just one or two specific pain points in a broader transaction. In isolation, these solutions have less impact on the overall customer experience because their piece is just one of a much larger puzzle. As an example, there’s not much point streamlining the purchase itself if the legal documents and mortgage approval take weeks of frustrating back-and-forth, duplicating much of the same process and paperwork.

Krista Morgan of P2Binvestor Overcomes Naysayers To Fund Growing Small Businesses (Forbes), Rated: A

With all the attention given to angel and venture capital, you might think that these financing options are the most likely to be used. To the contrary, debt is by far the dominant form of outside funding used: for example, 86% of $1 — $10 million companies seeking outside financing applied for a loan compared to 5% seeking equity financing, according to The 2018 Small Business Credit Survey.

However, since the late 1990s, as banks have consolidated and sought out more profitable sectors of the credit market, they have been shifting activity away from the small business credit market, according to Why Small Business Lending Isn’t What It Used to Be.

Lendbuzz, AI Auto Startup That Steps in When FICO Fails, Raises $ 150M (Xconomy), Rated: A

The Boston-based software company announced Monday it has raised $150 million in new funding to expand its team and issue more financing backed by its machine learning algorithms.

Most of the cash—$130 million—for Lendbuzz is in the form of debt financing from four banks and an insurance company to fund car loans through the startup’s platform. The rest is an equity investment led by venture capital investor 83North.

Soros, Innovation Endeavors Provide Fresh Funding for AlphaSense (Institutional Investor), Rated: A

AlphaSense has attracted $50 million from investors including Soros Fund Management and Innovation Endeavors, in a fresh round of funding that will help the company expand its artificial-intelligence-powered offering for asset managers.

House Democrats draft bill to keep big tech out of financial services (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

According to the draft bill, titled “Keep Big Tech Out Of Finance Act,” companies in violation would face a $1 million daily fine.

The legislation would apply to companies with $25 billion or more in annual revenue.

As the draft stands now, it would prohibit Facebook (FB) and other tech companies with at least $25 billion in revenue from becoming a financial institution or issuing a cryptocurrency.

San Jose payday-advance startup faces racial discrimination, retaliation lawsuit (The Mercury News), Rated: A

A former manager at PayActiv, a San Jose startup that provides payday advances, is accusing the company of racial discrimination and questionable business practices.

Ibarra said in his lawsuit that he was the only Hispanic employee when he was hired in 2014, the year the company was founded. The co-founders are of Pakistani descent, the suit said.

Pedro Ibarra said he was fired because he complained about being harassed by the company’s founders over his ethnicity, and because he raised concerns about PayActiv’s handling of user data and whether the company is acting like a regular payday lender and therefore should be classified as a creditor.

New apps competing for your money can have hidden costs (ABC Action News), Rated: A

A new crop of digital wallets, apps and financial tech companies are fighting for customers’ banking business. The push comes as federal data shows the Tampa Bay region hit a six-year high for the number of people living without banking accounts or easy access to credit.

CrediVia Brings New Experience to Multifamily Financing (BusinessWire), Rated: A

CrediVia launched last fall as a hospitality financing marketplace intent on driving smarter decisions and stronger engagement in the loan process. Today the company has announced expanded platform capabilities to execute multifamilydeals as well, part of its ongoing mission to become the preferred source for more effective and transparent commercial real estate lending.

SEC Posts Final Judgement in Enforcement Action Against Founders of iFunding (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has posted final judgments in the case of real estate crowdfunding platform iFunding and co-founders William Skelley and Sohin Shah.  The two founders were charged last year by the SEC Enforcement Division regarding allegations of fraud in the misappropriation of over $1.17 million from investors. The final judgments against Skelley and Shah were obtained this month.

Lending Express evolves into Become (Become email), Rated: B

Lending Express has rebranded to This transition comes at a pivotal point in the company’s growth and highlights its dedication to providing businesses withopportunities to improvfundabilitysecure funding, and ultimately become more.

Cross River Names Global Finance Veteran Melissa Ballenger As CFO (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

Cross River Bank (“Cross River”) today announced that it has appointed Melissa Ballenger as its Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, effective immediately.

SecurCapital Acquires Breakout Capital Finance’s Lending Business (PR Newswire), Rated: B

SecurCapital Corp, an expanding supply chain and financial services provider headquartered in California, today announced the acquisition of the lending business of Breakout Capital Finance, a fintech company and nationwide small business lender. SecurCapital is also providing additional equity capital to drive growth in Breakout Capital Finance’s two primary lending products: its highly regarded and innovative term-loan product and its FactorAdvantage lending solution for small businesses that utilize factoring to finance their business. The acquired lending business assets will be operated by a subsidiary of SecurCapital that will conduct business as Breakout Capital.

CheapAir.com Expands “Travel Now, Pay Later” Option (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

Online travel agency CheapAir.com today announced an expansion of its travel budgeting tool in partnership with Affirm, giving customers the opportunity to prequalify for a travel budget and then book and pay for all elements of their trip over time.

Sokolov-Miller Family Center again recognized as leader in financial education (PSU), Rated: B

Each year the online loan marketplace LendEDU ranks programs based on its 50-point scale. This year, the Sokolov-Miller Family Center moved up two positions, tying for 13th place.

Community Capital Appoints New Board Member, Camden R. Fine (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

Community Capital Technology Inc. (“CCT”), a digital loan transaction marketplace for community banks, regional banks, and other non-bank originators and credit investors, today announced the appointment of Camden (“Cam”) R. Fine, former President & CEO of the Independent Community Bankers Association (ICBA), to its Board of Directors.

United Kingdom

Curve raises $ 55M at a $ 250M valuation (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Curve, the London-based “over-the-top banking platform,” has raised $55 million in new funding. The startup lets you consolidate all of your bank cards into a single Curve  card and app to make it easier to manage your spending and access other benefits.

Curve’s Series B round is led by Gauss Ventures, the London-HQ’d fintech investor, alongside Creditease, IDC Ventures and previous backer Outward VC (formerly Investec’s INVC fund).

What will the appropriateness test actually look like? (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

IT’S OFFICIAL – the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) will soon make it mandatory for all peer-to-peer platforms to introduce an “appropriateness test” for new investors.

The purpose of the test will be to weed out any unsuitable lenders, and any potential lenders who do not fully understand the risks associated with P2P.

Uber, Lyft share prices: as tech IPOs disappoint, how can investors spot winners? (CMC Markets), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle [FCH], an online lending platform that enables individuals and companies to lend to small businesses, is the latest example of a hyped IPO from a business yet to turn a profit. A few lacklustre earnings announcements later, it appears the stock was indeed overvalued.

What metrics can traders look out for when weighing up a stock amid such an increasing amount of cash-burning companies looking to go public?

Lendy administrator outlines the state of collapsed P2P lender’s loanbook (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

LENDY investors are likely to receive an average of 57p on the pound for development finance and 58p for every pound from bridging loans funded on the collapsed peer-to-peer lending platform.

The document shows that 22 of the 29 bridging loans made via the platform are in insolvency proceedings, with 14 out of 25 development loans in the same situation.

The document reveals the outstanding value of the bridging loans is £36m, secured against assets historically valued at £81m.

Rishi Khosla of OakNorth (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • The incident that was the seed of the idea for OakNorth.
  • Why fast growth companies have trouble raising debt capital.
  • The range of loan sizes, terms and interest rates that OakNorth offers.
  • Why they started with building a tech platform first.
  • How their underwriting process works and what they have automated.
  • Rishi’s thoughts on defaults and his famous “zero defaults to date” quote.
  • How they are funding their loans in the UK.
  • Why the US is a core market for OakNorth’s international expansion.
  • Who they are offering the platform to in the US.
  • Why the “ai” in Oaknorth.ai stands for analytical intelligence.
  • The geographies where they are live today.
  • Why they will not be getting a banking license in markets outside the UK.
  • Why OakNorth launched a mortgage product for UK entrepreneurs.
  • How SoftBank is helping OakNorth beyond providing capital.
  • How OakNorth is attacking the Chinese market.
  • How Rishi is spending his time these days.

OAKNORTH LENDS £19.5M TO CARE CONCERN GROUP TO SUPPORT ALPHA REAL CAPITAL OPERATING CARE HOMES (Business Leader), Rated: B

OakNorth Bank has provided a £19.5m loan to Care Concern Group, a UK-based care home operator.

$ 2.9 Billion in Deals in 2019 on Track to Top Year Prior (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Innovate Finance has just published its Q2 UK Fintech investment report tallying activity for the first half of 2019.

The most recent report from Innovate Finance, covering Q1 of 2019, indicated that overall investment into Fintech, including venture capital, angel investing, private equity etc., topped $1 billion. In brief, Fintech boomed in Q1 as the industry experienced a 41% growth versus the prior quarter (Q4). Comparing to Q1 of 2018 it quadrupled.

Latest UK fintech investment figures reflect the evolution of the sector (ComputerWeekly), Rated: A

Investment in UK fintechs in the first half of this year was £2.9bn, which is 85% of the total invested in 2018, according to figures from fintech industry body Innovate Finance. It is also 45% higher than the same six month period last year. London based companies took 90% of this.

For example challenger banks including OakNorth ($440m), Monzo ($147m) and Starling Bank ($98m) got the most significant investments. In payments and foreign exchange sectors Checkout.com ($230m), WorldRemit ($175m) and GoCardless ($76m) were major recipients.

Could ‘bad credit’ credit cards be more expensive than a payday loan? (Which?), Rated: A

Around four million people in the UK have subprime credit cards, charging interest ranging from 30% to 70% – compared to the average 20% APR on mainstream deals.

P2PFA looks to woo intermediaries (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE PEER-TO-PEER Finance Association (P2PFA) is looking at ways of boosting distribution for members.

LendIt Fintech Europe 2019 Preview (Lend Academy), Rated: A

LendIt is returning to London again for the sixth annual LendIt Fintech Europe event. It will be held on 26 – 27 September at the same location as last year, the Business Design Centre. We are expecting well over 1,000 people at the event this year.

Some of the featured keynote speakers this year will be:

  • Rishi Khosla – CEO, OakNorth
  • Jaidev Janardana – CEO, Zopa
  • Anne Boden – CEO, Starling Bank
  • Rhydian Lewis – CEO, Ratesetter
  • Husayn Kassai – CEO, Onfido
  • Tamaz Georgadze – CEO, Raisin

How Jules B uses tech to stay ahead online (Essential Retail), Rated: B

Independent luxury fashion retailer Jules B has six stores across the Lake District an Newcastle, as well as a strong online presence.

To that end it has been working with fintech company Klarna to provide more payment options, which he says allows it to “compete in that marketplace for the younger generation.”

China

Ping An-backed Lufax to ditch P2P lending on regulatory woes (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Lufax, one of China’s largest online wealth management platforms that is backed by financial giant Ping An Insurance (601318.SS), plans to exit its once-core peer-to-peer lending (P2P) business, three sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

China slowdown, trade dispute hurt global carmakers (DW.com), Rated: A

The Chinese auto sector has been under a lot of pressure over the past 18 months, hurt by an economic slowdown that has dented consumer confidence, the ongoing trade dispute between Beijing and Washington, and the government’s crackdown on peer-to-peer lending. Looming stricter emissions rules are also causing Chinese buyers to wait to buy new cars.

China rich with opportunity for fintech talent (China Daily), Rated: A

China is on the cutting edge of the fintech industry and promises great opportunities for fintech talent, fuelled by a rising demand for financial services and technology professionals, according to Hays plc, a global professional recruiting group.

European Union

Bitcoin Suisse Applies for Banking License with Swiss Regulators (BTC Manager), Rated: A

As stated in its press release, the leading Swiss-based regulated cryptocurrency broker and financial services provider, has applied for a banking license with FINMA, following the Swiss Banking Act Art. 1a.

The firm claims it has also achieved several significant milestones in recent months, including the expansion the number of tradable digital assets, with more than 6,000 trading pairs, as well as the provision of a large scale collateralized crypto lending service to its institutional clients.

International

Goldman, UK’s Lendable Strike £200M Deal (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

Goldman Sachs and personal loan startup Lendable from the U.K. have reached a £200m deal, in a sign of Goldman’s confidence in the startup, according to a report by the Financial Times.

A conversation with Zac Prince, Founder, CEO, BlockFi (The Block Crypto), Rated: A

Zac Prince is CEO of BlockFi, which helps crypto investors manage digital assets and grow their net worth through services such as Bitcoin loans. Frank Chaparro and Ryan Todd discuss the complexity of crypto loans and the future of the industry.

Australia

P2P lender joins another aggregator’s panel (Australian Broker), Rated: AAA

RateSetter’s personal loans and secured automotive offering will be made available to Australian Finance Group’s (AFG) broker network of over 2,900 from 22 July.

The P2P lender provides risk-based pricing for its personal loans, with interest rates starting at 5.49%. The loans range from $2,001 to $45,000 for terms between six months to five years. Creditworthy borrowers typically gain access to finance within 24 hours of filling out the five-minute application.

SME lender expands presence within Australia (Australian Broker), Rated: A

OnDeck Australia has joined the lending panel at Finance & Systems Technology (FAST), in an arrangement that will help facilitate more opportunities for FAST brokers interested in expanding into the SME lending channel.

X factor mortgages: The lenders offering more than just hot rates (Mozo), Rated: A

With the official cash rate sitting at just 1.00% following two RBA rate cuts, you may have noticed a flurry of home loan rate drops, with some lenders slashing rates towards the 3.00% mark and below.

Asia

Smaller Banks in Singapore Are at Risk As Fintechs Eye Digital Banking License (Fintech News), Rated: AAA

Competition is heating up in Singapore’s digital banking landscape as an increasing number of fintechs including e-wallet operators and payment services providers are looking to apply for when applications open in August.

Strong contenders for the Singapore’s digital bank licenses

Liquid Group, Xfers, MatchMove Pay, FOMO Pay, Razer and Singtel would be competing against the likes of Grab, Southeast Asia’s ride-hailing giant and the region’s first “decacorn,” Validus Capital, a peer-to-peer lending platform, and InstaReM, a remittance startup, which are also eyeing a digital bank license.

In June, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said that it will issue up to five new digital bank licenses, comprising up to two digital full bank licenses and up to three digital wholesale bank licenses.

Accountants have critical role in helping businesses fight cybercrime (Channel News Asia), Rated: A

Finally, accountants should also focus on financial crime compliance, which must evolve to keep up with new business models such as peer-to-peer lending, the minister said.

Canada

Give your BBQ the royal treatment (The Daily Courier), Rated: AAA

Ramsey will also introduce HousingHub, a new initiative for B.C. Housing to provide more affordable rental and ownership housing for middle-income individuals and families.

Small businesses can apply for a short-term loan of up to $250,000 online, and if they qualify, the funds can be delivered electronically to the business in as little as one business day.

The agreement will use OnDeck’s data analytics and digital technology to make real-time lending decisions and Coast Capital Savings to provide the financing.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday July 18 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

The Rise of Unregistered Securities

crowdcheck

The SEC issued a white paper titled “Capital Raising in the USA: An Analysis of the Market for Unregistered Securities Offerings, 2009‐2017.” This white paper presents some pretty interesting numbers. Capital formation through unregistered securities exceeds that from registered securities; 2017 saw unregistered securities raise over $3 trillion versus registered offerings’ $1.5 trillion. Also, according to […]

The post The Rise of Unregistered Securities appeared first on Lending Times.

crowdcheck

The SEC issued a white paper titled “Capital Raising in the USA: An Analysis of the Market for
Unregistered Securities Offerings, 2009‐2017
.” This white paper presents some pretty interesting numbers. Capital formation through unregistered securities exceeds that from registered securities; 2017 saw unregistered securities raise over $3 trillion versus registered offerings’ $1.5 trillion. Also, according to the report, the JOBS Act has had a booster effect on the ecosystem. This is evident by the hundreds of crowdfunding websites launched since its passing. Regulations CF, A+, and D have unshackled entrepreneurs and democratized fundraising. But a critical part of investing in unregistered securities is the due diligence behind whether the companies seeking the funding are genuine or not. CrowdCheck, incorporated in 2012, aims to verify the credibility of companies seeking such investments.

In a chat with CEO and Founder Sara Hanks, we uncovered how CrowdCheck has become the go-to player for due-diligence, compliance, and disclosure.

The Problem With Unregistered Securities

Hanks understood the need for building the trust layer between online investor and issuer since investors will buy shares in unknown companies online. Moreover, there is a list of legal requirements that a capital raising company and an investor need to meet to ensure everything is above board and handled according to these regulations.

CrowdCheck specializes in online capital raising. It serves the entrepreneur, the crowdfunding platform, and the investor in ensuring that the transaction is handled according to current laws and all necessary approvals are in place. From handling drafting and disclosures for Reg D, A+, and CF to filing the relevant notices, CrowdCheck is a one-stop shop. The company has executed 40 Reg A+, 50 Reg D, and about 450 Reg CF offerings.

The Relevant Regulations

Regulation A+

This regulation allows companies to generate income under two tiers representing two different types of investments.

  • Tier 1 – A company is permitted to offer a maximum of $20 million in any one year. The issuing company must also provide an offering circular, which must be filed with the SEC and subject to a vetting process by the commission and securities regulators relevant to the offering. Companies issuing under Tier 1 are not required to produce reports frequently. Instead, they are only required to issue a report on the final status of the offering.
  • Tier 2 – A company can offer up to $50 million in any one-year period. Though an offering circular is required and is subject to review and vetting by the SEC, it doesn’t have to be qualified by any state securities regulators. Companies issuing under Tier 2 must produce continual reports on the offering as well as its final status.

The offering can be marketed to both accredited and non-accredited investors.

Regulation CF Crowdfunding

The company must be incorporated in the US.

  • Allows only $1 million in fundraising.
  • An investor is limited in the amount to be invested in crowdfunding securities in any one-year period. If either the annual income or net worth of the investor is less than $100,000, the investor is limited to the greater of $2,000 or 5% of the lesser of the annual income or net worth. If greater, limited to 10% of the lesser of annual income or net worth, to a maximum of $100,000.

Regulation D

Rules under 506(b)

  • The company cannot use advertising to market securities.
  • No maximum fundraising limit.
  • Securities can be sold to an unlimited number of accredited investors and up to 35 non-accredited investors.

Rules under 506(c)

A company can generally advertise the offering and still be deemed to be in compliance with the exemption requirements if:

  • All the investors are accredited investors.
  • The company should review various documents like tax returns, W-2s, bank and brokerage statements, credit reports, etc. to verify that investors are accredited investors.
  • Companies that comply with the above requirements do not have to register their securities offering with the SEC.

Insights from CrowdCheck

Suitability

  • Reg CF is most suitable for complete startups. It is a cost effective way of raising capital due to the low threshold and regulatory requirements for fund raising. CrowdCheck offers complete services for this segment for just $5000.
  • The investee company needs to decide if it is happy with hundreds of shareholders or would just like to focus on a few accredited investors. Reg A+ is thus suited for companies looking to IPO in a few years.
  • Reg A+ is slightly more expensive than Reg D due to the requirement of SEC compliance. CrowdCheck offers a complete Reg A+ package for $60,000 whereas Reg D fees range from $25,000 to $40,000.

Platforms

There are multiple platforms available in the market, but the entrepreneur needs to choose carefully. Some specialize in a particular industry or particular regulation funding. Hanks believes StartEngine, Wefunder, Seed Invest, Next Seed, Micro Ventures, and Net Capital are the market leaders in the space.

Crowdfunding success is difficult to measure as startups usually have a low minimum threshold. Sites like Kickstarter are different from Wefunder as they do not provide any financial interest in the company being funded.

Numbers (as of Mid- 2018)

  • Reg CF has seen 960 offerings with 390 completed. Many of them are still under process.
  • The average amount raised via Reg CF is $236,000.
  • Reg A+ has seen 325 filings and 232 have qualified to raise funding.
  • Reg A+ has helped companies raise $1.1 billion, and 108 fundraisings are completed with the average fundraising around $10 million.

Conclusion

Hanks has 30 years in the corporate and securities field. Prior to CrowdCheck, she was general counsel of the bipartisan congressional oversight panel for TARP. The company has a core team of 19 people out of which six are full-time employees in core management, and others are paid consultants having backgrounds in securities law and finance.

As investors become more comfortable with online crowdfunding, the quality of companies looking to raise capital has improved. Many startups are skipping VC money to test crowdfunding. CrowdCheck acts as an important “check” to ensure the sanctity of the process. The entire ecosystem, from entrepreneurs to investors to platforms, depend on their validation for making online capital raising work.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

The post The Rise of Unregistered Securities appeared first on Lending Times.

The Rise of Crypto Lending, a Natural Progression of Peer-to-Peer Financing

Nexo

The rise of new technologies often give rise to new business models. The peer-to-peer lending space is just over a decade old and still have much to grow into. However, not long after the first P2P lender–Zopa in 2005–opened its doors, a new technology that promises to challenge traditional ways to deliver financial services emerged. […]

Nexo

The rise of new technologies often give rise to new business models. The peer-to-peer lending space is just over a decade old and still have much to grow into. However, not long after the first P2P lender–Zopa in 2005–opened its doors, a new technology that promises to challenge traditional ways to deliver financial services emerged. That technology was the blockchain, a distributed ledger that underlies the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. Since then, other blockchains have been created along with new business models to suit. As it stands in 2018, crypto lending has not made a big dent in P2P lending services, but the potential is there. This article will highlight some of the more significant blockchain-based P2P lenders, which we hope will inspire a new look at technological innovation in this space.

Think of crypto lending like you would the banking industry: Even if Capital One provided perfect products at every turn, there would still be plenty of room for JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Bank of America. There would still be room for the hundreds of other banks that compete for customers.

The companies listed here are not ranked in any manner. Rather, they=se are just some of the choices available for consumers in the market for cryptocurrency loans.

1. SALT (Secured Automated Lending Technology) Lending

One of the best benefits crypto-based lending has to offer is that a lessened importance on traditional credit scores as a factor for risk assessment. SALT Lending touts blockchain-based assets as “the perfect form of collateral.” The company is using this fact to “dramatically reduce the complexity and cost of the loan process.” SALT operates under Regulation D and, in lieu of credit checks, the company does AML and KYC verifications.

Offering three tiers of product, SALT’s loans start at $5,000 and go as high as $250 million. Loan percentages run between 12 and 22 percent APR, but the borrower retains the value of the collateral currency claiming any gains and losses that happen over the life of the loan. SALT accepts Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Dogecoin as collateral, and funds loans in USD.

One fact that could be a significant factor when deciding to use the SALT Lending platform is that loans are not transferable on the blockchain, but through existing financial channels. Thus, they become securities.

It’s not foolish to base a good bit of faith in a company that has proven players on its team. Founder Erik Voorhees was also involved in founding several other crypto websites prior to starting SALT Lending. Among these include Satoshi Dice, which he later sold, Coinapult, and ShapeShift.

2. ETHlend

Unlike SALT Lending, Estonia-based ETHlend is a fully decentralized P2P platform built on the Ethereum blockchain for lending Ether as tokens for collateral. Some insiders fear that platforms that allow their loans to become securities might run the risk of being swallowed up by banks.

ETHlend lends Ethereum, Bitcoin, their own LEND tokens, and DAI tokens, as well as 180+ other Ethereum-based tokens. The company offers address-to-address loans that are sent within minutes, with no middle men, assuring that no one, not even Ethlend, can stop one’s lending or borrowing. The company plans to expand beyond Ethereum to other distributed ledger platforms in Q3 of 2019.

The company’s interest rates range from .25 to five percent MPR, and all transactions are carried out on digital wallets. Borrowers that transact in the LEND token can get a no-fee loan.

Announced earlier this week, Aave is a tech-based company designed to expand on the offerings of centralized fintech companies like PayPal and Coinbase. Aave Pocket, Aave Gaming, and Aave Lending (SaaS) are among the offerings this expansion adds to the platform.

Unfortunately, the service is not yet available everywhere including a block to U.S. citizens.

3. Nexo

A new kid on this block is Nexo, and being a new kid means that they are doing things in a new manner. Founded in Zug, Switzerland—even more of an “EF Hutton” mention than Estonia—in 2017, Nexo promises the world’s first instant crypto-backed loans. Available worldwide, Nexo loans start at $1,000 and top out at $2 million.

The process is an easy one.

  • Log on to the website.
  • Verify your account
  • Deposit crypto assets into Nexo wallet
  • Withdraw loan to your bank account

There will be brief pauses while the borrower is verified—the company complies with the highest AML and KYC (provided by Onfido) standards—and while your deposit is confirmed on the blockchain. Overall, the Nexo process reads like a rather quick and seamless process.

The platform loans Euros, USD, and Tether while accepting Ether, bitcoin, Bincance coin (BNB), and Nexo as collateral currency. The interest rate is eight percent if the collateral currency is Nexo and 16 percent for all others. Nexo assets are stored in multi-signature wallets, more than one multiple cryptographic keys are necessary to gain access, and cold storage (wallets not connected to the Internet) at BitGo and PrimeTrust.

4. LendingBlock

LendingBlock predicts that, as digital assets grow as an asset class, demand for hedging, swaps, repurchases, and short selling will increase. The currency crypto market has more than $500 billion in assets circulating with less than one percent used as collateral. That leaves lots of room for growth.

Touted as the first cross-chain lending platform for the crypto economy, the company promises a product that will help its customers access secure, transparent, and fair crypto-to-crypto loans. Not a lender itself, LendingBlock provides the platform upon which parties can enter P2P contracts. The company acts as agent for both lender and borrower, as well as security trustee of the collateral. This ensures that the borrower doesn’t face any uncovered credit risk to the lender.

All collateral deposits are held in cold storage. Those who think regulation will be necessary before the crypto market can fully mature can take comfort in the fact that the company is focused on becoming a regulated business. They have submitted the full regulatory application to the country of Gibraltar and await the regulator’s response. They have also begun regulatory processes with the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK, and the Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodities Futures Trading Commission in the United States.

Basing the platform on its own token (LND), which is used to make payments and receive interest on loans, allows the company to reduce the cost of exchange fees and makes it easier to manage interest payments. The use of smart contracts reduces expenses, risks, and complexity, which makes for lower costs for borrowers and higher returns for the lenders.

5. BlockFi

New York-based BlockFi might be the ideal platform for Americans who want to secure USD loans with Bitcoin and Ethereum, provided that said Americans live in any of the 44 states where the company is currently conducting business.

The attractive thing about the BlockFi platform is that it seems easy enough for a lay person to understand without any kind of financial advice. A borrower needs to meet only two requirements to qualify for a loan: They can have no liens or bankruptcies on their record, and they must have at least $15,000 of crypto assets between their Bitcoin and Ethereum portfolios.

If those criteria are met, the customer can borrow up to 35 percent of their crypto asset value, with loans ranging from $2,000 to $10 million. Interest rates go from 12 to 14 percent APR, and there is an added fee of one to four percent of the loan value. Borrowers can take a loan in Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Litecoin.

Unlike other crypto-based lenders on this list, BlockFi does not have its own coin or token.

6. Unchained Capital

Texas-based Unchained Capital could very well be the platform of choice for those who want to liquidate their Bitcoin while maintaining it and seeing it go to work in the world.

Not only is the team at Unchained Capital in the market to make money as a lender, they have an idealistic side as well. Noting that 60 percent of Bitcoin sits around and does nothing, they have a goal to circulate it and use it to strengthen the platform. The company was founded by people who believe cryptocurrencies can change the world only if they’re useful.

The Unchained Capital team has designed its personal loans to be ideal for people who are looking to make large purchases, who hope to avoid tax events, and who want to invest. Their commercial loans are geared to companies that want to free up capital, expand their businesses, buy expensive equipment, and balance their portfolios.

Unchained Capital does not have its own cryptocurrency.

7. Other Companies to Consider

The crypto lending space is expanding. New lenders seem to be popping up quite often, which means that some people in the cryptocurrency space, at least, see a market for crypto-backed lending. Despite the market having taken a downturn in 2018, rebounding from the bull run last year that catapulted Bitcoin to $20,000 in December, this space is expanding. Lately, Bitcoin has been holding around the $6,500 mark. Since the majority altcoins tend to follow Bitcoin’s price, that means the market as  whole is down, yet more crypto lenders are ambling to get in the door.

Some of the other companies in the crypto lending space that might be worth checking out include BitBond, Credible Friends, Bitfinex (a crypto exchange that facilitates crypto financing transactions between parties), Celsius, Poloniex (another cryptocurrency exchange that allows traders to lend to other users), CoinLoan, Nebeus, GetLine, and BTCpop.

Authors:

Written by Paul Keenan and Allen Taylor.

Allen Taylor

Friday May 18 2018, Daily News Digest

Seedinvest returns vs traditional

News Comments Today’s main news: PayPal to buy iZettle. LendInvest integrates with Stripe. KBRA assigns preliminary ratings to Avant Loans Funding Trust 2018-A. Ant Financial extends dominance. Today’s main analysis: SeedInvest delivers 17.4% IRR. Today’s thought-provoking articles: UK tech expanding faster than the rest of the economy. Why spreading fiber optic cable in Africa offers hope. Digital transformation is key […]

Seedinvest returns vs traditional

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

  • PayPal to acquire iZettle for about $2.2 billion. AT: “This is huge news. If PayPal becomes a regular option in retail stores alongside Visa and Mastercard, it could become the defacto payment option for the majority of consumers. Of course, it will still have to compete with Square, Affirm, and Klarna. It’s bright spot is the massive head start is has over all of the above.”
  • Bitcoin boosts fintechs. AT: “I just can’t see any way that lenders and othe fintech companies to lose by offering crypto alternatives to their current products.”

Other

News Summary

United States

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to Avant Loans Funding Trust 2018-A (Business Wire) Rated: AAA

-Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to three classes of notes issued by Avant Loans Funding Trust 2018-A (“AVNT 2018-A”). This is a $221.935 million consumer loan ABS transaction that is expected to close on May 31, 2018.

Preliminary Ratings Assigned: Avant Loans Funding Trust 2018-A

Class Preliminary Rating Expected Initial

Class Principal

A A- (sf) $149,010,000
B BBB- (sf) $47,500,000
C BB- (sf) $25,425,000

SeedInvest Publishes Report on Investor Returns, Delivers IRR of 17.4% (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

SeedInvest, one of the largest investment crowdfunding platforms in the US, has released a performance report on investor returns. SeedInvest has been in operation since 2013 following the creation of accredited crowdfunding under Title II of the JOBS Act (Reg D 506c). Since that date, SeedInvest has become a full stack crowdfunding platform offering investments in the three different crowdfunding exemptions to both accredited and non-accredited investors.

Source: Crowdfund Insider

According to SeedInvest, investors on their platform have generated an unrealized Internal Rate of Return (IRR) of 17.4%1 since 2013. In comparison, this number is 1.5x greater than the 11.7% median return calculated by research firm Cambridge Associates for U.S. venture capital funds of the same vintage. The term of the report was up to the end of 2017.

SeedInvest said that the top 10% of their listed investors generated an a whopping 76.86% IRR while the bottom 10% delivered a negative 7.4% IRR. SeedInvest estimated that only 1.3% of their platform investors who have invested in three or more companies have generated negative unrealized IRR.

Check out the full report here.

Study Details Why Women Entrepreneurs Have Greater Crowdfunding Success (Entrepreneur) Rated: A

Crowdsourcing has emerged as a positive platform for women. The National Women’s Business Council released a report — Crowdfunding as a Capital Source for Women Entrepreneurs — based on exclusive and original data from the two leading crowdsourcing platforms, Kickstarter and Kiva. The goal was to determine various predictors of success on crowdsourcing platforms for women business owners, and if those predictors of success were different than their male counterparts.

Real Estate Crowdfunding Platform Small Change Lists Side by Side Reg CF – Reg D 506c Offer (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Recently, Small Change has listed their first side-by-side Reg D 506c / Reg CF offering thus leveraging a work around other securities crowdfunding platforms in the early stage space have incorporated.

 

The SEC Just Launched a Fake ICO Website to Educate Investors (CoinDesk) Rated: A

The regulator announced Wednesday it has launched a mock ICO called HoweyCoin, presumably named after the Howey Test, which “touts an all too good to be true investment opportunity.”

However, the company notes, “the offer isn’t real.” Users who try to invest in the token sale will instead be redirected to the regulator’s education tools, which are aimed at pointing out the signs of fraudulent token sales.

BlackRock’s bet on Acorns is a bet on tomorrow’s investor (Financial Planning) Rated: A

BlackRock’s investment in microinvesting app Acorns underscores an evolution occurring in financial services in its shift toward digital — that gaining scale early will be essential to amassing future client assets.

The world’s largest asset manager is leading a $50 million funding round that will build out the startup’s portfolio stack with new investment options. It also gives BlackRock an inside look into the behavior of next generation investors, which it says will help fine-tune future releases and broaden its appeal beyond large institutions and pension funds.

Fundation grabs $ 120 mln from SunTrust (PE Hub) Rated: A

Fundation Group LLC, a lender and credit solutions provider, has secured a $120 million credit facility from SunTrust Bank. Fundation is also backed by Waterfall Asset Management and is majority-owned by Garrison Investment Group.

TransUnion Announces Agreement to Acquire iovation to Strengthen Fraud and Identity Solutions (Omaha World-Herald) Rated: A

TransUnion (NYSE:TRU) has agreed to acquire iovation, one of the most advanced providers of device-based information in the world, strengthening its leadership position in fraud and identity management.

PR Mortgage & Investments Selects SS&C Precision LM to Support Its Agency Lending Operations (SS&C Technologies) Rated: B

SS&C Technologies Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq:SSNC), a global provider of financial services software and software-enabled services, today announced that PR Mortgage & Investment Corp. (“PR Mortgage”) has selected SS&C Precision LM to support loan servicing and origination for HUD/Ginnie Mae, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and its banking programs. SS&C Precision LM will also enhance PR Mortgage’s asset management and investor reporting, and provide secure web-based portals for borrower self-service and document workflow automation.

United Kingdom

LendInvest Announces Integration With Payments Platform Stripe To Streamline Loan Application Process (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

On Thursday, specialist property finance lender LendInvest announced it has expanded on its long-term partnership with Stripe by integrated the payments platform in order to streamline its loan application process. According to the online lender, the new integration will be embedded in the primary stages of the buy-to-let loan application process. LendInvest reported:

“Stripe allows the broker to pay the valuation fee through LendInvest’s online buy-to-let portal immediately after the borrower’s application forms have been signed. This process was previously handled manually, with the case manager having to call the broker and then the borrower to arrange payment. Managing these payments centrally through LendInvest’s self-service online portal cuts down the overall time taken to complete the application, whilst providing a transparent way to track this stage of the application process.”

Tech Nation 2018 report: UK tech expanding faster than the rest of the economy (Information Age) Rated: AAA

Tech is expanding 2.6 times faster than the rest of the UK economy, according to Tech Nation’s 2018 report. The digital tech sector is worth nearly £184 billion to UK economy, up from £170 billion in 2016.

London ranks as second most connected place for tech in the world, after Silicon Valley. But, when it comes to proportion of overseas customers, the UK capital trumps the self-appointed tech capital of the world.

The UK’s digital tech sector continues to accelerate faster than the rest of the economy, according to Tech Nation 2018. Turnover of digital tech companies grew by 4.5% between 2016-17 compared to UK GDP which grew by 1.7% over the same period, according to the figures.

HSBC to tap Open Banking potential through new partnership (AltFi News) Rated: A

HSBC UK is set to capitalise on the opportunities presented by Open Banking after agreeing to a partnership with consents.online, an Account Information Service Provider (AISP).

Under the deal, HSBC can access consumer transaction data held by other organisations. The bank plans to use this information to launch new consumer products.

It will also use consents.online’s consent management architecture, which allows consumers to view and control how their data is used. The platform gives consumers and small businesses the ability to see who is accessing their data and to control access – with the power to revoke it at any time.

Peer to Peer (P2P) Lending – Withholding Tax Obligations – Borrowers (and Lenders) Beware (Lexology) Rated: A

Borrowers and lenders should be aware that currently Ireland’s withholding tax regime has not been amended for P2P Lending (aside the ability in certain circumstances to group payments together to the same lender in a calendar year) and in that regard the Irish Revenue Commissioners have issued a timely Revenue eBrief reminding Irish corporate borrowers (as well as lenders) of their Irish tax obligations. In particular the general obligation on an Irish corporate borrower2 to, amongst other things, withhold tax on interest payments made on the finance raised, at the standard rate (currently 20%) subject to certain exceptions, most of which will not apply where the lender is an individual, regardless of where resident.

Ablrate takes equity stake in Huddle (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

ABLRATE has taken an equity stake in fellow peer-to-peer lender Huddle, as part of a wider strategic partnership between the two platforms.

Under the new deal, Ablrate has taken a minority holding in the business lender and the two platforms will share their investor bases.

 

Atom Bank launches mortgages for first-time buyers (AltFi News) Rated: A

Digital banking app Atom has launched first-time buyer products on its standalone Digital Mortgages platform.

The new loans will offer first-time home-buyers £500 cashback, along with a free valuation and no product fee. The newly-launched range will be available for mortgages between 80-95 per cent loan-to-value (LTV). The range consists of two, three and five-year fixed rates mortgages, with rates starting at 2.24 per cent.

The platform has also extended its existing range by adding 95 per cent LTV products for its purchase and remortgage products.

Furthermore, Atom has removed the £300,000 limit on first-time buyer applications and increased its maximum mortgage term from 35 to 40 years – changes meant to increase its flexibility and in line with broker feedback.

BitBose ICO (BOSE Token): Crypto Lending & Investment Platform (Bitcoin Exchange Guide) Rated: B

  • The platform will also have the Bitbose crypto loans program that will allow users to be able to receive real cash by holding to their crypto assets in a secured platform. The program offers an easy way for users to get money without having to sell their crypto assets. The program will have an easy to borrow and lend application, almost instant approval of loans and the borrower will get their cash instantly since it will be credited to borrower’s bank account. The interest rates are also competitive and do not have advance payment requirements. Another significant feature of the program is the lack of a capital block. Users of the program can withdraw their assets back anytime.
China

Ant Financial extends dominance in Chinese online finance (Financial Times) Rated: AAA

In documents reviewed by the FT Ant Financial says they now have more than 620 million users and their wealth management business has $345bn in assets under management; the information was put together for investors as the fintech company looks to raise $10bn of new capital; reports say the round is already oversubscribed and would value Ant Financial at more than $160bn

European Union

Hermes launches European Direct Lending Fund (AltFi News) Rated: A

Hermes Investment Management has launched the Hermes European Direct Lending following on from the launch of a UK direct lending fund in 2016.

Also headed by Patrick Marshall, Hermes head of private debt & CLOs, the European focused direct lending fund aims to offer institutional investors access to stable, low-correlated returns from high-quality, senior-secured loans.

These loans are typically to middle-market businesses in the UK and Europe, with a focus on Scandinavia, Germany, Benelux and Ireland.

Lendix Appoints Luuc Mannaerts As New CEO of Lender Nederland (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: B

Earlier this week, France-based online lending platform Lendix announced it has appointed Luuc Mannaerts as the new CEO of Lender Nederland, Lendix’s Dutch subsidiary. According to the online lender, Mannaerts has more than 20 years of experience in the Dutch and European banking sector.

Prior to joining Lendix, Mannaerts was CEO of ABN AMRO Commercial Finance, an ABN AMRO subsidiary with over 500 employees and specializing in SME finance in the Netherlands, the UK, France, and Germany. Lendix also revealed that thanks to his background, Mannaerts has specialized knowledge of the Dutch SME fabric

International

PayPal Agrees to Buy European Fintech Startup iZettle for About $ 2.2 Billion (Wall Street Journal) Rated: AAA

PayPal Holdings Inc. has agreed to buy European financial-technology startup iZettle AB for about $2.2 billion, a move that would catapult the U.S. digital-payments giant into hundreds of thousands of brick-and-mortar retailers around the world.

The acquisition, the largest in PayPal’s history, sets up a showdown between the San Jose, Calif., company and Jack Dorsey’s Square Inc.

Bitcoin is steroids for fintech startups that big banks are afraid to touch (Quartz) Rated: AAA

Making money by trading bitcoin, whose price has fallen by about 40%this year, has been difficult lately. But startups that provide services supporting crypto markets are faring much better. Companies like Revolut, a payment app, and Robinhood, a mobile broker, scoredlegions of new customers after they added buying and selling of digital tokens to their services.

TransferGo, a remittance company, is another fintech upstart that plans to offer crypto trading to customers. CEO Daumantas Dvilinskas says users were asking for ways to buy digital assets—about 4,000 people pre-registered for the service in just a few hours. The London-based firm, which announced today that it raised an additional $10 million from venture capital investors, will soon allow customers to buy and sell bitcoin, ethereum, XRP, litecoin, and bitcoin cash.

India

Fintech Startup Open Raises Pre-Series A Funding (Inc42) Rated: AAA

Bengaluru-based fintech startup Open Financial Technologies has raised an undisclosed amount of pre-series A funding led by Unicorn India Ventures and Recruit Co. Ltd, through its investment subsidiary RSP India Fund LLC.

Existing investors ISME-ACE and Vaibhav Domkundwar’s BetterCapital AngelList syndicate also participated in the round.

How has lending Money to SME evolved in India? (The Indian Wire) Rated: A

According to a report by Planning Commission of India, the MSME sector comprises 30 million establishments. It generates employment for 70 million people, manufactures over 6000 products, and contributes 45% to manufacturing output and 40% to exports. These statistics validate the fact that MSME sector is the backbone of the Indian economy.

There are several reasons why small and medium-size enterprises are unable to secure easy and quick business loans in India:

  • They do not have hard assets to mortgage, which disqualifies them from loans offered by most credit channels.
  • They do not have documented credit scores to assess their creditworthiness.
  • The loan application process in banks and other mainstream financial institutions is very tedious.

 

Asia

Validus, Lighthouse Canton launch S$ 20m SME financing fund (The Business Times) Rated: A

VALIDUS Capital and Lighthouse Canton Group launched a S$20 million fund to finance small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore on Friday, and hope to grow the fund to S$200 million in the next three years.

The LCV Trade Finance Fund will invest in loans that originate from Validus’ peer-to-peer lending platform.

Africa

Why the Spreading Network of Fibre Optic Cables Carries So Much Hope for Africa (Equities) Rated: AAA

The growing fibre infrastructure also has a direct impact on labour markets across the continent as the demand for specialized technicians and engineers increases. Plus, because fibre gives users and businesses access to more bandwidth, this technology is helping spur growth for small businesses directly and indirectly.

To illustrate, online P2P lending platforms such as Kiva and Lending Club have become quite popular with small businesses around the continent that now maintain an online presence. As a result, small business owners have ready access to unsecured business lines of credit, which helps them grow outside the confines of traditional financial systems.

Latin America

Why Digital Transformation Is Key to Argentina’s Future (Knowledge@Wharton) Rated: AAA

A surging U.S. dollar is playing havoc with its interest rates and the central bank pushed the key rate from 27.25% to a stunning 40% recently to support the peso. Even that was not enough to stem the run on the currency, and last week the government requested aid from the International Monetary Fund in the form of a $30 billion credit line.

In a country that has one of the smallest financial systems in the world as a percentage of GDP (14%), some of the world’s highest interest rates, and where nearly half of the population is unbanked, the opportunities presented by digital technologies are tremendous.

These include 123Seguro, the largest online insurance broker in Argentina, Mexico and Colombia, which is growing over 50% per year with an admittedly simple offering, and Afluenta, a peer-to-peer lending platform serving Mexico, Peru, Colombia and Argentina, and now expanding into Brazil, Chile and Uruguay.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday March 6 2018, Daily News Digest

credit card charge offs

News Comments Today’s main news: Is Amazon about to partner with JP Morgan Chase? Elevate saves customers $3B over payday loan alternatives. LendInvest hosts a roadshow. Folk2Folk lenders provide 200M GBP to UK rural businesses. China issues first personal credit rating license. Today’s main analysis: Credit card losses surge at small banks. Today’s thought-provoking articles: FT Partners’ CEO monthly […]

credit card charge offs

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

News Summary

United States

Amazon wants to make it easier to shop its website without a credit card (CNBC), Rated: AAA

Amazon is in early talks with financial institutions including J.P. Morgan Chase to help launch checking account-like products, aimed at younger customers and those without bank accounts, The Wall Street Journalreported Monday.

More than a quarter of U.S. households have no or limited access to checking and savings accounts. Unbanked doesn’t necessarily mean unconnected, about 6 in 10 unbanked consumers have a smartphone, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts.

New prime subscriptions flattened in the third quarter of 2017, according to analysts at Morgan Stanley. Another survey by Piper Jaffray in June said that 82 percent of U.S. households with more than $112,000 in annual income are already Prime members. Its reach is the lowest among those that make less than $41,000 a year.

In November, it announced that shoppers at 7-Eleven stores nationwide could deposit as little as $15 and as much as $500 into an Amazon account through its “Amazon cash” program. Shoppers can then use that cash to shop on Amazon. Nearly one-half of the U.S. population lives within one mile of a 7-Eleven store.

Will Amazon Pitch Financial Advice To Millennials? (Financial Advisor), Rated: A

If Amazon is successful in creating a banking relationship with its vast customer base of millennials, can an investment advice platform be far behind?

Stich predicts that Amazon, a company with a $700 billion market cap, will offer three levels of investment accounts to millennials and interested customers: It could offer do-it-yourself accounts and robo-advisory accounts; and for those who want a personal advisor, Amazon could create and refer customers to a state-by-state network of select investment professionals.

Consumers interested in idea of Amazon-created cryptocurrency, survey reveals (The Block), Rated: A

More than half of consumers would be open to using an Amazon-created cryptocurrency, with Amazon Prime users even keener, according to poll findings from student loan marketplace LendEDU.

The study, which polled 1,000 consumers who had purchased a product from Amazon in the past 30 days, found 51.7% would be interested in an ‘Amazon Coin’, with the number increasing to 58.27% for Prime members, and only one in five (21.9%) saying no.

Only 17% of those polled said they would trust Amazon more than a traditional bank, compared with 23% who disagreed and 38% who said levels of trust would be about the same. Nine in 10 respondents however said that overall, they trusted Amazon to have their best interests in mind, with 52.49% answering ‘yes, very much so’ and 37.56% opting for ‘somewhat.’

Elevate Milestone: Customers Have Saved More Than $ 3 Billion Over PayDay Loan Alternatives (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Elevate Credit, Inc. (Elevate), a tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, announced on Monday its customers have saved more than $3 billion to date, versus what they would have paid for payday loans. $1.3 billion was saved in 2017 alone.

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

This month’s report features an exclusive interview with Keith Smith, Co-founder and CEO of Payability, a platform that provides friction-free financing to sellers operating on digital marketplaces. In our conversation with Keith, he delves into the vision behind founding Payability and the unique opportunities and strategies of lending to online marketplace sellers.

M&A
Financings
 (FT Partners Advised)
 (FT Partners Advised)
 (FT Partners Advised)
 (FT Partners Advised)
 (FT Partners Advised)

Source: FT Partners

Download and read the full report here.

A Dialogue with Peter Renton: Cryptocurrency and Beyond (deBanked), Rated: AAA

deBanked: Why did you decide to rebrand LendIt as LendItFintech?

Renton: The main reason is that we have moved beyond the online lending space.

deBanked: What about online lending? The industry has gone through a lot of changes in its relatively short history. How do you expect to see the competitive landscape change in the next year or so? What about farther out?

Renton: The online lending space has gone through a lot of changes in its short history. I feel like the biggest trend we’re seeing right now is banks launching their own platforms. Take Goldman Sachs with the Marcus online lending platform, for example. More than anything else that has happened in the history of online lending that is among the most telling for the future, I think.

deBanked: What do you see as the biggest risks for online lenders today? How can they best overcome these challenges?

Renton: As an industry, we have to focus on profitability.

Credit-Card Losses Surge at Small Banks (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Missed payments on credit cards at small banks have risen sharply over the past year, a sign that their cardholders are taking on more debt than they can handle. Their charge-off rate, or the share of outstanding card balances written off as a loss after consumers failed to pay, hit 7.2% in the fourth quarter, up from 4.5% a year ago, according to Federal Reserve data.

But they’ve especially surged at smaller banks, those outside the 100 largest by assets that have less than around $10.4 billion in assets. There, the average charge-off rate is near an eight-year high, while the 3.5% loss rate at large banks remains well below the 10.6% seen in 2010.

tZero Has Acquired VerifyInvestor for Million in Cash (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Buried within the tZero Offering Memorandum for its ongoing initial coin offering were several interesting items of note. The first was the fact the SEC was in the process of reviewing the offering. Another interesting bit of information was the fact tZero has acquired a majority stake in VerifyInvestor.

 

Gina Harman of Accion (Lend Academy), Rated: A

My next guest on the Lend Academy Podcast is Gina Harman, the CEO of the U.S. Network for Accion. They are a non-profit lender with 14 regional offices around the country focused on providing funding to underserved businesses. Accion has a very consultative approach to lending so their work often involves face to face meetings with the potential borrowers. But they are also serving the entire country through online means today.

LendingPoint Launches Merchant Solutions Platform (BusinessWire), Rated: A

LendingPoint, the company working to revolutionize access to consumer credit, today unveiled LendingPoint Merchant Solutions to provide merchants and other service providers a fully integrated one-stop retail financing platform to convert more consumers at the point of sale.

LendingPoint Merchant Solutions combines the LoanHero merchant onboarding, program management and reporting technology with LendingPoint’s industry-leading credit underwriting, risk management, and customer service expertise.

Grameen America eyes banks in ambitious push to expand microlending effort (American Banker), Rated: A

Grameen America is looking for banks and social impact investors to help fuel significant growth in its microlending effort.

The plan is to double the size of its loan portfolio, and lend a cumulative total of $2 billion, over the next five years, David Gough, its chief financial officer, said in an interview.

RICO suit filed against Great Plains Lending over allegations of predatory online lending scheme (Legal NewLine), Rated: A

Vanessa C. Grainger, Beverly Kristina Miller and Lilya J. McAtee, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, filed a complaint on Feb. 16 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina against Great Plains Lending LLC, Kenneth E. Rees, Victory Part Capitol Advisors LLC, et al. over alleged violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

THE SEC’S ICO SUBPOENA EXPLAINED (Irish Tech News), Rated: A

“The SEC typically sends a subpoena for one of two reasons: you are either a direct target of a new or ongoing investigation or you are involved somehow with an entity or individual that is under investigation,” notes William Skelley, Co-founder of William Chris, a Dubai-based consulting firm founded by David Drake and Simon Cocking.

Clayton had stated that most ICOs need to register with SEC because, like other securities that the agency regulates, they trade coins in secondary markets. However, ICO companies have shown reluctance in subjecting themselves to SEC’s oversight despite the fact that up to $8.7 billion has been raised through ICOs, based on CoinDesk data.

How Stash Invest is trying to reach the underserved (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Stash is letting its customers invest in single stocks, the company’s latest major investment product launch beyond theme-based exchange-traded funds.

Stash lets customers buy portions of shares (called fractional shares) with a minimum balance of $5.

Core Upgrade Brings Orion’s Dynamic, Time-Saving Reporting to Private Assets (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Orion Advisor Services, LLC (“Orion”), the premier portfolio accounting service provider for advisors, today announced the release of its Alternative Investment Platform (“AIP”), a tool that lets Orion advisors show their clients’ private assets as easily as their public holdings at no additional cost.

AIP lets financial advisors track and maintain alternative investment data for client assets held in private equity, direct investments, venture capital, hedge funds, private real estate, REITs, and more, with ease and efficiency. AIP lets advisors aggregate and update committed capital amounts, total cash distributions, return of capital, and commitment amounts for alternative investments of all types into client reports alongside publicly-traded assets to create a cohesive picture of the client’s net worth.

Is there a sandbox in the US’s future? (Euromoney), Rated: A

The cooperation between the FCA and the CFTC will cover information sharing, referrals and learning from proofs of concept, trials or innovation competitions.

Various agencies – including the CFTC, SEC and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (Finra) – oversee specific segments of the market, and for a US sandbox regime to be successful there would need to be substantial collaboration and coordination between all of these agencies.

Shinnecock Partners Publishes “How to” for Private Investors on Direct Lending (PRWeb), Rated: B

Direct lending is a new category that is reshaping the asset management and investment landscape, yet most investors see the arena as a “black box.” Shinnecock Partners, a 28-year old family office boutique with significant expertise in alternative finance and fintech, offers investors insights into the category with its recently published report: High Yield for Investors in Specialty Finance: Exploring Opportunities in Factoring and Merchant Cash Advance. Written and researched by the firm’s founding partner, Alan C. Snyder and co-author Marla Harkness, the 37-page report is a virtual blueprint for investors, RIAs, advisory firms and the new generation of innovators who have started alternative lending companies to serve a vacuum left by large banks and community banks that used to serve small and mid-size business pre-recession.

The paper covers:

  •     In-depth descriptions of both factoring and merchant cash advance (MCA) loan originators
  •     Insider lingo, so investors are up to speed when reviewing documents
  •     Regulatory history and framework
  •     Detailed investor evaluation checklists

You can access the report here: High Yield For Investors in Specialty Finance.

Fintech firms are gobbling up Manhattan office space (The Real Deal), Rated: B

Fintech firms and units of larger companies accounted for roughly 877,000 square feet of Manhattan office leasing last year, according to JLL data reported by the Wall Street Journal. That’s almost triple the sector’s total for 2014.

Venture capital funding for fintech firms has roughly doubled from 2014 to $2.2 billion in 2017, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Albuquerque ranks among 10 best places for new small businesses (Biz Journals), Rated: B

Albuquerque ranked No. 8 on LendingTree’s list of the best cities for new small businesses released Feb. 27.

United Kingdom

Roadshow Announcement (London South East), Rated: AAA

LendInvest Limited, the specialist mortgage provider, announces that it has mandated Peel Hunt to arrange a series of meetings with fixed income investors in the UK and Channel Islands, commencing the week of 5 March 2018, to discuss a possible second issue of sterling denominated bonds.

Folk2Folk Lenders Provide £200 Million to Rural Businesses in the UK (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Folk2Folk, a peer-to-peer (P2P0 lending platform for local and rural businesses, announced on Monday it has now lent £200 million, providing a valuable source of capital to hundreds of local businesses across the UK. According to the online lending, this milestone demonstrates the strong demand in the company’s Local Lending Movement as Lenders and Borrowers are attracted by Folk2Folk’s platform, providing a fair exchange that sees no difference between what Borrowers repay and Lenders receive on a monthly basis.

Folk2Folk’s lending milestone was reached thanks to a growing community of local Lenders who have placed £20,000 or above on the lender’s platform. The average lent per Lender now exceeds £65,000. Lenders receive 6.5%pa interest which is paid monthly, helping them achieve their financial goals, whether it be an additional income for retirement or funding a life event like a once in a lifetime holiday.

Exchange Platform LendingBlock Boosts the Development of the Crypto Sphere (Coinspeaker), Rated: A

Lendingblock is an outstanding representative of the “picks and shovel” business of the crypto economy. The recent announcement of an ICO by this company raises an important issue: can these followers of Gold Rush traditions achieve the same success?

Lendingblock is an open exchange platform for both borrowers and lenders of crypto currencies. The platform enables owners of digital assets to earn passive, low risk interest income, while borrowers get an opportunity get assets needed to support trading, hedging and working capital needs.

Tales of failed peer-to-peer lenders (AltFi), Rated: A

A little-known pawnbroking and property-backed peer-to-peer lending platform named Collateral has gone into administration, according to reports. Its investors are in limbo, unable to access their money or even view their accounts.

Be The Lender folded in August 2014. It was a tiny peer-to-peer platform with a focus on lending to small businesses.

GraduRates was a very small peer-to-peer lender specialising in loans to post-graduate students. In 2014, with a new regulatory regime for P2P firms looming, its founder Jonathan Webb decided to close down operations.

TrustBuddy was a peer-to-peer firm specialising in short-term loans for consumers. It is perhaps the best-known example of a P2P blow-up because it was the first big platform to go belly-up.

Finally, the complete comedy that was the Ezubao blow-up. There are many, many examples of failed Chinese P2P platforms, but Ezubao takes the biscuit.

FOS tells adviser to pay client over £30k loss through unsecured Sipp loan (Money Marketing), Rated: A

The Financial Ombudsman Service has told an adviser to compensate a client who they told to make an unsecured loan to a third party with money from their Sipp.

Mr H says O’Rourke Partnership recommended and arranged for him to make an unsecured loan of £29,325 to the third party from funds he held in his Sipp.

The loan was to be over a short-term at a high rate of interest but the loan has not been repaid and Mr H has lost his money.

An investigator reviewed the complaint, thought the advice was unsuitable and recommended that it should be upheld.

P2P lending “high  up the scale of respectability” for non-standard investments (AltFi), Rated: A

BondMason boss warns that recent FSCS fines are likely make SIPP providers extra cautious in reviewing non-standard investments.  

An estimated one million people are said to have taken up a SIPP (self-investment pension plan) since the wrapper was first introduced as part of the government’s Pension Freedom Reforms in April 2015. But squeezing non-standard investments into the still relatively-new tax wrapper hasn’t been easy.

Archover announces new non-exec director, nears profitability (AltFi), Rated: A

The peer-to-peer business lender is turning dissenters into directors with its latest hire, after hitting £60m in lending.

ArchOver, the p2p business lending platform, has announced it will be appointing Bill Johnston to its board as a non-executive director. Johnston previously was an outspoken critic of p2p lending and alternative finance in general, but says he has been swayed after seeing ArchOver succeed.

Beauty marketplace founder joins Blend Network management team (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

A FORMER Morgan Stanley banker turned beauty marketplace founder is among two appointments to the board of a new peer-to-peer lending platform aiming to become the “Goldman Sachs of P2P”.

Roxana Mohammadian-Molina, a former Morgan Stanley vice president and founder of Zeebba – which arranges at-home beauty services – has joined asset-backed property lender Blend Network as business development manager.

Metro Loans Presents Unsecured Business Start up Loans for Unemployed in UK (MENAFN), Rated: B

The UK based direct lending company has come up with unsecured business start up loans to build up new entrepreneurs.

China

China Issues its First Personal Credit Rating License (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On February 22, the People’s Bank of China published an announcement about setting up personal credit rating agencies. According to the document, Baihang Credit Rating Co., Ltd., was granted the first personal credit rating license in China, and the qualifications of its management team (including board member, supervisors and senior management) has all received approval.

A New Ransomware Virus Could Steal All Your Alipay Balance

Recently, a ransomware virus called “unicorn 2.1” raged online. It spreads through QQ and other Instant Messengers.

Once the virus hacks the computer, it will lock all the files in the computer and requires the victim to pay ¥3 yuan by scanning with his / her Alipay. As long as the victim scans the QR code, the hacker will be able to get access to the Alipay account and steal all the balance.

International

Marketplace lending platform Maliyya scores EUR1.3 million in seed funding (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Maliyya, a fintech company engaged in development of a P2P lending and borrowing platform, has just closed the first seed investment round of USD$1.3 million from Ground1 Ventures, a private investment firm based out of UK.

Targeting to become a primary P2P lending and borrowing platform for the Middle East, North African and Asian Region, Maliyya is working on to roll out its MVP in the coming months.

How can today’s generation of lenders fight global financial crime? (LendIt), Rated: AAA

What if you lent money to someone who used it to finance an act of terrorism? Or to disguise the proceeds of drug dealing. How would this make you feel and what would it mean for the reputation of your growing business?

Today’s generation of FinTechs however, face huge technology and operational challenges – they interface with banks and therefore need ‘bank-grade’ solutions for KYC/AML but existing technology solutions struggle to fit with their unique needs. Increasingly, they are looking to new technology to help them comply with global KYC/AML standards, maintain banking relationships and ultimately fight financial crime.

What are the financial crime risks for lenders and FinTechs?

Lenders spend billions of dollars a year on compliance solutions trying to combat their financial crime risk, which broadly fall into two categories: anti-money laundering / terrorist financing (AML/CTF) risk and fraud.

Crypto’s missing pieces: Building a sustainable financial ecosystem (International Business Times), Rated: AAA

Centralized, “off-chain” cryptocurrency exchanges, including Bitfinex and Poloniex, support margin-lending. Although limited to certain customer groups, and a limited number of assets, they generally fit the definition of money markets. The downside is that investors have to trust that the exchange won’t get hacked or abscond with assets. That’s a big risk. The recent $530 million heist from the Japanese exchange, Coincheck, isn’t likely to be the last, and many customers feel that the incremental returns aren’t worth the risk. That may change as exchanges move toward adoption by the existing financial system.

Peer to peer lending protocols, including ETHLend and Lendroid, eliminate the risk of centralization by allowing users to lend to each other directly. But to an outside observer, they hardly resemble money markets with a uniform interest rate.

Peer to peer lending protocols, including ETHLend and Lendroid, eliminate the risk of centralization by allowing users to lend to each other directly. But to an outside observer, they hardly resemble money markets with a uniform interest rate.

Profile Software’s innovative solutions for banking and wealth industry (Hubbis), Rated: B

The company today has a presence in Europe, the Middle East, America, Asia and Africa, throughout those regions delivering innovative solutions to both start-ups and established banking and finance institutions, through direct communication or a reliable partners network.

Profile’s leading platform, Axia is an omnichannel wealth management  platform covering all aspects of the investment operations that modularly, and with flexibility, embrace the whole spectrum of portfolio management, with continuous updates on client onboarding, online trading, compliance issues (such as MiFID II), instruments, custodian links and bank interfaces, financial planning, and so forth. The investment management solution also supports operations in insurance firms, private banking, custody, brokerage needs and more, with a successful track record.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday March 5 2018, Daily News Digest

marketplace lending

News Comments Today’s main news: Kabbage says ‘no’ to lending for assault guns. Collateral enters administration. Orix invests $60M in Wecash. SMBs accept face-to-face payments via mobile devices. Today’s main analysis: The friction between new finance and old regulations (a must-read report). Today’s thought-provoking articles: 3 lessons from LendingClub’s earnings. The business schools that produce the highest salaries. Beware fintechs […]

marketplace lending

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United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Africa

News Summary

United States

Online lender Kabbage to restrict weapons lending (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Kabbage Inc, a U.S. online lender for small businesses, said it will cut ties with clients that make or sell assault-style rifles or that sell weapons or ammunition to people under 21 years old, one of the strongest steps by any financial firm after last month’s high school massacre in Florida.

3 Revelations From LendingClub’s Earnings Report (The Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

1. Lawsuit settlements

One piece of good news is that the company recently dealt with its largest liabilities from the 2016 scandal, settling both federal and state class action shareholder lawsuits. The bad news: LendingClub has to pay plaintiffs a total of $125 million, with $47.75 million covered by insurance, leaving LendingClub on the hook for the remaining $77.25 million. That amounts to roughly 12% of the company’s liquid assets and about 5% of the current market capitalization.

2. A challenging environment

In addition to these company-specific problems, the macroeconomic environment has become more challenging, though that is no fault of LendingClub. Increased awareness of personal loans delivered via the internet has spurred a large increase in applications, and LendingClub saw a 43% increase in applications in 2017 — much higher than the company’s 3.7% growth in originations.

3. Cost cuts in 2018

LendingClub believes it has stabilized both its credit model and its investor base in 2017 while introducing new investor products, and it will pivot in 2018 to focusing on controlling costs. Part of that will entail outsourcing its loan servicing to industry-standard third parties while reallocating internal engineers to the things that differentiate the company, like data-driven underwriting and product innovation.

For the full year 2018, the company forecasts 18% to 22% revenue growth while targeting cost growth of only 14% to 16%.

 

The top 20 business schools where graduates earn the most money, ranked from lowest to highest salary (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

With that in mind, online lender SoFi looked at the average salary graduates of American business schools earn and ranked the top 20.

SoFi’s approach is unique. It reviewed the self-reported income on over 60,000 student-loan refinancing forms from January 2014 to December 2017.

The average salary for graduates of all business schools SoFi reviewed was $109,992.

  • 20. University of Texas at Austin — $139,776
  • 3. Stanford University — $186,534
  • 2. Columbia University — $189,295
  • 1. University of Pennsylvania — $224,034

There is Friction Between New Finance & Old Regulation (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The Milken Institute is out with a comprehensive report this week that drills down into existing legislative action by Congress that addresses the emerging Fintech industry. This is the first report of its kind and provides a solid perspective on what Congress has accomplished to date while recognizing the fact elected officials can do far more.

“Subjecting nonbank lenders to 50 different state usury laws is inconsistent with today’s increasingly interconnected and digital global economy.”

The research provides multiple policy recommendations. In brief, they are as follows:

  • Provide certainty on “true lender” and “valid when made” issues to maintain a vibrant, competitive marketplace for credit.
  • Harmonize inconsistent state-by-state regulations related to mobile banking to drive financial inclusion and access.
  • Update tax reporting guidelines regarding cryptocurrency transactions to protect against tax evasion and to promote a more transparent, responsible marketplace.
  • Enable the reporting of alternative data that can expand access to credit.
  • Develop common reporting standards among U.S. financial regulators to foster a more transparent marketplace.
  • Require the IRS to automate certain data collection and reporting processes that can help enhance the speed and efficacy of the underwriting process.

This report is a must read policy paper for Capitol Hill staffers and US Fintech industry participants.

Read the full report here.

Equity and Credit Market Volatility, Continuing Bank-FinTech Partnerships (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

US equity markets had a bad week as the S&P500 closed 3.3% lower at 2,659. CDX IG spreads widened marginally by 0.6 bps to 55 bps and CDX HY spreads widened by 8.7 bps to 337 bps. We have seen significantly higher volatility this year, driven mainly by rising interest rates and inflation expectations. No new MPL deals have priced since the rise in volatility, although we expect the first $1 Bn MPL ABS transaction to announce soon.

We share a few anecdotes from our informal conversations which we share in generic fashion to protect the innocent:

  • A large issuer: “Our bonds are oversubscribed 2 to 3x. And when we share that with our investors they want more.”
  • A large ABS investor: “We need help monitoring losses in the personal loan ABS space. Is this an indutry issue?”
  • A large investment bank (Warehouse): “We ar doubling our exposure to warehouse lending. We have the mandate to grow the book.”
  • A large investment bank (Syndicate Desk): “MPL has gone mainstream now.”
  • A lender: “The 5% risk retention requirement is hurting our ability to issue loans to consumer and grow our business responsibly.”
  • An issuer: “We are a small emerging originator and we have 7 term sheets – from large banks and small – in the last few weeks. Competition in warehouse lending is growing.”

Also heard at the conference was that Citibank is planning a Marcus-like online lender to enter the consumer unsecured loans space, although the timeline was unclear. Our view is that the GS Marcus – and specifically the ROE and NIM opportunity – is inspiring competitive response from other banks including Citi.

Marketplace lenders develop new wrinkles to attract more funding (American Banker), Rated: A

Last year, marketplace lenders learned that maintaining diverse sources of funding is just as important as managing the credit risk in their loans.

LendingClub, Marlette Funding and others developed their own securitization platforms, rather than relying on whole-loan sales to large investors. They also invited some of these investors to contribute seasoned loans to collateral pools for these in-house deals.

Marketplace lending’s death has been over exaggerated (PaymentsSource), Rated: A

It’s clear that equity investors no longer see the value of marketplace lenders, such as companies that provide credit at the point of sale or online lending.

Source: PaymentSource

A typical lender leverages equity into debt at a fixed ratio. If they want to grow their portfolio they have to raise equity and lever it into more debt. An off-balance sheet marketplace eliminates the equity-debt leverage ratio allowing a lender to double and triple their portfolio as quickly as they can grow their marketplace.

The SEC Goes Hot with ICO Subpoenas but are Regulators “on Shaky Legal Ground?” (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The fact the Securities and Exchange Commission has been issuing subpoenas to initial coin offering (ICOs) issuers has been rumored for quite some time. Recently, multiple publications, including Crowdfund Insider, revealed this fact. The SEC has been warning of this sort of activity for many months and, while not surprising to most, it is an unpleasant moment for an issuer when that subpoena shows up.

Mulvaney says the CFPB will depend heavily on state Attorneys General for enforcement of consumer protection laws (Lexology), Rated: B

For example, the acting director noted that the agency will devote greater resources to consumer education, instead of relying heavily on enforcement actions to ensure consumers make the correct choices, reaffirming previous remarks in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece (previously covered by InfoBytes here).

Mulvaney stated that he does not anticipate devoting any further resources to mandatory arbitration clauses, citing Congress overturning its arbitration rule through the Congressional Review Act as evidence the Bureau does not have the authority to do so.

3rd Circuit holds payday lender’s arbitration clause unenforceable (Lexology), Rated: B

On February 27, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit held that an arbitration clause is unenforceable if the corresponding forum selection provision designates a forum that does not actually exist.

The benefits of fintech for the credit invisible (microbilt), Rated: A

 

Rethinking The Reputation Of The Merchant Cash Advance (PYMNTS), Rated: A

The rise of alternative lending and familiarity of growing names like OnDeck is beginning to shift public perception of the merchant cash advance, however.

There are scenarios, too, in which a merchant cash advance may actually be the best financial option for a business in need of working capital.

“We see a lot of clients who already have a long-term equipment loan, or an SBA loan, or a loan from a traditional bank or a factoring line, and they’re looking to unlock short-term liquidity from their business,” he said. “When you take out an SBA loan or equipment loan, you have to have some type of collateral to pledge, and that money can dry up quickly. We come in un-collateralized.”

One driver behind the shifting reputation of merchant cash advances is the industry’s participation in technology adoption and innovation.

At Best Egg, talk is a best practice (American Banker), Rated: B

So, every quarter, he and the company’s management team host an all-hands meeting and outline to the company’s 100-plus employees what the most important goal for the next 90 days will be.

So the word went out to employees that for the time being, efforts to grow the business would have to take a back seat to making certain that the existing business was profitable. According to Meiler, it was employees’ focus on the task that helped Best Egg rack up $11 million in GAAP profits last year, even as competitors were still posting operating losses in the tens of millions of dollars. And, he adds, the company still grew its business by 60% anyhow.

Best Fintechs to Work For (American Banker), Rated: A

Office exercise happens beyond a standing desk at many of the companies. NvoicePay not only provides stretching areas and lockers to employees, it offers monthly classes with a certified trainer and kinesiologist. Marlette Funding’s Best Egg unit offers employees self-defense classes on site, along with yoga.

And if you like the beach, check out nCino, where employees regularly go for early morning paddleboat sessions at nearby Wrightsville Beach in Wilmington, N.C., and SmartbizLoans, which hosts “Disco Yoga” at San Francisco’s Baker Beach.

Addressing an employee’s well-being and comfort comes in different forms, whether it is Cross River Bank’s policy of providing 100% of the premium for various insurance benefits covering employees and their families, Nav’s unlimited paid time off option for employees, or Ensenta’s tradition of celebrating workforce diversity with multiple holidays, including Kwanzaa, Diwali, and the Day of the Dead.

To keep burnout in check, PeerStreet mixes play with hard work (American Banker), Rated: A

To that end, they’ve established a company that regularly celebrates its successes and milestones with parties, and encourages employees to get together and have fun in nonwork environments. A prime example of the latter is the PeerStreet Olympics, an annual event in which the company is divided for a day into teams of friendly athletic competition, some of which takes place on the beach near its Southern California offices.

United Kingdom

Peer-to-peer lender Collateral enters administration (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Collateral (UK), a small P2P company offering pawnbroker-style and property-backed loans with 15 per cent returns, went into administration on Wednesday after it emerged that it was not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority.

BondMason offers to step in on Collateral loans (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

PEER-TO-PEER investor BondMason has offered to step in and manage the loanbook of the troubled Collateral platform.

BondMason, which invests in loans across more than 30 P2P platforms on behalf of investors, revealed it has invested 2.48 per cent of its portfolio through Collateral, which has fallen into administration.

P2P platforms reassure investors after Collateral closure (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

PEER-TO-PEER lending firms have been reassuring their investors about the safety of their platforms in the aftermath of Collateral going into administration.

Business lenders Ablrate and MoneyThing have both sent messages to their customers detailing their stability, performance and regulatory requirements that mean they have to hold client money separately and have a ‘living will’ that puts a plan in place should a business fail.

Growth in the number of Zombie businesses in the South East says report (Daily Echo), Rated: A

The proportion of south east companies which are only paying the interest on their debts – one of the signs of a so-called ‘zombie’ business – has risen to four per cent in December from one per cent in April 2017, according to indicative research by R3, the insolvency and restructuring trade body.

This represents around 12,000 businesses in the region.

Beware Fintech Firms Bearing Bitcoin (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Rather than try and undercut banks, or chase millennial savers’ pennies at a loss, fintech firms are now leaping at the chance to make serious cash through a technology that most banks won’t even touch. What’s more, Bitcoin has the power to take over people’s lives. One trader says it’s worse than gambling; Korea calls victims “zombies.”

Here’s a roll call of recent converts: Mobile-payments firm Square Inc. has rolled out Bitcoin trading; social-payments app Circle splashed $400 million on Poloniex, only about 15 months after it had stopped offering bitcoin trading; and money-transfer company Revolut has started offering crypto trading facilities.

Trading platform Coinbase booked more than $1 billion in revenue last year, according to Recode, which, if true, is more than peer-to-peer marketplace Lending Club and more than Square. On top of the money to be made from trading fees and asset-price gains, Bitcoin could also act as a lure, helping startups cross-sell their other products to a bigger audience.

 

London Fintech Humaniq Launches New Version of Mobile App (Crowfund Insider), Rated: A

On Friday, London-based FinTech firm Humaniq revealed it is marking the milestone of its mobile app reaching its first 50,000 downloads by unveiling a new, improved version.

Some of the new features include:

  • New referral program: The new 2.0 referral program will build on this by displaying community progress with referrals and thereby make the referral process more transparent and intuitive for all users.
  • Transaction options extension: Transactions can now be made through the messaging chat system.
  • New registration process: Allows users to start interacting with a Humaniq assistant bot, which becomes smarter and is learning to execute more useful commands, even without the registration.

Peer-to-peer lender Linked Finance helps firms to add 2,400 jobs (The Times), Rated: A

The country’s largest peer-to-peer lending platform said that it had supported the creation of more than 2,400 jobs since it began its Irish operations almost five years ago.

Linked Finance, which connects local businesses in need of loans with an online lending community of individuals, institutions and other investors, said firms that had borrowed money through its platform had raised staffing levels by 24 per cent on average.

City Moves for 5 March 2018 – who’s switching jobs at ArchOver? (City A.M.), Rated: B

ArchOver, the peer-to-peer (P2P) business lending platform, has announced Bill Johnston will join its board of directors as a non-executive director (NED). In his role, Bill will support ArchOver in formularising its training and development programme, to ensure it has the right talent in place as it continues to scale.

China

Orix invests $ 60m in Chinese fintech startup (Asian Review), Rated: AAA

Japanese financial services group Orix bought a 6.4 billion yen ($59.8 million) stake in Wecash, a Chinese startup that uses big data and artificial intelligence to rate consumer credit.

Wecash can calculate a consumer’s creditworthiness in 10 seconds or less using phone records and other personal information, and has partnered with dozens of financial institutions so far. It also suggests potential lenders to consumers looking to take out a loan.

Only about 30% of the Chinese population is believed to borrow money from banks.

Hong Kong gives fintech measures the thumbs up (Asia Asset Management), Rated: B

Hong Kong will allocate HK$500 million (US$64.1 million) to financial services, including fintech, over the next five years, Mr. Chan said in the budget speech.

European Union

We talked to Nordic fintech queen Lena Apler – and her message to legacy banks is reboot or die (Business Insider), Rated: A

Big banks are particularly exposed when it comes to ETF funds. The fast-growing $5 trillion-dollar industry is being challenged by a crop of robo advisors, such as Apler’s portfolio company Sigmastocks, an algorithm-powered tool that tailors portfolios for customers, or BetterWealth, a roboadvisor app.

Although the region’s leading banks, such as Danske, Nordea and Swedbank are doing some good things and building new digital banking products and roboadvisory capabilities, Apler says, it won’t be enough.

Apler’s online bank Collector, which received its full banking license in 2015, has expanded to comprise cards, saving accounts and quick loans to both consumers and businesses. Collector doesn’t face the same issues as legacy banks in a digital world, Apler explains.

International

SMBs Turn To Mobile Devices To Accept Payments In Face-To-Face Environments (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

The retail point-of-sale (POS) terminal market is no stagnant business. While it is currently a $15 billion industry, Global Market Insights is expecting it to reach $45 billion by the year 2024.

Only 13 percent of small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are considering adding new payment types to face-to-face and remote environments, according to The PYMNTS SMB Technology Adoption Index.

Here are five ways SMBs are accepting payments from their customers.

  1. About a quarter – or 26 percent – of SMBs use hardware and software integrated POS to accept payments in a face-to-face environment.
  2. Almost two in 10 – or 19 percent of SMBs – use check scanning to accept payments in a face-to-face environment.
  3. And just about the same amount – 18 percent – of SMBs use NFC-enabled terminals to accept payments in a face-to-face environment.
  4. Fourteen percent of SMBs use mobile phones to accept payments in a face-to-face environment.
  5. Just under one in 10 – or 8 percent – of SMBs use mobile tablets. 

AltFin Shines As Investor Interest In B2B FinTech Continues (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Total venture capital across the global FinTech market between 2010 and 2017 hit a combined $97.7 billion, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 47 percent.

Accenture highlighted Kabbage, the U.S. alternative small business lending firm, that secured $900 million in 2017, while other alternative finance players, like LendingPoint and SoFi, landed significant investment rounds.

This week, alternative lender C2FO showed that the alternative finance funding gears are still turning, landing $100 million from Allianz X and Mubadala Investment Company. Existing backers Temasek, Union Square Ventures and Mithril Capital also participated, an announcement said.

This week’s blockchain investment comes from Square Peg Capital, which provided $5.5 million in Series A funding to AgriDigital, an Australian company hoping to use the funds to expand into North America.

Reports in The Australian Financial Review this week said the company uses blockchain to facilitate supply chain finance to the agriculture business, offering supply chain management features also powered by distributed ledger technology.

Why More MBA Students Are Gunning For Careers In Fintech (Business Because), Rated: A

According to CB Insights, $4.7 trillion of revenue generated by financial services firms is at risk of being displaced by fintech startups.

Prominent business school alumni have founded successful fintech startups, such as Giles Andrews, who setup peer-to-peer lender Zopa after getting an MBA at INSEAD. Jeff Lynn and Carlos Silva developed crowdfunding platform Seedrs during their MBA at Oxford’s Saïd Business School. According to PwC’s Global Fintech Report 2017, funding of fintech startups has increased at an annual growth rate of 41% over the past four years, with $40 billion in cumulative investment made.

Niels Turfboer is UK managing director at Spotcap, the Berlin-based online lender.

Lending and profit on the blockchain – Bitstrades targets new markets (The Merkle), Rated: B

Bitstrades is clearly aiming to position itself as a complete platform that both links users together and also leverages economies of scale to make both lending and investing possible. The Bitstrades ICO raised millions in funding and now the BSS token is available for trading.

TigerWit Raises $ 5M in Funding (Finsmes), Rated: B

TigerWit, a global fintech company, secured $5m in funding.

Australia/New Zealand

Financial planners not needed in credit space (TheAdviser), Rated: A

Bringing financial planners into the credit space would be unnecessary, according to a Commonwealth Bank executive, as there are more than enough brokers to service the mortgage needs of Australians.

The CBA executive said: “With 16,000 brokers out in the marketplace, we’re certainly not in a position where we need more people to serve Australians well in meeting their mortgage needs. For me, it’s certainly not a quantity issue.

The PC has also alleged that brokers working for lender-owned aggregators could feel compelled to provide customers with home loan products offered by the bank with an ownership share of the business.

Commissioner Stephen King referenced CBA’s ownership of Aussie Home Loans and cited figures published in the PC’s report, which said that 37 per cent of loans written by Aussie brokers were for CBA products.

We launch a new calculator that figures out the true “cost of credit” of a loan contract (Interest.co.nz), Rated: B

This one will be very helpful for readers who know just three things: how much they are borrowing, the amount of their repayments, and the number of those repayments.

It will be very useful indeed for anyone contemplating taking out a personal loan, a car loan, or even a payday loan.

With just these three items, you can work out the effective cost of credit of the debt obligation, expressed as a % per annum.

India

FY 19 – Beginning of a New Era for P2P Lending in FinTech Sector (India Info Online), Rated: AAA

India is poised to be a USD 4-trillion economy by 2022, of which USD 1-trillion would be digital economy.

Digital economy was a focal point for this budget ’18 as government’s support with regard to lending MSME’s allocated 3794 crore in the form of capital support and interest subsidy by 2022 which will help develop the MSME sector. Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) contribute about a third of India’s manufacturing output and provide employment to over 10 crore people. Despite this, the share of institutional lending in the total borrowings of MSMEs is less than 10%.

The prudential guidelines include maximum leverage ratio that can be maintained (2 times), minimum net owned funds (Rs2 crore), cap on aggregate exposure of lender to all borrowers (Rs.10 lakh), borrowers across all P2P (Rs10 lakh), exposure of single lender to borrower (Rs50,000) and maturity of loans (not exceed 36 months).

Signzy is helping banks solve customer authentication, onboarding problems with blockchain-based solution (YourStory), Rated: B

Signzy developed blockchain and AI-based solutions to digitally identify, verify, and authenticate customers. Its onboarding solution, Real KYC, has now been deployed by more than 45 large clients, including leading banks, NBFCs, mutual funds, P2P lending platforms, payment wallets, and so on.

Africa

Nigerian banks are using Facebook Messenger to onboard small businesses (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Mastercard is working with Facebook Messenger to bring a digital payments and banking experience to small businesses in Nigeria, in an effort to incentivize Nigerian merchants to close the mobile payments adoption gap and bring them onto the formal financial grid.

The payments giant, which has said it’s in the business of killing cash, is bringing this initiative to a country where 98 percent of the $301 billion in consumer-to-business payments is transacted using cash.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday February 9 2018, Daily News Digest

personal loans

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi brightens startup scene in Helena, Montana. LendingTree rates Upgrade #1 personal loan. UK P2PFA gets a new head. India considering digital payments tax rebate for P2P lenders. Today’s main analysis: Why point-of-sale lending is hot. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Industrial loan company (ILC) applications may soon be seen in a positive light. P2P lending […]

personal loans

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United States

Startup Fever is Catching on Everywhere (Even in this Little Montana Town) (Inc.), Rated: AAA

There is a new millennial-friendly mixed-use development with a high-end steakhouse, movie theater, and hotel. And yes, even a town of 30,000 located more than 500 miles from the closest major metropolitan areas (Salt Lake and Seattle) has an entrepreneurial ecosystem. In fact, in some ways Helena has a startup scene larger cities would be jealous of. A few years ago, SoFi, the online student loan servicer that also provides personal loans and mortgages, contracted with two local programmers to help build their platform.

One of those programmers, David Thompson, is a graduate of the University of Montana-Western, Montana Tech, and the University of Montana. David had no interest in moving to the Bay Area, and successfully convinced SoFi to locate a substantial portion of its engineering team in Helena. Today SoFi is multi-billion-dollar startup, and David is the VP of Engineering, managing more than 100 programmers and engineers out of two locations in Helena.

For the last several decades–and especially over the last few years–we’ve heard a lot about the death of small towns and middle America. However, the success of SoFi and the emerging startup scene in Helena shows the potential for tech companies to be agents of economic revitalization in small towns and cities outside of the coasts.

LendingClub Schedules Fourth Quarter 2017 Earnings Release and Conference Call (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

LendingClub (NYSE: LC), America’s largest online marketplace connecting borrowers and investors, announced that it will report earnings for the fourth quarter of 2017 on Tuesday, February 20, 2018, after market hours. LendingClub will host a conference call to discuss the fourth quarter financial results at 2:00 p.m. Pacific Time (5:00 p.m. Eastern Time) on the same day.

A live webcast of the call will be available at  under the Events & Presentations menu. To access the call please dial +1 (888) 317-6003 or outside the U.S. +1 (412) 317-6061 with conference ID 8062913 ten minutes prior to 2:00 p.m. Pacific Time (or 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time).

Elevate Credit Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2017 Earnings Release Available on Its Investor Relations Website (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Elevate Credit, Inc. (“Elevate”), a leading tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, today announced financial results for the fourth quarter and full year 2017. Elevate has posted its fourth quarter and full year earnings release to its Investor Relations webpage at 

The Company will host a conference call to discuss its fourth quarter and full year financial results on Thursday, February 8th at 4:00 p.m. Central Time / 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Interested parties may access the conference call live over the phone by dialing 1-877-407-0792 (domestic) or 1-201-689-8263 (international) and requesting the Elevate Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2018 Earnings Conference Call. Participants are asked to dial in a few minutes prior to the call to register for the event. The conference call will also be webcast live through Elevate’s website at 

Upgrade, Inc. Rated #1 Personal Loan by LendingTree (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Upgrade, Inc. (), a consumer credit platform that combines personal loans with tools that help consumers understand and monitor their credit, announced that it has been named #1 in the personal loans category for the fourth quarter of 2017 by LendingTree.

Why point-of-sale lending is hot right now (American Banker), Rated: AAA

But research conducted by banks and fintechs has found that many younger Americans are uncomfortable carrying credit card balances, partly because they saw their parents struggle with debt during the financial crisis and prefer the more certain repayment terms of installment loans.

Personal loans issued by banks — these exclude credit cards and auto and home equity loans — hit a record $807 billion at Sept. 30, according to data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., up 9% from two years earlier and nearly 30% since 2012. That’s not even including the many billions of dollars of loans made by upstart online lenders that don’t end up on banks’ balance sheets.

San Francisco-based Affirm originated more than $1 billion in point-of-sale loans last year — and, increasingly, regional banks that are funding the loans, either directly or behind the scenes.

Source: American Banker

Inside Overstock.com’s financial services strategy (Tearsheet), Rated: A

For the past few months, the 19-year-old e-commerce company has been quietly building out FinanceHub, a sort of marketplace for financial services that includes existing Overstock credit cards and insurance products; loans by LendingTree, Prosper and Sofi; a robo-adviser for automated investing, as of last week — and as of Tuesday morning, a discounted trading platform.

Fintech Firms Look to Enter Banking Via Century-Old Tactic (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Financial-technology firms eager to offer banking products are eyeing a century-old model that fell out of favor during the financial crisis but could see a revival under the Trump administration.

The industrial loan company charter, available in a handful of states and particularly popular in Utah, allows nonfinancial companies to enter the banking sector without being subject to many of its restrictions, including oversight by the Federal Reserve. Companies seeking the charters must still obtain deposit insurance from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which last approved insurance for an industrial loan company in 2008.

That could soon change. President Donald Trump’s pick to head the FDIC, Jelena McWilliams, suggested during Senate testimony last month that she would look favorably on new applications.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Who Is Chris Larsen? Founder Of Ripple Tops Forbes Cryptocurrency List (International Business Times), Rated: A

According to Forbes, Larsen’s net worth is between $7.5 billion and $8 billion in cryptocurrency, in large part thanks to his massive holding of Ripple—the cryptocurrency he co-founded in 2012.

Larsen, a Stanford M.B.A. and veteran Silicon Valley player, is no stranger to the world of digital finance. Prior to his involvement in cryptocurrency, he co-founded the online mortgage lender E-Loan. The company was valued at $1 billion in 2000. In 2006, he co-founded Prosper Marketplace—the first peer-to-peer lending marketplace in the United States.

Goldman Sachs is trying to build the ultimate financial destination for the masses (Business Insider), Rated: A

Individuals looking to saddle up with the prestigious bank needed to fork over a minimum investment of $10 million for wealth management services. The typical client had more than $50 million in investable assets.

Personal Capital Launches Socially Responsible Investing (Finovate), Rated: A

Wealth tech company Personal Capital is making it easier for investors to put their money in causes that are important to them with the launch of its Socially Responsible Personal Strategy today.

Autobooks Raises $ 10M in Series A1 Funding Round (Finsmes), Rated: A

Autobooks, a Detroit, MI-based fintech startup, raised $10M in Series A1 funding.

Toyota partners with AI firm Aire to spot finance delinquency (Motor Finance), Rated: A

Toyota Financial Services (TFS) has launched an evaluation of AI software from Aire to spot customers with higher risks of delinquency.

Aire’s machine learning technology will identify which lessees have entered customer delinquency by skipping a payment, and will give TFS an estimate on how likely they are to default on further instalments.

Aire’s software has already been used by lenders, including p2p lender Zopa, in the initial credit application phase.

Confluent Continues Momentum in 2017 with 4X Subscription Growth (Digital Journal), Rated: A

Confluent, provider of the streaming platform based on Apache Kafka, today announced 2017 results, which include 4X subscription growth year over year and 98 percent customer satisfaction.

In the 2017 Apache Kafka Report, many companies reported using the distributed streaming platform for more accurate and faster decision making, reduced operating costs, improved customer experiences and reduced risk. 1 in 4 respondents work for organizations with more than $1 billion in annual sales, illustrating how quickly this technology has gained traction across large enterprises. In addition, more than 15% of respondents are processing more than a billion messages a day.

Other 2017 highlights include:

  • Raised $30 million from Sequoia, Index Ventures and Benchmark to meet global demand for streaming platforms.
  • Expanded employee base by 120 percent, added numerous offices throughout the US and extended its footprint to six additional countries.
  • Added new customers around the globe, including Alight Solutions, Capital One, Funding Circle, HomeAway and Nordea Bank.
  • Announced the general availability of Confluent Cloud, an Apache Kafka as a Service offering that empowers enterprises and developers to move faster with streaming data.
  • Surpassed 200 partners, including some of the largest Systems Integrators and Platform partners in the industry.

Fintech partnerships can work (American Banker), Rated: A

That Radius Bank in Boston would strike another fintech partnership — it announced one Wednesday with the startup Mantl, which is trying to cut down online-account openings to four minutes — is less revealing than its part in Radius’ evolving MO.

When Nathaniel Harley, CEO of Mantl, first visited Radius, he was seeking feedback on a personal financial management technology the company was working on. But he was quickly talked into changing the direction of his company.

The two companies started building an account-opening system for all digital channels in March 2017. They worked to reduce manual entry and other hassles from the account-opening process. Mantl brought in one of its own fintech partners, Alloy, to handle much of the decisions, including anti-money-laundering checks, identity verification and fraud detection. Radius and Mantl used Alloy’s workflow management tool to configure the decision-making process.

Source: The American Banker

Mulvaney can’t just kill CFPB payday rule, but here’s what he can do (American Banker), Rated: A

Banking rules cannot be rewritten overnight, and so acting Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Mick Mulvaney has a tall order remaking the payday loan regulation crafted under his predecessor. But observers say Mulvaney has options for altering the rule to the industry’s favor.

One option would be to refocus the rule on disclosure requirements, which would be several steps short of a repeal but more amenable to lenders than the current CFPB regulation.

Democratic senators demand answers on CFPB’s stalled Equifax data breach investigation (Housingwire), Rated: A

Did the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau kill its investigation into Equifax’s data breach that exposed the personal information of 145.5 million U.S. consumers to hackers?

On Thursday, a group of 32 Democratic senators sent a letter to the CFPB, demanding answers on the state of the bureau’s investigation into the Equifax breach.

CFPB Seeks Comment on its Enforcement Processes (The National Law Review), Rated: A

The CFPB has issued a request for information that seeks comment on how the agency can best achieve meaningful burden reduction or other improvement in the processes it uses to enforce federal consumer financial law while continuing to meet the CFPB’s statutory objectives and ensuring a fair and transparent process.  Comments on the RFI must be received no later than 60 days after the date it is published in the Federal Register, which the CFPB expects to be February 12, 2018.

In the new RFI, the CFPB now seek comment on all aspects of its enforcement processes but lists the following seven topics:

  • Communication between the CFPB and subjects of investigations, including timing and frequency of such communications and information provided by the CFPB on the status of an investigation
  • Length of CFPB investigations
  • Notice and Opportunity to Respond and Advise (NORA) process, including whether the NORA process should be mandatory rather than discretionary and the information contained in letters the CFPB may send to potential subjects of investigations pursuant to the NORA process
  • Whether subjects of potential enforcement actions should have the right to make an in-person presentation to the CFPB before the CFPB decides whether to initiate legal proceedings
  • Calculation of civil money penalties, including whether the CFPB should adopt a civil penalty matrix
  • Standard provisions in CFPB consent orders
  • Manner and extent to which the CFPB can and should coordinate enforcement activity with other federal and/or state agencies with overlapping jurisdiction

Altegris To Merge With Artivest (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Altegris, an alternative investment research and management firm, and Artivest, an alternative investment technology firm, announced today that they plan to merge under the name Artivest, pending customary corporate and regulatory conditions to closing. The joint 100-person team will service over $3 billion in client capital—immediately becoming the largest independent alternative investment technology and solutions firm for wealth managers, fund managers, and independent advisors.

SharesPost Launches Unit Focused On Initial Coin Offerings; Hedge Fund Executive John Wu To Lead Group (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Taking a next step in its mission to provide liquidity to private growth companies,SharesPost today announced the launch of its Digital Securities Group.

The Digital Securities Group will bring security token issuers and investors into the SharesPost private marketplace. Token issuers and investors will use SharesPost’s existing Alternative Trading System to invest in ICO’s and trade in digital securities in compliance with U.S. securities laws.

Lenders to allow Airbnb income on mortgage forms (MarketWatch), Rated: A

Homeowners soon will be able to count income they earn from Airbnb Inc. rentals on applications for refinance loans.

A new program — expected to be announced on Thursday by Airbnb, mortgage giant Fannie Mae and three big lenders — will allow anyone who has rented out property on Airbnb for a year or longer to count some or all of that money as income.

SEC Exams to Focus on Disclosures, Robos, Cryptocurrencies (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: B

In 2018 the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations plans to pay closer attention to matters involving retail investors, particularly when it comes to disclosures, and zero in on cryptocurrencies, initial coin offerings and secondary market trading, the regulator says in a press release.

The regulator will also continue monitoring digital advice platforms, with a special focus on their compliance programs, including algorithm oversight, investor data protection and disclosures of conflicts of interest, according to the exam priorities. The SEC has made progress in the ratio of investment advisors it examines each year, from just 8% five years ago to 15% in fiscal year 2017, the regulator says. In 2018, the SEC plans to target those advisors it has never examined before, according to the regulator.

Former Keller Williams CEO Chris Heller joins loanDepot brand family as CEO of mello Home (loanDepot), Rated: B

LD Holdings Group, LLC, parent company of loanDepot, the nation’s fifth largest retail lender, today appointed top real estate executive Chris Heller to head its recently-launched mello Home business. Combining digital simplicity and smart local advice, mello Home seamlessly connects home buying, financing, and improvement services into a single consumer experience.

Fintech looks to the future of financial advice at T3 (InvestmentNews), Rated: B

If the theme of the 2017 T3 Conference was the fiduciary rule, 2018 was all about the future of financial advice.

Quovo launched Cue, a new alerts engine that leverages Quovo’s aggregation technology to notify financial advisers about account activity and client milestones.

MoneyGuidePro announced a new partnership with MX, a data aggregation provider, that lets advisers bring held-away assets into the financial planning software.

 

United Kingdom

UK P2P Finance Association Announces a New Leader (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

It was through the work of the P2PFA, led by Christine Farnish, that these regulations were sensible and promoted the growth of the industry there. And while this initial regulatory framework is currently being reviewed by the FCA, today, the UK is one of the most competitive markets in the world in no small part because of these initial regulations.

Paul Smee brings more than 17 years experience in leading trade bodies in the UK. Previously, he was Director General of the Council of Mortgage Lenders for six years so he comes with experience leading finance trade bodies. He looks like a great choice to take over from Christine.

City Moves for 9 February 2018 – who’s switching jobs at Lendy, RegTek.Solutions and M&G? (City A.M.), Rated: B

Lendy, one of Europe’s leading P2P secured property platforms, is pleased to announce the appointment of Andrew Wawrzyniak as its new head of finance. Andrew was previously head of finance at Fund Partners, a leading fund manager, which specialises in the operation of collective investment schemes.

RegTek.Solutions, the market-leading control and compliance software provider for global trade and transaction reporting, has appointed Rob Bernstein as chief financial officer (CFO).

Rebuildingsociety partners with Leeds Council to support local businesses (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

PEER-TO-PEER business lender Rebuildingsociety has secured an agreement with Leeds City Council whereby the local authority funds loans through its platform.

The council will review business loan requests from companies with an LS postcode prefix, consider the industry and location of the company, and contribute to the loan amounts required by suitable applicants.

European Union

P2P Lending Is Becoming A Significant Income Source For Young Investors (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

According to Robo.cash, P2P lending is turning to a significant source of additional income for the growing number of the European investors.

The online lending platform also confirmed:

“The majority of investors are in the age groups: 25-34 years — 40%, 35-44 years — 31%, 45-60 years — 20%. The less number is the age of 18-24 years (6%) and 61 plus (3%). These figures are supported by the employment of investors: employees — 72%, entrepreneurs — 15%, students — 6%, retiree — 2%. At the same time, the most investors are just getting acquainted with P2P-services (52%) and the comparable number already has at least one-year practice: 1-3 years — 34% and over 4 years — 13%.”

Is Lithuania the most fintech-friendly destination in Europe? (Finextra), Rated: A

The country has been actively promoting itself as gateway destination to the European marketplace for non-EU firms and British startups fleeing Brexit. Registering a company takes merely three days, while getting a Payment Institution or Electronic Money Institution license takes only three months, two-to-three times faster than in other EU jurisdictions. Other perks include remote Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures, low profit tax, startup visa options and a sandbox regime for fintech startups in their first year.

The country also boasts a growing talent pool of up to 31,000 trained IT professionals with a further 8000 in the pipeline.

Lithuania Registered 35 New Fintech Companies in 2017 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

This week, Invest Lithuania released the Lithuania Fintech Report 2017, which revealed that a total of 117 fintech companies were operating in the country in 2017, with 35 of them being registered last year.

International

IOU financial partners with goEBT to offer funding to network of 25,000 convenience store owners (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

IOU FINANCIAL INC. (“IOU” or “the Company”; TSX-V:IOU), an online lender to small businesses (IOUFinancial.com), is pleased to announce a strategic partnership with Marietta, GA-based c-store solutions provider goEBT (goEBT.com).  Through this strategic partnership, goEBT’s network of 25,000 convenience store owners nationwide will be able to access IOU’s fast, convenient, non-collateral funding solutions.

LENDDO AND EFL TEAM UP FOR FINANCIAL INCLUSION (#Include1Billion), Rated: A

Our companies come together united by the common vision of providing financial inclusion for more than one billion new and underserved individuals across the globe. We will together provide a suite of credit scoring and identity verification products to more than 20 emerging markets.

Our companies have individually facilitated over 5 million credit assessments since inception, allowing more than 50 financial institutions to disburse over $2 billion USD in credit to people with limited information.

The first joint product offering is already live in Asia and Latin America, with additional products and features scheduled for release in the coming months.

From #Include1Billion

Fuse Business Loans from Mynt began working with LenddoEFL to assess credit risk for its clients that were 80% unbanked.

Foxconn’s Gou said to invest in US crypto merchant bank venture (EJ Insight), Rated: A

Terry Gou, the billionaire chief of Taiwanese electronics giant Foxconn, is said to have invested in a cryptocurrency merchant bank being set up by Mike Novogratz, a former Wall Street macro hedge fund manager.

Citing a source familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reported that Novogratz has raised about US$250 million for his cryptocurrency merchant bank venture through a private placement.

India

Google search bias fine, Swiggy funding, Digital payments tax rebate & more (ET Tech), Rated: AAA

The government might consider giving tax rebates to merchants accepting payments digitally in order to promote the overall fintech sector, which is at its infancy at present but growing at a rapid pace, suggested the Reserve Bank of India.

Talking about the fintech sector the RBI has identified tech startups working in the space of peer-to-peer lending, blockchain, big data, smart contracts, robo advisors and online aggregators.

Read more.

HOW TO FUND YOUR HIGHER STUDIES (Money Today), Rated: AAA

Traditionally, one’s option was limited to getting an education loan from a public sector bank. Now that the demographics are favourable and the education loan market has the potential to grow, non-banking finance companies (NBFCs), fintech players and peer-to-peer (P2P) lenders are jockeying for a piece of the market.

Seek more funding: Education loans are part of the priority lending category, but unlike the US, there is no provision for student loan waiver in India. It means your loan will not go away until you pay it off. Try and find out if there is any other source of funding available, including financial aid, bursary and scholarship or upfront savings, which will bring down the loan amount.

What Banks Offer

Most of them offer education loans for studying medicine, engineering or management at graduate and post-graduate levels or for pursuing further studies in India and abroad. Some also provide categorised loans. For instance, State Bank of India (SBI) offers Scholar Loan for students who get admitted to premier institutions like IITs, IIMs, NITs and AIIMS, and a Global Ed-Vantage loan for studying in global counterparts. Bank of Baroda offers Baroda Scholar loan for studying abroad and Baroda Gyan loan for higher studies in India while separate schemes are available for courses conducted by the country’s top institutions.

Source: Money Today

Fintech/P2P Players

Landing an education loan may not be easy anymore, given the spurt in defaults. And that is where the new-age fintech firms and P2P lenders see a lucrative opportunity. “For those who fail to qualify for education loans from banks and NBFCs, P2P lending platforms can be an alternative way to borrow,” says Gaurav Aggarwal, Associate Director, Unsecured Loans, at Paisabazaar. In other words, aspiring students can raise personal loans from banks or fintech players like MoneyTap and LoanTap, or P2P lenders like Faircent and CreditMantri to cover their educational expenses.

What Lies Ahead For India’s Fintech Sector? (CXO Today), Rated: A

To understand what lies ahead for India’s fintech sector, it makes sense to understand the fintech growth is expected to boom in the Asia Pacific region. A Frost & Sullivan report predicts that the region is expected to grow at a CAGR of 72.5% from 2015 to 2020, reaching US$72 billion.

According to Quah Mei Lee, Industry Principal, ICT, Asia-Pacific, the mobile payments market in Singapore was estimated to be worth US$1.4 billion in 2017. The market is still small but is growing fast.

Indian digital payments industry is expected to reach $700 billion by 2022 in terms of value of transactions.

It is expected that more than 80% of the urban population in India will adopt digital payments as a part of their routine by 2022, and 70% of the retail chains will adopt the same.

Canada

A Canadian Way to Access US Small Business Lending (Stockhouse), Rated: AAA

Enter IOU Financial.  As “online lending” has become a 21st century reality, a financial niche has sprung up with online lending institutions that are prepared to cater to small businesses and provide badly needed capital, efficiently and affordably.

Compared to the above, IOU Financial provides easily manageable, working capital term loans for small business, and does so:

  • Quickly
  • Efficiently
  • Affordably

The speed of IOU’s loan application process is a big draw for small business owners.  IOU’s application generally takes roughly three to five minutes to complete.

Source: Stockhouse

 

Grounded Kitchen & Coffeehouse is OnDeck’s Small Business of the Month (PR Newswire), Rated: A

OnDeck (NYSE: ONDK), the online lender to small businesses, today announced that Grounded Kitchen & Coffeehouse, owned by Amir Rahim, has been selected as the OnDeck Small Business of the Month for February, 2018. The Ottawa-based restaurant is the first small business in Canada to earn the OnDeck spotlight award.

Africa

Glaring Ponzi Schemes In Ghana Now (Modern Ghana), Rated: A

So assuming I have $1000.00 I have no use for and would want to make a little interest on, All I have to do is go unto one of these platforms to match me with someone in need of $1000.00. These platforms because of the high risk they take (borrowers don’t provide tangible collaterals) usually charge higher interest and in return given higher interest to lenders than Treasury Bills will normally do. This idea is supposed to be easy and help people financially as there is gap between loans needed and financial institutions willing to give (“The two largest peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms, Prosper and LendingClub founded in 2005 and 2006 respectively, have originated over $6 Billion in loans to date. Although they have only begun to scratch the surface of the $3 trillion consumer debt market” Nav Athwal Cofounder and CEO of RealtyShares, a crowdfunding for real estate platform). Yet like most good things miscreants, hooligans and hoodlums find a way to make the system corrupt.

These swindlers promise up to a 100% interest rates within 5 working days. So they lure greedy but naïve people to roll in cash through mobile money. With a Minimal amount of GHC100.00 you get registered and paired with another person. You’re required to send the money to this person who they claim registered 5 days ago and the said day is the day of maturity.

Ways to spot financial scams and Ponzi schemes
1. If your interest is too good to be true, then its probably a lie. When you’re being offered an interest bigger than the T Bills in lending you should be wary and do due diligence.

2. They usually don’t tell the project in which your money will be invested.

3. Pressurised to respond quickly? 4. Are the contact details vague?

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Demystifying Securitization

growth of securitization

Mortgage Backed Securities (“MBS”), Collateralized Debt Obligations (“CDOs), Collateralized Loan Obligations (“CLO’s), Asset-backed Commercial Paper (“ABSCP”) and other types of securitized products are largely responsible for the Subprime Crises in 2008. These financial instruments created massive financial losses and large-scale damage to the economy overall. A great deal of negative press followed demonizing certain industry […]

growth of securitization

Mortgage Backed Securities (“MBS”), Collateralized Debt Obligations (“CDOs), Collateralized Loan Obligations (“CLO’s), Asset-backed Commercial Paper (“ABSCP”) and other types of securitized products are largely responsible for the Subprime Crises in 2008. These financial instruments created massive financial losses and large-scale damage to the economy overall. A great deal of negative press followed demonizing certain industry participants and the use of financial engineering. Best-selling books like Too Big to Fail and The Big Short along with countless congressional testimonies drew even more attention to the subject.

With all the media attention came a fair amount of misinformation. For decades now, securitizations funded large consumer purchases including automobiles and homes. It also fueled the credit card industry and the expansion of consumer credit. Securitizations fund the small to large businesses and countless other aspects of the United States and world economy. Yet, for many it is a relatively new phenomenon that they may not completely understand, or even mistrust.

More recently, internet lenders brought an entirely new buzz to the securitization market. Their more customer-centric model to lending resulted in explosive growth. So much so, the original peer-to-peer funding model was largely replaced by the efficiency of the securitization market. According to Bloomberg/Peer IQ, total securitization of marketplace loans is now close to $90 billion, up from less than $50 million at the end of 2013.

What is Securitization?

Securitizations, or, more specifically, asset-backed securities (“ABS”), are pools of loans such as residential and commercial mortgages, auto loans, consumer loans, leases, trade receivables, or other assets packaged in security form. The loan pools often separate into different securities with varying levels of risk and return.  Lower risk, lower interest tranches receive the loan payments first, with the holders of the higher-risk securities receiving payments thereafter. The securities sell as new issues and subsequently may trade in the secondary securities market. Public offerings of ABS require registration with the SEC.

Securitization is like secured lending in many ways. Secured lenders require borrowers to pledge specific assets as collateral for a loan. Cash flows from the borrower and the assets pledged as collateral back the loan in the case of default. In a similar way, the loan pool in the securitization trust acts as collateral for a security. In a securitization of secured loans, assets that collateralize the loans in the pool also flow through the trust in case of a loan loss and subsequent liquidation. The holder of the security has a rightful claim to the cash flows of the loan pool including principal and interest payments, loan sales and recoveries from any defaults.

Essentially, securitization is the process of taking a group of homogeneous assets and transforming them into a security. The assets are pooled together and repackaged into a single security, which is then sold to investors. The security entitles them to the incoming cash flows and other economic benefits generated by the asset pool.

A Simplified Overview of the Securitization Process

From FDIC.gov website

How did Securitization Begin?

The modern history of securitization began in 1970s when Government Sponsored Enterprises (“GSE’s) including the Government National Mortgage Association (“Ginnie Mae”), the Federal National Mortgage Association (“Fannie Mae”) and the Federal Home Loan Corporation (“Freddie Mac”) issued the first residential mortgage-backed securities. These first issuers pooled residential mortgage loans and used them as collateral for securities. The market was significantly expanded by the Emergency Home Finance Act of 1970, which authorized Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to buy and sell mortgages insured or guaranteed by the federal government. Along with credit enhancement of the government guarantee came an entire industry of creating newly issued bonds and trading securities in the secondary market. By 1977, Bank of America issued the first non-government sponsored security in the form of a private label (non-government backed) residential mortgage pass-through bond.

Securitization evolved over the decades, as different methods and products developed from the process. A critical component was the Tax Reform Act of 1986. The Tax Reform Act eliminated the double taxation of income earned at the corporate level by issuers and dividends paid to securities holders. It also allows for Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduits (“REMICs” or “Conduits”). A REMIC is an important distinction for balance sheet lenders as they were now permitted to structure a security offering as a sale of assets. The ability to package assets off-balance sheet offered regulatory capital relief for lenders and greatly increased capital available to fund growing consumer loan demand. Mortgage securitizations then led to new types of asset securitization including auto loans, credit card receivables and others. As the United States paved the way other advanced countries soon followed with their own ABS.

By the 1990s the securitization market exploded. New rules in the United States by the SEC along with REMIC legislation made the process more efficient. Global consumer culture clamoring for access to credit paired with the expansive growth of institutional managed money seeking new investment opportunities was the perfect combination. Consumer credit was now available to purchase everything from houses and cars to consumer electronics and higher education.

The need for business credit also expanded during this time. The 1990s saw the introduction of commercial mortgages backed securities (“CMBS”), collateralized loan obligations (“CLOs”), Franchise ABS, Equipment Leasing Securitizations and other structures designed to finance business.

Growth of Securitization (1970–2008)

Source: *Securitization and Fractional Reserve Banking Nov 12, 2009 Nikolay Gertchev

What are the Benefits of Securitization?

For the Issuer, Securitization is Cost Efficient. It allows a company to issue low cost senior debt independent of the company’s rating and fund itself less expensively than it could on an unsecured basis. The strategic use of securitization enables a company to grow its business and earnings without additional equity capital and/or enhance return on equity. These benefits derive primarily from the capital efficiency of securitization. Depending on the structure, securitized assets can be supported with less equity capital than on balance sheet assets primarily due to the transfer of asset-related risks to investors.

Securitization Transfers Asset-Related Risks. Firms that specialize in originating new loans and have difficulty funding existing loans may use securitization to access more liquid capital markets for funding loan production. In doing so, the originator or finance company also transfers risk. These risks generally include interest rate risk, basis risk, liquidity risk, prepayment risk and credit risk. While in some transactions the issuer may retain most of the economic credit risk associated with securitized assets, the credit risk of certain asset types may be small compared with these other risks. In addition, securitization can create opportunities for more efficient management of the asset ability duration mismatch generally associated with the funding of long-term loans, for example, with shorter term bank deposits.

Diversification for Investors. Investors seek diversification of investments for the benefit of their overall portfolio. Securitizations offer unique investment opportunities and attractive risk-return profiles compared to other asset classes such as government and corporate bonds. Securitization also allows the structuring of securities with differing maturity and credit risk profiles from a single pool of assets that appeal to a broad range of investors.

Risk Sharing and Liquidity. Securitized products allow institutional investors opportunities to participate in consumer and corporate assets that cannot be found elsewhere. With securitization, investors may invest in various consumer and business loans without having to develop in-house origination and servicing capabilities required to procure loans, collect payments and managed defaults and liquidations. In this way, investors benefit from the sourcing and servicing expertise of originators freeing money for more efficient capital deployment. Finally, the conversion of basically illiquid banking assets into tradeable capital market instruments often gives investors the opportunity to sell securities in the secondary market and obtain liquidity.

Securitization Provides Market Driven Pricing Discipline. Securitization can provide a market driven pricing discipline by highlighting the market price for risks transferred to investors and, thereby, providing pricing benchmarks to judge the profitability of a business.

How do the Regulators Look at Securitization Post-Crises?

Despite a major setback in 2008, securitization continues to be the primary alternative to bank financing. Securitizations transfers trillions of investment dollars into the economy. The regulatory authorities in the United States recognize the systematic importance of the capital markets to the real economy. In a report to Congress in 2010 by the Federal Reserve (“The Fed”), the Fed states, “the securitization markets are an important link in the chain of entities providing credit to U.S. households and businesses, and state and local governments. When properly structured, securitization provides economic benefits that can lower the cost of credit.” That exact phrase was reiterated in 2014 in a joint agency report by the US Treasury, SEC, OCC, HUD, The Fed, FHFA and FDIC regarding risk retention for securitizations.

Comments like this from the regulatory bodies lead most people to believe that securitization is here to stay. Transforming illiquid typical bank assets into tradable securities, is an important way to channel cash to borrowers and fund economic growth. While new regulation calls for increased scrutiny of deals it recognizes the importance securitization plays to the overall economy. New measures such as better documentation and risk retention are now in place. The rules call for issuers to retain and economic interest or so-called “skin-in-the-game” on deals they bring to market. This makes for a better alignment of interest, stronger transactions and increased transparency. In that way we are better than ever before.

Author:

Written by Phil Toth, managing director at Oberon Securities