Thursday October 3 2019, Weekly News Digest

banks mortgage

News Comments Today’s main news: Morningstar to rate blockchain securities. nCino raises $80M. RateSetter rolls out Access, Plus, Max. Revolut losses double. Today’s main analysis: Race and homeownership. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Big banks are losing mortgage share. Race and homeownership. LendIt Fintech Europe highlights. International P2P lending volumes for September 2019. United States Morningstar to offer […]

The post Thursday October 3 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

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News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

International

European Union

Other

News Summary

United States

Morningstar Inc. will offer ratings to blockchain based securities (Ripple Coin News), Rated: AAA

Chicago-based financial service provider, Morningstar Credit Ratings announced plans to diversify its business operation by providing ratings for debt securities issued on public blockchains, also known as crypto-assets. Morningstar Inc, the parent company of the rating agency is valued at $6.4 billion. Last year it generated $1.7 billion in revenue. The company is well known for rating mutual funds from giants of the financial world like Prudential and  Morgan Stanley among others.

North Carolina-based Fintech Startup nCino Raises $ 80M (Crunchbase), Rated: AAA

North Carolina-based nCino, which has developed a cloud-based operating system for financial institutions, has raised $80 million in a round of funding led by T. Rowe Price Associates Inc.

Bank Wars; ABS East + Blockchain; Housing (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

In U.S Housing, borrower home equity is hitting all time highs. Homeowners with a mortgage saw equity increase by 4.8% since 2Q2018. This equates to $4,900 gained per American homeowner and a strengthening of the US consumer balance sheet.

Over the past ten years, the largest American banks – Wells Fargo, JPMorgan, and Bank of America – have seem their share of home loan originations fall 30% as digital customer friendly non-banks such as Quicken Loans take share.

Source: PeerIQ, Financial Times

White Americans Have the Highest Homeownership Rates but There Are Large Differences Among Cities (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

Americans who identify as white own a disproportionately large percentage of homes in all of the nation’s 50 largest metros. White Americans make up an average of 59% of people in the metros featured in our study, but they own around 73% of owner-occupied homes.

Where white Americans own the most homes relative to their overall population

New York

% of the population – White alone: 46.99%
Median household income – White alone: $91,806
% of owner-occupied homes – White alone: 68.65%
Difference between % of owner-occupied homes and % of population: 21.66%

San Diego

% of the population – White alone: 46.20%
Median household income – White alone: $80,276
% of owner-occupied homes – White alone: 65.37%
Difference between % of owner-occupied homes and % of population: 19.17%

Phoenix

% of the population – White alone: 56.41%
Median household income – White alone: $64,423
% of owner-occupied homes – White alone: 75.17%
Difference between % of owner-occupied homes and % of population: 18.76%

Source: LendingTree

Where white Americans own the least homes relative to their overall population

Pittsburgh

% of the population – White alone: 85.82%
Median household income – White alone: $59,089
% of owner-occupied homes – White alone: 93.29%
Difference between % of owner-occupied homes and % of population: 7.47%

Source: LendingTree

BFS Capital Eliminates Upfront Fees to Simplify Financing for Small Business Owners (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

BFS Capital today announced it has eliminated all upfront fees on its financing solutions, including loans and business advances, as it simplifies pricing for small business owners.

BFS Capital customers can now apply for and receive up to $500,000 in financing with no origination fees, no processing fees and no upfront costs.

Self Announces The Self Visa Credit Card, A First-Of-Its-Kind Secured Credit Card That Does Not Require A Credit Check (Globe Newswire), Rated: A

Self, a leading fintech startup offering people a way to build their credit while also saving money, today announced the release of the Self Visa® Credit Card. This first-of-its-kind secured card uses a unique funding model to provide customers with a line of credit without the need for a significant upfront investment or a credit check – two areas that perennially sideline subprime consumers who are looking to build their credit scores.

The Crowdfunding Revolution Might Never Come To CRE (Bisnow), Rated: A

Crowdfunding has not coalesced into the influential force in commercial real estate some may have expected, and is at risk of being decimated by the next economic downturn.

RiverNorth Marketplace Lending Announces Monthly Distribution of

RiverNorth Marketplace Lending Announces Monthly Distribution of $0.18 Per Share (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

.18 Per Share (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

RiverNorth Marketplace Lending Corporation, an established and currently operating as a closed-end interval fund dedicated to the marketplace lending asset class, announced on Tuesday its monthly distribution of $0.18 per common share for the months of October, November, and December 2019.

The Robot Revolution Will Wipe Out 200,000 U.S. Banking Jobs in the Next Decade (Fortune), Rated: A

Technological efficiencies will result in the biggest reduction in headcount across the U.S. banking industry in its history, with an estimated 200,000 job cuts over the next decade, Wells Fargo & Co. said in a report.

The $150 billion annually that the country’s finance firms are spending on tech — more than any other industry — will lead to lower costs, with employee compensation accounting for half of all bank expenses, said Mike Mayo, a senior analyst at Wells Fargo Securities LLC.

Goldman Sachs Tries Banking for the Masses. It’s Been a Struggle. (WSJ), Rated: A

Two dozen of Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s most profitable traders were kicked off their desk last year to make room for the swelling ranks of the firm’s Main Street lending arm.

Small bank’s big digital goal: Launch 3 niche banks (American Banker), Rated: A

The first one, introduced this summer, is called “booyah” and is aimed at college students and young graduates. The $122 million-asset bank sees it as a way to target a specific audience outside the central Florida area and boost deposits in order to ward off competitive threats from fintechs.

The Seven-Year Auto Loan: America’s Middle Class Can’t Afford Its Cars (WSJ), Rated: A

Walk into an auto dealership these days and you might walk out with a seven-year car loan.

That means monthly payments that last well past when the brake pads give out and potentially beyond when the car gets traded in for a new one. About a third of auto loans for new vehicles taken in the first half of 2019 had terms of longer than six years, according to credit-reporting firm Experian PLC. A decade ago, that number was less than 10%.

Naborly Raises $ 7.5M in Seed Funding (FINSMES), Rated: A

Naborly, a San Francisco, CA-based credit bureau for the rental industry, closed its $7.5m seed funding round.

How Much Money Can I Get From a Business Loan? (All Business), Rated: A

It’s rare for two loan offers from two lenders to come out to exactly the same number. Different lenders (traditional banks, online lenders, alternative lenders) evaluate a variety of factors, have different algorithms, and may place more emphasis on different aspects of your business history.

Coinbase Announces 1.25% APY on USDC Holdings (DeFi Rate), Rated: A

Today, Coinbase announced the launch of USDC rewards. US Coinbase customers are now eligible to earn 1.25% APY rewards on all USD Coin ($USDC) held on Coinbase.

This announcement comes amid the DeFi boom in 2019. While 1.25% APY is substantially higher than traditional savings rates at banks, it’s still lagging behind the broader DeFi lending market. As of writing, Compound currently offers 5.34% APY on USDC holdings while dYdX offers 3.85% APY – View current USDC lending rates. This doesn’t account for other stablecoins, such as Dai, where holders can earn upwards of 8%.

Investors Say Curo’s Bid To Nix Their Suit Misses The Point (Law360), Rated: A

Investors on Tuesday said their stock-drop suit against online lender Curo is
about misrepresentations regarding transition away from its most profitable product, not simple failure to meet financial goals, as the company suggests. The online lender said in an August dismissal bid that investors were trying to plead “fraud by hindsight” case in alleging Curo misled them about transition away from offering lucrative single-pay loans in Canada, which had drawn the scrutiny of regulators there, and into longer-term open-end loans. 

eOriginal Chief Product Officer Honored as a 2019 HousingWire Tech Trendsetter (PR Web), Rated: B

eOriginal, a digital lending technology pioneer, is proud to announce that Simon Moir, Chief Product Officer, has been named to HousingWire’s Tech Trendsetters list for 2019. HousingWire’s inaugural award recognizes the impactful and innovative technology leaders serving the housing and mortgage finance industry. This is on the heels of eOriginal’s second consecutive listing as one of HousingWire’s HW Tech 100TM in April 2019.

OYO Announces Partnership With Biz2Credit to Provide Small Business Financing Options to Hotel Owners (Globe Newswire), Rated: B

OYO, the world’s third-largest and fastest-growing chain of hotels, homes and spaces*, has partnered with Biz2Credit to provide working capital and commercial real estate loans to existing and potential hotel partners across the United States.

Finastra Launches Fusion Mortgagebot Data Insights to Help Financial Institutions Optimize their Mortgage Business (Financial Content), Rated: B

Finastra has launched Fusion Mortgagebot Data Insights – a powerful new tool that benchmarks mortgage borrower behavior and demographics for banks and credit unions against that of more than 1,400 other Fusion MortgagebotPOS users. The solution leveraged Big Data and machine learning to provide users with new insights into consumer behavior to drive a better borrower experience.

Seattle Bank expands relationship with Finastra to drive innovation (Finastra), Rated: B

Seattle Bank, a single branch boutique bank with $650 million in assets, has selected Fusion Phoenix from Finastra to be the open, modern core to run its banking operations, enabling the bank to better serve clients. The core banking system will be integrated with additional Finastra solutions, including Fusion Mortgagebot, Fusion Card Payments, Fusion Analytics, Fusion Item Processing Services, Fusion LaserPro, and Fusion Digital Banking.

United Kingdom

Welcome to Access, Plus and Max! (RateSetter), Rated: AAA

I am delighted to say that our three new investment products – Access, Plus and Max – launched today and are ready for you to enjoy.

Fintech unicorn Revolut’s losses double as it pushes for global expansion (CNBC), Rated: AAA

British financial technology start-up Revolut’s losses doubled in 2018, the firm said Tuesday, as the company embarks on an aggressive global expansion.

The London-headquartered firm recorded a £32.8 million ($40.3 million) net loss on revenues of £58.2 million for 2018. That was more than double the £14.8 million loss it posted a year earlier, while revenue climbed 354%.

Visa Expands Alliance with Revolut to Grow in Fintech Space (Zacks), Rated: A

Visa Inc. (V – Free Report) has expanded its partnership with fintech company Revolut. This London based company will be assisted by Visa to expand its business globally.

LandlordInvest staff asked to avoid EU travel as P2P lenders prepare for Brexit deadline (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

LANDLORDINVEST has asked staff to avoid travelling outside the UK after 31 October as peer-to-peer lending platforms prepare for the latest Brexit deadline.

Small business owners should beware when backing their business debt (Money Week), Rated: A

After all, one argument for setting up a business as a limited company, rather than operating as a sole trader, is that you separate your affairs from the company’s.

However, while this is true in theory, it may not pan out in practice. If your business needs to borrow, lenders often expect owners to stand behind the loan. They ask for a personal guarantee that the debt will be repaid. These guarantees aren’t secured – they’re not tied to a particular asset, such as your home – but they do give lenders a legal right to come after your personal wealth in the event your business defaults.

The future of finance is fintech (Raconteur), Rated: A

When Innovate Finance was formed five years ago, with a mandate to represent an emerging UK fintech community, the picture was different to today. The focus was on models challenging traditional approaches to banking, disrupting the incumbents’ model that had stood for decades.

In the years since, peer-to-peer lending became simpler, management of personal finances became more accessible, and remittance processes became faster and more affordable.

Brokers should be Open Banking advocates (Bridging and Commercial), Rated: A

It’s now more than a year and a half since the introduction of Open Banking, which allows people to securely share data about how they spend their money with other parties.

Drapers and Klarna launch Next Generation Entrepreneurs (Drapers), Rated: A

Drapers’ Next Generation Entrepreneurs are the founders and chief executives that we think are changing fashion. The list shines a light on the new wave of game-changers, innovators and boundary-breakers that are making their mark on the UK fashion industry, as well as emerging businesses that exhibit innovative, entrepreneurial spirit.

Dutch app-only bank Bunq to launch in UK this week (AltFi), Rated: A

The Dutch app-only bank bunq is to launch in the UK this week, saying there are “too many traditional banks” in the UK.

10 Respected Entrepreneurs Reveal How Failures and Triumphs Shaped Who They Are Today (Digital Journal), Rated: A

– Courtney Nichols Gould, Founder& co-CEO, SmartyPants Vitamins
– Annie Jackson, co-founder & COO, Credo Beauty
– Sarah Kauss, Founder & CEO, S’well
– Stephen Kuhl, co-founder & CEO, Burrow
– Renaud LaPlanche, co-founder & CEO, Upgrade, Founder of Lending Club (NYSE: LC)
– Jody Levy, Founder, CEO & Creative Director, World Waters (Maker of WTRMLN WTR)
– Betty Liu, Founder of Radiate, Executive Vice Chairman of The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)
– Ben McKean, Founder, Hungry Root
– Sasha Plavsic, Founder & CCO, ILIA Beauty
– Nat Turner, co-founder & CEO, Flatiron Health

Ex-City minister shines spotlight on P2P lending secondary markets (P2P Finance News), Rated: B

The former City minister, who has already tabled several parliamentary questions regarding the role of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the collapse of Lendy and Collateral, has widened the scope of his P2P queries.

He has tabled two parliamentary written questions in the past week.

European Union

How Linked Finance is Linking Irish SMEs With Quick Loans (deBanked), Rated: AAA

The nation’s Central Statistics Office puts the number of active enterprises in the private business economy at over 250,000. As of June, Linked Finance had made more than 2,100 loans for a grand total of more than €100 million.

LendIt Fintech Europe 2019 Conference Highlights (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

We have just wrapped up what I think has been the most successful European conference LendIt has ever had.

We kicked off the show with Rishi Khosla, CEO and Co-Founder of OakNorth. Their approach to underwriting is super interesting. While they have very much a digital approach, they are originating loans typically for £5 million to £10 million to fast growth companies.

Bnext raises $ 25 million for its mobile banking alternative (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Fintech startup Bnext has raised a $25 million funding round. The Spanish company is building a banking product and has managed to attract 300,000 active users.

You can lend money to small and medium businesses and earn interest through October, you can save money using Raisin, you can get a loan, a mortgage, an insurance product, etc. Bnext generates revenue from those partnerships.

International

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

Mintos leads ahead of Zopa and Ratesetter. The total volume for the reported marketplaces in the table adds up to 639 million Euro.

Milestones in culumulative volume lent crossed this month:

Source: P2P-Banking
Australia

P2P lender partners with aggregator (Broker News), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lender RateSetter has announced a partnership with PLAN Australia that will make its unsecured personal loan and car loan products available to the group’s 1,700 brokers and their clients.

National Australia Bank to provide $ 57m warehouse funding facility to Symple Loans (AltFi), Rated: A

Australia’s biggest business bank is furnishing a $57m (£46m) warehouse funding facility to personal lender Symple Loans, as part of its $2bn (£1.63bn) commitment to fund technology startups.

Which banks have cut home loan rates already? (mozo), Rated: A

It’s been two days since the Reserve Bank board made the call to lower the official cash rate from 1.00% to 0.75% – an historically low rate in Australia.

Athena and Homestar raced out of the blocks following Tuesday’s RBA announcement – both delivering full 0.25% cuts to their respective variable rate home loans before the ink on RBA Governor Philip Lowe’s monetary policy statement was dry.

Fellow online lender UBank wasn’t far behind after announcing a 0.25% rate cut of its own across a number of variable rate offers.

Asia

Indonesia’s State-Owned Pawnshop PT Pegadaian to Invest $ 35 Million in Local Fintech Firms (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The state-owned pawnshop PT Pegadaian in Indonesia is reportedly planning to invest Rp 500 billion (appr. $35.26 million) in several local Fintech firms this year.

Another Milestone Comes True: INLOCK Is Listed on One of the Largest Crypto Exchanges (NewsBTC), Rated: A

On September 30, 2019, after nearly six months of preparation, the INLOCK project, a peer-to-peer lending solution, was listed on the Liquid by Quoine exchange, one of the largest Japanese crypto exchanges in the Asian region, with a daily turnover of $150-200 million.

INLOCK is a peer-to-peer lending platform; its customers can lend or borrow using their cryptocurrencies as a collateral.

40 Innovative Solutions Shortlisted for 2019 FinTech Awards (MAS), Rated: A

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and The Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) announced today that 40 finalists have been shortlisted for the FinTech Awards  to be presented at this year’s Singapore FinTech Festival x Singapore Week of Innovation and Technology (SFF x SWITCH).

Africa

CredoLab set to drive financial inclusion in South Africa (Next Billion), Rated: AAA

Credit scoring fintech company, CredoLab announced on Tuesday, 1 October 2019, that it has officially launched in Africa. Starting in South Africa, CredoLab is aiming to drive financial inclusion in emerging economies on the continent by credit scoring more people, especially those who are new to banking or credit.

Canada

Stability’s important, but Canada needs to take more chances with fintech (Financial Post), Rated: A

According to Ernst & Young’s 2019 Global Fintech Adoption Index, Canada is 14 points, and the U.S. 18 points, behind the global average of 64 per cent consumer fintech adoption, and we trail world leaders like China, India and Russia by even more. The two countries’ approaches to regulating fintech, which in many ways reflect enduring national stereotypes, almost certainly have contributed to our continent’s fintech lag.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday October 3 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Thursday January 3 2019, Daily News Digest

china p2p lending

News Comments Today’s main news: RateSetter passes 500M GBP in secondary market lending. U.S. economy fuels boom in consumer debt. Seedrs tops 500M GBP in crowdfund securities. Today’s main analysis: China P2P lending crackdown could see 70% firms closed. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Peter Renton’s Q3 2018 MPL results. 2018 was a standout year for fintech funding. 9 big ideas […]

The post Thursday January 3 2019, Daily News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

china p2p lending

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

India

News Summary

United States

U.S. Economy Fuels Boom in Consumer Debt (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Consumer debt, including credit cards, auto and student loans and personal loans, is on pace to top $4 trillion in 2019.

Consumer spending has increased 2.7% on average in the four quarters through September compared with the same period a year earlier, as disposable income rose 2.7% on average, according to Moody’s Investors Service. Meanwhile, personal savings as a percentage of disposable income was 6.3% in the third quarter, above a 20-year average of 5.9%, according to Bureau of Economic Analysis data.

My Quarterly Marketplace Lending Results – Q3 2018 (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

My trailing 12 month returns for the year ended September 30, 2018 across all my accounts was 4.77% up from 4.46% in my last update. My original six accounts, all with Lending Club and Prosper, also improved over last quarter but are still at a paltry 3.19%.

Source: Lend Academy

How Betterment Stayed on Top in 2018 (and How they Plan to Stay There in 2019) (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: A

Robo advisor Betterment currently manages $15 billion in assets for its more than 400,000 customers, firm CEO Jon Stein tells FA-IQ. But at the start of 2016, Betterment’s AUM was just a little over $6 billion, Stein says. The firm has cemented its place on the 2018 Financial Times’ 300 Top RIAs list.

Q: How has Betterment’s client base evolved?

A: When Betterment was first launched, our customer base was mainly young folks in their twenties who were depositing $100-$500 to invest at a time. That client demographic has shifted dramatically over the years. Today, more than one-third of our business comes from customers who are at least 50 years old.

2018 – Volatile Equity and Credit Markets (PeerIQ), Rated: A

2018 was a volatile year for equity and credit markets, particularly in the fourth quarter. The S&P500 is down ~7.5% for the year, and cyclical stocks are down more. CDX IG spreads have widened ~40 bps and CDX HY spreads have widened ~150bps.

ABS markets enjoyed record issuance. However, spreads widened, and all-in yields were higher leading to rate increases for borrowers and tighter margins for lenders. 2019 is shaping up to be a pivotal year in this late economic cycle. Synchronized global growth could turn into a synchronized slowdown. The risk of policy error is heightened as the Fed navigates record low unemployment and a slowdown in growth. The US yield curve has partially inverted and the all-important 3-month – 10-year yield spread is at ~37 bps.

Kevin Tweddle of Independent Community Bankers of America (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Our next guest on the Lend Academy Podcast is Kevin Tweddle. His official title is the Group EVP for Innovation and Financial Technology at the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), the leading trade organization representing community banks. He is completely focused on fintech and helping community banks use technology to thrive in the future.

Online Loan Marketplaces: Benefits, Challenges, and Enormous Growth (Small Biz Trends), Rated: A

Financial technology (Fintech) and the internet have enabled the creation of online loan marketplaces. Marketplace lending is made possible by technology platforms that use scoring algorithms to determine the borrowers’ ability to repay.

Fintech online loan platforms have started creating partnerships with banks and credit unions to reach small businesses who aren’t as comfortable dealing entirely online. Traditional lenders are eager to jump on the Fintech bandwagon to avoid being made obsolete.

As a small business owner, will you consider online lenders to finance your business? The convenience of banking online is attractive to many who want to bank from anywhere. Online lender Kabbage says 17% of their loans have been accessed through mobile.

Equifax Faces Scrutiny As Dems Take Over The House (PYMNTS), Rated: A

A report in the Wall Street Journal, citing analysts, reported that legislative response to the massive Equifax data breach of 2017 is at the top of the agenda for 2019. The Wall Street Journal noted that existing proposals, some bipartisan, provide a glimpse into how changes can be made to the industry. The paper noted the changes would pertain to how the firms handle consumer information and could include tougher cybersecurity standards and making it easier for consumers to fix mistakes on their credit reports.

White Oak Healthcare Finance Provides $ 161 Million to Support Allegiant Healthcare’s SNF Acquisition (AP News), Rated: B

White Oak Healthcare Finance, LLC (“White Oak”), today announced it acted as sole lender and administrative agent on the funding of a $161 million senior credit facility for Allegiant Healthcare (“Allegiant”) and Hillstone Healthcare, Inc. (“Hillstone”). The funds were used to acquire and provide working capital for a portfolio of 17 skilled nursing facilities in Ohio.

Five reasons Bitcoin could enter a more extreme death spiral (The Conversation), Rated: B

The one upside to all this is that, although cryptocurrencies may have entered a death spiral, the blockchain economy is here to stay. As well as allowing safe peer-to-peer lending and transactions, it is being used to build more efficient supply chains and in the evolution of the internet of things – to name just a few of its applications.

United Kingdom

RateSetter passes £500m in lending on secondary market (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER has passed £500m in lending on its secondary market, marking a major liquidity milestone for the platform.

At the end of December 2018, the peer-to-peer platform revealed that a cumulative total of £500m in liquidity had been provided to investors via its secondary market. According to the platform, in the majority of cases investors were able to access these funds within one working day.

Seedrs Tops £500 Million in Crowdfunded Securities (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

In a blog post, UK crowdfunding platform Seedrs shared that it has now topped £500 million in investment crowdfunding. The money has been raised for 720 deals that have been successfully funded since the platform launched.

P2P set for fundraising boom in 2019 (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

P2P lenders raised more than £10m through crowdfunding platforms last year to boost their technology and operations, while almost £2bn was ploughed into the wider fintech sector.

“39 fintech companies have used crowdfunding platforms to raise capital. This is a record level of crowdfunding investment into fintech companies and we expect to see more of this in 2019.”

Robo-advice app for self-employed launches (FT Adviser), Rated: A

A new robo-advice service designed especially for the self-employed and freelancers is expected to launch in the first quarter of 2019.

The start-up, which received £1.5m after a funding round in late 2017, is currently in the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Sandbox, and hoping to receive authorisation in the next couple of months.

iwoca adds Barclays and HSBC to Open Banking connections (Fintech Finance), Rated: B

iwoca,the UK’s fastest growing small business lender, today announces it has connected to Barclays and HSBC banks under Open Banking. This expands the number of Open Banking connections offered by iwoca to three, including Lloyds Bank, and will enable more than 60 percent of the lender’s customers to take advantage of the Open Banking service.

Arbuthnot Commercial ABL provides £6.5m facility to Fluorocarbon Group (Specialist Banking), Rated: B

Arbuthnot Commercial Asset Based Lending (ABL) has agreed to provide a £6.5m refinancing facility to fluoropolymer processor the Fluorocarbon Group.

China

China P2P Lending Crackdown May See 70% of Firms Close (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

The number of Chinese peer-to-peer lenders may drop by 70 percent this year, a research firm that tracks the industry says, as the nation intensifies a crackdown on riskier forms of financing.

As few as 300 companies will remain by the end of the year, according to an estimate from Shanghai-based Yingcan Group. The number of operators dropped by more than 50 percent to 1,021 during 2018, it said, adding that there’s been no new entrants into the market since August.

Tighter Reg Shrinks China’s P2P Lending Mkt By 50 Pct In 2018 (PYMNTS), Rated: A

According to Yingcan Group, by the end of 2019, there will only be 300 P2P lenders remaining. During 2018, the market research firm said the number of P2P lenders declined by 50 percent to 1,021. What’s more, no new companies have entered the market since August.

Yidai shuts shop as China intensifies crackdown on P2P lenders (Banking & Finance), Rated: A

Yidai, an online peer-to-peer (P2P) lending intermediary, is the latest to exit the business as China reins in its US$176 billion experiment with this riskier form of financing.

The company set up a committee to start refunding its lenders after “months” of losses, Yidai said in statements over the extended holiday weekend. It has about 32,000 lenders with an outstanding principal balance of four billion yuan (S$795.4 million), and expects to repay them in three-to-five years.

International

2018 was a standout year for fintech funding (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

In the first half of 2018 alone, fintechs secured $57.9 billion, nearing the previous annual record of $62.5 billion set in 2015.

Fintechs including UK neobank Revolut, US insurtech Root, US fintech for gig economy workersEarnin, Hong Kong-based alt lender Oriente, and US crypto exchange operator Coinbase all raised funding rounds of over $100 million this year.

9 big ideas for 2019 (American Banker), Rated: AAA

JPMorgan Chase collected more than $1.8 billion in revenue from overdraft fees in 2017, according to an analysis of regulatory data by the Center for Responsible Lending. Bank of America and Wells Fargo both raked in more than $1.6 billion. Big banks typically charge around $35 per overdraft. Many other institutions also rely on such fees.

Give customers some control of their financial data

For decades, banks, credit card networks and credit bureaus have been sharing and selling consumers’ financial data without their knowledge or consent while data aggregators have screen-scraped that information without the full cooperation of financial services providers.

But there are signs that is beginning to change.

Fintech Predictions for 2019 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

10. New Asset Class – New Asset Backed Lending for Crypto

The likes of Nexo, SALT, CoinLoans & Unchained Capital have emerged in the recent months unlocking the value of your cryptocurrency. There is a list of crypto lending sites here.

8. Banks will rule again

We have seen big banks leveraging Fintech platforms from OnDeck and Avant in 2018. More of it will come in 2019 as banks begins to decentralize banking again.

7. Everyone will be rich (unlocking home equity value)

I attend a talk by Mike Cagney of Figure at 2018’s Lendit China conference. He’s creating something completely different to unlock the potential of the entire “supply chain” process from home equity lines of credit to bundling and tracking this asset class utilizing smart contracts and blockchain. He wants to eliminate the hurdles and ambiguity for the secondary market.

As home equity value rises and interest rates increase, home equity products will need a ton of tech. It has become a forgotten art since the great depression. I am predicting that a lot more of Fintech companies will come to light in 2019 working with the banks to unlock consumers’ home equity value

India

Top 30 Fintech Influencers in India 2019 by Digital Fifth (Fintech News), Rated: AAA

Amrish Rau : CEO at PayU India

Amrish Rau is the CEO of PayU India, the country’s leading digital payment solution provider valued at around USD 2.5 billion. Previously, he had founded Citrus Pay, which was acquired by Naspers (PayU) in one of the largest startup acquisitions in India. PayU’s digital lending platform Lazypay has done extremely well with nearly 4.5 lakh customers already using it. He has also invested in multiple startups like Signzy, Elemential, Nuo and Open.

Harshil Mathur : CEO & Co-Founder at Razorpay

Harshil runs one of India’s most innovative Fintechs, Razorpay, which is morphing from a B2B Payment Gateway into a Financial Conglomerate. They have entered the lending business with Razorpay Capital, which has already reached an annual loan disbursal rate of USD 30 million.

Manish Khera : CEO at Happy

Manish is the founder of Happy Loans – one of the fastest growing MSME lending platform in the country.

Naveen Kukreja : Co-Founder & CEO at Paisabazaar.com; CMO at Policybazaar

Naveen is the co-founder and CEO of Paisabazaar.com. Under Naveen’s leadership, Paisabazaar.com has become one of the largest marketplace platforms for lending and banking products. Paisabazaar.com currently disburses annualized loans worth USD 1 billion to more than 1000 towns and cities across India.

Red tape grounds P2P startups as investors stay clear of space (India Times), Rated: A

The latest entrants into the digital lending sector, peer-to-peer lending platforms, are facing an uphill task attracting investors with regulatory restrictions limiting their growth potential.
OMLP2P is a Mumbai-based lending platform and disburses around Rs 20 lakh per month. Another Mumbai-based P2P lending startup Paisadukaan’s founder Rajiv Ranjan also said that VCs have been shying away from this sector because of the limitation imposed by the RBI.
Authors:
George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday January 3 2019, Daily News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Friday January 26 2018, Daily News Digest

marketplace lending

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi completes $960.2M student loan securitization. Robinhood adds zero-fee crypto trading, tracking. Goldman partners with Cadre. South Korea earmarks 11.2T won for midrange borrowers. Today’s main analysis: Buying overdue loans at discount on Mintos’ secondary market. Today’s thought-provoking articles: What RateSetter will look like without unsecured commercial loans. AltFi Data predicts strong U.S. MPL […]

marketplace lending

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United States

United Kingdom

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

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United States

SoFi Completes $ 960.2 Million Student Loan Securitization (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Online lender SoFi announced on Thursday the closing of its $960.2 million offering of SoFi Professional Loan Program 2018-A Notes (SoFi 2018-A). According to the lending platform, the offering reflects underlying collateral of more than $1billion in student loans and is SoFi’s largest ever securitization, as well as the first by any fintech lender to reach the billion-dollar collateral mark.

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2018-1 (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to four classes of notes issued by SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2018-1 (“SCLP 2018-1”). This is a $591.5 million consumer loan ABS transaction.

Preliminary Ratings Assigned: SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2018-1

Class Preliminary Rating Class Principal
A-1 AA+ (sf) $320,000,000
A-2 AA+ (sf) $142,500,000
B A (sf) $81,000,000
C BBB (sf) $48,000,000

A Knife in Twitter’s Back Could Bring A Happy Ending to SoFi Investor’s Wild Ride (Inc.), Rated: A

And the reason that departure could make me better off is that I invested in SoFi in December 2014 when the company was valued at $1 billion. The last time SoFi raised money – in 2017 – it was valued at $4.3 billion.

There are five reasons I invested in SoFi  — of which these four are the most important.

1. It was targeting a huge market

SoFi started out targeting the $1.2 trillion student loan industry and in 2014 announced an expansion into the $12 trillion mortgage market.

 2. Its management team had excellent industry knowledge

 3. It knew what ailed stakeholders and provided a remedy

Of the 15,500 borrowers who had taken out about $1.3 billion worth of loans in 2014, SoFi estimated that it had saved the average borrower $11,783.

 4, It looked like it could reach $100 million in revenue

In November 2017, Bloomberg reported that in the third quarter of 2017 SoFi’s adjusted operating revenue rose 8.2% to $145.3 million in the third quarter while its adjusted earnings totaled $56.1 million.

Moreover, SoFi added 55,000 members in the quarter to a total of 400,000 – having completed “more than $3.52 billion in loans in the period and completed three securities offerings totaling more than $1.5 billion,” according to Bloomberg.

Scandal-rocked SoFi says it has foundation for full recovery (American Banker), Rated: A

He points to the $12.9 billion in loan originations SoFi did last year. The company sold more than $2 billion of those loans.

“All our investors are still buying, and we’ve added many new investors post Mike leaving,” Jain said. “All our lenders continue to lend to us and they’ve shown interest in lending us more. In the face of adversity, we did all we could.”

Source: American Banker

6 Awesome Benefits of SoFi Parent Student Loans (Student Loan Hero), Rated: A

If your child is a college student, you can borrow money to help offset their education costs with a SoFi Parent Loan. According to the company, borrowers can save $3,637 over the life of the loan compared to a federal Parent PLUS Loan, on average.

If you took out a federal Parent PLUS Loan, you could face interest rates as high as 7.00%.

  1. Low interest rates – Depending on your credit score and income, you could qualify for a much lower rate with SoFi than you would with a federal student loan. SoFi student loans have fixed interest rates as low as 3.25% and variable rates as low as 2.58%.
  2. No origination or application fees – For borrowers who received their loans after October 2017, that fee is 4.264 percent of your loan amount. On a $10,000 loan, that means you’ll have to pay a fee of $426.40, adding to the cost of your child’s education.
  3. Career support
  4. Wealth advisors
  5. Member discounts – If you have a SoFi parent student loan and go on to take out a personal loan, mortgage, or another student loan with the company, you’ll receive a 0.125 percent interest rate discount on the new debt.
  6. Customer support

Loan Program Plans to Offer Students Prepaid Bank Cards (The New York Times), Rated: A

The Department of Education plans to provide students with a prepaid card that would hold surplus loan money that is not needed for tuition, giving the government and financial services providers a firsthand look at how students are spending those dollars.

Robinhood adds zero-fee cryptocurrency trading and tracking (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

No-commission stock trading app Robinhood will let you buy and sell Bitcoin and Ethereum without any added transaction fees starting in February, compared to Coinbase’s 1.5 to 4 percent fees in the US. And as of today Robinhood will let all users track the price, news, and set alerts on those and 14 other top crypto coins, including Litecoin and Ripple.

Former Ripple Exec Invests $ 57.5 Million in Uphold (CoinDesk), Rated: A

Digital money platform Uphold today announced it has received a $57.5 million investment from former Fed Reserve senior analyst and Ripple chief risk officer Greg Kidd.

Goldman Sachs Teams Up With This Silicon Valley Upstart in Commercial Real Estate (The Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

Goldman’s strategic investments group, which makes venture-capital-like investments, now owns 80 portfolio companies.  One such company is Cadre, a fintech company involved in online commercial real estate investing that Goldman funded in its Series B, C, and D funding rounds. The start-up, which happens to be led by some Goldman alumni, also just received a $250 million investment from Goldman’s private wealth clients.

Cadre also charges its LPs less than a typical private real estate fund. These funds usually charge a management fee, often around 1.5%, as well as a 20% cut of the profits above an 8% “preferred” return to LPs. On Cadre’s website, it advertises a 1% “transaction fee” (I assume that’s based on a per-deal fee, like a broker would get) and then a similar 1.5% management fee, but no incentive fee. Cadre claims this fee structure will increase investors’ invested rate of return by over 2% compared with a typical fund, all other factors being equal.

Instant cash out comes to Venmo (Business Insider), Rated: A

Venmo, the PayPal-owned digital peer-to-peer (P2P) transfer service, is within 30 minutes) cash out their Venmo balance for a flat $0.25 fee.

Trump administration prepares to roll back key financial protections for consumers (MarketWatch), Rated: A

The new leadership has taken over at a time when consumers are struggling with credit-card, auto loan and student loan debt. They’re also worried about their personal data, after a 2017 breach at the credit reporting agency EquifaxEFX, +0.81%   exposed personal information of more than 145 million U.S. adults, including their Social Security numbers and financial accounts.

Mulvaney requested zero dollars for his second-quarter budget

The bureau already had $177 million in reserves, enough to cover the $145 million the bureau projected it would need during the second quarter, he said.

USA consumer bureau delays prepaid card rules into 2019 (AliveForFootball), Rated: B

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau today finalized changes to its final rule on prepaid products, including an overall delay of the rule’s effective date until April 1, 2019 – an extension long sought by the American Bankers Association. The bureau also made changes meant to boost compliance with the rule and loosen rules on linking credit cards to prepaid accounts or “virtual wallets”.

The rule requires companies to disclose fees on prepaid cards and cooperate with consumers who discover unauthorized charges or errors.

Mastercard eyes biometric totality by 2019 (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

Mastercard says all consumers will be able to identify themselves with biometrics such as fingerprints or facial recognition, when they shop and pay with Mastercard by April next year.

StreetShares lands $ 23M for expansion, will look for new office space (Washington Business Journal), Rated: A

The veteran-oriented online lender will beef up staff and look to expand its government contracting offerings.

REIT Industry Veteran Talks About What to Expect from the Sector in 2018 (NREI Online), Rated: A

NREI: More specifically, what’s your take on how publicly-traded REITs will perform this year? Will 2018 be better overall than 2017?

Aaron Halfacre: In 2017, publicly-traded REIT performance was anemic relative to the S&P 500. I think that can be largely attributed to a few factors: big demand for large-cap “infotech” names driving the broader market, a meaningful sell-off in retail REITs and general market hesitation on REITs in front of the tax bill and Fed decisions. On a relative basis, publicly-traded REITs are well-positioned in 2018, not only from the fundamentals picture, but from a value perspective.

NREI: What about non-traded REITs?

Aaron Halfacre: I think 2018 could be as strong, or stronger, than what we saw in 2017. Personally, I am excited about the industry changes in the non-traded REIT space. It is a good thing to see Blackstone and Starwood entering the space while some of the traditional fee-hungry shops have bowed out—a good advocacy trend for the individual retail investor. Institutional-grade real estate choices without the… fee structures of yesteryear, combined with greater valuation transparency and an investment that is not correlated to the broader equity market — that’s a positive story for all of us who aren’t part of the 1 percent.

‘AI isn’t just technology, it’s good judgment’: Cathy Bessant on why banks need humans (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Bessant is transforming B of A into a technology firm and leading it into a future that requires humans to apply immense computing power to immense amounts of data — an artificial intelligence future. But like any every other technology executive, she’s facing a shortage of talent with science, technology, engineering and math backgrounds. The result is often departments hiring from other departments.

Bank of America will spend $600 million this year on cyber defense alone. It employs 1,200 people whose jobs are dedicated to nothing else but information security, although the company makes that “the job of every single employee,” Bessant said. But the caliber of the talent the bank hires is just as important as the technology it invests in, since they’ll be the ones that determine how to work responsibly with AI.

Bank of America Enters Car Subscription Space With Volvo (Auto Finance News), Rated: A

All of Volvo Car Financial Services’ loan and lease originations end up on Bank of America’s balance sheet, Hollodick explained, including subscriptions to Care by Volvo, which starts at $600 a month for an XC40 compact crossover.

2,000+ bank branches closed in US in 2017 (Fintech Futures), Rated: B

US banks accelerated their pace of branch closures in 2017, shutting down 2,069 locations (an 18% increase compared to 2016), according to CoStar, a US-based commercial real estate news site.

3 Industries that can benefit from alternative credit data (MicroBilt), Rated: A

Although alternative credit remains a murky, unfamiliar concept to some, its adoption is slowly but steadily spreading. Some sectors may be particularly well-positioned to benefit from its use, and businesses under those umbrellas should consider adopting them if they haven’t yet done so.

Rally Rd collects $ 2.6 mln seed (PE Hub), Rated: A

Rally Rd., A marketplace for making investments in collector cars the same way you buy & sell stock, announced that it has raised a $2.6 million seed round investment from leading venture capital firms and individual investors.

The Unconventional Way This Man Paid Off $ 70,000 in Student Loans (Student Loan Hero), Rated: A

When Ray Laureano and his wife graduated from college, they left school with a staggering amount of student loans. Between the two of them, they were over $200,000 in debt.

Ray and his wife paid off over $70,000 in just one year.

A radical debt repayment strategy

Instead, he talked to each loan servicer and entered the lower-interest loans into forbearance; in other words, he paused payments on those loans.

With his other debt payments on hold, he put all of his extra money toward just one loan with the highest interest rate. When that loan was fully paid off, he tackled the next highest-interest debt, and so on.

Ray estimates that they will be debt-free by March 2020.

Enacomm Inks Reseller Agreement with Telvoyant (GlobeNewswire), Rated: B

Data intelligence and advancements in communications technologies are helping financial institutions dramatically improve the customer self-service experience. Enacomm, Inc., a leading provider of intelligent interactions and customer authentication technologies for banks, credit unions and credit card companies, today announced a new partnership with Telvoyant, a premier telecom consulting firm providing comprehensive telecom solutions for business, non-profit organizations and government institutions. Through a reseller agreement between the two companies, Telvoyant’s bank and credit union customers will be able to take advantage of Enacomm’s VPA (Virtual Personal Assistant) banking and the Enacomm Financial Suite (EFS), which includes a hosted, dynamic interactive voice response (IVR) system for personalized customer interactions.

United Kingdom

What will RateSetter look like without unsecured business lending? (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

Consumer loans still make up the lion’s share of RateSetter’s £2.2bn loan book, while its commercial arm – both secured and unsecured – makes up 9.8 per cent, equating to £223.4m.

Of 2,213 commercial loans in total, including those that have been paid and repaid, 1,622 were unsecured and 591 secured as of the end of last year.

But its secured loans tend to be larger. 42.5 per cent of the value of RateSetter’s commercial loan book are listed as unsecured. This represents £95.1m worth of unsecured business loans compared with £128.2m of secured business loans.

UK Federation Of Small Businesses Says AltFin Is Just Heating Up (PYMNTS), Rated: A

The not-for-profit Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has been a vocal proponent of faster SMB payment times, greater access to more robust banking services and tighter regulation in support of small businesses across the U.K. Most recently, the FSB announced plans to join the alternative finance world and establish the FSB Funding Platform, a marketplace lending portal through which small businesses can access funding from more than 100 lenders.

The FSB’s own research on small business finance, outlined in its Q4 FSB Voice of Small Business Index, found that fewer SMBs were concerned about their access to finance in Q4 2017 than they were in the same quarter of 2016. For the first time since Q1 2012, the FSB’s credit availability index has surpassed its credit affordability index.

And yet, according to the report, small business confidence fell into negative territory, with 73 percent of SMBs reporting a rise in the cost of doing business.

Does cutting-edge technology require a new approach to insurance? (techworld), Rated: A

Digital Risks, an insurtech startup launched in 2014, focuses solely on providing insurance to startups working in the digital, media and tech space.

“We insure things like challenger banks, peer-to-peer lending, payments, medtech, teleadvice, fraud detection, cyber security software, and sharing economy businesses,” Rose adds. “The general focus is around technology.”

Digital Risks doesn’t provide insurance itself – rather, it acts as a broker between companies and a group of about 20 different underwriters.

Lendinvest backs £12m Leeds-based PRS scheme (Specialist Lending Solutions), Rated: B

The specialist property finance lender has completed a £12.5m financing deal with KMRE Group to build 111 new homes in Kirkstall, in a private rental sector (PRS) scheme.

The whole development will be managed as a PRS scheme, and was forward sold before construction commenced to a £300bn investment management group.

International

AltFiData Predicts Strong Growth for Marketplace Lending in the US in 2018 (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Today, leading data analytics provider for marketplace lending, AltFiData, released the total origination numbers for the UK, Europe and the USA. They are predicting solid growth for the industry in all three regions in 2018. The new loan volume for the USA in 2018 is expected be $38.9 billion, a year on year increase of 46%.

Still, I think 46% growth is a little on the high side for the four companies covered here but I expect we will get close to those numbers. Interestingly, AltFiData is expecting the UK industry to grow at 43%, slightlty slower than the USA, and Continental Europe to grow at 73% off a much smaller base.

Investing on the Mintos Secondary Market – Hint 2 – Buying overdue loans at discount (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

I get a result of 349 loans with various discounts and an YTM of up to 14%. Not surprising for me, many of the loans listed at the top are Mogo loans.

Source: P2P-Banking

If these loans do pay up and then run till regular maturity date, then he recieves a yield of 12.4% to 13.8%. Decent, but not very high compared to other Mintos loans.

However there is a chance of at least 50% that these loans will default and are bought back within the next 30 days. If that happens to a loan, that a buyer bought at 0.3% discount, it will boost his yield very roughly by more 3.6% (0.3% for 30 days multiplied by 12 to get annual effect). Likely it is more because the next payment date will be less than 30 days away. But even taking 3.6% the yield will be around 17%.

The loan with the 0.6% discount would mean a boost of very rougly 7.2% yield on top (0.6*12). So that could lead to about 20% yield.

Global Venture Capital Investment Market – Top 3 Trends by Technavio (BusinessWire), Rated: A

According to Technavio analysts, the global venture capital investment market will grow at a CAGR of more than 27% during the forecast period.

The three emerging market trends driving the global venture capital investment market according to Technavio research analysts are:

  • IPO market gains momentum
  • Growing portion of new investments in China and India
  • Increased participation from mutual funds, hedge funds, and banks in the VC market

In 2017, a lot of major startups such as Cloudera, China Rapid Finance, and Okta came up with IPOs. Most of the companies issuing IPOs were technology-focused and were software and cloud service providers.

During the forecast period, the Americas was the leading venture capital investment market with a market share of more than 56%, with the US being the leading country in the region.

Source: BusinessWire

Crowdfunding – Raising Billions (BW Disrupt), Rated: B

Equity crowdfunding has also become legal in countries like United Kingdom, France, Austria, Germany, Netherlands, Australia, Hong Kong and the U.S. with President Obama legalizing the equity crowdfunding by signing the JOBS Act into law.

Source: BW Disrupt

The Crowdfunding statistics for 2017 reports a global amount raised for $34 billion, broken into $25 billion through peer-to-peer lending, $5.5 billion through reward and donation and $2.5 billion through equity crowdfunding. The projection of the crowdfunding industry is expected to grow over $300 billion by 2025.

Australia/New Zealand

Big banks, biased financial advisers, and the three tricks to avoid them (The NewDaily), Rated: AAA

This week the big banks got more bad press when the corporate regulator ASIC declared that their huge networks of financial advisers were failing to operate in the best interests of their customers.

The report, which covered the financial advice arms of the Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, ANZ, NAB and AMP, found that an astonishing 75 per cent of advice provided was not in the best interests of customers.

And in 10 per cent of cases, consumers were actually worse off than they would have been if they hadn’t got advice.

PledgeMe announces new crowdlending-inspired platform in the works (bizEDGE), Rated: A

PledgeMe has jumpstarted the year with the announcement of the launch of a new lending platform they will be offering.

The Ta Koha platform will be based on a crowdlending model in partnership with the Māori Women Development Inc (MWDI).

India

Innovative products pay off for e-lending startups (ET Rise), Rated: A

After payments, digital lending as a space is at the vanguard of innovations, driven by a clutch of startups seeking to take formal lending to a customer segment that never got easy credit from banks.

From a digital EMI card to instant personal loans and a line-of-credit product, new-age disruptors such as Stashfin, Kissht, and Antworks, along with their established peers Paysense and Moneytap, are trying to generate traction through innovative lending products. Mumbai-based Kissht is financing consumption requirements of low-income households with a digital EMI card that can be used to make payments directly.
“There are around 40 online merchant partners and 2,000 points of presence accepting the Kissht EMI card across businesses like electronic stores, furniture shops and others,” said Krishnan Vishwanathan, chief executive of Kissht. Another Delhi-based startup, Stashfin, is also targeting consumers with income levels between ?20,000 and 1 lakh per month.
Asia

W11.2tr earmarked for midrange borrowers (The Korea Herald), Rated: AAA

South Korea’s Financial Services Commission said Thursday it plans to circulate a combined 11.2 trillion won ($10.6 billion) this year for local retail borrowers that hold midrange credit scores while having trouble finding corresponding loans.

The FSC pledged to pour a combined 8 trillion won into state-run loan products sold at banks, including those designed for refinancing. The remaining 3.2 trillion won will be spent to encourage private banking institutions to develop and sell midrange loan products this year, and the volume of support is expected to gradually increase, according to the plans.

By 2022, the government’s annual financial support for five commercial banking groups — Shinhan, KB, KEB Hana, NH and Woori — will increase by 2.5 times to 2.4 trillion won from 2017, according to the plans. Direct banks Kakao Bank and K Bank received 900 billion won in 2017, and the volume will increase by 3.5 times to 3.1 trillion won in 2022.

Africa

SelfKey Receives Regulatory Sandbox License in Mauritius (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

SelfKey, a blockchain-based digital identity firm, has obtained a Mauritius’ Regulatory Sandbox License (RSL), according to information provided by the company. This license will allow SelfKey to develop their self-sovereign digital identity wallet and financial services marketplace under supervision and scrutiny of the Board of Investment of Mauritius.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday January 18 2018, Daily News Digest

mobile banking user growth

News Comments Today’s main news: Marcus passes the $2B loan origination mark. Varo Money secures $45M in Round B. Funding Circle’s fund announces Citibank deal. Qudian enters budget auto financing. PeerStreet intros 30-day notes. Today’s main analysis: Investing in Mintos’ secondary market. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Mobile banking is more important than ever. Credit score changes would force banks to help […]

mobile banking user growth

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United States

United Kingdom

China

International

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United States

Goldman Sachs’ Online Lending Platform Marcus Has Originated Over $ 2 Billion in Loans, Deposits Rise to Over $ 5 Billion (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Meeting a prediction from this past June set by Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, online lending platform Marcus topped $2 billion in loan originations. Additionally, Marcus reported online deposits of over $5 billion. Deposits and consumer lending have now been combined under a single brand, thus, in reality, creating a challenger bank for the future.

Overall, Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) reported net revenues of $32.07 billion and net earnings of $4.29 billion for the year ended December 31, 2017.

Diluted earnings per common share were $9.01 compared with $16.29 for the year ended December 31, 2016. Goldman reported a Q4 loss of $5.51 per share. The results were impacted by a tax related expense of $4.4 billion. Without this expense, Goldman said earnings per share would have been $5.68.

Varo Money Closes $ 45M Series B Financing Round (Varo Money Email), Rated: AAA

Mobile banking is more important than ever (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

As we’ve seen for the past few quarters, mobile banking is continuing to rise, but the rate of growth is decelerating as offerings mature.

  • JPMorgan Chase 

    How a 23-year-old Max Levchin got Peter Thiel to invest in PayPal in under 24 hours (Business Insider), Rated: A

    Levchin told Shontell, “I saw [Thiel’s] name on the pinboard, wandered into a class that was taught by him, which turned out to be more like seminar with six people in the room. So it was a very small group of people. One: I couldn’t sleep because it would be obvious, but two, he was actually pretty interesting. So I stayed awake and chatted him up afterwards.”

    That turned out to be a good move. Here’s Levchin:

    “In the inimitable Peter Thiel fashion, we basically spend about 20 minutes talking after his lecture, and he said, ‘Well, what are you doing in Silicon Valley?’ I said, ‘I just got here two weeks ago. Probably gonna start a company.’ He said, ‘Oh, great. We should meet for breakfast.’

    “We met the next day. He said, ‘All right, so what companies are you thinking of starting?’ I had two ideas that I was concurrently thinking about. I described No. 1., No. 2. He said, ‘No. 1 is better; you should do that.’ ‘OK.’ ‘I’d like to invest.’ It was less than 24 hours later. Peter was a committed investor in my new project.”

    Credit score changes would saddle banks with risk to help nonbanks (American Banker), Rated: AAA

    Recently, the Federal Housing Finance Agency has been evaluating whether to allow originators that sell loans to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to use something other than the currently mandated FICO model. Specifically, the FHFA is evaluating whether originators can also use the VantageScore model offered by a company owned by the three credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

    VantageScore contends that its model will provide credit scores on more than 30 million additional consumers and make 7.6 million of these scores eligible for a loan sold to Fannie or Freddie because of the model’s supposed ability to more accurately assess blemished and dormant credit histories and accommodate thin credit files that most often effect younger consumers. VantageScore also argues that, since the model consolidates data from all three credit bureaus, it eliminates scoring differences caused by data discrepancies. The result, the company maintains, will be expanded home ownership, a more vibrant housing market, more consistent underwriting and faster economic growth.

    The major proponents of the alternative credit scoring model are large nonbank originators and credit reporting firms — companies that make their living from the quantity of loans they originate, not the quality. Their business models shield them from ongoing credit risk and require ever-increasing volumes to achieve scale economies. In short, nonbank originators generally don’t eat their own cooking — either in the form of loans or in the form of securities backed by the loans they originate. Therefore, they have everything to gain from this FHFA change, and very little to lose.

    PeerStreet Announces New Investment Product “30-Day Notes” (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

    On Wednesday, PeerStreet announced the launch of its new investment product, 30-Day Note, to provide increased liquidity for accredited investors at 30-day terms. According to the online lender, the 30-Day Notes product was launched quietly in October as a pilot program, is now offered monthly.

    Axial Members Surpass $ 25 Billion in Closed Middle Market Deals (Axial Email), Rated: A

    Axial, the deal network for the middle market, today announced its members have closed more than $25 billion in deals on 2,000-plus M&A and growth capital transactions since Axial’s launch in 2010. To facilitate these closed transactions, Axial arranged more than 2.1 million private member-to-member deal connections. Nearly one-third (650) of the total transactions closed in 2017.

    In 2017, the revenues of businesses that privately transacted using the Axial deal network ranged from $2.9 million to $610 million, with EBITDA ranging from negative $19 million to $223 million. Top sectors of deal flow activity include Business Services, SaaS, Healthcare IT, Distribution & Logistics, and Manufacturing. Notably, 24% of all growth capital transactions attempted in 2017 were in the Technology sector, more than doubling year-over-year from 10% in 2016.

    Worthy Peer Capital Receives SEC Qualification for 5% Money Market Alternative (Worthy Financial Email), Rated: A

    Worthy Financial, Inc., a modern personal finance company that delivers alternative investment products and digital savings solutions to a wide-range of retail investors, is pleased to announce that its subsidiary Worthy Peer Capital, Inc. has been qualified by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), under Regulation A+, to bring a new liquid peer-debt product to the entire investing ecosystem.

    The new Worthy Bond offers all investors – including non-accredited investors – a 5% fixed return. Although the bonds have a 36 month term, they can be cashed in at any time for those with imminent liquidity needs, thereby serving more as an alternative to traditional money market products. Bonds may be purchased at .

    Democrats Add Momentum to G.O.P. Push to Loosen Banking Rules (The New York Times), Rated: A

    But unlike the $1.5 trillion tax overhaul, which passed along party lines, the effort to loosen the post-crisis rules is somewhat bipartisan. A group of Senate Democrats has joined Republicans to support legislation that would mark the first major revision of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, a signature accomplishment of President Barack Obama that has been deemed “a disaster” by President Trump.

    The bill would allow hundreds of smaller banks to avoid certain elements of federal oversight, including stress tests, which measure a bank’s ability to withstand a severe economic downturn. Under current law, banks with assets of $50 billion or more are considered “systemically important financial institutions” and therefore governed by stricter rules. The bill would raise that threshold to institutions with assets of $250 billion or more, leaving fewer than 10 big banks in the United States subject to the stricter oversight.

    Banks with assets of $50 billion to $100 billion would be immediately freed from those requirements. Financial institutions with $100 billion to $250 billion in assets, such as BB&T and American Express, would no longer be subject to tougher rules after 18 months, although the Federal Reserve would retain the authority to periodically conduct stress tests on those firms.

     

    The One Big Reason It’s So Hard to Refinance Your Student Loans (Money), Rated: A

    More than half of borrowers who applied for refinancing in 2017 were turned down, according on a report released Wednesday by LendEDU, a student loan marketplace that tracked 32,000 applications to eight refinance companies.

    Using data from users of the LendEDU marketplace, the report found that 58% of 2017 refinance applicants were ultimately rejected. And those who passed muster had very high FICO credit scores—the average approved applicant had a score of 764. Nationally, the average credit scoreis 700 out of 850; anything above 720 qualifies as excellent.

    Refinancing companies are currently advertising fixed interest rates that start at about 3.5%. Yet the average on refinanced loans in 2017 was 5.56%, LendEDU found.

    Source: Money

    Bill Gates made these 15 predictions in 1999 — and it’s scary how accurate he was (Business Insider), Rated: A

    Gates’ prediction: “People will carry around small devices that allow them to constantly stay in touch and do electronic business from wherever they are. They will be able to check the news, see flights they have booked, get information from financial markets, and do just about anything else on these devices.”

    No. 3: Instant payments and financing online 

    Gates’ prediction: “Automated price comparison services will be developed, allowing people to see prices across multiple websites, making it effortless to find the cheapest product for all industries.”

    The Top Ten Fintech Predictions for 2018 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

    10. Resurgence of Peer to Peer Lending and the Emergence of A New Asset Class

    We’ve seen coin-backed lending such as Salt Lending. There will be many more platforms that will attempt to solve solvency and liquidity issues with lending in fiat currency backed by coins.

    9. Alternative Internet

    The cost of a simple PayPal transaction might go up dramatically because it was routed through Comcast’s fiber. You may have to pay an additional $3.99 a month for an “Online Banking” package if you want to do online banking…

    8. Banks will rule again

    Most of the online platforms (payments or lending) plus secondary markets are at the mercy of banks. Without a bank charter, you are simply limited on growth.

    6. Baby Boomer Financial, Inc.

    The youngest baby boomers are approaching retirement age. The baby boomer generation is about 75 million people (on par with Millennials) in the US and represents a vast amount of wealth in this country. They want to transact, invest, bank and most importantly transfer their wealth in a responsible way. I predict that there will be Fintech startups specifically addressing the needs of this generation of folks.

    4. Mass Adoption of Zero Latency Payment Clearance/Credit.

    Over the past few decades, we went from a cash society and in-person / in-branch interviews to “same-day” ACH (direct deposit) and next day loan funding. I predict that in 2018, we will see instant credit approval and funding.

    3.  Social Networks Venture Into Credit.

    I am making another prediction that Facebook or Snapchat will venture into extending credit.

    2. Vertical Integration.

    WeWork will get into the Working Capital lending business. And dare I say Indeed, Monster, and LinkedIn, will start lending money based on your resume and activities within your professional connections?!

    BlackRock makes impact a necessity for companies (ImpactAlpha), Rated: A

    Larry Fink flips social impact from a luxury to a necessity for every company. The chief executive of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager with $6 trillion under management, served notice on corporate CEOs their companies “must benefit all of their stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, customers, and the communities in which they operate.” Fink made his point as clearly as possible: “To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society.”

    Would a bank payday loan be any safer? (Daily Journal of Commerce), Rated: A

    Thanks to a recent regulatory change, it now may be possible for banks to offer small, short-term loans that could be a lot less dangerous for borrowers. Whether banks will actually do so remains to be seen.

    Standard Chartered creates fintech investment unit (Fintech Futures), Rated: B

    Standard Chartered has established a new business unit, SC Ventures, to invest in fintechs and other start-ups.

    Christopher Blake Joins Cross River Bank Loan Team (Long Island Press), Rated: B

    Veteran loan officer Christopher Blake joined Cross River Bank, where he’ll serve clients in Long Island, Queens and Brooklyn in the lender’s Commercial and Multi-Family Real Estate division, the company announced Tuesday.

    Freefly has teamed up with three fantastic financing partners (Freefly), Rated: B

    AFFIRM FINANCING

    Ideal for individuals looking to finance their Freefly purchases.

    SCL EQUIPMENT FINANCE

    A flexible lender designed for U.S. business, sole proprietors, and independent contractors.

    GLOBAL FINANCE

    A creative lender with options for businesses in the U.S. and many countries across the globe.

    United Kingdom

    Funding Circle’s fund unveils Citibank deal (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

    FUNDING Circle’s listed fund has inked a deal with Citibank, whereby the financial institution indirectly channels £50m to small businesses through the peer-to-peer lending platform.

    The transaction was announced by the Funding Circle SME Income Fund (FCIF) on Wednesday.

    Under a rather complicated structured finance deal, Citibank’s London branch will advance a senior, floating rate loan of £50m through two Irish special purpose vehicles. The facility matures in December 2026.

    Funding Circle SME Income Fund Limited (London South East), Rated: A

    The Board is pleased to announce that the Company has entered into a formal agreement with Citibank, N.A. London Branch (“Citibank London”) to establish a funding transaction to make loans to ?UK small businesses through the Funding Circle platform?. The transaction will serve to support the Company’s target dividend yield of 6-7% per annum.

    Under the terms of the agreement Citibank London will provide �50 million of funding into the transaction, by entering into a senior, floating rate loan. The Company will contribute a portfolio of existing UK small business loans at par, and in return shall receive ?approximately �50 million of cash to be deployed in accordance with its investment policy, and junior notes.

    Fintech firms struggling to get a foothold with established lenders (The Irish Times), Rated: A

    Banks and other financial institutions remain extremely wary of working with fintech firms, particularly in Ireland where few are willing to give start-ups the endorsement they need to help secure business elsewhere.

    Andrew Patrick White, founder and chief executive of FundApps, a regtech firm that provides compliance and regulation monitoring services to asset managers and hedge funds, said many financial institutions were afraid of fintech solutions because of a fear that they would be used to replace staff.

    “Your grandmother probably has more sophisticated apps on her iPad than many banks have inhouse,” Mr White added.

    Your morning briefing (PaymentsSource), Rated: A

    ‘All-in-one’ cards get another shotCurve has debuted a card in the U.K. that allows consumers to switch a card used to fund a payment after they have left the store. Through the card’s “back in time” feature, card preferences can be changed for up to two weeks, a system the company is selling as a financial management tool. Curve, which is being offered for free with a $60 premium option with more rewards, works like a regular card and is usable anyplace that accepts Mastercard. While all-in-one cards have struggled to gain traction over the years, more than 100,000 people signed up during the card’s testing phase and spent more than $120 million, according to a release.

    OnePlus’ fraud hit: Electronic equipment company OnePlus became the latest to get hit with card fraud, with consumers reporting unauthorized transactions and the company disabling credit card payments but still allowing PayPal transactions. The company is doing a complete audit of its systems and is looking for alternative payment options.

    When we asked, which, if any, Isas have you used over the 2017/18 tax year, nearly a third (32%) said they’d only used a Stocks and Shares Isa.

    This was followed by nearly a quarter (24%) who’ve only used a Cash Isa, and 17% who use a mixture of different Isas.

    This decline in Cash Isa savings is likely to be attributed to poor cash savings rates and the introduction of the personal savings allowance in April 2017.

    Interestingly, Innovative Finance Isas – used for peer-to-peer lending – don’t appear to have taken off, with just 3% of those who voted in our poll only using this savings vehicle.

    Source: Moneywise

    Name Change for Funding Knight as GLI Finance Updates to Sancus Funding (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

    As part of an ongoing strategic update, GLI Finance has renamed peer to peer lending platform FundingKnight to Sancus Funding Limited with immediate effect. GLI Finance, an AIM listed company, has also transferred ownership to Sancus BMS Group Limited.

    China

    Qudian is Moving into Budget Auto Financing (CapitalWatch), Rated: AAA

    The newly listed peer-to-peer lending company in China, Qudian (NYSE: QD), has moved into auto-purchase financing, a new business initiative called “Dabai Auto,” according to the company.

    Launched in late November 2017, Dabai Auto is currently targeting Qudian’s existing high quality users, who have been approved with credit lines, but have not actively transacted in small cash installments. The company also announced that it plans to spend around RMB 100 million ($15.5 million) to promote Dabai Auto through online and offline channels. The offline channels would include Qudian user engagement and delivery centers that are located in the shopping districts of over 100 cities across China.

    HNA-owned P2P lending platform doing business normally, executive says (Global Times), Rated: A

    Payments of investment products on jbh.com, an online peer-to-peer (P2P) platform owned by HNA Group, remain normal and there have not been any capital losses since the platform was set up three years ago, an executive of the company said on Wednesday.

    Payments for all maturing investment products on jbh.com are being made as normal, sina.com.cn reported Wednesday, citing Xia Aobi, president of jbh.com.

    International

    Funding Circle and Lufax: Two High Profile IPOs for 2018 (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

    Neither IPO is a surprise as both companies have indicated their intentions before. But we now have a clearer indication on the timing. First off the rank will likely be Lufax. The South China Morning Post reported that Lufax is planning to do their IPO in Hong Kong in April at a possible valuation of US$60 billion. This would be more than three times the valuation of their previous funding round in 2016.

    The Funding Circle news actually broke just before the New Year with this article from Sky News. They reported that the company was preparing to hire advisors in the first steps towards an IPO. They are supposedly going to interview investment bankers this quarter with a possible listing in London in late fall which would put us in the latter part of the third quarter.

    A successful Funding Circle IPO, one where the valuation rises after it goes public will be very good for the marketplace lending industry in both the UK and the US. We have had little good news here in the last couple of years when it comes to the public markets and I would very much like to see a success story here.

    Investing on the Mintos Secondary Market – Hint One (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

    On the Mintos p2p lending marketplace the majority of investors invest on the primary market into loans, either manually or via autoinvest. But for the 29% of investors that do invest on the secondary market picking loans presents them with a huge choice of about 125,000 offers (no typo, really 125K loan parts on offer!).

    Source: P2P-Banking

    For the shown loans there is a very high probability that they will miss the payment and therefore run an additional 60 days until they are repaid under the buyback guarantee. If that happens the remaining actual loan duration would be 62 or 63 days and the impact of the 0.1% discount on the YTM would be much smaller. The resulting YTM would be somewhere around 11 to 13%. So they would not be a good buy and there are much better offers on the secondary market.

    Source: P2P-Banking

    With two weeks remaining the effective YTM for a buyer is not 36% but rather around 12%. Again there are offers with better YTMs on the secondary market.

    Chinese tech groups undermine banks’ dominance of finance (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

    The recent refusal by US regulators to sign off on Ant Financial’s $1.2bn acquisition of Dallas-based money transfer firm MoneyGram International does not signal the end of the Alibaba-affiliated payments group’s US financial ambitions.

    On one level, the scuppered deal suggests that Chinese companies, whether state-owned or otherwise, will have an ever harder time winning approval for US acquisitions. The move also confirms that the Americans now believe that the definition of national security — their basis for scrutinising overseas deals — embraces anything related to information and data.

    But Ant Financial’s attempted US play also shows how much technology is undermining the dominance of traditional global titans, especially in the financial sphere. It is especially noteworthy that many of the upstart challengers to banks and other legacy companies increasingly either have a Chinese face or Chinese capital behind them. That, in turn, underscores how some Chinese players have leapfrogged into prominence across the world.

    Blockchain is revolutionizing the loan industry – a look at Valorem… (Global Crypto Press), Rated: A

    Smart contracts are providing the solution to the trust issues that are usually the main concerns in the micro loan industry.  Whether it be student loans, cars, or any other kind of micro lending – blockchain technology provides what’s needed to move away from the banks, and towards a peer to peer lending model.

    Volerem Foundation is building the infrastructure to facilitate exactly this.

    India

    Govt should think of new ways to boost sectors like P2P lending: LenDenClub (India Info Online), Rated: A

    Additionally, we also expect the government should think of new ways to boost sectors like P2P lending. Eg.- Enable tax exemption for the lenders on P2P lending platforms, under section 80C. This will result in raising the trust bar and credibility, leading to more and more people investing in such platforms. It will also bring in a good enough capital infusion in the P2P lending space.

    Introducing Syndicates for India (Angel.co), Rated: A

    Today, we are announcing Syndicates for India, a new way for investors in India to invest alongside experienced angels and VC funds that invest in India’s vibrant tech ecosystem.

    To date, over 1,800 startups have raised more than $700M through Syndicates on the AngelList platform, receiving more than $6B in follow-on funding.

    APAC

    Gov’t urged to increase ceiling for individual investment in P2P lenders (Yonhap News Agency), Rated: AAA

    A business lobby of peer to peer (P2P) finance firms said Thursday it has asked financial regulators to raise the annual ceiling on individual investment in P2P lenders.

    The Korea P2P Finance Association has asked the Financial Services Commission (FSC) to increase the limit to 100 million won (US$93,632) per year from the current 10 million won, an association official said.

    ZorroSign Among Top 25 FinTech Companies (PR Newswire), Rated: B

    ZorroSign, Inc., today announced the company has been recognized among the top 25 FinTech companies in Asia-Pacific (APAC) by CIO Outlook. The honor spotlights organizations that are fundamentally disrupting the way companies in the global finance sector do business. ZorroSign offers unique secure eSignature, end-to-end Digital Transaction Management, and post-execution fraud protection solution. With security being on top of mind for financial services providers, ZorroSign Document 4n6 (Forensics) Token technology offers a major advantage to its customers.

    Authors:

    George Popescu
    Allen Taylor

Securitization: Today’s Liquidity Engine for Online Lending

Securitization: Today’s Liquidity Engine for Online Lending

Personal loan markets are a bit imbalanced. The costs to originate loans are inflated by the need for lawyers, auditors, credit ratings agencies, brokers, and more. With so many middlemen, smaller originators are being squeezed by high expenses. Can anything be done about it? Optimally, the loans originated by peer to peer would be sold […]

Securitization: Today’s Liquidity Engine for Online Lending

Personal loan markets are a bit imbalanced. The costs to originate loans are inflated by the need for lawyers, auditors, credit ratings agencies, brokers, and more. With so many middlemen, smaller originators are being squeezed by high expenses.

Can anything be done about it?

Optimally, the loans originated by peer to peer would be sold off to retail investors. But the shift away from selling fractional loans pushed out the retail investors, leaving the hedge funds. In 2016, the hedge funds pulled out, stranding billions in loans on the originators’ balance sheets.

The only way to make it go away, is to package all of those loans into a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV). These loans are sold as securities to institutional investors like hedge funds, pension funds, and insurance companies. In order for institutional investors to be allowed to invest, the securities must pass a rigorous legal process. The loans must be rated. The papers audited.

It all costs money.

In order for the big online lenders to pass on the debt to institutional investors, they have to incur large expenses from middle men, squeezing their margins. For the institutional investor, the ROI on these SPVs justify the increase in price. For the originators, who have few if any alternative options, it’s a cost of staying in business.

But these expenses create barriers to entry to all but the biggest online lenders.

The smaller online lenders are left out. They don’t have the means to originate enough loans to get the attention of the institutional investors. They cannot securitize so their debt stays on their books, often paralyzing their ability to originate more. Their growth is confined to their rate of return.

Why Peer to Peer Lending Didn’t Deliver

Peer to peer lending was supposed to shake things up. When online lending came on the scene, the regulators didn’t know what to make of it. They didn’t have a clue as to which laws applied. As a result, online lenders didn’t pay anyone to make sure their assets met any regulations.

Once the regulators found a way to govern, the party was over. Online lenders had to pay more for regulatory fees and rates went up. When peer to peer got started, interest rates were at their post-2008 lows. They remained at 0% for a long time. As they began to rise, the cost of capital did also.

Peer to peer lending is all about moving cash. It’s about loaning out money, and then selling the loans to investors. To keep any cash on hand went against their business model. They are not depository institutions, and cannot borrow at the Fed Funds rate, which is currently at 1.25%.

A Solution for Smaller Investors

What if an originator didn’t securitize a bundle of loans? What if an online lender went on its platform and tried to sell its loans? It could take some time. There are markets for smaller originators who don’t sell to institutional investors, but liquidity is a major issue.

The secondary markets that do exist are only to meet basic regulatory requirements. They are closed to participants outside the originating platform. If you buy a note from Lending Club and you want to sell it, you can only sell it to someone on the Lending Club platform.

Loans purchased on a peer to peer lending platform will most likely be held to maturity. If an investor wishes to sell it, it can take a long time. One investor said that he waited 18 months to sell the loans he bought on a peer to peer lending platform at the price that he wanted.

The problem is liquidity. Peer to peer loans are “trapped” within their own platform. There is no secondary market where all of the loans originated by over 200 lending platforms can come together to provide liquidity for one another.

But what if there was?

A secondary market for loans issued by small originators could enable these companies to get the loans off their balance sheet as fast as the bigger players. A marketplace of these loans can create the liquidity badly needed by both originators and investors. If loans on 200 platforms suddenly converged into one marketplace, liquidity could cease to be an issue.

A secondary market can pave the way for smaller originators to flourish. The originators will have a place to sell their loans. Investors have a place to trade them. The liquidity and stability would create opportunities for a wider array of investors, such as the crypto community, to offer new sources of lending capital, ushering in the next phase of growth for the industry.

The New Marriage

Online lending has been fueled by hedge funds, who crave high returns on low volatility. As defaults grew, the hedge funds saw too much risk relative to their investment and walked away. In short, after a short marriage the groom wanted a divorce.

The new suitor may be the crypto investing community. Holders of digital coin are invested in highly volatile assets. The same secondary markets that are too much for hedge funds can provide a safe haven to park crypto assets into something pegged to the US dollar without leaving the crypto markets.

The underlying assets they invest in on this market will be backed by a highly diversified portfolio of loans eliminating the single point of failure offered by todays “stable” coin.

This new marriage has the chance to finally make good on the original promise of peer to peer lending.

Author:

Gilad Woltsovitch is the Co-Founder and CEO at Backed Inc., responsible for designing the company’s first-class platform, UX and UI. Before Backed, Gilad co-founded iAlbums, a semantic curation engine for media players in 2010 where he served as the company’s CEO from 2011-2014. In 2013, Gilad also served as the entrepreneur in residence for Cyhawk Ventures and joined the Ethereum project, establishing the Israeli Ethereum meet-up group. Gilad holds a Masters of Art Science and Bachelors in Sonology from the Royal Conservatory of The Netherlands in The Hague, University of Leiden.

Asset Verification for MPL Secondary Markets and Securitizations

Equity ETFs

VeriComply, headquartered in San Francisco, California, was founded by Roger Cohen in late 2015 with the goal to improve and scale the workflow processes around the documents a lender needs to assess. The company is focused on leveraging its proprietary technology to automate the entire chain of reading, extracting, and verifying data from financial documents. […]

Equity ETFs

VeriComply, headquartered in San Francisco, California, was founded by Roger Cohen in late 2015 with the goal to improve and scale the workflow processes around the documents a lender needs to assess. The company is focused on leveraging its proprietary technology to automate the entire chain of reading, extracting, and verifying data from financial documents. Cohen has 35 years of experience in the financial services industry as a consultant, a professional attorney, and a business owner. As a lawyer, he helped five companies go through the IPO process and understands the massive inefficiencies existing in the document management space.

He founded Portford Solutions in 2000 as a document management company. Its flagship product, DocuNECT was designed to connect business users with the information locked in documents. To achieve this, DocuNECT maps the document lifecycle to capture the document, extract the appropriate data, and distribute the data/document to third party business applications, and/or workflow and data specifications. This became the backbone of VeriComply. Cohen essentially took the underlying DocuNECT system and re-engineered it exclusively for use in the financial services industry.

Company Background

VeriComply used family and friends for the initial phase of funding. But in February 2017, it managed to raise an undisclosed amount in seed funding from private investors including John Barlow, founder of Eaglewood Capital, and John Maute, CEO of Helios AMC and Situs Holdings, a global real estate diligence firm, as well as a board member of Money360, a CRE marketplace lending platform.

The company was able to add impetus to its growth story when it brought on Roger Dickerson as President. Dickerson worked as VP of financial operations at Lending Club from 2012 to 2016. He was responsible for the entire investor operations process, which included order placement, treasury, and building out capabilities to sell to institutional investors, reporting, cash custody, loan documentation, and settlements. He oversaw funding of over $23 billion in loans during his tenure. After looking at the prototype, he knew Cohen had developed a document verification product that is better than anything available in the market.

Dickerson also brought in TJ Valenzuela as national sales manager for educating the client base and driving demand. The underlying idea was to provide verification throughout the life cycle of the loan, from creating an asset at origination level and verifying at POS for warehouse lenders and custodians to providing verification in the secondary market.

The VeriComply Process

Since its primary customers are trust companies, VeriComply acts as a sub-verification agent or document custodian. Basically, on getting the loan documents, it extracts data and compares it with loan/data tapes. Outcomes are then discussed with originators and trust company partners to remove any discrepancies. The report is then sent to the client notifying approval status. Loans are verified on various parameters and cover all characteristics of a loan: term, rates, state of origination, APR, etc. It also incorporates the borrower’s information for better analysis.

Considering this is an important cog in the selling of loans in secondary markets and securitization, automating the process gives credibility as well as integrity to the entire portfolio when it sells.

The state-of-art technology used to build the platform means it can quickly configure for multiple originators, loan types, documents, and various field verifications. Fees are charged for the configuration set up, per loan process, and for monthly storage.

Cloud Flexibility: The Difference Maker

VeriComply relies on Microsoft’s cloud offering, Azure, to provide a secured user interface that enables multiple users to work with documents. On top of that, its cloud-based deployment architecture enables users to scale quickly and undertake massive volumes of loan verifications in different verticals. By providing a secure and scalable configuration system, it responds faster to the emerging demands of the market. Moreover, it also enables the holder of the documents to redact data in documents.

VeriComply is on track to provide 100% automation, which is not currently available in the market. Its peers still rely on human-dependent sampling techniques.

Most of VeriComply’s sales are executed through its reseller partners. It has many trust companies on board and works with different originators. The company was able to process 19,000 loans in less than two and half hours for an Upstart securitization, which is a new benchmark for the industry. It is also working with mortgage diligence providers and legal firms. The firm is currently focused on the MPL industry since the concept is easier to sell, documents are more precise and clear, and set up is faster. However, it plans to branch out to other verticals and asset classes, though the point of entry will remain with markpetlace lending.

Riding the Industry Tailwind

Stringent regulations in the MPL industry coupled with longer credit cycles have led to greater scrutiny of underlying loans. Buyers in the secondary market want to make sure whatever they are buying have the least risk attached to it. Thus, there is an overwhelming need for top-of-the-line document verification.

Also in terms of storage of documents, there is a change in trend. Earlier companies used Excel spreadsheets to record transactions, but now people want to use data from the primary source so that there is no chance of manipulation. This is great news for VeriComply.

VeriComply’s Future Plans

Keeping an eye on the future, the company wants to incorporate blockchain technology for publishing legacy documents. It also wants to create a system to help lawyers create customized smart contracts. Though the industry is a long way from leveraging the full power of blockchain, the growing need to transmit information at a quicker pace is forcing companies to move toward the blockchain universe.

For now, the company wants to concentrate on creating demand for its product and raise capital to execute its plans. The company’s product has garnered a good response from the market and is on track to close with over 100 prospective client companies. VeriComply can reduce the time span of the financial services sales cycle and will help further grow the marketplace lending industry by streamlining the documentation process. Strategic funding can help it become the new standard bearer for this niche industry.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Asset Verification for MPL Secondary Markets and Securitizations

VeriComply document verification

VeriComply, headquartered in San Francisco, California, was founded by Roger Cohen in late 2015 with the goal to improve and scale the workflow processes around the documents a lender needs to assess. The company is focused on leveraging its proprietary technology to automate the entire chain of reading, extracting, and verifying data from financial documents. […]

VeriComply document verification

VeriComply, headquartered in San Francisco, California, was founded by Roger Cohen in late 2015 with the goal to improve and scale the workflow processes around the documents a lender needs to assess. The company is focused on leveraging its proprietary technology to automate the entire chain of reading, extracting, and verifying data from financial documents. Cohen has 35 years of experience in the financial services industry as a consultant, a professional attorney, and a business owner. As a lawyer, he helped five companies go through the IPO process and understands the massive inefficiencies existing in the document management space.

He founded Portford Solutions in 2000 as a document management company. Its flagship product, DocuNECT was designed to connect business users with the information locked in documents. To achieve this, DocuNECT maps the document lifecycle to capture the document, extract the appropriate data, and distribute the data/document to third party business applications, and/or workflow and data specifications. This became the backbone of VeriComply. Cohen essentially took the underlying DocuNECT system and re-engineered it exclusively for use in the financial services industry.

Company Background

VeriComply used family and friends for the initial phase of funding. But in February 2017, it managed to raise an undisclosed amount in seed funding from private investors including John Barlow, founder of Eaglewood Capital, and John Maute, CEO of Helios AMC and Situs Holdings, a global real estate diligence firm, as well as a board member of Money360, a CRE marketplace lending platform.

The company was able to add impetus to its growth story when it brought on Roger Dickerson as President. Dickerson worked as VP of financial operations at Lending Club from 2012 to 2016. He was responsible for the entire investor operations process, which included order placement, treasury, and building out capabilities to sell to institutional investors, reporting, cash custody, loan documentation, and settlements. He oversaw funding of over $23 billion in loans during his tenure. After looking at the prototype, he knew Cohen had developed a document verification product that is better than anything available in the market.

Dickerson also brought in TJ Valenzuela as national sales manager for educating the client base and driving demand. The underlying idea was to provide verification throughout the life cycle of the loan, from creating an asset at origination level and verifying at POS for warehouse lenders and custodians to providing verification in the secondary market.

The VeriComply Process

Since its primary customers are trust companies, VeriComply acts as a sub-verification agent or document custodian. Basically, on getting the loan documents, it extracts data and compares it with loan/data tapes. Outcomes are then discussed with originators and trust company partners to remove any discrepancies. The report is then sent to the client notifying approval status. Loans are verified on various parameters and cover all characteristics of a loan: term, rates, state of origination, APR, etc. It also incorporates the borrower’s information for better analysis.

Considering this is an important cog in the selling of loans in secondary markets and securitization, automating the process gives credibility as well as integrity to the entire portfolio when it sells.

The state-of-art technology used to build the platform means it can quickly configure for multiple originators, loan types, documents, and various field verifications. Fees are charged for the configuration set up, per loan process, and for monthly storage.

Cloud Flexibility: The Difference Maker

VeriComply relies on Microsoft’s cloud offering, Azure, to provide a secured user interface that enables multiple users to work with documents. On top of that, its cloud-based deployment architecture enables users to scale quickly and undertake massive volumes of loan verifications in different verticals. By providing a secure and scalable configuration system, it responds faster to the emerging demands of the market. Moreover, it also enables the holder of the documents to redact data in documents.

VeriComply is on track to provide 100% automation, which is not currently available in the market. Its peers still rely on human-dependent sampling techniques.

Most of VeriComply’s sales are executed through its reseller partners. It has many trust companies on board and works with different originators. The company was able to process 19,000 loans in less than two and half hours for an Upstart securitization, which is a new benchmark for the industry. It is also working with mortgage diligence providers and legal firms. The firm is currently focused on the MPL industry since the concept is easier to sell, documents are more precise and clear, and set up is faster. However, it plans to branch out to other verticals and asset classes, though the point of entry will remain with markpetlace lending.

Riding the Industry Tailwind

Stringent regulations in the MPL industry coupled with longer credit cycles have led to greater scrutiny of underlying loans. Buyers in the secondary market want to make sure whatever they are buying have the least risk attached to it. Thus, there is an overwhelming need for top-of-the-line document verification.

Also in terms of storage of documents, there is a change in trend. Earlier companies used Excel spreadsheets to record transactions, but now people want to use data from the primary source so that there is no chance of manipulation. This is great news for VeriComply.

VeriComply’s Future Plans

Keeping an eye on the future, the company wants to incorporate blockchain technology for publishing legacy documents. It also wants to create a system to help lawyers create customized smart contracts. Though the industry is a long way from leveraging the full power of blockchain, the growing need to transmit information at a quicker pace is forcing companies to move toward the blockchain universe.

For now, the company wants to concentrate on creating demand for its product and raise capital to execute its plans. The company’s product has garnered a good response from the market and is on track to close with over 100 prospective client companies. VeriComply can reduce the time span of the financial services sales cycle and will help further grow the marketplace lending industry by streamlining the documentation process. Strategic funding can help it become the new standard bearer for this niche industry.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

How One Online Lending Platform Emerged From the Trust Crisis

Credium

Part 2 of an interview with Gilad Woltsovitch, founder of the online lending platform Backed, Inc.  Read part 1 here. What happened after 2013? The whole source of capital has shifted dramatically, and the reasoning is that in building a marketplace, you always have two sides to fill. Because of the environment of 2008, with […]

Credium

Part 2 of an interview with Gilad Woltsovitch, founder of the online lending platform Backed, Inc.  Read part 1 here.

What happened after 2013?

The whole source of capital has shifted dramatically, and the reasoning is that in building a marketplace, you always have two sides to fill.
Because of the environment of 2008, with no credit sources, there was endless flocking of borrowers to lending platforms and the supply side for credit was very hard to fill to catch up with the demand. Platforms have been fueled by VC funding, with a mindset of capturing market share and cared less about showing profits, and more about booking more and more loans.

What happened was that the lending platforms needed to market to enough retail investors to support the high demand. They needed to collect a lot of individual lenders in order to have a real diversified or decentralized source of financing for such a large amount of loans. In order to solve that, VCs started fueling platforms with their own balance sheet lending, saying “Ok, until you find enough resources to fund these loans, take some of our equity money and start giving out loans and carrying on your balance sheet as debt.”

When that started to scale up, they were allowing themselves to be a little more lenient in the risk models because they weren’t dealing with other people’s money, and they saw more and more coming in. They saw the valuations going so high, it was a little less painful to lend that money out.

That’s all they focused on. Giving up on those stringent controls of risk meant that they have higher defaults which showed up only 3 years later, in 2016. While the market share was going up so rapidly, the hedge funds and the banks saw a great opportunity and said, “okay, they need supply to fill up the high demand for loans,” so, along with the balance sheet model, the marketplace lending paradigm came into place, and p2p lending shifted almost entirely from connecting borrowers and lenders to connecting between loans and centralized sources of finance, either balance sheet, or selling it directly to institutional investors who started having much more demand on how to price the loans themselves, and access to the inventory.

Institutional money caused a bit of a problem because they forced the peer to peers to change?

Yes. When you’re a marketplace lender and you need to fund $100 million in loans, you need to have 10,000 individuals deposit $10,000, it’s a big challenge. But if you have a Wall Street hedge fund come up to you and say “I’ll give you $100 million,” then you allow them to dictate some of the business metrics.

They don’t only dictate the cost of capital, they also require you to hire lawyers, and to hire grading companies, and to hire other known mediaries(?), notaries to vet and proof stamp everything that you do so they will deem it appropriate for them. That’s more money that someone needs to pay. It’s a cost that needs to be taken on by someone in the lending equation.

That started jacking up the prices because lending capital itself was becoming more expensive as retail investors were expecting 5-6%, but hedge funds like to see double digits. All of these caused platforms to rush in to gain market share on very unstable sources of capital that are very much just following where the highest return will go.

This led to the centralization of capital sources and created additional risks. Concentration risk entered into it when you solve the supply side by letting hedge funds finance your loans, it puts some sort of ease on the platforms to continue to focus on the borrowing side, and taking this false assumption that the hedge funds will always be there.

It all hit the fan in 2016, and there was a huge trust issue between the lenders of the hedge funds and the platforms. They pulled out all their funds from most platforms.

It sounds like 2016 saw a huge vacuum open up in online lending?

Yes. A lot of small platforms did not survive. This centralized a lot of the power within the platforms that were able to do securitizations. Because the hedge funds pulled out, balance sheet lending is almost the surviving model of all the alternative lending models.

Platforms get a credit facility from institutional investors, whether it’s a hedge fund or a bank, this way those institutional investors are hedged against the risk. They give you the credit facility and you pay them back interest rates.

A balance sheet lender gives out loans at a higher rate than its cost of capital and lives on the margin.

You make it sound like individual investors and individual lenders are both getting held with the bag?

Exactly.

The originators themselves who are issuing those loans on behalf of the capital that they are paying for are suddenly stuck with a whole lot of debt on their balance sheets. The platform generates loans with an average of 4 years per loan. if you are issuing $1 billion in loans, you have an average of $4 billion on your balance sheet that you can’t offload. There is no secondary market for it. You cannot liquidate or leverage those assets in order to grow your business.
Platforms have become digital agents for the banks and institutional investors. They source out all of the borrowers. They do the pricing. They fund the loans. But there always constantly squeezed within a margin between the cost of capital and the rate they can lend out while still being competitive.

That is why the platforms who have access to cheap capital are the big survivors.

Do you have a better solution?

That’s exactly why we started Credium.

The industry transformed into something it was not set out to be. Now individual investors can only access this lucrative asset class by buying tranches in securitized SPVs by brokers who are selling off securities of platforms. By paying all these intermediaries in the middle, you end up receiving a much worse deal than you would if you directly lend, which was the original p2p vision.

The borrowers end up paying more because there’s more middle men as the value chain got longer.

The silver lining in all of this is Blockchain. By 2016, it matured enough to truly decentralize this whole complex system of online lending which requires transfer of accurate trusted information between two parties who want to transact.

All this complexity can be solved by setting up a secondary market that will allow the 98% of platforms operating by holding debt on their balance sheet to go ahead and liquidate their debt.

How does it address the trust crisis of 2016?

With peer to peer you had to trust the server of the platform that the information their hosting there has always been that exact same information, and nobody changed it in between. That’s why you have all these intermediaries to audit and make sure that the information that’s being transferred between two sides of the marketplace is accurate, and transparent, and time stamped, and everything is kosher.

That answers the crisis of trust? What about the barrier of liquidity?

We are setting up a secondary market which will allow any platform to sell their borrower notes as long as it’s registered and regulated as a security.
The lenders have the upside of offloading their debt.

Traditional peer to peer lenders have access to liquidity by uploading their loans and having somebody else buy it, without having to be a specific member of their platform. It gives them the chance to offload a huge amount of debt off their balance sheet, and focus on growth.

On the buyer side, we are allowing anybody to have full transparency to the risk of the note, the pricing of the note, the servicing history of the note. Anybody who wants can have exact accurate information in a smart loan contract that is locked on the blockchain.

How will this benefit individual retail investors over peer to peer?

With peer to peer you have to trust the platform issuing the note. If you want to put $100,000 in Lending Club notes, you have to part ways with that $100,000 for up to 5 years because those notes are going to start paying back on a monthly fixed income return.

If you want to liquidate in the middle, you have to find another Lending Club user who is willing to buy off your inventory. Since there is no real liquidity in that secondary market because there is a very small, closed system, you will have to give a very big discount just to get your money back before the period is over.

It’s a huge advantage if you are buying a note and you can park your money there for a few months, and just sell it off. We are introducing a complete supply side for liquidity.

What happens to online lending if there is no Blockchain or secondary market? What are the consequences if these disruptions don’t happen?

Online lending will stagnate.

Your secondary market is being set up to resume the growth in online lending?

Exactly.

We think that institutional investors like insurance funds have a great opportunity to enter this market if they know that they would have a secondary market where they can trade this asset. We are creating a tradable asset with the mechanics to have a fair market value and price discovery.

Can this do anything to the cost of capital for lending platforms?

Yes. We are also introducing new buyers to the market. We have a whole universe of crypto-investors who currently have no ability to protect against volatility. The only option they have today is to transfer to a pegged digital currency, which holds a reserve of fiat cash and protects their deposit, but they get no interest on it.

There’s a few downsides to that. One downside is the fact that this is not a security. It’s not regulated and you don’t really know if this capital sitting as a reserve for those pegged tokens is used for leveraging or other things.

The second is that it doesn’t pay any interest. All you do is protect against volatility. You might as well have put the cash under your pillow.

Parking it in this pegged currency is a solution that today reached $500 million in market cap of crypto-currency parked just to protect against volatility. There is a concentration risk because there is a single body controlling all of that half a billion dollars. If there is any failure of trust. If there is any failure in management of those funds, the whole market cap is at risk.

By backing up your cryptocurrency savings with borrower notes, you get it backed by a regulated security that has an originator accountable for the risk scoring, underwriting, and everything regulatory agencies require. You have servicers that are accountable for making sure that the loan is current, collected, and up to date, and you have the Credium Foundation that is also accountable that both the originator and the servicer are compliant and functioning in order.

You have a pegged cryptocurrency that is backed by a regulated security accountable to parties to make sure that the funds are backed up, plus, it pays you a return. You get interest for locking up those funds in a fixed income savings instrument.

The other upside is that you have a secondary market so if you want to liquidate it you can sell those tokens to somebody else.

The third advantage is that you don’t have concentration risk. We are onboarding as many originators as possible. If one of them fails, only those invested in that specific originator will get hit, but the market will be resilient because there are so many other originators involved.

How much more of the market share can be acquired once you set up a secondary market?

With a secondary market, online lending can go from 10% to at least 50% of the market over the next 5 years. Blockchain technology will enable people to transact using tokenized securities. There are no intermediaries to trading them.

That’s your goal?

The Credium Foundation has two arms. It has a protocol development, developing standardized risk pricing, decentralized exchange of borrower notes, pegged currencies to back those notes, that’s the protocol.

Then there is Creduim Foundation which we are calling the Alternative Lenders Alliance to participate in building the marketplace inventory, designing the product themselves – the fixed income securities that they are issuing today but as digital tokens, and working with regulators to ensure that the regulatory framework matches the requirements.

Blockchain delivers regulators on a silver platter all the information they can ever hope for. A decentralized marketplace will enable regulators to have full transparency and immediate access to all information exchanged at all times.

So, you are saying that Blockchain can add at least another half a trillion dollars to the online lending industry in the next 5 years?

Yes.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday October 6 2017, Daily News Digest

China mortgage loans

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi surpasses $25B in originations. JPMorgan Chase rolls out mobile banking app. ID Analytics has 85% visibility into online consumer lending. Zopa prices new securitization. Fannie Mae expands digital mortgage platform. SEC investigated Bank of Internet. China’s cash loan market hits 1 trillion RMB. Lendified secures $60M credit facility. Facebook, Clearbanc partner on merchant cash advance. Today’s main […]

China mortgage loans

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

Canada

News Summary

United States

A new milestone: we’ve surpassed $ 25b in loan originations! (@SoFi on Twitter), Rated: AAA

Thank you to our community of over 390,000 people for growing with us.

Will JPM’s millennial-app experiment grant access to new markets? (American Banker), Rated: AAA

JPMorgan Chase spent more than a year researching what millennials (and clients wanting to bank like them) desire in a financial relationship. The result is a new mobile-only app that lets people sign up for a bank account within minutes and also helps manage their spending.

The megabank made a splash on Monday debuting Finn by Chase, an app that includes a checking and savings account and a physical debit card.

ID Analytics Now Has 85% Visibility Into Online Consumer Lending (deBanked), Rated: AAA

At Money2020, deBanked caught up with Kevin King, Director of Product Marketing and Ken Meiser, VP of Identity Solutions for ID Analytics. The last time I crossed paths with the company was six months ago at the LendIt Conference in New York City. Since then, the company has increased its visibility into the online consumer lending market to 85%.

Fannie Mae goes all-out on fintech collaborations (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Fannie Mae, a US government agency that funds mortgages for lenders, rolled out 

92.3% of acceptance partners said Behalf increased their sales 10-20% (Behalf), Rated: AAA

Behalf’s merchant acceptance partners have found a way to apply Amazon’s small business strategies to their own business models. By adding the Behalf instant credit approval tool to their ecommerce experience, they also unlock the power of flexible terms on every sale. Customers of our partners can get instant access to up to $50,000 in buying power with their choice of flexible payment terms. With this boost in working capital, small businesses are able to invest in their growth, which increases their business purchasing velocity. Case in point: 92.3% of the Behalf acceptance partners surveyed reported that adding Behalf to their checkout experience drove a 10-20% sales lift.

Source: Behalf

Download and read the full whitepaper here.

Bank of Internet was under 16-month SEC investigation (New York Post), Rated: AAA

Online lender Bank of Internet was the subject of a formal 16-month Securities and Exchange Commission investigation, according to a report.

The company, led by Chief Executive Greg Garrabrants, was the subject of scrutiny until June — when it ceased without the SEC taking any action.

The probe was focused on alleged conflicts of interests, auditing practices, and loans made to two entities, according to subpoenas and government documents obtained by Probes Reporter, a publisher of investment research.

Wealthier Depositors Pressure Banks to Pay Up (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Large U.S. banks are starting to pay up to keep depositors from moving their money, saying customers are becoming increasingly demanding as the stronger economy nudges interest rates higher.

The average interest rate paid by the biggest U.S. banks on interest-bearing deposits jumped to 0.40% in the third quarter, the highest level since 2012 and the biggest quarterly increase this year, from 0.34% in the second quarter, according to Autonomous Research.

Bank executives said that the newest pressure for higher rates is coming primarily from wealth-management customers, typically well-to-do individuals and families who deposit cash as part of their investment accounts.

Fifth Third executives said they were raising deposit rates for some of those customers, particularly those who had other relationships with the bank.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

FT Partners Advises Credit Sesame on its ,000,000 Growth Financing (FT Partners), Rated: A

  • On October 25, 2017, Credit Sesame announced it has raised over $42 million in equity and venture debt
    • The funding comes from existing and new investors including Menlo Ventures, Inventus Capital, Globespan Capital, IA Capital, SF Capital, among others, along with a strategic investor
  • The $42 million in funding is comprised of $26.6 million in equity and $15.5 million in venture debt, bringing the Company’s total funding to over $77 million
  • Headquartered in Mountain View, CA, Credit Sesame was founded in 2011 and has provided credit and loan management tools to over 12 million members
    • The mobile and web solution provides consumers with tools to build a path to achieve financial wellness, including free access to their credit profile complete with their credit score, credit report grades, credit monitoring, interactive step-by-step tools and recommendations for better lending options
Source: FT Partners

 

The 13 Chinese Companies That Listed On US Stock Exchanges In 2017 (Frontera), Rated: A

With about $2.4 billion raised in IPOs on US exchanges by Chinese companies so far this year, other China-based firms are increasingly vying for US investors and exchanges.

Qudian Inc (QD)

On October 18, Chinese online micro-credit provider Qudian Inc listed on the NYSE, raising $900 million in an IPO that was priced at $24, in the biggest ever US listing by a Chinese fintech firm. The financial sector firm’s stock, trading under the symbol QD, closed at $33 as of October 23. The stock commands a market capitalization of $8.8 billion in the US stock market.

Year-end Forward P/E for the depository receipt is estimated at 21.47. Estimated earnings-per-share stand at $8.21.

China Internet Nationwide Financial Services (CIFS)

This Beijing-based financial sector firm, trades under the ticker CIFS on the NASDAQ GM stock exchange, is engaged in providing financial advisory services in China. The company’s stock listed on the US stock market on August 8 at an initial offer price of $10 a share, raising $20.2 million for the company. The stock, trading at $31.5 (as of October 23rd), commands a market capitalization of $693 million in the US stock market.

China Rapid Finance Ltd (XRF)

Listed since April 28th on the NYSE stock market, China Rapid Finance Limited operates one of China’s largest online consumer lending marketplaces.  The company caters well to China’s 500 million EMMAs (Emerging Middle-class Mobile Active consumers), and has facilitated over 20 million loans to more than 2.7 million borrowers. Back in April, the company raised $69 million in an IPO, marking its listing on the US stock exchange under the ticker XRF. The shares initially offered at $6 a share, and now trade at $9.06 (as of October 23) with a market capitalization of $586.2 million.

Source: Frontera

Leading Banks are Embracing Digital Strategies More Than Ever (Lend Academy), Rated: A

JPMorgan was the first major US bank to partner with a fintech company when they launched their small business lending partnership with OnDeck in early 2016. That partnership was renewed earlier this year and has helped the bank to offer a seamless small business lending experience and reach customers it might not have otherwise. In recent months they have struck a new partnership with Mosaic Smart Data to help the slumping fixed income trading revenues and they have also completed an acquisition of WePay, a Silicon Valley company that offers payment capabilities to business platforms using APIs. Finally, just this week they launched Finn by Chase, an app aimed at millennials that allows people to use a phone to open a bank account, make deposits, issue checks, track spending and set up savings plans.

Bank of America saw more than 1 million users added to their digital channels and active digital banking users go from 32.8 million to 34.5 million in the last year. The main driver of this growth was through their mobile app. Customers are using the mobile deposit feature more than any other, mobile deposits now account for 21 percent of total bank deposits.

Wells Fargo’s digital growth, which includes web based and mobile users, saw a 2 percent increase from 2016. Branch and ATM interactions were down 6 percent while digital sessions through the web and mobile app increased 6 percent.

Citi is the first global bank to integrate banking, money movement and wealth management on mobile.

How Tech is Changing Multifamily Lending (Multi-Housing News), Rated: A

“Technology has helped us bring efficiency, speed and first-rate customer service to the small-loan space for all of our stakeholders, borrowers and brokers alike,” said Bonnie Habyan, executive vice president, marketing, at Arbor. Small-balance owners and operators need to work long hours to be successful, and the time and paperwork dedicated to obtaining financing is an inefficient use of time. Online multifamily financing platforms such as Arbor LoanExpress, or ALEX, address this by providing the ability to e-sign and upload documents.

“Crowdfunding was originally created to give average investors access to investments they normally wouldn’t have access to, and to give sponsors or borrowers easier access to capital,”said Bill Lanting, vice president, Commercial Debt at RealtyShares. “We were formed specifically with that idea in mind, to make borrowing easier and less cumbersome, and also to make investments in assets more available to everybody.”

AutoGravity Announces Partnership With Global Lending Services (PR Newswire), Rated: A

AutoGravity, a FinTech pioneer on a mission to transform car financing by harnessing the power of the smartphone, announced a partnership with Global Lending Services LLC, a South Carolina-based auto finance company, to provide access to finance offers through the innovative AutoGravity digital platform. Qualified car buyers gain access to an even broader set of car finance options through the AutoGravity iOS, Android and Web Apps.

Can employers help solve the student debt problem? (HRDive), Rated: A

The good news about student loans is that they allow millions of people to earn college degrees who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford them. The bad news is that college graduates enter the workforce deeply mired in debt that deflates their net worth and keeps them cash-strapped for years, if not decades. The current wave of college graduates is facing debt in amounts far above previous generations.

Oliver Wyman, a global management consulting firm, sets the median figure for an undergraduate degree at more than $25,000. That figure rises with each advanced degree. Graduates with MBAs enter the workforce with a median debt of $45,000. Medical school graduates can expect to be $200,000 in debt.

Debt repayments for the typical college graduate will amount to $265 a month and for medical school graduates, $1,600 a month.

Target.com Introduces GiftNow (PYMNTS), Rated: B

Target announced that, starting this November, the retailer will integrate a wallet function in its Target mobile app. The purpose, says the retailer, is to allow customers to pay for purchases and redeem promotions through the use of a smartphone.

Legendary Investor Jim Rogers Believes FinTech Will Replace Banks and Cash (Cryptocoins News), Rated: B

Veteran investor Jim Rogers believes that banks must invest in the financial technology (fintech) space or they face being replaced.

According to the report, he has invested in Hong Kong-based ITF Corporation, the world’s first financial technology bank founded by Hui Jie Lim. Rogers has also invested in Tiger Broker, a Chinese online brokerage.

He also believes that digital currencies could change how we see money in the next 10 to 20 years. Even though he hasn’t invested in the crypto market Rogers is of the opinion that governments could issue their own cryptocurrencies in the future.

United Kingdom

New Zopa securitisation priced, highlights market confidence (AltFi), Rated: AAA

A securitisation of loans originated by peer-to-peer lending firm Zopa has received a warm reception in the market. The deal, which is the second securitisation of Zopa loans, has been priced significantly tighter than last year’s transaction.

The securitisation was led by P2P Global Investments PLC, the first UK listed investment trust to dedicate itself to investing in marketplace loans, and was arranged by Deutsche Bank. The most senior class of notes was priced at 70bps over one month Libor, compared to 145bps last year.

The senior tranche of the £209m securitisation, which represents 80 per cent of the portfolio, was rated AA by Moody’s.

Using the secondary market for above average returns on investment (P2P Banking), Rated: AAA

One central piece to understanding why trading (or flipping) strategies can be highly attractive is the effect of even small premiums pocketed on the portfolio yield. Take an investor that invests into a 100 (whatever currency) loan part and sells that part for 100.40 after holding it for 5 days. That is only a 0.4% premium, but the annualized yield is 33.8%.

Two main strategy approaches

Investors can
A) Invest on the primary market and then sell the loan later on the secondary market
or
B) Buy loan parts on the secondary market which they deem underpriced and then sell at a higher price. Be it buying at discount and selling at a lower discount, or already buying at premium and selling at an even higher premium.

One important point, is that market conditions change, usually good opportunities will stop working after a few months or weeks either because too many investors try to use them, or more general  the demand/supply ratio changes or the marketplace itself changes the rules how the market functions.

  1. First an investor will want to look how loan information is presented on the primary and secondary market.
  2. Understand the allocation mechanism on the primary market. How does the autoinvest feature work exactly?
  3. When is interest paid? Does it accrue for each of the day held, or does the investor holding the loan at the date of the interest payment gets full interest credited. This is important, because if in the example at the start of the article the investor not only makes a 0.40 capital gain but also collects interest for the 5 days he held the part, it will have a huge impact on yield
  4. Usually for this strategy longer duration loans are more attractive.
  5. Usually smaller loans are more attractive.
  6. Usually the time span a trading investor wants to hold on to a loan part, will be as short as possible (days). However there might be patterns observed where it could be desirable to hold for longer time spans.
  7. Strategies that allow to hold parts only at a time when the status of a loan cannot change can be attractive.

Monzo and Starling take bigger steps towards payment integration (AltFi), Rated: A

Monzo has announced today, after a week of dropping hints on various Twitter accounts, that it plans to integrate Android Pay into its user interface for current account users.

A few hours earlier, Starling Bank confirmed this morning that it will be the first bank in the UK to connect with Fitbit Pay.

Case study: the technology behind P2P (Banking Technology), Rated: A

The UK peer-to-peer (P2P) lending market has flourished in the last decade. Lending volumes among the major platforms are increasing rapidly, pushing the cumulative total above £7 billion for the first time, as the understanding of the investment model continues to grow.

New technology architectures, as well as the ability to quickly run up minimal viable products, mean that emerging P2P companies can turn ideas into reality much faster than their larger counterparts (“fail fast” or as I like to call it, “test quickly”).

This prioritisation of speed and efficiency, coupled with the ability to focus, means that P2P lenders can zero in on specific problems and provide what customers want and are increasingly expecting. At Landbay we can bring a new micro service up from scratch in 20 minutes, with the lag for code from committing to going live being about six to eight minutes whilst still maintaining the up time required.

Brokers should consider the P2P option (Mortgage Introducer), Rated: A

As the alternative finance market has become saturated with different funding options, it can be difficult for brokers to determine the best solution to suit their clients’ needs.

Loans can also be tailored to fit the specific needs of customers, with fixed rates available to allow customers to budget effectively for the full term of the loan. The flexibility of loans means borrowers can cover unexpected costs or finance planned purchases at more affordable rates, meaning P2P finance is a great option when situations happen to change at a company.

Whilst 25% of borrowers that apply to banks have their loan application rejected, according to British Business Bank, other forms of lending have paved the way for businesses to obtain cash, with P2P lending becoming one of the most prominent solutions in the current market.

Open letter to Andrew Bailey, chief executive of FCA (Specialist Banking), Rated: A

Dear Andrew, your comments on the BBC on Monday 16th October reflect the concerns that many share with the FCA about the effect of the high cost of credit impacting society widely and, in particular, the young.You cited concerns about certain aspects of credit card and payday lending practices, but you did not pass comment on the retail banks and their provision of overdraft credit at rates that may well exceed the rates of payday and credit card loans.It should be noted that at 1p per day for every £7 of overdraft, the fees for an overdraft of, for example, £2,000 pa, are in excess of 50% interest, uncompounded. This is certainly higher than many credit cards.Alex Letts
Founder and chief unbanking officer, U
China

Chinese Cash loan market grown to 1 trillion RMB in one year (Xing Ping She), Rated: AAA

Cash loan originated from the payday loan in America, and accelerated in China. In less than one year, the total volume increased from 600 billion RMB to 1 trillion RMB. As a branch of consumer finance, cash loan developed rapidly as much as P2P lending industry.

Early in this April, the regulator issued the first order to clean up the “cash loans”,while after six months the trend of compliance in the field is still unclear. Recently, with several relative businesses coming to the U.S. for IPO, the critical voice on the profiteering of cash loan becomes louder.

However, owing to the annual lending rate much more than the rate legal limited (36%), taking the consumer finance vents, cash loan still grow wildly under strict regulation.

Xi’s Neighborhood Watch (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Houses are for living in, not for speculation, Chinese President Xi Jinping said last week. The trouble is, fueling this speculation has been a surge in consumer lending, not only by banks but also by fintech firms such as recently listedQudian Inc.

Thanks to improved earnings and corporate debt that’s souring at a slower rate, Chinese bank shares have rallied this year.

Source: Bloomberg

What investors may be ignoring at their peril, however, is the spike in household advances. Consisting of mortgages, credit-card debt and auto loans, consumer lending as a share of the total is relatively low. Only 400 million Chinese had personal loans in 2016, or about 29 percent of the population. The ratio in the U.S. is about 82 percent, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. But it’s been growing fast and even People’s Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan is worried. China’s household debt-to-GDP ratio reached 47 percent in the first half, according to a recent Citigroup Inc. report.

Source: Bloomberg

Ali Microcredit Ltd. made 2.6 billion RMB in first half, exceeding 14 public banks (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

In the first half year of 2017, Chongqing Ali Microcredit Ltd. has made the revenue of 3.97 billion RMB, which increased 100 million RMB compared to the 3.86 billion RMB of 2016. The company’s net profit was 2.644 billion RMB, in a growth of about 700 million RMB from the end of 2016.

As one of the Ant Financial eco-system, Ali Microcredit takes the business of credit loan (Ant Jiebei). Therefore, Ali Microcredit is already the industry leader in the consumer finance field. Even compared to the listed banks, Ali Microcredit’s profit data can defeat many of them. Take the first half year for example, the company profit exceeded 14 of all the 38 listed banks in stock exchange of Shanghai, Hong Kong and Shenzhen, including Guangzhou Rural Commercial Bank (01551.HK, profit of 2.639 billion RMB), Bank of Tianjin(01578.HK,profit of 2.62 billion RMB), Bank of Hangzhou(600926.SH, profit of 2.53 billion RMB),etc.

Cash loan controversy (Global Times), Rated: A

Chinese people are becoming more and more willing to spend. But if they don’t have money, they borrow. This ever-growing phenomenon has recently thrown cash loans, also known as fast loans, right under the public spotlight.

Han, a 26-year-old white-collar worker in Shanghai, who preferred only to give her surname, borrowed a 6-month loan of 10,000 yuan ($1505.53) from Mayi Jiebei, the online cash loan service provided by e-commerce giant Alibaba’s subsidiary Ant Financial, at the end of September.

When borrowing the money, Han was informed by Mayi Jiebei that she will need to pay a monthly interest rate of slightly more than 100 yuan. In total, Han will need to pay an interest rate of 637 yuan to the provider.

Currently, the entire cash loan market is worth between 600 billion yuan and 1 trillion yuan, the wdzj.com report showed.

LendingClub of China: World’s no.2 economy is a fintech haven (MSN), Rated: A

China provides the infrastructure for financial technology to succeed, such as clearly-defined laws and good internet penetration, says Soul Htite, Dianrong CEO.
Watch the video interview here.

China Rapid Finance names Zhou Ji’an a non-executive independent director (Bankless Times), Rated: B

China Rapid Finance has named Zhou Ji’an a non-executive independent director. He becomes the seventh member of a board that includes former executives of Hewlett Packard, McKinsey & Company, Morgan Stanley, and UBS.

Mr. Zhou is the executive director and general manager of China United SME Guarantee Corporation aka Sino Guarantee. He previously served in senior roles with China Export & Credit Insurance Corporation, and China Life Insurance Co . and is a senior scholar of the Eisenhower Fellowships, an international nonprofit leadership corporation.

European Union

ECN Convention Debates Technology & Cross-border Future in EU Alternative Finance & Crowdfunding (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Two main topics of the 6th Annual Convention of the European Crowdfunding Network (ECN) on October 19th and 20th were technology innovation and cross-border finance.

To retain their lead in innovation over banks and traditional finance’s Fintech, startups must keep delivering greater customer orientation and execution efficiency. The success of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) is a clear signal, and a red flag, that there exist gaps in technology and cross-border funding that finance has not filled.

Cross-border alternative finance is still hampered by the fragmentation of the European Union (EU) regulation at many levels: Not only do crowdfunding and crowdlending regulation differ from one country to the next, but so do investor taxation and corporate law.

Ingi Sigurdsson, CEO, Karolina Engine, claimed that artificial intelligence enables the platform to predict the success of crowdfunding campaigns with 80% accuracy. Mads Dalsgaar CMO, Funderbeam, explained how Funderbeam uses Bitcoin’s blockchain to register, clear and settle the trading of private companies’ shares. For Rein Ojavere, CFO of Bondora, technology enables his lending platform to “cut through the layers of fat” of multiple investment intermediaries. In the same vein, Lasse Mäkelä, CEO of Invesdor, called his company a “digital investment bank.”

Umberto Piattelli of law firm Osborne Clarke summarized the conclusion of ECN’s updated complete review of national crowdfunding and crowdlending regulations in 29 countries. He stressed the strong correlation between the growth of alternative finance and effective crowdfunding regulation. Only 11 out of the 28 EU markets researched have published specific regulations for crowdfunding and crowdlending. These markets have taken off rapidly after the issuing of such regulations.

Tink secures investment and bank partners as it plans European expansion (Banking Technology), Rated: A

Swedish fintech company Tink has signed with Nordic banks NordeaKlarna and Nordnet. Integrating in 2018, the banks will use Tink’s payment technology and personal finance management (PFM) platform within their existing customer channels.

In addition to the partnership agreements, SEB, Nordea, Nordnet, ABN Amro, Creades and Sunstone has invested €14 million in Tink.

International

DTCC: HOW TO THINK ABOUT FINTECH (All About Alpha), Rated: A

The Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation (DTCC), a provider of clearance, settlement, and a wide range of other services to the financial markets, has issued a new white paper on technological innovations and the disruptions fintech may generate.

By “core banking functions,” (1) the authors of the white paper have in mind credit, liquidity, and maturity transformation. The banks have more institutional experience handling these functions than upstart fintech firms and, to the extent the latter take over the core functions of the former, there may be reason to worry. Likewise, the fragmentation (2) of “the creation and delivery of financial services across additional providers and platforms” could cause errors and inefficiencies. And (3) if certain players could become too good at delivering these services in this way, they could pose systemic risks.

Source: DTCC

Read the full report here.

The Importance of Fintech Spreads Across the Financial Industry (PR Newswire), Rated: A

A research report by Transparency Market Research, predicts that the global peer-to-peer (P2P) market lending valuation will reach US$897.85 billion by 2024, as it expands at a significant CAGR of 48.2% from 2016 to 2024.

Dragon Victory International Limited (NASDAQ:  LYL) announced today that, the Company has entered into a Strategic Cooperation Agreement (the “Agreement”) with Shenzhen 708090 Investment and Development Co., Ltd (“708090”), a leading provider of shared workspace, community, and services for entrepreneurs, freelancers, startups and small businesses, to promote incubation services.

On October 24th, Fiserv announced that Regions Bank will expand their digital money movement capabilities with the addition of person-to-person payment and account-to-account transfer solutions from Fiserv.

On June 15th, Yirendai announced that it was awarded the Best P2P Lending Platform in ChinaAward at The Future of Finance Summit (the “Summit”) held in Singapore. Yirendai is the first FinTech company in China to receive this prestigious reward.

Qudian Inc. (NYSE: QD) is a leading provider of online small consumer credit in China. The Company uses big data-enabled technologies, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, to transform the consumer finance experience in China. The company recently emphasizes Its collection efforts and pricing policy. The Company’s collection efforts extend to every delinquent borrower. The Company’s collection process is divided into distinct stages based on the severity of delinquency, which dictates the level of collection steps taken. As part of the major upgrade of the Company’s risk management system in January 2017, the Company has developed a machine learning algorithm to better allocate collection resources based on more detailed grouping of larger delinquency risk. Higher risk groups are allocated with more collection resources as the likelihood of their outstanding balance becoming longer-term delinquent or even uncollectable is generally higher.

Australia

ANZ BBSW penalty too low: P2P lender (InvestorDaily), Rated: A

On Tuesday, ASIC announced that it had reached a confidential in-principle settlement with ANZ resolving the dispute over alleged BBSW misconduct. Commenting on the matter, RateSetter chief executive Daniel Foggo said the corporate regulator’s activity in this area of the market bodes well for a more transparent financial system.

India

Gratification Unleashed (OutlookMoney), Rated: A

There was a time when a loan mostly meant you were going to buy a house or a car. This is not the case any longer. With changing times, now there are loans against salary advance to fund even your honeymoon. Today, there are loans available practically for every need and dream.

Take the case of the ubiquitous car loan, the advent of luxury cars has turned several car companies to offer loans that are tailored to suit customer offerings. For instance, Volkswagen Finance (India), offers financing solutions to customers for both new and pre-owned Volkswagen group vehicles (namely Volkswagen, Skoda, Audi, Porsche, Lamborghini, MAN and Scania) through registered and authorised Volkswagen group dealer channels.

Yet, borrowing is not as smooth as one would expect it to be. Take for instance Mumbai-based Amit Shukla, he had to take a personal loan of Rs 5 lakh to fund his first commercial car, because a car loan did not work out the way he wanted it to work for him.

Asia

Finance: Ensuring a safe investment crowdfunding landscape (The Edge Markets), Rated: AAA

When equity and debt-based crowdfunding platforms were launched in the market, there were concerns that these vehicles could be used for money laundering. After all, investors could unknowingly fund a fraudulent company and the money could end up being misused by the issuers for their personal gain or, even worse, to fund criminal activities.

The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) introduced a legal and regulatory framework for equity crowdfunding (ECF) in 2015 and peer-to-peer (P2P) financing last year to address these concerns. According to the SC’s deputy general manager Tengku Ahmad Ruzhuar Tengku Ali, the regulator views money-laundering activities to be of minimal risk on ECF and P2P platforms due to the safeguards built into their frameworks and the platform operators’ vetting process.

There have been several cases of fraud linked to investment crowdfunding. The first widely known case, involving US-based Ascenergy, came to light in 2015. The company had raised US$5 million from about 90 local and foreign investors by leveraging some of the better known crowdfunding platforms such as Fundable and EquityNet.

The SC’s approach

All six ECF operators registered in Malaysia are operational. According to Tengku Ahmad Ruzhuar, 31 issuers had successfully raised RM18.3 million on ECF platforms as at end-September, reaching 80% of their target amount.

Retail investors are allowed to invest up to RM5,000 per issuer and a total investment of RM50,000 within a 12-month period. Angel investors registered with the Malaysian Business Angel Network can invest up to RM500,000 while there are no restrictions for sophisticated investors.

Issuers are able to keep the funds raised if they reach a minimum of 80% of the target amount, but they are not allowed to raise multiple funds for the same purpose.

Canada

Canadian Small Business Lender Lendified Secures $ 60 Million Credit Facility From ClearFlow (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Lendified, a Canada-based lender who provides small business loans online has entered into an agreement with ClearFlow Commercial Finance to increase its lending capacity. According to the lending platform, through the agreement, ClearFlow is providing it with a $60 million credit facility to fund loans delivered through its website.

Facebook teams up with Clearbanc to offer cash advances to business (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Small businesses advertising on Facebook can now get their hands on up to half a million dollars in growth capital, in the latest example of an online platform moving into territory historically dominated by bricks-and-mortar banks.

The social network has been trialling a scheme in partnership with Clearbanc, a Toronto-based firm, since February. Under the scheme, known as “Chrged,” customers connect their Facebook Ads account and their payment processor with Clearbanc, which then makes an offer.

Funds are not loans but merchant cash advances, giving Clearbanc the right to a certain portion of revenues flowing through the customer’s account until it gets its money back, plus a fee, typically of 5-10 per cent. The fee is set by analysing daily cash flows to determine the customer’s ability to repay.

About 1,000 small-business owners have so far taken up an offer.

MONEYTREE Q3 REPORT: STRONG AI AND FINTECH FUNDING PUSHING 2017 BACK ON TRACK (Betakit), Rated: A

According to CB Insights and PwC’s Canada’s latest MoneyTree report, 2017’s sluggish start may transform into a podium finish by year’s end.

The report, which tracks VC activity in Canada for Q3 2017, indicates that Canada could exceed $2.5 billion ($2 billion USD) across more than 300 deals for the year. The result would match or surpass activity from last year, when a total of $2.2 billion USD was invested, and 2016, which fell just below the $2 billion USD threshold.

Source: Betakit

Seed-stage deals accounted for 32 percent of deals in Q3 2017, a 19 percent drop from 51 percent of all deals in Q2 2017. However, early-stage and expansion-stage deals increased to 27 percent and 21 percent of deal share, respectively. Expansion-stage deals climbed to an eight-quarter high in Q3 — a strong contrast from past quarters where seed-stage deals were the most prominent, and perhaps a sign of a more robust investment ecosystem.

FinTech was another notably strong sector, as Canadian FinTech companies have received $252 million ($200 million USD) across 27 deals. This year is on pace to see $341 million ($270 million USD) invested across over 30 deals, on par with last year’s figure of $351 million ($278 million USD).

Source: Betakit

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday October 4 2017, Daily News Digest

ICO funding by month

News Comments Today’s main news: Elevate customers save more than $2B. Overstock launches SEC-compliant ICO alternative. RateSetter trims secondary market fees. PeerStreet funds over $500M in loans with zero investor losses. Qudian leads 2 IPO launches totaling $869. Kabbage on the road to $161M raise. Today’s main analysis: International P2P lending volumes. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Renren’s Joe Chen’s sneaky SoFi share grab. Hedge […]

ICO funding by month

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

Asia

Caribbean

News Summary

United States

Elevate Customers Save More Than $ 2 Billion Thanks to Advanced Tech-Enabled Underwriting (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Elevate Credit, Inc. (“Elevate” or “the company”), a leading tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, today announced their customers have saved more than $2 billion, versus what they would have paid for payday loans. $613 million of these cumulative savings were incurred in the first half of 2017 alone.

Joe Chen’s Sneaky SoFi Share Snatch (Forbes), Rated: AAA

But in Silicon Valley Renren’s founder and CEO, Joseph “Joe” Chen, is no outcast. He is a well-connected guru and mentor who sits on the boards of companies in which Renren has invested, like LendingHome, Fundrise, and Motif Investing. Chen also sits on the board of Social Finance, known as SoFi, which has been under fire due to a mounting sexual harassment scandal that recently saw Mike Cagney resign as SoFi’s CEO and chairman.

Chen is cooking up a deal that will allow shareholders of Renren who are “qualified purchasers” and “accredited investors,” to exchange their shares in the company for ownership in a spinoff entity consisting of its investment portfolio, including Renren’s stake in SoFi. Other shareholders who do not qualify would instead get a cash payment reviewed by a special committee of Renren’s board.

Under the spinout plan, Chen, who owns 31% of Renren’s stock, SoftBank, which owns 39% of Renren, and DCM, which owns 8.6%, will likely increase their SoFi holdings. Most of the shareholders owning the remaining 20% of Renren would lose their exposure to SoFi given that they appear to largely be individual retail investors, Securities & Exchange Commission filings show. This would leave them with a yet-to-be determined dividend, and a holding in a declining, money-losing Chinese internet company.

Renren still has its stake in SoFi, which together with some other Renren investments is worth more than Renren’s market capitalization of $630 million.

Overstock.com launches SEC-compliant ICO alternative (Bankless Times), Rated: AAA

Online retail giant Overstock.com is currently not only offering custom jewelry or discount mattresses but has been delving into cryptocurrency through Overstock.com, its subsidiary focused on Blockchain ventures.

In their Overstock.com, they are now in a joint venture together with RenGen and Argon Group to launch an Automated Trading System (ATS) for trading tokens issued via ICOs.

According to reports, $2 billion has been raised in token sales this year alone.

Hedge Funds Flip ICOs, Leaving Other Investors Holding the Bag (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Hedge funds are proving to be first among equals when it comes to digital token sales by technology startups, receiving preferential discounts and terms and then often cashing out. While legal, the maneuver is drawing comparisons to some of the eyebrow-raising practices that took place during the IPO heyday of the 1990s, when many preferred investors would quickly resell shares for big profits.

“It’s not healthy for the ecosystem, and it’s pretty abusive,” said Kyle Samani, a managing partner at Austin, Texas-based Multicoin Capital, which invests in ICOs. “They are getting a discount because they are a big name, and they think it’s going to draw the retail investor. It’s the greater fools theory –- I’ll buy it if there’s someone who’s more of a fool than me.”

Source: Bloomberg

Startups often announce, with much fanfare, that such-and-such funds and big-name investors have participated in the presale. What isn’t as well publicized is that the early investors — and, possibly, even the startup’s founders — can often cash out right after the ICO.

Source: Bloomberg

More than 80 percent of ICOs are doing presales, according to Lex Sokolin, global director of fintech strategy at Autonomous NEXT.

PeerStreet funds over half a billion in loans, maintains zero losses to investors (PeerStreet Email), Rated: AAA

PeerStreet, the real estate investing platform for real estate debt, has just hit the milestone of having funded half a billion in loans and with zero losses to investors since the company launched in 2015.

Platforms in the P2P and crowdfunding space are seeing increasing competition and scrutiny, but PeerStreet has continued to offer investors access to quality loans and high yields, earning the public testimonial of some high-profile users, such as 

Kabbage is Raising $ 161 Million (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Online SME lender Kabbage is raising $161 million, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Fintech firm filed the Form D last week indicating it had already received $80,573,040 with the same amount remaining to be raised.

Atlanta fintech ‘unicorn’ Kabbage raising $ 161 million (Biz Journals), Rated: B

Kabbage, which is mulling an IPO, has raised about $80 million on the planned raise, according to a Securities & Exchange Commission filing. The fintech, valued at more than $1 billion, announced a $250 million investment from SoftBank last year.

Kabbage’s Petralia Talks Big Tech, Fintech and Lending (deBanked), Rated: A

It’s only been a few weeks since the blockbuster announcement that SoftBank is investing $250 million into Kabbage, which thrust the small business lender into the spotlight for a few reasons, not the least of which was the more than $1 billion valuation that has been speculated for Kabbage.

This valuation, of course, is in stark contrast to that of OnDeck, which also lends to small businesses.

“All of our bank partnerships are technology integrations where our technology sits in their systems. They use our technology to deliver the customer experience. And I think what SoftBank saw in us was that potential. Whatever the valuation was I can assure you it was a result of a lot of due diligence on the part of SoftBank,” she said.

Rethinking Credit Scores in the Age of Fintech (Huffington Post), Rated: AAA

What value do the three big ratings bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, provide today in our emerging digital economy?

Increasingly in a world where payments may involve a peer to peer exchange, a global transfer, and more and more often a mobile phone transaction, the definition of good credit is going to change and widen.

Today, Experian maintains credit information on 215 million American consumers [Experian]. That’s over two-thirds of the total U.S. population [U.S. Census]. Roughly half of the population in the US has a FICO credit score that is less than 650, meaning that nearly half of people in the US cannot get credit from banks today.

The Equifax debacle turned up the volume on the call for change. We’re about to see more innovative ways of looking at credit, most of them built by mobile-first fintech companies.

Companies like PayPalKabbageSmartBizSquare, and others have stepped in to look at new ways to determine creditworthiness. Rather than depend solely on a single score like FICO, they are looking at a more holistic picture of a credit applicant.

SoFi, another lending startup, is using AI to analyze data from sources other than credit card information. And ShoCard, a blockchain-identity management system (IMS), teamed up with Creditinfo to let a customer claim their identity and manage who it gets shared with.

Chad Swenson of Lantern Credit believes your credit should be under your control. “Companies,” he says, “now have the ability to work with multiple alternative data streams outside of the traditional data delivered from the bureaus.”

Evan Singer, CEO of SmartBiz, a company devoted to helping small businesses secure loans, says that other metrics like your bank rating (how you use your bank rather than your credit) is another important piece of the puzzle often ignored.

CrowdStreet Debuts First Direct Commercial Real Estate Investing Platform for Financial Advisors (CrowdStreet), Rated: A

CrowdStreet, provider of the leading commercial real estate investment platform for investor acquisition and relationship management, today announced several enhancements to its flagship Sponsor Direct white-label software platform designed to address the needs of modern investment firms. With these new features, Sponsor Direct is now the only software offering that combines support for financial advisor accounts with a suite of tools specifically developed to help them engage, communicate with and service their investors. Hines Securities Inc. is the first firm to leverage these new capabilities, relying on Sponsor Direct to provide easy-to-use online real estate capital fundraising functionality to financial advisors.

CrowdStreet’s proven software solutions currently support more than 53,000 investors, managing more than 1,000 offerings and $3.7 billion in invested capital. Since its launch, the CrowdStreet software platform has been used to raise more than $260 million and distribute more than $684 million to investors.

New Yorkers pay the second highest ATM fees in the country (NY Daily News), Rated: A

ATM fees have reached an 11-year record high, and New Yorkers are paying the second highest rates, says Bankrate’s annual Checking Account Survey for 2017.

The national average ATM fee is $4.69, equaling the average ATM surcharge of $2.97 plus the average out-of-network fee your main bank charges of $1.72.

Cities whose fees top over $5 include Pittsburgh ($5.19), New York ($5.14), Washington, D.C. ($5.11), Cleveland ($5.11) and Atlanta ($5.05).

Even the lowest fees still don’t drop below $4 with Milwaukee at $4.19 and Dallas at $4.07.

Overall, ATM withdrawal fees have risen by 55% over the last ten years and there is little to curb this growth.

1031 Crowdfunding Moves Up Rankings to #4 Among Top Real Estate Crowdfunding Sites (PR Newswire), Rated: A

1031 Crowdfunding, LLC announced today that the Company moved up in the rankings for the 2017-2018 Top 100+ Real Estate Crowdfunding Sites to #4 overall and maintained its position as #1 ranked Real Estate Crowdfunding site for 1031 Exchanges.

The Real-Estate Crowdfunding Review conducted in-depth research of over 100 real estate crowdfunding sites to form the reviews and rankings provided in the Top 100+ Real Estate Crowdfunding Sites. Site features most highly-valued included: pre-funding, low investor fees, low investors minimums, bankruptcy protection, velocity, positive investor feedback, co-investment by the company, and venture capital funding in the company.

Top 100+ Real Estate Crowdfunding Sites (The Real Estate Crowdfunding Review), Rated: A

13 sites in the former top 25 have fallen completely out of the rankings due to abandoning their business model or challenges. 5 sites have improved tremendously with substantially increased volume, and a few of these that were lower ranked have leaped up the charts as well.

Tier 1: Best of the Best

These sites have it all: High transparency, co-investment,  pre-funding, high-volume, average to low fees, excellent bankruptcy protection, strong administration and customer service, and strong financial backing.

None. No site has all these features yet, but we hope that will change by the time of our next review.

Tier 2: All-Stars

These sites are all extremely strong in the majority of the fundamentals that are most important to investors.

Tier 4: Up-And-Coming + On-probation

There are 2 types of sites in this category. The 1st are up-and-coming sites that may not be as polished as competitors but have some sort of promise or potential for the future. The 2nd are sites that did well in last year’s rankings, but since then have had substantial investor complaints, decreasing volume or other challenges.

Justice Department gives big banks green light on real-time payments (American Banker), Rated: A

Following an antitrust review that lasted almost a year, the Department of Justice has greenlighted a real-time payments network being developed jointly by the nation’s largest banks.

The government’s approval may boost the prospects of a system that is being built by The Clearing House, the payments firm co-owned by JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and a host of other banks.

Fintech players assess post-disruption environment (Banking Exchange), Rated: A

Has the state of consumer credit changed post-crisis? Lending Club Chief Executive Scott Sanborn said he believes that the “new normal” in consumer lending is riskier.

Wages are stagnant, Sanborn said, and a greater portion of many consumers’ income now goes toward repayment of debt. Credit cards, student loans, and auto loans are among the major drains on the consumer wallet today, he noted.

A common use of marketplace lenders’ credit is debt consolidation loans, undertaken by consumers to bring down their overall borrowing rates.

Lending Club is not alone among nonbank digital lenders in going beyond traditional credit criteria. A co-panelist with Sanborn, Sarah Friar, chief financial officer at Square, said that her company—which recently applied for an industrial bank charter in Utah—doesn’t use FICO ratings at all. Friar said Square—which began as a payments mechanism and has expanded into small business credit—looks at financial accounts, number of employees, and status versus other players, among other factors.

Spending Within Their Means: Some Cities Do It Better Than Others (Business Insider), Rated: A

LendingTree®, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, has released the findings of its study on how well residents in the top 50 U.S. metropolitan areas are spending within their means – or aren’t.

Among the 50 ranked metro areas, residents are, on average, using 30 percent of their revolving credit lines — such as credit cards and home equity lines of credit, or HELOCs. They also have mortgage balances averaging 79 percent of their annual income and non-housing debt balances averaging 44 percent of annual income, and have had five credit inquiries in the last two years.

Greenville, SC takes the top score, despite having the second-lowest average income among the 50 cities ranked at $65,503 per household.

Source: LendingTree

Rank

Metro

Spending Within Their Means Score

Inquiries (last 2 years)

Revolving Credit Utilization

Non-Housing Debt % of Income

Mortgage Debt % of Income

1

Greenville, SC

71

4.0

27.6%

47.3%

61.6%

2

Greensboro, NC

65

3.8

28.9%

48.5%

63.9%

3

Kansas City, MO

64

5.9

28.4%

42.8%

65.0%

4

Buffalo, NY

64

4.0

29.0%

50.5%

55.2%

5

Charlotte, NC

64

3.8

28.2%

43.2%

84.9%

6

Milwaukee, WI

64

7.1

28.4%

39.7%

65.8%

7

San Francisco, CA

63

3.9

28.9%

28.4%

109.1%

8

Boston, MA

62

4.6

29.0%

35.7%

86.9%

9

New York, NY

62

4.4

30.5%

34.7%

77.6%

10

Raleigh, NC

61

3.8

27.6%

45.2%

85.6%

11

Pittsburgh, PA

60

5.1

28.0%

51.2%

49.3%

12

Nashville, TN

59

4.4

27.8%

43.9%

80.4%

13

Hartford, CT

58

5.5

30.0%

38.1%

76.8%

14

Oklahoma City, OK

58

6.0

28.3%

47.8%

60.7%

15

Portland

56

3.5

30.0%

40.2%

90.8%

16

Grand Rapids, MI

56

6.8

29.4%

43.3%

59.8%

17

Detroit, MI

56

5.9

30.1%

41.0%

65.0%

18

Louisville, KY

56

6.8

28.3%

43.0%

68.4%

19

Washington, DC

55

4.0

30.1%

37.1%

102.8%

20

Richmond, VA

55

4.0

29.8%

41.2%

87.5%

21

Denver, CO

55

3.1

29.2%

39.9%

108.0%

22

St. Louis, MO

53

7.7

29.0%

42.8%

67.0%

23

Philadelphia, PA

53

5.6

28.9%

43.0%

79.4%

24

Minneapolis, MN

53

4.3

30.5%

39.5%

83.6%

25

Birmingham, AL

53

5.6

29.2%

47.3%

62.5%

26

Cincinnati, OH

53

5.7

29.1%

44.9%

68.0%

27

Cleveland, OH

52

6.6

28.9%

49.4%

58.9%

28

Austin, TX

52

4.9

30.0%

42.5%

78.2%

29

Dallas – Fort Worth, TX

52

5.1

29.5%

44.3%

69.9%

30

Indianapolis, IN

51

6.6

28.4%

46.1%

68.3%

31

Atlanta, GA

51

4.3

29.2%

45.0%

81.2%

32

Columbus, OH

49

6.2

30.6%

45.9%

57.4%

33

Salt Lake City, UT

48

4.2

30.2%

39.7%

98.2%

34

Chicago, IL

46

7.2

30.1%

39.5%

80.1%

35

Seattle, WA

46

4.6

30.6%

37.6%

98.7%

36

Memphis, TN

45

5.1

29.7%

51.2%

64.9%

37

New Orleans, LA

43

4.2

30.8%

50.8%

66.9%

38

Miami, FL

43

4.1

29.0%

48.7%

89.5%

39

Harrisburg, PA

42

6.2

29.1%

47.8%

70.1%

40

Sacramento, CA

42

4.4

32.0%

38.5%

103.2%

41

San Diego, CA

41

4.3

32.8%

37.2%

118.2%

42

Los Angeles, CA

39

4.6

32.0%

38.6%

108.3%

43

Houston, TX

39

5.3

31.4%

46.8%

70.3%

44

Tampa, FL

38

4.2

29.9%

51.6%

80.7%

45

Virginia Beach, VA

36

3.8

33.2%

46.8%

95.4%

46

Orlando, FL

31

4.3

30.7%

51.0%

82.1%

47

Jacksonville, FL

25

4.1

32.3%

51.8%

87.9%

48

Phoenix, AZ

25

5.1

30.4%

48.1%

102.7%

49

Las Vegas, NV

20

5.1

31.8%

50.6%

96.6%

50

San Antonio, TX

19

7.3

32.1%

54.7%

72.2%

Goldman Sachs Explores a New World: Trading Bitcoin (WSJ), Rated: B

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. GS 0.40% is weighing a new trading operation dedicated to bitcoin and other digital currencies, the first blue-chip Wall Street firm preparing to deal directly in this burgeoning yet controversial market, according to people familiar with the matter.

Goldman’s effort is in its early stages and may not proceed, the people said.

United Kingdom

RateSetter streamlines secondary market fees (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER has announced that it is simplifying the way investors can access their money, with one single “transfer fee” when selling loans on the secondary market.

Lenders are currently charged two fees when selling out existing RateSetter loans, but from 2 November this is being streamlined into a single charge. The fee will be a percentage of the capital being withdrawn, and will be fixed for each market.

P2P Finance News

LendInvest urges government to back SME builders (Mortgage Solutions), Rated: AAA

Property finance platform LendInvest has called on government to do more to support small builders after discussing the subject with a group of influential MPs.

The event follows the publication of a report by LendInvest earlier this year on the challenges faced by property SMEs. These include constrained access to finance and distorted policy around regulation, taxation and access to land.

At the time of the report LendInvest said only 12.5% of new homes built today are constructed by small builders, down from 37.5% before 1990.

A canary in the P2P coal mine? (Financial Times), Rated: A

How are British “peer-to-peer” lenders doing?

Employee lenders are one of the fastest-growing areas of UK fintech (Financial Times), Rated: A

Online lenders that are repaid from people’s salaries have raised more than £175m in recent months, marking out the nascent sector as one of the hottest areas of the UK financial technology market.

Legal & General, the insurer, will on Wednesday announce that it is leading the latest £40m investment in SalaryFinance, which provides loans to employees of 50 groups in the UK and plans to expand in the US.

Founded by three former executives from Google, PA Consulting and Royal Bank of Scotland, SalaryFinance combines with companies to offer their employees loans at lower rates than credit cards or payday lenders.

The company has an unusually low default rate of 0.5 per cent because of the security of deducting repayments directly from a borrower’s salary, and the extra information it gains about its customers by tapping into their employer’s payroll systems.

Fintech awareness is surprisingly low in the UK (Business Insider), Rated: A

Despite the high number of UK consumers who use financial products and the extent of financial services penetration in the country — 91% of people across the UK have a current account, and 67% use contactless payments at least once a month — awareness of fintech services in the UK remains low, according to a 

Source: Business Insider

Luton is still the best place for buy-to-let investors (What Mortgage), Rated: B

According to the latest Buy-to-Let Index from online mortgage lender LendInvest, Luton has managed to hold on to the top spot as the best place for buy-to-let investment.

Luton has seen a 4.51% increase in rental price growth and an average yield of 4.51%.

China

Chinese Lender Qudian Leads 2 IPO Launches Totaling $ 869M (Law360), Rated: AAA

Chinese online lender Qudian Inc. launched an estimated $769 million initial public offering on Tuesday, adding to a growing IPO pipeline along with private equity-backed medical device company OptiNose Inc., which set terms on a projected $100 million offering.

Beijing-based Qudian plans to offer 37.5 million Class A shares priced between $19 and $22, raising $768.8 million if shares price at midrange. Qudian, represented by Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, is directly offering 35.6 million shares in the IPO while various existing shareholders are selling 1.9….

European Union

Robo.cash Founder Sergey Sedov Comments on Recent Milestone (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Robo.cash, an automated P2P lending platform that includes a buyback guarantee, recently celebrated its own steady growth during 2017 Q2, noting that its total amount of investments now exceeds €1.8 million. In addition, nearly €400,000 in loans were added in August alone, while the  average invested amount per investor gained 2.2% to the previous month at €3,270 in August. More than 900 investors have joined the platform in the first six months of operation.

The Ultimate List of LendIt Europe 2017 Speakers to Follow on Twitter (LendIt), Rated: B

If you follow them, we guarantee that your news feed will be filled with industry news, trends, thoughts, opinions and more!

Source: LendIt

 

International

International P2P Lending Volumes September 2017 (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

This month I added Raize, a marketplace in Portugal.

Source: P2P-banking

GoldMint Partnership Signals Strategic Advancement (NASDAQ), Rated: A

GoldMint, a blockchain-based startup that helps gold owners profit from digital assets backed 100 percent by physical gold, recently announced an innovative collaboration with the mineral production company Eurasia Mining .

Through this agreement, GoldMint is establishing a method for applying blockchain-based technology to the development of resource industry projects.

India

GET YOUR FINANCES RIGHT (Daily Pioneer), Rated: A

Last year, State Bank of India (SBI) announced that the ceiling limit for its foreign educational loans would be raised from Rs 30 lakh to Rs 1.5 crore.

According to statistics, about45 per cent of international students in US alone comprise of Chinese or Indian students.

Here’s a quick look at the financial loan options other than SBI:

  • The Indian Government has installed the portal ‘Vidya Lakshmi’ that allows students to check out various loan options and fund providers. Loans are provided in four slabs — Below Rs 4 lakhs, between Rs 4 lakhs and Rs 7.5 lakhs; and above Rs 7.5 lakhs with differing interest rates for each slab.
  • Credila, an HDFC Ltd. Company, India’s first dedicated educational loan company, offers loan approvals before you secure admission. You can get loans up to Rs 2.5 crores.
  • Prodigy Finance offers competitive loans which does not need a co-signer or collateral. Students can start repaying six months after graduation, and there are no penalties for early repayment. You can also avail of their $10,000 scholarships, which is being given away this year to mark their decade of business.
  • GyanDhan, India’s first educational loans marketplace, offers 100 per cent financing for top B-Schools and engineering schools. They offer loans with collateral starting as low as 9.1 per cent.
  • Avanse Educational Loan covers 100 per cent of study abroad expenses on a floating interest of 12 per cent to 17 per cent.
  • Nationalised banks are offering a comparatively lower rate of interest between 9 per cent to 13 per cent on an average.
Asia

Seasoned Japanese startup puts fintech on the map with $ 500m IPO (Tech in Asia), Rated: AAA

Money Forward, a well-established financial tech startup, has launched its IPO, marking a watershed moment for Japan’s burgeoning fintech scene.

The firm, started in 2012, is now worth US$505 million after listing on the Mothers Index Futures section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, which is designed for high-growth and emerging stocks.

The IPO raised approximately US$25 million.

MENA

Payday Loan Ranger Is Helping People Cover Gaps In Between Their Paychecks (MENAFN.com), Rated: A

Payday Loan Ranger is a loan service that specializes in providing loans from $50 to $1000.

Payday Loan Ranger’s popularity rises from the fact that it completely simplifies the process and never makes it as hectic and difficult as similar services. Their entire service is reduced down to three simple steps, applying online, searching for the best lenders, and then receiving the cash as early in the first 24 hours.

With over 2,000,000 applications already processed, it has become one of the most popular services used for such transactions and continues to rise in usage as it seems people are truly in need of such a novel service.

Caribbean

Why Bitcoin Will Not Solve the Caribbean’s Financial Inclusion Woes (CircleID), Rated: AAA

The issue of financial exclusion can be summarized into two categories: unbanked and underbanked. Unbanked individuals do not have an account at a regulated financial institution, while underbanked individuals have accounts, but frequently use alternative or unregulated financial services.

Unbanked individuals are faced with a heavy economic burden when conducting even the most basic financial transactions. For example, cashing a cheque can cost the average person with full-time employment as much as USD$20,000 over his/her lifetime. Western Union, as an example, charges as much as USD$42 to send a USD$500 remittance to Barbados. ‘Underground’ alternative financial service providers levy as much as USD$10 on every USD$100 transferred.

Another reason for unbanked individuals is attitudinal and behavioral; they really do not trust banks. This sentiment may not be all that unfounded, as a number of the banks across the Caribbean region have been reducing the teller services that unbanked individuals are familiar with and prefer, forcing more (non-technical) customers to online channels, regularly increasing service fees, and even worse, looking to divest their retail operations in favor of corporate banking and wealth management business units.

To obtain Bitcoin, you must already be “economically included” — both in terms of Internet and financial access.

Predatory businesses are convenient where the unbanked live. Rural areas like Trelawny, Jamaica or Mayaro, Trinidad are home to large swathes of unbanked households. Traditional banks don’t see a viable business cases for locating a branch or satellite office in such districts. This means that check cashing and money changing businesses that charge exorbitant rates are the only real means of conducting transactions. Kenya’s M-PESA succeeded because it leveraged an existing network of agents and vendors.

Globally, mobile banking is overtaking branch-centered activity more and more — for example, in Norway, 91% of the population use online banking channels. The explosion of fintech companies that are ‘unbundling’ traditional banking functions, added to the maturity of the first generation of Internet banking solutions, are hastening this trend. Consequently, the amalgamation of omni-channel banking, fintech platforms, and open APIs are obscuring the lines between traditional and alternative finance.

Moreover, besides remittances, financial inclusion also includes micro-credit, micro-insurance, cooperatives, peer-to-peer lending, rural/agricultural credit, mobile money, mobile vouchers, and a number of other alternative financial services. Financial inclusion is multi-faceted, and Bitcoin has yet to distinguish itself in any of the aforementioned categories.

The Caribbean region has serious online trust issues. In 2016, OAS and IDB published a report titled, ‘Cybersecurity: Are We Ready in Latin America and the Caribbean?’ Researchers conducted assessments of 13 Caribbean nations, including Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, and Trinidad & Tobago. The methodological framework covered ‘Culture & Society’, and one of the key findings was the extremely low levels of online trust in the region. Caribbean people do not trust that their online activities aren’t being monitored, they do not trust their service providers, they do not trust social networks, they do not trust their search engine provider, they do not trust companies to keep their personal data safe and secure, and most relevant — they do not trust online and mobile banking platforms.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor