Tuesday March 20, 2018, Daily News Digest

fintechs

News Comments Today’s main news: Affirm intros in-store capabilities. SoFi prices first student loan ABS with medical residency refis. Experian targets non-prime borrowers with new credit score. RateSetter CEO warns of collaboration risk. Today’s main analysis: Hui Ying Financial Holdings’ 2017 financial results. Today’s thought-provoking articles: What the Senate Banking Committee bill means. Key Chinese technology players. What Europe’s investors […]

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United States

Affirm Introduces In-Store Capabilities (Business Wire), Rated: AAA

Affirm will partner with merchants to make Affirm financing available in-store. Now shoppers can use Affirm InStore in brick-and-mortar locations, securing credit in just seconds before they even get to the cash register, and can pay for their purchase over time in simple, fixed monthly installments. Additionally, the company announced that consumers will have the ability to instantly add a newly issued Affirm virtual card to Apple Pay, the easy, secure and private way to pay, via the Affirm mobile app.

Affirm InStore brings the same easy experience shoppers and retailers have come to expect online to the point-of-sale in brick-and-mortar locations. Affirm gives merchants two flexible options: they can integrate the Affirm InStore API (application programming interface) with their Point Of Sale (POS) system or use Affirm’s expanded virtual card experience.

According to a survey conducted by Affirm, this can impact a retailer’s brand even if the financing product is offered by a third party. Fifty-five percent of respondents said they would think less favorably of a brand that offers a financial product that can be harmful to consumers.

Affirm’s platform makes it possible for shoppers to pay for purchases over multiple-month terms with simple interest loans that don’t charge compounding interest or late fees. And, unlike most credit lenders that base loan decisions on a consumer’s credit score and income alone, Affirm takes a more sophisticated approach, using data science in credit-scoring algorithms that combine credit history and other relevant factors to assess creditworthiness.

Affirm, a startup founded by PayPal co-founder, just launched Apple Pay Credit Card without the plastic (Tech Startups), Rated: A

Affirm now has more than 1,000 merchants using its service.

The company is going after the millennials with a new type of credit card, without plastic and only available online. The company announced today the launch of Affirm virtual card to Apple Pay Credit Card without the plastic. With Affirm Virtual Card, consumers will have the ability to instantly add a newly issued Affirm virtual card to Apple Pay, via the Affirm mobile app. With the virtual card, Affirm is reinventing credit with alternative to traditional credit cards and making its micro-lending program available through Apple Pay and letting customers use their iPhones to pay in brick-and-mortar stores.

SoFi prices 1st student loan ABS with medical residency refis (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Social Finance’s second private student loan securitization of the year, which priced Friday, is also its first to include loans refinancing the debt of medical residents.

Loans refinancing the debt of medical residents and fellows account for approximately 5% of the collateral for the original collateral for the transaction, SoFi Professional Loan Program 2018-B Trust, according to rating agency presale reports. The collateral for the deal was upsized, to $900 million from $700 million originally, in response to strong demand, though investors demanded slightly higher spreads on the senior notes compared to SoFi’s previous student loan securitization, completed in January.

Experian Releases a New Credit Score Aimed at Non-Prime Borrowers (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

The ranks of thin file consumers continues to grow in this country. According to Experian these consumers now number 25% of the total U.S. population. These are people with five or fewer items in their traditional credit history.

Since the acquisition they have worked with the Clarity Services team to build a new score specifically for the non-prime segment. They are calling it the Clear Early Risk Score. As the name implies this new score is designed to give lenders a clearer view of the risk of these thin file consumers, many of whom should not be categorized as subprime.

When I asked Alex how this new score will be used in conjunction with their traditional FICO score he said it will be used in two ways:
1. When the consumer has no traditional file and therefore no credit score it will be used as an independent score.
2. The consumer may be originally scored as subprime and this new score could provide new  information that may lead to a different conclusion regarding risk.

 

 

 

Here’s what the latest Senate bill means for US fintech (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

A bill that the Senate Banking Committee has been drafting for several years, designed to reduce the regulatory burden for small- and mid-sized US lenders, received bipartisan approval in the Senate on Wednesday with a 61-38 vote.

The bill’s proposals include raising the threshold for the Dodd-Frank definition of a “systemically important” lender from $50 billion in assets to $250 billion, thus absolving smaller banks from strictures like annual stress tests; absolving banks with under $10 billion in assets from the Volcker Rule; and allowing small banks and credit unions to report less of their mortgage loan data, among other things.

Source: Business Insider

U.S. Online Merchants Believe Instant Financing Will Drive Increased Sales (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Online merchants in the U.S. are increasingly recognizing the importance of offering instant financing to shoppers, according to a new online e-commerce survey. Nearly two-thirds of retailers polled (64 percent) believe providing online financing options through their store is important to driving new and increased sales. Forty-six percent indicate it would decrease cart abandonment – still one of the most critical challenges for online retailers today.

The merchant survey, which recognizes the importance of instant financing among online retailers, corresponds with consumer attitudes as revealed in a Klarna-sponsored survey last year that showed:

  • Three quarters of consumers (75 percent) indicate preference for online merchants offering instant financing
  • 39 percent said they would spend more money if given instant credit options when purchasing goods and services online
  • 28 percent would be very likely or completely likely to change merchants in order to use instant financing
  • Nearly half of respondents (47 percent) would like to be presented with an instant financing option while shopping online

THE QUANTS, THE ALGORITHMS, AND THE PERFORMANCE (All About Alpha), Rated: A

In the forthcoming paper he contends that with only “a tiny handful of exceptions” (read “Renaissance”) such trading doesn’t produce exceptional results. The problem goes far beyond what one addresses by saying that the field is new and still developing, that machine learning will get better, that Big Data will get even bigger, and so forth.

Heaton asks us to contemplate Citadel LLC. This huge hedge fund “returned only about 13 percent in 2017,” which was short of the S&P 500 gain. Yet the S&P gain would have been “available quite inexpensively to anyone with the money to open an account at Vanguard Group.”

Does Citadel compensate for underperformance in bull markets by preserving capital in bear markets? Heaton says that it does not, “Citadel fell nearly 60 percent in 2008, far more than the S&P 500 index.”

Composing Architecture for Growth (Lendit), Rated: A

The same technology that is influencing this change is also making it possible to deliver that experience at a fraction of the time and cost it would take with older technology.

This ‘right’ technology means embracing cloud-based services and an API-enabled composable architecture.  Today, building an architecture is quick and cost effective, particularly through the use of cloud technology.  Rather than having to buy, build, and maintain a collection of poorly-connected systems, an API-enabled composable architecture lets institutions leverage services built on a flexible yet secure infrastructure.

A composable API-driven architecture is necessary to tap into the full potential of cloud technology. The traditional approach is all or nothing, build an end-to-end solution which relies on a single vendor which would be responsible for the implementation.  But the composable approach embraces thinking that one company cannot focus on everything and be the best at it.  The architecture can be divided in small pieces and managed through life cycles separately and tested, removed or replaced without risk.

Everlasting Capital Grows from a Basement to Inc.’s 500 List (deBanked), Rated: A

“I was making $267 a week at the pawn shop and I was having to ask friends to help me pay my rent for a room,” Feinberg said. “So at that point, I realized that something needed to change.”

That question prompted Feinberg to present to his brother and Murphy the idea to start a finance company. Feinberg said he drew up a business plan in a day and a half and his brother and Murphy agreed to give him $3,000 to start the company. That was November of 2012.

And it did. After a year, Feinberg’s company, Everlasting Capital, made $110,000 in commissions and $3.5 million in volume. Within that first year, he also hired three people and moved from the basement of the pawn shop in Rochester, NH to a 600 square foot office in the same town.

This lightning fast trajectory is by no means common. That’s why Everlasting Capital made it onto 2017’s Inc. 500 list, the iconic list of America’s fastest growing private companies. By year two, Everlasting Capital earned $640,000 in commissions, generating $14 million in volume, and by year three it earned $1.6 million in commissions with $18 million in volume.

A Conversation with Lendup’s CEO Sasha Orloff and Vice President Jotaka Eaddy (The Financial Revolutionist), Rated: A

We were happy to connect with LendUp’s co-founder and CEO Sasha Orloff and Jotaka Eaddy, the company’s vice president of policy, strategic engagement and impact. Orloff, Eaddy and the rest of the LendUp team are clearly mission-driven professionals who want to put borrowers on the pathway to better financial health.

The Financial Revolutionist: Sasha and Jotaka, it’s great to see you again. Sasha, I know you started the company in 2011 with your step brother, Jake. When did you start making loans?

Sasha Orloff:    Thanks Gregg. We recently hit our six-year anniversary of our first loan. Although Jake and I “started” the company in 2011, LendUp was really born after coming out of Y Combinator’s Winter 2012 class.

FR:     Is access to credit a civil rights issue that needs more attention?

JE:    Absolutely. It’s just that some of the blatant racism that’s confronting our nation these days takes center stage on TV and social media. But historically, race has played a major role in accessing credit and how people are marginalized when trying to access it. Plus, when you look at the predatory products across this country, they are heavily marketed to poor communities. So yes, safe access to credit is an important issue for me — and should be for everyone — and LendUp is on the right side of it.

OCC once wanted payday lenders to ‘stay the hell away’ from banks. No longer (American Banker), Rated: A

More than a decade has passed since federal regulators cracked down on partnerships between payday lenders and banks that had been designed to circumvent state interest rate caps.

Now the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, operating under newly installed leadership, has taken a notable step in the opposite direction.

The agency said Friday that it has terminated a 2002 consent order with Ace Cash Express.

South Dakota is an example of a state that could be impacted. Sixteen months ago, the state’s voters approved a 36% interest rate cap. Critics of payday lending worry that federal banking regulators may effectively overturn such laws, and that last week’s decision by the OCC is a step down that path.

Goldman Sachs Adds LPL Financial to Its Securities-Lending Business (US News), Rated: A

Goldman Sachs Group Inc has signed LPL Financial Holdings, the largest U.S. independent broker-dealer by revenue, to its securities-based lending platform, the bank said on Tuesday.

Called GS Select, the platform was launched last year as a way for the Wall Street bank to target borrowers who have less than $10 million in investable assets. GS Select issues loans worth $75,000 to $25 million that are collateralized by the borrowers’ investment portfolios.

Goldman’s typical wealth clients have at least $50 million in assets.

Questions raised as robo advisers hire humans (FT Advisor), Rated: A

Robo-advice firms offering automated financial advice have begun incorporating human advisers into their service, raising questions about how this will impact their business models.

Schroders-backed Nutmeg is currently looking at introducing human advisers into its service, while rival Scalable Capital, in which Blackrock has a large minority stake, has recently done just that.

Cerberus completes Cyanco acquisition (PE Hub Network), Rated: B

Cerberus Capital Management, L.P. today announced the completion of the previously announced acquisition of Cyanco Holding Corp. by a Cerberus affiliate from funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management, L.P. The transaction closed on March 16, 2018.

Cyanco will continue to be led by its current management team. As part of its investment, Cerberus will be putting in place a new board of directors for Cyanco. The new board will be chaired by Daniel Ajamian, an executive who has been Chairman of several other Cerberus portfolio companies.

Here Are 7 Atlanta Startups That Have Raised More Than $ 100 Million in Funding (Atlanta Inno), Rated: B

Kabbage, a FinTech company that connects small businesses with capital they need, is sitting pretty at $1.6 billion in total funding acquired since its debut on the Atlanta credit scene in 2009. Kabbage was recently in the news after the lending startup announced that, in the wake of the Parkland shooting, it would stop processing loans to assault-style weapons manufacturers.

Greensky, a consumer lending company which offers paperless solutions and financial services to businesses, secured a total of $350 million in funding in just two rounds.

 

United Kingdom

RateSetter CEO warns of ‘risk’ of collaboration over competition (Peer2Peer Finance), Rated: AAA

At the Innovate Finance Global Summit at London’s Guildhall, Lewis warned that if the two cohorts solely collaborate, there would be little visible change from the viewpoint of the consumer.

“The technological advances being made are unstoppable; the question is who is going to take them to market,” he said on Monday.

There have been an increasing number of partnerships between fintech firms and the very incumbents that they are trying to disrupt. US investment bank Goldman Sachs has acquired a number of innovative start-ups through its online lending platform Marcus.

report released last month from consulting firm Capgemini and corporate networking website LinkedIn found that more than 75 per cent of fintech firms cite collaborating with incumbent firms as their primary business objective.

 

The state-backed Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is working on secret plans to create a standalone digital bank to compete with emerging British fintech champions including Monzo and Revolut.

Sky News has learnt that RBS has assigned one of its top executives to the project, which is so confidential that few people inside the company are aware of its existence.

RBS has already struck agreements with a number of leading fintech companies such as Funding Circle, with which it works to direct customers to peer-to-peer and other providers of alternative finance.

 

LendInvest launches second retail bond offer (Bridging & Commercial), Rated: A

The online platform for property finance has issued a five-and-a-half year 5.375% fixed rate retail bond due October 2023.

Payments under the bond will be guaranteed by LendInvest and the bond will be secured by way of a floating charge over the whole of the undertaking and all property, assets and rights, both present and future, of the issuer.

LendInvest’s first retail bond – which trades on the London Stock Exchange – raised £50m from a broad base of retail and institutional investors.

As of 31st December 2017, the bond was 99.6% utilised, with an interest coverage ratio of 192% and a weighted average LTV ratio of 57%.

Letter: Build a brighter future (Watford Observer), Rated: A

My suggestion was Funding Circle, which enables businesses to access finance independent of their banks and allows them to receive funds within a couple of weeks, compared to up to three months with a traditional bank loan.

It’s been a tried and tested investment since August 2010 and there are currently 18 councils investing through the Funding Circle platform, and the amounts invested vary from £1,000 to £2 million.

The Funding Circle minimum a council could lend to a business is £20, so Funding Circle suggests lending £2,000 would allow a council to lend to at least 100 businesses, lend no more than 1 per cent of the portfolio to each business.

What recent IPOs reveal about the state of fintech (AltFiNews), Rated: A

Over the last week or so we’ve seen not one but two fintech focused venture capital style listed funds list on the London market: Augmentum Fintech raised £94m while TruFin hit the market with a £70m valuation. Both of these funds have their own unique characteristics although perhaps the most interesting information from the listings is what they reveal about the likely worth of the alternative finance space in the UK.

The fund’s 15 per cent stake in Zopa, by contrast, seems a little more tangential though it’s also the single most valuable asset in the fund.

City of London and Innovate Finance Launch Fintech Strategy Group (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

The City of London Corporation and Innovate Finance have jointly announced the launch of the Fintech Strategy Group (FSG) to help continue the success of the UK Fintech sector. According to Innovate Finance, the group will combine senior industry leaders across the sector including banks, regulators, and innovative Fintech startups.

The purpose of the FSG is to foster a collaborative dialogue on the future of UK Fintech – a vital issue as Brexit weighs on the financial services industry.

 

 

China

Chinese Tech Major Key Players – Tencent, Vipshop, Weibo, and Yirendai Market Analysis & Forecast 2017 to 2022 (Digital Journal), Rated: AAA

China’s government is intent on upgrading its manufacturing sector and leading the world in a range of advanced technologies. Implicit in its “Made in China 2025” 10-year plan is the notion that China will displace the US as the world’s dominant technological power.

The US is likely to remain a leader in all major advanced technologies over the next decade, with Baidu the only Chinese player equipped to challenge the US’s lead in next generation technologies such as AI. There are signs though, that China is closing the overall gap faster than we expected.

This report researches the state and thrust of Chinese technology over the next two to five years and what it implies for global technology investors.

Hui Ying Financial Holdings Corp. Reports Fiscal Year 2017 Financial Results (Markets Insider), Rated: AAA

Revenues increased by 88.4% to $46.5 million and loans facilitated through platform increased 59.9% to over $1.3 Billion

Source: Markets insider
  • Total loans facilitated through our platform increased by 59.9% to $1,308.7 million for the year ended 2017 from $818.5 million in 2016, as China’s online peer-to-peer lending platform industry continued to grow significantly during 2017, coupled with an increased marketing campaign, promotion activities on our platform as well as increased brand awareness of our online marketplace. This led to accumulated value of loans facilitated through our platform in the aggregate amount of $2.87 billion since the launch of our marketplace in December 2013 through the end of 2017.
  • We had 8,047 borrowers and 69,232 investors participated in an aggregate of 23,263 loans during 2017, compared to 1,067 borrowers, 39,999 investors and 8,739 loans during 2016. As of the end of 2017, we had 367, 893 registered investors and 24 cooperative partners who frequently serve as guarantors of loans on our platform.
  • Total revenues increased by 88.4% to $46.50 million for the year ended 2017 from $24.68 million in 2016, as a result of an increase in loans facilitated through our platform and the contribution from the newly launched entrusted loan business. Revenues from loan origination service fees, loan repayment management fees and financing income from entrusted loans were $26.70 million$18.21 million and $1.58 million, respectively, for the year ended 2017 compared to $17.49 million$7.19 million and nil, respectively, in 2016.
  • Net income increased by 344.1% to $15.27 million for the year ended 2017 from $3.44 million in 2016. Diluted earnings per share was $0.21 for the year ended 2017, compared to $0.05 for 2016.

Blockchain startups are overvalued: Q&A with Anju Patwardhan, Managing Director at CreditEase China (Technode), Rated: B

Blockchain technology is in full swing. Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent are all vigorously investing in blockchain technology and Chinese VCs are fishing for blockchain tech companies. What’s more, the Chinese government is also poised to educate Chinese people about this booming technology. However, that doesn’t mean that all blockchain projects are viable.

With a $500 million fund and another RMB fund with the same amount, CreditEase Fintech Investment Fund is investing in fintech companies, mostly participating in B and C rounds.

European Union

Here’s what investors in France, Spain and Italy are up to (GooRuf), Rated: AAA

Lendix is one of the leading European players in the crowdlending sector for SMEs and although it is not yet active in the UK or outside of Europe, it sure is expanding fast.

So what are investors’ preferences?

– The French investor prefers grade A projects with a duration of 37 to 48 months.
– Spaniards are the most risk-averse and tend to invest more in projects with A and A + grades, but are not opposed to longer durations.
– Italian investors are the most risk-prone: they prefer B rated projects but with shorter durations (0-24 months).

This data shows that the Lendix community invests 11% more on A, A + and B + projects than on B or C ratings. Moreover, the duration seems to have a relative impact in terms of amounts invested, even if investors are more attentive to this parameter in the case of small projects (amounts up to 100,000 euros). In general, the community invests 32% more in long-term projects.

These 2 brothers just declared a mortgage price war – and Sweden is going nuts (Business Insider), Rated: A

Sweden’s mortgage industry is today worth around 3 trillion krona ($370 bn), according to Statistics Sweden, and most of the interest on these loans end up in the pockets of big banks.

A new fintech venture called enkla.com has today launched a potentially game-changing service. The Swedish online lender offers consumers a 0.95% fixed mortgage rate for three years, which is considerably less than the 1,6% average for similar loans among Sweden’s major banks, according to Di Digital.

Enkla’s self-stated goal is to borrow 100 billion SEK ($12,2 billion) worth of mortgages in the next 18 months by issuing mortgage bonds on the international markets, Di Digital writes. If the target is met, Enkla.com would be looking at a 3 percent share of the Swedish mortgage market.

The service enters a market where Sweden’s household debt has exploded from 66 percent to 87 percent of GDP in the past decade, driven by soaring housing prices. Consumers are evidently hungry for a cheaper deal than what banks can offer. Currently, Sweden’s four biggest banks – Swedbank, Nordea, Handelsbanken and SEB – have 75 percent of the country’s mortgage market, Breakit reports.

Enkla.com takes a 0,35% cut on the mortgages.

Beyond data sharing, open banking boosts omnichannel payments (PaymentsSource), Rated: A

In Europe the move to open banking has been driven by regulations such as the revised Payment Services Directive PSD2 and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which compel banks to open their core systems to allow customers to control and release their data to third parties delivering added value services.

In other territories with no regulatory imperative, the drive towards open banking is led by the desire to provide the best customer experience, with added value services, new business models and connected marketplace products from third parties and vice versa. To do this, the application programming interfaces (APIs) of the bank will need to be open and connected to external providers. And cloud technologies will be fundamental in enabling this to become a reality.

International

Tech and Global Money Transfers: Why We Need Each Other (Canstar), Rated: AAA

Digital disruptors such as peer-to-peer lending services, mobile apps and blockchain have shifted the market, offering borderless accounts combined with speed and transparency.

Powering these disruptors are new technologies like artificial intelligence, big data and robotics, which are changing the customer experience; providing unprecedented insights into customer behaviour that help deliver a more seamless money transfer experience.

The World Bank predicts the value of global remittances will grow by 3.4% to USD$616 billion in 2018. In order for the industry to continue to thrive, businesses will be better served by coming together to redefine the future of money transfers.

A bitcoin trading firm just opened up a lending business — and it’s going gangbusters (Business Insider), Rated: A

Bitcoin might be in a bit of a slump, but one brand new bitcoin business is going gangbusters.

Genesis Capital, the recently launched subsidiary of market making firm Genesis Trading, has close to $100 million in loans outstanding, a person familiar with the company’s operations told Business Insider. That’s a striking milestone, considering the business was launched two weeks ago.

It gives out loans worth $100,000 or more in cryptocurrencies including bitcoin, ether, and bitcoin cash. BlockTower Capital, a cryptocurrency hedge fund, and DV Chain, a crypto trading firm, are some of Genesis’ clients, according to people familiar with the matter.

Autonomous NEXT estimates the number of crypto funds has increased to 226. That’s up from approximately 50 at the end of August 2017. In total, they manage approximately $3.5 to $5 billion, a tiny fraction of the $3.2 trillion managed by traditional hedge funds.

What are the technology trends to look out for in 2018? (Investment Week), Rated: A

One key trend at the forefront of the digital space is artificial intelligence (AI). Some estimates predict that the AI market could grow from $5bn to $120bn by 2025.

A report from digital consultancy Juniper Research, has found that annual cost savings derived from the adoption of ‘chatbots’ in healthcare will reach $3.6bn globally by 2022, up from an estimated $2.8m in 2017.

The UK is leading the way when it comes to peer-to-peer lending, and is one of Europe’s largest alternative finance markets at £4.9bn, according to the University of Cambridge’s Judge Business School.

 

Fintech: partner, build, or buy? (Banking Exchange), Rated: A

“Fintech” covers many things, but is often used to refer to nonbank firms that leverage cutting-edge technology to deliver financial services directly to consumers and businesses. In that sense, banks initially viewed fintechs as competition, as they compete for lending, personal finance, payments, and other consumer services.

1. What’s the problem to be solved?

Sounds like common sense, but a fintech partnership should necessitate an extensive evaluation of the underlying need, such as filling in product or service gaps, or, in this bank example, offering borrowers a digital channel for applying and getting to closing quicker on a commercial loan as their primary competitors offered. Clear objectives help the bank and fintech determine if the match is on solid ground from the start.

A fintech partnership should offer the bank an upside—quantitative and qualitative—that simply isn’t available at more favorable cost, risk, and performance measures under the build or buy options.

2. What’s the difference between buying vs. partnering with a fintech?

Is it a shared risk and shared reward? Does the reward justify the risk? Or is it just the innovation culture of the third party? The definition is critical as the process of evaluating a fintech’s performance, costs, and risks entails unique considerations from a typical vendor evaluation.

Many partnerships are really just vendor relationships. That’s okay. In many cases, banks with extremely low risk appetites prefer the typically lower risk of a vendor relationship. One fintech exec noted how impossible it is to run many banks’ risk gauntlets because they don’t understand what they are getting into.

Asia

Indonesia eyes banking boom (Asean Economist), Rating: A

Indonesian banks will enjoy “more than 12 per cent” loan growth this year due to a recovering global economy and rising commodity prices, according to Jakarta’s financial regulator.

Loan growth in Indonesia has fallen below 10 per cent since early 2016, compared with more than 20 per cent during the preceding commodity boom.

MENA

Interview with Ahmed Moor, CEO of Liwwa (P2P Banking), Rated: A

What is Liwwa about?

liwwa is a marketplace lending platform that provides funding to small and medium businesses in Jordan. Our mission is to support job and income growth in the region. To date we have underwritten about 10 million USD in loans. This has helped to create 475 jobs in Jordan, 1.77 million USD in income, and 13.05 million USD in economic output.

What are the three main advantages for investors?

The type of investors we target are financially-savvy professionals who already have a portfolio of investments. They are attracted to our service because it is a way for them to further diversify their existing portfolio. The other advantage is that there are no big barriers to testing out the platform – provided he meets certain basic criteria, anyone can register and there is no minimum amount required in order to start lending.

What are the three main advantages for borrowers?

There is a 240 billion USD capital access gap in the MENA region. For borrowers, we provide a much-needed alternative to bank financing.

Canada

BMO launches banking chatbot with Finn.ai (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

The chatbot – called BMO Bolt – is available via Facebook Messenger, which is Canada’s “top messaging platform”, according to Finn.ai.

84% of the country’s population uses a smartphone to access Facebook and 38% performs mobile banking tasks via mobile phones, the vendor adds.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday November 14 2017, Daily News Digest

Fed rates

News Comments Today’s main news: Prosper loses $26M with spike in lending. Prosper’s Q3 growth with $1.5B in securitizations for 2017. LexinFintech files for $500M U.S. IPO. Finastra named best in class. The first securities lending platform launched. Compass raises $100M for expansion. Today’s main analysis: The U.S. yield curve flattening. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Have we reached the end of […]

Fed rates

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United Kingdom

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United States

Prosper reports $ 26M loss despite spike in lending (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Prosper Marketplace recorded a big jump in loan originations during the third quarter, but the San Francisco-based online lender still racked up $26.9 million in losses.

The privately held firm has lost $210 million since the start of 2016, in spite of various cost-cutting measures. In July, Prosper announced plans to discontinue a personal finance app that it acquired in 2015.

Prosper Reports Third Quarter Growth; Closes $ 1.5 Billion of Securitizations in 2017 (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Prosper, a peer-to-peer lending platform for consumer loans, today reported growth in both transaction revenue and loan originations for the third quarter of 2017. Continued demand for Prosper’s personal loan product resulted in $822 million in loan originations through its platform, up 6% quarter-over-quarter and 164% year-over-year. The company also grew transaction fee revenue 5% quarter-over-quarter and 164% year-over-year.

The following table summarizes the financial highlights from the quarter:

Key Operating and Financial Metrics (Unaudited)
(in thousands)
Three Months Ended September 30,
2017 2016
Loan Originations $ 821,841 $ 311,776
Transaction Fees, Net 37,250 14,086
Servicing Fees, Net 6,976 7,079
Net Loss (26,940) (17,417)
Adjusted EBITDA(1) 7,271 (8,804)
Net Cash Provided by (Used in) Operating Activities 9,881 (4,237)

Summary of Key Financial Highlights:

  • Prosper facilitated $822 million in loan originations through its platform, up 6% quarter-over-quarter and 164% year-over-year, driven by strong demand for its personal loan product.
  • Transaction fee revenue rose to $37.2 million, up 5% quarter-over-quarter and 164% year-over-year.
  • The company reported a Net Loss of $26.9 million in the third quarter of 2017, which included $28.1 million in non-cash charges related to warrants to purchase preferred stock that were issued to a consortium of investors and a third party in connection with a settlement agreement.
  • Prosper generated $9.9 million of Net Cash from Operating Activities and Adjusted EBITDA(1) of $7.3 million in the third quarter of 2017.

The U.S. Yield Curve Is Flattening and Here’s Why It Matters (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

To put it simply, the Treasury yield curve measures the spread between short- and long-term debt issued by the U.S. government. It’s the extra compensation that investors demand to lock away their money for an extended period.

To get a sense of just how dramatic this trend has been, here’s a look at a handful of curve measures now versus the start of 2017. In trading Monday, they were all close to the flattest levels in a decade.

  • From two years to 10 years: 72 basis points, down from 125
  • From two years to 30 years: 119 basis points, down from 187
  • From five years to 10 years: 33 basis points, down from 52
  • From five years to 30 years: 80 basis points, down from 114

The two-year Treasury yield is at the highest level since 2008 as investors prepare for a rate hike in December, and begin to build up expectations for further increases next year.

Source: Bloomberg

Asset-liability managers like insurance companies and pension funds are always seeking duration, and 30-year Treasuries are among the best ways to get it. Combine that appetite with increased demand from passive mutual fund giantslike Vanguard and BlackRock, and you’ve got a recipe for a sustained bid on the long end of the Treasury curve.

Source: Bloomberg

If one does take history at face value though, the $14.3 trillion Treasuries market is sending a warning about the economic outlook. Yield curves are the flattest in a decade, and it’s no coincidence that about 10 years ago marked the start of an 18-month recession.

Source: Bloomberg

While banks’ lending margins have increased slightly from their 2015 lows, they remain below the average of the past 30 years, according to the Fed.

Real estate tech company Compass raises $ 100 million, plans massive expansion (Housingwire), Rated: AAA

That capital raise placed the company’s valuation at more than $1 billion.

Now, one year later, the company’s valuation is nearly double that, thanks to another significant capital raise.

Compass announced this week that it raised $100 million in its Series E investment round, which placed the company’s valuation at $1.8 billion.

All total, the company has now raised $325 million.

PeerStreet Continues to Expand Resources and Technology Services to Lenders (BusinessWire), Rated: A

PeerStreet, an award-winning platform for investing in real estate backed loans, is excited to announce that it is aggressively expanding available resources and tools for private real estate lenders on its platform.

PeerStreet lenders can now access detailed Property Valuation Reports which allow lenders to analyze property data and adjust property details to generate highly accurate valuations that reflect current or future market conditions. The data that makes this possible is licensed by PeerStreet from HouseCanary, a leading provider of real estate valuation data and analytics. PeerStreet is providing this service to our lenders free of charge through our Lender Platform.

“Currently, our platform is a robust secondary marketplace for lenders. We’ve purchased over half a billion in loans from local lenders, but we see great value in developing practical tools to grow lenders’ businesses beyond providing capital to them,” said Brew Johnson, Co-Founder and CEO of PeerStreet.

Hornets, LendingTree Announce New Multi-Year Founding Level Partnership Highlighted (NBA), Rated: A

The Charlotte Hornets and LendingTree today announced a multi-year partnership in which the Charlotte-based online loan marketplace’s logo will appear on the team’s jerseys, effective immediately.  LendingTree also becomes a Founding Level Partner of the organization and the Official Loan Shopping Partner of the Charlotte Hornets.  The Hornets will wear the LendingTree logo on their jerseys for the first time on Wednesday, November 15, when the team debuts its new Classic Edition uniform in an 8 p.m. contest against the Cleveland Cavaliers that will be televised nationally on ESPN.

Along with placement on all team uniforms, LendingTree will have fixed signage on the Spectrum Center concourse and on the venue’s mobile entry scanners, as well as digital signage on the scorer’s table, basket stanchion, center-hung scoreboard and 360 LED boards.  LendingTree also receives entitlement of the new Hornets app, the team roster page on hornets.com and score updates on the team’s social media outlets.  Additional advertising elements include banner ads and pre-roll video ads on hornets.com and spots on Hornets television broadcasts on FOX Sports Southeast and radio broadcasts on WFNZ.

Miles Reidy of QED Investors on Regtech (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • Miles varied background in finance and how he landed at QED Investors.
  • His areas of focus at QED.
  • How Miles defines regtech.
  • Why regtech has its origins in the changes brought on by the financial crisis.
  • The comparison of regtech to the changes that happened in consumer credit in the 1980s and ’90s.
  • How automation is making a difference today in KYC.
  • Why consumers should be in control of who has access to their personal information.
  • The most profound change that regtech is going to bring to financial services.
  • The single hardest job at a large bank today.
  • Why integration is the key for any successful regtech project at a large bank.
  • Why the real regulatory innovation will be driven by the UK.
  • Why QED decided to create their own regtech conference in Washington DC.
  • What they will be covering at this event.
  • What Miles thinks are the most interesting areas of regtech today.

Two Startup Acquisitions Within 30 Hours For Plug and Play FinTech (Business Insider), Rated: A

Within 30 hours, two of Plug and Play FinTech’s batch startups were acquired: Vault by Acorns and Qumram by Dynatrace.

The Guarantors Raises €10.07M in Series A Funding (FINSMES), Rated: A

The Guarantors, a NYC-based insurtech startup focused on the real estate industry, raised €10.07M (approx. $11.7M) in Series A funding.

The round was led by White Star Capital and Alven Capital with participation from SilverTech Ventures, Global Founders Capital, Rocket Internet Capital Partners, Partech Ventures, and other investors.

The company will use the funds to continue to develop the product and launch beyond NY in 2018.

The internet name many banks are afraid to use (American Banker), Rated: A

After Farmers & Merchants State Bank in Archbold, Ohio, switched its internet domain from dot-com to dot-bank, it got a handful of calls from customers wondering where its website had gone.

The $1 billion-asset bank also noted some assumed when a sentence ended “.bank.” in its promotional materials, the last period was part of the web address, instead of perfect punctuation.

Farmers & Merchants is one of only a few hundred institutions that have made the switch to the generic top-level domain that became widely available in mid-2015. While the extension is supposed to signal a bank is, in fact, a bank, the domain is still not available to most bank customers.

SEC Says Companies Can Expect New Guidelines on Reporting Cybersecurity Breaches (WSJ), Rated: A

A senior Securities and Exchange Commission regulator said Thursday that public companies will soon face new guidelines for how they report cybersecurity breaches to investors.

The agency will probably update directions that it gave to companies over six years ago, before the spate of high-profile breaches, including at the SEC itself and Equifax , EFX 0.05% Inc., the credit-reporting firm with access to sensitive financial details for millions of consumers.

How to Become an Investor: Startup Capital (Investor Ideas), Rated: A

While it is not encouraged to apply for loans from major financial institutions like big banks (owing to interest rates of 15% – 23%), there are other options such as Lending Club that offer interest rates at just 5.32% for preferred clients. With interest rates that low, it is viable to consider nonconventional options to get your investments up and running. Lending Club is one example of a highly reputable service comprising a community of lenders that can help investors achieve their objectives.

Survey Shows Payday Borrowers Have No Regrets (Credit Union Times), Rated: A

According to the CFPB, payday loan companies collectively raked in roughly $3.6 billion in fee revenue in 2015. The CFPB also estimated that there are 15,766 payday loan stores throughout the U.S., slightly more than the country’s 14,350 McDonalds.

This lending product is commonly targeted at low-income consumers who use payday loans as plugs gaps in expenses in order to keep them afloat. Some credit unions see this an opportunity to help the underserved/underbanked market.

The Hoboken, N.J.-based LendEDU polled 1,000 consumers who have used a payday loan in the last year with some surprising results:

  • The average payday loan borrower used a payday loan 3.80 times in the last year.
  • Eighty-two percent said they looked at the interest rate and fees before borrowing.
  • The average amount borrowed was $442.16.
  • Fifty-one percent said they did not regret using a payday loan.
  • Two-thirds of respondents said they explored other borrowing options (ex. installment loans, credit cards) before using a payday loan.

However, some 75% of respondents indicated they were well informed throughout the application process; and when asked “Did payday loans make your financial situation better or worse off?” more borrowers stated that payday loans made their situations better, (44.2%) than worse, (30.3%).

FinTech Fast Tracks Mortgages (The MReport), Rated: B

According to a report by Sarah Strochak of the Urban Institute, the outpouring of financial technology (fintech) in the mortgage space has brought with it all sorts of innovation, including new ways to capture data, reaching more people and expanding access to credit. The Urban institute also states that in having the ability to reach more people, fintech firms also have the potential to disrupt the inequality status quo in the economy.

For example, the Urban Institute draws on the case of Down Payment Resource, a company that has created a database that matches customers with down payment assistance programs.

United Kingdom

Weekend press review: “…of a return to normality in markets that are still climbing a wall of worry about valuations…” (IFA Magazine), Rated: AAA

The Telegraph asks a question which will evoke a sigh from many readers. Have we seen the end of the peer-to-peer lending boom? Last year’s record £3.2 billion lending total – of which two thirds went to Zopa, Funding Circle or RateSetter – has been impacted by a succession of unrelated bad news stories.

First there’s been the falling rate of returns, which run at barely 3.7% for Zopa Core 4.5% at Zopa Plus – down by a good 1.5% since the good times. Not to mention a deteriorating risk situation: nowadays, the Telegraph says, fully 20% of applicants get Zopa approval compared with barely 0.5% in the old days. That puts Zopa’s approval rate on a par with the mainstream banks.

P2P sector urges chancellor to set bold housing agenda in Autumn Budget (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE PEER-TO-PEER lending sector has called on the chancellor to introduce a more ambitious housing programme in this month’s Budget.

There have been several rumours about the content of Philip Hammond’s first Autumn Budget, set for 22 November 2017, including the scrapping of stamp duty for first-time buyers.

Supporters of the policy claim it could help to bridge the UK’s generational divide, but P2P lenders think a more transformative housing policy is required.

Fintech startup Flux partners with Barclays for itemised receipts (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Flux, the London fintech startup founded by former early employees at Revolut, has announced a partnership with Barclays in the U.K. that will see it trial its itemised receipt technology with 10,000 of the bank’s customers.

The young company has built a software platform that bridges the gap between the itemised receipt data captured by a merchant’s point-of-sale (POS) system and what little information typically shows up on your bank statement or mobile banking app.

ThinCats Appoints Alison Whistance to Cover South-West Region (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Alison Whistance, described as a finance expert, joins ThinCats as Origination Manager, South-West, as the peer to peer lender gears up for its next period of growth. Recently, ThinCats announced a £200 million funding program in conjunction with its parent company ESF Capital.

FinTech firms, banks and insurers give evidence to Committee (Parliament.uk), Rated: B

The EU Financial Affairs Sub-Committee continues its inquiry on financial regulation and supervision by taking evidence from banks, insurers and FinTech specialists.

Witnesses

Wednesday 15 November 2017 in Committee Room 4A, Palace of Westminster.

At 10.15am

  • Sally Dewar, International Head of Regulatory Affairs, JP Morgan
  • Julian Adams, Group Regulatory & Government Relations Director, Prudential

At 11.15am

  • Flora Coleman, Head of Government Relations, Transferwise
  • Charlotte Crosswell, Chief Executive Officer, Innovate Finance
China

LexinFintech files for $ 500m IPO in US (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

LexinFintech Holdings, a Chinese online consumer lending company, has filed for a $500m initial public offering in the US and in the process revealed that funding costs have spiked this year – just as Beijing has signalled its intent to crack down on the sector in a drive to rein in financial risk.

LexinFintech said in a Securities Exchange Commission filing that it was seeking to raise as much as $500m from its listing on the Nasdaq equities exchange under the ticker symbol “LX”.

The company said total operating revenue for the nine months to the end of September rose 35.3 per cent year on year to Rmb3.99bn ($600.6m), while operating costs rose 19.9 per cent to Rmb3.1bn, shaking out to a net profit of Rmb5.8m for the period, compared to a loss of Rmb193.7m a year prior.

‘Proptech’ follows fintech’s footsteps (China Daily), Rated: A

In the past few years, technology has revolutionized the financial sector, and as fintech continues to swell into more sectors, the real estate industry will welcome its own version, known as proptech, according to a senior executive from international real estate consultancy company Jones Lang LaSalle.

Perhaps the most prominent example of fintech on life in China is the ubiquity of mobile payment. The Better Than Cash Alliance reported earlier this year that Alipay and WeChat Pay enabled $2.9 trillion in Chinese digital payments in 2016, a 20-fold increase in the past four years.

A recent HSBC study finds that 70 percent of Chinese millennials have their own property, with 91 percent planning to buy a house in the next five years, a greater percentage than their counterparts in countries including Canada, France, the US and the UK.

European Union

Orange Bank goes live with Backbase banking platform (Banking Technology), Rated: A

France’s latest mobile-only bank, Orange Bank, has gone live on Backbase’sOmnichannel Banking Platform.

Backbase says Orange is the only French bank to offer for free a service that provides real-time balances, mobile payments and a virtual adviser that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

European Commission to Assess Potential of EU-Wide Blockchain Infrastructure (Coindesk), Rated: B

The European Commission (EC), the economic bloc’s legislative body, is launching a study aimed to assess the feasibility and potential of an EU-wide blockchain infrastructure.

The study, which is set to cost €250,000, will focus on whether blockchain can assist the EC’s objective of creating the conditions for a reliable, transparent and EU law compliant “data and transactional environment.”

International

FINASTRA SOLUTIONS NAMED BEST-IN-CLASS (Finastra), Rated: AAA

Aite Group has awarded Finastra “Best-in-Class” status for its commercial loan origination solutions, including Total Lending powered by LaserPro and FusionBanking Credit Management Enterprise (CME). The standing reinforces Finastra’s position as the industry leader in end-to-end commercial lending.

Aite Group’s bi-annual report, Commercial Loan Origination: Scoping the Market and Comparing the Vendors, is a comprehensive review and ranking of the 10 leading global commercial loan origination vendors. It uses a highly governed and quantitative vendor evaluation methodology known as the Aite Impact Matrix (AIM), which provides an in-depth market assessment of financial technology vendors.

Total Lending, powered by LaserPro (the installed base of which was evaluated based on the long-standing D+H commercial loan origination capabilities that comprise this new “good-better-best” tiered offering) was recognized by Aite Group as having the highest client strength score.

FusionBanking Credit Management Enterprise obtained the highest score for product features, delivering on the largest number of required commercial loan origination functionalities with the least amount of required configuration or custom code.

Finastra also received the “All Things to Everyone” award for its breadth of offerings from a single vendor.

SBL Network Ltd launches peer-to-peer securities lending platform (FTSE Global Markets), Rated: AAA

SBL Network Ltd, the new financial technology company created to provide transaction and information services to the global capital markets industry, is to launch the industry’s first peer-to-peer securities lending platform.

Aquila Network provides the first market place allowing major institutional owners of equities such as Pension Funds, Insurance Companies and Sovereign Wealth Funds, to negotiate and lend directly to Hedge Funds.

SBL has raised approximately £1m this year via two EIS-qualifying funding rounds and now announces the launch of its Aquila Network, the first peer-to-peer securities lending platform, established in response to what the firm says is growing demand for greater transparency in the securities lending marketplace.

What to Expect When Participating in a Token Launch (Consensys), Rated: AAA

When you initially learn about a token launch you’d like to participate in, gather all the information you can. Not every token launch is structured in the same way.

Make sure you do a few things before the token launch begins:

  • Research, research, research
  • Understand the value proposition of the project
  • Know the prerequisites you need in order to be a valid investor
  • Find out how you will pay for the token, and how tokens will be distributed

Watch out for Red Flags

The Ethereum space is exciting and full of opportunities, but there are scammers and phishers of all sorts looking to take advantage of people’s trust.

  • Never share your private key
  • Always do a deep read of the whitepaper, check out the source code
  • Listen to the community

KPMG: In Q3 Global Fintech Investment Hit $ 8.2 Billion (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Overall, global Fintech investment remains solid with$8.2 billion invested across 274 deals.

Some of the larger investments  during the quarter include:

  • Intacct – $850 million
  • Concardis – $806 million
  • CardConnect – $ 750 million
  • Xactly – $564 million
  • Merchants’ Choice Payments solutions – $470 million
  • Access Point Financial $350 million
  • Service Finance Company – $304 million
  • Prodigy Finance – $204 million
  • TIO Networks – $238.9 million
  • Dianrong – $220 million

Insurtech is on course for a record breaking year with VC investments standing at $1.53 billion by the end of Q3 for 179 deals. For the entire year of 2016, Insurtech saw $1.79 billion invested in 203 deals.

Regionally, Fintech deals break down as follows:

  • Americas – $5.35 billion for 158 deals
    • the US claimed $5 billion and 142 deals
  • Europe – $1.66 billion for 73 deals
    • The UK dominated
  • Asia – $1.2 billion fro 41 deals
    • China continued to dominate but deals in Hong Kong, India and Korea were in the top 10
India

How to take a bank loan while working for a blacklisted employer (Financial Express), Rated: A

What happens when a company gets blacklisted? Will the employees have access to credit or will they get declined despite having good credit scores and salaries?

If one lands in such a situation, the logical thing to do is to change the employer. More because it would not only have an impact on one’s credit life, but more importantly, continued employment with a blacklisted employer can lead to financial disruptions sooner or later.

If the need for funding arises while being employed with a such company, one could take the following steps:

# The first lending institution to be contacted has to be the bank with your salary account.

# Each lending institution has its own methodology of categorizing companies and the current employer may not be part of the list with all lenders. So, “there may be some lenders willing to give loans unless one is employed with prominent companies that go bankrupt (as we have seen over past few years). However, one has to be very careful and in the endeavor to procure credit one must not apply with various lenders at the same time since this can have adverse impact on the credit profile. A better option would be to connect with a credit advisor with established repute and seek assistance,” informs Ramamurthy.

# Peer to peer lending is another new age option that can be explored by such individuals.

Asia

Kazakh fintech start-up holds its first global ICO (Astana Times), Rated: A

LendEx financial-tech (fintech) start-up plans to initiate an ICO (Initial Coin Offering) using the Ethereum platform based on block chain technology. The investments will be used to launch the LendEx P2P (peer to peer) lending platform, which will focus on online lending to clients in Central and Southeast Asia.

“The LendEx online platform, built with the help of block chain technologies, will provide crypto investors with access to the platform and will allow issuing microcredits for borrowers checked in national currencies,” said fintech entrepreneur and start-up author Alexey Sidorov.

The LendEx release will be held in two stages: the actual ICO and pre-ICO, which will begin Dec. 1.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor