Thursday May 23 2019, Weekly News Digest

young credit card delinquents

News Comments Today’s main news: DBRS assigns provisional ratings to SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2019-3 Trust. KBRA assigns preliminary ratings to Prosper Marketplace Issuance Trust, Series 2019-3. Funding Circle seeds shareholder input on wind-down plans for investment trust. TransferWise valuation doubles to $3.5B. Today’s main analysis: High income, super prime borrowers take bigger share of […]

The post Thursday May 23 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

young credit card delinquents

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

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News Summary

United States

DBRS Assigns Provisional Ratings to SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2019-3 Trust (DBRS Email), Rated: AAA

DBRS, Inc. (DBRS) assigned provisional ratings to the following classes of notes (collectively, the Notes) to be issued by SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2019-3 Trust (SCLP 2019-3):

— $420,000,000 Class A Notes at AAA (sf)
— $31,100,000 Class B Notes at AA (sf)
— $62,500,000 Class C Notes at A (sf)
— $35,600,000 Class D Notes at BBB (sf)

View the full report here.

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to Prosper Marketplace Issuance Trust, Series 2019-3 (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to four classes of notes issued by Prosper Marketplace Issuance Trust 2019-3 (PMIT 2019-3). This is a $380.99 million consumer loan ABS transaction.

Class Rating Initial Class Principal
A A- (sf) $270,750,000
B BBB- (sf) $51,470,000
C BB- (sf) $39,720,000
D B- (sf) $19,050,000

Millennial DQs on the rise; GreenSky earnings; OCC on a fix for Madden? (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

US consumer debt rose by 0.9% QoQ in 1Q to $13.7 Tn.

Source: Bloomberg, PeerIQ

Mixed FinTech Earnings

FinTech issuers saw growth in revenues and loans. Pace of loan growth weakened slightly as originations fell at Enova and grew by less than 10% YoY at OnDeck and OneMain. Stock price performance post earnings was mixed. Enova saw its stock price increase by 18% post earnings while OnDeck’s stock price dropped by 16%.

Source: Bloomberg, PeerIQ

High Income and Super Prime Borrowers Taking Bigger Share of Personal Loans on LendingTree Marketplace (Lending Tree), Rated: AAA

Over the past 10 years, the amount of outstanding personal loan debt has increased by 75%.

Key findings

  • The share of personal loan inquiries from those with incomes over $108,000 increased by 77% between the second quarter of 2017 and the first quarter of 2019, while the share of inquiries from people earning over $84,000 increased by 65%.
  • The share of personal loan inquiries from super prime borrowers (740 and higher) increased by 47% between the second quarter of 2017 and the first quarter of 2019, and the increase in prime and super prime borrowers (680 and higher) rose by 36%.
  • The share of personal loans closed by borrowers with incomes over $108,000 on the LendingTree marketplace increased by 38% between the second quarter of 2017 and the first quarter of 2019, and the share of borrowers earning over $84,000 increased by 26%.
  • The share of closed personal loans from super prime borrowers (740 and higher) increased by 37% between the second quarter of 2017 and the first quarter of 2019, and the increase in prime borrowers (680 and higher) rose by 19%.
  • Borrowers with incomes up to $24,000 decreased their share of closed loans by 22%, and those with incomes up to $48,000 decreased their share by 17%.
  • The share of loans closed by borrowers with scores below 560 increased by 28%, but the share of closed loans from borrowers with scores between 560 and 619 dropped by 24%.
  • The share of inquiries from people with incomes up to $24,000 dropped by 27% during the same period, while inquires from those with incomes up to $48,000 dropped by 16%.
  • The share of loan inquiries by borrowers with scores below 560 decreased by 12%, and the share of closed loans from borrowers with scores below 620 decreased by 9.2%.

For example, in the SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2017-3 LLC, securities show that the average gross income of borrowers as of May 2017, was $141,780, with an average FICO score of 731, and an average VantageScore of 682. The most recent offering, reported in February 2019, showed borrowers had an average income of $151,144, an average 753 FICO score, and a 713 VantageScore.

Job Loss and Medical Expenses Leading Causes of Bad Credit (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

Job loss and medical expenses are the leading factors causing Americans’ credit scores to drop, according to new research by Elevate’s Center for the New Middle Class (CNMC).

According to the new report, 55% of respondents cited job loss or reduction in work hours as the reason why their credit score dipped below 700. Nearly a quarter (24%) cited medical bills as the primary cause. Following these leading factors, a variety of typical, seemingly innocuous expenses follow, including repairing a car (11%), leaving home for the first time (6%), and putting a child through college (5%).

Non-prime consumers are 86% more likely to experience multiple factors that negatively affect their credit score compared to just one. For example, of the 23% who mention a medical reason, about three-quarters (75%) also experienced an income drop, severely complicating their ability to manage and cover medical expenses.

Americans Use Short-Term Loans to Pay Off Debt (Lexington Law), Rated: A

American debt is at an all-time high. How did we manage to dig ourselves into a steep $13 trillion hole? Credit card debt alone accounts for $1 trillion of this debt, with the average balance over $6,000 per capita.

  • 33% of Americans are going into debt to pay off debt
  • Generation X is most likely to incur short-term debt to pay down long-term debt
  • Women who use debt to make other debt payments tend to do so multiple times

Bernardo Martinez of Funding Circle USA (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • The knowledge that Bernardo brought with him from PayPal.
  • What he has learned in his first year on the job at Funding Circle.
  • The range of terms for their small business loans.
  • The types of investors they have on their platform today.
  • How and why 72% of their customers came to Funding Circle first.
  • How their offering compares to what is offered at banks today.
  • Who Bernardo sees as their biggest competitors.
  • How they view the SBA and their loan guarantee program.
  • How the LendingClub partnership came together.
  • Why no other online platform has reached significant scale in term loans for small business.
  • How they expanding their business into Canada.
  • Who they are hiring for their new Denver office.
  • How they are approaching their relationships with regulators in DC these days.
  • How they helped get SB-1235 passed in California.
  • How Funding Circle is monitoring their risk as it pertains to the economic cycle.
  • What is most exciting for Bernardo today at Funding Circle.

How a Silicon Valley startup is trying to rebrand payday loans (Vox), Rated: AAA

Once every few weeks, Myra Haq withdraws $100 or so from Earnin, an app that lets people borrow small sums of money.

The app lets her withdraw up to $100 a day, and never more than what she actually makes in a pay period, and then withdraws the money from her checking account once her direct deposit hits.

Unsurprisingly, payday lenders typically target low-income people — a 2013 Pew report found that 58 percent of people who use payday loans have trouble meeting monthly expenses at least half the time and usually borrow to deal with “persistent cash shortfalls rather than temporary emergencies.”

The average American household with student debt owes almost $48,000, and experts believe that student loan debt has held millennials back from major life milestones like marriage, homeownership, and having children.

How One Company Wants to Reduce or Even Eliminate Your Unpaid Medical Bills (Forbes), Rated: A

Relying on personal savings or insurance may not even be enough to pay off expensive medical bills. As a result, .

Earnin invited some community members to try HealthAid and was able to find savings for about 90% of people.

In one case, Earnin was able to get a patient’s $48,000 bill fully forgiven.

Figure Technologies loan platform secures $ 1B financing facility (CoinGeek), Rated: A

Figure Technologies looks to be profiting from increased interest in the cryptocurrency industry. Specifically, in a press release dated May 9, it was announced that the company had secured a $1 billion line of credit on the Provenance.io blockchain. The agreement also involves two other companies, Jefferies and WSFS Institutional Services, which will provide the line of credit.

LendKey’s Vince Passione on partnering with banks and credit unions and the future of lending as a service (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Vince joins us on the show to talk about his partnership model and the challenges and opportunities of working alongside banks and credit unions, which have deployed more than $2 billion in lending capital on the digital platform.

Small-business fintech launches lending platform for banks (American Banker), Rated: A

Spurred by bank interest, small-business lending platform Biz2Credit has unveiled a software-as-a-service version of its loan management, servicing and risk analytics product.

After HSBC and New York-based Popular Bank contracted with Biz2Credit to use the software, the company decided to launch the platform for all banks to use.

At a cramped desk on the 22nd floor of a downtown Manhattan office building, Gary Roth spotted a looming disaster.

An urban planner with two master’s degrees, Mr. Roth had a new job in 2010 analyzing taxi policy for the New York City government. But almost immediately, he noticed something disturbing: The price of a taxi medallion — the permit that lets a driver own a cab — had soared to nearly $700,000 from $200,000. In order to buy medallions, drivers were taking out loans they could not afford.

Prodigy Finance Aims to Bridge Healthcare Gap with New Loan Offering (University Business), Rated: A

Prodigy Finance today announces it will be supporting international students pursuing Master of Public Health (MPH) and Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) degrees, Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degrees, as well as those enrolling in Advanced Standing Dental programs and Select Certificate Dentistry programs in the U.S.

Crypto Lending Startup BlockFi Slashing Interest Rates on Ether Deposits (CoinDesk), Rated: A

Cryptocurrency lending startup BlockFi is almost halving the interest rates it offers on ether (ETH) deposits, while some bitcoin (BTC) rates will increase slightly.

From June 1, customers with 25–100 ETH balances in a BlockFi Interest Account (BIA) will see the interest rate drop from the current 6.2 percent annual percentage yield (APY) to 3.25 percent, the startup announced Tuesday. Those holding over 100 ETH balances will earn just 0.2 percent APY.

Some BTC balances, on the other hand, will see a slight interest rate increase – up to 2.15 percent from the current 2 percent – for deposits of over 25 BTC. Those holding 0.5–25 BTC will continue to earn 6.2 percent APY, BlockFi said.

Find the Right Loan Among 300+ Lending Partners for Credit Card Consolidation and More (CardRates), Rated: A

In a Nutshell: LoanStart helps consumers in search of a loan find a lender that suits their funding needs within just five minutes after submitting a simple, fee-free loan request form. Working securely with more than 300 trusted lending partners, including conveniently located storefront providers, the service makes finding a suitable lender easy. In today’s connected world where loan options abound, LoanStart cuts through the clutter to connect consumers in need of funds with lenders willing to provide financing.

Maxex Closes Series B Funding (FinSMEs), Rated: A

Maxex, LLC, an Atlanta, GA-based residential mortgage loan exchange, closed a Series B funding round of undisclosed amount.

CFPB Sues Debt-Collection Agency Over Deception Allegations (PYMNTS), Rated: A

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) said Friday (May 17) that it has filed a lawsuit in federal court against a debt-collection agency that, the agency said, violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

The lawsuit targets Forster & Garbus, LLP, a debt-collection law firm based in New York.

Plaid gives digital banks and fintech a new tool to bypass traditional finance (CNBC), Rated: A

Start-up Plaid, recently valued at $2.7 billion, already connects bank accounts to fintech apps like Venmo, Robinhood, Coinbase and Acorns. It announced “Plaid Direct” on Wednesday, which lets users more easily connect to newer digital banks like Chime.

Capital Markets Veteran Joins PeerStreet to Manage Institutional Sales (BusinessWire), Rated: A

PeerStreet, a marketplace for investing in real estate backed loans, has announced the appointment of Deepa Salastekar as the Vice President of Institutional Sales. Ms. Salastekar joins PeerStreet to expand the company’s relationship base of institutional partners across all investment types available through PeerStreet.

Dharma now supports peer-to-peer lending in USDC to attract mainstream investors to DeFi (The Block Crypto), Rated: B

Defi startup Dharma announced Wednesday that it will start to support peer-to-peer lending of USDC, in a push to engage mainstream investors.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle investment trust asks shareholders to approve wind-down plans (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

FUNDING Circle is set to begin a managed wind-down of its dedicated investment trust, the Funding Circle SME Income Fund (FCIF), once it gets the green light from shareholders.

The FTSE 250-listed peer-to-peer business lender said last month that shareholders had backed plans to stop investing in new assets and begin the process of returning capital to investors.

Funding Circle Sets Hard Limit To Incentive Pay For Senior Executives (Morningstar), Rated: A

Funding Circle Holdings PLC clarified its director pay policy Wednesday following “feedback from shareholder advisory bodies”.

The small and medium enterprise loan platform said the amount granted in each year for a three year period under the company’s long-term incentive plan to can now no longer exceed GBP2.0 million and GBP1.1 million for the company’s chief executive and chief financial officer, respectively.

Span A Higher Than Span B for Funding Circle Sme Income Fund Limited (FCIF.L) (Williams Business Review), Rated: B

After a recent indicator scan, we have noted that Span A is currently higher than Span B for shares of Funding Circle Sme Income Fund Limited (FCIF.L). Traders may be paying close attention as this signal may indicate a possible bullish move.

TransferWise doubles its valuation to $ 3.5bn (Fintech Futures), Rated: AAA

UK-based international payments fintech TransferWise has doubled its value to $3.5 billion after raising $292 million in secondary funding, Jane Connolly writes.

Call for ‘credit curfew’ to help late-night borrowers (The Times), Rated: A

Banning borrowers from accessing high-cost credit websites between 11pm and 7am would ease the numbers of people spiralling into debt as activity peaks during these hours, according to researchers at Newcastle University.

Monzo hits 2m customers, adding 1m in eight months (AltFi), Rated: A

Monzo has hit 2 million current account customers in just two years since getting a banking license, and just eight months after it hit 1 million accounts.

It launched its current accounts less than 18 months ago with customers having spent £10.7bn through Monzo so far.

Arbuthnot Specialist Finance reveals offering (Bridging and Commercial), Rated: A

Arbuthnot Latham & Co has officially launched its specialist finance division.

Arbuthnot Specialist Finance will offer short-term residential finance up to 70% of market value (MV), with rates from 0.65% per month.

For this product, it will offer loans between £30,000–£3m-plus.

For commercial properties, it will offer up to 65% of MV, including interest and fees (up to 85% of the 90-day MV, or 95% of the purchase price, whichever is the lower), with rates available from 0.75%.

New peer-to-peer lender targets 7.5% return with education loans (Your Money), Rated: A

Lendwise plans to offer borrowers loans of up to £100,000, with interest rates ranging from 7.5% to 12%. Pricing will be based on a range of factors, which the peer-to-peer lender said go beyond the applicant’s financial profile and credit record. They include the specific postgraduate or professional qualification course they are taking, the length of study and the repayment period.

Finastra’s open cloud platform drives collaboration and innovation in financial services (Fintech Finance), Rated: A

Today ahead of its FusionONE developer conference, co-hosted with Microsoft, Finastra unveiled the latest developments to its FusionFabric.cloudopen platform for innovation.

The 61 new open APIs (and more than 200 Endpoints) span many of Finastra’s solutions, including retail and corporate banking (both enterprise and North American community markets), consumer lending and mortgage, payments and treasury and capital markets. These are now available in the FusionFabric.cloud API catalog for developers to harness in building financial services applications. Some of these powerful APIs are already enabling:

China

A fintech revenue surge helped Tencent smash quarterly expectations (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Tencent posted record quarterly profits and smashed market expectations in Q1 2019, driven largely by surges in its fintech and cloud revenue, per Reuters.

Fintech and business services is now Tencent’s second largest division, responsible for a quarter of its revenue. This was the first time the tech giant broke out earnings for the unit, which brought in revenue of Rmb21.79bn ($3.2 billion), a 44% year-over-year (YoY) spike. Key in driving this growth is its payments wallet for WeChat, whose 1.11 billion users make it the largest social media platform in China, as well as its insurance services, which include a 20% stake in Aviva Hong Kong, and its cloud computing service.

Tencent’s online advertising grew 25% YoY, compared with 55% YoY in the same period last year, suggesting that China’s slowing economy and continued trade tensions with the US are hitting the firm.

Source: Business Insider Intelligence

DBS Bank Expects a Boost in Chinese P2P Lending Market from the Greater Bay Area (LearnBonds), Rated: A

Greater Bay Area could be the key to reviving the struggling P2P lending market in China, according to DBS Bank.

The Singaporean bank estimates that P2P lending will experience a 17% annual growth rate by 2030.

European Union

Identity technology and Dublin’s draw for fintech firms post-Brexit (Forbes), Rated: AAA

According to 

1 in 10 European banks to vanish by 2023 (AltFi), Rated: A

Bumper banking profits disguise an underlying weakness in traditional banks, as their per customer income has tumbled over the past decade.

That’s the finding of a report by consultants A.T. Kearney, which found data across 92 European banks revealed income per client had fallen 11% since 2008.

Australia/New Zealand

Commerce Commission’s court case against payday lender Ferratum scheduled for next year (Interest), Rated: AAA

A backlog of cases in the Auckland High Court means the next hearing in the Commerce Commission’s legal action against online payday lender Ferratum New Zealand won’t be held until June next year.

Asia

Indonesian fintech association sanctions lending platform that sets high interest rate (KrAsia), Rated: AAA

Two Indonesian lending platforms regulated under the country’s financial services authority (OJK) have been penalized by the ethics council of AFPI, the industry association for fintech lenders in Indonesia.

The organization revealed that one of the companies in question is P2P lender Do-It, which charged an interest fee rate of 1% per day.

Africa

Onefi is Expanding Carbon’s Digital Banking Services to Ghana (Technext), Rated: AAA

Nigerian digital financial platform, Carbon (formerly Paylater) is taking big steps to introduce its revamped financial services into Ghana. The online lender is looking to hire a new country manager for Ghana and this suggests the company is looking to introduce its new services like PayVest into Ghana.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday May 23 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Thursday February 21 2019, Weekly News Digest

household debt

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi launches SoFi Invest. LendingClub forecasts bigger-than-expected Q1 loss. RateSetter ISA exceeds first-year expectations. Zopa report reveals 1 in 3 brits don’t understand Cash ISA Rate. October surpasses 100M GBP in loan repayments. Today’s main analysis: LendingClub 2018 results and 2019 guidance. Today’s thought-provoking articles: The highest seriously delinquent auto loans ever. Personal loans could […]

The post Thursday February 21 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

household debt

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Other

News Summary

United States

SoFi launches SoFi Invest and eyes additional lending products (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

US-based online personal money management startup Social Finance (SoFi) has launched an investment product, dubbed SoFi Invest, offering both active and automated investing options at no fees, while it plans to offer additional lending products, perBloomberg, citing a company letter to investors.

SoFi Invest is already live, but the company aims to further grow and develop its related offerings this year.

Source: Business Insider Intelligence

SoFi Now Offering No-Fee Brokerage for Stock and ETF Trades (Think Advisor), Rated: A

According to Bloomberg, which obtained a copy of a letter CEO Anthony Noto wrote investors in the fourth quarter, SoFi Invest had “released an alpha version” of its new brokerage platform inviting employees and select members to “buy and sell individual stocks and ETFs with the tap of a button.”  That brokerage platform is now available to anyone using the app, for no fee.

Investors can currently trade only individual stocks and ETFs on the platform; individual bonds and mutual funds are expected to be added in the future.

LendingClub forecasts bigger-than-expected first-quarter loss (WSAU), Rated: AAA

Online lender LendingClub Corp forecast a bigger-than-expected first-quarter loss on Tuesday, and revenue that missed Wall Street estimates, sending its shares down 5 percent in after-market trading.

For the first quarter, the company expects net revenue between $162 million and $172 million, below analysts’ estimates of $181.2 million, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

LendingClub also forecast a first-quarter loss between $20 million and $15 million, compared to Wall Street estimates of a loss of $5.14 million.

LendingClub Reports 2018 Results and Guidance for 2019 (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Earnings season is in full swing and today LendingClub announced their results for the 2018 year. The numbers were quite strong in most areas with the company originating $10.9 billion in new loans in 2018, up 21% year over year and a new high water work in yearly originations. For Q4 loan originations were $2.87 billion down slightly from the previous quarter but up 18% year over year.

Source: LendingClub

They lost $128 million in 2018 with a $13 million loss in Q4.

Source: LendingClub

Brismo partners with LendingClub to create ‘industry standard’ performance metrics (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Brismo, the leading international provider of lending performance data, has today announced that standardized performance metrics are available representing the performance of loans made available through LendingClub*.

Lending Performance Analytics

Brismo’s analysis includes a complete historic track record in a format that is free from distortions relating to inconsistent facilitation growth rates or default profiles.

Functions available include:

  • Gross facilitation, net lending, change in outstanding principal
  • Outbound lending rates and loan term
  • Late payments including transition matrices, defaults, recoveries, recovery performance, and net loss
  • Historic PDs and LGDs
  • Net return, loss coverage and risk adjusted return
  • Cohort analysis including return projections
  • All analysis can be segmented by facilitator, risk band, asset type etc.

Highest Auto Delinquencies (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

The Fed’s latest report on Household Debt and Credit showed that total household debt increased by $32 Bn (0.2%) to $13.54 Tn in 4Q2018, marking the 18th consecutive quarter of growth. Total debt is now $869 Bn higher than its previous peak, although it remains below its peak on a per-capita basis.

The report also showed that more than 7 Mn auto loans are delinquent for more than 90 days. This is the highest number of seriously delinquent auto loans ever and is driven mainly by subprime borrowers. Over 8% of subprime borrowers are seriously delinquent on their auto loans, but this percentage is still well below its peak of 9.7% seen in 2010.

Source: PeerIQ

In FinTech financing news, Nav a small-business lending marketplace, raised $45 Mn from GS Principal Strategic Investments among others. Nav will use the funds to expand its platform and to support more funding partners.

CommonBond, an online student loan refinancer, has raised a $750 Mn credit line from GS, Citi among others. CommonBond will use this credit facility to expand its lending operations.

Personal Loans May Increase Credit Scores of Most Borrowers (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

Americans are increasingly turning to personal loans as another option for their ongoing debt and credit needs. There are many uses for personal loans, and the most prominent are to consolidate existing debt and pay down credit cards, which often carry higher interest rates.

Key findings

  • About 62% of borrowers see their credit scores go up the month after they take out a personal loan.
  • After 12 months, around 45% of borrowers still have higher scores than they did in the month of loan origination.
  • People with lower scores are more likely to see a credit score bump: 68% of those who started with scores under 620 saw their scores increase in one month, 71% had higher scores after three and six months, and 58% had higher scores after a year.
  • People with scores under 620 saw a 20 point, or 3.4%, boost after one month. They also saw a 10 point, or 1.8%, boost after 12 months, on average.
  • On the other end of the spectrum, borrowers who started with higher scores are less likely to see a credit score bump. 57% of people with scores of 750 or higher see their scores increase after a month, and about 39% have higher scores after a year.

FinTechs Continue to Drive Personal Loan Growth (GlobeNewswire), Rated: AAA

The FinTech revolution has propelled unsecured personal loans to another record-breaking quarter. TransUnion’s (NYSE: TRU) Q4 2018 Industry Insights Reportfound that personal loan balances increased $21 billion in the last year to close 2018 at a record high of $138 billion. Much of this growth was driven by online loans originated by FinTechs.

FinTech loans now comprise 38% of all unsecured personal loan balances, the largest market share compared to banks, credit unions and traditional finance companies. Five years ago, FinTechs accounted for just 5% of outstanding balances. As a result of FinTech entry to the market, bank balance share decreased to 28% from 40% in 2013, while credit union share has declined from 31% to 21% during this time.

TransUnion also found that FinTechs are competitive with banks, with both lenders issuing loans averaging in the $10,000 range, compared to $5,300 for credit unions. Across all risk tiers and lender types, the average unsecured personal loan debt per borrower was $8,402 as of Q4 2018.

Source: TransUnion

Personal loan originations increased 22% during Q3 2018, marking the fourth consecutive quarter of 20%+ annual origination increases. While the subprime risk tier grew the fastest, prime and above originations (those with a VantageScore 3.0 of 661 or higher) represented 36% of all originations. More than 19 million consumers now have a personal loan ­product, an increase of two million from a year earlier in Q4 2017 and the highest level ever observed.

Source: TransUnion

LoanStreet’s New Commercial Lending Solution Combines Automation and Networking for Financial Institutions (PR Newswire), Rated: A

LoanStreet Inc., the first fully integrated platform that streamlines the process of sharing, managing and originating loans, now offers a new, powerful commercial loan origination and administration solution for any size financial institution, loan or deal volume. LoanStreet uniquely combines the power of networking financial institutions together with world-class lending technology that automates administrative tasks to drive growth, diversify risk, and enable lenders to better serve their customers.

Leading Small Business Lending into a Digital and Data Driven Age (LendIt), Rated: A

Small business lending contributed to 24% of the loans originated by US Banks in 2018, accounting for 600 billion last year. Small business lending by large banks remains in legacy mode with deeply entrenched manual processes, a siloed experience and a lack of customization to help meet the unique needs of small business owners.

How a $ 1.3 Billion Institution Launched Its Own Digital Bank (The Financial Brand), Rated: AAA

When IncredibleBank, the online banking division of Wisconsin-based River Valley Bank, made the list of “Top 10 Online Banks”  at GoBankingRates.com, it found itself in good company, right alongside Ally Bank, CIT Bank, Discover Bank, and Synchrony.

While not the only community bank on the list, it’s a significant accomplishment for an institution with only $1.3 billion in assets. And equally noteworthy, IncredibleBank is the only digital-first bank offering loans for luxury RVs. These motor coaches — the ones the size of a tour bus with slide-outs that turn them into 1,200 square foot homes — run upwards of $2 million.

The challenger banks catering to gig-economy workers (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Qwil

Reinsch’s startup, Qwil, focuses on providing working capital for the freelancer who has trouble, like he did, getting paid on time.

Source: American Banker

Qwil’s underwriting technology assesses the payor’s likelihood of paying. It captures information about the approval status of the invoice: Is it definitively approved, is it likely to be approved or is it simply booked and not approved? It conducts identity verification and fraud checks on each freelancer. Qwil charges a flat fee for the advance, such as 1% of the amount. No interest rate or late fees are charged. And it never goes after the freelancer or small- business person to collect.

Oxygen

Online lenders like OnDeck, Kabbage, Fundbox and Bluevine all look at accounting software data and bank account data to analyze the cash flow of and qualify small business applicants. But the freelancer graphic designer working in a Starbucks or contract copy writer can’t get this type of loan, Ahmed said.

Oxygen’s banking and lending services are bundled into a membership with a flat monthly fee of $29.99.

Ahmed wouldn’t say how many users Oxygen has. The company, which started in a Y Combinator incubator, has been in production since September has been growing users at an 80% monthly rate.

Cogni

Cogni will offer a checking account and debit card, as well as up to 12% cash back at restaurants and retailers. It will provide “curated financial and lifestyle services” in an app designed for millennials, freelancers and side hustlers.

Joust

This month, Joust started a partnership with the Freelancers Union, which has 425,000 members. In a survey, the union found that 71% of its members have trouble getting paid. It also announced an Android version of its app (it had only iOS before).

For a 1% fee it offers a guarantee the payment will be made within 30 days. For a 6% fee it will instantly fund the invoice. Users can also take out PayArmour loans when they are out of work. Eventually Joust plans to provide gap financing for those in-between times.

When Considering Banks, New Survey Finds That Millennials Prefer Technology To Human Touch (Marqeta Email), Rated: A

Millennials are unattached to traditional banks, with only 17% of them expressing firm commitment to their current banking provider,  according to new survey data from Marqeta, whose advanced payments infrastructure and open-API platform has pioneered a new standard for modern card issuing. In this research, Millennials (18-34 year olds) were 50% less likely than Baby Boomers (50-65 years old) to say that they couldn’t ever imagine wanting to change their banks.

Marqeta’s research found:

  • Only 1-in-6 Millennials said they couldn’t imagine ever wanting to change from their current bank.
  • 58% of Millennials would consider banking with Amazon, Facebook or Google if these tech giants enter the banking space.
  • 48% of Millennials said they’d consider moving to an independent digital-only bank.

Millennials Are Digital Banking Early Adopters

More than half of Americans aged 18-34 (53%) have used mobile wallets to complete a purchase in-store or on their mobile phone. That’s higher than Americans aged 35-50 (39%) and more than double those aged 51-65 (22%).

It’s also noteworthy that:

  • More than half of Millennials (52%) said they were comfortable using TouchID and FaceID to authorize mobile wallet payments — almost double the number of Baby Boomers (29%) who said the same.
  • More than twice as many Millennials (57%) than Baby Boomers (27%) said that they have used peer-to-peer banking apps like Square Cash or Venmo.
  • Millennials (49%) were twice as likely as Baby Boomers (20%) to pay someone back using a peer-to-peer banking app than a physical currency like cash or check.

Banking Apps Are More Valuable Than Tellers to Millennials

When asked about what the most important service their bank provided was, Millennials reflected much different attitudes than older Americans: Millennials were twice as likely as Baby Boomers to list a mobile app as most important (27% v 14 %), while Baby Boomers were twice as likely to list in person presence (20% v 11%).

Millennials are also abandoning old-fashioned payment methods like checks en masse, with almost half (48%) saying that they couldn’t remember the last time they wrote a check for something other than utilities and rent.

Banks Set To Invest In Legacy Systems To Combat Challenger Bank Threat (Fintech Finance), Rated: A

More than three-quarters (80%) of bankers believe challenger banks are an increased threat to their business, while almost one-third (30%) believe they will be the single most disruptive threat in 2019. The survey, commissioned by fintech provider Fraedom, found that in response the challenger bank threat, bankers expect their organisations to invest heavily in updating legacy systems (44%) and new technology (26%) in 2019.

With investing in new technology high on the agenda for commercial banks, the survey found that over half (53%) of respondents believe AI and Machine Learning will be the technologies to have the biggest impact on commercial banking in 2019.

Atlantic Capital Bank Launches Fintech Partnership with Self Lender (Nasdaq), Rated: A

Atlantic Capital (NASDAQ:ACBI) announces its partnership with Self Lender, a leading Fintech company offering consumers a way to build their credit while saving money. Atlantic Capital provides innovative financial technology companies a banking partner that has significant operational expertise and processing scale to meet the demands of a rapidly growing national client base.  The Self Lender and Atlantic Capital partnership helps efficiently deliver the credit builder account to thousands of consumers across the United States.

Impact of Intelligent Technologies on the Finance Industry (CIO Applications), Rated: A

Source: CIO Applications

Consolidated Analytics Taps Industry Finance Leader Mike Jones as Chief Financial Officer to Facilitate Aggressive Growth and Transformation (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Consolidated Analytics, a one-stop provider of property valuation, asset management, due diligence, fulfillment and advisory services for the real estate finance industry, today announced the appointment of Mike Jones as Chief Financial Officer (CFO). In this role, Jones will be responsible for developing and implementing financial strategies that will support the company’s overarching M&A integration strategy and drive corporate transformation initiatives.

United Kingdom

RateSetter Reported ISA Exceeded Expectation in First Year By Attracting £175 Million of Subscriptions (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

UK-based peer-to-peer lender RateSetter recently announced its ISA has exceeded expectations in its first year, having attracted £175 million of subscriptions, and currently accounts for one-fifth of the platform’s £830 million funds under management. RateSetter unveiled its ISA in February 2018. It allows investments in peer-to-peer loans to be included in a tax-free ISA wrapper up to an investor’s £20,000 annual ISA allowance.

Zopa’s Latest Report Reveals 1 in 3 Brits in the Dark on Cash ISA Rate (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

According to Zopa, the research revealed that 1 in 3 British savers (30%) had no idea what interest they’re earning on their Cash ISA and there is a vast difference of knowledge by age with an alarming 42% of people aged between 25 to 44 being in the dark over the rate of interest they were earning on their Cash ISA, in contrast to 21% of over 55s. The research then noted that Generation Z’s were only slightly more aware than Millennials with 39% not knowing their rate of interest.

Is your money safe in an IFISA? (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE INNOVATIVE Finance ISA (IFISA) is starting to take off after a slow start – in the last tax year, subscriptions rose more than 700 per cent – but potential investors may still be unsure about the risks involved.

Money put into peer-to-peer loans – with or without the IFISA wrapper – is not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

Revolut Launches New Business Mobile App (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Digital bank Revolut announced on Tuesday the launch of its new business mobile app. This news comes nearly one year after Revolut debuted its Revolut for Business. Revolut reported that through the mobile app, users may do the following:

  • Track corporate card spending in real-time
  • View card details and PIN on the go
  • Freeze or unfreeze card if it’s misplaced
  • Receive instant spending notifications after every card payment

Should bank-style stress tests for P2P lenders reassure investors? (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

Trade body the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2PFA) requires its platform members to carry out bank-style stress tests on their loan portfolios, but how much confidence should P2P investors  have in these models if  the cycle turns?

P2PFA member Funding Circle has claimed its loanbook would hold up in a recession, after subjecting itself to the toughest Bank of England stress tests. The P2P business lender has said it could still deliver a three to five per cent return to investors in a downturn.

Leasing Foundation to host asset finance technology debates (Verdict), Rated: B

The newly formed Innovation Initiative from the Leasing Foundation is holding a series of breakfast debates this year to explore the asset finance industry’s relationship to technology.

The first event will feature James Alexander, co-founder of P2P lending company Zopa, as keynote speaker and will take place on 13 March from 8am to 10am at Metro Bank in Holborn, London.

Strabane firm funding 55 new homes with £7m from peer-to-peer lender (Belfast Telegraph), Rated: B

The N&R Devine Group is in the process of building the properties, which will go on the market at prices between £105,000 and £189,000.

Twenty of the homes will be built in Cookstown, 25 in Coalisland and the remainder in Sion Mills.

The Strabane-based builder secured the funding for the developments from peer-to-peer lender Assetz Capital.

China

China’s online P2P lending industry is undergoing a massive shake out (technode), Rated: AAA

China’s peer-to-peer (P2P) lending industry is in turmoil. In recent months, authorities have ramped up regulatory oversight of the world’s largest P2P lending industry. Investors are losing confidence at their stakes and pulling their funds, diminishing operators’ liquidity; many of them are facing insolvency.

This week, Chinese police froze RMB 10 billion worth of assets owned by over 380 lenders in a large-scale investigation spanning 16 countries. Dubbed Operation Fox Hunt, the investigation has led to the arrest of 62 suspects implicated in P2P fraud since last June.

The total value of the loans managed by online crowdlenders has fallen to RMB 1 trillion. Prior to the clampdown, in 2015, the total P2P loan amount was RMB 1.25 trillion, according to Chinese media (in Chinese).

Source: wdzj.com

China’s Recession-Proof Economy Heads to a Stress Test (Bloomberg), Rated: A

The reason for the slowdown isn’t clear. Uncertainty over trade with the U.S. — including tariffs, but also export controls and investment restrictions –— could be a factor, especially as other countries show signs of wariness toward Chinese technology companies. Bad investments in real estate and infrastructure could be coming back to bite. A crash in the peer-to-peer lending industry might be contributing.

Source: Bloomberg
European Union

European Marketplace Lender October Surpasses €100 Million in Loan Repayment (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

October, the European lending marketplace formerly known as Lendix, announced on Wednesday it has surpassed €100 million in loan repayment.

The online lender reported that since its launch more than €250 million has been lent to European companies and nearly 40% of this amount has already been paid into the accounts of both individual and institutional lenders through monthly repayments. October then revealed that the lenders have already supported 570 projects for an average amount of €460,000.

Machine learning: Part of Europe’s consumer loans business (AltFi), Rated: A

Machine learning technologies are widely used to establish consumer credit scores in Europe, a new report confirmed.

Around 70 per cent of financial institutions across the continent say they already use these data technologies to build consumer score cards, which dictate lending, said a survey called, Credit Risk Management 2019 – How Do You Stack Up?

The average coverage rate of non-performing loans in Europe was 46 per cent in 2018, according to the survey.

5 Fashion E-commerce Trends Helping Retailers Build a Cult Following (Klarna), Rated: A

How can you get consumers as psyched about your brand as you are? Get inspired by these five fashion e-commerce trends that are powering more meaningful engagement.
International

UK-based GBG Acquires IDology in $ 300 Million All-Cash Deal (Finovate), Rated: AAA

Identity verification and fraud prevention specialist IDology has been acquired by U.K.-based identity data intelligence firm, GBG, for $300 million (£233 million) in cash.

The deal will give GBG broader reach into the North American market; in a statement, the company said 99% of IDology’s revenues come from the United States.

Are Peer-to-Peer Loans (P2P Loans) the Best Option for a Small Business? (ForexTV), Rated: A

One of the biggest issues that every entrepreneur will have to face at some point is finding financial backing. Money is going to be essential for your business launch, and there are a variety of methods for obtaining that much-needed financial support. One of the most popular solutions is Peer-to-Peer lending (P2P). This is a useful way of getting the money you need without going through the traditional route of obtaining interest only bank loans. Those banks loans can be slow and expensive, so does P2P offer a viable alternative option? Here’s the rundown of everything you need to know about P2P loans.

Australia

Payday loans increase as households pushed into risky credit from non-bank lenders (ABC.net), Rated: AAA

Debt-stressed home owners and renters are increasingly turning to alternative lenders offering so-called “payday” loans and consumer leases, as falling property prices plunge more households into negative equity and banks crack down on credit.

Asia

5 of Vietnam’s Top Funded Fintechs (Fintech News), Rated: AAA

Fintech development is accelerating in Vietnam with companies in the sector attracting US$117 million last year, the maximum funding in Vietnamese startups in 2018. Fintech surpassed e-commerce at US$104 million and other sectors, according to funding data by local accelerator Topica Founder Institute, showcasing the eagerness of investors to take part in Vietnam’s fintech opportunity.

Source: topicafi via Facebook

Tima – US$3M

Founded in 2015, Tima is a consumer financial marketplace and peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform. The company has signed partnerships with financial institutions, including VietinBank and Nam A Bank, and claims to have disbursed about US$1.7 billion in loans to 2.8 million borrowers and over 30,000 lenders on its platform.

Tima claims to have raised a US$3 million Series B funding round in October at a near US$20 million valuation and recently began the process of raising a Series C investment round after hiring former LendingClub COO John Donovan to its board of directors.

Short Term Loans: For Your Quick Financial Concerns (US Updates), Rated: A

In such a case, availing instant Short Term loans from an online lender may help you in different ways.

No fear of bad credit scores – These loans are available irrespective of credit score status. The Short Term poor credit loans are in possible reach of the bad credit borrowers. You do not have to face rejections due to bad credits.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday February 21 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Princeton Alternative Funding Gets a New Beginning

alternative lending fund

The 2008 financial crisis saw a lending freeze from traditional banks. Grabbing the opportunity, alternative lenders filled the space. Drawn by superior returns, sophisticated financial investors and funds sprung up to invest via these platforms to directly/indirectly lend to consumers and small businesses. Princeton Alternative Funding is one such player. But the company has had to […]

alternative lending fund

The 2008 financial crisis saw a lending freeze from traditional banks. Grabbing the opportunity, alternative lenders filled the space. Drawn by superior returns, sophisticated financial investors and funds sprung up to invest via these platforms to directly/indirectly lend to consumers and small businesses. Princeton Alternative Funding is one such player. But the company has had to face rough weather, with bankruptcy protection and multiple lawsuits hobbling its progress.

Princeton Alternative Funding’s Humble Beginnings

Jack Cook (CEO) founded Princeton Alternative Funding LLC (PAF), a fund management company on March 1, 2015. The company is headquartered in Princeton, New Jersey and helps accredited and institutional investors achieve strong positive returns in the alternative lending sector. Walt Wojciechowski is the CFO and Jeff Davner is the President of the company.

Princeton Alternative Funding LLC is the general partner of Princeton Alternative Income Fund (PAIF), a flexible 3(c)(7) hedge fund. The inspiration for PAF was the evolution of fintech. There were no online lenders 15 years ago, and it is the recent technology advancement that has made it possible for the alternative lender market to come into forefront.

Though the company started on a strong note, its relations soured with its biggest limited partner in late 2015.

The PAIF Bankruptcy Filing

Ranger Direct Lending Trust (RDLT) along with RSIF and its affiliate “Ranger,” invested indirectly in PAIF Offshore. PAIF Offshore is a British Virgins Island Offshore entity, which is a limited partner in PAIF. According to the company’s filings, Ranger’s actual motivation was not to be a limited partner but the owner of the fund. They had reflected to their own investors that they control and own PAIF, which was materially false, according to PAF spokesmen. Though the two parties had major disagreements, PAIF was churning great returns for Ranger.

In fact, in 2015, Ranger received cash payments of $2,299,070.00 in the form of returns from PAIF, but they again attempted to acquire an equity interest in PAF. This attempt was rejected by PAIF, which forced Ranger to look for other means, which in turn destabilized the fund operations. Its bankruptcy filing states that the company entered bankruptcy protection while continuing to fight Ranger and its unwanted advances.

The case has turned more complex with Argon Credit, PAIF’s largest finance company borrower filing a bankruptcy petition in December 2016, placing 60 percent of the company’s assets in the PAIF fund at risk. Shortly after, Bristlecone Holdings, another one of PAIF’s finance company borrowers, filed a bankruptcy petition in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Nevada.

PAF’s Climb Back to the Top

2015 saw the company open its fund raising doors. In March, they received their first capital. From March 2015 to Feb 2016, Ranger put in a total of $62 million. The company received new management in March 2016 after it was discovered that certain executives colluded with Ranger. The next year, they added more than 13 limited partners. The fund is now focused on providing revolving lines of credit to finance companies.

The fund has purchased a total of 12 portfolios from LOC (line of credit) originators. Two of them have been paid off and the rest are being serviced. These loans mainly comprise of small-dollar short-term consumer loans. All of them are installment loans, and some fall under lease/rent-to-own categories. There are a total of 60,000 consumer loans in the entire portfolio.

The company has an exclusive partnership with Microbilt Inc., a Consumer Rating Agency that provides top of the line analysis and monitoring capabilities. It will have access to proprietary databases and scorecards of MB, which will allow it to analyze loan originators and their performance as well as evaluate borrower performance on a granular level. The proprietary technology software includes auto underwriting tools, statistical models, and software tools to determine the validity of each loan.

PAF is now primarily funded by Microbilt to the tune of almost $2.5 million.

Conclusion

The year-to-date audited adjusted returns have exceeded the fund’s performance targets since its creation.

  • 2015: 13.97% YTD return
  • 2016: 17.41% YTD return
  • 2017: 15.17% YTD return

Princeton Alternative Funding does not have many competitors. Even players like Victory Park Capital have exited the space. But Princeton Alternative Funding firmly believes the alternative lending sector and its niche is a growing market. Banks and financial institutions are not able to offer easy credit to the consumer market, which is where alternative lending facilities come into play. It is looking to become a force to reckon with in its niche of short-term small-dollar consumer loans.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Wednesday February 7 2018, Daily News Digest

MONEY-LAUNDERING-BY-ACTIVITY

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi named official sponsor of Big Ten. Equifax supports SME lending with new data sharing solution. UK fintech venture investment rises 150%. Klarna partners with London College of Fashion. Revolut ditches Wirecard, takes card issuances in-house. Today’s main analysis: The most wanted for anti-money laundering cases in Asia. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Banks close 1,700 […]

MONEY-LAUNDERING-BY-ACTIVITY

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

MENA

News Summary

United States

SoFi Named Official Presenting Sponsor of the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament (BigTen.org), Rated: AAA

The Big Ten Conference and Big Ten Network announced a multi-year agreement naming SoFi as the presenting sponsor of the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament. SoFi, a modern finance company taking an unprecedented approach to lending and wealth management, will not only be the on-site tournament sponsor, but also present the on-air coverage of all 10 tournament games televised on BTN.

Equifax launches data sharing solution to support SME lending (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Information solutions company Equifax has launched a new solution that provides back up for the government’s Commercial Credit Data Sharing (CCDS) initiative, which is seeking to boost the economy by encouraging new entrants into the SME lending sector.

According to the platform, the new solution “gives lenders a comprehensive picture of a business’ financial health to facilitate faster and more informed lending decisions”.

Equifax was designated as a credit reference agency under the CCDS initiative, giving it access to new data sets from leading business banks, including cash flow activity and debit and credit turnover. The data will be provided to lenders through Equifax Business Insights.

Banks Shutter 1,700 Branches in Fastest Decline on Record (WSJ), Rated: AAA

The number of branches in the U.S. shrank by more than 1,700 in the 12 months ended in June 2017, the biggest decline on record, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of federal data.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Branch numbers fell again in the second half of 2017, according to related data submitted to bank regulators and reviewed by the Journal. That would add to the thousands of locations closed following the financial crisis, and is the longest stretch of closures since the Great Depression.

Many of the closings were in big cities and surrounding suburbs, where branches were consolidated largely because of falling foot traffic. Others were in rural areas, where some large regional lenders are leaving town altogether.

From mid-2012 to mid-2017, Capital One Financial Corp. cut 32% of its branches, SunTrust Banks Inc. 22% and Regions Financial Corp. 12%.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

What a scrappy Oklahoma bank can teach the industry about branch strategy (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Citizens Bank of Edmond is trying to get closer to small business customers by providing space, guidance and almost anything else they might need — besides, of course, a loan.

The one-branch community bank in Edmond, Oklahoma once had another branch, 12,000 square feet located one block away from the main space, with a drive-thru window and some executive offices. But recently the bank decided to consolidate it into a single location and has now turned it into a “business social” co-working environment, called Vault 405, for its small business customers that includes wireless charging stations, conference rooms and a podcast studio.

Ideally, by creating an environment that would bring customer and community relationship returns, as well as grow deposits and loan volume. Citizens currently charges monthly rates between $400 and $1,000 for offices and $175 to $275 for desks and shared spaces. It also offers day passes.

Citizens is also addressing cash pickups for small business customers, one of the most compelling cases for banks thinking of repurposing their branches, using as much readily available technology as possible.

Why Digit is over chatbots (American Banker), Rated: A

Now, Ethan Bloch, founder and CEO of the San Francisco startup, believes his company has been offering the wrong primary user interface. “We think [chatbots] haven’t lived up to their promise,” he said. “So we are done believing they will.”

While the premise of Digit is still the same — use the service to automatically transfer funds from checking to savings every few days in amounts its algorithms believe a person can afford — Bloch believed the chatbot model is terribly flawed in its inefficiency to find out information.

Lendio Franchise Announced in Seacoast Region (Lendio Email), Rated: B

6th Avenue Capital adds trio to executive ranks (Bankless Times), Rated: B

6th Avenue Capital, a provider of small business financing solutions, announced the appointment of three senior members to their business development team. Mitchell (Mitch) Levy, Marc Seidel and Gary Lockwood were named to lead the sales teams. The new hires follow last year’s appointments of Christine Chang as CEO and Darren Schulman as COO and a $60 million commitment in capital from a large institutional investor.

US states team up to streamline fintech licensing (Finextra), Rated: A

Currently, firms offering services such as money transfers and cryptocurrency trading have to apply individually to operate in each of the 50 US states.

Under the new compact, if one of Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Texas and Washington reviews key elements of licensing – IT, cybersecurity, business plan, background check and Bank Secrecy Act compliance – the other six will accept the findings.

Wela Partners with In-Fi to Bring AI-Powered Bot to Insurance Agency Platform Website (GlobeNewswire), Rated: A

Wela, a fintech company that blends artificial intelligence (AI) with human advisors, today announces a partnership with In-Fi, an insurance agency management company specifically for financial institutions. Wela’s AI-powered chatbot, personified as Benjamin, is now fully integrated into In-Fi’s website, with the function of creating a more cohesive and engaging experience for their customers. Integration into In-Fi’s website is a pivotal step for Wela, which aims to place Benjamin at the center of financial decisions for families by integrating across a variety of financial service providers.

How the payday lending industry shapes academic research (American Banker), Rated: A

The hotly contested question of how to regulate payday lending is partly about ideology. How far should the government go to save repeat borrowers from their own worst habits? Your answer will depend on your political beliefs.

But this debate, like a lot of fights involving financial regulation, is also about facts. Do payday customers indeed suffer economic harm when they get into a cycle of repeat borrowing? That is an empirical question that unbiased researchers should be able to answer.

Inside Aspiration’s ‘values-based’ marketing strategy (Tearsheet), Rated: A

SoFi, whose earliest ads told people, “Don’t Bank. SoFi” has softened its marketing efforts, realizing the smart thing is for it to become a bank itself. Transferwise once ran provocative anti-bank ads but now advertises its own borderless account. But Aspiration isn’t shy about ruffling the feathers of the big banks. When Bank of America yanked its “free” checking accounts last month, moving them to its core checking account product that comes with a monthly $12 fee, Aspiration used it as a rallying point to get customers to bring their business to Aspiration, offering a $12 credit if they did. It claims its marketing has influenced “tens of thousands” of customers to leave B of A for Aspiration. Bank of America declined to comment for this story.

A fruitful journey from the attic to an angel investor (domain-b.com), Rated: A

Pear venture capital has helped some aspiring entrepreneurs build their foundations from scratch. How did the idea behind Pear fructify and what is the significance behind its name?
We actually started out as an angel investor. Around 2009-2010, I felt that there was no institution to help founders from ground zero. Given my background and network, I thought I could build an institution, which would help founders in their early stages to work on their ideas, which would stay in the business for generations.

Today Pear is an early stage seed fund and we invest in founders who are building category defined companies and that which focus on solving a big problem in the market.

As a venture capitalist, how do you identify potential entrepreneurs before signing them a cheque? What sectors and businesses do you look at? Considering the humongous number of aspirants, how do you identify a viable idea and that which is worth your support and funding?
If I look back at the last 18 years, there are some traits which are quite common among exceptional founders. We like those individuals who are looking to solve big problems in the market. They should either be close to the problem that they are trying to solve or they should have lived through their problem.

We also like those who have ability to track talents, are paranoid in a healthy way, have a vision and tend to question themselves every day. I also like CEOs who are captains of the ship,. the ones who usually stay till the end when the ship is sinking. Overall, we also look at size of the market. It’s fine if things don’t work out today as long as it’s going to be massive when it works. If you look at our portfolio companies, some of them have started in the unconventional space. As VCs, you live for those moments where you want to break the rule and partner with outliers.

LendingTree Releases Monthly Mortgage Offer Report for January (Guru Focus), Rated: A

LendingTree, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, today released its monthly Mortgage Offers Report which analyzes data from actual loan terms offered to borrowers on LendingTree.com by lenders on LendingTree’s network. The purpose of the report is to empower consumers by providing additional information on how their credit profile affects their loan prospects.

Purchase Mortgage Offers by Credit Score

Purchase

FICO Range

Average APR

Average Down Payment

Average Loan Amount

Average LTV

Lifetime Interest Paid*

All Loans

4.55%

$63,411

$238,518

82%

$199,109

760+

4.41%

$84,354

$262,661

79%

$191,975

720-759

4.45%

$59,193

$239,111

83%

$194,007

680-719

4.70%

$39,883

$217,590

86%

$206,818

640-679

5.04%

$63,301

$203,176

76%

$224,533

620-639

5.12%

$57,566

$191,642

76%

$228,749

*To enable comparison, lifetime interest is calculated for the average loan amount for all loans using the rates for each credit score bucket.

Refinance Mortgage Offers by Credit Score

Refinance

FICO Range

Average APR

Average Down Payment

Average Loan Amount

Average LTV

Lifetime Interest Paid*

All Loans

4.46%

$2,739

$244,540

62%

$199,427

760+

4.33%

$4,014

$250,651

59%

$192,669

720-759

4.38%

$3,073

$249,678

64%

$195,262

680-719

4.58%

$1,294

$238,579

64%

$205,712

640-679

4.79%

$907

$223,812

60%

$216,814

620-639

4.89%

$212,813

59%

$222,147

*To enable comparison, lifetime interest is calculated for the average loan amount for all loans using the rates for each credit score bucket.

The hottest cities where it’s good to be a home seller but not so much a buyer (The Washington Post), Rated: A

LendingTree, an online loan marketplace, recently analyzed 1.5 million purchase mortgage loan requests that came in through its system from the 100 largest cities in 2017. The study identifies the locations where buyer competition is the toughest based on three criteria:

The top 10 cities with the most competitive buyers based on those criteria include:

  • San Francisco
  • San Jose
  • Denver
  • San Diego
  • Ventura, Calif.
  • Los Angeles
  • Seattle
  • Honolulu
  • Portland, Oregon
  • Sacramento

The three cities on the bottom of the list, where homes are more accessible to buyers and competition is less aggressive, are Youngstown, Ohio; McAllen, Tex.; and Scranton, Pa.

For the full report, click here.

CBC National Bank Among LendingTree’s Top 10 Highest Customer-Rated Mortgage Lenders in Fourth Quarter (PR Newswire), Rated: B

CBC National Bank, headquartered in Fernandina Beach and with branches in Fernandina BeachOcala and The Villages, Fla., and Beaufort and Port Royal, S.C., today announced that it has been named by LendingTree as among the Top 10 highest customer-rated mortgage lenders in the fourth quarter of 2017. It also achieved this prestigious designation in the first quarter of 2017.

rateGenius Awarded Top 3 in Auto Customer Satisfaction by LendingTree for 7th Consecutive Quarter (PR Newswire), Rated: B

rateGenius is pleased to announce that it has once again been named Top 3 in Auto Customer Satisfaction by LendingTree.

M Financial Group Partners with Plug and Play Insurtech to Enhance Client Experience in Life Insurance Space (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Plug and Play Insurtech welcomes M Financial as its 55th partner. Headquartered in Portland, Oregon and comprised of 155 Member Firms across the U.S., as well as the U.K. and U.A.E., M Financial is searching for startups to transform the life insurance industry for the clients they serve. Startups accepted into Plug and Play’s platform will have the opportunity to pilot their technology with M Financial and the other partners in the program. M Financial is the first Plug and Play partner that is both a distributor and reinsurer of life insurance products.

5 Passive Income Ideas That Still Work In 2018 (SavingAdvice), Rated: B

Peer to peer lending: The demand for credit is sure to continue for centuries to come. There is always someone in need of some quick business loan or a personal loan and this gives a quick opportunity if there is another person with the capital and risk appetite to back it up. With the current boom in crypto currency usage, you can take advantage and set up a peer-to-peer lending service. Alternative funding can very well give traditional banking a run for the money because some people need quick loans but cannot have the convenience of applying through the mainstream banking system. Peer-to-peer lending offers the keys to unlock instant liquidity to a wide online community and offers attractive rewards to those who supply the capital.

A great advantage to the lender is that once a peer to peer lending platform has been selected, the popularity of the wallet will ensure that there is exposure to a wider target of borrowers. Most banks often get restricted to lending to people within a certain country or state. Since peer-to-peer lending is blockchain-backed, anyone around the globe with access to the platform can lend money to another peer and start earning money over the duration of the loan contract.

United Kingdom

LendInvest completes £16m development deal in three weeks (Mortgage Introducer), Rated: AAA

Property finance lender LendInvest has completed a £16m financing deal with established development finance borrower, Yogo Group, in just three weeks.

Taking a Deeper Look into the Moving Average For Funding Circle Sme Income Fund Limited (Stock Press Daily), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle Sme Income Fund Limited (FCIF.L) are in focus today as the charts are revealing that the Mesa Adaptive Moving Average (MAMA) is holding steady above the FAMA, or Fractional Moving Average.  This environment typically indicates that there might be a buying opportunity aligning in technicals.  When there are crossovers between the FAMA and MAMA, the shares are often widely traded.  When the MAMA crosses above the FAMA, it means that the shares are likely to move higher.  Conversely the opposite occurs when the MAMA crosses below the FAMA.  The Mesa Moving Average was first mentioned by John Ehlers in a paper published in a 2001 edition of Technical Analysis of Stocks and Commodities Magazine.

Venture investment in UK fintech more than doubles (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Fintech companies, such as TransferWise and OakNorth, raised $1.8bn of venture capital investment last year, up more than 150 per cent from $704m in 2016, the year of the UK’s vote to leave the EU, the data show.

The surge in UK funding contrasted with an 18 per cent drop in global fintech investments to $14.4bn, according to the report by Innovate Finance, the British fintech trade body.

The UK industry was boosted by handful of large fundraisings of more than $90m. The biggest was by TransferWise, a cross-border payments provider, which raised $280m. OakNorth, a digital lender to small businesses, raised $203m.

Banks divided on cryptocurrencies card purchases (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

British banks are debating whether to ban their customers from buying cryptocurrencies using their credit cards after Lloyds Banking Group and Virgin Money said they had imposed such a ban.

Barclays, the UK’s leading credit card issuer through its Barclaycard business, said it was “keeping this matter under close review” after holding a meeting to discuss whether to follow the lead of Lloyds on Monday.

Last week MasterCard said that cross-border volumes on its network were up 22 per cent, driven in part by customers using their credit cards to buy cryptocurrencies.

British banks are also shunning companies that handle cryptocurrencies by refusing to let them open bank accounts or closing their accounts, which has forced many of them to open accounts in Gibraltar, Poland and Bulgaria.

Lloyds Bank cutting 930 jobs (Fintech Futures), Rated: B

Lloyds is axing 930 jobs within its commercial banking, chief information office, community banking, insurance, and wealth and risk management.

Looking beyond traditional banks (Specialist Banking), Rated: A

I recently came across an article headlined: “8 in 10 SMEs still prefer traditional bank loans over alternative finance.”

It noted that 83% of financial directors preferred to go to their bank as their first port of call when seeking a loan, rather than finding an alternative, such as P2P lending or equity crowdfunding.

It claimed that a lack of understanding could be the reason for this, but pointed out that almost three-quarters of finance directors (74%) believed their knowledge of alternative finance was either “average or above average”.

Challenger Bank Tandem Partners with Cognitive Banking Company Personetics (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

UK Challenger bank Tandem has announced a partnership with cognitive banking company Personetics to provide users personalised insights on their spending across all of their bank accounts in one place, as well as warning people about unexpected fees and unusual activity on their accounts.

Are you holding too much cash in your ISA? (WhatInvestmen), Rated: A

In a survey of financial advisers by Octopus Investments, three-quarters of respondents said they believe their clients hold too much in their cash ISA relative to the rest of their portfolio.

The majority (83 per cent) feel their clients are put off investing in stock and shares due to the risk of losing money, followed by concerns of an overstretched (49 per cent) and volatile (46 per cent) market.

The Differences Between Short Term Loans and Payday Loans (SWNS.com), Rated: A

If you need to borrow money, a variety of options are available. Two of the most common short term borrowing options are payday loans and short-term personal loans, both of which provide immediate access to cash to help you pay bills, purchase items and run your financial life.

One of these borrowing options — payday lending — has been in the news a lot over the last few years, as new regulations make the industry more borrower friendly.

Short-Term Personal Loans

Most people use short-term loans for purchasing certain items or covering other major expenses.

From a borrower’s perspective, the advantages of short-term loans include lower overall costs than payday loans. However, the credit check process and approval period mean that loans of this type often aren’t instant enough to help borrowers deal with urgent financial needs.

Payday Loans

Most payday loans are for relatively small amounts of money, such as £200 to £500, and are aimed at providing cash until you get paid again.

Payday loans form a major part of the UK lending industry, with an estimated market value of approximately £2 billion.

Folk2Folk appoints chapter development manager (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: B

P2P lending platform Folk2Folk has appointed Claire Thayers as its chapter development manager.

In the newly created role, Claire will be responsible for raising Folk2Folk’s profile across the South West and Three Counties regions and improving awareness of its products to both borrowers and brokers.

China

The key to surviving in China’s P2P marketplace? Understanding regulations (Nikkei Asian Review), Rated: AAA

China’s increasingly competitive peer-to-peer marketplace requires players to understand government regulations and align their strategies accordingly, said Kevin Guo, co-founder and co-chairman of Dianrong, which specializes in making small loans over the internet.

European Union

Klarna partners with London College of Fashion (LeapRate), Rated: AAA

European payments provider, Klarna, has announced a UK partnership with London College of Fashion, UAL, in an exciting initiative to support the next generation of talent at the intersection of fashion and technology.

Fashion is now the UK’s largest online retail market segment, worth around £10.1bn, and this growth is only set to continue. By 2020, fashion will represent 28.8% of UK online spend.

With Klarna research showing 94% of retailers are investing in new technology to meet the needs of younger customers, opportunity for innovation in the sector has never been greater.

German digital business bank Penta raises €2.2m in seed funding (AltFi), Rated: A

Penta, a German digital bank for start-ups and small businesses, has secured €2.2m in seed funding, led by the UK-based and fintech-focused Inception Venture Capital .

Founded in May last year, Penta moved out of its private beta in December to a waitlist of over 3,000 local businesses. The platform has now opened its waitlist up to new users, and hopes to reach 10,000 businesses by the end of 2018.

P2P investors risk losses by lending to just one borrower (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

PEER-TO-PEER analysis firm 4th Way is urging investors to diversify after stress testing revealed the odds of losing money in a severe recession can be 10 times higher in some cases when lending to just one borrower on a P2P platform.

The research, released on Tuesday, applied international banking stress tests to P2P platforms it assesses such as Zopa, Funding Circle and RateSetter, and found when lending to 100 borrowers, investors have just a 0.1 per cent chance of losing 20 per cent or more of their original money.

Acquisition of 85% of Telenor Banka fails to win Serbia’s c-bank approval (SeeNews), Rated: A

Serbian online lender Telenor Banka said on Tuesday that Bulgaria-based investment fund River Styxx Capital has not received the consent of Serbia’s central bank for the acquisition of 85% of its share capital from Norwegian telecommunications group Telenor.

Telenor will support any further step that will contribute to the positive closure of the transaction, Ingeborg Ofsthus, CEO of Telenor Serbia and chair of the Telenor Banka board of directors said in a statement issued by Telenor Banka.

International

Revolut ditches Wirecard for in-house card issuing (Fintech Futures), Rated: AAA

Revolut will no longer be relying on Wirecard for card issuing as it has now brought this function in-house.

Asia Most Wanted Top Ten AML Cases (Fintech News), Rated: AAA

Over the last decade, the quantity of money laundered has been steadily increasing. According to The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, it is estimated that approximately USD $1.6 trillion or 2.7 percent of global GDP was laundered in 2009.

Even worse, less than 1 percent of this global illicit financial flow is ever seized and frozen, meaning that the criminals are winning.

Effective anti-money laundering (AML) regulations and processes are essential to countering such criminal activity. Yet due to tighter anti-money laundering regulations in the US and Europe, money laundering activity is moving into the Asia Pacific as a way to avoid detection.

Source: Fintech News

In December 2012, Standard Chartered was ordered to pay USD $330m to settle claims by United States government agencies that it had moved hundreds of billions of dollars on behalf of Iran. It was suggested that this practice exposed the international financial system to exploitation by to “terrorists” and “drug kingpins”.

Open banking role models: Fidor, Rabobank and BBVA (American Banker), Rated: A


Google accelerator focuses on emerging markets (IT Web), Rated: A

In its fifth year, Google Launchpad Accelerator is taking place in San Francisco this week. It focuses on start-ups that already have a product, with a good market fit, and are ready to scale.

OneFi has created Paylater, an online provider of digital financial services for the underbanked in West Africa.

Nubank is a financial technology company offering a fully digital and branchless experience, and Viva Real is an online real estate marketplace that connects buyers, sellers and renters with properties in Brazil. There is one other Brazilian start-up, Loggi, which creates new-wave logistics.

Kubo.financiero, a P2P lending platform, from Mexico.

Ayannah from the Philippines enables affordable and accessible digital financial services to be delivered to the world’s emerging middle-class.

Australia

Banks are exploiting loyal customers, warns Productivity Commission (The Guardian), Rated: AAA

The Australian financial system is uncompetitive, allowing banks and insurers to boost profits by exploiting loyal customers and adding up to $87 a month to the average mortgage repayment.

That is the conclusion of the Productivity Commission’s highly critical draft report into the sector, which finds it is “unquestionably strong” but calls for greater transparency to compare financial products and for regulators to gain powers to promote competition.

Australia gives regulator sweeping powers over bank bosses’ pay (Reuters), Rated: A

Australia has given its financial regulator sweeping powers to cap bank bosses’ pays, delay their bonuses and even ban them from the industry if found guilty of non-compliance, as it scrambles to restore trust in the scandal-hit sector.

MENA

ADGM is region’s 1st Fintech regulator, says Al Sayegh (WAM.ae), Rated: AAA

In the future, Fintech will be the most important aspect of financial services in the world, according to Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, the Chairman of Abu Dhabi Global Market, ADGM.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Will the Payday Lending Rule Die or Survive?

Will the Payday Lending Rule Die or Survive?

The payday lending industry has been a fixture in the common American’s financial life since the 90’s, but it enjoyed rapid growth and success after the 2008 financial meltdown. Today, as per industry analyst estimates, there are approximately 20,600 payday advance locations across the U.S., and the industry has lent around $38.5 billion in short-term […]

Will the Payday Lending Rule Die or Survive?

The payday lending industry has been a fixture in the common American’s financial life since the 90’s, but it enjoyed rapid growth and success after the 2008 financial meltdown. Today, as per industry analyst estimates, there are approximately 20,600 payday advance locations across the U.S., and the industry has lent around $38.5 billion in short-term loans to approximately 19 million American households. Not only that, the industry makes significant contributions to the U.S. and various state economies by providing employment to 50,000 Americans who earn $2 billion in wages and generate more than $2.6 billion in federal, state, and local taxes. But late last year, the industry was rocked when the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a regulation knows as the “payday lending rule”. The rule put the onus on the lender for determining whether a borrower can repay a loan and restricted the number of loans a lender can make to the borrower.

What is the Payday Lending Rule?

Lending Times had a chat with Quyen Truong (partner at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP) to discuss the ramifications of the payday lending rule to the alternative lending market.

The payday lending rule was finalized because the CFPB believed that high interest and continuous refinancing of payday loans was leading to borrowers getting stuck in a never-ending debt trap. Borrowers who refinance or roll over an existing loan in turn pay additional fees and high interest, which flows into the lender’s bottom line.

Truong believes the new rules are too onerous for payday lenders because lenders are forced to conduct an analysis on a borrower’s ability to repay debt. Such analysis is unfeasible for small dollar loans. Additionally, there is a 30-day cooling off period, which means lenders can not provide follow-up/rollover loans during that period. The idea behind this cooling off period is to prevent borrowers from getting stuck in a vicious debt trap.

The Impact On the Payday Lending and Alternative Lending Industries

The regulation is expected to impact the payday lending industry adversely and may wipe out two-thirds of industry revenue, Truong said. But she believes that online lenders are more innovative when it comes to underwriting, and because they are agile and nimble, they are better equipped to adapt to the new rule. Having said that, the rule will still adversely impact the industry and many lenders could go out of business because of their inability to comply with the new regulation. On the other hand, it will be an opportunity for sophisticated lenders to devise an efficient process to conduct a repay analysis using technology. As for installment lenders that do not fall under the scope of this regulation, this rule is an opportunity to increase their market share, Truong said.

Will the Rule See the Light Day or Be Shut Down?

Given the backlash the regulation received from payday lending industry players, Truong believes the regulation will go through a major revamp and might even get completely eliminated under the Republican-controlled Congress.

Since it is threatening to wipe out the majority of payday lenders, there is a real possibility the CFPB will do a major overhaul to the repay analysis requirement, which will significantly improve the ability of payday lenders to conduct their businesses. In fact, CFPB Director Mick Mulvaney recently sent a memo to his staff stating the bureau’s focus will be on  focus on ‘quantifiable and unavoidable harm to the consumer’ and the bureau ‘won’t go looking for excuses to bring lawsuit’. And the bureau has recently dropped more than one lawsuit against payday lenders, even online lenders, it had targeted before Mulvaney’s appointment.

Truong also believes the 30-day period clause will at least undergo some modification where the cooling off period will either be reduced or a sequence of loans after which the cooling off period will be triggered might be increased to three short-term loans or more.

The Future of Short-Term High-Interest Lending

Truong believes the CFPB, under Republican leadership, will try to bring a semblance of normalcy to the business environment. But if states step up regulatory action or start adopting new laws, or state attorneys general start suing payday lenders for compensation, it can prove to be extremely problematic for lenders, especially online lenders.

The payday loan industry had been relying on the Congressional Review Act to address payday rule inequities, but the chances of success seemed limited given the congested congressional calendar. The fact that the CFPB is reconsidering the rule and is open to amending it is a major relief for the industry.

Truong also believes that, in order to overturn the rule, the industry needs to play a pivotal role. In that endeavor, payday lenders (including online lenders) need to provide additional evidence and analysis to the CFPB. Only hard data will force the bureau to change its stance on the payday lending rule.

Who is Quyen Truong?

Established in 1876, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP is one of the oldest law firms in the U.S. Headquartered in New York City, the firm has nearly 300 lawyers.

Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP provides legal services to various financial institutions like investment banks, commercial banks, insurance and re-insurance companies, mutual funds, multinationals and foreign governments, industrial enterprises, and entrepreneurial ventures. Truong provides regulatory compliance counseling and defense for clients in highly regulated industries with a main focus on CFPB, FTC, and the DOJ. Prior to this, she served as additional director and deputy general counsel for CFPB and legal counsel at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

The firm has represented online lenders and Truong has personally represented clients in the payday lending industry. She has also represented investors in the industry.

Conclusion

The fact that the CFPB has revisited the rule making process means half the battle has already been won. Considering the political and legal complexities, online lenders still have a long road ahead of them. There is still a big question mark on which way the pendulum will swing, but expert advice from experienced law firms like Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP is a prudent investment for online lenders looking for protection from a regulatory crackdown.

Author:

Written with Heena Dhir.

Allen Taylor

Wednesday January 17 2018, Daily News Digest

European alt SME lending

News Comments Today’s main news: Wells Fargo is closing branches left and right. Repeal  of payday lending rule under consideration. Moody’s assigns provisional ratings to SoFi Professional Loan Program 2018-A-LLC. RateSetter leads in personal loans. Curve launches. Victory Park Capital looks overseas. Today’s main analysis: How Lendix blazes a trail in SME lending. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Why regulation is crucial. Wells […]

European alt SME lending

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Asia

Africa

Canada

News Summary

United States

Wells Fargo is getting more aggressive with branch closures (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Wells Fargo is charging toward its goal to cut over 800 branches by the end of 2020, it said in a presentation of its fourth quarter earnings on Friday.

 

Wells, which has been struggling to cut costs while it continues getting hit with legal fees following its various scandals, expects to save $4 billion as a result of the plan.
Source: Tearsheet

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau considering repeal of payday lending rule (NBC News), Rated: AAA

The bureau, which came under control of the Trump administration late last year, said in a statement Tuesday that it plans to take a second look at the payday lending rules. While the bureau did not submit a proposal to repeal the rules outright, the statement opens the door for the bureau to start the process of revising or even repealing the regulations. The bureau also said it would grant waivers to companies as the first sets of regulations going into effect later this year.

Moody’s assigns provisional ratings to SoFi Professional Loan Program 2018-A LLC (Moody’s), Rated: AAA

Moody’s Investors Service has assigned provisional ratings of (P)Aaa (sf) to Class A-1 Notes, the Class A-2A Notes and the Class A-2B Notes to be issued by SoFi Professional Loan Program 2018-A LLC (SoFi 2018-A). The collateral underlying the transaction consists of SoFi’s private student loans, which are loans the government does not guarantee. Our cumulative net loss expectation for SoFi 2018-A’s loan pool is approximately 2.0%.

Issuer: SoFi Professional Loan Program 2018-A LLC

  • $55,000,000 Floating Rate Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Class A-1 Notes, Assigned (P)Aaa (sf)
  • $358,500,000 Fixed Rate Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Class A-2A Notes, Assigned (P)Aaa (sf)
  • $236,800,000 Fixed Rate Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Class A-2B Notes, Assigned (P)Aaa (sf)

Magilla Loans Platform Surpasses $ 4.5B Loan Origination Milestone (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Magilla Loans, a search engine for loans that connects borrowers to banks without requesting personal information, announced it has surpassed $4.5 billion in aggregated loans from top banks across the U.S. The Magilla platform provides business owners with access to multiple financing options, including access to business, home and real estate loans.

UpLift Closes Financings of $ 90M (FINSMES), Rated: A

UpLift, a Sunnyvale, CA-based travel financing company, closed financings of $90m.

The company received:
– a $75m credit facility in partnership with funds managed by affiliates of Fortress Investment Group, and
– a $15m equity round which includes participation from previous investors including PAR Capital with Draper Nexus, Highgate Ventures, and former Expedia CEO Erik Blachford.

NextCapital does $ 30-million VC round with a staggering objective that’s taking shape first with John Hancock (RIABiz), Rated: A

The shoot-the-moon robo strategy of NextCapital Advisers Inc. is looking up now that John Hancock Financial Services Inc. has come out of pilot and State Street Global Advisors became a partner in going after RIAs.

The Chicago-based digital advisor, founded in 2013, announced it more than doubled its backing with $30 million of venture round led this time led by Oak HC/FT of Greenwich, Conn. See: NextCapital raises $16 million as its founder goes where Financial Engines’ 401(k) robo strategy didn’t.

All told, the firm has raised $54 million: Six million dollars in August 2014, $18 million in 2015 and, just recently, this $30-million round.

Borrowers in the Lone Star State Can Now Get a Better Mortgage (Digital Journal), Rated: A

Better Mortgage, a digital mortgage company focused on improving access to home financing for a new generation of homeowners, is now available to Texas homebuyers. Better will now be able to serve more than half of Americans who are looking to own or currently own a home. In 2017, Better expanded its footprint in major real estate markets around the country, with Texas being the latest licensed states.

Texas is Better’s 14th market. In 2018, they expect to continue their expansion, focusing on geographies that help first-time homebuyers invest in their communities by putting down roots.

Gary Lieberman of Laurel Road (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • The history of Darien Rowayton Bank.
  • Why Gary decided to buy this small community bank in 2010.
  • How the bank has grown since Gary took it over.
  • How student loan refinancing first got on his radar decades ago.
  • When DRB originated their first student loan.
  • The advantages of being a bank and a fintech platform.
  • Some of the affiliate partnerships DRB has.
  • Other verticals where DRB has offerings today.
  • Why DRB rebranded to Laurel Road in 2017.
  • The scale they are at today with student loan refinancing.
  • Their approach to securitization.
  • How their loans have been performing to date.
  • The profile of their typical borrower.
  • How they market their offerings.
  • What the future holds for Laurel Road.

Refinancing Student Loans Gets Mixed Report (247WallSt), Rated: A

More than 45 million Americans have borrowed $1.45 trillion in student loans to help pay for their post-secondary educations. Repaying those loans can be tough, especially if the loan amount is high and pay for the first job after graduation is low.

Student loan marketplace and refinancing website LendEDU has just released its second annual report on the state of the student loan refinancing market. Here are several highlights from the report:

  • Average credit score of an approved refinance applicant is 764.
  • Just over 58% of 2017 applications are denied.
  • The average interest rate on a refinanced loan is 5.56%. The average rate rose 74 basis points year over year from 4.82% in 2016.
  • The average size of a refinance loan was $66,453. The 2017 average was more than 23% higher year over year.
  • Less than half of approved applicants actually end up refinancing their loans. In 2016, just over 33% of all applicants completed the loan process.

Reliamax’s Michael VanErdewyk: ‘We’re seeing a move towards more private student loans’ (Tearsheet), Rated: A

With all the excitement around online lending, there are still some spaces that have a long growth runway. One of the most persuasive growth opportunities is private student lending. Macroeconomic and policy changes are contributing to the growth thesis but so too are the number of local lending institutions that want to move into this asset class.

Rising costs of higher education
The cost of education continues to increase and the number of kids in school isn’t declining. So, it’s a big opportunity. Really, we have to talk about the cost of education. The cost of higher education in the U.S. today costs over $400 billion a year. About 25 percent of that is free money (grants and scholarships). Another 25 percent is federal student loans. The remainder — about $200 billion a year — is really family contributions.

The focus on private student loans
If you look at the total outstanding student debt, there’s about $1.4 trillion in federal student loans and $100 billion in private student loans, comprising only about 7 percent of total outstanding student debt.

CreditVest starts crowdfunding advisory firm (BizJournals.com), Rated: B

Jon Mauro founded Realty Mentors with Andrea Humphrey, who is president and owner of CreditVest, to focus on individual investors who want to participate in commercial real estate crowdfunding.

Zelle is now running TV ads (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Zelle is spending “tens of millions” of dollars on a television ad campaign featuring spoken word artist Daveed Diggs.

Early Warning, the bank-owned consortium behind the peer-to-peer payments platform, aired the first ad Saturday during the National Football League’s divisional round of playoff games and will continue to run them alongside unifying cultural events like the Grammy Awards, the NBA All-Star Game and the Super Bowl pre-game show. They’ll also run during popular shows on Bravo, Comedy Central, The Discovery Channel, ESPN and MTV.

Zelle is trying to build some brand recognition for itself among its target audience, mobile users, in an effort to compete with Venmo.

An investing platform founded by a 25-year-old went free — and now it’s facing a backlash from its rivals (Business Insider), Rated: A

M1, which was founded by CEO Brian Barnes when he was 25, originally charged users 25 to 40 basis points to use its platform, which allows users to buy fractional stocks and invest in pre-built portfolios. In December, it decided to go free, and make money strictly on the backend, by selling flow to trading firms and lending out non-invested funds sitting in users’ accounts to banks. The company also plans to offer margin trading to its users.

Since going free in December, M1 has seen daily inflows hit as high as $1 million, and a 10-fold increase in the number of new accounts each day.

Still,  M1’s robo rivals aren’t convinced the strategy will work for the small company.

Tipalti Launches Payables Automation Partner Program (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Tipalti, the leading global payables automation platform, today announced the launch of its Partner Program, which will offer accounting firms, financial institutions, system integrators, ERP resellers/VARs, consultants, and partners who work with the office of the CFO, the ability for their clients to leverage Tipalti’s software to eliminate the friction, risk, and time spent on manual accounts payable operations.

Key Features of Tipalti’s Partner Program:

  • Training and support for partners as they assist their clients
  • Option to pass exclusive savings on to their clients
  • Option to receive income stream through revenue-sharing
  • Low-impact engagement with minimal investment by partner

STOCKHOLDER INSPECTION RIGHTS SURVIVE CHALLENGE IN DELAWARE (AllAboutAlpha), Rated: A

On December 29, 2017, the last business day of the expiring year, the Delaware Chancery Court, in a memorandum of opinion by Vice Chancellor Slights, upheld stockholders’ statutory books-and-records inspection rights against a defendant corporation that sought to invoke and considerably to widen the scope of the Delaware Supreme Court’s Corwin decision of 2015.

The significance of this is that Delaware, some impressions to the contrary, is not a corporate-management-always-wins state. It was not so before the Corwin decision, nor did that decision make it so.  That ought to be good news for activist investors and their counsel. There may be alpha, or at least leverage toward alpha, lurking in the right to inspect books and records.

United Kingdom

RateSetter leading the way for personal loans (RateCity), Rated: AAA

Interest rates for personal loans listed on RateCity range from as low as 3.57 per cent to as high as 48.00 per cent.

The average personal loan interest rate was 11.89 per cent at the end of December, according to an analysis of the dozens of lenders listed on RateCity.

RateSetter, a peer-to-peer lender, has a one-year unsecured personal loan with an advertised rate of 3.57 per cent and a comparison rate of 3.92 per cent.

Curve, the fintech that connects all your cards to a single card and app, gets full consumer launch (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Curve, the London fintech startup that offers a platform that lets you consolidate all your bank cards into a single Curve card and app to make it easier to manage your spending, is finally launching to U.K. consumers. Up until now, the service remained in beta and was only officially available to business users.

In a call with Curve founder and CEO Shachar Bialick, he described the consumer launch as a major milestone for the company, noting that 50,000 people have signed up to its waitlist, in addition to the 100,000 or so users who joined Curve in its beta phase. It’s free to join, although a premium version of the Curve card is also available for £50 that offers additional perks.

How P2P could be a financial lifeline for UK landowners (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: A

A recent study of 172 farms by the Prince’s Farm Resilience Programme found that just 16% made a profit from their farming activities over the period assessed. The analysis found that instead many farms are now reliant on alternative income streams to turn a profit, such as tourism, renewable energy and selling their products directly to consumers.

But moving into alternative areas of business requires capital. And – with the average farm in the study making a loss of more than £20,000 from its farming activities – it may be capital that landowners require to invest in their business to prevent a loss.

Folk2Folk champions local lending because we believe in creating financially and socially sustainable communities by matching local businesses with local lenders.

Robo advice platform citing AI and machine learning raises £562k on Crowdcube (AltFi), Rated: A

Marketsflow, a new digital wealth management platform closed its fully funded investment round via equity crowdfunding.

Initially looking to raise £210k, the fundraise has seen more than £562k of commitments from nearly 800 investors giving Marketsflow a pre-money valuation of £2.4m.

What we learned about fintech from some of the biggest brains at Clifford Chance (Legal Cheek), Rated: A

What kind of financial technology has come across your desk at Clifford Chance, then? (Here comes the educational bit.) Chapman identified four technologies driving change:

Marketplace lending: crowdfunding or peer to peer lending, with the potential for “disintermediation” of the financial institution that used act as middleman for loans.
Big data and AI: you might just have seen it in the newspapers. But it’s closer than you think: if you’ve applied for a credit card, according to Chapman, chances are that a machine took part of the decision on whether or not to approve you.
Mobile payments: forget branches, even internet banking on a web browser is old hat. Some banks, indeed, exist only as apps (I instantly thought of my Revolut app, which started out offering as a slick currency exchange platform, but is now offering credit).
Blockchain and distributed ledger: different things, but often used in combination. These are “the pieces of technology that underpin the Bitcoin phenomenon”. It’s not just media hype, either: Clifford Chance is “seeing a lot of work in this space”.

5 Top Alternative Investments in the UK (What Investment), Rated: B

1. Crowdfunding

Rather than rely on venture capital trusts and angel investors, many new businesses are using crowdfunding to get off the ground. In fact, UK platforms such as CrowdCube and Angels Den have raised over £72 million from investors this year.

5. Peer-to-peer lending

Peer-to-peer lending allows you to loan money to people through online platforms, without a bank. These agreements are arranged through peer-to-peer lending platforms such as Zopa, Prosper and Lending Works. These peer-to-peer companies are typically FCA regulated and they organise credit and ID checks as well as set interest rates, collect payments and pay your returns.

After PSD2 and GDPR, what Wayfinding Signs will guide visitors through an Open Bank? (LinkedIn), Rated: A

When branch banking was the mainstream method of service distribution in financial services, both a bank’s customers and potential business partners could follow clear signs that directed them where to go and who to contact. The first sign that a bank sent its customers and potential business partners was the geographic location of a bank branch.

One in four very-low income households are struggling to pay bills or debt, with 10 per cent spending more than a quarter of their salary on credit card repayments, a report has found.

Data from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) showed one-sixth of the poorest households in Britain were in arrears on repayments and bills.

A further 10 per cent were spending at least a quarter of their monthly income on unsecured debts, such as credit cards and payday loans.

China

‘Freedom at a Price’: Why Regulation Is Crucial to Fintech’s Future (Wharton), Rated: AAA

In recent years, financial technology, or fintech, has dramatically expanded financial inclusion in China and elsewhere in Asia. Small and midsized businesses that have been underserved by banks now have access to capital, as fintech enterprises use the internet and mobile technology to reach those borrowers; leverage data analytics to build credible and innovative risk profiles to gauge creditworthiness, and are able to scale their reach exponentially with 24/7 customer windows and without the baggage of fixed-cost overheads that typically shackle traditional banks. Not surprisingly, the unmet needs of the underserved have provided huge market potential for fintechs.

Credit China FinTech, which is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange as Chong Sing Holdings FinTech Group Ltd., or CSF, provides third party payments, online investment, technology-enabled lending, and traditional loans and financing services. Today, it has more than 51 million users who generated transactions worth RMB 868 billion ($130 billion) in the first half of 2017.

At the same time, both have proved massively popular in China which accounts for roughly half of the world’s digital payments and three-quarters of global, online P2P lending volume, according to Pricewaterhouse Coopers.

For one, default rates are higher than anticipated on peer-to-peer lending platforms. Also, instead of being disrupted by the fintechs, traditional banks have entered the peer-to-peer lending space to become the dominant players, he added.

China regulator says fintech must serve real economy (Finextra), Rated: A

Jiang Yang, vice chairman of China’s Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) was speaking at the Asian Financial Forum to an audience of fintech entrepreneurs. The development of fintechs should benefit the real economy and not “a small group of people”, he said in comments reported by the Nikkei Financial Review.

European Union

Lendix Raises €200 Million Institutional Financing to Trailblaze European Alternative SME Finance (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The European Investment Bank Group (EIB), CNP Assurances, Eiffel IM, Groupama, Zencap AM, Matmut and Decaux Frères Investissements are among the first investors joining to finance Lendix’s latest investment vehicle to fund unsecured loans to SMEs in France, Spain and Italy. New institutional investors from banks and asset management firms in Spain and Italy are joining. As of now, €120 million of the planned €200 million are already committed and the first loans from this fund will start rolling out as soon as February.

Source: Crowdfund Insider

As of December 2017, Lendix originated a cumulated worth of €143 million of SME loans, a 90% increase from 2016.

Online Lender Robo.Cash Shares Insight into Investor Activity (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Peer to peer lender Robo.cash has shared a “financial portrait of a Robo.cash investor.”

According to their results, investors from a younger age group, 18-24 years old, usually deposit circa €200 at a time and rarely withdrew  any funds. The maximum funding size is characteristic of the older age groups: the average deposit of investors of 35-44 years old is equal to €879 and for those who are older than 45 years old is €838.

Millennials of 25-34 years of age invest about €679 on average making frequent deposits in comparison to the younger age group.

Approaching energy crowdfunding with eyes wide open (YourIS.com), Rated: A

youris.com met Sissy Windisch, from the German company Green Crowding, who published a guide for new small investors, to allow them to make the best decisions. The document was released under the EU project CrowdFundRES.

This is a different kind of crowdfunding, unlike what platforms such as Kickstarter do?
With Kickstarter you donate money, so a comic book for example can be published, or you just want an artist to keep on creating art. Instead, the type of crowdfunding we are interested in is debt-based, which means that you get your money back plus interest. If you finance a solar roof on a school for five years, you get 3% every year and at the end of five years you get your money back.

Could you tell us more about debt-based crowdfunding?
Debt-based funding is already one of the largest types of crowdfunding. I would say one of the biggest areas in terms of funding volume at the moment is real estate. I think for 2016 alone the funding was estimated at around 3.5 billion dollars.

Why can’t the traditional financial institutions, such as banks or investment firms, offer these services?
What we’ve often seen, particularly for renewables, is that banks and other traditional financial institutions often look for large projects to invest in. They prefer investing in one 50-million wind park than in 500 small photovoltaic installations.

Swaper Offers One-Click Portfolio Investing (Benzinga), Rated: B

What does your company do? What unique problem does it solve?

Swaper CEO Peteris Kisis: Swaper is a loan marketplace offering an easy investing in pre-funded consumer loans originated by its parent company Wandoo Finance Group in Poland, Georgia, Spain, Denmark and Russia. All investments offered on our marketplace start from 12 percent annual interest and are BuyBack guaranteed, meaning Swaper will compensate investors both for the invested principal and accrued interest in case the borrower is late with payments.

International

Top backer of US subprime lenders eyes overseas opportunities (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Victory Park Capital, a Chicago-based investment firm, has been a vital source of debt capital for a string of online lenders, including Avant, Elevate and LendUp, all of which focus on borrowers in the subprime segment. Total commitments and investments come to about $6.5bn from more than 90 deals, mostly in the US.

The firm, which was founded 10 years ago, is seeking to add to a portfolio including zip Money in Australia, Kreditech in Germany and Oakam in the UK.

(The Merkle), Rated: A

Vitalik Buterin, the creator of the Ethereum Network, recently proposed a new method for decentralized fundraising called the “DAICO”. Incorporating elements of Decentralized Autonomous Organizations, or DAOs, the new model is designed to minimize the complexity and risk associated with ICOs.

Buterin outlined the new model in a post on the Ethereum Research Forum entitled “Explanation of DAICOs”. In the exposition, the Russian-Canadian programmer outlines a new model that integrates characteristics of DAOs into ICOs to create a new model he refers to as the “DAICO”.

Source: The Merkle
Asia

New Crypto Exchange and 1000 Percent Revenue Growth Could Make KPAY The Crypto Stock To Own In 2018 (Baystreet), Rated: AAA

The little-known Indonesian digital payments company KinerjaPay (KPAY) reported another blowout quarter in December with sales that topped the previous 3 month period by a whopping 1,100%!

Revenue and User-Base Growing Parabolically? +1100% in Q3

KinerjaPay is a digital payments platform in Indonesia and South Asia, and the company ha been growing at an astronomical rate in the last year. In the third fiscal quarter of 2017 ended September 30, 2017, the company posted quarterly transactional revenue of $1.76 million, an 1,183% increase over $149K in the second quarter.

User growth is accelerating as the company brings on more partners for digital payments and bill pay capabilities in a region of the world where a fraction of people have a bank account or credit/debit card. The rate at which KinerjaPay is adding customers grew 58% in the 3rd quarter; the company reported 10,962 new users compared to 6,904 new users in the same quarter of last year, demonstrating just how fast they’re adding users for a small emerging company.

Asian stocks bounce back, with Hang Seng closing at a record (MarketWatch), Rated: A

Asian equity markets on Tuesday found their footing after some initial softness, leaving Hong Kong’s benchmark at a record closing high.

The Hang Seng rose 1.8% to 31,904.75, topping the previous high set on Oct. 30, 2007.

Japanese stocks rebounded from Monday’s selloff, with a weaker yen helping the country’s exporters. The dollar gained 0.2% to ¥110.7200, pushing the Nikkei to finish up 1% at a fresh 26-year high.

Africa

Fintech startups took nearly a third of all African venture funding in 2017 (Quartz), Rated: AAA

Almost a third of funding raised by African startups in 2017 was in the fintech sector as investors bet on consumers turning to more formal financial services in a region where just 17% of the population have banking accounts. Venture funding for African startups jumped by 51% to $195 million in 2017, according to a report from Disrupt Africa.

The success of mobile money technology like M-Pesa in Kenya and across East Africa has long shown the potential for other underserved markets. M-Pesa’s success is likely also behind for the increasing presence of mobile networks in the African financial sector and the convergence of the two sectors (pdf page 11).

Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya remained the countries with highest funding raised, consistent with their record from previous years.

Canada

Still a market for short-term loans (Edmonton Journal), Rated: A

Payday loan licences in Alberta have fallen by more than one-quarter, to 165 from 230, and industry officials predict even more payday loan stores will be shuttering their doors this year.

Before then, rules around payday loans in Alberta allowed for the second-highest interest rates in Canada, with lenders being allowed to charge up to $23 for every $100 borrowed, up to a maximum of $1,500. Now, the rate is $15 per $100 — touted to be the lowest in Canada — and borrowers are allowed to repay the the loans in instalments over two months. Lenders are also no longer allowed to penalize customers for paying back loans early and must restrict the number of times a lender can make preauthorized withdrawals.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor