Wednesday June 27 2018 Daily News Digest

Bank of Amazon unbundling financial services

News Comments Today’s main news: Consumer debt surpasses mortgage debt. Funding Circle, INTRUST Bank expand partnership. Revolut offers app store for business banking. VPC Specialty Lending hits record monthly returns. Today’s main analysis: Amazon’s big push into lending, and beyond. Today’s thought-provoking articles: The past and future of banking. Should income investors consider P2P lending? Banks can’t partner themselves into […]

Bank of Amazon unbundling financial services

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United Kingdom

International

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News Summary

United States

Consumer Debt Now Surpasses Mortgage Debt (Investopedia) Rated: AAA

Mortgages may represent the largest debt for households, but as a percentage of disposable income, home loans are comprising less of a liability, LendingTree found.

In a research report, the online lender, which analyzed data from the Federal Reserve, said that mortgage-related household debt has declined 5.5%, while consumer credit, which includes revolving credit and installment loans, jumped 45%. Of that, 42% was student loan debt. What’s more, LendingTree found that American household debt is on track to hit $1 trillion above the 2008 peak by the end of June. The debt figure has been increasing at a 3.4% annual rate and includes mortgage debt.

By the end of the second quarter, LendingTree is forecasting total mortgage and consumer debt to reach $15.7 trillion compared with $14.7 trillion 10 years ago.

INTRUST Bank and Funding Circle expand partnership (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

Funding Circle, the small business loans platform, and INTRUST Bank, a leading US regional bank headquartered in Kansas, today announced the next phase of their strategic partnership to support the growth of US small businesses. Following the successful launch of this partnership earlier this year, the second phase increases INTRUST’s funding commitment and kicks off a targeted, co-branded marketing campaign, giving business owners across KansasMissouriOklahoma, and Arkansas greater access to fast and flexible financing.

To date, over 150 American small businesses have received loans backed by INTRUST through the Funding Circle platform. The upsized commitment is anticipated to increase this number above 500.

Amazon and Their Push Into Fintech (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

Last week CB Insights released this really interesting report titled, Everything You Need To Know About What Amazon Is Doing in Financial Services.

Source: Lend Academy

The report provides an in depth look at the moves Amazon has made in payments, lending, the new Amazon Cash program and also takes a look at how the company has been developing fintech programs internationally.

By the simple addition of a debit card, Amazon could move the unbanked into a quasi bank account that could be used at places beyond Amazon.

They have had a small business lending operation since 2011 and much fanfare was made about the $3 billion they have loaned through June 2017. But that doesn’t even put them in the top three online small business lenders in that time period. OnDeck, Kabbage and CAN Capital all loaned more.

To be fair Amazon is not trying to be a general purpose lender. Their SMB lending operation is targeted solely at Amazon marketplace sellers as a way to help them grow their business so they will sell more products on Amazon. It is not clear they have a desire to do more than that.

Source: CB Insights

The Banking Industry: Past and Future (The Motley Fool) Rated: AAA

INDUSTRY FOCUS // Financials // 06-25-2018

One of the big things that’s happened over the past 25 years is that the big banks have gotten bigger. We now have what are known as the Big Four banks in the U.S. — CitigroupBank of AmericaWells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase. All of those have grown substantially through acquisitions, not just from the financial crisis, which saw a lot of consolidation, but beforehand. Actually, three of the four were actually acquired themselves, and the acquiring companies just decided to keep the names because they were more recognizable.

Douglass: I believe that peer-to-peer lending will represent at least 25% of total lending spent in 25 years. Now, I only say 25%. For me, it’s very clear that peer-to-peer lending has become a lot more widespread and a lot more feasible than it was previously. I do expect the peer-to-peer lenders — or a bank, perhaps, who hops in — to help solve for one of the current difficulties, which essentially is poor underwriting by some of the peer-to-peer facilitators right now, meaning that the investors who are putting the money in aren’t making the kind of money that they’d hoped to — I believe those will ultimately be solved.

But, I only say 25% because banks have legitimately trillions of dollars to lend, and they will absolutely be looking for ways to deploy that capital effectively. So, I would expect that they will be helping facilitate a lot of these peer-to-peer loans. I believe they will be, in some cases, investing alongside. I think they will often invest in alone, and perhaps then sell it to peer-to-peer lenders for an arbitrage so that they can do it all again, sort of like you see with agency-backed mortgages.

Marcus Is Not Adding Credit Cards Products … Yet (Bank Innovation) Rated: A

Marcus, the consumer lending arm for Goldman Sachs, wants to become the one-stop shop for many of your financial matters, except for one: credit cards — at least for now. Right now, Marcus is heavily focused on launching a savings platform in the U.K. in the coming months, Talwar said. 

The challenges for a new ‘bank’ with a famous parent (American Banker) Rated: A

When JPMorgan Chase set out to make its digital-only brand Finn, it quickly rejected the idea of using it to lure millennial customers over to the institutional side of the bank.

Finn has also found that for the 27 states where JPMorgan Chase is part of a shared ATM network but has no ATMs or branches of its own, customers have difficulty depositing cash. While those same customers can still withdraw cash and often don’t carry money with them, customers that work for tips have a hard time keeping Finn as their main banking account.

Sharestates Launches New Loan Programs  (PR Newswire) Rated: A

Sharestates announced the launch of a Long-Term Portfolio Loan Program to facilitate the needs of borrowers throughout the life cycle of their real estate projects.

Some highlights of the Long-Term Portfolio Loan Program include 30 and 40-year mortgage terms, interest rates ranging from 5.99 to 7.5%, loans with a 10-year interest only period, followed by 20 or 30 years of amortization, as well as the ability to cover three or more properties under a single loan.

Venmo officially launches its own MasterCard-branded debit card (TechCrunch) Rated: A

Venmo today is officially introducing its own debit card in partnership with MasterCard, following beta tests of a Visa-branded debit card last year. The new card will allow Venmo users to pay anywhere MasterCard is accepted in the U.S., and will record transactions to the user’s Venmo account for easy splitting with friends. It can also be used at an ATM to withdraw funds from the Venmo’s account’s balance.

Unlike the beta version of the card, the MasterCard-branded Venmo card can be used to withdraw up to $400 per day at ATMs displaying the MasterCard, Cirrus, PULSE, or MoneyPass acceptance marks. No fees apply for U.S. MoneyPass ATMs, while the others will charge a $2.50 ATM domestic withdrawal fee.

There are no fees for using the card for purchases, even if you get cash back at the point of sale. However, if a signature is required to get cash back at a bank, you’ll pay a $3.00 Over the Counter Domestic Withdrawal Fee, the company says.

PayPal gets anti-fraud ability with $ 120m acquisition of Simility (Fintech Futures) Rated: A

Following on from its $400 million purchase of Hyperwallet on 20 June, it has now acquired fraud prevention and risk management platform Simility for $120 million.

Following the close of the deal, merchants on the PayPal platform will gain access to fraud tools that can be customised through their existing account management dashboard.

Crowd lending fintech raises more than $ 17M (American Banker) Rated: A

The crowd lending startup P2Binvestor has secured more than $17 million in funding from more than 20 participants to expand its bank partnership program, the company announced Thursday.

CrowdOut Capital Surpasses $ 100 Million in Loans to Middle Market Companies to Fuel Growth (Business Wire) Rated: A

CrowdOut Capital, the first tech-enabled online marketplace to fund corporate loans for middle market companies, announced it funded more than $112 million in loans in less than two years. Accredited investors choose from the company’s vetted loan offerings on a deal-by-deal basis.

CrowdOut funds loans as small as $3 million to companies with annual revenues between $10 – $500 million to fuel growth.

James Gutierrez of Insikt (Lend Academy) Rated: A

My next guest on the Lend Academy Podcast has spent his career doing just that. James Gutierrez is the CEO and Founder of Insikt. Since I last had James on the show a lot has changed but their mission is still to improve the financial health of the underserved consumer.

Banks can’t partner themselves into digital relevancy (American Banker) Rated: AAA

For banks, these partnerships won’t generate the quantum leap they need to move beyond a decades-old, product-centric mentality to deliver next-generation financial services that consumers deserve. At best, financial institutions may gain a workable solution that squats awkwardly in the existing infrastructure and brand. At worst, after a lot of time and effort — and increasing their infrastructure costs — banks will fail to deliver any noticeable difference to customers beyond a flurry of press releases.

StraightUp Announces Merger With Slice (PR Newswire) Rated: A

StraightUp, an innovative real estate-focused platform giving investors access to previously unavailable development opportunities, announced today a merger with Slice, the first blockchain-based REIT for investors around the world.

StraightUp was designed to democratize access to previously unattainable high-potential investment opportunities in New York City. As a result of merging with Slice, the new and improved platform will give international investors access to premium equity opportunities in desirable cities across the country, including New York CityLos Angeles and San Francisco.

Mobile app for underbanked looks to go national (American Banker) Rated: A

You could easily mistake Anne Leland Clark, a Twin Cities nonprofit executive, for a banker with with big, national ambitions as she discusses her organization’s digital platform for the underbanked.

The product, known as Fair Financial, launched in a pilot program this week to serve about 500 local customers over the next 18 months.

Majority of Americans Won’t Use a Credit Card to Pay for This Summer’s Vacation (Herald Courier) Rated: A

The survey of over 1,000 U.S. respondents, conducted by Affirm, found that Americans typically take their biggest vacations of the year over the summer, and cost is a major factor when planning travel.

55 percent of Americans said it’s very important to have the cost of the vacation paid off before going. The cost of a trip can linger even after the vacation is over: 32 percent of people said they regretted taking a vacation altogether.

House passes bill allowing telecom, utility payments in credit scores (American Banker) Rated: B

The legislation, authored by Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., is aimed at helping consumers, those in particularly lower-income and minority households, build their credit histories.

Under the bill, information about a consumer’s utility or telecommunications service may be reported only to the extent that the information relates to payment by the consumer for such service.

Depositing the Future (NullTX) Rated: A

What differentiates Depository Network from both of those companies/platforms is the fact that Depository Network is actually not a lending platform. Rather, it is a depository infrastructure that other P2P lending platforms, banks and credit institutions can utilize. Depository Network is the world’s first fully decentralized multi-platform collateral network that connects traditional lending and blockchain technology.

Invoice Factoring Edges Out Competition Among Short-Term Borrowing Options (PR Newswire) Rated: A

When a business needs to raise capital, the more short-term the borrowing options, the better. For every option, though, business owners must weigh the increased cash flow against the trade-off. Interstate Capital looked at a breakdown of options – from bank loans to savings – invoice factoring comes out on top.

AFR Announces Expanded Technology Offering (AFR Wholesale) Rated: B

American Financial Resources, Inc. (AFR) announces that it has completed a pilot and will now be providing its broker network with notification when a house for which AFR owns the servicing is listed for sale. This will enable AFR’s broker partners an opportunity to reconnect with the homeowner and, ideally, assist with their next mortgage, on both the relisted property as well as the borrower’s next home.

Wells Fargo revamps premium card to compete on rewards (Payments Source) Rated: B

Two years after JPMorgan Chase & Co. launched an arms race in credit-card rewards with its Sapphire Reserve card, Wells Fargo will now offer three points per dollar spent on dining, travel and streaming services such as Netflix on its Propel card. Other purchases will earn one point per dollar, and points are redeemable at one cent per point.

United Kingdom

Revolut Now Offers an App Store for Business Banking (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

Revolut, a digital only bank that says it is signing up over 120 businesses per day, has launched a new services for their business customers – Revolut Connect. This new feature is described as an “App store” for businesses to help provide easier access to digital tools.

With more than 60,000 businesses uses their bank now,  Revolut Connect is designed to help firms easily connect and build integrations for the most popular business apps, including accounting platforms like FreeAgent, communication tools like Slack, Apps to help with tax, payroll, expense management and more. Revolut adds that many more popular Apps are in the queue. Revolut wants to create a one stop mobile experience where businesses may manage all of their financial needs in a single mobile friendly application.

VPC Specialty Lending sees record monthly returns (AltFi News) Rated: AAA

The £289m VPC Specialty Lending investment trust has recorded its highest monthly return to date for May 2018, according to stock market filings.

Its net asset value [NAV] total return for the month of May, the latest numbers released by VPC, was 1.03 per cent for the month. Returns comprised 0.94 per cent of income gains and 0.09 per cent of capital gains.

Should Income Investors Consider P2P Lending? (Morningstar) Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer investment trusts now have around £1 billion of assets under management between them, but the jury is still out on whether or not they are worth backing.

P2P trusts launched four years ago as direct peer-to-peer lenders including Zopa and Funding Circle were fast gaining traction. The trusts promised exposure to hundreds, or even thousands, of different peer-to-peer loans, in return for a juicy dividend yield.

Majority of brokers’ biggest frustration is lenders changing their mind on a deal (Mortgage Introducer) Rated: A

Over half (56%) of brokers said the lenders changing their mind on a deal frustrates them the most about the specialist finance market, LendInvest found from surveying brokers at the NACFB Commercial Finance Expo in Birmingham.

A quarter (24%) identified the lack of good service as their main frustration. Rates not being good enough was an issue for 14% of those surveyed, while only 6% of those surveyed cited lack of choice as their biggest frustration.

Acceptance of robo advice on the rise (Financial Reporter) Rated: A

According to a recent poll carried out at the Intelliflo Change the Game conferences held in Manchester and London, robo-advice is now regarded as less of a threat to business for advisers than it has been in recent years.

Last year, both options gained equal top share in the poll (37% each of 315 respondents), while this year,’ robo-advice’ dropped to 25.5% (419 respondents), with ‘large product providers going direct’ down slightly but still the top concern at 32.5%.

A guide to liquid IFISAs (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

But the rising popularity of the secondary market and ‘instant access’ accounts have created enhanced liquidity for P2P investors. On an array of platforms, lenders can sign up for long-term loans before selling their stake to others, while some of the bigger platforms allow free or low-fee withdrawals.

We’ve put together a guide to all the platforms offering IFISAs with extra liquidity…

  • Ablrate
  • Abundance
  • Assetz Capital
  • CapitalRise
  • Crowd2Fund
  • Folk2Folk
  • Funding Circle
  • FundingSecure
  • HNW Lending
  • JustUs
  • Landbay
  • LandlordInvest
  • LendingCrowd
  • Lending Works
China

Chinese online lending platform Hui Ying Financial lowers US IPO deal size to $ 32 million (Nasdaq) Rated: AAA

Hui Ying Financial Holdings, which operates an online peer-to-peer lending platform in China, lowered the proposed deal size for its upcoming IPO on Tuesday.

The Shanghai, China-based company now plans to raise $32 million by offering 5.6 million shares at a price of $5.85. The company had previously filed to offer 6.8 million shares at the same price. Hui Ying Financial Holdings will raise -19% less in proceeds than previously anticipated and command a market value of $436 million. Shares are currently listed on the OTCQB under the symbol SFHD.

European Union

Raisin and Banco BNI Europa Deepen Collaboration (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

Fintechs Banco BNI Europa and Raisin have furthered the collaboration between the two firms. Banco BNI Europe says it has entered into a cooperation to allow Portuguese savers to gain access to the best savings rates available from across Europe.

International

Global Debt Registry Launches Decentralized Ledger for the Loan Market  (Payment Week), Rated: A

Global Debt Registry (“GDR”)today announced the launch of its loan registry designed to verify and provide transparency on loan data on the cloud-based IBM Blockchain Platform. All loan level collateral positions and verification activity will now be immutably recorded on the decentralized registry with highly secure permissioning and access controls to provide new levels of efficiency to the $400bn asset backed securities (ABS) market.

Mobilum Crypto Payment Processor Partners With EthicHub Crowdlending Platform (Bitcoin Exchange) Rated: B

Mobilum is a cryptocurrency enabled payment processing platform which allows for cryptocurrency payments in real time at points of sale via an already existing debit or credit cards of the customer and the issuer of the Mobilum token. Mobilum recently announced its partnership with EthicHub, an affiliation that is expected to bolster a mutual sharing of investment opportunities for users on both platforms.

EthicHub’s crowd lending projects have provided financial solutions for small projects especially those involving farmers in less economically disadvantaged parts of the world, an accomplishment for which it was awarded the Best financial inclusion project at LaBitConf in Bogota as well as the award of the “Start-up with the Greatest social impact” at Unconference Fintech Awards in Madrid, Spain.

Australia

Mortgage Choice partners with P2P lender (The Adviser) Rated: AAA

Mortgage Choice has announced that it has partnered with RateSetter in a move that would provide its 600 brokers with access to personal loans and green loans offered by the P2P lender.

RateSetter CEO Daniel Foggo claimed that the partnership was part of the lender’s plan to develop its broker relationships.

ING distribution boss joins RateSetter (Independent Financial Adviser) Rated: B

ING’s former head of third-party distribution, who led relationships with financial advice and mortgage broking networks, has left to join fintech peer-to-peer lender RateSetter.

India

All Financial Transactions on Faircent Conducted through Escrow Account (BW CI World) Rated: AAA

Faircent.com was the first platform in India to meet all guidelines prescribed by RBI and receive the NBFC-P2P certification in May, this year. This is a validation of the business model that we have painstakingly built over the last five years.

All financial transactions on our platform are undertaken through an escrow account under the trusteeship of ITSL (an IDBI Trusteeship Services Ltd). Borrowers are evaluated by our fully-automated credit evaluation mechanism across more than 400 data points to understand their ability, stability and intent to repay before they are listed on the platform.

Canada

Finastra to sell Canadian-based Collateral Management Corporation business to Teranet (Finastra) Rated: AAA

Finastra today announced that it has entered a definitive agreement to sell its Canadian-based Collateral Management Corporation (CMS) business to Teranet. The transaction is expected to close in July 2018, subject to required regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.

CMS will join Teranet as a new complementary line of business. Jointly, they will deliver enhanced, integrated solutions to a broad set of financial services customers, leveraging investments in technology, rich insightful data, and market leading electronic registry and workflow platforms.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday December 14 2017, Daily News Digest

online lender delinquency rates

News Comments Today’s main news: LexinFintech relaxes on IPO funding goal. Welendus exceeds Seedrs funding target. LendingTree provides 2018 guidance prior to Investor Day. Yirendai invests in Lion Rock. Mercer delivers financial advice with AI through Facebook Messenger. Today’s main analysis: Online lenders test the faith of investors. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Why Google, Amazon scare BlackRock, Fidelity. A new chapter […]

online lender delinquency rates

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

South America

News Summary

United States

Why Google and Amazon Keep Fidelity and BlackRock Up at Night (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

“Alexa…will I meet my retirement goal?”

“You are not on track to meet your retirement goal,” replies Amazon.com Inc.’s voice-activated digital assistant, with not a bit of sugar-coating. Then she suggests turning over $76 a month to Fidelity Investments and its advisers.

This won’t actually happen if you try it on your Amazon Alexa device at home. It’s a demonstration put on by EMoney Advisor LLC, a company owned by Fidelity, in its offices in Radnor, Pa. Amazon provides software for third-party developers to experiment with new functions. Fidelity is trying to find ways to apply artificial intelligence, computer algorithms, and voice-­recognition software to the hidebound world of money management and investing.

Earlier this year, Boston-based Acadian Asset Management LLC struck a deal so its portfolio managers could use Microsoft Corp.’s Bing Predicts, which makes forecasts using search and social media data, to help pick stocks; that agreement later ended.

BlackRock, led by chief executive officer Larry Fink, in recent years has been buying stakes in other companies, particularly technology firms. Through these purchases, the company is pushing into new lines of business.

Fidelity bought EMoney in 2015. It sells software to investment advisers that’s designed to make it easier to interact with their customers on budgeting for weddings, college, or retirement.

Online lending platforms test investors’ faith (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Tianqiao Chen still wants to be part of Lending Club. Last week, while shares in America’s biggest listed online lender were tumbling after another cut to profit forecasts, the chief executive of Shanda Group bought 4m more of them, further cementing his position as the company’s biggest shareholder.

Many operators are feeling the effects of a big push for market share in the latter half of 2015 and early months of 2016, says David Snitkof, chief analytics officer at Orchard. As the platforms rushed to offer new loans, credit quality suffered, and loans originated during that period are among the worst performers, with loss rates well ahead of projections.

Across the sector, valuations have fallen. Earnest, a San Francisco-based student loans specialist, sold itself in October to Navient, the loan-servicing company, for $155m, or about 40 per cent of its peak valuation. Personal lender Prosper, once a “unicorn”, saw its pricetag drop from a peak $1.9bn to $550m in a fundraising last month.

That meant platforms had to spend heavily to bring compliance and controls systems up to scratch. Lending Club’s latest quarterly filing, for example, shows it had $1.21 of operating expenses for every dollar of fee income over the first nine months — up from $1.03 at the same point two years ago.

LendingTree Introduces 2018 Guidance Ahead Of Investor Day (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Business Outlook – 2018

  • Revenue is anticipated to be in the range of $770 – $790 million, representing growth of 27% – 30% over the high-end of full-year 2017 guidance of $608 million.
  • Variable Marketing Margin is anticipated to be $270 – $280 million.
  • Adjusted EBITDA is anticipated to be in the range of $145 – $150 million, up 28% – 33% over the high-end of full-year 2017 guidance of $113 million.

The Analyst and Investor event is being hosted in New York at the Nasdaq MarketSite in Times Square.  The presentation will begin promptly at 10:30 a.m. ET.  A live audiocast with accompanying slides will be made available on the company’s investor relations website at investors.lendingtree.com.

 

Does the ICO Open a New Chapter for RE Crowdfunding? (Lexology), Rated: AAA

An ICO is simply the initial public sale of a new type of digital “coins”, or “cryptocurrency”.

Judging from the prolific way these new cryptocurrency ICOs are popping up, like mushrooms after a spring rain, one might imagine any clever techie could spin one up at the kitchen table with little more than an internet connection and some well-caffeinated daring-do. Yes, ICOs are easier than crowdfunding, they have that special “blockchain” cachet going for them, and the “regulators talons” have not yet sunk deep.

In a real-life example, on September 29, 2017, the SEC filed a civil complaint in federal district court against ICO promoter Maksim Zaslavskiy and two companies run by Mr. Zaslavskiy. According to the complaint, between July and October Mr. Zaslavskiy and his companies raised at least $300,000 in an ICO touting a new cryptocurrency called “REcoin” — “the first ever cryptocurrency backed by real estate.” According to the SEC complaint, Mr. Zaslavskiy and his companies have been peddling unregistered securities. Furthermore, the complaint alleges, the companies never had any real operations even though Mr. Zaslavskiy told investors in REcoin they could expect sizeable returns from those company’s operations; the securities he sold weren’t backed by any real estate or other assets as he claimed they were; and no “REcoin” digital tokens ever actually existed.

ICOs and Crowdfunding

Circling back to the original crowdfunding thesis, we should also expect this disruptive new technology to begin surfacing in even more impactful nextgen “killer apps” for commercial real estate investment. That’s right, real estate crowdfunding may actually make a comeback by dint of being co-opted into the blockspace. New-age real estate crowdfunding ecosystems are already forming; for instance, the Real Estate Asset Ledger (“REAL”) is one application currently being talked up as a real estate crowdfunding network built on blockchain infrastructure.

The Rise of the ICO (Coinlist), Rated: AAA

Zeus CrowdFunding Earns Top-Ten Ranking in Real Estate Crowdfunding Industry (PR.com), Rated: B

Zeus CrowdFunding earned high marks recently from an independent ranking and reviews portal. The Real-Estate Crowdfunding Review named Zeus CrowdFunding the #7 real estate crowdfunding site on the Web based on its “incredible volume” and other impressive advantages.

The ranking also lauded Zeus CrowdFunding’s low default rate and semi-liquidity option and guarantee and called the company “one of the few platforms offering conservative loans below 65% LTV.”

To read The Real-Estate Crowdfunding Review’s ranking and review of Zeus CrowdFunding, visit

Open Banking Trends Shift to US Market (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Open Banking is set to launch in Europe next month. As banks and fintech firms rush to ensure compliance we wanted to explore the effects on the US fintech market. Recently the CFPB set forth data sharing guidelines for banks and fintech firms to share information. There has since been a number of articles in the news pointing to frustration among fintech companies as banks have not been forthcoming with data sharing.

The current process is clumsy and requires consumers to login many times across many different services. This has also been something banks have complained about to agencies like the CFPB. Services such as Personal Capital and Mint constantly ping bank accounts for information that users have open access to. Setting up a similar initiative in the US could not only allow for a better experience but will undoubtedly be safer for the banks and fintech firms.

LendingUSA Secures $ 60m Credit Facility (Finsmes), Rated: A

LendingUSA, a Sherman Oaks, CA-based point-of-need financing company, secured a $60m credit facility.

The funding was provided by CapitalSource, a division of Pacific Western Bank, and a provider of commercial lending and banking solutions.

 

U.S. Fintech Simility Secures $ 17.5 Million During Latest Funding Round Led By Accel With Participation From PayPal (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Simility, a provider of machine learning–powered adaptive fraud prevention solution, today announced it has secured $17.5 million during its latest funding round. PayPal, Inc. also participated in the round as a new strategic investor along with existing investors The Valley Fund and Trinity Ventures.

First National Bank Plans Online SMB Lending Portal (PYMNTS), Rated: A

First National Bank and Trust Company is planning the launch of a digital small business lending portal and has tapped a partner to create the solution.

The financial institution (FI) said Tuesday (Dec. 12) that it is working with FinTech firm RCGILTNER Services to deploy the digital platform, which will launch in the first quarter of 2018.

Aspiration Taps $ 47 Million for Conscientious Banking (WSJ), Rated: A

Conscientious consumption and online banking services don’t typically go hand in hand. Andrei Cherny, co-founder and chief executive of Aspiration, aims to change that.

Aspiration, which offers online banking with optional fees and no penalties, provides its customers insights on how companies treat the environment and their employees, informing spending decisions.

Aspiration now boasts more than 200,000 account holders since launching in February 2015. On Tuesday, the Los Angeles company said it raised a $47 million Series B to further fuel its ambitions.

Will 2018 Be the Year of the Bank of Amazon? Experts Weigh In (Fortune), Rated: A

Payments

Matt Harris, Bain Capital Ventures: “SoftBank buys 20 percent of Stripe for $3 billion. PayPal continues to push itself down the path of being the leading financial services company for millennials and the mass market.” Dion Lisle, Capgemini SA: “‘Alexa, buy this’ or ‘Siri, I need an Uber, pay for it with my AmEx.’ Payments are going to be activated by that voice because that’s a great security method.”

Lending

Spencer Lazar, General Catalyst Partners: “Potential changes to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) under the Trump Administration will likely turn back the clock on Obama-era regulations on non-bank lenders. This will be a boon to startup lenders, making it far easier to dole out capital. The fear is that rates could potentially become predatory.”

Amazon vs. JPMorgan

Andy Weissman, Union Square Ventures: “Some combination of Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple, etc. will move deeper into online financing of small businesses.”

M&A

Tyler Sosin, Menlo Ventures: “Stripe and Adyen will merge, forming a $20 billion plus enterprise-value business and API-driven merchant processor.”

Funding

Charles Birnbaum, Bessemer Venture Partners: “Valuations in the alternative-lending space were overly optimistic in our opinion over the prior five years, but we do feel that the pendulum has likely swung back too far in the other direction following the recent pullback” leaving the sector ripe for potential funding or M&A.

Braviant Holdings Announces Launch of Chorus Credit Personal Loans (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Braviant Holdings, a leading fintech startup that offers analytics and technology-driven credit solutions for underserved Americans, is now offering personal loans up to $10,000 in Californiathrough its Chorus Credit online lending platform. Chorus will complement Braviant’s existing installment lending business, Balance Credit, by offering higher loan amounts at lower rates to the estimated 26% of California consumers who are underserved by traditional banks.

2017 YEAR-IN-REVIEW (Wunder Capital), Rated: A

In 2017, we increased our solar project pipeline by an order of magnitude. This is due in large part to more resources dedicated to pipeline development, advancements in our lending practice, and – at a macro level – a rapidly growing solar market and commercial sector.

Source: Wunder Capital

See the full report here.

Not “ripe,” says judge dismissing N.Y. fintech charter challenge (Banking Exchange), Rated: A

Yesterday U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald of the Southern District of New York dismissed one of those lawsuits, Vullo v. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. The judge dismissed the suit of the New York State Department of Financial Services, headed by Maria Vullo, against OCC on the grounds that the matter is not “ripe” for a decision on the legal ability of the Comptroller’s Office to issue such specialized charters.

Indeed, at the recent RegTech Enable conference in late November, OCC’s Beth Knickerbocker, chief innovation officer, characterized the proposal as “on hold.”

Why New York’s claim isn’t ripe

Judge Buchwald’s decision recapped the history of the proposal at length. Her decision came down to this sentence: “Claims are not ripe if they depend on the occurrence of contingent future event that may never occur at all.”

She pointed out that no injury would occur if OCC never issues such a charter to a fintech company.

Vanguard, the fund giant with nearly $ 5 trillion in assets, is using blockchain to underpin its mutual funds (Business Insider), Rated: A

Vanguard is moving to use blockchain to simplify how it updates index data underlying mutual funds, executives said on Monday, an important sign of confidence for the new financial technology.

Closely-held Vanguard, the top mutual fund firm with nearly $5 trillion under management, has successfully tested blockchain to automatically update data like the names and share prices of companies in index funds, processes that must currently be closely overseen by individuals, said Warren Pennington, a principal in Vanguard’s investment management group, in Pennsylvania.

UNOPPOSED MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE AMICIUS CURIAE BRIEF (U.S. District Court, D.C.), Rated: A

Further, to date, the parties have not raised an important argument that this Court should consider, namely, that restricting the President’s authority over the CFPB Director’s replacement only exacerbates the serious constitutional questions currently before the D.C. Circuit with respect to the CFPB’s structure. As CUNA explains, such questions could be avoided by adopting Defendants’ position in this case. Thus, CUNA’s perspective on the central issues in this case is invaluable and unrepresented by the parties.

Read the motion in full here.

(Coindesk), Rated: A

The startup revealed today that, through an existing partnership with MicroVentures, it will begin offering services to projects seek to use the blockchain funding model.

Specifically, accredited investors purchase Simple Agreements for Future Tokens (SAFTs), with the tokens set to be delivered at a later date. The mode has been used by a number of ICOs in recent months, and according to the page on MicroVentures, $915,000 has been raised from nine investors thus far in the new ICO.

Mastercard targets millennial clients with digital money management service (American Banker), Rated: B

The payments company today announced it is launching a new service called Assemble, which it calls a “prepaid innovation hub” designed to allow Mastercard partners or issuers to provide checking, budgeting, and payment features, as well as additional money management tools.

Longfin Corp. Becomes the First Public-listed FinTech Company Under Reg A+ on Nasdaq (GlobeNewswire), Rated: B

Longfin Corp. (NASDAQ: LFIN) announces that it will be traded on the Nasdaq market for the first day after its initial public offering (IPO) under Reg A+ closing on December 8, 2017.

U.S. News & World Report Names LendingPoint One of 2017’s Best Personal Loan Companies (BusinessWire), Rated: B

LendingPoint was named one of nation’s six best personal loan companies by U.S. News & World Report.

The media company evaluated personal loan companies in five key areas, reviewing data on eligibility, loan terms, fees, repayment methods and additional features. LendingPoint was cited as 2017’s top lender for people with fair to good credit, who have merit-based qualifications beyond FICO scores that make them worthy loan candidates.

Quesnay’s Female Founders in Tech Program Awards Goalsetter First Place (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Quesnay is pleased to announce that Goalsetter is the winner of the inaugural Female Founders in Tech, spotlighting female founders that positively impact the financial services and/or insurance technology industries.

The winners represented cutting-edge businesses that were also socially conscious:
– Goalsetter – Goalsetter is a goal-based savings and gifting platform, targeting millennials.
– Marinus Analytics – Marinus uses technologies to help identify and fight crimes like human trafficking and money laundering associated with it and other illicit activities
– LENDonate – LENDonate provides a marketplace lending platform for non-profits and supporters.

Approximately 100 women-led startups registered for the program with solutions ranging from artificial intelligence to blockchain to creative financial literacy and savings solutions. Seven finalists presented in New York to a panel of judges which included industry leaders from the sponsoring organizations: John HancockMassMutualRGAxSterling National BankTD Bank and Thomson Reuters.

 

United Kingdom

Welendus exceeds Seedrs fundraising target (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

WELENDUS, the peer-to-peer payday loan provider, has announced that its latest crowdfunding round on Seedrs has reached over 130 per cent of its target.

The firm had been seeking £150,000 but has already raised £197,991, according to Seedrs’ website.

Welendus said on Thursday that the funding round had attracted more than 250 investors.

Investec Provides U.K. Fintech With $ 67 Million for Online Loans (Bloomberg), Rated: A

London-based MarketInvoice, which arranges loans for small companies secured by accounts receivable, will handle the underwriting for Investec customers in the partnership, according to the bank’s website. Investec will provide 50 million pounds ($67 million) in the first year to fund the loans, Anil Stocker, the startup’s co-founder and chief executive officer, said in an interview.

The rise of the payday-style business loan (City A.M.),  Rated: A

British banks have been mired in criticism for not lending as much as they could.

Many businesses have meanwhile found that alternative lenders lack the data to provide products that are tailored to their needs.

Creative credit

Rate hikes typically result in an increase in lending profitability, and so the increase often stimulates the appetite to lend.

But an increased appetite to lend doesn’t always follow an increased ability to price risks on all loan applicants, and herein lays the risk: lenders become creative with the ways in which they entice borrowers and mitigate their risks.

These loans from mainstream lenders look like the payday loans that flooded the market in the height of the recession. They take minutes to apply for, turnaround is within one day, and command interest rates of up to 23 per cent APR – five times more than some personal loans.

Data shows increase in demand for alternative finance services (Londons School of Business Finance), Rated: A

The figures showed growth across the UK’s alternative finance market, including crowdfunding, invoice trading, and marketplace lending. The date found a year-on-year rise of 43 per cent in 2016 from £3.2 billion to £4.58 billion.

Business marketplace lending grew by 28.5 per cent from £881 million in 2015 to £1,232 million in 2016, placing it ahead of consumer marketplace lending, which previously had the biggest share.

LendInvest’s Latest Buy-to-Let Index Reveals: Manchester Tops Charts & Hull is Named Biggest Climber (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On Wednesday, specialist property lender LendInvest released its latest LendInvest Buy-to-Let Index report, which ranks all 105 postcode areas around England and Wales based ona combination of four metrics, which are capital gains, transaction volumes, rental yields, and rental price growth.

The Index report’s key findings include:

  • Manchester, leader of the Northern Powerhouse, takes top spot
  • Leicester breaks into the Top 10 and Birmingham climbs 8 places from #18 to #11, signaling upward mobility in the Midlands markets
  • Hull marks itself as biggest climber for 2017, rising 93 places to #6
  • Enfield tumbles from Top 10 in February to Bottom 10 in December
Source: LendInvest

Download the full report here.

One in two advisers ‘fire’ clients with less than £50,000 (Money Observer), Rated: A

Those with pot sizes of less than £50,000 are increasingly being turned away by their financial adviser. In 2014 just under a quarter of clients were shown the door, whereas in 2017 this figure rose to 50 per cent.

Artificial intelligence is guiding venture capital to start-ups (Financial Times), Rated: A

Mr Bonanzinga thought he could combine internet data and machine learning to do a better job of ferreting out prospects. It took two years and £5m in investment for InReach Ventures to create the software, which has so far trawled through 95,000 European start-ups, picking out 2,000 that Mr Bonanzinga might be interested in.

The software determines this based on the people they are hiring, the products they are developing and the traffic on their website, among other things.

Tifosy: The sports crowdfunding platform that wants to help small teams grow and big teams reconnect with fans (City A.M.), Rated: B

The company has already partnered with 15 clubs in England and Italy, raising £2.9m from “fanfunders” for a variety of different projects.

So rather than owners selling equity stakes to unfamiliar outside investors, crowdfunding solutions such as mini-bonds or equity shares have emerged as alternative solutions to many sports franchises.

Top-flight rugby clubs Harlequins and Wasps raised £15m and £35m respectively by issuing their own bonds, while Surrey County Cricket club raised £5m in seven days in 2015.

China

Chinese Online Lender LexinFintech Shrinks U.S. IPO Fundraising Goal (WSJ), Rated: AAA

LexinFintech Holdings Ltd., a Chinese online lender that is planning to go public in the U.S., scaled back its fundraising ambitions after regulatory changes in China sparked a rout in shares of similar companies.

Lexin, a four-year-old company whose backers include Chinese online-retail giant JD.com Inc., is planning to raise $120 million in an initial public offering, according to a Wednesday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

JD.com-backed micro lender slashes IPO by 70pc after China’s internet finance crackdown (SCMP), Rated: A

Lexin Fintech plans to offer 12 million American depositary shares at an indicative price range of US$9 to US$11 a share, raising as much as US$132 million, the company said in an updated filing on Thursday to the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

The fundraising value is sharply down from an originally planned US$500 million, as mentioned in the IPO prospectus issued last month.

Noncompliant P2P Lenders to Be Out by Mid-2018 (Caixin), Rated: AAA

Local banking regulators have until the end of June to weed out noncompliant peer-to-peer (P2P) lenders, according to a circular issued by a special working group led by the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC).

Yirendai Announces Strategic Investment in Lion Rock (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Yirendai Ltd. (NYSE: YRD) (“Yirendai” or the “Company”), a leading fintech company in China, announced today that it has made a strategic investment in Lion Rock, a comprehensive financial services platform that is focused on global asset allocation, through Lion Rock’s Series A financing of HK$50 million.

Lion Rock is headquartered in Hong Kong and offers a wide-variety of high-quality financial products, financial news, robo-advisory services as well as asset allocation services through its online platform.

Hong Kong Fintech Start-Up Lion Rock Raises $ 6.4M Led By Marathon Venture (China Money Network), Rated: A

Lion Rock FinTech Ltd., a Hong Kong-based fintech company, has raised HK$50 million (US$6.4 million) in an equity financing led by Marathon Venture Partners.

In addition, 9F Inc., the strategic investor who backed Lion Rock’s last round of financing, continued to invest in this round.

European Union

The Culture of p2p Investors Across the EU (FastInvest), Rated: AAA

FastInvest, a p2p fintech platform, recently studied data from over 8500 EU investors daily and came across a really unexpected finding. Highly specific traits and behaviors were driven by nationality over and above other individual factors when looking at big data.

From traditional investment metrics like risk aversion, to outside the box items like nationalistic tendencies and compulsive behaviors.  Across numerous areas, national cultural traits could be seen solely based on country to country locales.

Source: FastInvest

Poland
Even with the EU offering a bit of a more stable currency, only 1.76% of residents prefer to invest in Euro based currency loans.

Belgium
Only 2.20% of Belgian investors choose PLN (Polish) currency based loans as opposed to their own Euro.

Germany
Germans appear to be the most open minded of EU countries, with 15.73% making investments in PLN currency.

Netherlands
The Netherlands followed behind Germany in diverting from the euro, with 9.08% of investors choosing PLN based loans.

Download the full report here.

iZettle Grabs $ 47M Additional Funding, Eyes Market Expansion (PYMNTS), Rated: A

iZettle has grabbed €40 million in funding (the equivalent of $47 million) that the Stockholm-based payments firm will use to expand into new markets.

International

Disruptive Startup, Etherecash, Concludes ICO Ahead Of Schedule (Coinidol), Rated: B

Etherecash is one step closer to actualizing its vision of bridging the financial divide between the banked and the unbanked with the successful conclusion of its ICO ahead of schedule. The ICO is now scheduled to finish on 12th Dec 6:29 PM (GMT) after four impressive bonus rounds that outperformed expectations.

With over $30 million raised and 45000 registered participants, Etherecashcan now set its sight on eliminating traditional borders, intermediaries and prejudices in the way money is lent, spent, and sent.

Australia/New Zealand

MERCER LAUNCHES SUPERBOT, ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE DELIVERING FINANCIAL ADVICE VIA FACEBOOK MESSENGER (Mercer), Rated: AAA

Australia’s 17 million active Facebook users spend on average 1.4 hours a day liking, commenting and sharing stories with family and friends. Moreover, with roughly 17% of the earth’s population being active users of Facebook Messenger, there is irony in the fact that the smartphone generation is spending more time engaging on Facebook rather than thinking about their future financial readiness.

Accessed through Facebook Messenger, SuperBot represents the ultimate opportunity to scale financial advice across a very large proportion of the population.

Non-bank lenders lift profit 10% in 2017 (NBR), Rated: A

Eighteen of the 25 participants in the KPMG non-bank financial institutions performance survey posted increased earnings in 2017, generating a total net profit of $216.7 million, up from $196.6 million a year earlier. Total assets grew 12 percent to $10.96 billion, with lending boosted by the nation’s strong demand for new vehicles and several non-bank institutions testing the waters in the mortgage space as the major banks become more reticent in some of their credit criteria.

HNWI financial advice demand falls (Financial Standard), Rated: A

The use of financial advice among high-net-worth investors (HNWI) has fallen to a five-year low, according to the insights, which show 435,000 millionaires own more than $1 million of investable assets.

Almost 75% of HNWIs relied on the expertise of a financial advice professional in 2013 – but this has declined to 68% in 2017.

Credit Suisse found the number of Australian millionaires rose by 200,000 in the year to June, marking the third-largest increase after the US and Germany in its global wealth ranking.

CCR to help business financing (InvestorDaily), Rated: B

Indeed, interest rates on small business loans have “remained relatively high” due to a lack of competition – leaving banks as the major provider of lending to small businesses (80 per cent).

But a CCR regime would offer lenders more information about potential borrowers’ credit history than just negative credit information, as per the current standard.

The Australian government has determined a mandatory credit reporting regime to come into effect in July 2018, but a number of financial institutions such as NAB have already announced it will roll out such a regime.

Other forms of accessing finance for smaller firms or entrepreneur were large technology firms and alternative financing platforms, such as marketplace lending and crowdfunding, he added.

India

Online loans marketplace FinBucket gets funding from Impanix Capital (VC Circle), Rated: A

FinBucket Pvt. Ltd, which runs an eponymous online marketplace for loans and investments, has raised Rs 12 crore ($1.8 million) from Delhi-based early-stage venture capital firm Impanix Capital.

The startup plans to use the funds to increase its staff strength to 200 and expand operations.

‘Fintech can help assess credit score ’ (The Hindu), Rated: A

Financial technology firms that generate credit scores based on digital footprints of individuals will have a major role to play as banks begin to focus on lending to first generation customers who do not have credit history, former Deputy Governor of Reserve Bank of India H.R. Khan said here on Wednesday.

Fintech startup CapitaWorld raises funding (VC Circle), Rated: B

Mumbai-based fintech startup CapitaWorld Platform Pvt. Ltd has raised an undisclosed amount through convertible equity from high-net-worth individuals, corporate honchos and investors from Hong Kong and the Middle East.

The investors who participated in the latest round include former chief executive of Indian Banks’ Association Mohan Tanksale, Swift India CEO Kiran Shetty, Madhu Silica’s managing director Darshak Shah and former JP Morgan executive Mandar Mhatre, the startup said in a statement.

Asia

BHSI Launches Financial Institution Professional Indemnity Insurance in Asia (Insurance Journal), Rated: A

Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Co. (BHSI) announced it has introduced Financial Institution Professional Indemnity (FIPI) insurance in Asia.

The new BHSI policy is designed to cover a range of claims, from allegations of failure to disclose information, to misleading financial advice and breach of contracts, the company said in a statement. The policy combines coverage for civil liability, pre-investigations, mitigation expenses, bail bond costs, court attendance, loss of documents, and more.

The policy is designed for medium to large financial institutions, including securities dealers, regional banks, insurance companies, reinsurance companies, diversified institutions, and financial technology (fintech) and corporate advisory firms.

South America

Brazilian fintech Nubank starts international tech talent hunt (ZDNet), Rated: B

Brazilian fintech Nubank has launched an engineering center in Berlin as part of a plan to boost its software engineering function internationally.

Nubank has expatriated four of its engineers to Berlin to kickstart the European operations. It has also already started to hire local experts such as Gavin Bell, a senior engineer who previously managed the core data infrastructure platform at Soundcloud.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor