Thursday August 8 2019, Weekly News Digest

LendingClub

News Comments Today’s main news: Funding Circle debuts U.S. ABS platform for small biz loans. LendingClub to pursue national bank charter, reports Q2 losses. SoFi sues unnamed defendants over Consumer Loan Program 2015 Trust. DigiFi launches first open-source loan origination system. BlockFi raises $18.3M for crypto lending. Funding Circle posts higher revenues, bigger pre-tax losses. […]

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News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

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News Summary

United States

Funding Circle debuts ABS platform for U.S. small-business loans (Asset Securitization Report), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle is securitizing its first pool of U.S.-based small business loans.

According to Kroll Bond Rating Agency, the online business-loan lender is marketing $198.45 million in notes backed by loans made to small- and medium-sized businesses in the U.S. Funding Circle has previously issued notes for asset-backed pools of small-business loans in its native UK.

The transaction consists of four classes of notes, including a $142.8 million Class A tranche with an initial A- rating from Kroll, and benefiting from 32.5% credit enhancement.

LendingClub Discusses National Bank Charter, GreenSky Exploring Sale (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

A topic that has been coming up more often is the potential of a national bank charter. Last week we learned that small business lender OnDeck was pursuing a charter and LendingClub is doing the same.

Today LendingClub reported their Q2 2019 earnings. Highlights include record loan originations of $3.1 billion, up 11% from the prior year period and record net revenue of $190.8 million, up 8% year over year.

Source: LendingClub and LendAcademy

GreenSky Q2 2019 Earnings

David Zalik, GreenSky Chairman and CEO included this statement in the press release:

Notwithstanding the Company’s solid operating results, in light of the complexity of the Company’s operating model, we do not believe that the Company’s current market value is reflective of the Company’s strong record of cash flow generation and intrinsic value. Accordingly, GreenSky’s Board of Directors, working together with its senior management team and legal and financial advisors, has commenced a process to explore, review and evaluate a range of potential strategic alternatives focused on maximizing stockholder value. In connection with this review, GreenSky has retained FTP Securities LLC (“FT Partners”) and J.P. Morgan Securities LLC as its financial advisors, and Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP and Troutman Sanders LLP as its legal advisors.

The news sparked Christopher Donat, an analyst Sandler O’Neill to speculate that Square or Goldman Sachs could be potential buyers according to this article in American Banker.

LendingClub envisions a ‘marketplace bank,’ seeks charter (Bank Innovation), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lending platform LendingClub is exploring the possibility of obtaining a national bank charter as it adjusts its strategy following a $10.6 million loss in the second quarter.

Digital Banking: LendingClub Gets Some Fintech Love as it Pursues National Bank Charter (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Shares in LendingClub (NYSE:LC) are rising during another down market day as the trade war with China has no end in sight and political tempers flare. Shares are currently trading over 10% higher following yesterday’s Q2 earnings report where LendingClub said it expected to finally report a positive net incoming in Q3 following years of losses.

Second, LendingClub has hardened its lending model with years of fine-tuning. Unlike some other digital-only banks, LendingClub has been providing credit to consumers for more than a decade having originated over $50 billion in loans.

LendingClub Logs Lower-Than-Expected Losses (PYMNTS), Rated: A

By the numbers, net loss came in at $10.66 million or $0.12 per share — a lower loss than last year when Lending Club reported a loss of $60.86 million or $0.72 per share. Adjusted loss per share narrowed to $0.01 from $0.08 a year earlier.

Net revenue increased 8 percent from year-ago revenues of $176.98 million in 2018 to $190.8 million in 2019, driven by the higher volume of loan originations Sanborn mentioned.  Loan originations during the quarter were at $3.1 billion, up 11 percent year over year. While the revenue number is an improvement, it came in very, very slightly below analysts’ estimates.

LendingClub posts smaller-than-expected loss on loan originations (Nasdaq), Rated: A

LendingClub said it now expects smaller loss for the year than it had previously forecast. Adjusted net loss is expected to be between $5 million and $20 million, from $9 million to $29 million.

P2P lender LendingClub increases credit access with Select Plus Platform (Verdict), Rated: B

LendingClub, a US-based P2P lending platform, has introduced the Select Plus Platform to offer borrowers access to sophisticated investors.

LendingClub: America Does Not Need Another Credit Card, Apple Card Spells Disaster for Consumers (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Apple Card, a “new kind of credit card” launched by Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) in partnership with Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) is expected to be made available to the public within the next few days. In fact, it has been reported that invitation emails have already gone out to a small group of iPhone owners. More will follow during August.

One detractor is LendingClub.

Anuj Nayar: Americans don’t need another credit card. They need the right tools to help them build their financial futures and pay down debt without the opportunity to accumulate more at high-interest rates. Goldman Sachs tried to pursue building a helpful consumer tool with Marcus but now has slipped back into its old ways, looking to make money by getting consumers hooked on revolving, high-interest debt on Apple’s credit card.

Court activity on July 12: Sofi Lending Corp. vs Jaime Daric (Northern California Record), Rated: AAA

The Superior Court of California for San Francisco County reported the following activity in the suit brought by Sofi Lending Corp. against Jaime Daric and other unnamed defendants on July 12: ‘Declaration Of Non Service (transaction Id # 63543270) Filed By Plaintiff Sofi Lending Corp., As Attorney In Fact For Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, Trustee Of Sofi Consumer Loan Program 2015 Trust’

Rate cuts (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

This week, we discuss the Fed rate cut to the 2 to 2.5% target range, and provide market color on OnDeck earnings.

Fun fact #1: It has been 3,878 days (10.5+ years) since the FOMC last cut rates.

This is the second longest streak on record behind the 4,115 days that passed between cuts in the discount rate since 1954. Markets are speculating on additional rate cuts before year-end although Fed Chair Powell positioned the rate cut as an “adjustment” rather than a change in trend.

Source: Chicago Fed PeerIQ

DigiFi Launches the World’s First Open-Source Loan Origination System (Markets Insider), Rated: AAA

DigiFi, an enterprise SaaS company building the future of lending technology, announced today the launch of its open-source loan origination system (LOS). The free-to-use platform, which was built over 45,000+ development hours and has been operating in-market with top lenders since late 2018, provides an end-to-end suite of modular capabilities that can be used individually or together to drive digital transformation.

DigiFi’s open source release underscores the lending industry’s dissatisfaction with the closed-loop systems available from existing LOS providers, which force lenders into onerous long-term contracts for inflexible systems.

Bitcoin and Ether Lender BlockFi Raises $ 18.3 Million Series A (CoinDesk), Rated: AAA

Crypto lending startup BlockFi received $18.3 million in a Series A funding round led by Valar Ventures, the company announced Tuesday.

Valar, which was founded in part by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, was joined by Winklevoss Capital, Galaxy DigitalConsenSys, Akuna Capital, Susquehanna, CMT Digital, Morgan Creek, Avon Ventures and PJC. Valar’s investment was its first in the cryptocurrency industry following prior investments in other fintech firms like Transferwise, a press release said.

Want to Hire Millennials? Better Help Repay Student Debt (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Like millions of her peers, Nicole Read graduated with thousands of dollars of debt. Unlike most of them, she’s getting direct help from her employer to pay it back.

In Read’s case, it’s $100 a month.
Such plans are spreading. They were on offer to staff at about 8% of U.S. employers in 2019, more than double the 2015 level, according to an April survey by the Society for Human Resource Management.

Another study by business adviser Willis Towers Watson found that 32% of firms are considering introducing a similar benefit by 2021.

Source: Bloomberg

Verishop Inc. is excited to announce a partnership with financial technology company Affirm Inc., giving customers more choice at checkout to pay for their purchases over time.

To see if they qualify, customers only need to provide five simple pieces of information2 and a credit decision is made within seconds. Monthly payments are shown in real dollars instead of hard-to-calculate percentages so customers will know exactly what they owe with no hidden or late fees. Customers never pay a dollar more than they agree to at checkout. The pay-over-time option is available for purchases ranging from $50 to $17,500 with a 30-day payment deferral available for smaller amounts.

Klarna offers payment installments to Toms, Asos US customers (Retail Dive), Rated: B

  • Klarna, an alternative payment platform, announced Monday that Asos shoppers in the United States will now be able to use its services, according to a press release. The announcement comes after Klarna also publicized its partnership with Toms on Thursday.

Lendio Surpasses $ 1.5 Billion in Small Business Loans Facilitated (Lendio), Rated: A

Lendio today announced it has facilitated more than $1.5 billion in financing to small businesses across the U.S.

According to the Federal Reserve Banks’ 2019 Small Business Credit Survey, “applications to online lenders continued to trend upward” last year, with 32% of applicants turning to online lenders, up from 24% the previous year.

Lendio’s 15-minute online application gives business owners access to multiple lenders with offers suited to meet their capital and business needs.

Behind the growth of PayPal’s SMB lending business (Tearsheet), Rated: A

In just a few years, PayPal’s business financing solutions has serviced over 225,000 small businesses around the world with funding. Between PayPal Working Capital and PayPal Business Loans, the company has recently surpassed $10 billion of capital it’s leant out to SMBs

Online lender backed by Nas says it was hit by security breach (New York Post), Rated: A

Earnin, which is also backed by tech investor Andreesen Horowitz, discovered in February that a third-party security firm had accessed customers’ bank transactions — including all their debit card purchases and payment statements going back for months, the company confirmed to The Post.

Small Business Loan Approvals at Banks Hit Record Highs (GlobeNewswire), Rated: A

Approval rates for small business loan applications rose to another post-recession record (27.7%) at big banks ($10 billion+ in assets), while also climbing above 50% at small banks in July, according to the Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index released today.

Small bank approvals of small business loan applications inched up one-tenth of a percent to 50.1% from 50% in June.

Small business loan approval rates among alternative lenders dropped three-tenths of a percent to 56.8% from 57.1% in June.

What business does a crowdfunding fintech have with banks? (American Banker), Rated: A

Krista Morgan, the founder and CEO of the crowdfunding fintech P2Binvestor, always understood that funding small-business loans through investors would be challenging. But when the firm launched in 2014, she quickly recognized it wasn’t lining up the investors or capital that was the difficulty.

“Finding capital through our investor platform has been relatively straightforward,” she said. “Finding businesses and winning the business and being competitive in market and building the technology that supports the lending has been the harder side of the marketplace.”

Fox Corp. Buys 67% Stake In Consumer Loan Marketplace Credible Labs (Stock News Press), Rated: A

Citing reports, as per the terms of the deal, the shareholders of Credible Labs will reportedly receive A$ 2.21 in cash per CHESS depository interest (CDI), representing A$55.25 per share of common stock of the company.

Fox says it will commit up to $USD 75 million ($AUD110.8 million) of growth capital to Credible over the next two years.

Cross River — A Regional Bank Providing Specialized BaaS Services (Tearsheet), Rated: A

  • Who we spoke to: Gilles Gade (Founder and CEO) and Phil Goldfeder (SVP and Communications)
  • Establishment year: 2008
  • Bank license: Yes
  • API documentation

Al Goldstein of Avant and Amount (Lend Academy), Rated: A

We last had Al Goldstein, the CEO and Chairman of Avant and Amount, on the show back in 2015. So much has changed since then not just in the personal loan space but in the banking space as well. And Avant has evolved to meet those challenges.

Mall landlords weigh becoming lenders to blunt retail crash (American Banker), Rated: A

Mall landlords accustomed to offering rent reductions to ailing retailers are mulling a new strategy to forestall the industry’s collapse: positioning themselves as lenders to tenants struggling to stay afloat.

The boutique bank PJ Solomon has organized discussions with several mall owners about pursuing such a strategy with the troubled retailer Forever 21, according to people with knowledge of the matter, in what could serve as a model for future transactions within the sector.

This woman paid off ,000 in credit-card debt with a personal loan, but her first attempt landed her in the red again (MarketWatch), Rated: A

Rogers is far from the only person to have used this debt-consolidation strategy with success. At the end of 2018, nearly 11% of adults in the U.S. held a personal loan, according to data from ExperianEXPN, +1.84%.   The number of personal loans has risen 42% since 2015, making them the fastest-growing category of debt in the country.

Around 61% of personal loans are used for debt consolidation, said Ezra Becker, senior vice president of research and consulting at TransUnion.

An update on credit access and the Bureau’s first No-Action Letter (CFPB), Rated: AAA

For some consumers, the use of unconventional sources of information, or “alternative data,” to evaluate creditworthiness may be a way to increase access to credit or decrease the cost of credit. Alternative data includes information not typically found in core credit files of nationwide consumer reporting agencies and may indicate a likelihood of meeting obligations on time that a traditional credit history may not reflect.

The Bureau remains committed to using all of the tools at its disposal under the Dodd-Frank Act to help address these important issues around access to credit.  Toward that goal, the Bureau is currently reviewing comments to its proposed No-Action Letter, Trial Disclosure, and Product Sandbox policies.

Don’t let AI trigger a fair-lending violation (American Banker), Rated: A

The use of artificial intelligence and machine learning poses both opportunities and risks for financial institutions.

While using such predictive techniques may mitigate consumer lending credit risk, financial institutions should be cognizant of the potential impacts of bias and its implications on fairness.

Peer-to-peer crypto lending startup Dharma pauses new deposits and loans (The Block Crypto), Rated: A

Dharma, the San Francisco-based crypto lending startup behind the open-source protocol of the same name, has announced via Twitter that it is “pausing new deposits and loans” on its platform.

I quit my job at 34 with $ 3 million—here are my 5 biggest regrets about early retirement (CNBC), Rated: AAA

And in 2012, I finally retired at 34. By the time I quit my job, I had amassed a net worth of about $3 million that generated roughly $80,000 in investment income per year.

If I worked a few extra years before retiring, I would have had the financial confidence to buy more real estate in 2012, right before prices began to take off. (A rental property in San Francisco that cost $900,000 in 2012 would be worth roughly $1.6 million today.)

Source: Bay Area Market Reports, Compass

I also could have leveraged my interests in real estate and technology to start a real estate crowdfunding company — or, at the very least, join one. I still believe that real estate is one of the most straightforward ways most Americans can build wealth over the long term.

OppLoans Review: Installment Loans for Borrowers with Bad Credit (Money Check), Rated: A

One such lender that is looking to capitalize on this space is OppLoans. The US-based lender offers loans to those with poor credit, ranging from $500 up to $5,000.

Galaxy Digital Makes Its Next Move in Crypto Lending Markets (Bitcoin Magazine), Rated: B

DrawBridge Lending (DBL), a digital asset loaning, borrowing and investing company, has received an investment from merchant bank Galaxy Digital with the aim to greatly expand DBL’s institutional investment and lending capacity.

Minneapolis-based Digital Finance Startup DeFiner.org Wins 2019 Detroit Fintech Challenge (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

Less than two years after being conceptualized, Minneapolis-based digital lending & borrowing platform DeFiner.org has beat out 17 other Fintech startups to win one of the industry’s most coveted prizes.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle adds to August ABS supply with first US deal (GlobalCapital), Rated: AAA

UK-based marketplace lender Funding Circle is set to issue its first US securitization, a $198.45m deal backed by loans made to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Funding Circle posts higher revenues but pre-tax losses widen (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

FUNDING Circle has increased its revenues but widened its pre-tax losses, according to a half-year report which echoed last month’s results preview.

The FTSE 250-quoted firm posted a 29 per cent jump in revenue to £81.4m but pre-tax losses widened to £30.8m from £27.1m in the first half of 2018.

Adjusted core earnings fell year-on-year to £1.2m from £3.3m.

Tide, Starling Ramp Up Rivalry Over SMB Customers (PYMNTS), Rated: A

The rivalry between U.K. challenger banks Tide and Starling continues to heat up as Tide signs on its 100,000th small business customer.

Reports in The Telegraph on Monday (Aug. 5) said the companies continue to compete for the small business customer base. Tide has on-boarded 100,000 small business customers, described by the firm’s chief executive Oliver Prill as a “very significant milestone.”

Young SMEs and companies that have recently switched banks are prime UK neobank targets (Business Insider), Rated: A

1 in 4 UK robo-advisors shuttered in two years (AltFi), Rated: A

Digital wealth management, or robo advice as it used to be called, has been around for more than a decade and launched into the UK in 2011 with the arrival of Nutmeg. Things started to get really interesting around 2016 and 2017 when a flurry of companies were founded to attack the space dominated by traditional wealth management, an industry looking after £1trn of investors’ assets.

OakNorth strengthening leadership team with appointment of Jackson Hull as CTO and COO (Fintech Finance), Rated: B

OakNorth has today announced the appointment of Jackson Hull as its Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Chief Operating Officer (COO). With over 15 year’s C-suite experience in London and San Francisco, Jackson is a leading expert in building high-volume eCommerce applications, global SaaS platforms, mobile and IoT platforms, as well as award-winning products and services in finance, fintech, travel, accommodation and retail.

China

Jiayin Closes Cases Against 12,000 Debtors Online (CapitalWatch), Rated: AAA

Jiayin Group Inc. (Nasdaq: JFIN), China’s online lending platform, announced it has solved more than 12,000 cases of overdue payments and attempts to escape debt as of May.

Shanghai-based Jiayin runs a peer-to-peer lending marketplace, known as Niwodai, which connects borrowers and investors. The company has established a tailored legal department for post-loan management to handle online arbitration. As it reported on its website, as of the end of May, it has closed more than 12,000 cases in more than 30 provinces in China.

European Union

Swedish fintech Klarna valued at $ 5.5 billion in funding round (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Online payments firm Klarna, which has attracted a growing following with its “buy now, pay later” service for shoppers, said on Tuesday it had raised $460 million in a funding round that makes it Europe’s most valuable fintech startup.

Investors led by San Francisco-based Dragoneer Investment Group put new money into the Swedish company, giving it a valuation of $5.5 billion and additional financial firepower to expand in the United States.

Video: What’s next for Klarna, the most valuable EU fintech (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Yahoo Finance’s Adam Shapiro, Julie Hyman, Rick Newman, and Scott Gamm join Klarna Co-Founder and CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski.

Penta, the German business banking startup, raises €8M additional funding (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Penta, the business banking provider for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that was recently acquired by fintech company builder Finleap, has raised “over” €8 million in new funding.

The startup raised a €7 million Series A round in late 2018, and is thought to have had more than €18 million investment since being founded in 2016.

Two Issues Currently Evolving on P2P Lending Marketplaces (P2P-Banking), Rated: A

This week some investors on the p2p lending marketplaces ViventorGrupeer and Mintos are affected by issues that hinder the normal procedures on these marketplaces.

(Screenshot from Viventor.com)

Update 14:02: Apparently Mintos has now suspended trading of Aforti loans on the secondary market.

EstateGuru, a Marketplace for Short-Term, Property Backed Loans, Launches in Portugal (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

EstateGuru, an online marketplace for secured, short term loans, has launched in Portugal, according to a note from the company. EstateGuru is now providing crowdfunding services in six different countries including Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, and Spain. EstateGuru said by opening in the Portuguese market the company had achieved its next milestone in its long term strategy.

International

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

Mintos leads ahead of Zopa and Ratesetter. The total volume for the reported marketplaces in the table adds up to 611 million Euro.

Source: P2P-Banking

Ethereum’s Latest Milestone — 200,000 Smart Contracts (Crypto.IQ), Rated: A

DeFi protocols such as Compound, Dharma, and Uniswap are among the most advanced tools of Ethereum-based P2P lending solutions. Another interesting use case built on Ethereum is the decentralized prediction market platform Augur (REP).

Crowdfunding: alternative ways to find a community of impact investors (Specialist Banking), Rated: B

At the same time, there’s been a remarkable increase in the impact investment market — investments made with the intention to generate positive social and environmental impact alongside a financial return — with the Global Impact Investing Network valuing the global market at $502bn.

Australia/New Zealand

CommBank Invests US$ 100 Million In Fintech Klarna As Digital Transactions Continue To Grow (Which-50), Rated: AAA

Commonwealth Bank has invested in Klarna, a Swedish rival to Afterpay, and will bring the European buy now, pay later provider to Australia. The deal accompanies the bank’s continued investment in its digital capabilities.

CommBank invested US$100 million in the fintech’s US$460 million funding round, announced yesterday, which values the company at $5.5 billion. The bank will also become Klarna’s exclusive partner in Australia and New Zealand.

Prospa Establish NZ Warehouse Facility, Shares Rise on ASX (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Online lender Prospa Group Limited (ASX: PGL) has established its first warehouse facility specifically to fund New Zealand small business loans. According to a note from Prospa, the 3-year facility has an initial capacity of NZ $45 million.

Judo bank breaks Aussie record with $ 400m round (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

Australian challenger, Judo Bank, has completed the biggest single funding round in the country’s history by raising $400 million, writes Jane Connolly.

StartupSmart reports that the finance – which is double Judo’s original target for the round – came from new institutional investors, including Bain Capital Credit and Tikehau Capital, along with existing investors.

India

India’s Indifi raises $ 21M to expand its online lending platform (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Indifi, a Gurgaon-based startup that offers loans to small and medium-sized businesses and also operates an online lending marketplace, has raised 1,450 million Indian rupees ($21 million) in a new financing round to expand its business in the country.

Indifi, which has raised about $34 million in venture capital to date, has also relied on debt to grow and finance loans on its platform. Currently, it’s in about $21 million in debt, Alok Mittal, co-founder and managing director of Indifi, told TechCrunch in an interview.

A typical loan processed by Indifi is of about $7,000 in size. Overall, the startup offers between $1,400 to  $70,000 in capital to businesses.

Asia

65% of Singapore Customers Interested in Digital Banking (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

According to a recent survey, in Singapore digital banking has some pent up demand. JD Power has published a brief retail banking satisfaction study and, according to their numbers, 65% of consumers are interested in opening digital bank accounts. This is an increase from the year prior where 52% of surveyed individuals expressed similar digital banking interest.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday August 8 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Thursday March 7 2019, Weekly News Digest

chinese p2p lenders

News Comments Today’s main news: Funding Circle US small biz loan portfolio surpasses $2B. JPMorgan Chase to compete with Affirm, Klarna on POS financing. Funding Circle expands into Canada. Funding Circle financial highlights. Revolut fights new allegations. Dianrong lays off 2,000. Today’s main analysis: U.S. credit card debt hits record $870B IN 2018. International P2P lending volumes for February 2019. Today’s thought-provoking […]

The post Thursday March 7 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

chinese p2p lenders

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

International

Other

News Summary

United States

Funding Circle US Small Business Loan Portfolio Surpasses Most Banks with $ 2 Billion Lent Through Platform (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle, the global small business loans platform, today announced that investors have lent more than $2 billion through its platform to small businesses in the United States. With this milestone, Funding Circle now has more US small business loans outstanding than almost 98% of FDIC-insured banks1.

Funding Circle now has more than $1 billion of small business loans in its portfolio, which means that if it were a bank it would be among the 50 largest small business commercial & industrial loan portfolios in the United States, according to the latest FDIC data available1. However, unlike a bank, Funding Circle provides a single financial product. Its fully amortizing business loans, powered by sophisticated technology and proprietary credit models, enable business owners to access financing with speed and efficiency, allowing them to devote more time to delivering their product or service to the market and ultimately create more jobs and vitalize their communities.

JPMorgan Chase Enters A Hot Fintech Space: Point-Of-Sale (POS) Financing (Forbes), Rated: AAA

JPMorgan Chase announced that it is moving into the point-of-sale (POS) financing market.

POS financing certainly isn’t new. In 2016, merchants in nine different retail categories saw more than 160 million POS loan applications—only 53% of which were approved, however.

Source: Forbes

Filene Research Institute 

Source: CORNERSTONE ADVISORS

Shopping at Discount Stores Could Help Get You a Loan (WSJ), Rated: A

Discount-store shoppers may soon get an unexpected benefit: better odds when applying for personal loans from Discover Financial Services.

Discover, best known for its credit cards, plans to use artificial intelligence to assess hundreds of unusual characteristics about personal-loan applicants in an attempt to get its rising losses under control.

U.S. Credit Card Debt Closed 2018 at a Record $ 870 Billion (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

U.S. credit card debt hit $870 billion — the largest amount ever — as of December 2018, according to the data from the Federal Reserve. Credit card balances rose by $26 billion from the prior quarter.

Source: New York Federal Reserve

Nearly 480 million credit cards are now in circulation — up by more than 100 million since hitting bottom after the recession a decade ago.

At the end of last year, credit cards were the fourth-largest portion of consumer debt in the U.S. after mortgage, student loan and auto debt. But the quarterly increase in credit card debt was faster than the other categories. Overall debt reached a record $13.5 trillion.

Source: New York Federal Reserve

LendingTree Compares Renting and Owning a Home in the 50 Largest Metropolitan Areas in the U.S. (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

Louisville, Milwaukee and Oklahoma City are the metros where median rents are cheapest when compared to median mortgages. In these areas, median rent costs are an average of $310 cheaper than median mortgage costs.

Source: LendingTree

Miami and Orlando, Fla.; and Virginia are the metros where rent payments are the most expensive when compared to mortgage payments. Median mortgage payments are an average of $215 cheaper than median rent payments in these metros.

Four of the top 10 metros where monthly rents are higher than monthly mortgage payments are in Florida. According to a recent housing study from Harvard University, low wages and too few rental units are key factors that have caused Florida’s rental affordability crisis to become the worst in the nation.

Source: LendingTree

‘Stop pitting misery against misery’: How TrueAccord is turning debt collections into a financial service (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Ohad Samet has spent his career working on lending analytics — first, at a firm called FraudSciences, which got bought by eBay. He ran analytics at Analyzd, which was acquired by Klarna. As the chief risk officer at the pay later lender, he became aware of how antiquated the debt collections industry was. Call centers, dialing for dollars, it just hadn’t kept pace with the front end of the business.

So, in 2013, he left and with two co-founders started TrueAccord, which is essentially a nearly-automated marketing and sales campaign for debt collection. Based on consumer data and data from the lender, it can determine who to call, what time to call, what communications channel — phone, text, email, chat — and what message to use. It purports to be a much better experience for consumers.

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to Kabbage Asset Securitization LLC, Series 2019-1 (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to five classes of notes (the “Notes”) issued by Kabbage Asset Securitization LLC, Series 2019-1 (“Kabbage 2019-1”).

This transaction is Kabbage, Inc.’s (“Kabbage” or the “Company”) third securitization and it is expected that the proceeds of the sale of the Notes will be used to refinance the Company’s existing $610 million outstanding Kabbage Asset Securitization LLC Series 2017-1 Notes and provide extra funding capacity for Kabbage.

Notes Preliminary Rating Initial Principal Balance
Class A AA (sf) $421,221,000
Class B A (sf) $59,715,000
Class C BBB (sf) $69,348,000
Class D BB (sf) $35,316,000
Class E B (sf) $24,400,000

Peer to Peer Lending Platform Beehive Raises $ 4 Million (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Beehive, a peer to peer lending platform servicing SMEs in the MENA region, has closed on $4 million Series B funding round, according to a release from the platform. This most recent funding brings the Fintech’s total raised to $15.5 million since platform launch.

Loan officers cast serious doubt on latest loanDepot, Chase mortgage promises (HousingWire), Rated: A

In recent LendingLife news, loanDepot announced its new digital mortgage, which it says can identify significant time and cost-savings for borrowers in seven minutes.

AI Foundry Unveils Next-Generation Artificial Intelligence Platform and Mortgage Automation Solution (PR Newswire), Rated: A

AI Foundry, an artificial intelligence (AI) platform company, today announced the launch of its next-generation Cognitive Business Automation Platform along with a new Agile Mortgages solution. This patent-pending technology incorporates the latest in AI, machine learning and machine vision to deliver a higher level of problem solving and decision making for enterprises. The new Agile Mortgages solution, which is built on top of the platform, automates manual, labor-intensive mortgage processes, enabling lenders to dramatically accelerate the lending lifecycle.

Could A Selfie Put An End To False Identities? (Forbes), Rated: A

Earlier this year, 

Auto Loan Statistics (LendingTree), Rated: A

Key facts

  • Americans originated a record 2.5 million auto loans in July 2018, the most recent month for which data is available.
  • Americans owed more than $1.14 trillion in auto loans as of September 2018, 23% more than 2013.
  • Outstanding auto loan balances are rising about 3.1% a year in dollar amounts.
  • Auto loans accounted for about 8% of outstanding consumer debt in 2018, including mortgages, about 2 percentage points higher than a decade earlier.
  • Gen Xers carry the highest auto loan balances with a median of $18,741 and are the most likely of other age groups to have a car loan.
  • The average new car loan originated by a finance company is $29,921.27, an increase of more than $5,000 from 10 years earlier.
  • Average monthly payments are rising, too:
    • $530 for new vehicles, up 5% year over year
    • $381 for used vehicles, up 4%
    • $430 for a new vehicle lease, up 4%

For many Americans, car loans are their largest debt burden, a weight which threatens to become overwhelming as they stretch loan terms to buy increasingly expensive vehicles — new and used. To get the full picture of auto loan debt in the U.S., we looked at auto loan originations, prices and term lengths. Here are the numbers.

Online bank Chime now valued at $ 1.5 billion after new funding round (CNBC), Rated: A

Digital bank Chime has tripled its valuation, officially passing the $1 billion-mark this week.

The San Francisco-based company announced a $200 million Series D financing round that brings its new valuation to $1.5 billion. Investors were led by DST Global, which also participated in earlier fundraising rounds, and new investors Coatue, General Atlantic, Iconiq Capital and Dragoneer Investment Group, Chime said Tuesday.

Jason Gross of Petal (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • The personal experience that led to the founding of Petal.
  • Their core product and how it is different to what else is out there.
  • A profile of their typical customer.
  • How they are approaching underwriting.
  • The typical APRs and credit limits they offer on their card.
  • How they are protecting their company against fraud.
  • How Petal is getting the word out about their credit card.
  • The large waiting list they had when they launched last year.
  • The early signals they are seeing with credit performance.
  • How they are generating income.
  • The primary funding sources they use in providing the credit lines.
  • What they mean on their website when they say “a credit card with a conscience”.
  • Their biggest challenge as they grow their company today.
  • The goals the Petal team has for 2019.

FINRA Approves Circle’s Acquisition of SeedInvest, Continues Mission of Tokenization (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

FINRA has given their stamp of approval to the acquisition of SeedInvest by Circle. The crypto focused company announced the purchase of SeedInvest in October of 2018.  The acquisition of a regulated securities crowdfunding platform by the blockchain based Circle represented a seminal turning point in the crypto industry.

Virginians say online lender uses tribal immunity to get around state laws (Pilot Online), Rated: A

Virginians are taking a lead attacking what they say is a legal loophole that has left thousands of people stuck with debt they can’t escape.

The case involves loans at interest rates approaching 650 percent from an online lender, Big Picture Loans, associated with a small Indian tribe on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Lula Williams of Richmond, the lead plaintiff in one case, still owes $1,100 on the $1,600 she borrowed from Big Picture Loans — debt that she’s already paid $1,930 to retire. One of her loan documents reports the annual percentage rate for her debt at 649.8 percent, calling for her to pay $6,200 on an $800 debt. Her first three installments on that loan, each for $400, would have yielded Big Picture a 50 percent profit on the loan after just three months, court records suggest.

How to Invest in Real Estate without Buying Property (Realty Biz News), Rated: B

Lastly if you love jumping on the latest trends, then jumping on one of these companies services that how recently cropped up will help you get involved in real estate investing. You are able to invest in commercial and residential real estate investments and receive cash flow distributions in return, and just like the other options on this list, someone else is doing the heavy lifting whilst you reap the rewards.

Whilst there is no one standout company that we can confidently recommend, since they all havent been around long enough for us to make a property judgement, Fundrise returned an average of 11.4% on the invested dollars in 2017 and a further 9.11% in 2019.

The best part is you don’t even need to be an accredited investor to open an account, meaning if you’re new to the market, then this is your chance to get in on something thats shiny and new and that could potentially give you a place to invest your cash and reap the rewards of owning physical property.

Elevate Appoints Kathleen Vanderkolk as Head of Enterprise Risk Management (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Elevate Credit, Inc. (NYSE: ELVT) (“Elevate” or the “Company”), a tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, today announced that it has promoted Kathleen Vanderkolk to Chief Risk Officer.

Vemanti Group Engages With Securitize And DSLG To Launch Digital Security Offering For eLoan, JSC (GlobeNewswire), Rated: B

Vemanti Group, Inc. (OTC PINK:VMNT), a technology-driven holding company, today announced that it has engaged with Securitize, Inc. (“Securitize”) and Digital Securities Law Group (“DSLG”) to launch a Digital Security Offering (“DSO”) to fund and propel the business objectives for eLoan, JSC (“eLoan”), its portfolio company. The Company recently announced that it has completed its investment in eLoan, a fintech company based in Vietnam.

The offering will be conducted by the Company on behalf of Fvndit, Inc. (“Fvndit” – formerly Directus Holdings, Inc.), eLoan’s US-based parent company, as the issuer. The issuance will be managed by Securitize’s platform and DS Protocol. Details of the offering will be announced at a later date.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle Announces Expansion to Canada (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle, the leading small business loans platform in the UK, US, Germany and the Netherlands, today announced its plans to enter the Canadian market and expand access to fast, affordable and transparent financing for Canadian small businesses.

Funding Circle will establish operations in Canada in the second half of 2019 with an office located in Toronto. The business will be led by Tom Eilon, who previously led the commercial strategy for Funding Circle in the United Kingdom.

Funding Circle Holdings plc (Funding Circle), Rated: AAA

Financial Highlights:

  • Strong Group performance delivering IPO guidance whilst continuing our strategy of investing for growth
  • Revenue of £141.9 million (2017: £94.5 million). Year-on-year growth of 55%1 (excluding property2) exceeding c.50% guidance stated at IPO
  • Segment adjusted EBITDA3 of £7.0 million (2017 loss: £3.9 million) with margin of 5% (2017: negative 4%)
  • Adjusted EBITDA4 loss of £28.5 million (2017 loss: £25.1 million) with margin improving to negative 20% (2017: negative 27%)
  • Basic loss per share of 18.2 pence (2017 loss: 14.0 pence)
  • Loss before tax £50.7 million (2017 loss: £36.3 million)
  • Free cash outflow5 of £42.0 million (2017 outflow: £35.3 million)
  • Cash of £333.0 million, £244.1 million higher than at the end of 2017 (£88.9 million), including IPO proceeds of £300.0 million, before expenses of £15.0 million

UK Peer to Peer Lending: Loans top £800 Million in Q4 as Industry Matures (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The UK Peer-to-Peer Finance Association(P2PFA) has published fourth quarter numbers for member platforms. According to their data, cumulative lending now tops £9.5 billion with over £800 million originated during the period.

The P2PFA states that platforms facilitated loans worth nearly £3 billion during 2018.

In Q4, P2PFA platforms originnated £527 million to businesses and £282 million to almost a quarter-of-a-million consumers. Cumulative lending among P2PFA platforms has now exceeded £5.5 billion for business lending and £4 billion for consumer lending.

Revolut is fighting back after yet more allegations were made against the $ 1.7 billion fintech unicorn after a week from hell (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

The Financial Times on Tuesday alleged that the UK National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) is examining a complaint from a customer, adding to Revolut’s issues after a difficult week for the fintech.

However, the allegations were denied by Revolut and the Financial Times article was subsequently taken down.

The FT, citing emails, reported on an incident in which £70,000 was incorrectly paid into a Revolut customer’s account.

Is the Innovative Finance Isa worth it? We look at the pros and cons (City A.M.), Rated: A

At barely three years old, the Innovative Finance Isa still has some proving to do. And for some savers, it’s a product that is deemed too risky. But how risky is it really?

Of course, the IFISA is merely a tax-free wrapper, so the risk actually depends on the underlying investments held within.

And while investments can vary wildly, most IFISAs are invested in the peer-to-peer (P2P) lending market, where lenders are grouped together to invest capital through an online platform which distributes funds to borrowers.

How savers can use an Innovative Finance Isa to reap the rewards from the property market (City A.M.), Rated: A

Investors can open one IFISA per tax year, and have an annual subscription allowance of £20,000, with substantial tax-free returns.

There are also several different opportunities available when it comes to property IFISAs, including buy-to-let and development.

Wealth management firm urges greater awareness in investments (Wealth Adviser), Rated: B

Last year, the National Trust was criticised for investing in a fund with holdings in fossil fuel companies, while the Church of England was shown to have ploughed funds into Wonga, despite having publicly criticised the payday lender.

Provident fights back in bitter £1.3bn bid battle as it accuses former boss of destroying shareholder value and failing to grasp modern technology (This is Money), Rated: B

A war of words has erupted between the doorstep lender Provident Financial and its former boss John van Kuffeler as he mounts a £1.3billion hostile takeover bid.

The Provvy has accused van Kuffeler of destroying shareholder value and failing to grasp modern technology.

China

Dianrong has laid off as many as 2,000 employees amid a regulatory crackdown (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

China-based peer-to-peer (P2P) lender Dianrong has laid off as many as 2,000 employees and will shut down 60 of its 90 brick-and-mortar outlets, which helped verify the identities and qualifications of users, according to Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter.

Additionally, the company has been accused of falling behind on wages and severance pay, per a Chinese media outlet cited by TechNode . The company reportedly started shrinking its business around 10 months ago, despite securinga $70 million funding round in January to expand its services, including SMB lending.

Source: Business Insider
European Union

How PSD2 Will Change Lending (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

Merchants and customers are now transacting under PSD2 and GDPR in the European Union (EU) — regulations that allow a greater window into how customer data is being used. While these regulations are aimed at increasing consumer trust by allowing them more transparency, many consumers in the region are still adjusting.

French regulatory body, the Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés (CNIL), has fined Googlethe equivalent of $56 million for noncompliance with GDPR within the region, alleging that the information services company was using EU customer data for advertising purposes without obtaining clear consent from those customers.

For third-party providers, such as P2P lending and investment provider Zopa, PSD2’s data transparency rules provide an opportunity to “level the playing field” when it comes to gaining that consumer trust.

International

10 Fintechs Have Already Raised Monster Rounds in 2019 (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

We came into 2019 after a strong year of fintech investments with about $40 billion invested globally according to CB Insights.

Acorns

  • $105 million round led by NBCUniversal and venture arm of its parent company Comcast. NBCUniversal is now their largest shareholder.

Better

  • $70 million Series C from American Express Ventures and the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP). The company originated $1.3B in mortgages in 2018.

Figure

  • The $65 million Series B round was led by RPM Ventures as CEO Mike Cagney continues to show his fundraising prowess. Their valuation is said to be $365 million today about double the valuation from last year. Read our coverage here.

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

The total volume for the reported marketplaces in the table adds up to 531 million Euro.

This month I added Bondster (use Bondster Promotion Code 5506 to get 1% cashback).

Source: P2P-Banking

Omidyar Network spins out its fintech investment arm as Flourish, with up to $ 300 million (TechCrunch), Rated: A

After twelve years spent investing in impact-oriented financial services startups around the globe, the Omidyar Network,  which serves as the family investment office for eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, is spinning off its financial inclusion investment arm as Flourish Ventures.

Equipped with up to $300 million in capital for operations and investments, the new Flourish will continue to invest around the Network’s core mission of backing companies with a dual focus on making a social impact and achieving quality financial returns.

List of Multi-Crypto Wallets To Consider For Your Portfolio (Cryptomorrow), Rated: A

Everus

Everus is a multi crypto wallet that allows for payment of bills and for mobile top-ups in multiple crypto and management of multiple crypto. The wallet, which is part of an ecosystem featuring bill payment, marketplace, peer-to-peer lending and micro-finance; allows customers to send, receive, store and withdraw multiple cryptocurrencies (more than 50 currently).

Peer-to-peer lending will allow people to offer and accept microloans affordably, which will be more targeted to the un-banked.

Infinito Wallet

Other features to be added soon include crypto lending where users can lend crypto and earn profits, exchange integration to allow users to exchange crypto from the wallet, fiat gateway to let users purchase crypto with fiat, digital identity and KYC where users can register their digital identity and use it everywhere else without needing to create another one, news portal to furnish users with happenings in the crypto space, and App Square for browsing dApps.

Quppy Wallet

It links to other parts of the company’s product ecosystem including decentralized exchange to allow users to buy and sell crypto, a licensed crypto bank, Prepaid co-brand bank cards, a decentralized peer-to-peer lending for borrowers as well as merchants, individuals, corporate, financial and non-financial institutions as well as crypto-fiat payments for merchants and 100% legal fiat-crypto-fiat transactions regardless of region and legislation.

India

P2P lenders develop new ways to build trust (India Times), Rated: AAA

Monexo ensures less risk for lenders by keeping a lender’s contribution to a loan to only Rs 1,000. So if a Monexo customer lends Rs 1 lakh on the platform, it gets split across 100 loans.

Faircent also has a similar strategy. It does not allow lenders to lend more than 20% of a single borrower’s requirement. So for an average loan of Rs 1 lakh, there will be on average 43 lenders funding that. They also advice lenders not to lend beyond Rs 5,000-7,000 for one loan.

Scaling small businesses with alternative finance (India Times), Rated: A

Lack of access to finance is the most widely cited constraint by SMEs for growth and scaling up business. Generally commercial banks perceive SMEs fall in the category of high default risk due to limited collaterals, smaller in asset size and limited historical track record.

Asia

Tightened supervision needed for P2P lending services: Deputy PM (Nhan Dan), Rated: AAA

Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue has asked competent ministries and sector to enhance inspections, supervision and settlement of violations related to peer-to-peer (P2P) lending model which has been springing up in Vietnam in recent two years.

E-Money, P2P Lending The Hotspots (Fitch Solutions), Rated: A

  • The e-money and payments segment continues to show strong growth, and consolidation within the sector is positive to improve services and ease competitive pressures.
  • P2P lending is emerging as a bright spot, and regulation remains lax enough for lenders to thrive.
  • Cryptocurrencies show little potential for growth as the regulator remains apprehensive towards crypto-based assets.

FINTERRA Calls for All Thought Leaders and Regulators to Envision A Global Waqf Bank (Salaam Gateway), Rated: B

Malaysia has the potential to become the first nation in the world to set up a global “Waqf” bank using blockchain technology, expounded Hamid Rashid, the Founder of FINTERRA.

The platform is a blockchain-based solution to crowdfund Waqf charity, Islamic investments, and peer-to-peer lending.

Canada

Klarna And PayBright Partner To Give More Shoppers The Ability To Pay Over Time (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Today, Klarna, a global payment provider, announces a partnership with Canadian instant financing provider, PayBright. Klarna and PayBright are joining forces to give Klarna’s 100,000 global retailers the ability to turn on a consumer finance solution for their Canadian shoppers quickly and easily.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday March 7 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

What Investors Should Know About Non-Bank Lenders

nonbank lenders

Investors looking to add private debt and private equity to their portfolios may feel overwhelmed by all the choices. From peer-to-peer lending to crowdfunding, there are countless industry players across a wide range of alternative lending and financing models, serving everyone from individual borrowers to small and medium-sized businesses. Any funding model ultimately comes down […]

nonbank lenders

Investors looking to add private debt and private equity to their portfolios may feel overwhelmed by all the choices. From peer-to-peer lending to crowdfunding, there are countless industry players across a wide range of alternative lending and financing models, serving everyone from individual borrowers to small and medium-sized businesses.

Any funding model ultimately comes down to matching the needs of those who want capital with those who can supply capital. Typically, banks or other large financial institutions would act as the intermediary between investors and borrowers or entrepreneurs. But with many banks pulling back after the financial crisis, and the internet making it easier than ever to play matchmaker, the alternative finance universe is attracting more and more capital.

However, there is still broad-based confusion among both institutional and retail investors about the differences between the various alternative funding models. This confusion is exacerbated by how often the terminology is used interchangeably in the media and the larger financial community. The truth is that each funding model has distinct nuances, rewards and challenges, and it’s important for investors and their financial advisors to understand the differences before incorporating alternative lending or financing into an investment portfolio.

In general, these models can be broken down as either debt or equity investments, with a similar risk-reward profile as any other debt or equity investment.

DEBT (lower risk, lower reward)

Peer-to-peer lending

In a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending model, an individual or business borrows from an outside source or sources – a “peer” – rather than a bank. This process is facilitated through a third party, such as an online platform, which makes it easier to aggregate enough peers to fund the loan. These loans typically come with fixed terms and set repayment schedules. Many loans will also include details about the borrower—such as their income, credit score, occupation, and risk level—to help the “peers” (or lenders) determine whether to fund the loan and at what amount. Examples of peer-to-peer loans include consumer loans, student loans, small business loans, and fix and flip loans on single family homes.

Investors can get into the peer-to-peer lending market by purchasing the whole loan, a fractional interest in a loan or building a portfolio of fractional and/or whole loans. Investors then collect the proceeds of each loan payment, with the peer-to-peer lender taking a fee to cover the costs of running the platform. While even the most creditworthy borrowers may default on their loans, investors can mitigate this risk by building a diversified portfolio that includes multiple loans across different risk spectrums. Investors should also consider if the P2P loans they are investing in are unsecured or have some form of collateral securing the loan. Consumer and student loans tend to be unsecured, while small business and fix and flip loans tend to be secured.

Marketplace lending

Marketplace lending is another term used to further describe peer-to-peer lending. While the two terms are used interchangeably, an important differentiator is the source of capital. Whereas P2P lending platforms tend to rely on a group of small retail investors or large institutional investors to fund loans, marketplace lenders prefer to first pre-fund loans and then offer them to investors.

The marketplace lending model, therefore, offers qualified borrowers a guarantee that their loan will be funded within a specific timeframe, which may be an important consideration for some borrowers. For example, while a consumer borrower may be willing to wait until his loan is assessed and funded by multiple peers, a borrower looking to finance a real estate transaction has a closing date that must be met otherwise he will lose his down payment.

Direct lending/balance sheet business lending

In contrast to marketplace or peer-to-peer lending models, a direct lender will rely on its own balance sheet or proprietary access to funds as its primary source of capital. Instead of having to find enough retail and institutional investor capital to match the needs of borrowers, a direct lender can look to its unrestricted access of funds before making a lending decision.

The advantage of this approach is that the direct lender is better positioned to survive a potential downturn since each of the loans on its balance sheet represents a piece of collateral that can be used to offset any potential losses. Investors in these loans will therefore have a better opportunity to allocate capital in all market cycles. Many direct lenders may also manage a fund for accredited investors that consists of a portfolio of some, but not all, of the loans made by the lender.

EQUITY (higher risk, higher reward)

Crowdfunding

In the crowdfunding model, investors are given the opportunity to provide seed capital in up-and-coming products and businesses. Capital is provided in several forms including equity, preferred equity, mezzanine debt and senior debt . While equity stakes are typically small—often less than 1%—even a modest upfront investment can generate a large eventual payoff if the company is successful. This is particularly true of technology start-ups, which can grow quickly if their product or service is well received among customers.

This model is also popular in the arts and entertainment industries. For example, people might choose to fund an independently produced movie, music album or play in exchange for a small piece of revenues and/or additional perks like attending rehearsals and premiere parties, meeting the artist, or receiving a memento from the set. In real estate, crowdfunding is most typically used by developers seeking to raise money to fund development or redevelopment projects.

Investors should find out if the crowdfunder is providing equity and debt on the same project. This is critical should a recovery plan need to be put in place if the project does not go as expected. Typically, equity investors want to hold on and wait for an increase in value , while debt investors want to liquidate immediately in hopes of recovering their investment. A crowdfunder that is representing both equity and debt investors in the same project will have a conflict of interest. In addition, these investments also tend to be fairly illiquid, so investors should tread carefully. While these early stage equity investments could potentially pay off handsomely, there’s always the risk that the company or project is a flop.

Initial coin offerings

An initial coin offering, or ICO, is a brand-new type of funding model that is attracting many of the same types of companies that previously relied on crowdfunding. However, instead of acquiring an equity stake in the company, investors in ICOs receive cryptocurrency coins, like Bitcoin or Ether, which are redeemable for cash on certain exchanges. The idea is that as the company grows and becomes more valuable, the coins will also become more valuable.

Since ICOs are still loosely regulated, investors should take extra precautions when evaluating a crypto-related investment opportunity. While a business idea may sound great on paper, investors should look for growth signs like recurring revenues and a large potential market.

These five models only scrape the surface of the full universe of funding options for individuals and businesses. A company or a funding model doesn’t always fit neatly into a box either, and investors should take care to understand how each funding platform generates revenue and where its capital comes from.

When choosing which segment of the market to pursue, investors and advisors should also consider their risk tolerance, which will help determine whether a debt or equity investment is most appropriate, and at what scale.

Author:

Written by Evan Gentry, CEO of Money360.

Will Amazon Lending Disrupt, Displace, or Prop Up Banks?

Amazon Lending

Twenty-two years ago, when Jeff Bezos launched Amazon, no one ever thought the e-commerce startup would transform the retail industry landscape. In June, it made a statement-making purchase by buying Whole Foods for a staggering $13.7 billion. The company took advantage of technology, used an aggressive growth strategy, and disrupted the entire industry. It started […]

Amazon Lending

Twenty-two years ago, when Jeff Bezos launched Amazon, no one ever thought the e-commerce startup would transform the retail industry landscape. In June, it made a statement-making purchase by buying Whole Foods for a staggering $13.7 billion. The company took advantage of technology, used an aggressive growth strategy, and disrupted the entire industry. It started as an online seller of books and CDs in 1995 and now the “everything store” has sales of more than $400 billion.

Amazon’s Lending Business

The company is virtually omnipresent in all businesses, be it furniture, electronics, food or entertainment. In 2012, it added yet another service to its stable: Small business loans.

Considering Amazon enables millions of small companies to sell their products across the globe, having its own lending arm was a no-brainer. Amazon’s entry into small-business lending could transform the banking industry in the same way it revolutionized retail. Just recently, the Seattle-based e-commerce giant announced that it has made $1 billion in small-business loans to more than 20,000 merchants in the United States, Japan, and the UK during the past 12 months. Since Amazon Lending launched in 2011, it has surpassed $3 billion in loans to small businesses. Further, more than 50 percent of the companies eventually take a second loan from Amazon.

Launching its own lending arm is a stroke of genius by Amazon, the company will earn interest on the loans while retailers (with the aid of the loans) will be able to sell more products on the Amazon website and thus will add to Amazon’s earnings. Its big pockets and negative working capital mean it has lots of cash to lend; a mammoth retailer database means it is fairly easy for Amazon to tap into the lucrative space.

“We created Amazon Lending to make it simple for up-and-coming small businesses to efficiently get a business loan, because we know that an infusion of capital at the right moment can put a small business on the path to even greater success,” said Peeyush Nahar, vice president for Amazon Marketplace, in a company announcement.

How Does Amazon Lending Work?

Amazon’s loan program is by invitation only. It offers short-term business loans ranging from $1,000 to $750,000 for up to 12 months to micro, small, and medium businesses selling on Amazon to help them grow their businesses. Loans are approved within 24 hours and, usually, loan money is used for inventory financing and business expansion.

Unlike traditional lenders, which use lengthy loan applications and require a host of documents, Amazon uses internal algorithms to invite sellers to the program based on the popularity of their products, inventory cycles, and other factors. It does not charge an origination fee or prepayment penalties. Furthermore, after establishing its foothold in SME lending, the company plans to branch out  into other markets where there are a lot more opportunities, such as Canada, India, France, and China.

To Be or Not To Be: A Bank

For now, the lending business is relatively a small part of its operations. But considering its vast resources and huge database, it will be interesting to see whether Amazon scales up its credit business and applies for a banking license.

According to a survey of 32,715 people in 18 countries conducted by Accenture, 31% of the respondents would switch to Google, Amazon, or Facebook for banking, if these companies offered financial services. In another report by CB Insights, Amazon has the highest customer satisfaction at 86% compared to Citi (82 percent), Capital One (80 percent), “all banks” (80 percent), TD Bank (79 percent) and Bank of America and Chase (each 75 percent). With more and more millennials opting against traditional banks, becoming a full-fledged financial institution does seem like a viable option. But will Amazon follow that path?

Regulatory Backdrop

Ever since marketplace lenders gained prominence in the financial circle, there has been a debate raging on whether or not to grant technology companies special banking charters that will allow them to compete with banks nationwide. Right now, the situation is vague with regards to regulations for technology companies. Wal-Mart, in 2006, applied for a banking license to establish an industrial loan company (ILC) in Utah. Eventually, lawmakers and banking groups blocked future banking efforts by Wal-Mart and tried to prohibit commercial companies from obtaining new ILC licenses.

Amazon can cause a similar backlash for itself and would rather want to concentrate on other aspects of its business than deal with the headaches of being a bank. Moreover, providing financial services is merely another avenue for plugging companies into the Amazon ecosystem. So the lending arm (as a non-bank) fits nicely into the overall scheme of things.

The Real Threat of Amazon

Amazon really doesn’t want to displace banks as they are one of the main consumers of Amazon Web Services (AWS). Rather, it wants to disrupt banking services. Amazon Web Services is the biggest provider of cloud computing and controls 45 percent of the global cloud infrastructure market. It is used by most of the major businesses and has become an absolute necessity for the financial sector.

“Amazon Web Services (AWS) is forming the backbone of the financial services ecosystem, with a diverse set of firms – from JP Morgan to startups such as Xignite – adopting AWS for data storage and processing,” a consulting report stated.

Apart from this, legacy banks are losing direct interaction with their customers. For example, USAA and Capital One are both experimenting with Amazon’s digital assistant Alexa as a new consumer banking channel. Amazon is not taking any direct market share from banks; rather, it is becoming the customer interface for banks and putting them in the background.

It will be interesting to see how Amazon shapes its lending business with enterprise AWS contributing a sizeable chunk to the bottom line. But with hundreds of millions of customers and merchants on its platform, you can bet it will be at the vanguard of online lending.

Authors:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Will Amazon Lending Disrupt, Displace, or Prop Up Banks?

Amazon Lending

Twenty-two years ago, when Jeff Bezos launched Amazon, no one ever thought the e-commerce startup would transform the retail industry landscape. In June, it made a statement-making purchase by buying Whole Foods for a staggering $13.7 billion. The company took advantage of technology, used an aggressive growth strategy, and disrupted the entire industry. It started […]

Amazon Lending

Twenty-two years ago, when Jeff Bezos launched Amazon, no one ever thought the e-commerce startup would transform the retail industry landscape. In June, it made a statement-making purchase by buying Whole Foods for a staggering $13.7 billion. The company took advantage of technology, used an aggressive growth strategy, and disrupted the entire industry. It started as an online seller of books and CDs in 1995 and now the “everything store” has sales of more than $400 billion.

Amazon’s Lending Business

The company is virtually omnipresent in all businesses, be it furniture, electronics, food or entertainment. In 2012, it added yet another service to its stable: Small business loans.

Considering Amazon enables millions of small companies to sell their products across the globe, having its own lending arm was a no-brainer. Amazon’s entry into small-business lending could transform the banking industry in the same way it revolutionized retail. Just recently, the Seattle-based e-commerce giant announced that it has made $1 billion in small-business loans to more than 20,000 merchants in the United States, Japan, and the UK during the past 12 months. Since Amazon Lending launched in 2011, it has surpassed $3 billion in loans to small businesses. Further, more than 50 percent of the companies eventually take a second loan from Amazon.

Launching its own lending arm is a stroke of genius by Amazon, the company will earn interest on the loans while retailers (with the aid of the loans) will be able to sell more products on the Amazon website and thus will add to Amazon’s earnings. Its big pockets and negative working capital mean it has lots of cash to lend; a mammoth retailer database means it is fairly easy for Amazon to tap into the lucrative space.

“We created Amazon Lending to make it simple for up-and-coming small businesses to efficiently get a business loan, because we know that an infusion of capital at the right moment can put a small business on the path to even greater success,” said Peeyush Nahar, vice president for Amazon Marketplace, in a company announcement.

How Does Amazon Lending Work?

Amazon’s loan program is by invitation only. It offers short-term business loans ranging from $1,000 to $750,000 for up to 12 months to micro, small, and medium businesses selling on Amazon to help them grow their businesses. Loans are approved within 24 hours and, usually, loan money is used for inventory financing and business expansion.

Unlike traditional lenders, which use lengthy loan applications and require a host of documents, Amazon uses internal algorithms to invite sellers to the program based on the popularity of their products, inventory cycles, and other factors. It does not charge an origination fee or prepayment penalties. Furthermore, after establishing its foothold in SME lending, the company plans to branch out  into other markets where there are a lot more opportunities, such as Canada, India, France, and China.

To Be or Not To Be: A Bank

For now, the lending business is relatively a small part of its operations. But considering its vast resources and huge database, it will be interesting to see whether Amazon scales up its credit business and applies for a banking license.

According to a survey of 32,715 people in 18 countries conducted by Accenture, 31% of the respondents would switch to Google, Amazon, or Facebook for banking, if these companies offered financial services. In another report by CB Insights, Amazon has the highest customer satisfaction at 86% compared to Citi (82 percent), Capital One (80 percent), “all banks” (80 percent), TD Bank (79 percent) and Bank of America and Chase (each 75 percent). With more and more millennials opting against traditional banks, becoming a full-fledged financial institution does seem like a viable option. But will Amazon follow that path?

Regulatory Backdrop

Ever since marketplace lenders gained prominence in the financial circle, there has been a debate raging on whether or not to grant technology companies special banking charters that will allow them to compete with banks nationwide. Right now, the situation is vague with regards to regulations for technology companies. Wal-Mart, in 2006, applied for a banking license to establish an industrial loan company (ILC) in Utah. Eventually, lawmakers and banking groups blocked future banking efforts by Wal-Mart and tried to prohibit commercial companies from obtaining new ILC licenses.

Amazon can cause a similar backlash for itself and would rather want to concentrate on other aspects of its business than deal with the headaches of being a bank. Moreover, providing financial services is merely another avenue for plugging companies into the Amazon ecosystem. So the lending arm (as a non-bank) fits nicely into the overall scheme of things.

The Real Threat of Amazon

Amazon really doesn’t want to displace banks as they are one of the main consumers of Amazon Web Services (AWS). Rather, it wants to disrupt banking services. Amazon Web Services is the biggest provider of cloud computing and controls 45 percent of the global cloud infrastructure market. It is used by most of the major businesses and has become an absolute necessity for the financial sector.

“Amazon Web Services (AWS) is forming the backbone of the financial services ecosystem, with a diverse set of firms – from JP Morgan to startups such as Xignite – adopting AWS for data storage and processing,” a consulting report stated.

Apart from this, legacy banks are losing direct interaction with their customers. For example, USAA and Capital One are both experimenting with Amazon’s digital assistant Alexa as a new consumer banking channel. Amazon is not taking any direct market share from banks; rather, it is becoming the customer interface for banks and putting them in the background.

It will be interesting to see how Amazon shapes its lending business with enterprise AWS contributing a sizeable chunk to the bottom line. But with hundreds of millions of customers and merchants on its platform, you can bet it will be at the vanguard of online lending.

Authors:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Friday November 17 2017, Daily News Digest

consumer debt

News Comments Today’s main news: Kabbage secures $200M credit facility from Credit Suisse for AI-based lending expansion. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) files suit against Think Finance. Royal Bank of Scotland to launch robo under NatWest brand. Hexindai names Citi depository bank for American Depository Receipt Program. ICICI Bank, Paytm partner on short-term credit. Today’s main analysis: PeerIQ Lending […]

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United States

Kabbage gets $ 200M from Credit Suisse to expand its AI-based business loans (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

After picking up $250 million in equity funding from Softbank earlier this year, the small business loans and finance company Kabbage — which uses only algorithms and machine learning (no humans) to determine an applicant’s eligibility — is announcing another big infusion of money. The company is picking up $200 million from Credit Suisse in a revolving credit facility that it will use for loans.

Specifically, Kathryn Petralia, who is the COO and co-founded the company with Rob Frohwein, said the funding will help the company increase the number of loans it can make to larger companies in the US. The average size of those loans will grow to “north of $200,000,” she said.

DBRS Assigns Ratings to Kabbage Asset Funding 2017-A LLC (DBRS), Rated: A

DBRS, Inc. (DBRS) assigned ratings to the following classes of loans extended by a group of lenders to Kabbage Asset Funding 2017-A, LLC (the Facility):

— Up to $148,150,000 of Class A Loans rated A (sf)
— Up to $24,868,000 of Class B Loans rated BBB (sf)

The Facility is a warehouse financing arranged for the benefit of Kabbage, Inc. (Kabbage) to support originations of small business loan receivables. Kabbage acts as servicer for the Facility.

Study suggests many borrowers bungle credit card debt consolidation (Credible), Rated: AAA

Thanks in part to the rise of fintech companies that make loans online, more than 16 million Americans now have personal loans — an increase of 64 percent in the last five years.

Payoff — a personal lender that specializes in helping consumers tackle credit card debt — says its internal data shows borrowers who paid off at least $5,000 in credit card balances between August 2016 and January 2017 saw a 40-point increase in their FICO score within four months.

Cleveland Fed study: a cautionary tale

One year after taking out a P2P loan, borrowers had credit scores that were 16 points lower than those of the non-P2P borrowers they were matched to, on average — an impact that persisted for four years, the authors said in their working paper.

The study found no evidence that P2P lenders are providing access to credit for “underbanked” consumers — borrowers taking out P2P loans were obtain other credit from traditional banks at rates similar to other consumers.

But a number of companies on the list, including Lightstream, BestEgg, LendingPoint, Earnest, and RocketLoans weren’t around in 2012, when the most recent loans studied by the Cleveland Fed researchers were made. Several others — including Avant, CommonBond, Pave, and Upstart — were just getting off the ground at the time.

The growth in fintech lending has been a driver in overall personal loan growth, with 16.1 million consumers owing $106 billion in personal loan debt as of June 30, 2017. That’s up from the 9.8 million borrowers who owed $45 billion in personal loan debt in mid-2012.

Fed flags online lending as subprime redux, but market hits back (Global Capital), Rated: A

ABS participants, speaking with GlobalCapital this week, hit back at the report, written by Yuliya Demyanyk, senior research economist, Daniel Kolliner, research analyst, both of the Cleveland Fed; and Elena Loutskina a professor of business administration at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, and contributing author at the Cleveland Fed.

The authors challenge the belief that peer-to-peer (P2P) loans have expanded credit to borrowers with limited access to debt since the financial crisis.

A central argument of the Fed’s report was that sector has not done much to expand access to debt for borrowers with low credit scores.

In securitization, subprime consumer ABS has thinned since the crisis. For the five major credit card issuers, the years 2008-2016 saw revolving credit available to US borrowers with a Fico score of less than 660 reduced by approximately $142bn, according to data published by online lender Elevate earlier this year.

Even portfolios backing recent marketplace loan ABS have a weighted average Fico score above 680, the level that defines so-called ‘near prime’ credits, despite the notable dip in collateral quality. Marlette, for example, had an average score of 705 for its most recent transaction which was priced in October, while Prosper had a weighted average Fico score of 709, according to data from Kroll Bond Rating Agency.

PeerIQ Lending Earnings Insights Report (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

We are pleased to release our inaugural Lending Earnings Insights report.

Below are some of the main themes that we explore in this tracker:

  • Large banks continue to retrench.  Wells Fargo’s loan portfolio is down $13 Bn YOY. Loss reserves are down at all major banks except at GS due to the ramp-up in their consumer lending portfolio. Goldman Sachs expects lending initiatives to add $2 Bn in revenue in the coming years. GS loan loss reserve increased 50% and GS had the highest improvement in ROE across its peer group.
  • Credit re-normalization trend continues remains a recurring theme across all major lending groups. Overall, loss-rates on recent vintages are increasing versus prior recent vintages, although performance remains stronger than pre-crisis levels.  Card issuers are increasing loan loss reserves at a higher rate than loan growth, indicating expectations of higher losses going forward. Discover and American Express increased loan loss provisions ~50% although loan growth is at 9% and 14% respectively.
  • Consumer installment lenders do not anticipate an increase in loss rates, after having recalibrated loss expectations and increased reserves in 2016. OneMain had the smallest increase in loss reserves at 4%.
  • Consumers now have access to greater supply of credit and credit demand continues to grow. Consumer average debt-to-incomes are below pre-crisis levels.
  • Several lenders cited the shifting competitive landscape and the role of technology in driving innovation and risk management. 
  • Where are we in the credit cycle? 
Source: PeerIQ

Goldman Sachs’ lending platform is booming (Business Insider), Rated: A

Other banks may be tempted to emulate Goldman Sachs’ move into lending, but they should proceed with caution. Although consumer credit demand in the US 

Source: Business Insider

LendingTree Holiday Shopping Survey Suggests Bigger Budgets, Selfless Spending and Mobile Shopping Among Parents this Holiday Season (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

LendingTree, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, recently conducted its Holiday Shopping Survey among 1,050 Americans aged 25 to 55 with at least one child. The results show that people generally expect to give more than they expect to receive, and although only 55 percent of respondents have a set budget this holiday season, 76 percent plan to spend the same amount or more on holiday shopping compared to last year.

According to the survey, the average holiday shopping budget across all age groups was $943, although 45 percent of respondents say they don’t have a set budget for holiday shopping this year. LendingTree’s 2016 holiday survey found that 56 percent of respondents planned to shop for the holidays without a pre-set budget.

Additionally, 29 percent say they plan to spend more on holiday shopping in 2017 than they did in the 2016 holiday season.

Source: LendingTree

Parents are setting a low bar for their children’s gift giving abilities in 2017, with 68 percent of parents expecting to receive no gifts from or on behalf of their kids.

Most parents (80 percent) plan to spend at least $100 per child this year while 37 percent of parents plan to spend at least $250 per child.  Although 62 percent of parents say they try to spend the same amount on each child, younger children have a slight advantage with 12 percent of parents admitting to spending more on younger children and only 6 percent of parents use a child’s behavior to dictate how much money is spent on their gifts.

A debit card is the primary form of payment for holiday shopping for 46 percent of respondents, as well as the primary form of payment for across all groups. Second to debit cards, 29 percent designated cash as their primary form of payment, and only 21 percent are primarily credit card users – although credit cards are considered more secure than cash or debit cards. A recent CompareCards by LendingTree survey found that 66 percent of Americans think debit cards are as safe or safer than credit cards for payments, when in fact debit cards don’t offer the same consumer protections as credit cards.

Respondents expect to do 50 percent of their shopping online and 34 percent of their shopping on their mobile phone. Millennials (age 35 and under) expect to do 40 percent of their shopping on their phone, the largest of any other age group.

LendingTree Inc. (TREE) Breaks into New 52-Week High on November 16 Session (Equities.com), Rated: A

Shares of LendingTree Inc. (TREE) broke into a new 52-week high yesterday, hitting a peak of $281.80. Shares closed at $279.40 after opening at $271.75 for a move of 2.83%. The company now has a market cap of $3.34 billion.

Sharestates, America’s Private lender, Launches Their One Click Closing Option (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Sharestates, an online real estate investment marketplace, announced today the launch of its new One Click Closing tool, a feature that will allow return borrowers to visit a page where they can upload all the details and documents required for a new loan, allowing for a seamless transfer of closing date information without further communications. The launch of this new tool coincides with the company’s overarching goal of providing borrowers with a streamlined funding process, while providing them the opportunity to solely focus on identifying viable real estate investment opportunities.

Bitcoin Tax Laws Are A Nightmare So People Ignore Them (International Business Times), Rated: A

A survey of 564 American bitcoin users by the online loan marketplaceLendEDU, revealed more than 35 percent didn’t plan to report bitcoin-related gains or losses on their tax returns. On average, respondents said the current fiat value of their bitcoin holdings were $2,930.85, although that will probably continue to rise along with bitcoin’s market price.

The Best Personal Loans of 2017 (U.S. News), Rated: AAA

Some of the most common requirements for a personal loan are:

  • Minimum credit score: Most lenders require that you have at least fair or good credit when applying for a personal loan. Each lender sets its own cutoff for what it considers to be excellent, good, fair or bad credit. In general, fair credit is a FICO score between 580 to 669 and good credit is a score between 670 to 739. Most companies require a score of at least 600, but some have greater requirements. A higher score will increase your ability to be approved, and the higher your score, the lower interest rate you’ll qualify for too.
  • Clean credit history: Lenders don’t like to see defaults, collections or bankruptcies. If you have one or more of these on your credit report, you might not be approved for a personal loan. If you’re approved, you may have to pay an exorbitant interest rate.
  • Stable employment: A lender needs to know that if it lends you money, you’ll have the means to repay it over time. Without a stable job, you could miss payments or default on the loan. Proof of employment validates your loan application.
  • Proof of identification: Lenders usually need to see proof of identification, such as a copy of your driver’s license or passport, before approving your loan. Identity theft is common and they want to prevent thieves from taking out loans under another person’s credit.

Choosing a Personal Loan Company

There are two types of lenders you can choose from: banks and peer-to-peer lenders. Banks offering personal loans include SoFi and LightStream and peer-to-peer lenders include Upstart, LendingClub, Prosper and Peerform.

Marketplace-based lenders usually have less strict credit score requirements than their bank-based counterparts. For example, LendingClub and Peerform only require a FICO score of 600 while bank-based companies such as SoFi and Payoff have minimum FICO scores of 660.

Every lender has a minimum and maximum loan amount. For example, SoFi will lend up to $100,000 while Payoff lends up to $35,000. If you need to borrow $45,000, then only look at lenders who offer that amount or more.

Best Personal Loan Companies of 2017

  • Best for very good credit, low APR and no origination fees: LightStream
  • Best for very good credit, low APR, no origination fees and a range of offerings: SoFi
  • Best for very good credit and low APR with merit-based qualifications: Earnest
  • Best marketplace for fair to good credit with merit-based qualifications: Upstart
  • Best bank for fair to good credit with merit-based qualifications: LendingPoint
  • Best for fair to good credit with a co-signer option: LendingClub

The Best Bad Credit Loans of 2017 (U.S. News), Rated: AAA

Bad credit usually is a FICO score below 640. FICO is the main scoring system for consumer credit, with credit score rangesdefined as:

  • Exceptional (800 to 850)
  • Very Good (740 to 799)
  • Good (670 to 739)
  • Fair (580 to 669)
  • Very Poor (300 to 579)

Payday Loans Versus Personal Loans

Payday Loans Personal Loans for Bad Credit
Lenders Online, brick-and-mortar Online, brick-and-mortar
Loan Amounts Typically less than $500 $1,000 to $50,000
Loan Terms Two to four weeks One to five years
Interest Rates 200 to 400 percent APR 36 percent APR or less

(Source)

Some alternative payday loan companies market themselves as more socially responsible than traditional payday lenders because they offer better terms. They also want to help consumers rebuild their shaky credit and make payments on time. For instance, LendUp provides financial education and rewards existing borrowers who repay their loans to be eligible for loans at larger amounts and lower rates. Fig Loans only charges fees to cover the costs of the loan.

Choosing a Bad Credit Lender

Consumers should evaluate lenders based on the following criteria:

  • Type of lending company
  • Credit history and general qualifications
  • Co-signer option
  • Additional eligibility qualifications
  • Employment requirements
  • Interest rates and types
  • Loan terms
  • Fees and penalties
  • Repayment options

The Best Small Business Loans of 2017 (U.S. News), Rated: AAA

According to the National Small Business Association, 69 percent of small businesses used financing in 2016, including loans, credit cards, venture capital and crowdfunding. The remaining 31 percent were not able to obtain adequate financing.

According to data from the U.S. Small Business Administration, small business bank loans totaled nearly $600 billion in 2015. At the same time, lending from alternative sources such as finance companies and peer-to-peer, or P2P, marketplace lenders amounted to $593 billion.

There are two categories of alternative lenders, direct and peer-to-peer lenders:

1. Direct lenders: Direct lenders are finance companies that fund your loan with capital other than a bank and without a middleman such as a broker, investment bank or private equity firm. Some direct lenders, such as LiftFund, offer SBA loans. Typically, small to midsize businesses borrow from direct lenders.

2. Peer-to-peer lenders: Online peer-to-peer lending directly connects you with investors who usually have a diversified loan portfolio made up of small portions of loans. A loan is often divided among several investors.

Choosing a Small Business Loan

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Minimum credit score
  • Minimum years in business
  • Minimum annual revenue

Best Small Business Loans of 2017

  • Best for very small businesses: Kabbage
  • Best for borrowers with low credit scores: OnDeck
  • Best for new businesses: Accion
  • Best for low APR: LendingClub
  • Best for invoice financing: Fundbox

Square Now Letting Some Users Buy & Sell Bitcoin Through Cash Mobile App (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Financial service company Square is reportedly now testing out bitcoin on some of its Cash mobile app users. The new feature will allow users to buy and sell the cryptocurrency through the app.

YieldStreet Surpasses $ 200M in Originations, Bolsters Leadership Team and Launches New Website amid Period of High Growth (BusinessWire), Rated: A

YieldStreet, the alternative investment platform that is working to change the way wealth is created, announced that it has surpassed $200 million in originations and has added two new executives to its leadership team: Volfi Mizrahi as Managing Director of Originations and Ivor Wolk as General Counsel. Their additions come on the heels of the appointment of Hrishi Dixit as CTO earlier this year.

$ 15 Million Investment Round Fuels Accelerated Growth at Goji (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Goji announced a $15 million investment round led by Hudson Structured Capital Management Ltd., doing business as HSCM Bermuda.

CFPB Guns for Think Finance. Files Suit Alleging Consumer Deception in Repaying Loans Not Legally Owned (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has filed suit in federal court against Think Finance, a Fintech that leverages its technology to power online lending platforms. The CFPB says the suit was filed for its “role in deceiving consumers into repaying loans that were not legally owed.”

The CFPB alleges that Think Finance illegally collects on loans that are void under state laws governing interest rate caps or the licensing of lenders.

The actual filing states:

“From 2011 through at least 2015, Defendant has performed critical functions for three separate lending businesses owned by Native American Tribes: (1) Great Plains Lending, LLC (Great Plains); (2) MobiLoans, LLC (MobiLoans); and (3) Plain Green, LLC (Plain Green) (collectively, the Tribal lenders). Defendant is therefore a “service provider” under CFPA. 12 U.S.C. § 5481(226).”

Read the filing here.

Richard Cordray’s CFPB Has Done Its Job Well (Bloomberg), Rated: A

As recently as a decade ago, the U.S. had no single regulator tasked with looking out for the interests of consumers in financial markets. Fragmented oversight allowed all kinds of bad behavior to fall through the cracks. Mortgage brokers hid the true terms of loans in piles of nearly indecipherable documents. Banks changed the order of transactions to extract the maximum overdraft fees from poor customers. Payday lenders offered products designed to trap people in an unending cycle of debt.

Cordray has accomplished a lot. The CFPB designed new, simpler mortgage-loan disclosures. It shed light on banks’ overdraftpractices. It created the first federal rules to make payday lending less predatory. It gave the public reams of valuable information, such as a database that allows consumers to compare credit-card agreements. Its practice of publishing complaints pushed financial institutions to be more responsive. Its investigation of Wells Fargo brought national attention to the fake-accounts issue.

Some of its practices (in particular, preferringdiscretionary enforcement over explicit rule-making) are less than ideal and ought to be revisited; in other areas (such as auto lendingand credit reporting) its authority should be expanded.

We need a watchdog at Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Washington Post), Rated: A

Cordray’s departure gives President Trump an opportunity to appoint a new leader, and I’m concerned that this will derail the watchdog agency’s consumer-first mission.

In Cordray’s parting statement, he wrote that the agency has recovered $12 billion for nearly 30 million consumers.

Five opportunities and challenges in digital lending (American Banker), Rated: A

Despite the rapid growth of online and mobile lending in recent years, many banks are still just getting started.

Traditional banks should help govern fintech (Reuters), Rated: A

Traditional lenders should demand that online financial companies protect consumer privacy and money interests, Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard said on Thursday.

Banks often pay tech companies for the information they gather on borrowers. For that reason, Brainard said, those lenders can set high standards in consumer protection and privacy.

Under Trump, Banking Watchdog Trades Its Bite for a Tamer Stance (The New York Times), Rated: A

The regulator, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which oversees the nation’s biggest banks, has made it easier for Wall Street to offer high-interest, payday-style loans. It has softened a policy for punishing banks suspected of discriminatory lending. And it has clashed with another federal regulator that pushed to give consumers greater power to sue financial institutions.

Buffett’s ‘Million-Dollar Bet’ shows how much fees matter (Herald Tribune), Rated: A

One category of alternative investments includes hedge and private equity funds. I am not in favor of such investments, especially for the average investor, and I am not alone.

Typically, hedge fund fees are 2 percent plus an incentive, or “carry,” of 20 percent of the profits. The result is billions of dollars for the managers and far less for clients.

In 2015, Buffett lagged his hedge fund rival for the first time since 2008, gaining 1.4 percent versus Protégé’s 1.7 percent. However, 2016 saw Buffett gain 11.9 percent to Protégé’s 0.9 percent. At the end of 2016, Buffett’s index fund gained 7.1 percent per year, or $854,000 in total, compared with 2.2 percent per year, or $220,000, for Protégé.

United Kingdom

Royal Bank of Scotland to launch robo-advice under NatWest brand (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Royal Bank of Scotland is launching robo-advice for more than 5m customers as banks return to the investment market after a string of fines and as regulators attempt to plug the UK’s wide “advice gap”.

The state-backed lender is claiming to be the first in the UK to launch automated online investment advice when it opens on Monday under its NatWest brand. The service is designed for the majority of customers and for people with as little as £500 to invest as a lump sum.

The process, which costs £10 plus fees for the investment, is aimed at customers who lack the confidence to invest alone but do not wish to pay higher charges for full-blown financial advice, such as tax and inheritance planning.

Beyond the bank (Prospect Magazine), Rated: AAA

Five high street banks remain responsible for more than 80 percent of business lending, prompting calls for greater market choice both from challenger banks and from emerging FinTech (financial technology) firms. However, the introduction of new platforms and new players raises questions of integration, innovation and regulation.

Launched seven years ago, Funding Circle has since hosted 70,000 lenders and is responsible for 2 percent of total UK business lending. While going head-to-head with the banks it is worth noting that Funding Circle is also growing the market.

So what next for financial services? Will the disruptors get disrupted? Possibly. One attendee suggested that FinTech firms would soon be providing ‘white label’ versions of their services to traditional banks that would then offer those services to customers. Others suggested that the likes of Amazon and Google would provide the biggest future threat not just to banks but to today’s FinTech leaders.

RateSetter, Funding Circle, Zopa feature in Women in Fintech Powerlist (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

FEMALE employees at RateSetter, Funding Circle, Zopa and Landbay have all made this year’s Women in Fintech Powerlist, which celebrates the achievements and talent of women across the sector.

RateSetter’s entrants are: Alexa McAlister, head of partnerships; Angela Yotov, head of legal; Joanna Wright, chief risk officer; Katie Brown, corporate counsel; Laurence Perrin, head of compliance; Lucy Bott, head of customer operations; and Maud Holma, finance counsel.

Women from Funding Circle who made the list are: Alysha Randall, global finance director; Lisa Jacobs, chief strategy officer; Lucy Vernall, global general counsel and global head of compliance; Maria Weaver, chief people officer; Panni Morshedi, managing director of international; Swati Lay, chief information security officer; and Vittoria Reimers, VP loan operations.

VPC takes majority stake in online lender Borro (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

VICTORY Park Capital Specialty Lending (VPC) has continued its expansion into balance sheet lending by upping its investment in online secured lender Borro.

The alternative finance-focused investment trust now has the largest stake in the firm, which provides loans secured on luxury assets, owning around 49 per cent.

How does LendInvest’s buy-to-let offering stack up to P2P rivals? (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

LendInvest said it will be offering buy-to-let loans through intermediaries ranging between £50,000 and £5m, with rates starting at 3.69 per cent depending on whether borrowers take a two, three or five-year fixed rate.

In comparison, Landbay facilitates fixed rate and tracker buy-to-let loans of between £70,000 and £500,000 from 3.55 per cent.

And fellow P2P lender LandlordInvest offers loans of between £30,000 and £300,000 from five per cent.

Crowdproperty Pitches to Raise 600K GBP through Equity Crowdfunding (P2P-Banking), Rated: A

UK p2p lending marketplace Crowdproperty is currently pitching on Seedrs to raise 600K GBP from the crowd at a pre-money valuation of 5.9M GBP.

Digital bank Monzo sizes up IPO (AltFi), Rated: A

In an advertisement for a new Chief Financial Officer, Monzo has let on about its plans for an IPO within three to four years time.

The posting, published today on Monzo’s job site, says:

Alongside the CEO, you’ll be heavily involved in future capital raising – pitching to investors and negotiating the best terms. In the next 3-4 years, it’s likely you’ll be responsible for taking the company through an IPO.

UK FinTech Beats Brexit Blues with New Funding Record (Digit), Rated: A

The UK fintech sector has enjoyed a record year of investment in 2017 with more than £2 billion invested across 182 deals, according to research body FinTech.Global.

Additionally, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.7% experienced by firms valued below £75 million between 2014 and 2016 was supplemented with a further investment of £1.2 billion for this bracket in 2017. As for companies valued above the £75 million figure, a further £877.1 million has been committed across eight deals.

Investment in the UK’s top-10 fintech firms accounted for nearly 46.7% of the total investment between Q1 and Q3 2017. The largest of these deals went to Gryphon Insurance in June, valued at £179.6 million. Of the top 10 deals, four went to lending firms – Prodigy Finance1stStop GroupNeyber and Funding Circle, valued at £457.5 million. Of the remaining six deals, two went to challenger banks Tandem and Atom, two went to enterprise software companies Options Technology and Darktrace, and the final two went to insurtech companyies Gryphon Insurance and Revolut.

Millennials say advisers are inaccessible and too expensive (Financial Times), Rated: A

Millennials view financial advice as an industry of “exclusivity, inaccessibility and high cost,” according to research carried out by the financial advice trade body.

The poll of 178 millennials found 78 per cent of them believed they could only receive advice if they had investible wealth in excess of £50,000 but a significant number wanted advice when they had £10,000 or less.

Online-only options appealed to just 12 per cent of those surveyed.

Cardiff will host one of the first a new network of tech hubs being set up in a £21m investment (Wales Online), Rate: B

A new tech hub will be set up in Cardiff as part of a UK-wide network of regional hubs under a £21m investment announced by the UK Government.

China

P2P Lender Hexindai Names Citi As Depositary Bank for American Depositary Receipt Program (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On Wednesday, Chinese peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform Hexindai announced it has appointed Citi’s Issuer Services business as the depositary bank for its American Depositary Receipt (ADR) program. According to the online lender, the program was established through an initial public offering of its American Depositary Shares (ADSs), priced at $10 per ADS, which raised approximately $50 million.

Unified credit rating system expected soon, say experts (China Daily), Rated: A

A unified platform for collecting personal financial information and assessing people’s credit ratings is being planned, and it is expected to be launched soon as a part of the central bank’s regulatory framework, experts told China Daily.

It will complement the existing credit center of the People’s Bank of China, the nation’s central bank.

China Fintech Companies Dominate Top-10 List of Global Innovators (China Money Network), Rated: B

Compared with the ranking last year, two more Chinese firms were added to the top 50 list. Online marketplace lending company Dianrong and credit card and online financial service firm U51.com, or 51Xinyongka, rose to top 50. Among the 100 fintech companies, lending and payments focused companies lead in terms of sectors.

European Union

Online Lender WeShareBonds Raises €12 Million in Mission to Help Finance French SMEs (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

WeShareBonds, an AMF-registered crowd lending platform, has raised €12 million to continue financing French SMEs. The new funding includes both the closing of WeShareBonds’ second credit fund (Prêtons aux PME 2018) to finance French SMEs for €10 million and an equity increase of €2 million to finance platform growth.

International

Peer to Peer (P2P) Lending in India: A positive disruption to traditional financing, albeit cautious approach required (CARE Ratings), Rated: AAA

The overall size of the NBFC sector in India has grown significantly during the last few years with increasing share of NBFC total assets to bank total assets (approximately around 15 per cent of the total banking assets).

P2P Lending in UK: In UK, the P2P market has seen active retail investor participation. The outstanding loan book in the UK industry is approximately around £2.9 billion (~Rs.25,000 crore) as on Q3-2017 as compared to £0.75 billion (~Rs.6,500 crore) as on Q4-20142 . Based on the outstanding loan book as on Q3-2017, the key players in the segment are Funding Circle, Zopa, FolktoFolk, Ratesetter and ThinCats capturing majority of the market.

P2P Lending in USA: P2P industry in USA is around $20 billion (~Rs.1.3 trillion) in 2016 up from $18 billion in 20153 . P2P lending in the USA has seen active participation of institutional investors (approximately 70 per cent of the total investor volumes) lending to borrowers through the platforms. In the USA, three dominant players capture majority of the market which include Lending Club, Prosper and Sofi.

P2P Lending in China: Globally, China has the largest market size of P2P lending which started in 2006. As of January 2017, there were total 2388 P2P platforms in China4with trading volume in 2015 touching $67 billion (~Rs.4.4 trillion) which is ten times that of UK and four times bigger than USA. However unlike USA and UK, the China P2P market is dominated by large number of small and medium size firms.

P2P Lending in India: Globally P2P lending has been in existence for more than ten years; however, it has been evolving in India in the last couple of years. Given the recent RBI guidelines, companies will now need to obtain NBFC–P2P license and will come under the purview of the regulator. There are more than 50 P2P online platforms operating in India. I-Lend, LenDenClub, Faircent, Lendbox, i2iFunding, Monexo, India Money Mart, Rupaiya Exchange are some of the leading P2P platforms operating in India. Currently, some of the leading P2P platforms claim to disburse loans amounting to ~Rs.1 to 2 crore a month. Outstanding loans under P2P model is estimated to have reached ~Rs.50-60 crore.

Source: CARE Ratings

Read the full report here.

TAURUS COIN OPENS FOR BUSINESS GLOBALLY (EIN News), Rated: A

United Kingdom’s leading peer to peer cryptocurrency lender Taurus Coin today launched its online lending marketplace with USD 150M lending capital, bringing the world’s fastest growing form of lending to the South-East Asia, Gulf, Africa, Europe, and India investors.

Australia/New Zealand

Sharesies to look at robo-advice once regulator rules on exemptions (The National Business Review), Rated: A

Start-up fund distribution platform Sharesies will develop a plan to provide personalised, automated financial advice, known as robo-advice, once there is more clarity about regulatory exemptions.

Last month the Financial Markets Authority decided to grant an exemption to enable the provision of robo-advice services under the current financial advice regime and said it aims to finalise the exemption and be open for applications in early 2018.

India

ICICI Bank and Paytm partner for short term credit for users (Medianama), Rated: AAA

ICICI Bank and Paytm have partnered to offer short-term credit to users. The credit given to customers will be interest-free for 45 days and the bank says that it will give loans up to Rs 20,000. Initially, this will be allowed for select ICICI Bank customers who are on Paytm and will be extended to other bank customers as well who use Paytm.

Once the credit limit is set up for a customer, a consolidated bill is generated on the first day of the next month, which has to be paid by the 15th day of the same month. Customers can use their Paytm Wallet, debit card or internet banking of any bank for an easy repayment of their dues.

In August, the bank launched product called Instant Credit Card where certain pre-approved customers of the bank will be able to get a virtual credit card much before the physical card is delivered to them. A physical card will be sent to the customer’s address in 5-7 days.

Meanwhile, the bank’s rival, HDFC Bank said that it would start offering a virtual credit card for customers through its PayZapp wallet, as indicated by this Financial Express report. HDFC Bank has the maximum number of credit cards in circulation with 9.03 million. Meanwhile, ICICI Bank has 4.34 million credit cards.

  • Paytm’s rival in the wallet space, MobiKwik has partnered with Bajaj Finance to to bring in credit facilities to a wallet business.
  • In April this year, PayU India will be investing $50 million in its product LazyPay over the next few years. The credit facility could extend for amounts from Rs 3,000 and even up to Rs 10,000, depending upon customer behaviour.
  • For the recently concluded festival season, e-commerce player Flipkart started to offer EMIs on debit cards on high-value purchases.

Narrow banking is an idea whose time has come (livemint), Rated: A

The most heartening takeaway from last week’s public sector bank executive jamboree was the discussion around differentiated lending structures. The ThinkShop (earlier editions were called Gyan Sangams) suggested that large banks focus on corporate lending, while smaller lenders focus on retail loans or specific geographies.

Taking differentiated lending to its logical end, the time has come to consider converting the worst performers among state-owned lenders to narrow banks, which won’t lend at all.

Narrow banks are safe banks. By not lending, and using their deposits to buy government bonds, they carry virtually no credit risk. There is no danger of non-performing loans and frequent injections of equity capital that has to be funded by taxpayers. For the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) too, supervision gets easier. There is no need for deposit insurance.

RBI likely to issue clarifications on P2P lending norms soon (Money Control), Rated: B

The Reserve Bank of India is soon likely to issue clarifications on the guidelines for peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms relating to the lending limits, trusteeship and other operational norms.

Asia

Active.Ai raises over million in Series-A round (India Times), Rated: A

Singapore-based fintech platform Active-.Ai has raised $8.25 million in a series-A round, which was led by Vertex Ventures, Creditease Holdings and Dream Incubator. Existing investors Kalaari Capital and IDG Ventures also participated.

Canada

WEALTHSIMPLE, LEAGUE AMONG KPMG’S TOP 50 FINTECH COMPANIES (Betakit), Rated: B

Toronto-based WealthsimpleLeague, and SecureKey were among the company recognized in the top 50 category. In the emerging stars category, Toronto-based BorrowellWave, and Sensibill were recognized.

The list was put together by FinTech investment firm H2 Ventures and KPMG FinTech.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Transforming One of America’s Biggest Banks Into a Digital Lender

TD bank online

TD Bank has a long history of growth that has culminated in their being the 8th largest bank in the U.S. in terms of asset size even though they are only in 13 states. The company began in Portland, Maine in 1852 as Portland Savings Bank, but it has kept up with the changing financial […]

TD bank online

TD Bank has a long history of growth that has culminated in their being the 8th largest bank in the U.S. in terms of asset size even though they are only in 13 states. The company began in Portland, Maine in 1852 as Portland Savings Bank, but it has kept up with the changing financial industry through growth, mergers, and acquisitions to become “TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank.” Bank branches sprawl from Maine to Florida. They are in the process of developing digital products that coincide with their physical products of commercial & retail banking, lending, treasury management, deposit, and wealth products.

The Big Push Into The Digital Age

TD Bank conducted a survey on the current state of lending resulting in these key observations:

  • Small Businesses report a positive outlook with many expecting to grow revenue and services in the next year.
  • Many Small Business Owners aren’t aware of their business credit score and how it impacts their business’s future.
  • Credit is available to businesses seeking to expand, and banks can provide insights to help them grow.
  • 21 percent of small businesses state they have or will seek a loan or line of credit in the next year.
  • 20 percent say rising interest rates are a challenge to their business.

In response to these findings, TD Bank digitized its processes with a full web and mobile presence along with 24/7 call centers.

“We try to be there for customers when they need us, for small businesses especially,” said Jay DesMarteau, head of TD Bank’s small business banking division. “We have a strong digital presence now, but it’s more like a traditional bank. We are trying to figure out how to be as convenient online as we are in person so customers can do it by themselves but not by themselves.”

DesMarteau covers half a million small businesses customers with less than $10 million revenues. His division offers loans, loan advice, advice on how to be creditworthy, and a myriad of SBA products. If they can’t match needs, they work with socially responsible organizations like community development groups and non-profit lenders. Since there is a presence in all 13 east coast states, community education is a top priority.

“We do specialty funding,” DesMarteau said, “working with healthcare businesses like dentists and doctors, or vets. We work with restaurant groups on franchise loans, equipment financing, commercial real estate, and asset-based lending.”

The TD Bank business model is that of regional teams who are responsible to interface with customers, deliver product mechanisms for customers, interview customers to make sure the right product is being offered, and prepare customers for loans.

Meeting the Demand for Small Business Loans

About half of all small businesses are sole proprietors with 90% having a revenue of less than $250,000 per year, DeMarteau said. A lot want to grow revenue but aren’t ready to hire. They need to grow, so there’s a need for capital. That translates into a need for smaller loans for mom- & pop-sized businesses.

“This year, we’re starting to see more small loan volume for small businesses,” DesMarteau said. “There’s some hesitation about the Trump administration, but there’s optimism too. The feeling is that regulation will be pulled back, there will be something beneficial for small businesses about healthcare, or taxes will be minimized. That optimism is translating into small business loans. As people want more loans, there is a big need for people to educate themselves on how to get a loan. If you can bank with us, you’re going to have a relationship manager. You can talk to them about a loan any time before you need it. That’s free advice. We can tell you how we’ll view you, how we’ll underwrite you, what will be required, and give you a sense of how creditworthy you are before you need it.”

Small business loans are a major driver in underwriting. Many people don’t realize they have a business credit score as well as a personal credit score. Since there is a lot of naivete about the underwriting process, providing personalized advice gets the process ahead of the curve. Bigger businesses start to request more money and can be underwritten more traditionally by commercial loan underwriters with up to three years of tax returns.

“It’s important to see how a smaller business is evaluated when you start thinking about that first loan,” DesMarteau said. “And you can learn a lot online, but you can’t ask the right questions online if you don’t know what to ask. That’s why many people just walk into a local branch and talk to somebody there.” TD Bank is in the process of building an online portal where small business owners can do that. Online lenders have done it the best in the industry, but they have the highest rates and no banking product. A lot of banks are starting to adopt technology with better rates. Over time, you’ll see better funding interface models. “We are starting to see partnerships, loose arrangements where banks will share loss history and financial data with online companies, and vice-versa.”

There are between 7,000 to 8,000 banking institutions in the U.S. A new business owner walks into their local bank to open an account all the time. Many of these small businesses have operating models that are unique to a particular industry, like healthcare or restaurant groups. If the local bank doesn’t understand the operating model, there’s a good chance that business will be turned down when seeking a loan. TD Bank’s answer is specialty groups.

“SBA loans experts who can help with SBA loans and other small business products,” DesMarteau said. “We carve out expertise groups for government customers who have knowledge of how each government entity works. They understand government deposit products. Different lending products need specialty folks who understand how the borrowing business works.”

The Future of Small Business Lending is Digital

DesMarteau sees the industry changing as customers get comfortable with the use of digital. He said that about 10% want only digital, but the majority also use a traditional banking (brick & mortar) channel. Digitization is used to be more efficient, but people like to interface with a person, particularly in instances that require a personal touch.

“Take underwriting,” DeMarteau said. “We can take financial statements and transcribe numbers off of them as well as perform calculations that save a lot of time. With Optimal Character Recognition and various underwriting templates, there are different ways to advise customers. We can make better product offers on the website based on things I see in data, like line of credit or overdrafts. It’s still developing, but we try to do a little of both: Build a hypothesis of customization, and use algorithm. The hypothesis will turn into an algorithm that makes the product more customized.”

When asked about future plans, DesMarteau said that TD Bank is continuing to invest in digital.

“Our product is physical, and our footprint is the way we treat customers,” he said. “Our digital offerings are being developed to provide the same experience as our physical stores. We want to get more people in front of customers, so as we hire, customer-facing is a priority. A lot of banks today have low interest rates and lots of regulation. We’re thoughtful with capital but it’s been a challenge. As we develop digital, we keep customer experience in front of us so the customer is happy and we deliver great service. So far, deposits are still healthy.”

Authors:

Written with Nicki Jacoby.

Allen Taylor

Making Small Business Lending Simpler With Loan Aggregation

small business loan aggregation

From 2007 to 2013, SME financing hit the skids while annual small business loan origination fell by 54 percent. Twenty-eight million small businesses across the U.S. carry nearly $700 billion in small dollar loans. Furthermore, consumer loans are qualified on the basis of income and credit score, the two basic metrics on which funding is […]

small business loan aggregation

From 2007 to 2013, SME financing hit the skids while annual small business loan origination fell by 54 percent. Twenty-eight million small businesses across the U.S. carry nearly $700 billion in small dollar loans. Furthermore, consumer loans are qualified on the basis of income and credit score, the two basic metrics on which funding is executed. In contrast, SME lending is fragmented in the form of equipment loans, business acquisition loans, commercial real estate loans, invoice financing, and supplier financing. Plus, it requires lenders to evaluate a host of parameters for understanding the creditworthiness of borrowers. Brock Blake believes $1 billion is the benchmark that allows lenders to be more transparent about their volume trends.

Blake, the former CEO of Funding Universe, founded Lendio in 2006 with Trent Miskin and Levi King to make small business lending simpler. Headquartered in South Jordan, Utah, the company has raised $51 million from 11 investors in four funding rounds. Additionally, the company $20 million in October 2016 for expansion. Comcast Ventures and Stereo Capital led the Series D round offering a big vote of confidence in the company even as FinTech lending industry has grown tepid.

Lendio works with more than 75 lenders to enable its customers to compare and contrast varying loan options that include SBA, startup, equipment, commercial real estate, and more. It has facilitated more than 13,000 businesses to raise $250 million through its platform.

How Lendio Aggregates its Loans

Blake confirmed that partner-lenders’ appetite for loan volumes is increasing. Lenders are always on the lookout for creditworthy leads, which allows Lendio to be a full package solution by providing comprehensive and credible information about prospective borrowers. It has also launched a national scholarship program for small businesses and has entered into strategic partnerships with American Express, Staples, and GoDaddy. The company has also announced new partnerships with Townsquare Media and Supplier Success. These initiatives have helped the platform fund $63 million in Q3 2016 alone.

Lendio, in partnership with lenders on the platform, tailors solutions to the borrower. Innovations include flex pay products, mezzanine financing, and larger loans for commercial real estate and business credit card segments. This helps Lendio move up the curve in terms of volume, reach, and profitability. It is always more profitable to execute a $3 million loan than a $3,000 loan, Blake said.

Lendio’s Success is Dependent on Relationships

Lendio has been active on the regulatory front, spending a lot of time educating policymakers and members of Congress about the needs of SMEs and how players in the industry are innovating to help businesses create jobs and wealth. In addition to small business loans, Lendio has organized educational events for small business owners to make their businesses more lending friendly. The company is a member of Electronic Transactions Association (ETA) and has an association with Innovative Lending Platform Association (ILPA) and Coalition for Responsible Business Finance (CRBF).

One initiative supported by Lendio is ILPA’s Straightforward Metrics around Rate and Total Cost (SMART) Box, which focuses on providing transparency to small business owners through standardized pricing tools and comparisons inclusive of various total dollar cost and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) metrics. The company understands that it is a work in progress and believes it is important to incorporate feedback from SMEs and other partners.

Lendio is always working on its product and technology stack to ease the process for both borrower and lender by concentrating on matching algorithms, customer experience, and enhanced automation to increase conversion rates. Blake believes the industry was more focused on loan volume in the previous year; the current scenario has VCs focusing on unit economics and profitability. This is positive for Lendio as the company had started focusing on margins ahead of the curve and this will be reflected in its ability to keep growing without sacrificing margins.

Lendio’s platform has multiple lenders and is on a rapid growth spree. As lenders start from a small base, Lendio is not publishing data around individual lender volumes.

With focused efforts on customer experience, investment in technology, and positive unit economics, Lendio is growing over 100% year over year. Its recent funding round will enable the platform to further establish its hold as the go-to loan aggregator among small business owners. Lendio’s loans are now available in 46 of the 50 states, and the company has been stitching partnerships to grow access to both capital for borrowers and customers for lenders. The market size is huge, and Lendio is in the pole position for capturing a significant market share in a category which was all but abandoned by Wall Street.

Authors:

Written with Heena Dhir.

Allen Taylor