Thursday September 28 2017, Daily News Digest

Chinese billionaires

News Comments Today’s main news: PayPal likely to buy big target like Square or Klarna soon. LendingTree acquires non-lending assets of SnapCap. Funding Circle boost revenues, narrows losses. ZhongAn raises $1.5B in Hong Kong IPO. Funding Societies intros first crowdfunding chatbot in Southeast Asia. Today’s main analysis: Hong Kong private wealth sees double-digit growth. Today’s thought-provoking articles: The next […]

Chinese billionaires

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United States

PayPal A Buyer, Not Seller, And May Seek A Big Target (Investors.com), Rated: AAA

Cash-rich PayPal Holdings (PYPL) is likely to pull the trigger on a big acquisition soon, and may be eyeing Europe or a big target like Square (SQ), says a Wall Street analyst.

Ellis says PayPal has $6 billion in cash on its balance sheet and could raise $4 billion or more by selling off its consumer credit business.

“While there are a number of potential candidates, we see the acquisition of a European payments asset as the most likely,” added Ellis in the report. “We believe the top candidates are Adyen, Klarna, Square and Stripe.”

Both Square and Stripe, however, would be costly acquisitions. Square’s market valuation tops $10 billion, while privately-held Stripe’s latest funding round in December gave it a whopping $9.2 billion valuation.

LendingTree Acquires Non-Lending Assets of SnapCap (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

LendingTree, Inc. (NASDAQ: TREE) announced today that it has acquired certain assets of Snap Capital LLC, a tech-enabled online platform connecting business owners with lenders offering small business loans, lines of credit and merchant cash advance products through a concierge-based sales approach.

The acquisition purchase has a possible total consideration of $21 million, which consists of $12 million in cash at closing, and contingent consideration payments of up to $9 million.

The Next Billion-Dollar Startups 2017 (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Every year for the past three, Forbes has gone looking for 25 young U.S. companies with a strong shot at reaching a valuation of $1 billion or more. This year, with the help of TrueBridge Capital Partners, we asked venture firms which companies they thought most likely to hit the billion-dollar mark soon. Then we cut that list down to a final 25, evaluating strategies, funding and competitive challenges as well as estimating current revenues.

Blend

Founders: Erin Collard, Nima Ghamsari (CEO), Eugene Marinelli; Equity raised: $160 million; Estimated 2017 revenue: $27 million; Lead investors: 8VC, Founders Fund, Greylock Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners

What it does: Makes cloud-based software that lenders use to originate mortgages online. Today, Blend works with about 30 mortgage originators, including Wells Fargo, U.S. Bancorp and Mason-McDuffie Mortgage. It also plans expansions into student and auto loans.

Fundbox

Founders: Yuval Ariav, Tomer Michaeli, Eyal Shinar (CEO); Equity raised: $108 million; Estimated 2017 revenue: $55 million; Lead investors: General Catalyst, Khosla Ventures, Spark Capital

What it does: Provides short-term financing to small businesses. Fundbox intends to reduce the cash-flow headaches of small companies, both those waiting for payment and those that need short-term credit to pay what they owe. Fundbox started as an invoice-financing company, lending money to small businesses against their accounts receivables at rates lower than those for cash advances and without prepayment penalties. Its new model, expected to launch in 2018, is meant to work like a credit card for business-to-business transactions. A company that owes money has Fundbox pay the invoice. The company that is owed gets its cash immediately (minus a small interchange fee). Meanwhile, the first company has 60 days to repay Fundbox before being charged interest. With U.S. businesses doing some $41 trillion in business-to-business transactions a year, the potential market is enormous, but setting up such a network is hard.

Plaid

Founders: William Hockey, Zach Perret (CEO); Equity raised: $60 million; Estimated 2017 revenue: $40 million; Lead investors: Goldman Sachs, New Enterprise Associates, Spark Capital

What it does: Makes software that helps technology startups and banks work together. Plaid’s products provide authentication of accounts and routing numbers, income validation and real-time balance checks. Among its customers: Venmo, Robinhood, Coinbase and Clarity Money.

Shinola Finds Kindred Partner in Affirm (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Affirm, Inc., the company started by Max Levchin to provide fair and honest consumer financing, today announced that Detroit-based design brand, Shinola, is using Affirm’s point of sale service to put customers first in an era when a merchant’s values often outstrip price for shoppers’ making a buying decision — especially among millennials.

Known for its dedication to thoughtful manufacturing by creating jobs and making watches, bicycles, leather goods, journals, jewelry, and audio equipment of the highest quality, Shinola is obsessive about customer experience to ensure a high-touch shopping experience that accurately matches the finely crafted watches, bicycles, jewelry, bags, accessories and gifts for sale on its website.

Since Shinola began offering Affirm’s financing to its shoppers, the company’s average order value (AOV) has increased by 52 percent. Also, 50 percent of the Affirm users on Shinola’s site are now between the ages of 18 and 34, a market Shinola has been working to grow.

Nearly 90 percent of marketers said customer experience would be their primary differentiator this year, according to a recent study by research and advisory firm Gartner, Inc. And, the majority of respondents — 55 percent — in a recent survey conducted by Affirm and Qualtrics of more than 1,000 22 to 44-year-olds in the U.S. said they prioritize a company with high values and ethical business practices, over minimizing their out-of-pocket costs.

How CRE Fundraising Is Changing and Why (Commercial Property Executive), Rated: A

Jason Burian: The number of closed-end private real estate funds in the market raising capital over the past three years:

  • January 2015 – 478
  • January 2016 – 492
  • January 2017 – 525 (record high)

Closed-end private real estate dry powder over the past three years:

  • December 2015 – $229 billion
  • December 2016 – $237 billion
  • July 2017 – $255 billion (record high)

CPE: Is the real estate crowdfunding industry a solution? What are the risks?

Burian: I see real estate crowdfunding as an alternative to traditional private equity real estate and an alternative source of investors and not as a solution to any problem. As we know, it is just an avenue for every day individual investors seeking exposure in their portfolios to real estate without acquiring shares of REIT’s.

Government regulation is always a risk for this relatively new industry sector. There are questions about the amount of government regulation and whether there is enough to make it a safe playing field. Until crowdfunding matures, with the proper level of regulation, there is always a risk that someone is taking advantage of that gap that currently may exist.

A new survey has concluded that then it comes to researching mortgages, Millennials prefer the D.I.Y. aspect of the online world, while Baby Boomers prefer to communicate with people.

According to the survey, “The Digital Mortgage Experience: A Study of Shifting Borrower Expectations,” from Los Angeles-based Velocify, more than one-third of all borrowers prefer self-service websites, especially during the research stage of getting a mortgage. But as the process evolves, demographic shifts occur. The survey found Millennials were 45 percent more likely to find their lender online than Baby Boomers, who were 87 percent more likely to use their current bank or lender for their home loans.

Boost Insurance Raises $ 3M in Funding (Finsmes), Rated: A

Boost Insurance USA, a NY-based technology-enabled insurtech development platform provider, raised $3m in funding.

The round was led by Norwest Venture Partners with participation from IA Capital Group, Greycroft Partners, and re/insurance industry leaders State National Companies (NASDAQ: SNC) and Nephila.

3 Stocks That Could Double Your Money (The Motley Fool), Rated: A

Company Recent Stock Price
Lending Club (NYSE:LC) $5.97
Fitbit (NYSE:FIT) $6.52
Etsy (NASDAQ:ETSY) $17.01

DATA SOURCE: TD AMERITRADE. PRICES AS OF SEPT. 26, 2017.

Finally starting to grow again

Peer-to-peer lending platform Lending Club has lost roughly three-fourths of its market value since its first trading day in 2014, thanks to several quarters of stagnant growth and a scandal that worried investors.

However, the company’s most recent earnings report shows that things may finally be starting to pick up, with 10% growth in loan originations, higher profit margins, and impressive revenue growth. In addition, the company said it could be on the verge of profitability by the start of 2018, and it expects double-digit sequential revenue growth in the third quarter of this year.

Lending Club’s current loan portfolio represents roughly 0.4% of the U.S. consumer lending market, and if the company could even manage to boost its market share to one or two percent, it could mean a big payday for the company’s investors.

Sumero Leads $ 45M Growth Equity Round in Treasury Fintech Kyriba (Xconomy), Rated: B

After raising $23 million in a Series D funding round last September, Kyriba says today it has raised $45 million in a growth equity round led by Sumeru Equity Partners, a tech-focused private equity firm that specializes in mid-market deals. Previous investors Bpifrance, Iris Capital, Daher Capital (all growth equity funds) joined the deal, along with HSBC.

The venture rounds are over for Kyriba, a cloud-based provider of corporate treasury and financial management software that is based in New York and San Diego.

Amazon effect’ makes advising smaller clients less profitable (Financial Times), Rated: B

Daniel Ketchum prides himself on his low fees and independence, but after 27 years as a financial adviser he is finding it harder to make a living working with smaller clients.

Increased government regulations and savers becoming more knowledgeable about investing have created what he calls the “Amazon effect” for US financial advisers.

But the US Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule, which came out this year, is making it harder for him to make a profit from advising small plans, he says.

The regulation requires advisers servicing retirement accounts to work in the best interest of the client and has disrupted the wealth management industry.

“I am trying to see if there’s an area where we can do this online and don’t need to leave the office,” he says. “If every plan had the economics of the smaller guys, it would be tough to pay staff, office rent and marketing.”

PayPal’s Cofounder Says Amazon Is “Not Yet” A Monopoly (BuzzFeed), Rated: B

Max Levchin, a cofounder of PayPal and former chairman of Yelp who is now CEO of the online lending startup Affirm, told BuzzFeed News on Wednesday that Amazon has “not yet” become a monopoly because of competition from major retailers like Walmart as well as from smaller brands, which are investing in ways to attract and keep customers in the real world as well as online.

Walmart is still much larger than Amazon in terms of net sales. During 2017 fiscal year, Walmart reported$485.9 billion in revenue and $481.3 billion in net sales. Amazon, on the other hand, reported about $136 billion in net sales in 2016.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle boosts revenues, narrows losses in 2016 results (AltFi), Rated: AAA

The UK’s largest marketplace lending platform marginally narrowed its losses in 2016. Funding Circle, a business loans marketplace, lost £35.7m in 2016, slightly down from £36.9m in the previous year. Meanwhile the platform boosted revenues by 59 per cent to £50.9m, and saw its total loans outstanding climb 61 per cent to £1.37bn, according to a Companies House filing.

Funding Circle has also flagged that its group operating results for the first half of 2017 demonstrate that revenue growth has accelerated further, approximately doubling year-on-year.

The UK Punches Above its Weight in Alternative Finance & Crowdfunding Can Provide a More Robust Funding Ecosystem (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Crowdfund Insider recently spoke with Raghavendra Rau to better understand his perspective on the crowdfunding market. Rau is the Sir Evelyn de Rothschild Professor of Finance at Cambridge Judge Business School. He is also a founder and Director at the Cambridge Centre for Alternative  Finance (CCAF). At the most recent CCAF annual conference in Cambridge, Rau shared some insightful research he had recently completed on the global crowdfunding market.

First, to clarify, in the UK crowdfunding encompasses both debt and equity so peer to peer lending (IE Marketplace Lending) is included in aggregate terms. It is more about many people (and perhaps some institutions) funding a single project. Rau, in his research, emphasizes that in the UK the debt crowdfunding market is far larger than the equity side. This makes sense and mirrors the public markets. Yet access to capital at a very early stage may require equity capital. But globally, over 90% of the crowdfunding market is debt, not equity. It is a debt financed world, at least for SMEs, said Rau.

“Yes, there is definitely potential here. Usually you have two types of firms. Most small enterprises do not require equity. They require debt. Debt means you have to have approximately stable cash flows. Equity means you have to convince the investors that you have an amazing idea that is going to pay off in several years and I am going to let you (the investor) share in this. This is more risky for the investor and so all SMEs are not suitable candidates to raise equity.”

Rau said there are two different paths. Banks or crowdfunding. With crowdfunding there is less paperwork. It is easier to process and in some instances less risk averse. Banks are pulling back from lending across the spectrum. SMEs, the engine of economic growth, are not getting the necessary capital via the traditional route.

So has the UK crowdfunding system been effective?

In the broader scope of things, China is the largest alternative finance market in the world. The US comes in a distant second. The UK is a strong third. But given the relative size of the UK economy, Rau calls the UK performance “extremely impressive.”

The UK is recognized as the top Fintech hub in the world but this required policymakers to be more creative and to take some chances. So far, it has paid off.

How FAs Engage Third-Party Services is Changing (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: A

Wealth Mosaic aims to build “a resource covering all of the main business needs of wealth managers” in about a dozen verticals, says its co-founder Stephen Wall, who has worked as a wealth management consultant with Boston-based Aite Group and Scorpio Partnership in London. At first, though, he says the service will focus where it’s needed most: on technology and data resources as well as consulting and research options.

Though Wall sees a role for Wealth Mosaic with all “different types of wealth managers,” he sees particular growth opportunities helping “smaller independent” firms that lack in-house consulting arms to help them match their needs to third-party providers, whether the services in question are critical to the firm’s core mission or add value around the edges.

Advisers warned of robo-advice ‘cliff edge’ (FT Adviser), Rated: A

A panel of experts at the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment’s financial planning conference in Newport today (26 September) said robo-advice did not necessarily pose a risk to financial advice as long as advisers adapted.

George Rooke, head of UK portfolio management at Wealthsimple, said there were advisers who would “struggle” because of their refusal to engage with robo-advice.

Michelle Pearce, co-founder of robo-adviser Wealthify, said advisers did not necessarily have to worry about being replaced by companies such as hers.

British Business Bank reaffirms support for fintech in new report (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE BRITISH Business Bank (BBB) has published a new report underlining the importance of diverse sources of funding for smaller businesses, including peer-to-peer lending.

The report, titled The Benefits of Diverse Finance Markets for Smaller Businesses, explains why and how the state-backed lender works to increase the number of providers and finance options available to small firms in the UK.

“To date £135m is committed to five fintech alternative lending partners. These partners cover a wide range of products including P2P term loans, invoice finance and merchant cash advances.”

Spotcap Announces UK Fintech Fellowship Winner (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Spotcap, an online lender for SMEs, has announced Mohammed Hussan as the winner of its Fintech Fellowship 2017. The Fellowship awards one aspiring masters or MBA student with a £8,000 stipend towards their studies.

China

Online Insurer ZhongAn Raises $ 1.5 Billion in Hong Kong IPO (Caixin), Rated: AAA

ZhongAn, the online insurance seller with ties to China’s two largest internet companies, raised $1.5 billion from its Hong Kong IPO as investor flocked to the biggest listing to date by a new generation of Chinese financial technology (fintech) companies.

Shares of ZhongAn Online Property & Casualty Insurance Co. Ltd. were priced at HK$59.70 ($7.64) apiece, representing the top of their previously indicated range, according to a company announcement on Wednesday to the Hong Kong stock exchange. The offering raised HK$11.5 billion after being nearly 400 times oversubscribed.

ZhongAn Surges in HK Debut, Boding Well for Future Tech Listings (The New York Times), Rated: A

ZhongAn Online Property & Casualty Insurance Co jumped 18 percent on debut on Thursday after the biggest ever IPO by a financial technology firm in Asia, boosting Hong Kong’s hopes of luring future Chinese technology startups away from New York.

It also bodes well for expected listings from other fintech giants in Hong Kong, including Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial and peer-to-peer lending and wealth management platform Lufax.

Both Ant Financial and Lufax are considering IPOs in the city, sources previously told Reuters, although the timing for the deals is uncertain.

Private wealth in Hong Kong sees double-digit growth in 2017 (The Asset), Rated: AAA

THIS July, Hong Kong’s private wealth management industry recorded a 14% increase in assets under management (AUM) compared to a year ago. Hong Kong’s wealth management professionals believe that the growth is primarily driven by mainland China’s growing wealth, according to a recent report.

The estimated total private wealth in terms of AUM in Hong Kong is over US$800 billion as of July 2017, according to a survey by Private Wealth Management Association (PWMA) and PwC. This is an increase of 14% from US$700 billion in July 2016. PWMA’s annual members survey was produced with PwC in July 2017, with 33 out of 45 PWMA member firms participated.

In the survey, 100% of respondents cited mainland China as the main driver of growth in Hong Kong’s private wealth AUM. This may be unsurprising, as China has become home to the highest number of billionaires in the world. According to Hurun Report in 2016, China now has 568 billionaires, surpassing the 535 billionaires in the US, and now ranks first globally.

China’s Ant brings in CK Hutchison as Hong Kong payments partner (Reuters), Rated: A

Ant Financial, the payment affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, said it will create a joint venture this year with CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd to operate its payment app in Hong Kong, ending Ant’s solo management of the service.

The new venture will allow Ant Financial’s Alipay to offer services via companies under CK Hutchison, which operates ports, retail, infrastructure and telecommunications businesses across 50 countries.

Ant Financial currently operates its payment app under the Alipay brand in Hong Kong, which offers transaction services at around 4,000 outlets in the city. The new joint venture will take over operation of the app, though it will still be branded Alipay, it said on Tuesday.

European Union

Fintech Group signs Kommunalkredit (Finextra), Rated: A

Kommunalkredit is a specialist bank for infrastructure financing based in Vienna, with a branch office in Frankfurt am Main. Its new online offering KOMMUNALKREDIT INVEST targets retail investors, who want to deposit their savings at attractive conditions. Their funds will be used to support key infrastructure investments made by Kommunalkredit such as schools, hospitals, care homes, wind farms, solar energy installations, waste-to-energy facilities, and transport projects.

FinTech Group provides a broad range of fully digital solutions and interfaces for KOMMUNALKREDIT INVEST: they include frontend processes such as online account openings, e-banking, and identification solutions such as video identification, e-signature and mTAN. On the backend side, FinTech Group will also run a data warehouse and carry out compliance monitoring as well as regulatory reporting.

Milan opens ‘Fintech District’ (Finextra), Rated: B

Thirty firms – ranging from start-ups to established corporates – have already selected the Fintech District as their home; they include businesses working in crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending, blockchain and cryptocurrency-based technologies, and robo-advisory.

International

FinTech Has Yet To Make Impact On Trade Finance Gap (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

Trade finance revenue is slipping at the world’s largest banks, especially as companies struggle in a global trade environment operating with a $1.5 trillion gap in trade finance availability.

According to the ADB’s latest survey findings, though, outlined in its Trade Finance Gaps, Growth and Jobs report, FinTech players have yet to make a meaningful impact on the trade finance industry.

The survey polled more than 515 banks and 1,336 companies across 103 countries, finding that FinTech innovators can, indeed, help address the $1.5 trillion trade finance gap which disproportionately impacts small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

Approximately one-fifth of the companies surveyed said they had used some type of digital finance, alternative lending or FinTech platform to access trade finance, according to the ADB results.

Leveraging Alternative Data to Energize Your Lending Portfolio (LendIt), Rated: A

Banks aren’t just dealing with customers who want lending and credit information faster. Government regulations are also requiring them to do so, such as Australian banks requiring affordability checks as part of new consumer loans.

Venkat Srinivasan, Head of Lending at Monzo, said that as a new digital bank, they began to question why it was often a month or two months before consumers could see the transaction come through on their banking or credit card. Venkat noted that while technology is improving and customers are evolving, data availability is evolving at the same time.

Roger Vincent, Head of Banking and Innovation at Equifax, discussed how they’re finding new ways to store data, facilitate data movement, and turn data into insights in the form of scores and characteristics.

Phil Grady, CEO of Castlight Financial, discussed how they created a business that has taken traditional credit data from consumers and integrated it with transactional data. This involves categorizing income and expenditures, and then determining essential expenditures versus non-essentials. This enables Castlight to determine consumers’ real disposable income, which in turn helps lenders make better lending decisions. This type of granular level data has allowed Castlight to create the first real-time Financial Capability Formula.

Only three per cent of advisers offer robo-advice (AltFi), Rated: A

Only three per cent of 162 advisers surveyed said they offered fully automated wealth management services, the research found.

The study, which was conducted by research firm Platforum on behalf of JP Morgan, also found that only 14 per cent plant to implement it in the next two years.

Australia

Alternative Finance: Australia Becoming Regional Leader (Canstar), Rated: AAA

Australia’s alternative finance market has grown by 53% over 12 months according to a report released by KPMG, becoming the second largest in the Asia-Pacific region.

The report revealed Australia’s alternative finance market increased from US$27 million in 2015 to US$610 million in 2016 as Aussies turn to peer-to-peer lending (P2P), balance sheet business lending and crowdfunding.

In the US$245.28 billion Asia-Pacific alternative finance market, China was found to be the leader, accounting for 99.2% and representing 85% of the total global market.

P2P consumer lending was Australia’s second most popular alternative finance model behind balance sheet business lending, increasing from US$43 million in 2015 to over US$158 million in 2016.

India

Funding Societies introduces Miyu, the friendly Chatbot (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Funding Societies, Singapore’sand Southeast Asia’s leading crowdfunding platform, has announced the launch of its chatbot Miyu. This is the first such chatbot created by a crowdfunding company in Southeast Asia. Miyu works round the clock to answer queries that a business owner or an investor may ask about the products and services offered by Funding Societies.

“We created Miyu via self-learning with guidance from our seniors. She is different from most other chatbots in the financial services space. Personally, I like that Miyu can escalate to human support whenever required, giving our users a seamless experience,” said Sherman Lim, who is a Singaporean and majors in Economics and Strategic Management at Singapore Management University (SMU).

The future plans for Miyu include acting as a Virtual Relationship Manager who can assist SMEs in loan application, and help investors navigate through the platform, initiate video chats with real customer experience managers as well as perform account opening and management activities such as investments, deposits, withdrawals, etc. without human intervention at any time of the day.

Fintech firms look to disburse loans, offer digital expertise under Mudra (livemint), Rated: A

Financial Technology (Fintech) firms are in early discussions with the government and Micro Units Development & Refinance Agency Ltd (MUDRA), exploring opportunities under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY), said three people close to the development.

So far, PMMY loans have been extended by all public sector banks, regional rural banks (RRBs), cooperative banks, private sector banks, foreign banks, micro finance institutions and non-banking finance companies. Fintech companies have not been involved yet.

Under Shishu, refinancing is provided for loans up to Rs50,000. Kishor offers refinancing for loans above Rs50,000 up to Rs5 lakh whereas, Tarun provides refinancing for loans above Rs5 lakh up to Rs10 lakh. Mudra also offers services like credit guarantee for micro units and securitization of loan assets against micro enterprise portfolios.

Middle East

Dubai Economy signs new deal to develop emCash (Tahawul Tech), Rated: A

Emcredit, a subsidiary of Dubai Economy, and the UK-based Object Tech Group have signed a partnership deal to facilitate financial transactions through contactless payment.

Emcredit and Object Tech will develop a competitive, accountable and legally compliant emCash ecosystem together. Several associated products to protect emCash wallet and digital documents, enable direct real-time settlement and peer-to-peer lending, and provide credit rating based on the distributor ledger of emCash will also be developed.

emCash is based on blockchain technology and will be the digital currency in emPay wallet. The payment method, according to Dubai Economy, will allow the UAE residents to make varied payments through the near field communication (NFC) option on their phones. With emCash, emPay users will have the option of a secure digital currency, and merchants can receive such payments in real time without going through intermediaries.

Canada

The Digital Banking Underdog: Toronto Emerges as Global FinTech Leader (Let’s Talk Payments), Rated: A

It’s estimated that in 2017 alone, nearly $60 billion worth of payments will be made on mobile platforms. Comparing these figures to just two years ago, only $8.71 billion worth of transactions were made digitally in 2015.

In line with other frontrunners in the industry, such as London, Silicon Valley and New York City, Toronto, Canada, my hometown, stands apart as an emerging FinTech ecosystem, and it’s become a well-recognized leader amongst the largest and most stable financial centers in the world.

Ontario has been a global leader in digital payments for more than a decade, with Toronto leading in a high concentration of cryptocurrencies,blockchain, alternative lending and e-commerce growth verticals.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday September 20 2017, Daily News Digest

low credit scores

News Comments Today’s main news: PayPal to fully integrate Swift Financial after closing acquisition.GoCardless raises $22.5M.Qudian poising for U.S. IPO.Varengold Bank AG to give $61M to MarketInvoice.Bondora hits 100M Euro milestone.Reserve Bank of India to treat P2P lenders as non-banking financial companies. Today’s main analysis: Public distrusts regulators as much as Wall Street.(a must-read) Today’s […]

low credit scores

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United States

PayPal will fully integrate Swift Financial ‘over the next year’ after loan provider acquisition closes (VentureBeat), Rated: AAA

A little over one month after revealing plans to acquire Swift Financial, PayPal has announced that the deal is now complete.

PayPal said that it plans to fully integrate Swift Financial into its payment service “over the course of the next year,” according to Darrell Esch, PayPal’s vice president and commercial officer of global credit, in a blog post.

PayPal has actually offered a working capital program for lending money to small businesses since 2013, and it has loaned more than $3 billion through the program to date. This compares to the $3 billion Amazon has loaned SMEs since the launch of Amazon Lending back in 2011, and the $1.5 billion in loans Square has doled out since launching Square Capital in 2014.

Public Distrusts Wall Street Regulators as Much as Wall Street (Cato.org), Rated: AAA

The new Cato Institute 2017 Financial Regulation national survey of 2,000 U.S. adults released today finds that Americans distrust government financial regulators as much as they distrust Wall Street. Nearly half (48%) have “hardly any confidence” in either.

Americans have a love-hate relationship with regulators. Most believe regulators are ineffective, selfish, and biased:

  • 74% of Americans believe regulations often fail to have their intended effect.
  • 75% believe government financial regulators care more about their own jobs and ambitions than about the well-being of Americans.
  • 80% think regulators allow political biases to impact their judgment.

But most also believe regulation can serve some important functions:

  • 59% believe regulations, at least in the past, have produced positive benefits.
  • 56% say regulations can help make businesses more responsive to people’s needs.

Americans want regulators to focus on preventing banks and financial institutions from committing fraud (65%) and ensuring banks and financial institutions fulfill their obligations to customers (56%).

  • 77% believe bankers would harm consumers if they thought they could make a lot of money doing so and get away with it.
  • 64% think Wall Street bankers “get paid huge amounts of money” for “essentially tricking people.”
  • Nearly half (49%) of Americans worry that corruption in the industry is “widespread” rather than limited to a few institutions.
Source: Cato Institute

Few Americans Want “More” Financial Regulations—They Want the Right Kinds of Regulations, Properly Enforced

Polls routinely find that a plurality or majority of Americans want more oversight of Wall Street banks and financial institutions. This survey is no different. A plurality (41%) of Americans think more oversight of the financial industry is needed. However, only 18% think the problem with federal oversight of the banking industry is that there are “too few” rules on Wall Street. Instead, 63% say the government either fails to “properly enforce existing rules” (40%) or enacts the “wrong kinds” of regulations on big banks (23%).

Despite Distrust of Wall Street, Americans Like Their Own Banks and Financial Institutions

  • 90% are satisfied with their personal bank; 76% believe their bank has given them good information about the rates and risks associated with their account.
  • 87% are satisfied with their credit card issuer; 81% believe their credit card issuer has given them good information about the rates, fees, and risks associated with their card.
  • 83% are satisfied with their mortgage lender.
  • Of those who have used payday or installment lenders in the past year, 63% believe the lender gave them good information about the fees and risks associated with the loan.
Source: Cato Institute

Democrats and Republicans Want a Bipartisan Commission to Run CFPB, Divided on CFPB Independence

  • Nearly two-thirds (63%) of Americans think the CFPB should be run by a bipartisan commission of Democrats and Republicans, rather than by a single director. Support is post-partisan with 67% of Democrats and 64% of Republicans in favor of a bipartisan commission leading the agency.
  • A majority (54%) of Americans think that Congress should not set the CFPB’s budget and should only have limited oversight of the agency.
  • Few Americans (26%) believe the CFPB has achieved its mission to make the terms and conditions of credit cards and financial products easier to understand. Instead, 71% say that since the CFPB was created in 2011 credit card terms and conditions have not become easier to understand—including 54% who believe they have stayed the same and 17% who think they have become less clear.

Most Support Risk-Based Pricing for Loans, Say Low Credit Scores are Due to Irresponsibility

Nearly three-fourths of Americans (74%) say they’d be “unwilling” to pay more for their home mortgage, car loan, or student loan to help those with low credit scores access these loans.

Source: Cato Institute

PayPal Officially Adds Swift Financial to Fuel More Dreams (PayPal), Rated: A

The acquisition will expand PayPal’s ability to provide access to business financing options to the millions of small business owners who rely on PayPal and our partner platforms to run their businesses. As we’ve said before, increasing access to capital is vital to the success of small businesses and is a strategic offering for PayPal, which drives merchants’ sales growth, increases processing volume, and reduces merchant churn.

A Manifesto to All Men: We Have to Do Better (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Like many of you I was shocked and infuriated by the news out of SoFi last week. I think we all expected better from the company and its leaders. Some of the behavior that has been reported is reprehensible and it points to a much deeper problem that goes way beyond fintech. The problem of sexual harassment in the workplace is bigger than any one company, any one industry or even any one country. It is rampant throughout the globe.

Men: we cannot keep behaving this way.

I have been drinking at the bar late at night at enough conferences to know that many men believe it is still ok to treat women as objects. This kind of attitude has consequences in the workplace. And if the leaders of the company condone this behavior there will be a culture that is at best unwelcoming towards women and at worst so toxic it can endanger the very survival of the company.

Women in Fintech

People often complain to me about the lack of women in fintech. People say that LendIt does not have enough female speakers and there are not enough women in general at our events.

This article is the first step in what I expect will be a long journey towards making fintech a more welcoming place for women. I want to see us do better as an industry. We should do everything we can to make fintech an attractive career choice for young women. We have several initiatives around this that are in the planning stages that we hope to roll out at LendIt USA in San Francisco next year.

Today In Data: SoFi’s Woes (PYMNTS), Rated: A

In addition, there are rumors circulating that improperly funded SoFi loan products were sold to investors.

Here are the numbers:

  • $4 billion | Valuation of SoFi as of Sept. 15
  • $3.1 billion | Value of loans funded by SoFi in Q2 2017
  • $1.9 billion | Total venture capital funding raised by investors like Baseline Ventures, Discovery Capital and SoftBank
  • $134 million | SoFi revenue generated in Q2 2017
  • 350,000 | Number of borrowers who have used SoFi’s lending services, totaling more than $20 billion in loans
  • $75,000 | Settlement SoFi reached with a former executive assistant, as detailed by The New York Times
  • 30 | Number of employees who have leveled accusations against SoFi’s former CEO

Sallie Krawcheck’s Ellevest just landed a big new round of funding (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Ellevest, a nearly three-year-old, New York-based digital investment platform built for women and led by former Wall Street titan Sallie Krawcheck, has raised $34.6 million in fresh funding.

It’s technically a Series A round, according to the company, which says a widely reported $10 million round that closed last year was seed capital.

The round — which was led by Rethink Impact, and includes participation from PSP Growth, Salesforce Ventures, CreditEase Fintech Investment Fund, LH Holdings, SK Impact Fund, Morningstar, Khosla Ventures, Mellody Hobson, Ulu Ventures, Contour Venture Partners and Astia Angels — brings the company’s total funding to $44.6 million.

Ant Financial to try again for U.S. approval of MoneyGram deal (Reuters), Rated: A

Chinese payments company Ant Financial is planning to resubmit its application for U.S. review of its deal to buy MoneyGram International Inc (MGI.O) for $1.2 billion, a source familiar with the matter said on Friday.

Ant Financial and MoneyGram have already refiled for clearance from Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) when they were unable to secure it within an assessment period after the first application, Reuters reported in July, citing sources.

Ant Financial’s latest attempt for approval would be its third as the maximum time of 75 days for assessing such applications nears completion.

JPMorgan Seeks to Banish Paper Payments With a Fintech Venture (Bloomberg), Rated: A

JPMorgan Chase & Co. is partnering with another fast-growing technology firm, this time to help business clients eradicate paper checks.

The bank is working with Bill.com, the largest U.S. business-to-business payments network, to enable customers to send and receive electronic payments and invoices, according to Stephen Markwell, a product strategy head for JPMorgan’s commercial bank. The New York-based lender will pilot the service in early 2018 and plans to offer it to more business and commercial clients later in that year, Markwell said.

While many consumers already are embracing digital tools for sending money, like PayPal Inc.’s Venmo or the banking industry’s Zelle, more than half of business payments are still via check, according to Markwell. Companies write 8 billion checks a year, each costing about $4 to print and handle, he said.

In an ongoing acquisition streak, LendingTree buys another online loan marketplace (Biz Journals), Rated: A

LendingTree Inc. (NASDAQ:TREE) has acquired an online loan platform for businesses called Snap Capital, known as SnapCap, in a potential $21 million deal. SnapCap is LendingTree’s fifth acquisition since June of 2016.

LendingTree says the acquisition has a potential value of $21 million. The online marketplace will pay $12 million in cash upfront and if SnapCap hits certain performance targets over time, it will receive contingent payments of up to $9 million.

Charlotte-based LendingTree has been diversifying its business over the last several years beyond mortgages. And its stock price has been on the rise as a result. LendingTree’s stock was up about 7% Tuesday afternoon after the acquisition announcement. The company’s shares were trading at $251 Tuesday afternoon, up from about $93 per share a year ago.

LendingPoint Closed On $ 500M Credit Facility In August (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Online lender LendingPoint announced Tuesday (Sept. 19) that it had closed an up to $500 million credit facility on Aug. 22.

In a press release, the company said the credit facility was arranged by Guggenheim Securities. LendingPoint noted it drew down $138.5 million of the facility at the closing, and it took an additional $32.7 million on Sept. 15. The proceeds are being earmarked to bankroll the growth of its consumer installment loan portfolio, a business element which has roughly doubled between August 2016 and August 2017.

According to the company, the up to $500 million credit facility is among the largest credit facilities raised in the online consumer lending market in 2017.

Pine River Capital Shutting $ 1 Billion Flagship Hedge Fund (WSJ), Rated: A

Pine River Capital Management is closing its $1 billion flagship hedge fund after clients asked to withdraw more money than the firm was expecting, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The move will further shrink the Minnetonka, Minn.-based firm’s assets under management to $7.5 billion, half the roughly $15 billion it managed in 2015.

Don’t let court squander online lenders’ chance to reach underserved (American Banker), Rated: A

Most of the country has never heard of Madden v. Midland Funding and the common law doctrine of “valid-when-made,” but the impact of the misguided decision by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on consumers is far-reaching.

Rate exportation has been key to the rise of standardized nationwide financial products, like credit cards, allowing banks to lend to borrowers across state lines without necessarily establishing a physical presence in every state, giving consumers better choices.

Following the Madden decision, it is unclear in the 2nd Circuit whether certain bank loans transferred to a marketplace lending platform would be ruled valid or not. Are loans bound by the bank’s “home” state rate cap, or the borrower’s “host” state rate cap? No one knows for sure. This legal uncertainty has caused nonbank investors in these loans to pull back, which, in turn, has led to a reduction in responsible and affordable online lending. Borrowers who are still trying to build credit have lost better options. According to an August study by professors at the Columbia, Stanford and Fordham law schools, “the decision reduced credit availability for higher-risk borrowers in affected states.”

Reliant Funding and Merchants Capital Access to be known as Reliant Funding (PR Newswire), Rated: A

San Diego-based Reliant Funding and New York-based Merchants Capital Access are now joined as one under the Reliant Funding name.

Four Facts about Reliant Funding

  • Reliant Funding’s business model provides access to capital for businesses that traditional banking typically does not serve. With innovative pricing and cutting-edge risk management, it gives businesses the fuel they need to penetrate their market and grow.
  • Since its founding, Reliant has funded businesses over thirty thousand times, providing over $900 million in working capital to America’s small businesses.
  • Reliant Funding speaks directly with thousands of American small and medium sized businesses each month and services thousands more. The focus is always on the individual client, their business story and meeting their needs.
  • Reliant Funding’s Wholesale Division currently works with hundreds of partners, providing them with funding for their clients as if those clients were directly originated in-house. The key is a commitment to strategic alliances, ensuring the relationship lasts longer than a single transaction. It’s just one aspect of many which sets Reliant Funding apart from the competition.

Randstad Professionals addresses technology’s impact on finance and accounting (Business Insider), Rated: A

Cloud computing, big data and financial technologies have raised the stakes for finance and accounting professionals according to Randstad Professionals‘ new whitepaper, Technology’s Impact on Finance and Accounting.

There are three broad areas in which emerging technologies and digital tools are causing significant disruption to the way things are done:

 

  • Breaking down big data for strategy: Finance and accounting employees can use big data to their advantage by forecasting trends, pinpointing behavioral patterns and suggesting probable outcomes — all of which can tie into a company’s strategy and impact their bottom line.
  • Leaving repetitive work to the cloud: Cloud actions have the ability to handle inventory management, generate invoices and provide accurate financial data. The software also delivers convenience for employees who want to digitally share company finances among coworkers, financial advisors, customers and other key stakeholders at a moment’s notice.
  • Putting the functionality in finance: Finance is making its way into fixed markets that provide mobile phone applications and access on everyday devices. Over the years, we have revolutionized how we pay, view our bank statements and transfer money through start-ups such as Bitcoin and Linden Dollar. Technologies that also integrate peer-to-peer lending or personal loan requests allow for a frictionless experience for customers.

 

Opponents Ready For US Payday Loan Rule (America Now), Rated: A

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is expected in coming days to release a long-anticipated rule curbing payday lending, now that a final review by other regulatory agencies has concluded, three people familiar with the matter said.

The rule pits the country’s consumer financial watchdog against payday lenders who say the new regulation will wipe out much of their established industry, currently overseen by the states, and push poor and rural customers to use illegal loan sharks.

Because the loans can carry interest rates as high as 390 percent, borrowers can become trapped in devastating cycles of taking out new loans to pay outstanding ones, the CFPB said.

When The Payday Lending Rule Drops, Opponents Are Ready To Attack (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Payday and short-term lending is an approximately $6 billion-a-year industry, one that both critics and supporters of payday lending agree will take a major hit if the CFPB’s proposed rules on payday lending go through.

To make that block happen, Republicans in the House of Representatives added a “rider,” or amendment, to a spending bill banning the CFPB from regulating the payday loan industry.

The CFPB rules on payday lending have been in the works for some time and would require lenders to conduct background checks showing borrowers can afford the loans and to limit the number of loans made to a single borrower.

First Associates Loan Servicing Earns Morningstar’s Highest Ranking  (PR Web), Rated: B

First Associates Loan Servicing announced today the release of the Morningstar ranking report certifying their overall excellence in loan servicing. Morningstar awarded First Associates a MOR RV1 ranking of ‘stable’ which is the highest certification possible and deeply assesses risk management, call center performance, quality assurance, technology, security protocols, project management and disaster recovery protocols.

Low-cost loans help hurricane victims rebuild (TheStreet), Rated: B

Since the majority of consumers lacked insurance coverage for flood damage, the costs keep adding up from replacing furniture and appliances to renting another home or apartment until the costly repairs are completed.

The Small Business Administration offers both homeowners and renters disaster loans ranging from 1.75% to 3.5% of up to $40,000 for property damage such as furniture, clothing, cars and appliances and up to $200,000 for repairs to the house.

Using money from your IRA or 401(k) account is likely a better option than asking friends or family or seeking a loan from a payday lender.

RealtyShares Gives Investors Access To Real Estate With Just A Few Clicks (Benzinga), Rated: B

What makes it so diverse? The markets available or the types of real estate?

Amy Kirsch: All of the above. We’ve done deals in 39 states, we offer debt and equity, commercial and residential, and we’ve done basically every asset class.

Do you have a minimum for investment?

The lowest limit we have now is $5,000, but it varies on how large of a fundraise we’re completing.

What’s innovative about RealtyShares? The technology, or what it lets you access?
A combination of both—I’ve invested in real estate in the past, and it’s always come through people I knew, and it was concentrated to where I was living at the time. When you’re looking at middle-market opportunities or don’t have hundreds millions of dollars to invest, the opportunities become a little more rare. So access is definitely a differentiator here.

Prime-Ex Perpetual Launches Pre-ICO for Residential Real Estate Crowdfunding Effort (EIN News), Rated: B

On Monday, Prime-Ex Perpetual‘s real estate crowdfunding effort began in earnest with the launch of their PEX-Token cryptocurrency sale, aimed at generating $25,000,000 in USD equivalent cryptocurrencies. The PEX-Token is a dividend token in which the company will pay 80% of company profits back to the PEX-Token holders. Beginning Monday people purchasing PEX-Tokens will receive 15% bonus PEX-Tokens for purchasing PEX-Tokens early.

United Kingdom

GoCardless, a fintech that makes recurring payments easy for subscription businesses, raises $ 22.5M (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Once again, Accel, Balderton Capital, Notion, and Passion are backing GoCardless, this time to the tune of $22.5 million and on the back of what the startup says is record annual growth in the U.K. and strong, early traction in new markets. Outside of Blighty, the company operates its bank-to-bank payments network in the Eurozone and Sweden.

GoCardless isn’t disclosing revenue. Instead the company says it processes over $4bn worth of transactions across more than 30,000 organisations in the U.K. and Europe, working with small startups and large enterprises across a number of industries. It offers an API and off the shelf integrations with over 100 partners including Xero, Sage and Zuora. Customers include Sage, Thomas Cook, Box and The Guardian.

Artificial intelligence: the legal and regulatory challenges (Lexology), Rated: A

Artificial intelligence (AI) will soon be everywhere. The insurance industry is facing huge changes as AI steps boldly into every aspect of its internal operations and external relationships wearing the bright new clothes of InsurTech.

It has brought new players into the insurance market with some, like Lemonade, the world’s first peer-to-peer insurance carrier powered by AI and behavioural economics, experiencing phenomenal growth over a very short time.

It is estimated that around £1.32 billion was invested globally in the InsurTech arena in 2016, up 32% on the previous year. The lion’s share of this was in the United States but the UK and Europe are increasing their investment (see chart below).

Other innovations, such as fractional insurance where customers buy on a pay-as-you-go basis or peer-to-peer insurance, will have a deeper impact.

For Rutter, one of the key cultural challenges for the insurance industry is going to be its cautious approach to regulation.

he Financial Conduct Authority is the lead regulator in this area and it has been trying to engage the industry, setting up a ‘sandbox’ to encourage insurers to work with it to explore the impact of regulation on technological innovation. In particular, it will be aiming to test the boundaries of legislation such as the Insurance Distribution Directive (IDD).

There will be some InsurTech applications that get it wrong, predicts Rutter, potentially selling large numbers of policies to the very people underwriters don’t want on their books: “Insurers need to understand that once automated decisions have been made, you can’t pull back from them by cancelling policies. That is hardly treating customers fairly”.

Source: Lexology

Peer-to-peer lending: should you be worried about falling returns and the poorly-performing Innovative Finance ISA? (love money), Rated: A

Falling returns, big loans going bad and news that new Innovative Finance ISA has failed to attract investors is leaving questions hanging over the future of peer-to-peer lending.

The bad news began last month when RateSetter, one of the biggest peer-to-peer lenders, was forced to cough up nearly £9 million to stop customers losing money after a big loan went wrong.

It’s not just Ratesetter

At the same time, another peer-to-peer lender is coming under fire from its customers. Zopa is being criticised by customers who are seeing falling returns on their investments.

Paltry take up on the Innovative Finance ISA

Finally, interest in the new Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) has been disappointing. New stats from HMRC shows that just 2,000 IFISAs were opened in the 2016/17 tax year.

Abundance boss joins government’s Green Finance Taskforce (AltFi), Rated: B

Bruce Davis, co-founder and MD of green energy-focused P2P platform Abundance, has been appointed to the government’s Green Energy Taskforce. The group has been set up to help accelerate the growth of green finance and the UK’s low carbon economy.

Abundance is the UK’s biggest green energy-centric peer-to-peer site, with roughly £50m in finance facilitated for projects to date, according to AltFi Data. Its investors are able to invest in debentures for projects such as wind turbines and solar farms, and can hold those investments in an Innovative Finance ISA.

China

Online lender Qudian set for New York IPO (China Economic Review), Rated: AAA

Online consumer microlender Qudian said it plans to raise up to $750 million in a New York IPO, in the second of two major fintech deals this month which are expected to kick off a wave of similar listings by year-end. But a source with direct knowledge of the situation told Caixin the final fundraising amount is likely to exceed $1 billion, possibly making it the largest IPO by a Chinese company in the US this year.

European Union

German Bank Hands $ 61 Million to U.K. Online Lender Amid Brexit (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Uncertainty around Brexit may be mounting as political leaders from the U.K. and the European Union clash on the terms of separation, but that isn’t slowing down foreign investors from betting on Britain’s top peer-to-peer lenders.

Varengold Bank AG, a Hamburg-based private banking firm, will provide 45 million pounds ($61 million) in annual funding for loans to small businesses arranged by MarketInvoice Ltd., the British finance company said in an emailed statement.

28,639 investors have already invested EUR 102 million through Bondora and have received EUR 15 million in interest (Bondora), Rated: AAA

2017

Company reaches cash-flow profitability 100 million euro of loans issued.

Source: Bondora

Pan-European P2P Lender Younited Credit Raises €40 million from Historical Investors & the French Public Investment Bank (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Younited Credit, the Paris-headquartered consumer lender announced a capital increase of €40 million subscribed by a panel of the top of the crop growth investors in France. Next to its historical shareholders, EurazeoCrédit Mutuel Arkema, AG2R La Mondiale and Weber Investissements which are already very active in Fintech and alternative finance financing, the startup now takes on board new major investors: Bpifrance, Matmut Innovation, and Zencap Asset Management.

GoldMint, Provider of Gold-Backed Cryptoassets Launches ICO Today (The Merkle), Rated: A

Today, on the 20th of September, GoldMint is launching its ICO.

GoldMint is celebrating the beginning of its ICO by attending 3 major events on the same day the crowdsale kicks off.  One of these events is BlockchainLive in London  – Europe’s leading Blockchain conference bringing together over 75+ global experts in various fields.

Another one is Moscow’s ICO Event which this time mainly focuses on how legislation will impact the cryptocurrency space.

Today GoldMint is also present at the Global Blockchain Summit in Hong Kong gathering iconic speakers from various industries to discuss about the real-world applications of blockchain technology, as well as its potential benefits, risks, and regulatory concerns.

To spread the word about GoldMint in the USA  – GoldMint’s advisor and business developer Evgeniy Volfman has recently completed the official Northern American road trip representing the project in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Miami.

Simultaneously, GoldMint is opting to expand its campaign globally, with the Middle East & Singapore regions being the current primary focus.

International

Nominations open to global Women in Fintech Powerlist (Disrupt-Africa), Rated: A

Nominations are open to Innovate Finance’s Women in Fintech Powerlist, which recognises women shaping the future of fintech around the world.

UK-based membership organisation Innovate Finance compiles its Powerlist of Women in Fintech each year, with the aim of closing the fintech gender gap by showcasing the women driving the global fintech space.

SegWit2x, NYA Bitcoin Agreement Loses Another Signatory (Cryptocoins News), Rated: A

Bitcoin peer-to-peer lending platform Wayniloans has withdrawn its support for the SegWit2x bitcoin scaling proposal and the New York Agreement (NYA).

Wayniloans joins several other companies in withdrawing support for SegWit2x and the NYA. Banking and payment processor Bitwala announced last month it will only follow the SegWit2x blockchain if it receives support from Bitcoin Core, which does not appear likely.

Australia

FinTech loans and payments (Choice), Rated: A

FinTechs are certainly in competition with other FinTechs, but the real competition is the established financial service industry, epitomised by the big four banks. Consumer banking is where FinTechs aim to cause the most disruption – and many would say it’s an area where disruption is long overdue.

One recent startup, Spriggy, is out to grab its fair share of the kids’ bank accounts market, for instance.

Over the past 10 years, consumers have lost about $5.7 billion to financial advisers and financial services providers who put their own interests first. The scandals have included Opes Prime, Storm Financial, Timbercorp/Great Southern, Bridgecorp, Fincorp, Trio/Astarra, Westpoint and Commonwealth Financial Planning.

The size of the market in Australia has grown substantially year on year. In 2014, $9.45 million changed hands by way of P2P consumer lending platforms, for instance; in 2015, the P2P consumer lending figure stood at $43.15m.

And when it comes to money raised through crowdfunding, the figure jumped from $8.2m to $26m over the same time period.

At the moment, there are at least 86 FinTech tools operating in Australia through which you can borrow money, most of which are P2P lending services.

And there are at least 24 crowdfunding services on offer. It’s no surprise, then, that the biggest external challenge for FinTechs these days is finding customers.

Nine Australian FinTech companies made the 2016 list of the top 100 FinTech innovators around the world, an annual roundup compiled by the FinTech investment firm H2 Ventures and KPMG Fintech.

  • Prospa – Offers small business loans from $5000 to $250,000 with payback terms from three to 12 months, “for any business purpose”
  • Tyro – A payment system technology designed for businesses.
  • Society One – A P2P lender that says it provides “simple, investor funded personal loans with low rates based on your good credit history”.
  • Afterpay – Allows you to pay for goods in instalments direct debited from your credit card or other payment option.
  • Brighte – Offers 0% interest loans to approved homeowners for household energy efficiency improvement, such as solar panels or more efficient windows.
  • Data Republic – A customer data exchange service to help businesses better target their services to customers.
  • Identitii – Allows banks and other financial institutions to get more information about where and when payment transactions occur.
  • HashChing – An online home loan service that connects you with mortgage brokers.
  • Spriggy – Allows parents to manage kids’ bank accounts using digital tools.
India

RBI notifies P2P lending platforms as NBFCs: Agencies (India Times), Rated: AAA

The Reserve Bank of India on Wednesday notified that peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms would be treated as non-banking financial companies (NBFCs), an agency reported. This suggests the lending interface will now come under the purview of RBIs regulation under the RBI Act.

Company Name : Rubique (Business Wire India), Rated: B

Rubique, India’s leading FinTech company, is now taking giant strides in enhancing the level of education and training in the FinTech domain in India. In view of the highly lucrative opportunities that await young professionals in the landscape, it is leveraging its expertise to co-certify courses in FinTech at the prestigious SP Jain School of Global Management.

Latin America

Fintech Startups Attract Capital In Latin America (Forbes), Rated: A

Many Latin Americans are hard pressed to obtain credit for their businesses or family needs, as 49% of adults do not have bank accounts.

The region’s fintech industry secured $186 million in venture capital investments last year, according to the Latin America Venture Capital Association (LAVCA) – with more than one-third going to startups. Deal count increased by 81%, with 38 transactions.

In Brazil, 160 million adults have some type of banking relationship, but only 55 million are borrowers, according to the country’s central bank. This, combined with more than 20 million unbanked people, turns Latin America’s largest economy into a fertile ground for fintechs, says Jose Prado, founder of Conexao Fintech, an online hub for fintech entrepreneurs and enthusiasts.

Creditas raised $19 million in a Series B funding round. The Sao Paulo-based firm provides asset-backed debt focused on auto and mortgage loans.

In Mexico, where 55.9% of adults have no access to any form of savings deposits, fintechs are offering digital, user-friendly alternatives to traditional banking products, according to Jorge Ortiz, founding president and CEO of non-profit organization Fintech Mexico.

Ripio Credit Network Announces ICO Pre-Sale, Crowd Sale Starts on October 17 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Ripio Credit Network, a company that has raised $5 million in funding from VC like Tim Draper, Pantera, DCG, Overstock (Medici Ventures) and others. Has launched their Initial Coin Offering pre-sale as they gear up for the crowd sale scheduled to launch on October 17th. This comes just as Ripio has received a nice recognition, along with a check, from the d10e Pitch competition.

Ripio, a prominent crypto-based company in Latin America, is building a global credit network solution that aims to enhance transparency and reliability in credit and lending. Ripio is designed to enable connections between lenders and borrowers located anywhere in the world, regardless of currency.

Africa

FMO and above & beyond launch Fintech platform for African Banks to accelerate financial inclusion (FMO), Rated: AAA

FMO together with Miami based Fintech and digital transformation strategists above & beyond (a&b),  launched “ FinForward”, a marketplace where Fintech companies, Financial Institutions (FIs) and Mobile Money Providers (MMPs) in Africa are matched.

The objective of the new platform is to accelerate the digitization of the financial industry in Africa by supporting innovation of the core business with digital solutions. The matching and integration tool will make global Fintech companies accessible and top-of-mind to African financial institutions in order to help them to reduce costs, innovate, add services, tap into new revenue streams and work towards open banking platforms. It will also enable them to service difficult to reach segments such as the bottom of the pyramid, women and small entrepreneurs.

The matching and integration tool will make global Fintech companies accessible and top-of-mind to African financial institutions in order to help them to reduce costs, innovate, add services, tap into new revenue streams and work towards open banking platforms. It will also enable them to service difficult to reach segments such as the bottom of the pyramid, women and small entrepreneurs.

How does it work?

  • Outreach  – Banks, Mobile Money Providers and Fintechs are invited to join
  • Fintech Opportunity Scan – Participating banks and mobile money providers define their problems and needs
  • Matching – Pairing of Fintechs based on problem definition
  • Acceleration & Integration – Testing of Fintech solutions in a sandbox and integrating the technology into the bank’s operations
  • Showcase – demonstrate success during showcase days

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor