Friday January 19 2018, Daily News Digest

data breaches

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi Professional Loan Program hits $720M on first offering. Roofstock reaches $1B in transactions. When Zopa will open to new investors. PPDai to invest in research. Linked Finance sees profitability. Revolut launches geolocation-powered travel insurance. Harmoney partners with DataRobot. Today’s main analysis: The most and least competitive homebuyer markets. Fundrise or Vanguard: Which is the better investment? […]

data breaches

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United States

SoFi’s Professional Loan Program at $ 720 Million for First Offering (LendEDU), Rated: AAA

Social Finance’s Professional Loan Program 2018-A has reached $720.1 million, which is just a bit lower than the final deal it had in 2017.

In this latest program, three portions of senior Class A notes worth $677.3 million will be issued. Of that figure, one $55 million Class A-1 portion is mostly secured by floating-rate loans, and it has a variable-rate interest rate, which will be calculated based on one-month Intercontinental Exchange London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR).

Fixed-rate student loans will mostly back the $358.5 million in Class A-2A notes, as well as the $236.8 million in Class A-2 notes.

Why open banking and cybersecurity need each other (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

The industry’s desire for greater security and protection of customer data seems at odds with its desire for more open banking; by definition, open banking requires banks to share data with third party service providers.

In the U.S. banks are striving to get ahead of their own regulators by creating data exchange standards. API-based data sharing agreements like the deals Fincity signed with Wells Fargo and Chase last year are evidence of those efforts. But banks need to move beyond those one-on-one agreements if they’re going to create a full suite of financial services to offer customers through a true open banking platform.

Source: Tearsheet

PeerIQ CEO Ram Ahluwalia: 2017 Saw a Resurgence of Growth in Online Lending (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Ahluwalia told me;

“2017 has seen a resurgence in investor growth and confidence in online lending. ABS issuance is up about 83%.  Execution spreads have tightened substantially. This performance is all on the ABS loan side but has not translated yet into the equity valuations. “

He added that he expects to see continued attention on credit performance in 2018 as they are still seeing normalization of credit performance.

He expects 30% growth in ABS issuance for next year while adding that PeerIQ underestimated the growth for 2017.

LendingTree Ranks Most Competitive Homebuyer Markets (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

LendingTree, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, has released the findings of its study on where homebuyers will face the fiercest competition to achieve their dream of homeownership in 2018.

LendingTree looked at 1.5 million purchase mortgage loan requests that came through the LendingTree marketplace in the 100 largest cities in 2017. The study ranks cities using three criteria:

  • The share of buyers shopping for a mortgage before identifying the house they want. Buyers with financing in place are more appealing to sellers and can compete with cash buyers.
  • Average down payment percentage. Having a higher amount of money saved for a down payment can enable you to borrow more money or be offered a lower interest rate, allowing you to make a stronger offer.
  • Percentage of buyers who have prime credit (above 680). Borrowers with higher scores have more financing options to make more competitive offers. The cities/markets below are ranked for 2018 using the criteria noted above, including the relative data used to determine the ranking along with the market’s overall rank from the prior year.

California markets dominate the top 10.

Six of the top 10 most competitive housing markets are in CaliforniaSan Francisco and San Jose lead the rankings in 2018, with a vast number of credit-worthy and well-heeled borrowers making it one of the most challenging markets for prospective home shoppers.

Real Estate Marketplace Roofstock Hits $ 1 Billion in Transactions (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On Thursday, real estate marketplace Roofstock announced it has surpassed $1 billion in property transactions since the launching of its marketplace in 2016.

Roofstock Announces $ 7 Million In Additional Funding (Benzinga), Rated: A

Roofstock announced Thursday that the venture capital arm of Silicon Valley Bank had joined its latest funding round, bringing the property investing startup’s funding total to $42 million.

Gary Beasley, CEO: Roofstock is the first online marketplace created exclusively for buyers and sellers of cash-flowing, single-family rental homes that already have tenants.

Who are your investors, if any?

Roofstock has raised $68,250,000 to date, with a recent $35M Series C investment led by Canvas Ventures in October 2017. Other investors since Roofstock’s launch include Lightspeed Ventures, Bain Capital Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Hone Capital, QED Investors, Nyca Partners, and several angel investors.

Vanguard vs. Fundrise: Which is the Better Investment Option? (Fundrise), Rated: AAA

We often get the question, “What makes a Fundrise eREIT worth investing in over the Vanguard REIT ETF?” It’s a fair question that we expected when we created the eREIT. The short answer is that Fundrise eREIT investments are lower in cost for investors than those of the Vanguard REIT ETF and also come with the potential for better returns — how our costs are lower than Vanguard requires a longer answer.

Source: Fundrise

Some of the largest REITs in which the Vanguard REIT ETF owns shares are Simon Property Group(shopping malls, worth approximately $50 billion), Equinix (office buildings, worth approximately $34 billion), and AvalonBay Communities (apartment buildings, worth $25 billion).

Vanguard charges no brokerage commissions and carries only a low investment advisory fee of 0.30%, which it reports to be lower than the industry standard of 1.02%. In addition to the advisory fee, Vanguard charges its REIT ETF investors an asset management fee of 0.11% as well as reimbursement of “expenses.”

The Fundrise Approach

Where public market investments rely on several financial organizations to perform various services from acquisition and development to offering diversified portfolios of REITs, Fundrise uses technology to consolidate these functions and reduce the number of intermediaries in the value chain.

Source: Fundrise

The real estate investment trust designation of the eREIT does not equate the services or value creation offered by the eREIT with that of a public REIT — it simply allows Fundrise to pass at least 90% of the eREIT’s earned income to investors without paying taxes at the corporate level.

Fundrise investors can invest directly into an eREIT and only pay an 0.85% asset management fee at the eREIT level. Investors who want to diversify across multiple Fundrise investments, including eFunds, can do so through one of the investment portfolios. For example, rather than choosing one eREIT or more, investors can invest in the Starter Portfolio with a minimum investment of $500. For this service, investors are charged an investment advisory fee.

Chase joins AutoFi platform (Asset Finance International), Rated: A

Chase, the US consumer and commercial banking business of JPMorgan Chase & Co, has become the first US national bank to partner with fintech company AutoFi to help customers select and finance vehicles through dealers’ websites.

The move comes after the bank’s research showed that nearly half of consumers would purchase and finance vehicles online if they had the opportunity.

ForUsAll Reaches $ 500m in Assets and Raises $ 21m in Venture Capital (Business Insider), Rated: A

ForUsAll, the technology-driven 401(k) advisor to small and mid-sized businesses, today announced it has reached $500m in retirement assets under management and secured $21 million in second round financing led by Ribbit Capital, a leading global investor in financial technology. Existing investor Foundation Capital joined the round, bringing the company’s total funding to $34 million. ForUsAll will use the funds to grow the company’s customer base, accelerate technology development and hire additional staff.

CFPB Signals Shift by Dropping Payday Lender Lawsuit (Bloomberg), Rated: A

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is dropping a lawsuit against a group of payday lenders associated with an American Indian tribe in a sign the regulator is changing direction under Mick Mulvaney, the acting director appointed by the Trump administration.

The agency had accused the lenders of deceiving consumers and failing to disclose the true cost of the loans, which carried interest rates as high as 950 percent a year. The agency asked for the case in federal court in Kansas to be dismissed in a court filing on Thursday, giving no details about its reasoning.

The CFPB lawsuit had targeted four companies owned by the Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake tribe.

Foreign and Domestic Condo Buyers Tap $ 300 Million Fund To Close On New Condo Purchases (PRWeb), Rated: A

Three leading South Florida real estate-related companies with robust real estate experience, deep capital markets relationships, and a proven track record of originating and servicing end-user loans have joined forces to provide senior mortgage loans to non-traditional real estate buyers. The joint venture, named Pebb Yale Truss Lending, (“PYT Lending”) is comprised of Pebb Capital, GPC Truss, and Yale Mortgage. Already the enterprise has commenced loan closings for approximately 20% of the units at Echo Brickell, a luxury condominium development by Property Markets Group (“PMG”) in Miami, FL.

The First Blockchain ETFs Launched on Nasdaq, NYSE Today (coindesk), Rated: A

Reality Shares Advisors and Amplify Trust ETF launched the first blockchain-based exchange-traded funds (ETFs) on Nasdaq and the New York Stock Exchange Arca today.

Both funds went live on their respective exchanges at 9:30 a.m. EST. Reality Shares’ Nasdaq NextGen Economy ETF (BLCN) opened at $24.20, while Amplify’s Transformational Data Sharing ETF (BLOK) started closer to $20.

What are some of the crowdfunding basics you need to know about? (Born2Invest), Rated: A

Crowdfunding is the opposite approach to business finance.

Crowdfunding is defined as a way of raising capital with the collective effort of friends, family, customers, and individual investors.

While crowdfunding is the umbrella term for this new way of investing and doing business, there are several types of crowdfunding.

  • Reward-based crowdfunding
  • Peer-to-peer lending – People who are risking to lend out money to strangers can create loan portfolios.
  • Donation-based crowdfunding
  • Equity crowdfunding – Equity crowdfunding has the most room for change in terms of how people invest their money.
  • Real estate crowdfunding
  • Human capital – If investors want to put in money on top athletes, there are crowdfunding available for this purpose. For instance, Fantex said it would offer an IPO on investments that track the brand value of top sports stars. Another crowdfunding site named Upstart provides money for college without piling on debt.

AI, blockchain, enhanced encryption: The fintech trends Chicago’s top techies are watching (Built in Chicago), Rated: A

Here’s what Chicago’s fintech leaders are watching in 2018.

Morningstar

Which emerging technologies will have the biggest impact on the industry in 2018?

Security technologies around encryption and voice will start to take shape. Investor and consumer trust in the markets, credit and technology suggest people aren’t satisfied with the norm. There aren’t enough heuristics used to encrypt data at rest and in transit, and the emergence of unique voice pattern activation — led by Amazon and Google — will start to drive changes in the industry.

Enova

Which emerging technologies will have the biggest impact on the industry in 2018?

AI and machine learning continue to grab headlines, and for good reason: they have the potential to improve every aspect of business.

PEAK6 Investments

Which emerging technologies will have the biggest impact on the industry in 2018?

Luke Peeler, software engineer: Blockchain technology.

The Future of Financial Services for the Underbanked: Tradition, Innovation, Regulation (LendIt), Rated: B

Traditional services used by the underbanked include check cashing, cash advance loans, and money transfers. Many view these services as overly expensive and behind the times, and an emerging ecosystem is leveraging fintech innovation to provide improved offerings. However, there’s a strong case made by industry researchers that the traditional, non-bank financial providers remain attractive to their customers, especially compared to the costs of a using a bank account.

  • Joe Coleman, CEO of RiteCheck
  • Rishi Kumar, Founder of Kashable
  • Cathy Mahon, President & CEO of the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions
  • Lisa Servon, Professor of City Planning at the University of Pennsylvania

Guidewire Partners With Plug and Play to Foster Innovation in P&C Insurance (Business Insider), Rated: B

Guidewire Software, Inc. (NYSE: GWRE), a provider of software products to Property and Casualty (P&C) insurers, today announced it has joined Plug and Play’s ecosystem to advance P&C insurance innovation and collaboration. Plug and Play is a global startup ecosystem and venture fund specializing in the development of early-to-growth stage technology startups in 12 verticals. Guidewire joins as a Corporate Partner focused on the Insurance vertical.

VPC recruits Kushman as principal and capital markets head (PE Hub Network), Rated: B

Victory Park Capital (VPC), an investment firm focused on middle-market debt and equity investments, announced today that Todd Kushman joins as a principal and head of capital markets. Kushman is based in New York.

Kushman will lead the firm’s capital markets initiatives, which includes optimizing and identifying new alternative investment product offerings.

BB&T creates $ 50m fintech investment fund (Retail Banker), Rated: B

BB&T, a US-based bank holding company, has decided to set aside $50m to invest in or buy emerging digital technology firms as part of its strategy to boost its competitive profile and trim operational expenses.

United Kingdom

ZOPA LENDING QUEUE: WHEN WILL ZOPA RE-OPEN TO NEW INVESTORS? (Orca), Rated: AAA

There was extensive media coverage in October of last year surrounding Zopa, the largest consumer-focused peer to peer lender in the UK, and when it will re-open its doors to new investors who have been waiting in the Zopa lending queue – some since early 2017. It’s the turn of 2018, and some members in the queue may be seeing signs of promise.

There are 26,000 people in the Zopa “wait list” (as of 9th January). With approximately 60,000 active customers, this influx will represent a 43% increase in lenders at the platform; impressive, given the time it’s taken the platform which was founded in 2005 to acquire its existing customer-base.

U.K. Fintech Nuvo Launches Facebook Chatbot For Financial Advice on Mortgages (Bank Innovation), Rated: A

AI-powered fintech Nuvo today launched a Facebook chatbot that helps people find the best mortgage deal.

Network ROI completes employee buy-out thanks to ThinCats £1m funding (Insider.co.uk), Rated: A

A Midlothian-based IT firm has completed an employee buy-out after receiving £1m in funding from alternative finance specialist ThinCats.

Founded in 2003 by Sean Elliot, Network ROI employs 32 people providing managed IT and connectivity services to organisations throughout the UK.

Fintech to help first-time buyers with Rent Recognition Challenge for startups (City A.M.), Rated: A

A new competition has been launched to get innovative startups using technology to help renters use this payments history as a record of credit worthiness. The idea is that a tool or service can be used by lenders and credit reference agencies as part of an assessment for a mortgage.

First announced in the Autumn Budget, the Rent Recognition Challenge is now open for entries, with a potential prize of £2m for fintechs working on this idea.

Six proposals will get £100,000 each to get started on a prototype between March and October, after which that will be narrowed down to three by a panel of judges with more cash up for grabs.

 

IFA launches investment service for dormant clients (FT Adviser), Rated: A

IFA firm Symphony is offering a white-label version of provider FinchTech’s non-advised robo-service to allow its clients to invest through its website without having to pay for advice.

For a platform fee of 0.25 per cent, investors are given access to four mainstream investment portfolios and four socially responsible investment portfolios via FinchTech, with equity/non-equity weightings ranging from a ‘cautious’ 35/65 split to the ‘adventurous’ 85/15.

BUSINESS SHOWCASE : IGNITION WEALTH IRELAND (Irish Tech News), Rated: B

Ignition Wealth Ireland is the European subsidiary of Australia’s leading digital financial advice provider Ignition Wealth. We assist large financial institutions integrating new technology into their current processes and systems  and we help them to reimagine how their customers navigate the financial advice experience.

China

PPDai to invest in research institute (Shanghai Daily), Rated: AAA

PPDai, China’s first online P2P (peer-to-peer) lending platform listed in the US market, said yesterday that it will invest 1 billion yuan (US$156 million) within three years to set up a new research institute.

The money invested in the new PPDai Smart Finance Institute will be used to fund artificial intelligence, blockchain, finance cloud and Big Data sectors, said Zhang Jun, co-founder and chief executive of Shanghai-based PPDai.

European Union

Linked Finance eyes profitability as revenue and lending levels jump (The Irish Times), Rated: AAA

Linked Finance, the peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform which has signed over 1,200 loans for Irish businesses, has said it is on track to be profitable this year.

The company, which is seeking to become the biggest non-bank lender to SMEs in Ireland, recorded a €1.1 million net loss in the 12 months to the end of April 2017, compared to a €1.2 million loss in the previous year.

Shareholders’ deficit amounted to €2.7 million at the end of the reporting period, as against €1.7 million a year earlier as accumulated losses increased from €2.2 million to €3.3 million.

FinTech, Robo Advisers, and the Soul of Swiss Banking (Mises Institute), Rated: AAA

As one Swiss economics journal put it, the most contentious conflicts (and partnerships) will be between “startups that are completely reengineering decades-old practices, traditional power players who are furiously trying to adapt with their own innovations and total disruption of established technology & processes”. That is to say:

  • Traditional Retail Banks vs. Online-Only Banks: Traditional retail banks will always retain the cachet of security and stability. Online-only banks, however, are asserting themselves more aggressively in claiming to offer the same services with higher rates and lower fees.
  • Traditional Lenders vs. Peer-to-Peer Marketplaces: P2P lending marketplaces are growing faster than traditional lenders—only time will tell if the banks strategy of creating their own small loan networks will be successful
  • Traditional Asset Managers vs. Robo-Advisors: Companies like Betterment feature robo-advisors offer lower fees and lower minimums; meanwhile, the larger traditional asset managers are creating their own robo-products while providing the kind of personalized attention for which high net worth clients are willing to pay quite generously.
  • Traditional Wealth Management vs. Automated Advice: a plethora of new software platforms and apps feature digital options, including mobile telephone payment services, automated wealth management advice, price comparison apps, tailored social media groups and crowdfunding systems. On the other side, the exclusivity of one-on-one attention is forever and very possibly will take on even more cachet as the somewhat sterile egalitarianism of digital banking erodes the cultural hierarchy of status.
  • Traditional Clearing Systems vs. Blockchain. This latter can store and distribute crypto-currencies (such as Bitcoin) and digital contracts (such as land deeds) without the need for banks or formal clearing systems. Proponents of Blockchain maintain that it promises “to reduce fees, improve security and bypass the volatility of central bank controlled fiat currencies”. Major technology firms such as Google, Amazon and Alibaba are also joining this trend.

CoinLoan ICO Reaches Major Milestones as it Launches MVP and Enables Direct Fiat Investment (Coin Telegraph), Rated: A

Peer to peer fintech startup, CoinLoan, recently rolled out the first version of their peer-to-peer lending platform. Investors were thrilled with the results (try it for yourself here, and are eagerly awaiting the end of the ICO and listing on exchanges soon after.

CoinLoan has also recently enabled direct fiat investment in their ICO. This unique option enables investments of $5,000 or more in USD or EUR in exchange for CLT tokens.

CoinLoan has created a system of secured peer-to-peer lending, where borrowers deposit various crypto assets for a loan in their preferred fiat currency.

International

Revolut launches geolocation-powered travel insurance (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Fintech startup Revolut is launching international medical and dental insurance. You can subscribe using the company’s app for £1 per day or more depending on the options.

By default, insurance coverage costs £1 per day for medical and dental insurance. You can add an option for winter sports and you can also cover your friends and family.

Australia/New Zealand

AI helps Harmoney improve ability to assess credit risk (CIO), Rated: AAA

Harmoney is working with DataRobot to improve the performance of its credit risk assessment process.

“With our deployment of DataRobot, we’re now using artificial intelligence to reduce risk for our lenders,” says Brad Hagstrom, joint-CEO of Harmoney.

Nine launches financial advice website 9Saver.com.au (Mumbrella), Rated: A

9Saver.com.au will aggregate the cost of living and shopping segments run across Nine News, Today, Today Extra, A Current Affair and 60 Minutes every week.

India

Startup eco-system looks forward to the budget for addressing tax dilemma (ET Rise), Rated: A

The Indian startup eco-system is looking forward to the union budget eagerly for addressing the tax dilemma. With high-quality entrepreneurs, good ideas and the very important funding ecosystem, startups have become an integral part of the India’s economic growth and job creation.

Asia

Banks, regulators lack skills to cope with pace of fintech innovation (Nikkei Asian Review), Rated: AAA

Both regulators and industry officials lack the right analytical and data skills to cope with the wave of disruption washing over the financial industry, according to the technology officers at leading financial companies at Thursday’s Nikkei Asia300 Summit in Singapore.

Jonathan Larsen, chief innovation officer of Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China, said there are “definitely no” people with up-to-date skills among the regulators, which is slowing down the pace of change for traditional institutions.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday January 17 2018, Daily News Digest

European alt SME lending

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

European alt SME lending

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United States

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Africa

Canada

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United States

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Issuer: SoFi Professional Loan Program 2018-A LLC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In this podcast you will learn:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Key Features of Tipalti’s Partner Program:

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

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

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

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

United Kingdom

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Crowdfunding

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

5. Peer-to-peer lending

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

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

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

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

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

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

China

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

European Union

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

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

Source: Crowdfund Insider

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

International

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

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

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

(The Merkle), Rated: A

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

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

Source: The Merkle
Asia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Africa

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

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

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

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

Canada

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

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

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

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday July 14 2017, Daily News Digest

Visa revenues

News Comments Today’s main news: DBRS assigns provisional ratings to SoFi Professional Loan Program 2017-D. IEG Holdings cites slim margins, weak underwriting as reasons for LendingClub offer. Bank execs say UK sets the standard for fintech regulation. Rocket Internet sells stake in Lendico. Today’s main analysis: Visa’s international expansion. Today’s thought-provoking articles: DBRS Student Loan ABS report (a […]

Visa revenues

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Israel

India

Latin America

Canada

News Summary

United States

DBRS Assigns Provisional Ratings to SoFi Professional Loan Program 2017-D (DBRS), Rated: AAA

DBRS, Inc. (DBRS) has today assigned provisional ratings to the following classes of notes issued by SoFi Professional Loan Program 2017-D (SoFi 2017-D):

— $245,000,000 Class A-1FX Notes at AAA (sf)
— $266,000,000 Class A-2FX Notes at AAA (sf)
— $40,000,000 Class B-FX Notes at AA (sf)

DBRS Student Loan ABS report (DBRS), Rated: AAA

In this commentary, DBRS provides the following:
— A review of Q1 2017 student loan ABS performance and H1 2017 student loan ABS issuance.
— An outlook for future student loan ABS issuance and the trends expected in H2 2017.
— Analysis and highlights of student loan collateral performance.

Download the full report here.

IEG Holdings Highlights the Urgency of LendingClub Correcting its Flawed, Slim Margin “Broker” Business Model and Weak Underwriting Standards (Sys-Con), Rated: AAA

IEG Holdings yesterday announced the commencement of a tender offer to exchange four shares of IEG Holdings’ common stock for each share of LendingClub common stock, up to an aggregate of 40,345,603 shares of LendingClub common stock, representing approximately 9.99% of LendingClub’s outstanding shares as of April 28, 2017, validly tendered and not properly withdrawn in the offer.

IEG Holdings Corporation (OTCQB: IEGH) (“IEG Holdings”) cautions shareholders of LendingClub Corporation (“LendingClub”) against dismissing IEG Holdings’ tender offer. IEG Holdings believes that the LendingClub board of directors should be held accountable by its shareholders for continuing to pursue a flawed, slim margin “broker” business model. IEG Holdings urges LendingClub to enter into negotiations with IEG Holdings, rather than simply dismissing the tender offer.

FLAWED, SLIM MARGIN, LOSS-MAKING BUSINESS MODEL

Despite brokering more than $26 billion of loans since inception, LendingClub still reported a loss of $29.8 million for Q1 2017 and loss of $146.0 million for the 2016 full year. Transitioning to a balance sheet lender likely would significantly increase gross margins, without a significant change in customer acquisition costs.

WEAK UNDERWRITING STANDARDS

A recent media report by Bloomberg indicates that:

  • LendingClub only verified income about a third of the time for one of the most popular loans it made in 2016, and
  • If LendingClub finds errors in a loan application, it may still approve the loan.

LACK OF COMPANY-OWNED STATE LENDING LICENSES

LendingClub doesn’t hold individual state lending licenses and instead utilizes the services of a Utah-based bank. This raises regulatory risks around issues such as the potential breaking of individual state interest rate caps and compliance.

POOR STOCK MARKET PERFORMANCE AND ZERO DIVIDENDS TO SHAREHOLDERS

LendingClub’s share price has decreased 79% since its initial public offering in December 2014, dropping from $25.74 in December 2014 to $5.39 yesterday, after reaching a low of $3.51 in May 2016. In addition, LendingClub has never paid, and has no reported intention to pay, a dividend to shareholders.

IEG Holdings’ Reasons for the Offer

IEG Holdings believes that changing LendingClub’s business model to a balance sheet lender model would enable the company to generate significantly higher gross margins, provide significantly higher long duration cash flow from customers, build increased customer goodwill with customers and enable increased customer refinancing. The longer duration cash flow would provide more flexibility in reducing lending volumes during periods when underwriting risk levels are rising, as the company would be less dependent on brokering new loan deals every day to provide revenue.

  • IEG Holdings intends to encourage LendingClub to undertake substantial costs cuts by terminating excess employees, achieving substantial cuts in advertising/marketing costs and other significant cost cutting measures;
  • IEG Holdings intends to encourage LendingClub to transform its broker business model with low gross margins and high volumes to focus on high gross margin unsecured loans to near prime clients with strong underwriting, company owned individual state licenses and retention of loans on its balance sheet to secure long duration cash flow from longer term loans; and
  • The acquisition of LendingClub shares would be substantially net asset per share accretive for IEG Holdings stockholders and substantially increase shareholder equity.

New partnership turns PayPal into Apple App Store payment option (Banking Tech), Rated: A

This week the company announced a partnership with Apple to allow shoppers pay for their purchases at the App Store using PayPal. The feature will be available for users of a variety of Apple devices including iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Apple Watch, and iPod.In addition to the App Store, PayPal will be a payment option for a variety of Apple services including Apple Music, iTunes, and iBooks.

Finicity and JP Morgan Chase pair for data share (Banking Tech), Rated: A

Data aggregation provider Finicity has signed an agreement with JP Morgan Chase to let the bank’s customers choose data to share with apps.

The companies will use a direct API to allow Chase customers to share information with the apps and services that Finicity supports. According to the firms, this tokenised access will eliminate the need for customers to share their Chase credentials with third-party apps.

Paypal Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:PYPL): Beginning of Market Dominance (Library for Smart Investors), Rated: A

Paypal Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:PYPL) is getting investors attention after the stock touched fresh highs amid a new partnership with Apple.

The stock is up over 43% since the start of the year.

In the first quarter, PayPal saw a jump of 10.3% in monthly active users on year-over-year basis. The total number of transactions also increased by 22.5% in the period.

In the first quarter, Venmo processed $6.8 billion in total payments, a 100% growth on year-over-year basis. Venmo is slated to grow more as the company expands to small businesses.

WEALTHTECH — THE DIGITIZATION OF WEALTH MANAGEMENT (FT Partners), Rated: A

WealthTech companies are targeting inefficiencies that span the entire wealth management value chain, from client prospecting to investing to portfolio management and reporting. Benefits include more efficient workflows, improved client experiences and greater transparency. Regardless of their value proposition, WealthTech companies are seeking to improve overall wealth management and investing.

This report highlights a number of key trends within the broader WealthTech industry such as…

  • Growing number of advisors joining the independent channel
  • Incumbent financial institutions are entering the robo-advice space
  • Increased demand for alternative investments
  • Financial planning trending towards goal-based approaches
  • Higher levels of active risk management
  • Commoditization of portfolio management software is leading to expanded offerings
  • RIA custodians evolving into more holistic roles

Download the full report here.

Wells Fargo trims auto loans as market cools, risk overhaul kicks in (Reuters), Rated: A

Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N) is scaling back and remolding its auto lending business in response to growing stress in the market, as well as a bank-wide push for more centralized risk controls.

Wells, which was the No. 2 U.S. provider of auto loans less than a year ago, has already cut quarterly originations by nearly 30 percent over the nine months leading into March 31, according to a May 11 company presentation. It has also begun consolidating the collections operation in a move that people familiar with the business say could eliminate hundreds of jobs, after a new head of auto finance took the reins in April.

5 Fintech Startups Under the Radar (Bank Innovation), Rated: A

Spotme

This New York City-based startup facilitates micro-loans between borrowers and lenders, allowing users to set up pretty much all the parameters of a loan themselves: users can control the amount, the interest rate, the payback period, and the way they are reimbursed for the loan themselves.

Ledger

Ledger might be able to help out there: this San Francisco-based startup allows users to “open tabs with friends,” boiling down a transaction to just 3 clicks. By connecting with a user’s financial accounts (protected by “military-grade” cybersecurity, according to the company), users are able to aggregate all of their transactions in one place, as well as receive notification about when transactions are due.

Wallio

More and more companies are striving to solve the main problem when it comes to personal finance management services: how do you make a user actually take the financial advice that is being offered?

Wallio starts off the week by giving a user an allocated amount of money they can spend for that week, on whatever the user wants (expenses and savings are already factored into this amount). If a user underspends, great: Wallio will allow that user to put that money towards a goal. If a user overspends, Wallio will simply allocate less money for the user to spend next week.

Samwise

This robo-investing startup allows users to turn their existing brokerage account into an autonomous investing account using machine learning algorithms.

OnePebble

Invest, and make a difference in the world at the same time: that’s the dream of OnePebble, an online investment broker/dealer that puts each investment toward companies “doing good in the world.”

3 Investing Trends to Keep on Your Radar (Morningstar), Rated: A

Trend: Passive products continue to gain assets.

This is the trend shaping the investment management industry today. Asset flows to passive products, both traditional index mutual funds and exchange-traded funds, began in earnest following disappointing active-fund performance during the financial crisis.

Trend: New ways to hire–and pay for–financial advice. 

Robo-advisors provide automated advice for a low annual fee as low as 0.25% or even less. Meanwhile, mutual fund companies and brokerage firms may provide advice for customers who have amassed sufficient assets at the firm. For example, Vanguard Personal Advisor Service charges 0.30% and is available to investors with at least $50,000 in assets at the firm. (The service combines human financial advisors with robo-advisor technology.)

What to watch out for: The profusion of different business models means that the business of selecting an advisor is more complicated than ever. Robo-advisor fees might look like a screaming buy relative to the fees that a full-service human advisor charges, but the robo won’t be able to give you advice on nonportfolio matters like whether to pay off your mortgage or purchase long-term care insurance.

Trend: An increased emphasis on behavioral factors that can affect investor outcomes.

What’s to like: Many robo-advisors have also embedded behaviorial research into their services.

What to watch out for: Behavioral finance is trendy right now, and with any trend comes the opportunity for gimmickry. Beware of advisors who are using behavioral finance as their main hook to snag clients; high-quality advisors have been employing behavioral finance into their practices for years.

US Tax Professionals Tackles the Tax implications of Crowdfunding (Digital Journal), Rated: A

It’s important to understand that all the income a person receives, regardless of the source, is considered taxable income in the eyes of the IRS. That includes crowdfunding dollars.

Even if the campaign only raised the projected $15,000 and no gifts were offered, the money would still be considered taxable income and need to be reported as such on a tax return.

Generally, crowdfunding revenues are included in income as long as they are not:

  • Loans that must be repaid;
  • Capital contributed to an entity in exchange for an equity interest in the entity; or
  • Gifts made out of detached generosity and without any “quid pro quo.” However, a voluntary transfer without a “quid pro quo” isn’t necessarily a gift for federal income tax purposes.

Morgan Stanley digital chief: AI to help advisers, not ‘cyborg bots’ (Financial-Planning), Rated: A

Advisers tasked with processing a “mountain of information” will get a reprieve through artificial intelligence, according to Morgan Stanley Wealth Management’s chief digital officer.

“What we want to do is, with one click of a button, they can take action on that research report to all their clients within minutes, not hours, not phone calls,” Hassan said. “That’s the promise of what we’re trying to build.”

Rival firms have shown they’re headed down a similar path. Like Morgan’s planned offering, the UBS-SigFig service will save advisers’ time through automated messaging to clients on important dates, according to Richard Steinmeier, the head of the UBS Wealth Advice Center.

Congress Should Use Congressional Review Act to Strike Down Ill-Advised Arbitration Rule (Daily Signal), Rated: B

Cutting through the hyperbole that the arbitration rule protects consumers from “unfairness” that would deny them “their day in court,” this rule is in fact highly anti-consumer and harmful to innovation.

This regulation could have particularly harmful effects on FinTech innovations, such as peer-to-peer lending.”

How much money do Arizonans spend playing the lottery? Less than most Americans (AZ Central), Rated: B

Arizonans on average shelled out $100.85 per capita on lottery tickets in 2015, according to the study by LendEDU, based on preliminary data for state government finances collected by the Census Bureau. For Americans overall, the per-capita figure was $206.69.

United Kingdom

UK setting the bar for fintech regulation, bank execs say (SNL.com), Rated: AAA

U.K. authorities have created a world-leading regulatory environment for the burgeoning fintech industry that is being emulated elsewhere, according to bankers.

The Financial Conduct Authority’s “sandbox,” a program launched in 2015 to let companies test innovative ideas under close regulatory supervision, has been particularly helpful, she said.

Meanwhile, initiatives such as FCA-organized hackathons — or “TechSprints” as it prefers to call them — have been particularly appreciated by the industry, according to Sophie Guibaud, vice president of European expansion at Fidor Bank AG, a German online lender that was bought by Groupe BPCE in 2016. These events invite market participants to come up with technological solutions to certain problems, such as financial issues faced by people with mental health problems.

The U.K. is home to more fintech companies valued at more than $1 billion than the rest of Europe put together, according to an April 2017 report by technology investment bank GP Bullhound. Three U.K.-based companies, Funding Circle, Paysafe and Transferwise, have crossed that threshold, and GP Bullhound said that it does not expect London to relinquish its lead, due to its prominence in international financial services.

Comparison site GoCompare invests in mortgage robo-adviser (AltFi), Rated: A

Financial comparison site GoCompare is hoping to transform the UK’s mortgage application process by investing in MortgageGym, a digital mortgage robo-adviser.

Users can complete a free application within 15 minutes on MortgageGym and receive matches within 60 seconds, as well as robo advice and access to live advisers. The website will use automated algorithms to match applicants with the best mortgage providers.

The House Crowd hits £50m via mix of P2P and crowdfunding (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE HOUSE CROWD has hit the £50m funding target it set out to achieve in October last year.

The Manchester-based property platform started targeting institutional money at the end of last year to achieve its first £50m of funds channelled to property and buy-to-let borrowers, through both its peer-to-peer side and its crowdfunding arm.

The firm raised over £15m in the six months to early 2017, while a loan it closed last month added another £600,000.

Fintech CurrencyCloud tapped up investors months before Google raise (Business Insider), Rated: A

CurrencyCloud, which provides a platform to process international payments, raised £9.5 million from its existing investors in December 2016. The company had £10.5 million in the bank at the end of the month, accounts show, suggesting the platform had around £1 million left at the time of the fundraising.

The volume of payments jumped by 110% to 1.5 million but net revenue from currency transactions increased by just 10% to £3.2 million. Meanwhile, administrative expenses rose by 54% to £13.9 million as CurrencyCloud invested in “recruiting staff, developing our technology infrastructure and operations services, and moving to new office premises.”

P2P fund share issues boost investment trust sector (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

FUNDRAISINGS by Honeycomb and the Funding Circle SME Income Fund (FCIF) helped push share issues to record levels in the investment trust sector for the first half of 2017.

Secondary issuances raised £3.3bn in the first six months of the year, trade body the Association of Investment Companies has revealed, up from £1.8bn at the same time in 2016.

FCIF raised £142m in conversion shares in April, the largest total in the specialist debt sector, while the Honeycomb investment trust raised £105m through a ordinary share issue.

Alternative Credit funds drive record cash raise (AltFi), Rated: A

Assets in investment trusts have hit an all time high thanks in part to a huge swathe of secondary issuance in closed-ended funds’ shares.

In the first half of 2017, the most poplar area of the investment trust market was Infrastructure – in terms secondary issuance – raising £1.2bn. This was followed by Alternative Credit at  £514m. Funding Circle SME Income raised the largest total in the sector securing £142m via its C share issue, followed by Honeycomb Investment Trust (£105m).

China

The number of Online Financial platforms in China Exceed 19,000, ranking the first place of the world. (Xing Ping She), Rated: AAA

According to data from National Institution of Internet Financial Risk Analysis &Technology,there are more than 19,000 online financial platforms across China, including over 6000 online lending platforms, nearly 3500 online assets managers, and 800 crowdfunding platforms. The total cumulative volume of internet loans, crowdfunding and internet payment have reached to 70 trillion RMB (US$ 10.33 trillion). Zhou Hongren, director of the National Committee of Internet Finance Professional Technology, claimed that, “No matter in terms of quantity or scale, China has already become the largest international finance marketplace around the world.”

European Union

Rocket Internet Sells Stake in Lendico Startup (Handelsblatt), Rated: AAA

Incubator firm Rocket Internet has sold its majority stake in peer-to-peer lender Lendico to Arrowgrass, Handelsblatt has learned, as the British hedge fund acquired complete ownership of the Berlin startup.

The partners to the transaction agreed to keep the purchase price confidential. Rocket Internet, which specializes in helping online startups get off the ground, most recently valued its 50-percent-plus stake in Lendico at €140 million ($159 million).

Funding Circle Germany Takes a Fresh Start (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Germany is a huge SME and VSME (very small business) credit market. But it is not as mature a market for online marketplace lending as the UK, the US, or even the Netherlands. This partly explains why Funding Circle Germany’s early loan book underperformed. Now the platform is starting afresh to match its market’s reality.

With offices and business in Germany, the Netherlands and Spain, Zencap had originated €35 million in loans to 500 SMEs at the time of its acquisition. Its operations were very small in comparison with the more than $1.5 billion originated by Funding Circle in the US and the UK at the time (meanwhile Funding Circle passed the $3 billion mark).

The second reason for starting afresh, was a need to revisit the credit model. Since January, the new German team has been busy recalibrating and restarting the German operations.

Loan origination resumed at previous level in the first half of 2017 and is expected to grow again in the second half of this year.

Spanish Fintech Industry Comes into its Own (Finance Magnates), Rated: A

The Spanish fintech ecosystem has been a steadily growing force over the past few years, swelling from just fifty financial technology startups in 2013 to well over three hundred in 2017. This rapid surge is only going to continue with this number estimated to hit four hundred companies by 2018.

In terms of the value of the operations, this sector passed rose from just €35 million in 2014 to €206 million in 2016, justifying a 600 percent growth in just two years.

According to the Spanish Association for Fintech and Insurtech (Asociación Española de Fintech e Insurtech – Aefi), companies operating in this space in Spain are going to create a total of 10,000 jobs in 2017 alone.

While the value offintech operations in Spain is increasing, two areas that constitute the most focus are the crowdfactoring or invoice factoring crowdfunding platforms – these saw a total of €120 milion euros in 2016, that concentrate most of the operations domestically, followed by crowdfunding with €43.5 million and crowdlending or p2p lending with €42 million.

International

Visa Expands Its Footprint in Europe (Market Realist), Rated: AAA

In May 2017, Visa announced that in order to give consumers more control and make transactions transparent, the company will create digital card management experiences for its partners. Visa’s partners include financial institutions. Since the new offerings will lead to more transparency, Visa expects to see volume growth in fiscal 3Q17. Market analysts expect Visa to report revenues of $4.36 billion in fiscal 3Q17—a decline of 2.7%.

 

What Can Visa Expect from Russia, China, Japan, and India?

In fiscal 2Q17, there was growth in Visa’s cross-border business due to Russia’s developed economy. Visa implemented ~1,600 point-of-sale terminals. As a result, payment volumes are expected to grow in fiscal 3Q17.

Management thinks that obtaining a domestic license in China is a time-consuming process. Visa is expected to witness lower revenues and payment volumes from China due to discontinued dual branded cards.

Management has a positive outlook on Japan’s economy due to digitization. Japan’s government has become more inclined to use digital and electronic payments.

In fiscal 3Q17, India could be a major contributor to payment volume growth.

Visa has delivered a return on equity of 16.2% on trailing 12-months basis. Other consumer financial peers (XLF) have delivered the following return on equity on a trailing 12-month basis:

  • American Express (AXP) – 25.1%
  • MasterCard (MA) – 75%Discover Financial Services (DFS) – 21.10%

Visa Expects to Benefit from Its European Business

Visa’s (V) acquisition of Visa Europe allowed the company to enhance its global reach. The main agenda behind the acquisition was to bring innovation to the European market. Visa had been working closely with its partners and clients. The company also plans to create new services and products.

Israel

THE SURPRISING COUNTRY LEADING THE FINTECH REVOLUTION (Ozy.com), Rated: AAA

The country that gave the world smart drip irrigation and the Epilady has also been an early and enthusiastic adopter of financial technology, as in mobile banking apps, digital wallets, online lending and other services that manage moola. In fact, a survey of selected industrialized countries shows that:

As for the specifics, 50 percent of Israeli adults use mobile banking apps at least once a month. In the U.S., it was 38 percent; the U.K., 37 percent; in France, 35 percent; and in Germany, a surprisingly anemic 28 percent.

The five largest banks in Israel control more than 90 percent of the market, and as Sandra Octaviani, research lead for fintech at the University of Utah’s Center for Innovation in Banking and Financial Services, notes, traditional banks tend to serve low-risk, highly profitable clients, which creates an opportunity for nimbler fintech firms to swoop in and serve the underserved.

India

RBI wary of first loan default guarantee cover (India Times), Rated: AAA

The Reserve Bank of India is learnt to be wary of peerto-peer lending platforms offering any FLDG, or first loan default guarantee, cover to institutional lenders for any lending they do through these technology startups, said sources familiar with the discussions.

While various lending entities are keen on exploring this space as a cheap source of customers, they often look for a security cover against loans going bad. Experts say such guarantees or covers might go against the intentions of the central bank.

SME Lending Based on Payment History is the Next Big Wave in Fintech (BW Disrupt), Rated: A

ftCash aims to empower micro-merchants and entrepreneurs with the power of electronic payments and loans with zero upfront cost and no monthly rentals. Merchants are able to offer their customers multiple payment methods including credit cards, debit cards, net banking, mobile wallets, PayPal and more.

Nonethless, credit lending is the next big wave of Indian fintech. Lodha explains, “SME Lending based on payment history will be next big wave in fintech. On an active basis, it allows a lender to decide the paying ability of a merchant/business and the recollection of these loans can be done from the payment platform itself. The combination of the payments data along with GST data provides deeper insights into a business. We at ftcash are heavily invested in this idea and believe there is a great potential for scale here.”

Latin America

Venture fund for Latino entrepreneurs, fintech in Mexico  (ImpactAlpha), Rated: AAA

Financial technology, or fintech, startups offering digital payment, remittances and lending services, could capture 30% of Mexico’s banking market within 10 years, according to Finnovista, a fintech accelerator. Six in 10 Mexicans are unbanked. Financial exclusion is a problem but “also an opportunity,” Francisco Meré, the director of Bankaool, one of the first online-only banks in Mexico, told the Financial Times[paywall]. “The cost of engaging a customer through technology is a fraction of using a branch.” Clip has grown to become one of Mexico’s largest digital payment providers (Accion sold its stake in February). Kubo Financieroprovides peer-to-peer lending; Albo, mobile-based banking; and Kueski, a digital micro-lender — all have secured venture backing. More than 150 fintech, or financial technology, firms now operate in Mexico, giving Mexico 35% of fintech companies serving the under- and un-banked in Latin America.

AFLUENTA INCORPORATES THE MEXICAN INVESTMENT FUND IGNIA TO ITS PRESTIGIOUS LIST OF SHAREHOLDERS (AltFi), Rated: A

Afluenta (www.afluenta.com), a leading online credit platform for the people of Latin America, announced the addition of Mexican venture capital fund IGNIA to its group of shareholders. IGNIA is a venture capital fund specializing in investments in entrepreneurial companies with great potential for growth, whose services meet the needs of the emerging middle class.

In Mexico, where local credit to the private sector is below 35% of GDP, compared to 68% in Brazil, Afluenta aims to revolutionize the market with its human approach to credit and investment.

Afluenta connects borrowers with investors who can be individuals or companies, eliminating intermediaries such as traditional financial institutions. Its technology allows investors to receive competitive returns on their contributions in a simple, fast and efficient way, while applicants obtain loans faster, without bureaucracy and at a lower interest rate than in a bank.

Canada

Katipult CEO finalist for the prestigious EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2017 (Digital Journal), Rated: A

Brock Murray, CEO of Katipult, a SaaS company that enables firms to design, setup, and manage an investment crowdfunding, Peer to Peer lending, or investor management platform, has been named a finalist in Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year in the Emerging Technology category in Prairies.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday July 14 2017, Daily News Digest

Visa revenues

News Comments Today’s main news: DBRS assigns provisional ratings to SoFi Professional Loan Program 2017-D. IEG Holdings cites slim margins, weak underwriting as reasons for LendingClub offer. Bank execs say UK sets the standard for fintech regulation. Rocket Internet sells stake in Lendico. Today’s main analysis: Visa’s international expansion. Today’s thought-provoking articles: DBRS Student Loan ABS report (a […]

Visa revenues

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Israel

India

Latin America

Canada

News Summary

United States

DBRS Assigns Provisional Ratings to SoFi Professional Loan Program 2017-D (DBRS), Rated: AAA

DBRS, Inc. (DBRS) has today assigned provisional ratings to the following classes of notes issued by SoFi Professional Loan Program 2017-D (SoFi 2017-D):

— $245,000,000 Class A-1FX Notes at AAA (sf)
— $266,000,000 Class A-2FX Notes at AAA (sf)
— $40,000,000 Class B-FX Notes at AA (sf)

DBRS Student Loan ABS report (DBRS), Rated: AAA

In this commentary, DBRS provides the following:
— A review of Q1 2017 student loan ABS performance and H1 2017 student loan ABS issuance.
— An outlook for future student loan ABS issuance and the trends expected in H2 2017.
— Analysis and highlights of student loan collateral performance.

Download the full report here.

IEG Holdings Highlights the Urgency of LendingClub Correcting its Flawed, Slim Margin “Broker” Business Model and Weak Underwriting Standards (Sys-Con), Rated: AAA

IEG Holdings yesterday announced the commencement of a tender offer to exchange four shares of IEG Holdings’ common stock for each share of LendingClub common stock, up to an aggregate of 40,345,603 shares of LendingClub common stock, representing approximately 9.99% of LendingClub’s outstanding shares as of April 28, 2017, validly tendered and not properly withdrawn in the offer.

IEG Holdings Corporation (OTCQB: IEGH) (“IEG Holdings”) cautions shareholders of LendingClub Corporation (“LendingClub”) against dismissing IEG Holdings’ tender offer. IEG Holdings believes that the LendingClub board of directors should be held accountable by its shareholders for continuing to pursue a flawed, slim margin “broker” business model. IEG Holdings urges LendingClub to enter into negotiations with IEG Holdings, rather than simply dismissing the tender offer.

FLAWED, SLIM MARGIN, LOSS-MAKING BUSINESS MODEL

Despite brokering more than $26 billion of loans since inception, LendingClub still reported a loss of $29.8 million for Q1 2017 and loss of $146.0 million for the 2016 full year. Transitioning to a balance sheet lender likely would significantly increase gross margins, without a significant change in customer acquisition costs.

WEAK UNDERWRITING STANDARDS

A recent media report by Bloomberg indicates that:

  • LendingClub only verified income about a third of the time for one of the most popular loans it made in 2016, and
  • If LendingClub finds errors in a loan application, it may still approve the loan.

LACK OF COMPANY-OWNED STATE LENDING LICENSES

LendingClub doesn’t hold individual state lending licenses and instead utilizes the services of a Utah-based bank. This raises regulatory risks around issues such as the potential breaking of individual state interest rate caps and compliance.

POOR STOCK MARKET PERFORMANCE AND ZERO DIVIDENDS TO SHAREHOLDERS

LendingClub’s share price has decreased 79% since its initial public offering in December 2014, dropping from $25.74 in December 2014 to $5.39 yesterday, after reaching a low of $3.51 in May 2016. In addition, LendingClub has never paid, and has no reported intention to pay, a dividend to shareholders.

IEG Holdings’ Reasons for the Offer

IEG Holdings believes that changing LendingClub’s business model to a balance sheet lender model would enable the company to generate significantly higher gross margins, provide significantly higher long duration cash flow from customers, build increased customer goodwill with customers and enable increased customer refinancing. The longer duration cash flow would provide more flexibility in reducing lending volumes during periods when underwriting risk levels are rising, as the company would be less dependent on brokering new loan deals every day to provide revenue.

  • IEG Holdings intends to encourage LendingClub to undertake substantial costs cuts by terminating excess employees, achieving substantial cuts in advertising/marketing costs and other significant cost cutting measures;
  • IEG Holdings intends to encourage LendingClub to transform its broker business model with low gross margins and high volumes to focus on high gross margin unsecured loans to near prime clients with strong underwriting, company owned individual state licenses and retention of loans on its balance sheet to secure long duration cash flow from longer term loans; and
  • The acquisition of LendingClub shares would be substantially net asset per share accretive for IEG Holdings stockholders and substantially increase shareholder equity.

New partnership turns PayPal into Apple App Store payment option (Banking Tech), Rated: A

This week the company announced a partnership with Apple to allow shoppers pay for their purchases at the App Store using PayPal. The feature will be available for users of a variety of Apple devices including iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Apple Watch, and iPod.In addition to the App Store, PayPal will be a payment option for a variety of Apple services including Apple Music, iTunes, and iBooks.

Finicity and JP Morgan Chase pair for data share (Banking Tech), Rated: A

Data aggregation provider Finicity has signed an agreement with JP Morgan Chase to let the bank’s customers choose data to share with apps.

The companies will use a direct API to allow Chase customers to share information with the apps and services that Finicity supports. According to the firms, this tokenised access will eliminate the need for customers to share their Chase credentials with third-party apps.

Paypal Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:PYPL): Beginning of Market Dominance (Library for Smart Investors), Rated: A

Paypal Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:PYPL) is getting investors attention after the stock touched fresh highs amid a new partnership with Apple.

The stock is up over 43% since the start of the year.

In the first quarter, PayPal saw a jump of 10.3% in monthly active users on year-over-year basis. The total number of transactions also increased by 22.5% in the period.

In the first quarter, Venmo processed $6.8 billion in total payments, a 100% growth on year-over-year basis. Venmo is slated to grow more as the company expands to small businesses.

WEALTHTECH — THE DIGITIZATION OF WEALTH MANAGEMENT (FT Partners), Rated: A

WealthTech companies are targeting inefficiencies that span the entire wealth management value chain, from client prospecting to investing to portfolio management and reporting. Benefits include more efficient workflows, improved client experiences and greater transparency. Regardless of their value proposition, WealthTech companies are seeking to improve overall wealth management and investing.

This report highlights a number of key trends within the broader WealthTech industry such as…

  • Growing number of advisors joining the independent channel
  • Incumbent financial institutions are entering the robo-advice space
  • Increased demand for alternative investments
  • Financial planning trending towards goal-based approaches
  • Higher levels of active risk management
  • Commoditization of portfolio management software is leading to expanded offerings
  • RIA custodians evolving into more holistic roles

Download the full report here.

Wells Fargo trims auto loans as market cools, risk overhaul kicks in (Reuters), Rated: A

Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N) is scaling back and remolding its auto lending business in response to growing stress in the market, as well as a bank-wide push for more centralized risk controls.

Wells, which was the No. 2 U.S. provider of auto loans less than a year ago, has already cut quarterly originations by nearly 30 percent over the nine months leading into March 31, according to a May 11 company presentation. It has also begun consolidating the collections operation in a move that people familiar with the business say could eliminate hundreds of jobs, after a new head of auto finance took the reins in April.

5 Fintech Startups Under the Radar (Bank Innovation), Rated: A

Spotme

This New York City-based startup facilitates micro-loans between borrowers and lenders, allowing users to set up pretty much all the parameters of a loan themselves: users can control the amount, the interest rate, the payback period, and the way they are reimbursed for the loan themselves.

Ledger

Ledger might be able to help out there: this San Francisco-based startup allows users to “open tabs with friends,” boiling down a transaction to just 3 clicks. By connecting with a user’s financial accounts (protected by “military-grade” cybersecurity, according to the company), users are able to aggregate all of their transactions in one place, as well as receive notification about when transactions are due.

Wallio

More and more companies are striving to solve the main problem when it comes to personal finance management services: how do you make a user actually take the financial advice that is being offered?

Wallio starts off the week by giving a user an allocated amount of money they can spend for that week, on whatever the user wants (expenses and savings are already factored into this amount). If a user underspends, great: Wallio will allow that user to put that money towards a goal. If a user overspends, Wallio will simply allocate less money for the user to spend next week.

Samwise

This robo-investing startup allows users to turn their existing brokerage account into an autonomous investing account using machine learning algorithms.

OnePebble

Invest, and make a difference in the world at the same time: that’s the dream of OnePebble, an online investment broker/dealer that puts each investment toward companies “doing good in the world.”

3 Investing Trends to Keep on Your Radar (Morningstar), Rated: A

Trend: Passive products continue to gain assets.

This is the trend shaping the investment management industry today. Asset flows to passive products, both traditional index mutual funds and exchange-traded funds, began in earnest following disappointing active-fund performance during the financial crisis.

Trend: New ways to hire–and pay for–financial advice. 

Robo-advisors provide automated advice for a low annual fee as low as 0.25% or even less. Meanwhile, mutual fund companies and brokerage firms may provide advice for customers who have amassed sufficient assets at the firm. For example, Vanguard Personal Advisor Service charges 0.30% and is available to investors with at least $50,000 in assets at the firm. (The service combines human financial advisors with robo-advisor technology.)

What to watch out for: The profusion of different business models means that the business of selecting an advisor is more complicated than ever. Robo-advisor fees might look like a screaming buy relative to the fees that a full-service human advisor charges, but the robo won’t be able to give you advice on nonportfolio matters like whether to pay off your mortgage or purchase long-term care insurance.

Trend: An increased emphasis on behavioral factors that can affect investor outcomes.

What’s to like: Many robo-advisors have also embedded behaviorial research into their services.

What to watch out for: Behavioral finance is trendy right now, and with any trend comes the opportunity for gimmickry. Beware of advisors who are using behavioral finance as their main hook to snag clients; high-quality advisors have been employing behavioral finance into their practices for years.

US Tax Professionals Tackles the Tax implications of Crowdfunding (Digital Journal), Rated: A

It’s important to understand that all the income a person receives, regardless of the source, is considered taxable income in the eyes of the IRS. That includes crowdfunding dollars.

Even if the campaign only raised the projected $15,000 and no gifts were offered, the money would still be considered taxable income and need to be reported as such on a tax return.

Generally, crowdfunding revenues are included in income as long as they are not:

  • Loans that must be repaid;
  • Capital contributed to an entity in exchange for an equity interest in the entity; or
  • Gifts made out of detached generosity and without any “quid pro quo.” However, a voluntary transfer without a “quid pro quo” isn’t necessarily a gift for federal income tax purposes.

Morgan Stanley digital chief: AI to help advisers, not ‘cyborg bots’ (Financial-Planning), Rated: A

Advisers tasked with processing a “mountain of information” will get a reprieve through artificial intelligence, according to Morgan Stanley Wealth Management’s chief digital officer.

“What we want to do is, with one click of a button, they can take action on that research report to all their clients within minutes, not hours, not phone calls,” Hassan said. “That’s the promise of what we’re trying to build.”

Rival firms have shown they’re headed down a similar path. Like Morgan’s planned offering, the UBS-SigFig service will save advisers’ time through automated messaging to clients on important dates, according to Richard Steinmeier, the head of the UBS Wealth Advice Center.

Congress Should Use Congressional Review Act to Strike Down Ill-Advised Arbitration Rule (Daily Signal), Rated: B

Cutting through the hyperbole that the arbitration rule protects consumers from “unfairness” that would deny them “their day in court,” this rule is in fact highly anti-consumer and harmful to innovation.

This regulation could have particularly harmful effects on FinTech innovations, such as peer-to-peer lending.”

How much money do Arizonans spend playing the lottery? Less than most Americans (AZ Central), Rated: B

Arizonans on average shelled out $100.85 per capita on lottery tickets in 2015, according to the study by LendEDU, based on preliminary data for state government finances collected by the Census Bureau. For Americans overall, the per-capita figure was $206.69.

United Kingdom

UK setting the bar for fintech regulation, bank execs say (SNL.com), Rated: AAA

U.K. authorities have created a world-leading regulatory environment for the burgeoning fintech industry that is being emulated elsewhere, according to bankers.

The Financial Conduct Authority’s “sandbox,” a program launched in 2015 to let companies test innovative ideas under close regulatory supervision, has been particularly helpful, she said.

Meanwhile, initiatives such as FCA-organized hackathons — or “TechSprints” as it prefers to call them — have been particularly appreciated by the industry, according to Sophie Guibaud, vice president of European expansion at Fidor Bank AG, a German online lender that was bought by Groupe BPCE in 2016. These events invite market participants to come up with technological solutions to certain problems, such as financial issues faced by people with mental health problems.

The U.K. is home to more fintech companies valued at more than $1 billion than the rest of Europe put together, according to an April 2017 report by technology investment bank GP Bullhound. Three U.K.-based companies, Funding Circle, Paysafe and Transferwise, have crossed that threshold, and GP Bullhound said that it does not expect London to relinquish its lead, due to its prominence in international financial services.

Comparison site GoCompare invests in mortgage robo-adviser (AltFi), Rated: A

Financial comparison site GoCompare is hoping to transform the UK’s mortgage application process by investing in MortgageGym, a digital mortgage robo-adviser.

Users can complete a free application within 15 minutes on MortgageGym and receive matches within 60 seconds, as well as robo advice and access to live advisers. The website will use automated algorithms to match applicants with the best mortgage providers.

The House Crowd hits £50m via mix of P2P and crowdfunding (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE HOUSE CROWD has hit the £50m funding target it set out to achieve in October last year.

The Manchester-based property platform started targeting institutional money at the end of last year to achieve its first £50m of funds channelled to property and buy-to-let borrowers, through both its peer-to-peer side and its crowdfunding arm.

The firm raised over £15m in the six months to early 2017, while a loan it closed last month added another £600,000.

Fintech CurrencyCloud tapped up investors months before Google raise (Business Insider), Rated: A

CurrencyCloud, which provides a platform to process international payments, raised £9.5 million from its existing investors in December 2016. The company had £10.5 million in the bank at the end of the month, accounts show, suggesting the platform had around £1 million left at the time of the fundraising.

The volume of payments jumped by 110% to 1.5 million but net revenue from currency transactions increased by just 10% to £3.2 million. Meanwhile, administrative expenses rose by 54% to £13.9 million as CurrencyCloud invested in “recruiting staff, developing our technology infrastructure and operations services, and moving to new office premises.”

P2P fund share issues boost investment trust sector (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

FUNDRAISINGS by Honeycomb and the Funding Circle SME Income Fund (FCIF) helped push share issues to record levels in the investment trust sector for the first half of 2017.

Secondary issuances raised £3.3bn in the first six months of the year, trade body the Association of Investment Companies has revealed, up from £1.8bn at the same time in 2016.

FCIF raised £142m in conversion shares in April, the largest total in the specialist debt sector, while the Honeycomb investment trust raised £105m through a ordinary share issue.

Alternative Credit funds drive record cash raise (AltFi), Rated: A

Assets in investment trusts have hit an all time high thanks in part to a huge swathe of secondary issuance in closed-ended funds’ shares.

In the first half of 2017, the most poplar area of the investment trust market was Infrastructure – in terms secondary issuance – raising £1.2bn. This was followed by Alternative Credit at  £514m. Funding Circle SME Income raised the largest total in the sector securing £142m via its C share issue, followed by Honeycomb Investment Trust (£105m).

China

The number of Online Financial platforms in China Exceed 19,000, ranking the first place of the world. (Xing Ping She), Rated: AAA

According to data from National Institution of Internet Financial Risk Analysis &Technology,there are more than 19,000 online financial platforms across China, including over 6000 online lending platforms, nearly 3500 online assets managers, and 800 crowdfunding platforms. The total cumulative volume of internet loans, crowdfunding and internet payment have reached to 70 trillion RMB (US$ 10.33 trillion). Zhou Hongren, director of the National Committee of Internet Finance Professional Technology, claimed that, “No matter in terms of quantity or scale, China has already become the largest international finance marketplace around the world.”

European Union

Rocket Internet Sells Stake in Lendico Startup (Handelsblatt), Rated: AAA

Incubator firm Rocket Internet has sold its majority stake in peer-to-peer lender Lendico to Arrowgrass, Handelsblatt has learned, as the British hedge fund acquired complete ownership of the Berlin startup.

The partners to the transaction agreed to keep the purchase price confidential. Rocket Internet, which specializes in helping online startups get off the ground, most recently valued its 50-percent-plus stake in Lendico at €140 million ($159 million).

Funding Circle Germany Takes a Fresh Start (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Germany is a huge SME and VSME (very small business) credit market. But it is not as mature a market for online marketplace lending as the UK, the US, or even the Netherlands. This partly explains why Funding Circle Germany’s early loan book underperformed. Now the platform is starting afresh to match its market’s reality.

With offices and business in Germany, the Netherlands and Spain, Zencap had originated €35 million in loans to 500 SMEs at the time of its acquisition. Its operations were very small in comparison with the more than $1.5 billion originated by Funding Circle in the US and the UK at the time (meanwhile Funding Circle passed the $3 billion mark).

The second reason for starting afresh, was a need to revisit the credit model. Since January, the new German team has been busy recalibrating and restarting the German operations.

Loan origination resumed at previous level in the first half of 2017 and is expected to grow again in the second half of this year.

Spanish Fintech Industry Comes into its Own (Finance Magnates), Rated: A

The Spanish fintech ecosystem has been a steadily growing force over the past few years, swelling from just fifty financial technology startups in 2013 to well over three hundred in 2017. This rapid surge is only going to continue with this number estimated to hit four hundred companies by 2018.

In terms of the value of the operations, this sector passed rose from just €35 million in 2014 to €206 million in 2016, justifying a 600 percent growth in just two years.

According to the Spanish Association for Fintech and Insurtech (Asociación Española de Fintech e Insurtech – Aefi), companies operating in this space in Spain are going to create a total of 10,000 jobs in 2017 alone.

While the value offintech operations in Spain is increasing, two areas that constitute the most focus are the crowdfactoring or invoice factoring crowdfunding platforms – these saw a total of €120 milion euros in 2016, that concentrate most of the operations domestically, followed by crowdfunding with €43.5 million and crowdlending or p2p lending with €42 million.

International

Visa Expands Its Footprint in Europe (Market Realist), Rated: AAA

In May 2017, Visa announced that in order to give consumers more control and make transactions transparent, the company will create digital card management experiences for its partners. Visa’s partners include financial institutions. Since the new offerings will lead to more transparency, Visa expects to see volume growth in fiscal 3Q17. Market analysts expect Visa to report revenues of $4.36 billion in fiscal 3Q17—a decline of 2.7%.

 

What Can Visa Expect from Russia, China, Japan, and India?

In fiscal 2Q17, there was growth in Visa’s cross-border business due to Russia’s developed economy. Visa implemented ~1,600 point-of-sale terminals. As a result, payment volumes are expected to grow in fiscal 3Q17.

Management thinks that obtaining a domestic license in China is a time-consuming process. Visa is expected to witness lower revenues and payment volumes from China due to discontinued dual branded cards.

Management has a positive outlook on Japan’s economy due to digitization. Japan’s government has become more inclined to use digital and electronic payments.

In fiscal 3Q17, India could be a major contributor to payment volume growth.

Visa has delivered a return on equity of 16.2% on trailing 12-months basis. Other consumer financial peers (XLF) have delivered the following return on equity on a trailing 12-month basis:

  • American Express (AXP) – 25.1%
  • MasterCard (MA) – 75%Discover Financial Services (DFS) – 21.10%

Visa Expects to Benefit from Its European Business

Visa’s (V) acquisition of Visa Europe allowed the company to enhance its global reach. The main agenda behind the acquisition was to bring innovation to the European market. Visa had been working closely with its partners and clients. The company also plans to create new services and products.

Israel

THE SURPRISING COUNTRY LEADING THE FINTECH REVOLUTION (Ozy.com), Rated: AAA

The country that gave the world smart drip irrigation and the Epilady has also been an early and enthusiastic adopter of financial technology, as in mobile banking apps, digital wallets, online lending and other services that manage moola. In fact, a survey of selected industrialized countries shows that:

As for the specifics, 50 percent of Israeli adults use mobile banking apps at least once a month. In the U.S., it was 38 percent; the U.K., 37 percent; in France, 35 percent; and in Germany, a surprisingly anemic 28 percent.

The five largest banks in Israel control more than 90 percent of the market, and as Sandra Octaviani, research lead for fintech at the University of Utah’s Center for Innovation in Banking and Financial Services, notes, traditional banks tend to serve low-risk, highly profitable clients, which creates an opportunity for nimbler fintech firms to swoop in and serve the underserved.

India

RBI wary of first loan default guarantee cover (India Times), Rated: AAA

The Reserve Bank of India is learnt to be wary of peerto-peer lending platforms offering any FLDG, or first loan default guarantee, cover to institutional lenders for any lending they do through these technology startups, said sources familiar with the discussions.

While various lending entities are keen on exploring this space as a cheap source of customers, they often look for a security cover against loans going bad. Experts say such guarantees or covers might go against the intentions of the central bank.

SME Lending Based on Payment History is the Next Big Wave in Fintech (BW Disrupt), Rated: A

ftCash aims to empower micro-merchants and entrepreneurs with the power of electronic payments and loans with zero upfront cost and no monthly rentals. Merchants are able to offer their customers multiple payment methods including credit cards, debit cards, net banking, mobile wallets, PayPal and more.

Nonethless, credit lending is the next big wave of Indian fintech. Lodha explains, “SME Lending based on payment history will be next big wave in fintech. On an active basis, it allows a lender to decide the paying ability of a merchant/business and the recollection of these loans can be done from the payment platform itself. The combination of the payments data along with GST data provides deeper insights into a business. We at ftcash are heavily invested in this idea and believe there is a great potential for scale here.”

Latin America

Venture fund for Latino entrepreneurs, fintech in Mexico  (ImpactAlpha), Rated: AAA

Financial technology, or fintech, startups offering digital payment, remittances and lending services, could capture 30% of Mexico’s banking market within 10 years, according to Finnovista, a fintech accelerator. Six in 10 Mexicans are unbanked. Financial exclusion is a problem but “also an opportunity,” Francisco Meré, the director of Bankaool, one of the first online-only banks in Mexico, told the Financial Times[paywall]. “The cost of engaging a customer through technology is a fraction of using a branch.” Clip has grown to become one of Mexico’s largest digital payment providers (Accion sold its stake in February). Kubo Financieroprovides peer-to-peer lending; Albo, mobile-based banking; and Kueski, a digital micro-lender — all have secured venture backing. More than 150 fintech, or financial technology, firms now operate in Mexico, giving Mexico 35% of fintech companies serving the under- and un-banked in Latin America.

AFLUENTA INCORPORATES THE MEXICAN INVESTMENT FUND IGNIA TO ITS PRESTIGIOUS LIST OF SHAREHOLDERS (AltFi), Rated: A

Afluenta (www.afluenta.com), a leading online credit platform for the people of Latin America, announced the addition of Mexican venture capital fund IGNIA to its group of shareholders. IGNIA is a venture capital fund specializing in investments in entrepreneurial companies with great potential for growth, whose services meet the needs of the emerging middle class.

In Mexico, where local credit to the private sector is below 35% of GDP, compared to 68% in Brazil, Afluenta aims to revolutionize the market with its human approach to credit and investment.

Afluenta connects borrowers with investors who can be individuals or companies, eliminating intermediaries such as traditional financial institutions. Its technology allows investors to receive competitive returns on their contributions in a simple, fast and efficient way, while applicants obtain loans faster, without bureaucracy and at a lower interest rate than in a bank.

Canada

Katipult CEO finalist for the prestigious EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2017 (Digital Journal), Rated: A

Brock Murray, CEO of Katipult, a SaaS company that enables firms to design, setup, and manage an investment crowdfunding, Peer to Peer lending, or investor management platform, has been named a finalist in Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year in the Emerging Technology category in Prairies.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor