Wednesday March 14 2018, Daily News Digest

equity factor returns

News Comments Today’s main news: H&R Block, LendingTree partner on credit score access. KBRA assigns preliminary ratings to LendingClub’s CLUB Credit Trust 2018-NP1. Ant Financial consumer lending hits $95B. Non-Standard Finance buys guarantor loans business. EU rolls out new crowdfunding rules. Today’s main analysis: LendingTree’s mortgage savings tracker, mortgage rate competition index. Does strong economic growth equate to high factor […]

equity factor returns

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United States

H&R Block, LendingTree partner to empower clients to improve their financial well-being (Nasdaq), Rated: AAA

As part of continued efforts to help clients better understand their financial situation, H&R Block (NYSE:HRB) is partnering with LendingTree (NASDAQ:TREE) to provide clients convenient access to their credit score, LendingTree Academy and more. H&R Block clients can now seamlessly enter LendingTree via their MyBlockaccount, which is a private, secure, online portal clients can use year-round to access and add tax documents and personal information.

LendingTree Introduces New Mortgage Savings Tracker and Mortgage Rate Competition Index (PRNewswire), Rated AAA

LendingTree today announced the release of its Mortgage Savings Tracker and Mortgage Rate Competition Index. The LendingTree Mortgage Rate Competition Index is a new measure of the dispersion in mortgage pricing and will be released weekly. Built on top of the Mortgage Rate Competition Index, the Mortgage Savings Tracker will bring a new transparency to mortgage shopping by highlighting the significant savings that are available to potential borrowers for both purchase mortgages and refinancing.

Source: PRNewsfoto/LendingTree

 

Source: PRNewsfoto/LendingTree

Findings from the inaugural report:

  • Across all purchase loan requests on LendingTree (we looked at refinance loan requests separately) in 2017, we found an average Mortgage Rate Competition Index of 0.46 — this was the average spread between the lowest and highest APR offered by lenders.
  • It may not sound like much, but over 30 years translates to $21,000 in additional costs on a $300,000 loan.
  • The index was wider in the refinance market, averaging 0.55. Potential borrowers there could have saved an average of $26,000 had they shopped around to find the lowest rate.
  • Ringing in the new year, the index widened to 0.59 for potential purchase borrowers, translating to a potential savings of just over $27,000.
  • For potential refinance borrowers, again, the index was even higher at 0.63. That could result in a savings of almost $30,000. The savings increased because lenders are reacting differently to the overall uptick in rates.
  • The most recent data for the week ending 3/11/2018 showed potential savings of $26,780 for purchase and $27,616for refinancing.

See LendingTree white paper on the Mortgage Rate Competition Index here.

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to Consumer Loan Underlying Bond (CLUB) Credit Trust 2018-NP1 (Business Wire), Rated AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to three classes of notes issued by Consumer Loan Underlying Bond (CLUB) Credit Trust 2018-NP1 (“CLUB 2018-NP1”). This is a $301.727 million consumer loan ABS transaction that is expected to close March 21, 2018.

Source Business Wire

LendingClub trims CE on next near-prime consumer loan ABS (Asset Securitization Report) Rated: AAA

As in the past, LendingClub itself contributed only a small portion (7.55%) of the collateral for the Consumer Loan Underlying Bond (CLUB) Credit Trust 2018-NP1 transaction from loans it held on balance sheet, but this time only three unaffiliated parties were invited to contribute the remainder of the collateral.

source American Banker

CLUB 2018-NP1 will issue three classes of notes totaling $301.727 million. Credit enhancement for the senior $180.7 million tranche of Class A notes is 49.5%, down 30 basis points from the senior tranche of the previous transaction, which carried the same A-rating. However, enhancement for the BBB-rated Class B tranche has risen by 5 basis points to 37.4% and enhancement for the BB-rated Class C tranche has risen by 35 basis points to 15.35%, per Kroll.

DOES STRONG ECONOMIC GROWTH EQUATE TO HIGH FACTOR RETURNS? (All About Alpha), Rated: AAA

In this research report we initially focus on the Value, Size and Momentum factors from Fama-French, which are constructed as dollar-neutral long-short portfolios based on the top and bottom 10% of the US stock market. The data includes companies with small market capitalisations, excludes transaction costs and is available since 1926. We expand the factor set by the Low Volatility, Quality, Growth and Dividend Yield factors based on our own data, which is available since 2000. These are created via long-short beta-neutral portfolios and only include stocks with a market capitalisation of larger than $1 billion. Portfolios are rebalanced monthly and each transaction occurs costs of 10 basis points.

EQUITY FACTORS & REAL GDP GROWTH: 1947 – 2017

The chart below shows the returns of the S&P 500 and three factors (long-short) since 1947 sorted by positive and negative quarters of real GDP growth.

It’s worth highlighting that there were only 7 quarters of negative real GDP growth since 2000, so the results have to be taken with caution.

DIVERSIFICATION FOR AN EQUITY-CENTRIC PORTFOLIO

New Media Announces Strategic Alliance with Kabbage (BusinessWire), Rated: B

New Media Investment Group Inc. (“New Media” or the “Company”, NYSE: NEWM), one of the largest publishers of locally based print and online media in the United States as measured by number of publications, announced today that it has entered into an agreement with Kabbage, a pioneering financial services, technology and data platform serving small businesses. This alliance is intended to bring awareness of simple access to working capital through Kabbage’s fully automated online lending platform to more than five million small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) that do business in New Media’s markets.

AI as new tool in banks’ crime-fighting bag? (American Banker), Rated: A

But a funny thing has happened on the way to what should be an AI-led revolution — banks have been worrying what their regulators would say if they filed fewer suspicious activity reports, especially if their rivals continue to submit far more.

source: American Banker

“All the banks are worried that if they use machine learning, the number of SAR filings will go way down and the regulators will say, what happened?” Saleh said. “How come your SAR filings fell by 50%? Maybe there’s money laundering you’re not catching.”

Should Banks Become the New ‘Payday’ Lenders? (LendEDU), Rated: A

In early March, the Florida state legislature approved revamping regulations for payday loans, voting to allow payday lenders to make larger loans for a longer period of time.

The bill aims to allow alternative lenders to make installment-type loans up to $1,000, with a 60- to 90-day repayment period. The current law caps loans at $500 for a period of seven to 31 days.

The Pew Charitable Trusts’ proposal suggested that small banks could instead provide loans with payments capped at 5 percent of a borrower’s paycheck.

According to The Pew Charitable Trusts’ research, the average payday loan customer borrows $375 over five months and pays $520 in fees, while banks and credit unions could profitably offer the same amount over the same period for less than $100.

Bank regulators vow more flexibility in vetting fintech partnerships (American Banker), Rated: B

Senior leaders at the Federal Reserve, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, who all spoke at a banking conference in Orlando, Fla., said they have been working with examiners to be more understanding of the budding partnerships forming between banks and fintech firms — and how to examine those relationships going forward.

Clinc wants to solve financial institutions’ AI problems (Business Insider), Rated A

Clinc, a US-based provider of conversational AI technology for financial institutions (FIs),announced the launch of a new self-service platform, Spotlight, that enables FIs to train and deploy sophisticated conversational AI software in-house, independently of vendors.

source: Business Insider

Spotlight is available in over 80 languages, and can be integrated into any digital channel, including contact centers, mobile apps, and Alexa, Google, and Facebook Messenger, allowing FIs to create a consistent user experience. Spotlight is already being used by USAA and Isbank, one of Turkey’s largest banks.

MoneyLion Plus Takes An Innovative Approach to Encourage New Investors to Save (Lend Academy), Rated: A

As a nation we are chronically bad at saving and while the savings rate went up for a time after the financial crisis it is back down near 2005 levels now which was the all time low.

MoneyLion is trying to do something about this.

I interviewed CEO Dee Choubey on the Lend Academy Podcast just over a year ago but they have made some great strides since then. I caught up with him again recently to get an update. Today, over 2.2 million people have downloaded the MoneyLion app and 1.3 million people have connected their bank account.

Behavioral biometrics company BioCatch closes $ 30M round (Bankless Times), Rated: A

Behavioral biometrics provider BioCatch today announced it has closed a $30 million financing round led by Maverick Ventures with additional participation from American Express Ventures, NexStar Partners, Kreos Capital, CreditEase, OurCrowd, JANVEST Capital and other existing investors.

What Makes Warren Buffett Such an Influential Leader? (Industry Leaders), Rated: A

A data scientist at Orchard Platform, Michael Toth, who has also worked with BlackRock as portfolio analyst has evaluated Buffett’s shareholder letters annually at Berkshire Hathaway for personal growth as a sole investor. Using statistical computing, Toth quantified and highlighted Buffett’s positivity penchant for many years according to CBNC.
And results from the analysis revealed that Buffett has the ability to balance both realism and optimism. The dataset also taught Toth about the reasons why Buffett is a legendary investor and as well as an influential leader.
Only five of the forty shareholder letters analyzed showed a negative score of sentiment, and most interestingly, they all correspond perfectly to five periods of downturn in the economy.

What’s next for neobank Chime (Bankrate), Rated: B

Since its 2014 launch, the San Francisco-based startup has emerged as one of the leaders in the so-called neobank space. Earlier this year, it announced it has 750,000 accounts opened to date, and is now adding new accounts at a rate of 100,000 a month.

How Fintech Advances Are Creating New Opportunities for Micro-Businesses (NewsTimes), Rated: B

Those solutions benefit business owners, ranging from freelancers, to founders of startups, to leaders of burgeoning small businesses and other enterprises.

Lending is one of the most critical areas where fintech has filled a gap for small businesses. As smaller businesses often don’t need a considerable amount of money when they seek loans, they’ve struggled to get any financial assistance. That’s because banks and other lending institutions often don’t see any profit in providing loans of less than $100,000.

United Kingdom

 

Former RateSetter-backed lender ‘transforms’ new owner’s guarantor loans business (Peer2Peer Finance), Rated: AAA

Non-Standard Finance bought the guarantor loan provider last August for £53.5m, which included a minority stake owned by RateSetter.

The London-listed firm said on Tuesday that the acquisition has “transformed” its guarantor loans business, helping that division’s loan book to grow by 35 per cent. It said the acquisition contributed to the group’s overall operating profit rising 497 per cent to £2.7m in its latest annual results.

Tandem Bank to buy Pariti in UK fintech tie-up (Financial Times), Rated: A

Digital bank Tandem has agreed to buy fellow British fintech group Pariti, as it looks to head off rising competition from established lenders taking advantage of new legislation that gives them greater access to customer data.

New rules that came into force in January allow companies such as Tandem and Pariti to access customer data from other lenders if the individuals give consent.

AltFi London Summit Preps for Event this Month as UK Alternative Finance Continues to Grow (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The 5th Annual London Summit is scheduled to take place on March 26th during a time of significant change in the UK. Brexit jitters along with dramatic regulatory changes such as Open Banking and PSD2 has created a varied and dynamic environment. Yet alternative finance continues to grow with AltFi estimating that UK loan origination volumes increased by 41.9% to £14.1 billion in 2017. During 2018, this number is predicted to jump by £7 billion.

Speakers already confirmed include Samir Desai, CEO and co-founder of Funding Circle, Ricky Knox, CEO and co-founder of Tandem and Anne Boden, CEO and founder of Starling Bank.

 

Eight luxurious Holywood homes get £3m in funding from peer-to-peer lending firm (Belfast Telegraph), Rated: B

Eight luxury homes being built in the hills of Holywood have received £3m in peer-to-peer (P2P) funding.

Cobain Group, which is behind The Twisel Brae development, received the funding from lender Assetz Capital.

The eight detached properties, styled by designer Kris Turnbull, will range from 2,200 to 4,000 sq ft in size, and cost between £575,000 and £800,000.

China

Ant Financial Consumer Lending Reaches $ 95 Billion (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

From the start of 2017 until this month, Ant’s consumer lending has doubled via its Huabei and Jiebei units even as the government reduces quotas for new asset-backed securities that can underpin such loans, one of the people said, asking not to be named as the matter is private. The loans can incur annual interest rates as high as 15 percent, although they are normally less than that, another person said.

Controlled by Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma, Ant has become a financial giant that was said to be valued at $60 billion and currently has more outstanding consumer loans than China’s second-biggest bank.

China’s Financial Disintermediation And M2 (Trade Captain), Rated: A

The past few weeks have been deluged with important events in Asia, but we don’t want the data to be washed away in the flood. In particular, note that China’s liquidity conditions continue to tighten, pointing to a further slowdown in nominal GDP growth over the next two years. Granted, M2 growth bounced back in February, and should edge higher in coming months, due to favourable base effects. But it remains historically low. Moreover, growth in our broader gauge of liquidity likely will continue to slow.

WeChat: the real Beast from the East (The Finanser), Rated: A

 

Mobile payments is another area where Tencent is thriving. WeChat Pay, a mobile payment system integrated into the app, holds 40% of China’s whopping US$12.77 trillion mobile payment market. Kickstarted by China’s virtual red packets exchange that supplanted the tradition of giving monetary gifts during Chinese New Year, WeChat Pay has seen impressive growth since its launch in 2013. Its monthly offline commercial transactions jumped 280% year over year in 2017 while social payment transactions grew 23%. Along with Alibaba’s Alipay, the service is making cash and plastic obsolete in China.

European Union

New rules put forward to help crowdfunding platforms grow across EU (Bridging & Commercial), Rated: AAA

These proposals – which are part of the European Commission’s fintech action plan – will enable crowdfunding platforms to offer their services EU-wide and improve access to this form of finance for start-ups and SMEs.

At present, it is difficult for many crowdfunding platforms to expand into other EU countries, but once these proposals have been adopted by the European Parliament and the Council, the proposed regulation will allow platforms to apply for an EU label based on a single set of rules.

Future Finance Closes €40 million Investment Round (PR Newswire), Rated: A

  • Future Finance completed €40 million Series C round with existing investors.
  • Investors remain excited about Future Finance’s ability to disrupt the UK student lending market.
  • Equity injected will be used to fund loans and hire top talent in LondonDublin and Chicago.

Start-up to stardom, Bondora turns 10 years old (Bondora) Rated: B

In the height of the global financial crisis, Bondora was officially founded on 11.03.2008. While it may have seemed counter-intuitive to most to create a new financial platform at this time, there was a clear need to serve customers who had been failed by the banks and disrupt the wider financial ecosystem.

International

Higher yields driving marketplace lending uptake among institutions, finds study (AltFiNews), Rated: AAA

According to a new study, marketplace lending is here to stay. That’s among the major findings of the Greenwich Marketplace Lending research study, conducted August to October 2017. It is based on the fact that 52 per cent of institutions currently investing in the asset class believe that marketplace lending will be a significant part of the financial system in the next 10 years.

Greenwich Associates interviewed 74 investors from pension planners to asset managers to compile its results. These investors control more than $3.5 trillion in assets between them. When the research was conducted, 21 of the firms were investors in marketplace loans, while 53 were not.

Of those investing in the asset class, 67 per cent cited higher yield as their primary reason for investing. Diversification and low correlation (48 per cent), access to consumer or small business credit (43 per cent) and low volatility (33 per cent) were also cited as important drivers.

Australia

 

Why Smart Aussies Are Dumping Banks for Online Loans (Mozo), Rated: B

Everything is online these days – including some of the best value home loans around. In fact, Mozo has taken a look at our database, and found that 1 in 2 home loans with a rate under 4% are offered by online lenders.

And when we crunched the numbers, we found that by switching from the average big four bank variable rate to the best deal around from an online lender, a typical borrower with a $300,000 home loan could save as much as $2,596** every year!

Square Peg In $ 200m Round Hole (Channel News), Rated: A

Paul Bassat’s venture capital outfit Square Peg Capital is said to be looking to raise more than $200 million as it seeks to add more investments to its portfolio interests in graphic design group Canva and online lender Prospa. Melbourne-based Square Peg, which was backed in its early days by billionaire James Packer, invests across Australia, Israel and South-East Asia.

India

Faircent.com bolsters its leadership ranks with two key appointments (India Times), Rated: AAA

P2P lending major, Faircent.com on Wednesday said it is strengthening its leadership team with industry veterans Vikas Prasad and Mayank Bishnoi coming on board. Prasad has joined the company as Head – Planning, Processes & Control, while Bishnoi has taken over as Head – Customer Experience.

“As the largest player in the rapidly-growing P2P lending industry, Faircent.com is currently at a critical juncture of its growth journey. More and more Indians from across multiple geographies are associating with our platform, both as lenders and as borrowers,” said Rajat Gandhi, Founder & CEO – Faicent.com in a statement.

Regulations for fintech companies in India: A dire need (Qrius) Rated: A

FinTech small business lending is currently developing with promising potential to complement and emerge as a healthy alternative to brick and mortar banking. The number of small businesses turning to FinTechs or non-traditional lenders has exploded over the past couple of years with many economies reporting a sharp increase in the number of small businesses turning to marketplace lenders in 2017. Marketplace lending accounts for 0.08% of the $96 trillion global corporate and household outstanding debt. Growing at an average 123% a year since 2010, Morgan Stanley forecasts that it will reach $290 billion by 2020.

FinTech lenders are forced to pay a commission to introducers or brokers which goes up to 4% of the loan amount which is normally passed on to clients.

Asia

Grab to offer loans, insurance with new fintech platform Grab Financial (The Straits Times), Rated: AAA

Grab will now offer loans and insurance with its new fintech platform – Grab Financial – the ride-hailing company announced on Tuesday (March 13).

This new platform will encompass all of Grab’s fintech offerings, including payment services, rewards and loyalty services, and financial services, among others.

To provide loans to consumers, micro-entrepreneurs and small businessess across South-east Asia, Grab has embarked on a joint venture (JV) agreement with Credit Saison Co, one of Japan’s largest consumer financing companies.

Initial offerings include accident, hospitalisation and other critical insurance coverage to Grab’s 2.6 million drivers, accessible through the Grab driver app.

FintruX advisor Yash Mody explains the platform’s future plans (Finder), Rated: A

Basically, FintruX is building a truly global peer-to-peer lending platform, and it’s secure, it’s fast, it’s easy. Lenders and borrowers don’t have to worry because the platform does all the work for them. They basically set their criteria and then they don’t have to think about it. They don’t have to auction and they don’t, you know, it’s not a cumbersome process. So that’s why we think it’s a new way of doing business.

And obviously, there’s a lot of regulation in this area. So how scalable is it? Are you going to run into lots of different regulatory issues with, issues lending loans between countries?

Yeah, so we’ve taken great care to make sure that we’re within regulation. We have four lawyers on board and advisers and all that, and we’re very cognisant of what’s required. As a first stage, we’re not going to be doing cross-border lending. So let’s say, for example, we’re going to launch in Singapore and Canada, so it would be a loan that’s in Canada from a lender and a borrower in Canada.

Indonesia eyes fintech regulation to avoid ‘loan shark-like’ practices (Reuters), Rated: A

Indonesia’s financial regulator said it was considering setting a cap on interest rates and the size of loans offered by fintech firms, in a move aimed at minimizing the risk of defaults.

The emergence of these peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms, offering loans ranging from as little as a few hundred dollars to several thousands, has so far been welcomed by Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s biggest economy where tens of millions of people have little or no access to bank credit.

More than 300,000 people have borrowed from these firms, with total loan distribution reaching 3 trillion rupiah ($218 million) as of January, versus 247 billion in December 2016, according to data from the Financial Services Authority (OJK).

Venture financing investments in the software segment receiving highest attention in Japanese enterprise market (Global Data) Rated : A

In 2017, venture financing (VF) investments in the software segment constituted 46% of the total deal value in the Japanese enterprise market, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company. On the other hand, 38% of the total number of VF deals in the country was in the software segment.

source Global Data

VF investments in the IT service segment constitute 38% of the total deal value in 2017. The IT service segment investments are primarily focused on consumer facing enterprises, such as online lending, social networking, online media publishing, e-commerce, and online dating, among others. As Japanese technological advancements are on the forefront of global market, VF companies are investing in Japanese technology enterprises in order to expand their operations and achieve business growth.

New Business Models, Emerging Tech Enabling FinTech Companies to Improve Financial Inclusion (PRNewswire), Rated: A

FinTech companies are making significant progress in promoting financial inclusion through innovative business models, products and increased use of emerging technologies such as digital identity, Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning, says a new report co-authored by CreditEase, IFC, a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group, and Stanford Graduate School of Business. The report, “Financial Inclusion in the Digital Age,” was launched today during Money20/20 Asia in Singapore.

Over two billion unbanked adults in the world, representing 38 percent of all adults globally, do not have access to basic financial services and another 57 percent have basic accounts but do not have access to a full range of services that include diversified savings and investments, low-cost payments systems, insurance, or credit.

Peer to Peer lending increasingly popular in Vietnam (VietNamNet), Rated: A

In 2012, P2P outstanding loans worldwide totalled $1.2 billion, while the figure rose to $64 billion in 2015 and is expected to reach $1 trillion by 2025.

A big advantage of the P2P model is the high information security level based on BigData technology which encrypts, stores and controls customers’ information.

Analysts said with the advantages of the model, plus current conditions in Vietnam, P2P could replace black credit, or lending at very high interest rates, which is illegal in Vietnam.

According to the World Bank, 79 percent of the population in Vietnam cannot access official financial services.

Vietnamese P2P lending startup Tima seeks to close Series B round by June (Deal Street Asia), Rated: B

Tima claims to be the first P2P lending startup in Vietnam. Launched in 2015, the platform has seen cumulative money from its lender partners reach over $900 million. In 2016, Tima closed a seven-digit US dollar Series A funding from an undisclosed Singapore fund to accelerate its growth in the local market.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday November 19 2017, Daily News Digest

Moody's wage growth

News Comments Today’s main news: Clarity Services integrates with Experian. Octopus Choice passes 100M GBP AUM. Funding Circle hits 100M Euro in German lending. Younited Credit tops 100K loans. Square Peg invests $8M in Airwallex. Silver Bullion hits $50M in loans. Today’s main analysis: The deteriorating auto loan quality. Today’s thought-provoking articles: China’s startup investors are a bunch of “cashed-up […]

Moody's wage growth

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News Summary

United States

Integration of Clarity Services by Experian (Clarity Services Email), Rated: AAA

As a supplier to Clarity Services Inc, we are writing to formally notify you that as of October 6, 2017, Clarity Services Inc has been purchased by Experian Holdings, Inc.

Effective January 1, 2018, purchases and invoice payments will be processed by Experian’s centralized Procurement and Accounting departments.

Source: Clarity Services

PayPal Co-Founder Max Levchin Gave a Remarkably Honest Response to Accusations About His New Startup (Inc.), Rated: AAA

To its critics, though, Affirm, which recently raised $200 million in a growth round, is engaged in something sinister, luring people into a financial trap by enticing them to buy things they can’t afford. CEO Max Levchindoesn’t agree with that interpretation at all, but he does accept some of the blame for not creating a more accurate perception.

Here’s how Affirm works: You can borrow money to make a purchase at any store that integrates with Affirm (or any store at all if you use the mobile “virtual card”). If Affirm’s proprietary credit model judges that you’ll be able to pay back the sum, then you’re offered a loan. During the next several months — up to a year — you’re expected to make monthly payments, which include interest. The APRs range from 10 to 30 percent.

The key things that differentiate Affirm from other credit options are that you get all of the information up front, stated plainly, and the interest charged by the startup is simple rather than compounding. When you make the initial purchasing decision, you know exactly how much extra you will end up paying to buy the product right now, instead of saving up over several months. There are no additional fees.

Moodys Warns Of Deteriorating Auto Loan Quality (ValueWalk), Rated: AAA

The economy is expected to expand in 2018, with projections for stock market performance clocking in at 8% basis Goldman Sachs. But not all is well –  a Moody’s report notes that specific asset sectors are struggling, particularly when it comes to  car loan quality worsening.

ValueWalk

Moody’s anticipates that US GDP growth will strengthen slightly to 2.3% in 2018 from 2.2% in 2017, with unemployment also continuing to move lower to 4.0% from 4.4%.

Auto loan quality is worst, but pockets of “challenged” loans exist across the board

Auto loan ABS issuers will likely securitize pools with attributes broadly similar overall to those in the pools backing their 2017 securitizations, even as a further decline in US auto sales pressures lenders to loosen underwriting to support volumes. We project sales will slip another 0.6% after an estimated 3.6% drop in 2017, following eight consecutive years of annual increases.

Auto loans appear to be on the front-lines of credit issues. Household debt, for instance, has increased to $13 trillion, with a significant part of that increase in auto loans. Sub-prime auto loans, in particular, are showing signs of weakness.

When looking at investment in asset-backed securities, the originator makes a difference. ABS backed by loans from online lenders such as SoFi, Lending Club Corporation, Prosper Marketplace Inc. and Marlette Funding have correlated with “prime credit quality.” But that is not the case across the board.

Source: ValueWalk

Square to small banks: Don’t lump us in with Amazon and Facebook (American Banker), Rated: A

Square, the Silicon Valley payment processor that is at the center of the fight over the tech industry’s ambitions in banking, is firing back at its small-bank critics, while also taking steps to placate community activists.

Advocacy groups that once expressed concern about the adequacy of Square’s plan to satisfy its obligations to low- and middle-income customers are now sounding more supportive of the fintech’s bid to open a bank.

Levi King of Nav (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • Levi’s background that led to the founding of Nav.
  • The products that Nav offers today.
  • How their business model works.
  • How they get small business owners interested in finance.
  • How Nav saves their customers money.
  • Why Levi thinks that small business owners may not need to be educated on finances in the future.
  • Their approach to producing content on their site.
  • The marketing channels they use to attract small business owners.
  • Levi’s thoughts on the entry on Amazon, PayPal and Square into small business lending.
  • Why proprietary data sets are going to be so important going forward.
  • The story behind the Nav brand and why they rebranded a couple of years ago.
  • The big name equity investors they have and how they closed their funding rounds.
  • What the future holds for Nav.

Traditional FAs Shouldn’t Fear AI (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: A

Traditional wealth managers are convinced the advent of robo-advisors and artificial intelligence threatens the jobs of financial services professionals, Wendy Spires writes on WealthBriefing. But the reality is that the high-touch business of financial advice stands to benefit from AI, as do its traditional practitioners, she writes.

For example, while 71% of wealth managers believe financial advice clients are prepared to accept advice from robo-advisors, the reality is different, she writes. Self-directed investing, for example, dropped from 45% in 2010 to 38% in 2016 — during a time when the number of robos and the services they offer expanded significantly, according to Spires.

 

Working in America’s gig economy (Multibriefs), Rated: A

“The gig economy … is now estimated to be about 34 percent of the workforce and is expected to be 43 percent by the year 2020,” notes Intuit CEO Brad Smith. “We think this points to a lot of growth as we look ahead.”

Based on the most recent demographic data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it appears the gig workforce is fairly evenly distributed across the age spectrum, but the highest percentages are seen at opposite ends of the scale. Individuals 65 years and older had the highest level of self-employment at 24.1 percent, while those under 35 (the so-called millennial generation) made up 18 percent.

BLS data reveals a few more interesting statistics concerning the gig workforce:

  • Men are almost twice as likely as women to be self-employed.
  • More than 30 percent of gig workers possess professional or advanced degrees.
  • Whites and Asians are marginally more engaged in gig work than are other racial or ethic groups.

In fact, data crunched by online lender Earnest and reported by Priceonomics indicates that about 85 percent of gig workers make less than $500 per month.

Consumer board seeks $ 287 million in restitution over CashCall case (Northern California Record), Rated: A

A Nov. 20 hearing featured the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau calling CashCall a purveyor of “financial snake oil” and arguing the online lender should pay as much as $287 million because they deceived customers.

How To Build The Best B2B Customer Experience (Forbes), Rated: A

In order to build the best B2B customer experience, companies should focus their effort on four principles:

  1. Invest in digital systems. Financial technology start-up Kabbage leverages new technology to approve small business loans in just seven minutes—a huge improvement over the 20 days it takes a typical bank. By simplifying the loan application process for web and mobile, Kabbage allows customers to apply for loans within minutes from anywhere in the world, which relieves a huge pain point for small businesses.
  2. Leverage data.
  3. Customize the experience.
  4. Use omnichannel to see the big picture. In fact, the average B2B customer uses six different channels as they make a decision. Customer experience happens in many places, which means companies need to create a consistent omnichannel experience.

Interesting Investments: Peer-to-Peer Lending (Equities.com), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, also known as peer lending, crowdlending, or social lending, is essentially what it says on the tin: lending money to another in an unsecured loan.

Prosper, one of the bigger companies managing P2P lending, has seen a fairly consistent return of about 9 percent through 2014, with a dip to 6.6 percent in 2012. Lending Club has seen a rise from 4.9 percent in 2009 to about 8 percent in 2014. All told, not bad ROIs.

First, you must be at least 18 years old, with a Social Security number, and live in an eligible state to even consider investing. Then, some states require that you have a minimum $70,000 gross income ($85,000 for California), and a minimum net worth of $70,000. You may not be able to invest more than 10 percent of your net worth. However, if your net worth is at least $250,000, there is no minimum income requirement.

Prosper, for example, has an annual default rate 3 to 4 percent higher across all grades. Lending Club has a 6 to 7 percent default rate.

Boston Fintech Company Cayan Is Getting Acquired for $ 1.05B (Bostinno), Rated: B

Cayan, a payment processing company that has been around the Boston fintech scene for the last 19 years, is in the process of getting acquired by Total System Services in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $1.05 billion. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2018.

United Kingdom

Octopus Choice passes £100m AUM (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Octopus Choice has passed £100m of assets under management, following on from the launch of its Innovative Finance ISA in the summer.

Assetz Capital Makes Changes to the Great British Business & Green Energy Accounts (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On Monday, online lending platform Assetz Capital announced it is doing away with the Great British Business Account (GBBA) and the Green Energy Account (GEA).

Ranger Direct Lending makes further $ 9.1m provision for Argon Credit (AltFi), Rated: A

The £232m Ranger Direct Lending fund has made a further $9.1m provision against its indirect investment in the collapsed Argon Credit lending platform.

ThinCats Reveals New Branding, Launches Updated Website (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

SME peer to peer lender ThinCats has launched a new website and branding designed to position itself for its next phase of growth in 2018.

Goji – Empowering Direct Lending (LinkedIn), Rated: B

Paul McMahon, former group marketing director of Aegon and UK CEO of FNZ, and Vincent Bordes, Founding Partner of Vestigo, the credit risk consultancy, will comprise the advisory board. Elizabeth McCallum joins as Goji’s Head of Marketing,  David Beacham as our Head of Distribution, and Rehan Islam as Head of Investments.

China

China’s Wild Bunch: Startup Investors Are Cashed-Up Cowboys (WSJ), Rated: AAA

In the first 11 months of this year, 3,418 new venture-capital and private-equity funds in China raised 1.6 trillion yuan ($241.76 billion), more than double the amount of 2015 and more than 10 times that of 2006, according to consultancy Zero2IPO Group. It estimates about 12,000 investment firms manage 8.5 trillion yuan in capital, an increase from 8,000 firms managing 5 trillion yuan in 2015.

Out of 221 unicorns in the world, 59 are in China, according to CB Insights. While that may lag behind the 127 from the U.S., it’s ahead of the U.K.’s 12 and India’s nine. Many Chinese investors want to invest in Silicon Valley because they think the valuations there are more reasonable.

Government agencies and local governments have announced 1,040 venture funds since 2015 aiming to raise about 8 trillion yuan, according to Zero2IPO. Much of the money is used to lure businesses to set up local offices, to help boost employment and tax revenues. The Hubei Province’s 200 billion yuan fund is believed to the largest of its kind.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Borrowing From Multiple Online Lenders Remains Prevalent (Caixin), Rated: AAA

In China, online lenders or peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms that only facilitate lending do not have full access to borrowers’ credit information as there is no such centralized platform that shares the data.

Some borrowers take advantage of this information asymmetry to apply for loans from multiple lenders so they can roll over previous debts elsewhere, or to take out cheaper loans to repay the ones that charge higher interest rates and profit from the difference, or even become lenders on other P2P platforms themselves, according to a study by the Beijing Internet Finance Industry Association.

The association’s recent report found that among the 61 online lenders surveyed, 44% of their customers on average had borrowed from multiple sources.

The survey found that nearly 500,000 borrowers tried to profit from arbitrage by taking advantage of the different interest rates charged by different online lenders. On average, each of them borrowed from 2.36 online lenders, the survey said.

China’s war on risk hands US$ 121b loan market to big firms (The Malay Mail Online), Rated: AAA

China’s whac-a-mole approach to risk — hit it everywhere it pops up — is set to hand control of the surging US$121 billion technology-driven lending market to a small group of leaders such as Lufax Holding and the finance affiliate of Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

Macquarie estimates credit extended by China’s fintech firms will jump more than seven-fold by 2022 to 6.2 trillion yuan (RM3.8 trillion) to pay for things like luxury and household goods or training and education. About half that market is micro-lending — typically small, short-term loans with high interest rates, Macquarie says.

China’s 10 biggest fintech companies account for 36 percent of all loans, said Dexter Hsu, a Taipeh-based Macquarie analyst. Tighter regulation could erode China’s more than 2,000 online micro-lenders and so-called P2P platforms, which directly match borrowers with investors, to less than 200, he said.

Chinese FinTech IPOs Don’t Dazzle Wall Street (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Newly listed Chinese FinTech companies in the U.S. are struggling on Wall Street, leaving investors with unexpected losses and posing as a setback to other Chinese firms hoping to go public.

“The quality of the businesses were either too early [to go public], untested or just poor,” said Anh Lu, an equities portfolio manager at T. Rowe Price in Hong Kong. “And they were asking for very high valuations on top of that.”

European Union

Funding Circle hits €100m lending milestone in Germany (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

FUNDING Circle has hit the €100m (£88.2m) loans milestone in Germany just two years after launch in the country.

The business lending platform says 3,000 investors have backed 1,100 German businesses and created more than 2,000 jobs since 2015.

The platform entered the European market following its acquisition of German platform Zencap in 2015. It now has operations in the UK, US, Germany and the Netherlands.

Earlier this month it said it had passed £3bn of lending in the UK and $5bn globally across all its platforms.

C’est Génial! Younited CREDIT Tops 100,000 Loans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Younited Credit has just surpassed 100,000 in loans since platform inception. The Paris based online lender (formerly named Pret d’Union) reported an accelerating rate of loan originations as the number has doubled since September 2016 when total loans stood at 50,000. The platform provides loans from €1000 to € 40,000. To date, Younited Credit has originated over € 650 million in loans.

BorsadelCredito.it Raises €1.6M in Funding (FinsSMEs), Rated: A

BorsadelCredito.it, a Milan, Italy-based fintech startup, raised €1.6m in funding.

The round was led by P101 Ventures, with participation from Azimut Enterprises Holding, GC Holding, Banca Popolare di Fondi and private investors.

DreamQuark wins the 2017 Fintech of the Year (Digital Journal), Rated: B

A startup company called DreamQuark, which produces Artificial Intelligence applications for financial services, has been awarded the Finance Innovation ‘Fintech of the Year’ prize.

National Personal Credit Platform Appoints Chairman (Caixin), Rated: B

The chairman of a wholly-owned central bank subsidiary, Zhu Huanqi, has been appointed chairman of a planned national personal credit-information platform, Caixin has learned from sources familiar with the matter.

International

Online Banking and Payments: Innovative Solutions on the Horizon (FinsSMEs), Rated: AAA

In the near future, online banking and payments will go through some fascinating changes beyond what has already happened over the past several years.

Advanced Mobile Payments

Today, there is increasing demand for biometric authentication apps. To ensure that consumers get what they want, MasterCard is going a step further by developing facial identification, voice recognition, and even cardiac rhythm programs. These innovative solutions will enhance the mobile payment experience for customers and retailers alike.

Growing Opportunities for Mobile Wallets

Back in 2014, Apple was the only real contender for mobile wallets. Within just one year, others followed their lead, including Samsung and Google. Then, in just a short amount of time, more big-name players joined in, such as Chase, Amazon, and Walmart. However, that was not the end. Even social media platforms started offering online payment options. With sites like Facebook that have mobile wallet solutions, people can send money and make payments.

Another prediction is that by 2025, 75 percent of all transactions will be made using mobile wallets rather than actual cash.

Greater Demand for Digital Remittances

For instance, a San Francisco-based company founded in 2001 called Xoom has experienced amazing growth because of digital remittances. In fact, it passed up MoneyGram, which speaks volumes.

Growth Potential with Peer-to-Peer Lending

For instance, having originated loans over $20 million since being founded, Lending Club ranks as one of the fiercest competitors in this arena.

How Banks Are Leveraging Chatbots for Customer Service (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Bank of America: Erica

In October of 2016, Bank of America unveiled Erica, their new AI chatbot. Available in the bank’s mobile app, Erica can work with voice and text commands.

Erica uses machine learning and specially-designed algorithms to provide Bank of America services that were typically reserved for the bank’s top-tier customers. As an example, it could recommend a way to pay down more on your credit card debt to save on interest payments. Or if your checking account is close to being overdrawn, it could contact you to recommend a transfer from your savings account.

Swedbank: Nina

Customers can access Nina from the bank’s website, and it can understand a wide range of text requests using specially designed Natural Language Understanding technology.

In the first three months after Nina’s release, the software was handling an average of 30,000 customer interactions per month.  Of those early interactions, Nina was able to provide a resolution rate of 78%.

Capital One: Eno

Eno from Capital One is a chatbot program that works through SMS messaging.

You can use this AI chatbot to check the balance on your accounts, see your available credit, track recent transactions, pay bills, and more.

Wells Fargo

The Wells Fargo virtual assistant is a chatbot that the bank recently released for use with Facebook Messenger. Once a customer enrolls their account, they can then use Messenger to contact the virtual assistant for basic tasks like tracking recent transactions, balance inquiries, and finding the nearest ATM.

Digital investments: Modern ways to invest in the digital age (Bankless Times), Rated: A

The internet has brought about all kinds of new ways to invest one’s money.

  • Bitcoin
  • Peer-to-peer lending – You’re best off using a well-established site such as Ratesetter.
  • Micro-investment apps – Some apps round up all of your expenses to the nearest dollar and then put the leftover change into an account (for example, if a cup of coffee costs $3.14, this will be rounded up to $4 and the $0.86 extra change will be put into the account).
  • Social media shares
Australia/New Zealand

Australian Fintech Airwallex Secures $ 8 Million Investment From Square Peg (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Less than one year after securing $13 million during its Series A funding round, Aussie fintech startup Airwallex announced it has received an $8 million investment from Paul Bassat’s Square Peg.

Testing a chatbot’s home loan advice gives a range of outcomes (Stuff), Rated: A

A mortgage broking firm is offering an AI chatbot to help first-home buyers understand some of the basics – but an experiment shows you shouldn’t put too much faith in any online calculators’ estimates of how much you might be able to borrow.

Squirrel has launched Alan, an online tool that answers questions like “how much deposit do I need”, “what’s an auction” and “how much can I borrow?”

Regulatory Pathway for Challenger Banks Just OK, Could be Improved (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

FinTech Australia has provided a comment onthe consultation paper published in August regarding authorising new entrants into the banking industry. The creation of digital challenger banks in Australia is a welcomed move but, according to FinTech Australia, needs some improvement.

India

5 Consumer Lending Trends To Look Forward To In 2018 (Inc42), Rated: AAA

This amendment to the Prevention of Money Laundering (Maintenance of Records) Rules, 2005 is a step towards standardisation and providing a visible digital identity, thereby promoting transparency in financial transactions. Another factor that is pushing financial transparency is the rise of Fintech and the subsequent new-age companies that are offering digital avenues for finance such as payment platforms, blockchain companies, alternative financers like P2P lenders and so on.

Consumer Lending Trends To Look Forward To In 2018

Alternative Lending Boom

New service providers will serve the underserved and unserved, meeting the unmet demand. We will continue to see the rise of direct lending as well as P2P lending, marketplaces, crowdfunding platforms etc.

Ease Of Access To Credit

Credit will continue to grow, thanks to the alternative lending boom. One such burgeoning space is the Line of Credit. It has gained momentum in 2017 with the metros being early adopters and is expected to expand into tier 2 & tier 3 cities in 2018.

The Rise Of InsurTech

Investment In Emerging Technologies

Blockchain will expand in putting together smart contracts, and digital identification. Already, FinTech investments in Asia increased to $5.4 billion in 2016, up 12.5% from $4.8 billion in 2015, driven mainly by China and India.

Government And Regulatory Push For Fintech

Asia

Unique Secured P2P Lender Silver Bullion Reaches $ 50 Million in Loans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Silver Bullion, a peer to peer lending platform based in Singapore, has reached $50 million in loan originations. The unique platform that provides secured lending based off of bullion saw more than double the lending volume in 2017 versus year prior.

Amartha Powers Micro Peer to Peer Lending in Indonesia, Focuses on Women Entrepreneurs (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Amartha Founder & CEO, Garuda Typhoon Andi Putra recently commented;

“Since its establishment, Amartha has been committed to connecting the unbanked micro entrepreneurs, and investors who want to add this asset investment in a sector that is more profitable and socially valuable. The uniqueness lies in the micro-entrepreneurs or Amartha Partners, all of which are women. Today, more than 72,000 women micro entrepreneurs throughout Indonesia have enjoyed our services, with a total fund distributed more than 200 billion rupiah (US $ 15 million). “

Affin Islamic Bank lists latest sponsored venture on IAP (New Straits Times), Rated: A

KUALA LUMPUR: Affin Bank Bhd’s wholly owned subsidiary, Affin Islamic Bank Bhd, has today listed its latest sponsored venture with Segi Seri Sdn Bhd on Investment Account Platform (IAP), a shariah-compliant platform similar to crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending platforms.

Affin Islamic said the venture plans to raise RM3.3 million on IAP to part-finance contract awarded to them recently, which is related to preparation and serving of dietetic food to an established government hospital in Malaysia for a duration of three years.

 

Canada

Another challenge is the new technology. Instant Financial Inc., a Vancouver-based startup, released an app this year that lets workers paid by the hour get their day’s earnings after a shift. It’s free for employees. Employers pay a fee. The focus so far is the hospitality industry, and includes companies such as McDonald’s and Outback Steakhouse in the United States. Instant has about 175,000 people on the service in the United States and about 5,000 in Canada. Wal-Mart has a similar product, which it sourced from another company.

Africa

A mobile banking service is transforming how the poor transfer money — here’s how it works (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

In 11 countries around the world, some 30 million people use a mobile money service that is transforming how people handle their finances.

It’s called M-Pesa, and it has lifted hundreds of thousands of people out of poverty in Kenya.

Krispo, 40, is enrolled in GiveDirectly’s experiment in basic income, a system of wealth distribution in which people receive a standard salary just for being alive.

The money comes with no strings attached. Krispo and the other villagers have received $22 a month since October 2016, and they’ll continue getting it until October 2028.

Scattered around town are M-Pesa stands, outfitted with live agents who can dispense money — essentially an ATM with a human teller.

There is a small fee for each transaction. For the amount given to GiveDirectly recipients, this fee is 30 shillings. (GiveDirectly actually wires 2,280 shillings each month — 30 shillings above the 2,250 recipients can spend — to cover the cost.)

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor