Tuesday December 12 2017, Daily News Digest

P2P investors

News Comments Today’s main news: Affirm raises $200M at almost $2B valuation. Elastic Line of Credit surpasses $1B in funding. Klarna signs 500 online retailers in U.S. Zopa makes changes to Isa. Mintos adds first Russian loan originator. Flexiti offers online financing for e-tailers in Canada. Today’s main analysis: UK alternative finance is still healthy. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Cross River […]

P2P investors

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

Asia

Russia

Africa

Canada

News Summary

United States

Max Levchin’s Affirm raises $ 200 million at a nearly $ 2 billion valuation (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

The San Francisco-based company confirmed that it’s raising $200 million, led by GIC, a Singaporean sovereign wealth fund. Existing investors Khosla Ventures and Spark Capital are also participating.

Affirm’s valuation is estimated to be between $1.5 billion and $2 billion, as first reported by The Wall Street Journal. Investors are betting on Max Levchin, the PayPal co-founder who runs Affirm.

Elastic Line of Credit Surpasses $ 1 Billion in Total Funding (Morningstar), Rated: AAA

Elevate Credit, Inc., a tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, today announced the Elastic product has originated more than $1 billion, and has served over 200,000 customers since 2013.

Elastic, a bank-issued line of credit offered by Republic Bank & Trust Company (“Republic Bank”), currently has more than $260 million in total principal outstandings across over 150,000 open accounts.

Klarna North America Sees Surge In U.S. Merchant And Consumer Adoption Of Its ‘Smoooth’ Financing Solution (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Since Klarna introduced its financing solution in the U.S. in October 2016, 500 online retailers have already enrolled in the simple and ‘smoooth’ credit solution that is fully integrated into the online checkout process. Available in 10 countries via a single API, retailers include powerhouse global brands like Microsoft, TaylorMade, Overstock and Lenovo.

Why Cross River Bank and Mastercard are collaborating on cardless ATM access (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Cross River Bank, the bank of fintech startups, is working with Mastercard to give consumers cardless access to ATMs through an offering called Mastercard Cash Pick-Up. It allows businesses or individuals to send cash payments by logging in to the Cash Pick-Up platform via their bank’s website or mobile app and entering the necessary transaction and recipient. When they’ve done that, recipients receive a text message with the order number, PIN and a link that helps them locate a participating ATM nearby.

The offering highlights the role of mobile phones in banking’s new normal — mobile is more than just a channel, it’s the thing that’s guiding both financial incumbents and consumers alike through  the shift from physical to digital banking, which still hasn’t been fully realized.

For now, Mastercard Cash Pick-Up is only available at enabled ATMs in the U.S., where the postal service plays far too big a role in payments, particularly low dollar disbursements, Isaacson said.

 

Once Shunned, Regulated Industries Now a Lure for Some Investors (Xconomy), Rated: AAA

Niehenke theorized that consumers whose trust in traditional banks had eroded might become a willing customer base for financial technology startups. But it was a bumpy time for tech companies entering the highly regulated financial sector.

Among those startups was Prosper, a peer-to-peer lending startup that had been temporarily shut down in 2008 by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC maintained that the company was, in effect, selling securities rather than merely functioning as a marketplace connecting lenders and borrowers, TechCrunch reported.

CAN Capital Makes Three Strategic Hires to Strengthen Sales and Technology Teams (PR Newswire), Rated: A

CAN Capital, a small business specialty finance company, today announced three strategic hires as the company continues to invest in its technology and growth strategies. Mike Dodson, Vice President, Technology, Michael O’Brien, Director, Business Development, and Liping Deng, Director, Modeling & Analytics, have joined CAN Capital to focus on accelerating the company’s expansion.

China’s JD partners with accelerator program Plug and Play to reach US startups (TechCrunch), Rated: A

E-commerce giant JD.com, the closest rival to Alibaba in China, is broadening its presence in Silicon Valley after it announced a collaboration with accelerator firm Plug and Play to seek out and work with promising U.S. startups.

Robo-advisors hit lull in everything but VC backing as reality fragments their identity (RIABiz), Rated: A

Last summer, Sallie Krawcheck took a seat before 18 venture capitalists to raise capital for Ellevest Inc., her New York-based robo-advisor for women. See: Sallie Krawcheck astonishes industry observers by raising another $32.5 million for her robo-advisor — perhaps on strength of ‘unit economics’.

The role reversal reflects broader changes occurring across automated advice. BlackRock Inc. originally bought San Francisco-based FutureAdvisor as a retail product, then made it into a B-to-B offering. See: Why FutureAdvisor orphaned its B2C book of business, how post-Invesco Jemstep is doing and other learnings at CFA Society’s robo-panel in San Francisco

News out of Betterment has slowed to a crawl.

Wealthfront Inc.‘s Andy Rachleff leaned into the irony of robo-advisors moving away from digital-only in a September blog post.

Yet, in an autumn largely devoid of news from robo-advisors, Acorns had a blistering announcement of a much deeper integration with one of its VC backers, PayPal, which has 218 million users. See: As Acorns grapples with monetizing 1.1 million micro-accounts, the laid-back LA robo-advisor brings Wealthfront’s former chief exec onto its board.

In the case of Irvine, Calif.-based Acorns, the nudging took the form of A/B-style testing of giving investors choices of how much to invest.

Robo-adviser launches using chatbot technology (FT Adviser), Rated: A

Nuvo has launched what it describes as an “artificially intelligent digital broker powered by chatbot technology”.

The launch of the robo-adviser, which uses AI to learn about customers to pick prices for mortgages and protection products tailored to them in less than a minute, comes just days after a US company claimed to be the first in the world offering financial advice with artificial intelligence.

US Banks Look to Silicon Valley as Fintech Booms (PaymentsJournal), Rated: A

More than eight out of ten (82%) US commercial banks have pledged to increase fintech investment over the next three years as the sector continues to expand, with 86% of senior managers planning an imminent rise in investment.

The in-depth research commissioned by global Fintech provider Fraedom, polled decision-makers in commercial banks including shareholders, middle managers and senior managers.

The study also found that more than seven out of ten (71%) respondents believe that the rise of technology within commercial banking threatens traditional one to one bank and customer relationships. This disruptive impact was felt greatest by shareholders (95%) as opposed to 67% of middle managers.

Need a Shot of Capital for Business Growth? Here’s How to Find a Working Capital Loan This Year (AllBusiness.com), Rated: A

Startup founders know to look for grants, crowdfunding, and angel investors, and established small business owners understand the ins and outs of bank loans. However, another form of financing for established small businesses—working capital loans—is a little less familiar to many owners, yet working capital loans can be the ideal financial tool to handle opportunities (or problems) that present themselves in the shorter term.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • You don’t need to lay out a detailed plan of what you want to do with the money. Paperwork is minimal.
  • If your credit score is at least 500, you’ll need to show an annual profit of $50,000; if your credit score is at least 600, that gets cut in half to $25,000. If you’ve been denied a bank loan, your chances may still be good for a working capital loan.
  • You have the flexibility of choosing the type of working capital loan that best meets your needs: a term loan, cash advance, invoice factoring, revolving line of credit, or purchase order advance.

Today In Data: Consumer Spend, Venture Capital And Bitcoin Reach Record Highs (PYMNTS), Rated: A

$682 billion | Amount that consumers are expected to spend on presents and other holiday preparations this holiday shoppingseason, with retailers going the extra mile to meet them where they are in a simpler and faster way. That means upping mobile and online shopping experiences, offering a buy online pick up in-store model and launching services like curbside pickup and better shipping options.

Broker-Dealer Firms Raise Alarms That SEC’s CAT Database Isn’t Secure (Financial Advisor), Rated: A

Broker-dealer firms aren’t confident the SEC’s consolidated audit trail (CAT) – a single, comprehensive database expected to store an unprecedented amount of sensitive trade data and personal identifiable information (PII) – is secure, according to testimony delivered before the U.S. House of Representatives.

National securities exchanges, Finra, alternative trading systems and broker-dealer firms have been required to submit information on trading activities – including customer information and prices – to the CAT daily since November 15 of this year. Large broker-dealers will be required to start submitting information to the CAT by November 15, 2018, while small broker-dealers are expected to do so by November 15, 2019.

The CAT is expected to take in 58 billion records daily – including orders, cancellations, modifications, executions and quotes for the equities and options markets – and maintain data for more than 100 million customer accounts and their unique customer information, according to parties involved in the CAT.

.46 Billion in Extra Credit Card Charges Due to Upcoming Fed Rate Hike (WalletHub Email), Rated: A

Forecasts call for a 99%+ chance of a Federal Reserve rate hike on Wednesday, which would make three for 2017. The move couldn’t come at a worse time for consumers, according to WalletHub’s 

Use your 2017 budget before you lose it (LendIt), Rated: B

Having an exhibitor booth or sponsoring this event is your best chance to do business with companies shaping the fintech industry. 100+ companies have picked their spot. Download the sponsorship brochure today now and our team will help you seal the deal before your budget runs out.

Take advantage of the current ticket price and save $1,200 vs. the standard ticket.

Angie Herbers Launches Online FA Education Platform (Financial Advisor), Rated: B

Financial advisor consultancy founder Angie Herbers has launched an online training platform aimed at helping advisors grow their firms.

Beyond U offers advisor education via videos, online seminars and assessments, covering such topics as operations, management, sales and marketing, client services, compensation and more, according to a press release from the firm.

United Kingdom

Zopa announces changes to its Isa (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: AAA

Zopa investors can now redirect their repayments into an Isa, allowing investors to gradually transfer their funds into an Isa without having to sell loans or pay fees throughout the process.

The UK alternative finance market is still healthy (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

The UK’s alternative finance market — including marketplace lending, crowdfunding, and invoice trading — grew 43% year-over-year (YoY) in 2016, from £3.2 billion ($4.3 billion) to £4.58 billion ($6.17 billion), according to a recently released study from the 

Source: Business Insider

UK positioned to win in fintech, despite Brexit uncertainty (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Just this week the 

Small Businesses Drive 43 Percent Growth In UK Alternative Finance (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Researchers said about 72 percent of market volume in 2016 can be traced back to demand for lending options among startups and small businesses, up from 50 percent the year before. That amounts to more than $4.4 billion driven by startups and SMBs in 2016.

Peer-to-peer businesses lending was 2016’s largest alternative finance market segment, which saw 36 percent year-over-year growth.

Squirrel Extends Crowdcube Campaign After Achieving £400,000 Funding Target (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Squirrel, a personal finance app designed to help users have more control over their money, has successfully secured its initial £400,000 funding target from 450 investors through its equity crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube.

Downing enters property development space with Funding Circle hires (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

DOWNING has hired two real estate experts from Funding Circle’s property division as it enters the property development space through its crowd bonds platform.

Investors on Downing’s crowd bonds platform are being offered returns of five per cent for one year or six per cent for two years by investing in Downing Development Finance (DDF) through the DDF Property Bond.

 

Investors put trust in Scotland’s canniness (The Scotsman), Rated: B

Edinburgh Worldwide is another Baillie Gifford managed trust, though rather obscured by the group’s better known trusts. Notable performers (not a Scottish name among them) were Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, a gene silencing company, LendingTree, an online loan marketplace, and IPG Photonics, a manufacturer of fibre-lasers used in metal processing.

China

 

How asset managers like FinEx Asia are using AI to disrupt traditional bank lending (SCMP), Rated: AAA

Banking disintermediation – essentially, taking out the middle man – has taken a new twist. While in recent years peer-to-peer (P2P) lending has become the poster-child for threatening banks’ lending business, a new type of hybrid disrupter is apparently starting to emerge: asset managers backed by financial technology.

One such firm attempting to cut banks out of the consumer-lending equation is FinEx Asia. The newly-licensed asset manager connects Asian investors with American consumer-credit assets, using artificial intelligence to select the loans based on risk appetite.

Founder and chief executive Maggie Ng said the company’s three funds now have US$100 million under management. They are backed by a portfolio of more than 10,000 US-based borrowers who have obtained loans from multiple online lending platforms, she said without specifying which ones.

Thomson Reuters platform to help further develop Hong Kong’s fintech offerings (SCMP), Rated: A

Thomson Reuters, the news and market data giant, is partnering with a Hong Kong government-backed body to help the city’s banks and fintech firms develop new technology, cut costs and create new products.

Celebrating its 150th anniversary in Hong Kong next year, the new arrangement will see Thomson Reuters offer its platform to financial firms to distribute their products as well as use its technology, tools and data to create products, for free.

International

Growth of Investor Numbers on P2P Lending Platforms (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

Today I take a look at how investor numbers are developing at several platforms.

Source: P2P-Banking

FinTech Startup Nanopay Is For Banks, Not Against Them (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Whether bank customers are consumers or businesses, chances are good that they do at least some of their banking online. This month, startup nanopay is announcing a partnership with Canadian nonprofit interbank network Interac to help businesses manage the complexity of working across borders.

The partnership creates access for any bank account holder in the country to send funds to or receive funds from any other bank account served by nanopay. So far, that’s a short list including just India. But, according to nanopay CEO Laurence Cooke, coverage will be supported in the U.S. and China as well in Q1 of 2018.

The First Social P2P Cryptobank Datarius to Launch a Pre-Sale on December 12 (Coinspeaker), Rated: B

The Datarius main characteristics are the use of blockchain, artificial intelligence, cryptocurrency operations and a special designer of the customer-adapted tariffs.

P2P lending is another characteristic of Datarius. It provides millions of people around the world with the possibility to receive and make loans using a Personal Account in the browser or through a smartphone application. It is a fast, reliable and easy way to get a loan wherever a person is. This is an opportunity to earn without involving brokers.

The pre-ITO round starts on December 12 on the official website of the Datarius Cryptobank and will last till December 31. 1 DTRC token = $ 1, but during the Pre-sale every buyer receives a 35% bonus. Soft Cap: $ 125,000.

Asia

ANNOUNCING THE LAUNCH OF THE iFX EXPO ASIA 2018 (NewsBTC), Rated: B

CONVERSION PROS, a marketing agency within the retail finance sector and founding company behind the iFX EXPO series of financial B2B events, has announced their next event, the iFX EXPO Asia 2018, which will take place in Hong Kong from the 23rd to the 25th January 2018 at the HKCEC (Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre).

This event holds special significance, according to Gal Ron, CEO of CONVERSION PROS:

“This will be our 12th show to date and we expect to showcase this steady growth as we present an expanded floor plan with more exhibitor and sponsor areas tailored to the needs of our attendees. We are also placing special focus on Crypto as well as Peer to Peer lending as we are sure that this is part of the future of the online trading industry.”

Russia

Mintos, an Online Marketplace for Loans, Adds First Russian Loan Originator to Platform. (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The Mintos marketplace for loans has added its first Russia based loan originator: EcoFinance. The online lender offers investments in unsecured personal loans issued in Russia under its CreditPlus brand. Mintos reports that EcoFinance loans on its marketplace will initially be listed in Euros with investors able to earn up to 11% annually.

Africa

Kiakia — get real-time capital as a business owner or working class (Techpoint), Rated: AAA

It’s no longer news that many individuals and SMEs in Nigeria have limited access to finance, especially from commercial banks.

Kiakia, an AI and machine learning powered alternative credit scoring, customer service, direct and a P2P lending platform has launched a virtual agent called “Mr K” to help working adults and SMEs access credit.

According to the Co-founder, Olajide Abiola (who also doubles as the Chief Data Scientist), millions of naira in loans have been successfully granted to and repaid by hundreds of borrowers across 22 States in Nigeria. This comes with a loss/default/NPL ratio of below 2.3%, which is consistently maintained over a 12-month period, all thanks to Kiakia’s algorithm.

Canada

FLEXITI FINANCIAL ANNOUNCES ONLINE FINANCING TO GROW E-COMMERCE SALES FOR CANADIAN RETAILERS (Flexiti Financial), Rated: AAA

Flexiti Financial, a provider of Point-Of-Sale (POS) financing and payment technology, announced today that its award-winning POS consumer lending platform is now available for online transactions. Retailers across Canada now have access to a powerful, online financing platform that easily integrates into any e-commerce engine, offering a low-cost solution. This is a critical new offering for Canadian retailers as it overcomes two key hurdles – speed of implementation and cost – as e-commerce continues to grow as a critical sales channel.

Flexiti Financial’s POS lending platform offers low rates for retailers who want to offer their customers flexible payment options, such as 0% interest financing. Customers do not require an existing credit card to apply.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday December 6 2017, Daily News Digest

purchase apr

News Comments Today’s main news: Kabbage lends $4B to over 130K small businesses. RateSetter loses 23M GBP in ad investment. RateSetter to launch IFISA in February. Klarna, WorldPay partner on invoice and credit-based payments in Europe. Two new crypto-asset backed fiat loan platforms. Toss to expand into southeast Asia. Today’s main analysis: LendingTree’s monthly mortgage offer report. Today’s thought-provoking articles: […]

purchase apr

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

Asia

Mexico

News Summary

United States

Kabbage Delivers $ 4 Billion to More Than 130,000 Small Businesses (Kabbage Email), Rated: AAA

Kabbage, Inc., a global financial services, technology and data platform serving small businesses, has extended over $4 billion to more than 130,000 small businesses, serving the largest customer base than any online small business lender. These landmarks represent an approximate 30-percent increase in total funding and total customers served since the company’s last milestone announcement in April 2017. With over 1.5 million live data connections with its customers, Kabbage’s high growth is attributed to its fully-automated lending technology as it continues to be a trusted lending partner to tens of thousands of small businesses across all industries in all 50 U.S. states.

Robert Sharpe also joined the company as its chief operating officer. Sharpe has more than 20 years of executive leadership in North America, Europe and Asia. He has successfully held various C-level positions, including president, chief executive officer and chief operating officer with multiple global consumer goods companies, each serving tens of thousands of customers and generating billions of dollars in revenue. With an additional ten years of commercial banking and corporate finance experience, Sharpe will be responsible for Kabbage’s continued growth and operational oversight as the company expands internationally and scales its services to serve more and larger small businesses.

During 2017, Kabbage reached major milestones, including:

LendingTree Releases Monthly Mortgage Offer Report for November (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

LendingTree today released its monthly  Mortgage Offers Report which analyzes data from actual loan terms offered to borrowers on LendingTree.com by lenders on LendingTree’s network. The purpose of the report is to empower consumers by providing additional information on how their credit profile affects their loan prospects.

Source: PRNewsfoto/LendingTree
  • November’s best offers for borrowers with the best profiles had an average APR of 3.75% for conforming 30-year fixed purchase loans, unchanged from October. Refinance loan offers were down 1 bps to 3.69%. Mortgage rates vary dependent upon parameters including credit score, loan-to-value, income and property type.
  • For the average borrower, purchase APRs for conforming 30-yr fixed loans offered on LendingTree’s platform were down 1 bps to 4.30%, the lowest since November 2016. In contrast, the loan note rate of 4.18% was unchanged from October when it reached the highest since July. We prefer to use the APR as lenders often make changes to other fees in response to changing interest rates.
  • Consumers with the highest credit scores (760+) saw offered APRs of 4.16% in November, vs 4.43% for consumers with scores of 680-719. The APR spread of 27 bps between these score ranges was 5 bps wider than in October and the widest since July 2016. The spread represents nearly $13,400 in additional costs for borrowers with lower credit scores over 30-years for the average purchase loan amount of $233,127. The additional costs are due to higher interest rates, larger fees or a combination of the two.
  • Refinance APRs for conforming 30-yr fixed loans were down 2 bps to 4.24%. The credit score bracket spread widened to 19 from 16 bps, amounting to $9,500 in extra costs over the life of the loan for lower credit score borrowers given an average refinance loan of $235,973.
  • Average proposed purchase down payments have been rising for 8 months and reached $62,409.
Source: PRNewsfoto/LendingTree

Learning About Machine Learning (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

Certainly, the mountains of data are becoming larger by the day. Seven years ago, the total amount of information produced on a global scale passed one zettabyte. The scale shakes out thusly: If a single cup of coffee holds a gigabyte, then the Great Wall of China stores a zettabyte. In just three years, the tally will be 44 zettabytes, or 44 Great Walls of China, as estimated by global market intelligence firm IDC.

Along with the impressive growth in data created, stored and used on a global scale, so too is AI poised to grow in leaps and bounds. It will create nearly $37 billion in annual revenues for companies of all stripes, sizes and sectors, according to market intelligence firm Tractica.

Within that figure, machine learning is a sector that will see $15.3 billion in revenue in 2019, as noted by BCC Research and cited by business process outsourcing company TeleTech, with an average annual growth rate of 19.7 percent. The savings for U.S. companies could be as high as $60 billion in 2020, Forbes noted. In addition, AI is expected to add $8.3 trillion in economic activity for the U.S. by 2035, according to projections by business management consultancy Accenture.

Consider a financial institution processing credit card information. The transaction data is passed to the machine learning system as soon as it is entered at the terminal or point of sale, and the system then analyzes the transaction against the system on which it has been trained. The historical data offers a way to glean what “normal” behavior of a transaction looks like.

To combat a payments fraud adversary that is evermore fluid with bad actors’ tactics and operates in a card-not-present (CNP) world, the machine deployed by a financial institution must be able to “explain” what it is doing, Feedzai said. The “learning” should result in explaining the reasoning so the logic behind the decisions is transparent and meets compliance needs.

Banks Build Line of Defense for Doomsday Cyberattack (WSJ), Rated: AAA

U.S. banks have quietly launched a doomsday project they hope will prevent a run on the financial system should one of them suffer a debilitating cyberattack.

The effort, which went live earlier this year and is dubbed Sheltered Harbor, currently includes banks and credit unions that have roughly 400 million U.S. accounts.

While most people worry about their money being stolen in a hack, banks fear something more sinister: an attacker destroying, or even simply locking, data.

Such moves could cripple a bank, leaving it unable to operate for hours, days, or perhaps much longer.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

LendingClub Introduces New Certificate Investment Vehicle (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

On Friday of last week, LendingClub announced that it closed a new kind of transaction. It was a whole loan transaction structured as a tradable pass through security called a CLUB Certificate.

This was an initiative that was investor led. Basically, they had a potential investor who did not want to invest in whole loans. They are not for everyone, given they are an illiquid investment that has a duration of several years. What this investor wanted was a security that acted like a whole loan but one that had liquidity.

While LendingClub would not share details of this deal we did learn that these were both three and five year loans of one particular loan grade. They customized this deal to meet the investors exact requirements.

LendingClub claimed that this was a first of its kind deal in marketplace lending but in my research I discovered this piece on Asset-Backed Alert from April 2016 that talked about a similar structure that Prosper was working on last year.

How Technology is Streamlining the US Lending Sector (NewsGram), Rated: A

However, when the lending process is digitized the amount of paperwork is reduced dramatically. This is because account activity, credit history, income history as well as tax compliance can be fed into the system with the click of a button. This has made the collection and verification of information quite easy. Besides streamlining the application process, the amount of time it takes to get a loan has also reduced.

In addition, some lenders have developed some innovative mobile solutions that enable customers to submit an application from anywhere. The most outstanding feature about mobile loans is that there is a constant interaction between the lender and the borrowers. This goes a long way in improving service delivery.

Courtesy of technology advancements, now it’s possible to view the status of your loan application as well as your account status with a lender. This helps borrowers to stay updated during the entire online installment loans process. In addition, you can get instant communication about any requests that a lender may have that is critical to the borrowing process.

Time to address banks’ skepticism about data sharing (American Banker), Rated: A

When bankers complain about the security risks of sharing data with fintechs, they get an eye roll. Such complaints tend to be regarded as a cover for an ulterior motive: unwillingness to give customer details to competitors.

But when Chair Sheila Bair, a former chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., recently warned of the security risks of sharing customer data with third parties, it made some people stop and think.

Big banks hope early bet on Alexa will pay off (American Banker), Rated: A

After a number of months of testing and refining an alternative way to bank, Ally Bank launched Ally Skill. “It was ready for prime time,” said Diane Morais, president of consumer and commercial banking at Ally Bank. Since mid-November, a customer can ask Alexa — in their own words — what their balance is, what the price of something costs in hours worked, and notably, to move money.

Since Capital One announced its skill in March of 2016, U.S Bank, American Express and several credit unions announced Alexa skills in addition to Ally. Others have been testing Alexa, including bank innovator USAA. Even smaller banks are readying to launch skills. FIS, one of the biggest bank vendors that has been testing Alexa since 2016, said about a dozen of its thousands of bank customers are on track to roll out a bank skill for Alexa by Christmas. Most recently, Amazon announced Alexa for business, and Capital One is one of its launch partners.

Mortgage providers and wealth managers are also exploring ways to offer their services over such conversational devices.

A brand-new cybersecurity watchdog just shut down a $ 15 million cryptocurrency scam (Business Insider), Rated: A

US regulators appear to be paying more attention to the opaque world of initial coin offerings.

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced Monday it halted a fraudulent ICO “falsely promising” over 1,000% returns. The regulator said this was the first case filed by its brand-new cybersecurity unit, aptly named Cyber Unit.

Trump pick plans radical shake-up of consumer protection agency (Financial Times), Rated: A

US banks and other financial companies are preparing for a lightening of their compliance burden in areas from payday lending to mortgages as President Donald Trump tightens his grip on a powerful regulator set up to protect consumers.

“Virtually the entire range of regulations previously adopted by the CFPB could be subject to review,” says Quyen Truong, a former senior figure at the agency who is now a partner at law firm Stroock & Stroock & Lavan. “There’s no particular set of rules that would be considered sacrosanct.”

In an early sign of his intent, Mr Mulvaney instituted a 30-day freeze on new initiatives within hours of assuming office.

Reforms that Mr Cordray had yet to introduce that would extend the CFPB’s reach into new areas, including mooted restrictions on small business lending, are now unlikely to see the light of day.

Payday Lending And The New CFPB (PYMNTS), Rated: A

As we noted when we first covered the final draft of the payday lending rule, Congress retains the power to keep the rule from ever making it into the books, so to speak, through the power of the Congressional Review Act. The CRA not only would prevent the payday lending rule from going into effect, but it would also prevent any similar rule changes from being considered for the next five years.

After some dormancy on the issue, the House of Representatives passed a CRA resolution Friday that would effectively kill the payday lending rule in its cradle.

The move comes as a bi-partisan effort – somewhat surprising, given the general tenor of Congress at present, particularly when it comes to consumer protection issues – with three Republican and three Democrat co-sponsors.

Mulvaney has won the first round in court, as a U.S district judge rejected English’s request for a temporary restraining order to prevent Mulvaney from taking over. But English has said she intends to fight on and will seek a preliminary injunction against Mulvaney and the administration.

Congress has only 60 legislative days from the publication of the rule in the federal register to invoke the CRA, and the rule passed on Nov. 17.

Madden ruling was a step backward. Congress should fix it (American Banker), Rated: A

I have been, far more often than not, on the same side of policy issues as the leading consumer and civil rights groups. But I disagree here: Madden is not just legally wrong; it is also bad public policy, because it moves us further away from creating a more effective and inclusive financial system. Bipartisan, bicameral proposals have already been introduced in Congress to fix Madden. Congress should pass them.

U.S. News magazine cites LendingPoint in ‘Best Personal Loans’ list (LendingPoint), Rated: B

We’ve been named to the “The Best Personal Loans of 2017” list by the prestigious U.S. News and World Report.

U.S. News named LendingPoint best for “Fair to Good Credit With Merit-Based Qualifications.”

LendingTree Selects Gordian Knot Analytics Group’s Comprehensive Segmentation Subscription Service (Guru Focus), Rated: B

LendingTree (NASDAQ: TREE), the online loan marketplace, announced today that it has entered into a multi-year subscription for segmentation analysis and database scoring with Gordian Knot Analytics Group, utilizing their unique segmentation methodologies and proprietary machine learning toolset. Gordian Knot offers proprietary marketing analytics machine learning tools that help LendingTree more effectively target and engage with the right consumers to drive the business forward and maximize value for current and future customers.

FinTech Leader OppLoans Named 6th Best Place to Work Nationally (Daily Telescope), Rated: B

Socially responsible online lender OppLoans received top rankings in Glassdoor’s 2018 Best Places to Work award. The start-up was named the sixth-best place to work nationally for small- to medium-sized businesses.

The review-based rankings serve as a capstone to a stunning year of growth for OppLoans. Accolades include rising over 200 positions to reach number 219 on the Inc. 500 list, earning an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, being named the third-fastest growing technology company in Chicago by Built In Chicago and launching OppU, a free, standards-aligned online curriculum that teaches personal finance skills.

PeerStreet’s Brew Johnson Named 2017 HousingWire Vanguard Award Winner (BusinessWire), Rated: B

PeerStreet, a marketplace for investing in real estate backed loans, is honored to announce that its Co-Founder and CEO, Brew Johnson, has been named to HousingWire’s 2017 list of Vanguard Award winners. HousingWire’s 2017 Vanguard Award recognizes top leaders from all areas of the mortgage industry, including those in lending, real estate and investing.

Why Do I Have an Affirm Payment Due After I Returned a Phone? (Republic Wireless), Rated: B

If Affirm was used to finance a purchase from the Republic Online Store, all carted items, including shipping, must be financed through Affirm. Shipping charges are not refunded by Republic Wireless. This means that you will still be responsible to Affirm for any shipping costs you financed and interest that has accrued.

United Kingdom

Peer-to-peer lender Ratesetter loses £23m after ad investment flops (The Times), Rated: AAA

Ratesetter slumped to a £23 million loss for the year after a disastrous investment in an advertising business.

The loss was due in large part to a £14 million write-off on Adpod Limited, which the lender ended up owning after using its own capital to prevent a huge default on its peer-to-peer loan book from hitting investors.

The loss is sharply higher than the previous year’s figure of £5.3 million.

RateSetter to launch IFIsa in February (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending platform RateSetter expects to launch its Isa in February 2018.

Once the Isa launches, customers will have until 5th April 2018 to invest the 2016/17 Isa allowance of £20,000.

Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland to close branches (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Two of the UK’s largest banks, 

Source: Business Insider

Orca accepted into regulatory sandbox scheme (p2P Finance News), Rated: A

PEER-TO-PEER investment platform Orca is one of 18 firms that have been accepted into the third phase of the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) regulatory sandbox scheme.

The FCA received 61 submissions for the third phase of the scheme, of which 18 met the eligibility criteria and were accepted to move towards testing.

One of the successful applicants is Orca, which is developing an intelligent peer-to-peer investment platform which lets users diversify across multiple P2P platforms, lending sub-sectors and borrowers.

Personal Finance App Squirrel Now Processes £1 Million A Month (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Squirrel, a personal finance app designed to help users have more control over their money, announced this week that it now processes £1 million a month. The company reported that it processed its 10 million last week.

Squrriel is currently seeking £400,000 through its equity crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube. Funds from the initiative will be used to continue the expansion of Squirrels platform.

How an MBA entrepreneur made his multiple-account bank card add up (Financial Times), Rated: A

Israeli Shachar Bialick spent the first decade of his working life founding and backing start-ups before he dropped everything to move overseas and take an MBA.

He started Curve, a fintech company, to simplify personal finances with a single bank card for multiple accounts from different providers.

“We have too many cards, too many accounts, and too many products and services we use to manage our money,” he adds. “Curve is my biggest, most ambitious business so far. We are aiming to create an entirely new category in the banking system.”

Curve has raised $12m in venture capital funding and added corporate partnerships to extend the services it offers, such as an expense filing system provided by Xero, the online accountancy service.

Aire partners with retailer N Brown as more retailers become lenders for shopping middle class (Aire Email), Rated: A

Aire, which provides a more accurate way for lenders to understand and score new applicants, today announces a first-of-its-kind partnership with online retailer N Brown, as research data reveals the ‘new norm’ of UK shoppers choosing to spread the cost for their retail purchases over time.

The new agreement will see Aire provide its augmented credit assessment technology to support N Brown, which operates online stores such as JD Williams, in analysing the full picture of online customers and the true benefits and risks that come with them. Aire combines technologies of Artificial Intelligence with data science and deep knowledge of credit, which will enable N Brown to reach a wider group of customers without increasing its risk. After recent announcements about new partnerships in the p2p lending and car finance spaces, Aire’s expansion into the retail sector means that it is adding another new market to its portfolio in under six months.

Key insight:

–          New partnership between Aire and online retailer N Brown for customers who choose to open a new credit account

–          Aire adds retail finance to its growing portfolio

–          New research finds that UK adults pay off on average of £40 per month for retail purchases

–          9% of UK adults increased their monthly commitments in the last two years

Research shows in-store crowds are biggest stress factor for christmas shoppers (DIY Week), Rated: A

The new research by Swedish payments provider Klarna delves into the views of more than 2,000 consumers, and reveals that Brits today are so stressed out in the extended run up to Christmas that they’re overwhelmed when the day itself arrives.

In-store crowds were the number one stress for a quarter of respondents, whilst finding the perfect gift was the biggest source of stress for 20% of those surveyed.

These pressures could have a big impact on the bottom line of merchants if they’re not addressed; more than a third of consumers have previously walked out of a shop in frustration as a result. This is not just a bricks and mortar issue – 1 in 10 respondents have abandoned their online basket in frustration when the process is too complex, suggesting there’s still work to be done to smooth the purchase process online.

FinTech Marketplace Wealth Migrate Continues Expansion with New UK Office (GlobeNewswire), Rated: B

Wealth Migrate, (KPMG Global Fintech Top 50), a global online real estate marketplace, today announced the opening of a new office in the U.K. and the appointment of a new country CEO, as the firm continues to build on its global presence as part of a strategy to meet growing demand from investors.

To better serve its community of investors in this region, Wealth Migrate has opened a new office in London.

Adding to the news of this expansion, Wealth Migrate additionally announced the opening of their U.A.E. office and the appointment of a new U.S. based CEO this week.

To head up the new office, Wealth Migrate has appointed Ken Williams as its CEO of Wealth Migrate, U.K.

China

Runaway borrowers the new face of China’s personal credit boom (SCMP), Rated: AAA

China’s online lending boom has sent a steady stream of new clients to Guangzhou lawyer Luo Aiping in recent months: the parents and siblings of young men trapped or ruined by usurious debts.

Zeng Hong, from Hunan province, is a typical client. She went to Luo for help because she had been harassed by calls from debt collectors for months after her 27-year-old brother ran away, leaving behind a two-year-old son and more than 300,000 yuan (US$45,400) in debts.

Zeng wanted to help repay her younger brother’s loans, but 300,000 yuan is a big sum for a poor family and her husband strongly opposed her plan. She approached Luo to ask whether the debts and interest her brother had incurred were legal.

China Launches Massive Debt Crackdown (ValueWalk), Rated: AAA

You see, in an effort to fuel economic growth over the past few years, China has taken on a lot of debt. Since 2008, China’s debt as a percentage of economic output has increased from around 160 percent to around 280 percent at the end of 2016. (By comparison, the total debt in the U.S. as a percent of economic output is upwards of 300 percent.)

Source: ValueWalk

Why it matters: China is BIG and getting bigger

With a GDP of US$11.2 trillion, China is already the world’s second-largest economy (it will soon be the largest), and it has the second-largest stock market. The country will also soon have the world’s biggest middle class, totalling over 550 million people by 2022. To put this in perspective: That’s 1.7 times the entire population of the U.S.

Consumer loans (such as peer-to-peer (P2P) lending and payday loans) have grown rapidly recently. For example, consumer loans jumped 300 percent compared to last year.

SoftBank’s Son Eases Lufax Peer Pressure (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Lufax, the online wealth manager that’s among the world’s biggest startups, has hired five banks to work on a Hong Kong initial public offering of as much as $5 billion, according to IFR.

Lufax is the world’s 10th-largest unicorn, or startup worth at least $1 billion.

Source: Bloomberg

Lufax had a loan balance as of Sept. 28 of more than 158 billion yuan ($24 billion), more than three times the 43 billion yuan held by China’s second-biggest P2P lender, New York-listed Yirendai Ltd., according to wdzj.com, a Chinese website that tracks online financiers.

DAILY BRIEFING (TechNode), Rated: B

What happened: The Ping An-backed online wealth management firm Lufax has hired five banks to work on an up to $5 billion Hong Kong IPO.

Why it’s important: A major player in China’s P2P lending market, Lufax will join a number of fintech companies that go public in recent months. It was eyeing an IPO as early as last year but later delayed the process due to market challenges and regulatory uncertainties, the CEO told Bloomberg last year. —Rita Liao

China’s Lufax picks banks for up to $5 bln Hong Kong IPO – Reuters

CreditEase Received Top Rankings in Global FinTech Investment by CB Insights and FT Partners (PR Newswire), Rated: A

CreditEase, a world-class financial technology conglomerate based in Beijing, China, specializing in inclusive finance and wealth management, announced today that its venture fund, CreditEase FinTech Investment Fund (“CEFIF”) has recently been ranked No. 7 by CB Insights as “Top 10 Most Active VC Investors in Global FinTech Companies” and No. 1 by FT Partners as “Most Active FinTech Investors (Corporate VC)”.

Source: CB Insights FinTech Report_Q3 (PRNewsfoto/CreditEase)

How This Chinese Fintech Company Is Innovating by Leasing Cows (Fortune), Rated: A

Particularly, Ning Tang, CEO of fintech firm CreditEase, is lending consumers cows in a bid to reach those living in rural areas who might have limited access to credit and financing.

The rural population accounts for 48% of China’s total, with agriculture accounting for about 8.6% of the the nation’s Gross Domestic Production in 2015, according to the World Bank. Income in rural China has also been on the rise, with urban income narrowing to 2.7 times that of rural income from 3.3 times in 2009. And though migration toward the city has been on the rise and the nation’s dependence on farming and livestock is on the slide, rural populations and agriculture are still a significant part of the country’s economy.

IN CHINA, THE CHARACTERS FROM THE SHOW APPEAR IN THE COMMERCIALS, TOO (AdAge), Rated: A

iQiyi, which is backed by Chinese internet giant Baidu, adopted the tactic first and developed it into a commercial product when it broadcast the 1930s tomb-raiding adventure tale “The Mystic Nine” last year. The first batch of advertisers ranged from iQianjin, a peer-to-peer lending app, to PepsiCo, which showed characters chowing down on Lay’s and gulping Pepsi.

The other major services, Alibaba Group’s Youku Tudou and Tencent Holdings‘ video platform, have embraced the tactic too. At iQiyi, the cost for embedding one such commercial in an episode ranges from $150,000 to $530,000, depending on projected viewership, Yuan says.

European Union

Worldpay Partners with Klarna to Launch Invoice and Credit Based Payments in 6 Key European Markets (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Worldpay, a global leader in payments, has announced that it will partner with Klarna, a leader in invoice and credit based payments, to further enhance its product portfolio. From today, Worldpay customers trading in AustriaFinlandGermanythe NetherlandsNorwaySweden and the United Kingdom, and wishing to accept payments on invoice or instalments, will be able to use Klarna’s invoice and credit based payments from Worldpay. This will help eCommerce businesses to improve conversion rates by up to 20% and provide a fast and smooth checkout process.

These new payment options will allow consumers to decide when to pay for the items once they have received their goods. Instead of a request for credit or debit card details at the point of checkout, consumers are prompted for their email address and postcode, ensuring a quicker checkout process and leading to lower cart abandonment. The solution allows consumers to manage the terms of their payment, be it 14-day payment by invoice, by fixed or flexible instalments, spreading the cost over several months.

The move into credit and invoicing payments follows demand from customers wanting to expand the breadth of payment methods offered. Worldpay is one of the first payments companies to deploy this new payment integration, providing superior market coverage as well as faster time to market since there is no need for a new plug-in when  legacy technology is updated.

Fintech deposit marketplace hits 100,000 customers (AltFi), Rated: A

Savings specialist Raisin continues to gain momentum. The savings account marketplace now has itself 100,000 customers. The company is also integrated with more than 40 banks, from across 18 European countries, including a number of challenger banks and even an online lender (Younited Credit). SolarisBank is its newest partner.

ConsenSys Ventures has made its first four investments (TechCrunch), Rated: B

But the companies the fund is backing come from some relatively seasoned entrepreneurs. BlockFi, the firm’s lending for liquidity startup, was founded by Zac Prince — a serial startup founder whose previous idea was the lending platform for the underbanked, Cognical.

Up to 5% Cashback On Long-Term Investments Offered by Mintos (P2P-Banking), Rated: B

Lativan p2p lending marketplace Mintos just launched a cashback campaign running for the remainder of December. Investors investing in new loans with a term of at least 24 months on the primary market will receive a cashback of 2% to 5% depending on term length. The cashback will be credited within 6 days says Mintos.

Important: To be eligable an investor needs to enroll once for the campaign by clicking on the promotion banner inside the Mintos dashboard.

International

Salt and Coinloan Promise Crypto-Asset Backed Fiat Loans (Bitcoin.com), Rated: AAA

Typically, when we think of taking a loan, we think of going to a bank, filling out a ton of paperwork and then getting denied the loan unless a guarantor or cosigner signs as well. However, blockchain banking startups like Salt and Coinloan aim to change this by creating a peer to peer lending platform on the blockchain. These platforms allow users to leverage their bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as collateral for fiat loans.

Salt hails from the land of the free, a.k.a Denver, Colorado, USA.

On the other hand, Coinloan has Baltic roots and is headquartered in Estonia.

Salt will be starting straight out of Denver, Colorado and is set to launch their blockchain backed lending platform, BTC collateralized loans and loan fund by the end of 2017. In 2018, they will be launching ethereum collateralized loans in Q1, credit cards in Q2 and altcoin collateralized loans in Q3.

By contrast, Coinloan is still currently running their ICO. By 2018, they hope to obtain payment licences in Q2, develop mobile applications for IOS and android by Q3 and enter the Asian market in 2019.

Lendoit & RSK creates a decentralized BTC lending future together (Live Bitcoin News), Rated: A

In about 2 weeks, Lendoit will launch its official token Pre-sale, but it can’t wait to reveal the secret that will change the future of decentralized BTC lending, which the company has entered together with the largest and most promising blockchain-based project, The RSK Project.

Right from Argentina is Rootstock or popularly called RSK. This company is well-known for its open-source smart contract stage which has a 2-dimensional peg to Bitcoin. Amazingly, RSK uses merge-mining to reward bitcoin miners and give them the chance to be part of the smart contract ecosystem.

The Goal? To ensure that the highest level of functionality and value is added to the entire bitcoin ecosystem through the use of smart contracts, increased scalability, and near-instant payments.

Lendoit removes all intermediaries in the lending process, creates a trusted and secure platform for participants through the smart contract, and gives users a decentralized, anonymous platform where upscaling, lending, and borrowing are done hassle-free.

Source: Live Bitcoin News

PNC Live On New Real-Time Payments Network Using Finastra (Payment Week), Rated: A

PNC, a top-10 US bank by assets, is live on RTP, The Clearing House’s new US real-time payments system, using Finastra’s payment services hub, Fusion Payments.

“The ability to make an immediate payment at any time, on any day of the week, with a real-time confirmation of the payment significantly transforms the way businesses and consumers make payments in the United States. Emerging technologies such as RTP are creating opportunities for banks and clients to re-imagine our business models.”

Trulioo Recognized As a Global Leader in Digital Identity Verification (PRWeb), Rated: B

Trulioo, the global identity verification provider, is delighted to be recognized as the global identity verification leader in a recent comprehensive report published by Let’s Talk Payments (LTP).

India

Why America could miss out big time on India’s fintech revolution (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Morgan Stanley expects India’s digital payments penetration to increase from 5 percent today to 20 percent, and the e-commerce market to reach $200 billion, with 475 million e-commerce shoppers, adding up to a GDP upwards of $6 trillion — all by 2027.

India now has 800 million mobile phone users with 430 million having internet connectivity. According to Morgan Stanley, the number of internet users is expected to grow to 915 million by 2027.

Source: TechCrunch

In 2016, China’s digital payments were already 50 times America’s. Alibaba and Tencent understand ecosystems better than anyone else in the world, including American companies.

Asia

After success at home, Toss sets sights overseas (Korea JoongAng Daily), Rated: AAA

After emerging as one of the top fintech start-ups in Korea, Viva Republica, the company behind Korea’s top peer-to-peer transfer app Toss, is zeroing in on Southeast Asia as its next target market.

“While more than 70 percent of the population is using smartphones, their financial services are equivalent to that of Korea in the 1980’s. Our goal is to bring our story and product to Southeast Asian countries such as the Philippines and Vietnam and to improve the level of financial services in the market.”

As of November this year, the accumulated transactions through Toss reached 10 trillion won ($9.2 billion). In November alone, the platform handled more than one trillion won, a feat that comes just two and half a years since it launched in February 2015. The company said its annual sales will come to 20 billion won by the end of this year and reach the break-even point sometime next year.

M’sian regulators likely to enforce licensing for cryptocurrency exchanges (The Star), Rated: B

Malaysian regulators are looking to clamp down on initial coin offerings or ICOs by expanding the definition of “securities” in existing laws, according to industry sources.

The regulator is also likely to require some form of licensing for cryptocurrency exchanges to operate on Malaysian shores.

Mexico

Mexican Senate passes fintech law (Reuters), Rated: A

Mexico’s Senate on Tuesday approved a bill that would regulate its fast-growing financial technology sector, including crowdfunding and cryptocurrency firms, paving the way for a vote by the lower house.

The bill, which seeks to promote financial stability and defend against money laundering and financing of extremists, is expected to pass in a final lower house vote by Dec. 15, said three sources familiar with the measure.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday November 16 2017, Daily News Digest

securitization

News Comments Today’s main news: Marcus surpasses 2017 goal. LendInvest gets into buy-to-let. Top 3 spots on KPMG Fintech 100 list are all Chinese. Lendix launches SME bridge loans in France, Spain, and Italy. Mauritia issues draft P2P lending rules. Marlette closes fourth securitization in a year. Today’s main analysis: Rising challenges unlikely to deter U.S. securitizations. Today’s thought-provoking articles: […]

securitization

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

Africa

Canada

Russia

News Summary

United States

Marcus from Goldman Sachs Surpasses 2017 Goal (Bank Innovation), Rated: AAA

Martin Chavez, chief financial officer for Goldman Sachs, showed in a slideshow at a Bank of America Merrill Lynch event yesterday that Marcus had already surpassed $1.96 billion in originations as of Nov. 9.

What that means is that from Nov. 9 to Nov. 14, over a span of five days, Marcus originated more than $40 million in loans.

Rising challenges unlikely to deter U.S. securitization in 2018 (Asset Securitization Report), Rated: AAA

As a result, Fitch’s outlook for U.S. structured finance ratings is predominately stable for 2018. That said, given where we are in the credit cycle, Fitch is keeping a close watch on select asset types that could run into some issues over the next 12 months.

Entering 2018, Fitch has either Positive or Stable Outlook on over 90% of its rated securitized bonds.

Perhaps the most notable change that has manifested from risk retention is the shrinking universe of originators bringing new securitizations to market. This is particularly notable in the universe of CMBS originators, which has shrunk from a high of roughly 40 to now less than 20 due to a combination of risk retention and Reg A/B.

Competitive pressures, long in place for subprime autos, are escalating in a marketplace ABS environment that is struggling to find its footing by testing recent underwriting models, asset quality and, in some cases, business models. Delinquencies and chargeoffs of existing assets continue to increase as marginal borrowers increase their leverage. Not likely to help is the drive for growth among large marketplace lenders coupled with rising market pressure from competing banks like Goldman Sachs (Marcus), Discover, and Suntrust. And unless originators tighten their credit policies with discipline, the strain will intensify.

Source: Asset Securitization Report

Online lenders should heed criticism of their effect on borrowers (American Banker), Rated: AAA

The consumer lending industry is abuzz about the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland’s recent report on debt consolidation and online lending. This excellent piece of research concludes that, on average, online installment loan borrowers fall into more debt after taking out a loan, experience hits to their credit score and history as a result, and take out online loans despite having access to traditional banking and credit channels.

The first two conclusions are damning, especially as these loans are often marketed as a way to help consumers consolidate credit card debt and improve their finances. At the end of the day, a lender’s duty is not merely to avoid losses. Any loan must be suitable for the customer — which means it should be made only if the lender believes it is improving the customer’s financial health. A lender not guided by that principle should be prepared for severe criticism as well as elevated losses down the road.

But it would be nonsensical to discredit or ignore the study because it includes online lenders beyond well-known fintech names.

The Best of Both Worlds with Prosper for Borrowers and Lenders (DoughRoller), Rated: AAA

Founded in 2005, and generally recognized as the first peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform in the US, Prosper has funded more than $10 billion in loans since.

While borrowers can get personal loans ranging in size between $2,000 and $35,000, investors can put as little as $25 toward funding those loans.

There is one exception, however. You cannot use loan proceeds for post-secondary educational expenses. That’s because some of the rules in federal law aren’t compatible with P2P lending. More specifically, with education loans, the borrower must have at least 30 days to accept or reject a loan offer.

Medical procedures available for financing under the PHL program include:

  • Cosmetic dentistry
  • Bariatric surgery
  • Cosmetic and plastic surgery
  • Fertility and reproductive procedures

All Prosper loans have a term of either three or five years.

The minimum requirements are:

  • A minimum FICO score of 640, based on a TransUnion FICO 08 score
  • Debt-to-Income (DTI) ratio below 50%
  • Stated income greater than $0 (you must have an income)
  • No bankruptcies filed within the previous 12 months
  • Fewer than seven credit bureau inquiries within the last six months
  • A minimum of three open trades reported on your credit report

Interest rates are between a minimum of 3.00% for the best AA rated borrowers to a maximum of 36.00% for the lowest rated HR borrower grades.

Source: DoughRoller

Prosper for Investors

Prosper advertises that the average rate of return by investors on the platform is 7.41% per year.

Loans rated HR have a much higher average return, at 11.73%.

You can open either a General Investment Account or an IRA. Available IRAs include traditional, Roth, SIMPLE, SEP and rollover IRAs (IRA accounts are held with Millennium Trust Company). At this time, Prosper has made only individual accounts available. You cannot hold an account jointly with someone else.

For regular investment accounts, the minimum is $25. For IRA accounts, the minimum is $5,000.

Similar to other P2P platforms, when you invest with Prosper, you don’t actually invest in whole loans. Instead, you invest in small slivers of those loans, referred to as “notes.” The notes are in denominations of $25. This means that you can spread an investment of $1,000 across as many as 40 different loans.

The servicing fee is 1% of the outstanding balance of a loan. That means that if the loan pays 8%, your net return will be 7%.

Source: DoughRoller

Marlette Funding Closes Fourth Personal Loan Securitization Within Past Year (LendEDU), Rated: A

Last week, marketplace lender Marlette Funding announced the closing of its fourth proprietary securitization. The transaction was worth an estimated $312 million, and it is the fourth securitization announcement since August of 2016 from Marlette Funding.

eOriginal Named as One of Fastest Growing Companies in North America on Deloitte’s 2017 Technology Fast 500 (eOriginal), Rated: A

eOriginal, Inc., today announced it has been named to Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 list as one of North America’s fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences, and energy companies. eOriginal earned the rank of 294 by more than doubling revenues during the evaluation period of FY 2013 through FY 2016.

Betterment, the investing startup with $ 11 billion in assets, is rolling out a new service to make charitable giving easier (Business Insider), Rated: A

Betterment, the New York-based roboadviser, announced Wednesday a charitable giving feature that’ll let users donate shares of their account to partnered charities.

The firm, which manages $11 billion for over 300,000 customers, partnered with 11 charities for Betterment Charitable Giving, including Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC, UNICEF, and World Wildlife Fund, according to a news release. The new feature is set to go live November 28.

Subprime car loans souring faster at nonbank lenders (American Banker), Rated: A

Despite signs of trouble in subprime auto lending, U.S. banks and credit unions are well positioned to ride out any market turbulence, a new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York suggests.

More than $435 billion in auto loans to borrowers with credit scores below 660 were outstanding during the third quarter of this year, the report found. That total has been climbing steadily since bottoming out at $249 billion in early 2011. Delinquency rates have also been rising as it has become easier to qualify for an auto loan.

Fidelity latest financial firm to facilitate data sharing with fintechs (American Banker), Rated: A

Fidelity Investments is joining the ranks of financial firms sharing customer account data with others through an application programming interface.

The new service, called Fidelity Access, will give third parties access to Fidelity customers’ account data for use in apps and services like tax preparation, budgeting, financial planning, spending analysis and portfolio advice — provided the Fidelity customers give their OK. Customer data to be shared includes Fidelity account balances, securities holdings, and transactions.

These are the most valuable fintech companies in America (MarketWatch), Rated: A

Stripe Inc., whose software is used by businesses to accept and track digital payments, leads the way as the most valuable fintech startup in the U.S., with a $9.2 billion valuation.

And just to be clear, fintech startups are nowhere near close to catching up to the big banks. Wells Fargo & Co. has a market cap of more than $266 billion, and Bank of America Corp. has a market cap of more than $273 billion.

RealtyProfits Offers Accredited Investors an Innovative Platform to Invest in the Real Estate Sector (Digital Journal), Rated: A

RealtyProfits (www.RealtyProfits.com) announces today an exciting and innovative investment opportunity, RealtyProfits IV, with a Preferred Return of 12 percent per annum, available exclusively to accredited high net-worth individuals and institutional investors. The private preferred equity securities, available for purchase at www.RealtyProfits.com, are being offered through WealthForge Securities, LLC, a registered broker/dealer and member of FINRA/SIPC.

The geographically diversified portfolio includes properties in 700 cities coast to coast, with a current estimated value of $1.73 billion and more than $700 million of equity in more than 5,900 portfolio properties. The properties include primarily single-family homes and condominiums ranging in value from $100,000 to more than $2,500,000.

Accredited investors can start investing with as little as $20,000. RealtyProfits IV offers monthly cash distributions. Preferred equity investors receive all distributions made by RealtyProfits IV until fully repaid. The Preferred Return is 12 percent per annum, with initial monthly Base Preferred Return payments at 6 percent per annum anticipated depending on cash flow during each of the first 24 months.

Reality Shares Teams up with Nasdaq to Launch Blockchain Tech Index (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Reality Shares and Nasdaq announce the creation of the Reality Shares Nasdaq Blockchain Economy Index, a smart-beta index that tracks the growth and development of leading global companies creating and implementing blockchain solutions.

An ETF that will track the Index is already in the works, with Reality Shares filing for it on November 2, 2017.

Reality Shares and Nasdaq compiled the index by utilizing internal and external research and their proprietary Blockchain ScoreTM ranking system. The Index is comprised of global companies that seek to capitalize upon transformational blockchain technology that may potentially disrupt the markets in which they operate.

How to Choose Between a Peer-To-Peer Lending or Traditional Loan (Experian), Rated: A

Shopping for a loan at a P2P provider is a two-step process. First, based on a credit score (or credit scores) and your answers to a few basic questions—your full name, address, date of birth and annual income—the lender determines which loan offer(s) to extend to you. (It’s possible at this juncture that the lender will decide not to extend any loan offers; if they do, they’ll explain why.)

Once you choose the loan you want, the lender does a more detailed credit check and may ask you to verify your income and to provide additional background information.  Each P2P site has its own lending criteria, including minimum credit scores, and additional information requirements vary accordingly. Some P2P lenders want information on your educational background; others want work history or details about your financial assets. In most cases, you can submit the necessary documents electronically.

The first step in the P2P loan-approval process gets one or more of your credit scores by a method known as a soft inquiry—the same process you use when you check your own credit scores. Soft inquiries have no impact on your credit scores. However, the hard inquiries traditional lenders make when you apply for a credit cards or bank loans are reported to the national credit bureaus. They appear on your credit reports, and typically cause temporary credit-score drops of several points.

In the second step of P2P loan approval, the lender performs a hard inquiry to confirm your credit score and, likely, to review your full credit report.

Before you apply for a P2P loan

  • Take a look at the fine print on the bottom of each provider’s homepage, to get an overview of the loan amounts they offer and the rates and fees they charge.
  • Make sure the lender operates in your state.
  • Check your FICO Score and review your credit reports for any major negative entries. Accounts in collection, liens and civil judgments are among the items that could torpedo your loan application, even if you meet the credit-score requirements.
  • Determine the amount of money you need and watch out for tempting upsells.
  • Consider using the Experian loan-referral tool to explore offers from multiple P2P lenders (and possibly traditional lenders as well).

Resignation of CFPB head gives Trump opportunity to erase Elizabeth Warren’s legacy (Legal Insurrection), Rated: A

Richard Cordray, an Obama appointee and head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced to staff in an email Wednesday his plans to resign. While he’s yet to confirm his plans, there’s speculation Cordray will return home to run for Ohio’s governorship.

Seven Signs That the Bond Bull Market is Over (INTL FCStone), Rated: A

  • The bond bear market is already here: short and medium-term treasuries have lost value in the past 5 years
  • Buybacks have fallen to a five-year low, and big repurchasers have underperformed
  • Oil prices are at a 30-month high, and the futures curve is in backwardation
  • The long and the short ends of the yield curve are moving together again
  • The Chinese trade surplus has shrunk from 10% of GDP to almost zero in the past ten years
  • The U.S. deficit is growing again, an unprecedented phenomenon in times of expansion and peace
  • Small bubbles are popping out: Auckland houses, Ethereum crypto coins, and collectible cars
Source: Global Macro Report, INTL FCStone

Read the full report here.

Spring Framework Creator Launches Atomist for Development Automation With $ 22 Million in Series A Funding (Marketwired), Rated: A

Today on stage at Structure 2017, Atomist is formally launching and unveiling its Development Automation Platform with an Open Source client and API. As part of today’s launch, Atomist is announcing $22 million in Series A funding from Accel and Matrix Partners.

Bestow Gives Texas Residents First Access to On-Demand Life Insurance (PRWeb), Rated: A

Bestow Inc., the company behind a revolutionary new approach to life insurance, today announced the early access roll out of its comprehensive, full-stack, digital life insurance solution in Texas. For the first time Bestow’s solution is available to the public, giving Texas residents primary access to apply for the only on-demand life insurance solution, instantly and without a medical exam.

Leveraging applied intelligence and algorithmic underwriting, Bestow redefines the way consumers research, buy and manage life insurance. Using data to calculate risk, Bestow removes the need for a medical exam and streamlines the entire process into a matter of minutes. The Texas launch gives consumers access to choice term life insurance plans, including a unique two year term policy never before available for life insurance. Additionally, customers can choose between ten or twenty year term life insurance.

The Zebra Raises $ 40 Million, Taps New CEO To Expand Beyond Car Insurance (Forbes), Rated: A

The Zebra, which has always described itself as the Kayak of car insurance, has hired a longtime Kayak executive as its new CEO.

The Austin-based company, which allows drivers to compare prices for car insurance online, said on Tuesday that it has tapped Kayak’s former president Keith Melnick to run the company.

The Zebra also said it has raised $40 million in a Series B funding round, led by Accel Partners. That brings its total funding to $61.5 million.

MarketScout in Dallas Creates $ 25M Insurtech Venture Fund (Insurance Journal), Rated: B

Dallas-based insurance exchange and MGA MarketScout announced it has launched MarketScout InsurTech (MIT), which will make investments in tech-enabled insurance distribution. The initial funding of $25 million will come exclusively from MarketScout Corp., parent of MIT, according to the firm.

House Financial Services Committee Approves Legislation to Help Keep Lending Partnerships Between Banks and Online Lenders (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The House Financial Services Committee has approved HR 3299 or the “Protecting Consumers’ Access to Credit Act of 2017.” The bill “restores consistency” in lending laws across state boundaries. HR 3299 impacts the case of Midland Funding, LLC v. Madden – an ongoing law suit that has the potential to undermine online lenders. Sponsored by Congressman Patrick McHenry, includes an important statement that clarifies allowable interest rates on loans potentially ending the issue associated with the law suit.

How Do You Beat a Robo-Advisor? Trust (Think Advisor), Rated: A

“Technology by itself cannot create trust,” Robert C. Merton, a Nobel laureate in economics now teaching at MIT, recently told ThinkAdvisor. “The successful advisor must have the trust of their clients.”

Given the importance of trust in the advisor-client relationship, Merton recommends financial advisors (the breathing kind) should:

  • Check what they are doing to retain and enhance trust with their clients.
  • Make sure the business model being used supports the creation of trust.
  • Take advantage of technology to improve/enhance what the advisor does.
  • Do not view technology as a “competitor or substitute” for the advisor.
  • Understand and assess the financial technology they employ to certify trusting its use in client solutions.

HFLA launches initiative to help underserved reach financial stability (Cleveland Jewish News), Rated: A

The Hebrew Free Loan Association has launched its Looking to the Future Initiative with support from the St. Luke’s Foundation and the PNC Foundation. The initiative accounts for $73,000.

The initiative enables HFLA to increase its lending of interest-free loans to Cleveland’s underserved neighborhoods and grows the organization by expanding its reach, according to a news release. HFLA received a $63,000 grant from the St. Luke’s Foundation and a $10,000 grant from the PNC Foundation to launch the effort.

Fundation Purchases Select Assets from Able Lending to Enhance Partnership Strategy (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Fundation Group LLC, a digitally-enabled lender and credit solutions provider, today announced that it has acquired a variety of assets from online small business lender, Able Lending of Austin, Texas.

Former Capital One Executive Troy Jamison Joins Victory Park Capital as Chief Risk Officer (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Victory Park Capital (VPC), an investment firm focused on middle-market debt and equity investments, announced today that Troy Jamison joins as chief risk officer for the firm’s nonbank financial services portfolio. Jamison is based in Chicago and reports directly to CEO and Co-Founder Richard Levy.

CFPB updates website to officially address end of arbitration rule (Housingwire), Rated: B

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau finally updated its website to acknowledge President Donald Trump revoking the controversial arbitration rule.

blog post from Ballard Spahr previously stressed the importance of the CFPB updating its website to note the rule’s override since the rule was killed nearly two weeks ago.

The webpage for “Arbitration agreements” now has an update on the top that states:

On Nov. 1, 2017, the President signed a joint resolution passed by Congress disapproving the Arbitration Agreements Rule under the Congressional Review Act (CRA). Pursuant to the joint resolution, the Arbitration Agreements Rule has no force or effect. The materials relating to the Arbitration Agreements Rule on the Bureau’s website are for reference only.

HOUSE FINANCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE PASSES SMALL BUSINESS CREDIT ACT (Coalition for Small Business Growth Email), Rated: B

The 

United Kingdom

LendInvest launches into buy-to-let (Mortgage Strategy), Rated: AAA

LendInvest is launching a range of buy-to-let loans aimed at professional landlords and investors.

Rates start at 3.69 per cent for a two-year fix at 60 per cent LTV.

The firm will offer loans of between £50,000 and £5m, up to a maximum LTV of 80 per cent.

Citigroup joins the AI bandwagon (Business Insider), Rated: A

Citigroup 

Source: Business Insider

SyndicateRoom Alum Squirrel Launches Crowdcube Funding Round (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Squirrel, a personal finance app designed to help users have more control over their money, has launched an equity crowdfunding round on Crowdcube. This initiative debut comes less than one year after the company completed its SyndicateRoom funding round with £585,000 in funds. Squrriel is now seeking £400,000.

Government unveils financial package to support tech (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE GOVERNMENT has given a £21m boost to a technology programme that has supported firms such as Zopa and Funding Circle as part of a range of measures to boost the tech sector.

The funding will make Tech City UK and Tech North one national organisation called Tech Nation and help grow government-backed startup support programmes such as Founders Network, Northern Stars, Future Fifty and Upscale.

Cash Converters International Ltd reports security breach and ransom demand (The Motley Fool), Rated: A

Payday lending and pawnbroking business Cash Converters International Ltd (ASX:CCV) announced a cybersecurity breach in its UK operations last night.

Sadly, computer system integrity is becoming an increasingly relevant – and often overlooked – concern for investors, with a vast majority of companies relying in one way or another on computer systems.

Valorem Foundation Launches All-New Cryptocurrency Platform (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Valorem Foundation, a Blockchain startup specializing in stabilized value-based exchange and transactions, has announced the launch of its new cryptocurrency platform. The company has developed a multi-layered platform to disrupt and expand the following services globally: microloans, car loans, student loans, rent payment, P2P networks, buying and selling of goods & services, business investing, real estate crowdfunding, and insurance.

Empowering the world: How you can make money through improving lives (City A.M.), Rated: A

This sea change should explain why investment firm Ethex has managed to scoop up so much support in its short history – raising more than £50m since 2013.

Its business model has a peer-to-peer lending feel – that is, it uses a digital platform to allow retail investors to lend to individuals and entrepreneurs.

But it comes with a twist, because Ethex is a not-for-profit organisation which lets you invest in companies that have a positive impact – socially and environmentally.

If you want to get involved, the platform has a minimum investment of £50, which arguably makes it more accessible to younger generations.

Trussle hires VP engineering from Funding Circle (Mortgage Introducer), Rated: B

Trussle has appointed Matthew Gretton as vice president of engineering from peer-to-peer lending platform Funding Circle.

China

Alibaba affiliates sweep top 3 spots in global fintech ranking (Asian Review), Rated: AAA

Financial technology companies linked to China’s Alibaba Group Holding took over the podium in KPMG’s latest Fintech 100 list, announced on Wednesday.

Ant Financial, which runs Alibaba’s massive Alipay e-payments network, took the No. 1 spot on the list, which was compiled with fintech accelerator H2 Ventures. Online property insurer ZhongAn Insurance and microloan provider Qudian placed second and third; both have received investments from Ant.

See the full list here.

One of China’s hottest companies rebuffs criticism about transparency (CNBC), Rated: A

Despite public criticism about a lack of transparency in some practices, Ant Financial is doing things the right way, a senior executive at the company said Wednesday.

“The demand for these securities is very healthy and continuing to expand,” Douglas Feagin, senior vice president and head of global business at Ant Financial, told CNBC’s “Street Signs.” “That, at the end of the day, is the ultimate barometer of whether you’re giving enough information to investors to invest.”

Ant Financial will use local partners in Southeast Asia: executive from CNBC.

Earnings at Some U.S.-Listed Chinese Microlenders Taper (Caixin), Rated: A

In the three months ending Sept. 30, Yirendai’s net income was down 12% to 303 million yuan ($45.7 million) from 344.3 million yuan a year ago, the company said Wednesday. Another Chinese microlender, China Rapid Finance Ltd., earlier reported a wider net loss of $4.4 million in the third quarter. Although Qudian Inc., a larger player that listed in New York last month, recently posted a four-fold increase in its third-quarter net profit from a year ago, citing better operational efficiency and its growing borrower base.

Cinda International Leads Massive Round In Chinese Fintech Company 9f Group (China Money Network), Rated: A

Beijing-based fintech company 9f Group has raised a massive new funding round from Cinda International Holding Ltd, a subsidiary of state-owned China Cinda Asset Management Co., Ltd., Focus Media Information Technology’s Chairman Jiang Nanchun, video game developer Youzu Interactive’s chairman Lin Qi and an unnamed Chinese industry fund.

The company did not disclose financial details except to say that it raised “hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars” in the latest financing deal, according to a company announcement. It is also unclear how the company is valued in the round, but 9f Group is listed on China Money Network’s China Unicorn List with a US$1 billion valuation when it last raised a US$110 million series B round in 2015.

European Union

For Spain’s banks, survival means digital (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Santander’s Openbank has changed a great deal since it was founded as Spain’s first telephone banking service in 1995. Now a fully digital operation, its mobile app allows users to temporarily disarm a lost credit card, as well as to check whether fellow Openbank customers are buying or selling a given stock at any moment. Currently, it has some 1.2m customers in Spain and more than €8bn ($9.3bn) in assets under management.

In recent years, Spain’s two biggest banks — Santander and BBVA — have increased their financial and managerial investment in fintech, digital banking and big data. Like their peers, they are convinced that the days of branch-based lending are drawing to a close.

Spanish banks average about €15m assets under management per employee, says Daragh Quinn, banks analyst at investment bank Keefe, Bruyette & Woods. At a digital operator like Openbank, that number is close to €60m.

The digital push is on two fronts: first, a mobile app that allows customers to access almost all of the bank’s products without going into a branch. Second, a venture capital approach whereby banks invest in or partner with fintech start-ups to add products.

Online Lender Lendix Launches Flexible SME Bridge Loans in France, Spain & Italy (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Lendix, online lender for SMEs in continental Europe, has announced the launch of a new financing product: the Flexible Bridge Loan. This product is designed to will allow a greater number of French, Spanish and Italian SMEs to benefit from the speed of execution of Lendix’s lending platform while leaving them the possibility of setting up an overall refinancing solution with other financial institutions.

The Lendix Flexible Bridge Loan is a 5-year amortizable loan with a standard commitment for the first 9 months and the possibility of early repayment at no cost for the remainder of the loan term, even in the event of refinancing by other financial institutions.

Swedish $ 370 Billion Home-Loan Market Gets New Mortgage Fund (Bloomberg Quint), Rated: A

As investors wonder whether Sweden’s housing market is headed for a correction, the country’s first mortgage fund is about to enter the $370 billion Swedish home-loan industry.

Stabelo plans to pool capital from Swedish institutional investors in exchange for fixed-income securities. That money will then be lent to home buyers. The fund starts offering its products this week and will work with Avanza Bank AB, Sweden’s largest online lender. Avanza, which owns just below 20 percent of Stabelo, will handle distribution and marketing.

International

Has P2P marketplace lending become B2P? (Cuffelinks), Rated: AAA

Due to this issue, the original incarnation of peer-to-peer lending has not lasted. As the CEO of Zopa, a UK-based P2P lender said,

“As bad debts soared, the approach was abandoned and Zopa was moulded into a ‘big sausage machine’. Its technology now links lenders with a pool of borrowers without any direct contact or the need for investors to make credit decisions.”

Australia’s major peer-to-peer lender is SocietyOne. It currently has $350 million borrowed through its platform, and is growing rapidly. In fact, loan volumes in the first three quarters of this year have totalled $141 million so far, surpassing the $139 million in loans facilitated over the entire course of 2016, as shown below.

Source: Cuffelinks
Australia/New Zealand

Exemption for personalised digital (robo) advice (Scoop), Rated: A

Following the FMA’s release of its second consultation paper on personalised robo-advice (now called digital advice), the leading law firm has published its tips for providers looking to develop digital advice platforms.

Head of Russell McVeagh’s Corporate Advisory group, Dan Jones, says the exemption is a necessary first step in putting the New Zealand financial advice regime on equal footing with overseas regimes, and may provide particular assistance to New Zealanders in KiwiSaver.

India

How P2P lending can be a route to creating financial inclusion (Daily News & Analysis), Rated: A

For years, banks have had a monopoly in lending money to businesses and individuals. However, the 2007-08 financial crisis created a havoc, rapidly-expanding the funding gap. This led to the advent of a niche fintech vertical, peer-to-peer (P2P) lending.

The geographical reach of a P2P lending platform is far superior, with the major differentiator being its online interface. Such digital financial services play an important role in supporting the objective of financial inclusion. Anybody, from the remotest areas, having access to internet, can be eligible to get/give a loan.

In the age of digitisation where almost everyone has access to internet, such platforms have the potential to change the financial graph of a country.

Are P2P platforms safe for lending and borrowing? (India Times), Rated: B

While banks and non-banking finance companies (NBFC) are the readily available sources for loans, who does the P2P platform cater to? “Unfortunately, banks in India follow mediocre credit assessment policies which are suited only for borrowers who can offer collateral or have an impeccable credit history. In practice, majority of the borrowers lie in between these extremes. Therefore, majority of Indians can borrow on P2P platforms,” says Raghavendra Pratap Singh, co-founder, i2ifunding, an online P2P lending marketplace.

RBI has put a cap on the amount that can be borrowed and lent. The aggregate exposure of a lender or the maximum that one may borrow at any point of time, across all P2Ps, shall be capped at Rs 10 lakh. Even the exposure of a single lender to the same borrower, across all P2Ps, shall not exceed Rs 50,000 and the maturity of the loans shall not exceed 36 months. “More clarity from RBI is expected on how the regulator intends to monitor the compliance of this aspect and how it will fix the responsibility,” says Singh.

Risks for a lender
Since this is an unsecured loan where there is no face-to-face interaction, a P2P lender needs to be aware of the risks involved. Bubna says, “All investments involve risk. However, in comparison to equity or commodity market investments or real estate, P2P lending has lower risk as it is addressed by on-boarding high quality borrowers. Further, lenders are suggested to create a diversified portfolio of loans.”

Asia

Introducing ACE, Crowdo’s New Artificial Intelligence Due Diligence System (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Crowdo, a South East Asian online marketplace for P2P lending and crowdfunding unveiled today its proprietary Artificial Intelligence driven due diligence system, Crowdo ACE, aimed at benefiting both their borrowers and investors. Crowdo ACE takes into account a few thousand unconventional and alternative attributes and represents a new way to perform due diligence versus traditional means used by conventional financial institutions. It has already been applied to process more than 3,000 loans.

In a largely-unbanked Indonesia, Amartha uplifts women micro-entrepreneurs (YourStory), Rated: A

Twenty-six people, four nationalities, 10 days. Travelling across Southeast Asia as a Startup AsiaBerlin Roadshow delegate to explore startup ecosystems was an experience unto itself.

Amartha has so far disbursed over $13 million to 60,000 women micro-entrepreneurs and aims to improve their income, and ultimately quality of life.

Aria: Amartha is an Indonesian financial technology startup that focuses on providing affordable financial access, and mentorship to the unbanked population living below the poverty line. Amartha operates much like a peer-to-peer lending platform, and so far, has disbursed more than $13 million to 60,000 borrowers. The borrowers are mostly women micro-entrepreneurs and Amartha aims to improve their income, and ultimately alleviate their status through financial inclusion.

Aria: When we started operations in April 2016, we disbursed $40,000 a month. By the end of 2016, we were disbursing $800,000. Today, on average, we disburse $2.5 million per month. So far, we have disbursed more than $13 million, across more than 60,000 borrowers. The average ticket size of a loan now is around $300.

We charge a fee based on the profit sharing principle. Of the 22-30 percent annual interest rate paid by borrowers, we collect 11-13 percent for our revenue.

Africa

The Mauritian Financial Services Commission Issues Draft Peer-To-Peer lending Rules (Mondaq), Rated: AAA

Following the announcement of the Government on peer-to-peer lending and funding in the 2017-2018 Budget, the Mauritian Financial Services Commission (“Commission”) has issued draft rules on 10 November 2017 to regulate the peer-to-peer lending sector – as sector which has grown rapidly in other countries.

In the region, Kenya and Africa are leading in the peer-to-peer business lending market. According to a study conducted by the University of Cambridge, within Africa, South Africa had the largest number online alternative finance platforms, with $15 million raised in 2015 (The Africa and Middle East Alternative Finance Benchmarking Report, February, 2017).

Borrower and lender – a borrower must be a resident in Mauritius; however, there is no residency requirement for the lender.

Restrictions on amounts  Hence, a lender, who is a legal person, cannot lend more than MUR 500,000 (approx. GBP 11,000) in any 12 months’ period. A lender, who is a natural person, cannot lend an amount in excess of 10 per cent of his income or a maximum of MUR 300,000 (approx. GBP 6,600), whichever is lower, in any 12 months’ period.

Obligations of a P2P operator – the Peer-to-Peer operator must publish the following information on its website:

  • details of how the P2P lending will operate
  • measures to prevent money laundering and combatting terrorist financing
  • security measures to ensure data protection
  • dispute resolution mechanism.
Canada

Borrowell wins Deloitte Fast50 award (Borrowell Email), Rated: A

Borrowell has won a Companies to Watch award as part of the Deloitte Fast50 program. We are one of only eleven companies across Canada to win that award this year, and the only company from Toronto. Fast50 winners in the category for established companies include well-known names like Shopify, SkipTheDishes, Wave and Influitive. The list was announced an hour ago. 

Russia

Moscow Is On Its Way To Becoming A Smart City And Fintech Powerhouse (Forbes), Rated: A

Its citizens and businesses are also quick to adopt the latest disruptive technologies such as fintech and cryptocurrencies. Moscow has a 35 percent fintech adoption rate, higher than New York’s 33.1 percent.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor