Thursday November 22 2018, Daily News Digest

Major European Neobanks Customers

News Comments Today’s main news: Prosper to introduce HELOCs. Affirm to rebrand, get into travel. Elevate Credit misses earnings estimates. Zopa says parents borrow from children’s piggy banks. Revolut wants to raise $500M through SoftBank. LexinFintech shares jump 8% on 363% earnings increase. Fintonic, Amazon partner in Spain. Today’s main analysis: Are we in an online lending bubble? Today’s thought-provoking articles: […]

Major European Neobanks Customers

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United States

Prosper Announces HELOCs, Releases Q3 2018 Earnings (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

Prosper noted that according to a 2017 TransUnion Study an estimated 10 million consumers will take out HELOCs between 2018 and 2022 which would be more than double the number originated from 2012-2016.

The new HELOC product will launch officially in early 2019.

Prosper also reported their Q3 2018 results today. Originations were $640.3 million, down 22% over the prior year period. Prosper attributed the decrease to credit tightening as well as the increase of interest rates to borrowers. The company has now originated $13.4 billion since inception. Net revenues also decreased as a result of decreased originations, with net revenue falling from $28.8 million in Q3 2017 to 20.6 million in Q3 2018. Below is a summary of Prosper’s other financial highlights that are availing in the company’s 10-Q.

Source: Lend Academy

Funding Circle US: Consumers will eschew Amazon to support small firms (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

FUNDING Circle US has found that the majority of US consumers still make the effort to shop at independent small businesses and would be willing to pay more for the same item than it costs at e-commerce giant Amazon.

The peer-to-peer business lender, which recently floated on the London Stock Exchange, published the results of a survey on US consumers’ support for small businesses.

It found that 77 per cent of 2,171 US adults surveyed said they were willing to pay more for items at small businesses in order to keep money within their communities and support local jobs.

60 per cent of respondents said they would pay a 10 per cent premium or more on Amazon prices.

PayPal co-founder’s installments firm, Affirm, rebrands, gets into travel (Payments Source) Rated: AAA

PayPal co-founder Max Levchin has built a $1.8 billion business offering installment plans to American consumers. The problem: most shoppers have no idea they’re using his company, Affirm, when they choose how to pay at checkout.

Now, in an effort to make its name synonymous with online installment plans, Affirm is rebranding. Besides a new logo, the firm will list all the retailers it works with on its website. Affirm will also focus on travel, letting consumers pay for vacations over time.

Levchin Says Crypto Not a Good Currency But He Likes the Tech (Bloomberg) Rated: A

Elevate Credit (ELVT) Releases Earnings Results, Misses Estimates By

Elevate Credit (ELVT) Releases Earnings Results, Misses Estimates By $0.23 EPS (Fairfield Current) Rated: AAA

.23 EPS (Fairfield Current) Rated: AAA

Elevate Credit (NYSE:ELVT) announced its earnings results on Monday, October 29th. The company reported ($0.10) earnings per share for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.13 by ($0.23), MarketWatch Earnings reports. Elevate Credit had a positive return on equity of 12.69% and a negative net margin of 0.49%. The business had revenue of $201.48 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $201.71 million. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $0.01 EPS. Elevate Credit’s quarterly revenue was up 16.6% on a year-over-year basis. Elevate Credit updated its FY18 guidance to $0.23-0.32 EPS.

Source: Fairfield Current

Amazon: Fundrise Allows You to Invest in Property Near Amazon’s DC Headquarters with New eFund (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Real estate investment platform Fundrise says it has been quietly accumulating property near the area Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has just announced they will be establishing a new headquarters. Amazon’s east coast headquarters will create a huge economic impact for the DC/Northern Virginia market, not to mention increased demand for housing and apartments. Fundrise says it has invested in 30 different buildings in expectation of rising demand. Fundrise is offering a new investment fund for this purpose: HQ2 DC eFund.

According to Fundrise, the fund already features residential properties – ranging from houses, townhomes and condominiums – with plans to invest as much as $50 million in the area. This eFund, issued under Reg A+,  allows any investor the opportunity to capitalize on expected local real estate growth in the wake of Amazon’s announcement.

RealtyShares starting to crumble after lack of venture capital (Born2Invest) Rated: A

The website started out strong. From 2014 to 2016, venture capital was pouring in from crowdfunding firms. However, investors became less interested in the portal as the investment minimum started to ramp up steadily. Company founder Nav Athwal, who had left the company’s board earlier this year, is still a minority shareholder. He also has no idea what happened to the company he helped found.

He, however, has a few words for startups. “Don’t let your burn rates get really large, strive for cash-efficiency or profitability sooner rather than later. Build a resilient business that can continue growing, regardless of where the venture capital markets are.” He adds that a startup should understand its investors and its growth limit as well.

Are we in an online lending bubble? (Tearsheet) Rated: AAA

We’re in an interesting time in online lending. After years of fits and starts and boatloads of money flowing into the sector, record originations are being set all over the industry. We recently explored online lending trends going into 2019 and what participants in the sector are expecting in the near future.

Both consumer and business lenders are tracking strongly:

While personal loans have surged to a record as the fastest-growing U.S. consumer-lending category, according to data from credit bureau TransUnion, it’s fintech firms that are driving a lot of that growth.

Source: Tearsheet

Amalgamated Bank joins $ 26 million closing of Insikt social bond securitization (Impact Alpha) Rated: A

The fintech firm packages up the loans the into securities, which it then issues as bonds to financial institutions, foundations and private investors. Its latest $26 million securitizationattracted Amalgamated Bank, a B-corp-certified commercial bank that went public on the NASDAQ stock exchange in June.

The issuance marks Insikt’s fifth securitization this year, backed by 21,000 loans. INSIKT’s total securitization volume across 16 issuances reached $273 million.

If Recession Comes in 2020, What Will Innovation Look Like? (Bank Innovation) Rated: A

JPMorgan Chase last month predicted a 60% chance of recession by 2020, and that increases to an 80% chance by 2021. It’s not clear how traumatic an event it would be for the U.S. economy, but considering all the new players that have jumped onto the financial scene since the last downturn a decade ago.

CrowdOut Funds More “Eatertainment” (Business Wire) Rated: A

CrowdOut Capital announced the completion of a $20 million facility to Punch Bowl Social, the L Catterton–backed restaurant group that is defining the evolving category of experiential dining. The proceeds will enable the leader in the “eatertainment movement” to open multiple new locations throughout the U.S. This marks the second time Punch Bowl Social has worked with CrowdOut, choosing its flexible debt over traditional loans from financial institutions.

Sell Your House Without Making a Move – Figure Introduces a Smart Alternative for Baby Boomers to Secure Their Retirement (Corp Magazine) Rated: A

Figure Technologies, Inc. (Figure), a FinTech company creating innovative products and tools that empower homeowners to improve their finances, announced today Figure Home Advantage, a smart sell-and-leaseback alternative to reverse mortgages for retirees and a new way for Baby Boomers to lock in record housing prices as they plan their retirement. With Figure Home Advantage, homeowners convert their home equity into cash they can put to use now while continuing to enjoy life at home without the ongoing burden of property taxes, repairs, and maintenance.

Roughly 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 years old in the U.S. every day. A study by the National Conference of State Legislators and AARP found that 90 percent of people over age 65 want to stay in their home for as long as absolutely possible. Yet, most older Americans don’t have enough savings to cover retirement expenses or realize the lifestyle they’d imagined. According to a survey by the Insured Research Institute (IRI), only 25 percent of Baby Boomers believe they will have enough money in retirement.

Lenders Extending More Loans to Subprime Consumers as Credit Market Continues to Exhibit Signs of Strength (AP News) Rated: A

Auto loans, credit cards and personal loans all saw year-over-year growth in subprime originations this past quarter, a sign that lenders are returning to this space following several consecutive quarters of declining originations. The latest TransUnion (NYSE: TRU) Industry Insights Report includes insights into consumer credit trends around personal loans, auto loans, credit cards and mortgage loans through the third quarter of 2018.

TransUnion’s report found that origination growth in the subprime risk tier grew at a significant rate across auto, personal loans and credit cards following declines in 2017. Subprime originations in the personal loan category grew 28% between Q2 2017 and Q2 2018 (originations are viewed one quarter in arrears to account for reporting lag), compared to a yearly decline of 7.1% over the prior year. Auto showcased a similar trend, as independent lenders began issuing new loans to subprime consumers following industry pullback in 2016 and 2017. Subprime auto originations increased 7.3% year-over-year, after falling 7.8% year-over-year in Q2 2017.

Are you a minority borrower? You might want to think twice about using an online lender. (The Washington Post) Rated: A

It’s not just bank loan officers with racial biases who discriminate against black and Latino borrowers. Computer algorithms do, too.

That is the groundbreaking conclusion of University of California at Berkeley researchers who found that algorithmic credit scoring using big data is no better than humans at evening the playing field when it comes to determining home mortgage interest rates.

Both online and human lenders earn 11 to 17 percent higher profits off minority borrowers by charging African Americans and Latinos steeper rates, the study said. Black and Latino consumers pay 5.6 to 8.6 basis points higher interest on home purchase loans than their white or Asian counterparts with similar credit profiles — no matter whether they obtained their loans through a face-to-face process or online. The effect is smaller when it comes to refinancing, with black and Latino borrowers paying 3 basis points more.

Read the full report here.

AI-Driven Lead Distribution for Mortgage Lending Helps Loan Officers Deliver Faster Results (Verb Factory Email) Rated: A

ProPair, an innovative mortgage-industry technology start-up based in Silicon Valley, today launched an AI-based lead distribution solution that eliminates the uncertainty of the lead assignment process while optimizing results and ensuring fairness in the assignment process. Using artificial intelligence to correlate lead data with information about individual loan officers, ProPair facilitates the lead assignment process to allow lenders to distribute leads to maximize the performance of the entire loan team.

White Oak Healthcare Finance Provides $ 190 Million Financing for BM Eagle’s 17 SNF Portfolio (Business Wire) Rated: B

White Oak Healthcare Finance, LLC (“White Oak”), today announced it acted as administrative agent and lead lender on the funding of a $190 million senior credit facility of 17 skilled nursing facilities for BM Eagle Holdings, LLC (“BM Eagle”), a joint venture led by affiliates of BlueMountain Capital Management, LLC (“BlueMountain”). The facilities are located in Northern California and New England.

United Kingdom

Zopa: Parents borrowing from children’s piggy banks (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

ZOPA research has found that two fifths of parents have admitted to raiding their children’s piggy banks to borrow cash.

Parents surveyed by the peer-to-peer consumer lender confessed to borrowing money from their kids with a fifth taking over £250 a year.

However, 80 per cent of parents said they will also be giving their children cash as a Christmas present this year.

Nearly a quarter of children can look forward to a gift of up to £100, whilst a lucky three per cent will be receiving more than £500 in cash.

Revolut is in talks with Softbank to raise $ 500 million (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

UK neobank Revolut is currently in talks with the Softbank fund, which is worth $92 billion, for its next funding round, according to City AM. The talks are still early on, but the funding round could be as high as $500 million. It’s not clear whether existing investors, including Draper Esprit and Index Ventures, would participate in the next round.

Source: Business Insider

Monzo to offer cash deposits via PayPoint (FinExtra) Rated: A

PayPoint has announced today that challenger bank, Monzo, has chosen PayPoint’s cash payments solution for its current account holders. Beginning Wednesday 21 November, customers will be able to deposit up to £300 cash directly into their Monzo account in a single transaction at any of PayPoint’s 28,000 convenience stores nationwide.

Starling Bank’s £10m funding helps it make a stand to Monzo (Fintech Future) Rated: A

Starling Bank, the mobile-only bank, has secured £10 million of new capital from Bahamas-based hedge fund manager Harald McPike.

According to the Daily Telegraph, the funding is in preparation for a £80 million round to keep up, or perhaps surpass, other mobile challengers like Monzo, which recently raised £85 millionto reach a £1.5 billion valuation, and getting over 1.1 million customers.

Why data scientists solve irrelevant problems (Bobs Guide) Rated: A

In today’s challenging financial market businesses need to utilize every available resource and technology to reduce risk when processing payments and credit applications. One area in particular that is often talked about, but still either under or incorrectly utilized, is data science.

While many financial institutions are working towards implementing data science within their risk decisioning processes many are still working on creating an environment and culture that allows data scientists to be fully effective.

In a recent webinar Ken Schultz, VP of data science at Elevate Credit – better known under their brand Sunny in the UK -discussed the benefits data science can bring to a financial services organization, including the opportunity to increase accuracy, expand your market, and reduce fraud, all of which can be used to drive business growth.

Lending Works Appoints Three New Board Members, Targets P2P Growth (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: B

Peer to peer lender Lending Works has selected three new members for their Board of Directors. The online lender has appointed; Simon Waugh, former Chairman of CMC Markets, Deputy CEO of British Gas, Paul Noble, CEO of Honeycomb Finance, a Pollen Street Capital business, and Melanie Goward, Investment Director of Maven Capital Partners.

Barclays partners with MarketInvoice (The MarketInvoice Blog) Rated: B

MarketInvoice and Barclays today announced a partnership deal that is set to transform the way small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the UK manage cash flow and accelerate growth.

The bank has committed to a significant minority stake in MarketInvoice to give Barclays’ SME clients seamless access to innovative forms of finance. The new partnership is a key part of Barclays’ plans to invest in new business models for growth, and MarketInvoice’s ambition to broaden its reach across the UK.

China

Shares of LexinFintech Jump 8% In Early Trading as Earnings Soar 363% (Capital Watch) Rated: AAA

LexinFintech Holdings Ltd. (Nasdaq: LX) saw its shares jump more than 8 percent in early trading Wednesday after the company, an online peer-to-peer lending platform in China, posted better-than-expected earnings for the third quarter with net income increasing more than fourfold.

Despite recent market uncertainty, the Shenzhen-based lender said its operating revenue for the third three months increased more than 13 percent year-over-year to $246.7 million thanks to a 404 percent jump in income from its loan facilitation and servicing fees.

Net income for the quarter was $46 million, or 25 cents per fully diluted ADS, up from $9.93 million a year ago.

Source: Capital Watch

Tencent reboots profits as growth picks up beyond games (Nikkei Asian Review) Rated: AAA

China’s Tencent Holdings handed investors a much-needed profit recovery in the third quarter as revenue rose beyond online games, but the company warned that stricter regulation by Beijing on online advertising could sap growth.

The social media and online game group, which has lost about 40% of its market value since March as China has stalled approval of new games, beat market forecasts thanks to contributions from ads and cloud computing.

Source: Nikkei

China Rapid Finance to Announce Third Quarter 2018 Financial Results on November 20, 2018 (Acrofan) Rated: A

China Rapid Finance Limited (“China Rapid Finance” or the “Company”) (NYSE: XRF), operator of one of China’s largest consumer lending marketplaces, today announced that it plans to release its third quarter 2018 financial results on Tuesday, November 20, 2018, after U.S. market closes.

China Rapid Finance’s management will host an earnings conference call at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time on November 20, 2018, (9:00 a.m. Beijing/Hong Kong Time on November 21, 2018).

Why China’s online lending crisis makes liberalisation of bank interest rates more urgent (South China Morning Post) Rated: A

How big is China’s fintech sector? I would say, Britain’s peer-to-peer (P2P) lender Funding Circle plus payday lender Wonga times 100. In addition to giants such as Alibaba’s Ant Financial, Pingan’s Lufax and Tencent’s WeBank, a dozen mid-size operators have gone public in the US and Hong Kong in the past 18 months alone. There are also 40 to 50 serious players that are waiting in the wings to go public. However, as the year-long official clampdown has revealed, there are far too many also-ran operators and Ponzi schemes about.

In just five to six years, fintech has surged to levels over US$200 billion in terms of total assets.

Cash-Strapped Online Lenders Ordered to Repay Investors (Caixin Global) Rated: A

Some local governments have ordered cash-strapped peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms to begin repaying their investors to head off growing turmoil in the industry.

Hangzhou-based P2P lending platform Yucaiyuan recently announced that the company “did not meet regulatory requirements and was ordered to start repaying (investors),” according to a post on the lender’s website (link in Chinese). The firm will have to repay the principal and interest on all outstanding loans until investors are fully repaid. It has 12 months to do so.

Regulators in the eastern city want to rein in what had once been runaway growth in the industry. They plan to do this by clearing out small and midsize platforms one step at a time, a P2P lender told Caixin.

European Union

Fintonic Links Up with Amazon (Finovate) Rated: AAA

Personal finance app Fintonic announced today it will collaborate with Amazon in Spain. Starting next week, Fintonic customers in Spain will be able to finance their Amazon.es purchases ranging from $225 to $1,100 (€200 to €1,000) at a rate of 0% interest for up to four months.

Mintos to Provide Debit Cards and IBAN Accounts to Investors (P2P Banking) Rated: AAA

P2P lending marketplace Mintos has raised 5 million EUR in a Series A. The money is earmarked to provide new features for investors.

Crowdlending campaign raises total of €1.5 million for the first time (The Brussels Times) Rated: A

A crowdlending campaign has, for the first time, raised a total of €1.5 million in Belgium.

The announcement came on Wednesday from the platform Look&Fin, which specialises in such participative finance loans. The company, Carimat Matériaux, based in Braine-le-Château and active in construction, has raised this record amount.

In total, 483 individuals have invested in Carimat Matériaux, for a global total of €1.5 million. The group, which has specialised in construction since 1988, recorded a turnover of €56 million in 2017 and employs more than 170 people.

Berlin-based fintech startup Bonify raises funding to provide free credit scores and financial advice (EU Startups) Rated: A

Want to apply for a loan, but you’re unsure about your credit score? The Berlin-based startup Bonify provides free, easy-to-read credit reports. Users can use the startup’s platform or app to check and correct their scores, monitor changes, and receive tips on personal finance and how to optimise their scores.

Bonify evaluates consumers real-time creditworthiness, enabling them to improve their financial wellbeing through tailored financial and non-financial recommendations. The app delivers recommendations for how consumers can save money, for instance by switching to a different loan or energy provider. Bonify is also able to predict six to eight weeks in advance when its users might go into their overdraft, and provide personalised suggestions for how to avoid this.

Italian lendtech Credimi feeling dreamy with €10m funding (Fintech Futures) Rated: A

The investment funds came via United Ventures and Vertis, as well as some of the (unnamed) investors who took part in the first round of €8.5 million in September 2015.

Ignazio Rocco di Torrepadula, Credimi founder and CEO, and cool name winner, says: “Credimi’s initial start-up phase has been exhilarating, with results that have far exceeded our expectations.

SME Online Lender Creditshelf Names Fabian Brügmann New CFO (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: B

Creditshelf Aktiengesellschaft, a Germany based online lender, announced on Wednesday it has appointed Fabian Brügmann as its new CFO, effective on January 15, 2019. The lender reported that this appointment continues its planned expansion of its management team and in the newly formed position, Brügmann will be responsible for Finance and Investor Relations and directly report to Dr. Tim Thabe, Chairman of the Management Board and CEO of Creditshelf. He will not serve as a member of the Management Board himself.

According to Creditshelf, Brügmann previously worked as Director of Investor Relations at Commerzbank AG, where he was the contact for shareholders, fixed-income investors, and sell-side analysts. He joined the bank’s Corporate Development and Corporate Finance team in 2012. As IR Manager, Brügmann worked on the capital market communication for the “Commerzbank 4.0” strategy. He previously spent six years with the U.S. bank Goldman Sachs in Frankfurt and London.

Small Business Lender iwoca Appoints Seema Desai as COO (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: B

Online lender iwoca has selected Seema Desai as their new Chief Operations Officer (COO). iwoca provides loans of up to £200,000 to small and micro businesses across the UK, Germany, and Poland via its website and through partner integrations using its proprietary Lending API.

Desai joined iwoca in January 2017 as Head of People, developing the company’s organizational capabilities. Prior to joining iwoca, Seema led the development of the Innovative Finance ISA at peer-to-peer lender Zopa as Head of Product.

As COO, Desai is expected to help scale customer service that has helped propel iwoca to become one of the fastest growing business lender in the UK.

International

Prodigy Finance Launches Refinance Product for International Working Graduates Looking to Reduce Financial Costs (PR Newswire) Rated: A

Prodigy Finance, the pioneer in cross-border finance, announces the launch of a loan refinance product for international working graduates looking to reduce their student debt. The product will allow these alumni, who previously had limited options available to them, to save at least US$20,0001 over the life of the loan, by accessing lower rates and choices of terms.

The edge a serial entrepreneur sees in challenger banks (American Banker) Rated: A

Challenger bank entrepreneur Anthony Thomson has had several lives in banking and fintech.

In 2010, with Commerce Bank founder Vernon Hill, he co-founded Metro Bank, which started with one location in London and now has more than 56 branches and 2,800 employees. Thomson founded a second challenger bank in 2014 called Atom Bank, the first mobile-only bank in the U.K. As of March, it had 1.3 billion pounds of deposits and lent 1.2 billion pounds in mortgages and small-business loans.

Thomson is currently working on his third institution, called 86,400, a mobile-first challenger bank slated to launch in Australia in early 2019.

So it’s fair to say Thomson has learned a lot about what it takes to raise money and how to make it as a neobank entrepreneur.

The Ripple Effect: Crypto Backed Lending Platform Exploring XRP-Powered xRapid (The Daily Hodl) Rated: A

The crypto lending platform Nexo says it’s exploring Ripple’s xRapid, which uses XRP to boost the speed and lower the cost of cross-border payments. The announcement comes from Antoni Trenchev, the co-founder and managing partner of Nexo.

The company is backed by TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington and calls itself a “decentralized lending ecosystem that facilitates open access to credit anywhere and anytime.” It uses a long list of banking and exchange partners to deliver loans.

Nexo follows the payment company and Ripple partner TransferGo, which also revealed its interest in xRapid this week. Nexo recently added XRP to its platform, becoming one of the first lenders to use XRP as collateral.

MSTS Makes B2B Commerce Effortless for SMBs with Credit as a Service (Globe Newswire) Rated: B

MSTS, a global B2B payment and credit solutions provider, today announced that its innovative Credit as a Service solution is now available to mid-market and small businesses.

The original enterprise product, with a record of accelerating sales growth for companies by as much as 500 percent, has been optimized to meet the needs of businesses with simpler payment and credit processes. The cloud-based Credit as a Service solution for mid-market businesses can issue credit lines in less than a minute, automate the customer onboarding process and apply unique B2B customer invoicing, accounts payable and payment term requirements – providing customers flexibility and an enhanced experience.

MSTS works with B2B companies across transportation, manufacturing, retail and eCommerce.

Australia

Advice demand soaring in Australia despite trust issues (International Investment) Rated: AAA

The 2018 Financial Advice Report from Investment Trends found that an estimated 2.1 million adults intend to turn to a financial planner for advice, up from 1.6 million in 2017.

However, trust levels in banks and financial planners fell severely over that same period. On a scale of 0 to 10, banks fell from a trust rating of 5.5 to 4.8, while financial planners fell from 5.1 to 4.8.

The report found more than 40% of Australians do not believe the financial services and banking industries are meeting their obligations to everyday citizens.

Big banks welcome government competition for small end of town (Sidney Morning Herald) Rated: A

Australia’s biggest banks insist they welcome the prospect of looming lending competition from the federal government’s proposed $2 billion small business loan plan.

Under the policy unveiled by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on Wednesday the government will establish a $2 billion securitisation fund which it will use to buy pools of small business loans from smaller banks and non-bank lenders.

Small business cheer $ 2b end to funding drought (Australian Financial Review) Rated: A

Small business and non-bank lenders have endorsed the Morrison government’s plans to inject $2 billion into the small and medium enterprise loan market.

But regulatory experts warned the government must avoid taking too much financial risk and not weaken bank rules in its quest to stimulate SME funding via a separate proposed bank-financed Australian Business Growth Fund.

Piper Alderman brings in financial services team (Australasian Lawyer) Rated: B

A national firm has added a financial services team, including a new partner in Sydney.

Andrea Beatty has commenced at Piper Alderman as a partner. She brought to the firm two other lawyers and an administrative assistant from NewLaw outfit Keypoint Law, where she was a consulting principal since 2016.

With more than 20 years’ experience in financial services regulation and corporate finance, Beatty is a former partner at legacy Mallesons Stephen Jaques and then at K&L Gates.

Asia

New securities law sparks concerns from expert (Vietnam News) Rated: AAA

Under the revised draft Law on Securities, the foreign ownership ratio in a public company is expanded up to 100 per cent. Previous regulations had capped foreign ownership at 49 per cent. However, this ratio in commercial banks, which is a much-concerned issue recently, was not mentioned in the draft. Why?

The draft has removed limits on how many voting shares foreign investors can buy in public Vietnamese companies. This indicates that the Government has sped up the equitisation process in State-owned enterprises, especially in non-essential sectors that are not too sensitive to the economy. However, under the draft, some conditional business lines, such as commercial banks, would retain their existing 30 per cent limit. I agree with this provision of the drafting agency.

How Standard Chartered Bank is tackling digital disruption (Tech in Asia) Rated: A

While banks have not been immune to the technology bug that has spread in the last few decades, digitization in the industry has only largely been implemented “for purpose in the back end,” according to Michael Gorriz, group chief information officer at Standard Chartered Bank.

“Fifty years ago, we introduced mainframes. We took paper ledgers and put them into computers,” the CIO explains.

But the emergence of a tech-savvy millennial generation is bringing about “the first real massive change in banks since the inception of banking,” he says. As such, banks like Standard Chartered have to digitize front-facing processes or risk losing their customers.

Eurasia

Russian Online Lender MFC Zaymer Joins Robo.cash (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

Automated peer to peer platform Robo.cash has issued a note saying Russian microfinance company MFC Zaymer is joining their platform. The company operates Zaymer.ru that offers short-term (payday) loans with interest rates for investors of 14% in Euros and up to 18% for loans originated in Rubles.

Africa

Nigeria dials up mobile banking revolution (Financial Times) Rated: AAA

Nigeria’s central bank is looking to increase access to millions of people by opening up the banking system to non-financial companies for the first time; South African telecom operator MTN is set to be the biggest beneficiary with more than 50 million customers located in Nigeria; MTN is planning to apply for a banking license soon with the hopes of having their Mobile Money product available in country by Q2 2019; more than 60 million people in Nigeria do not have bank accounts, showing there is an enormous opportunity for telcos to expand the banking footprint.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday June 11 2018, Daily News Digest

credit card issuers

News Comments Today’s main news: How to invest in the sharing economy. Elevate expected to report $184.82M in sales. Funding Circle scraps downloadable loanbook. Ant Financial valued at $150B. Standard Chartered to apply for virtual bank license in Hong Kong. Today’s main analysis: Marcus update. Today’s thought-provoking articles: PeerIQ lending earnings insights. Alternative uses of fixed-income markets. LendingTree Personal Loan Offers […]

credit card issuers

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China/Hong Kong

International

Other

News Summary

United States

3 Ways to Invest in the Sharing Economy (Motley Fool) Rated: A

While not a hard asset like a home or car, lending services have also come into the crosshairs of the sharing economy. Lending Club, the nation’s largest peer-to-peer lender, gets borrowers lower interest rates and smaller fees than a credit card or other traditional lending source typically offers by connecting them with investors on its online platform.

Since becoming a public company in December 2014, Lending Club revenue has soared more than 50% as seeking out alternative means of funding has increased in popularity. That sounds like a great investment, but Lending Club has actually fallen on hard times. The stock is down 75% from its 2014 debut as a result.

Other concerns, like increased competition, have surfaced: Goldman Sachs‘ online-only bank Marcus is just one of them. But there is some hope for this “sharing” company as first-quarter 2018 revenue increased 22% on an 18% increase in lending origination.

Lending Earnings Insights: 2Q2018 (PeerIQ) Rated: AAA

Where are we in the credit cycle? Most lenders see the US consumer in a good place with high consumer confidence, home prices, and higher take-home pay from tax cuts. The economy is at or near full employment with low wage and productivity growth. GDP gains are driven by consumer spending, fueled in term by consumer credit (8% YOY growth – well ahead of GDP and wage growth). Over the next few quarters due to stimulus and short-term effects there may be robust GDP prints, however, 16 to 24 months out we expect a lower pace of growth and heightened recession risk.

Credit re-normalization continues across all major lending groups. Credit performance this quarter is generally in-line with expectations. We see some of the lowest charge-offs and delinquencies at near-prime and retail lenders such as Enova and OneMain. Online lenders such as LendingClub have increased their charge-off estimates by ~50 bps.

Card issuers are increasing loan loss reserves at a higher rate than loan growth, indicating expectations of higher losses going forward. American Express increased loan loss provisions by 35% although loan growth was only 16% and Discover increased loan loss provisions by 26% on loan growth of 9%. Capital One saw a drop in loans outstanding.

Read the full report here.

Marcus Update (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

GS Marcus Update

Personal loans are just the start, with possible expansion opportunities for Marcus into mortgages, credit cards, auto loans and insurance. There are 4 key product areas – Borrow, Spend, Save, Protect with 12 separate products listed with a focus on Clarity Money. Since its launch Marcus has served ~1.5 Mn customers with $3+ Bn loans originated and $20+ Bn in online deposits.

GS views their lack of legacy banking software as a competitive advantage and has invested heavily in building their platform. GS has invested, through capital spending and operating losses, $600 Mn, including reserves, up by $100 Mn.

GS is building Marcus as a business “for the next 50 years” but is expanding the personal loan program cautiously as the credit cycle may turn. GS wants to integrate the consumer platform with its wealth management business.

Source: Goldman Sachs

PeerIQ Webinar: Lending Earnings Insights Report – 2Q2018 (PeerIQ) Rated: B

PeerIQ is hosting a webinar by CEO Ram Ahluwalia on “Lending Earnings Insights 2Q2018” on Wednesday 6/13 at 3 p.m. EDT. We look forward to hosting you! Click to register and to add the invitation to your calendar.

$ 184.82 Million in Sales Expected for Elevate Credit (ELVT) This Quarter (StockNews Times) Rated: AAA

Equities analysts expect that Elevate Credit (NYSE:ELVT) will report $184.82 million in sales for the current quarter, Zacksreports. Two analysts have issued estimates for Elevate Credit’s earnings, with estimates ranging from $182.44 million to $187.20 million. Elevate Credit posted sales of $150.47 million during the same quarter last year, which suggests a positive year over year growth rate of 22.8%. The business is scheduled to issue its next earnings results on Monday, July 30th.

According to Zacks, analysts expect that Elevate Credit will report full-year sales of $803.08 million for the current fiscal year, with estimates ranging from $801.06 million to $805.10 million. For the next financial year, analysts expect that the firm will report sales of $930.53 million per share, with estimates ranging from $920.75 million to $940.30 million. Zacks’ sales averages are an average based on a survey of analysts that follow Elevate Credit.

Mulvaney Fires All 25 Members of CFPB Advisory Board (PJ Media) Rated: A

Mick Mulvaney, acting director of a controversial consumer finance bureau, fired an advisory board after the members criticized the new leadership for not taking their advice.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced Wednesday that the 25 current Consumer Advisory Board members will be replaced, and will be ineligible to reapply to the board, the Washington Post reports.

Eleven advisory board members held a news conference Monday calling out Mulvaney for canceling several meetings — which are required to take place under the Dodd-Frank Act which created the agency.

ALTERNATIVE USES OF THE FIXED-INCOME MARKETS (All About Alpha) Rated: AAA

The report, called “Building Resilience into Portfolios,” explains that the traditional use of fixed income in a portfolio is quite straightforward. That use generally involves a long position on debt of various sorts (sovereign, corporate, developed or emerging markets), that is relied upon to reap premiums from duration and credit risk.

But there are alternative uses of these instruments, and given the “rapid pace of change within fixed-income markets” in recent years they have become more available than ever, with the goal of securing absolute return, “steady positive returns above cash.”

These strategies include the exploitation of relative valuation differentials and/or the taking of short positions in order to profit from rising yields.

One obvious problem is that the central banks are about to start (in some jurisdictions have started) raising rates, reversing the tailwind that has benefitted the traditional use of FI in recent years.

Alternative investors in FX, though, have the flexibility to avoid such problems. They can “avoid issues, sectors, or sub-categories of assets altogether, as they see fit, investing solely in their highest conviction views.”

LendingTree Personal Loan Offers Report – May 2018 (Lending Tree) Rated: AAA

Offered APRs continue to rise for all borrowers, while lenders offer slightly lower loan amounts. Rate and loan amount offers varied widely among consumers, depending on factors including, but not limited to, credit score, income, and current debt obligations.

The most common reasons for seeking a personal loan are credit card refinancing and debt consolidation. These two categories comprise 63% of all loan inquiries.

Source: Lending Tree

Use Technology To Play The Real Estate Investment Market (Forbes) Rated: A

In Chicago, a new startup has introduced a tool that builds algorithms based on questions completed by the investor to establish the baselines. The tool then finds both on- and off-market deals that suit the preferences of the investor.

PayPal is launching a pop-up art exhibit in New York City (Tearsheet) Rated: A

PayPal wants its customers to get a tangible experience of what cash-back rewards look like, adding a physical and emotional association with the digital financial-services company.

PayPal is hosting a live walk-through pop-up exhibit in New York City on June 8 and June 9, the first time the company has hosted an experiential event of this kind. Anyone can attend the free event with music and refreshments. PayPal is the latest financial company to add realness to what many consumers see as abstract, transactional products.

Real Estate Crowdfunding Earns $ 10 Million in First Week (DS News) Rated: A

Atlanta-based real estate mogul Jay Morrison recently launched a new real estate crowdfundingprogram, and it’s finding some strong early success, having raised nearly $10 million in its first week.

The Tulsa Real Estate Fund is described as “the first African-American owned Regulation A+ Tier II crowdfund designed to revitalize urban communities across the U.S.” According to the group’s press release, the Tulsa Real Estate Fund “allows both accredited and non-accredited investors to collectively invest and own real estate projects around the country that are unique, diversified, and yield a reasonable rate of return.”

Ironhorse Funding Raises $ 30M of Capital from Crestline Investors (FinSmes) Rated: A

Ironhorse Funding, LLC, a Beverly, MA-based financing platform that provides operational and capital support for dealers and distributors in the motorcycle and powersports market, raised $30M strategic financing.

Crestline Investors made the investment through the firm’s Opportunity Fund III platform, which seeks to deploy capital where Crestline finds inefficiencies in the primary credit markets in North America and Europe.

The funding will be used to provide alternative financing solutions for consumers in the motorcycle and powersports market.

SBI HOLDINGS INC ORDINARY SHARES (OTCMKTS:SBHGF) on Focus After Report of Less Shorts (Fricisco Fastball) Rated: A

The stock of SBI HOLDINGS INC ORDINARY SHARES (OTCMKTS:SBHGF) registered a decrease of 3.53% in short interest. SBHGF’s total short interest was 3.16M shares in June as published by FINRA. Its down 3.53% from 3.28M shares, reported previously. With 11,600 shares average volume, it will take short sellers 273 days to cover their SBHGF’s short positions. The short interest to SBI HOLDINGS INC ORDINARY SHARES’s float is 1.59%.

The stock decreased 1.20% or $0.32 during the last trading session, reaching $26.41. About 3,352 shares traded. SBI Holdings, Inc. (OTCMKTS:SBHGF) has 0.00% since June 8, 2017 and is . It has underperformed by 12.57% the S&P500.

How two fintech entrepreneurs are rising from the ashes (San Francisco Business Times) Rated: A

Renaud Laplanche at Lending Club and Mike Cagney at SoFi were high-profile fintech founders, but each left under a cloud. Now they are seeking quick comebacks — and a measure of vindication.

Debt restructuring company Lendstreet receives $ 7m funding (Fintech Futures) Rated: A

US-based Lendstreet has just closed a $7 million series A equity round, led by Prudential Financial and Radicle Impact.

Prudential and Radicle join Lendstreet’s existing investors Accion, the Centre for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI), Serious Change, Crunchfund, Kapor Capital, and Cross Culture Ventures in participating in the round.

Knowledge Gap Contributing To Housing Market And Affordability Concerns, Cautiousness (PR Newswire) Rated: A

Ten years after the 2008 housing crisis, Americans eye the housing market with caution, as more than half (53%) of Americans who have or plan to buy a home admit they’re concerned about their ability to afford a home in the current market, according to a recent study of college-educated adults. The findings, release today by national online lender and FDIC-insured bank Laurel Road, also reveal that Americans on average believe a similar housing crash will occur in the next five years, and nearly one-fifth of respondents anticipate a crash in less than one year.

The survey found that women in particular are potentially underestimating affordability, as they are significantly less likely than men (49% vs. 59%) to be familiar with the alternatives.

This lack of knowledge around alternative options potentially contributes to the fact that more than one-third (35%) of respondents – and 46% of millennials – do not feel confident that they could currently afford a 20% down payment. Women (45%) feel particularly less confident than men (24%), while more than two-fifths (42%) of student loan carriers do not feel confident.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle scraps downloadable loanbook (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

FUNDING Circle has withdrawn its downloadable loanbook and stopped publishing loan performance data on a daily basis.

The peer-to-peer business lender announced on Thursday that it has launched a new statistics page which will be updated every three months.

The platform also announced that it has partnered with analytics firm AltFi Data who will provide independent verification of its quarterly loan information.

Foreign investment in UK technology firms doubles in just one year (The Telegraph) Rated: AAA

British tech businesses attracted $7.8bn of funding last year, which was almost double the amount received in 2016. Research by Dealroom and Tech Nation showed that the UK’s venture capital investment last year was higher than Germany’s total of $3.2bn and France, which brought in $2.8bn.

According to a report by EY, there was a 22pc increase in digital investment into the UK, which helped to offset a decline in investment to sectors such as a financial services and logistics, due to investor concerns over Brexit.

New SME funding hub will boost awareness of P2P (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

PEER-TO-PEER finance resources will be included in a new funding hub for high-growth businesses looking to scale up in the UK.

The state-backed development bank has partnered with 12 industry bodies to provide information on 17 types of finance, including P2P lending.

Silicon Valley CTO joins UK fintech MarketInvoice (PCR), Rated: A

Fintech start-up MarketInvoice has appointed Rija Javed as its chief technology officer (CTO) as the company looks to invest heavily into its technology. Rija Javed joins from Wealthfront, a leading Silicon Valley based start-up.

P2P fund boss Simon Champ exits Pollen Street Capital (AltFi News) Rated: B

P2P fund pioneer Simon Champ has left his role as head of the investment manager of the £735m P2P Global Investments trust, AltFi can exclusively reveal.

Champ was a founding partner of P2P Capital Solutions which later became MW Eaglewood Europe and was the driving force behind the launch of the P2P Global Investments trust (P2P GI), raising a large seed portfolio for the investment trust from respected fund managers such as Neil Woodford and Mark Barnett.

BNP Paribas Asset Management launches SME alternative lending platform, completes first UK loan (AltFi News) Rated: A

BNP Paribas Asset Management has completed its first UK loan on its new SME lending platform.

The loan, a six year senior unsecured amortising loan, was made to a specialist recruitment services company based in the West of England.

Leading the way (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

SINCE its fifteen minutes of fame back around ‘OB Day’ on 13 January, when excited media reports promised the dawn of a new era of high-tech banking, Open Banking has slipped back into the fintech background, accompanied from some quarters by accusations of having been something of a damp squib.

But such claims misunderstand the nature of the beast, says Imran Gulamhuseinwala, implementation trustee of the snappily-named Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE) which develops and tests the APIs on which the  system is built.

There are a handful of peer-to-peer lending platforms already active in Open Banking, including Zopa and Lending Works.

LendInvest’s Buy to Let Product Propels Boom in Hiring as Demand Surges (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: B

Online mortgage lender LendInvest reports it is scrambling to hire new employees due to the demand of its Buy-to-Let (BTL) product. The LendInvest team has now grown to 15 people in the short period since the  BTL product was launched in November 2017.

Pike, joined the team from Fleet Mortgages.

LendInvest has also hired field-based Business Development Manager, Shane Wallace to cover the East of England. Shane brings over 10 years’ experience from Aldermore, where he was most recently employed as a Commercial Mortgage Manager.

China

Jack Ma’s Ant Financial Valued Around $ 150 Billion After Funding Round (Wall Street Journal) Rated: AAA

China’s Ant Small and Micro Financial Services Group Co. on Friday said it raised around $14 billion from domestic and global investors in one of the largest private-capital raises on record.

Standard Chartered says it will apply to operate a virtual bank in Hong Kong (SCMP), Rated: AAA

Hong Kong and London-listed Standard Chartered plans to apply for a virtual bank licence, making it the first traditional bank seeking a licence locally to operate purely online without physical branches.

European Union

The race to build Europe’s Robinhood: Invstr, Freetrade, Revolut, Dabbl and more (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

Startups across Europe are racing to try and replicate the success of Robinhood, the hot US stock trading app. San Francisco-based Robinhood offers a zero-fee trading app that has taken off with young Americans. Founded in 2013, it claims to have 4 million customers and in May hit a valuation of $5.6 billion. This success has not gone unnoticed. Fast-growing UK fintech startup Revolut on Thursday announced plans to build a commission-free stock trading platform, similar to the way Robinhood works.

Brokers are charging people as much as £5.00 ($6.70) per trade and the user interfaces are typically clunky, slow and confusing for consumers. The pain points are clear for us and the room for improvement is massive. We’ve just done some research and found 94% of millennials don’t actually invest but do want to, Ackred said. There are 16 million millennials just in the UK and 100 million more in Europe who are new to investing and have no good options to start.

International

The Center for Financial Inclusion Digs Into the Global Findex 2017 Numbers (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

Source: Lend Academy

The Center for Financial Inclusion, part of Accion, have released a follow up report digging into the Findex data and the picture is less rosy than what was highlighted in the World Bank’s initial report.

On the surface it looks like the world is making good progress towards financial inclusion with the Findex report showing that 68% of adults globally having some kind of bank account versus 61% in 2014 and 51% in 2011. That is rapid progress.

But CFI found a different story when just focusing on active accounts, those accounts that had some kind of transaction in the past 12 months. This takes the percentage down to 55% and what is worse the gap is widening between total accounts and active accounts indicating a growing number of people who open an account but never use it. This is true for both developing and high income countries but the gap is getting much wider in developing countries as shown in the graphic below.

Source: Lend Academy

SuperMoney Launches No-fee Financing Platform (DeBanked) Rated: A

At the Finovate Spring 2018 conference, CEO Miron Lulic and CFO Jesse Stockwell presented the company’s new SuperMoney No-fee Financing platform, which allows merchants to obtain point of sale financing from online lenders and banks.

The new platform allows a small business merchant, like a furniture store, to create a free profile that is co-branded with SuperMoney. With the profile, the merchant can easily see when a customer has applied for financing and follow up.

According to a Forrester Consulting study on SuperMoney’s website, businesses that offer point of sale financing enjoy an average increase in sales of 17 percent and an average increase in order value of 15 percent.

Spotting a Scamcoin: Ethconnect (Coin Clarity) Rated: B

While the term “lending platform” might sound harmless and even beneficial to society, it was never disclosed outright to whom the coins were being lent or for what exact purpose they were being lent (though they did have the courtesy to mention “volatility software” – a trading bot concept directly plagiarized from Bitconnect). They were in fact being “lent” to Ethconnect themselves. This lack of detail did not stop hundreds of people, blinded by the prospects of huge profits, from throwing thousands of dollars at the project. But also unlike Bitconnect, none of them would ever see another penny of it again.

Australia

Prospa founders admit float lost ‘vital momentum’ (Sidney Morning Herald) Rated: AAA

The co-founders of small business lender Prospa maintain the company can return to the public markets for a future float, after a last-minute regulatory query this week created “confusion” that sapped the listing of vital “momentum.”

India

Digital SME Lenders Bank On Co-Lending To Make Their Presence Felt (Bloomberg Quint), Rated: AAA

If corporate lending was the flavour of the season at the turn of the decade, then retail lending has captured the attention of financiers over the last few years. Now, it is lending to the country’s small and medium enterprises, which is attracting increased focus from both traditional and new-age financial sector entities.

Capital Float, ranked among the country’s largest digital lending platforms, disbursed Rs 1,500 crore to MSMEs in 2017-18 out of a total portfolio of Rs 2,500 crore, according to information provided by the company. The ticket size of loans ranged from Rs 50,000 given to small local businesses to Rs 8-10 lakh loaned to larger SMEs.

Latin America

Fintech Regulation Promotes Invocation In Brazil (Mondaq) Rated: AAA

Resolution no. 4.656/2.018 published by the Brazilian Central Bank on 26 April,  which regulated credit fintechs in Brazil, opens the door of the highly concentrated banking sector in Brazil, so that financial technology companies can offer products and financial services in the credit market. Today, credit fintechs already operate in the financial market, but always through a financial institution duly regulated by the Brazilian Central Bank (CB).

With this new regulation, two types of financial institutions with different business models were created. They are: the “Sociedade de Crédito Direto” (SCD) (“Direct Credit Company”), which will carry out credit operations only using its own financial resources, and the “Sociedade de Emprésimo entre Pessoas” (SEP), (Peer-to-Peer Loan Company), which will carry out credit operations only as a financial intermediary without retaining risks or using their own resources, known in the market as “peer-to-peer lending”. Both institutions, after approval by the Central Bank (CB), will be authorized to operate, only, through an electronic platform.

Asia

China’s fintech companies are exporting AI and big data to Asia’s ‘laggard’ banking markets (SCMP), Rated: AAA

Chinese fintech companies have made headway in expanding their business to Southeast Asian markets, as they increasingly find their know-how in big data and artificial intelligence being sought after by Asian financial institutions in risk management and compliance.

Online consumer finance platform Weshare, which offers consumer loans through its mobile app, says it is applying for a P2P licence from Indonesia’s central bank.

Korean web harvesting giant is ready to scrape data around the world (Korea Joongang Daily) Rated: A

We also have smaller fintech start-ups as our clients. One of them is Bomapp, an insurance service application that is designed to offer insurance advice and find redundant coverage of registered insurance. For a start-up like Bomapp, we don’t charge per piece of data because we acknowledge that start-ups lack funds. Instead, we agreed to take equity from Bomapp.

As P2P start-ups become more active, we also provide user data for them. Among our clients are Lendit and 8percent. They use the data to assess credit ratings and get information about individual asset size. They try to use the online data because the P2P companies pursue a different credit rating approach to banks. We see there is a great opportunity in the fintech industry because they are keen to venture into new businesses.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday May 17 2018, Daily News Digest

aadhaar

News Comments Today’s main news: Chime surpasses 1M bank accounts. Top MPLs (SoFi, VPC, more) join Marketplace Lending Association. LendingPoint secures up to $600M credit facility. Today’s main analysis: Survey on Aadhaar, data-driven insights. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Why the credit card boom has peaked. Should banks have ‘flanker’ brands? The Baltics are stars in EU P2P lending. Top personal loans […]

aadhaar

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

India

International

Other

News Summary

United States

Chime Surpasses One Million Bank Accounts (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

Chime announced it surpassed one million accounts to date last month and has now processed more than $4.5 billion in total transaction volume, solidifying Chime’s position as the clear leader in the U.S. challenger banking segment.

Unlike traditional banks that charged consumers over $34 billion in fees in 2017, Chime is transforming the consumer banking experience. The company’s unique business model, which doesn’t rely on fees, allows Chime to relentlessly focus on its mission of helping members lead healthy financial lives.

 

CreditShop Introduces the Mercury Mastercard for Hardworking Americans (Pr Newswire) Rated: A

CreditShop LLC, a finance company focused on developing, marketing and servicing consumer-friendly credit products, today announced the introduction of the Mercury Mastercard. Mercury cards will provide cardmembers with complementary access to their FICO score, and account performance will be reported to major credit bureaus. The cards will be issued by First Bank & Trust of Brookings, South Dakota.

There are about 75 million Americans in the “middle market” with FICO scores ranging between 575 and 675, and many are charged high fees by sub-prime credit card issuers.

LendingPoint Secures up to $ 600 Million Credit Facility Arranged by Guggenheim Securities (Business Wire) Rated: AAA

LendingPoint today announced it has closed an up to $600 million, committed credit facility arranged by Guggenheim Securities, the investment banking and capital markets division of Guggenheim Partners.

With this new deal, LendingPoint has secured up to $1.1 billion of senior credit financing in less than one year. In September 2017, the company announced it had secured an up to $500 million committed credit facility, also arranged by Guggenheim Securities.

What are the Forces Behind the GreenSky IPO? (PYMNTS) Rated: A

Some 58 percent of U.S. homeowners will pay for home improvements this year, roughly the same level of interest in 2017, according to the fifth annual LightStream Home Improvement Survey. LightStream is the national online lending division of SunTrust Banks.

But spending plans tell a different story, one that works in favor of the GreenSky IPO. “The percentage of people intending to use a home improvement loan has grown 29 percent from 2017, with 54 percent more 18- to 34-year-olds planning to fund projects through home improvement financing,” the report said. “While overall, 30 percent of homeowners say they’ll pay for some portion of their 2018 project with a credit card, 16 percent fewer homeowners aged 18 to 34 plan to use them” compared to 2017.

Coinbase just rolled out 4 new crypto trading tools, and they offer a big clue to where the platform might be headed next (Business Insider) Rated: A

On Tuesday, the company announced the launch of four services, all centered on attracting financial institutions to its platform. The new tools include options like Coinbase Custody, a custodian partnership similar to the custodian offerings typically provided by banks to secure customers’ cash, and Coinbase Prime, a platform centered on research and market data geared toward institutional clients.

After collaborating previously at Exeter Finance and AmeriCredit, auto finance industry veterans Mark Floyd and Kenneth Wardle are teaming up again; this time to leverage what’s happening online when consumers search for financing.

According to a news release sent to SubPrime Auto Finance News this week, Floyd and Wardle have acquired an equity stake in Horizon Digital Financial Holdings, an online auto finance technology firm located in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. The transaction was effective May 1.

Horizon Digital is the parent company for online consumer loan marketplace participant myAutoloan.com.

Floyd will serve as chairman and chief executive officer of Horizon Digital, and Wardle will serve as chief operating officer.

Is Envestnet’s market dominance also its weakness? (Financial Planning) Rated: A

At well over $400 billon, Envestnet has more than six times the assets of its nearest competitor in its core asset management platform business. Tamarac, the firm’s rebalancing, reporting and practice management software powerhouse, has seen revenue grow approximately eight-fold since Envestnet bought the company six years ago.

The always-opportunistic Envestnet insured itself a pole position in data aggregation and analytics, one of the sexiest tech areas in the business, by acquiring the innovative Silicon Valley firm Yodlee three years ago.

After raising $ 110M, Circle raises announces new US dollar-linked cryptocurrency (Silicon Angle) Rated: A

Bitcoin and blockchain startup Circle Internet Financial, Inc. has raised $110 million in new funding as a “strategic investment” while also announcing its intent to launch a new cryptocurrency tied to the U.S. dollar.

The new round announced Tuesday, the first since 2016, was led by Bitmain, with the participation of IDG Capital, Breyer Capital, General Catalyst, Accel, Digital Currency Group, Pantera, Blockchain Capital and Tusk Ventures.

A fintech shifts gears to virtual cards (American Banker) Rated: A

The fintech startup Regalii, which originally built technology to help immigrants pay bills back home, has pivoted. Under a new name, arcus, it is now helping banks reissue credit and debit cards to customers whose cards have been lost, stolen or breached.

What is Elix / Elixir (ELIX)? | Beginner’s Guide (Coin Central) Rated: A

Elix is an Ethereum-based platform for payments, loans, and crowdfunding. The team is uniquely taking a mobile-first approach and focusing on usability to attract as large of a user base as possible from the start.

Elix also includes a platform, Boost, to facilitate decentralized crowdfunding campaigns using smart contracts.

Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Lending

With Elix, though, both the lender and the borrower are incentivized to follow the terms of the loan. When setting up a loan, the participants can opt to include a mining period once the loan is complete to gain additional rewards. If enabled, as a lender, you must hold the ELIX in your wallet for a certain amount of time in a system similar to Proof-of-Stake. When that holding period is complete, Elix hands out the rewards in the form of a new token, Token P. This token will most likely have a different name in the future.

If the borrower pays back the loan on time, the reward is split with the lender receiving 65% and the borrower receiving 35%. If the borrower has late payments, though, the lender receives 100% of the reward.

Why the Credit-Card Boom May Have Just Peaked (Wall Street Journal) Rated: AAA

Following some of their strongest years ever, credit-card issuers are grappling with an uneasy future.

Five of the largest credit-card issuers— American Express Co. AXP 0.87% Capital One Financial Corp. COF 1.15% Citigroup Inc., C -0.20% Discover Financial Services DFS 0.54% and Synchrony Financial SYF 0.90% —generated a median return of 2.1% on their assets for common shareholders in the first quarter, up from 2% a year earlier but down from 2.6% two years prior, according to analysis by Autonomous Research. The recent peak was 3.7% in the second quarter of 2011, according to an industry analysis by Autonomous at the time.

Top 5 Personal Loans With No Origination Fee (Student Loan Hero) Rated: AAA

To help, here’s our list of the top five lenders. Interest rates were current as of May 16, 2018. Some rates include a discount for setting up autopay. LightStream rates can vary by loan amount, repayment period, and the purpose of the debt.

Source Student Loan Hero

7 Alternatives to a Traditional Bank Account (Dough Roller) Rated: A

However, when you invest in P2P lending, you’re only purchasing notes, not entire loans. The notes represent $25 slivers of individual loans. That means that you can invest in 40 different loans with an investment of $1,000. That will help to minimize your risk.

The returns on P2P lending are impressive. Lending Club advertises average returns of about 4% to 6% per year, but many individuals are reporting much higher returns.

Coinbase’s first investment, Compound, earns you interest on crypto (Tech Crunch) Rated: A

Compound wants to let you borrow cryptocurrency, or lend it and earn an interest rate. Most cryptocurrency is shoved in a wallet or metaphorically hidden under a mattress, failing to generate interest the way traditionally banked assets do. But Compound wants to create liquid money markets for cryptocurrency by algorithmically setting interest rates, and letting you gamble by borrowing and then short-selling coins you think will sink. It plans to launch its first five for Ether, a stable coin, and a few others, by October.

Today, Compound is announcing some ridiculously powerful allies for that quest. It’s just become the first-ever investment by crypto exchange juggernaut Coinbase’s  new venture fund. It’s part of an $8.2 million seed round led by top-tier VC Andreessen Horowitz, crypto hedge fund Polychain Capital and Bain Capital Ventures — the startup arm of the big investment firm. [Update: Compound told us it was Coinbase Ventures’ first investment when it closed its round, though Coinbase notes that it’s done 8 rapid-fire investments over the past two months alongside this funding.]

NYU’s Sam Chandan on the Changing Real Estate Capital Markets (Commercial Property Executive) Rated: B

While there is potential for growth and it’s an exciting opportunity, real estate crowdfunding will remain a relatively small share of the overall market. In our view, on the long-term, banks, agency lenders, life insurance companies will remain the dominant sources of financing into the market.

 

Rene van Kesteren joins BlockFi as Chief Risk Officer (BlockFi) Rated: B

Former Managing Director of Equity Markets at BOA Merrill Lynch, Rene van Kesteren, joins BlockFi as Chief Risk Officer. BlockFi, based in New York City, serves crypto investors by offering USD loans collateralized by cryptoassets.

Van Kesteren will be responsible for the company’s risk models and product development in addition to general strategic influence as part of the company’s executive team.

United Kingdom

Is it wrong for banks to launch ‘flanker’ brands? (AltFi News) Rated: AAA

Samir Desai, co-founder and chief executive officer of one of the UK’s biggest fintech firms Funding Circle, once suggested Esme was little more than a ‘massive corporate fudge’.

For the uninitiated, Esme is the online lending platform launched by NatWest. It can advance loans of up to £150,000 to small businesses in less than an hour, utilising a wholly online process that is a great deal swifter and simpler than its progenitor, NatWest, can manage.

NatWest is by no means alone in having launched a separate digital banking or lending brand – often called ‘flanker’ brands by innovation specialists.

Victory Park Capital joins Marketplace Lending Association (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: B

VICTORY Park Capital (VPC) has joined US industry body the Marketplace Lending Association (MLA).

 

China

China’s tech giants have few worries from smaller rivals (Channel Asia News) Rated: A

Chinese start-ups and other established companies like Didi Chuxing, Xiaomi and Meituan Dianping may command high valuations but they are unlikely to dislodge leaders Alibaba and Tencent, says one observer from the Financial Times.

China’s pre-eminent tech duo of Alibaba and Tencent are approaching their 20th birthdays. Still reasonably youthful but old enough to have spawned an entire new generation of internet wunderkinder.

Peer-to-peer lending, for example, offers a graphic illustration of what can happen when multiple players are unleashed.

European Union

The Baltics, the Shining Stars in the EU P2P Lending landscape (The Baltic Times) Rated: AAA

Finbee (LV) offers average yields as high as 20%, while all of them offering returns between 10-20%.

An explanations of the yield/risk ratio is that they use quality originators, a magic formula for due diligence, using new technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence.

One too watch is Peerberry (LV) using outside loan originators and creating a marketplace to trade consumer loans offering a 12.49% on average.

 

International

Marketplace Lending Association Announces Nine New Members (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

The Marketplace Lending Association (MLA) today announced the addition of nine new companies to the Association. The new members join as the MLA continues to expand its presence and engage with policymakers in Washington and around the country.  The three new lending firms include Social Finance(SoFi), LendingPoint and College Ave.  The six new Associate and Investor Council Members of the MLA include Laurel Road, Education Loan Finance (ELFI), Arcadia Funds, Victory Park Capital, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and First Associates.  The MLA now has 24 active members.

TraXion.tech announces pre-sale, ICO (Inquirer) Rated: B

Ireland-based company Pluma Technologies Ltd together with its Philippine partner Gava Technologies Inc. are raising $4M worth of Ether through a pre-sale for its TraXion tokens.

TraXion.tech Chief Executive Officer Ann Cuisia said that the company’s token sale would pave the way for TraXion to become the go-to crypto-economy for payments, peer-to-peer lending, remittances, savings, insurance, investments, and philanthropy.

The TraXion token pre-sale began last May 1, 2018 and the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) will start on June 1, 2018, respectively. TraXion tokens are currently valued at 0.001 ETH.

India

Largest Independent Survey on Aadhaar, provides Data-Driven Insights (IDinsight Press Office) Rated: AAA

IDinsight, a global development analytics firm, today released its State of Aadhaar Report 2017-18 which provides data-driven insights on Aadhaar, the world’s largest biometric system. The report is based on an independent household survey covering 2947 rural households in 21 districts across three Indian states.  The survey was conducted between November 2017 and February 2018.

The key highlights of the report are:

  • Over 96% of respondents value privacy and thought it is important to know what the government will do with their Aadhaar data. At the same time, 87% of respondents approve of mandatory linking of Aadhaar to public welfare programs.
  • Aadhaar’s coverage is widespread, but the data quality has room for improvement. The report finds a higher uptake of Aadhaar than voter identification cards. In addition, the report finds no evidence of differences in enrollment by gender, caste, religion, or education levels. The report highlights that 8.8% of Aadhaar-holders reported errors on their name, age, address, or other information on their Aadhaar letter. Compared to voter identification cards, the error-rate on Aadhaar was 1.5 times higher.
  • While exclusion from food subsidy welfare-benefits due to Aadhaar-related factors is significant, it is lower than exclusion explained by factors unrelated to Aadhaar. State capacity has a bearing on the functioning of welfare distribution, with wide variation between certain states. Overall monthly exclusion from welfare benefits ranges from 9.9% to 1.1%. Of this, Aadhaar-related factors contribute 2.2% and 0.8% respectively. Despite this, the report finds that a majority of welfare beneficiaries prefer Aadhaar-based benefits delivery in both states, as they perceive biometric authentication prevents identity fraud.
Source: State of Aadhaar Report

Read the full report here.

Peer-to-peer lending expected to see huge traction in India (The Week) Rated: A

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, which helps people to borrow and lend money without the help of an official financial set up such as a bank as an intermediary, is expected to see huge traction in the country in the near future. It is estimated that the value of P2P lending to be generated in India over next five years will be around $4 billion (which will be 160 times the current lending size).

However, this is sum is small when compared to China where P2P lending book currently is around $100 billion, indicating the potential for exponential growth opportunity available for P2P in India. India currently has around 30 online P2P lending platforms with a current loan book of $ 25 million.

Indian Govt’s Flagship Startup Scheme Slows Down As DIPP Hits Brakes On Funding (Inc42 Media) Rated: B

The Indian government’s $1.47 Bn (INR10,000 Cr ) Fund-of-Funds for Start-ups (FFS) , a part of the Start-up India Action Plan aimed at helping startups gather funds, isn’t seeing much action and it isn’t because of lack of trying, The Indian Express reported.

Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), which manages FFS program, has so far committed $189.3 Mn( INR 1,285 Cr) to 27 local venture capital funds under the FFS scheme, of which $20.8 Mn (INR 141 Cr)  —only about 11% — has been disbursed to these funds till April 2018.

Asia

Standard Chartered to use Robo Web’s LnB platform (Taipei Times) Rated: A

Standard Chartered Bank Taiwan Ltd (渣打台灣銀行) yesterday entered into a partnership with peer-to-peer lending operator Robo Web Technology Co (瑞保網路科技) to expand its retail banking clientele from high-net-worth individuals to the general public.

The alliance enables borrowers to open accounts and apply for loans without visiting brick-and-mortar branches and came as competition from non-traditional players gains force.

Standard Chartered would continue to pursue affluent clients, but also aims to take advantage of the fast-growing digital banking business, which was valued at US$64 billion in 2015 and could hit US$1 trillion in 2025, Lin said.

 

How proptech is changing Hong Kong’s property industry (South China Morning Post) Rated: A

Start-ups in Asia-Pacific have received US$4.8b, or over 60pc of the world’s proptech investments, with Hong Kong and China taking US$3b of that amount.

In Hong Kong, some companies working in property have begun adopting proptech, but by and large, the industry and regulators have been slow in tapping into these advances, which analysts attribute to a few factors.

JLL said in a November report that 179 start-ups in Asia-Pacific have received US$4.8 billion, or over 60 per cent of the world’s proptech investments since 2013, with Hong Kong and mainland China taking US$3 billion of that amount.

Hong Kong is also aiming to become a global hub for innovation and technology, earmarking HK$50 billion (US$6.37 billion) this year to boost the tech sector.

 

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday January 18 2018, Daily News Digest

mobile banking user growth

News Comments Today’s main news: Marcus passes the $2B loan origination mark. Varo Money secures $45M in Round B. Funding Circle’s fund announces Citibank deal. Qudian enters budget auto financing. PeerStreet intros 30-day notes. Today’s main analysis: Investing in Mintos’ secondary market. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Mobile banking is more important than ever. Credit score changes would force banks to help […]

mobile banking user growth

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United States

United Kingdom

China

International

India

APAC

News Summary

United States

Goldman Sachs’ Online Lending Platform Marcus Has Originated Over $ 2 Billion in Loans, Deposits Rise to Over $ 5 Billion (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Meeting a prediction from this past June set by Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, online lending platform Marcus topped $2 billion in loan originations. Additionally, Marcus reported online deposits of over $5 billion. Deposits and consumer lending have now been combined under a single brand, thus, in reality, creating a challenger bank for the future.

Overall, Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) reported net revenues of $32.07 billion and net earnings of $4.29 billion for the year ended December 31, 2017.

Diluted earnings per common share were $9.01 compared with $16.29 for the year ended December 31, 2016. Goldman reported a Q4 loss of $5.51 per share. The results were impacted by a tax related expense of $4.4 billion. Without this expense, Goldman said earnings per share would have been $5.68.

Varo Money Closes $ 45M Series B Financing Round (Varo Money Email), Rated: AAA

Mobile banking is more important than ever (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

As we’ve seen for the past few quarters, mobile banking is continuing to rise, but the rate of growth is decelerating as offerings mature.

  • JPMorgan Chase 

    How a 23-year-old Max Levchin got Peter Thiel to invest in PayPal in under 24 hours (Business Insider), Rated: A

    Levchin told Shontell, “I saw [Thiel’s] name on the pinboard, wandered into a class that was taught by him, which turned out to be more like seminar with six people in the room. So it was a very small group of people. One: I couldn’t sleep because it would be obvious, but two, he was actually pretty interesting. So I stayed awake and chatted him up afterwards.”

    That turned out to be a good move. Here’s Levchin:

    “In the inimitable Peter Thiel fashion, we basically spend about 20 minutes talking after his lecture, and he said, ‘Well, what are you doing in Silicon Valley?’ I said, ‘I just got here two weeks ago. Probably gonna start a company.’ He said, ‘Oh, great. We should meet for breakfast.’

    “We met the next day. He said, ‘All right, so what companies are you thinking of starting?’ I had two ideas that I was concurrently thinking about. I described No. 1., No. 2. He said, ‘No. 1 is better; you should do that.’ ‘OK.’ ‘I’d like to invest.’ It was less than 24 hours later. Peter was a committed investor in my new project.”

    Credit score changes would saddle banks with risk to help nonbanks (American Banker), Rated: AAA

    Recently, the Federal Housing Finance Agency has been evaluating whether to allow originators that sell loans to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to use something other than the currently mandated FICO model. Specifically, the FHFA is evaluating whether originators can also use the VantageScore model offered by a company owned by the three credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

    VantageScore contends that its model will provide credit scores on more than 30 million additional consumers and make 7.6 million of these scores eligible for a loan sold to Fannie or Freddie because of the model’s supposed ability to more accurately assess blemished and dormant credit histories and accommodate thin credit files that most often effect younger consumers. VantageScore also argues that, since the model consolidates data from all three credit bureaus, it eliminates scoring differences caused by data discrepancies. The result, the company maintains, will be expanded home ownership, a more vibrant housing market, more consistent underwriting and faster economic growth.

    The major proponents of the alternative credit scoring model are large nonbank originators and credit reporting firms — companies that make their living from the quantity of loans they originate, not the quality. Their business models shield them from ongoing credit risk and require ever-increasing volumes to achieve scale economies. In short, nonbank originators generally don’t eat their own cooking — either in the form of loans or in the form of securities backed by the loans they originate. Therefore, they have everything to gain from this FHFA change, and very little to lose.

    PeerStreet Announces New Investment Product “30-Day Notes” (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

    On Wednesday, PeerStreet announced the launch of its new investment product, 30-Day Note, to provide increased liquidity for accredited investors at 30-day terms. According to the online lender, the 30-Day Notes product was launched quietly in October as a pilot program, is now offered monthly.

    Axial Members Surpass $ 25 Billion in Closed Middle Market Deals (Axial Email), Rated: A

    Axial, the deal network for the middle market, today announced its members have closed more than $25 billion in deals on 2,000-plus M&A and growth capital transactions since Axial’s launch in 2010. To facilitate these closed transactions, Axial arranged more than 2.1 million private member-to-member deal connections. Nearly one-third (650) of the total transactions closed in 2017.

    In 2017, the revenues of businesses that privately transacted using the Axial deal network ranged from $2.9 million to $610 million, with EBITDA ranging from negative $19 million to $223 million. Top sectors of deal flow activity include Business Services, SaaS, Healthcare IT, Distribution & Logistics, and Manufacturing. Notably, 24% of all growth capital transactions attempted in 2017 were in the Technology sector, more than doubling year-over-year from 10% in 2016.

    Worthy Peer Capital Receives SEC Qualification for 5% Money Market Alternative (Worthy Financial Email), Rated: A

    Worthy Financial, Inc., a modern personal finance company that delivers alternative investment products and digital savings solutions to a wide-range of retail investors, is pleased to announce that its subsidiary Worthy Peer Capital, Inc. has been qualified by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), under Regulation A+, to bring a new liquid peer-debt product to the entire investing ecosystem.

    The new Worthy Bond offers all investors – including non-accredited investors – a 5% fixed return. Although the bonds have a 36 month term, they can be cashed in at any time for those with imminent liquidity needs, thereby serving more as an alternative to traditional money market products. Bonds may be purchased at .

    Democrats Add Momentum to G.O.P. Push to Loosen Banking Rules (The New York Times), Rated: A

    But unlike the $1.5 trillion tax overhaul, which passed along party lines, the effort to loosen the post-crisis rules is somewhat bipartisan. A group of Senate Democrats has joined Republicans to support legislation that would mark the first major revision of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, a signature accomplishment of President Barack Obama that has been deemed “a disaster” by President Trump.

    The bill would allow hundreds of smaller banks to avoid certain elements of federal oversight, including stress tests, which measure a bank’s ability to withstand a severe economic downturn. Under current law, banks with assets of $50 billion or more are considered “systemically important financial institutions” and therefore governed by stricter rules. The bill would raise that threshold to institutions with assets of $250 billion or more, leaving fewer than 10 big banks in the United States subject to the stricter oversight.

    Banks with assets of $50 billion to $100 billion would be immediately freed from those requirements. Financial institutions with $100 billion to $250 billion in assets, such as BB&T and American Express, would no longer be subject to tougher rules after 18 months, although the Federal Reserve would retain the authority to periodically conduct stress tests on those firms.

     

    The One Big Reason It’s So Hard to Refinance Your Student Loans (Money), Rated: A

    More than half of borrowers who applied for refinancing in 2017 were turned down, according on a report released Wednesday by LendEDU, a student loan marketplace that tracked 32,000 applications to eight refinance companies.

    Using data from users of the LendEDU marketplace, the report found that 58% of 2017 refinance applicants were ultimately rejected. And those who passed muster had very high FICO credit scores—the average approved applicant had a score of 764. Nationally, the average credit scoreis 700 out of 850; anything above 720 qualifies as excellent.

    Refinancing companies are currently advertising fixed interest rates that start at about 3.5%. Yet the average on refinanced loans in 2017 was 5.56%, LendEDU found.

    Source: Money

    Bill Gates made these 15 predictions in 1999 — and it’s scary how accurate he was (Business Insider), Rated: A

    Gates’ prediction: “People will carry around small devices that allow them to constantly stay in touch and do electronic business from wherever they are. They will be able to check the news, see flights they have booked, get information from financial markets, and do just about anything else on these devices.”

    No. 3: Instant payments and financing online 

    Gates’ prediction: “Automated price comparison services will be developed, allowing people to see prices across multiple websites, making it effortless to find the cheapest product for all industries.”

    The Top Ten Fintech Predictions for 2018 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

    10. Resurgence of Peer to Peer Lending and the Emergence of A New Asset Class

    We’ve seen coin-backed lending such as Salt Lending. There will be many more platforms that will attempt to solve solvency and liquidity issues with lending in fiat currency backed by coins.

    9. Alternative Internet

    The cost of a simple PayPal transaction might go up dramatically because it was routed through Comcast’s fiber. You may have to pay an additional $3.99 a month for an “Online Banking” package if you want to do online banking…

    8. Banks will rule again

    Most of the online platforms (payments or lending) plus secondary markets are at the mercy of banks. Without a bank charter, you are simply limited on growth.

    6. Baby Boomer Financial, Inc.

    The youngest baby boomers are approaching retirement age. The baby boomer generation is about 75 million people (on par with Millennials) in the US and represents a vast amount of wealth in this country. They want to transact, invest, bank and most importantly transfer their wealth in a responsible way. I predict that there will be Fintech startups specifically addressing the needs of this generation of folks.

    4. Mass Adoption of Zero Latency Payment Clearance/Credit.

    Over the past few decades, we went from a cash society and in-person / in-branch interviews to “same-day” ACH (direct deposit) and next day loan funding. I predict that in 2018, we will see instant credit approval and funding.

    3.  Social Networks Venture Into Credit.

    I am making another prediction that Facebook or Snapchat will venture into extending credit.

    2. Vertical Integration.

    WeWork will get into the Working Capital lending business. And dare I say Indeed, Monster, and LinkedIn, will start lending money based on your resume and activities within your professional connections?!

    BlackRock makes impact a necessity for companies (ImpactAlpha), Rated: A

    Larry Fink flips social impact from a luxury to a necessity for every company. The chief executive of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager with $6 trillion under management, served notice on corporate CEOs their companies “must benefit all of their stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, customers, and the communities in which they operate.” Fink made his point as clearly as possible: “To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society.”

    Would a bank payday loan be any safer? (Daily Journal of Commerce), Rated: A

    Thanks to a recent regulatory change, it now may be possible for banks to offer small, short-term loans that could be a lot less dangerous for borrowers. Whether banks will actually do so remains to be seen.

    Standard Chartered creates fintech investment unit (Fintech Futures), Rated: B

    Standard Chartered has established a new business unit, SC Ventures, to invest in fintechs and other start-ups.

    Christopher Blake Joins Cross River Bank Loan Team (Long Island Press), Rated: B

    Veteran loan officer Christopher Blake joined Cross River Bank, where he’ll serve clients in Long Island, Queens and Brooklyn in the lender’s Commercial and Multi-Family Real Estate division, the company announced Tuesday.

    Freefly has teamed up with three fantastic financing partners (Freefly), Rated: B

    AFFIRM FINANCING

    Ideal for individuals looking to finance their Freefly purchases.

    SCL EQUIPMENT FINANCE

    A flexible lender designed for U.S. business, sole proprietors, and independent contractors.

    GLOBAL FINANCE

    A creative lender with options for businesses in the U.S. and many countries across the globe.

    United Kingdom

    Funding Circle’s fund unveils Citibank deal (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

    FUNDING Circle’s listed fund has inked a deal with Citibank, whereby the financial institution indirectly channels £50m to small businesses through the peer-to-peer lending platform.

    The transaction was announced by the Funding Circle SME Income Fund (FCIF) on Wednesday.

    Under a rather complicated structured finance deal, Citibank’s London branch will advance a senior, floating rate loan of £50m through two Irish special purpose vehicles. The facility matures in December 2026.

    Funding Circle SME Income Fund Limited (London South East), Rated: A

    The Board is pleased to announce that the Company has entered into a formal agreement with Citibank, N.A. London Branch (“Citibank London”) to establish a funding transaction to make loans to ?UK small businesses through the Funding Circle platform?. The transaction will serve to support the Company’s target dividend yield of 6-7% per annum.

    Under the terms of the agreement Citibank London will provide �50 million of funding into the transaction, by entering into a senior, floating rate loan. The Company will contribute a portfolio of existing UK small business loans at par, and in return shall receive ?approximately �50 million of cash to be deployed in accordance with its investment policy, and junior notes.

    Fintech firms struggling to get a foothold with established lenders (The Irish Times), Rated: A

    Banks and other financial institutions remain extremely wary of working with fintech firms, particularly in Ireland where few are willing to give start-ups the endorsement they need to help secure business elsewhere.

    Andrew Patrick White, founder and chief executive of FundApps, a regtech firm that provides compliance and regulation monitoring services to asset managers and hedge funds, said many financial institutions were afraid of fintech solutions because of a fear that they would be used to replace staff.

    “Your grandmother probably has more sophisticated apps on her iPad than many banks have inhouse,” Mr White added.

    Your morning briefing (PaymentsSource), Rated: A

    ‘All-in-one’ cards get another shotCurve has debuted a card in the U.K. that allows consumers to switch a card used to fund a payment after they have left the store. Through the card’s “back in time” feature, card preferences can be changed for up to two weeks, a system the company is selling as a financial management tool. Curve, which is being offered for free with a $60 premium option with more rewards, works like a regular card and is usable anyplace that accepts Mastercard. While all-in-one cards have struggled to gain traction over the years, more than 100,000 people signed up during the card’s testing phase and spent more than $120 million, according to a release.

    OnePlus’ fraud hit: Electronic equipment company OnePlus became the latest to get hit with card fraud, with consumers reporting unauthorized transactions and the company disabling credit card payments but still allowing PayPal transactions. The company is doing a complete audit of its systems and is looking for alternative payment options.

    When we asked, which, if any, Isas have you used over the 2017/18 tax year, nearly a third (32%) said they’d only used a Stocks and Shares Isa.

    This was followed by nearly a quarter (24%) who’ve only used a Cash Isa, and 17% who use a mixture of different Isas.

    This decline in Cash Isa savings is likely to be attributed to poor cash savings rates and the introduction of the personal savings allowance in April 2017.

    Interestingly, Innovative Finance Isas – used for peer-to-peer lending – don’t appear to have taken off, with just 3% of those who voted in our poll only using this savings vehicle.

    Source: Moneywise

    Name Change for Funding Knight as GLI Finance Updates to Sancus Funding (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

    As part of an ongoing strategic update, GLI Finance has renamed peer to peer lending platform FundingKnight to Sancus Funding Limited with immediate effect. GLI Finance, an AIM listed company, has also transferred ownership to Sancus BMS Group Limited.

    China

    Qudian is Moving into Budget Auto Financing (CapitalWatch), Rated: AAA

    The newly listed peer-to-peer lending company in China, Qudian (NYSE: QD), has moved into auto-purchase financing, a new business initiative called “Dabai Auto,” according to the company.

    Launched in late November 2017, Dabai Auto is currently targeting Qudian’s existing high quality users, who have been approved with credit lines, but have not actively transacted in small cash installments. The company also announced that it plans to spend around RMB 100 million ($15.5 million) to promote Dabai Auto through online and offline channels. The offline channels would include Qudian user engagement and delivery centers that are located in the shopping districts of over 100 cities across China.

    HNA-owned P2P lending platform doing business normally, executive says (Global Times), Rated: A

    Payments of investment products on jbh.com, an online peer-to-peer (P2P) platform owned by HNA Group, remain normal and there have not been any capital losses since the platform was set up three years ago, an executive of the company said on Wednesday.

    Payments for all maturing investment products on jbh.com are being made as normal, sina.com.cn reported Wednesday, citing Xia Aobi, president of jbh.com.

    International

    Funding Circle and Lufax: Two High Profile IPOs for 2018 (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

    Neither IPO is a surprise as both companies have indicated their intentions before. But we now have a clearer indication on the timing. First off the rank will likely be Lufax. The South China Morning Post reported that Lufax is planning to do their IPO in Hong Kong in April at a possible valuation of US$60 billion. This would be more than three times the valuation of their previous funding round in 2016.

    The Funding Circle news actually broke just before the New Year with this article from Sky News. They reported that the company was preparing to hire advisors in the first steps towards an IPO. They are supposedly going to interview investment bankers this quarter with a possible listing in London in late fall which would put us in the latter part of the third quarter.

    A successful Funding Circle IPO, one where the valuation rises after it goes public will be very good for the marketplace lending industry in both the UK and the US. We have had little good news here in the last couple of years when it comes to the public markets and I would very much like to see a success story here.

    Investing on the Mintos Secondary Market – Hint One (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

    On the Mintos p2p lending marketplace the majority of investors invest on the primary market into loans, either manually or via autoinvest. But for the 29% of investors that do invest on the secondary market picking loans presents them with a huge choice of about 125,000 offers (no typo, really 125K loan parts on offer!).

    Source: P2P-Banking

    For the shown loans there is a very high probability that they will miss the payment and therefore run an additional 60 days until they are repaid under the buyback guarantee. If that happens the remaining actual loan duration would be 62 or 63 days and the impact of the 0.1% discount on the YTM would be much smaller. The resulting YTM would be somewhere around 11 to 13%. So they would not be a good buy and there are much better offers on the secondary market.

    Source: P2P-Banking

    With two weeks remaining the effective YTM for a buyer is not 36% but rather around 12%. Again there are offers with better YTMs on the secondary market.

    Chinese tech groups undermine banks’ dominance of finance (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

    The recent refusal by US regulators to sign off on Ant Financial’s $1.2bn acquisition of Dallas-based money transfer firm MoneyGram International does not signal the end of the Alibaba-affiliated payments group’s US financial ambitions.

    On one level, the scuppered deal suggests that Chinese companies, whether state-owned or otherwise, will have an ever harder time winning approval for US acquisitions. The move also confirms that the Americans now believe that the definition of national security — their basis for scrutinising overseas deals — embraces anything related to information and data.

    But Ant Financial’s attempted US play also shows how much technology is undermining the dominance of traditional global titans, especially in the financial sphere. It is especially noteworthy that many of the upstart challengers to banks and other legacy companies increasingly either have a Chinese face or Chinese capital behind them. That, in turn, underscores how some Chinese players have leapfrogged into prominence across the world.

    Blockchain is revolutionizing the loan industry – a look at Valorem… (Global Crypto Press), Rated: A

    Smart contracts are providing the solution to the trust issues that are usually the main concerns in the micro loan industry.  Whether it be student loans, cars, or any other kind of micro lending – blockchain technology provides what’s needed to move away from the banks, and towards a peer to peer lending model.

    Volerem Foundation is building the infrastructure to facilitate exactly this.

    India

    Govt should think of new ways to boost sectors like P2P lending: LenDenClub (India Info Online), Rated: A

    Additionally, we also expect the government should think of new ways to boost sectors like P2P lending. Eg.- Enable tax exemption for the lenders on P2P lending platforms, under section 80C. This will result in raising the trust bar and credibility, leading to more and more people investing in such platforms. It will also bring in a good enough capital infusion in the P2P lending space.

    Introducing Syndicates for India (Angel.co), Rated: A

    Today, we are announcing Syndicates for India, a new way for investors in India to invest alongside experienced angels and VC funds that invest in India’s vibrant tech ecosystem.

    To date, over 1,800 startups have raised more than $700M through Syndicates on the AngelList platform, receiving more than $6B in follow-on funding.

    APAC

    Gov’t urged to increase ceiling for individual investment in P2P lenders (Yonhap News Agency), Rated: AAA

    A business lobby of peer to peer (P2P) finance firms said Thursday it has asked financial regulators to raise the annual ceiling on individual investment in P2P lenders.

    The Korea P2P Finance Association has asked the Financial Services Commission (FSC) to increase the limit to 100 million won (US$93,632) per year from the current 10 million won, an association official said.

    ZorroSign Among Top 25 FinTech Companies (PR Newswire), Rated: B

    ZorroSign, Inc., today announced the company has been recognized among the top 25 FinTech companies in Asia-Pacific (APAC) by CIO Outlook. The honor spotlights organizations that are fundamentally disrupting the way companies in the global finance sector do business. ZorroSign offers unique secure eSignature, end-to-end Digital Transaction Management, and post-execution fraud protection solution. With security being on top of mind for financial services providers, ZorroSign Document 4n6 (Forensics) Token technology offers a major advantage to its customers.

    Authors:

    George Popescu
    Allen Taylor