Thursday February 7 2019, Weekly News Digest

origination costs

News Comments Today’s main news: KBRA assigns preliminary ratings to SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2019-1 Trust. LendingPoint increases mezzanine financing. UK publishes Open Banking operational guidelines. Raisin raises $114M. Today’s main analysis: International P2P lending volumes for January 2019. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Where are we in the credit cycle? Marketplace lending associations respond to FDIC small dollar lending rule request. […]

The post Thursday February 7 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

origination costs

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Other

News Summary

United States

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2019-1 Trust (Business Wire), Rated: AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to four classes of notes issued by SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2019-1 (“SCLP 2019-1”). This is a $480.7 million consumer loan ABS transaction.

Preliminary Ratings Assigned: SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2019-1

Class Preliminary Rating Class Principal
A AAA (sf) $351,800,000
B AA+ (sf) $39,400,000
C A+ (sf) $51,500,000
D BBB (sf) $38,000,000

Where Are We in the Credit Cycle? (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

This week’s big funding news was that digital savings and investing platform Acorns raised $105 million in its Series E round, bringing its total valuation to $860 million.

The US economy generated 304 k jobs in January, marking a record 100 months of job growth. Average hourly earnings rose by 3.2% and the unemployment rate rose slightly to 4%.

Marlette CEO Jeff Meiler discussed profitability and loan performance with Peter Renton (transcript and podcast here).  Marlette announced another year of profitability in 2018.

Prosper’s December Performance Update showed that Prosper is focusing on making higher grade loans with 62% of December originations rated AA-B.

Overall, lenders view the US consumer as healthy and the US economic growth as solid.

The Industry Responds to FDIC Small Dollar Lending Rule Request (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

So, back in November the FDIC issued a Request for Information on Small Dollar Lending. They received more than 60 responses from banks, industry associations, non-profit groups, fintech companies and individuals. While the FDIC did not define exactly what they meant by a small dollar loan the respondents, for the most part, took it to mean loans of less than $5,000.

There are many mainstream online lenders offering personal loans down to $1,000 and there are also many fintech companies offering loans under $1,000. Companies like Oportun, Insikt, LendUp, Elevate, Opploans and many others offer these sub-$1,000 loans using the latest technology tools to make this process more efficient.

The Marketplace Lending Association (MLA) provided a detailed 10-page response where they urged the FDIC (and other regulators) to do more to support banks and foster closer working relationships with fintech providers:

The Online Lenders Alliance is a trade group that contains many small dollar lenders who operate online. Not surprisingly they are against the 36% rate cap but they also have a lot in common with their sub-36% brethren such as promoting partnerships between banks and fintech companies.

Source: Online Lenders Alliance

The Center for Responsible Lending gave one of the most detailed responses to the RFI, a full 38 pages.

Read the full Online Lenders Alliance response here.

LendingPoint Again Upsizes Its Mezzanine Financing, Bringing It to More Than $ 67.5 Million (Business Wire), Rated: AAA

LendingPoint, the consumer lending platform, announced it closed an increase of its mezzanine financing, bringing the total of the facility to $67.5 million. A Paragon co-investor joined the facility as a lender.

Today’s announcement is the latest in a string of financing transactions LendingPoint has closed in the past 15 months. The company secured an up to $500 million Senior Credit Facility in August 2017 and an up to $600 million Senior Credit Facilityin May 2018, both arranged by Guggenheim Securities.

Eight Challenger Banks Traditional Institutions Should Worry About (The Financial Brand), Rated: AAA

1. BankMobile — Hooked Up With T-Mobile

Parent Company: Customers Bank
Websitewww.bankmobile.com
Launched: 2015
Category: Mobile bank

The creation of father-daughter team of Jay and Luvleen Sidhu (CEO and President respectively), BankMobile is an evolving banking-as-a-service platform.

2. Chime — Super Slick App

Websitewww.chimebank.com
Launched: 2013
Category: Mobile banking and money management app (in partnership with the The Bancorp Bank)
Notable Milestone: 2 million account relationships

3. Finn — Chase Bank’s Millennial Play

Parent Company: JPMorgan Chase
Websitewww.chase.com/personal/finnbank
Launched: 2017
Category: Mobile bank

Chase is offering a $100 for opening a new Finn account (as long as you make ten qualifying transactions in the first 60 days).

4. Marcus — Sucking Up Your Customers

Parent Company: Goldman Sachs
Websitewww.marcus.com
Launched: 2016
Category: Online bank
Notable Milestones: 2+ million customers and $35 billion in deposits.

Marcus’ loans range from $3,500 to $40,000 at rates of 6.99% to 25%. The average loan in 2018 was $15,000 over four years with a 12% interest rate, according to Bloomberg BusinessWeek. That leaves plenty of margin room even with its online savings rate up at 2.25% (as of January 2019).

5. N26 — Platform Maestro

Websiten26.com
Launched: 2015
Category: Mobile bank
Notable Milestones: 2.3 million users and $1 billion in deposits.

6. Revolut — The Amazon of Banking

Website:www.revolut.com:
Launched: 2015
Category: Mobile financial provider

Notable Milestones: 3 million customers — both consumers and businesses. Opening about 8,000 accounts per day. 1.2 million monthly active users. Monthly transaction volume $3 billion. Received European banking license in December 2018. More than 60,000 U.S. customers on Revolut’s waiting list.

7. SoFi Money — Join The ‘Waitlist’

Parent Company: Social Finance, Inc.
Websitewww.sofi.com
Founded: 2011 (Sofi Money Beta Launch, June 2018)
Category: No-fee Mobile banking account

8. Varo Money — Almost OCC Approved

Websitewww.varomoney.com
Founded: 2015
Category: Mobile banking/money management app in partnership with the The Bancorp Bank.
Notable Milestones: First mobile-only bank to get preliminary approval for a national bank charter.

Walsh feels Varo Money is particularly suitable for the 70% of the people they initially surveyed who are “hands-off creditworthy Millennials.”

P2P Global sells US loans and chases ‘less volatile returns’ (AltFi), Rated: A

It said its net asset value (NAV) rose by 0.78 per cent in the final month of the year, amounting to a total 5.2 per cent return in 2018, as the fund sold off a number of poorly performing loans, according to its December newsletter published today.

15 Minute Mortgages? Meet Molo – The New Fintech Aiming To Shake Up The Market (Forbes), Rated: A

Francesca Carlesi is the Co-Founder and CEO of Molo, a new, super exciting fintech start-up, aiming to reimagine how people get mortgages forever. She was originally a University professor, envisioning pursuing an academic career, before quickly joining McKinsey & Co., immediately after finishing her Ph.D. Molo is her first experience as a start-up entrepreneur after a long career in the finance and banking world. Here she discusses how she made the transition and found the journey so far.

Building a bank designed for freelancers and solopreneurs with Joust’s George Kurtyka (Tearsheet), Rated: A

57 million people in the US freelance and 30 million or so of those are micro and small businesses. Small businesses use approximately a dozen apps and pieces of software to manage their finances. From a bank account to payments to QuickBooks to factoring, microbusinesses spend 365 hours a year reconciling the data between all their financial tools.

1 IN 4 SAYS MONEY IS THE BIGGEST HURDLE TO RUNNING A BUSINESS (Valpak), Rated: A

Key Findings

  • 1 in 4 Americans considers funding to be the biggest obstacle.
  • More women say not knowing how to run a business is a challenge than men.
  • Millennials ages 25 to 34 are the most afraid of failure.
  • 1 in 3 Americans lacks a strong business idea to begin with.
Source: Valpak

Plaid And Quovo Just Scratching The Surface With Data Aggregation (Forbes), Rated: A

The fintech consolidation is starting, at least in the financial data side of the business, with Plaid recently announcing an 

Meet the start-up bank with millions of customers trying to disrupt the ‘adversarial’ American banking system (Business Insider), Rated: A

United Kingdom

Due diligence on P2P platforms (FT Adviser), Rated: AAA

In the immediate aftermath of the credit crunch, politicians enthused about the new crop of peer-to-peer providers and even created the Innovative Finance Isa.

UK financial institutions will receive more clarity on Open Banking (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

The Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE) has published its Operational Guidelines and accompanying checklist to help financial institutions (FIs) better navigate Open Banking, per a press release.

With the guidelines, the OBIE aims to clarify the regulatory requirements for a dedicated interface, as set out in the revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2), RTS, EBA Guidelines, and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Approach documents.

Source: Business Insider Intelligence

Read the full report here.

Starling launches euro account as UK prepares for Brexit (AltFi), Rated: A

The digital-only bank, which expects to top one million customers this year, said the new account is a simple was to ‘send and receive euros for free’.

Alt Credit Scorer Aire Scoops Up $ 11 Million in Growth Funding (Finovate), Rated: A

Alternative credit assessment innovator Aire has picked up $11 million in new funding. The London-based company, which demonstrated its Aire Credit API at FinovateEurope 2015, said the new capital will support the continued development of its credit insight engine, as well as support expansion in the U.S.

AccountScore uses Open Banking to offer real-time debt advice with Insolvency Panel (AltFi), Rated: A

A new service has been set up for people in debt, giving them the power to let advisors see their bank accounts in order to offer quick and accurate advice.

The service is a tie-up between fintech bank transactions firm AccountScore and The Insolvency Panel launched this month.

Why are SMEs declining external investment, and is it a barrier to scale? (Vox Markets), Rated: A

Small businesses accounted for 22 per cent of the UK’s economic growth in 2017 according to Octopus Investments High Growth Small Business Report. These SMEs, which comprise less than one per cent of UK companies, created one in five jobs in 2017 and hold a wealth of potential for our economy. When it comes to the future of the UK business landscape, it seems that the best things do come in smaller packages.

SME finance app ANNA gets £8.5m funding (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

SME business account Anna has received an investment of £8.5 million from Kinetik as it prepares to launch new tools and products.

What Winter? Crypto Lending Firm Has Issued over $ 630M in Just Six Months (NullTx), Rated: A

The cryptocurrency winter has been one of many contrasts. While some firms have gone out of business and shut down, some have thrived. Celsius Networks belongs to the latter.

Based in London, the firm launched just six months ago, but it has grown by leaps and bounds. It has lent over $630 million in loans, predominantly in cryptocurrencies.

Aave Launches Bitcoin on Its Ethereum-based Crypto Lending Marketplace ETHLend (PR Newswire), Rated: A

AAVE, a UK-based FinTech Startup, today announced a new release for its crypto lending marketplace ETHLend. The release introduces the capability for the ETHLend users to use their Bitcoin holdings as a collateral to borrow funds for spending.

Exclusive: P2P firm shuts platform (AltFi), Rated: B

The UK Bond Network, a p2p platform for corporate bonds, is closing as of today Monday 4 February 2019, according to the firm.

China

From private bank client to farmer: a Chinese model of social lending (Euromoney), Rated: AAA

Financial services group CreditEase runs an app through which its private banking clients can be connected to needy women farmers in China’s rural interior. It’s a remarkable initiative taken up by 200,000 farmers and shows what can be done with low-level credit. But how does the risk management work?

European Union

PayPal backed fintech Raisin raises $ 114m (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

German financial technology group Raisin has raised $114m in new funding from high-profile backers including Index Ventures and PayPal, in one of the largest fundraisings to date in Europe’s emerging “wealth tech” space.

ING Bridges Dutch SMBs To Funding Options (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Dutch bank ING is linking its small business (SMB) customers to alternative lending marketplace Funding Options, the firms said on Monday (Feb. 4).

The partnership means Funding Options has launched services in the Netherlands, expanding beyond the U.K. for the first time, said reports in Crowdfund Insider. Approximately 1.8 million SMBs in the Netherlands will gain access to Funding Options via ING Bank.

The Irish fintech startups disrupting their industries (Irish Times), Rated: A

Also based at NOVA is Initiative Ireland which aims to give cautious investors lower-risk access to the Irish property market. With poor interest rates, investors face the perennial problem of what to do with their money. Risk takers will always have options, cautious investors less so, and this is Initiative Ireland’s sweet spot. It is offering returns in the order of six to eight per cent to those investing in its novel peer-to-peer lending platform for developers building social and affordable housing.

Banco BNI Europa, NDGIT accelerate PSD2 and Open Banking in Europe (The Paypers), Rated: A

The European challenger bank in Portugal, Banco BNI Europa, has become a customer of NDGIT, provider of the API platform for banking and insurance in Europe.

BNI Europa implements “PSD2 Ready”, NDGIT’s smart standardized software solution following the Berlin Group RTS standard, to fulfil all PSD2 requirements. This cooperation is a milestone for the future development of Open Banking in Europe and for BNI Europa the next step in their company’s development.

International

International P2P Lending Volumes January 2019 (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

Milestones achieved this month (total volume since launch):

Source: P2P-Banking

Global regulators are struggling to define fintech credit (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

While many jurisdictions have highlighted fintech credit as a key development in the nonbank financial space over the last year, they struggle to define exactly what fintech credit is, per findings of the Financial Stability Board’s (FSB’s) Global Monitoring Report on Non-Bank Financial Intermediation 2018.

Source: Business Insider Intelligence

Why VC Is The Answer To Falling Returns (Forbes), Rated: A

In uncertain times, VC offers the advantage that its performance is completely uncorrelated with public equity markets. Last year, both the US and Europe saw record VC investment, reaching over 

Technology has opened up access to banking but can it stop the unbanked from falling through the cracks? (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Those of us who work in finance can’t imagine life without a bank account. But for the world’s 1.7 billion unbanked adults, this is a reality. In the U.S., 33.5 million households are either unbanked or underbanked and lack the ability, criteria, or financial literacy to access banking services. Without access to savings and credit, these people often live — and remain — in a cycle of poverty.

In the U.S., nearly 95 percent of adults have a mobile phone and 80 percent of those are smartphones. And since they’re not tied to traditional banking norms such as branches, ATMs, and credit cards, the unbanked are more likely to adopt digital banking via their phones.

TymeBank in South Africa uses AI to help people learn about their money and how to save. It teaches people about credit scores and rewards them for good financial behavior — TymeBank offers an amazing 10 percent interest rate on savings accounts for customers who can define specific financial goals they want to hit, and then contribute to them.

Sancus to start accepting euros and dollars to fund loans (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

SANCUS will start accepting euro-denominated loans within the next few months, to help it expand its investor base.

The alternative business finance provider is also planning to establish a new base in the Cayman Islands by the end of 2019, a move which would allow it to accept dollar-denominated investments as well.

Revolut team ups with WeWork (AltFi), Rated: B

The new partnership will provide Revolut for Business customers with 3 months free of hot-desk space at a WeWork co-working space.

Australia

Australia’s getting wiser says Wisr in new campaign targeting disillusioned big bank customers (Mumbrella), Rated: A

Peer to peer lending service provider Wisr has targeted disillusioned big bank customers in its new ad campaign.

APAC

Diversify investments in P2P lending, youths urged (The Star), Rated: AAA

Technology-driven peer-to-peer (P2P) lending is becoming a popular investment choice among young investors, but the anticipated slowdown in the economy this year also raises the risk of losing money.

To protect their investment, a P2P financing platform operator said that investors should spread their investment into as many deals as possible.

Africa

DexAge – A Versatile Crypto-Trading Solution (Blockmanity), Rated: AAA

The P2P Crypto loan services allow users to retain their assets in case they predict the concerned cryptocurrency value might appreciate in the future. DexAge enables users to stake their crypto assets as collateral and acquire a loan of the same value to expand their investment profile.

Canada

Vancouver’s First P2P OTC Digital Trading Platform Officially Launched and Supported by Huobi Cloud Technology (Digital Journal), Rated: AAA

iBank Digital Asset L.P. (“iBank Digital”, “iBankEx” or the “Company”) has officially launched Vancouver’s first peer-to-peer (P2P) OTC digital currency trading platform on iBankEx. (www.ibankex.io) This launch is supported by Huobi Cloud (“Huobi Cloud”) technology, which has officially entered the Canadian market in 2019 with 120 exchanges around the world.

iBank Products & Services:

Fiat Lending – A decentralized global lending network connecting financial institutions worldwide by offering crypto backed loan business.

Crypto Lending – iBank provides crypto loans collateralized by your crypto assets in BTC/USDT with security and confidentiality.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday February 7 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Wednesday August 8 2018, Daily News Digest

OnDeck KPIs

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi reports $200M loss in Q2. OnDeck jumps 18%. LendingClub sees record net revenues in Q2. Alipay fined for regulation violations. Dianrong raises $40M. Even Financial raises $18.8M. Today’s main analysis: OnDeck’s Q2 2018 earnings presentation. Today’s thought-provoking articles: GreenSky, OnDeck, LendingClub earnings. Where did it go wrong for Wonga? OnDeck’s Q2 earnings presentation. United States SoFi reports […]

OnDeck KPIs

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

Other

News Summary

United States

SoFi Is Said to Report Second-Quarter Loss of $ 200 Million (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Writedowns of underperforming loans drove Social Finance Inc. to a second-quarter adjusted loss of about $200 million, according to people familiar with the matter.

OnDeck jumps 18% after Q2 beat and raise (Seeking Alpha), Rated: A

OnDeck (NYSE:ONDK) surges 18% in early trading after reporting Q2 adjusted EPS that beat consensus by 8 cents and boosting year adjusted net income guidance to $30M-$36M.

OnDeck Reports Second Quarter 2018 Financial Results (Markets Insider), Rated: AAA

OnDeck today announced second quarter 2018 Net income of $5.8 million, Adjusted Net income of $10.0 million and Gross revenue of $95.6 million.

Source: OnDeck Earnings Presentation

Review of Financial Results for the Second Quarter of 2018

Net income was $5.8 million, or $0.07 per diluted share, improved from the Net loss of $1.5 million, or $0.02 per diluted share, in the year-ago period.

Adjusted Net income was $10.0 million, or $0.13 per diluted share, compared to Adjusted Net income of $4.7 million, or $0.06 per diluted share, in the year-ago period.

Unpaid Principal Balance grew 3% sequentially and 8% from a year ago to $1,027 million. Originations of $587 million were consistent with the prior quarter reflecting an increase in the number of loans funded and decrease in the average loan size.  Originations increased 26% from a year ago with growth in both term loans and lines of credit.

Gross revenue increased to $95.6 million, up 6% from the prior quarter and 10% from the year-ago quarter, driven by higher Interest income. The Effective Interest Yield was 36.1%, up from 35.6% in the prior quarter and 33.5% in the year-ago quarter, primarily reflecting increases in average loan pricing.

Source: OnDeck Earnings Presentation

Guidance for Full Year 2018

OnDeck increased its guidance for the full year ending December 31, 2018:

  • Gross revenue between $380 million and $386 million, up from between $372 million and $382 million,
  • Net income between $10 million and $16 million, up from between $0and $10 million, and
  • Adjusted Net income between $30 million and $36 million, up from between $18 million and $28 million.
Source: OnDeck Earnings Presentation

See OnDeck’s full Q2 2018 earnings presentation here.

Why On Deck Capital Stock Is Soaring Today (The Motley Fool), Rated: A

Shares of On Deck Capital (NYSE:ONDK) were soaring by nearly 25% as of 1 p.m. EDT on Tuesday as the company beat consensus earnings expectations in the second quarter and raised its outlook for the remainder of the year.

Lending Club: bob and weave (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Now, the top-line numbers are improving. Second-quarter figures released after market close on Tuesday showed record net revenue, up 27 per cent from a year earlier at $177m, from record quarterly loan originations of $2.8bn.

On top of all that, there was a big writedown this quarter of an acquisition made four years ago, during an ill-fated push into supplying loans to medical patients. Over the first six months, total expenses came to $1.28 for every dollar of net revenue.

Roundup of Q2 2018 Earnings: GreenSky, OnDeck, LendingClub (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

GreenSky went public just a few months ago on May 24, 2018. Their IPO was significant for a couple of reasons. One was the lack of US based fintech IPOs over the last few years and the second was that GreenSky is a wildly successful business. Last year they reported $139 million in net income on revenues of $326 million.

Source: Lend Academy

OnDeck reported net income of $5.8 million for the quarter with gross revenues of $95.6 million, up 10% year over and 6% from the previous quarter. Originations grew to $587 million, up 26% from the prior year period, but down slightly from the previous quarter. The company’s trend of increasing the number of loans funded and decreasing the average loan size continues.

Source: Lend Academy

CEO Scott Sanborn noted that LendingClub’s core business is firing on all cylinders with record revenue and originations. The company has seen a 50% increase in applications year over year. Originations were $2.8 billion, up 31% year over year and up from $2.3 billion in the previous quarter. For context, the company originated their last high water mark of $2.75 billion in the first quarter of 2016. Revenues came in at $177 million, up 27% year over year.

Source: Lend Academy

Even Financial raises $ 18.8 million from GreatPoint Ventures, Goldman Sachs and others (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Even Financial, a fintech startup that connects the disparate entities of the financial services industry, recently raised a $18.8 million Series A round led by GreatPoint Ventures with participation from Goldman Sachs, Canaan Partners, F-Prime Capital, Lerer Hippeau and others.

What’s missing from the OCC’s fintech charter (American Banker), Rated: A

Although the OCC emphasizes that it’s holding these special-purpose charters to standards equivalent to those demanded of national banks, this is only sort of true with regard to the named prudential requirements, and it looks to be completely incorrect on critical restrictions on competitive and financial risk. These omissions have significant consumer protection, safety and soundness and structural impacts. Absent egregious violations, a charter granted cannot be revoked. The OCC should be sure it isn’t a shadow-bank enabler before it hands out these high-powered charters.

Is the backing of the banks enough for Zelle to beat Venmo? (Marketplace.org), Rated: A

Rahul Chadha follows peer to peer mobile banking for the research organization eMarketer. His firm says Zelle will overtake Venmo this year.  Chadha spoke with Marketplace’s Lizzie O’Leary about the two payment systems.

US challenger banks: who’s who and what’s their tech (Banking Tech), Rated: A

BankMobile
A digital bank created by an established US-based financial services player Customers Bancorp. BankMobile opened for business in early 2015.

It caters mainly for students and offers a low-fee checking account with no monthly fees and no overdraft/non-sufficient funds (NSF) fees. It also provides personal loans.

Chime
Founded in 2014, Chime has raised over $100 million funding to date, values the business at around $500 million and has over one million accounts. It employs around 100 people.

Endeavor Bank
Endeavor Bank opened its doors for business in San Diego, California in January 2018, following an initial capital raise of $26.6 million and the backing of over 450 investors/owners. It is a brand new bank, with no merger legacy.

Finn
Finn is a digital bank account for smartphones created by JP Morgan Chase.

GoBank
GoBank was launched in 2013 by Green Dot Corporation, which claims it to be “the first bank account designed from scratch to be opened and used on a mobile device”.

Iam Money
Iam Money has its HQ in Chicago and an office in San Francisco. It also has two offices outside the US, in Dublin and London.

It has secured $3 million of funding, and plans to have $20 million when it launches.

Marathon International Bank
A start-up bank for the Ethiopian American community, based in the Washington DC area. Its founders are Tekalign Gedamu, a retired economist and former MD of the Development Bank of Ethiopia, and Tesfaye Biftu.

Marcus
An online platform launched by Goldman Sachs – named after Marcus Goldman, one of the firm’s founders – offering no-fee personal loans and high-yield savings to consumers.

Moven
Launched in 2011 by Brett King, Moven describes itself as “the world’s first real-time mobile money tool”. It is a digital bank account with a mobile app.

N26
A challenger bank from Germany, now working on its US presence, including obtaining a banking licence. It opened early access to users in the US in October 2017 and has an office in New York with eight staff.

PurePoint Financial
PurePoint Financial was launched in early 2017 by MUFG Union Bank. It is a “hybrid digital bank” offering savings accounts and certificates of deposit (CDs).

Revolut
European banking challenger Revolut opened early access to users in the US in September 2017. It says it aims “to clean up the American banking system”. It provides digital banking services to consumers and businesses.

Simple
Digital banking service Simple was founded in 2009 in Portland, Oregon. It describes itself “a tech company, not a bank”.

In early 2014, it was acquired by BBVA Compass for $117 million.

SoFi

In early 2017, it raised another $500 million, and spent $100 million (in stock) on Zenbanx, a mobile banking start-up. Zenbanx offered a mobile account in the US and Canada that lets people save, send and spend money in multiple currencies. This deal demonstrated SoFi’s interest in branching into other financial services, with a wealth management tool in beta at the time of the acquisition.

Stash

In early 2018, Stash raised $37.5 million in Series D funding for product expansion, and shortly afterwards teamed with Green Dot Corporation and its subsidiary bank, Green Dot Bank, to launch mobile-first banking services (underpinned by Green Dot’s Banking-as-a-Service platform).

Studio Bank
In 2017, Tennessee-based Studio Bank filed an application to become Nashville’s “first newly chartered de novo bank in nearly a decade”.

Varo Money
San Francisco-based mobile banking service Varo Money was founded in 2015. It applied for a national bank charter and federal deposit insurance in mid-2017, to form Varo Bank.

Treasury urges mortgage sector to embrace digital tech (National Mortgage News), Rated: A

The Treasury Department’s recent report on how to regulate nonbanks drew praise not just from tech startups but also from mortgage industry insiders.

In addition to recommendations for a new federal fintech charter and that regulators pull back from payday lending rules, the report contained a section that might be music to a mortgage banker’s ears, including support for the industry’s automation efforts and another call to soften the use of the False Claims Act against lenders.

Blend Launches Insurance Agency (Finovate), Rated: A

Mortgagetech company Blend is venturing into insurance. The San Francisco-based company launched Blend Insurance Agency, an extension of its digital mortgage platform that offers borrowers a range of options for homeowners insurance.

RealtyMogul Sells Four Real Estate Properties on Behalf of Digital Investors (Citizen Tribune), Rated: B

The first property is a 1,242-unit self-storage facility in Fayetteville, NC. It was acquired in December 2013 and sold in January 2018. It was acquired for $6,750,000 and sold for $9,645,000, representing a 43% increase in capital value from acquisition.

The second property is a 40,000-square foot office building in Tamarac, FL. It was acquired in May 2016 and sold in February 2018. It was acquired for $4,150,000 and sold for $4,900,000, representing an 18% increase in capital value from acquisition.

The third property is a 72-unit multifamily apartment building in Ogden, KS. It was acquired in July 2013 and sold in April 2018. It was acquired for $4,000,000 and sold for $4,450,000, representing an 11% increase in capital value from acquisition.

The fourth property is a 208-unit multifamily apartment building in Euless, TX. It was acquired in February 2015 and sold in May 2018. It was acquired for $12,375,000 and sold for $20,900,000 after a value-add renovation program, representing a 69% increase in capital value from acquisition.

Zillow gets into the mortgage business, acquires Mortgage Lenders of America (TechCrunch), Rated: B

Zillow, the publicly traded real estate portal and lead generation service, has acquired Mortgage Lenders of America. This is Zillow’s first move into originating mortgages.

DriveWealth and Bambu Launch Robo Platform for Registered Investment Advisors (BusinessWire), Rated: A

DriveWealth Holdings, Inc. (“DriveWealth”), a fintech company providing brokers, digital advisors and mobile online financial services companies seamless access to the U.S. securities market, and Bambu, a global provider of robo-advisory technology, today announced the launch of a white-label, end-to-end robo-advisory platform solution for the wealth management industry.

Arizona’s Regulatory Sandbox Is Open for Play (The National Law Review), Rated: B

To be considered for admission, applicants must complete the nine-page application and pay a $500 application fee.  Each application must be for an innovative financial product or service as defined by the enabling legislation.

United Kingdom

RateSetter: FCA marketing restrictions are “disproportionate” (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER has hit back at proposed marketing restrictions for peer-to-peer lenders, stating that they are “disproportionate” and “clunky”.

Where did it all go wrong for Wonga? (The Guardian), Rated: AAA

Just when things were meant to be getting better for Wonga, it emerged at the weekend that the payday lender’s investors had to rescue it with a £10m capital injection.

The emergency fundraising is the latest episode in Wonga’s rapid rise and fall. Just six years after the company was touted for a flotation that would have valued it at more than $1bn (£770m), it is reported to be worth just $30m.

Regulation didn’t wipe out Wonga – losing its reputation did (City A.M.), Rated: A

WHEN PAYDAY LENDER Wonga launched in 2007, it was tipped to become a £1bn success story. Today, the company is worth just £23m and has only managed to avoid insolvency thanks to a last-minute £10m boost from investors. So what went wrong?

Rothschild’s Augmentum receives £3.5m Zopa boost (Citywire), Rated: A

Augmentum Fintech (AUGM), the venture capital fund spun off from RIT Capital Partners (RCP) earlier this year, has received a £3.5 million boost from the revaluation of peer-to-peer lender Zopa.

LendInvest makes a series of changes to BTL product (Bridging and Commercial), Rated: A

The specialist lender has removed its requirement for a debenture or floating charge on limited company applications.

It has also reduced its ICR assessment rate to 5% across all products with the exception of the five-year fixed interest product, which remains at 4.19%.

Why brokers should be allowed to speak to decision makers (Bridging and Commercial), Rated: A

Roy Armitage, head of credit at LendInvest (pictured above), is clear that, for a specialist lender, a good working dialogue between the underwriters and the brokers placing the business is crucial.

Participate in the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance Research Study (Lend Academy), Rated: B

They are winding up their largest survey ever right now. In the past they have produced multiple reports targeting the various regions around the world including: the United Kingdom, Europe, the Americas, Asia and Africa. This year they are combining everything into one big study.

If you have not participated in the survey yet time is running out (while the survey says it closes on July 22nd, they have extended the deadline for another week or so). We need every platform in this country and around the region to participate. To learn more you can read more about this comprehensive piece  in 

China

China’s Central Bank Fines Alipay (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

Alipay, a payment affiliate of Alibaba, has been hit with a $601,846 fine by the Shanghai head office for the People’s Bank of China.

According to a report in Reuters, citing the central bank, the fine was for payment services regulations violations. The regulator didn’t provide any other details.

Dianrong pockets $ 40 million funding amid mounting P2P defaults in China (Technode), Rated: AAA

Chinese P2P lending platform Dianrong announced that it has raised $40 million of funding from Dalian Financial Investment Group Co. Ltd. The current round will increase the company’s total funds raised to date to over $500 million. Its previous investors include big titles such as Standard Chartered, GIC Private Limited, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, CMIG Leasing, Simone Investment Managers, etc.

China’s P2P lending meltdown (CNBC), Rated: A

China’s P2P lending meltdown from CNBC.

International

Prime Trust to Enable Real Estate Syndicators & Securities Issuers to Accept Funds in Bitcoin & Ethereum (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Prime Trust, a blockchain driven trust company, announced on Monday it has launched a new technology that enables real estate syndicators and securities issuers to accept funds from investors in the form of Bitcoin and Ethereum, frictionlessly and with zero crypto-market risks to the syndicator or issuer. According to Prime Trust, the technology enables holders of these virtual currencies to invest in real estate, crowdfunding and other private and public securities offerings without having to go through the cumbersome and often confusing process of liquidating tokens and then wiring funds in USD to an escrow account at Prime Trust.

TransUnion Partners with EXL to Create Turnkey Current Expected Credit Loss (CECL) Solution (MarketWatch), Rated: B

TransUnion TRU, +0.56% announced today it is partnering with global technology and analytics company EXL EXLS, +0.93% to create a seamless technology solution for lenders to comply with the new Current Expected Credit Loss (CECL) accounting rule. Information about the new accounting rule will be highlighted during TransUnion’s webinar, “Major Hurdles to Overcome to be CECL-Ready,” scheduled for 1 p.m. CDT on August 15.

Australia

Financial advice institutions to refund over $ 800 million (Business News Australia), Rated: AAA

As the revelations from the Royal Commission continue to pour in, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) has revealed that, in total, Australian financial advice institutions will refund customers over $800 million in reparations over fees for no service (FFNS) programs.

Australian challenger banks: who’s who (and what’s their tech) (Banking Tech), Rated: A

86 400

Launched in June 2018, the bank is led by former ANZ Japan CEO, Robert Bell, and ex-Cuscal Payments CIO Brian Parker. Joining as incoming chairman is Anthony Thomson, co-founder and former chairman of Atom Bank and Metro Bank.

Judo Capital

For its tech, it uses a variety of different vendors. Unifii’s Business Transformation Platform is used for its technical infrastructure. For its small business lending platform, it will use one from Realtime Computing, based in Perth, Australia.

Pelikin

Digital banking start-up Pelikin aims to reshape the way people save, send and spend their money in Australia and while travelling abroad. The company’s slogan is “spend like a local”. The founder is Sam Brown.

UBank

Unveiled in 2008 and developed and supported by National Australia Bank (NAB). It operates under NAB’s banking licence, and offers home loans, online savings accounts, and term deposit accounts. UBank has more than 400,000 customers.

Volt Bank

Sydney-based Volt Bank was given Australia’s first new restricted banking licence and is now working towards becoming a fully licensed bank.

Xinja

The neobank emerged from the shadows to unveil its plans for a mobile-only digital bank in 2017. It will have no bricks and mortar branches.

MENA

Visa Invests In Israeli Start-up Behalf (RTT News), Rated: AAA

Visa, Inc. (V) on Tuesday announced an investment and partnership with Israeli start-up, Behalf, to support small business growth through easy-to-access capital and financing.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday April 17 2018, Daily News Digest

Tuesday April 17 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: dv01 to expand into mortgages. Zopa prepares for next-gen bank launch. JD Finance raises over $2B. Moody’s assigns ratings to Prospa. Namaste Credit raises $3.8M. Today’s main analysis: Venture capital reaches record high. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Interview with Prosper’s CFO. Fintech lenders give mortgage borrowers an edge. Hexindai’s IPO prospectus. Where top European banks are investing. What Aussie […]

Tuesday April 17 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Other

News Summary

United States

dv01 Announces Expansion Into Mortgages; Signs As Loan Data Agent For CSMC 2018-RPL2 (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

dv01, the data management, reporting, and analytics platform that offers institutional investors transparency and insight into lending markets, announced on Friday it participated in its first mortgage securitization and acted as loan data agent for CSMC 2018-RPL2, a securitization of $275 million re-performing loans serviced by Select Portfolio Servicing (SPS). The company revealed it introduced the role of Loan Data Agent in 2016 and provides Loan Data Agent services for an aggregate securitized collateral balance in excess of $25 billion of online lending loans.

CFO Usama Ashraf Talks Borrowing and Investing with Prosper (LEndEDU) Rated: AAA

Recently, I had the privilege to pick the brain of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of an industry leading company in the fintech space. Usama Ashraf is the CFO of Prosper, the first peer-to-peer platform in the US that connects people who want to borrow with individuals and institutions that are looking to invest in consumer credit.

Q: What are some unique challenges that come with the job of managing the finances of Prosper?

A: If you look at our business today, we have a 10+ year track record. We launched in 2006, and we’ve done over $12 billion in cumulative loan originations. A key differentiator in this space is the ability to generate cash flow, and last year, we were cash flow positive for three consecutive quarters starting in Q2.

Q: How has the health of the personal loan market in the recent past impact Prosper’s growth?

A: 2017 really allowed us to stabilize the business. We had stable funding. We had growth of over 30% on the platform, and as mentioned, we generated cash for three consecutive quarters. So, the business is now on a healthy footing, and we’ve returned to strong growth.

Q: Are you optimistic about the overall market in the next few years?

A: The total consumer credit market today is over $10 trillion. When you look at our originations last year, we did about $3 billion. The consumer credit space is a massive market, and it’s also a key element of growth in GDP in the US. 70 percent of GDP comes from consumer spending, so consumer credit and spending is a massive part of the US economy. Since the US economy is mostly expected to grow over the next several years, we are optimistic about the opportunities that growth presents for us.

How fintech lenders give mortgage borrowers an edge (Market Watch) Rated: AAA

 

  • Fintech lenders reduced the time it takes to process a loan by roughly 10 days as compared with the average processing time for mortgages. For refinances, they’re nearly 15 days faster than more traditional lenders.
  • In instances where a lender is seeing greater demand for loans, tech-based lenders are better at handling the larger inflow of applications. Double the application volume raised the loan processing time only by 7.5 days for fintech lenders, versus 13.5 days for traditional ones. Moreover, the researchers found that tech-based lenders lower their denial rates when there’s a higher volume of applications.
  • In parts of the country where fintech lenders have a greater presence, existing borrowers are more likely to refinance. But the efficiencies created through their platforms make it more likely that borrowers will see an optimal result from a refinancing, including getting the market interest rate.
  • The default rate on Federal Housing Administration loans originated by fintech lenders is roughly 25% lower than traditional ones.

Cross River Selected As Two-Time Winner In LendIt Fintech Industry Awards (PR Newswire) Rated: B

Cross River has been selected as the nation’s Most Innovative Bank for the second year in a row at the LendIt Fintech Industry Awards, the world’s leading annual event in financial services innovation, held in San Francisco at LendIt Fintech USA. Other nominees included BankMobile, CBW Bank, Marcus by Goldman Sachs and HSBC.

 

Mastercard Eyes Blockchain for Fighting Fake Identities (Coindesk) Rated: A

In an application released by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) last Thursday, Mastercard describes a system in which a semi-private or private blockchain would be used to receive and store identity data, the pieces of which could include a “name, a street address, tax identification number” and more.

The company states in the filing, which was originally submitted in September 2017, that the tech could help it block the use of fake identity data within its systems.

How US banks are preparing for the GDPR (Tearsheet) Rated: A

On May 25, EU companies will no longer be able to collect and use personal data without the individual’s consent, under the General Data Protection Regulation. U.S.-headquartered banks and fintech companies with global operations are anxiously preparing to comply with the new rules, anticipating a time when U.S. customers will demand the same protections from their home institutions.

Stash Teams with Green Dot to Become a Challenger Bank (Finovate) Rated: A

Mobile financial services company Stash first revealed its plans to launch banking services in October of last year, positioning itself as a challenger bank with mobile-centric investment and retirement capabilities. And, as with all U.S.-based challenger banks, Stash will house the funds at a traditional bank. Today, the New York-based company announced it has selected Green Dot and its subsidiary bank, Green Dot Bank, Member FDIC, to keep user’s funds safe.

Through the partnership with Green Dot, Stash will deliver debit cards with no overdraft fees and provide access to a network of free ATMs across the U.S. The app will also share insight into clients’ financial health, with actionable advice on spending, saving, investing, and retirement via Stash Coach.

‘In this market, it’s disrupt or die’: The innovations local banks are using to stay ahead (Orlando Business Journal) Rated: A

Many Central Florida bank customers nowadays want more than just the ability to move money around. David Stahl, senior vice president, SunTrust: We acquired an online lender called LightStream two years ago and that has been a huge opportunity for us. Personally, I used it. There is a need out there for consumers.

Plaid Assets and Day 1 Certainty: a win-win solution for digital mortgage (Plaid) Rated: B

Today, we’re thrilled to announce that our Assets product is out of beta and Plaid is officially approved to supply asset verification reports to Fannie Mae as part of their Day 1 Certainty initiative. This means that lenders can embed Plaid directly into their application experience and provide borrowers with a fast, seamless experience, reduce the time it takes a loan to close, and have peace of mind offered by Fannie Mae’s protection against repurchase for key loan components. It’s a win-win solution.

Using Plaid, borrowers can now share with lenders the data they need, directly from the source, including:

  • Bank account, transaction, and bank account owner information from multiple accounts and institutions in a single, standardized JSON report delivered via API
  • An auditable PDF version of the same information, also via API
  • The ability to permission secondary investors like Fannie Mae to securely retrieve the same data directly from Plaid, enabling programs like Day 1 Certainty

 

United Kingdom

Bank and P2P boards take shape as Zopa prepares for next gen bank launch (Global Banking and Finance Review) Rated: AAA

Zopa, the pioneering financial services company, has today announced a governance restructure in advance of launching its next generation bank.

The re-structure will establish separate boards for the Zopa P2P business, proposed bank (subject to banking licence approval) and Group in order to facilitate the increasing scale of the business, ensure good corporate governance and protect the interests of its customers.

The changes come with the appointment of two new board chairs as well as two new independent non-executive directors to the proposed bank. Christine Farnish will be chair of the P2P board and Peter Herbert will be chair of the proposed bank.

Ratesetter review: peer-to-peer lender’s best rates, risks and more (Love Money) Rated: AAA

RateSetter was founded in 2010 by Rhydian Lewis (pictured) and has been used by more than 62,633 lenders, to lend more than £2.4 billion.

RateSetter will lend to either individuals or businesses. You start by deciding how much to lend: the average amount invested is £14,299, but you can start with £10.

You can borrow between £1,000 and £25,000 – depending on your circumstances.

Finastra brings mortgage solutions to the cloud with Microsoft Azure (Finastra) Rated: A

Finastra is bringing its mortgage lending solutions to the cloud via Microsoft Azure. As part of the strategic alliance between the two companies to use Microsoft’s enterprise-ready, trusted cloud platform as a base for a selection of Finastra’s payments and retail banking technology, Finastra’s Fusion MortgagebotLOS product is now available via the Azure cloud. As of today, US clients that access this service will realize streamlined access to their data, improved operational control and increased productivity.

Government chooses fintech start-up to lead UK tech mission to China (Internet of Business) Rated: B

Fintech start-up Nuggets has been chosen by the UK government and the Mayor of London to embark on two trade missions to China this year.

The company – which has developed a blockchain-based, e-commerce payments and ID platform – will help represent the Department for International Trade, the Greater London Authority, and the City of London Corporation on the trips.

China

China: WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

According to a person with direct knowledge of the matter, JD Finance is nearing the closing of a new round of financing of over $2 billion (¥12.6 billion).

After this investment, the market valuation of JD Finance is expected to exceed $20 billion (¥126 billion).

CHINA SECURITIES led this financing, which was followed by Oriza Holdings and other institutional investors.

Hexindai: Don’t Miss Out On A Good Target Because Of Industry-Wide Concerns (Seeking Alpha) Rated: AAA

Hexindai Inc. had their IPO on NASDAQ on November 03, 2017, raising US$50 Million. HX is a fast-growing consumer lending marketplace facilitating loans to meet the increasing consumption demand of the emerging middle class in China.

This “online and offline” model led to significant business growth for HX since its inception. The total amount of loans facilitated through the online marketplace increased by 54.4% from Q2 2016 to Q2 2017. Also, the company has experienced a business shift from collateral loans (auto loans etc.) to credit loans, which drives the boost in the the company’s customer base growth:

Source: HX’s IPO prospectus
European Union

Where top European banks are investing in fintech – CB Insights (Fintech Futures) Rated: AAA

Research company CB Insights analysed the private market fintech investment activity of the top European banks and their venture arms, by assets under management (AUM), from 2012 to Q2 2018 (as of 11 April 2018).

According to the graphic below, created by CB Insights, European banks are placing strategic bets across wealth management, lending, payments and regulatory technology and also blockchain.

Source: Fintech Futures

New Company Opens Door to Malta’s Crypto Market (Nasdaq) Rated: B

Decentralised Ventures is a partnership between Malta-based Initial Coin Offering (ICO) specialist TokenKey and token research and Blockchain consultancy Strategic Coin.

Decentralised Ventures offers a complete list of end-to-end services for any organization involved in or looking to enter the token, crypto or peer-to-peer lending markets.

International

Venture capital investment in FinTech reaches record $ 27.4 billion high (Consultancy) Rated: AAA

Confidence in FinTech has accelerated venture capital financing in the industry to a record level of $27.4 billion in 2017 – a growth of 18% from 2016. According to a recent report from consulting firm Accenture, the growth in FinTech investment has been driven by a surge in deal value in the US, UK and India.

In the US, the value of venture capital investment deals jumped 31% to $11.3 billion in 2017. Meanwhile, in the UK, deal values almost quadrupled to $3.4 billion, while India saw a near quintupling of investment to $2.4 billion in 2017. The volume of global FinTech deals also rose greatly, from about 1,800 in 2016 to almost 2,700 in 2017.

Source: Consultancy
Source: Consultancy

BotBird – Your cryptocurrency investment partner for modern trading! (AMBCrypto) Rated: A

BotBird is introducing Social Peer-to-Peer Lending Market where the community members can make use of their digital assets as collateral to get cash. This involves no risk and is equally benefited to both the borrowers and lenders. The main goal of BotBird is to connect the lenders and borrowers across the world through the P2P lending marketplace.

Lenders can earn up to 50 percent monthly interest while trading.

Trends: More innovative mobile money services on the horizon (The Edge Markets) Rated: A

According to McKinsey & Co’s global banking report released last month, digital finance has the potential to reach more than 1.6 billion new retail customers in emerging economies and increase the volume of loans extended to individuals and businesses by US$2.1 trillion (RM8.1 trillion).

According to statistics provided by Bank Negara Malaysia, the national transaction value per capita for e-payments amounts to nearly RM613.6 million last year, up 11.4% from RM550.6 million in 2016. There was no data for the total number of mobile payments made in 2016, but the central bank stated last year that it came to about RM500,000.

4 Blockchain Startups to Keep an Eye On (Coin Announcer) Rated: B

2. Alchemy
Founded by 21-year-old entrepreneur, Justin Jung, the P2P lending platform is looking to take existing P2P concepts and completely disrupt them by creating a CDO (collateralized debt obligations) market that will allow tranched investments within the platform.

Australia

Online small business lender assigned Moody’s ratings (Australian Broker) Rated: AAA

Leading global ratings agency Moody’s has assigned ratings to Prospa’s Australian small business loan asset backed securities (ABS) trust.

This is the first rated ABS issuance backed by unsecured small business loans in the Australasian market. It is also one of the few that have been issued globally and rated by one of the big three credit rating agencies.

A total of $83.25million in debt securities were rated as follows: $64.8m Class A Notes assigned A3; $14.6m Class B Notes assigned Ba2 and $3.7m Class C Notes assigned B3.

How Australia’s fintech SME lenders have learnt from the US (Finder) Rated: AAA

Speaking at the AltFi Australasia Summit 2018, CEO of OnDeck US Noah Breslow discussed how it first launched in the US over a decade ago in 2007. And while it only launched its Australian lending business in 2015, the Australian small business lending market has traversed the same course as the US market in a markedly shorter time.

Source: OnDeck

While the actual alternative small business lending market remains largely unregulated, other initiatives put in place, such as the pursuit of open banking and comprehensive credit reporting (CCR), will have a marked impact on the sector.

In the US, 70% of SMEs perceived there to be more small business lending options than five years ago, but that number is only 30% in Australia.

Online small business lending growing fast (Australian Broker) Rated: A

The online small business lending market in Australia is growing at a faster rate than the US market did at a similar stage of development, the CEO of OnDeck Global has said.

Speaking at the AltFi Australasian Summit in Sydney, CEO Noah Breslow said it could reach more than $2billion in annual originations by 2020.

He said that despite over 6,000 banks offering small business lending options in the US, online lending to small businesses has flourished.

Australians getting short-changed for financial advice, inquiry hears (Rueters) Rated: A

Australia’s four biggest retail banks and wealth manager AMP (AMP.AX) have paid hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation to customers for poor advice over the past decade, a major inquiry into the financial sector heard on Monday.

Financial advice came under scrutiny at the start of a fortnight of hearings by the Royal Commission into corporate wrongdoing and abuse of power by Australia’s financial sector, which could lead to greater regulation and criminal charges.

 

India

Namaste Credit raises 25 crore (Business Line) Rated: AAA

Namaste Credit, a digital marketplace and technology platform for SME loans, has raised about 25 crore ($3.8 million) in a Series A round from Nexus Venture Partners. It will use the money to expand to new markets, improve its technology and data analytics platform and scale the business. The company plans to increase its channel partner programme across India and expand its technology licensing partnerships with leading lenders globally.

Finzy gets 8.5-crore funding

Finzy, a peer-to-peer lending platform, has raised about 8.5 crore ($1.3 million) in a pre-Series A funding round from industry investors. It hopes to close a second round of fund raising in two months. The company will use the money to speed up growth by investing in technology, making the process leaner and faster, and in building the team. It will also use a large part of the money to expand across Tier-I cities.

 (VCCircle) Rated: A

Indian peer-to-peer (P2P) lending startups are considering a private blockchain to facilitate sharing of information as a risk-mitigation strategy, and to identify fraudulent loan applications.

5 Benefits of Online Peer-to-peer Lending That You Didn’t Know (Entrepreneur) Rated: B

 

  • Easier and Faster
  • Lower Eligibility Criteria
  • Lower Interest charges
  • No hidden fees and charges
  • No penalty for repaying your loan before stipulated time

 

Africa

Meet FINT, the FinTech Company that wants to change micro-lending in Nigeria (Nairametrics) Rated: AAA

The guys behind FINT

FINT.ng is run by a team of 4; Chiwete John-Njokanma is the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Nnamdi Okeke is the Chief Technology Officer, Eskor Toyo is the Chief Operating Officer while Reva Attah is Chief Strategy Officer.

Who is it for?

The only restriction so far is that everyone who uses the platform must have a bank account that is linked to a BVN.  Users can borrow anything between N60,000 and N2 million at rates as low as 8% for 3 – 12  months, which in Nigeria is remarkable because in the current environment, a loan from a formal financial institution with 20% interest would be a good deal.

Personal Loan Products – Are they useful for repaying credit or a bad debt? (The South Africa) Rated: A

If you’re one of these people you might be interested in Wonga’s new personal loans. The personal loan offers a repayment plan lasting up to 6 months, affording customers more flexibility through small monthly repayment instalments.

Asia

Robo-advisor seen as a step forward for investors (The Malaysian Reserve) Rated: A

The issuance of robo-advisory licences by the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) would allow regulators to provide high quality and cheaper investment advice for customers.

Main Street Capital Sdn Bhd CEO Julian Ng said through a robo-advisory licence, regulators are able to reach out to wider ranges of investors where previously only wealthy clients could afford the investment advice.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Empire Startups FinTech Conference

alternative lending conference

Date: APRIL 18 2018 Location: NEW WORLD STAGES 340 W 50th St, New York NY 10019 Hear from those forging new trails in payments, blockchain, lending, robo-advisors, insurance tech, real estate and more. In addition to attracting hundreds of FinTech entrepreneurs, this conference also plays host to the investors and service providers that help accelerate […]

alternative lending conference

Date: APRIL 18 2018

Location: NEW WORLD STAGES
340 W 50th St, New York
NY 10019

Hear from those forging new trails in payments, blockchain, lending, robo-advisors, insurance tech, real estate and more. In addition to attracting hundreds of FinTech entrepreneurs, this conference also plays host to the investors and service providers that help accelerate startups. The audience can also look forward to keynotes, panels and demo updates from some of the top FinTech startups in the world.

Speakers include:

  • Brandon Krieg, Co-founder & CEO, Stash
  • Patricia Kemp, Co-founder & General Partner, Oak HC/FT
  • Jotaka Eaddy, VP of Policy, LendUp
  • Lauren Bonner, Partner, One Zero Capital
  • Nicolas Kopp, U.S. CEO, N26
  • Matt Burton, Co-founder & CEO, Orchard Platform
  • Milind Mehere, Founder & CEO, YieldStreet
  • And many more!

Register here.

Tuesday March 6 2018, Daily News Digest

credit card charge offs

News Comments Today’s main news: Is Amazon about to partner with JP Morgan Chase? Elevate saves customers $3B over payday loan alternatives. LendInvest hosts a roadshow. Folk2Folk lenders provide 200M GBP to UK rural businesses. China issues first personal credit rating license. Today’s main analysis: Credit card losses surge at small banks. Today’s thought-provoking articles: FT Partners’ CEO monthly […]

credit card charge offs

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

News Summary

United States

Amazon wants to make it easier to shop its website without a credit card (CNBC), Rated: AAA

Amazon is in early talks with financial institutions including J.P. Morgan Chase to help launch checking account-like products, aimed at younger customers and those without bank accounts, The Wall Street Journalreported Monday.

More than a quarter of U.S. households have no or limited access to checking and savings accounts. Unbanked doesn’t necessarily mean unconnected, about 6 in 10 unbanked consumers have a smartphone, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts.

New prime subscriptions flattened in the third quarter of 2017, according to analysts at Morgan Stanley. Another survey by Piper Jaffray in June said that 82 percent of U.S. households with more than $112,000 in annual income are already Prime members. Its reach is the lowest among those that make less than $41,000 a year.

In November, it announced that shoppers at 7-Eleven stores nationwide could deposit as little as $15 and as much as $500 into an Amazon account through its “Amazon cash” program. Shoppers can then use that cash to shop on Amazon. Nearly one-half of the U.S. population lives within one mile of a 7-Eleven store.

Will Amazon Pitch Financial Advice To Millennials? (Financial Advisor), Rated: A

If Amazon is successful in creating a banking relationship with its vast customer base of millennials, can an investment advice platform be far behind?

Stich predicts that Amazon, a company with a $700 billion market cap, will offer three levels of investment accounts to millennials and interested customers: It could offer do-it-yourself accounts and robo-advisory accounts; and for those who want a personal advisor, Amazon could create and refer customers to a state-by-state network of select investment professionals.

Consumers interested in idea of Amazon-created cryptocurrency, survey reveals (The Block), Rated: A

More than half of consumers would be open to using an Amazon-created cryptocurrency, with Amazon Prime users even keener, according to poll findings from student loan marketplace LendEDU.

The study, which polled 1,000 consumers who had purchased a product from Amazon in the past 30 days, found 51.7% would be interested in an ‘Amazon Coin’, with the number increasing to 58.27% for Prime members, and only one in five (21.9%) saying no.

Only 17% of those polled said they would trust Amazon more than a traditional bank, compared with 23% who disagreed and 38% who said levels of trust would be about the same. Nine in 10 respondents however said that overall, they trusted Amazon to have their best interests in mind, with 52.49% answering ‘yes, very much so’ and 37.56% opting for ‘somewhat.’

Elevate Milestone: Customers Have Saved More Than $ 3 Billion Over PayDay Loan Alternatives (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Elevate Credit, Inc. (Elevate), a tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, announced on Monday its customers have saved more than $3 billion to date, versus what they would have paid for payday loans. $1.3 billion was saved in 2017 alone.

FT Partners’ CEO Monthly Alternative Lending Market Analysis  (FT Partners), Rated: AAA

This month’s report features an exclusive interview with Keith Smith, Co-founder and CEO of Payability, a platform that provides friction-free financing to sellers operating on digital marketplaces. In our conversation with Keith, he delves into the vision behind founding Payability and the unique opportunities and strategies of lending to online marketplace sellers.

M&A
Financings
 (FT Partners Advised)
 (FT Partners Advised)
 (FT Partners Advised)
 (FT Partners Advised)
 (FT Partners Advised)

Source: FT Partners

Download and read the full report here.

A Dialogue with Peter Renton: Cryptocurrency and Beyond (deBanked), Rated: AAA

deBanked: Why did you decide to rebrand LendIt as LendItFintech?

Renton: The main reason is that we have moved beyond the online lending space.

deBanked: What about online lending? The industry has gone through a lot of changes in its relatively short history. How do you expect to see the competitive landscape change in the next year or so? What about farther out?

Renton: The online lending space has gone through a lot of changes in its short history. I feel like the biggest trend we’re seeing right now is banks launching their own platforms. Take Goldman Sachs with the Marcus online lending platform, for example. More than anything else that has happened in the history of online lending that is among the most telling for the future, I think.

deBanked: What do you see as the biggest risks for online lenders today? How can they best overcome these challenges?

Renton: As an industry, we have to focus on profitability.

Credit-Card Losses Surge at Small Banks (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Missed payments on credit cards at small banks have risen sharply over the past year, a sign that their cardholders are taking on more debt than they can handle. Their charge-off rate, or the share of outstanding card balances written off as a loss after consumers failed to pay, hit 7.2% in the fourth quarter, up from 4.5% a year ago, according to Federal Reserve data.

But they’ve especially surged at smaller banks, those outside the 100 largest by assets that have less than around $10.4 billion in assets. There, the average charge-off rate is near an eight-year high, while the 3.5% loss rate at large banks remains well below the 10.6% seen in 2010.

tZero Has Acquired VerifyInvestor for Million in Cash (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Buried within the tZero Offering Memorandum for its ongoing initial coin offering were several interesting items of note. The first was the fact the SEC was in the process of reviewing the offering. Another interesting bit of information was the fact tZero has acquired a majority stake in VerifyInvestor.

 

Gina Harman of Accion (Lend Academy), Rated: A

My next guest on the Lend Academy Podcast is Gina Harman, the CEO of the U.S. Network for Accion. They are a non-profit lender with 14 regional offices around the country focused on providing funding to underserved businesses. Accion has a very consultative approach to lending so their work often involves face to face meetings with the potential borrowers. But they are also serving the entire country through online means today.

LendingPoint Launches Merchant Solutions Platform (BusinessWire), Rated: A

LendingPoint, the company working to revolutionize access to consumer credit, today unveiled LendingPoint Merchant Solutions to provide merchants and other service providers a fully integrated one-stop retail financing platform to convert more consumers at the point of sale.

LendingPoint Merchant Solutions combines the LoanHero merchant onboarding, program management and reporting technology with LendingPoint’s industry-leading credit underwriting, risk management, and customer service expertise.

Grameen America eyes banks in ambitious push to expand microlending effort (American Banker), Rated: A

Grameen America is looking for banks and social impact investors to help fuel significant growth in its microlending effort.

The plan is to double the size of its loan portfolio, and lend a cumulative total of $2 billion, over the next five years, David Gough, its chief financial officer, said in an interview.

RICO suit filed against Great Plains Lending over allegations of predatory online lending scheme (Legal NewLine), Rated: A

Vanessa C. Grainger, Beverly Kristina Miller and Lilya J. McAtee, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, filed a complaint on Feb. 16 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina against Great Plains Lending LLC, Kenneth E. Rees, Victory Part Capitol Advisors LLC, et al. over alleged violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

THE SEC’S ICO SUBPOENA EXPLAINED (Irish Tech News), Rated: A

“The SEC typically sends a subpoena for one of two reasons: you are either a direct target of a new or ongoing investigation or you are involved somehow with an entity or individual that is under investigation,” notes William Skelley, Co-founder of William Chris, a Dubai-based consulting firm founded by David Drake and Simon Cocking.

Clayton had stated that most ICOs need to register with SEC because, like other securities that the agency regulates, they trade coins in secondary markets. However, ICO companies have shown reluctance in subjecting themselves to SEC’s oversight despite the fact that up to $8.7 billion has been raised through ICOs, based on CoinDesk data.

How Stash Invest is trying to reach the underserved (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Stash is letting its customers invest in single stocks, the company’s latest major investment product launch beyond theme-based exchange-traded funds.

Stash lets customers buy portions of shares (called fractional shares) with a minimum balance of $5.

Core Upgrade Brings Orion’s Dynamic, Time-Saving Reporting to Private Assets (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Orion Advisor Services, LLC (“Orion”), the premier portfolio accounting service provider for advisors, today announced the release of its Alternative Investment Platform (“AIP”), a tool that lets Orion advisors show their clients’ private assets as easily as their public holdings at no additional cost.

AIP lets financial advisors track and maintain alternative investment data for client assets held in private equity, direct investments, venture capital, hedge funds, private real estate, REITs, and more, with ease and efficiency. AIP lets advisors aggregate and update committed capital amounts, total cash distributions, return of capital, and commitment amounts for alternative investments of all types into client reports alongside publicly-traded assets to create a cohesive picture of the client’s net worth.

Is there a sandbox in the US’s future? (Euromoney), Rated: A

The cooperation between the FCA and the CFTC will cover information sharing, referrals and learning from proofs of concept, trials or innovation competitions.

Various agencies – including the CFTC, SEC and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (Finra) – oversee specific segments of the market, and for a US sandbox regime to be successful there would need to be substantial collaboration and coordination between all of these agencies.

Shinnecock Partners Publishes “How to” for Private Investors on Direct Lending (PRWeb), Rated: B

Direct lending is a new category that is reshaping the asset management and investment landscape, yet most investors see the arena as a “black box.” Shinnecock Partners, a 28-year old family office boutique with significant expertise in alternative finance and fintech, offers investors insights into the category with its recently published report: High Yield for Investors in Specialty Finance: Exploring Opportunities in Factoring and Merchant Cash Advance. Written and researched by the firm’s founding partner, Alan C. Snyder and co-author Marla Harkness, the 37-page report is a virtual blueprint for investors, RIAs, advisory firms and the new generation of innovators who have started alternative lending companies to serve a vacuum left by large banks and community banks that used to serve small and mid-size business pre-recession.

The paper covers:

  •     In-depth descriptions of both factoring and merchant cash advance (MCA) loan originators
  •     Insider lingo, so investors are up to speed when reviewing documents
  •     Regulatory history and framework
  •     Detailed investor evaluation checklists

You can access the report here: High Yield For Investors in Specialty Finance.

Fintech firms are gobbling up Manhattan office space (The Real Deal), Rated: B

Fintech firms and units of larger companies accounted for roughly 877,000 square feet of Manhattan office leasing last year, according to JLL data reported by the Wall Street Journal. That’s almost triple the sector’s total for 2014.

Venture capital funding for fintech firms has roughly doubled from 2014 to $2.2 billion in 2017, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Albuquerque ranks among 10 best places for new small businesses (Biz Journals), Rated: B

Albuquerque ranked No. 8 on LendingTree’s list of the best cities for new small businesses released Feb. 27.

United Kingdom

Roadshow Announcement (London South East), Rated: AAA

LendInvest Limited, the specialist mortgage provider, announces that it has mandated Peel Hunt to arrange a series of meetings with fixed income investors in the UK and Channel Islands, commencing the week of 5 March 2018, to discuss a possible second issue of sterling denominated bonds.

Folk2Folk Lenders Provide £200 Million to Rural Businesses in the UK (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Folk2Folk, a peer-to-peer (P2P0 lending platform for local and rural businesses, announced on Monday it has now lent £200 million, providing a valuable source of capital to hundreds of local businesses across the UK. According to the online lending, this milestone demonstrates the strong demand in the company’s Local Lending Movement as Lenders and Borrowers are attracted by Folk2Folk’s platform, providing a fair exchange that sees no difference between what Borrowers repay and Lenders receive on a monthly basis.

Folk2Folk’s lending milestone was reached thanks to a growing community of local Lenders who have placed £20,000 or above on the lender’s platform. The average lent per Lender now exceeds £65,000. Lenders receive 6.5%pa interest which is paid monthly, helping them achieve their financial goals, whether it be an additional income for retirement or funding a life event like a once in a lifetime holiday.

Exchange Platform LendingBlock Boosts the Development of the Crypto Sphere (Coinspeaker), Rated: A

Lendingblock is an outstanding representative of the “picks and shovel” business of the crypto economy. The recent announcement of an ICO by this company raises an important issue: can these followers of Gold Rush traditions achieve the same success?

Lendingblock is an open exchange platform for both borrowers and lenders of crypto currencies. The platform enables owners of digital assets to earn passive, low risk interest income, while borrowers get an opportunity get assets needed to support trading, hedging and working capital needs.

Tales of failed peer-to-peer lenders (AltFi), Rated: A

A little-known pawnbroking and property-backed peer-to-peer lending platform named Collateral has gone into administration, according to reports. Its investors are in limbo, unable to access their money or even view their accounts.

Be The Lender folded in August 2014. It was a tiny peer-to-peer platform with a focus on lending to small businesses.

GraduRates was a very small peer-to-peer lender specialising in loans to post-graduate students. In 2014, with a new regulatory regime for P2P firms looming, its founder Jonathan Webb decided to close down operations.

TrustBuddy was a peer-to-peer firm specialising in short-term loans for consumers. It is perhaps the best-known example of a P2P blow-up because it was the first big platform to go belly-up.

Finally, the complete comedy that was the Ezubao blow-up. There are many, many examples of failed Chinese P2P platforms, but Ezubao takes the biscuit.

FOS tells adviser to pay client over £30k loss through unsecured Sipp loan (Money Marketing), Rated: A

The Financial Ombudsman Service has told an adviser to compensate a client who they told to make an unsecured loan to a third party with money from their Sipp.

Mr H says O’Rourke Partnership recommended and arranged for him to make an unsecured loan of £29,325 to the third party from funds he held in his Sipp.

The loan was to be over a short-term at a high rate of interest but the loan has not been repaid and Mr H has lost his money.

An investigator reviewed the complaint, thought the advice was unsuitable and recommended that it should be upheld.

P2P lending “high  up the scale of respectability” for non-standard investments (AltFi), Rated: A

BondMason boss warns that recent FSCS fines are likely make SIPP providers extra cautious in reviewing non-standard investments.  

An estimated one million people are said to have taken up a SIPP (self-investment pension plan) since the wrapper was first introduced as part of the government’s Pension Freedom Reforms in April 2015. But squeezing non-standard investments into the still relatively-new tax wrapper hasn’t been easy.

Archover announces new non-exec director, nears profitability (AltFi), Rated: A

The peer-to-peer business lender is turning dissenters into directors with its latest hire, after hitting £60m in lending.

ArchOver, the p2p business lending platform, has announced it will be appointing Bill Johnston to its board as a non-executive director. Johnston previously was an outspoken critic of p2p lending and alternative finance in general, but says he has been swayed after seeing ArchOver succeed.

Beauty marketplace founder joins Blend Network management team (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

A FORMER Morgan Stanley banker turned beauty marketplace founder is among two appointments to the board of a new peer-to-peer lending platform aiming to become the “Goldman Sachs of P2P”.

Roxana Mohammadian-Molina, a former Morgan Stanley vice president and founder of Zeebba – which arranges at-home beauty services – has joined asset-backed property lender Blend Network as business development manager.

Metro Loans Presents Unsecured Business Start up Loans for Unemployed in UK (MENAFN), Rated: B

The UK based direct lending company has come up with unsecured business start up loans to build up new entrepreneurs.

China

China Issues its First Personal Credit Rating License (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On February 22, the People’s Bank of China published an announcement about setting up personal credit rating agencies. According to the document, Baihang Credit Rating Co., Ltd., was granted the first personal credit rating license in China, and the qualifications of its management team (including board member, supervisors and senior management) has all received approval.

A New Ransomware Virus Could Steal All Your Alipay Balance

Recently, a ransomware virus called “unicorn 2.1” raged online. It spreads through QQ and other Instant Messengers.

Once the virus hacks the computer, it will lock all the files in the computer and requires the victim to pay ¥3 yuan by scanning with his / her Alipay. As long as the victim scans the QR code, the hacker will be able to get access to the Alipay account and steal all the balance.

International

Marketplace lending platform Maliyya scores EUR1.3 million in seed funding (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Maliyya, a fintech company engaged in development of a P2P lending and borrowing platform, has just closed the first seed investment round of USD$1.3 million from Ground1 Ventures, a private investment firm based out of UK.

Targeting to become a primary P2P lending and borrowing platform for the Middle East, North African and Asian Region, Maliyya is working on to roll out its MVP in the coming months.

How can today’s generation of lenders fight global financial crime? (LendIt), Rated: AAA

What if you lent money to someone who used it to finance an act of terrorism? Or to disguise the proceeds of drug dealing. How would this make you feel and what would it mean for the reputation of your growing business?

Today’s generation of FinTechs however, face huge technology and operational challenges – they interface with banks and therefore need ‘bank-grade’ solutions for KYC/AML but existing technology solutions struggle to fit with their unique needs. Increasingly, they are looking to new technology to help them comply with global KYC/AML standards, maintain banking relationships and ultimately fight financial crime.

What are the financial crime risks for lenders and FinTechs?

Lenders spend billions of dollars a year on compliance solutions trying to combat their financial crime risk, which broadly fall into two categories: anti-money laundering / terrorist financing (AML/CTF) risk and fraud.

Crypto’s missing pieces: Building a sustainable financial ecosystem (International Business Times), Rated: AAA

Centralized, “off-chain” cryptocurrency exchanges, including Bitfinex and Poloniex, support margin-lending. Although limited to certain customer groups, and a limited number of assets, they generally fit the definition of money markets. The downside is that investors have to trust that the exchange won’t get hacked or abscond with assets. That’s a big risk. The recent $530 million heist from the Japanese exchange, Coincheck, isn’t likely to be the last, and many customers feel that the incremental returns aren’t worth the risk. That may change as exchanges move toward adoption by the existing financial system.

Peer to peer lending protocols, including ETHLend and Lendroid, eliminate the risk of centralization by allowing users to lend to each other directly. But to an outside observer, they hardly resemble money markets with a uniform interest rate.

Peer to peer lending protocols, including ETHLend and Lendroid, eliminate the risk of centralization by allowing users to lend to each other directly. But to an outside observer, they hardly resemble money markets with a uniform interest rate.

Profile Software’s innovative solutions for banking and wealth industry (Hubbis), Rated: B

The company today has a presence in Europe, the Middle East, America, Asia and Africa, throughout those regions delivering innovative solutions to both start-ups and established banking and finance institutions, through direct communication or a reliable partners network.

Profile’s leading platform, Axia is an omnichannel wealth management  platform covering all aspects of the investment operations that modularly, and with flexibility, embrace the whole spectrum of portfolio management, with continuous updates on client onboarding, online trading, compliance issues (such as MiFID II), instruments, custodian links and bank interfaces, financial planning, and so forth. The investment management solution also supports operations in insurance firms, private banking, custody, brokerage needs and more, with a successful track record.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday February 14 2018, Daily News Digest

OnDeck gross revenue

News Comments Today’s main news: OnDeck becomes profitable. NepFin launches first online commercial lending platform for U.S. market. MoneyLion has 2 million customers. Sequoia China leads $40M DataVisor Series C. Moody’s reviews CommonBond for upgrade. Today’s main analysis: Review of OnDeck Q4 2017 earnings results. Today’s thought-provoking articles: The Future of Lending. Is investing RateSetter Isa worth it? Genie ICO: The […]

OnDeck gross revenue

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

OnDeck swings to profit, eyes second bank partnership (American Banker), Rated: AAA

The New York-based small-business lender recorded net income of $5.1 million in the quarter that ended Dec. 31, which compared with a $35.9 million loss in the fourth quarter of 2016.

OnDeck, which has recorded $94.5 million losses over the last two years, is cutting costs in an effort to achieve profitability.

Review of OnDeck Q4 2017 Earnings Results (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

In the fourth quarter they generated $5 million of GAAP profit. To put this in perspective, this is $41 million better than the prior year period. This puts them on solid footing as they look towards priorities for 2018. Originations for the quarter were $546 million, up 3% from the prior quarter.

Source: Lend Academy

Gross revenue came in at $87.7 million, up 7% year over year. Gain on sale revenue or revenue from loans sold on OnDeck’s marketplace to investors totaled $0.6 million. Other income totaled $3.5 million, up slightly from $3.4 million in the previous quarter.

Source: Lend Academy
Source: Lend Academy

Full Year 2018

  • Gross revenue between $370 million and $382 million.
  • GAAP Net income (loss) attributable to OnDeck between $(2) million and $10 million.
  • Adjusted Net income between $16 million and $28 million.

First Quarter 2018

  • Gross revenue between $86 million and $90 million.
  • GAAP Net income (loss) attributable to OnDeck between $(5.5) million and $(1.5) million.
  • Adjusted Net income between $1 million and $5 million.

OnDeck Flips To Profitability Much To The Market’s Delight (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Originations were up 3 percent over the previous quarter to $546 million.

Loans sold or designated as held for sale through OnDeck Marketplace represented 3.9 percent of term loan originations. Provision for loan losses was $34.4 million and the Provision Rate was 6.4 percent, down from Q3’s 7.5 percent.

Gross revenue increased to $87.7 million, up 7 percent year-over-year, while net revenue was $42.1 million, up 159 percent year-on-year.

The cost of funds rate was 6.5 percent, which was a slight increase over Q3. OnDeck noted that figure will likely continue to tick up during 2018, as the Fed is forecast to keep raising short-term interest rates.

Online lender OnDeck’s profit beats on lower costs, shares soar (Reuters), Rated: B

Shares of OnDeck Capital Inc (ONDK.N) soared on Tuesday after the online lender reported better-than-expected quarterly profit as it set aside less money for bad loans, and managed to keep costs lower.

NepFin Launches First Online Commercial Lending Platform for -Trillion U.S. Market (Digital Journal), Rated: AAA

Neptune Financial Inc., or NepFin, a financial services firm, announced today that it has launched the first online commercial lending platform for mid-sized U.S. businesses, creating a new source of credit as well as business software solutions for a large, thriving sector of the economy whose borrowing options are limited.

NepFin also announced that it has raised a $10-million Series A round led by Sands Capital Ventures with participation from its existing investors. Michael Raab, Partner at Sands Capital, will join NepFin’s board, which already includes Third Point’s David Bonanno, currently a board member of SoFi, as well as Robert Schwartz, Managing Partner at Third Point Ventures. This round brings NepFin’s total capital raised to $13 million.

NepFin, whose platform has digital solutions built from the team’s years of experience in online lending and traditional finance, says that its focus is on one of the most underserved sectors of the broader U.S. economy – businesses with between $10 million and $100 million in revenue. NepFin provides loans of up to $60 million.

LendingClub at the Watermark Conference for Women (LendingClub), Rated: A

LendingClub is excited and proud to be a sponsor of the Watermark Conference for Women being held on February 23rd in San Jose, California. As part of the agenda, two of our Client Advisors from the Business Loans team, Mana and Somie, will be leading roundtable discussions with women entrepreneurs on the core elements to consider when exploring small business financing options.

Forbes Fintech 50 2018: The Future Of Lending (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Affirm, San Francisco

Makes instant three, six and 12 month loans for purchases from 1,500 online merchants. A handful of sellers subsidize 0% rates, but most loans carry annual interest rates of 10% to 30%.

Bona fides: More than 1 million loans issued. Partners include Wayfair and Expedia.

Better Mortgage

Digital-only mortgage originator estimates the loan an applicant qualifies for within three minutes using stated income and a credit score check.

Bona fides: Fannie Mae and five of nation’s six largest banks buy its loans.

Blend

Speeds up the mortgage approval process at the nation’s largest lenders with its cloud based white label software.

Bona fides: Wells Fargo and U.S. Bancorp are already onboard

CommonBond

Online lender refinances and finances undergraduate and graduate student loans.

Bona fidesCommonBond has made $1.5 billion in loans, but says just two have gone into default.

GreenSky

Provides on-the-spot financing for home improvement projects (with loans up to $65,000) via a network of contractors and bank partners — without itself taking on the risk of defaults. Most borrowers don’t pay a dime in interest thanks to zero-interest promotional periods that last from 6 to 60 months. Recently began offering financing at doctor, dentist and veterinary offices.

Bona fides: Has facilitated over $10 billion in loans

Kabbage

Lending platform offers nearly instantaneous small business loans. Uses creative alternative data to underwrite loans–such as the number of UPS packages a business sends and receives over time.

Bona fides: Over $4 billion in originations to 130,000 small businesses

LendingHome

Four year-old online lender started out providing bridge loans to fix and flip housing investors, a historically underserved segment. With original product now available in 25 states, LendingHome has expanded into personal mortgages in 14.

Bona fides: $2 billion in loans made; 10,000 homes financed

Tala

Approves developing-world borrowers who lack a credit history for micro-loans of between $10 and $500 by crunching 10,000 data points—from financial transactions to mobile games played—from an applicant’s smartphone.

Bona fidesHas made more than 4.5 million loans, with a repayment rate above 90%.

Upstart, San Carlos, CA

Uses alternative data such as education, employment history and whether applicants know their own credit score to underwrite and price loans. After five years of training its algorithms, it now approves 47% of loans without human intervention and with some of the lowest default rates in the industry.

Bona fides: $1.5 billion in loans originated to 120,000 borrowers

MoneyLion Reaches 2 Million Customer Milestone As Growth Accelerates (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

MoneyLion, the digital personal finance platform for the financial middle class, today announced that it now empowers over 2 million customers to better their borrowing, saving and investing through personalized, AI-driven solutions. The growth of MoneyLion’s community is a reflection of the positive financial outcomes its customers have achieved and the platform’s unique approach to money management for everyday Americans.

The momentum behind MoneyLion’s customer growth follows a number of recent milestones for the company, including:

  • The December launch of MoneyLion Plus, a first-of-its-kind membership that combines guided savings, simple investing, access to low-cost loans, and personalized daily financial tips to help consumers build their credit, financial resilience, and first $2,000 in savings. MoneyLion Plus has democratized access to private banking-like services typically reserved for high net worth consumers, providing an opportunity for first-time investors to begin building wealth.
  • Completion of a successful $42 million Series B equity round in January, bringing MoneyLion’s total funds raised to $67 million. This financing accelerates MoneyLion’s continued development of innovative, inclusive financial products and services for America’s financial middle class.

Student lending platform on review for ratings boost (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Moody’s puts six tranches issued by CommonBond on review for upgrade.

Moody’s Investor Services has placed six tranches issued by CommonBond Student Loan Trust 2016-B, 2017-A-GS and 2017-B-GS on review for upgrade. The tranches are comprised of loans to students, and $488m of asset backed securities are affected by the review.

Dwolla Lands $ 12 Million (Finovate), Rated: A

In a short, three-sentence blog post, Dwolla CEO Ben Milne announced that the company closed a $12 million round of funding. The investment, which brings the Iowa-based company’s total to $51.4 million, was led by Foundry Group with participation from Union Square Ventures, Next Level Ventures, Ludlow Ventures, High Alpha, and Firebrand– all existing investors.

Fortress Balance Sheet: Goldman Sachs’ Online Lender Marcus Has Access to $ 17 Billion in Deposits (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

But today, Blankfein shared that Marcus now has access to over $17 billion in deposits representing a huge amount of credit firepower at an unbeatable cost to lend.

In a savvy move, Goldman acquired GE Capital’s retail deposits prior to launching Marcus. Since the acquisition, these deposits have grown an impressive 90%.

Secured Lender BlockFi Secures $ 1.55M Funding to Build Cryptoasset Ecosystem (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

BlockFi, a New York-based non-bank lender that offers USD loans to cryptoasset owners, announced a $1.55 million raise from ConsenSys Ventures, Kenetic Capital, PJC, SoFi,  Purple Arch Ventures and Lumenary. The new capital injection will be used to bridge the gap between traditional debt capital markets and the cryptoasset ecosystem.

Five credit unions sign with new text messaging platform in January to enhance lending and operations (CUInsights), Rated: A

Shastic, a SaaS company specializing in banking-specific technology services, has signed on five new customers in the first month of 2018. The recent growth follows the fintech company’s early launch of Elle, the conversational text messaging platform built for credit unions. Elle is an expansion of their automation services to deliver efficient, real-time message communication between a credit unions and their members.

Data-sharing spec revised to encourage open banking (American Banker), Rated: A

The Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center announced Tuesday an attempt to move the ball forward on data sharing and open banking in the U.S.

The FS-ISAC on Tuesday released a new version of its technical recommendations for data sharing, the Durable Data API specification. This could become the standard banks and third parties adopt for PSD2-style data sharing and open banking. In fact, the new standard meets all of PSD2’s requirements, according to the security data-sharing organization. (However, PSD2 also requires third parties to register and agree to be overseen by a regulator, something unlikely to happen here.)

What We Talk About When We Talk About Finances (With Alexa) (PYMNTS), Rated: A

As anyone who has used an Alexa skill might know, the movement toward conversational finance, or financial conversations, is a tricky one, as specific instructions or questions (okay, they are commands, really) have traditionally been needed to spur the assistant to retrieve information.

To that end, USAA has sought to bring a natural cadence and flow to the conversation, one that builds, and built, on its experience in the PYMNTS Voice Challenge last year.

In play for customer data, TD Ameritrade rolls out Twitter trading bot (Tearsheet), Rated: B

The brokerage firm released a Twitter bot Thursday, allowing stock investors to execute trades, get market updates and browse educational content through direct messages. For the brokerage, encouraging traders who use Twitter to transact will give it, the hope is, a rich source of user data to offer personalized customer experiences and product recommendations.

Millennial entrepreneur strives to provide affordable financial advice to all (NewsOK), Rated: A

How to go about repairing your credit, reducing your student loan debt or obtaining the best mortgage loan now is available to you through a locally produced app.

The answers are among the widespread financial advice available to consumers nationwide through a new app called Coinmast launched by an Oklahoma City-based millennial entrepreneur.

At $11 a call, the tech startup offers such help from certified financial counselors, certified financial planners and certified public accountants whom Haller contracts nationwide. Experts, he said, offer advice on almost anything, excluding on individual securities, insurance and taxes.

Robo advice app Stash raises .5m Series D, releases investing for kids (AltFi), Rated: A

US-based micro investments app Stash has announced a $37.5m raise in Series D funding, led by Union Square Ventures. Existing investors Breyer Capital, Coatue Management, Entree Capital, as well as fintech familiars Goodwater Capital and Valar Ventures, also joined in on the round.

My Financial Advisor is a Robot (Direct Industry), Rated: A

Fintech company Moneyfarm uses cutting-edge technology as well as human financial expertise to help make investing simple, easy and cost-effective. The company also invests in artificial intelligence and machine learning and recently bought AI-driven chatbot Ernest. 

DirectIndustry e-magazine: What is the technology behind it?

Paolo Galvani: We use technology to match investors with investment portfolios that are specifically built for their investor profiles. Each new customer completes a survey during the sign-up process. The algorithms we have developed in-house match each investor to an investor profile that reflects their tolerance for risk. Investors are then paired with a portfoliothat is specifically built and managed by our team of investment experts to reflect the customer’s investor profile.

LPL rolls out robo-adviser to regional bank (InvesmentNews), Rated: A

Webster Bank, a $26.4 billion financial institution with branches in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New York, announced that it would start offering access to Guided Wealth Portfolios, a digital advice platform developed by LPL Financial and BlackRock Inc.‘s FutureAdvisor.

Interest Doesn’t Always Bring Adoption of Robo-Adviser Tech (PlanAdviser), Rated: A

A new report published by Cerulli Associates examines the growth trajectory of the digital financial advice market that has occurred since 2015, finding there remains a clear inverse relationship between an investor’s age and their willingness to engage with purely digital financial advice platforms.

Scott Smith, director at Cerulli, notes that as of the third quarter of 2017, there is “greater openness to digital advice relationships, but a strongly negative correlation between age and interest remains.”

Cetera Financial Group Enhance Delivery of Advice-Centric Experience for Financial Advisors, Clients (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Cetera Financial Group (“Cetera”)*, a network of independent firms supporting the delivery of professional financial advice, today announced that the six firms comprising its network will be organized under its newly-created Traditional and Specialty Channels. The formation of these two channels is expected to accelerate the ability of each network firm to support Cetera’s Advice-Centric Experience for advisors and clients, which envisions a financial advice profession driven by goals-based planning and solutions that help clients achieve more predictable outcomes on their journey to financial well-being.

Looking for Credit Union Student Loans? Here’s How to Find and Apply for Them (Student Loan Hero), Rated: B

MyCreditUnion.gov provides a map that makes it easy to locate credit unions in your area. Input your address to find a list of credit unions, directions to each location, and available member services. You can then contact local credit unions to find out about membership requirements and student loan options.

One of the best ways to research your options is to use LendKey. LendKey offers easy access to hundreds of different credit unions and community banks that provide private student loans.

You have the option of applying directly through a credit union that allows people to join from anywhere in the United States. Some examples of credit unions open to individuals nationwide include Alliant Credit UnionDigital Federal Credit Union, and First Tech Federal Credit Union.

United Kingdom

New Isa from RateSetter offers 6% return: is it worth investing? (Which?), Rated: AAA

With the new product form RateSetter, you could earn 3-6% interest on your investment, depending on how long you lock your money away.

RateSetter’s Innovative finance Isa allows you to invest up to £20,000 in a tax year.

It is a flexible Isa product, meaning you can withdraw money and replace it without using up your £20,000 tax-free savings allowance.

Say, for example, you put £10,000 into your innovative finance Isa and then withdrew £5,000. Under the rules, you could still deposit £15,000 without incurring tax.

The shortest duration investment rolls over monthly with an interest rate of 3.1%. The longest is a five-year investment, which currently has an interest rate of 5.8%.

Money goes to… Minimum investment Projected rate
Abundance Green energy projects £5 6-9% over lifetime of investment (3-5 years)
Advancr Public and private businesses £1,000 5-6% depending on length of bond
Basset & Gold Fixed income bonds £1,000 3-7% depending on product
CapitalRise Property development projects £1,000 10% or more depending on the project
Crowd2Fund Businesses £10 9%
Crowd for Angels Crowd bonds funding small businesses £25, but companies can increase that 12%
Crowdstacker Businesses £500, but set by borrowers 5-7%
Downing Crowd Fixed-term bonds for small businesses £100 4-7%
Folk2Folk Asset-backed loans to small, mostly rural businesses £20,000 5.5-6.5% depending on product
Funding Circle* Businesses £1,000 4.8-7.5% depending on selected risk level
FundingSecure Asset-backed sub-prime loans to individuals £25 Up to 16%
Goji P2P Consumer, business and property loans £5,000 5%
HNW Lending Asset-backed loans to individuals and businesses £10,000 6-15% depending on term and risk
Kuflink Property loans £100 5%
LandlordInvest Asset-backed loans to landlords £100 5-12%
Landbay Buy-to-let mortgages £5,000 4%
LendingCrowd Business loans £1,000 6%
Lending Works Individuals £10 3-5% depending on term
Money&Co. Businesses £100 8%
Mongoose Crowd Community energy projects £100-200, but can vary by project 4-7%
Property Crowd Commercial and residential developments £5,000 10%
Proplend Property of varying types £1,000 5-12%
Ratesetter Businesses, individuals and property developers £10 3-6% depending on product
Rebuildingsociety Small and medium-sized businesses £10 9.7%
Relendex Commercial and residential property loans £500 10%
UK Bond Network Businesses £5,000 11%
Zopa** Individuals £1,000 4-4.6% dep

Fintech group TruFin raises £70m (Finextra), Rated: A

TruFin, a British fintech and banking business with fingers in various niche lending pies, has raised £70 million through a listing on the LSE’s AIM market.

LendInvest unveils product transition process (BestAdvice), Rated: A

The Product Transition process allows existing borrowers to transfer between specialised loans that are tailored to support them at each stage in their development project.

Lendy returns £2.1m loan repayment from luxury property in Chelsea (Mortgage Introducer), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lending platform Lendy returned a £2.1m loan repayment to P2P investors from a luxury apartment in Chelsea, on an investment made through Lendy.

Lendy appoints new head of finance (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: B

Andrew Wawrzyniak has joined the peer-to-peer lending platform from Fund Partners, a fund manager whose clients include Octopus Investments, Pictet Asset Management and Russell Investments.

China

Sequoia China leads $ 40M DataVisor Series C (Bankless Times), Rated: AAA

DataVisor, a provider of fraud detection solutions using unsupervised machine learning, today announced a $40 million Series C round of financing led by Sequoia China, with participation from existing investors New Enterprise Associates and GSR Ventures.

Rock Wang, managing director at Sequoia China, will join DataVisor’s board of directors. With this new round of financing, DataVisor will expand its global footprint in the fraud detection and prevention market, which is estimated to reach $41.6 billion by year 2022 according to research firm MarketsandMarkets.

European Union

Swedish Online Payments Company Klarna Shuts Down Tel Aviv Development Center (CTech), Rated: AAA

Swedish online payments company Klarna Bank AB (publ) will be shutting down its Tel Aviv development center during the next few months, the company announced Tuesday. All 31 of its employees in Tel Aviv were offered the opportunity to remain with the company and relocate to one of its Swedish or German offices.

Banco BNI Europa to invest with CrossLend (Finextra), Rated: A

Banco BNI Europa and CrossLend have launched a cooperation whereby Banco BNI Europa invests into notes issued by CrossLend Securities SA.

International

Barclays faces new charge, Triodos innovates and outlook for Citizens Bank in the US (Financial Times), Rated: A

Martin Arnold and guests discuss the latest charges against Barclays, Bevis Watts of the ethically-focused bank Triodos talks about his new UK peer-to-peer lending model and Bruce van Saun explains what US rate rises will mean for Citizens Bank.


 

Australia

DirectMoney Secures New Strategic Investment From Alceon For Growth & Innovation Initiatives (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Australian marketplace lending platform DirectMoney announced on Tuesday it secured a strategic investment from alternative investment manager Alceon to fund growth and innovation initiatives.

According to DirectMoney, the investment will be structured through an initial placement of $600,000 at $0.042 per share (being 14,285,715 new shares), a 56% premium to the price at close of trading on February 9th and equivalent to a 3.1% shareholding.

India

Why just rent when RentoMojo also gives you the option of renting and owning (YourStory), Rated: AAA

Online rental and financing marketplace RentoMojo, which lets consumers in eight cities lease furniture, two-wheelers and home appliances, has launched an additional  rent-to-own model. 

PE AND VC OPPORTUNITIES IN 21ST CENTURY INDIA (AllAboutAlpha), Rated: AAA

ARA Law, a firm based in Mumbai and Bangalore, India, has issued a paper on private equity and venture capital in that country.

The main text of the paper begins with sectoral analysis and market behavior. PE and VC investments in India declined in the early months of 2017, but they had started to pick up already before the end of the first quarter and in the third quarter investments by such vehicles “surprised the market with a tremendous jump in deal volume as well as value.”

In August of that year the deal value reached US$5 billion. The third quarter as a whole saw 129 deals of value greater than US$100 million, aggregating to about US$7 billion.

The most lucrative sector last year was e-Commerce, “in spite of the sharp fall in investments by the end of AY 2016,” followed by real estate. In the 3d quarter, e-Commerce recorded roughly US$2.6 billion in deals across 18 deals. Real estate?  US$2.3 billion across 13 deals. Banking and Financial Services? Third place in the league table with US $1.4 billion across 25 deals.

MoneyOnMobile Raises $ 5 Mn Funding From S7 Group (Inc42), Rated: A

Mumbai-based fintech startup MoneyOnMobile has raised $5 Mn in Series H funding from Russia-based private aviation and aerospace holding company S7 Group. The development comes just two weeks after the startup secured $7.6 Mn Series F funding from undisclosed investors.

Asia

Genie ICO: A Blockchain Network For Decentralized Business Loans (Global Coin Report), Rated: AAA

Genie was created to provide individuals based in Asia with a unique way to borrow and lend money for their business using a peer-to-peer system that is based on a blockchain network. The Genie ICO has been created by an experienced team after observing the rapidly changing Asian financial landscape ever since cryptocurrencies, ICOs, and blockchain technology grew to prominence in 2017.

The platform will also have its very own token Crowd Genie Coin (CGC) which will be generated via an ICO. There will be a limited supply of 120,000,000 tokens available. Of this amount, only 50 million will be available for purchase during the token sale. The rest of the tokens will be used for facilitating transactions on the platform, will be given to the founders, used for distribution, etc. All tokens that are not bought during the token sale, however, will be destroyed to increase the value of a single CGC.

The Genie team hopes to raise a total of $35,000,000 throughout the ICO and the value of 400 CGC tokens has been estimated to be of equal value of 1 ether, which at the time of writing equates to $858. This means that a single CGC is worth $2.15. However, the interested investor can invest a minimum of 0.1, which will attract a wide variety of investors.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Tayl

Tuesday July 18 2017, Daily News Digest

fintech adoption

News Comments Today’s main news: Laplanche shares vision for Online Lending 2.0 at Lang Di Fintech. Elevate named a great place to work (again). FinLeap raises 39M Euro. Crunchbase-like database launches in Singapore. Today’s main analysis: Ant Financial poised for more growth. Fintech use reaching mass adoption among digital consumers. Today’s thought-provoking articles: OCC vs. New York DFS.  Ant Financial […]

fintech adoption

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

Elevate Named Great Place to Work by Independent Analysts for Second Year in a Row (4-Traders), Rated: AAA

Elevate was recently certified as a great workplace by the independent analysts at Great Place to Work®. Elevate earned this credential based on ratings provided by its employees in anonymous surveys. A summary of these ratings can be found at 

“According to our study, 87 percent of Elevate employees say it is a great workplace,” says Sarah Lewis-Kulin, Vice President of Great Place to Work Certification & List Production.

79% of Elevate employees completed a survey, resulting in a 90 percent confidence level and a margin of error of ± 2.04.

Ex-LendingClub CEO Laplanche sees new Upgrade venture growing loan volumes (Yahoo! News), Rated: AAA

Online lender Upgrade, launched by former LendingCLub Corp CEO Renaud Laplanche in April, expects to grow its loan volumes and add new asset managers to its roster of buyers in coming months, Laplanche said in an interview on Monday.

Upgrade has been testing its credit quality and risk management systems, compliance framework and other operations, as well as building up its infrastructure to deal with rising volumes before ramping up the service, Laplanche added. The company has signed up six asset managers who are already buying or plan to buy loans originated by the company, including Jefferies LLC and an unnamed Hong Kong firm, he said.

OCC vs. New York DFS: Battle for the Future of FinTech (Bloomberg BNA), Rated: AAA

In the rapidly developing world of financial technology it often is unclear who has the legal authority to regulate the activities of newly created companies. Many of these companies do not neatly fit into any established regulatory scheme. However, answering the question of who will be creating the regulatory rules for FinTech companies is important both for regulators and the FinTech companies themselves.

State Regulators Want to Regulate FinTech

Over the past several years, state regulators have been staking out positions as leading regulators of FinTech companies.

During this same period, federal regulators have announced the intention to assert control over the regulation of FinTech companies.

The OCC indicated that its authority to grant FinTech Charters to nonbank FinTech companies stems from 12 C.F.R. § 5.20(e)(1), which states that the agency may grant such charters to institutions that conduct “at least one of the following three core banking functions: receiving depositions, paying checks, or lending money.”

The Lawsuit

The DFS did not limit itself to criticizing the proposed FinTech Charters. On May 12, 2017, the DFS filed a lawsuit against the OCC in the District Court for the Southern District of New York, alleging that the OCC’s proposed FinTech Charters exceeded the agency’s statutory authority under the National Banking Act and violated the Tenth Amendment. Based on these claims, the DFS sought declaratory and injunctive relief that would declare the proposed FinTech Charters to be unlawful and prohibit the OCC from creating or issuing these charters in the absence of express authorization from Congress.

Third, even if the OCC prevails and begins granting FinTech Charters, state agencies such as the DFS will still attempt to regulate FinTech companies. This could lead to future disputes over the nature and scope of the federal preemption of state regulations, which will add to the confusion over which regulations apply to which FinTech companies.

As a result of these issues, FinTech companies have little idea what the future regulatory terrain will look like. This uncertainty makes it difficult for companies to predict the future regulatory cost of business decisions they would like to make today.

Worthy Financial Announces the Closing of Its Seed Financing Round (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Worthy, a digital investment app that redefines how Americans access investment products, diversify their portfolios and save for retirement, announced the successful closing of its seed financing round. The funds will be used for the full-scale roll-out of the Worthy mobile app, and will enable Worthy to expand its growing user base as well as to broaden the array of investment product options it offers retail investors.

Worthy provides users with the unprecedented ability to spend their way to retirement by investing retail round-ups into high-yielding fixed interest bonds, the proceeds of which fund growing businesses. In doing so, anyone has the capability to build a nest egg, enhance portfolio returns, mitigate risk, and generate both social as well as financial returns. Worthy investors grow their portfolios while simultaneously supporting American entrepreneurs.

Stash, now valued at $ 240 million, lets anyone start investing in the stock market with just $ 5 (Business Insider), Rated: A

Krieg and Robinson realized then that they had an opportunity to help.

They founded Stash, an app that lets you build a portfolio and start investing with only $5, plus it teaches you the ins and outs of the stock market.

Krieg and Robinson realized then that they had an opportunity to help.

The company launched in October 2015 and just closed on a $40 million Series C led by Coatue Management. That brings Stash’s total funding to $78 million and values the New York-based startup at $240 million, according to a person familiar with the company.

Stash makes money by charging a subscription fee of $1 per month for accounts with less than $5,000. When an account has more than $5,000, Stash charges a fee of 0.25% fee.

Stash now has about 850,000 customers nationwide.

Why Robo-Analysts, Not Robo-Advisors, Will Transform Investing (The Financial Revolutionist), Rated: A

Robo-advisors and robo-analysts are both important to enabling wealth management firms to cut costs without sacrificing quality of advice, but the importance of a robo-analyst to enhance the quality of investment advice shouldn’t be underestimated.

Today, many of the tasks performed by robo-advisors are low value-added services such as determining and communicating asset allocation strategies (e.g., 60% equities, 30% fixed income and 10% cash). In fact, these services are so low value-added that advisors cannot make money doing them unless they are bundled with higher value-added services.The value proposition of a robo-analyst is very different.

Specifically, by shining an analytical light in the dark corners of financial filings, robo-analyst technology can identify many critical data points overlooked by most research analysts today. No longer must investors rely on the headlines or management-manipulated earnings. With new technologies, investors can receive a much fuller, more comprehensive analysis of financial filings, company profits and valuation so as to make better informed decisions than ever before. As a result, robo-analyst tech raises the analytical bar universally, enabling investors to transcend the short-sighted and high turnover trading mentality that, in the long run, does more damage to investors than good.

Bankers Worry About Jobs Lost to Automation (Newsmax), Rated: A

A quarter of banking’s “front line” professionals are worried about losing their jobs to robots and artificial intelligence-boosted mobile apps, according to a LinkedIn survey.

In the poll of 1,012 pros from financial technology, investment banking, retail and corporate banking, financial and hedge fund management, accounting, insurance, and private equity, 25 percent said they are concerned automation will impact their job security – with 34 percent of retail bankers saying it is a significant concern for them.

The survey also found 42 percent of financial services pros think financial technology is a “direct threat” to traditional financial services, compared with 13 percent of professionals who work in traditional financial services, and 18 percent of all the financial professionals.

Matthew Wong of CB Insights on Insurtech (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In today’s episode of the Lend Academy podcast we have Matthew Wong of CB Insights. He has been following innovation in the insurtech space for some time and his weekly insurtech newsletter has a subscriber base of more than 18,000 people.

In this podcast you will learn:

  • Matt’s background and how he first became involved in insurtech.
  • What CB Insights does.
  • The headwinds facing insurance industry incumbents today.
  • Why millennials are not buying insurance as much as other generations.
  • Why insurtech is hot right now when it comes to VC investments.
  • Some of the most interesting companies in the insurtech space right now.
  • Why it will probably take a long time for these startups to get to scale.
  • Why Matt likes Zhong An Insurance, the first and largest online insurer in China.
  • How the incumbent insurance companies have been reacting to this surge in startup activity.
  • Why Munich Re is one of the most interesting incumbents.
  • Matt’s view on what SoFi is doing partnering with a life insurance company.
  • The endgame for many of the insurtech startups.

Solar Loans Are A Risky Investment But Not Unlike Other ABS (ValueWalk), Rated: A

Solar loans are on the rise as the industry undergoes a transition and credit investors consider whether these asset-backed securities are worth the risk. In some ways, they’re similar to other types of collateral, and credit investors are already used to dealing with the types of risk they pose. However, analysts at Moody’s warn that they’re one of the riskiest securitization asset classes.

The reason solar loans are so new is because until now, the residential solar market has been dominated by third-party ownership of solar panel systems via power-purchase agreements and leases. GTM Research projected late last year that 2017 will be the year direct ownership of residential solar panels retakes its position as the top solar financing model.

The firm projected that 55% of the U.S. residential solar capacity that’s installed this year will be bought by customers who either pay in cash or take out a loan to finance their systems.

Jefferies gives IBM Watson a Wall Street reality check (TechCrunch), Rated: A

IBM’s Watson unit is receiving heat today in the form of a scathing equity research report from Jefferies’ James Kisner. The group believes that IBM’s investment into Watson will struggle to return value to shareholders.

The narrative isn’t the product of any single malfunction, but rather the result of overhyped marketing, deficiencies in operating with deep learning and GPUs and intensive data preparation demands.

If job postings are any indication, IBM is not keeping pace with other technology companies in hiring machine learning developers.

Cascade Fintech Signs 3-Year Contract for AU10TIX ID Authentication & Onboarding Automation (WVAlways.com), Rated: A

US prepaid card and P2P payment services provider Cascade Financial Technology Corp has signed a 3-year contract to power customer onboarding and KYC with 2nd generation ID authentication and onboarding automation. AU10TIX Secure Customer onboarding (SCO) cloud service that already powers major players across financial services markets, is known not only to increase KYC robustness and fraud protection but also improve customer conversion success chances and operating efficiency.

The future of Millennial banking (Marketing-Interactive), Rated: A

In the last ten years, the fundamental assumption that financial institutions are the only avenue to financial transactions is being called to question, especially by Millennials, who are by far the most entrepreneurial generation.

In a disruptive world, what does the future of banking and finance look like? How can and should financial institutions adapt to remain relevant, or even lead in this era of change?

  • Seamless, efficient and fast

Payments are perhaps the most basic and prevalent interaction with finance for the masses, yet for the longest time, payments to businesses saw minimal innovation. P2P transfers were never a focus for banks since it was a zero commission business. This was a pain-point to Millennials, who are used to sending everything from photos to documents electronically – having to withdraw physical cash or obtaining account details to securely transfer money for lunch is considered old fashioned!

  • Flexibility and access to funds

Traditional unsecured loans might require a strong financial history or proof of steady income stream, which would be unlikely if the individual were not taking a salaried job. Cash advances on credit cards would usually incur overly high interests costs.

This creates opportunities for peer to peer (P2P) lending marketplaces such as Prosper and Lending Club, platforms which create alternative ways to access cash loans while providing alternative yields on deposits.

  • Information access

Websites such as MoneySmart, DirectAsia, GoBear and Milelion position themselves as third-party and an unbiased advisor of investment products and policies. They perform the heavy lifting of trawling through multiple sites to aggregate and analyse information, empowering consumers to make informed purchases in the shortest time.

  • The reversal to brand love

The answer lies in placing the consumer in the centre of their businesses and asking the right questions constantly to redefine scope of value-add. It is an iterative journey, and worthwhile to include consumers as co-creators in product design and transformation.

Wela, the World’s First Financial Advice App Pairing Artificial Intelligence with Real Advisors, Available for Android Devices (Marketwired), Rated: B

Wela, a personal finance app that pairs artificial intelligence (AI) and human advisors, announces today it is available for download on Android devices in addition to iOS. Wela pairs real financial advisors with AI through the personification of its digital advising algorithm, Benjamin. The first true digital advisor, Benjamin utilizes AI to track users’ daily, weekly and monthly spending habits and provides personalized advice based on their financial needs and goals. Unlike other free consumer finance apps, Wela also offers access to real financial advisors via phone, video chat or in-person at no additional cost.

The Android app contains the full functionality of the iOS version and employs the same innovative features that allow users to track all their financial accounts in one place. Wela protects user privacy by leveraging bank-level security, as well as 256-bit SSL encryption and two forms of secure authentication. Capable of aggregating data from more than 13,000 financial institutions, Benjamin pulls linked account information to run a complete analysis, helping users take steps toward financial wellness based on three main pillars: creating an emergency reserve, paying off debt and implementing an investment strategy. In addition to Benjamin’s foundational metrics, the algorithm delivers custom insights on demand, helping users stay on track to reach their short- and long-term goals.

Three Leading Lawyers Take the Helm of Manatt’s Financial Services Group (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, today announced new co-chairs of the firm’s industry-leading financial services group, with the appointment of Richard Gottlieb, Brian Korn and Donna Wilson.

Gottlieb is a partner in the firm’s Chicago office, Korn is based in Manhattan, and Wilson practices in Manatt’s Los Angeles office.

United Kingdom

MarketInvoice Stands at £1.34 Cumulative Invoices Funded (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

This past February, MarketInvoice shared it had funded invoices over £1.1 billion since platform launch in 2011. The online lender said it expects to top the £2 billion in invoices funded by the end of the year.

In Q2 of 2017, MarketInvoice announced that it had funded invoices from UK businesses worth £161.9 million. Compare this amount to the £103 million funded in Q2 of 2016 and the platform is generating some serious momentum.

In the first quarter of 2017, MarketInvoice generated £130 million in invoice finance.

RateSetter’s new chairman heralds benefits of provision fund (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER’S new non-executive chairman Paul Manduca (pictured) has heralded the peer-to-peer lender’s “simplicity”, citing its provision fund as an example, on his first day in his new role.

The asset management veteran said that financial innovation can sometimes result in overly-complex products that investors cannot understand, which is “complacent and out of step with what customers want”.

Activist investor increases stake in Ranger Direct Lending fund (AltFi), Rated: A

The LIM Asia Special Situations Master Fund has increased its stake in the £243m Ranger Direct Lending fund, following the portfolio’s move to a double-digit discount.

The Hong-Kong based fund had already invested in the closed-ended portfolio, which invests in a host of online lending platforms, owning less than 4 per cent. Last week it increased its holding to 5.48 per cent (on the 7th July).

Assetz Capital Continues UK P2P Expansion with Scotland Appointment (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Assetz Capital is continuing its strategy of establishing a local presence across the UK with the appointment of Ian Craig as Regional Relationship Director to help manage operations in Scotland. The appointment comes as Assetz Capital says growth in Scotland continues with a target of £50 million in lending (subject to two upcoming completions). Assetz Capital says it is well on its way to becoming the second largest alternative finance lender in Scotland.

Craig will be responsible for helping local Scottish businesses acquire finance through the peer-to-peer platform and ensure borrowing with Assetz Capital runs seamlessly.

P2P lenders helped British Business Bank fund £717m of SME loans last year (P2P Finance news), Rated: A

PEER-TO-PEER lenders were among the delivery partners helping the British Business Bank (BBB) fund £717m of loans to small businesses last year, the firm’s annual report revealed.

The state-backed institution, which has channelled funds through P2P platforms such as RateSetter, Funding Circle and MarketInvoice, facilitated 94 per cent of its finance through banks outside of the ‘big four’ last year, up from 90 per cent in 2015 and 79 per cent in 2014.

The BBB has a key performance indicator of having more than 75 per cent of its finance facilitated through providers other than the four largest banks over five years, so it has already surpassed that aim.

China

Renaud Laplanche Shares His Vision for Online Lending 2.0 at Lang Di Fintech (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

In his first public appearance in over a year Renaud Laplanche, the CEO of Upgrade, gave a presentation this past weekend at Lang Di Fintech, LendIt’s annual Chinese conference, in Shanghai. Titled Online Lending 2.0 he laid out his vision for where he thinks the online lending industry is going next.

He talked about how one of the big innovations in Online Lending 1.0 was the introduction of more data into the underwriting process. Ten years ago, which marked the beginning of Online Lending 1.0, this new data allowed more accurate underwriting of consumers. But in Online Lending 2.0 this has expanded dramatically with not just more data but new and better tools available to analyze this data.

The two key data points that are being added in Online Lending 2.0 are location data and free cash flow analysis. We need to adjust underwriting to take into account location because a consumer in New York City has a much higher than average cost of living while a consumer in Greenville, SC has a much lower than average cost of living for example. This is why Debt-to-Income (DTI) is less important than free cash flow today.

Alibaba Affiliate Ant Financial: World’s Largest Fintech Poised For More Growth (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

Ant Financial, Alibaba’s (NYSE:BABA) financial affiliate, is the largest fintech in the world, and leads the pack of the world’s largest fintech unicorns, the top four of which are from China, the largest fintech market in the world: Ant Financial (US$60 billion), Lufax (US$18.5 billion), JD Finance (US$7 billion) (NASDAQ:JD), and Qufenqi (US$5.9 billion).

Alipay

Payments make up the biggest portion of fintech in China and this is expected to be the same going forward.

Mobile phones function as mobile wallets for about 425 million Chinese, or 65% of all mobile users. This is the highest penetration rate in the world. At 38 trillion yuan (US$ 5.5 trillion) last year according to data from iResearch, China is the world’s largest mobile payments market and is over 50 times bigger than the American market where mobile payments reached US$112 billion.

China’s e-commerce market is expected to continue its upward climb. Online sales represented 16.4% of China’s total retail sales in the first half of 2016 and this is expected to climb to 21.7% by 2020 which should benefit Alipaygoing forward.

Wealth Management

Wealth management is the largest area of fintech after payments.

There are about 325 million Chinese investors in Yu’e Bao, a number almost as big as the population of the United States and the fund has more assets than the rest of the top 10 Chinese peers combined.

The majority of Yu’e Bao users are millennials under the age of 30 and about 99.7% of its investors are individuals, according to its annual report, rather than companies or financial intermediaries as is usually the case at other Chinese money-market funds.

Credit scoring

Data from the World Bank’s Global Findex study revealed that the bank account ownership rate among individuals aged 15 and older is quite high in China (79% in 2014) yet credit usage is relatively low at 14% in 2014.

The People’s Bank of China covers credit profiles for just about 25% (around 350 million) of China’s 1.3 billion population and shares this data only with selected banks. This absence of reliable credit scoring is partly the reason individuals and small enterprises experience difficulty obtaining a loan from China’s state-controlled banking system which tends to favor large corporates and state-owned enterprises.

Lending

Credit data from the system will also be used to support lending activities at Ant Financial’s MYbank, an internet-only bank which provides loans to SMEs. Set up in mid-2015, the bank will extend loans up to US$800,000 as well as smaller loans that state banks usually don’t pay much attention to.

China has just 8.1 commercial bank branches and 55 ATMs per 100,000 people. This compares with US and Canada which have 28.2 branches and 222 ATMs per 100,000 people and in Europe where there are 28 branches and 81 ATMS per 100,000 people.

PBOC calls upon fintech firms to help fund system to monitor online transactions (SCMP), Rated: A

China’s central bank has urged financial technology (fintech) companies to help pay for a government-controlled monitoring system to watch over financial transactions on the internet.

Sun Guofeng, director general of the People’s Bank of China’s research institute, said the fast-growing fintech businesses have ratcheted up pressure on authorities to invest heavily in regulatory technology, or regtech, but he pointed out that it would be unfair to cover the costs by using taxpayers’ money.

Merger and acquisition may be the future trend for P2P lending sector (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

Recently, Dianrong announced that the company has purchased Quark Finance, Quark Credit Workshop and its related branches and teams. Before that, the merger has been spread for a long time. The merger seems indicate a direction for P2P lending platforms: small platforms might be realise the compliance requirements by being merged, and big platforms also could expand and increase their market share through the acquisition. Thus, mergers and acquisitions might become the next new wave of the P2P lending industry in China.

PwC: Fintech Survey China 2017 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

There are three main areas of finance that are poised to be irreversibly changed, according to PwC. Consumer banking, investment & wealth management and transfers & payments are becoming pretty much all digital and data driven.

Some high level bullet points on China and Fintech include:

  • 68% of financial institutions expect to increase Fintech partnerships in the next three to five years
  • 85% believe mobile apps are the fastest growing customer channel
  • 71% regard price wars as one of the challenges of Fintech
  • Personal loans are at the top of the list for moving to Fintech over the next 5 years

Download the full report here.

European Union

German fintech factory FinLeap raises EUR39 million (Finextra), Rated: AAA

FinLeap, the startup platform behind Germany’s solarisBank, has secured EUR39 million in equity capital to support its ongoing fintech incubation programme.
Having launched twelve fintech ventures so far – including bank account switching platform FinReach, digital debt management outfit Pair Finance, insurance broker Clark, and Germany’s solarisBank – FinLeap is already active in ten European countries.

Regulating FinTech: the Way Forward (Fexco), Rated: A

On Friday 14th July Brian hosted an event at the European Parliament offices in Dublin entitled ‘Regulating FinTech: the Way Forward’. Speakers at the event were the Minister for Financial Services Michael D’Arcy TD, Neil Ryan, COO Quaternion Risk Management; Derek Butler, CEO Grid Finance; Camille Blackburn, Central Bank of Ireland, and Ruth McCarthy, Director of the FinTech and Payments Association of Ireland and CEO of FEXCO Corporate Payments.

The panel discussed regulatory responses to FinTech services at EU and domestic level, as well as examining opportunities within the FinTech ecosystem in Ireland.

Strong networks, good government supports and the presence of major innovators are enabling Ireland to stay at the cutting edge, and these factors will help Ireland to achieve its IFS2020 target for job creation in financial services.

Bricknode: Reporting To fFnancial Regulators With The XBLR Format Creates Confusion (Mondovisione), Rated: A

Financial institutions of various types are required to conduct periodic reporting to local regulators, like the Swedish Financial Inspection and EU-authorities like the European Banking Authority. Following the financial crisis of 2007/2008 numerous resolutions were past to increase regulations of the participants in financial markets. These initiatives are now being implemented regularly. Both MiFID II and MiFIR are scheduled to be implemented as of January 2018 with extensive reporting requirements and scarce information of how this should be implemented practically. During 2017, financial institutions and FinTech companies were impacted by EU-reporting in practice. One example is the reporting file format called XBLR were a lot of confusion exists.

International

Fintech Use Reaching ‘Mass Adoption’ Among Digital Consumers (The Financial Brand), Rated: AAA

Findings from the EY Fintech Adoption Index 2017, published by EY, indicate that fintech firms are approaching mass adoption among digitally active consumers. Leveraging digital technology, combined with personalized solutions, fintech firms are differentiating the customer banking experience. Simplicity, clean design, personalization, real-time insights and transparency are the defining components of these new solutions.

The four key themes that emerged from the 2017 EY Fintech Adoption Index were:

  1. Fintech services have reached mass adoption in most global markets
  2. New services and players are driving increased adoption
  3. Fintech users prefer digital channels and technologies
  4. Fintech adoption will continue to gain momentum

According to the EY report, some of the primary strategies used by fintech firms to gain traction include:

  • Offering a service for free or at a much lower cost that traditionally had a cost associated
  • Solve a problem an existing customer base
  • Provide an entirely new service
  • Create word-of-mouth advocates
  • Build a strong brand identity
  • Leverage highly targeted marketing

The most dramatic variance between fintech users and non-users is the ways consumers prefer to manage their lives. According to EY, “64% of FinTech users prefer managing their lives through digital channels, compared to 38% of non-FinTech users. FinTech users are also more likely to be users of non-fintech digital platforms, such as on-demand services (digital taxis, online food, etc.) and the sharing economy (bike and housing rentals).”

India

Alt Lending platform OxyLoans plans to raise Rs 200 cr debt (MoneyControl), Rated: AAA

The city-based alternative lending platform, OxyLoans, today said it is planning to raise a debt of Rs 200 crore to meet the requirements of borrowers.

He said they have over 240 asset-backed applications from borrowers, and expressed hope to complete the process (raising debt of Rs 200 crore) within six months.

Thatavarti further said that OxyLoans, which has set a loan disbursal target of Rs 156 crore in three years, has facilitated loans to the tune of Rs 64 crore in the last nine months.

This startup is an end-to-end digital platform for lenders and borrowers – TachyLoans (KnowStartup), Rated: A

TachyLoans is an online lending marketplace catering to both Individuals & Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Their platform is based on Peer-to-Peer lending paradigm that uses the proprietary credit decision model designed with some of the best and innovative practices in the financial industry using the cutting edge technologies like Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning and is built through state of the art technology.

Founded by Brahma, TachyLoans is based out of Bangalore and was established in the year 2016. Brahma brings to the table more than 20 years experience and expertise in Retail Banking, Sales, Marketing and Operations.

When airlines don’t have parachutes, why should P2P lending platforms have LPF? (India Times), Rated: A

The regulations will lay out the corporate structure that each of the platforms would need to follow and most importantly the DOS and Don’ts related to dealing with lenders and borrowers. However, of late, there has been an interesting trend of platforms coming up with a lender protection fund. What does it do? In case a lender loses the money he has extended to a borrower as a loan, the lender protection fund is expected to cover the losses for the investor. On the face of it, it sounds like a good idea, but if you dig deeper, there are several issues.

The flyer is aware of the risk, but he trusts the plane. You have a life vest under your seat for an emergency landing on water, but you do not have an escape pod that can be activated if a flight is about to crash. Similarly, the lender on a P2P site should be able to trust that the lending platform has built a system that can help Lender earn higher returns by mitigating risk. While a P2P platform cannot shirk its responsibilities when it comes to investor protection, having a fund to mitigate losses is not the answer. Proper systemic safeguards and strong ethics should alone suffice.

Launching LPF would in some ways signal that a platform does not have confidence in its own credit evaluation and risk-mitigation system.

Paytm invests in Mobiquest (e27), Rated: B

India’s leading digital payments and m-commerce company Paytm has made an investment in loyalty app developer Mobiquest. The funding amount was not disclosed.

Asia

Fintech non-profit launches database for financial technology startups in Singapore (Tech in Asia), Rated: AAA

The Singapore Fintech Association (SFA) announced today it has created an online directory for fintech companies based in the city-state. The database contains a short description of each company and information about its founding team, funding status, and business model.

Currently listing around 300 startups, the database is free to use and data is maintained by the companies themselves. The directory looks similar to Crunchbase and Tech in Asia’s own startup database, but it’s exclusive to fintech.

The SFA built the directory in collaboration with US data company Let’s Talk Payments and its Medici platform, which provides information and resources about the fintech industry.

South Korean FinTech Firms To Offer International Money Transfer Services (ETH News), Rated: A

According to The Korea Heraldofficials at South Korea’s Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) announced last week that they expect approximately 40 FinTech firms to provide international money transfer services starting August 15.

Per Yonhap News Agency, South Korea’s international money transfer market currently totals approximately 10 trillion won ($8.7 billion). Opening the market to FinTech firms will encourage competition and drive down costs to consumers since the companies can offer money transfer services at much lower prices than traditional banks.

Single transfers via FinTech firms will be capped at $3,000, and individual annual limits will be set at $20,000. For FinTech firms to qualify for the FSS permit, they must possess 2 billion won ($1.77 million) and a debt-equity ratiobelow 200 percent.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

August 19th 2016, Daily News Digest

August 19th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today we have a treasure of great articles and news. Avant will start charging origination fees. And a new attack against Lending Club pointing out that 30,000 loans on their platform are taken by repeat borrowers. Why is this a bad thing ? A must read for investors : the much larger space […]

August 19th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

 

United States

Fintech’s Answer for Chilly IPO Market? Debt, (Wall Street Journal), Rated: AAA

The IPO freeze may be starting to thaw for tech companies, but it still isn’t warmed up enough for fin-tech firms.

Tumult in the new-issue market late last year and early this year claimed two casualties among financial technology firms, mortgage lender LoanDepot Inc. and subprime personal lender Elevate Credit Inc.

Both are online lenders with web-based applications (“tech”) that sell off their loans or warehouse them on outside banks’ balance sheets (“fin”).

They’ve also found an alternative way to raise capital: Via the debt markets, where investors remain starved for yield, and are apparently willing to take on riskier bets than stock buyers.

LoanDepot on Wednesday said it had raised $150 million in growth capital via a term loan sold to investors. The company did not disclose the interest rate. An existing loan from 2013, which matures in October, carried a rate of 11% to 12.75%, according to the IPO filing. The new loan follows Elevate in July announcing it had expanded its credit line from Victory Park Capital, a Chicago-based investor in online loans, to increase its capacity to make new loans.

While investors may be itching for liquidity, Mr. Hsieh is taking advantage of being private to experiment. He said that LoanDepot is using its new capital to pilot mortgage loans that aren’t government guaranteed, such as so-called “jumbo” loans for more expensive homes and second mortgages. LoanDepot will buy the loans itself with the new capital.

“Never in the history of his country have we seen the government fund over 90% of annual loan origination,” he said, referring to government-backed agencies such as Fannie Mae and the Federal Housing Administration who buy loans arranged by private firms such as LoanDepot.

“It’s just a matter of time before fintech firms come in and crack this market open so that new product innovation starts to flow again,”

Avant Parts Ways With 30% of Staff, Including CEO’s Wife, (The Wall Street Journal), Rated: AAA

Earlier this year, online lender Avant Inc. moved into an 80,000 square-foot headquarters in downtown Chicago that had all the amenities of a fast-growing startup. Employees needing a midday break could step away from their standing desks and into a “Nintendo” room full of vintage videogames.

Now, many of those desks sit empty. Around 220 of Avant’s workers, or roughly 30% of its full-time staff, accepted a buyout offer that was extended to all employees this summer, the company says.

It’s “not the highlight of my professional career to have to shrink the size of the company,” said Chief Executive Al Goldstein in an interview.

Avant has long touted a crucial difference with its rivals: It didn’t profit by charging fees to borrowers, and instead sought to sell loans at a big premium to investors.

“We are still competing for mindshare with investors,” Mr. Goldstein said. “It’s progressively difficult to deliver the no-fee product.”

Many online lenders have already increased interest rates multiple times and cut off parts of the population that were previously eligible for their loans.

Part of that tightening was to correct for loans previously offered on terms that were too easy and that have since started to default at faster-than-expected rates.

Cumulatively, the steps taken in recent months put online lenders on more solid footing, but they also weaken what has been a rationale behind the nascent industry: that the firms will lend to people that banks have left behind. Avant this year began requiring borrowers to have more income relative to the size of their loans. It also has been shrinking the size and payback period of its loans.

Avant’s fees will range from 1.75% to 3.75% of the loan amount, which is less than its competitors charge because Avant also receives income from the loans its holds on its books.

There are signs that Avant’s outlook has improved in recent weeks. The lender had originally said it could let go about 40% of staff, but was able to stop at 30%. The firm recently renewed its credit facility with J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Credit Suisse GroupAG. Bonds backed by Avant loans were sold in August at the lowest yields of any deal brought by the lender to date.

Avant also said in its investor letter that it broke even in the second quarter on an adjusted basis, and had more than $100 million of gross revenue, “setting the foundation for future profitability.”

“Our mission is to be able to provide access to credit for middle-income consumers around the world,” said Mr. Goldstein. There’s “no question Avant is going to survive and be a winner.”

How Lending Club’s Biggest Fanboy Uncovered Shady Loans, (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

In Portland, over coffee, Sims said he’d found thousands of instances from 2009 through 2011 in which Lending Club seemed to allow borrowers to split their loans in two if their first attempt to get a loan didn’t find any takers.

For instance, in June 2011, a user from the Phoenix area requested $25,000 for debt consolidation. The user was relatively risky, with a FICO score in the low 700s. Lending Club rated the loan “E2”—one of its riskier categories—offering it at an interest rate of about 18 percent. But investors were skeptical, and only $20,525 worth of the loan’s notes were sold. Later that month the same person, according to Sims, borrowed the difference, $4,475, at an interest rate of just 7.5 percent. (Sims guessed that Lending Club’s algorithms gave the second loan a higher rating because it was smaller and thus less risky.)

To the outside, it looks like one reliable loan and one risky loan; in fact they were both risky. “We evaluate each borrower’s creditworthiness based on the most up-to-date data,” the company says in a statement. It adds that users can exclude “relisted” loans from their searches.

In all, Sims’s model has identified about 30,000 loans that were likely taken out by repeat borrowers—information the company has never disclosed but would be valuable to investors, since it could help show if a borrower is overextended. (Prosper, unlike Lending Club, discloses this information.)

Because borrowers could be tapping multiple marketplaces at the same time, such data could show shareholders and regulators if this modern form of marketplace lending is riskier than they think.

On the other hand, because Lending Club makes most of its money by charging fees to borrowers and investors and doesn’t carry many loans on its balance sheet, it has limited incentive to implement such controls. Sims says, “The biggest question every investor should be asking is, ‘Are these platforms actually helping people pay off debt more quickly, or just putting them further in the hole?’ ”

Lending Club argues that any loans a borrower has taken out on the site are built into their credit report and therefore of no special relevance.

That Sims was able to use an algorithm and a home-built computer to pinpoint problematic loans suggests another looming problem for Lending Club: user privacy.

Why the opportunity in alternative credit is far broader than just p2p, (Alt Fi Credit), Rated: AAA

In a personal capacity I started lending on the Zopa P2P platforms 6 years ago when yields were much higher, default rates were lower and underwriting standards were higher across the industry.

Since then, in order to place the flood of money that has become interested in P2P lending, yields have fallen dramatically and underwriting standards loosened.  As this change occurred, I stopped lending P2P to individuals and have diversified to other higher yielding categories that by and large are still relatively undiscovered.

I have been keen on lending against real estate development projects in Canada where there are only 5 big banks and their lending criteria is very restrictive.

I have also lent against life insurance policies in the US that are designed to provide help people who are ill with cancer so that they don’t need to sell their life insurance policies to vulture funds at huge discounts.

International banks have continued to pull out of Africa because of problems and capital requirements back home, I have carefully lent money to commodity wholesalers and traders in Africa.

Another area with a shrinking banking industry is Spain. Structuring loans collateralized against government receivables that give companies reliable working capital can be highly lucrative for investors.  I invest with an old friend who is well connected in Spain and he is also able to source many real estate lending and leasing opportunities in the region.

Finally, micro SME (Small and Medium Size Enterprise) lending in the US is very interesting at the moment.  These are loans that are usually less than $100,000 in size, but bigger in size than Merchant Cash Advances.  The short term loans are typically made to companies across the US and across industries that have been in business for on average 10 years or longer.

These are only a few of the many places I and my clients have invested in over the past few years but it highlights some of the opportunities beyond P2P loans to individuals.

The opportunity to disrupt the credit card rails may finally be opening up, (Daily Fintech), Rated: AAA

The transition to Chip and PIN credit cards in America currently looks like just a big conversion cost – good for vendors and consultants and a big extra cost and time suck for everybody else.

However, below the surface something bigger is brewing. Chip on plastic is incremental change, but Chip on mobile phone is a game-changer.

To the rest of the world, America moving from mag stripe to chip cards merits this reaction – “what took you so long?”

After Chip + PIN is introduced, fraud in Card Present transactions (aka physical retail) becomes too hard, so criminals shift attention to Card Not Present (CNP aka e-commerce).

 

Three factor authentication is better

Chip is better than mag stripe for single factor. Chip + PIN is better two factor than Chip + Signature. But 3 factor is best and that is what mobile phones enable:

Factor 1: something I own (can be a chip on a card or a chip in a phone)
Factor 2: something I know (PIN)
Factor 3: something you know about me (location in a mobile phone, not possible with a Chip card).

The Mobile Payment tipping point.

If this data from eMarketer is even close to right, we are at the Mobile Payment tipping point:

Shh, don’t tell, but Uber is really a payments company with an e-commerce skin. So is Amazon. So is AirBnB. People make a big deal about Uber, Amazon and AirBnB not owning the actual physical stuff/service that we buy – as if vertical integration was an issue in the 21st century. What is much more critical is when a when Merchants become payments businesses through Tokenization.

Tokenization is the one time password that a student of cold war espionage stories would recognize. If you steal the token/one time password, you can steal the contents of that message/payment and only that message. That is fundamentally different from stealing the Primary Account Number (PAN).

Remember those merchants upset by the cost of switching to Chip + PIN? They would like to do this as well. Any entrepreneur who figures out how to offer that to small merchants will do well – maybe Square?

Prosper President Ron Suber on US Fintech Market Outlook, (YouTube), Rated: A

Ron Suber keynote presentation at LendIt China 2016

Learning From Online Lending’s Stumble, (Email, Blue Elephant), Rated: AAA

Online lending had enjoyed significant wind in its sails over the past five years. Aided by the post-Great Recession healing of the credit cycle, lenders were able to originate increasing but limited volumes of loans that provided much needed yield to investors. Along the way, a myth developed that online lending could grow infinitely, stealing business away from big banks while providing investors with the Holy Grail of investing – high returns and minimal risk.

Competition for borrowers pushed lenders to lower rates and increase capacity more quickly than their models could handle. Defaults rose and returns fell accordingly – and that was during a relatively strong point in the credit cycle. It is safe to say the online lending myth has been debunked, or at least been brought back to reality.

The beginning of this evolution is straightforward. Online lending should be treated like any other investment, with the acknowledgement that with return comes risk.

New analytical tools will need to be created to compare different loans across originators, allowing investors to do independent assessment of the risks involved.

Beyond risk assessment, investors must demand clarity between the role played by the lender as loan originator, and the investor as fiduciary. Many online lenders do not keep the risk of their loans on balance sheet – they get paid an origination fee and sell the loans to others. This style of loan origination creates value for shareholders by maximizing the volume of loans originated, not from the ultimate performance of the loans.

Some of these lenders have raised private funds which exclusively buy loans from their own platform. The inherent conflict is that the lender cannot fulfill its fiduciary duty of maximizing loan volume while also being a fiduciary to a loan buyer demanding maximization of return.

In the age of the hyper-regulated mega bank, there is a real need to open up credit markets to small-balance borrowers. Combine this with investor need for yield, and all the building blocks are in place.

Goldman Sachs: A play for the 99%, (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

In April this year Goldman Sachs did something it had never done before. For almost 150 years, it had prospered by getting close to people of power and influence: wealthy institutions, multinationals, rich families.

Now it was trying to appeal to hoi polloi, offering online savings accounts that can be opened with a deposit of just $1, with interest rates about 100 times better than those at big US retail banks like Wells Fargo or Bank of America.

But the launch of GS Bank, propelled by the acquisition of a $16.5bn book of deposits from GE Capital, was not exactly glitch-free. People were baffled by an automated menu system that failed to recognise simple instructions, says Rob Berger, founder of Doughroller.net, a personal finance site. Some customers reported long delays in opening an account; others complained that they could not get on to the platform via an iPad or a Chromebook.

Goldman is moving into Main Street for a simple reason: life on Wall Street has become much tougher since the global financial crisis.

At the same time, revenues in the bank’s asset management division have been squeezed by a broad shift to passive rather than active investing.

All that has weighed on profits. Goldman’s return on equity — the best and simplest measure of how well it is using shareholders’ money — slipped below 10 per cent last year and is expected to come in at about 8 per cent in 2016.

Executives at Goldman bridle at the suggestion the bank has stood still while the world changed around it. They point out that it has kept annual revenues more or less steady at about $34bn since 2012, despite cutting risk-weighted assets by about one-fifth in that time, on estimates from CLSA, the brokerage.

Pay — often a flashpoint — has come down a lot too, reflecting smaller bonuses as well as the different business mix.

In the second quarter this year, Goldman’s accrual for compensation and benefits came to $95,718 per employee, less than half the figure of $211,968 of 10 years ago.
Once investors regain some poise, said Mr Blankfein, Goldman would bounce back too. Higher interest rates, lower energy prices and a stronger economy should help boost the “velocity” of trading. “There are signs on the horizon and indications that we are finally, after a very long time, coming out of that [low volume] environment,” he said.

In that context, say analysts, Goldman needs new income streams to boost RoE. In the autumn it plans to start putting its new GE connections to work, launching a venture offering loans online to consumers and small businesses. That unit has hired dozens of senior people from companies including Lending Club, Citi, Amex and Barclaycard.

More retail banking products could follow — such as car loans, mortgages or a “robo” wealth management platform.

Before the financial crisis, Goldman did not even have a federally insured bank but it was forced to open one in 2008 as a condition of receiving bailout funds.

Deposits now account for 23 per cent of the bank’s funding mix, up from 3 per cent at the end of 2007.

The new mix helps profits, too. Even though Goldman is paying its GS Bank depositors a near market-leading interest rate of 1.05 per cent a year on online savings accounts, for example, that is still much less than the cost to Goldman of issuing long-term bonds.

GS Bank’s 160,000 or so depositors should be a useful support for the new lending venture, which represents a direct strike against peer-to-peer platforms, which match needy borrowers with investors hungry for yield.

In a research note last year, Goldman analysts said $10.9bn of annual profit generated by traditional bricks-and-mortar lenders was at risk of being lost to more nimble upstarts. Of that, the largest chunk — $4.6bn — was from unsecured personal loans, with another $1.8bn from small business loans.


A successful launch of a Lending Club-like business would be a feather in the cap of Stephen Scherr, a former head of the financing group who was named chief strategy officer in June 2014.

Recasting Goldman as the friend of the consumer and small business will not be easy. For many people across the US, the brand is associated more readily for its legal and political scrapes after the financial crisis than its philanthropic programmes.

One former employee notes a more fundamental mismatch: the fact that making money from retail banking depends on churning simple, low-margin transactions at high volumes. That is the opposite of Goldman’s core strategy over its 147 years, which has focused on complicated deals for big clients.

Goldman is clearly gunning for growth from GS Bank: vacancy lists on its website show 22 positions available at the unit, more than in securities and investment banking combined.

Millennial fintech service Stash raises Series A funding, (New York Business Journal), Rated: A

Stash raised $9.25 million, in a Series A funding round.

Stash helps Millenials invest. Investments in Stash are Exchange Traded Funds(ETFs) or stocks. Stash picks a select group of the thousands of ETFs and stocks available, based on factors like low fees, managed risk, and historical performance. Stash recommends a set of those investments for you, based on the profile you fill out when you sign up. For each investment available to you on Stash, you can see the primary company or companies included, and can visit the website of the investment for more information.

United Kingdom

Seven in 10 Moneywise users would use P2P lending to boost savings, (Money Wise), Rated: AAA

Seven in 10 (71%) Moneywise.co.uk users would consider using peer-to-peer (P2P) lending in a bid to earn higher returns on savings, our latest poll results reveal.

Interestingly, our poll, which received 890 votes between 9 and 16 August, also reveals that more people have gotten into P2P lending over the last six months.

When we asked the same question in late February 2016, of the 892 who voted then, a smaller 33% said they already use P2P lending, while 38% said they’d consider doing so in future.

An increasing number of people have also now heard of P2P – with 9% not having heard of it in February, compared to just 6% now.

However, conversely the number of people who wouldn’t use P2P has risen from 21% in February to 23% in August – perhaps highlighting a greater awareness of the risks involved.

The Entrepreneur: Rhydian Lewis, RateSetter , (Startups), Rated: AAA

We’ve passed a few milestones since we wrote our first loan in 2010: we launched in Australia in 2014, passed £1bn in total lending in 2015 and we now have more than 300,000 customers. We’ve also lent more than £250m to business borrowers, which has made a real difference at a time when banks are reluctant to lend to small businesses.

However, the thing I’m proudest of is that to date, every individual RateSetter investor has received the returns they expected without losing a penny.

RateSetter was self-funded when we launched, but we’ve since raised £30m from a range of investors including City heavyweights like Woodford and Artemis.

Our intention is for RateSetter to ultimately be a publicly owned business. It’s difficult to draw a precise timeline for things like this, but it’s a process that will take at least a few years. In terms of the size of the RateSetter loan book, currently there are more than £600m of active loans – we’d like it to be several times that figure in three years’ time, which would bring us in line with a small bank in terms of scale.

We’ve focused on retail investors throughout, and kept institutional investment to less than a tenth of the total.

This might surprise you, but I actually think that the UK has taken a positive approach to regulation – we and others in our sector successfully lobbied to be brought into regulation and it has so far proved to be a good thing.

I think one of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make is not being committed to the long run and failing to see things through.

Author:

George Popescu